greenhamster.co.uk

June 19, 2005

All right now

It's Sunday night, and after a weekend on the Isle of Wight I think it's safe to say that I'm over my cold. There's something decidedly therapeutic about a pilgrimage to the parents, and I don't think it's just me that finds that. Those people who don't live within four hours drive of their folks should really think about recruiting or adopting some to ease the strain on the health service.

This whole weekend has been absolutely gorgeous, I know everyone in the office was looking forward to the sunshine all week (that said, many of the people in my office have just been craving daylight all week). The good weather combined with today being Fathers Day were a perfect excuse for a trip over the water.

But being in the countryside on one of the hottest days of the year does have it's downsides. For example, on Saturday I fell victim to the viral equivalent of turning up to a wedding in the same dress as the bride's mother:

Ever noticed how similar the symptoms of the common cold are to those of a pollen allergy? A bit lazy on the part of the creator, don't you think? I guess it's fine most of the time. How often do you get a cold in the middle of summer, or hayfever in the winter? Sure they look the same, but no-one's going to get them both at the same time, right?

I seem to be having a run on short odds lately. Well, I can take comfort in the fact that in the four days I was stuck down I seem to have infected two of my housemates, and probably some people in the office who, by the virtue of recycled air conditioning, will never know it was me they got it from.

Excuse me, does my mean streak look big in this?

June 15, 2005

What can you catch, but never throw?

Of all the things that one could, and might well expect to catch at a summer festival, a cold is not one that you might wish for. To be struck down with a swollen red nose and a sore throat in mid June is just uncalled for, and I'm not impressed. Of all the bunnies in the world, only those who've donated their feet to fortune are less happy.

The dilemma of course is whether to stay home tomorrow and wallow in supermarket own brand lemon cold relief, running the risk of being sucked into Big Brother "Live", or to go to work and wallow in supermarket own brand lemon cold relief, running the risk of spreading my misery around the office to those with a less robust vindictive streak as I.

This is clearly a test of character. Does staying home and watching TV make me weak or considerate toward others in the office? Does working make me committed or just another ill advised mucus trooper?

I'll decide in the morning.

June 13, 2005

Sing, Sing, Sing...

Just back after a fantastic weekend at the Isle of Wight Festival 2005. IOW is a bit of an abstract one for me, having international super groups playing the field behind my high school, just a couple of miles from my parents house where I stayed the weekend. Some people might consider not camping a bit of a cop out, not eating part-cooked butties for breakfast and using the dubious communal shower facilities. But at the end of the day, they smell and I don't.

This was the fourth year after the festival's revival in 2002, and it just gets bigger and bigger. Friday night's headliners Faithless put on an excellent show, managing somehow to carry a rock-loving crowd from a Razorlight gig into a dance set without losing any of their energy.

Saturday afternoon I found myself watching Goldie Lookin Chain standing just behind a group of middle aged couples. I half expected to them to storm off in disgust when they started rapping about HRT, but they were absolutely loving it. Just another part of a very diverse turnout.

Travis Rock!

The evening was rounded out by Travis, arguably the best performance of the weekend despite Fran forgetting the lyrics to 'Driftwood'. And then 'Flowers in the Window'. That said, he did it with such style that you can't really hold a grudge.

Probably the best received act were The Magic Numbers who, after being plugged by Travis the night before, managed to get the sightly weary Sunday afternoon crowd on their feet with some very refreshing and upbeat new music. I didn't hear a single bad word about them, and their debut album, out today, is definitely going to be worth a listen.

Finally REM delivered a slick festival performance which felt very much like it'd been lifted from their tour playlist. With so much cool material, their two hour set flew past and still left you wanting more when the fireworks started going off. Where was 'Sidewinder...', what about 'Daysleeper'? Oh well, maybe another time.

On the downside, I have a bit of a dodgy stomach from festival pasties, my eyes feel like they had alcohol poured in them from hayfever and I've spent so much time on my feet and walking that my legs just don't want to take me anywhere.

June 07, 2005

'G' Spot

Sin City. I caught it yesterday night, and shall now attempt to express my opinion without spoiling it for anyone. In a word, nice. Not in the 'take your mum to see it' sense, but in the street-talking, no-nonsense sense. And it's not just because of the gangsters, girls and guns. As a change from the way directors usual adapt a comic book into a movie, it genuinely feels like Rodriguez has gone the other way and turned a film into a comic book. Oddly, the transition from flat images to big screen seems to have lost some of the pace that you get in comics, but at the same time the result is undeniably impressive.

What distracted me for the first few minutes of the film was the realisation that the typeface they used for the title credits was the exact same one that i used on my last layout. Not a similar one, not a better one, the same one. I wasn't sure at first, but I checked out the 'G' when I got home:

Part of my old banner graphic

If you go see it, look for the little dots in the middle of the letter. That's my G: I used it first, Rodriguez!

Why am I pointing this out? Do I think this makes me cool or something?

No, of course not. I know I'm cool. This just proves it.

June 05, 2005

My Evil Edna

Children's TV has always been a realm of fantasy and escapism. As hard as TV producers and writers push the idea that children's programming is in some way educational, I really can't see how broadcasting furry, colourful (and conveniently art-student-sized) creatures like the Fimbles or the Teletubbies playing with each other is going to prepare children for what lies ahead of them. But then again, I wouldn't expect it to. We adults don't demand that we learn how to learn how to travel through time from The Doctor, or how to fight terrorism from Jack Bauer. On the rare occasion when we are presented with potentially life-changing information, we're usually presented with helpline. "Have you or someone you know been ...?".

These 'educational' shows go out every week(every day on a half term) but still there aren't support groups filled with children carrying mum's handbag who's best friend is the vacuum cleaner. No, this stuff is entertainment. Kids know not to take it seriously, and despite the fact that many of us grew up with man-sized rodents living on Wimbledon common, small pink mice in the moon and...whatever the hell was going on with the Moomins, you never expect to encounter any of this surreal crap when you grow up.

Skip forward 20-odd years. Woke up this morning, turned on the TV to watch the news. The picture was a bit fuzzy. Instantly, my IT help desk training kicked in: "Ok," I thought, "I'll try turning it off and on again at the wall...". Only, it wasn't turned on at the wall. I walked back around to the front of the TV. Still a picture. Walked back around the back. No power.

At that point I promptly left the living room in case any homicidal Japanese girls started crawling out of the TV, and waited until one of the other housemates was up before even contemplating returning to change the channel. "Oh yeah, it does that. Has a life of its own. It's a bit weird, isn't it?" It seems that I've been unwittingly living with Evil Edna from Willo the Wisp for the last six months.

Now, I was only about 3 when they first started screening WTW and my attention span wasn't so great, so I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to do with an evil television set. Any and all suggestions will be gratefully received.

June 03, 2005

In the Stars?

Wisdom from the horoscope section of next weeks TV Guide:

Creative writing is therapeutic but, if you write awfuk poetry, please be considerate enough to leave it lying around where other people can laugh at it.

I have a feeling that it wants me to start blogging again. The guide starts tomorrow. Maybe I should too?