Thursday 22nd May 2008

I am sure like me you had seen the trailers, at the end of (or before) Eastenders. While perhaps the title was rather ambiguous, the trail was enough. I was definitely going to watch the show but it would not air until Sunday (25th) on BBC Three. Could I wait that long? Of course not! So, a green friend in the form of utorrent came to the rescue. However before I go into the details of discussion the show (I saw episode one, “Pilot” on Tuesday evening and have ten other episodes fresh and waiting to be viewed on my media drive) I need to give an explanation.

High school and even to a certain extent University life in England is rather dull. Or perhaps that is me just talking from my own personal experience. Even if you are the most outrageous person in the country, I am quite sure that your life at University (if you got there) or even high school can not compare to life in those comparable institutions across the pond. Perhaps because I have been brought up on a diet of US imports (some good, some very bad) from my early teens on Nickelodeon to movies such as Van Wilder: Party Liason, I have a distorted rose tinted spectacle picture. In any case, I will try and give my reasons. I would love to have gone to high school, learnt how to play that game their call football and more importantly gone to a prom and had some sort of graduation ceremony at seventeen. Then, we come to college. This would have been an amazing experience, joining a fraternity (if they had let me) and just enjoying all the fun the social side of life at college would bring. I am sure the studying would have been hard but I feel the group of friends I would have surely made almost instantly would have seen me through. Snap out of this day dream Teg! You are not living in this parallel universe Stateside, in fact you are a 26 year old grown man living in a rat race (of some description). This is where television becomes the avenue of escapism.

Greek Cup

As usual, the Beeb use up all the best scenes for the trailer, which is a shame but I suppose they need a draw for the rest of the population that are not in love with America and American culture like me! Great fun overall, some fantastic characters that you really want to see develop. Sure, some of the stereotypes in college – the popular girl, the nerd, the muscular jock, the new girl and the token negro (who has a secret to keep under wraps). The main character, Rusty, our hero (if he could ever be called that his highly questionable) is the biggest draw? Why, because I think I would be very similar to him (although perhaps not as naive) heading over to college as a fresh faced eighteen year old. (I doubt any of my Uni friends that remember me from 2000 are reading this to leave their own comments and comparisons.). In fact, Calvin does have a passing resemblance to my old housemate Paul from my final year. However, I must confess it is not just the television shows that make me wish I had gone to college Stateside. It is also the music – I refer to it as college rock!

Taking my gym sessions seriously up a level this week. I had noticed I was getting blisters on my hands from the rowing machine. Not pleasant but bearable, but I needed a long term solution. My colleague described me as having office hands, not used to the rugged torture of the gym. I had noticed other gym users, wrapping a towel around the handles or alternatively using gloves. I went to Argos and found a nice pair of black Golds Gym fitness gloves for £8.99 which I thought was quite good value. However this was on Monday evening and I needed them by Wednesday morning at the very latest for my next session. The high street retailer had a two day delivery window (if the item was in stock). Therefore I thought I have a look at eBay expecting to pay about the same. However I stumbled upon a pair of Julong Wrist Wrap Fitness Gloves for the fantastic cost of £2, yes only two quid! I placed an order almost immediately and asked the seller if he could post to my work address the following morning. Sure enough, on Wednesday morning they arrived. I used them for my first session and it does feel much better on the rowing machine. I feel now I am kitted out for the gym, particularly when I move onto the weight machines next week. Yes sir, my review is scheduled for 28th May. How much improvement have I made in two months?

Nine years ago it was all the rage, burning all my own CDs. For a while I had to rely on Pav as I did not get my own PC with CD-writer until March 1999. Then, I was off, burning complications, backups, photographs, video files. You name it, I dropped it onto a shiny plastic disc. Usually branded TDK in my case. We got to a peak level of production in my first year at University when everyone was exchanging mp3 files and DivX rips to watch during the relatives quiet weekends. (At my halls of residence, most of my friends would disappear home Friday afternoon until Sunday evening. They were lucky, they had a thirty minute trip down the road and not the two hundred mile round trip I did!). However today, some eight years after my ‘freshman’ year at DMU, I find the same media a pain. I have dropped back down to burning one CD every two to three weeks. Considering I was at the peak of my powers back in 2002-3 when I would burn two CDs a week (minimum) to keep me company on my two hour journey to work. However back then I had options, I had a mp3 CD head unit but also a ten disc conventional CD player. Today, the wheels have changed but I am limited to just the mp3 CD head unit. The overall sound system has improved in leaps and bounds but we are stuck with the same old problem. The format. I see the future being either with a hard drive based player, much like the Empeg or a USB port to enable portable devices to be plugged in. There is also another killer feature that the Empeg has that no other conventional standard head unit manufacturer has come up with. Pure random. Once you hear a song, you are guaranteed not to hear it again until ALL, yes I mean ALL songs in that directory, folder, drive or location have been played. It can get rather annoying when you have such a basic algorithm on my Alpine.

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