Thursday 14th February 2008

It was a historic day yesterday that will go down in folklore for this blog. After holding a Nectar Card, almost since the day they landed in the second half of 2002, I redeemed my first ever points (2000) in exchange for tickets at Vue, Reading. The facilities to exchange points for tickets at my favourite cinema chain started around a year ago but it has taken me until now to make use of the service. However, you would think with all the technology, they would enable you to use your Nectar card online or at least over the phone (it is 2008 after all). No, I had to go in and get tickets in person. So I made the decision on Tuesday, that I would drive into Reading straight after work on Wednesday evening, get the tickets and head home. There was no other time I could realistically go. I left the office at 5.15pm (promptly as usual) and got into the Oracle car park at 5.55pm. I rushed down to the Riverside, got to the box office to only find them cashing up. The two members of staff in the booth made no attempt to interact with me, but we were directed by a sign to head upstairs to get tickets. I got in the long queue, there was only one till open. A middle aged group of ladies ahead of me were rather annoyed and one wanted to go down stairs and tell those in the booth how busy it was. As she walked passed me, I told her she was wasting her time but nevertheless, she headed downstairs. Within a minute, a second till was opened and half the queue headed in that direction, so I just moved up. I was nervous, with Nectar card in hand and post-it note with seat numbers, film name, date and time. All rather unnecessary but felt better having written everything down after consulting the Vue web site. Eventually I was served, ordered the tickets and gave my preference for seats. I had checked on the site, they were perfect for Screen 4 (the largest screen out of the ten in the complex). My card was scanned and within seconds, 2000 points had gone. Yes, that is the equivalent of £2000 of diesel. I wonder if Pav will appreciate the most expensive cinema tickets known to man!

Nectar Redeemed

Let me just put that into perspective for you. Last year, I spent £1,072.32 on diesel and covered approximately 10,790 miles. So as you can see, it would take two years to earn two tickets to the cinema. Not exactly a fantastic reward scheme. However I insist on traveling down to BP West End on the West Wycombe Road, rather than using four petrol stations which are within walking distance (one where I used to work). My naive dream was to one day save enough points to pay for a honeymoon. Sure, I can hear you all now. Andrew, snap out of it! I am really looking forward to Jumper tomorrow night. It looks excellent and it will be nice to see Hayden post Star Wars (and even Samuel L. Jackson for that matter). The tickets are booked for 9pm, so it will be early dinner for me and out the door around 8pm. I can catch up on the goings on in Albert Square via the fantastic iPlayer. Please please no one disconnect the router! A rather strange working week I have to say. On Monday, I was informed by my boss to head over to London for an exhibition. Not a problem, was I really going to say no? I booked myself in for the Tuesday. Earls Court, when was I last here? Oh yeah, November 2006 and the five hour wait to get into the World Music Awards. However, we will get to the MJ related items a bit later in this post. I got to the show at 10.30am, an hour after it kicked off. It was quiet busy but very few stands relating to my industry and job. I needed to make this a military operation, so at the back by the coffee shops, I decided to get out the official guide, go to the company guide at the back and head to a section that related. Eight companies, I looked at the stand locations and consulted the maps. I would go to each of them in turn and see if they had anything to offer, get any material and move onto the next. This worked for two hours and then I decided to make a move. It was not as if I did not have loads of work to do in my normal job. As I headed back, on the tube train (on the District Line) I considered calling Ricki and seeing if she wanted to meet up for lunch. However, I only had my work mobile with me, so it would be a case of calling 118118 and also trying to remember the name of the company she works for. I opted to leave that option, grab a sandwich from M&S at Marylebone and catch the next train home. From Wycombe bus station, I caught the 100 (Park & Ride service) back home. However, I had not taken my keys with me (under the stupid assumption that someone would be home). When no-one answered the phone when I called, I realised I would have to wait for my Mum. It was 2.35pm, I had a bit of a wait until 3pm. Never mind, plug in my Zen, take a seat on the small brick wall (most people forget it is there when reserving their cars onto our drive). A couple of hours of working from ‘home’ and catching up with my boss on the telephone. Then around 5pm, I decided to get ready. The taxi was picking me up at 6pm. Oh, did I forget to mention? Curry with clients. I know, on a school night but it is a hard life, trust me. This hospitality lark. Well I know for next time. Not to pre-order any album from Amazon. But in their credit, the item was dispatched on Sunday (10th) and I was given an estimated delivery date of 16th February. This would not have been a major problem, but I had given my work address for delivery. So you can imagine my surprise this morning, when I was handed the now familiar cardboard packaging. Yes! I finally owned the biggest selling album of all time.

Thriller 25

I would blast the new remixes and some of the original classics on the way home. However I was most looking forward to the Motown 25 performance of Billie Jean. All of them have now been ripped but need to sort out a further conversion so I can place onto my Zen but that is a problem for the weekend. I listened to the remixes and they are good but not awe inspiring like the original album. Just hearing Vincent Price on Thriller sent chills down my spine as I drove home with the volume quite high. I am glad I did not buy the 2001 remastered version or the original for that matter. It definitely has been worth the wait. Rumours are the album will be number one by the weekend after holding number four spot mid-week. I get several e-mails from Arsenal Football Club every week: newsletter, match verdicts from the gaffer and ticket information. However the e-mail this afternoon was strange. A new Support Centre on the web site. So, I headed over to check it out. A glorified FAQ if you asked me but never the less an improvement of some description. I clicked on Membership and was curious about one question, “When can I expect my Season Ticket, I am on the waiting list?”. I was re-directed to the Arsenal Membership Box Office. Here I was shocked to discover the due date for my season ticket. Do remember I am 33001 on the waiting list.

Arsenal Online Subscriptions

Yes, in the summer of 2054, I will be the very young age of 72. If I last that long or climate change doesn’t get to us first. However, I cannot leave a blog post on such a negative dark thought. I am looking forward to a busy weekend, loads to get done and it all kicks off with Jumper tomorrow night. Before then, I am off to go and watch new comedy Big Bang Theory on Channel 4.

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