Sunday 29th March 2009

My weekend began at precisely 18:55 on Friday evening. I had started to watch the Knock You Down video on XBMC. It had been a long tiring day in the office and on top of that I had gone for a 4.2 mile run at 5pm with my colleague James. I am slowly getting faster, last week it was ten minute miles, I have now cut thirty seconds off that time per a mile. An improvement even if only slightly. I was now waiting for my family to arrive and hoped they would get here before Eastenders, so I could order pizza just before the final trip of the week to Albert Square.

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They did not arrive until gone nearly 10.30pm and at around 8.40pm, there was discussions of me jumping in the car and heading in the opposite direction. I ordered pizza online, or at least tried to. The Pizza Hut at Newbury Retail Park was closed, so I had to use the closer PHQ outlet. I placed my order but it failed, when I rang the store, I found out why. They had zero tomatoes for my custom pizza topping. Now come on, surely tomatoes are the basic ingredients and they have a shed load in their store. I amended my order over the phone and placed it. It arrived within twenty-five minutes or so, with a guy rushing around on a scooter (with L-plates). Then again, he did not have far to travel, just over Robin Hood roundabout (one day I will find out why it is named after the outlaw). My family did eventually arrive and we tucked into pizza while watching Jonathan Ross on BBC1. It was good to see everyone again and then the cake did come out for my sister Samantha’s 26th birthday. Although she preferred not to have the fuss and feel she would have preferred to have just gone straight to bed. It was not one of my usual Friday nights staying up until 2am watching movies. Around 11.30pm, everyone wanted to sleep and the heavy week finally caught up with me. I had a slight lie in on Saturday, getting up just before 9am. I organised some breakfast while my sister Julie made tea for everyone. Eventually everyone got up and I arranged with my Dad to do some jobs. We popped over to Homebase at the Newbury Retail Park to pick up some light bulbs for my desk light, handles for my chest of drawers and vacuum bag. While in Argos Extra, hunting for said vacuum bag, I noticed someone very familiar across the way, browsing the catalogue in the stall opposite. They were so familiar (because I see them most days) that I was a little shocked. What were they doing in Newbury. A tweet will explain all. If there was any doubt, as I walked through the car park back to our car, I noticed a black 1-Series BMW. The registration ended with HAM. Bingo, it definitely was her. What was she doing all the way in Newbury when she lives in Southampton (or somewhere on the South coast). When I got back to my flat, my sisters were watching the re-run of the Dancing On Ice final on ITV2 and refused to let me watch Football Focus, so I had to watch it on my PC. Then, we decided to go into town and my Mum came along, I had to return an XBOX 360 game to Currys Digital and then we popped into Poundland for a few things. There was still no sign of a vacuum bag, so I may have just order it online. My family departed around 2pm and then the rest of the weekend was mine alone. It felt strange to go from the noise and madness of being surrounded by your loved ones to the calm silence of being all alone. I tried not to dwell on it for too long and tried to occupy myself. I had loads to look forward to. Firstly there was Sarah Connor Chronicles and Dollhouse to watch on television and then perhaps a movie later. I watched the shows and had a little bit of food. Then at 5pm, went back on the PC to blog (mainly last weekends activities). I wanted to listen to the England game but could not do so on my Squeezebox (even the Windows Media stream was not connecting) so I had to download RealPlayer and use good old fashioned web page. Eventually England got going to beat Slovakia comfortably. It was a game I could have gone to see but opted against it. As for the new England top, I understand the desire to go back to tradition but it is very white and plain, too plain in my opinion. Feels as if Umbro have gone through all the design changes every few years and run out of ideas (I suppose there are only a limited number of ways you can show a red or white cross on a shirt) and gone back to old school. I do like the opponent country name being shown underneath the new crest, that is a nice touch and much better than just text (which was usually in the middle of the shirt in the upper chest region. I would watch the highlights later on ITV1. I had missed the Clough documentary on ITV1 on Wednesday evening as I had been too busy watch The Apprentice. This was the first time I was watching the show from the start since 2005. The main draw for me was the fact that they were washing cars and this is one of my few passions. Well ever since I started learning the ‘trade’ from Crystal Detail. I was shocked that the girls could not work out how to put together a pressure washer and actually needed help from the customer. Plus over charging for the Hummer limousines was just stupid. I was glad Asha was fired, she deserved to go although Mona was very lucky to not have been chopped. Anyway, I have gone off on a tangent, I downloaded the Clough documentary and decided to watch this before the England highlights at 22:20. It was very good, but as usual with these things too short and shallow. I may pop to the cinema to watch The Damned United. I also feel I should go up and see the statue next time I am in Nottingham (not a regular occurrence) but perhaps when I am next in Leicester I will jump on the train and head across to the city. It is a shame I did not get into football earlier in my life to appreciate the final few years of Clough’s time at Forest. It was perhaps a year or two too late. It was only in the last year or so I discovered that Brian had managed Leeds United for only forty-four days. The documentary explained the background and the fact that as a big television personality Clough and berated the tactics and gamesmanship of Don Revie and his team. Only then to be given the job when Revie left for the top national job and told, “shows us that you can do better”. Of course, he could not but it perhaps shows that every genius has a flaw. The highlights package on ITV1 was poor and felt cheap. Football on ITV, particularly England games have always felt cheap. With Champions League games the analysis has generally been okay (but still not as good as the Beeb) but for England matches it appears that nobody cares. Steve Ryder looked bored and had to work hard on Townsend and Sherringham in the studio. The fact that everything is broken up by regular ad breaks does not help. I just hope the channel are in a better frame of mind for the real deal on Wednesday night. Perhaps a World Cup Qualifier will be given the time it deserves. I am generally very disappointed with the way football, particularly England games have been shown this season. The FA in a pure money making exercise, sold the rights to Setanta Sports for away games and home friendlies with ITV picking up the remaining home qualifiers and away friendlies. While it was not ideal in the past but games on Sky Sports was fine, yes we had to pay but it was worth it for the quality product you got. Hours of build up coverage over an international weekend and not just a forty minute highlights programme late on a Saturday night. I suppose I should enjoy it while it lasts, when the FA start to open up the television rights to international broadcasters, it will be fun having to pay £30 a match pay-per-view on ESPN. Do not believe me? Well do not think the game forty-nine was just an idea to export our game. Think again, this is a business, not a sport! You know it is serious if I make a list, and I had to make a list late on Saturday evening before I went to bed. By 4.30pm I had ticked many but not all things off the list. Everything was going to schedule, even if I got up a bit later than I had wanted (7.36am BST rather than 7am BST). I got to the office at 8:40am and as expected left at 11am. I had an appointment at midday at my gym for my Vi1 Health Assessment. I was looking forward to it to see how much progress I had made in the past year. I felt better but now would come the evidence in black and white. I will publish some of the results later but the overall results was excellent, I have a clean bill of health. I have also booked my programme review for next Sunday. Finally at last getting onto the free weights. The advice was to improve my diet, more carbohydrates and protein plus drinking more water during the day. Note taken. Since leaving home and moving to Newbury I have come to the realisation that I will be spending a lot more time in. So I decided back in mid November that I should start to watch all the classic movies that I may have missed the first time around (because I had not been around at the time of release or been too busy with other past times). The first movie I thought I would watch was Doctor Strangelove. There were two reasons to watch this, firstly the fact that Peter Sellers plays three roles but secondly because I had seen perhaps ten minutes back in 1998. Our History teacher at my comprehensive used to treat us at the end of lessons with a relevant show, music or film. I cannot recall the exact segment that was played but it related to a lesson on the Cold War and nuclear weapons. I therefore decided on Sunday evening, with little else on the television that I would sit down, with a nice cup of tea in my Superman mug, some cookies and watch the movie via the XBox. It was very good, excellent in fact. My favourite character, was not Sellers as I thought it would have been but General Buck Turgidson. He was just totally insane and stole the show. Probably not the ideal film for a Sunday afternoon late matinee but well worth seeing and very funny. It had been sitting on my hard drive since early December (2nd actually) so it has taken me almost four months to get around to watching it. You can forgive me for quoting one of the most famous lines from the film – “Gentlemen you can’t fight in here, this is the War Room.”

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