A Slow Meander Through Life

Friday, December 30, 2005

Double Let Down

The doom and gloom predicted in my previous post has not materialised and my left arm is fine. Whilst this is good news, I do feel let down by an inaccurate diagnosis on my part. The feeling, however, is nothing compared to the fact that it should have been snowing for three hours by now, and it hasn't. It's trying, but that just isn't good enough.

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Slip Sliding Away

This could be the last post for a while. Whilst walking to our local drinking hole, I took a shocking fall and managed to take all of my weight (which is a fair amount) on my left elbow. Things are fine at the moment, but I fear that tomorrow morning the left arm could be out of action.

I would like to ask a quick question of the more scientific amongst you: why has the effect happened to our footprints in the snow?

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Happy Days

Having judged everything perfectly, I awoke this morning to the sight that every child (but no working man) wishes to see:

Flickr Photo

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Monday, December 26, 2005

No Room At The Inn

I may have a slightly different take on the nativity story. Mary and Joseph were told repeatedly that there was no room at the inn as they looked for a place to stay in Bethlehem. I now believe that this wasn't the case; I believe that there was room in every inn, but all of them had idiot doormen and stupid admittance policies design to confuse and annoy even the most upstanding of citizens.
Tragically this is a trend that continues even to this day. Christmas Eve is fast becoming the day during the Christmas period when you catch up with friends. This year I was almost excited by the prospect of being back in The Grapes, staring at the barmaids and conversing with my friends. Indeed, that is where I found myself and I had a wonderful evening. I was very excited by the new licensing laws too: 'how long will Colin keep The Grapes open until?' I thought to myself. Possibly one or two o'clock in the morning? That would have been fantastic, and avoided a trip to Formby's only nightspot, Shorrocks Hill. For those who have spotted the hint of sarcasm in my voice, it will come as no surprise that The Grapes closed at a rather poor midnight, and we found ourselves on the 'Shorrocks Bus'. This is a bizarre thing and I'm not going to explain it.
At this point I need to explain which of my friends were on the bus. We were four: Sarah, who we had basically kidnapped; Tim, who was home from Australia; Ste, who had driven down from Edinburgh and arrived no more than two hours previous; and myself, who had driven the 150 miles from Lincoln that very day. All very respectable, all good people, all been going to Shorrocks for the last ten years.
Rumour had it that Shorrocks was open until 3am, and as we approached the doors there was a feeling of excitement about the ability to carry on the festivities until late. Tragically, the excitement turned to disappointment as Ste approached the door. "Sorry mate, you haven't got a collared shirt. You can't come in."
A short conversation ensued, discussing the fact that we had all travelled from afar this evening and that we'd been coming to Shorrocks for the last ten years, and that it is Christmas Eve after all. I pointed out that it probably wasn't even busy in there (a fact later confirmed) but he told me it was practically full. Bridges were burnt because I couldn't keep the word 'arsehole' inside my head as I walked away, and he was keen to pick up on that when I tried again a few minutes later. Oops.
I'm sick of this. I approach clubs feeling like a school child, hoping that I've been good enough to enter and being as nice as possible to the bouncers. It feels so degrading begging to be let in by some moron who's having to work on Christmas Eve in the freezing cold. I'm proposing a new campaign: it's the 'Piss off and let me in' campaign, and whilst initially it could cause some problems, if it gathers momentum it could change clubbing in England. At 28 years old I can't believe that if the wind blows in the wrong direction, or if my friend is wearing the wrong top, I can't have a late night drink with my friends. Don't even start me on Friday night in Lincoln...

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My Head Hurts

It's twenty five minutes to eight o'clock in the evening and I'm still at work. This is unusual for me and as a consequence my head hurts.

I'm happy that my spreadsheet works, but now I have to create a big exception report and my brain is saying 'not now Daniel, not now'. My brain is a powerful influence over all but a couple of parts of my body, and it is winning nicely.

It has just lost a different battle, however, as the 'Christmas Love Pangs' attacked me earlier on today and won successfully. It's nearly Christmas, it's dark outside and I want a hug: the fact that I'm single makes it all the worse. So the dreaded love pangs kick in, I have a chat with a friend that I used to go out with, I miss her a bit, messenger allows me to type stuff that I may not have the balls to say to her face and it all comes out ok but probably wasn't the best idea.

Maybe someone should start a business that supplies someone to stop you feeling lonely. I don't know, maybe just someone to be with for an hour after work. What's that? Someone's done it already? Bastards. It's Christmas, I'm single, and the one good idea that I can come up with has been taken by some pimp in a flash car.

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Monday, December 19, 2005

What's That You Said?

Reading the news on the BBC, I came upon an article about a new service that the RNID are running. You can call 0845 600 5555 for a hearing test (local rates apply) and receive a result as soon as you've finished. They says lots of numbers with a background noise, and you have to type the numbers that you hear into your phone. At the end they tell you if you can hear or not. I'm assuming that if you don't press anything at all then you are classed as profoundly deaf.
Surpisingly, despite constant ringing in my ears from horribly loud night clubs and fantastically great motorbikes, my hearing is fine. Unfortunate then, that when I pulled a girl in a night club some time ago, I couldn't hear her name. After the third attempt she gave up on me and walked off. I blame it entirely on the fact that she had a one syllable name, making it much more difficult to work out what it could be. Any children of mine will have three syllable names as a minimum, in order to arm them better for loud environment encounters.

Totally Quackers

If there is one thing that I haven't quite adapted to here in Lincolnshire, it's the fact that everyone uses the word 'duck'. It is used in the same way that 'love' is used in Liverpool: 'you alright love?', 'hello love', 'that'll be three pounds love'. Replace the word 'love' with the word 'duck', and welcome to Lincolnshire. The lady at the deli counter in Morrissons currently holds the record for the most ducks in one conversation. It runs something like this:
Lady: 'Hello duck, how can I help you?'
Me: 'I'd like 3 vegetable samosas please.'
Lady: 'There you go duck, is there anything else duck?'
Me: 'Yes please, 6 mini onion bajis.'
Lady: 'There we are duck, would you like anything else duck?'
Me: 'No thank you.'
Lady: 'Thanks duck.'
Me: 'Bye.'
Lady: 'Bye duck.'
It is something that you become accustomed to, until the man from the letting agency comes round to fix the leaky shower.
The conversation runs something like this:
Man: 'Hello duck I've come to fix your shower.'
Me: 'I'm scared.'

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Cinema Etiquette and the Damn British Way

I'm furious. Absolutely furious. The main problem is that it's my fault, or more correctly it's my fault because I'm cursed with damned Britishness.
I have just returned from seeing the Chronicles of Narnia, and I have had to endure a torturous two and a half hours having my seat gently rocked by one of the four inconsiderate morons that sat behing me whilst talking the entire way through the film. However, because of my inbuilt politeness and lack of desire to disturb the status quo, I did absolutely nothing about the entire situation. All it would have required was a quick 'I'm terribly sorry but...' or 'you appear to be kicking my chair dear chap' or even a lovely 'would you mind awfully...' but no. It would appear that I would rather suffer for nearly three hours than turn around and politely ask someone to leave me alone. Bear in mind that I was there with three friends, two of whom are taller than me, so if there had been problems, I would have had the full backing from them.
Why? Why can't I just say what I think?
I'm not sure if this was a consequence of the four people sat behind, but I hated every single moment of the film. I truly thought that it was awful. What a shame.
I think that little rant is finished.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Why I'd rather be a bad driver

I completed my Institute of Advanced Motorists test years ago, and for a time was reasonably involved in the group where I lived. It always seemed a bit boring though, and not enough to do with driving, so every time I've moved, I've always searched out the local group to see what they have to offer.
I've been in Lincoln for about 4 years now, and whilst I'm a member of the group, I still fail to attend meetings and involve myself. Why? It's very simple. Let me quote from the December newsletter that has landed on the hall floor today.
'At the October meeting, in the absence of the scheduled speaker, I was asked to expand a bit more about the dangers of bateria and how those preparing our food when we eat out have a legal obligation to keep our food safe from contamination. I highlighted the huge increase in take away food and the associated rise in the rodent popluation and showed a short film outlining the most common food errors. By the number of questions and observations at the end it was clear that everyone agreed food safety is in all our interests recognising that we all eat food at some time that someone else has prepared for us.'
This is the Institute of Advanced Motorists. Where do you have to go to hear about driving skills? Poppins Takeaway in Lincoln?

Blowing the Trumpet

Many thanks to AnonymousCoworker for drawing my attention to this gem. It is the video to watch this christmas. Just keep the children away though. Have a look at the The Great Deception.

Ho ho ho.

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Tired? Me?

It's been a tiring week for me. I think it stemmed from last weekend and having far too much fun, but then it just rolled on and the result was me going to bed at 9.50 last night. That is before 10pm. I haven't done that for years. I do feel better today, although I'm clearly not quite 'with it'. I've just come downstairs, had some breakfast and sat down at the computer. I loaded Firefox and it wasn't until ForecastFox told me that it was foggy that I looked outside and realised that you can't actually see anything. The fact that I sit in front of a window when I'm on the computer makes this even worse.
I'd like to think that this weekend will be easier, but I doubt it. Well, it is Christmas.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I need to tell the world about this one - check out Pandora, the best radio station you'll ever find! It's simple - choose a song or artist and the subsequent songs will follow that style. You say if you like them or not and your personal radio station adjusts accordingly. It's very clever, and it has a very nice interface too. My only niggle is that you can't go to the previous tracks once they've played. A minor problem though.

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The Red Arrows

One of the great things about Lincoln is that just north of the city is Scampton RAF base, the home of the Red Arrows. As a consequence you can regularly see them blasting around, practicing their routines.

I snapped this today (but I just missed the actual planes!).

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When I was driving back from Leeds this morning there was one flying right over head, and it was fantastic.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Blogger or WordPress?

I've been looking at WordPress and it seems pretty good (they like Flock too). It has more options and seems a little easier to customise. What do I do? Move to WordPress? Would it be worth it? Do I recreate things or just start at a new point?

I like the look of it, but I'm scared about change...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Good Health

I enjoyed a night out last night in Market Rasen (population 3000ish). I joined my old colleagues from work for the maths department christmas dinner, held at a local Indian restaurant. It was a great meal, made by the fact that the company was fantastic. It was an evening where location was irrelevant as the conversation would have overshadowed the worst of locations.

We went to a pub called the Gordon Arms. The idea was initally suggested as a joke, but we went through the revolving doors and had a wonderful time, chatting away for the rest of the evening. You need to be practically dead to be in the Gordon, so I think we brought a little life into it for the evening. I also saw a couple of lads who used to go to the school. I never taught them but my friend did and these two were right little buggers. Last night I had the most fantastic conversation with them about work, life, women and anything else we could think of. It's always nice to see that kids are only idiots while they're kids. Some fail to make the transition from idiot to human, but these two clearly have. It's very reassuring.

The best part of last night was seeing my ex head of department looking well. He had been off work with depression, having bottled up years and years of bad days and quite simply working too hard. Now he has a new attitude to life and him and his wife look so happy together, something that hasn't been seen for a while. He's a very good advert for saying what you think at the end of a hard days work.

It's christmas market this weekend in Lincoln so traffic is awful. I'm off out later for a meal up at the top of town so I'll have to fight my way through the crowds and avoid the oneway system. The market is good, but it's identical every year, so once you've done it you don't need to do it again.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Theatre Review

As metioned last night, I went to see Bertolt Brecht's 'Fear and Misery of the Third Reich'. For a school production this isn't a light hearted piece, but I am delighted I was able to see it - it was fantastic.

Brecht's theatre is based around the idea that you shouldn't be involved with what is happening. The people on stage are actors, and you shouldn't feel emotionally for them: they are simply acting. To keep this emotional link severed, few effects are used. If a phone is ringing, it is enough for someone to tell you that it is; if people are working class then someone telling you at the start of the scene is all that is required: they don't need to dress in a particular way.

The play is a collection of 27 scenes which aren't related to one another in the usual play sense. It is the theme that carries through, and it looks at the perception of the people towards Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1938. Each scene shows a different set of people in a different set of circumstances and explores the feelings towards the regime and the effect that it had on everyday people.

You never saw the same character twice, and this did a lot to disguise the fact that there were 35 students in the class. Of this cast consisting of 17 and 18 year olds, the standard was amazing. Whilst there were a couple of weaker performers, I would say that at least 25 of the cast gave outstanding performances. You don't expect to be connected emotionally with Brecht, but the actors made you understand and realise exactly the fear (and misery) that was experienced. Two scenes stood out: the first looking at the fears of two parents that their son would betray them to the Hitler Youth; the second a mother and daughter talking about new shoes. The second scene sounds nothing exciting, but it was the standard of the acting that grabbed me. We sat and watched, for over a minute, the mother peel potatoes and the daughter do her homework. It was amazing. The daughter was engrossed in her work, and I was engrossed watching her.

The casting seemed basically perfect. With the exception of a slightly camp SS Man and some casting where I know that it would have made more sense to use someone else, every performance was top class. I just remember at the end seeing one actress and thinking 'why wasn't she in it more?'.

My only complaints? In a Brecht production, why did we need tea in the tea pot? And why did the radio need to be on at the end? I would have been happy if I had been told 'a radio is playing in the backgroud' with an explanation of what was on it (which was relevant).

This was a first class production, regardless of the age of the actors in it. I haven't been to the theatre in a long time, and I really need to go more. The De Aston school drama department have done a fine job.

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I know it's been a volley of posts in quick succession, but I have a few things to talk about.

I wasn't successful with the interview (try saying that without using the word 'get') and I found myself turning to my old trusted friend, Billy Joel. Driving in the car today the CD marked 'Billy Joel - All' was put in the CD player.

He is, quite simply, my idol. I would sell things, chop limbs off, move mountains to see this man. I would love to sit down and chat to him, but only if he didn't perceive me as some mad crazy fan. I would give almost everything to sit next to him while he played the piano, and even more to make sure that my mother's sister (we're not allowed to use the words aunt and uncle in our family) was there.

I listened mainly to two songs today - Piano Man and Captain Jack. There is something about them that chills me out and helps me regain a perspective in life. Captain Jack is a song that reassures you of the fact that if you're feeling below par, someone is always worse off than you.

Here is the album cover for those songs, released in 1976.


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Thursday, December 01, 2005

23 Days to go...

Even though I say 'no' every year to an advent calendar, my mum always buys me one and I always surprise myself by being delighted that she did. It wouldn't be the same without one, and here it is in all it's three dimensional (and very difficult to construct) glory:

Flickr Photo

There is no religous theme (fantastic) and the pictures appear to be of a good quality. The most important thing is that there isn't any chocolate: it just isn't what advent calendars are about.

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Fear and Misery of the Third Reich

I've been up to De Aston school this evening (my old work place) to see Brecht's 'Fear and Rising of the Third Reich'. It was amazing. However, I'm too tired for a full review, so I'll do that with a clear head tomorrow. I had forgotten how great the theatre is!

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