Friday, January 27, 2006

More Lib-Dem bashing I'm afraid

How did I manage to miss this story last week? Apparently, I was too busy reading all about Sven and how he's staying and then going.

I have a plea to make to all politicians or future politicians: if you are going to be the home affairs spokesman for the party try not to have affairs. Are all politicians explicitly instructed to add the absurdity and irony in the world? eally it can't be that hard to keep your trousers on, can it? And if you really must have affairs, do you have do go for three-in-a-bed-romps with a couple of rent boys? And even that is better than this bit from News of the World (scum I know), The naked MP then got the rent boys to humiliate him with a bizarre sex act too revolting to describe. (I'm so touched that those arbiters of all that is right and just in the world, the News of the World, are protecting me from knowledge of this indescribable act. Oh I'm sorry, I wrote "arbiters of all that is right and just" when what I meant was "harbingers of all that is wrong and evil*" — simple mistake, anyone could have made it.)

In the light of Mark Oaten's rent boy antics, I can see why Simon Hughes admitting that he used to be a bit gay could, in comparison, be seen as a positive thing for a potential political leader.

For reasons that it is probably best not to go into the Mark Oaten story reminded me of a film that I saw recently called, Me and You and Everyone We Know. Now, before I start I just want to emphasise there are no rent boys in this movie. The only reason that I noticed the film, as I walked through Blockbuster, was that it stars John Hawkes, better known as the whore-loving Jew (how often do you get to write that and feel good about yourself?) from HBO's Deadwood (I can't wait until June rolls around and the new season starts). The story is just about a guy meeting a girl and about him, her and everyone they know — it's almost as if they named the film for a reason. But Miranda July, who wrote, directed and starred, did a good job of keep me entertained and, to coin an over used phrase, off-beat. If you've seen the film, and you know what the indescribable act Oaten is alleged of indulging in, then you'll know why one made me think of the other. ))<>((

*Except Jeff Powell and his ilk — this one, not this one although the second one does look a little strange.

More laughing at disabled people

This is Yesterday's post, that I couldn't post because Blogger was broken.

I went to the bar last night, not a stunning admission I realise. To be precise I went to the St. James Tavern, which has become my local (even though the Sunset Lounge, which I do like a lot, is a block or two closer) since I moved into the house on Summit Street. The reason that I mention it is not just to try and liberally daub alcohol related shenanigans across the post — although that is always enjoyable — but instead to mention St. James's Wednesday night open mic comedy night.

My quick capsule review would be, not quite as a horrific as I thought it was going to be. It was surprisingly busy upstairs (in the hideaway lounge where they have all their live music and comedy) and some parts of some of the acts even made me laugh. As ever with an open mic night there was a significant amount of utter nonsense that was, well uttered. But on the plus side I got to laugh at a one-handed guy. The second time I laughed at him was when he was on the stage going through his routine, which was veered from amusing to awkward before petering out. The first time I laughed at him was when we were downstairs playing pool and I overheard him telling the person he was about to play against that he didn't know the rules, or what the eight-ball meant. Now, I realise that admitting I was laughing at one-handed guy, who didn't even know what the eight-ball was, playing pool puts me somewhere in the lower echelons of society. But what can I do? I blame my upbringing.

In other news (literally). This is a little scary but not really unexpected. This is also scary and also not particularly unexpected. This is just plain strange, I find a little hard to believe that having the courage to admit that you used to be a bit gay but now you're not is really a positive thing for a potential leader of a, supposedly major, political party.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Things and stuff... oh and a job offer

So, surprisingly enough, nobody has bought one of my painstakingly created, artistic t-shirts. Not even me. I do think that the commenter was right and I may well have to add a "It doesn't fuck me" shirt to the lineup. But that'll have to wait until the muse strikes me.

I've spent a lot of time over the weekend defending the whale rescue attempt to people who were second guessing it. Despite my defence, it is hard to believe though that in this day and age we can't get a whale to swim down a river. Of course, I've never tried.

I've been offered, and have in principal accepted, a lectureship position at UCL, which is somewhere between interesting, exciting and scary. To clarify, I mean me accepting the job is interesting, exciting and scary and not UCL is somewhere between interesting, exciting and scary (although if interesting is the British Museum, exciting is Sunday roast at the Yorkshire Grey and scary is King's Cross on a Friday night, then UCL is between them). Fortunately, it looks like I can put off taking up the position until after the next Antarctica balloon campaign, which is a bonus.

In other news I discovered today that I'm a smidge over 6' 4", my cholesterol is okay, my blood glucose is a tiny bit high (but then again for the first 3 hours of my 12 hour pre-test fast I was drinking beer, so I'm not too worried), my blood pressure is a tiny bit high (but then again, I'd just walked a couple of miles in to work), I'm no longer mildly obese, but am overweight (according to the Body Mass Index) and I'm going to get a $50 Amazon voucher for my troubles. The Amazon voucher is because I completed my Personal Health Assessment as part of Ohio State's "Your Plan for Health". I was particularly pleased that the I only had to tick the greater than 15 alcoholic drinks a week box, and I didn't have to work out the actual number, which could be a little higher than 15.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The moment we've all been waiting for...

I was reading that nice Mr Gaiman's journal today and discovered that some friends of his are going to open an online store selling Gaiman merchandise. Well, I thought, if an internationally famous, best-selling author can have his own online shop why not an internationally barely known*, never sold a thing in his life, physicist**? I have to say the obvious reasons did spring to mind. Fortunately for all of us, my pre-gym procrastination won out over my capitalist realism and a shop was created.

So Nannicock Artwork was born. It is a little sparse at the moment, containing only one item for sale, and frankly it is somewhat unlikely that other items will ever be added. And at $1 profit per t-shirt it is also somewhat unlikely that I will ever see a, $25 minimum, royalty check. Especially, as I'm not even sure that I need a "The Opposite of 'Yay!'" t-shirt (at $19.99 with shipping and handling). And if I won't waste my money (something I'm remarkably good at) on the t-shirt, who else will? (Again the obvious answer springs to mind — starts with 'n' and almost rhymes with come-on.)

* Well I have a mother a England, a brother in Australia, another brother in New Zealand, a father in Zimbabwe*** and probably some friends in Europe and America, so I could hardly say I was internationally unknown.
** For now at least, until they sack me or Hollywood comes knocking with that big money offer.
*** Who possibly qualifies as knowing of me, if not actually knowing me.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Nonsense or possibly gibberish

For some reason this New York Times article on the British drinking culture (registration or BugMeNot required) irritated me. (As an aside: a colleague sent me this article, I think largely because most of my co-workers think that I'm something of an alcoholic. Silly Americans.) Of course this recent interest in us loveable (well I'm loveable, theoretically at least) Brits and our drinking culture was sparked by Charles Kennedy's slip in to the politcal backwaters. I have to say on the Kennedy front I'm with The Friday Thing, For a pisshead, Kennedy was remarkably dull.

I'm not sure if it is the quotes from social anthropologist Kate Fox (and no I have no idea what one of those is — a social anthropologist that is, not a fox), By blaming the booze, we sidestep the uncomfortable question of why the English, so widely admired for their courtesy, reserve and restraint, should also be renowned for their oafishness, crudeness and violence.. Which seems, to me at least, to be a crock of shit. My guess is that the Britons who are "widely admired for the courtesy, reserve and restraint" are probably not the chavs (does anyone still use chav these days?) who are "reknowned for their oafishness, crudeness and violence".

Or if it was the strange linking of the England cricket team's drunken Ashes celebration to their subsequent losses in Pakistan? Or if it was the fact that a seemingly respectable broadsheet like the New York Times would feel the need to include quotes from the Sun, Star and Daily Mail — frankly you're going to get a pretty dim view of our little island if we're only judged on the nonsense that goes in to those papers. But basically, I think it just came down to the article's holier than thou (well holier than me, at least) attitude. Prudish paper.

George Galloway is on Celebrity Big Brother. Work shy bastard should probably go back to the House and do the job his being paid for, so somebody set up a website to encourage him to do just that. Although I'm not sure I agree with the whole, "...the place is going down the pan since Oona left." Tower Hamlets went down the pan a long, long time ago. True Gorgeous George ain't helping matters, but it was a shit hole long before the people were stupid enough to elect him to represent them last year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

1189, 1066 and other things that are beyond my memory

You'll be pleased to hear, or not give a toss I suppose, that my friend only had to spend a couple of nights in the hospital before the doctors said, "Yeah, you hit your head and it will hurt for a while... but there shouldn't be any lasting damage". Which was good news, and can hopefully draw a line under this New Year's. (Although I did receive my first free coffee of the year after telling the nice people at A Touch of Earth in the North Market about our trouble getting home. Which was very nice, but probably wasn't worth two days in hospital — although it was someone else's two days in hospital, so maybe.)

I was looking up Aachen on the web today (my office-mate will be moving there in a couple of months and I had no idea where it was) and I came across Wikipedia's definition of time immemorial. I was sad to discover that we (the English) abandoned the policy of time immemorial being defined as 1189 for legal purposes. And now I'm somewhat curious to know whether in 1832 the law really changed the start of legal memory from 1189 to 1812. But obviously not curious enough to actually do anything about finding out.

And yes I do want one of these, but then again I'm something of an Apple tart (so to speak).

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

How not to start your New Year, or the incident on High Street

The ball has dropped (peculiar practice), the fireworks have fired, the kisses have been exchanged (though none by me — aw, poor Ryan I know) and 2006 has arrived. I trust that everyone had a wonderful time and did just enough naughty things to make the night exciting, but not quite enough to make the evening too exciting.

As for me, I managed to do just enough naughty things to make the evening mildly interesting and then had it turn, inexplicably, far too exciting, to rather mar my start to MMVI. Myself and a friend had been to a party, where some mirth and merriment were partaken of, and had begun to walk home down High Street. The way was long and, needless to say, one or two pit stops were necessary along the route to, um, fortify ourselves against the winter weather and sobriety. Eventually, we had passed the last of the (open) drinking establishments on our route and started the walk home in earnest.

As we were walking down the pavement (sidewalk, for you Americans) some people in a car shouted at us as they were trying to get in to the drive through lane of Wendy's. I don't fully remember, but I imagine we shouted back that we were just walking down the sidewalk. Anyhow, we walked on and in a hundred yards or so had forgotten about it and were continuing our way down the street. It was at about this point that it all went a bit pear shaped. Somebody shouted something and I turned around just in time to get punched in the face — which wasn't terribly fun. At this point in the story I would love to expound upon the great fight that I put up and how you should see the other guy and all that, but that would all be bollocks. The truth of the matter is by the time I realised some complete stranger was attacking me, he'd already hit me once or twice more and then he'd run away down the street. I'd like to put my lack of resistance purely down to intoxication, but I imagine a large part was just due to the fact that I'm pretty shit at fighting — a quality I've obtained from years of not being in fights, I hasten to add.

Whereas I only ended up with slightly bruised pride and a mascara-esque looking shading above my left eye, my friend fared rather worse. A combination of the sucker punch and his head's ensuing collision with the ground left him unconscious for a short time. And although he got up and walked home okay (well okay-ish) his head hurt so much that yesterday he went to the hospital, where they detained him overnight due to some internal bleeding. Hopefully the folks at the hospital are just being over-cautious, as you'd like them to be in the case of head injuries, and maybe tomorrow he'll be able to be released back in to the world (or should that be wild?).

All in all it is a pretty shitty, and now somewhat serious and sombre way to start the New Year. I trust you all had more fun and less excitement.

(Oh and by the way, I did get to Trader Joe's, but only on New Year's Eve, after I'd cleaned all the broken glass from the back of the car. The highlight of the trip was a severely disabled man with a Stephen Hawking-like electronic speech device repeatedly saying, "You're the one with the pissy face". I have no idea of the context, but it made me smile. All of which is somewhat incongruous with head injuries and hospitals)