watership down

Recent stuffs I has did

Just been watching that David Attenborough series about lizards and frogs and whatnot. I'd forgotten how much I love a good nature program. Not only is it educationally fascinating, the camerawork truly is a work of art. Very poignant that they may have been some of the last people to see the little yellow waving-hand frog in the wild, too. Nature is an inconstant and dangerous place that we try our best to shield ourselves from and forget.

Anyway. Friday I spent a very pleasant evening in the pub with msdaccxx, alchemywow and porlock. I really am quite pathetically bad at organising meet-ups with friends, so this made me happy. The next morning I fulfilled another overdue London ambition and went to Borough Market, and, well, wow; it's incredible. It's a good job I was so dazed by it all, or I may have bankrupted myself. Next time, maybe :p

Sunday me and the flatmate arose early (ish) and went up to Chinatown for the New Year parade. It's the biggest such event outside Asia, apparently. There certainly were a hell of a lot of people! I'm always amazed how easily it is to get (or, at least, feel) lost in familiar streets when they're overcrowded. Everyone was milling about happily, though, and there were paper dragons, miniature drums and bangers a-plenty. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Borough Market Chinese New Year parade
baseball pug

Temple open weekend

Been a bit slow about this coz I wanted to get my photos uploaded first, but finally got that done last night, because I CAN NOW USE THE INTERNET IN MY FLAT! :D
Why this is quite such a big deal is a long story, but suffice to say it'll make things a hell of a lot easier from now on, so I am happy.

Anyway. I don't know about you, but I was never sure what the "Temple" at Temple underground station actually was, espcially as we don't tend to go in for temples in the UK very much. So, as it was open to the public last weekend, I went along for a Sunday afternoon wander. And it's a very special place indeed. The site (in particular, the Temple Church) was founded by the Knights Templar (of Da Vinci Code fame) in the 12th century, and later came to be used to train lawyers. This was formalised in 1608 by James I, making this year the 400th anniversary. Today it houses two of the four Inns of Court to which all English barristers belong. It's basically an Oxbridge-esque professional college of law.

I wish I'd put aside more time to look around, as there was a lot to see, and I just dashed around fairly randomly (my pics don't cover the half of it, sadly). But I did wander around some beautiful historic buildings, and chanced upon an interesting lecture on the history of Temple Church by its present Master (who is a wonderfully enthusiastic speaker), and a demonstration, in the library, of how barristers might compile a case outline by finding the relevant articles of law. Oh, and a Met police dog demonstration where one of their guys dressed as a burglar and legged it and they set a dog on him :) Ace.

Click on the pic for more:
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(no subject)

So, entertainingly controversial, almost-my-namesake chess wizard Bobby Fischer has died. Possibly the closest chess has ever had to a true celebrity, Fischer became famous in the US as a prodigy in the 1950s, and went on to win the world title; but he's at least as famous for being eccentric, difficult and outspoken: ranging from childish squabbling about rules and locations of title matches, disappearing for years on end and ultimately growing a comedy fis(c)herman beard, to making inflammatory comments about Jews and about 9/11 and playing a 1992 match in defiance of a UN embargo on Slobodan Milosevic's Yugoslavia. Can't decide quite what to make of him, though I do love a good "flawed genius", heh.

This is making me kinda nostalgic in a funny way. I used to be a bit of a chess nut (though I never did much boasting in open foyers :p ) in secondary school, and read quite a bit about its famous players. This wasn't long after Nigel Short played Garry Kasparov for the world title, of course; a match which I followed on TV! Don't think it's ever been covered on TV since, though I'd imagine there'd be a niche for a digital channel somewhere...

In conclusion: chess is ace.
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My weekend

After a nice long Saturday morning lie-in to rid myself of the evilness of being back at work, I belatedly decided I should probably do something birthday-related. Luckily, presumably because everyone was in a similar post-NYE-back-to-work zombified state, most of my Brixton buddies were free, so I invited them round to mine and dashed out to Tesco's for party food. I made some gorgeous veggie chili and a Greek salad, both of which I was right proud of. Much wine was drunk and a good time was had by all. A special thanks to lipsty for her yummy gingerbread dinosaurs :)

On Sunday, after another lazy morning, the sky was blue so I thought I might nip over to Richmond Park and experiment with sunset photos. Unfortunately, as the afternoon drew on the western sky decided to entirely cloud over, which was nice of it; so I experimented with night shots instead. This is something I've not yet got the hang of, but I'm beginning to realise that you just can't get away with anything less than a tripod and a long exposure. However, when you get it right, it's great!

P.S. I was intrigued and pleased to see that the CD release of In Rainbows is at number one in the album charts. New-release albums seem to me to either be slow-burners, fuelled by reviews and word-of-mouth; or they're over-hyped, go straight to number one but drop off thereafter. So, again to me at least, for an album that's been reviewed and discussed, not to mention readily-available to listen to, for several months to still go straight to the top of the charts seems slightly surprising. Sluggish New Year sales maybe? Be interested to see how well it does over time. Still, temporarily restores my faith in the music-buying public... :p
watership down

Another predictable resolutions post :)

Happy new year everyone! Having a splendidly nothingy day, watching Peter's Friends, Beetlejuice and the dictionary episode of Blackadder the Third for good measure.

Handy Bullet-point Reso-ma-lutions:

1. Be less rubbish.

This pretty much encapsulates everything, but it's a little vague; so to be more specific:

1.1. Drink less. Not in a rubbish abstinencey way, just... know when it's worth it and when it's not. For instance, yesterday afternoon everyone met up in town for a mid-afternoon drink, but I stayed out drinking into the evening and was thus thoroughly drunk and knackered by the time I got to my friends' house for NYE, and went home soon after midnight with a hangover :((( This is the sort of foolishness I wish to avoid.

1.2. Keep in contact with friends better. If they live close by, invite them round the flat; to an event; or failing that, the pub. If they live further away, go see them for the weekend. If they live further away still, at least 'phone or email them regularly.

1.3. Make good use of London. We never fully appreciate how much is open to us as Uni students: youth is wasted on the young, blah blah blah. Well, in a similar way, the whole of London is open to me now, and I'm old enough to appreciate it (I hope).

1.4. Make better use of my talents. This is partly related to the last one. Firstly, I resolve to carry my camera around whenever possible and get some good London pics. Then, although as soon as I have the space (and cash) I'd like a piano, I already have a guitar which I don't play enough. I'd also like to learn a language, probably Spanish.

1.5. Be a better employee. I may not be head-over-heels with my job, but I'd like to try harder to do it to the best of my ability, and to know that my best is what I've done. I'd hope I'd feel more satisfied and more involved as a result.

1.6. Exercise more. Not particularly bothered about this one, but it's what everyone says, and who am I to argue... besides which, maybe my disinterest in exercise is due to a lack of it, in some crazy vicious circle wotsit.

Right, that's enough now. If I've left anything out, it's probably not important; and besides, pretty much everything's covered by point 1. :p

Take care of yourselves, and each other :p
lovely horse

I'm probably far too old for an OMGBoooxe! post...

...but you're going to get one anyway. Just a little one.

It was my flatmate James's birthday on Sat, and a small gaggle of us had a merry old time drinking in Covent Garden followed by a Brick Lane curry and more drinking in Shoreditch. At some point in the early hours it became clear that I'd had one too many mulled wines, and wandered off to find a bus home.

I found the right one fairly easily ... but immediately fell asleep, to be woken by the driver switching the engine off at the end of the route in Mitcham. I don't live in Mitcham.

With creeping horror I realised that not only had I overshot my house by two travel zones, I'd also entered the graveyard-hour bus void when (some) night buses stop but daytime buses won't start for another hour or so. (I eventually found my way home via a rather circuitous route involving 3 different night buses.)

Sunday delivered the worst hangover I've had for a very long time... in fact, since precisely 3 years ago, at another of James's birthday do's. (This one was a houseparty, though, so it was considerably easier to get to a bed.) Curse you, James! Don't think I've ever fallen asleep on public transport before though (unless you count planes), so I'm quite proud of that :) (Not been to Mitcham before, come to that, though that's not such a boastful claim.)

Still, I did see 300 on Sunday evening, so if anyone now shouts "SPARRRRRTAAAAAAA!" at me in a Scottish accent (most likely piratekittenal raveturned), I'll know what they're on about. Hurrah.
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A Tuesday morning short story :p

No way, says Jose

Seeing the headline on the back page of the Daily Rubbish Tube News this morning made me think of the FA as an awkward, nervous teenager in a nightclub. He's tired of the boring, plain girls in his class at school, and fancies trying his luck with some more exotic talent. So Mr. FA and his mates (the English public -- ok, I appreciate this is where my analogy utterly falls down, but stay with me) are pulling some moves on the dancefloor, trying to impress. Suddenly Mr. FA notices a hot Portuguese chick looking over at him. Surely she can't be interested? But she looks again, and half-smiles.

"Go on, my son!" cry his mates, "Go and talk to her!"
"I dunno, I'm not sure..."
"Oh don't be ridiculous, she obviously wants you to!"

So over he goes. "Hi", he begins, "want to dance?"
"With you? No, I don't think so," is the nonchalant reply as Ms Mourinho edges away in order to have a better view of a group of dark, handsome European lads on the opposite side of the dancefloor.

So poor Mr. FA shuffles back to his friends.
"Never mind, mate" they say, "Look, Ms. Capello's over there, she's definitely eyeing you up!"

But Mr. FA's confidence is shot. He wanders off to console himself by pulling plain, spotty Ms. Curbishley from his class, who happily reciprocates.

The end.
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I've been to a land down under...

It's around this time of year that I might turn to someone and say "God, I hate how Christmas is shoved in our faces for months on end! It's ages off yet!" To which, of course, they'd reply "Well, actually, it's only a month away now, it's the end of November you know". And I'd go "Hey, you're right. Shit! I'd better get organised! What am I going to buy people? What dates am I down for Christmas parties, dinners, carol services? Argh!"

Normally, this is due to me being rubbish. This year, though, it's because I spent a fair chunk of November in the sunny Southern Hemisphere. When I left, it was mid-autumn. Now, suddenly, it's practically Advent. There were Christmas decorations in the Sydney streets, of course, but the summer weather made it so surreal that I didn't really think about it. And hey, I was on holiday!

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So in conclusion, Australia is ace. Now, shit! I'd better get organised! What am I going to buy people? What dates am I down for Christmas parties, dinners, carol services? Argh! :p

P.S. Click photo for more, er, photos!

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London and Glasto

Blimey, I've not written owt on here in ages! So, I suppose some sort of move update is in order. Well, two weeks ago, after a pleasant afternoon on Bournemouth beach with the LOpSoc lot, I left the old flat and bought a single ticket to London. Very sad. I eventually got in at about 11pm, immediately went to bed, and started a new job first thing the next morning. All is very well so far, I have to say -- the guys here are friendly, and much more my own age (if a little quiet), the commute isn't too much of a hassle (it's actually still quite exciting, getting the tube in the morning, though I'm sure that'll be beaten out of me pretty quickly!), and the flat's looking quite homely now courtesy of old-mate-but-new-flatmate James. My room is a little on the tiddly side, especially after my huge one in Soton, but hey.

Due partly to my abysmal organisational skills and partly to my polite English desire to keep everyone happy, I didn't get any days off for Glasto, so I didn't get down there 'til Friday mid-afternoon, which meant missing Modest Mouse, SFA and Magic Numbers, but I *did* see the following:

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So, yes, anyway... I am now officially a Londoner, so if any of you London types fancy a pint, that'd be excellent. See you's around!