Saturday, December 31, 2011

Stop and Think It Over

Another year draws to a close and thus, I begin my routine of reflecting upon the past year. This is becoming rather traditional. I find it hard to believe it has been twelve months since I last did this as the year has simply flown by. However, the time is upon us and it is right for me to stop and think it over.

At the beginning of the year, I had managed to get through 24 months without a drop of alcohol. This sobriety continued for another five months until one night, whilst out with my friend Chris, prior to seeing Scream 4, we were in an Indian restaurant and I just had the desire to return to that delicious land of wine. It was the supposed night of "The Rapture 2011" (Take one) so I thought why the hell not.
Since then, I have once again realised exactly 'why the hell not'. I am less carfeul with my tongue when tipsy. The occasional witty barb can often be mistaken for genuine aggression despite the fact that I have a heart of gold (well, gold-plated, at least). A misplaced tone can be devastating.

Although I have spent the last few months still partaking in the odd bottle of vino, I am seriously considering giving up on it again, purely for the sake of my friendships. We shall see...
(This may be hindered by the fact I have a wine-tour planned later in January!)


Also this past year, I have had two holidays! Yes! Two! The first was when I saved up to attend my Mother's 60th birthday and I spent a fantastic time seeing friends and family around Britain. The second was due to a wonderful little windfall after I won the esteemed title of 'Penguin Sales Representative of the Year' - a prize, I might add, I never even dreamed I would win - and not only did I receive a delightful book-themed trophy, I also won $5,000 travel vouchers.
I 'ummed' and 'ahhed' for about a month trying to determine a destination for my holiday (I was able to get the time off due to my long-service leave). I debated returning to San Franciscio and staying in a much better hotel so I could enjoy my time better than I did back in 2008. I thought about New York City because; a) everyone tells me I should go and b) I could have used a few Kirsty MacColl song titles for my blog ('Fairytale of New York', 'Walking Down Madison', 'Manhattan Moon'...)
The latter reason was a ridiculous one and the first was... well, daft too. Everyone says one should go to New York, but frankly, I hate big cities and crowds and it simply didn't appeal.

In the end, I decided to be happy. I hadn't had a Christmas with my family since 2005, so I booked a flight to the UK and spent the remaining cash staying at the Churchill Hyatt in London for four nights (what "five star" means nowadays is beyond me, but less said of that the better).

This past month, I have been seeing friends around the country again, but I had to spend more time with my family and I had a grand time, despite having a stinking cold for the majority of the time. There are some people I have been unable to see this time around, but it has been due to unavoidable circumstances. I hope no one takes offence.


Now here comes the even more boring bit... my viewing pleasures this past year.

The first half of the year saw me finishing my Hitchcock project (as chronicled in my other blog) and I thoroughly enjoyed my chronological jaunt through his work. I had to choose a favourite at the end and I plumped for The Birds.

When I was in the UK in February, I picked up the Ronnie Barker boxset and so spent many hours enjoying the comedy genius at work. Although Porridge is very good, I am still a bigger fan of Open All Hours.
The BBC also finished releasing every episode of The Two Ronnies so I am delighted to have completed the set.

I rewatched all of Absolutely Fabulous for the umpteenth time. Sure, in later series it didn't quite capture the magic of the first few, but it still raises a number of smiles (series 4 is the lowpoint apart from Small Opening) and I was very happy to see that the return this Christmas was genuinely entertaining with some superb gags.

Another thing I tend to do is wait for friends to recommend TV shows and then I watch them all on DVD. This year, I watched all of Six Feet Under and Babylon Five.
The former was not the most "enjoyable" piece of drama as it was quite often very depressing, but it was marvellously constructed. I can't say I loved the final epiosde as so many others do, but I think it's because I didn't have a five year journey with the cast, merely a couple of months.
Babylon 5 is a different beast all together. Friends have pestered me for years to watch it, but I am a die-hard Star Trek fan and I had previously felt that B5 was a pale imitation (I had tried to watch the first season twice before, unsuccessfully!)
This year, I ploughed through and I am please to say that it was not what I epxected. Seasons 2-4 are actually very entertaining; it's just a shame they are bookended by much weaker seasons. Alas.

A guilty pleasure this year was picking up the boxset of all 12 seasons of Murder, She Wrote. I am utterly unashamed of this. I love the show and no one will stop me from saying so. You currently cannot get a boxset of the entire un in the U.S. or the U.K. but Australia has one in the shape of a typewriter! Genius!

To sum up the other nerdy stuff;
Torchwood: Miracle Day was good, but not great (but I still loved it!)
The Sarah Jane Adventures series five mainatined the high of series four but was devastatingly cut short due to the untimely passing of Elisabeth Sladen. I actually blubbed during the final moments of the last episode.
Doctor Who entertained millions, has been rating very highly and some say it has been the best season yet. I thought it was dribble-piss. The Christmas special was anything but 'special'. However, the series has been around since 1963 and has its highs and lows, most of which have polarised viewers. One day, it will climb back into my heart, but at the moment, I am horrendously depressed by it all.


In other events of the year, I got a housemate, spent many lovely days with my close friends, enjoyed Misfits, Downton Abbey, True Blood, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Desperate Housewives (YES, still!) and a variety of other entertaining programmes.

I tried my hand at dating again without much luck - as I have probably mentioned before, i suffer from D.B.S. The David Beckham Syndrome. I look OK, but then I open my mouth.

I tried in vain to lose more weight. I simply cannot stay below 78kg. I got to 76 for one weekend, but I was unable to maintain it. I love pizza too much.

At this point, I am struggling to remember much else, but it is mid-afternoon here in the U.K. and I haven't had lunch yet! I have probably forgotten something really important... Oh well, that is what the 'edit' button is for.

EDIT: 16/01/2012 - Ah yes! And The New Avengers! I knew there was something else!


Next year I must make some changes. I want to get a new job - an entirely new career to be frank. I have been in publishing for over a decade now but I want to get out and try something new. I also want to really enjoy reading again and not feel like I am doing it for work.

I am not that bothered about being eternally un-datable as I like my own company and enjoy single life. However, sometimes I do have a pang for someone to love me; but don't we all?

My New Year's resolutions are bascically to start a new life/job and be more careful with what I say and do.

Happy New Year to you all. Let's hope 2012 brings good for us all.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My State of Mind

I have a few things to cover in this post, but I shall make it brief as possible as I have plans today which include; lying on my bed, drinking tea, eating chocolate and watching Murder, She Wrote.

Yesterday was day 100 of my 100-day challenge. If you recall, my plan was to become thin and gorgeous by the tie I flew out to the UK (that's today - day 101!) and my goal was to be below 75kg.

Well, what a fucked up mess. I absolutely and utterly failed. For a brief weekend way back, I got to 76kg, but since then I have been 78kg all the way. Walking 20 kilometres on occasional days, drinking diet shakes and weight-watcher meals... none of these things seem to work. Sure, I've had my lapses into pizza and alcohol, that cannot be denied.
The truth of the matter is; I realised that I could either be thin, tired and miserable or an average weight with yummy goodness in my tum. It also seemed so folly to attempt before Christmas as I just know I am going to be eating copious amounts whilst in the good old British Isles. Bring on the Black Pudding!!

So, yes, I'm an abject failure. Maybe I'll try again upon my return to Australian shores in January.


In other news, I have been going through something peculiar. It is true that I have suffered from depression to varying degrees over the years, but the past few months, I have been experiencing a sort of off-shoot variety. It's hard to explain. I will get a tightness in my chest, dizzy spells and be overwhelmed by emotion over the simplest of things. I have often found myself sulking in my bedroom like a 14 year old.
Work has been getting me down recently. I have become weary of the same old chores, the future of my role and the extra-curricular jobs that are thrust upon me. I am also sickened to the stomach over moving to an open-plan building next year. (Whose fucking idea was 'open plan'? Seriously, it's a crock of shit. I blame the world of H.R. - The Devil makes work for idle hands... so he created H.R.
I won't go into the specifics of my job right here but let's just say that I will be annoying to others and my job will be hindered by others distracting me. So, who wins? No one. (Gosh, I could go on, but I will rant and rant and rant.)

So, with all this added "stress" (I say "stress" like that for heaven knows there are phenomenally higher degrees of stress going on in other people's lives, but all problems are relative, right?!) I had to see the doctor (not my favourite hottie Asian doctor nor the stunning lithe Aeryan-esque god (he's left the practice! *sulk*), but the regular, run-of-the-mill yet pleasant doctor) and he has put me on Diazepam.
Some people have said; "Noo! That's terrible! Don't do it!". Others have said; "Ooh, it makes you lose weight!" - so I am swayed by the latter.

So, I should be in a rather excitable mood today seeing as I am flying out to the U.K. this evening, but I am strangely not.
I am subdued and, dare I say it, a little depressed. I will miss my baby girl (Fizzgig) but she is in safe hands.
Let's think about the positives, shall we?

1. It's nearly Christmas and I won't shy away from saying it; Christmas is damn more festive in the Northern Hemisphere.
2. I will be seeing a number of old friends, both Aussie and British.
3. I will be staying in a number of delightful hotels (and I do love staying in hotels).
4. I will spend Christmas with my family for the first time in six years.
5. I get to see my brother's face when he sees what I have bought him for Christmas.
6. I will spend some time in Cardiff - the city that has joined York and Edinburgh in my top UK cities poll.
7. There will be proper bacon butties for sale.
8. I can spend time with Alison, one of the best people in the universe.
9. I can buy the Christmas issue of the Radio Times. (Only UK people will get the wonderment of such an occasion.


Next year, I must absolutely, definitely make some changes in my life. I need a new job. I want to be out of publishing (oh, to read for pleasure one more time without the obligation of work!) and I need to find out what it is I should be doing for my my true vocation?

I don't want to be a salesman - I don't want to work in hospitality - I don't want to work for any business which wallows in corporate bullshit and H.R. policies - I don't want to be surrounded with highly ambitious people who only think about top dollar.

I want a nice job. One with calm people. One with few colleagues, little stress and lots of kittens.

As Shirley Maclaine once sang; "There's gotta be something better than this!"


(so much for making this a brief post)

Today, I will make a Christmas cake for my house-mate as a thank you for having him look after Fizzgig whilst I am away and then I will spend the afternoon relaxing prior to catching my taxi. I packed last night, so I am all ready.

But picture me now as I dash out of the house as the taxi beeps from outside, channelling Edina Monsoon:


Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy When You're High

On Friday evening, I was enjoying a leisurely ride home on the train whilst reading the eighth book in the Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin. As it was a pleasant, sunny day and there was the notion of a weekend beginning, the atmosphere on the train was generally peaceful and relaxed… until South Yarra station.

Two lads in their early twenties stumbled through the doors in their singlets and shorts. One was holding the door open while he finished off his cigarette and the other staggered heavily toward my seat. They were both boisterous but unthreatening and obviously high on something more than tartrazine.

As the train left the station, one of them made a call to a housemate or lover;

"Hi, we're on our way, but we're getting off at Balaclava to get a fix, then we’ll head home…"

Great, I thought, my stop and they're doing a 'deal'. Lovely stuff.

They then headed further down the carriage for no discernable reason – maybe they'd spotted a leprechaun riding a unicorn side-saddle or something.

Then I spotted one of the lads' phones! He'd left it on his seat (this'll happen when you're off your face, kids!)

My first reaction was 'I ought to chase after them and give it back'.

My second reaction was 'Or maybe I should not and let them stress about it. Maybe they need it to aid their drug deal! Maybe Mr Thug, "Balaclava drug lord", will be angry with them for not having a phone (don’t know why) and he’ll punish them by pouring concrete into their underpants or something.'

However, I jumped off the train at Balaclava and raced up to the delirious fools and handed them the phone.

"Dude! Thanks! Woah!" etc.

I didn’t stick around for any superfluous gratitude as they both smelt a bit.

Ah, my good deed done for the day… I think.

The thing is, they seemed genuinely decent, happy blokes. And kudos to them! I know I sound very upper-middle-class when I berate the drug-induced and I expect it's partly due to my lack of experience in such matters; but there is this part of me which is inherently snobbish about it all. Utterly appalling, I know, but that's me for you. I won't ever try to hide the facts of my nature. La de da.


In other news, I am now onto Day 68 of my 100-day Challenge and it's gone right out the friggin' window.

Do I really believe being skinnier will make me happier? FOOD makes me happy! I love a bit of cake now and again. I love a bacon sandwich. I love sausages. I love toast and marmalade.
However, when I was 76kg (for a whole 2 days) I felt elated and rather giddy (maybe I was delirious from hunger!)




Also, it has been ten days since Eric moved in and it's going OK. It is hard for me to get into the 'house-mate' mode after being a loner for eight years, but I think I'm getting there. I do tend to retreat to my room to watch DVDs... but that's nothing I didn't do before.
What I am worried about is Eric discovering that I am much, much duller than he might have reckoned before.


And finally, it is a mere FIVE WEEKS until I fly off to the UK for another delightful holiday. I cannot wait (but I'll have to, obviously.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Who's Been Sleeping?

It's day 59 of my 100 Day Challenge and I think it is safe to say that I will not reach my target weight of 75kg by the time December approaches.

I have had the last week off work due to an awfully large workload of recent times and I needed some "R&R". So, this has meant a lot of lazing around and cake-eating. My body seems to stick around the 78kg mark at this leisurely time. Maybe I can shed another 3kg over the next months. Who can say?

Anyway, in other news... Who's been sleeping at Ben's apartment?

After eight years of living alone, I now have a house-mate! It is quite surreal as I am very fond of my privacy and solitude but I have often felt the need for someone to share things with. I have lived with other people before - some times were good, some times were bad. Finding a drawing depicting my image on fire can be considered one of the less good times. *shudder*

It has all happened rather quickly. two weeks ago, I would not have envisioned this happening.
Circumstances have lead my friend Eric to look for alternative lodgings and I had a spare room. I also need someone to look after Fizzgig for me whilst I am on holiday, so it seemed like serendipity playing a hand. It will also be extremely handy having someone to split the bills with.

I don't think I could just live with anyone (nor do I believe that just anyone could live with me - I am fairly neurotic - but you knew that already!) but Eric and I have known each other for five years and we get along well. We are also both fond of seclusion, so neither of us will mind if we need to 'retreat' to our rooms.
Oh, and Eric is also the photographer who did my photo-shoot (see below!)

Yesterday was Eric's moving in day. I was impressed to see he had hired hot removal men. Whenever I have moved it's always been some rather friendly and decent chap but in an older age-bracket with a gut that could double as a bouncy castle. If I ever move house again, I must get the number of these guys.

Last night, I cooked a made-up pasta meal with lemon, butter, salmon, pine nuts, capers and broccoli and we watched The Dark Crystal on blu-ray upon his magnificent television (another good reason to share a house!)

Fizzgig is taking her time to adjust to the new intruder, but I am sure she will settle down soon, bless her.

I am not sure how long we will be living together... he might kill me in a week!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Love Child

Day 44 of my 100 Day Challenge

Well, sure, my weight has been fluctuating recently, but I am soaring back down towards my goal again this week. Last week, I did plenty of exercise and my eight increased. This week, I did hardly any and it plummeted. A lesson to be learned?

I have had less cake this week though, so that might have something to do with it.

All week, I have been having the symptoms of something resembling the 'flu-like virus (oh, those people who whinge on, saying "I've got the 'flu!" when really, they just have a nasty virus, not actual influenza! Christ! Get a grip, people!) and it has not yet blown up into anything really decent - just the odd ache, the occasional sniffle and the good old fashioned tired headache. Still, I soldier on, like a martyr.

What did the English use as a condiment when eating their barbecued St Joan?

Martyr Sauce!

(I just made that up - terrible, isn't it!?)
EDIT: (SATURDAY) I just realised this is even less funny if you're American and pronounce tomato a completely different way.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes...

I walked home from work today, seeing as it was a glorious day, and on the way home, I passed a rather attractive man (blonde, sexy nose, great legs) watching the kids play cricket in the park. I didn't chat him up because he was either a) one of their dads or b) a paedophile.
Both answers mean a 'no-go' area for me, thank you very much.

Also, I'm too chicken-shit to chat up a complete stranger.

(Do people still use 'chat up' as a phrase, or am I becoming ancient?)

Also this week, I read Alan Partridge's autobiography; I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan and genuinely laughed out loud all the way through, pausing occasionally to catch my breath or have a wee.
I also received the audio book (read by Alan, of course) in the mail and have enjoyed his dulcet tones emphasising the words with great aplomb.

Pure genius.
Although, sometimes I worry I am too similar to Alan - Maybe I'm his love child!

In other news, after a frantic few weeks/months at work doing rather a lot of extra-curricular activities, I have decided to tale a week off work as of 22nd October.
Sure, I am taking a big holiday at Christmas, but I am desperately in need of some "R&R". I had the annual leave available and it's a five-week month, so it's all plausible. Hoorah.

OK, my dinner is nearly ready, so I ought to dash off.

Have a superb weekend, everyone!

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'd Be Happy

I am really looking forward to my Christmas holiday!

I haven't had a Northern hemisphere Christmas since 2005 and to be frank, it just isn't the same having it in Australia (sorry Aussie chums, but it's true!)
I am looking forward to the cold weather and the silly hats adorning the meandering public as they do that whole 'good will to all men' malarkey.

(It is funny how we are brought up to only be nice to each other for one month a year. As soon as January comes 'round, it's all "Bugger the rest of you, I'm going to be an inconsiderate bumhead!")

My schedule is already filling up but I am going to make sure I have some time simply at home with family doing very little indeed.
Initially, my travels will take me to London where I will be staying at the Hyatt for four days. Then, I travel to Bournemouth for a couple of nights and I will be staying in a cheerful little guest house. I am really looking forward to seeing some old friends from my Bournemouth period, including my ex-employers.
Then, it's off to Bristol for a couple of nights with some dear old friends, Jamie & Kevin - like Wallace & Gromit, only less prone to melting.

After that, I head to my own personal mecca - Cardiff! Ah, land of Torchwood and Doctor Who.
I will be staying in Cardiff bay at a delightful boutique hotel where I can eagerly watch out for weevils from my window. Then I'd be happy!
Whilst in Wales, I will also catch up with the multi-talented Rhian and (hopefully) Greg and Delyth.

Then, it's back home for Chrimble-time. Mum, if you're reading this, please make hundreds of mince pies and a heap of brandy butter, otherwise, I'm not coming. *wink*

Whilst in the Derbyshire region, I will also catch up with family and some old chums - Miranda... James... you are priority as I haven't seen either of you since I was going through puberty (ish).
I also hope to meet up with an on-line friend with whom I have a ridiculous amount in common. We shall see if our schedules can tally.

Then, after all that, I will try and head down to Brighton and catch up with the stupendously talented souls, Emily and Marc, both of whom I began friendships during that previously mentioned Bournemouth period. Bless 'em.
Marc is king of vaudeville (or some such label) and Emily is a better musician than anyone currently in the top 40. Hyperbole? Nah. Truth. Ben says.

Then, it's back to Heathrow for a flight back to Australia.

If I create a 'To Do' list for this forthcoming trip, it may include:

1. Shag Will Young
2. Twat Steven Moffat 'round the head
3. Pick up a handsome Welsh boyfriend (Mark Evans would do... thanks - )
4. Get a job at the BBC (bad time to decide this, methinks) and take over as showrunner of Doctor Who or just become the 12th Doctor.
5. Eat mince pies

Great list so far. Then I'd be happy... again.

In other news...

I am now into day 37 of my 100-day challenge. Infuriatingly, I am exactly the same weight as I was when I started five weeks ago - 79kg! I did drop to 76kg mid-way, but for some reason, despite the Biggest Loser shakes and the exercise, I am still wavering about the old 79!
I got into my walking regime again, you see, so I think I am building muscle again. Damn it.
Then I'd be happy... once more!

PS. Obviously there are other friends I will be catching up with during my UK trip, but I can't give you all a billing at this time... Calm down and have a biscuit!

Anyway... back to Mark Evans...

..I'd be happy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Not Enough

I have been a fan of Doctor Who since I was four years old. My first season of viewing was Tom Baker’s penultimate year. I was always more terrified of Tom than any of his adversaries, so I was relieved when he regenerated into the far more aesthetically pleasing and less wee-inducing Peter Davison. Admittedly, my love of the show waned in later years as I began to play out more and found the Sixth and Seventh Doctors less appealing.

That said; I am fully cognizant of the fact that TV shows have their ups and downs.

When the new series began in 2005, my inner-child was sparked into life and I adored the adventures of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors and their entertaining companions. The zenith was the partnering of Tennant and Tate in ‘series 4’ (or season 30) and I couldn’t have been happier with the result.

When the news broke that Russell T Davies was stepping down from the role of Executive Producer and head writer, I was saddened but reassured that Steven Moffat would be the perfect successor as his Curriculum Vitae is an impressive list of classic TV. I would never have thought it would be the start of a new lull in the series history.

Before I go on, I must say this is purely a personal opinion. The show has a vast number of ardent followers and that’s great to see, but for me… things are not as good any more.

Firstly, it needs to be said that I like Matt Smith. I think he is a good choice. Not a great choice, but a good one all the same. I often find his Doctor to be a little too mad echoing the latter Tom Baker years when it seemed to be more about buffoonery than decent storytelling. I shall not lay any blame at Smith’s door though.

I shan’t beat around the bush. I hate Amy Pond. I find her character to be obnoxious. All this sassy pouting and frowning drives me mad.

Rory is much more watchable but they do seem intent on killing him off repeatedly and resurrecting him. This continuous disregard for the character merely makes us complacent about the drama as we know there is little real danger for the characters. The once wonderful “Everybody Lives” motto from ‘The Empty Child’ has now become a mockery of itself.

The biggest problem for me in the latest incarnation of the programme is the incoherent storytelling with complex non-linear arcs with little internal logic. The occasional episode playing with time is bound to be entertaining, but this new run seems to do it all the time. What ever happened to the Doctor not crossing his own time line and the consequences? The much lauded episode ‘Day of the Moon’ made less sense than David Lynch’s Eraserhead, but somehow, it keeps getting the big thumbs up from fans. Are they watching properly or merely staring at their TVs uttering “ooh, pretty” every now and again.

Steven Moffat is great with concepts but I think he needs to find a decent script editor to pick up the nonsensical strands.

Series 5 was purposefully designed to make the Doctor into a ‘fairytale’! Why? Who can say? I could not have felt more distant from the plots with this desperate attempt to take him away from the real world which Russell had worked at so hard in creating.

I had hoped series 6 would be an improvement but I have been shocked at how frustrating it has been. The opening two-parter was bonkers in its complete lack of logic. Episode three was dull and lacked originality and episode four was something akin to fan-fiction of the lowest form (and yet, the majority of fans seem to think it’s the greatest episode of anything, ever.)

It’s sad when something you love so much becomes almost unwatchable.

Episodes five and six were heading in a better direction, and when I say ‘better’, I actually mean ‘classic’. Although not perfect, it offered us a reasonably strong storyline with moral implications – something which the classic series did well on a number of occasions. There was a ‘cliff-hanger’ moment at the end and despite being surprising, I still found myself not caring much. The same for episode seven, frankly. It was all a bit mad and extreme but with little reasoning behind it. Twenty minutes of gathering characters from space and time, I was urging the story to just get on with it and then when the battles were happening, I couldn’t bring myself to really give a sh*t. The final ‘reveal’ was intriguing but not that shocking and I am unsure why it is supposed to be (in Steven Moffat’s words) “Game-changing”.

The second-half of the season was not exactly thrilling and just continued the trend of ‘fairytale’ and lazy plotting.

The highlight for me was ‘The God Complex’ in which we had a genuine threat and actual deaths (shock, horror!) and it was nice to see that love didn’t conquer all and it was faith which actually caused the downfall of the ill-fated characters. That was smart and brave. Thank you Toby Whithouse for that.

All too often, we’ve been seeing love conquering all.

In ‘Closing Time’ a father’s love for his son was key to the storyline – or was that ‘Night Terrors’… or ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’… or ‘The Almost People’?

In ‘The Girl Who Waited’ we were subjected to a separate fantasy realm within our universe which caused havoc for our heroes – or was that ‘Night Terrors’… or ‘The God Complex’… or ‘The Wedding of River Song’.

Surely I cannot be the only one to see the repetitive nature of the stories within the sixth series?

I also worry that the once wonderfully enigmatic and curious entity that was River Song has become something of a loose-cannon who cannot be trusted and f*cks everything up… because she’s a woman. Seriously? Is this sort of misogynistic crap still warranted in the 21st century? I cannot fault Alex Kingston’s performance as she is radiant and commands the screen, but the writing of her character is sloppy.

The timeline is also a bit of a mess. Even with some close analysis, it’s a frustrating mix of coincidences, lies and convenient omissions to suit the showrunner when he can’t be bothered figuring it out himself.

As I said before, this is just a personal opinion on the show and there are hordes of fans out there that have loved the show and profess it loudly. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just cannot share their opinion.

The sooner we get a new showrunner, the better. I loved Russell T Davies’ work on the show, but I cannot deny that it was probably time for him to go (having witnessed ‘The End of Time’…) – so it’s time for new blood. Can I do it, please? I’d bring back logic, decent companions and try to give strength to individual stories rather than focus on arcing plots. It's not enough to say 'fill in the blanks yourselves', Steven!
I don't like being spoon-fed either, but I need to know the writers have a little decency and respect for their audience.

I must also add that this opinion is not mine alone. I find it interesting that a large number of my friends both in the UK and Australia are feeling the same way. So, it’s not just me then…

Friday, September 30, 2011

All I Say, All I Do

Babs: Coffee, or are you still on your diet?
Berta: Oh, diet be blowed! ha ha.

Day 30 of my 100-day countdown!

Golly gosh and goodness gracious etc... it is bloomin' hard to maintain a diet regime - especially when one has a busy social life and a penchant for baking delicious treats!

As I type this, I am munching on a chocolate cake, which means the keyboard is getting a tad sticky too.

Dieting is hard and the scales this week have been all over the shop! Last weekend, I was so thrilled to be weighing in at a mere 76kg, but during the week I have dickered back and forth between that and 79kg!

Dolly: (on scales) I was panicking then - it was just hovering over the seven - but luckily I paid a visit and it dickered back down to the six.

How does one manage to put on three kilos in such a short space of time?
Yeah, yeah, so I made this cake, but there's still more than half of it left, so let's not place the blame there.

Although my alcohol intake has been minimal, there have been one or two lapses when dining with friends* - I have tried to curb my alcoholic antics thanks to a rather embarrassing moment two weeks ago when I was admonished for a flippant remark during a rather giddy late-night soiree.

Note to self: This is why I gave up alcohol for twenty-nine months recently... my brain and mouth are like distant cousins when lubricated with a bevy of wines and spirits. All I say and all I do are two completely different things sometimes.

Being the person I am, I have been beating myself up (mentally, that is; physically would be very odd indeed) over this mistake ever since - but this is nothing new. I still wear the burden of every moment in my past where I have hurt someone through caustic wit or an ill-advised barb.
As somebody pointed out to me earlier this year, it is likely that in the majority of these events, I am the only person who probably remembers anyway!

Anyway... I digress into the troubles of my own psyche again. Sorry. Back to the main theme:

I have had pizza twice this week, so that can't be good. One was at the end of my three-day weekend and I needed to treat myself. The second was on Wednesday night when I was returning from visiting a friend in hospital. I was feeling a bit flat (for obvious reasons) and it was pissing it down with rain, so I needed comfort food.

This could be one of the causes.

Ah, who can say? Maybe it's the lack of exercise or the combination of it all... suffice to say, I have to be more astringent with what I eat and how frequently.

I must stop having delicious desserts. sigh

Woman: Could we get by please; we're not having a sweet.

Enid: Very wise, with those hips.

*Thank you Brett & Eric for each of these occasions - superb food, delicious wine, witty banter and perfect company!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Don't Give Up On A Good Thing

Day 16 into my 100 Day Challenge. I am still wavering around the 78kg mark, which isn't bad.
I am still doing the bran flakes/O.J. breakfast and the health-bar for snack followed by a diet shake for lunch and something normal in the evening - only now I have progressed onto weight-watchers meals for dinner. Only because they were on special and I have to admit, they are quite nice.

Today was the first day that I actually felt good about my body. I was in the bathroom, weighing myself naked before I got in the shower (I have to wear my spectacles as I can't read the dial without them!) and I was pleased at the 78kg response.
I 'checked myself out' in the mirror and I noticed that there does seem to be some visible difference in my body shape already - and that's just through losing a couple of kilos. I have also noticed it in my face too, which I am pleased about.

Anyone who knows me will be aware that I have hated my body for an awfully long time, so it was nice to see for once that I was 'reasonable'.

This bonnie beginning to my day helped put a spring in my step as I headed to work and I was also jollied along listening to a Rick Guard album on my iPod.
I was listening to his first album Hands of a Giant which is such a wonderfully eclectic mix of styles guaranteed to lift anyone's spirits. His second album, Anyone But Me is even better... (one of my favourite albums!) Check 'em out if you haven't already.

Anyway, I digress (and made a cup of tea in the process!)

Work has been MENTAL these past couple of weeks what with the extra-curricular activities, covering for colleagues and generally being roped into various meetings and answering calls to some furiously frustrating people with no manners or understanding of politeness. I have been getting to work at 7:00 and working through 'til 16:30, often through lunch, and heading to bed at 19:30/20:00 each evening as I have been so exhausted.

Somebody suggested that I should ask for 'days in lieu' by way of compensation for all the extra work. I quite like that idea, but I envision being laughed out of the building.

As I write this, I am cognizant of the rather dull topics I have perused this fine day. For this I apologise. I do intend to write a post about some terrible dates I have had over the years, as I think that may provide some entertainment (I hope).

Week's entertainment round-up:

I have finally got around to watching The New Avengers.
Having been a fan of The Avengers since I was about 7 or 8, I find it puzzling that I never tried the later series starring Joanna Lumley. Somewhere in my mind, I had the notion that it wasn't any good. However, I have been proved wrong! It's gloriously entertaining.
Patrick Macnee as John Steed - the coolest man in fiction, bar none.
Joanna Lumley as Purdey - sexy, stylish and kick-ass.
Gareth "rhymes with" Hunt - er... oh well. two out of three isn't bad.

I have also recently been persuaded to endure the first season of Babylon 5 on the promise that it gets better in later seasons. I have tried three times in my life to get through that first season (and, being one of those people who has to watch every episode, it's a hard task) and I finally got through it all. Yeah, yeah, sometimes I got up and sorted through some laundry when something boring was happening - whatever!
However, I am now into season 2 and so far, it has been vastly more entertaining. So, I trust my friends are correct.

I am still very disappointed with Doctor Who this year. Fans online seem to be creaming themselves over it. Who am I to debate what people like? Each to their own. I just find it all rather convoluted, filled with plot holes and - dare I say it? - I despise Amy Pond. Yes, I said 'despise'. Alas.
Torchwood season four was flawed, but it still thrilled me a hundred times more than the latest 'Who'.

Speaking of Torchwood, I am one of those obsessive fans who have to read all the books, listen to the audio plays etc. I am currently reading Long Time Dead and enjoying it immensely.

Music; I have been listening to Will Young's new album, Echoes and, although it still has 'echoes' of the maudlin tone of his previous album, Let It Go, it still has a sense of hope to it which lifts it up a little higher. The dancier nature of the album makes me wonder if he's been listening to some Róisín Murphy.
Great stuff, Will.


In other news:

"Gordon Ramsay's dwarf porn double Percy Foster dies in badger den" has to be the funniest headline of the week. I know, it is sad someone has died... so shoot me for sniggering.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Something Every Day

Wowzers! It's merely day nine into my 100-day challenge and already I have lost 2 kilos.
Well, I gained 1 and lost 2, if you want to be pedantic. But I have still lost 2 kilograms in five days - maybe it's the diet shakes for lunch, or maybe it is the stress of doing eighty billion things at work plus the adrenalin. Who can say?

If I can keep this up, I'll be lighter than a tumble-dryer's fluff collection by Christmas. I hope there won't be too many strong winds at Christmas (other than those produced by sprout-eaters across the nation - of which I'll be one - I love those Brussels!)

Yes, work has been manic. I'm covering for a colleague who is away and also doing a whole heap of extra-curricular stuff on top of all that plus going to no end of meetings that go on for hours and achieve (from what I can tell) very little.
I've been so busy, I've barely had time to make a quick brew!

Oh, who am I kidding? There is always time for a quick brew.

The problem is, all this work has made me completely knackered. I get home of an evening, eat an early dinner and I'm in bed by 7:30/8:00. I will read for about ten minutes and then promptly fall asleep and dream about pregnant friends and creepy churches. (Was that a sacrificial altar I saw there? Oo-er!)

On an entirely different subject, I'd like to propose a new way to interview applicants for the workplace. How much bullshit can we cope with in the corporate world? Why do all interviews follow the same appalling formula for which any fool can effectively 'cut and paste' answers from any book on the market?

"Give us an example of how you have dealt with a difficult colleague." Blah-fucking-blah.

OK... Here are the questions I'd like to ask.

1. When you use a communal toilet, do you like to leave it in the state you found it in?

2a. At home, do you leave your dirty mugs and plates in the kitchen sink to become dry and crusty before washing them up?

2b. Do you think somebody else is going to do it for you?

3. Do you know the difference between recyclable stuff and actual waste?

4. Do you respect other people's personal space?

5. Do you care how you smell?

6. Just how inconsiderate are you?

7. Are you subhuman scum?



Now, if I heard the answers I wanted to hear to those questions, I would know whom to employ.
Oh. And if they're hot, they'd get bonus points. (Mwah-ha-ha)

It staggers me that there are people in my building at work who get paid way more than I do and yet they are still unable to get their rubbish into the bin or even clean up their dirty coffee cups.
Something every day gets on my tits and I try not to slap people. I've been amazingly restrained so far.




OK, fascist Nazi Ben has stepped down from his soapbox and tucked away his sniper rifle. Nice Ben is back...

Aren't kittens adorable!?!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Better Make It Better

This is Day Three of my 100 Day Challenge and, by my reckoning, I'm failing miserably.

Day One was OK.
I weighed myself (79kg).
I had Bran Flakes and a glass of Orange Juice for breakfast.
A healthy snack bar mid-morning.
A 'Biggest Loser' shake and an apple for lunch.
My home-made lamb chilli for dinner followed by a low-fat yoghurt and another apple.

All in all, a reasonable day's munching.

Day Two was less good.
I weighted myself (79kg).
I had four slices of toast with marmalade and a mug of tea for breakfast
A healthy snack bar mid-morning.
Then I had chicken vindaloo with garlic naan (with extra garlic) for lunch.
Two glasses of white wine after work.
More wine plus another Indian meal for dinner. (Michelle Bridges would beat me to a pulp!)


Not really the best way to start a regime. Still, the two curries helped shed a load in the little boys' room, so that's a bonus.

I am seeing friends again this evening, so I doubt that will be a 'light 'n' easy' dining experience, but I will enjoy myself anyway.

Has anyone got the number of a good lipsuctionist? (Is that a word?)

"I will be skinny by Christmas, I will be skinny by Christmas!"

Jeepers, I sound like a deluded turkey with high hopes of the New Year...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When Morning Comes*

Tomorrow (September 1st) is the beginning of my countdown to my next UK trip. That is one hundred days (not including the actual day of flight) to get into shape. When I say “in shape”, I have no intention of looking like Joe Manganiello for I could never achieve such perfection; I simply want to be fit, healthy and preferably weigh something less than 75kg.

I currently waver between 78 and 80 kg, depending on whether or not I’ve just had a big poo, but I am so keen to lose around 5 kilos. My dream would to be ‘David Tennant thin’ but I simply do not have that frame, sadly. I think I have child-bearing hips.

I plan to take note of everything I consume and imbibe each day and attempt to get back into my walking regime. I am not sure whether it is worth sharing with the World Wide Web my every chew and swallow (oo-er!) but I will ask for a virtual hand-holding along the way. I imagine there will be days when I will crack and I will be forced to down a bottle of cabernet sauvignon or demolish a lemon meringue pie… no doubt pizza will also creep in every now and again. (Hmmm, pepperoni…)

I will weight myself frequently and record the days and distances of the note-worthy ventures into the realms of reasonable exercise. It would also be interesting to see when I can get back into those jeans I bought about eight months ago. I was skinny enough to get into something appropriate for Generation Y back then, but it didn’t last long. The problem is that clothes made for the youth of today are not designed to accommodate buttocks or genitalia for some reason. Maybe it’s because the idiotic tossers wear everything too bloody low. (Don’t get me started!)

Some people may ask why I am doing this. People say; “You don’t need to lose weight!” to which I reply; “You haven’t seen me naked!”

It’s about how I feel. I lack so much confidence and when I am unhappy in my build, it just exacerbates my low-self image.

Recently, I attempted to join the dating game once more. I met with a few guys on a handful of occasions. Most of them seemed like very decent and likable guys, but I have so many personal issues that I cannot bring myself to inflict this bag of insecurities upon anyone until I am able to feel stronger in my own skin.

Despite a couple of semi-interested parties, I still felt a sort of rejection – even if it was enforced by my own negativity. With each encounter, I would end up alone at the end of the day and feel more distant from the world of relationships. It feels like I am a tree being felled – with each thwack of the axe, I become weaker and weaker, and I need to stop the damaging blows before I fall and make a minor impact into the surrounding eco-system.

I have removed my profile from the dating site and shall not return until I can hold my head up high and be proud of what I have got to offer.

So… in order to combat my insane self-induced depression brought on by my personally assumed inadequacies, I want to get fitter. I want to be lean. I want to be tolerable in my own vision as I stand naked in front of a full-length mirror.

Wish me luck!

* I am broadening my horizons as far as blog-entry titles go. I am venturing into other favourite bands and singers. This title is a song by Swing Out Sister. Look forward to some Beverley Craven, Will Young and maybe some Bucks Fizz!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Coming soon to a blog near you...

It's been a long time since I posted on this blog. I have been preoccupied with my other blog recently.
However, I shall return shortly.
I will have to give up on the Kirsty MacColl related titles as it became too difficult, but there is no reason I cannot use other songs/lyricists.

One thing that I want to focus on in the coming months is an attempt to lose weight (again). I want to be 75kg by Christmas. Do you think I can do it? I'm around 80kg currently. I will need some support, I think.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Soho Square

Each time I visit the UK, I like to visit Soho Square in London.
It's a place I like to sit and watch the world go by or sometimes use it as a convenient rendezvous for friends.

When Kirsty MacColl was killed in December 2000, I was devastated.
Given that Kirsty wrote a song for her beautiful album Titanic Days, a memorial bench was fitted in Soho Square and this is the reason I make the same pilgrimage each time I am in London.

This time around, I simply sat and watched people as they hurried to work, carrying their coffees and breakfasts or casually meandering. Of course, I had to listen to the right music on my iPod...

As I hadn't planned to meet anyone there this time, I had to ask a (cute) passer-by to take my picture.

Kirsty MacColl was an incredibly talented woman and I think it is sad she was taken from us at such a young age (41) but I am pleased her memory lives on in her music and her fans.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A New England

My holiday in the UK is coming to an end and, to be frank, I am not exactly loving the idea of heading back to work (funny, that!) I will like being home in my apartment and I can't wait to see my baby Fizzgig. It'll be grand catching up with my Australian friends too, I have missed them. But my time in the UK has been grand. the best holiday I have had in a bloody long time.

I hae tried my best to see as many people as I possibly could, but sadly, there were some I simply could not get to given my hectic schedule. I cannot help feeling guilty, even though it is impossible to manage it all in such a relatively short space of time. For those whom I have missed, I offer a sincere apology and I hope you can forgive me.

England has changed a lot in the last five years though. It seems as though just about everyone has a laptop, an iPhone and SatNav in their car (or whatever these new-fangled gadgets are). I thought tehre was supposed to be a recession... or is it all on credit??

Everywhere is much smaller than it used to be. Not just my old primary school but also the cities. Derby is a TINY place compared to how I remember it and, frankly, London is not as big as people make out. I think people are just too lazy to walk. By the time everyone has faffed about with the Oyster card payments, traversed the underground walkways to the tube and waited for the trains, one could quite easily have walked to their destination! (I hear Nicole scoffing at me now! Mwah-ha-ha. Don't worry, I am just playing Devil's Advocate)

Also, Chavs seemt o be taking over the country. I watched The Jeremy Kyle Show for the first (and I hope 'last') time and I was appalled at the utter scum who seem to be allowed to breed in this beautiful group of islands. (Yes, it's my inner-snob leaping out from under my sweater - beware!) But seriously, tattooing a skull over your face? How incredibly insane. Ah well...
I don't mind watching Chavs in Misfits, but can we keep these dipshit mongrels to the world of fiction?

So, Britain is looking slightly different, but some things never change.
The countryside is beautiful, my friends are amazing and Bruce Forsythe is still on the telly.

This holiday, I have felt so welcomed and loved by my friends and family. I have felt more confident than ever before. Also, when walking through Derby today, I also felt slightly attractive; but then, even John Merrick would feel a sense of pride and elation walking through Derby, so I shouldn't let my ego become too massaged.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


As I have mentioned a number of times, this blog uses Kirsty MacColl song titles for each entry. As I plough through her backlist, it becomes harder and harder to match a song to a post.

So, this entry is dedicated to men called Patrick. Sadly, I can only ever recall knowing two Patricks personally in my life. I cannot really justify dedicating it to the second incarnation of Doctor Who.

The first 'Patrick' of my life was one I wish I could erase from my memory...

My friend Suzy had a cute boyfriend called Matt (I think that was his name, but it was years ago and considering his looks were the best part about him, I can be forgiven for forgetting his name, right?) and, like a lot of young, naive heterosexual males, he was under the misapprehension that two gay men would be perfect for each other because they had one thing in common... being gay. Ah *shakes head wearily* - no.

So, Matt decided to set me up on a blind date. Matt, Suzy and I went to a pub in Chesterfield to meet this supposedly "hot date" and I was terribly nervous. I had only recently acknowledged my sexuality to others at this point and wasn't perfectly happy with my situation, but I went along for the ride all the same.
We ordered some drinks - a bit of dutch courage for myself - and we waited.
A few minutes later, in walked Patrick.


Now, before I go on, let me explain. I am not one to judge people by their appearances. Personality counts a great deal... but seriously??

In walked Patrick. Tall (tick), blonde (tick), smiley (tick)...
Eighty billion pounds overweight and wearing a bright orange velour tracksuit?? (CROSS, CROSS, CROSS, ERASE, SCRIBBLE OUT!!!)

FUCK! Or rather, No thank you, I've got a headache!! The term 'bloated citrus fruit' springs to mind (Thank you Saffy!)

I didn't know what to do! I am sure he must have had a beautiful personality and a great sense of humour, so I decided to put my prejudices aside - however, he was one of those - oh, you know the ones... everything is "gay, gay, gay!" Waving hands, laughing at every innuendo, including the ones he was making up for himself.
I was at a loss. So, instead of continuing the conversation, I swigged a couple of large glasses of Jack Daniels and headed to the dance floor alone where I danced like a lunatic and lost all the buttons of my shirt in a mad extravagant dance.

Oddly enough, he never got in touch.

Cripes. remind me never to go on a blind date ever again.

The second Patrick in my life was a devilishly handsome delivery guy who dropped off stock at the bookstore I worked at eleven years ago. He was married, but was the sort of straight guy who likes to flirt outrageously with we of the other persuasion. God, I loved him, even if he was a prick-tease.

So, that's my post about 'Patrick'. Maybe one day I will meet another.

At some point in the future, I am going to have to visit New York to use up some 'Big Apple'-themed songs of Kirsty's and heaven knows how I am going to get I'm Going Out With an Eighty Year Old Millionaire into this blog.
Call me Anna-Nicole Smith??

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Busy Life*

So, in a few days I will be flying to the UK for a long-overdue holiday. The last time I was in the UK was over the Christmas holidays in 2005. I wonder how much has changed? Only time will tell.
I have a ridiculously manic schedule (as always) with my various trips and encounters figured out on an excel spreadsheet. I think I'm going to spend most of my time on trains! Ah well, I don't mind travelling to the many corners of the British Isles if it means I get to see some wonderful friends.
It is a great shame that there are many people I won't get time to see during my trip. I wish I had more time to play with, but it simply isn't plausible.
Obviously, I will be blogging about it all at some point. It may be while I am there, but it might also wait until I get back. Who can say at this point?

Anyway, with this forthcoming trip in mind, my life here in Australia has been terribly busy. I am usually a rather reclusive chap during the week but because I have been catching up with lots of friends here 'before I head off' (as one says) I have had to open up my social diary and permit myself some midweek rendezvous (that's the first time I have ever thought of that word as a plural and I had to check to see if it was the same spelling both singular and plural - it is! You learn something new every day. Not interesting, just new.)
I also have been trying to get a lot of housework done because a friend of mine is house-sitting and looking after Fizzgig while I am away and I hope to leave the apartment in a decent state so he isn't repulsed by lurking dust-bunnies.

Not only has my social (and cleaning) life been jam-packed, but my work has been incredibly busy too. I have had to cram in an insane amount of work into the weeks before and after my trip to make sure I get everything done. With all the added stress, one wonders why one holidays at all!
On a rather less jovial note, our manager has sadly been taken ill and will not be at work for some time meaning that while I am away, the work load will be exacerbated for my colleague Nola - I worry that she might implode. So if anyone is reading this and they know Nola, please be kind to her while I am gone!

Well, given that I am so busy, I don't really have time to blither on in this blog (my Hitchcock blog took up precious time yesterday too, darn it!) and I'll get back to cleaning. Currently I am sat in an old pair of orange boxer briefs so I think a shower and a change into something more appropriate for guests (for more arrive today for pre-holiday meetings) - I don't want them to vomit at the sight of me in my undies.

*Today's Kirsty MacColl themed blog title comes from the opening credits to The Adventures of Mole, part of a 'Wind in the Willows' cartoon series starring Richard Briers, Peter Davison, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton and others. The song was written by Neil Innes and performed by the wonderful Kirsty!