Journal – August 2008

It’s once again time for more posts from my journal. It was my birthday this month of course, and we’ve had the Beijing Olympics on TV, plus there are the usual mentions of things like DVDs and news stories as well. So I hope you enjoy!

Sunday August 3, 2008

This month has got off to a quiet start. There’s been very little happening at work, although we have been trying to sort out a colleague’s new Mac computer. Being on the new Leopard operating system, many of the key items of software he needs to use don’t work on it yet! Leopard’s been around for over a year now, but it seems some companies haven’t got themselves up to date yet, which is a bit silly.

There isn’t much to report at home either. I’ve ordered chocolates and flowers from John Lewis for Mum’s birthday. And I’m still going through the extras on the Torchwood Series 1 DVD set – they certainly give you your money’s worth on that, which is good.

In the news, the big story this week is that Barry George has been cleared of murdering Jill Dando after 8 years in prison, as the Court of Appeal ruled the evidence used to convict him wasn’t enough (a tiny speck of gunshot residue found on his jacket). So the police are back to square one if they decide to keep looking. And while we’re on the subject of police investigations, they’ve stopped investigating the Madeleine McCann case now, so the evidence has been handed over to the family and their private investigators are looking through it. If new evidence comes to light, the police will get involved again of course, but at the moment, they don’t feel they can do anything.

Also this week, Weston-Super-Mare’s great pier has been destroyed by a huge fire, just months after it was sold to new owners in a multi-million pound deal, and they had just been adding improvements to it, so that’s a shame.

And both Des O’Connor and Carol Vorderman have quit Countdown. Des went willingly, while Carol quit after they wanted her to take a big pay cut. Still, I’m sure there are other people who can do her job if the show continues. It might not be the same as it was, but then again, some game shows clearly carry on fine with new hosts, so it could still continue. Not that I’m particularly bothered, as I don’t watch it myself anyway, but it is a big part of Channel 4. But, in happier news to finish with, Dad’s Army is celebrating its 40th birthday, a show which is still popular to this day, and with very good reason.

And that’s about it really. It’ll probably be a fairly quiet month with people on holiday and things like that. But we have got the Olympics starting next week, in Beijing, China. Most of the events take place in the middle of the night for us UK viewers, but the BBC will do their usual coverage, including via the red button I’m sure, to make sure people don’t miss anything if they want to see it.

Sunday August 10, 2008

August is still proving to be a very normal, relaxed month. The weather’s not perfect though. But I did go out and get a couple of cards for Mum’s birthday, while putting in a cheque for her. And talking of cheques, I’ve got £50 to look forward to on the Premium Bonds after getting nothing for months! I’ve also started watching Series 2 of Torchwood on DVD, and it’s just as good as the first from the episodes I’ve seen so far.

At work, there’s nothing exciting to report there. But I’ve booked my birthday week off, taking advantage of the fact that the 25th is Bank Holiday Monday, so I only have to use up 4 days to get the rest of the week off. I haven’t planned to do much, I’ll probably just be fairly lazy, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

The biggest news stories this week have been over the past couple of days. One is a war between Russia and Georgia over a region called Ossetia. Georgia claimed it as theirs when they became independent, but there are people in Ossetia who want it to be with Russia, and Russia would like it themselves too. So there’s a lot of fighting going on there.

But the other big, and more interesting, event is the Olympics in Beijing. They kicked off with a massive, spectacular opening ceremony on Friday – which I’ve only seen pictures and little clips of, as it was on when I was at work – and it gives us an awful lot to compete with for 2012! Despite the protests and concerns about China’s human rights record, the problems in Tibet, and the dangers of pollution, none of that got in the way on the night. The ceremony kicked off at 8:08pm (China time) on 08/08/08. In Chinese, the word for 8 sounds like the word for prosperity, so it is a rather important number to them.

So now we’ve got 2 weeks of all sorts of sport ahead of us. Sure, I won’t be watching it all, but the BBC certainly give people a lot of choice if they’re interested! And, as I write this, we’ve got our first gold medal, thanks to cyclist Nicole Cooke in the women’s road race, so that’s good. Hopefully we’ll do well overall!

Sunday August 17, 2008

For yet another week, summer is proving to be relatively uneventful at work and home. The weather hasn’t been great at weekends, so I haven’t gone out much. But I’ve got a £50 Premium Bond cheque coming this week, and Mum’s got a birthday cheque from Nan, so they’ll need to be put in soon, so hopefully I’ll pop out next weekend. And I’ve finished watching the second series of Torchwood, which was very good, better than the first.

In the news, there’s been a ceasefire of sorts between Russia and Georgia, although tensions are still high there. Meanwhile in the US, a man has bought a Chevrolet pick-up truck, paying $8,000 in coins towards it! His reason was that he dislikes paper money, although he still paid the balance by cheque!

And there’s a story of council incompetence here in the UK, when Birmingham Council sent out thousands of leaflets to thank its residents for recycling. Other than being a potential waste of paper that needs to be recycled itself, they also used a photo of a place called Birmingham in America by mistake! Clearly someone just typed Birmingham into Google to find a picture, and didn’t bother checking it!

But of course, more interesting than all of that, we’ve had the Olympics going on all week. There has been a little bit of controversy over the opening ceremony. For a start, a young girl who was singing was actually miming – the girl whose voice they used wasn’t deemed flawless enough to be seen, but she had the perfect sound they wanted. And some of the shots of fireworks going across Beijing were pre-recorded, apparently in case the conditions weren’t good enough on the night. Still, those niggles aside, it was still a great ceremony from the little bits I’ve seen.

The sports itself are what count anyway. And our medal haul is certainly worth counting, we’ve not done too badly so far. Indeed, this weekend has been dubbed Super Saturday and Super Sunday, following excellent wins in swimming, cycling, rowing and sailing in particular, but we’ve also had wins in canoeing and equestrian events as well. As I write this, we have 11 gold, 6 silver and 7 bronze medals, which gives a total of 24, and means we’re currently third in the medal table! Plus, given that Team GB’s target was about 35 medals or so, we’re well on target for that now. Whether we’ll do so well in the athletics events remains to be seen – Kelly Sotherton only came fifth in the heptathlon, and we haven’t got a lot of other big stars. But we should be able to get something, and we’ve still got a good chance of medals in some other events. So good luck to all of them!

[2021 Note: Kelly Sotherton’s 5th place was eventually upgraded to bronze 10 years later in 2018, because 2 of her rivals failed drug tests.]

Monday August 25, 2008

I’m 25!

Of course, it still feels like another day to me, but it is Bank Holiday today, which is nice. So I get a free day off work, and I’ve booked off the rest of the week too. May as well take advantage of it.

I got money mainly of course, so I did a bit of shopping in Plymouth on Saturday. I got plenty of food from M&S of course (including a Dalek birthday cake), as well as some socks from there. I also got a couple of DVDs from WHSmith (the Ricky Gervais Live box set and Allo’ Allo’: Series 6 & 7), and 2 big slabs of chocolate from Hotel Chocolat for us to try (which are very nice!).

I’ve seen the first Ricky Gervais DVD already, and it’s very funny. I’m not a big fan of The Office, but his stand-up makes me laugh a lot. He has a very funny view of things I think.

I’ve also finished watching Friday Night Live on DVD, which is an interesting mixture, some bits better than others of course.

Mum and Dad are also paying for some trainers from the Grattan catalogue for me. I’d tried looking in Clarks and M&S before, but hadn’t had any luck. My parents are also giving me money to put towards some more Premium Bonds as well.

As for work, there have been one or two people away on holiday. But I did get invited along to a meeting about cheque printing on Monday, which lasted all afternoon. It was actually fairly interesting though. We also had to tweak our job evaluations again a little bit last week, but hopefully that’s for the last time! And, of course, I made sure I got in my birthday order of cream cakes for everyone, which were very nice!

The news this week has mainly focused on the final week of the Olympics, naturally. And Team GB have done very well, clinging on to third place in the medal table until the very end of the week, when Russia jumped in front. But fourth is still very good, given that it was actually our target for the 2012 event!

We ended up with 19 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze medals, giving us a total of 47, far more than anyone had expected! There are still sports we need to work on, including track and field events, but even so, everyone who won or took part clearly did their best. So well done to all of them!

And now the Games come to us for 2012, and the Olympic flag was handed over yesterday to Boris Johnson in the closing ceremony. He got a little tangled in the flag, but soon started waving it proudly.

And then we gave our own little show, centred around a big red London bus (route 2012 of course), surrounded by people holding umbrellas (that lit up in nice patterns at one point) and a zebra crossing with a lollipop lady was in front of it. When the top of the bus folded open, we were then treated to a rendition of Whole Lotta Love by Leona Lewis (the X Factor winner) accompanied by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. And then David Beckham also appeared on the top, kicking a ball into the crowd of people on the stadium floor. So that all looked pretty good.

And China themselves, political issues aside, have put on an amazing show these past 2 weeks, which they’re very proud of, quite rightly. We won’t beat them for extravagance in London, but we’ll still give everyone something wonderful to remember I’m sure.

Other news this week has included the return of Gary Glitter to Britain, after giving authorities the runaround in Asia because he didn’t want to come back here – but, unsurprisingly, a lot of countries don’t want him! He has to sign the sex offenders register, will be monitored by police, and will have restrictions on his movements.

Also here in the UK, a firm working with the government has lost a memory stick containing the unencrypted details of all 84,000 prisoners, including dates of birth and release dates, and further details on the 10,000 most prolific offenders. And this is a company who are helping to set up ID cards, apparently! Meanwhile, in Madrid, a passenger plane has crashed shortly after take off, killing over 153 people. So it’s just as well we’ve had the Olympics to give us something cheerful!

Also celebrating a birthday today:

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger, culture vulture & accessibility advocate, with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

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