Here we go with the next couple of journal entries, talking about my birthday and more time spent with my friends in Exeter, plus DVD purchases and news stories that I wanted to mention. I hope you enjoy!
Tuesday August 25, 2009
Soon comes around doesn’t it? I’ve had yesterday and today off work to give myself a long weekend for my birthday, and of course there’s the Summer Bank Holiday coming up to give myself a 3-day weekend too.
And today’s been a good day. I got some cards, and £70 in money from my relatives, and I also spoke to my best mate on the phone. However, my main present was Mum and Dad paying for a bedside radio I saw that I wanted. It’s the Pure Evoke Flow, which lets me listen not only to DAB and FM radio, but also internet radio and music streamed wirelessly from my computer via my router, and I also have a dock so I can listen to things on my iPod through the radio speakers. The screen’s great contrast too, with yellow text on a black background. The time comes up really big as well, which is great when seeing what the time is in the dark. And the touch controls are easy to use. So I’m very happy with it.
Other than that, things have been pretty much carrying on as normal really. We had our builder come round to fix the shower in the bathroom – which has been taking about 10 minutes to turn off for some reason, but he’s installed a brand new one now – and he also fixed a problem with the waste pipe in the kitchen sink.
At work I had the first session of my Customer Service NVQ recently, which lasted from 9:30am to 1:30pm. Thankfully there aren’t too many of those that we have to go to! And much of it involves a lot of common sense really.
As for entertainment, I’ve bought and watched Torchwood: Children Of Earth on DVD this month, and it’s very good. I’ve also bought a box set of stand-up shows by Lee Evans, and they’re great too. And I’m currently working my way through a Father Ted box set I bought to replace my old DVDs, as this new set has lots of new extras and is more conveniently packaged. I just have the new Blackadder set to watch after that, and I expect I’ll have some more new DVDs to watch by the time I’ve finished that!
I’ve also listened to book 2 of the Harry Potter audiobook series (Chamber Of Secrets), and am now well into book 3 (Prisoner Of Azkaban). Hopefully I’ll get through them all this time! I can’t remember why I stopped at book 3 before – I think I was listening to it last thing at night in bed sometimes, which didn’t help as I kept falling asleep! This time, I’ve got the MP3s on my hard-drive recorder so I listen to them there before going to bed, and I also listen to a chapter or two on my iPod in the mornings at weekends while I’m having a lie-in. I am enjoying them, so I’m pretty sure I’ll carry on with the other books this time!
There hasn’t been much of note in the news lately, although I am pleased to say that the England cricket team have regained the Ashes from Australia this year! Ok, so I don’t take any real interest in it, and we weren’t always great I gather – however, it’s still a positive boost for us, and something to be proud about.
I don’t take much interest in football for that matter either, but I am involved with a Fantasy Football contest at work this year – mainly to make up the numbers really, but the team I put together don’t seem to have done too badly so far. I’m not going to win on total points (which we get from The Sun’s scoreboard), but to get any points at all is good for me! I had 123 at the last count. Basically we all put in 50p a week – which, with 7 of us in it I think, means the prize pool will be about £147 at the end of the season, to divide up in whatever manner gets decided. We’ve kept it simple too – you pick a team within the £50 million budget and stick with it for the whole year, with no changes allowed. So it’s just a case of putting together a team together and hoping you get lucky. It hasn’t increased my interest in football, but it’s still a bit of harmless fun to keep an eye on over the year
And finally, famous birthdays for today include:
- Sean Connery – 79 (born 1930, arguably the best James Bond)
- Frederick Forsyth – 71 (born 1938, author of Day Of The Jackal)
- Gene Simmons – 60 (born 1949, founder member of Kiss)
- Rob Halford – 58 (born 1951, member of Judas Priest)
- Elvis Costello – 55 (born 1954, big hit was Oliver’s Army)
- Tim Burton – 51 (born 1958, directed Batman and Beetlejuice)
- Billy Ray Cyrus – 48 (born 1961, big hit was Achy Breaky Heart)
- Candida Doyle – 46 (born 1963, member of Pulp)
- Claudia Schiffer – 39 (born 1970, model)
Willy DeVille, member of Mink DeVille, would have been 59 today as well, but he died on 6 August.
Sunday September 13, 2009
I’m back from another weekend with AB & AL, though it wasn’t very eventful or exciting really. AL jarred his knee when the train stopped on Friday (it had already been hurting during the week), so he was in a fair bit of pain. It therefore meant we couldn’t do anything that involved a lot of walking for him, plus AB had to look after him and get things for him.
So on Friday night we ordered in pizzas from Just Neptune (the fish and chip shop just down the road) with chips, garlic bread and a drink. Then on Saturday AB and I popped into town for a bit while AL rested. We had a look around HMV, I got some cards for Mum and Dad’s anniversary and Dad’s birthday from Clintons, and we popped into WHSmith too, where I got some paper for my printer and some peel-and-seal envelopes for us at home. We then went to the Hole In The Wall pub for lunch, where we each had BBQ spare ribs and chips, which was very nice. Meanwhile, AL managed to limp over the road to The Globe from AB’s flat for a burger.
We all met back at her flat for a bit, where AB got one of her neighbours over to look at her Virgin Media box. He had ideas as to what might be wrong with it (the service keeps going for periods every day, and Virgin haven’t fixed it despite continued promises), but he did managed to get Freeview working on her TV, which she hadn’t been able to set up, so at least she has some TV if the Virgin box goes. It did come back in the end though, so we saw the end of the football match that was on, that AL had been listening to on the internet. I read some of last month’s copy of Q Magazine, a music publication AB had lying around, while all that was going on!
Then we all went over to The Globe for a few drinks – AB & I had cider, while AL had Fosters. The cider we had was a cheap one, only £1.80 for a pint from a can, which tasted ok, although Olde English would have been better if they’d had it. This cheap cider was quite strong too (6%), so I gave up on it after 3 pints and went on to Coke after that! We had a few games of pool too, including with one guy who’s a bit of a drunk sometimes by all accounts. A friendly drunk, thankfully, but I understand he keeps falling off the wagon whenever he tries to stop. Another guy we were talking to there is having to do community service, because he threatened a group of students next door to him (with a sword!), because they’d been keeping him awake until the early hours of the morning for months – so it’s no wonder he snapped! They moved out after the court judgement, that’s the irony of it!
Anyway, the pub had a band in as well, so we heard them playing tracks by Led Zeppelin, The Police and AC/DC, as well as more modern tracks from people like the Kaiser Chiefs, so I knew most of what they played. They even played Brown Sugar for “the guy in the Rolling Stones t-shirt” – which was me, so that was a fun surprise! They weren’t bad all in all. The sound system could have been better to do the instruments more justice, but the female singer had a good voice.
As for this morning, there isn’t much to report really. AL & I got a taxi to the station together, where I got my train just after 1pm, so I had lunch at home. So all in all it was an ok weekend. A bit of a waste of time on this occasion really, but still nice to get away. The weather’s great at least – nice and warm and sunny, a mini Indian summer by all accounts.
As for work, I signed up for the Customer Service NVQ properly this week, with the various forms we have to fill in. I had my first workshop session last month of course, so I’ve already started it. But this induction session was to collect information together for the assessors, one of whom will come in every few weeks, for about an hour or so, to watch me work, ask me questions, and so on. Should be an interesting experience, and they seem like nice enough people.
I also finally got the cream cakes in from Tesco for my birthday at work this week. A bit of an eventful trip down the road considering I literally tripped and fell off the kerb on the way back! But other than cutting my knuckle a little bit, I was fine. An old lady made sure I was alright too – nobody else did, so it was nice of her.
Back at home, my parents have had a guy from Optelec round to show us a new CCTV system, with a nice 22-inch flat screen, which would be ideal for them. They wanted to have a look because the camera in our current CCTV – which we’ve had a good few years – has stopped working properly, so they need a new one. They’ve also tried Humanware, who supplied the CCTV I use at work. The model Mum and Dad wanted to look at from them isn’t in stock yet, but they’ll let us know when it is.
The guy from Optelec though, who was very friendly and helpful, said he’ll be down in the area in a couple of weeks time and will give us a ring then to see if we’ve decided. So if Humanware haven’t got in touch by then, they’ll take the Optelec model, which is a good piece of kit. Plus it means we’d get £100 back by giving them our old CCTV to recycle the parts from, which Humanware can’t do.
In the news, there’s been quite a lot going on lately:
- California girl Jaycee Lee Dugard has turned up 18 years after she was kidnapped, imprisoned and sexually abused by Phillip Garrido. He and his wife have now been charged with several offences.
- The Lockerbie bomber has been extradited from the UK, and was greeted with applause when getting off the plane in Libya.
- Ronnie Biggs has been released from prison as he’s become very frail and in need of constant assistance. He was famous for the Great Train Robbery of course.
- Michael Jackson’s funeral has taken place, but his tribute concert has been postponed to next year as they need more time to prepare.
- A Beatles Rock Band game has been released, and their entire album catalogue has been remastered for new CD releases.
- Oasis have split up, as the brothers feel they can no longer work together.
- Product placement is to be allowed on some UK television shows after the rules were relaxed across Europe.
- BBC natural history filmmakers have found the world’s largest rat and smallest parrot on their travels to remote parts of the world.
- Terry Wogan has quit his breakfast show on Radio 2 to do a weekend show instead. His slot will be taken over by Chris Evans, which has divided opinion but I reckon he could do pretty well.
- Chris Moyles has just broken the record for the longest serving breakfast presenter on Radio 1, clocking up 2073 days (nearly 5 and a half years), beating Tony Blackburn’s record. He’s a person that some like and some hate too, but I don’t mind hearing him in the taxi on the way to work. I wouldn’t want to listen to a whole show of his though.
- And finally, Derren Brown apparently ‘predicted’ Wednesday night’s lottery numbers live on TV, which did look clever at first even though it was obviously an illusion. He supposedly explained how he did it in a show on Friday night, by getting people to guess the numbers and taking the average of their answers, but that didn’t make sense either. It’s more likely that he used some kind of split-screen effect or other trickery during the live show, as he only showed the numbers he’d predicted after the results were announced, not before. We’ll probably never know exactly what he did though.
And that’s all I can think of worth mentioning. But that was quite a big update this time!