Here’s another set of journal entries for you to look through. This hasn’t been a particularly busy month for me, but I spent a nice weekend with a friend, enjoyed the finale of the second series of Doctor Who and bought some more DVDs, and there are various other things to mention as well. So I hope you find it interesting as always!
Friday July 7, 2006
It’s been another fairly quiet week work-wise, but we did have more cream cakes for a colleague’s birthday. There’s nothing to report at home either.
As for football, England’s World Cup dreams are over. After no goals in full time or extra time, we lost 3-1 on penalties to Portugal. It’s the second World Cup in a row we’ve lost at the quarter final, made worse by the fact it was a dreaded penalty shoot out. We didn’t do bad in the first half, but things fell apart after half time. Wayne Rooney got a red card after he wrestled for the ball with Ricardo Carvalho on the halfway line and stamped on the defender’s testicles – not a great move! It’s a shame, as he had been keeping his cool up until then. David Beckham also got himself injured, and had to come off in tears.
Beckham has now resigned as captain of the England team. He’d made the decision some time ago, but wanted to wait until after the World Cup to announce it. He’s been captain since November 2000, so he’s had a good go at it. And he wants to continue playing for England, so hopefully this won’t be the last we see of him. And it was also Sven’s last match as manager. He had already announced that he was leaving after the World Cup, but he didn’t go out on a high. There’s been widespread agreement that they needed a new manager though. So, with a new manager and captain, England could be getting the fresh start they desperately need for the future.
As far as the fans go, they’ve been the best ever. Bar the odd couple of arrests which you’ll always get, their behaviour has been excellent. They’ve cheered on the England team in all their matches with so much gusto, and they’ve been sensible away from the matches too. Ok, they’ve been drinking and partying as you’d expect, but they haven’t been a major nuisance to anybody. It’s a pity the England team weren’t able to pick up on that support and give us something to cheer about. Maybe next time, huh? As for the final, it’ll be Italy vs France, while Germany and Portugal will fight for 3rd). The Wimbledon men’s singles final is also taking place this weekend.
But forget those. The most exciting finale on Saturday occurs for Doctor Who. It’s Rose’s last show, with Cybermen and Daleks! It looks like it’s going to be an awesome end to another awesome series. They’ve not been afraid to experiment, and David Tennant‘s been great, arguably better than Christopher Eccleston, although he was bloody good as well. They’re each the best in their own way, really, you can’t choose.
There’s now a Christmas special to come, plus Series 3 next year. Plus we’ll be getting the BBC3 spin-off Torchwood, starring Captain Jack, which looks cool (Torchwood, incidentally, is an anagram of Doctor Who). The BBC have also revealed that newcomer Freema Agyeman is taking over from Billie Piper as the Doctor’s new sidekick. The 27-year-old former Crossroads actress will play Martha Jones in the third series, so I hope she does well. She won’t be in this year’s Christmas special though – they’ve got another surprise for that, which could be interesting. So there’s plenty to look forward to.
And talking of great things to watch, I’ve received another Amazon order this week. I’ve got:
- 24: Season 1 – I’ve been meaning to start collecting these for a while. I’ve only seen series 1, which BBC1 repeated last year. They’ve only got the rights to the first 2 series (but the 6th will be on Sky soon), so I can only really see them on DVD. It gets rave reviews, and I’m enjoying rewatching series 1.
- Dad’s Army: Series 7 – With an interesting extra about Arthur Lowe.
- Jack Dee: Live At The Apollo – Something else I’ve been meaning to get for a while, I’m going to collect his standup DVDs, as he is good.
And finally, in the news this week:
- Britain has commemorated the 1st anniversary of the 7/7 bombings, with memorial services for the victims and a 2-minute silence.
- Space shuttle Discovery has docked with the International Space Station. It’s the first since the Columbia disaster, when a huge slice of foam came away and made a hole in the wing, causing gasses to get in and explode the craft. Although tiny bits of foam came off Discovery, NASA don’t believe it to be as serious. The craft did a back-flip as it docked in space, a new safety measure they’ve introduced so the astronauts could check the belly for any possible damage.
- Little Britain star David Walliams successfully swam across the English Channel this week to raise money for Sport Relief. Also raising money for it is Only Fools On Horses, where celebrities are trained to ride horses, a bit like the celebrity dancing shows that have been on recently.
- Fred Trueman, one of England’s best cricket players of all time, has died.
Sunday July 9, 2006
Doctor Who ended in spectacular style last night with possibly an even better ending than last year. The last scenes of the show were kept very secret, with only a select few in the crew knowing about it until the last possible minute. And it paid off – I didn’t see any reports about what would happen.
Everyone knew Billie Piper was leaving, having done a brilliant job at playing Rose Tyler. It’s what she’s best known for right now, and she deserves to do well in the future after this. All the reports and rumours had suggested that Rose Tyler would die in the show, and even Rose’s character stated that the last 2 episodes were the story of how she died. But looking back, of course, how could Rose narrate something like that if she was dead?
Well, it’s because she’s still alive but technically, yes, she is dead. She’s trapped on a parallel world with Jackie and Mickey from our Earth, and her father from the parallel Earth. It’s nice that her family are back together. On her own Earth, she’s been declared officially dead after going missing since the Cybermen and Daleks vanished. But she went off in heroic style, of course, in a really moving scene. And Russell T Davies admits there was never any chance of killing her off.
Will she return in later series? The Doctor closed the breach, after sending the Cybermen and (nearly) all the Daleks into the void. He suggests that Rose can’t come back by doing that – he managed to keep a small part of the rift open with the immense power from the supernova, just so they could say a final goodbye. And they were emotional scenes. The two of them work so well together, and she worked equally well with Christopher Eccleston in series 1.
Rumours suggest, and I believe, that she’ll appear again. Having been such a major television character over the past 2 years, they won’t forget about her. And I said ‘nearly’ all of the Daleks. The Black Dalek got away, by using an “emergency temporal shift” – a teleport, basically. So the Daleks will be back one day – you can’t take them away from Doctor Who! So it was a great end to a great series. It had lots of action, stunts, special effects, suspense, humour and emotion.
And then there’s that bride, played by comedian Catherine Tate. She suddenly appears in the Tardis to the Doctor’s astonishment, after he’s said goodbye to Rose. Her comedy show’s ok, but not great, yet I reckon she’ll be good in the Christmas episode (The Runaway Bride). She’ll probably be quite funny. And then there’s the new companion in series 3 next year to look forward to.
So things are looking good for future episodes. Can they top these past 2 series? It’ll be tough, but there’s good reason to be confident, with Russell T Davies’ excellent scripts, and the teams at the BBC and The Mill (visual effects). Saturday night TV is going to be very boring until The Doctor returns…
Friday July 14, 2006
Another fairly quiet week, but certainly a hot and sunny one! There were more cream cakes at work though – one lot bought by a colleague on his birthday, and another from a colleague who had won £16 on the World Cup sweepstake, so he thought he’d treat everyone.
And I had one of those ‘small world’ experiences today, as my taxi driver is the sister of a guy I knew at school! Apparently he’s doing well – he went to college in Hereford (I knew that much already), and has now moved back with his mum for the time being, but wants to move to Hereford for the better job opportunities there. And he probably knows the place really well by now. It’s a bit like me, I’d prefer to live in Exeter, as I know the area better and know more people there.
I’ve been talking to a couple of my other friends who I’ve known since school as well. One has just passed a module resit at university, which is good, while the other has got a new girlfriend and has just got his red belt in tae kwon do, as well as having a few trips away to look forward to in the months ahead.
On to the news for the week:
- Doctor Who did well in the ratings last Saturday, and deservedly so. It pulled in more 7.7 million on average – 8.3 million for the final third. That’s more than last year’s finale (6.9 million), but not their highest ever, which was Christopher Eccleston’s very first episode (10.8 million). But 8 million is very good for TV these days. I’m also getting a poster from the Radio Times featuring the Cybermen on one side and a Black Dalek on the back.
- In football, France captain Zinedine Zidane has won the World Cup’s Golden Ball, despite being sent off in the final in Berlin for headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the chest in the second period of extra time. I didn’t watch the final, but saw the clip of the headbutt, and it was a strange thing to do. It was Zidane’s last ever match as well, so he’ll always be remembered for that as his last action. Italy won the final, for the 4th time – they had drawn 1-1 all the way through extra time, but won 5-3 on penalties. A horrible way for any team to lose.
- David Cameron has spoken out in defence of ‘hoodies’ – youngsters wearing hooded tops. It sounds like he’s jumping on the bandwagon a bit, trying to get those youngsters on board so that they’ll vote for him. I think most people know that a lot of hoodie-wearing people don’t cause trouble, but many people still find them intimidating, as their faces are hidden. And it is very odd to see teenagers wearing them when it’s hot.
- Syd Barrett, a founding member of Pink Floyd, has died aged 60. After being in the band for a few years and one album, he became a recluse, his mental deterioration put down to drugs.
- The Who are going on a world tour soon, and they have a new album out in October (their last studio recording was in 1982).
- But the strangest piece of news is about a paper clip. A big red paper clip. One year ago, Canadian Kyle MacDonald set out to trade a paper clip for a house, using the power of the internet. Not in one leap, of course, but through many trades in between. The publicity around it has grown over the past year and, by golly, he’s actually done it! Just goes to show what the internet can do, and we’ve seen a few crazy ideas over the past few years. What’s next?
Anyway, that’s all I can think of for this week. Sport Relief’s on TV tomorrow, so that could be interesting. And I’ve nearly finished the first season of 24, and the DVD of the second season is on its way (I’ve never seen season 2 onwards yet, so that’ll be cool). Other than that, I think I’ll just relax and enjoy the summer weather.
Thursday July 20, 2006
It’s been another quiet working week. A survey to be printed and the installation of our cheque printing system have been the main things. And I’ve got a dental check-up next Friday morning, joy of joys, but other than that it should be fairly normal next week.
On TV, Sport Relief raised over £12m last week, including £1m for Little Britain star David Walliams’ swim across the English Channel, and £1.5m for the Sport Relief Mile that took place up and down the country. McFly performed the single for this year’s appeal (not the first time they’ve done a song for a BBC charity) – it was a cover of Don’t Stop Me Now. It was nothing special, they’ve just turned what is a great song into another of their generic pop songs. It’s not a completely dire cover, but could have been so much better. It’s good for the charity if it sells well, but surely they could have found someone better, with an original song?
And also in the news, NASA’s space shuttle Discovery touches down safely in Florida after its 13-day mission, raising hopes for future shuttle missions since the Colombia disaster. So that’s quite a relief for them.
Tomorrow night I’m going to stay with my friend in Exeter for the weekend, hence I’m writing this entry today, and will write about the weekend after I get back, so that should be fun.
Saturday July 22, 2006
I travelled up to A’s place last night, and we went out for a drink before coming back and watching the Blondie documentary One Way Or Another on BBC1. It was quite interesting, all about their problems with money and drugs over the years, plus changes of band members that didn’t help matters.
Then today we were up for 10am, waiting for A’s support worker to come at that time. Or so A thought. By 11:15am, following a few unsuccessful phonecalls on A’s part, we had given up, and went for a wander around the town. First stop was Millets as I needed a new rucksack – I had borrowed Dad’s for the weekend as my old one was knackered. The new one I’ve bought has plenty of pockets, and some mesh on the back which circulates the air a bit better and stops your back sweating so much. I liked the sound of that, so I got it. I also got birthday cards for Mum from Dad and I, plus some stamps. And I picked up an Argos catalogue, which Mum and Dad had asked for – but it was a waste of time really, as it turns out a new one comes out next week! They thought a new one might have been out, as Argos have been having a sale for a while. Still, even if it’s not the latest one, it gives us a good idea of what they have.
We then had lunch at The Imperial, where I had spaghetti bolognese, then later went down to Mango’s by the quay to have a smoothie, where I had a chocolate one with caramel syrup. Next door to them was another pub we popped into, called The Prospect, which had lovely cool air conditioning, decent music in the background, and a really comfy sofa, so we were there for at least an hour.
We later found out that, instead of 10am-1pm, the support worker was due at 1pm, and had been waiting at A’s flat for 45 minutes! It also transpired that A had her days mixed up, because the piece of paper she had read was correct, but 10am-1pm was for Sunday.
In the evening we met up with S, our friend from school, who’s still doing fine. And we also met A’s friends M and K. We started at a pub called The Clifton, then went to The Globe. The latter had a decent rock band playing at the time, and they included songs by Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, among others – some I knew, some I didn’t, which was cool. The 4 of us had a good chat about things, including one of K’s friends drinking lots of WKD Blue and ending up with blue poo later on!
After M and K left, S came back with me to A’s place We ordered pizza, some 7 Up to drink, and Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Cookie Dough ice-cream, all from Pizza Hut for £24.99, and we watched some of Channel 4’s 50 Films To See Before You Die. Granted, I wouldn’t want to see most of them, but there was certainly a selection. One of the weirder, surreal one called Pink Flamingos ended with a lady picking up a piece of dog poo off the street and eating it, yuck!
We enjoyed the pizzas, though we couldn’t finish them. And we didn’t get on to the ice-cream, as we were too full in the end. We took S back to her place as it was dark by then, and when we got back we went to bed.
Sunday July 23, 2006
Today A and I were ready by 10am again, and her support worker did arrive at that time. She was fine about yesterday’s mix-up. We didn’t do much for the 3 hours she was there, but we did chat about a few things – mainly cats and dogs and their strange behaviour. And we overheard the neighbours singing (or cat-wailing more like) to a song which got played over and over again. Not too loud thankfully, we could just hear it in the background from the flat across the hall.
After the support worker had left, me and A popped into town for lunch, this time at George’s Meeting House in South Street, and I had sweet and sour chicken. We then bumped into M and K again, so had a good chat with them for a while. So A and I had pudding as well – we each had chocolate fudge cake, mmmmmm…..
After M and K had left, we also walked back up to the high street. I decided to head back then as it was about 4pm, and I knew a train would be due soon-ish (it was actually at 4:40pm, which meant I didn’t have to wait too long).
It was a good weekend overall anyway. I didn’t drink much alcohol at all, mainly Coke, simply because alcohol dehydrates you, especially given how hot it’s been. But I did have a Smirnoff on Saturday.
A’s holding a housewarming on Sunday August 6th at 3pm, so I’ll be popping along for that. Not staying the night, just going along for the afternoon. There should be some people there from school who I haven’t seen for ages, including a fellow pupil and possibly some old staff from the junior boarding house. It’ll be cool if any of them do come along. A’s boyfriend will also be there, plus some of her friends and workmates who I don’t know. So that should be a nice occasion.
Friday July 28, 2006
Not too much to mention this week. Not much has been going on at work, but we have arranged for someone to come in and demonstrate a CCTV on Tuesday 8th August. A man from Humanware will bring in a Smartview for me to look at, and maybe other things as well. I need to look into the portable video magnifier too, if I can find the report stating which was the recommended one, or at least the company concerned.
Today I had my first dentist appointment in 2 years. I’ve got a wisdom tooth now, which I didn’t have before. Apparently they start coming out around the age of 20, so it makes sense. Mum had to have her wisdom teeth out, but the dentist didn’t say anything like that for me. But I have got to have a filling, annoyingly, and that’ll be on Friday September 1st at 9:00am. He also gave my teeth a good clean to remove tartar that builds up. He explained that tartar is calcium, which is present in your spit. That’s good, as calcium protects the teeth, but if there’s too much it builds up and causes tartar, which can attract bacteria.
With that appointment in mind, plus my birthday the Friday before, I’ve booked off 2 weeks from work – August 21-25 and August 28 – September 1. That would be 10 days booked, but the 28th is the summer Bank Holiday, so I actually only use up 9.
I’ve ordered Mum her birthday present, as she asked for the unabridged audiobook of Rebecca on CD. And I’ve also ordered some more DVDs for myself – Goodnight Sweetheart: Series 5, 24: Season 3 and a live concert by The Who called The Vegas Job.
I’ve been enjoying Season 2 of 24, but have realised not to listen to the episode commentaries until after I’ve finished the whole series, and not immediately after each particular episode. They don’t warn you about spoilers, and I found out a twist before I’d seen it, which was a bit frustrating. I’ve only done 1 of the commentaries (there’s only a few in the whole set), so I’m pre-warned for the rest. It has been a very good series as the reviews keep saying, so Season 3 should be good.
Finally, in the news this week, there hasn’t been too much of interest, but these are a couple of notable stories:
- In Chester-le-Street last weekend, they had a huge inflatable structure called Dreamspace. It’s got lots of rooms inside that people can walk around and relax in, while listening to soothing sounds and music. But it came loose from its tethers on Sunday, and its escape killed 2 people in its path and injured a number of others. A 3-year old girl ended up in a serious condition in hospital. The artwork, as many media sources have described it, caught itself on a CCTV camera post before it could do any more damage. The creator, who has spent 10 years working on things like this, is said to be devastated that it happened. Police are now examining the ropes and anchor pins for clues as to what happened, but early indications suggest it was an accident.
- After over 40 years on the box, the last ever Top Of The Pops show was filmed this week, and will be broadcast on Sunday. It’ll be an hour long, and feature archive footage and celebrity recollections. Jimmy Savile will be co-hosting, and other former DJs will be popping up. 6 different endings were recorded, as the show always ends with the current number 1 single, but we obviously don’t know what it will be until Sunday. It’s the end of an era for the longest-running music show, but it cannot compete with 24-hour music channels and the many other ways of getting music on demand, particularly on the web.