31st March 2006
Friday - 8.45pm : My box of goodies from Cybercandy arrived today and I've already tucked into a can of Mountain Dew (Why they stopped selling it over here is beyond me). All this pop and all these sweets and nobody to share it with... What a shame!
Jem has lead me to another sweet shop... The Pink Sugar Mouse. So now I'm drooling over their website and very tempted on buying a few things! They even do gluten-free and sugar-free sweets, which will be handy for several family members and friends. I need to stop looking at this website, I've VERY tempted to order and I know I shouldn't. Yes, I'm like a big kid in a sweet shop. Oh, they've got the pink sugar mice too (which shouldn't be surprising considering the name of the shop)... We always used to have 1 each at Christmas. I need to hide my debit card, I really do.
Another reason why I should hide my debit card (and probably my credit card) is I had a spending spree yesterday. Choices UK have a lot of special offers on DVDs at the moment and I ended up ordering The Dukes of Hazzard (Seasons 1 & 2) boxsets, The Dukes of Hazzard (2005 movie), The Good Shepherd and The Island. (Can you tell I'm a bit of a Dukes of Hazzard fan?) So no more spending money on DVDs for me this month.
It's finally official. Wembley Stadium will not be ready for the summer gigs this year (what a surprise!). Good thing I didn't book a hotel in London. The Take That concerts on 24th & 25th June have been moved to the Milton Keynes Bowl. I've got a ticket for the 24th and I've already booked a hotel room in MK. I've got a Golden Circle ticket and will be standing so this won't affect me, but anyone with seating tickets will now have to stand (or sit on the floor) because MK Bowl doesn't have any permenant seating. I was looking forward to going to the new Wembley Stadium, because I'd not been to the old one before they knocked it down, but I'm sure the concert will be just as good at MK. I'm sure there will be plenty of concerts at Wembley Stadium when it's completed... if it's ever completed.
Right then, I'm off to finish my mint hot chocolate before I head to bed for an earl night. It's the Australian F1 Grand Prix this weekend and the qualifying and race are on in the early hours of tomorrow morning and Sunday morning (I'm going to be so tired on Monday!).
29th March 2006
Wednesday - 9.55pm : I've been spoiling myself again. Not DVDs or CDs, but drink and sweets (thats candy to you Americans!). It's Cybercandy's fault! They sent me their newsletter by email and within seconds of reading it I was on their website and at the checkout. I've ordered some cans of Mountain Dew (it was sold here years ago and as soon as I was hooked they stopped selling it) as well as some chocolate and candy. Cybercandy is great for candy etc from around the world. I always try to pop into their little shop when I'm in London, if only for the sweet smell!
Hmmm... Mentioning that has made me hungry now!
I have quite an apetite lately. I'm snacking a lot and it's starting to show on the scales. To tell the truth, putting on a few pounds wouldn't hurt me, but I'm just wondering why I seem to be snacking more these days. Honestly, I have a cupboard full of chocolate.
I love watching Derren Brown trick people on his shows, but he's definitely going to make me cringe when I see his 'Trick of the Mind' TV show at Easter. He's likely to cause controversy (and not for the first time), because for his latest stunt (filmed recently) Derren sticks two 14-inch needles into Robbie Williams' arms while Robbie chants 'Three Blind Mice' and is chained in a crucifixion-type pose. Apparently Robbie didn't feel any pain (that must have been some trance!) during the trick, but did look quite sick and troubled (as would anyone who's just had two 14-inch needles stuck into their arms... or anywhere for that matter!). Poor Robbie... but then he did sign up for it.
Anyway, time for me to go and raid the fridge! Thanks to Rob, Lisa E, Karen, Andrea, Graeme, Sarah, Mark, Katie (I have noticed that, but I think it's because I've got so many photos!), Nick, Kati, Mandy and Liza Marie.
26th March 2006
Sunday - 10.35pm : It's nearly the end of March already and it seems to have rushed by. It's been a quiet month for me, all I seem to have done is watch F1 and DVDs. April will be a little different since I have two concerts to go to, as well as a trip to Milton Keynes planned.
I heard some bad news today. My former headmaster died of a heart attack last night. I haven't seen him in a while, but he helped me a lot when I was being bullied in high school. I delivered his newspaper for years, so once in a while he'd check I was doing okay and didn't have any problems. He'll definitely be missed.
My brother still has chicken pox and seems to have an eye infection too. I really feel for him, it's got to be driving him mad. I itch just thinking about it.
I've been sorting out my photographs today - sorting them out into relevent subjects (gigs, events, family & friends, cats etc) and adding new ones. I should really sort out my best ones (or at least, my favourites) and get them enlarged to put into a portfolio. I've been looking at some local event calendars and may go to a few festivals etc to take some photos. That way I can get some more practise in and maybe some nice photos.
Anyway, it's getting late and I should be getting myself to bed. Thanks to Graeme, Jen, Andrea, Miss M, Melly (No, my brother doesn't live at home), Jolynn, Karen, Kimm, Nick, Sueellen (He's a pretty big kid, nearing 30), Me, Myself & I, Kati, Liza Marie, Karen, Dawn, Mark and Sarah.
22nd March 2006
Wednesday - 9.45pm : I had a big surprise this morning...
A courier delivered a big box with my name on it, before I went to work, but I hadn't ordered anything big so I couldn't figure it out. I opened the box and in the top was a George Clooney calendar, which confused me even more. So I pulled back the bubble wrap and underneath was a box containing 2 Martini glasses, Oceans Eleven and Oceans Twelve on DVD, and a mini Martini cocktail book. I pulled back even more bubble wrap and polystyrene packing and found 3 bottles of Martini (Bianco, Rosso and Extra Dry) and a bottle of tonic water!
I'd won a George Clooney competition which I did last November (which I can barely remember entering). So that was a good start to the day. If only Mr Clooney could have delivered it himself!
On the other side of the coin...
My poor brother has got chicken pox. I had it as a kid and thought it was torturous enough then, but apparently it's worse in adults. He's itching like mad and the calamine lotion he was told to use just makes it worse, so it's driving him crazy. He's getting dizzy spells and the boredom isn't helping either. There's only so much TV you can watch and so many things to do around the house. I'm so glad I had it when I was younger and I bet he'll be glad when he's better.
21st March 2006
Tuesday - 10.25pm : I've recommended them before and I'll recommend them again... PhotoBox are brilliant! Last night, just short of midnight, I ordered 100 photos (I'm finally getting my Darkness photos printed). If you order 100 7x5 photos then you're given 25% discount on the price of each photo (so instead of 20p each, they're 15p each). They currently have an offer on (which ends at midnight tonight) for 50% off 7x5 photos... So I've bagged myself a right bargin. 100 photos, plus postage & packaging, for just £9. Each photo worked out to 7.5p each... So I've had a quite a discount on my order! What's more, my order has already been dispatched and will be with me tomorrow. Quality service.
I checked my MySpace account earlier (which is a rare occasion!) and I'd received a message from Josh Doyle. Josh was the lead singer of the DumDums a few years back and I saw them support Robbie Williams in 2000 (got the album, but don't remember buying the t-shirt!). I just had to get the album out and have a listen, since it's been such a long time. Anyway, Josh is back, so make sure you check him out.
Anyway, that's pretty much all I've got to report tonight. All I've done since my last entry is sleep and work (but not at the same time, obviously).
20th March 2006
Monday - 10.25pm : The lad two doors down likes to play guitar... constantly... for hours... even late at night... and it's driving me nuts! It's like being stood outside a venue where a band is playing... that dull droning sound. Having lived in this village all my life, I've gotten used to peace and quiet, with the odd baaing from sheep or mooing from cows. This droning noise is so annoying. Once I hear it I can't get my mind off it and can only concentrate on the noise and not the TV or whatever I happen to be doing. Yes, I can even hear it with the TV on. I hate to think how mad next door are getting!
I watched Kinky Boots earlier this evening and I thought it was great! Having seen Chiwetel Ejiofor play The Operative in Serenity it was quite funny seeing him play a Drag Queen. What a change in characters! Kinky Boots is funny, but it's also touching. A great storyline and well worth seeing, if only for Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance as Lola!
I sat and watched Must Love Dogs yesterday afternoon. I thought it was an easy going comedy and was perfect for a Sunday afternoon. John Cusack seems to be a bit type-cast, but Jake is a lovable and funny character. The only annoying thing I found about the film was it seems to be a bit of an advert for PerfectMatch.com. Other than that, if you're looking for an easy going film, this is one to watch.
Don't mention the F1! Christian Klien (driving for Red Bull) hit Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren which ended his race on the first lap. I wasn't happy! It was all up to Juan Pablo Montoya in his McLaren, but he was nursing his engine towards the end of the race and didn't want to risk it, we need all the points we can get. Coulthard had problems mid-race and retired to his garage, so I wasn't having much luck with anyone I support. The race was Renault's, with Fisichella crossing the line in 1st and Alonso in 2nd. Thankfully, Brit Jenson Button grabbed 3rd - a small consolation, I guess.
18th March 2006
Saturday - 6.25pm : I forgot to mention I watched Blow the other night. It's a movie based on a true story about a man called George Jung (played by Johnny Depp), who established the American cocaine market in the 1970s. I think the movie shows what drugs can do to a person, not health-wise, but how they create false friends and destroy families and lives. Johnny Depp did a great job in playing George, he even looked like him! Well worth watching, just don't expect a happy ending.
I rented a couple of DVDs today - Kinky Boots (starring Chiwetel Ejiofor - some of you may recognise him as The Operative in Serenity) and Must Love Dogs (starring John Cusack). Kinky Boots is another film inspired by a true story. This one is about a footwear factory (over here in the UK) which turned to making kinky boots for transvestites to save the family business. Must Love Dogs was recommended to me by Andrea and, if other movies starring John Cusack are anything to go by, I'm sure I'll love it. I'll get around to watching both of the DVDs sometime this weekend, so I'll let you know what I think of them soon.
24 - The Game (PS2) arrived in the mail today. I had a play on it this afternoon and I love it! The game is set six months after the end of season 2, and two and a half years before the start of season 3. The graphics are excellent, the characters are voiced by the actors and it's pretty much the same as the TV show. It's a must for all fans and I'm sure people who haven't seen 24 would enjoy it too. I might just go and play on it some more later (which will make a change as my PS2 stands idle most of the time).
Mum & I decided to spoil the cats today (and I don't know why, because Leo woke me up at 4.30am! I wouldn't have minded if it had been an hour later as I wanted to be up at 5.30am to watch the F1 Qualifying). Anyway, we were in town and, after a 2nd visit to the local pet shop, decided to buy them some catnip toys. At first it was going to be just a ball and a soft chew ring (because Leo likes to sink his teeth into things), but them Mum found this big dog toy for cats (a bit like a cuddly toy). It's meant as a scratch toy and Mum's excuse for buying it was that the scratch post is wearing out! (It's unusual, because it's normally me who buys the toys and equipment). The man in the pet shop let us have it for £1 cheaper than the marked price - nice man.
We got home and presented Mika & Leo with the toys. Mika decided his favourite was the dog, but he didn't scratch it. Mika has never had the pleasure of catnip before and he simply couldn't stop rubbing up against the toy dog with his face. He was flat out on his back and side, trying to make the most of this catnip toy. Whereas when Leo got a hold of it he was scratching and biting it. In fact, Leo actually tore into it, he was that rough with it! So Mum has had to sew it back up (I'm useless at that kind of thing).
Mika & Leo will have another toy soon, just as soon as I've eaten my Kinder Surprise egg! Tip: Once you've eaten the Kinder egg chocolate and had the toy from the inside, the plastic egg makes a great toy for cats. Mika & Leo love chasing after Kinder eggs down the hall, more so than I love eating the chocolate!
Are you still awake? Anyway, that's all from me. I'll be trying to have an early night tonight as I have to be up at 6am in the morning. Thanks go out to Mark, Graeme, The Mistress of the Dark, Lisa E, Sarah, Linda, Jen, Robin, Prego, Katie and Skye.
16th March 2006
Thursday - 8.15pm : The snow has all gone now, but we did get some snowflakes floating around today. Looks like we'll be having a late Spring.
I've just been watching Great Welsh Roads on ITV Wales. Despite being an Englishman, Mike Parker is a Welshman at heart and does his best to promote our beautiful countryside of Wales. This latest TV series of his sees him and his dog, Patsy, traveling around Wales in his camper van (which is now up for sale - as mentioned in Mike's blog). Mike even visited the now famous Llanddewi Brefi - known as the home of Little Britain's Dafydd, the "only gay in the village" (except he wasn't on that day!). Anyway, Mikee's TV programme makes me want to go for a drive and take some photos, so I may just do that this weekend (if the weather is OK). Now I just need to decide where to go!
My package from ArrowFile arrived today - a couple of photo folders (one of which was a special offer for just 1p!), some inserts, as well as a couple of freebies thrown in. Anyway, the box was Mika-sized and he was inspecting it before I could even open it. Of course, the moment I removed the contents Mika was climbing in! Leo tried getting in the box too, but there wasn't enough room and Mika kept batting him with his paw. Leo was a little jealous - the past couple of boxes I've had have been too small for Mika, but Leo has been able to slide into them perfectly. After grinning like a Cheshire cat for 20 minutes or so, Mika finally crawled out and let Leo play in the box for a while (and he's already gnawed at the cardboard!).
Talking of Leo... The little sod woke me up at 4am this morning! When he's had enough of sleeping, he walks up to the top of the bed and sits right in front of my face purring. He must think that if he sits looking all cute and purring that I'll wake up and be happy to play at that time of the morning. If I don't pay attention then he just goes to to sit under my desk and I'm really not up for crawling under a desk in the dark to drag out a ball of fur at 4am, so I tend to drag myself out of bed and put him in the hall, hoping he'll wonder into the living room. He's just lucky he's so cute! (Did I ever tell you I have to play chase with him when I get home from work? He's more like a toddler than a cat!).
Right then, I'm off to drink my mint hot chocolate and watch some TV. Thanks to Rob, SNiP, Karen, Graeme, Sarah, Katie, Mark, Strizzt, Kati, Jolynn, Jenn, Beau, The Mistress of the Dark, Miss M, Liza Marie, The Complimenting Commenter, Mandy and Cassie.
12th March 2006
Sunday - 10.15pm : Last weekend we were without water for a few hours. Today we were experiencing power cuts for 6 - 7 hours. The electricity would go off and then come back on again within seconds. At one point this was happening every 10 - 20 minutes! As soon as we'd think everything was back to normal, the electricity would go off again. I had my bath at 5pm so if the electric went off I wouldn't be sat in the bath in complete darkness. It went off at least 3 times while I was in the bath! Anything hooked up to a wall plug was going off and on like a yoyo. Thankfully, everything has been fine for the past two hours, so I thought it'd be safe enough to venture online.
The power first went off on the 2nd to last lap of the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix, so I was doing a lot of shouting as I didn't want to miss any of the action. Thankfully it came on long enough for me to see the end of the race.
And what a race it was! My McLaren man Raikkonen started from the back of the grid and within just a few laps he had already passed half of the cars. He crossed the finish line in 3rd, making it onto the podium. There's not many drivers who can do that! Hot on his tail was Brit Jenson Button. Problems with his clutch at the start forced him to drop back a few places, but a few sharp overtaking manouvers ensured he was fighting hard to grab 3rd place from Raikkonen. He didn't take it, but he's definately a contender for the title this year. Alonso and Schumacher fought for the top step of the podium, but Alonso's strategy and quick final pit-stop ensured he came out ahead of Schumacher to win the first race of the season.
Looking at the results of this first race, the championship could go any of four ways... Right now, there's Alonso (current title holder), Schumacher, Raikkonen and Button in contention for the title. This is how a title race should be! 2006 looks like it will be a great season for F1.
It snowed overnight, so it was white over when I woke up this morning. I had intended on a Sunday morning lie-in, but Leo woke me up early. So by 8.15am I was out on our driveway and in our back garden taking photos of the snow before anyone had walked or driven through it. (Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge).
P.S. - Thanks to everyone for their holiday ideas!
11th March 2006
Saturday - 1.00pm : I had a bit of a lie-in this morning and rolled out of bed just in time to watch the F1 Qualifying live from Bahrain.
The new qualifying format may not be the easiest to follow (it is now split into 3 parts in a knockout style), but it certainly provided some excitement. Within the first of 15 minute section of qualifying, I was shouting at the TV in disbelief as Riakkonen's McLaren suffered a rear suspension failure and went out of control, ensuring he'll be starting from the back of the grid in tomorrow's race. Not the best of starts to the 2006 season!
Schumacher and Ferrari were back on form and landed themselves not only pole but both spots at the front of the grid. Button (Honda) qualified in a well earned 3rd, with Alonso (Renault) just behind him, and Montoya grabbed 5th.
Tomorrow's season starter race should be a good one. I'm hoping Riakkonen will make his way through the field and be in contention for a podium finish, after all he had plenty of practise with that last year. Looking at today's qualifying, there seems to be a lot of competition this year, what with Ferrari being back on form, Honda looking good and the current title holders Renault. Only time will tell.
I'm still looking at holidays (as mentioned in previous entries). I found another Canadian trip I think I'd enjoy... The Niagara Peninsular tour by bicycle. This lead me to looking at European cycling holidays. I've always loved cycling (although I've not done much of late) and I'd imagine it would be a great way to see the countryside, villages and towns of various countries. I've also got brochures of Artic holidays in Lapland, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Norway, Finland and Sweden, but they're something I'd definitely need to save for. There's so much to choose from!
Thanks to Liza Marie, Graeme, Viamarie, Karen, Me, Myself & I, Jolynn (America - Salt Lake City, New York, San Fransisco, maybe a ranch holiday somewhere. I'm open to ideas!), FTS, SNiP (I take my camera everywhere!), Mark (Not big enough to fit you in!), Sarah (Fancy saving for a cycling holiday?) and Mistress of the Dark.
7th March 2006
Tuesday - 10.15pm : I've been suffering from a headache since I got home from work this evening and it doesn't seem to be easing up. Hopefully some sleep will lift it tonight.
In my last entry I mentioned that I'm just itching to on holiday or travel. Well, I've made my mind up on at least one destination... Churchill, Manibota, Northern Canada. Polar bears, a host of other wildlife, a great place to see the Northern Lights and culture. Sounds good to me! However, due to it's remoteness and other factors it's not the cheapest of trips to make. I'd probably need at least £3,000... So it's not something I can plan on doing this year, though I think it would be feasible for the end of next year. A long time to wait, but I'm sure it would be worth it.
Another option is America, which would give me a chance to drop by on a couple of friends (You know who you are!). The closest I've been to the States is Niaraga Falls on the Canadian side, so I've got the entire country to explore yet! Of course, I'd love to visit Ontario again, especially Niagara-on-the-Lake.
I'd also like to see more of Europe, especially Northern and Eastern Europe. So far I've been to Northern France (including Paris), Belgium and Spain (Barcelona and Catalunia). I'd happily go back to any of those countries though, despite getting sunburnt in Barcelona during the Summer Solstice.
I'd pretty much go anywhere (though I think I'll skip Iraq for now!), just as long as it's it's not sunbathing territory! Toasting myself just isn't my kind of thing.
5th March 2006
Sunday - 6.25pm : I'm just watching a holiday programme and they've just shown a reindeer safari... I'd love to do something like that! Holiday programmes always make me want to go on holiday, I guess that's what they're there for.
Most of my trips in recent years have been down to London or visiting friends. The last time I went abroad was in 2001 when I went to Canada. So I'm just itching to go somewhere. I'm going to London at least twice this year (when I go to see Ricky Martin next month and Take That in June - assuming Wembley Stadium is completed by then!), but that doesn't stop me wanting to go elsewhere.
My friend Ellie is currently in New Zealand having a wonderful time, Graeme is off to Finland to visit Kati soon, so I'm really going to have to get into gear and sort out a trip, even if it's just for a few days. I have a few ideas already.
Have any of you ever travelled solo? I've been looking at a few holiday websites designed for the single traveller and have ordered a couple of brochures. The only time I've travelled alone abroad was when I went to Paris, but then I met up and stayed with a penpal.
The trip to Paris was a bit of an experience. Whilst my penpal could speak good English, her family didn't speak it at all and I can barely remember the basic French I was taught in high school. At one point her dad struck up a conversation with me, him speaking in French and me in English... I think there was a lot of hand-gesturing/sign language going on! I seem to remember understanding the basics of what he was talking about, anyway. It's quite nice to experience a city with a local as you don't always stick to the touristy places. Of course, we went to the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées and the usual tourist magnets, but we also explored various other areas of the city.
Trip/holiday/vacation ideas welcome! Thanks to Margalit (I found a couple of online shops in the UK who sell the catnip bubbles, so I may just have to buy some!), Suzanne, Rashbre (No, they didn't tell us in advance about the water), Me, Myself & I, Rick, Carmi, Karen, Melly, Viamarie, Old Old Lady of the Hills, Jean-Luc Picard, Lisa E, Greywulf, Nick, Sueellen, Cyberevolution, Graeme and Wendy Wings.
4th March 2006
Saturday - 9.00pm : We were without water for most of today. It's funny how you take things for granted... Water always runs from the tap when you turn it on, but not today, not for us. We were going to have roast beef dinner tonight, but without water we couldn't do the vegetables. So we're having that tomorrow and we had a take-away tonight. The water is back on now, thankfully, so I can have a nice hot bath tonight.
The Angel season 4 DVD boxset arrived in the mail today. It's the only season I've not seen straight through, in fact I've only seen a handful of the season 4 episodes. Shocking, I know! Anyway, it'll keep me busy for a while.
Talking of Joss Whedon's work... I was greeted by a nice sight when I walked into Woolworths today. Serenity and Firefly sat side by side in the number 1 slot of the DVD section. So it looks like it's doing well DVD wise, but then that's where Firefly made it's money... the DVD sales. Yes, I have both the R1 Serenity DVD (because I'm impatient) and the R2 DVD (because us Brits were blessed with more special features). If you've not seen Serenity yet, rent, beg or borrow it, just make sure you watch it!
I don't have any plans for tomorrow, so I'm guessing it'll be a day of watching Angel, surfing the web and watching the latest season 5 episode of 24. Oh, and entertaining Leo.
Leo is a cat that likes, or rather, demands a lot of attention. He loves to be brushed, especially when I get home from work. He'll run to me and then run to the brush and sit next to it until I brush him. He likes to play... a lot! If you don't want to play then he decides to play up. So each night (or afternoon if it's a weekend) I tend to set aside some time to play with him, whether it's a ball, toy mouse or a bit of string. Mika likes to play too (as do most cats), but he's not so keen on playing with Leo. We bought some bubble solution today (remember blowing bubbles as a child?) and Leo watch the bubbles with amazement, but I don't think he could figure out why they kept disappearing. He'd bat at them with his paw, but if a bubble landed on him he'd jump back! Mika just sat and watched. He didn't mind if a bubble landed on him.
Before I go... I do feel better, thanks. My wisdom teeth aren't hurting so much at the moment, which makes quite a difference. If they keep playing up I'll have to go back to the dentist, and I was only there a week and a half ago!
3rd March 2006
Friday - 9.45pm : I've not had the best of weeks. I'm still not feeling 100%, I've had problems with people abusing my website, my monitor died (which is why I've been a bit quiet on the net for the past few days) and to top it all off my wisdom teeth are playing up. So I've not been in the best of moods this week. Thankfully, my new monitor arrived today so that's cheered me up a little.
Ginger, our neighbours' cat, went missing a couple of days ago. The poor little fella had got stuck in the brook and couldn't get out because of the snow. It took a few hours to find him and he was quite distraught when he was found. He's safe at home now and I think he'll be staying inside for the time being.
We've had a week of snow this week. Schools have been closed and children have been sledging. They've been sledging in the field behind our house and there's a horse in the field. I don't think it was too happy about the intruders in the field, because he's chased a few of them... or maybe he wanted to join in?! The snow has nearly all gone, it's mostly on the tops of the hills now, but we're due some more tonight. I've got a free weekend so I'm hoping it'll be white over in the morning... A chance to take some photos!
So what will March bring me? The start of the 2006 F1 Grand Prix season, for one. I'll be supporting McLaren all the way, and our British drivers David Coulthard and Jenson Button. I've been a McLaren fan for years, but feel it's only right to support the Brits too. March is looking to be a quiet month, apart from the F1 (I get quite excited and shout at the TV when the F1 is on). The only other thing I can think of is that I've been asked to photograph a gig for a colleague next weekend (somebody has faith in me!).