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29th December 2004

Wednesday - 10.35pm : I just can't watch the news at the moment without welling up inside. Christmas seems so long ago now. Since Boxing Day, so many lives have been lost and so much damage has been done. I've never known anything like this happen on such a scale before and I hope it will never happen again. As I'm sure you know, I'm talking about the Asian tsunami earthquake disaster. Many charities are seeking donations so they can help the people out there. I support UNICEF, and, as children account for 1 in 3 of the tsunami dead, I'm sure they would appreciate even the smallest of donations.

In a way, I feel that I've been wasting my time off work. All I seem to have done is watched TV & DVDs, started to read a book, written a couple of letters and surfed the net. I guess it's a break from work, but I feel like I should be out & about doing stuff. Shockingly, I've not even taken any photos. Ah well, maybe I'll take my camera and go for a drive sometime over the next few days. Where? I haven't the foggiest!

I really need to change that graphic up there. Christmas is over and a new year is about to begin. Hopefully, I'll be able to come up with an idea on replacing it with something New Year-ish tomorrow. (Any ideas will be gratefully received!).

I'll try to write an entry before 2005, but failing that... HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Thanks to Graeme, Mark, Ben, Meredith, Tish, LaShawn, Suzanne, Lissy, Skye (I assume Solo is a drink, but what's it like. We don't get that here either) and Natalie.

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26th December 2004 - Boxing Day

Sunday - 9.15pm : This entry is being written while I drink my last can of Mountain Dew. I'm sure a lot of Americans/Canadians are able to pop down to their local store and pick up a bottle or can of this delightful drink, but it's not so easy here in the UK. The sources are few and far between and the only place I know of for me to buy Mountain Dew is Cyber Candy down in Covent Garden, London. I bought my last stash of it during my November trip to London, so I guess I'll have to hope I get time to pop to Convent Garden in April when I'm next in the 'Big Smoke'. (Of course, I could order it online, but at £22 + £3.99 postage for a pack of 22 cans, can I really afford to?). Anyway, that shop smells delicious, just as candy shops should!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. As you may have read in my new side blog, my wish was answered and it snowed. We had a White Christmas! It snowed on & off all day and it was still there when I woke up this morning. We're just left with patches of snow now though.

Mika the cat still hasn't pulled down the Christmas tree, although he has succeeded in pulling a few of the baubles of it and playing football with them. He tried attacking the torn wrapping paper yesterday too. I guess he was a bit miffed at only getting 2 Christmas presents - a sort of bed/bag/nest thing from me and a can of Whiskers cat food from Santa Claus - and neither of them were wrapped. Mika also attempted to sort through my sister-in-law's bag of goodies, just in case there was anything in there for him.

I haven't really done much over the last couple of days, except eat (lots), sleep, drink (a bit) and watch TV. Various movies and TV specials have been on. Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking is on BBC1 at the moment and Rupert Everett is doing a great job as the detective. I haven't seen him in much before, but he was on Fright Night with Jonathan Ross this week.

Anyway, it's time I finished of this entry and this lovely can of Mountain Dew *sob*. Thanks to Mark (I have the minimum amount of holidays required by law... and half of it is taken at Christmas!), Strizzt, Graeme, Ben and Larissa. Take care.

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23rd December 2004

Thursday - 10.15pm : I've been having a play around with some "features" this evening. I came across a website (via Journallife) called All Consuming and joined it. It's a website that watches blogs/journals for books that are being talked about, and displays the most popular ones on an hourly basis. Users can also add a list of books to their own weblog... Which is what I have done, as you will see if you look to the right there. I might reposition it over the next few days as I'm not entirely sure about keeping it where it is at the moment. Oh yes, the 2nd feature (if you can call it that) is Trackback... I thought I'd join the rest of the world. We'll see how things go.

Today was the first day of my Christmas break - No more work for me until 4th January! I had a bit of a lie-in this morning, then headed off to Shrewsbury to do a bit of shopping. I ended up buying myself a new coat, a top, 2 pairs of PJ bottoms and a pair of shoes. I wasn't intending on buying much for myself, but I don't think I did too badly considering all that cost around £65. I also bought Christmas presents for my brother and his wife, but, obviously, I can't tell you what they are... Just in case!

Last night, Sharon & I went to see The Incredibles at the local cinema. It was packed! We had to queue to get in and as we were paying we were told there was no guarantee we'd be able to sit together. Thankfully, we managed to find 2 seats together, but had to disturb the whole row just to get to them. Tell me something... Why don't people just move up a seat or two so others don't have to struggle to get by people? That really irritates me when it's obvious a cinema is going to fill up. Anyway, on to the subject of the actual film... I did enjoy it and I found the end really funny, but I didn't see what all the hype was about. I did think the graphics were fantastic, possibly the best I've seen, but I think, for me, both of the Shrek films win hands down.

Kiefer Sutherland was on the Biography Channel tonight. It was basically his filmography with a few interviews from over the years thrown in, including a few from his mum, dad, co-stars and directors. The programme was made in 2003, so showed nothing new, but it was still interesting to watch. Although, what I didn't know until tonight is that Kiefer got pulled over for drunk-driving at the end of October. He's now been sentenced to do 50 hours of community service and pay a $500 fine.

Anyway, I think that's it from me. Remember to visit NORAD Tracks Santa tomorrow night (Christmas Eve) to see how Santa's doing on his trip around the world! Thanks to Ben, Graeme, Mark (More thanks to you!), Mr, Myself & I, Hannah and Skye. If I don't write before Saturday, have a wonderful Christmas! (If you don't celebrate it, have a great time anyway!). Take care.

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20th December 2004

Monday - 7.35pm : I'm home! I had a great weekend while staying at Lisa's in Melton. I took over a bagful of presents, so we had a bit of a mini-Christmas while I was there.

Lisa, Gareth & Harley gave me a box full of bits & bobs, such as soaps, bath stuff, magnets, a keyring, some notelets, etc. It all smells very nice and the box even matches my bedroom. I gave Lisa 3 paperback books (she gets through them like there's no tomorrow!) and some Diddl letter paper. I gave little Harley various Peter Rabbit items for his collection (a place, bowl & cup set, a Wedgewood plate, a keyring and postcard) and I got Gareth a box of chocolates. I also met up with Graeme and gave him his Christmas present (NBA Live 2005 PC game) and he gave me a couple of books (Jim Butcher's Furies of Calderon and Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell). I can't wait to get stuck in!

While I was in Melton I got sucked into the Christmas sales and ended up buying myself 5 DVDs and a PS2 game. (When will I learn?!). So I ended up coming home with more than I went with... Talk about being bogged down by bags on my way home!

Okay people... I'm going to share a couple of my favourite Christmas links with you.

NORAD Tracks Santa - Track Santa on Christmas eve! NORAD is the bi-national military organization of Canada and the United States responsible for the aerospace defense of the two countries. So they know what they're doing when they track Santa around the globe. They even have Santa cams!

Santa Claus Live - Visit Santa Claus' office! See the old fella on his web cam talking to people visiting him before he sets of on his journey. Write to him and more.

I'm back at work tomorrow for a couple of days, but I'm looking forward to my Christmas break (even though I don't have any plans yet). I still have a couple of people to buy for though, so I guess I'll have to do a bit of last minute shopping.

Time for thanks... Graeme, Mark (Feel free to ask away, when needed!), Me, Myself & I, Skye and Tim (Yes, we'll definitely have to have a catch-up!). Take care all.



16th December 2004

Thursday - 10.15pm : Christmas presents wrapped and put into sack (Heh... I sound like Santa!), I just need to pack some clothes now. I'm off to Melton tomorrow, just in case you're wandering! I'll be back sometime on Monday. I'm staying with Liss for the weekend and I'll be seeing Gra at some point, too. Should be a good weekend... It's always good to see my friends over there.

Once again my brain is working against me. I can't for the life of me think what I was going to write about here tonight. Ah yes, I've remembered something I was going to tell you about.......

The other night I made my regular visit to my favourite author's website (that's Jim Butcher for anyone not paying attention to previous posts here). Much to my delight, 3 samples chapters of Dead Beat, the next and 7th Dresden Files book, had been uploaded. So, of course, I read all 3 chapters and was left wanting more! Unfortuntely I will have to wait until May 2005, when the book is published, to read the rest. But... I do know that a certain somebody has bought me the first book, Furies of Calderon, in the Codex Alera series for Christmas. So that will soften my crave for Jim Butcher books! I'll definitely be doing a lot of reading in 2005.

Right then, I'd better wrap this up and get pakcing some clothes. Thanks to Graeme, Mark (I corrected the link afterwards... You can actually see the larger photo here, and yes, I did use flash), Skye (I do feel better now, thanks, although I'm still tired), Xtel, Lissy, Meredith and Nicole.



11th December 2004

Saturday - 9.25pm : Yes, I'm still alive... Just. What a week it's been. Monday I was ill, Tuesday evening I went to see The Darkness at Birmingham NEC, Wednesday evening I met up with Glyn, Thursday evening I had college and yesterday and today I've been ill again, so it's been all go for me.

Justin
Justin Hawkins - The Darkness
So, Tuesday evening I saw The Darkness play Birmingham NEC. I saw them 4 times last year, but it was great to see them again and in an arena for a change. I got there early and managed to get to the front so I could lean against the barrier (and get a good view). Thankfully, I didn't get squashed, as all too often at these gigs people tend to push forward. The support acts for the night were Do Me Bad Things and Ash. Do Me Bad Things didn't come across as the average band (if you ask me) and I'm looking forward to their album being released. I've seen Ash before (when they supported Robbie at Knebworth and they were okay. The Darkness were on top form as usual, they always put on a fantastic live show. We got to hear old songs and new, and I can't wait for the new album to come out as I was quite impressed with the new work. All in all it was a great night.

While at the gig, I shot a roll of b&w film so I'd be able to develop something at my Creative Photography class on Thursday evening. Firstly, I developed the film and then I had just enough time to develop a photo from that film. The result is on the right there. (If you'd like to see a larger image, you can find it here). Let me know what you think! The rest of the class were quite impressed and I think I even impressed myself. I was convinced I'd completely mess up developing the film, but I ended up being really pleased with the results and now I can't wait to get more developed. Unfortunately, the next class isn't until the beginning of January, so I'll have to wait a while!

Friday morning I didn't feel too good, but I went to work anyway. I then spent every 45 minutes or so having to rush down to the toilet. I felt worse after lunch and by 3.30pm I was feeling sick too. Our receptionist told me I should get myself home, so I had a word with my supervisor and headed home. I got back in the nick of time and ended up rushing to the bathroom to be sick. Inbetween numerous trips to the bathroom, I crawled into bed and curled up. A headache followed and I'd not felt that ill for a long time.

I woke up this morning and felt a little better. So I decided to try eating something. I ate a banana and hoped for the best. I wanted to get a couple of things from town and Mum needed a couple of things, so I chanced it and drove to town (despite feeling on the weak since from having digested very little). We rushed around a few shops, but missed a few because I wasn't feeling too good. I managed to get some toast & strawberry jam down after everyone else had had lunch and have had a little to eat since, my stomach is still gurgling away though.

On to better things.......

It looks like the last week of April 2005 will officially be James Marsters week for me. First of all, I'll be going to his UK album launch in Coventry on 25th April, then I'll be going down to London with Mandy & Glyn to see him play at the Carling Academy Islington on the 29th and then on the 30th we're all going to see him finish off the tour at St James' Church in London. We're hoping to have a bit of a JMF meet-up while we're in London, too.

Saturday night is often movie night in our house. Either we rent one or we choose one from my DVD/video collection. Tonight, Dad chose Kuffs (starring Christian Slater ). Remember that one? Mum fell asleep half way though (she'd had a late night the night before), but Dad loved it (although I'm pretty sure the sniffer dog was his favourite character!). Mum asked if I'd seen it before - Silly question! 1. It's my video, and 2. It's a Christian Slater film!

Anyway, time for me to get going. Thanks go out to Mark (Yes, it's my own), Graeme, Ben, Trackie, Manu, Meredith, SNiP, Miss M, Xtel, Skye, Natalie, Alx and Me, Myself & I.



5th December 2004

Sunday - 7.20pm : Only 20 days until Christmas and I bet they'll fly by, after all, the rest of the year has! Anyway, I thought I'd get in the swing of things, so I've made a bit of a Christmas banner. (By the way, 'Nadolig Llawen' is Welsh for 'Merry Christmas').

I know there's a lot of Scrooge's around, but I'm a big fan of Christmas. I'm not a religious person, so it's the whole magical part of it that I go for... Santa Claus, elves, fairies and all that. I'm 24 and I still hang out a Christmas stocking on my bedroom door! Everyone knows I'm daft, so I'll tell you a secret I've never told anyone... As a kid, I always wanted to be one of Santa's elves! Hehe... Okay, you can stop laughing now! Anyway, I'll be donning my Santa hat this Christmas no matter what anyone else says.

I took some black & white photos today for my class on Thursday evening. I was in Shrewsbury, so I took a few around the Quarry park and when I got home Mika kindly posed for a few shots too, but I still need to finish the film. If any of them come out okay, I might put a couple of shots up here sometime.

You know my love for Jim Butcher's Dresden Files book series? Well, some teaser sound clips have now been released for the forthcoming Grave Peril audio-book. Click here, scroll down to the bottom of that page and you'll be able to listen to soundbites of James Marsters reading 'Grave Peril'. Go on, have a listen!

I might be a little quiet on the journaling front this week as I'll be busy most evenings. I might go to the cinema tomorrow night, I'm going to see The Darkness on Tuesday evening, I'll be meeting up with Glyn on Wednesday and I've got college on Thursday. So I apologise in advance if there isn't a new entry here between now and the weekend.

Thanks go out to Ben, Mark (Cheeky begger), Graeme (If I was one of those, don't you think I'd have met Mr R Williams by now?!), Me, Myself & I, Maria, Suzanne, Strizzt (I thought the move was great!) and Skye (I love that bit too!). That's all folks!



3rd December 2004

Friday - 10.35pm : While I was down in London I bought the Garfield movie on DVD and I've just finished watching it, again. This cat just cracks me up! Cute, cuddley and funny to boot (Kind of like Mika really). What more could you ask for?

My plans for the weekend? Well, I might pop to town tomorrow morning to get a couple of Christmas presents, then in the afternoon I'm planning on taking some photographs. I'm not sure what pictures I'm going to take yet though. I might take a wander around the village before heading off somewhere in the car. I'm going to Shrewsbury on Sunday afternoon, so I'll probably take a few photos there too. Any ideas will be gratefully received.

Me & Christian
Me & Christian
Talking of photos... I'm sorry if I scare you in this picture, but I thought I'd show you that I really did meet up with Mr Slater last weekend! How come I look all windswept and the Hollywood star still manages to look perfect without a hair out of place?! I ended October with James Marsters & David Boreanaz and November with Christian Slater. I somehow doubt I'll end December and 2004 with anyone like that! Actually, I have no plans for New Years Eve yet. How about you guys?

Churchill: The Hollywood Years (starring Christian Slater) was released at the cinemas today, here in the UK. I've checked out Shrewsbury's Cineworld listings and they're not showing it yet, despite a load of other Cineworld cinemas are showing it. Ah well, I guess I'll have to wait. Oh, I've just realised, MacKenzie Crook is in it too, he's also in the 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' production with Christian (I met MacKenzie outside the theatre too).

Anyway, I'm just about finished here. I've archived November's entries, which detail my meeting Mr Slater, Mr Marsters, Mr Boreanaz, Halloween weekend and whatever else I've been up to lately. Thanks to Graeme, SNiP and Mark (To answer your question - I bought some B&W film the other day. It's still widely available as far as I know. Jack Dee is a bit miserable at times, but still pretty funny!). Take care.



2nd December 2004

Thursday - 10.15pm : I started my Creative Photography evening course today. It wasn't quite what I expected, but I did enjoy myself. We spent the first part of it sat in complete darkness while one of the girls and the tutor got some film ready to be developed. Then the red lights came on and you have to adjust to like a half-light. This other girl and I were the only new ones on the course, the others had been on the course before, so while they were developing photos and stuff, we made some pictures by putting various objects on photographic papaer and getting them developed. One of the girls (there was only one bloke there today) kindly lent me one of her negative strips and I got to enlarge a picture and develop it. Right then... If only I could persuade my parents to let me turn the spare room into a dark room.......

So, my project for this week is to shoot a roll of b&w film, so I'll have something to work with next Thursday.

In other news... James Marsters has announced his 2005 Solo tour in April and I have already booked tickets for the London gig. So far the dates include London's Carling Academy and Liverpool's famous Cavern Club. Glyn, Mandy & I are off down to the London gig as are a few other JMF-ers, so we're hoping to have a bit of a get-together at some point. More gig dates are to be announced soon. James' solo album is also planned for release in Spring 2005. Can't wait!

Ohh, and I've also got tickets to see Jack Dee (the comedian) at my local theatre. I love going to see stand-up comedians.

Robbie Williams is releasing his new single, Mistunderstood, on the 6th of this month. So make sure you go out any buy it! The song is from the new Briget Jones movie, The Edge of Reason, which I must see at some point.

On the 7th, I'm off to see The Darkness at Birmingham NEC. I saw them 4 times last year! I was hoping they would have a new album our before this tour, but hoefully that will be comign soon. I'm sure we'll hear some new material anyway.

Anyway, it's time I was off. I'll archive the previous entries sometime over the weekend. Thanks to Ben, Mark, Graeme, Suzanne and Lissy. Take care.



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