30th June 2005
Thursday - 9.45pm : I've been meaning to write all week, but for one reason or other I didn't get around to it. I'm tired tonight, I've actually been struggling to stay awake all day! I was up chatting until around 1am, there was cats fighting outside making a right racket and then around 3am we had a helicopter flying really low over here. I haven't a clue what they were up to, but it made a right noise. All I could imagine was some kind of scene from 24!
My new digital camera (Canon Powershot S2 IS) arrived on Tuesday. I haven't had much of a chance to play with it, but I did take a few pictures on Tuesday evening before the thunderstorms started. It only came with a 16MB card, but my new 1GB card should arrive soon, so I'll have plenty of room for photos. (Click here or on the photo to see a larger version - I think it looks better bigger).
Ginger (our neighbour's cat) was sat watching me while I was taking photos, so I took a photo of him (I couldn't resist). You can view the photo here. Mika was out in the garden too, but he kept moving around so I gave up on him in the end.
I had some nice surprises in the mail yesterday. Lisa sent me a box of stuff for my birthday. I opened the box and inside was an Aromatherapy Glass Candle Kit, 2 Canadian travel guide books (Montréal and Ottawa) and a big purple notebook (Oh and some bubble wrap to keep me entertained!). I also had a letter from Ellie. She's off to New Zealand! She'll be there anything from 2 months to a year. I'd love to do something like that... Maybe Canada instead, put those books to good use! Three of my friends are going travelling now... Maybe it's time I stopped dreaming, got my backside into gear and sorted something out myself.
I went to the cinema to see Mr & Mrs Smith last night. I quite enjoyed it and would recommend people to go and see it, especially if you like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie (there's lots of close ups of them both). There's some nice action with some comedy thrown in too, definitely worth seeing.
I think I may have converted Lisa into a Rob Thomas fan! I recommended a whole host of songs to listen to (including Matchbox Twenty songs) and she enjoyed them. Now if only I could convert a few more people!
P.S. Happy Birthday to Lisa!
27th June 2005
Monday - 10.15pm : No pictures of Rob Thomas tonight, sorry! But... There will definitely be some more new photos here by the end of the week. Why? Because my new digital camera is on it's way!
I finally ordered the Canon Powershot S2 IS camera that I've been looking at since before it was released earlier this month. It was despatched earlier on this evening, so hopefully it should arrive sometime tomorrow. Can't wait! I'm going to order a 1GB SD card from Play.com soon, so I'll have plenty of storage for photos. I'll have to put it to good use and get snapping away!
It looks like I'll be going to see Mr Brad Pitt on Wednesday evening. A friend and I are going to see Mr & Mrs Smith at our local cinema. I'll let you know what I think about it later in the week. Looks good though.
Wednesday is D-day for the Michelin F1 teams. They will find out their fate at the FIA World Council meeting after boycotting the US Grand Prix. In my opinion the teams were stuck between a rock and a hard place. Michelin made a mistake and it couldn't be rectified within the rules. The FIA wouldn't back down. So what were the teams to do? Their punishment could be anything between a reprimand and a ban for life. Obviously, the FIA are not going to ban 7 teams from F1. My guess is that they're going to fine them and take away points (ensuring that a certain German racing for the prancing donkey team will get ahead in the championship!). But we'll see. I could be wrong.
25th June 2005
Saturday - 10.15pm : I haven't really done much since Rob's gig on Monday evening, which is why the journal has been quiet all week. Anyway, I thought I'd better make an appearance, so here I am.
Today has been a rather quiet day too. I had planned on going to Shrewsbury, but in the end I just popped into town. No DVDs jumped out at me in the rental store, but I did pick up a birthday card for a friend (and spent quite some time choosing it!) and buy some lunch.
Back to the subject of Rob Thomas (Giving me an excuse to put another picture of Rob in my journal!)....... It seems we were quite luck to have Rob performing for us on Monday evening. According to US Weekly, while filming the video for his next single (This Is How A Heart Breaks) in New York a few weeks ago Rob "survived a potentially life-threatening accident". This accident just happens to be what my nightmares are made of. He was alone in an elevator on the 6th floor of a building when it started to drop! Thankfully, the safety mechanism stopped it just before it hit the basement floor and Rob escaped with just minor bruises (and possible recurring nightmares such as the ones I get!).
Tomorrow is looking like it's going to be a quiet day too. Nothing planned. I was thinking I might go to the cinema, but I don't know yet. I want to go to the cinema later in the week, or maybe next weekend, as Shrewsbury's Cineworld is showing War of the Worlds from Thursday onwards. I've been waiting to see it for months now. Starring Tom Cruise, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on a book by H.G. Wells - What more could you ask for?
21st June 2005
Tuesday - 9.15pm : Last night was fantastic! I saw Rob Thomas at Manchester Academy and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The sun was shining and the queue for the gig seemed to go almost right around the building - Thankfully I wasn't too far from the front of the queue (I got there around 4.45pm). The fan club members got let in early and then at 7.30pm it was our turn. I managed to secure myself a place at the front by the barrier, along side the fan club members, to the left side of the stage. So, I had a pretty nice view.
Rob had one support act and that was a Swedish girl called Lisa Miskovsky. She was really good and I think she's destined to go places. There seemed to be a bit of chemistry going on between her and her keyboard player, I don't know if anyone else noticed! Anyway, she's a platinum artist in Sweden, so I'm sure she'll do well here once she's got some airplay.
Rob Thomas arrived on stage shortly at 9pm and didn't leave it until 11pm (apart from a very short break). He did a 2 hour set, full of songs from the new album, the Matchbox Twenty albums and more. He also seemed to have a thing for trying to say "Manchester" in a funny Mancunian accent (something like "Manchestar")!
Rob puts so much energy into each and every song, so the crowd was lively from well before he appeared on stage. Everyone there loved his new solo work, but the moment he started MB20/Tabitha's Secret's "3am" the crowd's excitement almost doubled and everyone sang along. The same happened when he performed MB20's "Push", or was that just me? I love that song. He even went as far back as "Dear Joan" (Tabitha's Secret days).
When Rob announced he was going to sing "Lonely No More" (the first single from his solo album), he said "You write songs for all kinds of reasons. Some are for the heart, some for the head, and this one is for the ass!", which totally cracked me up!
He sang a few cover versions too, including Oasis's "Wonderwall" (we were in their city afterall), and songs like "Easy Like Sunday Morning" were integrated into others. Santana's "Smooth" was in the playlist, of course, since it's Rob's song too!
Rob's performance was truly brilliant and I had a wonderful time (apart from the argument that erupted behind me). It's the best gig I've been to in a long time and I only wish that I could go to the London one tomorrow night, too.
19th June 2005
Sunday - 10.10pm : What a farce the F1 2005 US Grand Prix was today! Michelin could not provide their teams with tyres safe enough to race with for this weekend's Grand Prix and the FIA (F1's governing body) would not compromise. So the race began and ended with just 6 cars, all Bridgestone runners. The crowds boo'd, many walked out in disgust, and the entire race was a farce. I don't think we'll be seeing another F1 US Grand Prix, certainly not at Indianapolis. Yes, Michelin are to blame, but the FIA could have made damage limitation by coming to an agreement (i.e. by putting a chicane in Turn 13 - which is where tyres were failing) and dealt with the consiquences afterwards. At least we, and the people who paid for tickets, would have seen a race. What we saw was nothing more than 6 cars strolling around the track with the Ferraris walking running circles around Jordan and Minardi. It was a disgrace to motorsport.
At least 24 was exciting!
Seeing Rob Thomas in Manchester tomorrow night. Can't wait! Must remember to take my camera.
18th June 2005
Saturday - 2.35pm : It's lovely and hot outside today. I was quite surprised when I went out to fetch the mail this morning. The weather hasn't really been June kind of weather this past week, so I wasn't really expecting a hot summer's day. I really should get in the car and go somewhere (like the seaside or something), but everyone else is out and I can't be bothered to go on my own. I guess I might take Mika out in the back garden later on... Adventurous, I know! (Hot weather & I don't get along well, anyway).
More time in front of the TV for me this weekend. Later on the F1 USA Grand Prix Qualifying is live on ITV2 and, of course, the actual Grand Prix is tomorrow. What else? There's the usual Joey, Two & a Half Men and 24. It's season 4's 22nd episode of '24' tonight and next week it's a double-bill, including a "heart-stopping finale" - Can't wait!
Talking of 24... Apparently there's a movie in the works, though it will take some time for it to happen as it's at the stage where it needs to be written. Should be good. I just hope Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland's character) is still around when they get around to making it. Kiefer has always made a point of saying that he'll stand down if it's for the good of the series, but I couldn't imagine '24' with out him!
I'm off to see Rob Thomas in Manchester on Monday evening. His debut solo album is brilliant (it's hardly been out of my CD player since I bought it), but I hope he plays one or two Matchbox Twenty songs too. I'll be taking my camera with me, so hopefully I'll have some new pictures for you later on in the week.
Rob will be playing at the Live 8 gig in Philadelphia on 2nd July, along with bands such as Bon Jovi, so I'm hoping it'll be televised here in the UK too. Robbie Williams will be at the Live 8 London gig, so I'll definitely be watching that. I did try for tickets, but so did a few million others, so it was a losing battle.
Before I go, hope on over to Suedeapple and listen to some of Paul's music. Maybe take a look at his photos and artwork too!
15th June 2005
Wednesday - 10.00pm : I'm sat here watching the pilot episode of The A Team at the moment - Gra gave me the season 1 DVD boxset for my birthday. I've seen every single episode of The A Team, more than once, but it has to be one of my all time favourite TV series so I could watch them over and over. I have to say I think my favourite character in it was Hannibal, played by George Peppard (who I thought was a great actor). It's sad to say that in the 80s, I was so hooked on the TV show that not only did my brother & I have all the figures and I was in the fan club, but we'd named our 4 goldfish after them too!
Anyway, my birthday went okay. I walked into work on Monday only for the admin supervisor to leap from behind reception and start a rendition of Happy Birthday! Thankfully he left it at only a couple of lines before handing me a birthday card signed by everyone at work (which is what we tend to do for everyone's birthday - the card thing, not the singing!). I went back down into reception a little later on in the day and he started singing again - Who'd have thought the guy was so quiet on his first week of working with us!
For my birthday I had 8 or so cards, £50, perfume and the DVD boxset. I've been told I've got a couple more presents on the way, which is nice. Oh, and I had a birthday cake for the first time in years! It was a delicious chocolate cake with 2 and a half candles on it. I questioned as to where the other 22 and a half were and Mum said the candles on the cake represented decades! Charming! (You know you're getting old when candles represent decades instead of years!). I ate the last slice this evening - I didn't eat it all myself though... Tempting as it was!
Do you know what I had from my one & only brother for my birthday? A text message saying "Happy Birthday" and I swear he only sent that after he'd seen the cards on the mantelpiece in the living room! Last year I only had a birthday card from him & his other half, and that turned up a month and a half AFTER my birthday! Shocking, eh?
12th June 2005
Sunday - 11.55am : I'm going to be stuck in front of the TV from 5pm until 10pm tonight, so I thought I'd better write an entry now. Why on earth would I be spending 5 hours in front of the TV? Well, first up it's the F1 Canadian Grand Prix, which finishes just 10 minutes before Joey. After Joey it's Two and a Half Men (with Charlie Sheen). My TV evening will finally end with the lovely Kiefer Sutherland in 24. I'll be squared eyed by the time I get to bed tonight!
I went out for a meal with my parents last night to celebrate my birthday (which is tomorrow). We ended up at The Stiperstones Inn. They have an extensive menu, so there was plenty to choose from. We skipped the starters as I wanted to make sure I had room for dessert! For the main meal I chose breaded plaice, though it took me a while to decide - I couldn't make my mind up between that, lamb shank with minted gravy, half chicken, crispy duck pancakes or chicken & leek pie (Am I making you hungry yet?). Mum had breaded scampi and Dad had steak & ale pie. For dessert I had double chocolate cake (made with Bournville chocolate smothered with a rich chocolate fudge icing and served hot) with ice cream, while Mum had grand marnier meringue gateaux and Dad had whinberry pie. The inn is famous for it's whinberry pie and whinberry crumble, as is the area for whinberries. All in all it was a nice evening and I can't wait to go there for another meal sometime.
Yesterday afternoon I sat on the back door step for a while with Mika the cat. It wasn't long before we had a visitor - A small squirrel was darting around out garden. He didn't seem afraid of anything, he actually seemed quite tame. He came quite close to us before going up the back towards the fence. Bad idea. Charlie (one of the cats from next door) came hurtling towards the little squirrel. Panicking, we all (my parents had appeared behind me) started shouting at Charlie as we didn't want the poor squirrel to get hurt. Did the squirrel run? No, he turned around and looked Charlie in the face! He survived the encounter, but we have to wonder if he'll survive much longer if he doesn't run to safety when he should.
Another London date has been anounced for James Marsters to go along with his Words & Music. He'll now also be going a gig at St. James' in Piccadilly. Since I'll be down in London anyway, I thought I may as well go to that too, so I've booked my ticket. I did hesitate though. James played this venue in April and I had a balcony ticket, the view wasn't good to say the least. To quote from a previous journal entry... "We could barely see from the balcony. World War Three nearly broke out up there when some rude German guy kept standing where he was told not to and kept getting in our way. I had to move several times to get to see a little of James. I even ended up standing on a pew with Mandy at one point and I was still struggling to see". The pillars didn't help either. So this time I went for a downstairs ticket!
Anyway, I'm off to have another go on the TT Superbikes PS2 game - I've unlocked all the races now so it's even more fun! Thanks go out to Graeme, Mark, SNiP (I hope not!), Melly, Andrea and Donatienne. Take care.
10th June 2005
Friday - 10.15pm : Today's entry was going to be accompanied by a picture, but last night's college class didn't go to plan. Three of us turned up to the class early so we could develop a film each. We got all the stuff ready (developing tanks etc) and our tutor went to grab the tub of film developer only to discover that it was empty. We searched high and low for a new tub of film developer, but there wasn't one in sight. So no film developing for us last night. I was quite disappointed. The film I wanted to develop contains photos of a collegue's cats and I wanted to give her at least one photo today as it was her last day of work. Nevermind, it now gives me a very good excuse to catch up with her in a week or two. Next week is supposed to be our last class until September, but a couple of us think we might have persuaded our tutor to give us an extra class afterwards. We'll find out next week, I guess.
Thanks to everyone for the early birthday wishes. I had a couple of cards arrive today (one from Gra) and I've already had a couple of presents (one from Gra and money from Nan & Granddad), both of which I've given to Mum until Monday. We're going out for a meal tomorrow night, which is something we tend to do for my birthday every year.
To be honest, my 25th birthday isn't going to be the happiest. I'm not going to be throwing any parties or anything, I'm going to be thinking of my poor friend Lisa and her family. I've been thinking of them all week. They're all going through an extremely hard time right now.
Lisa's mum died last week and it has shocked everyone. She was only young. Her funeral is on Monday and I think it's going to be the hardest day for the family. Lisa's mum was the core of the family and she sorted them all out. She had a heart of gold too. I talked to Lisa for nearly an hour last night and my heart really goes out for her. When I found out that Dad had bowel cancer, that was bad enough, but this... Losing a parent or a child must be the worst thing in the world and the toughest thing to get through, but I know Lisa will get through it. I'm not a religious person, but if anyone out there is then please say a prayer for them.
I freaked out the other night. I was sat here reading emails when I noticed something moving in the corner of my eye. Less than a foot away, the biggest 8-legged-freak I've seen in a long time was sat on my curtains. To say that I leapt out of my skin would be a but of an understatement. I practically leapt out of the room! After a lot of fuss, I managed to persuade Mum to remove the offending creature out of my room. A little later, I managed to go back into my room (I'm a big arachnaphobic!). Just a few minutes after that, I saw another big spider run across my desk right past my hand! So I vacated my room for a second time, but this time Mum wouldn't remove it. She told me to wait for Dad to get out of the bathroom. Well, he took his sweet time and I've not seen it since. It's most likely lurking in a corner of my room waiting to scare me senseless once again. Which makes my skin crawl just at the thought.
I haven't made my mind up about the Canon Powershot S2 IS digital camera, yet. I'll probably decide after my birthday. I'll let you know, either way.
Commenting thanks are coming up, but can you believe last entry got a whopping 20 comments. Now that doesn't happen often to me (or at all, usually). Thanks to Graeme, Lissy, Mandy, Donatienne, Karen, Kazzy_cee, Miss M, Andrea, Xtel, Katie-in-London, Mark, SNiP, Skye, Me, Myself & I, Ghracena, Mandy and Moni.
6th June 2005
Monday - 9.40pm : I'll be 25 in a week! I was about to say that it only feels like yesterday when I turned 24, but then I can't remember what I actually did for my birthday (which probably means I didn't do much). Ah yes, I remember... I was ill all day and to top it off Michael Schumacher won the Canadian Grand Prix that day. I was not a haoppy bunny! I did go out for a meal the night before my birthday, so it wasn't all bad.
I'm contemplating buying myself an expensive birthday present. The brand spanking new Canon Powershot S2 IS digital camera. It's got a recommended retail price tag of £469, but Dabs.com are selling it for the slightly nicer price of £331.98 - a pretty nice price slash, don't you think? So it's the old "Do I? Don't I?" question. I'll probably buy it at some point (unless something else comes along), but do I give in to my urges and buy it now?
My Canon Powershot A40 is destined for digital camera heaven (Tip: Don't let somebody drop your camera on a pavement... It won't do it much good!). It lasted me around 3 years, though I guess it would have lasted a bit longer had it not had an unforunately accident, but it's spec. was no longer up to standard anyway. That's the problem with technology these days, it's out of date in 5 minutes or gives up the ghost after only a short time. That's partly why I'll never give up my film cameras. I've had my Ricoh compact camera for over a decade and it's as good as new. It's been everywhere with me from London and Barcelona to Canada, and it's always my camera of choice to take to gigs. Of course, my Canon EOS 300 has been pretty handy too.
The end of the episode of 24 (Season 4) shown on Sky One last night reminded me of a one of Kiefer's earlier films. You see, this guy was flatlining (can you guess the film now?) and Kiefer got into action with the electric paddles, trying to resuscitate him. I half expected Kevin Bacon and Julia Roberts to turn up!
Talking of Kiefer Sutherland, I watched his filmography on The Biography Channel earlier. I'd seen it before, but hey, it's Kiefer. Michael J. Fox was on after Kiefer, but I fell asleep before they'd even mentioned Back To The Future. Good job I'd already seen that too! I woke up in time to see the start of Eclipsed by Death - The Life of River Phoenix, but I'd seen it before (without realising Wil Wheaton narrated it), so I ended up watching 'Troy's Story By Ewan Mcgregor' (about the rise, fall and rise again of Troy Bayliss, a superbike winner).
5th June 2005
Sunday - 1.00pm : I had planned on writing an entry here last night, but I ended up scanning and uploading some pictures to be printed. I want to put together a portfolio (you know, "just in case"), so I've taken the first step by ordering some 10" x 8" copies of some photos. My favourite place to get photos printed is PhotoBox. They have a quick turn around (if you order before 4pm they aim to get the photos to you by the next day) and there's always a special offer on (for example, I got 5 free 7" x 5" photos for spending over £5 on this order).
People who know me will know that I was brought up surrounded by motorbikes and motor racing. This week it's the TT Races over in the Isle of Man. Dad goes over most years (though he's not there this year) and even I went 2 or 3 years ago. We've got friends who race, so that all adds to the excitement. There's nothing like it. A week (or 2, if you go over for the practicing) full of motorbike & sidecar racing, plus other related events, all set on public roads (obviously closed for the races). Obviously, with all motor racing comes the warning that it is a dangerous sport - the competitors are well aware of this, but when you're living your dream you have to take chances. Sadly, there was a sidecar crash in the exit of Parliment Square (Ramsey) yesterday during the first sidecar race and it has since been announced that the driver has died due to his injuries. The spot where the accident happened would have been right outside Dad's landlady's house, so I'd imagine his friends will have seen it happen.
On a brighter note, Dad's friend "Cookie" finished in 27th place after making up 8 places during the race. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the TV coverage. In the mean time we'll have to be content with playing on the TT Superbikes PS2 game... At least it's safe (which is good considering what happened during my first attempt!).
Anyway, I'd best get going. It's getting difficult to type what with having a cat curled up (and snoring!) on my knee. Thanks to Andrea (No, I don't think I've heard Rockin' The Suburbs - I'll have to try & find it), Lissy, Karen, Graeme, Jaki, Skye, Mandy and Melly. Take care.
1st June 2005
Wednesday - 10.35pm : I'm so tired! In recent years I'd be able to stay up until all hours without it affecting me too much the next day. Yesterday evening I had a friend visit and he didn't leave until 1.20am, so getting up for work this morning turned out to be a task and a half. I can't imagine how he felt this morning as he had to drive home afterwards. I had a good time though, which is all that counts.
I got to play on a Sony PSP last night, despite them not being released in the UK until September. Dale brought his around and I had a little play on Ridge Racer - I think I impressed Dale with my racing skills (Brakes? What are they?!). I came something like 9th on my first race and 1st on my second, so I was quite pleased with myself. The Sony PSP is a fantastic bit of kit. The graphics and sound are great and you really couldn't ask for more in a handheld. If I knew I'd have a couple of hundred pounds spare come 1st September I'd pre-order one, but I can't see that happening just yet.
My Ben Folds Five 'Whatever And Ever Amen' album arrived in the mail today. I ordered it on the strength of a song called 'Brick' which I remember from years ago. I've only listened to the first half of the album so far, but I like it. How many other bands have songs like 'One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces'? I'm still thinking about ordering Ben Folds' solo album 'Songs For Silverman'. I'll probably order it after my birthday.
The Woodsman was an okay film. I think Kevin Bacon did a great job of a difficult subject. It's not easy to portray a character like that. His character wants to be normal. He wants to know when he will be normal. Can a man who is a child's/parent's worst nightmare ever be normal? It's a film that is sure to make your skin crawl at times, but I think it's one to watch.