almostwitty: (monkey)

So… for the last 29 days I’ve been attempting to grow a moustach, for plenty of reasons:

– to raise awareness of men’s health (testicular cancer, or mental health issues)
– because I would like to have a proper moustache that I can stroke thoughtfully when musing on things or with menace… Something like:

Tony Leung in Infernal Affairs Tony Leung in Infernal Affairs

Here’s the progress so far:

My growing moustache My growing moustache

If you’d like to see the full result – or if you feel like being generous and donating to the #movember charity, then please please do so via http://mobro.co/almostwitty

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)

So, you may not know (and if you don’t know, I’m amazed, it’s usually the third most interesting fact about myself I unselfishly volunteer without being asked), but I was a performer at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, which was roughly two years ago yesterday.

So, anyway, in a way of a minor celebration/salute, I decided to put on the key musical track And I Will Kiss today in the office. At the key drumbeat points, my body somehow remembered that I was meant to DO something, but my conscious brain couldn’t actually remember what.

That didn’t seem to matter to my body, which KNEW it had to do something and so … well, if you’d been staring at me in the office, you’d have seen my arms and elbows raising from the keyboard for one second in an extra-ordinarily unchoreographed movement, because darn it the arms and elbow just KNEW it had to do something…

Will the body ever forget these movements from 2012 ?!

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)
At the dress rehearsal for the London 2012 opening ceremony

A crowd of 60,000 people at a dress rehearsal for the London 2012 opening ceremony (via @2012govuk on Twitter)

So as you may not have noticed, I’m one of the performing volunteers for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, in front of a total of 200,000 people in the stadium over three nights, and one billion TV viewers worldwide. Which, oddly, isn’t that daunting – probably because I’ve got a relatively small role.

You won’t get any particular spoilers from me (unless you want to know precisely where I’ll be, in which case just ask!) – but you may want to carve out 90 minutes of your life on Friday to watch the ceremony. I’ve seen most of it four times, and there are bits that still manage to either draw out a small tear. Or have me playing air synth with gusto.

So get in front of your TV just before 9pm UK time (or 4pm New York, 1pm California time). You’ll love it, I promise.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)

Amongst all the time-sucking hassles that December brings along is the need/desire to set up Christmas decorations.

Admittedly, only those with a true heart of rock-solid stone could fail to be impressed by blinking fairy lights and tinsel chasing away the dark December nights, but oy vey, the hassle of setting it all up.

First of all you have to get all the decorations, tinsel, lights and then the huge plastic tree from last year down from the attic or your storage arena. Or struggle to wrestle a new natural tree all the way home from the local dodgy pop-up market around the corner, covering yourself with thistles and thorns in the process.

Then you have to carve out a space in your living room area near the window just to put up the tree. Assuming you had any spare space to begin with. For bonus points, if you have a crawling baby, you have to put enough obstacles on the living room floor so that he can’t actually try to climb up – or more likely, eat – the tree.

Then out come the fairy lights out of the box. Which are all hopelessly tangled, so you have to spend a good 30 minutes untangling them to begin with – while also keeping an eye out on the baby to ensure he doesn’t try to chew the fairy lights. Once you’ve untangled them comes the joyful task of tangling them again around the tree. Before realising that it’s all too far from an electrical outlet so you’re forced to decide whether to move everything else out of the way so you can put the tree near the electrical outlet, or try dangling an extension cable in such a way that the baby won’t eat it.

Then you open the box of last year’s tree decorations, and hope to goodness none of them have been smashed. Then you realise you can’t use any of them anyway because the baby may just decide to try eating a glass globe.

Which is why, this year, my wife’s taken the initative and set up a unique Christmas ‘tree’ of our very own, incorporating books and a fez. Because fezzes are cool.

Our Christmas tree, 2011

I still wish I had the time to set up some more fairy lights around the place, though.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

XKCD

Ever since Hyperham moved in, life has pretty much been a non-stop whirlwind of relaxing on the sofa watching Dave, running around London, trash-talking each other and endlessly re-arranging stuff in the flat without actually deciding on anything. And tripping over socks and cables. It hasn’t helped that we’re also in the midst of some redesign projects at work, and I’ve volunteered for more late nights elsewhere (exciting details to come later!)

and I am *exhausted*. Sleep has never come so easily in my life before – hell, some nights, we’re in bed snoring away by 10pm. Especially at weekends. Which has severely cut into my social media time… Yet, people keep commenting that I look healthy and happy. Which sounds rather bizarre to me, because I’m usually looking at them with weary lidded eyes.

This week alone, we’ve got two guests from overseas to entertain, a cinema screening with free whisky, a leaving do and a long night ahead for this week. Oy vey.

And yet, I must also show Hyperham the glory that is the United Kingdom, especially now that Spring has arrived.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

So HyperHam has been living with me for over two weeks now – and it’s been going alarmingly well. Except when it comes to the battle for personal space.

At first, it was little minor skirmishes – she loves loads of pillows, I’ll just settle for one hard pillow. She likes her mattress soft and pliant, I like it hard. She tends to leave things all over the place – whereas I leave things in an organised pile of mess. Instead of asking me to allocate her some drawer space, she complained to my friends that she didn’t have one drawer. So I emptied a drawer for her, and as far as I know, she hasn’t used it.

Then I came home after a particularly hard day at work to find she’d rearranged the furniture to split the room in half, and create a relaxing space and a work space. I did point out that the original layout had been specifically designed to meld the relaxing and work spaces together and to create an open feeling that would be welcoming to guests. At which point she fixed me with a stare and challenged me as to how many people had dropped by in the last two years. Pwned.

The feeling gradually crept over me that something was *wrong* with this. I couldn’t put my figure on it – then I realised. Thanks to the rearrangement, things had not been allocated their proper place. Everything had been piled onto the coffee table, so consequently you couldn’t put coffee on it. Instead you put coffee on one of the remaining bookshelves – the bookshelves on that had been temporarily moved to a spare side table. The papers on that were temporarily on the sofa.

Things were not in their rightful place. This is wrong.

I should have tried to relax. But I just couldn’t. We were watching an episode of House - top marks for drama, but really, the patient-of-the-week had been involved in a side-on collison with a bus, her heart had stopped, they’d cracked open her chest to see what was what, her lungs had been pumped full of a freezing solution to induce hypothermia, her kidneys were shot to buggery, and yet they were able to revive her for one long last farewell before she died – and I just couldn’t relax. Even mild surfing on the Internet wasn’t doing it. It wasn’t until we embarked on an organisational orgy that I was finally able to relax. And then it was time for bed.

Now I’m wondering what other mild mental malladies will be sparked by the ongoing co-habitation wars…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Apparently, Hong Kong is all a twitter about the sit-in demonstrations (complete with riot police and pepper spray) that have been taking place as the Hong Kong Legislative Council rubber-stamped a decision to build a high-speed railway line through Hong Kong to China, demolishing ancient villages in the process. (Interestingly, the official Chinese news state agency thinks the protestors barely deserve half a sentence in their report).

Anyway, cnngo.com had a photo-essay featuring the village at the heart of the railway line, and it’s rather striking how it looks an awful lot like the village my parents grew up. Even if I haven’t been back there in 20 years.

Oh, while we’re here, 50 reasosn why Hong Kong is fab. Now if only I spoke Cantonese…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Apparently, Hong Kong is all a twitter about the sit-in demonstrations (complete with riot police and pepper spray) that have been taking place as the Hong Kong Legislative Council rubber-stamped a decision to build a high-speed railway line through Hong Kong to China, demolishing ancient villages in the process. (Interestingly, the official Chinese news state agency thinks the protestors barely deserve half a sentence in their report).

Anyway, cnngo.com had a photo-essay featuring the village at the heart of the railway line, and it’s rather striking how it looks an awful lot like the village my parents grew up. Even if I haven’t been back there in 20 years.

Oh, while we’re here, 50 reasosn why Hong Kong is fab. Now if only I spoke Cantonese…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

stumbling across Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations with my mates including Sheff01, watching a couple of Turkish guys begging every woman around them for a kiss, and not getting any. Then again, I wasn’t getting any kisses either.

The best moment though, was coming up to the police barriers – due to sheer numbers, you had to have a special ticket to be allowed into the street celebrations – and watching one woman screaming “I’m pregnant! Let me through!”. So eventually the barriers were raised, and a lady with a large stomach was let through. Once she was past the policemen and the barriers, she lifted her shirt to reveal a six-pack of beers – she pulled one out, opened it, and went on her merry way.

At the stroke of midnight, the fireworks were unleashed over Edinburgh Castle – followed by the fine ash/gunpoweder glittering all our faces. Which beats the year after, when I had to duck and cover from hundreds of bottles thrown over Westminster Bridge on December 31, 2000.

Never mind all that, what you really want to know is what Doctor Who and sci-fi writers (including Russell T Davies, Steven Moffatt were doing on Millennium Eve

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

stumbling across Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations with my mates including Sheff01, watching a couple of Turkish guys begging every woman around them for a kiss, and not getting any. Then again, I wasn’t getting any kisses either.

The best moment though, was coming up to the police barriers – due to sheer numbers, you had to have a special ticket to be allowed into the street celebrations – and watching one woman screaming “I’m pregnant! Let me through!”. So eventually the barriers were raised, and a lady with a large stomach was let through. Once she was past the policemen and the barriers, she lifted her shirt to reveal a six-pack of beers – she pulled one out, opened it, and went on her merry way.

At the stroke of midnight, the fireworks were unleashed over Edinburgh Castle – followed by the fine ash/gunpoweder glittering all our faces. Which beats the year after, when I had to duck and cover from hundreds of bottles thrown over Westminster Bridge on December 31, 2000.

Never mind all that, what you really want to know is what Doctor Who and sci-fi writers (including Russell T Davies, Steven Moffatt were doing on Millennium Eve

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (blank)

Lucina Dickey (and Jean Claude van Damne) in a scene from Breakin'

Lucina Dickey (and Jean Claude van Damne) in a scene from Breakin'

Believe it or not, when I was a tender 10-year-old boy growing up in a small seaside resort in mid Wales, I developed a temporary crush for the purple-dressed lady who steps in from the right. A crush I am still at a loss to explain to this day.

The scene is from that seminal street movie Breakin’ (the first movie all about Breakdancing) and the actress is Lucinda Dickey. Lovely lady though I’m sure she is, I can’t figure out why I had a crush on her. There were/are a huge number of “glam American” movies extolling the delights of living in a fantasy street-savvy America, so why she turned my tender young head/heart, I have no idea. And she’s not my usual type. Although she is cute. Fortunately, she’s still retained her looks today.

Thanks to the futuristic technology of YouTube, you can also watch the entire film online – or just the trailer, which has enough Lucinda Dickey goodness.

So who was your first crush?

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Lucina Dickey (and Jean Claude van Damne) in a scene from Breakin'

Lucina Dickey (and Jean Claude van Damne) in a scene from Breakin'

Believe it or not, when I was a tender 10-year-old boy growing up in a small seaside resort in mid Wales, I developed a temporary crush for the purple-dressed lady who steps in from the right. A crush I am still at a loss to explain to this day.

The scene is from that seminal street movie Breakin’ (the first movie all about Breakdancing) and the actress is Lucinda Dickey. Lovely lady though I’m sure she is, I can’t figure out why I had a crush on her. There were/are a huge number of “glam American” movies extolling the delights of living in a fantasy street-savvy America, so why she turned my tender young head/heart, I have no idea. And she’s not my usual type. Although she is cute. Fortunately, she’s still retained her looks today.

Thanks to the futuristic technology of YouTube, you can also watch the entire film online – or just the trailer, which has enough Lucinda Dickey goodness.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Around September 1992, I went to Bradford University (with a year off for good behaviour). And instead of doing the sensible thing like going to lectures, going home and then going to the pub, I did the insanely stupid thing of throwing myself headfirst (and very foolishly and naively) into student media/union life, alongside fellow students who seemed to take the Union far more seriously than I did.

Fast forward 17 years, and thanks to Mosh (who patently has nothing better to do), he sent me scurrying down the research hallways of the Web and Wikipedia to deduce that in those 17 years:

  • Ramair pub crawls are no longer held “because of risk to students off-campus”. Blimey, is it THAT dangerous in Bradford these days? (Then again, there were two riots while I lived there)
  • The “famed” Friday Night Disco (or FNDs for short) are no longer FNDs. In a nod to the subtleties of today’s multicultural multimedia multitasking students, they are now called Flirt! instead.
  • The Biko bar – where I spent the odd night drowning in perry before it disappeared from every pub I went to, only to come back into the warm bosom of my throat 15 years later as pear cider – closed in 2005
  • The student magazine I used to write for (and the one which got me a whole week in Prague just before the Iron Curtain was blown apart by McDonalds and Starbucks) has now been renamed from Scrapie to the unimaginatively entitled ‘The Bradford Student’. Tsk, tsk, no imagination these days.
  • When I was there, four people I knew ran for President or Vice President. Which was a shame, because the post was apparently abolished in 2000. Although they still have a Woman’s Officer. I hope she’s as feisty and alluring and purple-headed as she was in my day…
  • Radio Ramair offices

    Radio Ramair offices

    There’s a student radio station called Ramair, where I had a terrible radio show for three years. I’m also listed as News Editor in 1995, but I can’t really remember that much about it. Which seems odd considering I must have had to do at least one news bulletin a day…

But most important of all …

Back in 1994/5, I ended up setting up the Bradford University Union website, back when most people didn’t even know what a website was. Somehow, I was given Lifetime Membership of said Union as a reward, although I’ve never been back since to claim my discount pints. And for all the confusing clutter that it has today, it still has the name I gave it back in 1994 – UBU Online.

However, I shall now shut up (chorus: too late), lest I become yet another one of those sad people who relive their student days through golden-tinted specs, and are so compelled to write themselves into the story of a student media radio station that they set up their own amateur press agency. Yes, Simon Sheikh, I mean you. I’ve been trying to figure out why he wanted to add me on Facebook.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

I’ve been tagged by Jan to do this follow up to the 100 books meme, using the Channel 4 list of top 100 films (which is probably a bit more realistic than the AFI one).

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

With my glamorous international air travel lifestyle, I’ve been trapped on an airport or plane numerous times.

One time, I was at Philadelphia Airport when it was snowing outside. Despite the blizzard conditions, they still insisted the flight was going to take off, so we all schlepped onto the plane at 8pm. Which remained standing still at the gate, while my ridiculously tall seat neighbour tried in vain to find a comfortable position. An hour later, they started the film, while we were still standing at the gate watching the snow swirl outside. Two hours later, they started the on-board meal service – while we were still at the gate, watching men on the wing vainly try to sweep the snow off. At 3am, they finally conceded defeat, and we all trooped off the plane, to finally arrive at some stupidly plush hotel at 5am to sleep. 24 hours later, we were back on the same plane, in the same seat, shown the same film and given the same meal. Although at least this time we were in the air.

Of course, there’s also the last time I was in the US, where I was stuck at JFK Airport for 18 hours

Still, none of this compares to the 50 passengers stuck on a Continental plane overnight by an airport gate, with no food and overflowing toilets, because most of the airport security staff had gone home.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)



Solar eclipse

Originally uploaded by mclarenjk

Ten years ago today, the UK went solar eclipse crazy, knowing that one faint corner of the British Isles (Cornwall and Devon basically) would be seeing a total eclipse.

While Mr McLaren (who I didn’t know at the time) took pics from his student union, I was a bit older – earning a wage in fact. So I decided to splash out and get to Cornwall the only way that was possible from London.

For the princely sum of £100 (which was very expensive in those days, but now is the average price of a ticket to Leeds), I could get a seat on the Solar Eclipse Express, a specially commissioned train that would get people from London Paddington to Penzance, in Cornwall to watch this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event. (The next UK total eclipse being in 2090.

Of course, what we got for our £100 was a knackered ye olde train that had probably previously seen service during Agatha Christie’s era. Full of very sleepy, slightly grouchy passengers who weren’t looking forward to a six-hour train ride to Cornwall.

But somehow, the train wheezed past Paddington, and eventually arrived in Cornwall – to incredibly cloudy skies. You couldn’t really see much of anything in the sky – and the landscape was full of day-tripping tourists like me looking upwards for any sign of sun.

And when the time of totality came, it got dark. It got darker. People oooh’ed. Birds stopped crowing. Street lights came on – finally answering the question as to whether they had light sensors or not. People whispered.

Then it got lighter again – far more quickly than when it’d gotten dark.

And that was the solar eclipse. I was also trapped in Penzance for another six hours before the train back – and there’s only so many Cornish pasties you can munch on.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)



Solar eclipse

Originally uploaded by mclarenjk

Ten years ago today, the UK went solar eclipse crazy, knowing that one faint corner of the British Isles (Cornwall and Devon basically) would be seeing a total eclipse.

While Mr McLaren (who I didn’t know at the time) took pics from his student union, I was a bit older – earning a wage in fact. So I decided to splash out and get to Cornwall the only way that was possible from London.

For the princely sum of £100 (which was very expensive in those days, but now is the average price of a ticket to Leeds), I could get a seat on the Solar Eclipse Express, a specially commissioned train that would get people from London Paddington to Penzance, in Cornwall to watch this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event. (The next UK total eclipse being in 2090.

Of course, what we got for our £100 was a knackered ye olde train that had probably previously seen service during Agatha Christie’s era. Full of very sleepy, slightly grouchy passengers who weren’t looking forward to a six-hour train ride to Cornwall.

But somehow, the train wheezed past Paddington, and eventually arrived in Cornwall – to incredibly cloudy skies. You couldn’t really see much of anything in the sky – and the landscape was full of day-tripping tourists like me looking upwards for any sign of sun.

And when the time of totality came, it got dark. It got darker. People oooh’ed. Birds stopped crowing. Street lights came on – finally answering the question as to whether they had light sensors or not. People whispered.

Then it got lighter again – far more quickly than when it’d gotten dark.

And that was the solar eclipse. I was also trapped in Penzance for another six hours before the train back – and there’s only so many Cornish pasties you can munch on.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

The sun may be shining – or more likely, there’s stormy summer clouds overheard. Either way, it’s hot, sticky, and sweaty.

Hey, why not think about what you’re doing for Christmas ?

and if you think I’m joking, please note the following:

  1. I was walking through Soho the other day (in the pouring rain) and two ladies dressed in scantily-clad Christmas outfits were handing out flyers which invited people to book their Christmas party at a specific pub
  2. The house at the end of the road has decided to put on their Christmas lights on the outside…
  3. Selfridges, one of London’s top department stores, has started offering their range of festive goods

Bah. They could have at least waited till September!

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

The sun may be shining – or more likely, there’s stormy summer clouds overheard. Either way, it’s hot, sticky, and sweaty.

Hey, why not think about what you’re doing for Christmas ?

and if you think I’m joking, please note the following:

  1. I was walking through Soho the other day (in the pouring rain) and two ladies dressed in scantily-clad Christmas outfits were handing out flyers which invited people to book their Christmas party at a specific pub
  2. The house at the end of the road has decided to put on their Christmas lights on the outside…
  3. Selfridges, one of London’s top department stores, has started offering their range of festive goods

Bah. They could have at least waited till September!

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

There’s this Facebook/Livejournal/blog meme passed to me from [livejournal.com profile] red_silk_robe, [livejournal.com profile] kiri_l (and no doubt others), saying:

“The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?
Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read. Tag other book nerds.”

(Note that the BBC’s own list of the top 100 books as voted for by the British public are very different to what you see below)

Alas, it’s going to be a tough one for me to fill out, since the pleasure of books is something I seem to have lost as the years have gone by, thanks to my lack of an attention span. Time was, I could start a book at 9pm, and finish it only to realise it was dawn outside and it was 5am. Nowadays, I glance at my watch when watching a sitcom…

But here goes with the book meme, and the list of books I have/haven’t read…

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from almost witty.

Profile

almostwitty: (Default)
almostwitty

June 2017

S M T W T F S
     123
45678910
1112131415 1617
18192021222324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jun. 22nd, 2017 06:26 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios