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29th May 2005

Sunday - 2.45pm : The F1 European Grand Prix has just finished and what a bittersweet race it has been for me. I honestly don't know where to start. I'm practically shaking here. Why? Well, my boy Kimi Riakkonen (McLaren) led for most of the race and one lap before the end his tyre managed to rip off his suspension and send him into the wall... ONE LAP BEFORE THE END OF THE RACE! I mean come on, one lap! Of course, I leapt up and the air was blue! (And I seem to be using a lot of exclamation marks here). Had McLaren brought Kimi into the pits and changed that tyre in the closing laps, he could still have made it across the line in 3rd race. The gamble didn't pay off. So that's the bitter.

The sweet? David Coulthard crossed the finish line in 4th! He started the race in 12th and even led the grand prix for a short time (albeit during the pit window). Unfortunately, he was punished with a drive-thru for speeding in the pits, which dropped him from a possible podium place down to 5th. Then when Kimi plowed into the wall, DC moved into 4th, just shy of a podium place.

I just hope our neighbours weren't about to here me shouting! I really get into F1 races. Anyone who says the races have turned boring and predicable really haven't been watching this season.

I watched Man On Fire last night and I thought it was a great movie. Denzel Washington starred as Creasy, a former assassin who vowes to take revenge on everyone involved in kidnapping the girl he'd sworn to protect. I'd definitely recommend this one!

I'm off to watch The Woodsman (starring Kevin Bacon) as I've got to take it back in the morning (and I've got Joey, 2 & A Half Men and 24 to watch later!).

Take care and thanks to Graeme, Andrea, Me, Myself & I, Mark, Maria, Miss M, Strizzt and Melly.

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28th May 2005

Saturday - 5.55pm : I went to bed last night thinking I'd book a ticket this morning to see Rob Thomas in London, but by this morning I'd changed my mind! So now I'm going to see Rob Thomas in Manchester. I'll be saving some money and I might just be going to London for the weekend sometime during the summer anyway.

Out back, yesterday eveningTalking of summer, we had lovely weather here yesterday (while I was at work). Of course, now it's the holiday weekend, it's gone all windy. I nearly got blown away in town this afternoon!

While I was in town today, I rented a couple of DVDs (surprise, surprise!). I picked up Man On Fire (starring Denzel Washington) and The Woodsman (starring Kevin Bacon). 'Man On Fire' has been staring at me from the shelves for weeks now so I thought I'd actually get it, and I think Kevin Bacon is a good actor so that's why I picked up 'The Woodsman'.

X-Men is on ITV1 at the moment, so it's turning out to be quite a movie weekend. I've seen this before though. It's got some actors that I like in it - Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. It's not usually my type of film (or, at least, it didn't used to be), but some friends from Melton persuaded me to go and see X2 at the cinema, so I had to see X-Men too.

Anyway, my stomach is grumbling so I'm going to head off to the kitchen for something to eat. Thanks to Karen, Mark, Andrea, Natalie, Donatienne and Graeme.

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27th May 2005

Friday - 10.25pm : I've got a dilemma. Tickets for Rob Thomas' UK tour have gone on sale. There's only been 2 dates announced, Manchester and London. So, my dilemma is... Do I go to the Manchester gig (2 hours or so from here, more if we get lost... which usually happens in Manchester, somehow) on the Monday (20th June), or do I go to the London gig (4 hours or so by train) on the Wednesday (21st June) and spend a couple of days down there?

At first I thought Manchester since I'd only need to take an afternoon off work, though I'd be pretty tired the next day (wouldn't be home until 1am at the earliest... depending on the 'getting lost' factor). Then I did a bit of research (train tickets, hotel prices and tube times) and changed my mind to London, thinking I could visit a couple of my favourite shops while I was down there. Then, Dad comes in and says I should go to the Manchester one and he'll drive me, so now I don't know what to do. Dad ALWAYS gets lost and wound up when we go to Manchester. Of all the times we've been (and they've usually been because I've been going to gigs), I'm sure the only time we didn't end up going around in circles was the time I saw Robbie Williams at Trafford Cricket Ground.

So what do I do? Obviously Manchester would be the cheaper option, but I think London would be the fun option. Hmmm...

In other ticket news... I've booked my ticket for James Marsters' 'Words & Music' evening event in London in October. I went for the "Premium" ticket, so I'll be somewhere at the front. It's not just about James though, it's a good excuse for a group of friends from all over to get together, although I know there's going to be a few missing this time (due to other commitments). Still, it should be a good time.

It's a Bank Holiday weekend now here in the UK. I doubt I'll be going far though. The F1 European Grand Prix will be on TV on Sunday, so I'll be watching that, and the Qualifying on Saturday. I have also brought a laptop home to do some more overtime work on, so it won't be much of a holiday weekend for me. Although, I do plan on watching some films and DVDs.

Anyway, thanks to Graeme, Mark, Karen, Lissy, Andrea and Suzanne.

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24th May 2005

JamesTuesday - 9.35pm : I knew exactly what I was going to write about tonight, that was until a certain email arrived in my Inbox. The latest James Marsters UK event has been announced, so now my head is all filled with that. It's a "Words & Music" theatre event in London at the end of October, with both a matinee performance and an evening performance. The only thing is that've forgotten to mention something very important... The ticket prices! So I'll have to phone up tomorrow morning and find out. Well, you weren't thinking I was going to give this event a miss, were you?

I finished reading Jim Butcher's Dead Beat (Book 7 in the Dresden Files series) last night and I enjoyed every moment of it. Of course, Mika tried to interupt me every time I got half way down a page. He didn't really want my attention, he just didn't want the book to have my attention! Anyway, it was a great read and had a twist that had given me a load of hints but I still didn't see it coming. I think it's the best of the series so far and I'm looking forward to seeing what else Jim puts poor Harry through next.

I got a letter from Lisa in the mail today. Little Harley had made a contribution too, he'd sent me some scribbles. It's his birthday soon so I'm considering buying him some big chunky colouring pens. I'll buy him a big sketch pad too, else he'll be redecorating the walls for Lisa & Gareth and I'm not entirely sure they'd thank me for that. Hmmm... on second thoughts, I'd better get those washable ones!

Ah well, that's all from me tonight. Thanks to Graeme, Mark, Andrea, Lissy (I didn't like the Caleb character either, but Nathan is completely different in Firefly), Karen and Miss M. Take care.

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23rd May 2005

FrankieMonday - 7.45pm : The first bit of music news I heard this morning was the announcement that Frankie Poullain, bass player for The Darkness, has departed the band. Well, I wasn't expecting that one! Apparently, it's due to "musical differences", but who knows. Maybe he didn't like the idea of Justin having a solo career along side the band. The Darkness will be announcing a replacement in the coming months, but can you really replace Frankie? It will be weird seeing somebody else up on stage playing bass.

Joss Whedon's Firefly DVD boxset arrived in the mail today. Some friends (one in particular) have ranted & raved to me about this series and after seeing the first couple of episodes I decided I'd get the DVDs. The New York Post describe it as "A very funny, very hip, very terrific SCF-FI show" and from what I've seen I'd describe it as a SCI-FI/Western! If what everyone has been saying about it is true, I can't see why it was cancelled after it's first season (maybe the TV executives don't like Joss Whedon, after all Angel was cancelled in it's prime).

Anyway, all is not lost... Firefly has spawned a movie. Serenity, due out here in early October. Some people may recognise the guy who plays the lead character, Nathan Fillion. He played Caleb in the final season of Buffy and was also in Dracula 2000, Blast from the Past and Saving Private Ryan.

It was a good race yesterday. McLaren's top man Kimi Riakkonen raced across the line taking the victory at Monaco, which pleased me no end. Unfortunately, David Coulthard got knocked out by Michael Schumacher, so I wasn't too happy about that. All in all it was a fantastic race though, I must admit.

Anyway, time for me to get going. Thanks to Claudia, Graeme, Andrea, Karen, SNiP, Vera and Strizzt.

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21st May 2005

Ollie the CatSaturday - 8.35pm : Anyone who knows me will know that I love cats and I love taking photos. So I had a delightful task to do today. A friend asked if I would take some black & white photos of her cats. Of course, I obliged and I shall be developing the film at my next photography class (which isn't until the first week of June now). Ollie (to the right there) was one of the subjects modeling for me (Obviously this picture was taken with my mobile phone and not with black & white film). Isn't he beautiful? I've never seen a cat with such long fur - He's a furry gentle giant!

Ben Folds was on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross last night. He sang his new single Landed and I really enjoyed it. It got me thinking of an old Ben Folds Five song that I liked, only I couldn't think what it was called. All I could think of was the word "wall", but I knew it wasn't that, so I went off in search of the answer and for a clip of the song. I found my answer on the Ben Folds Five website, the song was 'Brick' and was on their 'Whatever And Ever Amen' album. I couldn't resist... I went and added the album to my ever growing music collection, but not until after some price checking. I bought the special expanded edition from Ben Folds - Attacked By Plastic online shop, including international shipping, and it was still cheaper than getting it from the UK! (Which shows just how expensive CDs are over here).

Anyway, back to the subject of Ben Folds - I think I'll get his new album sometime soon, too. It's called 'Songs For Silverman' and I think I might just splash out on the version that comes with a bonus DVD.

I was very pleased with today's F1 Qualifying from Monaco, what with McLaren boy Kimi Raikkonen taking provisional pole by a spectacular 0.481s faster than nearest rival Alonso. It's being hailed as the lap of the year and we're not yet half way through! We'll still have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out who exactly is in pole position for the race, but fingers crossed Kimi will still be up there leading the pack.

Thanks for commenting goes to Graeme, Me, Myself & I (I did!), Skye, Karen, Mark and Sueellen.

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20th May 2005

Through the window... The rainbow (Stored by Flickr)Friday - 9.20pm : Here's what I saw out back a little while ago. A beautiful rainbow. It's only taken with my mobile phone camera, but you can still see how bright the colours were.

On the subject of photos. A big thank you goes out to Evamaria, who gave me a free pro account with Flickr! (So please pop by her website and say "Hello!").

If you've been reading this for a few months or more then you may remember me talking about a man called Ivan Noble. He wrote a column/diary for the BBC website about his battle with a brain tumour, until he died at the end of January aged 37. His book, Like A Hole In The Head: Living With A Brain Tumour, is released on Monday. Having been a regular reader of his online diaries, I know I'll definitely be buying a copy. It'll be money well spent and the BBC's proceeds will go to Medecins Sans Frontieres UK, a charity chosen by Ivan. (If you'd like to read some of Ivan's tumour diary, you can find the entries here).

Talking of books, I'm still reading Jim Butcher's Deat Beat and I'm really enjoying it. I tend to read it while lying in bed before sleep time, which makes for some funny dreams sometimes. The only problem is that the furry one with 4 paws & a tail (in other words - Mika) keeps interrupting me! I'll be half way down a page and I'll hear a "miaow!" or a tapping at my bedroom door. There's no use me trying to ignore it as it just carries on until I open the door, and I'd rather him not wake anyone else up (I'm always the last to go to bed). I keep saying I should have a cat-flap in my bedroom door, but then you could guarantee that he'd not use it anyway.

No lazy time for me this weekend. I'll be watching the F1 Monaco Grand Prix (which usually involves a lot of jumping up & down and yelling at the TV on my part) and doing some work which I need to get finished by Monday morning.

Anyway, commenting thanks go out to Graeme, Evamaria, Mandy, Nick, Karen, Andrea, Donatienne, Me, Myself & I and Hellen. Have a good weekend!

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16th May 2005

My Postcard/Picture WallMonday - 10.05pm : As I mentioned last night, I've now got myself a Flickr account. I've only uploaded one photo so far though... and there it is. It's nothing exciting (as you can see!), it's just a collection of postcards/photos on the wall by my computer. If you click on the picture you will be able to see a larger version of the picture and comment etc.

That package I've sent to Lisa... Well, she knows she's getting it now! She called me after work today (She was worried about me as she'd not heard from me... I've just been so busy lately. No excuse, I know!) and we had a nice long chat. Even Harley came to talk on the phone, but he was in a bit of a grump so I didn't get much out of him (He's nearly 2, bless him). Anyway, I hope she likes the package she'll be getting in the morning.

I popped into town during my lunch break to get Rob Thomas' Lonely No More single from Woolworths. I was quite surprised, they actually had it in stock! So I picked up both the CD single and the DVD single (anything to help Rob get some recognition over here). I took them to the counter and the woman at the till said "Do you want both of them?". In my mind I said sarcastically "No, I just thought I'd put them both on the counter, but really I only want one of them!", but I calmly said "Yes". She then said "Do they have exactly the same thing on them?". I calmly replied with "No" Did she want to sell me the singles or not? I mean, it's hardly good sale tactics to question a customer's choice in CDs! Yet another reason why I usually buy stuff online.

Anyway, I'm off to carry on reading my book (Jim Butcher's Deat Beat). I really got stuck into it last night and was reading until 1am (Granted, I didn't get started until just before midnight!). With thanks to Mandy, Mark (Let me know if you get a Flickr account - I'll add you to my contacts), Nick (We think Tiggy fell in trying to reach one of the fish!), Karen (Thanks! It was great chatting last night!) and Graeme (They don't have boring voices, they just don't like speaking in public and it's even more difficult when English isn't your first language). Take care!

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15th May 2005

Sunday - 10.15pm : Another weekend over. It's pretty much a been a lazy one, since I'm trying not to spend money (due to the amount I've already spent since I last got paid). Apart from popping to town yesterday afternoon, all I've really done is put a package together for Lisa & Harley (which will cost a fortune to mail tomorrow) and write a letter to my penpal, Carrie. I think Lisa is going to be pretty surprised when her mail person delivers the package since she's definitely not expecting it (unless she reads this... Ooops!).

The stench from a nearby field has somewhat faded today, so I've been out in the back garden a bit this afternoon. Not doing any work, you must understand, I left that to my parents! The neighbours popped by with their grandson at one point and their 3 cats stopped by at varying times in the afternoon. Tiggy, our neighbours' youngest cat (also nicknamed "Mika's twin"), somehow fell into their fish pond this morning! He jumped out pretty quickly, sopping wet of course, and ran straight into their house. Poor little fellow!

I must remember to pop into town during my lunch break tomorrow. Rob Thomas' Lonely No More single is released tomorrow. I don't often buy singles, but I'd really like to see Rob do well over here. Woolworths had better be selling it, else I'll throw a hissy fit in the middle of the store! I won't really, I don't like making a fuss. It's just that the last couple of times I've been in there looking for something they've not had it.

There seems to be a craze of people using a website called Flickr to store and show people their photos, so I thought I'd check it out and see what all the fuss is about. Do any of you have Flickr accounts (Okay, so I know 1 or 2 of you already do)? I've set up my account but haven't yet added any photos. I'll let you know as and when I do.

I've just finished watching 24. I love that show. It always keeps me on the edge of my seat and I'm always trying to guess what they are going to do next. Of course, the lead actor happens to be my all time favourite actor, Kiefer Sutherland, so that helps too! There's going to be a game out later in the year too, so I can't wait to have a go at that.

I haven't yet watched the DVD I rented yesterday (The Fourth Angel), but I've got it out for 7 days, so there's plenty of time for me to watch it. I'll let you know what I think of it later on in the week.

Anyway, time for me to get going. Thanks to Graeme, Donatienne, Vera, Mark, Mr T, Sueellen, Maria (Ah, you're not old. You're only as old as you feel!) and Karen.

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14th May 2005

Saturday - 4.15pm : It's just 1 day less of a month until I turn a quarter of a century in age. I guess it's time I started forfilling some ambitions, before I get old!

It's such a nice day, I should really get out and go for a bike ride or something. The only problem is that a farmer has been spraying a nearby field and so a stench has engulfed most of the village for the last couple of days. Every time I go to the car I have to hold my breath until I get into the car (it's a good thing I park it right by the house now!). I thought there was some new law about using this stuff so close to towns & villages, but obviously not.

Rob Thomas put in a fine performance of his latest single, Lonely No More (released in the UK on Monday), on CD:UK this morning. It's great to see him on UK TV. A band who I used to like were also on CD:UK this morning - Backstreet Boys seem to be making a comeback after a 4 year break. They sang their new single, Incomplete (I think!), which I thought was quite a nice song. Their new album, Never Gone is out on 13th June here in the UK.

I went to Choices earlier to rent a DVD. I ended up getting The Fourth Angel from the 7 Day (£2) section. It stars Jeremy Irons, and Forest Whitaker. It's tagline is "They took everything he had. Revenge is all that's left" and I'm looking forward to watching it later on. Since I rent DVDs on an almost weekly basis, and sometimes 2 or 3 at a time, it's getting more and more difficult to choose what to get out. I managed to resist buying a handful of DVDs today... For £21 I could have bought 4 of the Herbie DVDs! I was a huge fan of that VW Beetle with a mind of it's own when I was a kid. They've made a new one now too - Herbie: Fully Loaded.

Anyway, thanks go out to Tracy, Maria, Mark, Vera, Nick, Karen, Graeme, Mandy, Skye (They used to get along quite well, but over the last view months Mika has begun to change his mind!) and Kimm.

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11th May 2005

Wednesday - 10.35pm : A late entry from me tonight. I was playing squash earlier this evening and then we went to the football club bar for a drink & a chat with my old boss. So I've only just gotten home.

The data cable for my phone arrived today, so, as promised, I have uploaded some photos. And yes, they are all "cat-themed"! Anyway, courtesy of my new mobile phone...

Mika hiding under a towel
Mika hiding under a towel

Mika watching another cat
Mika watching a trespasser

Oh, and there's one more...

Charlie
Mika's friend, Charlie, from next door

So there you go. I'm guessing that most of the photos I take with the phone will be of cats, unless something more interesting comes along while I'm out and about. Let's face it, it's just for fun anyway!

Right then, it's just a picture post from me today really. I'm now off to raid the fridge as I'm hungry! Thanks to Strizzt (Nope, they're just taking a break for solo projects... apparently), Mark, Nick, Xtel, Karen and Graeme (Did you have one for a Nokia 3220 tho?). Sweet dreams!

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10th May 2005

Tuesday - 9.55pm : £10 well spent, I think. I've just booked a ticket to see Do Me Bad Things in Wrexham a week before my birthday next month. It's a small venue (photography potential!) and it's just over an hour away from here, so I should be home by midnight. It should be a great gig, too - Do Me Bad Things supported The Darkness last December, so I know they put on a good live show.

On the subject of music - It was a delight to see Rob Thomas on GMTV yesterday morning singing 'Lonely No More'. It's a rare treat when Mr Thomas graces our screens over here. The presenters tried explaining who he was (Lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, award winner etc), but failed to mention that he wrote/sang Santana's 'Smooth' (which more people in the UK will have heard of than would have heard of MB20). Anyway, they sang his praises and said he's going to be huge over here... and I hope he is! I've been following this guy's music for years, it's about time the rest of the British nation caught up!

I've ordered myself a data cable for my phone, so, if all goes well, I should be able to show you some of the little photos I've taken with it... Granted, they are mostly of His Royal Highness Mika The Cat.

I watched Redemption on Sunday afternoon. It's a true story about a guy who's on Death Row due to gang-related violent crimes, but, in a complete turnaround, who is also a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. A good performance by Jamie Foxx. Definitely one to watch.

Anyway, time for me to disappear. Thanks to Mark, Me, Myself & I, Graeme, SNiP, Maria, Vera, (Following a link from somebody else's journal, I think), Nick and Kenneth.

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8th May 2005

Sunday - 3.35pm : As you can see, I've been doing a little redecorating around here. Another very simple design. I do design & coding all day at work, so I like to keep things clean & simple around here. It's not 100% completed, but feel free to let me know if you spot something that isn't working.

Something I meant to tell you about in my last journal entry was the goody bag which arrived in the mail on Friday. The lovely Do Me Bad Things people sent me a poster, a postcard, a big badge, some stickers and a sweet (All advertising their debut album 'Yes', of course, which I've already got). Still, very nice of them, don't you think?

I watched the F1 Spanish Grand Prix earlier and what a race! Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) stormed his way through the race, leading it the whole way and crossing the line 27.652 seconds ahead of Alonso (Renault), much to my delight. Montoya (McLaren) finished a lap down in 7th, despite a spin and problems with his fuel hose, and Coulthard (Red Bull Racing) grabbed a point by finishing in 8th.

I popped to town yesterday to rent a DVD. I ended up renting Redemption. It's based on a true story of a man on Death Row and stars Jaime Foxx as the main character, Stan 'Tookie' Williams. I did plan on watching it last night, but got stuck into other things. So I think I'll upload these files and then go and watch it, since it's got to be taken back tomorrow.

Thanks to Mark, Tracy, Ghracena, Miss M, Donatienne, Nick, Mandy, Me, Myself & I, Graeme and Skye.

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6th May 2005

Friday - 10.25pm : I am so tired! Maybe I should have taken an extra few days off just to recover from last week. Hasn't time flown? This time last week I was at the Carling Academy Islington watching James Marsters on stage.

I've found the camera I'd like to replace my dying Canon PowerShot A40... The Canon PowerShot S2 IS, due out in early June. I read about it in this weeks issue of BJP and it seems to have some ideal features. My only problem is finding the £469 asking price!

I bought a new mobile phone on Tuesday (I have been spending like a crazy person over the last week or so... Time to stop, I think!). Anyway, I bought the Nokia 3220 - I fancied buying it a while back, but since it was £125 for it on Vodafone, I decided not to bother. Then, when I was in Shrewsbury on Tuesday, I spotted it for £79, so after much thinking I decided "What the heck!" and bought it. It's got a neat little camera on it, so once I've splashed out on a data cable I'll put some of the pictures up here. I've already kitted it out with a nice little Robbie Williams wallpaper and a ringtone (not Robbie, but the Blackadder theme tune!).

Mark Owen's latest album, How The Mighty Fall, finally arrived in the mail today. I haven't played it yet though, I've been too busy listening to Rob Thomas' Something To Be - It's fantastic! I cannot stress just how good this album is. If you can only buy one album this month, get this one. I was actually quite surprised at work today... I just just sitting down to have a break when I heard the first few notes of Rob's Lonely No More drifting through from the press hall. So it looks like Rob is finally getting some airplay on British radio stations... The only other song of his that I've ever heard on British radio is Santana's 'Smooth'. Anyway, buy Rob Thomas' album!

Something else that arrived in the mail today is the long awaited Dead Beat (The 7th book in The Dresden Files series) by Jim Butcher, in hardback edition. I can't wait to get stuck in and read it. If you've never read any of Jim Butcher's work, then head on over to his website as he always puts up the first handful of chapters for each book.

I'm extremely sure that I sat down here to tell you about something specific, but I have not mentioned it. I can't even remember what the heck it was... I guess it couldn't have been that important! Ah well, I suppose I'll probably remember it half way through the night, at which point I'll be too sleepy to be bothered to come back here to tell you. (Ooops, I'm rambling again!).

Anyway, thanks go out to Nick (I like The Darkness becaise they're great! I saw them support Def Leppard in February 2003 and basically laughed my socks of. They are fantastic live on stage and I think they revitalised the charts), Graeme (Mika likes to think he's regal!), Strizzt, Lissy, Karen, Kati (Get it, you'll love it!), Mark, Skye and Kasey Kay (Yes, that's my cat). Take care.

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3rd May 2005

Tuesday - 9.30pm : It doesn't look like many of you made it through yesterday's lengthy entry. I can't blame you. I promised I'd be brief and look what happened! Ah well...

I was hoping to upload at least one photo from the last week for you tonight, but they are all awful. It isn't helped by the fact that the photo developing people have managed to cut the 3 reasonable photos of James Marsters in half! At first I thought it was my fault and that I'd obviously been blind when I'd framed the shot. Then I tried thinking when I'd ever done that on 3 shots in a row... Never. So I took a close look at the negatives, where it seems that I didn't chop Mr Masters in half after all. So now I don't know what to do. I'd take them back and complain at the shop, but the place is in Shrewsbury (40 minute drive) and that would have to be on Saturday now. Ah well, if I ever get them printed properly I'll let you know!

I did get some nice shots of Mika though. Here's one, what do you think?


Mika the cat

Not the photo I was hoping to show you, but he is rather beautiful, don't you think?

Ah yes, and here is a photo I couldn't resist taking. As seen on the drink & snack machine in the lobby of Islington Travelodge Hotel...


Out of the odder? Surely not!

Yes, really!

Rob Thomas' solo album, Something To Be, arrived while I was away. I've only had a chance to listen to it once so far, but I think it's a good album. Obviously I'm not the only one who thinks that, because it landed straight in at #1 on America's Billboard 200 Album Chart. It's also the first time a male artist from a rock or pop group has debuted at #1 with their first solo album in the 50 year history of the Billboard charts. So well done, Rob!

Talking of solo albums from rock artists... I got a bit of a shock while reading the music news on the Radio 1 website. Justin Hawkins, lead singer of The Darkness (I'm sure you all know who he is. If not, why not?!), has got a solo album ready to release! If that's not shocking enough, he says it's of a very different sound to that of The Darkness. Anyway, we'll have to wait until sometime after The Darkness' 2nd album (which I can't wait for) before anything comes of Justin's solo album.

Going back to the subject of stuff which arrived while I was away... The TT Superbikes PS2 game, which Dad ordered, finally arrived. I've had a quick play on it and, despite having a couple of spectacular accidents, it was really fun! The detail and graphics are fantastic, but then that is what I expected, because the people who made it worked very closely with the Isle of Man and TT organisers. I can't wait to get in some more play time on this game!

I still have more to tell you, but I'm tired and I go back to work tomorrow morning (ergh!). More tomorrow night, maybe. Thanks to the few people who made it through yesterday's long post: Mark, Graeme (What do you mean "again"?!) and Neil. Take care.

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2nd May 2005

Monday - 7.45pm : I'm home! I wish I wasn't though - I've really enjoyed being all over the place this past week. (I'm a traveller at heart). Also, it's been great not to have to think about work and stuff. Apart from a cold that I seem to have aquired, I've felt really good. It's always great to get away.

I'll tell you about my lovely weekend, but I'll try to be brief else this will be one heck of a long entry if I tell you everything.

Friday morning, I was awake at around 5.45am (very early for me!) and I think it was around 6.45am by the time Glyn & I set off in the car towards Milton Keynes. We parked the car up at the hotel where we were staying on the Sunday night and headed up to the shopping centre to take a quick look around Collectormania. We then caught a coach to London, where we met up with Mandy and a few others at our hotel.

Later on, we headed to a pub called The York for a drink with some friends, before heading to the gig at Islington Carling Academy. We stood at the back instead of being in the crowd getting squashed (which is where I usually am). The support act were a band called Stryngs. Their music was okay, but the lead singer kept explaining what each of the songs meant. My idea of a good gig isn't somebody taking longer to explain the song than they do to sing it!

James played a good gig, even though he managed to break his E string just a few minutes before he was due on stage! Once again he played us a song he'd only wrote that day... though he fluffed it up at first, he did get it right in the end. I thought it was another good gig from James, it's just a pity that some people feel the need to shout at him to take his shirt off every time he gets on stage. (Yes, he does look good topless. No, he's not a stripper. Leave the poor guy be!).

Saturday morning we had a lie in. During the night the people in the rooms near to ours had kept slamming their doors shut and shouting down the corridor to each other on & off until 4am... We weren't impressed! After a late breakfast, we headed to the shops & market in Islington (where I bought 3 tops) and then sat outside a pub for a liquid lunch. Guess who fell over in the pub on the way to the toilet... Yes, me! I tripped over a small step (which I didn't see) and smacked my knee on the floor. I did try grabbing the wall on the way down, but it didn't do me much good. I still ended up sprawled across the floor! (I'd only had a pint of shandy!).

In the evening we all went to St. James's church in Piccadilly to see St. James (Marsters!) play the last gig of this tour. Glyn, Mandy & I had upstairs tickets (unfortunately!) and 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. Still, James sounded good anyway. A friend was stood at the front taking photos, so I can't wait to see what hers come out like (they'll be good, I bet!).

Afterwards a group of us headed over to a pub across the street for a drink. We managed to see James & his girlfriend leaving the church - Some had been stood there for ages to see it, while we'd just been stood by the pub having a drink and still saw them leave.

Sunday morning - Glyn & I had to be up very early to we could catch the earliest coach back up to Milton Keynes so we would get there at a decent time. We arrived at Collectormania around 10.20am, just in time to hear the announcement that all the autograph tickets had gone for James. Typical! It turns out he was the most popular person there. As far as I know, he signed more than 1500 autographs just on Sunday. After playing guitar all week and then signing his name that many times, his hand must have ached so much! I couldn't get tickets for anyone I wanted to see... Anthony Head, Alexis Denisof, Craig Charles...

The "Watchers Talk" with Anthony Head & Alexis Denisof was fantastic. Those two are great together, they really bounce of each other (if you know what I mean!). They had us and each other in fits of giggles, especially when Tony's mobile phone went off and he answered the call (We'd all been told to make sure ours were turned off!). I love Tony's real accent and Alexis had to apologise for his accent wandering between British & American. I think the pair of them would be great in a double act!

Next up was the Audience with James Marsters. He was late. I suspect he was probably still signing autographs at the time he should have been stood on stage in front of us, either that or he was grabbing something to eat - either way, we can't blame him. Something that surprised us was the fact that he walked in with security people! I've seen him many times, but never with security.

James got asked all sorts of questions. He asks people to be as rude as they like when asking questions as he likes a challenge. One person asked if he could be any toy what would he be. His reply? It began with a "D", ended with an "O" and had "ild" in the middle! I heard that a few people complained at the end about the rudeness of his answers, because of a few little kids being there. What were their parents expecting? Buffy is mainly a '15' certificate and Angel has '15' & '18' certificates, so the kids shouldn't really have been there anyway (or watching the shows!). Anyway, James was great as usual! There was an auction at the end for just one item (a big nodding Spike character thingy) and it went for over £400 (the money is going to James' favourite charity - Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

This morning we joined the James Marsters autograph ticket queue at 8am and there was 201 people in front of us, some of whom had been there since 2am or before! We were let in & given our tickets at 10am and within half an hour or so I already had James' autographed photo in my hands. Glyn had taken one of my 10x8 photos of James @ Halloween to be autographed and when she told him I'd taken it he turned to me and said "It's GOOD!". I shook his hand, thanked him, told him his tour had been great and went on my way. I wonder just how many people he did autographs for today!

We said good bye to some friends, had a quick look around the stalls and went to James' merchandise stall to thank his manager & co. for a great time, before heading back to the car and up the road home.

Now it's all over I don't want to go back to work on Wednesday (I booked tomorrow off to recover!), I want to meet up with my friends again and have a good time.

Anyway, I've got more to tell you about other stuff, but this entry has already gone on for quite some time so I'll leave it until tomorrow. *Applause for people who have made it this far through this entry!*.

Thanks to Graeme, Mark, Nick, Karen, SNiP, Kasey Kay, Me, Myself & I, Maria, Hellen, Lissy and Kati.

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