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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Danish Decorum

My nag come last in this raceI went to the races at Uttoxeter on Sunday. It was a glorious day, and a thoroughly enjoyable one too. I had to limit my gambling as it was a few day before pay day, but I managed to make a slight profit (about a tenner), mainly thanks to a 33-1 placer. I took some nice photos. We had a barbeque later that afternoon, and I caught the sun a bit. Nice.

I joined the Summer Burn on Funjunkie, and I've been racking my brains on what to put on the CD. At least the cover art is done, seaside donkey on the front and pathetic looking sandcastle on the back.

For the first time I regretted getting up early on a Saturday morning to watch the Lions match. They were tepid, uninspiring and had no plan 'B'. The team selection and tactics were more conservative than a Henley election result. New Zealand played hard, and showed attacking intent despite the dreadful conditions. Christ knows what the score would have been if it had been dry and the pitch had been hard. The loss of O'Driscoll was a big blow, made even more of a loss when seeing the Lion's other world-class centre, Gavin Henson, sitting in the crowd rather than on the bench. I don't think there was anything too malicious in the tackle the Irishman received, but it didn't stop Alistair Campbell applying more spin than than Shane Warne on the Waltzers. Mind you, the hot-dogs were nice.

The Knight of the Rugby Realm has rung the changes, so we will get to see Henson, little Shane Williams, the impressive Ryan Jones and the eager Lewis Moody. It looks a much better team, maybe not good enough to beat an All Black's team with the bit between their teeth, but they should at least worry some of them in attack. I know the Kiwis have a lot of respect for Shane Williams, he may only be about 4 foot tall, but he has quicker footwork than Gene Kelly on hot coals.

Cricket games for the playstation are like buses, you wait ages for a decent one, and then EA Cricket and Brian Lara International come at once. But beacuse it's not a footy sim or a yankie sport, it's almost impossible to find reviews to help me decide which one to plump for.

I've not been at all interested in Wimbledon (as ever), but Sharapova's looking nice again this year. Apparently she's about 11 million quid better off than she was this time last year. All that money for stroking little balls around a park in London, that's more than some MPs and celebrity chefs get for it, I bet.

Stav.

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

StavSport Dettori-sized

The Lions second string looked much better this morning against a tough and eager Otago team. Some of the set moves started to come off and they were slightly better at the breakdown. Even so, most of the players on show under the Dunedin floodlights won't be lining up for that dodgy 'anthem' in Christchurch next Saturday. Geordan Murphy and Shane Williams looked lively and could play themselves into Test squad contention. Charlie Hodgson looked pretty sharp and has impressed me as the best flyhalf seen so far, but whether he has done enough to oust golden-boy Wilkinson and the in-form but practically unseen Stephen Jones, only Clive Woodward will know. Talking of Jones's, young replacement back-rower Ryan Jones, had an absolute stormer, and with Dellaglio on crutches he must fancy his chances of wearing 'eight' on his back come Saturday. Tackling, mauling, under the high ball, and in the loose this was an impressive all-round display from a player that wasn't even picked in the fist place.

Ashraful gets a hatful of runsToday is the hottest day of the year so far. The kind of bright day that encourages thoughts of picnics, berry-picking, pints of IPA outside a country pub. But above all it is perfect for the white flannels, cream cakes, wooden pavilions and the sound of leather on willow. I'm taking about Cricket of course. The gentle English summer sport, and the sport that the Australians are suddenly rubbish at. After getting a mauling by England in the Twenty20 curtain-raiser on Monday, they had hoped to bounce back with a good performance in the warm-up against Somerset on Wednesday. They didn't get it. Still, with the Natwest Tournament starting for them today at Cardiff, it'll be a case of alright on the night surely. Australia don't lose three matches in a row do they, and Bangladesh are the worst ranked side in international cricket, an undernourished nag in this three-horse race? The Bangladeshis didn't read the script. Cricinfo describes it as "one of the biggest upsets in cricket history". They'll be dancing in the streets of Dakka and Chittagong tonight, I don't know what they'll be doing in Melbourne and Adelaide. Tomorrow thought it is Bristol's turn to host the Great Australian demise. I say that with the tounge firmly in cheek, as I was 5 years old when England last won an Ashes series, since then English cricket has seen more false Dawns than a French and Saunders lookalike competition. Beware the wounded Kangaroo.

Stav.

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Monday, June 13, 2005

90 mph Mullett

I'm writing this while watching the England-Australia Twenty20 match, so bear with me.

Using the random links in that questionaire I did last week, I browsed through a number of blogs that caught my eye. There's some cool photos of the Buddha's birthday on this one. Many happy returns Sid. FOUR! More nice photos on this, I dunno what they're writing about but it looks nice. Check out the big beard. Old Man Rich will like this bloke's musings on the exciting world of spanking. Yes, spanking. SHOT!! Here's one from a Yank who knows too much about Britain's favourite serial killer. Finally, there's some kitten photos on this one.

WICKET! I love horse racing names, I was waiting for the result of my flutter and two names caught my eye in the 3.45 at Brighton. Former French footballer Lizarazu was beaten into second place by Biblical basher and Charlton Heston lookalike Ben Hur (presumably he wasn't pulling a chariot). SIX - 'AVE IT! I liked the names they used on The Day Today. Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels and Massive Bereavement and my favourite Trust Me, I'm A Stomach. I'd call my horse Win or Glue, get the animal right lentil eating-types on side. Shameless comments plea: What would you call yours?

In BOD we trustIt was chili for breakfast on Saturday, courtesy of Austin, in part two of our 'Great Lions Tour Saturday morning routine'. Very nice. The match was actually spicier than the food, especially for old Clive Woodward. WICKET - SHIT! Those Maori boys were up for it, and the swansonging 'King' Carlos Spencer was absolute quality. Some big thinking to be done before the Tests start. Wednesday's match sees some big guns start in the backs, Wilko, Peel, Henson, O'Driscoll, Robinson, 'Alfie' and Lewsey. I just hope that the much-maligned forwards can get the ball to them. We could see more fireworks than an arson at a petrol station if they do get plenty of possession and have confidence to chuck it about a bit. SIX - FETCH THAT!

Stav.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I Ain't No Hollerback Meme

As requested:

Total number of books owned:
150 ish
Last book bought:
Brilliant Orange (The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football) - David Winner
Last book read:
Himalaya - Michael Palin
Five books that mean a lot to you:
Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame; On the Road - Jack Kerouac; Great Expectations - Charles Dickens; Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde; Playfair Cricket Annual 2005 - ed. Bill Frindall.
Tag five people to continue this meme: Random, Random, Random, Dave, Evo.
Three screen-names I have had are:
Stavros
Henry's Cat
Shitfaced Again
Three things I like about myself are:
My hair
My unruffleness
My creativity (esp. making up new words)
Three things I do not like about myself are:
My eyesight
My guitar playing
Three?
Three things that scare me are:
Commitment
Going bald
The realisation that the world doesn't revolve around me
Three of my everyday essentials are:
Contact lenses
Cup of tea
Betting slip
Three things I am wearing right now are:
DMs
Hair gel
Pink shirt (oh God, I sound like a lesbian)
Three of my favourite songs (today) are:
Sympathy For The Devil - Rolling Stones (and everyday)
007 (Shanty Town) - Desmon Dekker & The Aces
The Cedar Room - Doves
Three new things I’d like to try in the next 12 months are:
Moving to Aberystwyth
New job
Fruit
Three things I want in a relationship are:
A female
Another female
Branston Pickle
Two truths and a lie are:
I can handle red wine
I once owned a Rick Astley LP
I once had an argument with an illuminated snowman whilst sampling mushrooms
Three things I cannot do without are:
Music
Contact lenses
People saying how great/clever/funny/good looking I am
Three places I’d like to go on holiday are:
Rome
Russia
Tokyo
Three kids’ names are:
Owen, Dylan, Sîan
Three things I want to do before I die are:
Move to Aber
See Telford United in the League
Become a sports/film/travel writer
Three celebrity crushes I have had are:
Belinda Carlisle
Natalie Imbruglia
Emanuelle Béart

Stav.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Longshot Kick de Bucket

Lewsey in the tries v. Bay, manI went to Old Man Rich's on Saturday morning to watch the first Lions rugby match against Bay of Plenty. It was an early start, I got up at 7:30, which is about an hour earlier than a weekday. It was a good laugh, with Fulla, Austin and the host himself. Rich put on a great breakfast, sausages, bacon, the works. I gave it 21 mins into the match before cracking open the first can of Stella. Of the match itself, it was a big loss to lose Dallaglio like that, but I thought Dwayne Peel and Josh Lewsey were on top of their game. Ronan O'Gara had a rotter with the goal kicking, but his pressure place kicking in the second half was good, but with Jonesy and Wilko in the squad I think he did his chances some harm. Paul O'Connell was the pick of the forwards, Ben Kay did well too, in all the lineout looked pretty solid throughout, even when Steve Thompson come on to throw. It was a tougher match than they expected, but it was a damn site more useful than that first tour match in Australia four years agou when they put a cricket score on a hapless bunch of larrikins.

I've been thinking about films all day today at work. Trying to choose some of my favourite scenes. I've come up with a short selection:

Dr Strangelove - Vera Lynn and mushroom clouds. Is there a more beautiful end of the world? God bless Kubrick.

Fargo - I love all the homely scenes between Marge and Norm, their warmth balances the cold nature of almost all the other major characters, and of course of the setting itself.

Akira - The opening sequence, all Japanese beats, futuristic motorbikes, and those beautifully animated light trails. I first saw it in about 1993, and it was then I realised there was more to cartoons than mice and mermaids.

Spirited Away - Twelve years later I saw this film and rediscovered the beauty of anime. The train journey marks the point in the picture where Chihiro starts to take control of her situation. It is one of the most beautiful, calm and serene scenes in film.

You'll simply never understand the true nature of sacrifice.The Wicker Man - It's the start of the May Day parade, and Edward Woodward is confused, and he is being watched by creepy kids in creepy animal masks. Creepy.

Big Lebowski - "Eight year olds, Dude."

The Usual Suspects - The very end, where Spacey's limp turns into a walk, and the penny drops. So powerful, so unexpected, so perfect.

Stav.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Eastern Standard Time

I'm trying hard to do nothing at work this morning, but the telephone keeps a-ringing, or the bosses keep a-walking past my desk. The second Test starts in half an hour, that'll keep me busy. It's a good sporting weekend coming up, with the cricket, the first match of the Lions tour tomorrow morning and it's Derby Day at Epsom tomorrow too (Gypsy King on the nose and an each-way saver on Kong I'm thining).

I got a wee bit drunk (very) on Wednesday night, after a week or so of being bothered about money, it was nice to go out for a drink after payday. I've now got a scratch on my head after trying to wear a traffic cone (I know it wasn't very original but I find people don't tend to leave original things lying about in the street for the drunken show-off). Out tonight too. Huzzah!

I'm struggling to get into Big Brother this year, it seems an extension of last year's nastiness, and none of the housemates are likeable. It's only the first week, yet arguments seem to have vastly out-numbered laughs. Maybe car crash TV is trying too hard for a bigger crash. Channel 4 did show Ricky Gervais' Politics last night. Top drawer. "I say a friend, more of a friend of my Grandad's really". I was laughing at that half an hour after turning the telly off.

Please give full marks for Merk's photo here.

Ooh, the Test match is about to start,
Stav.

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