Monthly Archives: December 2007

The state of the nation?

This is an extract from the main Yahoo! website – it worries me that ‘Which Celeb Couple are you?’ features ahead of a notable political figure being assassinated.  Indeed, a Will Smith interview also ranks more highly.  Whilst this is a sad indictment on the target audience, it’s not that much of a surprise.  Shame really.

In other news I went to see ‘The Golden Compass’ today, it was okay – not great, but not bad either – I think I’ll make an effort to read the books it is based on.   Maybe.  I’m currently reading a Derren Brown book – which so far has taught me a nifty card trick (albeit my initial tests on Cat only worked once out of three times!).

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Festivities…

Check this out, I’m watching Family Guy on my watch!!  How much does that rule?  As you can no doubt guess, this is a Christmas gift from Cat, and it rocks.

Admittedly the image quality isn’t spectacular on a 1.5″ screen, but it’s not too bad y’know – but ultimately, I hadn’t really thought of the watch as a video viewer.  Mainly it’s a means of telling the time (shock horror!), but it also can be used to save up to 2GB of stuff – given that I’m often shifting chunks of data about at work, it will come in handy.

The fact that it plays videos, music and is a voice recorder is really handy too, though – so all in all, that’s really cool I reckon!

Christmas has been fun, if a little different this year – last Christmas and the subsequent days proved to be rather an unpleasant experience for the family, and the aftershocks of those events still resonate this year – but it’s been a good day for all that.  The idea of having no plans for tomorrow, going to the pictures on Thursday and the potential opportunity for a fancy dress party for new years eve – life ain’t so bad!

Hopefully anyone reading had a great Christmas too 🙂

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Nottingham in positive light on national TV – again!

Hot on the heels of Gordon Ramsey coming to Nottingham, ‘The Secret Millionnaire’ made an appearance on national TV tonight, again based in my beloved home town. Incase you’re unfamiliar, the programme places a millionnaire in a community for a few days undercover, to enable them to forge relationships and – should they feel the need – make donations to causes or individuals.

I’m a big fan of the programme, whilst the cynic in you might suggest it’s an opportunity for privileged people to feel good about themselves for sharing a little wealth with the proles, from watching a few I generally get the impression that the folks who sign up for it are genuinely generous-hearted people – and I must admit, rather shamefully, that a few of the ones I’ve seen before have been touching to the point of bringing a lump to the throat.

So it was with interest I tuned in to see what they make of ‘Hood Town’ – the media bastard that it is. Of course, the opening scenes dealt with the reputation we have garnered as crime capital of the universe, although pleasingly the taxi driver who took her to her digs kindly corrected her that such perceptions are a bunch of arse. So what did our secret millionnaire make of a few days in darkest Hyson Green?

Pleasingly she starts by doing some research on local volunteer type schemes – keen to help people who are already attempting to help themselves, and thankfully beyond the introduction to the programme Channel 4 quit on the predictable shots featuring police cars with lights and sirens on, or CCTV cameras panning the streets. Before long she’s in the middle of a launderette in St. Anns – brave lady!

Of course, inevitably it is the less salubrious areas of the town that feature on this programme – just as with all the other towns – but what always resonates so wonderfully are the fantastic people who toil for good causes, their sense of community spirit and their welcoming nature in the face of an apparent stranger who is keen to get involved in their endeavours; unknown to them of course a potential source of significant funding.

The massive plus side of this is you get to hear loads of proper Notts accents, a dialect conspicuously absent from TV generally – and very badly imitated when actor types attempt it – so it’s great to see loads of ‘bogger speak’ – as Rich would call it – on national TV. The reaction of the millionnaire lady was particularly amusing, because being American the very blunt sense of humour exhibited by most Nottinghamians worth their salt was quite shocking to her – albeit in a good way, she loved it!

So there were two main initiatives she sampled on her visit, a community launderette in St. Anns which had a delivery service that covered pretty much all of Nottingham, where she met a volunteer who had been working towards mass food provision and cooking training for kids. The second initiative was ‘Independent Street’ where an energetic lady got all the local kids involved with carnivals all over the country to try to stop them from getting sucked into some of the less wholesome cultures that unfortunately pervade our youngsters.

As is often the case with this particular show, the benefactor found herself very immersed in the people and communities she was visiting – and with the dilemma of the pretense she’d been living under. Imagine if you’re a community worker who finds a volunteer, only to find they’re actually minted and want to give you a big cheque – it would be a strange thing to happen, who knows how you’d react? So you can understand the nervousness.

In the end, she gave a big cheque for £15,000 to the launderette to get them a new van – as theirs was on its’ last legs. Next up was Joy of ‘Independent Street’, to whom she donated the same amount – to a suitably extreme reaction. It’s really heartening – and whilst a programme taking in areas like Hyson Green, St. Anns, Billborough and numerous other areas might not be exactly be sending the Nottingham tourist industry into excitement – having sat and watched it, I felt pretty good about my home town after seeing it.

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Too good to be true?

A few weeks back Virgin Media gave me a call to see if they could flog me their telephone service (as I’ve used their Broadband for a while), which initially I wasn’t interested in until they dropped the tempting offer of only £2 a month for a year.  So that all went according to plan.

Around a month ago I picked up a similar call, offering me their TV service.  “I’m happy with Freeview to be honest” was my candid response.  “I understand, sir – but we can offer you our premium TV package for a year for £1 a month with no installation fee, which would give you TV on demand, catchup TV and live sports like Setanta etc!”.  Naturally for a quid a month, I said yes.

Of course, the first bill for this new arrangement came – and of course, not only did they give me a charge for installation, they also added full charges for both the telephone and the TV service – totaling well over £80!!

Of course, I wasn’t going to sit idly by – and to their credit, I got through to someone after 8pm on the freephone customer service line.  The first person was very polite, put me on hold for 10 minutes, before ‘bouncing’ me back to the menu system.  Joy.  The second lady I spoke to, however, was very helpful indeed – and whilst I was nervous when she put me on hold – she did come back, and immediately reduced the bill by the £50 overcharge and referred the account to the sales team who, during office hours, will apparently be able to sort out the package to reflect the deals I was actually offered.

It remains to be seen whether this actually happens or not!

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Christmas is coming…

Last night was our Christmas party, and it was a good ‘un – predictably!  I can’t remember much about the latter stages as I spend a good eight hours imbibing freely on beer, wine and Jack Daniels – and have spent much of today feeling decidedly ropey!

It was a top night – and the standard of costumes and inventiveness was as high as ever amongst the team.  The theme was ‘movie titles’ and everyone made a great effort – which is ace!

My own Jango Fett costume (which I loosely translated to an obscure film called ‘Bounty Hunter‘ or – even more obscurely – a series of spaghetti western films called ‘Django‘ (one of them, amusingly, called ‘Django the bastard‘!

But for my holster belt breaking early in the evening, and a near-mishap involving me being desperate for a piss when there were no conveniences nearby, the whole night went very much according to plan and a great time was had by all!

Photos are here, here and here – unfortunately Facebook limits you to 60 photos per album!

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Facebook in fifty years…

Something for us all to look forward to! 😆

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Blowing of one’s own trumpet..

I’m a fine one to talk, as I don’t do this – but well, from an individual I think that’s okay.

But tonight I watched Gordon Ramsey’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ programme, where Gordon came to Nottingham to help sort out ‘The Curry Lounge’ in the city centre.  But that’s by the by, I’m a fan of his anyway, so was intrigued to see him at work in my beloved hometown.

And what struck me was that the interludes in and around the city were the amongst the best portrayal I’ve ever seen of Nottingham on the telly.  Normally it’s a pair of fuckwits – that patronising bastard and his pinch-faced harridan of a sidekick – on Channel Four, taking a bunch of shoddy statistics and suggesting that it’s a den of iniquity and the fourth worst place to live in the country.

So how nice to see, in a few short segments, shots of the square – the view of the city from Trent Bridge, a bit of the culture and people who weren’t either drug dealers, chavs or leering mongs.  It was the best piece of PR that Nottingham has had in ages – and it happened completely by accident because a restaurant happened to apply to be on Gordon’s show.

So take note powers-that-be at the council etc.  I want to see more of this kind of representative imagery relating to Nottingham in the future, rather than the usual dirge of binge-drinking or gun crime that the media usually regurgitates with regular and inaccurate tedium.

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Watch out Nottingham!

It’s the annual C&MI Christmas Party on thursday, so if you see a bunch of people dressed in outlandish fancy dress costumes then be sure to say hello!

I’m not feeling remotely festive this year – I’m not a big fan of Christmas in it’s superficial nor spiritual sense anyway, but usually look forward to festivities and a chance for a bit of downtime amongst family and friends with lots of food and drink.  Maybe once I get my costume all packed up to take to work on thursday it will all start to feel more real.

I have managed to get all my festive shopping done and dusted though, I did have a brief excursion to my employer but as last year, a good 90%+ has been completed through the wonderful phenomena of online retail.  I don’t like being amongst crowds of people (except at football, of course!) nor do I like shopping – so getting stuff online, generally for better prices, and delivered straight to you has to be a winner!

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Nasal abuse

Felt what could be a cold coming on today, and since Cat had an evil one last week, I’ve been assaulting my nostril’s with Vicks ‘First Defense’ which supposedly should have a decent chance of stopping a cold developing if you catch it early – it better bleedin’ well had do, it’s our Christmas party next week and I don’t plan on being ill for it!

I had a rather pisspoor game of football last night – and whatever it was that prevented me running about much and made all my passes go astray, it clearly affected Forest too.  That said, Forest were playing our perpetual bogey-team Walsall – so a defeat wasn’t exactly unexpected when visiting the Bescott Stadium.

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Just one thing to say…

…. BRING ON THE SCOUSERS!!! 🙂 *

* Should Forest beat Luton in the FA Cup 2nd Round, we get to play the red scum at the City Ground!

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