Friday, July 29, 2005

"No way you big spastic! You're a mentalist!"

I don't normally blog from work, but I'm so desperately bored. I've got next to nothing to do. So I'm eating my ham and emmental panini (I know, I know), I've already picked my horses, checked my email, read the Guardian, the BBC, Mailwatch, Independent, and even the Times. Dunno what to do now, just waiting to go to the pub at one o'clock. I must admit I have learnt a lot already this morning, on this day in 1030 King Olaf II fought and died in the Battle of Stiklestad, trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes. Talking of northern European invasions, apparently the Germans and Italians are swapping tabloid taunts over the behavior of German tourists in the Italian resorts ("[The anti-beer drinking sentiment] is a heresy for Germans, not unlike outlawing pizza in Italy").

Aaaarrgghh! At this rate I may have to do a Suduko puzzle, apparently it's sweeping the nation, although the only time I hear about it is when yet another Southern journo is describing just how popular it is. Maybe it is only played by journos. I think I'll stick to Lightning Break.

I got a bit pissed on Wednesday night. So much so that I was playing air cricket in the street with Fulla until I fell over attempting a huge leg-side slog. Just as a police car went past. It stopped and a bobby opened his door and asked if I was alright, I think I muttered something about my shoddy batting technique, while picking myself off the ground. I forgot about the whole episode until Thursday evening. Not a good sign. I then went home and despite being close to the end-of-the month poverty line, bought some stuff of Amazon. I know I bought a Father Ted dvd, and I think I bought Jamon Jamon, but I can't remember what else. I'm not finding out though, I like suprises. I just really really hope it isn't 1,001 Ways to Eat My Jizz, Part 3: Biscuits and Gravy Edition.

It was a nice jizz-free panini by the way.

Yours, hoping this working day will end soon,


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Monday, July 25, 2005

"AreyouKen?" indeed

I'm full of a bastard cold at the minute. I'm listening to Stone Roses' Second Coming ("I liked it"), through the occasional crackling of my own ear-phlegm. It really is as pleasant as it sounds. Well the Test match was a disappointment, especially after the way it started. The regular wickets on Thursday caused a procession of Australians leading back into the pavilion quicker than if there'd been a couple of Minogue sisters in there. About 3pm on day one it all started unravelling, and as predictable as a Lance Armstrong Tour de France victory, on a rainy day four McGrath and Warne finally put the Shiny New Actually Quite Good England team out of it's misery. Skipper Michael Vaughan bore the same well-worn expression so reminiscent of Messrs Hussain, Atherton and Gooch. Still Kevin Pietersen looked good... by looking good I certainly don't mean his Pepé le Pew barnet.

I found Final Fantasy VII game while clearing a pile of cds and things, I'd forgotten how deep and all-consuming this game is. I shouldn't like all the text based scenes and the turn-based battles bordering on the tedious, but the story and characters are so engrossing it just sucks you in. There is more emotion and originality in this saga than in a multi-plex full of Hollywood blockbusters. One of the best video games I have ever played. So at the rick of bordering the geeky, here is the rest of the best computer games ever according to Stav:

The name's Stavros. Blog of StavrosGoldeneye 007 (N64) - I bought the console on the back of it. It's just a shoot 'em up, but it is the finest, especially in Donkey Kong/Invisible/Paintball mode.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2) - GTA3 was more revotionary, and San Andreas more ambitious, this caught my imagination most fully, with it's razor sharp 80's setting and THE best game soundtrack ever.
Street Fighter 2 (Coin-op) - Waiting for Merk's bus at the shop on Watling Street so we could feed it ten pences and bash the shit out of each other with big Eddie Honda's slap thing or with that stretchy dude from India. Probably could've bought the arcade game with the dinner money we spent on it.
Sensible Soccer (Amiga) - From the top down squatty little players to the huge swerving banana shots from outside the box, to renaming your team after existentialist philosophers and telling your mother it was homework (Kierkegaard destroyed many a defence that season).
Championship Manager 00/01 (PC) - This was the Bill Shankly, the Jock Stein, the Brian Clough of footy games. I probably failed my degree trying to take Cardiff to the Cup Final... well, that and 50p tequila slammers at the Inn on the Pier.

Let me know if you can think of any other games that deserve such revered status.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

BBQ and Ashes

Great barbeque on Saturday night. Smoke, beers, charred chicken, hot-dogs, fireworks, top notch. I wasn't going to bed until all the beer had gone. I was trolleyed, and suffered a bit on Sunday, although nowhere near as much as I rightly should've.

I finally set up my own flickr account. While there, I had a wander around the world of public photography, and stumbled upon these folk dressed as their favourite video game and anime characters. Apparently it's big in Japan (what isn't), and it's perfectly ordinary to pop to the shops for a can of saki and the Tokyo Times, dressed head to toe as Ryu from Steet Fighter II. On a similar vein, I found this gallery of lovely Japanese women standing next to things and holding things at some sort of expo or something. Very nice. And to complete the circle check out this dude's retro arcade.

Bowling Jonesy, bowlingOnly two days to go until the Ashes starts, I can't wait. Though, for the last 3 or 4 series I have worked myself up into a frenzy, only to be crestfallen about half an hour through the first session on the first day of the first Test. Last time out, it was Nasser's bizarre decision upon winning the toss to put Australia into bat on a sunbaked Brisbane flat-track, where even I probably would have made 30 runs! Oh, and a young, fiery Simon Jones getting knee-knack in the turf and putting him out of cricket for 18 months.

What I hate though, is football news. I love football, but it should know it's place. This is Summer, I'm more than happy for football to reign supreme in Autumn, Winter and Spring, and every other Summer when there's a World Cup or the Euros. But Sky Sports News is really pissing me off, devoting ten minutes or so to every tabloid transfer tittle-tattle tale, no matter how unfounded or unlikely it may be. Last night I was half-watching, hoping for a bit of Ashes preview, or at the very least the latest sordid tale involving Shane Warne, his mobile phone and a married woman, but what I got was a newspaper back-page review Sky Sports style. It went something like this:
The Sun has "Wright-Phillips is our Rooney says John Terry", Mirror has "100 million man", that's about Mourinho's spending breaking the 100 mil mark, the Mail goes with "Baptista says no to London clubs", the Daily Star: "Ferg loves Weng says Rafa", and the broadsheets concentrate mostly on cricket. Coming up next on Sky Sports News, Gerrard's cousin, and we talk to Colchester United's new manager on his exciting transfer targets
That's the spleen vented. The betting types amongst you may wish to wager a couple of quid on an Australia 3-2 victory. VCbet has it at 16/1, which could be a nice little earner between two close teams, as long as the rain holds off. Also a winning bet could take the sting out of losing the series, and two more years of the ensuing Antipodean smugness in the one sport that truly matters to every red-blooded cork-hatted Tooheys-drinking fair-dinkum Australian. Go get 'em Freddy. Give 'em hell KP. Put it up 'em Harmy. Stuff 'em Gilo. Chuffin' 'ave 'em Vaughanie.


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Monday, July 11, 2005

The Power of Three (Nil)

Well, it has been quite a week hasn't it. Thursday was a memorable day, for obvious and tragic reasons. That day brewed that emotive cocktail of fear, excitement and sorrow. I spent the afternoon guiltily flicking between the news channels like a digital rubberknecker. I can't say that I was totally surprised, but that doesn't make it any less tragic or shocking. There has been enough written on the 'whys' and 'what nexts' to fill the Thames, and most of it has been tainted by dangerous retribution, and predictable speculation. I'll just point your clickers to this dignified and intelligent article by the beeb's John Simpson. Make him President of the World for God's sake!

The horror, the horrorAs for the one-(old)man Olympic backlash I seem to have generated, I may have assembled an apologia for this athletic apathy. Fear. At school I regularly played for the school cricket team, made the rugby second XV once or twice, and even made the hockey team (this is obviously pre-beer). But one piece of sporting equipment put the fear in me more than a twenty hard shiny new cricket balls, fifty hockey sticks, and a bus-load of Stonehenge-sized opposition prop forwards. The hurdle. Running, timing and jumping. That's not one sport, that's three. I could concentrate on the running and get a good early lead until the inevitable stumble after timing it all wrong and attempting a jump with the left leg. Or I'd put everything into the pacing, making sure I'd clear the hurdles with the right leg and tuck the left in textbook, except it'd take so long everyone else would be on the home straight. As a sport I'm sure it was invented as the one sport where you can hurt your shin and knee in one go. Athletics wasn't all shite though, I quite liked chucking stuff. And that what bugs me about athletics, where's the tactics, the mental games, the teamwork? It is just running, jumping and throwing.

I bought some DVDs t'other day. Brass Eye, North by Northwest and The Motorcycle Diaries. Good selction I reckon, though I've not watched The Motorcycle Diaries yet.

Saturday saw the end of Clive Woodward's England 2003 Victory Parade. Thankfully. I'll miss the banter and the breakfast, but not the bizarre team selections, the outdated tactics or the dreadful spin-doctoring. Apparently a photo of Gavin Henson with Woodward looking fatherly was set-up with an Alistair Campbell positioned cameraman hidden in a bush, apparently to sooth the tabloid talk of Henson being upset by his baffling first Test omission. Whether it's true or not is unimportant, its an indication of how that particular Woody-scheme has backfired. Much like the 2003 flavoured team sheet. If he does become Southampton FC manager, he'll probably pick Matt Le Tissier. Congrats to Gethin Jenkins, Simon Easterby, Ryan Jones, Dwayne Peel and Josh Lewsey. They actually played quite well. As did other players, who for some reason, never got close to the Test XV, well done Chris Cusiter, Charlie Hodgson, Simon Shaw and Gordon Bulloch. We are sure to see most of those above in South Africa in four years time, I doubt Woodward and Campbell will be invited, however.


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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Tessa Jowell's face

Well, I couldn't be any less excited about London being awarded the Olympic Games for 2012. I think the Olympics are shite really. The boxings alright, but track and field is bobbins, swimming isn't sport it is drowning evasion, and fucking gymnastics? The trouble I have with the Olympics is that I'm a big fan of the minority sports like Football, Rugby Union and Cricket. Now these little sports are not well covered by the Olympics: the football is a glorified under-21 kickabout; some Olympic committee member described rugby as 'a joke'; and in 2012, Lords, the revered home of cricket, will be used for... fucking archery. Olympics are all hype, hype, hype and then we're supposed to follow fucking rowing or summat.

BBC News is currently wetting themselves, "sport in Britain will never be the same again"? How, so the children of London can watch some steroid-laden Yanks win gold medals on the track, some Aussie with abnormal sized feet clean up in the swimming pool and ex-Soviet pre-pubescents win all the gymnastics events. Or fencing, or baseball, or show jumping. Remember the general apathy, or worse, the ridicule when Birmingham bid for the games in 1992, and Manchester bid in 1996 and 2000, I can't remember the government and the media pushing that as hard. Reassuring to see that the North-South divide still exists.

There is a mini-concert going on in Trafalgar Square at the moment with ex-M People's Heather Small, and ex-Spice Girl Mel C (not sure which one that was). So at least the people of Paris can take some relief in the knowledge that the people of London and their ears, aren't having it easy at the moment. And will boss-eyed ex-S-Clubber Rachel Stevens sing at the opening of an envelope?

Apologies if this all reads a bit churlish, but I don't live in London and my sports aren't included in Olympics.


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Friday, July 01, 2005

International Language of Screaming

Booo, pity poor Maria. The lovely grunting one was knocked out of the Wimbledon semis by the self-styled ghetto princess, the planetary-monikered lankier Williams sister.

Talking of lovely blonde ladies, Georgina Thompson off Sky Sports News is a big favourite of mine. Listening to her informing me of who Wrexham have released on a free transfer, or who Colchester United have signed is always special moment between me and my telly.

It's the news no-one wanted to hear. I've become rubbish at Stick Cricket. I tried playing it yesterday and I was hopeless. I blame work. But I've got next week off, so I should be a pinch-hitting demon by next weekend.

There is a quiz machine in the Priors Lodge, you know the type, fancy touch screen affair with pop quizzes with Dr Fox in them. Well every Friday lunchtime I throw my money into the Bullseye quiz. Peter Kay-related kitschiness aside, it's not a bad premise for a quiz game, good questions and a nice aiming device for the darts. I've hardly ever won anything on it. I think my addiction comes from getting a question wrong, and the 'game over' sign appears above Bully himself standing at a bus stop (why?), arms folded and looking suitably scornful at you for fucking it up. Genius.


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