Thursday, 31 July 2008

Another guest post

This time todays author is Greeny. Enjoy!

Contemplating why, even though I am pretty active physically, certainly agile and most importantly not afraid to sweat I never was an athlete.
My father was active-strong, a hard worker, a very swift runner. My mother certainly in her youth was an ice skater, swimmer, boat rower, walking to and from her job or between friend's houses. Even in their parental capacity they were quite active physically.
My brother was one of the two top basketball players early on, a hard batter and swift in running the bases in baseball, and all around athletic. He made it seem effortless but in fact he was driven to be the best (I think I have answered my own question right here). He continues to this day to be a workhorse and powerhouse of strength in his daily job as a farmer. He is tough as shoe leather. Too bad his diet is so lousy. But we won't go into that...
My sister was predominately cerebral and continues to be. Not active physically which is not a great idea in this family. She never has liked to sweat.
Now to me. I always played outside and rode my bike, walked to friend's houses, climbed trees, helped garden (we all did), but when it came time to try out for basketball in 9th grade, I tried dribbling down the court and bounced it off my foot, stood there as it went rolling and bouncing away and thought-'SHIT' and never went back. I tried playing softball one year but instead of having a coach that worked up the lower end of the bench of players(my area) so they could support the better players when time, he let us languish there. Not having anyone to practice with, I sat the bench and played a lot of outfield and not well, I might add. I did round offs and cartwheels like nobody's business.
We had intramurals during lunch time and I excelled here. I was second in arm wrestling one year, my record for the 50 yard dash was not broken until a few years after I graduated, and I played intramural badminton and volleyball. I think we did other fun stuff like frisbee distance and accuracy throws and similar activities. Point is, I was good at a lot of things that took some athletic ability.
I remember working and working to jump on our pogo stick when I was young. Years I spent in frustration. Then about 2000, my mom and dad bought each of the grandkids a pogo stick for Christmas. We were all out in the farm shed on concrete trying them out. Low and behold- A Miracle! I kicked butt the first time I jumped! I was stupefied.
Another example- when I was in middle school, we would accompany my dad's first cousin and his family to a beautiful lake for weekends. Many, many times I tried with much tutelage I never could get up on water skis. Probably 3 years I tried. The last year we went I popped up the first pull the first trip down. That trip I also went to one ski. Then a year later I skied with the handle in my mouth- stupid I know but no dent istry was needed. Hehe! I just skied in Michigan behind my uncle's Wave runner this month in fact.
A few years back at a family reunion, we older cousins decided to play some softball. I am pretty good at catching but figured I would strike out when I batted. I stood there (again) when I hit the stupid ball in a high fly to center like I had been doing this my whole life. I did it time after time. So I had a swagger after that and my family oood and ahhhed.
I wasn't a team athlete. That is that. But I am athletic and as usual, a late bloomer in the sports that make one feel like an athlete.
It should be interesting to see what happens with my kids.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

He's had a good innings

Guest author: Charlie Naseweis

I played in my first 'official' game of cricket yesterday. (For our American cousins, cricket is a bit like baseball, only better ;-p)

I've always enjoyed watching cricket. Not as much as football, but if there's an England game on I'll try to watch it. When I was growing up, it seemed to be on the BBC all the time. I still vividly remember watching Ian Botham & Bob Willis tearing apart the Aussies in the 1981 Ashes Series. I always found the statistical part of the game quite fascinating....maiden overs, bowling figures, wagon wheels..... Later on, I recall watching Phil Tufnell's exploits, whilst I was supposed to be revising for my Finals. It's amazing how much time can be swallowed up watching an absorbing Test match.

Just recently, cricket has had a bit of a renaissance, in no small part due to the advent of 20/20 cricket. I still prefer the traditional full test match - call me a traditionalist. Last year I watched my first test match 'live' at Headingley (England vs West Indies); next week, I'll be going to the 1st day of play at the Oval for the final test between England & South Africa. I hope there's still something riding on the result!

Anyway, I digress. This Friday afternoon, my work is having a game of 20/20 cricket at Harefield CC, between UK & Europe divisions. As preparation, Europe had a practise match yesterday at Pinkneys (no seriously) Green CC near Maidenhead. The opposition were quite decent - in fact we were quite concerned when they all turned up in whites! We looked like a rabble in comparison, with our t-shirts, shorts & tracksuits. Luckily we have quite a few handy players within the ranks. Our skipper & opener is an Aussie, so he's bound to be good! Further down the order are a few guys who either played at school, or for clubs when they were younger.

We lost the toss and were put into bat first, and achieved a fairly respectable score of 104-8 (our captain had to declare at 25 n.o. to give everyone else a chance to bat!!). I was down to bat at #7 in the order. When I went out to bat, my targets were: (1) to avoid getting out first ball, then (2) avoid getting out for a duck. My boss was umpiring and he gave me the helpful advice "get your eye in first", which I did do, building up a good partnership with Batsmen #6. I found it a little bit intimidating in the middle due to the other team's banter around the wicket. In particular, their wicketkeeper was doing a running commentary of the game.... "they don't like your pace"...... "next ball, he's a goner" ...... "Oooh, I can smell a wicket coming!"..... not quite sledging, but it did a good job of distracting me. It's a lot harder than it looks, batting. I had to concentrate quite hard as each bowler I faced had a different bowling style, and varied line & length.

In the end I knocked up a respectable 7 not out, working my way through 4 different partners (fnarr). I'm not a big hitter, so left it to the other batsmen to hit the boundaries and build up our innings score. As it was 20/20 I took a few risks, and unfortunately ran out bat #8 in the process (ooops, it's just not cricket).

The other team tried in vain to chase our total, but fell well short. We had a tasty bowling attack, and rattled through their top order batsmen. Fortunately I wasn't required to bowl - in practise I was so bad that my team mates actually stopped taking the mickey out of me, they felt sorry at the number of wides I was bowling!!

Looking forward to Fridays game - I'm hoping for another solid score. One of me, eleven of you? I think it's Pimms O'clock!

Not much to say today

As I'm in Gloucester all day today in a meeting (*snore*).

I can't believe no one has sent me anything to post on their behalf yet... I feel very let down, internet.

Have a nice day all.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Try something new

OK, I've had f*ck all to do today, so I've been reading a lot of other blogs. And it's given me an idea. I want to try "guest posts". Send me an email with a post for this blog, and I will post them under your name (or pseudonym if you prefer - if you want to remain anonymous, tell me, else I'll tell the world who's wonderful words we're enjoying).
It can be about anything, and any length. I won't post them all at once, maybe one a day. And no, this is not an attempt to keep posting things but not put any effort in myself. Cynical lot, aren't you?

So there we go. Go wild.

Send them to

Another excellent waiter blog

Well Done Fillet



...I managed to record one thing yesterday. I don't know if I'm going to post it up or not yet, as I want to listen to it to see if I'm really happy with it. But, the recording stuff is out again and set-up ready for me when I get home from work, so I might be able to do more (if my fingers aren't too sore - I played a lot yesterday).

It feels weird knowing I'm going home to an empty house tonight - it does every time they go away. Some people might think "excellent, no obligations to worry about" and I can see their point of view... but there is a very good chance that when I leave here, I won't speak to another person until tomorrow at work again. Which makes me feel kinda lonely. And I do miss them.

Enough. Melancholy begone. It's too hot for words here in West London at the moment, but I'm not going to be one of those people who complain about it constantly. What's the point? We can't change it so we might as well just deal with it. We know we can't sleep in this heat, and it's horrible being at work while its this nice out. If it bothers people that much, phone in sick and take the day off.

Not much else to say today really... peace.

Friday, 25 July 2008

What I shouldn't have read...

...just before flying to the U.S next week: How to crap your shorts on an airplane

Read it, can you imagine the fear?! The would cause lumpy farts all over the plane, wouldn't it.

Everybody say bleeurgh.....

So now the complaints will start

... and me first. It's too f*ckin' hot! I know, I know, its a typical English attitude, nes pa?
But its horrid when it's like this, you can't sleep, you can't concentrate at work, and you can't get into your rubber incontinence pants without heavily applied talcum powder.

Still, according to reports, it's gonna rain soon, so it should be a little cooler at night.

I played the best round of golf I've ever played yesterday... I was 1 over through the front nine... (for those who don't know golf that much, that is a good score, believe me). Unfortunately I collapsed a bit on the back nine, but still finished with a score of 79, which is the first time I've broken 80. So I was buzzin on the way home from the course last night.

No plans tonight (I'm not going to that leaving do I mentioned...) and I think it'll be a day of housework and cleaning and shopping tomorrow, as Sunday the family are off away to the in-laws for a few days.

I have been practicing a new song which I am really enjoying playing, so I might be recording that this week.. (yes, I'll post it up for your enjoyme.... your punishment).

In the words of a 90's rapper - Peace Out Y'all....

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

OK, this is winding me up now

I so want to start sketching / drawing (maybe even painting) but I just can't get started!
I don't know where to start, what my subject(s) should be, what media to start with (pens, pencils, chalk, charcoal...) but I know I have this urge in me to create. And yes, there is still that fear of producing something that a recovering stroke victim could better, and have me left feeling inadequate and miserable. (No sex life jokes please).
I have a few days coming up when I am alone, so hopefully, maybe, I can start something then. I also want to record a few more things AND try and finish this song I'm working on... so much to do! I could do all this anytime I want, I know, but when the house is full and there are other people to put first it's hard getting enough of my own time and space.
Jake had a good last training session last night - we now have a break from football until September, and I know he's going to be driving me up the wall in about two weeks with "When am I playing football again?" - never let it be said my son isn't a football fan!
Playing golf tomorrow after work...
Oh - there's a leaving do on Friday after work. Now normally, I don't go to these things, because I pretty much despise the people I work with (in a good way) but I am thinking of making an exception this time as the girl who's leaving has been here since I started and I've done a lot of work with her. So maybe I'll go.
Soundtrack of the day: The sound of silence given to me by my noise cancellation headphones... soothing.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

I'm not a hero, anyone else would have done the same

Sunday was a lovely day weather-wise, a lot better than Saturday. Clear skies, warm temperatures. The worry, whilst we were getting ready to go back to the beach, was that there would be no surf (hark at me, using the terminology... two days on a boogie board and I sound like a surf bum, brah)...
Anyway, we got ready and hit the beach again, the plan was to surf a couple of hours in the morning, go get some lunch, then take part in a coasteering course, which is basically a three-hour long assault course climbing rocks, abseiling, and diving into pools. Sounded brilliant.
As we arrived on the beach, we saw the tide was out but the swell was good, so in we went and caught some decent waves.
Unfortunately, after a while, it all went a bit pear shaped. At around the same time, we all noticed we were a little further out than we thought, and that none of us could put our feet down on the sea bed anymore. The swell had dragged us out over a drop in the shelf, so it was a lot deeper than we expected. Most of us were OK with this, as we were strong swimmers, but a couple of our group got into a bit of trouble. I will not name & shame here, but one of my friends started to panic a little as he is not a strong swimmer at all, so instead of pushing him under and nicking his board, I stayed with him, swam along side him, tried to keep him calm, and got him back to where he could stand again. We then got out to have a breather.
However, at the same time, the groom-to-be's future brother in law was also having trouble, and he was a little further out than us. The groom-to-be saw this, and as he is a strong swimmer also, he went out a little to try and help him in. But unfortunately, as he was swimming, he was hit at the wrong angle by a wave, and his left shoulder popped out. It was already weak, as he had dislocated it last year (at the same beach, ironically) and so it came out a little easier than it should. This meant that he, and his future brother in law had to be rescued by the coast guards that were on the beach. Obviously he was in quite a bit of pain, and we all thought "Shit, thats the weekend f*cked!"
At first they tried to put his shoulder back in in the back of the ambulance that had turned up, but it wouldn't go, so he had to go to hospital with his brother. The rest of us went and got some lunch and went back to the chalets. We waited around, had to cancel the coasteering, and then decided to go back to the beach for a couple of hours. I didn't bother with the wet suit or anything anymore, I stayed out of the sea with my mate and we just chatted and watched the others flailing about. The groom-to-be finally turned up at around 17.00... after spending four hours in the hospital. Poor bastard.
So, we headed back to the chalets, got showered and changed, and decided to go into Padstow to get some dinner. We went to a fantastic sea food restaurant (just round the corner from Rick Stein's place, but according to my mate who's been there, the one we were in had better food and better value). After dinner, we went back to the chalets and spent the evening drinking a few cold beers, chatting, with me gently strumming my guitar. A very nice end to a strange day.

Monday, we were up at the crack, and back on the road by 07.45 for our journey home. So all in all, a good stag weekend, but commiserations to the groom-to-be. Luckily, he's not getting married for about 6 weeks, so he has plenty of time to recover.

Some lasting thoughts and memories from the weekend:

Lee Stevens MASSIVE feet
The groom in a bikini (I have photographic evidence)
Smashing my left knee on the car door as I was packing up the car to leave on Friday afternoon - and then smashing my right knee on a bench on Sunday night
Discovering that Parmesan cheese isn't suitable for vegetarians as its made in calves stomach or some such bollocks (groom-to-be's brother in law was a vegetarian...)
Not looking as bad in a wet suit as I feared
Two men in one chalet bedroom over night after beer = the smell of the opening to the gates of hell.
Mussels in red wine vinegar and spring onion are gorgeous
Diving into a cold sea after too much wine the night before is bliss

Some random pics from the weekend

Above: view across Padstow harbor

Above: The restaurant where we had dinner on Sunday

Above: Another view across Padstow harbor

Above: A third view of Padstow harbor

So I'm Back

Hello listeners.
Where to begin? We finally got down to Cornwall at about 22.00 - 22.30. The journey out of London was crap (heavy rain, loads of traffic) so we were really delayed in actually getting going. It didn't help that I got car sick (I know, how old am I, 8?) so we had to stop so I could take over the driving. Once I got behind the wheel, I was fine. (My mate was so good about it, he's brilliant... he even let me drive all the way home to save me feeling ill again. Some people might say that driving four hours straight is mad, but I much prefer driving to be a passenger... anyhow, I digress...)
Didn't do anything Friday night apart from watch a bit of TV and then hit the sack as we were knackered.
Saturday dawned cloudy, but warm and dry, so we hit the surf shop to get me my wet suit and boogie board.

(Excuse the jabbering mental patient in the background)
We then went to the beach for my first taste of body boarding. The first 'session' was pretty crap, I couldn't catch a wave and it wasn't really very windy, but after a short break and a drink the wind picked up and we went back in... and then bang, got one. It was hard to stay on the board because I was laughing so hard. It's weird, you kind of jump up onto the top of the wave just as its breaking, and if you get it right, you get a massive surge that flies you forward toward the beach... and I just found it hilarious. One of my friends who's been before said the same, he was giggling like a school girl the first time, and I can see why. It was even funnier the first time for me because as I was flying through this wave I looked to my right, and there was my best mate... he had caught the same wave! I couldn't stop laughing, I must have swallowed a gallon of sea water...
Anyway, this continued for another couple if hours... catching waves, laughing, it was a fantastic time. We then decided to call it a day around lunchtime, played a bit of beach football, then went off to get something to eat.
After lunch (fish and chips... nice) we went back to the chalet, and the three people who were staying in the chalet with me went off to get some cash and provisions, as I relaxed with a book.
That night, we went to a really nice local pub, where we had some drink, played pool, and generally relaxed... for a stag weekend it wasn't very raucous but I think thats down to our age. We still had a really good time though. Then, Sunday dawned, with near drownings, life saving, hospital visits and mussels in red wine vinegar...

Friday, 11 July 2008

Stags away

Yes, today is the day I leave for my friends stag weekend down in Cornwall.
My best mate and I are working today, and then leaving after work (around 16.00 ish).
This means a lot of travelling but I think we're gonna share the driving so we should do fine.
I'm due to come back on either Sunday or Monday (probably Monday) and I expect with a sore head. It should be a good time though... some of the activities planned are;
Sea fishing
Cliff jumping
I might be taking my guitar as well.

So, should be a pretty manic weekend. I'm gonna be trying to take lots of pics, and I might post the most embarrassing ones here.

Have a nice weekend listeners.

Soundtrack of the day: Aerosmith albums...

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

My long lost russian relatives

Those who know me will get this....
Let me clarify that - those that know what I look like will get this....

Found this excellent site...

... enjoy.

Motivated Photos

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Where's everybody gone

How can I log on to the websites I normally check each morning, and not find anything new or interesting? I went to the normal sports sites I go to, news sites, blogs, etc. and saw nothing of any interest. Do you know what that means? It means I have to start work now. You've let me down, world.

So, here's a message to some of the people who read this blog but don't comment OR write their own blog. Blogging is easy. I know recently I kinda lost the will to carry on doing it, but I'm working on that and trying hard to keep going. So those people who don't blog (you know who you are) and those who don't update their blogs enough (Mr. GP - Mr. RB) sort it out. Give me something interesting to read in the morning, otherwise I'll be getting into the office at 7.00 and starting work... you don't want that, do you? I know a lot of my readers have loads to say - some of them can't shut up! They are interesting, fabulous people who the world would love to know about. So come on, get it together.

On another note, my new driver turned up yesterday - its very nice, I can't wait to get out on the course to try it out, but wouldn't you know, the weather for this week is shit. Wet, miserable... English summer my spotty arse. And, countdown to stag weekend - leaving in four days. I need to but some speedos today to wear under my set suit... now won't I look good in those. N O T !

Update: I found this website on reddit - MadCowTouristInfo
The author is quite, quite insane. Its not very well presented, and the article the link points to is very long, but when you get some time, take a look at some of it. She is a complete nut case.
For example - she says she has been courted by Prince William, believes she was poisoned at Heathrow Airport... she's mad. Here's just one quote from the site:
"I am also including my cat, Meetzy, who received the awe and respect of Hollywood producers after he was quoted in my script. He was very conversational and spoke two words: "oou" ("hi"), and "row-ou" (hel-lo)." Madder than a bucket of hammers!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Runner up

Jake's team played in another tournament yesterday, were unbeaten all the way to the final where they lost 2 - 1. It's a shame, and the manager of the winning team actually said to Jake's manager that he thought the best of the tournament lost in the final, but there you go. Jake scored a hat-trick in one game, and a couple in another, and although that was all he did setup a lot of goals for his team mates, which was good.

The dog ate my phone again. (I know, it sounds like a name of an album, or a book or something... "The dog ate my phone"... but no, not the case unfortunately). I left it somewhere he could reach it on Saturday morning and when I got back from training with Jake, it was on the floor in the lounge looking very sorry for itself with big teeth marks in it. So I was without a mobile until Sunday evening when my new handset turned up. It felt weird knowing I couldn't be contacted on my mobile... but strangely liberating as well.

No plans this week really, but on Friday after work I leave for my mates stag do down in Cornwall... could get messy. Have a good Monday.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Trip confirmed

Another trip out to the U.S has been confirmed for the first week in August.
Some of you might think "lucky bloke out to the U.S again" and yes, it should be a good trip in itself... but I was only out there in May, and being away from the family again for a week is a bit depressing. This time there will be three of us going, so I'll have some company in the evenings at least.

Jake's due back this afternoon from his first overnight school trip - I'm looking forward to seeing him and hearing how he got on. I'm also playing badminton tonight so we'll see how that goes.

Enjoyed golf yesterday - didn't play brilliant (7 over my handicap) but I hit some good shots and as the saying goes, a bad day on the golf course is STILL better than a good day at work.

Soundtrack of the day: Aerosmith box set (containing "Toys In The Attic", "Get Your Wings" and "Aerosmith" albums).

Update: Another funny video - The Death Star Canteen

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Bye bye Jake

Big day for number one son today - its his first school trip away from home. He's only going away for one night, but hes very excited / nervous / scared / apprehensive about it. We had a big chat last night and he was quite tearful, saying he is going to miss us etc. (which, although nice, brings a lump to your throat!) but I'm sure he'll be fine. He's stayed away from home before, but only with grandparents, so this is a bit different. Its a shame I can't be there to send him off on the coach, but maybe its a good thing, because he won't be as upset. For me, its not much different from a normal Thursday / Friday - you see, a lot of the time, I'll come to work on Thursday before he's up, and if Im playing golf (which I am tonight) then I don't see him at all until Friday after school, as he stays with my mother a lot on Thursday nights as both the wife and I are out. So for me, it won't be much different, but for him... he'll be fine, he's a sensible boy and he's got his head screwed on right.
So, playing golf tonight, then tomorrow evening playing badminton with Mr. P - as I don't play much football anymore, I want to try and do something to keep fit, we we're gonna try and play once a week. I like badminton, was even quite good at it in my youth, so I'm quite looking forward to it.
No soundtrack of the day today, as I'm with someone all day helping them with a project.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The Website Is Down

This is brilliant. You need sound.

Click here: The Website Is Down

Its sort of NSFW - but only because there is a little swearing...

Did you know...

McDonald's big breakfasts rock?