My desk is a total tip, and yesterday I:
- Went with Alex down to Angel at about 7.45am, where we had a coffee in advance of her job interview. She has had to reapply for her job as she went from secondment to a permanent position. They had shortlisted to 12 people, so she was a bit nervous, though she had the inside track. She got the job! I was very proud of her. This also means her pay has been put into a higher grade, making her well and truly the breadwinner!
- Went into work for an hour or so just to help JD get stuff out onto the shelves. Then sat at work and read my web stuff for the day. Meandered home.
- Had a very lazy day, which I kind of gave myself permission to do. So I really did nothing other than faff about. Read some comics, watched some stuff. Watched Jumper in the evening. Load of rubbish. Also watched Signal, a low budget horror I had heard a bit about which seemed to get some good word. Well, most of that word was wrong. It's divided into three acts, each one written and directed by a different guy, and it really suffers from a lack of cohesive tone. First act is the best, the other two bring in a rather ineffective comedy tone.
- Played a whole lot of Team Fortress 2. Found myself in a sniper duel with some guy from Russia. He kicked my ass, like about 6 kills to my 1.
- Dreamt I sat in a black room with a white table, waiting for someone, though I'm not sure who. Not sure what it means.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
My desk is a total tip, and yesterday I:
I feel relaxed. But the day before yesterday I:
- Worked. That's pretty much it. I got in an hour early to make up for leaving early the day before then worked through until 5 without a lunch break. Nuts delivery, the biggest I've seen in a long time. Normally have to find between 50-70 spaces on the racks for new stuff, this week we had to find 120.
- Went to Justin and Bec's place for a BBQ. It pissed down, so we sat inside catching up. They've got a great little place in Barnet, near Kensal Green. We did go outside eventually once the rain stopped and enjoyed the peace and quiet of their great garden. Nice night. Went home and crashed out about midnight.
- Dreamt I sat in a white room with a black table, waiting for someone, though I'm not sure who. Not sure what it means.
Today is the day of the locust, but the day before the day before yesterday I:
- Worked. Mainly on a standing order proposal for Southwark libraries. We also had some US band being profiled by Time Out having their photos taken in the store. They looked like an American version of Busted.
- Got home a bit early to do the previous day’s dishes, get dinner cooked and do wedding stuff.
- Called mum, who confirmed that she is coming to the wedding, so I’ll need to get that sorted! She sounds very calm about the trip, so that’s reassuring.
- Went to bed early, as I am in early today. Read for a little bit. Slept.
- Dreamt I floated in an inner tube on a raging sea. It was night, and my surroundings were only illuminated by flashes of lightning puncturing the clouds. With each flash I could see a gathering school of fins, circling ever closer. Trying to gather all my limbs within the tube’s circumference, I snagged the rubber with the edge of my watch strap. A soft hiss cut through the sound of the storm as the fins swam no more than a few feet away from me. Not sure what it means.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Right now I'm busting to go to the loo, but yesterday I:
- Booked Bruce’s tickets to see Tom Waits in Dublin. Quite a painful experience! Still, I’ve reconciled myself to not going now. Not the end of the world, and who knows, he may come again. Got Bruce some good seats though: Block A, Row D.
- Found out that my mother may well be coming to the wedding after all! It’s fantastic, but suddenly the stress of getting her here – considering she has never flown in her life – has hit home. Still, it’ll be lovely to have her here.
- Worked. Made a foolish error on ComTrac which stopped me working on it most of the day while I waited on support to reply from the States. When they did, I realised exactly what I had done and felt a bit silly. Worked on library stuff instead.
- Travelled with Nat to London Bridge, but we got on the wrong bus and wound up at Waterloo. Really not a sharp day.
- Met Alex and then we went to drinks for Mr Reddiex at the pub formerly known as the Elusive Camel, down by Tower Bridge. Nice to see Darren, although the jetlag was taking hold of him good and proper by the end of the night. That, and the alcohol.
- Got quite pissed, grabbed a shish on the way home, fell asleep.
- Dreamt I was gently floating on a tractor tyre inner-tube in the centre of a huge swimming pool. The sun shone down from a deep blue sky. Exotic birds sung lilting tunes from nearby trees. The water of the pool lapped against the side of the tube with a gentle splishing sound and in the distance someone was mowing their lawn. I was incredibly happy. Not sure what it means.
My keyboard is running out of batteries, but yesterday I:
- Took a bus to work to avoid the constant rain. Hello summer!
- Worked. It was very slow to start. So slow in fact that we made a bet on what we would take. Nat won by virtue of having the highest estimate, as we did a lot better than any of us thought. But that’s the thrills and spills of retail!
- Took the camera home so I can edit the Kevin O’Neill interview stuff.
- Alex made tacos for dinner. Mmm...
- Faffed about on the computer. Played some TF2, did a little writing. Read my book and crashed.
- Dreamt I was leading a troupe of elephants through an Indian jungle. Our pace began to slacken, the lead elephants working hard to continue their progress through the thick foliage. Walking back down the line, I was confronted with an abattoir. The elephants near the end of the line were dying, their flesh sloughing from their bodies in great, bloody chunks. Worse, whatever was doing this was quickly moving up the line, killing one elephant after another. Racing to the front of the, I desperately tried to unleash the lead elephant, but I was too late. As I looked into its great, trusting eyes, half of its face slid away from its skull. I fell to the ground, tears streaming down my face, surrounded by the rotting flesh of all that was dear to me. Not sure what it means.
Monday, May 26, 2008
It's raining and it's pouring and I'm always bloody snoring. But yesterday I:
- Got up around 8am and sat watching trash tv while I waited for Alex to wake up. Just enjoyed the luxury of having another day off.
- Went to London Bridge, where we had lunch at Hayes Galleria.
- Made for home, where we just did our own thing for the rest of the day. I caught up on my websites, watched an episode of Peep Show, and played Diablo 2. Later, for a change, I played Team Fortress 2 for the first time in bloody ages. As is the way with TF2, my half hour suddenly turned into two. Still, it was fun to write off an afternoon to games. I do enjoy it, but never find I can justify the time any more. Nice to indulge that desire.
- Read my book for a while and hit the sack.
- Dreamt I was hot air ballooning over the Atlantic. All around me were people daring me to go lower, to go ever nearer the sea. Not wanting to go against their wishes, I found myself dipping the basket closer and closer to the turbulent sea. On the third plunge, a wave suddenly broke against the edge of the basket, knocking me out. I clung desperately to the basket, but my fingers were slipping as the balloon rose. Beneath me lay the depths, dark and unknown. Screaming for help, my grip was lost. Above me were only blank faces, staring as I plunged to my doom. Not sure what it means.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Today I am a man, but yesterday I:
- Got up early to pack a bag. Alex and I had planned to rise early and get to the flower market in Vauxhall for the purposes of scouting wedding flowers. But little did Alex know I had actually booked an apartment for us to stay in that night in the Docklands (saw a great last-minute deal while searching for accommodation options). So I was busy shoving clothes and the like into a bag while she still slept.
- Went to the flower market, but got there a little later than we would have liked. It runs from 4am to 10am on a Saturday and we didn't arrive until about 9.15, so most dealers had already packed up. There was still plenty to see, however, and it was a really nice way to start the day.
- From there we went to West India Quay to go and see Indiana Jones. I really liked it as a cinema flick and actually preferred it to the Last Crusade, which I was never really enamoured of. Just fun, escapist fluff, although the final scenes felt somewhat anti-climatic. I was quite surprised by how little I was aware of Ford's age. Apart from his scenes in civvies at the start, he didn't feel too old at all. So, all told, a good piece of entertainment. Apart from the Tarzan act. That shit was just too much.
- Had a pub lunch then went to our apartment near Canary Wharf, which Alex was duly surprised about. The plan was thus: buy junk food, get DVDs, veg out.
- Went to a nearby pub (The City Pride, a nice pub with a massive garden bar and huge balcony; I recommend it) and played some pool. Then went on a shopping trip. Hit the king-sized Asda out that way and stocked up on food, clothes (George is too cheap to resist) and cheap DVDs. And that's how I wound up watching Sahara while eating chicken, sun-dried tomato and olives.
- Ate too much. Felt ill. Went to sleep.
- Dreamt I was the Sultan of a powerful empire. I was riding through an endless desert on a dromedary camel when its feet became stuck in a pit of soft sand. Panicking, the camel thrashed about, pulling itself deeper and deeper into the sucking void beneath the sand. I leapt to safety nearby and lay helplessly, watching my faithful steed sink to its death. Momentarily relieved, it soon dawned on me that I was now abandoned in the desert. I had escaped the quicksand but now I was doomed to die alone in the wasteland, once a man of power but now naught but a Sultan of sand. Not sure what it means.
It's raining today, but the day before yesterday I:
- Woke up, satisfied with my solution to The Honeymoon Dilemma. It was kind of like The Da Vinci Code, only with more albino monks. Decided that, although Friday had been reserved as a day to do "me" stuff, I would spend the morning sorting out what to do for Alex's birthday.
- Realised at 2pm that I had not eaten or had a cup of coffee yet. I was slightly light-headed. Got up to put the jug on and sat down to carry on with searching for options to go away for the weekend before her birthday.
- Realised at 4pm that I hadn't made that coffee. Decided I should get out of the house and pick up some stuff for lunch and dinner. Went to Tesco's at Angel and got stuff.
- Got home and had a coffee. Ahh, coffee. With added clarity and sharpness given by sweet, sweet coffee I went from decision-making zero to sixty in about 30 minutes. Food probably didn't hurt either. Booked some stuff.
- Did the dishes.
- Watched new Peep Show episodes, the latest BSG and Hostel. I hadn't ever seen Hostel before and I have to say that I rather enjoyed it. It benefits from the fact that its bad guys are truly despicable. I was also thrilled to note that although it was set in Slovakia, the exteriors were largely shot in Cesky Krumlov: a beautiful, UNESCO-protected town in the southern Czech Republic where I stayed for a couple of nights back in 2002 or so. Great place, where I witnessed an hilarious falling out of two Californian girls who hadn't seen each other in years and had reunited to tour around Europe together. "But then I never was good enough for you, was I Britney?" Brilliant. Also, was drinking with these three guys from the US, including one thirty-something dot-com millionaire who would ask questions of strange women while shoving a video camera in their faces. He was creepy, in an American Psycho kind of fashion.
- Watched a documentary about production maestro Val Lewton. Whenever I see one of these documentaries it really brings home how much great classic cinema there is out there that I've never seen. From Lewton, for example, I've never seen The 7th Victim, I Walked With a Zombie or any of the films he did with Karloff. So much to see and so little time!
- Slept. Dreamt I was a cowboy, riding a bony horse across an arid plain. Ahead of me shimmered a cool, green oasis, but the closer I rode the further away it seemed. In frustration I went to shoot my gun into the air, but was only answered by the dull clicking of duds. Not sure what it means.
Friday, May 23, 2008
I have square eyes. You know why? Because yesterday I:
- Had the day off to get wedding stuff done. Thought I'd get the honeymoon sorted once and for all. Work all morning to blitz it and then I could get onto the transport issue. It had been half-done, after all. Surely it wouldn't take long? So, did all my normal morning hooey, then at about 10am started into it.
- Suddenly realised it was 4pm. Nothing booked, and no closer to a solution than I had been when I started. Well, not entirely true. I had gone from a country-wide search to a regional one.
- Went out for a bit to get some air.
- Got home and carried on. Took a break when Alex got home. Had some dinner. Went bak to it.
- Carried on after Alex went to bed.
- Went to bed at 2am.
- Finished booking the motherfucking honeymoon! WOOHOO! Hot diggity dog, for better or worse it's done. I must admit I'm already second-guessing some decisions, but that's just me. On the whole, it's looking good. An it's done!
- Dreamt I was deep-sea diving in the Pacific. I was lost in the murky blue of the deep, when before me a giant clam appeared, opening its jaws; a perfect, shining pearl sat upon its fleshy tongue. Worried about my lack of air, I snatched for it, but it moved away from my grasp. Again I snatched, more urgent still as the air burned in my lungs, but again it shifted on the sandy sea-bed and again I missed. Finally, a dizziness stealing over me, I reached out slowly, deliberately, and this time it was able to take the pearl in my hands. But as I firmed my grip on its slippery, hypnotic surface, it turned to a thick, doughy sludge. In a panic, I flung it away and made for the surface, but I had left it too late and no matter how hard I struck toward the promise of fresh, clean air, it was not enough. Not sure what it means.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Today is the first day of the rest of my life, but yesterday I:
- Walked to work to a mix of White Zombie, Turisas, Volbeat, Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon and the Violent Femmes. Was strangely buoyant by the time I got to town. Went to Nero to write.
- Worked. New delivery day, but I'm out of the delivery now to allow work on other things. Weird, bitty day, but had a nice little buzz out of some positive feedback from Southwark libraries about our handling of their s/o. Re-upped their (substantial) order with an increase in budget. I can proudly declare that, after the past year, if you live in Southwark (particularly Peckham) you have access one of the finest library GN collections in London.
- Had lunch. Looked for hotels. No joy.
- Begged off a trip to Silva's with the boys. Came home instead and read a pile of comics. Best of the week so far? Scalped #17. Given what's left, I don't see that changing.
- Saw Tom Waits' European dates. Nothing in London, dammit, but he is playing Edinburgh, Paris and other short-flight destinations, all of which would be possibilities. But, with heavy heart, I've actually had to come to the decision that I just can't do it. His dates are all two weeks or less from our wedding (his last date, in Dublin, is actually our wedding day), so it just wouldn't be fair on Alex for me to run off for two days then. Furthermore, with the wedding, the honeymoon, a trip to Australia in March and my first student loan repayment of NZ$1500 due the end of September, I just can't justify the cost. It would have been tight enough if he played London, with tickets at £75 or £95, let alone the added costs of transport, accommodation and general expenses incurred. I've taken a philosophical attitude to it: I was incredibly lucky with his last tour here (front row on my birthday in 2004), so this just balances out. I must also remember that once upon a time I thought I would never, ever see him live. So, y'know, in the final ledger I'll have nothing to complain about.
- Watched the first Family Guy I had seen in a while. I still enjoy them, but they become a bit indistinguishable from one another. Went to sleep.
- Dreamt I was flying over a field of swaying wheat, nestled in a beautiful valley. At the far end of the valley, beyond the arable farmland and across a small river, was an indistinct figure. I could see the figure waving to me, beckoning me on. Suddenly my wings began to tear, seemingly shredding of their own accord. Quickly losing altitude, I looked tearfully to the horizon. The figure was still there, but it had stopped waving. Just before I fell to earth, to the soft embrace of swaying wheat, I saw the figure turn away and begin to walk. Not sure what it means.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Arrgh! Tom Waits isn't playing London! But he is playing Edinburgh. Four days before the wedding! I sense heated discussions coming. But yesterday I:
- Worked. Quite a nice day, actually, as a good part of it was taken up with filming an interview with Kevin O’Neill which is going to be posted to our shop blog. So that was nice. He’s a great interview subject, particularly given our lack of incisive journalistic skill, so he had some really interesting things to say. He was a major figure during a period of British comics that really helped shape my taste. The importance of 2000AD to Commonwealth comics readers of my generation can’t be overstated, and O’Neill was right there at the coal-face with Pat Mills, John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Mike McMahon and others. Not to mention his current role in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. A proper highlight and the kind of thing that reminds me that I do still love comics.
- During a broken up lunch hour I looked for hotels. No joy.
- Met Alex on the way home for a cheeky pint at the Wellington, a pub around the corner from the flat.
- Went home, had dinner. Looked for hotels. No joy. Also, spent time recording email response details onto the Master Wedding Spreadsheet
- Read. Slept.
- Dreamt I was a mighty warrior, lost in the maze of an evil queen. Trapped. Pursued down narrow, twisting corridors by Amazonian maidens who gave me no rest, no respite. Cornered, I went to draw my enormous sword, but discovered to my horror that it had no blade. Not sure what it means.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
From beyond, yesterday I:
- Forgot my bloody ipod for the walk into work. On the one hand I do find it gives me an added clarity of thought when I don’t have any music on as I walk, but on the other it makes the walk seem like a neverending schlep.
- Worked. More ComTrac. Finished working my way through the manual so now I have to start putting it through its paces. Meanwhile I’m keenly aware of other things not getting done.
- Walked about halfway home then got on a bus as it pulled up to the stop as I walked past. You say lazy, I say serendipity.
- As a complete aside, I’m sitting in a cafe writing this and there’s what would seem to be a torch-singing of Gangster’s Paradise on the stereo.
- Had roast lamb for dinner. Sweet, sweet lamb; so cute in the field and so delicious in my stomach. If nature created anything else so perfect, I sure don’t know about it.
- A nameless guilt quivered in my gut, like a lamb gambolling in a spring field. Not sure why.
- More bloody honeymoon stuff! Still, actually made some progress last night. Booked the travel so I’m committed on that front now, forcing me to focus my searches a little tighter. It feels good to actually make some kind of firm decision about it and although it’s not necessarily what I would have originally wanted, I’m still pretty happy with how it’s going. It is funny, but the joy of this holiday is that I feel completely justified splashing out in a way I would never do on a normal holiday. Not quite as much as, for example, the 5-star transatlantic cruise I looked at would have cost me, but significantly more than a normal week away.
- Dreamt I was the king of a foreign, distant land. A gigantic, sweet-smelling orchid was marauding through the streets of my capital city, destroying all in its path. In their desperation my people turned to me, but I had no answers. I was powerless. Not sure what it means.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Today I am a quiet, peaceful forest, but yesterday I:
- Didn’t write in the morning. Bad Andrew. But I got up a little late, so I was short on time. And obviously couldn’t do it at any other time of the day.
- Met Doug for lunch. Sat in front of the museum, which was rather pleasant.
- Worked mainly on ComTrac and trying to figure how I could wheedle Thursday off.
- Worried about the lack of honeymoon options.
- Left work early due to time owed. Went home and did the dishes.
- While working on the dishes I put on the Green Mile commentary. I like the Green Mile. While it does have its flaws, I think it’s vastly underrated. More importantly, I had never listened to a Frank Darabont commentary before. He is brilliant; like John Carpenter or Ridley Scott, he has the perfect mix of anecdote and instruction (without Scott’s patronising, cigar-chomping tone). He’s quite the motormouth and it really feels like he prepares for the commentary, as there are a lot of “but we’ll talk a bit more about that later on” moments. I only got about halfway through this time (there are only so many dishes), but I highly recommend this for anyone with an interest in film. I’ll definitely track down his other commentaries. I must grab a copy of The Mist on region one. Loved that film.
- Had leftovers for dinner. Planned to cook a roast, but just wasn’t that hungry.
- Had a bath. Read some comics, including the latest Punisher. I can’t wait to see where Ennis is going with this. After such an amazing run on the title, I really do hope he ends on a bang.
- Did more honeymoon research, which wound up taking most of the night.
- Watched another Pushing Daisies with Alex and pretty much decided that I’m gonna give the next season a miss.
- Dreamed I was trapped in a YMCA locker room by a herd of aggressive unicorns. Not sure what it means.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Back pain easing....happiness growing...yesterday I:
- Spent the morning pottering on the computer, still trying to find options for the honeymoon.
- Played a bit of Diablo 2.
- Went into town with Alex to look for wedding rings. It was a surprisingly painless process, really. I detest going into places like jewellers. I feel decidedly out of place, especially among the finely appointed gentlemen wandering up and down the street, each with their respective intended. But we went into one store to try some on, lured purely because the woman was very friendly with us while were outside. Anyway, she was great and we quickly found rings to suit. Not ordered yet, but we probably will go with them. I'm certainly inclined to, as I believe good service deserves patronage, even if it costs a little more.
- Slowly drank our way down to London Bridge to meet Dana & James for a congratulatory drink on their engagement. I stuck to the red wine, as beer really doesn't do me any favours these days. I appear to be having something of an allergic reaction to it, leading to hayfever-ish nasal disposition and a general leery drunkeness. Whereas red wine, I have discovered, makes me quite the merry bullshitter. Slightly obnoxious, but cheery with it.
- Headed to Mustafa's birthday at the Lord Clyde, a pub just around the corner from home. Had a nice chat with Mus and Doug, drank more red wine and left around 10.15 or so, as Alex was about to drop (having been up until 4.30-ish the night before).
- Got home, ordered pizza, ate two slices and then flaked out.
- Dreamt of pixie dust and underground military installations filled with the seething fires of man's evil.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Back still bad. GRAAARGH! This is what it means to get older, isn't it? Slow recovery from pains you don't remember doing anything to warrant. Ah well, enough looking to the future; yesterday I:
- Got up early to get things done. I wanted to get all my normal stuff out of the way quickly so I could move onto sorting our honeymoon.
- Got a bunch of replies from the wedding email, which is exciting.
- Undertook a mission to get our honeymoon booked. Which proved to be rather difficult. The whole job has been made harder by the fact we're only booking 2 1/2 months ahead for the early August peak season. Needless to say, all the best villas in all the nicest places are long gone. So, after hours of fruitless searching I had only found one place which has been confirmed by the owner as available. But upon reflection it's not really as nice as I would like, but rather had been enquired about simply because I had been running out of options. So I'm had to rethink. I then began to search for options based on a slightly broader mandate than "villa by the sea with pool". Which is fine, except as 6pm rolled around and I was no closer to finding anything, it began to dawn on me that I don't actually know what I want our honeymoon to be. It's a once in a lifetime holiday and as such I want it to really feel special. A beautiful villa in a scenic spot, preferably near the sea, with somewhere of historical interest nearby would have been perfect. But for want of that, I'm not sure. 5-star hotel somewhere? Cruise? And how far do we want to travel? And do I want to fly? I tell ya, things are tough all over, eh?
- Popped out to buy a new drying rack. Splashed out a little for one from Robert Dyas. Because you're worth it. Actually, it's great; nice and strong and damn near as tall as I am.
- Dipped back into the World at War series, which I was slowly working through a few months back but kind of fell away from. Last night was U-Boats. The producer of the series actually does a little spiel at the beginning, apologising for the lack of actual footage in the episode and their subsequent use of more diagrams and interviews than usual, not to mention adding movement to still images to make them more exciting. Shocking!
Friday, May 16, 2008
Bad back make Andrew grumpy! Yesterday he:
- Woke up with a bad pain in his upper back which never shifted.
- Worked. Thursday means new comics day, means lotsa filing and lots of customers. Long day, but it's very busy so goes nice and fast!
- Hunted for honeymoon destinations.
- Sent out our wedding email! Anyone interested in keeping up with the goings on should check out www.momentville.com/andrewandalex. Oh, and I've had a couple of bouncebacks. Barry and Eoin, can you drop me a line! If you didn't get an email and you think you should have, check your junk mail folder and if no luck, then give me a yell.
- Watched BSG and some Peep Show, then hit the sack.
At the age of one he was drinkin whiskey and gin. At the age of two he was eating the bottles it came in.
What the hell? A new Dolemite film? How did I not know about this?
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Gah! My back hurts! But yesterday I:
- Wrote like a demon before work.
- Worked, mostly on this month's order and other assorted bits and pieces. I'm making a concerted effort not get involved in the delivery on Wednesdays so as to give myself an extra day to work on library stuff. Exciting, huh?
- Rushed home to sort out wedding stuff with Alex before sending emails out to people today. Passed on drinks with all the work folks, plus Barry & Tony. Felt a bit guilty, but time is a tickin'!
- Read comics and disappeared into a world of escapist bliss. Ahhh....
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Wedding information is imminent, but yesterday I:
- Got up early with the intention of getting some stuff done first thing. I needed to do my usual morning internet trawl – ¾ hour on a workday which magically transforms to about 2 hours on a day off – plus get a bunch of wedding things done. I also needed to finish off my course reading for the week.
- Decided to head out for a while. Swung through a bookshop and made a mental note of books I wanted to read, which I promptly forgot. Popped into CassArt and looked through their craft stuff, which is always pleasant. Such a great store. Had a coffee in the sun and read the rest of this week’s chapter.
- Got home about 1 and turned my attentions to wedding stuff. Worked on the website and revised the email that we’re sending out this week. Got in touch with a bunch of coach-hire places for quotes.
- Washed dishes while watching music videos. Life just doesn’t get better than this, does it? Does it?
- Low impact evening: had dinner, watched some stuff, read my book, went to sleep.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Like the grim spectre of death, yesterday I:
- Was very tired. I'm amazed how much the weekend took out of me!
- Worked. Mainly spent sorting out a display of signed books we brought back from Bristol and then checking over the monthly order.
- Ate dinner, then worked on the jigsaw for a while with Alex.
- Sat on the internet, catching up.
- Watched a Pushing Daisies, which I am definitely losing interest in. Too damn quirky for its own good. That kind of thing is fine in small doses, and traditionally Bryan Fuller's shows have benefited from it. But this is like a king-sized pool of quirk, if quirk were some kind of thick sludge, and you are swimming upward as hard as you can, but you just can't reach the surface and something is grabbing your ankles, pulling you down, always down....
- Went to bed. Dreamt of puppies.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Back with a vengeance! Yesterday I:
- Did more con stuff. We wandered down just after 9, grabbing breakfast from the cafe near the con. Seriously, being stuck out at Bristol Temple Meads for the convention is a pain in the ass. No decent facilities nearby at all.
- Stood behind our table. It’s weird, working a con. You don’t really get to actually see any of it. I barely had the chance to walk the floor, let alone go to any talks. Still get to see a lot of folks though, as everyone wanders past at some point or other. Highlight of the day was meeting Walt Simonson, whose work I’ve loved for years. Louise Simonson was there too, and they were both lovely. Really nice folks.
- Packed up at about 5 when things had quietened down. All happened fairly quickly, given how much stuff we had. The car was rammed and riding pretty low, and that’s without Josh, Jill and Will in there. We sold a bit of stuff, but loaded up three large boxes from Chris Staros which was material he hadn’t sold at the show. I, thankfully, was going by train.
- Got home at about 9-ish and collapsed onto the couch. Alex had dinner ready, bless her, and we just watched Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. He helped a struggling restaurant reinvent itself, which was nice. Then they had a brief epilogue where it was revealed that due to outstanding debts the place had closed down 5 months later. Depressing.
- Wet to bed and watched a My Name is Earl, which was okay but, to be honest, is starting to leave me a little cold. Had a bloody awful night’s sleep.
The return of a fan favourite! The day before yesterday I:
- Got up ridiculously early to catch a train from Paddington. It was fine, but there is always that slight sense of stress when getting a bus across London that you’re not going to make it. Traffic delays, unexpected terminations of service, tourists looking for directions; all these things and more can find you desperately trying to wave down a cab in an attempt to make the train on time. Not today however, as the journey was largely plain sailing. Result!
- Upon going to sit down I dropped my cup of coffee on my fold-down tray table, spilling it over both my seat and seat of the man next to me. Not a good start. Luckily I found empty seats for both him and myself. In fact, my seats were the (unoccupied) disabled seats, giving me more leg room to boot.
- Wrote on the train to Bristol, which was fine except typing on a moving train isn’t as smooth as I might like. Given my current policy of not going back to correct typos, I shudder to think how it reads. No wireless! First Great Western sucks.
- Bristol International Comics Expo! Sounds very grand for something which amounts to no more than a big hall full of dealers and comics folk. Will and Josh had already set everything up, and it really does make me proud to see Gosh’s stock represented. We’re very distinct from anything else on offer. We try to bring a mix of books that are away from the comics mainstream, including a selection of our kids books as well. Saw the usual range of folks there and more UK creators than you could shake a stick at.
- Went to dinner at the wonderfully named Cathay Rendezvous, which does very good food for a very reasonable price. 15 of us there, many people taking starters plus a couple of desserts and a bunch of drinks, all for £300 including tip. £20/head ain’t bad for all that. Name-checkable in the bunch were Sean Philips, Mike McKone and Dougie Braithwaite.
-Went to drinks at the Ramada with Will and Cheeky Joe Melchior. Not sure why everyone goes there to drink as the place costs a bloody fortune. I bought a round of two beers and a lemonade for £11.15! Actually, the weekend all around cost me a bloody fortune. My entire week’s discretionary income blown in two days. Saw a bunch of folks there, including Mark Clapham (a customer, who was kind enough to buy us a drink) and podcast kings David Monteith & Barry Nugent, and stuck about until just after 12, when we figured we should probably get back to the hotel.
- Great hotel by the way. A bit of an upgrade from last year, and our twin room had two double beds. Classy!
Our exciting new feature! The day before the day before yesterday I:
- Carried on working with Nat’s PC, just installing software and so on.
- Went into town briefly just to get out of the house. Had a wander about upper Tottenham Court Road checking out techie shops and browsing cool stationary and knick-knacks in Paperchase. I do love stationary, though very rarely ever make effective use of it. If I had unlimited funds, I’m sure I would have a room just full of nice stationary. I would wander in each bright summer morning and breathe in the clean, organised wonder of it all. In the winter it would be an evening place of orderly comfort. Ahhh....
- Watched John Rambo. Searing indictment of a brutal, oppressive regime, or schlocky, exploitative, 80’s-styled right-wing power fantasy? Well, in practice most certainly the latter, but without a doubt the former in intent. On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it never does itself any favours with its unconvincing, po-faced “War is hell” schtick, progressing from (incredibly graphic) violence in the “Oh my God! The horror of it all!” vein through to the “Oh yeah! Rip his fucking throat out!” school. But then I guess that’s the good ol’ US of A! Not that I, as a child of 80’s US DTV shit, am entirely innocent of that mentality.
- Got to bed reasonably early, as I had a 6am start.
Friday, May 09, 2008
I know what you're thinking.
Andrew,why isn't there a comic out there that gives thrills and high-gore spills without any nasty swearing, which also explores the subtle subtexts of super-hero convention?
Well, I'm happy to say that day has come. Ladies and gentlemen, from Moon Knight #18, the best panel this week's new comics had to offer:
In the new flush of summer, yesterday I:
- Worked on our wedding website. It's a hosted job, but it's very simple to use and saves me a lot of work. But even filling out the information on it takes forever. Anyway, more on that when it's ready for public consumption.
- Popped out to swing by work. Had another person give me grief for my Spider-Man t-shirt. This thing is going in the bin.
- Picked up the weeks comics. Not a bad haul, but not one that really excited me.
- Put the new hard drive into Nat's PC. Installed windows, etc.
- Watched Starting Out in the Evening, a nice, thoughtful drama with Frank Langella. Not amazing, but still the kind of film that puts you in a contemplative mood.
- Watched the natural companion piece to SOitE: Mario Bava's Black Sabbath. Three tales of terror, introduced by - and in one case starring - Boris Karloff. Quite different from one another too; the first is all a bit giallo, the second is a gothic, theatrical piece in the vein of Black Sunday, and the final one is more in the style of the Amicus anthology stories. Dated, to be sure, but Bava really was a genius.
- Actually managed to read my book for the first time in bloody ages.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Back on the chain gang, yesterday I:
- Went to a different cafe in the morning; one on Store Street. Sat outside and wrote about what I saw, mostly, which I always find to be a good exercise.
- Worked. Spent most of the day beginning to wrap my head around COMTRAC for Windows. COMTRAC is the software we use to track orders, subscriptions and sales cycles on new comics. We're still using the DOS version but have been having more and more problems with it every time we upgrade our PCs. Barry had tried out the old version and found it to be just too flawed, but they've since re-written it from scratch, so I'm testing it out now. Just working my way through the manual at the moment, but there are already niggling problems where intended features haven't been finished or correctly implemented. Well, the important thing is that it does what we need. The jury is out.
- Went to see Nick Cave and the Hammersmith Apollo. Great gig, though not as riveting as the last time I saw him. He did crank out some great oldies though, including "Tupelo", "Papa Won't Leave You Henry" and "Wanted Man". Had a great spot for the first half of the gig, but had to go to the toilet and there was no way I was getting anywhere near the front again. The place was rammed.
- Took the long way home, as the bloody Victoria line wasn't running.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I hope you enjoyed my new feature "What I Did the Day Before Yesterday". We may see more of that in the future if it's popular enough, but yesterday I:
- Had my morning coffee in Russell Square for the first time in a very long time. Same old shit cafe, but it was really nice to sit in that place again. I do love that park, simply because it has a lot of nice associations for me. Even the terrible coffee is like a comfort blanket. I think I’ll go again every now and then. It’s a nice place to have a pre-work coffee in the summer.
- Worked. Had a meeting with Josh and Nat about stock control. Called the States to sort out COMTRAC for Windows stuff. Called some libraries.
- Had lunch with Dana, who had some rather cool news.
- Did my course work rather hurriedly. I’ll need to sit down again in the next couple of days to actually work out a timetable for the ever-decreasing week.
- Worked with Alex on a jigsaw puzzle, which was rather good fun, though I secretly hankered to watch Bava’s Black Sabbath. But in the end it was an entertaining choice.
- Went to bed at about 9.30! I don’t know why I’m so shattered lately, but I read for about half an hour then flaked out.
Bleedin' 'eck! The day before yesterday I@
- Woke up feeling quite tired. Forgot to shave. Also, it must be said, my morning writing kept taking maudlin left turns. I think maybe I need a good night’s sleep.
- Worked. Had a meeting with Josh about the future of the store and how we’re going to tackle the downturn in retail. Not as negative as that might seem.
- Went for a quick drink with Doug, Nat & Tom, which was very pleasant. Didn’t do my course book work, which was not so good. But it was the long weekend, so I’ll do it tonight.
- Went for dinner with Alex at a pub nearby we had never been to. I had the pork roast, Alex had the chicken and leek pie. Very nice, and the place had a good atmosphere. Will go again.
- Had a migraine. Awesome. Went to bed before the headache hit.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Oh hell, the day before yesterday I:
- Worked, mainly handling emails, finalising the calendar for July & August and setting up our upcoming lending library.
- Had kievs and salad for dinner.
- Watched Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (aka The Mask of Satan), which I’ve never seen before. Absolutely loved it. It’s a masterfully made gothic horror of revenge and witchcraft which, despite some sequences not having aged too well, is steeped in atmospheric layers of mist and shadow. It’s a beauty to behold. It really is a shame that Bava isn’t recognised more widely for his talent and influence. Thanks to Mr Kane for the loan of his DVD, and I’m looking forward to watching Black Sabbath and Blood & Black Lace, which I have also borrowed. To think that Will Kane is lending me horror films!
- Watched another Peep Show episode then hit the sack.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Drat. Written yesterday but posted today, the day before yesterday I:
- Hauled my ass out of bed at about 7.30 with the intention of being ultra-productive. I was going to clean. I was going to call people. I was going to set up a wedding website and write an email for people to gather some information. This was going to be a productive day!
- Sat on the internet until 10am. Decided to go to the movies.
- Saw Iron Man, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It had a great set-up and the story is well put together apart from the end sequence, which felt a bit perfunctory. Robert Downey Jr does indeed own the movie. On the whole, it was an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours.
- Stopped on the way home at the pub formerly known as The Orwell. Actually, to be honest I’m not sure if it has a new name, but it’s certainly been given a facelift. Not bad, but still feels a little like they haven’t quite finished renovations. Anyway, had a Guinness and knocked out the email.
- Went home and set up the wedding website, though there’s still a lot of work to do. But I found a great hosting site with a fantastic editing interface. Also set up our gift list at John Lewis, though that too is as yet unfinished.
- Tidied the bedroom.
- Read some comics.
- Played Diablo 2 for an hour or so, at which time my mouse hand had cramped into some kind of bony claw. Killed a mummy though, so, y’know, swings and roundabouts.
- Watched a couple of flicks. The Cottage, a Brit horror starring Andy Serkis, Jennifer Ellison and Reese Shearsmith, was rather good, though it took a while to really get itself going. When there’s not even a hint of the killer until 45 minutes or so, something’s wrong. But the end result was pretty solid.
- Doomsday, the new post-apocalyptic flick by Neil Marshall, is nuts. A love letter to 80’s post-apocalyptica, I’m amazed he actually got this made. Seriously, I can’t imagine how anyone looked at the script for this and thought they were on to box office gold. That being said, I bloody loved it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s schlocky trash and certainly not for everyone. But if you can capture the feeling you had when you’d just popped a tape into Bernard Lynch’s betamax – Bernard being the only kid in the neighbourhood with a video player – then you’re on to a winner.
- Slept very poorly. I feel like crap today! Perhaps my conscience was haunted by another productive day slipping by...
Saturday, May 03, 2008
So I've decided to create a directors cut of our holiday that actually includes Sydney! The photos are up on flickr now!
Okay, so actually I completely forgot to do the Sydney leg. A bit silly, given I had more photos for there than anywhere up to that point. Also because I had actually chosen the photos to upload then deleted the folder from the desktop because I thought I had done it already.
Anyway, needless to say Sydney was great. Caught up with Dan & Naomi, Sera and cousin Felicity, which was nice. Had a bit of rain, but on the whole the weather was just dandy. Did a tour bus which took us around all the main sights, but just generally wandered about seeing what we could see. Our hotel was quite central, so we were able to walk around fairly easily.
Popped my head into a comic shop over there. Kings on Pitt St. Nice store, but a bit sterile and not terribly well laid out. Bought a copy of the Local issue set in Park Slope as a pressie for Lisa (who used to live there).
We really liked Sydney. Enough to realise that it was probably the #1 contender for us in terms of places to live when we leave the UK. We had been thinking of Melbourne, but Sydney just feels a little more vibrant to me. I know Melbourne gets a lot of NZ love these days, but to be honest Melbourne felt a little dull in comparison.
Okay, these are judgements based on very little time spent in either, but that's the immediate impression for me. Sydney, the city, feels more like a living, breathing, sprawling city, whereas Melbourne feels a bit like a collection of suburbs whose populace work and shop in the city. Unfair judgement? Possibly, but at the end of the day Sydney clicked with us in a way that Melbourne just didn't.
Oh, while we were there, a massive cruise ship had come into harbour. This thing was bloody huge! The Sapphire Princess. Tacky as all get-out, but quite the sight to behold. We sat by the opera house and watched it depart, which was sadly entertaining. Nice one, Sydney!
Great googly-moogly! Yesterday I:
- Felt bloody awful. I had a hangover that ranged from vomiting and headaches in the morning, to a bone-tired weariness in the afternoon.
- Swore off drink.
- Had Marianna over for lunch, which was very nice. Not sure what kind of company we were though!
- Popped down to John Lewis to start looking at stuff for the wedding gift list. Discovered we can do one of those cool wanders with a scanner to build it. Decided to carry on another day when things weren't quite so busy.
- Dropped in to say goodbye to Ossie, who's off up country for a while to live the Good Life.
- Went home, kissed Alex goodbye as she went off for the weekend with Debs, collapsed on the couch.
- Remained in one spot for the evening, watching stuff, including the frankly disappointing Diary of the Dead.
- Went to bed fairly early, and was happy to do so.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Like a hangover that just won't quite, and boy do I know how that feels, yesterday I:
- Got up later than I intended.
- Worked a normal early shift from 8-4.30, which always feels like a wonderfully short day.
- Met Alex for her first drinks in a month! Well done her! Although that does mean I owe her £50...
- Went to Dana's birthday drinks and got pretty toasted. Nice evening though, although I did feel a bit shouty ranter at times.
- Collapsed in bed, technically today.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Pich and a punch for the first of the month! But yesterday I:
- Worked, involving much unpacking of comics.
- Read a whole bunch of comics, none of which really leaped out. There were certainly some highlights, but not a particularly exciting week.
- Browsed for honeymoon destinations.
- Watched Coronation Street over dinner, where someone whose name I forget had to go through an induced birth of her dead baby. Pretty harrowing stuff for tuna pasta bake leftovers.
- Read, and to bed. Some days certainly are more exciting than others.