27th March 2005
Sunday - 10.00pm : This morning I was woken by Mika, the cat, jumping on my bed and throwing up on my duvet. Exactly a month after he last did it! Why my bed? Surely the little guy felt ill before jumping on my bed... I know I generally tend to feel like I'm going to be sick before I am. I've told the little fella that he's banned from my room if he does that again. I know it's not his fault he was sick, but did he really need to do it in my room? At 5.30am? Which was technically 4.30am since the clocks only went forward just a few hours before. *Sigh*.
I was up, about and out through the door at just gone 7am. I know, and on a Sunday morning too! Was I ill? Was there an emergency? Nope, I got up at that time of my own free will, though I hadn't really been able to get back to sleep after the catsick incident.
We headed up to Tonfanau race track for the day. Dad was marshalling there, so Mum & I decided to go up with him. Of course, Dad spent 99% of his time being a marshall at the side of the track, so it was a bit of a "Mother & Daughter Day" for us, albeit spending most of the time in the car (it was warmer there!) watching the racing.
I took my camera with me, so jumped out of the car for some races to take photos. I used up a 36-shot film, but most of those photos are of the sidecar racing. I had hoped I'd be able to cheer on Dad's friends who race sidecars, but neither were on the track today (It's always better when you've got somebody to cheer on!). I don't know why the one didn't turn up, but the other was on crutches, so I guess he can be forgiven. I've always been a bit of a fan of sidecar racing, but it doesn't get much of a look-in compared to the motorbikes.
There were a few incidents where people tumbled off or collided at one point or other during the day. The first incident happened right in front of me during a practice session. The guy just came off and the motorbike flipped over. He wasn't injured or anything, just a bit shaken up. Of course, I didn't have my camera to hand for that one, typical!
Anyway, that was my day today. We got home around 7pm, so it's been a long day. I've just had my weekly dose of Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in '24', so I'm nearly ready to head off to bed. Before I do, I'd better tell you about The Clearing, as I promised yesterday.
The Clearing stars Robert Redford, Helen Mirren and Willem Dafoe. It's based on a true story of a kidnapping and is a drama/psychological thriller. In my opinion, it was well made and each of the actors held their part. While many movies use action as a way to keep the viewers interest, this film didn't need it. It's yet another film that I'd recommend viewing.
Thanks go out to Liza Marie, Ghracena and Natalie.
P.S. - Who decides when Easter is each year? And why isn't it on a fixed date/week each year? Answers on a postcard to.......
26th March 2005
Saturday - 5.55pm : I watched Finding Neverland this afternoon, continuing what seems to be a movie-filled weekend for me. Last night I watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (starring Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater - for the countless time!) and Little Voice (starring Jane Horrocks and Ewan McGregor), but back to the film in question.
Finding Neverland is both a happy film and a sad one. This movie is a story about J.M. Barrie's relationship with four boys and their mother, and the creation of Peter Pan. Neverland was straight from J.M. Barrie's imagination and he was desperate to share it and I'm glad he did.
Johnny Depp lends himself to different characters with ease and that's something I like about an actor. After all, is it not an actor's job to make us believe? I thought he coped well with the Scottish accent too, not that I'm much of a judge of accents.
Dustin Hoffman blended in well. I was so wrapped up in the film that I didn't realise it was he who was playing Charles Frohman, until half way through.
It was nice to see British actors within the cast too (after all, this is a British story). Kate Winslet played her part well. Two actors who's appearances I noted were Paul Whitehouse and MacKenzie Crook (who I met last November).
Definitely a great movie to watch. I've not heard a bad word about it and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone.
Talking of MacKenzie Crook....... Another film I watched this afternoon was Churchill: The Hollywood Years. The DVD arrived in the mail this morning, so since I'm a Christian Slater fan I had to watch it today. It made me laugh, but this film is definitely not everyone's taste - It's quite a silly film. If you were a fan of The Comic Strip Presents... then you'll probably like it... and, of course, Slater fans will too. It's full of British comedy actors such as MacKenzie Crook, James Dreyfus, Harry Enfield, Rik Mayall, Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and Steve Pemberton.
I haven't really done much else, so that's about it from me. I'll let you know what I think of The Clearing in my next post. Thanks to Skye, Miss M, Ghracena, Lissy and Michelle.
25th March 2005
Friday - 4.30pm : It's Friday and it's not yet 5pm, but I'm sat at home instead of at work. It must be Easter weekend! I love having a 4 day weekend (and let's face it, that doesn't happen very often). The weather has been beautiful today and I'm hoping it stays like this for the rest of the weekend. It'll give me to opportunity to take some photos, assuming I can stop yawning long enough to take some! (I was asleep by half past midnight, but didn't get up until 11.30am - Lazy, I know).
I popped into town earlier as I needed to get a few things. While I was there, I went into Choices and rented a couple of DVDs. I picked up The Clearing (starring Robert Redford, Helen Mirren and Willem Dafoe) and Finding Neverland (starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and Dustin Hoffman). I'll probably watch Finding Neverland sometime tonight and then I'll watch The Clearing when our visitor has left tomorrow night. (Of course, as usual, I'll let you know what I think of them). While at the counter I couldn't resist buying a tube of Cadbury's Mini Eggs - I love those things!
I played squash again on Wednesday evening, but this time I didn't ache afterwards... So it must be doing me some good. We're going to try and make it a regular thing, so I should be getting my weekly dose of exercise... though I do a fair bit by running up & down the stairs at work. I'm really enjoying playing squash, though we discovered that we play better when we're not gossiping! Still, it's a good laugh.
Plans for the weekend? Well, we've got a visitor coming tomorrow, so other than putting flowers on my grandparent's & aunt's graves (Dad's side of the family), I've no other plans. Sunday, Dad is marshalling at some motorbike and sidecar races in Gwynedd, so, depending on the weather, I'm planning on going up there and taking some photos. Dad's friend will be racing his sidecar there too, so I'll have somebody to cheer on.
Before I go, I'd like to point you in the direction of some beautiful jewelery. All the jewelery at PhoenixFire Designs is hand-crafted by Miss M. Oh, and she also makes these cute little clay penguins and wearable horns (I wish I'd had some for last Halloween!).
Right then, time for me to disappear. Thanks to Ben, Graeme, Lissy, Natalie, Me, Myself & I, Skye, Sonia, Suzanne, Strizzt, Meredith and Ghracena. Have a good weekend!
21st March 2005
Monday - 8.25pm : I'm home. All teeth intact too! Yeah, I was pretty surprised, considering the main reason for my appointment was to get that wisdom tooth removed. Anyway, she took a look at the tooth and she said the stuff she put on it a few weeks ago looked solid enough. Since I hadn't had any further problems with it, she decided it was best to leave it there for now and take another look at it in 3 months. The visit to the dentist wasn't a complete waste of time though, she did a little other work while I was in the chair. That cost me enough.
I watched Secret Window over the weekend. It's based on a story by Stephen King and stars the talented Johnny Depp as a writer. It's set in what I think of as a typical Stephen King story town (you know, a place in the middle of nowhere, by a lake and surrounded by trees) and it's about Johnny's character, Mort, being stalked by a psychotic stranger who claims he stole his story. Only two things anoyed me about the film - The tick ticking of the clock and the drip dripping of the tap! (That's just me and my hyper-sensitivity though). Anyway... Very good film - I'd definitely recommend it.
Another film I watched over the weekend was K-19: The Widowmaker, starring Liam Neeson and Harrison Ford aboard a doomed Russian nuclear submarine. I'm not usually one for watching submarine films, but I remember wanting to see this one when it was originally released a few years ago. I'm glad I finally did get to watch it as I think it's definitely worth a see.
More James Marsters news (Sorry, this is turning into a JM journal again, isn't it? Just you wait until the end of April!)... A DVD will soon be available of his acoustic performance at the Halloween 2004 event in London. Also on the DVD will be the bonus of his Q&A session... Ah, the memories! I'll be getting my copy at the end of April (when it will be "James Marsters week - 2005" here in the UK).
Right then, I'm off for my mug of hot chocolate. Take care and thanks to Sueellen, Maria, Miss M, Graeme, Mark, Evamaria and Meredith.
18th March 2005
Friday - 10.15pm : Sore throat, tired and still aching after squash, that's me. I was going to update this design a little, add a little colour and make it less drab, but to be honest I couldn't be bothered! Another time maybe...
Over the last few months, I've been holding off buying CDs, despite there being so many that I've wanted (such as Green Day's American Idiot). Anyway, last night I went on a mini spending spree. I ordered Sing a Song With Six Strings by various artists (including a beautiful song called "Always This Near" by Kyle Cook), Something To Be by Rob Thomas (due out on 19th April) and Churchill: The Hollywood Years (starring Christian Slater and due out on 28th March) on DVD. Mark Owen's new album is due out in a few weeks, so I'll get that when it's out, and I'll be getting James Marsters' new album "Civilized Man" at his album launch in Coventry. Plus, once I'd ordered those, I remembered I've got one or two things on pre-order already (such as Jim Butcher's forthcoming audiobook). Then there's my wisdom tooth extraction to pay for on Monday... Argh!
That is something I'm really not looking forward to. The more I think about it the more I begin to panic (in a quiet kind of way). Me and painkillers don't get along for a start, I don't like metal & stuff in my mouth and the thought of being injected in my gum is scary enough on it's own. Oh, and then there's the knowledge that the wisdom tooth on the opposite side will have the same fate all too soon. I'm pretty sure that by Monday afternoon they will have to strap me down in that chair in order to extract that damn wisdom tooth! I'm not looking forward to the dent in my bank balance either. (You get caused a whole load of pain and then have to pay for it, despite paying taxes every month. How does that work?!).
Going back to the subject of James Marsters... I now have somebody to tape Cool Money for me, thanks. Can't wait! James looks so good in the promo photos I've seen for it. Yeah, I know it's only a TV movie, but I'm a bit of a fan of TV & B-rate movies. Not all films have to have lots of special effects or big budgets to be enjoyable.
Anyway, time to get going. Thanks to Mark (You should!), Graeme (Yes, squash), Strizzt, Me, Myself & I (We thought it would be hard, but it isn't if you play against somebody at the same level as you), Ben, SNiP, Danielle, Miss M (Thanks anyway!), Demoness (Yeah, he used to be in a band called Ghost of the Robot. It seems to be more of a hobby than a career path) and Mandy I'm still aching after Wednesday night!). Have a good weekend all!
P.S. - Good luck to Wales in the rugby tomorrow!
16th March 2005
Wednesday - 10.25pm : I feel quite refreshed, yet tired at the same time! I'll explain... I've just got home after a game of squash at the local sports centre. Me... sports... Those words haven't been uttered in the same sentence since I was in college and that was over 6 years ago. Possibly longer, because we often used our Wednesday sports afternoon as a Wednesday pub afternoon!.
Going back to the subject of squash... I really enjoyed myself. We don't actually play to the proper rules, because we're just starting out, but we'll get there with practice. We've already decided to go again next Wednesday night. We might even go one Saturday soon as they've got a special offer of playing for just £1 on a Saturday, but you can't pre-book the course. Still, it only cost us £6 for the pair of us to have the court for 40 minutes (though we were there longer) and rent a couple of racquets. I might just get into this sport lark.
James Marsters' solo album, Civilized Man, is now available to pre-order. It will contain 11 songs, including "This Town" (one of my favourites). I'll be getting my (signed) copy at the album launch (which isn't so far away now).
Talking of Mr Marsters... His new TV movie, Cool Money, is going to be shown on the USA Network on Saturday (19th March) at 9pm. Ohhhhh how I wish I could get American TV! (Anyone want to record it for me?! Hehe. I have the facilities to watch American videos and DVDs. *Gets down on knees and begs!* Only joking!
Anyway, I'm off to get a shower. No black & white photos from me tomorrow because there's no college until 7th April. Thanks to Maria (For some reason I can't access your website or get my email to go through... Good to hear from you again!), Graeme Cheers for signing the guestbook too!), Mark (It's only about £3 to rent it and you don't need to drive all the way to Shrewsbury!), Strizzt (Well, I couldn't compare it as I've still not seen Finding Nemo), Jem, Demoness, Me, Myself & I, Ben, Liza Marie (I must get reading!), Babz (Yes, I've heard both Notebook and Saw are good. I'll have to rent them) and Carly. Take care.
13th March 2005
Sunday - 10.05pm : Once again the weekend has raced away and I'm left wondering where the time went. If only weekends were longer.
My weekend has pretty much been how I thought it would be... Lazy. Friday evening was spent watching Comic Relief's Red Nose night on TV. Ade didn't win Fame Academy, Edith Bowman (Radio 1 DJ) did, but he came a respected 3rd. Ade provided even more entertainment during the drunken karaoke later on in the evening (or was it the early hours of the morning?!), making up the words as he went along. Another performance I enjoyed was Will Young's duet (I'd tell you who it was with, but I can't remember her name!).
Saturday morning I dragged myself out of bed and into town to rent a couple of DVDs. As usual, I spent more money than I'd planned to! I ended up buy Lisa's little boy an outfit, which I'll give/send to him for Easter. I also bought myself a couple of bags of sweets... which took me right back to my childhood (When I was a kid we'd buy a "quarter" of sweets such as pear drops for around 35p, now 115g of pear drops are 69p!). So anyway, I bought a bag of pear drops (I guess they're classed as boiled sweets) and a bag of Clarnico mint creams... Very nice! Oh, and I also bought a big box of soft tissues for my nose (I feel worse than I did on Friday... ergh).
What DVDs did I rent? Shark Tale (which I watched last night) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (which I watched earlier). Shark Tale was fun, not as good as I was expecting it to be, but still fun. Will Smith did a good job as usual (and his character looks very much like him!) and I loved the raster jellyfish! It's full of great names and I'd recommend anyone watch it, especially if they like animated films. I quite enjoyed watching The Edge of Reason, though I wouldn't have minded seeing more of Hugh Grant (but that's just a personal thing). Well worth watching, especially if you've seen the first film.
I watched I Know What You did last Summer last night as it was on TV. It's a typical teen horror flick, but it kept me watching all the way through, so it can't be too bad. Although, I couldn't work out why the bloke didn't kill Ryan Phillippe's character when he had the chance the first time around... Maybe I missed something. I couldn't sleep after I'd turned off the TV... No, it had nothing to do with the film. It was because of this damn cold - I felt like I could hardly breathe and I kept coughing, very annoying! I hope I can sleep tonight, since I've got work in the morning.
I've scanned in another of the photos I developed on Thursday evening. It's of one of the guides dressed up in period costume at Hampton Court Palace. I wanted a head-on picture of him, but people kept going up and talking to him, so I had to make do with a shot from the side. I think it's turned out okay though. As usual, you can view a larger version of the photo by clicking here.
Anyway, my head is aching and my ear has just gone funny, so I'm going to head off to bed pretty soon. Thanks to Graeme, Maria, Ben, Mark, Meredith, Miss M and Mandy. Take care.
P.S. - New guestbook, due to spamming of old one!
11th March 2005 - Red Nose Day
Friday - 9.45pm : Today is Red Nose Day. It's a day when the British nation gets together and raises money in aid of Comic Relief. People don funny red noses (as is the tradition), funny hair-dos (this year's theme) and do all kinds of funny things to raise much needed money for people both in the UK and in other parts of the world. The nation gets a fun night out of it too, but we also get told what this money is for and why it is needed. Each short film showing a child in Africa coping with the outfall of aids, with hunger & starvation, showing people in our own country being abused... each of them make my eyes well up with tears. Comic Relief needs your donation - Every little helps!
I developed around 5 photos at college last night. I've only scanned one (see right) so far, but I might scan in one or two more over the weekend. You can find a larger version of the photo here. It's just a photo of a doorway at Hampton Court Palace (from my trip last month). I've not really done any architecture-type photos before and I guess it makes a change from the gig photos. I'm going to a gig in 3 weeks, so I'm hoping to take some new black & white gig photos then. We haven't got another college class until 7th April (due to the academic Easter break), so it looks like I'll have to find something else to do on a Thursday night for the next few weeks.
Remember I said my throat felt like razor blades a couple of days ago? Well, it's developed into a full blown cold with a headache to boot. I've snivelled, coughed and sneezed my way through work and a meeting, oh and a pile of tissues! I've got to keep going though, else I'll feel even worse. I'd had a couple of offers for this weekend too. One was to go to Melton for the weekend and the other was to go out for a meal tomorrow, but I don't want to infect everyone else and I think I could do with a weekend of rest (DVDs, music and maybe a book). I'm hoping I can shake off this cold over the weekend - *Fingers crossed!*.
Anyway, I'm off to carry on watching the Comic Relief show. Take care and thanks to Ben (Well, it's definitely not Ade), Graeme, Mark (He's not done bad over the last few years for work), Strizzt and Lissy.
9th March 2005
Wednesday - 9.40pm : I think that's the first time I've gotten the day right all week. I've definitely not been with it this week, at all. First I'm a day ahead of everyone else and then I'm a day behind. I was convinced I'd got a meeting this morning, it wasn't until half an hour I thought the meeting should have started that I realised that it was in fact this afternoon! I'm tired (I've fallen asleep after work every day this week), my throat feels like it's full of razor blades and I think I need a break, but nevermind!
I've just recieved an email from the people at James Marsters Live. James' debut solo album will be called 'Civilized Man'. It's due out next month and will have 11 tracks. I can't wait to hear it as I quite enjoyed what I heard at Halloween. It won't be long until I see him play again.
Another album I'm looking forward to hearing is Rob Thomas' new solo album, 'Something To Be', which is due out on 19th April. I've been keeping an eye out for it on Amazon (UK) and Play.com, but neither of them have it available for pre-order. So, if they don't get a move on, I'll have to order it from Amazon (USA) and pay the international postage.
I've been watching the Comic Relief Does Fame Academy this week. My vote goes to Ade Edmondson. I think he's just brilliant! He's certainly putting the comedy into the show, even in his songs. I mean tonight he sand in a straitjacket and burst out of it mid-song. I've been a bit of a fan since his days in The Young Ones (The re-runs - I was too young to see the original broadcasts!) and Bottom. He's completely cuckoo! (Vote Adrian!)
I've got college tomorrow night. At last I'll be able to print some of the photos from the film I developed a couple of weeks ago. Looking at my negatives, there's a couple I definitely want to develop tomorrow night. I'll scan and upload one or two if they're any good. I must remember to take a cheque to pay for next term!
Anyway, I'm yawning that much that I think I may just swallow the desk, so I think I'll get going. Thanks go out to Hope (I love that name!), Graeme, Mark, Lissy, Skye, SNiP, Mandy, Jem, Me, Myself & I and Jenni.
6th March 2005
Sunday - 1.00pm : I'm sat here with huge bags under my eyes, well, they're more like suitcases! That's the result of staying up until gone 5am to watch the Australian Grand Prix. It was well worth it though. (My little review of the race is under "Noteworthy", to the left there).
After a recommendation from Graphophobia, I've just visited One Word. Using the current given word, "mirror", I wrote my 1 minute piece.
"She looked in the mirror, scars adorning her face. Would she ever look beautiful again? Her lover stood behind her. He knew what she was thinking, she thought it every day. "I love you" he said. "You're the most beautiful girl in the world. Both in here," He placed his hand on his chest, "and here" and then on her skin. She smiled."
I wrote it with a friend of mine in mind. She got attacked by a girl with a broken glass bottle before Christmas. Quiet a bit of damage was caused. No matter the scars, she's still a beautiful person.
With thanks to Graeme, Mark and Ben.
5th March 2005
Saturday - 2.45pm : I've just been booking music tickets. After reading last nights daily local newspaper, I discovered there were a couple of gigs advertised which I wanted to go to. The first being Meatloaf at Warwick Castle and the second being Will Young at Shrewsbury. One problem, both gigs are on 16th July! I took a look at the prices, Meatloaf's Warwick Castle tickets were £10 more than Will's Shrewsbury tickets and Dad (who wanted to come with me to see Meatloaf) didn't fancy paying that kind of price. So I've gone and booked to see Will in Shrewsbury. Well, it's not often we get pop stars performing just down the road (I usually have to travel at least an hour & a half to see anyone). Anyway, we might get to see Meatloaf after all (I've wanted to see him live for years, but other plans have always got in the way). He's playing at Liverpool on the following Monday and there's a better price range for the tickets (obviously the more expensive the ticket the better the view). We're going to have a think about it before booking anything, as I'd need to book at least an afternoon, if not more, off work.
This year is looking to be another year of going to gigs. I'm going to see Mark Owen on 2nd April in Birmingham, James Marsters on 29th and 30th April in London (as well as the album launch in Coventry), Will Young on 16th July in Shrewsbury and possibly Meatloaf on 18th July at Liverpool.
Jools Holland is playing at Shrewsbury's Quarry Park the night before Will. Jools plays at Shrewsbury most years, so hopefully now Will is playing there too it might bring other music stars to the area. *Fingers crossed anyway*.
I stayed up to watch the F1 Australian Grand Prix 1st round of qualifying early this morning, so that's probably why I look like hell (more so than usual!) today. I drink very little caffine these days, so a can of Coke and a bar of chocolate was enough to keep me awake for the duration of the qualifying. For the first time in a long while, I really enjoyed the qualifying session. Of course, under the new set-up, the starting grid line-up is decided by adding the times from today's session with those of the session before tomorrow's race, but I still think today's results are great.
Fisichella (Renault) put in his flying lap just before the heavens opened and unleashed a load of rain, making it to provisional pole position. Poor Massa (Sauber), who was next on track, was just sliding all over the place and had to crawl around the track at low speed. It took him so long that instead of completing the lap and having to also complete an "in" lap, he just headed for the pits. Sato (BAR) slid off the track and, much to my excitement, M. Schumacher (Ferrari) was 25 seconds off the pole pace, putting him in a lowly 18th place. Also to my delight, the Minardi boys (both new to F1, the track, and with a kit they'd not tested) were faster than M. Schumacher. Even more so, the McLaren boys made it to 10th & 11th, Button (BAR) got to 8th and Coulthard (Red Bull Racing) made it to 6th! Of course, those places could change tomorrow, but not by a great deal, unless another downpour arrives creating even more chaos.
Anyway, that's about it from me for now. Thanks to Mark (And equipment such as an enlarger, chemicals etc! Oh, and what money?!), Graeme, Meredith, Mandy and Jenni (Marsters! - a.k.a. Spike!).
2nd March 2005
Wednesday - 10.15pm : Another page of the calendar turned. This month's picture of James Marsters is enough to make any woman melt! It's definitely a picture which makes me smile whenever I glance up at it. Talking of James, you lucky ones in the States will be able to see him in his new film, Cool Money on 19th March on the USA channel. Fingers crossed that we'll get to see it here in the UK.
Tomorrow evening's college class has been cancelled, so I might go and see a friend instead. I'm quite disappointed! I was looking forward to getting some of the photos printed from the film I developed last week. Nevermind, I'll just have to wait until next week. I'll have to remember to take a cheque in to pay for next term's class fees too. I was talking to Dad earlier - I mentioned how during the college summer break I'll probably be itching to do some photo development and he said maybe we could turn the room at the back of the garage into a dark room. My only thoughts are the costs involved in doing that (and should I really be let alone with chemicals?!).
It's the start of the 2005 F1 Grand Prix season this weekend. While I'm excited about the new season, I'm also anoyed. I'm all for the little teams, as they're what helped build the foundation of motorsport, especially in Britain, but what is happening now is, to me, an example of the big boy bullies getting their way once again. There's one thing standing in the way of Minardi racing this weekend and that's Ferrari. Every other team in the championship has agreed that Minardi should be allowed to compete in the first 3 races of the season, despite their current car not fully complying with the new rules. They have good reason for not being able to get their new (rule compliant) car to the grid as quickly as everyone else and it's not as if Minardi are going to fly past a healthy Ferrari in any car (I'm sure Paul Stoddart would streak down the street if they did!), so I don't see their problem, none of the other teams has a problem with it. Anyway, I guess we'll soon seen what happens, but I won't go on about it any more else I'll be ranting for ages about it!
Anyway, I'm going to say my good nights and leave thanks for commenting to these kind people: Miss M, Graeme (She's now told me that they've never heard me sleep-talk), Suzanne, Mark (I can't usually stand air-freshener either, but this vanilla scented stuff is okay), Mandy (The only thing my cat eats that he's not supposed to is Mum's plants!), Sueellen, Strizzt, Danielle and SNiP (Yes, I've got 'Behind The Red Door' on DVD. Good film).
P.S. - Mika's fine now, thanks!
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