Monthly Archives: November 2013

The next level

Professor Lewis: It’s in this twilight period of transition we can see the magical significance 14th-century mythology attaches to things which are themselves symbols of transition.
Host: Yes.
PL: The edge of a forest, or twilight itself: that dusk before the day has really ended, but nor can one say it is yet early evening.
H: Of course.
PL: And that’s your bedtime, that is.  That’s your bedtime on Friday nights.
–Rob Newman & David Baddiel’s “History Today” sketches, The Mary Whitehouse Experience

beavbutt_buff

“Check it out, Beavis, he said ‘clean and jerk’.”
“Yeah, but first, he said ‘pushing harder’.”
“Uh huh huh huh huh huh huh huh!”

Despite a few low points, 2013 has been a good year for me: however, it’s been more of a period of self-discovery and evolution, as evinced by all the changes I’ve effected in my life.  With all the hard work I’ve put in, it seems I’m ready to move on to the next stage… especially in the view of my personal trainer, who has started pushing me even harder (due to the apparent ease with which I’ve faced all his previous challenges), getting me to warm up for TEN MINUTES on the rowing machine instead of the 5’30” I’ve been used to for the past few months.  He’s also got me doing Olympic weightlifting — including “dead lift”, “clean and jerk” and “shoulder press” — but reckons I mastered it faster than anyone else, and only the fact that I needed to work on my press-ups a bit stopped me from feeling like some kind of fraud who had somehow been hustling him all these months!

(I’d still like to send some business his way, but obviously I can’t use his real name here; however, if you go to the Castle in Manor House and look for his poster in the mini-gym, you’ll see his first name is that of the character in Ghostbusters II played by the guy from Ally McBeal, and his surname is a kooky protein-heavy diet… tell him Dave-ros sent you!)

And from my physical health, we proceed to my mental health, or at least that aspect of it concerning my romantic life, which of course is the only bit that matters to a male with a fully-functioning libido.  I’ve mentioned my dating coach before (the woman whose professional name is very similar to the Joker’s psychiatrist-turned-sidekick in the Batman franchise); she thinks I’ve made enough progress to go on one of her dating programmes, and although this will inevitably cost money, it’s something I’m considering, as it’ll hopefully benefit me more than just meeting her for 90 minutes on random Saturdays (usually on the exact weekends I’ve decided to visit my folks in Worthing, but fortunately I have next weekend clear to see her one last time in 2013).  It’d be a bit of an investment, but I know shouldn’t let that discourage me: I was worried about spending money on a personal trainer, and look at how far I’ve come in that respect, so why not give it a try?  She said I’d get a discount because I “make her smile”… and no, she’s not single, so please cancel that train of thought!

Speaking of cancelled trains, it’s clear that we’ve entered a new phase for the Northern Line: no more weekend closures (or at least none that would prevent me from travelling to central London) until mid-February!  Thus I feel I can actually plan to do things at the weekends other than get the bus over to Arnos Grove and travel via the Piccadilly Line (a line I honestly wish would vanish from the Earth, after Friday evening, but that’s another story), and I don’t need to force myself to do things on weekday evenings in order to make up for sitting at home on Saturday and Sunday.  It’s too soon for me to make a prediction, but the TfL website seems to suggest that the weekend after the one in mid-February will have no closures on the Northern Line at all — not even the usual “no service until 9am” on Sunday thing — and so I dare to hope that this will be the final end of weekend disruption and rail “‘”‘”replacement”‘”‘” buses (yes, I really put five levels of scare quotes on that word, that actually happened).

boring_canuck

This guy has a lot of impor’an’ things to go ahead and say, eh?  (Yeah, I still miss Robb Tracy…)

A new phase in my IT studies?  Not yet, I’m still in the same place as before, studying Windows 7, but am at least getting on with that reasonably well, despite the boring Canadian guy who keeps saying “let’s go ahead and…”, and can’t seem to pronounce the “D”s or “T”s in words like “advantage” (maybe he’s part-Cockney?).  However, I do have to attend another “open day” on Friday, which is a bit annoying because it means taking yet more annual leave, not to mention having to do my “pitch” yet again (one day I’ll just stop being afraid of public speaking, possibly at the point where everyone tells me to shut up), but at least I’ll get it over with.  If I study over Christmas, I should be ready to take the exam in January, at which point I can progress on to the Server 2008 studies…

The weather, alas, sucks, because we’ve reached that time of year where I have to dress extra-warmly outside, and feel cold in the mornings — not to mention unwilling to get up, due to sunrise occurring around half-an-hour after my alarm goes off.  Yeah, other people cope with blah blah blah, don’t care, I’m not them, and I didn’t say I couldn’t cope, I was just complaining idly about the fact that I live too far from the equator to avoid the existence of winter.  At least we’ve entered a phase of relatively mild weather, which I describe, in an Orwellian-sounding manner, as “uncold”, which means the heating actually has an effect in my room and doesn’t just mean the difference between 14°C and 16°C.  Having less fat on my body (thanks primarily to my personal trainer) obviously means I feel the cold more, but hopefully I can toughen up and withstand it through sheer force of will (and hey, it’s an incentive to exercise).

What other changes are in effect?  Well, the usual, that I’ve been ripping DVDs to a hard drive, a project that’s mercifully coming to an end (though I’ve got a lot of 24 to take care of, and one episode of season 3 really didn’t want to come off that disc!), and I’m planning a big trip to donate to charity, to give away loads of stuff.  I’ve also downsized my monitor to a 1080p LED one, and will be trying to sell my (heavier) 1920×1200 LCD one, perhaps for a credit note at the shop from which I intend to buy a “phablet” after Christmas so I can read e-books, having given most of my current clutch of paperbacks to a library.  And there’s hopefully more desk work and less archive work to be done in my job (I’ve still got my desktop computer and haven’t fully switched to the laptop yet), though my boss’s boss is going on maternity leave for the second time, which will throw everything into confusion…

scumdogs

Yes, I got it from Google, please don’t sue me (or behead me with Unt Lick, feed me to the World Maggot, fire me out of the Butt Cannon etc.) — credit: Tiffany Rose / Wireimage, 2009

And, of course, there’s Gwar.  What, you thought I’d get through a whole post without mentioning everyone’s favourite heavy metal-playing alien barbarian rockstar demigods?  It’s a relatively minor transition, but since I’ve finished their back catalogue up to Violence Has Arrived, it occurs to me that the next album, 2004’s War Party, will be the first featuring Cory Smoot on lead guitar (in the role of Flattus Maximus, a character that was retired upon his death in 2011).  This is a phase of my life I will save for 2014, however, as eight albums in one year is quite enough even for a bohab like me!  I predict I’ll have reached their recent release, Battle Maximus (a tribute to Cory Smoot), around the end of next year, depending on how fast I get them and memorise the songs.

But don’t worry, I’m still an Eminem fan as well, and got his recent album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (I forgive him for the title, because the original MMLP was the first album of his I got, a worrying THIRTEEN years ago).  In fact, it seems from one song in particular that he’s reaching the next level as well, just as he hits 40…

(Watch out, explicit lyrics!  Well, hey, what were you expecting from His Royal Shadyness?!)

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Cool things: Doctor Who

“The time has come, but the moment has been prepared for…”

dw_8

Yes, it’s a picture I got off of Google, tough tortillas, it’s staying up!

The 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of the world’s longest-running sci-fi TV series, and the day of the broadcast of the 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor”, seems like as good a time as any for this post; but this isn’t going to be yet another look back at the show’s history (as such), because there’s already a thousand of those on the Interthingy, such as this one at The Register, and a load of material at BBC News.  Oh no, as with my other “cool things” posts, this is all about my personal experience of the thing in question, which is the only point of view that matters.  (Hey, it’s my blog…)

So, how did it all begin?  Well, growing up in Britain, you’d be hard-pressed not to have even heard of the show, and being (a) a boy and (b) a geek-in-training, naturally I was hooked from an early age.  (I also watched Star Wars and Star Trek from an early age, don’t worry!)  My earliest memory of the show may well be the 1979 Fourth Doctor story Destiny of the Daleks, as I definitely recall Daleks breaking through a black wall that looked to my young eyes like bin liner (I was only able to confirm this in 1994 when I got the story on video), though it may have been a repeat or even a clip on a different show!  I was certainly watching by Tom Baker’s final season, as I remember the Marshmen from Full Circle, and also the Doctor regenerating into Peter Davison at the end of Logopolis (another story which was repeated).

Thus, the Fifth Doctor is the one I spent my formative years watching — an experience I apparently share with Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant, who indeed went on to marry Davison’s daughter after she played his own daughter (albeit a genetically-grown one) in an episode of the show!  As Tennant’s Doctor would say: timey-wimey…

There was also Peter Cushing’s non-canonical version of the Doctor (despite the lies on video/DVD casings, he wasn’t a “Time Lord”, just an eccentric inventor named “Doctor Who”) in two 1960s movies, Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150AD; while the first was a bit dumb, the second, ever since being broadcast on TV in the 1980s, remains perhaps my most-watched film ever…

I also had the chance to experience the First, Second and Third Doctors courtesy of that thing people are always complaining about the BBC doing nowadays: repeats (reruns if you’re American) — and though William Hartnell died before I was born, I was able to see his one-off replacement, RIchard Hurndall, together with Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee in the 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors.  Blimey, 30 years ago today (give or take)!  Novelisations (mostly by Terrance “wheezing, groaning sound” Dicks) and the fledgling VHS format also enabled me to experience old stories during the 1980s, and even more so onwards into the 1990s…

Although I didn’t like Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor so much at the time, I was still sad to see the show get almost-cancelled in his time (thanks to BBC1 controller Michael Grade), a general anti-sci-fi policy at the Beeb which also clobbered another favourite of mine, The Tripods (just in case any of you remember that show and thought it was Doctor Who as well).  However, when Baker C. returned in 1986, we were treated to a whole season called The Trial of a Time Lord, though stupidly I ruined my recording of episode 9, something I wasn’t able to rectify until getting the DVD set in 2009!

(It’s worth noting that Grade admitted that he tried to cancel the show not due to falling audience figures or increasing violence, but because he personally didn’t like it — so when I become BBC1 controller, can I get rid of all sports coverage?!)

And while Sylvester McCoy had some awful stories as the Seventh Doctor, he also had some gems: I still feel lucky that, in September 1988, we figured out how to set the video so I could experience the first episode of Remembrance of the Daleks the morning after I’d had to miss its broadcast due to joining my grandparents picking my mother up from the airport.  Mind you, it was a close thing: my recording started midway through the opening titles, and it wasn’t until I got a proper video version in 1995 (it was in a boxed set with a 1960s story, The Chase) that I found out it had a pre-title sequence teaser…

It was, again, sad that the show ended entirely in 1989, aside from a (sadly futile) attempt to bring it back with American backing in 1996, in a TV movie with Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, of whom it would have been fascinating to see more (I have to content myself with the short preview episode, “The Night of the Doctor”, that was made this year).  However, my fandom of Doctor Who certainly helped me make friends with fellow geeks at university, not to mention one guy who enjoyed watching both this and my Star Trek recordings!  Obviously neither impressed any girls, but hey, English women are too boring to like cool stuff like sci-fi…

Scandalously, there’s quite a long period in the early 21st century — when I was living at home with my folks, no less — that I hardly did anything Who-related, apart from getting a couple of “missing” stories from the 1960s in audio format (and let me tell you, The Daleks’ Master Plan and The Web of Fear kept me sane during my five-hour stopovers, both ways, at Cincinnatti airport in 2003 when visiting my friends in Michigan!); I wasn’t even able to experience Scream of the Shalka, the online story, because we were on dial-up (ecch!).  At least I got a couple of DVDs when we finally embraced the format in 2002, but at that stage, saving up for my post-grad course, the thought of getting the entire series was far from my mind…

I was pleased when the show was brought back in 2005, but not too enamoured with Chris Eccleston, who I felt was a bit too coarse as the Ninth Doctor (and he quit after his first episode was broadcast — what the hell, man?!).  David Tennant, however, I felt was utterly definitive in the revitalised series as the Tenth Doctor, and I’ve also enjoyed Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor (though I find it quite sad no-one’s linked his fez-wearing with Tommy Cooper — not even a “jus’ like that, ahaha!”).  John Hurt has also been excellent tonight as the “Eighth-and-a-half” Doctor (they’re not renumbering them, apparently, because that would just be silly).  Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor?  We’ll see…

However, it’s still the “classic” series that interests me the most.  In 2011 I began watching the entire show from its humble 1963 beginnings, all in order, generally one episode per weekday night over dinner.  This was partly due to my folks getting me a collection of audio reconstructions of missing stories, which meant I could consider the first two seasons of the show complete from the point of view of my collection.  I’m proud (yes, proud, in a geeky way) to state that I’ve kept going this whole time, with only occasional breaks to watch anime, the last season of 24 (perhaps a future “cool things” post?) and the first season of Twin Peaks.  I also delayed starting the Fourth Doctor’s time until after my holiday in May, because, well, I could!

There was a sad moment in 2012, when I watched my old video of the Pertwee classic The Mind of Evil on VHS, and vowed it would be the last Doctor Who video I ever watched… because if and when I watch it again, I’ll have it on DVD instead, right?  (Or some kind of online…)  I’d specifically rescued that, and also the Troughton story The Krotons, from my general purge of VHS at the end of my “worst month”, January 2012, when moving out of Caledonian Road, because I knew at that point I’d be needing them due to the random releases of the show onto DVD.  Watching the show every night kept me sane during the horrible transition of 2012…

In 2013 (just after my holiday) I started Tom Baker’s time, and have now come full circle (no pun intended, that story is another three seasons away!), as I’ve reached the stories that were broadcast around the time of my birth.  Indeed, I was born literally the day after the faithful robot dog K-9 made his debut, in episode 2 of The Invisible Enemy.  Next week it’ll be The Invasion of Time (resonating slightly with tonight’s special, in fact!), and after Christmas, I’ll be on to the “Key to Time” season…

I haven’t as yet seen the 1960s episodes recovered from Nigeria (why the iTunes exclusive, Beeb?  Apple sucks!), but word on the grapevine (I have a source who has a source, let’s say) is that there were a lot more missing episodes in that haul, and that the stalwarts at the Doctor Who Restoration Team are busy working their collective mojo to restore them to broadcast quality before their recovery is officially admitted…

Since I have only three more seasons of Baker T. to go, and then a few more of Davison, Baker C. and McCoy (and the McGann TV movie), I expect to be finished before the end of 2014, though in all probability I’ll get the revitalised series on DVD (or indeed Blu-ray) as well.  Watching the show nearly every night over dinner (though this has been harder with my, ahem, regenerated social calendar!), has been an experience over the past couple of years, and it’s not over yet…

(And yes, I’ll get back to that C++ Dalek strategy game one day!)

If you’ve made it this far through my interminable ramblings (both in terms of this post and my blog in general), you’re probably wondering who my favourite Doctor is.  Well, I like them all in their own ways (I’m sure I’ll even enjoy Eccleston’s stories more when I watch them again, but oddly I’ve never seen them repeated on BBC3 — it was just Tennant’s ones ad nauseam!), but I reckon Pertwee is my favourite in the classic series, and Tennant in the revitalised series.

The first two Doctors, however, have a fascination for me, perhaps because so many of their episodes (especially in Troughton’s case) were lost in the 1970s.  This era also includes my favourite story, Troughton’s very first, The Power of the Daleks — again, probably due to it being missing (apart from soundtrack, John Cura “tele-snaps” and odd clips).  But oh, perhaps it’s been found in Nigeria?  Now that’d be a Christmas present…

(Phew, this post took a lot of work, and I haven’t even looked for clips on YouTube — stuff it, you can do that yourselves!)

Winter still sucks

Bitter, bone-cracking cold assaults you continuously.  You can feel the cold worming its way through your layers of clothing and biting into your flesh.
— Lovecraft-inspired text adventure The Lurking Horror (Infocom, 1987)

snowtrain

Just the sight of a Full Moon makes me feel cold…

Winter officially began today: I wore a scarf and my “Canadian moose hunter” hat with earflaps to work.  It’s been cold for a while, but this morning I got up to find it was 15°C in my room, and that was when the heating had been on for an hour.  It was worse when I got home: 14°C, which immediately prompted me to ask my drummer housemate (the landlady’s proxy and de facto head of the household) if we could have the heating on for a while… only to discover that he had already put it on.  Yes, it’s so cold that even our resident penny-pincher, who undid my changes to the hot water times the other day, has put the heating on constant!

I don’t cope well with this temperature level: it’s one thing for it to be cold outside, but cold inside as well is a major drain on my cheer and goodwill.  This is why working from home on Tuesday afternoon, and staying home to study on Wednesday, wasn’t a particularly positive experience, and I have a massive impetus to go to work every day during the winter (because I don’t pay for their heating), and so, rather than pretending work at home, I can pretend to work in the office instead!  I’m also visiting my family in Worthing this weekend, where things should be a bit warmer (particularly since the heater in my room apparently can’t be turned off, even in summer, even when the actual heating is turned off!).

Although I seem to feel the cold more than others (especially at rest), apparently it’s not by much.  I still remember that horrible, horrible night my group spent at a campsite just outside the Grand Canyon national park, which was around two kilometres above sea level, and even in May the temperature got down to freezing point, as we struggled to sleep in our tents (I was wearing several layers in my sleeping bag, which didn’t help my face!).  The following morning we persuaded our guide to take us to Vegas a day early… and boy, was it ever hot in the desert.

Speaking of the western USA, I note it’s still relatively warm in Los Angeles, and they don’t really seem to have a “winter” as such, so I’ve decided that’s where I’m gonna move if I get the chance to leave this cold, soggy, football-obsessed island behind forever.  Oh, wait, there’s one thing about Britain that I actually like, but I’ll post about that tomorrow, on its 50th anniversary (a day after the Kennedy assassination)…

Oh, you’ll be pleased to know the temperature’s trembled up to 19°C while I’ve been writing this (though admittedly I’ve not been writing it in one go… continents could have risen and fallen in the time it’s taken to get this post out the door!), and I think we’ll be all right for another night.  But next week it’ll be even colder… when’s this global warming gonna kick in, then?

Moving on

darktower

Unlike Roland of Gilead, when I go forward I still look back at the places I leave… though mostly to say “I’m glad I’m not there any more!”

Today “best mate” was finally able to help me dispose of the pieces of my old computer desk — the one that I’ve had since early 2002, and which (apart from my early years in London) has been of great benefit to me, but which became a millstone around my neck last year when I moved out of Caledonian Road.  I admit, it felt sad to see the actual desk part fly out of my hands into the wood container at the dump, because it was the most recognisable shape… but it was good to get rid of the stuff at last, as it’s been disassembled and in my way for weeks now.  Don’t worry, I gave it a quick salute (as I did for my old Amstrad CPC monitor back in March), as it’s part of my past — but the past is where it definitely belongs!

I’m also moving beyond paper books, at long last: I’ve confirmed that Amazon, at least, has the works of Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Peter F. Hamilton and Stephen King available in e-book format, so I feel the time has come to ditch my novel collection and start using a reader instead.  I know, Kindle lock-in, but I still think it’s my best way forward — and I intend to give all my old books away to charity; one of my friends has requested I donate to a Red Cross store, in order to help support the Philippines hurricane relief effort, but unfortunately there isn’t one anywhere near here, and I’ve got some heavy books (my MCSE text books, for example).  I may need “best mate” to drive me again… and I’ll have another bookcase to sell (and, correspondingly, more space in my room and less to transport to my next house).

This gels nicely with my intention to get a better phone at Christmas (I’m hoping my folks will agree to help pay for it), with a bigger screen, of the kind that it’s acceptable to read e-books on.  My current phone, which has served me loyally since March 2012, is really grating on my nerves at the moment, and I don’t have the time or inclination to put Cyanogen on it (that would involve about 20 steps, each more difficult than the last), so it’s time to leave HTC and embrace… Samsung?  Well, anyone but Apple, as I intend to stick with my 3 account (for now).

What else have I moved on from this year?  Well, I’ve bid goodbye to a number of people at work that I liked, but I’m also finally leaving behind tedious archive work to the kind of work I can do at my desk… or at home, on that pesky new laptop.  Yes, the infernal gadget has at least one use (though I’ll hang on to my work desktop for as long as I can), and if I can work from home, it’ll solve a number of problems I have, such as choosing between either coming home and going out again when my meetup events are inconveniently timed or staying late at work and then eating out (or skipping dinner entirely), because if I work from home in the afternoon, I can make dinner at, say, 5pm after “coming home” instantaneously, and then set off for yoga etc. in time to arrive for 7:30pm!  Yeah, it means I’ll be visiting Computer Exchange and Forbidden Planet less than before, but if it saves me money and stops me buying gewgaws all the time (ornaments are another thing I’ve got too many of), it’s all good.

I’ve also moved on from… well, several women who I’ve dated once and then never seen again (as well as the one who saw me twice before breaking it off) — I met my quasi-psychiatrist at the weekend again, and she reckons I need to tell women what I want from them, rather than be polite and reserved.  Undoubtedly it was the post-date texting that put the latest one off me, and saying things like “would that be all right?”, though it bugs me that women are still able to discount men for trifling things like texting back less than X minutes later — equal rights should mean equal responsibility in forming relationships!

(Yes, all right, she was the fourth woman to ask me out this year, but I still feel like I’m expected to have to be the one who makes all the personality changes!)

So it’s highly unlikely I’ll have a girlfriend before the end of the year… but whatever, it gives me more time to get fit, so any girlfriend won’t be horrified at the sight of me with my shirt off.  I still have a spare tyre, and annoyingly my weight loss has plateaued (is that the right word when something flattens out after going down rather than up?), but my personal torturer is always impressed by my skill.  So, despite setbacks such as getting a cold and being too busy to go climbing at the Castle, I’ve moved on from my old life of lazing around, eating unhealthily and never going out of an evening.

And finally, as I said, I’ve moved on from A+ studies to Windows 7 (70-680) — which has meant leaving behind the energetic Robb Tracy and listening instead to a boring Canadian.  I’d actually rather he kept ending sentences with “eh?” than his actual verbal tic, which is to preface every verb with “go ahead and…”.  As in, “I’ll just go ahead and click on…”, or “then you go ahead and open…”, and it’s REALLY ANNOYING!!!  And who else says “go ahead and” all the time?  Oh, only the worst boss in human history, of course (from the film Office Space)…

bl_yeah

“Yyyeeeaaahhh. I’m gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Saturday…”

What a difference a couple of days make

lonely_shinji

Except I was standing up in a crowded carriage, right behind the driver’s cabin, but you get the point

Like everyone else I have bad days, and being me I end up making them into “bad days” in the bipolar sense of the word: Friday just gone, for example (8th November — one might say I had “Nine-Eleven” a day early, if one were inclined to joke about that kind of thing).  How did it suck?  Let me count the ways:

  1. We’re moving over to laptops and “agile working” at my workplace, and I got mine on Thursday; it’s got a stupidly oversized touchpad, which wastes space on the keyboard (and is extraneous anyway, since you can just plug in a mouse or use the little joystick).  To underline how much the model sucks, it had its first “Blue Screen of Death” within an HOUR of me logging on.  We’re also losing our phones and having to use Microsoft Lync to communicate instead.  To add to this, I can’t work from home in my job (would that I could, but I do too much work involving the damned archive files), so for the time being I’ve got no advantage from having a laptop instead of a desktop.
  2. I don’t have enough to do at work anyway, which is why I have to keep resorting to archive-based work, despite being told they’d be finding me more “proper” desk-based work to do.  I had Tuesday afternoon and all of Wednesday off sick with my cold, and the only reason it took me until the end of Thursday afternoon to get caught up with 1.5 missed days is that I spent all of Thursday morning being trained on my new laptop!
  3. The annoying woman and the other annoying woman are still at work — lots of people I care about, including the woman who helped me get through the worst time of my life, have left or gone on maternity leave, but the people whose voices I loathe never show any signs of going anywhere.  And you know me, I’m too polite (or cowardly) to ask people to be quiet, so I end up just enduring it and tutting constantly, as well as completely freezing out the guilty people in social terms… and I don’t want my music to be associated with drowning them out!
  4. I had a nice date with a cute Oriental girl last Friday (1st November), but wonder whether I’ll ever see her again, or whether I’ve put her off me by ignoring “the rules” and responding to her via text message less than X minutes after receiving one from her.  This kind of thing happens all the time — I have a date with someone, we part on good terms, and I never hear from her again (even when she says she’ll text me when she’s ready, which I can now only interpret as a polite goodbye), but on this occasion I actually really wanted to see her again!
  5. No, when I received a text message on Friday, it was from “best mate” saying he wouldn’t be able to come over at the weekend to help me shift the pieces of my old computer desk to the dump, because he had weekend work (which, fair enough, he needs to prioritise his own finances, otherwise he might not be able to stay in England).  Since at the time I was planning to visit my folks next weekend, I felt like I had no way to complete the process of tidying my room (which is impossible with all these planks of wood leaning against the walls) — and I could hardly get mad at my friend, could I?
  6. Public transport.  Yes, two words that could strike fear into the heart of any man.  It was bad enough having to stand on the Northern Line to work, yet again (I’ve got to stop trying to come in on time), but after going climbing in the evening, my Piccadilly Line train terminated early and the replacement delivered me to Arnos Grove literally one minute too late for me to catch my bus home, so I ended up going to North Finchley, finding Waitrose closed, and walking home.  On a very cold night (and no, it’s not enough to remind me of the people who have to sleep rough in this situation — unfortunately living in the big city’s hardened my heart to the suffering of others).

With all that, I’d come to the conclusion that hating my job, hating public transport, hating single women and just hating my life in general meant I was finished with London and needed to get out.  Of course I’d love to live somewhere where they don’t have winter (like L.A. — I’d brave the earthquakes, smog, flash fires and Compton!), but it felt very possible that London and its people were primarily responsible for my misery, and that my primary goal needed to be getting out of the Smoke once and for all, even unto Worthing with my folks.

Still, eating food and having a hot shower helped me feel a bit better, and on Saturday I was able to go paintballing in Greenwich as planned (we won’t go into that — suffice to say I’m in a lot of pain on Sunday, but glad I went!).  “Best mate” got in touch and got me to come to the cinema on Sunday (Gravity, if you must know), and although it didn’t turn out that way, he thought he might get off work by midday and be able to take me to the dump.  Doesn’t matter, because I’ve got to stay in London next weekend anyway (so I can meet my female psychologist friend again), so unless he gets more weekend work, we’ve got time to clear my room finally.

And the girl, who is my Facebook friend, at least thanked me for tagging her in a photo I took last Friday — and hopefully won’t dump me so readily, now that so many of her friends and family have “liked” the picture!  I’ll try calling her next week (would have done it today but was too busy studying, ripping DVDs, cleaning the lounge, seeing a film), if only to achieve closure, but hopefully to get another date.  After all, she asked me what I thought of her when we were walking down Whitehall, so hopefully she actually likes me.

(Worrying fact: she has the same (adopted Western) first name as “female best friend”!  That’s gonna mess with my head…)

Well, fine, I’m over my Friday depression (but physically exhausted) in a couple of days, and I’m not dead, which is the most important thing.  However, it’s Monday tomorrow (today by 18 minutes as I write this), and I fear the whole cycle will begin again…

P.S. Just to prove I can shoehorn gratuitous Gwar references into the most inappropriate places — which sounds like the kind of thing Sexecutioner would enjoy, but we’ll leave that aside for now — I had “Penguin Attack” stuck in my head during my date last Friday.  Yes, my “romantic montage” theme is a raucous heavy metal song by a bunch of evil alien barbarian rockers who spray their audiences with unspeakable fluids and behead public figures on stage!

I’ll post it here now, so you lot can have it stuck in your heads too — all together now: “They are on a rampage, unleashed from ancient time!  Time!”