Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I Dreamed of James Max

This morning, I awoke from a vivid dream. I dreamed that I had called James Max on his Sunday evening radio show (5PM to 7PM, LBC 97.3 FM, London also available on Sky channel 0177, or via the net at: ). In my dream, James hung up on me as soon as the conversation started. Now, why would I dream that? I missed James' show, this past Sunday, as I was traveling at the time. Did James mention me, I wonder? Or, could he have been talking about me, off the air, to someone and I picked up on it through some psychic connection? Maybe, it was something I ate.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Totally Jodie Marsh: Episode 3

On last night's episode of "Totally Jodie Marsh: Who'll Take Her Up the Aisle?" Jodie spends time with Matt, a male model who attended her final audition, in Sheffield. He's been in contact with Jodie before and some people suggest he's a ringer. Matt previously dated Katie Price (AKA Jordan). He's four years younger than Jodie and seems just like the type of guy she's previously dated (in other words, the same old thing in a different package). I told friends that I didn't think Matt and her would last the distance. Even I didn't expect things to go wrong so quickly. Fairly early in this third episode, we see them bickering. Matt keeps pressuring her to end her search early and choose him. A teary-eyed Jodie sticks to her guns, however, and it looks like their relationship is coming to an end. Well done, Jodie! Watch the next episode, Sunday, on MTV1 at 10PM. This "warts and all" view of Jodie's husband search is very entertaining viewing. Will she ever twig that she should be with me? Stay tuned and find out.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hitler's Nephew at the Wheel

On my way back from London, today, I was early for the bus from Victoria Coach Station. I made use of one of the folding, bench seats installed at curbside. The bus ended up being late and there was a growing swarm of restless, potential passengers. Finally, it pulled up. Relief washed over me, like rain from a summer shower. We prospective passengers arranged ourselves in single file, to board the bus. Each person had to buy a ticket from the driver. When it was my turn, I finally experienced a moment I had been dreading since I started riding the bus. The driver was Hitler's Nephew, the hated third housemate in my house.
I knew he drove a bus for the company that runs the buses between Bracknell and London, but I had never seen him during my travels. Suddenly, I was presented with a conundrum. As we aren't speaking to each other, how should I go about specifying my destination, in order to buy a ticket? I hesitated for only a moment, even though it felt like an age. Coldly, I simply stated, "single to Bracknell." His attention was down, towards the dashboard. Suddenly, his head snapped up. Now it was his turn to pause. Would he let me ride for free? He certainly uses my Sky TV subscription a lot, while refusing to pay a share of the cost. A free ride on the bus would be a small gesture to make up for the Sky situation. Come on, this is Hitler's Nephew we are talking about. Of course he didn't let me ride for free. He punched in the relevant information into his machine and it spat out my ticket. I paid the £4 fee and quickly made my way to my seat. I then endured the most unpleasant bus ride from London I have ever had. Simply knowing he was driving, I couldn't relax and enjoy the ride. Every jerk and bump seemed amplified. I couldn't even wish he'd crash, as I was on the bus, too. Eventually, it was over. As I walked home from the bus station, I let the cool air of the approaching dusk wash over me.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wet, Wet, Wet

Persistent rains in Britain have caused widespread flooding, this month. I've heard that the floods have even made the news in America. To all of you who asked if I was okay, I am fine. Bracknell is on high ground, so there's been no flooding here. It was nice to know that some of you were actually concerned about my well being. As the end of the month approaches, this July is set to be the wettest July on record, here in Britain. Of course, those who think they are the "government" and who desire to put their hands further into our pockets, are quick to blame the rain on "climate change."
My memory is still fairly good and I remember that last summer, we had a drought. We were banned from using our garden hoses and constantly harangued to save water. The Mayor of London, Ken (red Ken) Livingstone, even went so far as to suggest that we not flush our toilets, if we have only had a pee. He came out with this ridiculous rhyme, "if it's yellow, let it mellow...if it's brown, flush it down." Someone should flush HIM down. Last year's drought was blamed guessed it..."climate change."
Drought one year and flooding the next. Is it just me, or do you get the impression that the terrorcrats will use whatever the weather is in order to justify taxing us more? I think they think we're stupid. Don't believe the hype!

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Big Brother Eviction 6

Tonight, Charley became the sixth person evicted from the Big Brother house. No surprise there. She ended up being the second most hated housemate in "Big Brother" history, behind Sezer. With bookies' odds of 1/500, she set a new record for short odds for an eviction. It was because of those odds that I didn't bother betting any money on this weeks eviction.
After Charley's eviction, five new people were put into the "halfway house," adjoining the main house on the show. Two of these five people will be selected to join the regular Big Brother house. The rest will be off the show. The five consist of three women and two men. Two of the women are gorgeous. One of them is a glamour model. Despite these new additions, this year's crop of Housemates seem a bit dull. Charley was one of the most entertaining, but now she's gone. Who's selecting the contestants for this show? He or she should be fired.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Best Laid Plans

After purchasing a ticket to travel by coach, within England, this weekend, I received a call, today, from my agent. This time, it was Emma on the phone. She asked me if I was available to work on a film shoot this Saturday and Sunday? In a flash, I recalled that I was due to leave Friday, after work, and return on Sunday evening. Without hesitation, I told Emma that I was available. She said she'd call back tomorrow and confirm things. I don't like to say no to my agent, as I have heard they don't offer clients as much work if they find you to be routinely unavailable. Besides, I need the money. After I got home, I called the friend I was supposed to visit and broke the news. We decided to keep our plans open until things were confirmed with the agency. The last time they told me I had work, they ended up telling me it was cancelled before the day.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sleeping On the Bus

On the way home from work, today, I fell asleep on the bus. That's not so unusual, as I usually try to catch up on a little sleep during the ride, both to and from. Some of the drivers throw the bus about and I end up having my head banged against the window. I have always been skilled at falling asleep almost anywhere, if I am tired enough. However, what made today special was that I fell back to sleep just before my stop. I then missed my stop and woke up again just as the bus was approach the end of the line. I had accidentally ridden all the way to Bracknell town centre. All I could do was get on another bus heading back, the opposite way. Because of my weekly bus ticket, I didn't have to pay any extra for this. Also,I had the good fortune that there was a bus waiting to go as soon as I got off the one I came in on, so my detour didn't waste too much time.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Jodie Marsh Show

Last night, I watched the first two episodes of "Totally Jodie Marsh: Who'll Take Her Up the Aisle?" as it was repeated. Obviously, I missed them on Sunday night, as I was stuck in London, at the hospital. I was disappointed that they didn't show the segment I filmed, but maybe I shouldn't be. They showed three guys from the Bournemouth auditions I attended, but only briefly. The way the show was edited, the impression was given that no one who auditioned was very good. Maybe they left me out because I was better than most and wouldn't have fit the theme. I will continue watching the series, with interest. It airs Sunday nights at 10PM, on MTV1.
What struck me most watching the show was how much Jodie's brother, Jordan, and I agree on things. We both wear glasses and ride motorcycles. His analysis of Jodie's dating behavior almost exactly matches mine. He's known her his whole life, so I think that's a great testament to my analytical skills that I was able to draw the same conclusions, simply from reading her biography. The problem is that Jodie keeps going for the same type of guy...mostly young and good looking, but ends up not being satisfied. I am even more convinced than ever that I am the best man for her. She needs to realize that if she wants to find a different result, she needs to look in a different direction to what she usually looks at. Jodie, if you always do what you've always done, you always get what you always got. Call me.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

What's With These Guys?

Sunday evening, I was making my way home from recording a podcast with Mucky Sarah, in London. I was rushing between the Jubilee Line and the Piccadilly Line, at Green Park station, trying to catch an earlier bus to Bracknell, at Hammersmith. Suddenly, my nose started bleeding. "Oh no, not again!" I thought. It was bleeding so profusely, that it quickly soaked the napkins I had with me. I started leaking blood onto the floor. A kind woman, passing by, gave me a tissue. I quickly decided that I couldn't travel like this and went upstairs, to the ticket sales window. There, I asked for help and a station security officer quickly came to my assistance.
After he took me into an office area, I asked him to call an ambulance. He was great and very helpful. By the time the ambulance crew arrived, I had been bleeding for about half an hour. Once I was in the ambulance, the crew considered which hospital to take me to. They wanted to take me to one that had an ENT specialist on duty. Ultimately, they decided to take me to Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital. This is the same hospital that my good friend, Tom, went to, last year, when he broke his leg in a bicycle accident. Tom kept raving over this hospital, saying how great the treatment was which he received there. Thus, I was anticipating good treatment.
The ambulance crew were great...very caring, kind, and patient. They wheeled me into a treatment area in the Accident and Emergency (A & E) department, then left me. Eventually, a Scottish nurse turned up and attended to me. She had a great attitude and kept calling me "my darling." While I was waiting, some blood had congealed in my right nostril, which was causing me to feel very uncomfortable. The nurse tried to remove it, using a suction device. Subsequently, a German sounding doctor turned up. By this time, the bleeding seemed to have stopped. The doctor began interrogating me over the technique I had used to try to stop the bleeding. He asked me questions, then interrupted me while I was trying to answer. I didn't find him very helpful. He left, then a different nurse came in. This second nurse was a man. For some reason, I always feel funny in the presence of a male nurse. His name was Andy, or something like that, and I noticed he had a pink ID card. Andy was tall, slim, and had red hair.
There must have been a shift change, or something, because after Andy replaced the nice, Scottish nurse, a different doctor came in to see me. This doctor was female, short, but pretty. She looked to be of Indian, or Pakistani origin, young, possibly mid-twenties. After looking me over and asking me the same questions I had been asked half-a-dozen times already, she said she was going to check with the ENT specialist. She told me I could clean myself up at the sink in the examination area. While I was washing blood off my hands and arms, my nose started bleeding again, although very slowly. I laid back down on the gurney and waited.
Lady doctor came back and criticized me for holding a tissue to my nose. I pointed out that my nose had started bleeding again. She rejected my statement and said it wasn't bleeding, that the ENT wouldn't see me because it had stopped bleeding, and telling me that I should go home. A debate commenced in which she kept refuting my assertions. She spoke to me in a very patronizing and condescending manner, then told me that she was the medical expert. I told her that I had no confidence in her medical advice. This set her off and she accused me of being rude to her. I countered this by telling her that she was aggravating me. I told her she was talking rubbish and asked her to leave me alone, immediately. She finally left, but after a few minutes, Andy returned.
Andy asked how I was doing and I told him that my nose was bleeding again. He asked me if I wanted to see the doctor. I retorted that I didn't want to see, "that woman," again. Andy then took on an authoritarian tone, telling me "that lady" is a medical professional and that they (him and her) knew what they were talking about. I responded by repeating my accusation that she was talking rubbish. Andy then told me that the National Health Service (NHS) had a policy that they wouldn't treat patients who were rude. I told Andy that I wasn't being "rude," I just wasn't accepting being told that my nose wasn't bleeding anymore, when I could see and feel that it was. Andy's response was to act even more hostile, telling me that I wouldn't be treated, and that security would escort me from the building. By then, I had stood up again and, low and behold, my nose was bleeding. Lady doctor came back and I pointed out to the two of them how absurd it was to say my nose wasn't bleeding, even as I dripped blood all over their floor. I asked Andy how he could sleep at night, turning a bleeding patient out into the street, just to avoid admitting that I was right.
I have lived in Britain for over nine years, now. I have had numerous encounters with the NHS, in that time. This was, by far, the worst experience I ever had. A friend of mine, who is a former NHS worker, told me that Guy's and St. Thomas' is one of the worst hospitals around. Both Lady doctor and Andy were younger than me. This did not motivate them to act respectfully toward me. I was so horrified that they would turn out a bleeding patient, into the night. My advice is to avoid Guy's and St. Thomas' like the plague.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Artist of the Week: Mutya Buena

This week, my Artist of the Week is Mutya Buena. The second single from the former Sugababe's first solo album is released tomorrow, Called "Song 4 Mutya," it was done with Grove Armada. Ranked as number one in pre-release charts, the song is set to be another success story for Mutya's solo career. She was always my favorite Sugababe. I will probably always have a soft spot in my heart for the lovely singer. A sample of the song is playing, this week, on my Myspace profile. Check out Mutya on her Myspace profile, at: .


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Totally Jodie Marsh

Tomorrow, "Totally Jodie Marsh: Who Will Take Her Up the Aisle?" premiers on MTV. It all begins with a two hour special, starting at 10:30PM. Four half-hour episodes will be shown, back to back. In the series, Jodie searches for a husband to wed at a pre-planned ceremony, due this September. Anyone able to should tune in, because there's a chance some footage of me will be shown in one of the episodes. I attended the last audition for the reality show, in Bournemouth, on June 3rd (see "Meeting Jodie Marsh," 4 June, 2007). Although, so far, Miss Marsh hasn't seen fit to ring my telephone, I remain convinced that I am the best potential husband for her.
After reading her autobiography, "Keeping It Real," I figured out the problem that has plagued her romantic life. In the past, she has tended to date the same type of men, over and over. Often young, good looking blokes, they have always had a certain level of insecurity, which has caused them to have difficulty tolerating Jodie's professional life. They usually tried to control her, or enjoyed a sexual attractiveness, without deeply valuing and loving her. Now that she's decided to settle down and have children, she says she wants something more than she's found in the past. After consulting her ideal wish list in her book, I found that I met almost every attribute she would like in her ideal man. I posses a bulletproof self-esteem and have no problem with her professional career. I have flown airplanes and helicopters, dived in submarines, ride motorcycles, and have traveled the world. She would like a guy who can teach her stuff and because I am a bit older than her, I would be in a position to do just that. I love teaching someone I care for. She wants to have four children and I'd love at least four. I would bring some good genetic material to the breeding, being tall, with an above average IQ, and a life of historically good health. In addition, I am an unusually loving man and I don't think she'll ever meet another like me.
While I may not be the best looking man around, looks aren't everything. I had hoped to make the final six. This would give Jodie the opportunity to get to know me better and I've found to know me is to love me. I tend to grow on people, like a tumor. I've already lost 15 pounds in weight, since the audition, getting into fighting shape in order to see off my competitors. Besides a kiss on the cheek, she didn't experience my touch. I find that women tend to love the way I touch them. I am sure she'd love it if I massaged her feet. On the eve of the beginning of the series, the odds that I will hear from her seem slim, indeed. However, if she finds it all going pear shaped, I hope she will get in touch, before it's too late. Someone else may snap me up at any moment. She who hesitates is lost. Totally.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Big Brother Eviction 5

Tonight is the fifth eviction to take place in this year's "Big Brother" program. This week, the nominees are Gerry and Nicky. Although I would prefer to see Gerry go, I predict that Nicky will be the one cast out. I tried to bet on Nicky to go, the other day, but the odds were so bad, I didn't bother. I would win less than £1 and it's not worth the risk of my stake. Don't forget to look for me in the audience of "The Friday Night Project," tonight, after the"Big Brother" eviction interview.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Double Decker!

Britain is known the world over for the double-decker, red buses in London. Out here in Berkshire, most of the buses are single level. There are a few doubles around, but they're not red. The ones out here are more sedate colors, like blue, beige, or green. The 194 route I take, to and from Camberley, while traveling to or from work, has been serviced by single decked buses. That is, up till now. I was standing in Camberley, the other day, waiting for a 194 to arrive and begin the run to Bracknell. I was very surprised when a double-decker bus turned up, displaying the 194 route number.
Flashing my weekly bus ticket as I scurried aboard, I immediately climbed the stairs to the upper level. I wanted to sit in the very front row, for maximum viewing pleasure, but two young women had beat me to it. They were together, but instead of sitting next to each other on one side, they each took up an entire two place seat, on either side of the aisle. The inconsiderate little twats! I had to make do with a seat one row back. Still, the view was great. I could see down into people's gardens and notice things along the route which I had never seen before. About halfway to Bracknell, the two twats got off and I was able to move to the front row. The bus kept banging into the lower limbs of trees overhanging the road. The trees were used to the lower, single level buses. I wish there always was a double-decker on the 194 route. At least I got to enjoy it this one afternoon. One of life's simple pleasures.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I have had an expired passport for about a year and a half. At first, it didn't bother me much, because I couldn't afford to go anywhere anyway. Then little things started to get at me. I had a couple of offers to go away, where friends said they would pay my way, and I had to turn them down. I kept intending to renew it, but I had never done that when outside the USA, before. Looking into it, I learned I could renew by mail, through the US Embassy, here. The next barrier was money. I kept trying to build up enough room on my credit card to cover the charge, as you can't send cash when renewing by mail. It seemed that every time I cleared enough room on my card, I would run into a temporary shortfall and need to use my card again, to cover fuel to get to work.
Another obstacle was the photo. The Passport Service is very particular about the dimensions that the photo needs to be. Unfortunately, they are different than that required for British passports, so it's not as simple as going to a local shop offering passport photos. You need to find one who knows how to take ones which fit American standards. Then I caught a break. My artist friend, Jan, has a photo quality printer and photographic paper. She was able to take and print the photos for me, one afternoon.
Eventually, I was all set, then I found that I didn't have one of the forms I needed. As my printer isn't printing in black, at the moment, I got a close friend to print the form and mail it to me. More delay, but only a few days. Finally, I had, room on my credit card, forms...I got it all together and stopped by the post office, after work. I arranged the special delivery, there and back, paid the charges for that, then sent it all off. Job done? Oh no! There was a postal strike the next day! Then another one on the following Monday. Bloody unions! The Embassy advises it takes about fourteen working days. They send my application back to America, so the passport can be printed over there. That doesn't include public holidays, or postal strikes. I tried to be patient.
I figured it was due any day now. Then, yesterday, when I got home from work, I found a notice that they tried to deliver it, but as it was special delivery, someone needed to sign for it. Of course, I was at work, Nando was away in Italy, and who knows where Hitler's Nephew was, but no one signed for it. So, it went back to the main delivery post office in town, where it would remain until I picked it up. Problem. The post office closes at 5:30PM, weekdays. Now that I am on the bus, I don't usually get home until 5:35. What to do? I could wait till Saturday, but I had tentative plans to go away for the weekend. Besides, waiting isn't my style. I decided to ask the Manager at work to agree to me working for half my lunch break, then I could leave fifteen minutes earlier. By leaving that bit earlier, I could catch a bus from work that is forty-five minutes earlier, making it home in time to get to the post office. Simple enough plan. He'd just agreed to a similar arrangement, yesterday, so I could go to London for taping "the Friday Night Project." It should be no problem.
At work this morning, I asked the restaurant Manager, as a formality, if my fifteen for fifteen deal was okay. He said no. I must have looked funny, as I was caught completely off guard by that one. I asked him why, but he just started spouting some nonsense, accusing me of taking advantage and crap like that. Let's just say he was being awkward. I tried reasoning with him, explaining I needed to pick up my passport. He suggested I wait till Saturday. I explained that I was supposed to be going away this weekend, so Saturday wouldn't be any good. I didn't expressly clarify that my trip this weekend was entirely within the UK, so that I didn't need my passport for it. Let him think it was international, so that I did need it, straight away. He was not moved in the slightest. He almost seemed to take a perverse pleasure in messing up my plans. I gave him a sarcastic, "thanks a lot," and walked out of his office, having wasted enough time.
More determined than ever, I came up with a plan B. I worked through my entire lunch and tried to finish all my work before 3:30. If everything was finished, I could leave. It was the 3:30 bus I needed to catch. I felt so annoyed with the Manager and I threw that annoyance into my work. I worked like a bandit, racing against the clock. I ended up finishing everything except cleaning up my work area, by 3PM! I started looking for things to do, so he couldn't say, later, that I left something undone. Finding nothing, I helped Pritam with his work. He looked at me like I was nuts. Maybe he felt guilty, because he never helps me. I waited to be sure that the chefs didn't suddenly come up with something for me to do, at the last minute. All the chefs left early, at 3:10, so I started cleaning my work area. By 3:20, I was out the door, with ten minutes to spare.
Catching the earlier bus, as planned, I waited for my connecting bus, in Camberley. It seemed to take ages for one to come, but one eventually did. I fell asleep on the bus, as I usually do. Awaking with a start, I discovered we were in a traffic jam. Great! I looked at my watch. It was getting later and later. By the time we reached the end of the line, in Bracknell Town centre, it was 5:10PM. I had just twenty minutes left to get to the main delivery branch, which was in an industrial area, heading out of town, towards Reading. My original plan was to walk, as I didn't know if any buses went that way. I was worried that if I started walking, I might not make it there in twenty minutes. It might take thirty minutes to go that distance. Looking at the taxis in the taxi rank, I decided what the heck, I would spring for a cab to get there on time. I normally don't like the expense of taxis, but I figured I would only pay for one way. I could always walk back, as I wouldn't be in a rush then. This close to my goal, I wasn't letting anything stop me.
The taxi ended up costing me £4.80, but it got me there with ten minutes to spare. I joined a queue of people picking up stuff. When it was my turn, I handed the counter worker two cards. Not only was my passport there, but a box of DVDs I had ordered from Amazon, as well. I was able to pick up both on the same trip. The man seemed to take forever to bring me my stuff. I kept re-reading the signs which warned that postal workers should not be subjected to either verbal, or physical, abuse. As I waited for Mr. Slow, I chuckled to myself at the need for the signs. Maybe this guy was so used to striking, he'd forgotten how to work fast. He re-appeared with my box of DVDs, then disappeared again. More waiting. Finally, he returned with the special delivery package, containing my new passport. I signed for it, then made my way outside.
Once outside, in the sunshine, I immediately opened the package. I wanted to see it with my own eyes. There it brand new passport. No stamps in it. I put it in my pocket and started walking. Once again, I was free to travel to the ends of the Earth. For now, I was content just to make it back to my local residence. This was my third passport, since I got my first one, when I was 26. Many Americans never get passports. My mother, for example, has never had one, nor did her mother. In Britain, it's more common for most folks to have their passports. After all, France is closer to England than Washington, D.C. is to New York. While people in the States go to Florida for a little sunshine Brits tend to go to Spain. Things are starting to change in the States. Due to all this "war on terror," police state nonsense, Americans will now require passports when travelling between the USA and Canada, or Mexico. That didn't used to be the case, as common forms of ID used to be accepted. The new regulations are creating additional demand for US passports and I hear there is a huge backlog for first passports. Fortunately for me, I was only renewing, so I wasn't affected by the backlog.
When I reached the main road, I spotted a most welcome sight. Bus shelters! I ambled along to the nearest one, on the side of the road heading towards the town centre. The next bus would be along in ten minutes. I sat down and waited. Sod walking all the way. When it did come, I managed to use my weekly ticket to work to gain a free ride back to Bracknell's bus station, where I could connect with my usual bus home. Sometimes things do go my way. Now I need to save up some money for an international trip. It's been three years since my last trip abroad. That's way too long.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Friday Night Project

I was invited to a taping of "The Friday Night Project," today. The production team wanted me to ask a question of the guest host, Rupert Everett. They wanted me to turn up early, at 5:30PM, so I could be briefed, before the taping, as to what I was to do. How to get to central London quickly, without a car? I found that if I left work fifteens minutes early, I could take the free shuttle bus to Farnborough train station, then catch a fast train to London Waterloo. The pub where I was to meet the production staff is within walking distance of Waterloo Station. I offered to work fifteen minutes out of my lunch break, in exchange for leaving fifteen minutes early, and the Manager of the restaurant accepted.
Once on the train, I changed my shirt in the on-board toilet. The fast service was great! The train only made one stop after Farnborough, at Clapham Junction, then it went straight to Waterloo. I was able to get from work to Central London in one hour and five minutes. That's even faster than driving at that time of day, as the train bypasses the traffic. Things went so well, I arrived at the pub a half hour early. I bought myself a drink and sat at a table to wait. While keeping an eye out for the production staff member, I read the newspaper. Eventually, a guy with a clipboard, as had been described to me, turned up. As I approached him, I observed several other people doing likewise. I wasn't the only one invited down to ask a question. We were given release forms to sign and told to carry on waiting. When it was time to go to the studio, we were escorted past a big crowd of people waiting to be in the audience. We didn't have to wait in the queue, but were given VIP entrance.
In the studio, there were special, reserved seats for us. Because each invitee had been permitted to bring a couple of guests, there were thirty of us, but only nine questions to be asked. So, the guy in charge asked that those who really wanted to ask questions put their hands up. Surprisingly, not that many people did. My arm shot up. I'll grab any chance to be in front of a camera, especially for TV. This was the big time, terrestrial TV, on one of the main channels in the UK. I was the fourth person he selected. I was given my question on a little piece of paper and told to memorize it. Then I was seated in the center, slightly left and towards the front. A good seat for the show.
I had never actually watched "The Friday Night Project" before. It always seemed as if something else was on, or Nando wanted to watch something. I knew that gay comedian, Alan Carr was one of the hosts, but that's about all I knew. His co-host, Justin Lee Collins, was very funny. He used to perform stand up comedy, as well. The guest house band was the Manic Street Preachers. I watched the taping, applauding enthusiastically and laughing appropriately, trying to be a good, animated audience member. All the while, I was waiting for the question time, so I could do my bit. Finally, we got to the questions. Justin was selecting people from the audience. First, he'd call out the name of one of us VIPs. Then he'd take someone raising his hand. This alternated , back and forth. I was supposed to be the fourth of the VIPs. The third name was called out and I was ready to be next. I sat on the edge of my seat, tingling with anticipation. My face, voice, and name would go out into millions of homes, across the UK. I sat their, like a blushing bride on her wedding day, eagerly anticipating taking her vow. Suddenly, the next name was read out. It wasn't mine. They'd skipped me! Instead, they read out the name of some guy in drag. Maybe he was the bride? Maybe they had changed the order. I waited, but then Justin announced that they were selecting the last questioner. I thrust my hand up, hoping to be picked, so I could still do my line. They picked someone else. Such is my life...always a bride's maid, never a bride.
I should still be seen in the audience. A woman to my right was selected to ask a question when her hand was up. I must have been picked up on camera at the same time. I'll be watching Friday night, when it airs. That's 10:30PM, UK time, on Channel 4, Friday, 20 July.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Going to Star Wars Celebration Europe

On Saturday, I went to the Star Wars Celebration Europe, held at London's ExCel Centre. Upon arrival, I got in the queue (line) for tickets. It moved pretty fast and I was put ahead because I was paying cash. Although I had seen the price listed as £21 before I went, when I got to the cashier, it was £23. In addition, if you wanted a lanyard to hang your ticket around your neck, it was another £3. A pack of six autograph tokens was £30. An official program was £6. Sod all that, I just bought one adult ticket.
After buying my ticket, I had to join another queue (line) to get into the exhibition hall. This queue was so long, it started at the other end of the ExCel Centre, outside in the parking lot. Once I was safely in the queue, I started observing the other attendees. Geeks were all over the place. Loads of people were wearing various sorts of Star Wars T shirts. It struck me that I have a Star Wars T shirt, somewhere in my closet, but I didn't dig it out to wear. I guess I am just not enough of a geek. Nerds in T shirts were only the tip of the galactic iceberg. There were loads of people wearing Star Wars costumes. It was like being in freak central. Surely only guys would be wacky enough to dress up as someone in Star Wars. Then I spotted women. Not only unattractive, geeky women either. In front of me in the queue, there was a quite good looking young woman dressed as Senator Amidala, from "Episode II: Attack of the Clones." As had many of the others, she'd made her costume herself. Some parts were fashioned from paper and cardboard. What a find! A pretty woman who is so into "Star Wars," that she would make her own costume. And she was alone. At first, I thought she was with this family in front of her. They looked quite similar. This family had two young boys and one teenaged girl. I thought the costumed woman was their oldest daughter, as she looked like she was in her early twenties, which would have made her their first of four children. I noticed that none of the family were speaking to the costumed one. None of the family members had costumes on, so I thought they might be ignoring her, as she was the geeky child, who's eccentricities are tolerated.
The queue moved steadily and, eventually, we gained admittance to the exhibition hall. I would estimate that I waited in queue for about an hour. At the entrance, I noticed that costumed woman went in a different direction as the family. They weren't together! She didn't even have a date. Here we were, two single Star Wars lovers, passing like two starships in the night. Oh well. Inside the hall, the place was packed. There were people from all over Europe...Germans, Spanish, Poles...and, of course, loads of British. Some were dressed as Jedi, while others were dressed in Stormtrooper uniforms. Wandering around, I noticed that the majority of space in the exhibition hall was taken up by vendor stalls. So it seemed that one paid £23 ($46) for the privilege of being able to shop vendors and spend even more money. And it wasn't as if these vendors were offering bargains. A lightsabre replica was £75 ($150). I wasn't about to pay prices like that. After a couple of hours, I was starting to have my fill of the place. I regretted paying so much for so little. Still, I tried to find more to do, to make up for the admission price. I had the foresight to bring some food with me and was thus able to avoid the long queues for food, as well as the exorbitant prices.
In the afternoon, I joined a long queue for a show that was billed as having celebrity guests. Having heard that Mark Hamill was making an appearance, I hoped this would make it all worthwhile. After being seated, the show began with an announcer doing an impression of Obi-Wan Kenobi. He came across as sounding like a drunk Alec Guiness. The host of the show was announced and out walked Warwick Davis, the dwarf who played Wicket in "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi." He was to interview a celebrity guest. When the guest was announced, it was Rick McCallum, producer of the newer, first three episodes. Oh joy! Not even one of the stars of the films. When Warrick finished interviewing McCallum, the show ended. What? That was it? I queued for over an hour for that?
As it got late in the day, the crowd thinned out. Checking out the autograph area, I didn't want to pay to get some actor's autograph, but I wanted to see what stars were there. Most of the actors present were unknowns who played this or that alien, or a bush in one episode or another. There was no way I was going to pay for another actor's autograph. Mark Hamill, the biggest star there, refused to accept "tokens" for his autograph. For an autographed photo with him, you had to cough up £85 ($170!). There was a long queue for Mark, while most of the others sat there, idle. I managed to keep myself occupied till 5:45 PM, then I'd had as much as I could take and left. I was extremely disappointed in the Celebration. It seemed like it was mostly about separating cash from the customers. Although I love the Star Wars films, this "celebration" was a let-down. The most interesting thing I noticed there was that some of the German attendees seemed a little too enthusiastic about dressing up as members of the Empire's military. Empire military uniforms are modeled on World War II Nazi uniforms, so there seemed a slightly worrying trend going on. Also, the British Royal Navy and Royal Army had displays there, trying to recruit people. They had posters comparing British military equipment with craft from Star Wars. There seemed to be something a little perverse about trying to lure young fans of Star Wars to join the military, so they can be shipped off to places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The next time I see a Star Wars Celebration advertised, I shall avoid it. I recommend you do the same.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Artist of the Week: Rihanna

This week, my Artist of the Week is Rihanna...again. This time, it's more like Artist of the half-week, as I am late posting this article. I have been so busy that it's been hard to keep up with my blog schedule. I do apologize. Between the extra time riding on public transportation takes and the fact that my social life is becoming more busy, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I selected Rihanna again in honor of her having the UK number 1 single for the ninth week in a row and because it was quicker than shifting through all the artists who are eligible (that's becoming quite a task, now). Besides, since she had the honor before, recently, it's not so bad that she will only get a half week. Anyway, Rihanna is still beautiful, with amazing eyes and legs. She still has a hit song and you can still check her out at: .


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Coming Up For Air: a Review

Yesterday, I finished reading a novel I enjoyed a lot. Entitled "Coming Up For Air," it was written by George Orwell and first published in 1939. Orwell is world famous. He is known for his two most famous books, "Animal Farm" and "1984." I had never heard of "Coming Up For Air," but found it amongst a pile of books that were going to be donated to a charity shop. My evil ex-mother-in-law, the Black Queens mother, used to let me look through books that people gave to her to sell in the shop for some charity she worked with. If I wanted any, she'd let me have them, before carting the rest off to be sold. When I saw Orwell's name on this book, I decided to grab it. Since then, it's spent over five years sitting on my bookshelf. Until, that is, a couple of weeks ago. Then, looking for something to read, I spotted the old paperback and decided to try it out.
As I began reading the book, I became hooked. I don't think I could have appreciated this book if I had read it when I was a teenager. The main character, George Bowling, is 45, fat, feels trapped in an unsatisfying marriage, working a job to pay a mortgage on a home in a suburb of London. Being 48 myself and divorced, I was able to feel a lot of empathy with the character. Orwell spends the first half of the book describing Bowling's childhood, which was spent in a town called Lower Binfield. Ironically, Binfield is a suburb of Bracknell, where I live. This made the book even more fascinating for me. That's one of the pluses about living in England. I get to become familiar with many of the places written about by many of the famous authors of English literature.
We follow Bowling as he grows up and joins the Army. He sees action during World War I. Bowling keeps anticipating World War II during the book, which is interesting because Orwell wrote this between the wars. The main character experiences anxiety over the future after the expected World War II. He is more bothered by what he thinks society will be like after the war, than he is about the prospects of war, itself. In response, he tries to re-capture something of his past; of his childhood. He decides to secretly spend a week visiting his old home town of Lower Binfield. What he discovers is that it's all changed from how he remembers it. In essence, you can't recapture the past.
Another element of the book which fascinates me is the glimpse it gives of life back then. George Bowling engages in extra-marital affairs. He also recounts an example of teen pregnancy, from his childhood. These things, which we tend to consider modern problems, were already occurring before 1940. Orwell's writing is superb and I am tempted to re-read both "Animal Farm," and "1984," as I suspect I would get much more out of them now, than I did when I was a teen. When looking for a title to read, I think it's useful not to forget the works of old, talented authors. Instead of reaching for the latest book from today's pop fiction, commercial authors, why not try something from the vast treasure of works in English literature? If you can find a copy of this book, and you are over 25, you may find it as enjoyable as I did. Also, for fellow Americans amongst my readers, if you have not already done so, try travelling outside of the USA. Seeing places in Europe, Asia, and Africa, which you read about in books and see in films, adds a dimension to those works which only heightens the experience. There is so much to the world beyond Disney and Las Vegas, make sure you take the time to sample it.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Star Wars Celebration Europe

This weekend is the Star Wars Celebration Europe, at the Excel Centre, in London's Docklands area. I am planning on going tomorrow, although I haven't been able to find anyone to go with me. I have asked several people, but all have declined. Don't they know this is STAR WARS? This is the first time a Star Wars celebration event has been held outside of the US. It's perfectly timed to commemorate thirty years since "Star Wars" was released and I'm going to be there. After attending, I'll stop in to visit Tom, in Surrey Quays. May the force be with you.

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Fake Big Brother Eviction

Tonight's fake "Big Brother" eviction is too close to call. I am going to predict that Charley will be the one fake evicted, although it's so close it wouldn't surprise me if Nicky was the one. In fact, I think it should be Nicky. Charley is so hated by the viewing public that I don't see the point in fake evicting her. People want to evict her for real. I think it would be much more clever to fake evict Nicky, who would go back in the house wound up from the experience.
In case you didn't know, tonight's eviction is "fake," as part of "Fake Week," on "Big Brother" series 8. The public are voting for the housemate they would like to see go through the whole eviction process, including an interview with Davina, but then be put back in the house. The "evictee" would get to see who nominated her, just like in a normal eviction interview. As I said, I think we'd get the most out of Nicky experiencing this. Charley doesn't need winding up, as she's always wound up. Also, the funniest thing I heard on "Big Brother," this week, was when Charley said, in the diary room, that she didn't understand how she ended up nominated. She is blissfully ignorant of how annoying people find her. Get a clue, love.
Non-UK/Ireland readers, I have been told that it's possible to watch our UK "Big Brother" over the internet. A young man in America called in to "Big Brother's Big Mouth," the other day, saying he watches over the net. Don't ask me how to do it. Have a fiddle around on the old computer and work it out. He also said the UK series is better than the American version. So come on, join in on all the fun.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Naive London Girl Live Show

Last night, I went into London and saw the Naive London Girl Live Show, performed by Mucky Sarah and Wanda. They performed at a pub called the Wheatsheaf, in Central London. Turnout was a little lighter than expected, but in a way, that worked in my favor as I was still able to get a seat in the front row. This was my first time seeing them do the show, live. Even if you have seen them before, they do different material each time, so you should have come. Hey fellas, the audience was filled with good looking women. In fact, I was the only man in the audience! Even the staff tending bar were female. A room full of good looking women, talking about sex, is definitely the place to be. I have seen Mucky Sarah perform live, before, as I have recorded podcasts with her. I was the guest co-presenter with her, on a recent "Naive London Girl" podcast, when Wanda wasn't available. We also do the "Big Brother Review" podcast together. This was my first time seeing Wanda, though. An experienced comedienne, Wanda is very animated and funny. She even bought me a drink after the show. Sadly, I couldn't stay long, after the show, as I needed to catch the last bus back to Bracknell, which leaves before 11PM. Sarah and Wanda are due to be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, next month. Check them out.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Get On the Bus!

Now that my car has died, I have been riding the bus to and from work. In some ways, it's not too bad. The bus stops just down the street from my street. I take one bus, the 194, to Camberley, then catch a free shuttle bus service from Camberley train station, to the office complex where I work. A weekly ticket costs £22.00. That's only a little less than what I used to spend in petrol. The downside is that it takes me an extra hour, each way, to get to work, as compared with going in a private car. No wonder people prefer driving to taking public transportation. I use the extra time to sleep, read, or just look out of the window. There are even a few hot women on the buses. Sometimes, in the mornings, a couple of hot nurses take the same morning bus as I do. I wonder if they could help me with my aches and pains?
Unlike the underground, a bus is intimate enough that you start to recognize the same commuters, day after day. I have run into quite a variety of bus drivers, on the Bracknell-Camberley run. The free shuttle bus usually has the same driver, every day, morning and afternoon. He's from Nepal and he plays some Nepali language radio station on the bus. You haven't lived until you have heard Nepalese music. I feel I am sharing experiences with my mother, who's car died a few years ago, as well. She rides the buses, back on Long Island. Now in the world of buses, I have discovered a cheap bus service between Bracknell and London. This could result in me spending more time in Britain's capital. Somebody better warn the Queen.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nando Apologizes!

The cold war, at least with Nando, is over! Today, Nando apologized and started speaking to me again. In a move that mimics the history of World War II, Nando, my racist, Italian housemate, made a separate peace with me, leaving Hitler's Nephew, the Austrian, to fend for himself. Blaming it all on feeling stressed since his father died, he said none of it was my fault. I am glad I didn't escalate things, but waited him out. Once again, the Italians and the Americans are friends.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Now Anchovies

Recently, I embarked on another culinary, experimental adventure. I was having lunch at the restaurant where I work between acting jobs, and I chose an item from the day's menu that came with anchovies. Anchovies are another one of those things that I decided I didn't like without trying. It stems back to childhood. I think I heard so many people say that they didn't like anchovies that I just imagined they must be horrible. The only place I had previously been offered anchovies was as a pizza topping. I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to ruin a perfectly good pizza by putting fish on it.
I can't remember what the dish was that Chef Anthony had adorned with a pair of anchovies, although it definitely wasn't pizza. I ate all of the meat, leaving the anchovies on the side. I looked down at the two, tiny fishies on my plate. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I had never tried anchovies. Emboldened by my recent success with cucumbers, I decided to try them. Picking up one little fishy with my fork, I shoved it into my mouth in one gulp. Not bad. I went on to eat the other one, as well. I still don't think I would chose them as a pizza topping, but I can now eat anchovies. Fortune favors the bold.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Artist of the Week: All Saints

This week, my Artist of the Week is the British girl group, All Saints. This is their second time getting the honor and it's due to their second single from their comeback album, "Studio 1." After their first single from the album, "Rock Steady," reached number 3 in the UK charts, it was expected that their album would do well. However, when the album was released on 13 November, 2006, it only reached 40. Because of the album's worse than expected performance, their record company seemed to pull back on supporting the second single, "Chick Fit." It was only released for downloading and thus only reached 256 in the charts. This led to a split with their record company, Parlophone Records."
"Chick Fit" continues to enjoy some airplay on the music video channels. I think it's a good song and if the record company had supported it, it would have done better in the charts. Although times have been hard for them, the girls say they want to continue to make music. I think they deserve our support. You can check them out on Myspace, at: . They are definitely fit chicks.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I Won!

I have finally won some money betting on "Big Brother!" My prediction that Laura would be the fourth person evicted came true. Having placed a bet on that outcome, I have won! Sadly, the odds on her being evicted were so bad that I haven't won much money. Still, it feels great to win! I usually am pretty good about correctly predicting who will be evicted each week and who will win, but this is the first year I have put money on my predictions. So far, I have only gotten one prediction wrong out of four. Sadly, I bet against my own prediction last week, as the odds on it were so poor. I should have stuck by my initial assessment. I correctly predicted the first eviction, but by the time I went to bet on it, the bookies had stopped taking bets on the person I had predicted would be evicted. That was because so many people were betting on her to go. It was fairly obvious. As Paul Newman said in, "The Color of Money," "money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Things Can Always Get Worse

When I was a kid, I had Bill Cosby albums, with him doing stand up comedy. I remember one bit he did when he said not to ever say, "things couldn't get any worse." They can and if you say they can't, they probably will. Last Sunday evening, I was driving home from London when my car began losing power. Looking in my rear view mirror, I could see smoke trailing from my car. Not a good sign. At that point on the motorway, the hard shoulder was blocked off by cones, due to some ongoing construction, or some such nonsense. I managed to keep the car going, but the speed I was able to get out of it was getting slower and slower. Finally, the cones ended and I was able to pull over. As I eased up off the throttle, the engine stalled.
I coasted to a stop on the hard shoulder, clear of all lanes of traffic. My car has only ever conked out once before. That time, it turned out to be a minor problem with an induction hose. This time, I feared things had gotten worse. Smoke was coming from underneath the engine. I tried to restart the car a couple of times, but it wasn't sounding like it was turning over normally. After calling the Royal Automobile Club (RAC), I sat on the side of the road, reading a book, while waiting for their rescue vehicle to arrive. That's the thing about Britain, there's a lot of royal this and royal that. Comes with having a queen, I suppose. One really frustrating aspect was that I was only a mile from my exit for home. So close and yet, so far.
The RAC man arrived in less than an hour. I wonder if there are any RAC women? I have never had a woman turn up on a recovery. That would be different. Some hot blond, brunette, or redhead shows up in an RAC boiler suit, unzipped enough to show a little cleavage. Anyway, this time it was a man, as usual. After inspecting the car and crawling underneath, he informed me that the pool of liquid forming under the vehicle was oil. Not good. The car was disgorging it's lifeblood on the side of the motorway. The engine was blown. He started making preparations to tow it to my house, while I let the news sink in.
In some ways, I wasn't surprised. My car had been leaking oil and coolant for two years, and I'd put next to no money into it, by way of maintenance, for at least that long. The neglect was based on one simple fact. I didn't have the money to pay for servicing. My car, a BMW 730i, is 12 years old and has 162,000 miles on it. I was impressed every day when it would start and get me to work. I thought I had blown the engine the previous time it broke down, nine months ago, but I just had a busted hose that time. It soldiered on, like a trooper. It was the best car I ever owned and means a lot to me. I even lived in it for two months, back in the autumn of 2002, when my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, locked me out of our marital home. I spent Thanksgiving in the car, in November, 2002. Now, it's gone, or will be when the scrap people pick it up. It's kind of like the destruction of the Enterprise, in "Star Trek III: the Search for Spock." The trail of smoke from my car reminiscent of the trail of smoke from the Enterprise hull, as it spiraled into the Genesis planet. In the film, the Enterprise was blown up deliberately, in order to evade capture by the Klingons. I didn't blow up my car deliberately. So maybe they aren't similar. Perhaps my car's death is more like the destruction of the Enterprise D in the film, "Star Trek: Generations." There, the Enterprise D suffers a catastrophic warp core breech and the saucer section crashes into a planet.
On Earth, just as in "Star Trek," life goes on. I have been adjusting fairly well to life without a car, rediscovering buses. I am torn between buying a cheap car and a cheap motorcycle. I don't have much money, but thanks to a generous birthday gift from someone close to me, I am better off than I otherwise would be. It will be at least two years before I will be in a financial position to buy a car as nice as the one I had. In the meantime, I will have to make do on the cheap. The touching tag line at the end of "Star Trek: the Motion Picture," seems appropriate. "The Human adventure is just beginning."

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Big Bother Eviction 4

Another Friday and another "Big Brother" eviction. Laura and Chanelle are the nominees. I am predicting that Laura will be voted out of the house. Let's see what happens. This may be the shortest blog post I have ever written, but I was rushing to get this posted before tonight's show starts. Catch you all later.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Sunday in the Pub With Neil

Having spent the night over my friend, Mucky Sarah's, flat, I started feeling hungry on Sunday morning. After hinting to a newly awakened Sarah that I desired sustenance, she graciously provided a piece of fruit. Realizing that one piece of fruit, while being an excellent start to the day, wouldn't sustain me for long, I gently inquired what her meal plans were. She responded by saying that she usually does Sunday roast. Of course, I mistook her "doing" Sunday roast for meaning that she actually cooked a Sunday roast dinner, as is traditional in Britain. I later learned that what Sarah meant was going to a pub and buying a roast dinner, served there.
Sarah received a telephone call from Neil, her ex-boyfriend. Neil and Sarah remain good friends, she assures me. I suspect that he still holds some interest in her, beyond friendship. The upshot of this telephone call was that Sarah was invited to meet Neil at a pub. I wondered whether I would be included, or cast aside. I needn't have worried, because Sarah expressed her intention to bring me along, before the phone conversation ended. I had mixed feelings about this development. Although I had heard Sarah speak about Neil on many occasions, I had yet to actually meet him. What would he think of me? Would he think there was something going on between me and her? I had already gathered that exactly that suspicion had occurred to him, based on overheard segments of the phone conversation. There is almost always a tension between strange males, when they come face to face in the presence of a woman.
Sarah decided that it would be best if we drove in separate cars, so I followed her to the pub. She brought her lovely little dog along, as the pub in question permits dogs to enter. Despite leaving late, we arrived there ahead of Neil. Walking through the door, I was surprised to discover the pub was empty of customers, except for us. It was July 1st, the first day of England's new smoking ban. I wondered if the ban was contributing to the low pub turnout, as it was now illegal to smoke in a pub. The woman behind the bar said the place had been packed the night before. They had a party to celebrate the last day of legal smoking, which the woman thought was causing people to be late getting out, this day. Even the food was running late and she advised us that the roast dinners wouldn't be ready until about 3PM. As it was already a little past 2PM, we didn't have long to wait.
Sarah bought me a drink and we set ourselves up at a moderately sized table. Even the dog had a drink, enjoying a bowl of water. After half an hour, Neil walked in. He looked older than I had been expecting and shared the trait, with me, of wearing glasses. He seemed very standoffish, at first, but gradually, we warmed to each other. By the time the food arrived, we had teamed up to tease Sarah about her refusal to eat certain meats and vegetables. All too soon, it was time for Neil to go. He left first, then Sarah. I stayed behind for a bit, enjoying one more drink before hitting the road. Don't worry, I was drinking sparkling water, all day.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

June's Last Day

On Saturday afternoon, I checked out of the Hilton hotel in which I had spent the night. I had plans to visit my friend, Tom, and to go out to a club for the evening. Tom is a bit obsessed with going to the gym, so he asked me not to come over until later in the day, so he could visit his usual fitness center at his usual time. It wasn't worth him going early, just to spend more time with me. As a result, I had some hours to kill. I decided to stop home and write a blog, plus do a few other chores. My route home took me very close to a cinema I used to frequent, so I decided to treat myself to seeing a film.
I wanted to see "Spiderman 3," but when I arrived at the cinema, it was no longer showing. "Shrek the Third" was showing on three screens, which seemed a bit redundant, so they could no longer spare one for "Spiderman." Plan B kicked in and I bought a ticket to see "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" (try saying that three times, fast), instead. Having been an avid reader of comic books when I was a child, I am very familiar with the Fantastic Four. The Silver Surfer was a newer character, only just coming out as I started to grow out of my regular comic book habit, but I am aware of him as well. This film is the second motion picture outing for the Fantastic Four. I enjoyed the first one, although it wasn't "fantastic," pun intended. The sequel is one of those rare instances where a sequel is even better than the original. I found the film thoroughly enjoyable, escapist fare. It's suitable for the whole family and the special effects, especially of the Silver Surfer, are superb. An excellent example of adapting comic book heroes to the big screen. Jessica Alba, who plays Sue Storm in the film, looks gorgeous. There's a scene where she's in a wedding dress and she looks stunning. It's not surprising that she was voted the sexiest woman in FHM's 2007 poll.
After the film, I went home. I did the things I wanted to do around the house, including calling Tom. I offered to bring some DVDs with me when I visited, so Tom and I discussed which ones. Subsequent to talking to Tom, I spoke with Mucky Sarah. She had agreed to attend the club with me, that night. During our conversation, she suggested that I come by her flat early and we could record a podcast. Sarah also wanted to attend the new cinema at the O2 Arena, which is the renovated Millennium Dome. Run by Vue Cinemas, there was a special price of £5 for any film this past weekend, a discount off the normal weekend price of £8. I agreed to go to the cinema with Sarah, then called Tom back and invited him to go with us, instead of sitting around watching DVDs. He agreed straight away. Tom, Sarah and I all share a love of bargains at the moment.
I set off for Tom's. The traffic in London was particularly heavy and it took me longer than usual to get to Surrey Quays. When I walked into Tom's flat, I found that Tom's friend, Jason, was there already. I invited Jason to join us in going to the cinema and he seemed interested. The plan was for me to call Mucky Sarah when I arrived at Tom's, which I proceeded to do. The result was that we ended up engaging in a four-way conversation, with the aid of the hands-free feature of Tom's phone. Tom and Sarah each accessed the internet, retrieving a listing of what was showing at the O2 Arena, Vue cinema. The first order of business was to agree on a film to see. Unfortunately, we seemed to fall at the first hurdle. I'm not sure if the choice of films put the boys off, or what, but the next thing I knew, Jason was saying that the cinema would be crowded, because of the special price. One thing led to another and suddenly, Tom was backing out, as well. They also declined to accept my invitation to go to the party at the club, to which I had free passes. The excuse given was concern about potential car bombs, after two were discovered in the city the day before. Then, the two guys got up to go to the local Tesco supermarket. I suggested that they wait a moment, while I finished my conversation with Sarah, and I could go with them, but they told me not to worry. It struck me as odd that they would prefer to walk in the rain, rather than let me drive them.
Continuing my conversation with Sarah, I agreed to see "Shrek the Third," starting at 11PM. After the film, Sarah would attend the party with me. I needed directions to the cinema. I tried looking on the internet, as Tom had left his computer on, but he has one of these operating configurations that blocks access when the computer goes dormant, unless a password is entered. I figured Tom and Jason would be back any minute, then I could ask them, but it got later, and later, with no sign of them. I had promised Sarah that I would meet her outside the cinema at 10:45. Estimating that it would take me around thirty minutes to drive to the cinema, I started worrying as it got past 10:00. I saw a street atlas on Tom's bookshelf, but it was old and didn't have the Millennium complex shown. Finally, at 10:15, I could wait no longer and left. I decided to drive in the direction of the Arena complex, then look for signs.
My route took me past road works, where half the road was blocked. Traffic had to alternate direction at a set of temporary traffic lights. This caused a traffic jam and I worried that I would be late. I also started running so low on petrol, that I decided to stop and buy more. After clearing the traffic jam, I found a low priced petrol station which would serve a dual purpose. Even though I had driven to the area where I thought the Millennium complex was, I had as yet seen no signs. At least I could ask someone at the petrol station. I am one of those typical men who doesn't like to ask directions from strangers, so you know I must have felt desperate to do so. To my relief, I had been heading in the right direction and it was just a little further on.
By the time I left the petrol station, I was late. I kept looking at my mobile, expecting to see a call come through from Sarah, but my phone remained deathly silent. Finding the Dome complex was only the first problem. Where, in the immense complex, was the cinema located? I could find no signs indicating where to go for the cinema. I drove past car park after car park, until I came to the end of the road. To the left was a special, elite parking area. To my right was a driveway which was blocked off, with two guards protecting the entrance. I pulled up to the guards, rolling down my passenger side window, to ask directions to the cinema. Before I could ask, one of the guards said I should continue on. "How are you able to give me directions when I haven't told you where I want to go, yet?" I asked him.
"You're blocking a box junction," he responded, indicating I had to move on. So, he wasn't giving me directions to the cinema, he was just telling me to move. He refused to give me directions and kept insisting that I move. Even though there was a "box junction" grid painted on the road surface, it was 11PM, there was no traffic, and the roadway was blocked by the barrier behind the guards. Surely, this idiot could have taken a moment to tell me where I needed to go. Then I would have been off anyway. I pulled ahead, then pulled alongside the curb. I got out and walked back to the guards.
Approaching the one who hadn't spoken to me before, I said, "I don't like talking to assholes, so I'll ask you..." Before I could finish my question about where I needed to go for the cinema, I was interrupted by the man. He refused to let me finish and said he wouldn't talk to me because I had used profanity. I pointed out to him that I hadn't called him anything and other than the one word, I had used perfectly courteous language. I pointed out that I only wanted directions to the cinema on the site, then I would be on my way. He repeatedly refused to give me directions, because I had used profanity. Loosing my patience, I proceeded to curse him up and down. He didn't like profanity? I subjected him to such a stream of four letter words that I hoped he'd never need to hear another, ever again. I also added that it was people like him that made people no longer want to come to London.
As I started walking back to my car, he said, "you got out of your car to say that?"
I turned on him, saying, "no! I got out to ask for directions to the cinema, but you're too much of a moron to give them to me." I spun around and marched back to my car, shouting one last four letter word at the second guard. Driving to another car park, I ran into a third guard and asked him. He said I was in the right place, but I needed to pay £5 for parking, before I could enter. What a stitch up! The ticket price to the film might be only £5, but now they had stung me for another £5 for parking. One word of advice for Vue Cinemas: signs!After parking, I began the long walk to the cinema. Still no word from Sarah, so I sent her a text, asking, "where are you?" I got no reply. It was 11PM now and the film was starting. They show advertising before the film starts in the UK, so I hoped we could still make it before the feature started.
Reaching the lobby of the cinema, no Sarah. Had she gone in without me and without texting me, or calling my mobile? What should I do? I called her mobile and she answered. After asking here location, she told me she was just walking from the Tube station. She was later than I was! By the time she turned up at the cinema lobby, the film had been on 15 minutes already. Sarah suggested that we go see, "La Vie En Rose," which started at 11:45. Reluctantly, I agreed. I half suspected that Sarah was late, deliberately, so we would end up seeing this film. The French film, with subtitles, is the story of the famous, French singer, Edith Piaf. It turns out that Sarah is a fan of Piaf. I have only heard one song by the Frenchwoman, before. The film is well made and a fascinating look at the behind the scenes life of a celebrity, including the long, hard road, from one's beginnings to fame. However, it is a bit long. At two hours and twenty minutes, it's a bit much to watch starting at midnight.
When the film finally finished, it was 2:17AM! The venue where the party was being held was supposed to close at 3AM! Sarah apologized and said she hadn't realized the film would be that long. She said we could go by the party anyway. By the time we got there, it was 3AM. We walked in as there was no longer any doorman checking invitations. The lights were on, but there were still some people there and music was still playing. Mucky Sarah immediately informed me that she didn't like the music and wanted to leave. She offered to make her own way home so I could stay, but I wouldn't have it. I drove her home and accepted her invitation to spend the night. It suddenly dawned on me, even on dawn was breaking outside, that June was gone and July had begun.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New Podcast Available Now!

Hey all! Tonight, I am out on the town, celebrating my birthday. However, I did want to let you all know about a new podcast episode, which is available now for free download. My good friend, Mucky Sarah, invited me to fill in for her partner, hosting another podcast, "Naive London Girl." It's one I have wanted to do for a long time. You can find it at:

or at iTunes, via :

Be advised that the topic of this blog is sex and there could be some strong language and strong images appearing.


Monday, July 02, 2007

New Episode of Big Brother Review

A new episode of the "Big Brother Review" podcast (episode 4), which I do with Angelika Jinks (AKA Mucky Sarah), is available now. It's free to download, so listen to it as soon as you can. You can find at:
or on iTunes, at:
In this latest episode, we give our views on the newest housemates and Angelika tells which housemates she would have sex with, girls and guys, in order. I guess that's why they call her "Mucky Sarah." Download it now and recommend it to your friends.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Artist of the Week: Maritri

This week, I was feeling a bit jazzy when I was selecting my Artist of the Week. I discovered a talented woman on Myspace and decided to honor her as my Artist of the Week. I present to you, Maritri. Born in Southern California, Maritri studied at Fisk University and at Howard, before moving to New York. As well as playing piano, guitar, and cello, this lady has a soothing singing style which merits commercial success. She has already released a couple of EPs and although unsigned, is working on a new record. You can check her out on Myspace, at: . Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the lovely Maritri.