16 February 2006

hangovers & nephews

are a terrible combination. Trust me.

Groovy reunion night last night with Marcus, Ru and the lovely Clair. Started off at the fantastic Horse and Groom with loads of beer and crisps as, for some odd reason, the free sandwiches normally on offer were nowhere to be seen. We somehow got over the shock and heartache and proceeded to stuff our faces full of yummy crisps. Healthy meal? Nah, but it could have been worse. I was tempted to ask for some buttered white bread and ketchup to make crisp butties. Somehow I resisted. So we drank and spilled some wine and chatted about life in London, there was a bit of North vs South banter and then Clair upped and left us for her man. So we went to the Star Taverm which is one of London's finest boozers. We drank lots of great beer and then were joined by Ben and Kellie, who by total coincidence were dining around the corner at the Portuguese ambassador's residence. As you do. So they joined us and drank lots of beer until the bar shut.

Then we came home and I, missing the massive pot of coq au vin, cooked up bacon and eggs, with which we drank loads of bubbly. Then Ben and I drank whisky a put the world to right. Kellie, being smart, went to bed. Then we had to wake up way early to get them to the tube to get them on the plane to go back to Scotland. I felt fine at 630 this morning. 1130 is when I started feeling terrible.

And Kate won a Brit. Which is so totally awesome I can't believe it. Hurrah.

And, well, ugh too.

14 February 2006

more new stuff. and pics.

It seems there's a mini renaissance in discovery at the moment. Will there be diver tourists destroying it in no time? Will rare goby find its way to the menus of the obscenely rich (probably not - goby ain't eatin' fish)? Will the new species of sponge and seaweed find themselves in the latest range of Herbal Essences Shampoos and Conditioners? Will Sir David Attenborough postpone retirement for a new series entitled: All This Crazy Weird Shit I've Never Seen Before? While I sincerely hope not, nothing would really surprise me. Although the Attenborough thing would be cool. Especially with that title. Because there's not much that the man hasn't seen to be honest.

Sometimes I wonder what the sibling rivalry between Sir David and Lord Dickie is like. They're both pretty badass. Lord Dickie comes out with "I was in the Great Escape" and Sir David jumps in with "I was cuddled by a family of mountain gorrillas". Lord Dickie's returns with a volley "I won an oscar for Ghandi" and Sir David has a bit of trouble with that one until he remembers that he wrote and narrated/starred in Life on Earth, The Living Planet, The Trials of Life, Blue Planet & The Life of Mammals, the greatest nature documentaries ever made. So he mentions this and Lord Dickie remarks about working with Spielberg on Jurassic Park at which point Sir David say, "Ah yes, Dickie, but the animals that I worked with were really there."

Then they'd get into a big fight.

Or something like that.

I took some arty photos today for the first time in ages. Some of them turned out ok. I was using digital, but set to black & white (most of them anyway, there were a couple of colour ones that turned out ok as well). It was nice to get out for a snap anyway. Off to see The New World this afternoon. Supposed to be quite remarkable

valentine's needs its scrooge

Christmas has its Scrooge, Thanksgiving has every single grumpy and dysfunctional American family (there are a LOT of those by the way), Easter has its questions (is crossing pagan fertility symbols with the resurrection really that great an idea?). Valentine's Day just seems to have terminally depressed single people and frantic couples willing to spend anything to ensure some sort of unique romance. Now, I've already made my loathing of this cynical, vapid, unromantic day clear in my second ever post. And though I was tempted to reiterate that loathing and the fundamental flaw in a holiday dedicated to romance, I felt I'd be repeating myself. Instead I think there needs to be some sort of fictional, mythical anti-Valentine, sort of like Scrooge to Christmas - or the Grinch (from the book, not the movie). Without the supernaturally induced redemption. No, the anti-Valentine must remain cynical and distrustful of such things. If there's a Ghost of Valentine's Past, then it only serves to remind this character of how rubbish all the previous ones were.

Maybe we could use Scrooge himself. Dickens wouldn't care, he's dead. And probably wouldn't care to much for a fake holiday created by the greetings card companies and aided by the restaurant trade. Just because Scrooge likes Christmas now doesn't mean he likes every holiday. He's not buying leeks for half of London on St David's Day. And all that pent up grumpiness he had must be focussed somewhere. Let it be today. Let it be an onslaught on how inherently unromantic this day is. Let it be a heartfelt lesson in what it really means to be romantic (Note: being one of 150 couples in a posh restaurant is not romantic - it's what everyone else is doing). Let him tell Bob Cratchit that he'd be happy to give him a couple of days off to take the misses out to the country for a romantic couple of days, but not on Valentines because the countryside will be covered in like-minded couples and there'll be no privacy. How about a week earlier? Have him throw bits of burning coal at people carrying around scarlet hear-shaped cards. Have him buy the local card shop and use all the cards to light a bonfire to warm the homeless. Have him fall madly in love on the 15th.

I like this idea - it has merit. There should be a contest - who can come up with the best anti-Valentine. It gives naysayers like myself someone to rally around. I've chosen Scrooge - who would you choose? Pol Pot? Abu Hamza? Dick Cheney? The Easter Bunny? John Prescott (could anything be more unromantic)? Answers in comments.

Oh - and to you delusional couples celebrating with a romantic candlelit meal. Happy Valentine's Day. You suck.

13 February 2006

not irony but something of that vein

Ok, so a few years ago two-jags, the UK's ridiculous deputy prime minister reacts poorly to the unwanted application of egg to his person and belts the offending party with a big left hook. That was a few years ago now, but to this day my father claims that Prescott's only talent is his left hook. I thought it was a pretty clumsy punch myself.

In any case, it seems the US, never wanting to be seen as playing catch-up in political gaffes or odious deputies, has leapfrogged the fat, tax-dodging wanker and set the new bar for assaulting the electorate. Yes, the illustrious Dick Cheney has upped and shot someone on a hunting trip. I'm trying to work out if he loses points for it being an accident. You see, Prescott really wanted to punch the guy who threw an egg at him. You can tell from the video clips. There's no "ooh, I was just pointing out my second XJ8 when that bloke's jaw jumped in the way" in his eyes, there's murderous rage. Maybe there was a council tax bill in the egg. In any case, Prescott wanted to punch the guy and he did. Cheney wanted to shoot a quail. And instead he shot a person.

This is what a quail looks like:That doesn't look like a person to me.

And he's supposed to be the smart one.

There's a landslide of metaphors and puns waiting to be unleashed on this. I'm sure the web is exploding with them. From puns involving Dan Quayle to the inevitable comparison between being unable to shoot a bird without nearly killing a pal with being unable to invade Iraq without reason. Or being unable to co-run the country without spying on its populace. Or being unable to award building contracts without making himself and his pals obscenely rich.

So while this incident can be contorted into a mirthful metaphor for the entire Bush-Cheney presidency, Prescott's incident can be held up as his only success since 1997.

There is one more similarity between the Prescott punch and Dick's birdshot: there won't be any assault charges filed. And the arsehole shot a lawyer! If any other poor sap shot a lawyer by accident they'd be sued so bad their pets would be paying compensation. What do you bet the lawyer gets some fat consultancy with, say, Halliburton? He's 78 as well. So the VP will get away scot-free with shooting an OAP lawyer.

Of course if this deputy competition escalates, Prescott will be polishing his flame-thrower and then who know what Cheney will do?

I'm just that little bit twisted enough to enjoy the humour of the situation. Terribly cynical? Yes, but considering the dire state of politics in both the UK & US if you can't laugh at the Vice President shooting someone, what can you laugh at?

Besides, nobody's flaming mouse has burnt down their house recently. Much more fun than politics any day.

12 February 2006

bed head

I took a nap this afternoon, waiting for a phonecall that never actually came. The lack of phonecall didn't bug me too much. I didn't feel like going out. It was a text that woke me, an unexpected one, bearing bad tidings. I was incredulous at first. Then it kind of settled in. There've been a few things like that of late. It seems advancing years makes bad news more serious. There's more at stake I guess. And I'm not even 30 yet. Getting there though.

So I wake up from my nap and I have bed head. Or, technically, couch head. I don't have much hair left and I tend to keep it pretty short. So having enough to get messed up was a bit of a novelty. It's a very small thing. Memories cropped up. Strange what triggers these things.

And Scotland lost. Bummer. And Ireland lost. Bummer.

I miss being in St Andrews for the rugby.

On a lighter note - it would appear that Andy's adventures in NZ have started with a bit of a bang. I got a brilliant drunken text from him and responded with my own drunken text. Some things never change. Thank goodness.