Friday 27th November 2009

I return to my regular Friday evening updates but being unemployed you would think I would have time to post updates at any point in the week, but the reality of life job hunting is anything but regular. A great deal to cover in the past seven days and I will try and be brief and precise as much as possible.

It is difficult to compete with a review posted on BT’s blog a mere 48 hours after the event. I wish I could provide such an efficient service but with a backlog (including day two onwards of Reading and my Valencia holiday) I have my work cut out. I was looking forward to Saturday, but not as much as BT and PK, they had been high since around Tuesday (17th). I was late and at one point was even considering meeting up at the Spice Oven, rather than heading to The Retreat. We arrived around 5:15pm to several cheers from my friends crowded around a table at the front of the pub. Straight away, we were advised by the landlady to move to the rear of the pub, to a bigger table. We did so and I have to confess I was rather lame with any of the introductions but sometimes it is better for people to just introduce themselves. It was good to see Barry again, the Reading Festival seemed like a long long time ago. He was on top form and asked that I not open my birthday card until Pav had come back to our table with some drinks. This goes against my own policy of only opening cards and birthday gifts on my actual birthday itself. I let such formalities drop by the wayside, well maybe just this once. It was good to see Ben and Charlie also out, I had not seen them both since the fateful Beer Festival back in early May. There was only time for a round or three and I was playing catch up. Pav booked a taxi for 6:10pm and we were now against the clock.

The party at The Retreat had been scheduled to start at 2pm, but I discovered nobody had got to the public house until an hour later. That is still no excuse that they were then waiting another two hours for my entrance. I got a series of abusive text messages from Pav, asking me to get my act together and the punishment was severe. In the end, I decided it was best just to get the punishment out of the way. It was only later in the evening (as we were about to get seated at the restaurant) that Pav revealed it was to be twice as bad. I thought it best to just catch up and take my forfeit like a man. Job done!

Ben and Charlie left for The Hexagon (they were going to see Ed Byrne with our friend Geoff) and we headed out soon afterwards, walking back to Pav and Em’s house but the taxi had already arrived, and I rushed to check it was for us and jumped inside. Meanwhile Preeti and Em had headed into the house to get something. A cake and what else? A present? As she entered the taxi, the box fell and a few pressies hit the pavement. Pav rescued them but it was the wrapping paper which was most intriguing but difficult to see clearly in the street light. The paper consisted off a collage of photographs from Reading Festival, mainly of Barry and myself but there were other funny images of the rest of the group over the three day weekend. It was a very clever idea and I wondered what gifts were in store as we made our way over to Caversham.

Some people headed to the cash point at the Tesco Express petrol station but the rest of us headed into the Spice Oven. It had changed a little since my last visit which was just under a year ago. My friends, Kev, Duen, Sazzle and Phil were waiting and we greeting them before being sent across to our table. Barry took the seat at the head of the table, as you would expect. The only couple we were waiting for now was Div and Nige but as they were making their way back from London. In the end, under Emily’s suggestion we ordered as it was going to be a while until they arrived and it best we just got on, several people were hungry. Boys will be boys, particularly when it comes to a hot tongue burning curries. Last time around, I went for the jalfrezi, but this time I was egged on to take it up a level to the hottest curry in the house, the infamous xacuti. It was extremely hot! Now once again, this was just a crazy thing for me to do. What most of my friends do not know (and neither does the public at large) is that I am not a fan of spicy food whatsoever. (Yes I know know, going completely against my Indian roots and Punjabi heritage). Even the smallest hint of spice in food at home puts me off. Therefore my Mum never makes me spicy food, my taste buds just cannot take it! However, being in the testosterone filled hell pot of Saturday evening, I was not going to be outdone, even though most of the food remained on the plate, rather than go anywhere near my mouth. Div and Nige did arrive at some stage and handed me my birthday card! They ordered their food just before our mains had arrived, so could not have timed it better. After the food, it was time for desert in the form of a birthday cake. I had been expected a standard birthday cake from Tesco, nothing fancy or special! Pav had filled me in on some of the arrangements via MSN earlier in the week. I was not expecting this. One of the classic photographs from Reading had been superimposed onto the cake, along with a phrase. The phrase had been broadcast by BT at Reading but also on MSN and Facebook – “I Got 2T’s Coming From Over Seas”.

2TOpen Wide...

Barry came and sat next to me and I said that we should cut the cake together, just as if we were a married couple cutting our wedding cake. Obviously BT takes the notion a step too far on his blog with a mock up photograph of me as a mail order bride, complete with red bindi. I suppose I should be grateful, there are worse photographs available of me on the fan page. After the cake had been dished out and Sazzle dealt with the bill (collecting all the money and working out the cost per a head via an iPhone) it was time to head out. I was disappointed that Nige, Div, Phil and Sazzle were not coming into town. Duen was not feeling well, so she had headed back to her flat, which met Kev was free to stay out and play. We walked into town, Pav and me lingering a little behind the rest of the group, as I had wanted to say goodbye to Div and Nige outside the Spice Oven. I have no recollection of Emily being almost run over by a Vauxhall Corsa (as mentioned in BT’s blog). We regrouped outside Revolution but once Emily found out the entrance fee of £5 she turned around and headed back out and I did the same. We then headed into town towards Bar Sakura, I had put our names on the guest list but as it was after 10pm, it was the same price as Revolution. To stop any arguments, I paid for entry but Pav then warned me that I should wait as some people did not have identification. In the end, the only person without ID was Emily and they let her in any ways. We went through to the bar downstairs as upstairs did not open until a bit later. It was busy and we got in a round and waited by the front window before going upstairs when it opened about ten minutes later. Upstairs we (or rather the boys I should rephrase) were disappointed that the pole on the dance floor had been removed. This was it, the start of the party. Although it took a while for the party to get going. The girls went for a boogie on the dance floor which lights up. In the end I would not even step foot on the dance floor, instead making my own area by the table we had congregated by. Emily was not impressed with my moves, but then what is new? Just after midnight, we had all decided to head to the terrace for some fresh air but in BT’s case for a fag, and Emily said what we were all thinking, it was indeed time to go home. A great birthday weekend, and I am sure both BT and PK are already scheming on the next 2T event, whenever that may be.

I got back from Reading just after 5.30pm, to find both my parents asleep on the sofa and the heating turned up full blast. I put the heating down and then had a few hours window to catch up on the Saturday night television I had missed. There was of course Harry Hill’s TV Burp and then The X Factor (although I watched the show as quickly as possible by watching the performances and hearing the judges comments before skipping through all the filler material from Dermot). By then it was time for dinner and The X Factor Results show. I opted to record Top Gear and MOTD2 (having discovered the 9-1 score line from the Spurs game) and watched Idiocracy. You may not know the film, but it has a cult following (hence my friend MightyMouse would have downloaded it). There were two reasons for me to watch it, firstly it stars my favourite Wilson brother, Luke and is directed by Mike Judge who brought us the fantastic Office Space. It was good not brilliant but then I did not expect too much. Some of the ideas for the future world were clever though!

My birthday was a rather uneventful day but I like it that way. I got up, applied for jobs as usual, opened various birthday cards when they arrived with the post at lunchtime. Had a birthday call from my Dad and my Aunty in India. In the evening, my sister brought home takeaway and we watched Eastenders together (for the first time in months) while enjoying the lovely food. Afterwards it was time for my birthday cake, made to order with the Arsenal crest in the middle. It tasted very good and I have to say I was very full after all the food. I felt quite tired, particularly after such a heavy weekend and could have gone straight to sleep but stayed up to watch some television and generally just bum around online.

The week became eventful from Tuesday onwards. My Mum got a puncture in the 308 and I had to go and get the tyre replaced. This would have been an easy job but due to misplacing the master locking wheel nut, it turned into a crazy mission. I got a quote from Kwik Fit and then contacted Bracknell Tyre & Battery and knew they could do a better deal (almost half price). However, I did not have their number in my mobile. I tried to call Pav but he was not available, so I had to drive home and Google their number. I had to Tweet and Facebook my frustration at my best friend not being available on call, when he expects me to be constantly available on MSN during the working day. I then headed over to Bracknell and waited for the tyre to be changed, the queue was only a few cars deep. However, it was only at this point I learnt about the missing nut so I had to contact PK again and get him to Google the nearest Peugeot dealership to my current location, which was Wokingham. I called them and when I eventually explained what I needed, they explained to me the dilemma. The locking wheel nut was unique to the car and could not be reordered without the code (which is only listed on the top of the nut itself). The only way around this was to force the nut off and buy a new locking kit (later I realised that this would mean having to do the same for each wheel). All this security so nobody runs off with your alloys. In the end, I just had the new tyre put on the allow and headed home. I was going to call Charter and Platts locally and see what they could do. It was going to be a £100 job and take a few hours. I let the decision rest with my Dad. At 4.30pm, I headed up to the BP garage in Marlow, where the puncture had occurred and the spare put on by some good samaritan. Armed with a torch, I checked the area but could not find a trace of the nut. I went inside to speak to the cashier but he was as useful as a empty jerry-can I tried to explain what I had lost but it was affirmative no, so I left and headed home with my sister Julie. It was only when I returned from seeing a friend later that evening that I found the nut lying on the coffee table in the lounge. My Dad had visited the same garage and thankfully the nut had been handed in and when my Dad spoke to someone that actually had a command of the English language he was able to get the nut.

On Wednesday I headed to National, down the road to get the tyre fitted. It was suppose to cost £15.50 but the manager let me have it fitted for free. I think it was more so because he was busy and could not be bothered to wait to process my payment. As I drove back to ASDA petrol station (to check all the tyre pressures) before handing the car back to my Mum at work. I was listening to Johnny Walker on BBC Radio 2. I am slowly drifted to listening to the station more and more, I suppose just a sign I am getting older. It was about four minutes after 10am, so it must have been the first song played after the news. The song was excellent and had a very 1980s early electronic feel to it. It is one of those rare occasions when someone’s vocals suit both the lyrics and melody of the song. The lyrics themselves are extremely moving and poetic. Fireflies by Owl City is excellent and I am keen to take a listen to their album Ocean Eyes. Please go and check out the music video.

What else have I been up to this week? Nothing major really, caught up with my television shows, which midweek are just The Big Bang Theory and Heroes. As a family we now all sit down to watch The Family on Channel 4 at 9pm on Wednesday evenings. It is hilarious! Particularly following their appearance on TV Burp the previous Saturday. I have however a very interesting point to make about television. As I tend to be on a heavy diet of US television, I am usually weeks if not months (as in the case of Heroes) ahead of the UK screening of shows. However, in the case of FlashForward and Fringe they are both shown a few days after their US counterparts (on Five and Sky1 respectively). Even so I would still download the shows on a Friday and watch them at my leisure over the course of the weekend. So you can imagine my surprise to not find the shows listed on EZ TV this morning. I was not the only one, as I did a little search on Twitter. missybelly was also looking forward to the two shows. It was only later that I thought to check the episode guides on Wikipedia that the bombshell it me. For the first time (to my knowledge) not one but two US television shows were to be screened on UK television several days prior to the US! Please let me know if this ever happened before. Sure it does occur the other way around, for example Doctor Who is shown here weeks before it is shown on BBC America but that is understandable, it is a UK (or should I say Welsh) show. Fringe therefore will be on shown on Sunday evening and the mid season FlashForward finale on Monday evening. I will Sky+ them both but will still download the files to ensure my television series collections are complete. You never know when I might get a tweet from Sippy for me to burn the series to DVD and post up to Brum!

Plans for the weekend? Well rather low key in comparison to last weekend. Tomorrow night I am going to Pinewood Studios, which will hopefully be more successful than my previous visit in April. They have been hosting the Drive In movies for a few weeks now and I have a ticket to see Notting Hill. I have not seen the movie before, so it should be a fun evening, experiencing cinema the traditional American way! I just wonder if there will be cinema advertising from Pearl & Dean. Hold up, let me just tweet the question to them direct!

Pinewood Drive In

Sunday will be a lazy day and I am looking forward to two football derbies in the afternoon. Oh and I might start on my next project for this blog, converting it over to WordPress. Pav and Barry do have a point, it would be been good to have registered followers and also give people the ability to read posts in their favourite RSS News Reader. It is not going to be an easy two minute job, but I am currently exploring the possibilities with my current hosting provider, 123-Reg. Hope you all have a great weekend, enjoy the last weekend of November!

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