Yeah so er....what happened was, I got distracted. By...the Olympics. And....other things. No, seriously, I did start on a re-design for the whole site and it's still earmarked for 'some time in the future' along with my all-singing, all-dancing robot invention. Actually it's just a robot that sings...and dances... That's not the point. The point is, I got distracted by stuff happening. Important stuff too, which totally justified my not posting here. In fact not only that, but then more stuff happened and some other stuff and now I'm waiting for tomorrow, when new stuff shall begin.
I know what your thinking. Stuff happening in Ash's life...not only can that not be good, but surely stuff happening would be ideal for me to post about in my blog, no? Yeah well, truth be told I never quite got comfortable with posting important things that happened to me here. Much as I wanted to post 'serious' things here about my life and it's ups and downs here, there was always some reservations holding me back. For one thing, who the hell are you? Actually, strangely, the thing that held me back more was that people I knew read...or more likely could read, once in a while, this thing. And it might be strange for them to read about things here before I've talked to them about it. Then again it might not...but it would be strange for me.
Anyway, I still haven't decided where I want to go with this thing, or even if I want to continue it at all. Perhaps when I've got time to think about it...tomorrow though, and for the next few days I have a road trip to, er, trip. When I get back I might have things to tell you...but then I also have things to tell you now and I still haven't got round to it.
So it seems that fate, and a Swiss referee, decided that actually England fans hadn't gone through enough pain with the France match. No, things were just getting started. What annoys me most isn't the controversial decision, nor the penalty misses. No, what annoys me is that yet again I let myself get lulled into an optimistic "We can win this tournament" mood yet again...just before we got knocked out. It's like I've got no memory of all the other times I've watched England crash out, when I've been thinking pretty much the same thing. Maybe not in 98 and in 2000, but in 96 and 2002 it was the same expectant mood and the same disappointment. I just know that in two year's time I will have some how managed to have forgotten this game as well - I'll be there with all the others, watching with hope as we get knocked out yet again.
Have you ever seen an advert on TV that made you want to stop buying the advertised product? With the arrival of Euro 2004 there also came a new Gillette advert that did exactly that for me. True, most shaving adverts are universally crap anyway. They usually rely on the idea that by using a better razor to shave that extra micron of stubble from your face you'll instantly be turned into a sex-god hunk, probably wearing a towel wrapped round your waist while your model girlfriend/wife strokes your jaw.
But no, the new Gillette advert eschews all of that, instead going with a random black and white slow motion montage, with clips of David Beckham thrown in for good measure. But it isn't him that gets on my nerves in the advert (though he doesn't help). It isn't the Gillette 'song' in the background either, which must have been lifted whole sale from the rather less subtle world of American TV advertising. Then again having people sing "Gillette: the best a man can get!" with the same fervour as a gospel choir singing "Hallelujah praise the lord!" – with no trace of irony – is more than a little embarrassing. No, what really gets me is the narration over the top of the advert – "You know the feeling...you look, they smile. You win, they go home and cry (I don't remember the exact words) ....it's the feeling you get with closest shave."
And so on. All I could think was, "Great, now people will think I buy Mach3 razors in some desperate attempt to be a 'winner', when really the only reason I do is because Boots can't even be bothered enough to keep their own razors in stock". Not that I need to be too worried. It's not like I go round telling everyone that I 'buy Gillette'. Then again...posting it in my blog isn't exactly helping matters. Hopefully they'll realise their mistake and go back to the usual 'sports cars, models and random computer graphics' formula that has served them so well.
Oh time has flown by hasn't it? Well not here...here it's been stuck in a time warp for almost two months. Whoopsie! Yes, exams have finished and believe it or not events have been hectic and interesting enough to keep my mind off the blog. I mean, distract me from the blog, that's what I meant...
Actually I have been giving it some thought and there is a large site redesign somewhere in the pipeline and a few things just waiting for me to get round to them. Like this time last year, things in my life have taken a strange and unexpected turn, and like last year I'm keeping quiet about it all. I will say though that life, in general is good. Better, even. What with being distracted and revision and that I couldn't pass comment on E3 (the gaming exhibition for those of you who don't know) even though I was hyper hyped over the new Zelda showing there.
I've also been quiet on the football, even with Euro 2004 taking place as I type. I was too gutted over the England-France game and the fact we were robbed with seconds to go. What's that? Champions League Final, 1999? Dunno what you're referring too...
With exams over and, theoretically, lots of time on my hands, I should be getting back to regular...semi-regular posting soon. Especially if we do well in the football, in which case there will be a string of posts along the line of: "Whoooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!! Take that you [insert European nationality here] bastards!" I'm sure you're looking forward to it already.
So last Friday night I was watching Jonathan Ross's show - and I'll stop right there. I know what you're thinking (because you're so predictable), you're thinking "Friday night? What are you doing staying in on a Friday night? And sure, Ross is good on the radio, but those jokes just don't work on TV...". Well reader, sometimes I need to take a night off from my hectic schedule of coke snorting with super models and thermofluids revision - and if that night happens to be a Friday then so be it.
Anyway, one of the guests was Jane Leeves (who plays Daphne from Frasier). She was talking about becoming one of "Hill's Angels" and receiving the phone call from Benny Hill, offering the job. She said something along the lines of, "I was just sitting in my small flat, you know, in Finborough Road, Earls Court..." There was a short pause before Luca and I (sitting in our small flat in Finborough Road, Earls Court) almost jumped out of our seats. (I say 'almost jumped out of our seats' but sadly the arse shaped indent in my chair has gotten a little too deep so it's not easy to get up with out a stick) "Did she say....?" "I can't believe it, that's our road!"
Thinking about it now, it was quite tragic really what a thrill we got from hearing our address on the TV and knowing that some TV star used to live here back when she was a nobody. And it's even sadder that I'm taking the time to write about this now - and you're taking the time to read about it. Yep, we're all in this sad boat together.........Anyway for the rest of the show after that my flatmate and I would occasionally exchange glances and shake our heads as if to say "Wow, are we privileged or what? Jane fucking Leeves..."
(Hmm, that last phrase brings up a rather strange mental picture. And by 'strange' I of course mean 'disgusting and wrong'. I think I'll have to file it in that small padlocked archive of my brain labeled "Do NOT Open. Really I Mean It - Even If You Get Morbidly Curious" which includes sub-folders "Things I Imagined And Now Can't Stop Seeing Whenever I Close My Eyes", "Conversations With Charlie" and one simply called "Rob And The Fez")
Actually for the rest of the show I wasn't thinking about the Jane Leeves thing at all, I was thinking about the chances of Benny giving me a call and offering me a job....Oh come on like you haven't wanted to be an Angel too! No? Ah well I guess that's another image for the archive. Damn it, I actually liked that one....
Be grateful I didn't find any pictures suitable enough for illustrating this post. I searched really hard too....
I woke up this morning to blue skies and the sun pouring in through the window. Sadly this good start was marred some what by my screaming in agony as I felt a stabbing pain in my leg. As far as I could tell this was the result of my foolish attempt to get out of bed so I spent the next five minutes whimpering in pain and rolling around trying to find a position that would stop the pain. Eventually I realised that no such position existed, short of ripping my right leg off. At first I thought that days of sitting on my arse had withered away my leg muscles to the point where they couldn't deal with even simple instructions from my brain like "Walk" and "Get Out of Bed" without ripping or tearing my calf, or whatever it is that muscles do when they malfunction.
Only later when the pain had receded did I have time to think about it - and I realised that the real reason for this literal 'wake up call' was that I'd been neglecting the blog again. I have my excuse of course, namely the fact that I have better things to do. Seriously, I do - the real reason I'm posting now is to tell you not to expect a lot of posts, between now and June due to exams and study and all the other things I'll be taking seriously this year. Ok, there isn't normally a lot of posts in an average month so I should more accurately say don't expect any posts in May. That way I guess anything I do write will be a bonus. A rather strange kind of bonus that you don't look forward to and gives you headaches, but a bonus all the same.
Don't worry I have given a little thought to what you'll be spending your time. A week or so back I came across a great blog, a beautiful revolution and quietly added it to my sidebar of links. I shouldn't have done it without first telling you all to go visit, so that's exactly what I'm doing now. The blog is the amusing life story of Andre, a love struck anti-war protester who also happens to be a pretty humorous writer in spite of whatever ups and downs he has. So take a look at the recent posts you've missed (the main page should be enough to get you up to speed) and spend your time there while I'm away.........oh and please don't forget to come back.
Since I came back to London about a week ago there have been a few things to catch up on. Somewhere near the top of the list, thanks to the benefits of broadband, are the Strong Bad E-mails where new ones have been appearing increasingly irregularly. Thankfully after a small blip the good people at Homestarrunner.com have finally reached the 100 E-mail mark. I may be late in marking the occasion but if you haven't seen a 'sbemail' or if you haven't been lately then this is a timely reminder.
Where have you seen this before, hmm?
Serie A, La Liga - your time is up
It's amazing how a couple of bad results for Arsenal can make you want to talk about football again. But that's unfair on the Gooners so I'll start off by stating the obvious, even if it hurts to say it - Arsenal have proved this season that they are the dominant force in English football. Unless they some how mess up the Premiership, they'll have won the league twice in three years. The reason for Manchester United's almost delirious happiness last Saturday though was not just because they'd salvaged a below par season with a place in the F.A. Cup final but because they'd got one over their closest rivals and emphatically pierced the invincible aura Arsenal had about them. And I'm sure Claudio Ranieri will be thanking us for doing so just before his big match. While this season has mostly been about incorporating youngsters and dealing with Rio Ferdinand's absence for United, the match against Arsenal showed that two of the new young players, Fletcher and Ronaldo, are already showing their massive potential while Wes Brown is finally performing as he can once he got over his injuries. It all bodes well for next season.
As for the fantastic match on Tuesday, I suppose technically I should have been a neutral but these past few months everyone either likes or feels sorry for Ranieri, while Arsene Wenger is...well Arsene Wenger. On top of that Chelsea has a surprisingly large English contingent of players, who all played an important part (well, except Parker): Lampard, Bridge, Cole and Terry. After a fairy tale match in which Claudio not only turned his 'Tinkerman' nickname into a positive attribute with some astute half time changes but also ended Arsenal's 17 match unbeaten run against Chelsea, the man can do no wrong. With all the previous favourites knocked out in some pretty astonishing 2nd legs, the Champions League is Chelsea's to lose. I'm sure we'd all love to see Ranieri win the Cup before quitting the manager's position that Roman Abramovich and Peter Kenyon have been so shamelessly pimping.
Awww, look at him go
So, it looks like the FA Cup for a young and rejuvenated United, the Premiership for the flowing silky football of Arsenal and mega-bucks Chelsea as favourites for the Champions League (of course there's bound to be an upset in at least one of these three competitions, right?). All in all the English Premiership is looking much more competitive and we might be able to claim, with some justification, that our league is finally the best in the world.
The Big Clean Up
On my return to our flat last week I wasn't surprised to find it in a bit of a mess. My flat mates have a bit of an aversion to washing up and taking the bins out. Luckily they did the dishes before they left for the holidays, but the bins were another matter. Because neither of them can be bothered taking the main kitchen bin bag down four flights of stairs when it gets full, instead they start to fill up plastic shopping bags with their rubbish, before knotting them closed and leaving them on or under the unused kitchen table. Then when they go out of the flat, they take a bag or two of rubbish down with them. Or at least, that's the theory. There are two problems with this theory:
1) The kitchen bin bag never gets changed so we don't know how long the bin has been sitting full of rubbish for.
2) No one can be bothered to take even the small bags of rubbish so they just clutter up around the main bin.
Anyway today my dad was coming down to the flat and he probably would have freaked had he seen it in its original state (it is my parent's flat after all so they like to know I'm taking care of it). With my flatmates gone it was left to me to deal with the clear up of mostly their rubbish - I'm such a mug. And it turned out the problem was worse than I imagined.
Like a character out of a sitcom cliche, I only started the main cleaning with an hour to go before my dad arrived when I found out how big the task really was. Firstly the bin bag roll was down to its last two bags - one to replace the old one and the other to cram as much rubbish as I could into. Then I had to open the kitchen bin for the first time in God knows how long. It was surprisingly odourless, but it looked far worse. The mould living in there is probably best described as a green, black and grey mix of candy floss but with spores, filling every available space. The best bit though (and by 'best' I naturally mean worst) was when I moved one of the carrier bags of rubbish and found that it had been slowly oozing a strange liquid onto the kitchen floor. The liquid had somehow reacted with the outside of the bag with the result that the Sainsbury's logo was now printed, backwards and in full colour, on the linoleum floor. Eventually I managed to get all that rubbish out of the flat though and I even got rid of most of the logo (note for future reference: make sure the mop is clean before dipping into hot water/disinfectant mix or it may instantly turn the mixture black and force you to start all over again.)
With very little time to spare I realised there was one thing I'd forgotten to get rid of - the pizza boxes. The reason I'd ignored them is because they kind of blend into the background, but once you notice them they do look a little alarming. That's because they're stacked, very neatly, in a corner - a square column of pizza boxes that's as tall as me. Carrying a stack of boxes like that down all those stairs was not going to work - I would have needed three trips at least. I did seriously consider some rather stupid ideas, like hiding the boxes in the drawers beneath my bed, but if I've learnt anything from TV it's that those sorts of solutions only end in heart ache, embarrassment and canned laughter. In the end I split the stack into two smaller ones and jumped up and down on each of them until they were squashed pretty flat. A nasty side effect was that it sprayed leftover pizza crumbs everywhere but that was ok cause I was pretty hungry anyway. So a happy ending for all involved then!