Category Archives: diary

And back to work.

Cold. So cold waiting for the first bus of the year today. Good day at work once I was in and warm, got started on my project for the month, search enginey things. Nice to get back, and see that everything was where it should be, and nothing had gone wrong over the break. Always the worry when you go away for a bit. Bonus this evening is that my hearing has started to kick in again. Rather nice being able to hear people.

I saw a trailer tonight for Marc Wootton Exposed. Wootton is a former member of Cyderdelic, and possibly best known as Shirley Ghostman. He does seem to inspire a wide range of opinions, as it goes, I quite like him, and if this clip is anything to go by, it could be well worth watching.

A pleasant lazy day

I took an extra day’s holiday, just to make sure I had enough time to get over New Year’s Eve. As it happened, I didn’t get that drunk, but as I’m still a bit ill (have been full of snot and cold since about the 23rd), I did need the extra time just to relax that bit more. Played games, listened to podcasts, and generally accomplished nothing of consequence. Just what I hoped to achieve.

On a cold crisp New Years Day

A happy new year to everyone who bothers to read this! I’m sat with a cuppa, watching what David Vine used to refer to on Ski Sunday as “The traditional hangover cure”, the second leg of the Four Hills ski-jumping tournament. Garmisch-Partenkirchen looks lovely and snow-bound, and I’m glad to be indoors.

We had a good fun New Year, went to a party at the Victoria Arms in Marston, invited by one of Mrsfb’s friends. Lots of good food and drink, not too busy, and a good group of people. Everything you need really.

So what does the new year bring for me? Well, we’ve got to move house fairly soon, so the search for that is the first priority. Hopefully after that, we’ll manage to get across to France to visit flotskysister, which will probably be our main holiday for the year. Other than that, I think all I’m after is to be fit and healthy (well slightly fitter, slightly healthier) and enjoy the year. Write a bit more, ideally a lot more. That should do for me.

Xbox and windows

Later today we get the Fall update to Xbox 360 Live. It doesn’t look like there is anything dramatic coming, but they are starting to introduce more of a social networking element, with profiles and searchable friend lists. There is also the Xbox Originals, old xbox games for download, and also a platinum service for Xbox Live Arcade games, which means we’ll get a bit of discounting going on, which is no bad thing.

I’m also troubled by the new tv commercial for Safestyle UK, the noisiest of all the double-glazing companies advertising today. They seem to have come up with their own version of Firestarter by the Prodigy for it, and it may well be the most annoying of all the Christmas commercials, even more so than the Spice Girls ad for Tesco.

What am I into at the moment?

I’m currently playing Super Mario Galaxy, which is a gorgeous game to watch and play, Puzzlequest, which is an RPG meets a Bejewelled-style puzzle game, and the expansion version of Phantasy Star Universe.

I’m watching Heroes of course, the new series of Curb Your Enthusiasm (which is compulsory, it’s very good), the Mighty Boosh, and I’ve just watched my first episode of Flight of the Conchords, which I’d heard was a very marmite show, but I got it straight away, stupid in a great way.

Good evening, this isn't the news.

As of 6pm this evening, all commercial television will stop in Britain. No Sky, Channel 4, ITV, Channel 5, NTL. BBC is now the only media which will be allowed to broadcast, and will be changing its schedules to a mainly news-based format. In addition, SMS texts will be shut down shortly, newspapers will be similarly limited, and for your safety, we are going to try and close down the internet as soon as possible.

Ridiculous idea? Not in Pakistan at the moment. Under the present regime, there is only state-run television now. The only other alternatives? Blogging and Youtube in the main. The internet is now the voice of the opposition there, as it has no route of speaking to people at all. See Chapati Mystery for one such example of what is going on there.

I’m just not qualified to comment on the political situation there at the moment, but the concept of virtually everything in terms of media being shut down, in any modern society, has amazed me this morning.

I am still here

I’ve just been getting back into the swing of things after the holiday, and yes, I admit it, have been too lazy to write up the rest of New York. I will try and do it at some stage, it was just that we were busy relaxing and having fun, and I just felt like disconnecting properly after the first few days, so I did. Still very relaxed from it all. But I shouldn’t use that as an excuse not to write, so I will start up again.

New York – Day Two

Sunday 3pm

The world looks a whole lot better after a good sleep, several coffees, and a decent shower. I think I’ve about cleared back to human now. A good start today, we got up reasonably early, had breakfast, then headed for Central Park up 7th Avenue. The Manhattan streets are a bit of a surprise, hustle and bustle, sure, but not too hectic. Still seeing a Parisian side to it all.

Eighteen blocks up isn’t that much of a walk as it turns out, and certainly didn’t feel as far as the scale on the map suggested it might. We’ve been taking in the look, the feel, and certainly the smell of it all. Smell hits you everywhere, food, cars, and especially the sewers, which are astonishing when they hit your nosebuds full-tilt.

Once you get into Central Park, it only takes about a hundred yards to lose the city somewhat. It’s huge, beautiful and tranquil. Winding, shady, tree-lined paths lead out on many beautiful expanses of lawn. Lots of families playing, couples lounging, people enjoying leisurely strolls. Near the busier intersections of paths, you’ll get buskers, nothing too hectic, lots of gentle moody jazz. There is almost an enforced slow pace to it all. The one exception however is on the roads that wind through the park itself; whilst closed to traffic in the main, they are a constant flood of joggers, inline skaters and cyclists. As a side note here, I appear to be blending in well, I was asked three times to take photos for tourists. As another side note, I may clearly need to lose some weight.

Having drank the tranquility in, we then set off along 5th Avenue. This is shopping heaven, simply put. If you extracted every single clothing brandname that met the approval of Mrsfb from her mind, you would find that is was a shop directory for 5th Avenue. We’ve set aside Monday for shopping, so Mrsfb womanfully resisted the lure of Prada et al, and we pressed on to find somewhere for a snack.

We happened up St. Andrews Bar. This would appear to be your classic English pub in America, so it was a heady blend of bar and pub. We were served by an Irishman in a kilt (don’t ask, I don’t know either. Very friendly though) and settled down for a traditional English pint of Stella Artios, followed by a substantial brunch. Omlette with smoked salmon and soft cheese for Mrsfb, fried eggs with ‘Scottish bacon’ for myself. We were presented with ketchup, however I decided to take a bold English stance. “You haven’t got any Brown sauce”, I enquired. “Sure, we’re out of HP, but will Chefs do?”. In New York, on my bacon. I almost wiped away a tear of English pride. Good food, just what we needed after a few hours of walking.

For now we’ve retired back to the hotel, Mrsfb is having a little nap, and I’m writing this in the hotel bar whilst watching NASCAR on a large television. America is alright by me thus far.

Sunday 11pm

Tonight was Times Square. In the daytime, it’s slightly under-impressive, it seems a bit smaller than you thought it would be. In the evening however, it utterly comes alive. The signs glow, the screens scroll through endless implorations to watch and consume, hawkers hawk, generally your eyes are drawn permanently upwards. Religion has something to learn here, there are a few ideas someone could really use and exploit. Maybe I’ll have a go at running a religion soon. Some form of a consumerist religion for the UK?

Wow, I only suggest new religions when I am really tired. I think I must be. I guess this is the proper jetlag then. Cool, I did come to America to experience new things.

New York – Day One

Saturday 12am

Wow. In Manhattan, sat on a very nice enclosed balcony, figuring out quite what part of me is jetlagged, and what part is knackered. I think that was about 17 hours of travelling and queuing, all told. Not sure if this is the best time to do the math(s).

Good flight really, quite choppy for the second part of it, but we read and watched movies to distract us. Note to Richard Branson btw: Those screens on the backs of your seats become unwatchable as soon as someone reclines the seat in front of you. The movies I watched were mainly listened too, as all the actors essentially appeared to be shadowy puppets as soon as the chap in front of me got a little tired.

Shuttle bus into Manhattan itself was amazing, just working us into the city a little. Hustle, bustle, yadda *3. However more chilled than I expected. It looks really nice at night, odd pace to it all, almost looks Parisian. Big boulevards, people eating out on the streets (okay, sidewalks). And like the French, they drive with their horns here. Mirror, horn, signal, horn, maneuver, horn.

Tomorrow we do Central Park and Times Square. I get the camera out, and go to work. I may spend half the day in black and white. But I think it is now time to retire and pass out.