Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Back online (Wake me up when September ends)

I'm back! Sorry it's been so long, but the internet at our house has been a complete nightmare these last few weeks! I have had several blog ideas in the last few weeks, but due to various problems they haven't happened. To fill you in let me first take you back to where my last blog left off (imagine your own blur effect transition between scenes here, like they do in tellyland).

I ended my last blog by bragging about how I was in Sunny Spain and enjoying 'mucho vino blanco'. Well it turns out that there is such a thing as too mucho vino blanco as I discovered a couple of days later on a day during which I hadn't drunk enough soft drinks, but certainly overdid the wine, causing dehydration to kick in. What this resulted in was me making a complete ass of myself in the home of Stacey's Grandad and his wife. I threw up not just in the toilet, but in the shower and on the upstairs landing. Super! All was forgiven though, as I was told the next day that this sort of behaviour is apparently a rite of passage for those that visit their household.

About a week after the posting of my 'Live from Spain' blog we returned home on a late-night flight from Alicante to Gatwick. Many flights had been delayed that day, we luckily only had to wait an extra twenty minutes though. Everything looked to be going smoothly and we soon found ourselves up in the air drinking coffee. It was when we landed back home in England that the classic British way of life once again reared its ugly head towards us. For when we landed, we had to sit on the plane an wait for the airport staff to actually come and let us off, as even though the plane landed right on schedule, the airport weren't ready for us. The pilot sounded just as peeved as us passengers. Once we were finally let off the plane, we trekked the endless hallways and corridors of the airport to what can only be described as Hell on Earth: Border Control. Now I will make it clear that I do appreciate the job that Border Control attempts to do, however when it's 2am and five or six flights are all landing at around that same ridiculous time, they could have at least had more than four members of staff working. We had to wait there for about an hour in the queue which resulted in much agitation!

My Dad was nice enough to pick us up at silly-o-clock in the morning and after waiting at a coffee shop that he referred to as Costa Fortune, drove us home and to bed for a deep sleep.

Once home, I discovered that the internet was down in our house. Talk about terrible news in 2010. Luckily in these days of 3G all was not lost even if not convenient. You see the flash player on my phone won't let me play Scrabble on Facebook. Internet problems are, as it turns out, extremely hard to solve. Dad bought a new router, we had a neighbour fix it up properly, and got the internet... in small doses on the desktop. Our laptops could forget about it! So we continued to get on the case of our internet provider, who'll remain nameless because you've probably never heard of them anyway. After weeks of badgering, we finally ended up with a BT engineer out to fix us up with a brand new phone line running to the house, and a new phone socket in the house. Although there had been a problem with the phone line, the engineer told me that unfortunately it looked like we had a 'two for the price of one' problem with out internet connection, as although the problem line had been fixed, there was also most certainly a problem with the new router. And where was the old router, oh yeah, at the dump somewhere! So the plan for Saturday was to take the new faulty router back to the shop and exchange it for a decent one, until on Friday evening when we received a message from our internet provider. Our provider hadn't been too helpful up to this point, but this message has made them good guys for now in my eyes, as they said that they'd detected problems in our house concerning the internet still, and as a result were sending us a new router. The router arrived today, less than 2 hours ago, and I set it up straight away. It's working great and has meant that I'm back online to entertain the masses (I'm counting both of you that read this as a mass by the way) with this great blog.

One thing I can't help but think is how much we become accustomed to having something in our lives. I can remember being a kid back in what seems now like the stone-age, the nineties and can't quite believe we used to live without the internet. I even still had some access to it, whether it was when I went round Stacey's, if the desktop was sort providing it for a bit, or even through my phone. I still felt some form of withdrawal though as it wasn't there as often as I would have liked, especially on this here laptop of mine. It now makes me wonder what we'll have in the future that we won't be able to live without.

On a side note, when the very helpful engineer was fitting our new phone line to the house, he told me that one of our neighbours was staring at him out the window. This neighbour has since been round and lectured my seven year old sister, moaning about how some dust from the drilling went on his windows and about how there was a mark left on OUR house. I don't why he felt he had to tell us, but gees. I just don't understand what goes on in people's heads sometimes and hope that I don't end up a complete busy-body when I'm older.

Moving on now from chat of internet troubles, as they are hopefully behind us, I will now tell of some of the more exciting stuff that has been going on in my world this month.

A couple of days after returning from Spain, Stacey and I attended a concert at Wembley Stadium, a venue that Stacey described as a 'great feat of engineering'. We were there to see Muse, and although I'm not a huge fan of their work, was plenty excited nevertheless as I had heard good things about their live act. Unfortunately to get to see them, we had to endure three of the worst support acts in history. The Big Pink and White Rabbit were both rather dull, and at one stage (I can't remember during which set this was) I actually forgot that there was a band playing. It would have been much better if they had merged to play one set between them and become The Big Pink White Rabbit, it would have saved time at least. The third and final support act was Lily Allen, who I admittedly detest. I simply hate her style of music. Her set was appalling and she even apologised and admitted that she was a little off due to her pregnancy. Why was she even on the stage then? She was in no state to put on a performance. Then, it seems Lily decided that I hadn't been tortured enough, as she introduced a rapper (crapper if you ask me) named Professor Green. All I can say is that I have serious doubts that he has a PHD in anything. He certainly has no qualifications in the studies of music.

Muse eventually came on at a rather late time for a Wembley gig, especially since the venue gates opened at 4:30pm. Alas, they put on a fantastic show! A lot of their appeal is smoke-and-mirrors, but done in the best way. Their songs were all recognisable, even to me, and they truly won me over. I'd happily see them again, so long as the support line-up is improved.

We unfortunately had to leave before the encore due to the time and that fact that we right around the back of the stadium and furthest away from the station. We got to the station as the crowds were beginning to exit the stadium behind us. Running down the steps to the platform, I saw a train about to leave, headed for our direction. I ran and jumped onto the train just as the doors were closing, very smooth. However, I then turned around and found that Stacey had not made it and was stranded on the platform, her phone died earlier that afternoon. I was stricken with worry and panic. Every imaginable horror came to my mind at once. I would never forgive myself. Then 10 minutes later, I found her.. or rather she found me. She was fine and couldn't believe that I'd been worried. After all she's not a child, in fact she's older than me, so it should have been her that was worried about me then I guess.

The next day we got up early...ish and went with some of the old gang to one of my favourite places in the whole wide world: Thorpe Park! It was a great day and despite more queues, these were much more worth waiting in than that of border control. Stacey, Chris and Nat queued up for the Saw Maze. While they were doing that, Pete, Jason and myself went on Logger's Leap. Afterwards we met back up and those that went through the maze claimed that we that had skipped the maze were cowards. I can safely tell you that we were not cowards, but indeed held the same belief, which is when at Thorpe Park, you queue up to have your body thrown around 100 mile per hour, not to have some of the park's staff jump out at you in a dark room wearing fancy dress.

As for the rest of the month, well, it's been business as usual. I've been back to work for a few weeks now, started revising for an exam that is fast approaching, and been on a few nights out with friends. Spain seems an age ago now, although I still feel the difference from life pre-holiday. Whereas before the holiday having to go to work, do uni work, and life in general was starting to become a bit of a drag, after having spent ten days away from it all has had a refreshing effect. I'm now excited to be back in the middle of all of the hustle and bustle in my life. Especially as I always enjoy this time of year, the run up to Christmas.

I also found what I consider to be somewhat of a bargain this past Saturday. I paid £18 for a Gamecube game, which may sound a lot to many of you, especially when you take into account that most Gamecube games in the same store were between £2 and £8. This game was however quite a find, and some would possibly consider it an antique of sorts. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a very rare game, and being currently 5 hours into the game, is proving to be worth every penny. If you don't believe me, let me leave you with this epic scene from the game. Lara Croft, eat your heart out!

Stay Tuned!

Friday, 3 September 2010

'Live from Spain...'

That's right: Live from Spain, it's the world's greatest blog!

I thought that I'd take a break from the sunshine and the swimming pool to step inside and delight you all, my constant readers with my monthly blog detailing the last month or so.

August really was a dark and wet month weather-wise. It seems that as soon as the kids all finished school for the summer, the sun decided to go on a holiday of its own. As a result of this, added to the sum of there being nothing to entertain in town, our humble video rental store was extremely busy. In fact, it has been the busiest summer in history for us, and very tiring. As well as working at the store, I also had plenty of work to keep me busy with at home too, as I had to write not one, but two assignments for my Film and Television History course this month. Part of this was self-inflicted though, as the deadline for the jumbo-four thousand word assignment hasn't yet been. I just wanted it done and out of the way before leaving the country for a much deserved rest.

Leaving work alone now, my parents took two of my siblings away on holiday for two weeks at the beginning of August, they did however, leave on sibling behind with me. Bummer! Although I had a great time, as Stacey moved in for the fortnight and we had some friends over on a few of the nights, my brother seemed to try to (or should perhaps I should say 'made no effort resulting in..') ruin what should have been a great, carefree couple of weeks. He appears to have no skills in living... at all. He can't cook, clean or take care of himself. I may be being a little unfair here, I mean, maybe it's a pure case of won't as opposed to can't! Anyway, whenever his mates would come round, they would stay the night, causing a lot of mess to be left the next day. My dearest brother made as little effort as possible to tidy up, leaving me to bare the brunt of it. The house was left in a tip every time they stayed, and let's just say that at least one of his friends has extremely poor aim when it comes to using the toilet! What all this came down to was a huge bust up. For on the Friday before my parents returned, Stacey and I made the effort to clear up the house, as although they weren't coming home until the Sunday, I had work on both Saturday and Sunday. So after cleaning the place, I agree with my wonderful brother that I have been nice and put up with a lot or beer spills, pizza stains and toilet unpleasantries, and that he his to have no other friends round in a bid to keep the place looking good. He agrees and all is good. Then, that night at about 1am, just after going to bed, I hear my brother come home, and also hear that he is not alone. In fact I can hear that there are lots of them! I then let my temper get the best of me and storm from my room in my dressing gown to confront my brother. I find him and some of his friends in his bedroom unplugging the Playstation to take downstairs, and remind him of our deal.
'We're only going to play games and aren't drinking tonight' he argues.
This is contradicted almost right away with the line 'and some of them live in Leigh and have drunk, so can't drive home'.
I tell him that I don't care and that they'd better start walking then. Following this I go downstairs to find two crates of lager. Thanks for the honesty bro! I tell them all to get out, trying to ignore the abuse some attempt to throw my way. When they're gone, I turn to my brother and things melt down rather quickly as we nearly came to blows. Thankfully Stacey came down and broke us up to prevent us from killing each other.

Aside from that I had a great couple of weeks :-)

Life went back to normal once the rest of my family returned. My Mum had her birthday, for which I bought her a canvas print of our cat Pepsi. The following day, Stacey's stepdad Peter also turned of age. The rest of the month that wasn't spent consumed with work included a great Indian meal with some close friends, a night on the town in Maidstone which was great, and an evening bowling with the usual gang added with an American friend-of-a-friend. August came to its end with an evening at the cinema with the gang. We watched Scott Pilgrim vs The World which if you haven't seen it, is fantastic! Edgar Wright as director has done a brilliant job of creating something completely different that also features many a cheeky nod to retro-videogaming!

And now here we are, that was a week ago already! On Sunday morning we flew out here to Sunny-Spain! There was even a celebrity on our cheap, early morning flight. That's right the one and only Louie Spence was aboard! We didn't pester him for autographs or pictures though, he was with a friend and looked as if he was trying to keep a low profile. I mean, the guy didn't even dance!

Anyway, Spain has been great! Mucho Vino Blanco! Swimming Pool! And many chess victories over Stacey! I have also managed to read a lot more which is great, and have started playing the second Professor Layton game. There's barely been time to leave the house what with how busy we've been, but we did manage to go to a Spanish Shopping centre today. While there I found out something rather horrifying. It turns out that a virus is spreading and fast becoming an international plague. I am of course referring to the fact that we found a very large Primark store in Spain.

I'll leave you all now as it is early evening and I have a new glass of vino blanco sat in front of me, ready to drink!

Until next time, Adios mi amigos!