Tuesday, September 27, 2005

This and That

I've not been up to much exciting lately.  I could've told you all about my day at the Oval on Sunday watching cricket.  My boss was going to take me and a couple of others, but he rang on Sunday at 12.10 to say that he'd got the time wrong and it started at 12, not 2pm so by the time we got there we'd have missed half of the match.
However, he may be taking us to an "Aussie Rules" football match some time in October by way of making up for it.  Aussie Rules having very few rules that I can make out, it should be an interesting day out if it happens.
So instead of Cricket I had to go for a meal with my parents in a small village pub half an hours drive south.  It was a roast dinner that seemed to consist 35% of carrots.  Not being partial to orange vegetables I was left still hungry at the end and the carrots were left on my plate.  On the plus side, the cuter of two barmaids serving smiled at me once or twice.
After dinner we went of a walk - visited an old water tower and wondered around the park.  There were literally hundreds of kids in the park and play areas; I've no idea where they came from as it wasn't exactly a big town and there were no large car parks for commuters to use.  I wonder what they'll do when all these children are teenagers, I guess they'll need to replace the play areas with skate parks.
Friday night a few of us went out for a meal and to a club near Oxford Street.  We were supposed to be meeting up with a few of our colleagues from our sister company A.UK (SD.P is owned by the french group A.).  However they all stood us up for one reason or another so it was just the four of us.  Went to an Italian restaurant and had lasagna that was cold in the middle.  They forgot to charge us for 2 beers though (and we never pointed it out) so I guess Carma was restored to the Pizzeria Universe.
One of the excuses for the A.UK girls (and 1 guy) not coming was that they'd had a heavy night drinking on Thursday.  That didn't cut much ice with us though, having ourselves had a heavy night for P.'s leaving do.  P. was our project manager, although he has jumped ship leaving his job to pretty much the rest of the company.  Another story though.
Birthday List:
I had a few things on my Birthday List this year.  The ones I've actually told people about are: Music Studio Stripey portable speakers, swimming goggles, a book on London architecture and a 4B Graphite Stick.  I know I'll get the speakers cos I ordered them myself and had them sent to my grandparents house.  Paid the cheap postage and they got there the next day!
Best be doing some work now, got the office to myself today it seems.

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Monday, September 05, 2005

In Search of Alice Ayres

Have you seen Closer?  If not I've not got time to tell you what it's about, but it has Natalie Portman in it :o)¬¬ (that's me drawling at the thought of her).  Anyway, in the film there is a park where Portman's and Jude Law's characters go just after they first meet at the start of the film.  This park, I noticed, was in the City of London just(ish) north of the river from where I work.  It's called Postmans Park, and one of the interesting things about this park (aside from the fact that Natalie Portman once stood within it's boundaries) is that there are tiles along one of it's walls that commemorate people who have died whilst saving the lives of others.  One of these tiles is for a girl called Alice Ayres (also the name of Portman's character in the film) who died while saving 3 children from a burning house in "Union Street Borough", which is pretty much the street that my office is (although it's the opposite end to the Borough end).  I thought that this was too much of a coincidence to, so I decided to go on an expedition into The City and find this park and the plaque for Alice Ayres.
It was a nice day, and as my dad was off drinking with "The Man from CTU" (he's not really from CTU, it being a fictitious American organisation and all, I think he's in the Navy at the moment but still counter te rr or is m intelligency type stuff) I didn't need to be home in any rush I decided to find Alice Ayres.  I walked past the Tate Modern, over the Millennium Bridge and around St Paul's before picking up signs for "Postmans Park".  The park was sandwiched between several buildings, making it relatively un-sunny and cool.  I found the plaque amongst all of the others, apparently she died in 1886.  I think I knew that already, but it was nice to be there, and nice to think that so long after her death people still remember her for what she did.  Also it's always nice to explore the City.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Innocent Fugitive from the TV Licence Inspector

Yesterday we got a Red Letter from the TV licencing people.  They wanted to tell us that THEY KNOW we are unlicensed and that they have informed the TV Licence Inspectors of our location and that the TV Licence Inspectors are authorised to use Sophisticated Detecting Equipment and that they may call around at any time during the day or night.  They didn't tell us that when they do call around we don't actually have to let them into the flat.  They also didn't actually ask us if we had a TV and they certainly didn't give us any way of telling them that we don't have one.  Well, on the back there is an address to write to if we don't own a TV and they say that once we've written they will confirm this later.  BUT it's not free-post so I don't see why we should pay for a stamp ourselves, or the paper and envelope to write to them with. 
Better for them to pay for The Inspector to come around and see us with his Sophisticated Detecting Equipment and waste his petrol.  Last year they did send a form saying "Hi, if you have a TV you need a licence... if not then send this part back to declare your TV-less existence", which my dad returned.  12 months later we start getting letters telling us that "as the new tenant" we need to buy a licence - giving no nice declaration form to sent back again.  They must have done some (flawed) maths on the total amount of TVs that have been sold over the last 12 months and calculated that EVERY SINGLE HOUSEHOLD in the UK now owns a TV.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Little Playgirls

Getting off the train the other morning I was walking behind a young girl and her young mother. The girl, maybe ten or eleven years old, was wearing a pink Playboy hoodie and a bag sporting the Playboy bunny logo.

Yesterday, as I was buying my new notebook in WH Smiths there was a whole shelf dedicated to pink Playboy stationary, pencil cases and folders. Pink enough to ensure that young boys wouldn't buy them. Maybe it would be distasteful to merchandise a porn magazine's brand to young boys. Maybe pre-adolescents won't appreciate the bunny logo but despite not knowing or understanding all that it stands for the girls are still attracted to the idea of a cute bunny-rabbit (as adolescent boys, and myself, might be attracted by the idea of a cute Playboy Bunny).

I've never bought anything playboy myself, although my dad has always had (as long as I can remember) a plain black wine-bottle opener with a small white bunny logo on it. I don't remember when I found out about what that small white logo stood for; you'd think perhaps I might. Next time I go into WH Smiths, perhaps I'll take a Playboy magazine from the top shelf and a pink Playboy pencil case from the stationary section. When I get to the till, I'll put them both down and bashfully state, nodding indeterminately at one of my two purchases, "For the kids".

For | Fact | Against

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

my Fitness Test

I had my first "Fitness Test" at my gym last night and thought I'd share the results. Maybe not as interesting as getting A-level results today but better than nothing...

Blood Pressure: 132/76
Weight: 61.2 Kg
Height: 5' 9"
Body Fat: 4.6%
Body Mass Index: 20.47
Cardio (5 minutes walk at 6.5 KM/Hr, various inclines): 48.1 - "Very Good"
Flexibility: 14 cm

Mean anything to you? It means nothing to me really! Apparently my body fat % was the lowest he'd ever seen. Some people would kill for a % like that he said. He warned me off endurance sports and "survival situations" though - apparently my body would just start eating my internal organs as I don't have enough fat to last. Nice. He did say I'd be good at mid- to long-distance running for some reason, something to do with my height-to-weight ratio. Thought I'd be good at Marathons but I think he must really have mean Snickers'.

I thought the fitness test would involve "putting me thought my paces", although the only physical activity was the 5 minutes walking for the cardio. The most stressful activity was having to stand on the cold metal plates of the body fat %age machine - it sends electrical pulses up through your body! Apparently my cardio rating was "in the top 3" that he's seen lately (although he said he never sees the proper athletes as they sort it all out for themselves). "Very Good" is the second highest bracket - the next is "Elite"! I bet you never imagined I was so fit. Or maybe it's just that the tests are designed for fat people who what to get thin, rather than people "naturally gifted" (his words) like me.

I went swimming this morning though (remembered the padlock) and I have to say I've not felt so un-fit in ages! I couldn't swim more than 60 meters without needing a quick rest, and I kept swallowing water. Oh well, can't have everything I suppose.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

When Diaries Die

Where do diaries go when they die?  My notebook has expired.  It's life of pages fully filled with this and that.  I call it a "notebook" although obviously it is more than that, so many things in fact that I have to go with the lowest common denominator.  It has been my diary, journal, sketch-pad, doodle-book, poem book, puzzle-book and general thought catcher for both my left and right brains.  Filled with failed attempts at capturing the beauty of women in magazines, my first ever completed sudoku (both attempts at it), my collection of useless change, images that inspired me, unfinished and un-published draft blog entries, the beginnings of un-ending stories and even a particularly bad hang-over.
So what is it's next state of existence?  Now that I can no longer write or draw or think in it.  I have a fantasy of leaving it behind on a park-bench somewhere for some stranger to find and glimpse into my soul.  After all, what is the point of "art" if it is not seen, or writing if it is not read?  But then would this person be able to decipher my spidery scrawl or appreciate my poor sketches?  And what if they just threw it away, or it may get wet in the rainy British summer and decay and decompose before it's time. 
You hear of people auctioning their worthless personal possessions on eBay - old smelly socks or knickers - maybe I could auction off my notebook to the highest bidder.  But what price can I put on my thoughts?  What if the bidder believes that in winning the book they have also won ownership of the ideas within the book?  Of my thoughts and not just their physical representations.
Or I could just keep it, for future reference.  Some sort of higgledy-piggledy record of "me" between the dates on the first and last pages.  I could look back one day when I've learnt how to draw properly and see how bad I was; when I've perfected writing and see my poorest attempts; when my mind is clearer and see how muddled it was; when my life is fuller and see how empty it was.
I'm caught between my natural instinct to keep and to own what is, maybe more than any of my other possessions, "mine", or to pass it on to some stranger just to share something of myself with a small piece of the world.  

2 replies:

Blogger Anna said...

that's odd...i never thought about passing a journal on - i wonder... what if you made a different blog for your "journal readers" - and in the front of your journal you could post the user profile and password so that people could blog about your journal and then pass it on - leave it at a bus stop or in a bathroom and see where it goes - may be fun -

17 August, 2005 21:54  
Blogger 8480 said...

Funny you should suggest that. My option of leaving it somewhere for someone to find was inspired by the idea of "Book Crossing" (www.bookcrossing.com) where people register a book on the website and release it "into the wild". People who find the book should then go to the website and write a journal entry about it, so that it can be tracked. At the moment, there are 44 books in your part of the world.

19 August, 2005 22:12  

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

#@?$£%& Padlock!

It's 08.35 and I'm in the office sat at my computer.  "Why's that?"  you may well ask (actually, knowing you, it's more likely to be "what's so strange about that?").  Is it that I'm so dedicated to my work that I'll be in the office from 8.30am til probably gone 7pm tonight (got some training after work today too)?  That the project's going so badly that I have to come in an hour earlier?  Well, it is going pretty badly, but not so badly as to induce me to get up at half six in the morning.  No, the reason I'm here writing to you now when I should be waiting for a delayed train into London is, as you may have guessed by my subject, something to do with a padlock.
You see, I had planned on going swimming this morning before work.  I get up half an hour earlier (7am), don't need to have a shower and come into London to my gym.  All I need is 3 things:  Swimming shorts; hair stuff (even this is not a necessity as they have some horrible complimentry gel there); padlock for the locker.  As I was halfway to the station I realised that I didn't have the 3rd crucial item.  You see, it's just not the sort of thing I associate with going to the gym.  £1 maybe for the lockers, but not a whole lock of your own!  I alreay have two - the last time I forgot mine they made me buy one as they'd stopped lending them out.  So I have my nice big one from Woolworths and their crappy one they made me buy.  I even keep one in the office as a spare, just in case.  
I could have gone and pleaded with the girls at reception to let me borrow one, some of the nicer (cuter) ones might have let me.  But there was a high chance of one of the bossy ones being there and I didn't want to look stupid and certainly didn't want to end up buying a 3rd padlock.  So instead I set off to work, taking as many detours as I could, gettin in an hour early.  And possibly smelling due to the fact I don't have showers on "swimming mornings" as there's no point and I save enough time to actually allow me to go swimming withough geting up un-reasonably early.
But do you know what's really unjust about it all?  If I was a woman, I wouldn't have this problem as they don't even need padlocks for lockers, they have propper lockers with keys and wrist bands and everything.  Maybe The Management decided they wouldn't remeber to bring their padlocks?  Maybe lugging a padlock around is too much effort for them?  Maybe they should let me use the womens changing rooms and showers too?  Yes, I think that's what I'll ask for next time I forget my padlock if they don't let me borrow one :o)

1 replies:

Blogger Anna said...

maybe management just understands that the majority of petty robberies is caused by females stealing anothers mascara - ....eh, i don't know -

12 August, 2005 04:11  

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