Thursday, 23 June 2011

B.W.E. (Best Week Ever)

The pieces of the puzzle that is adult life really are starting to come together. Let's see, in the last week since I last wrote I've turned 22; celebrated said turning of age; spent a day at Thorpe Park; and been offered a full time, proper job! With all that said and done, I thank you for reading another epic instalment of this blog, goodnight folks....

...OK, I find myself wanting a little more detail as I know that some day I'll want to read back on this time.

Fist Pump, Fist Pump, Fist Pump

On the past weekend, Jason and myself joined forces to celebrate our upcoming birthdays with friends, as my 22nd was on the following Monday, while his 23rd was on the Tuesday. We spent a Saturday night out on the town, enjoying a pleasant meal with friends, before hitting a couple of bars. We ended up in a place called The Retreat, which was a small, yet lively little place that served drinks at high price and played music at a high volume. So, yes what I'm trying to say is that the drinks were a little expensive, but that the atmosphere made up for that. Now recently, the fist pump has made a bit of a comeback, largely due to the Youtube sensation that is Long Island Iced Z and the Ryder Revolution that is being felt the world over as a result. The hit internet show features a lot of of the simple to learn, difficult to master dance move, and we more than broke it out on Saturday night, baby! If I remember correctly, which is a little difficult for me to do (although not nearly as bad as it is for me to remember last year's messy birthday bash), it was Sam and myself that got the fist-pumping going, and before we knew it, everyone was joining the revolution, much the chagrin of Stacey who seems to detest the move for not good reason. We even noticed that other patrons of the bar were fist-pumping later in the evening.

Saturday night wasn't the only time over the last week that I was able to break out a fist pump or two though. On Tuesday, the day after my actual birthday, a group of us went to Thorpe Park. Stacey, Jason (the birthday boy), Tom and Jane accompanied me to the top UK attraction, and while there we managed to get a go on nearly every ride. Jane it turns out, being the annual pass holder that she is, is pretty much a Thorpe Park pro, a Thorpe Park veteran if ever there was one. As soon as we got into the park - after having been stopped and searched on the way in for the second time running - Jane marched us straight to Saw: The Ride following the most direct route. We were then amongst the first to ride Saw that day, meaning no ridiculously long queues! Result! As far as the fist-pumping goes, I managed to first break some out on Samurai - a ride that I had never before even contemplated letting go of the handlebars on before; it seems as if I've gotten used to it. X: No Way Out, was a great one to fist pump along on, as the backward roller coaster in the dark now comes complete with disco-techno music to complete the experience, meaning there was no way you couldn't fist pump your way around. And finally, I managed to get a go on Stealth. I hadn't before ridden that one, as for starters it last all of about 20 seconds, and the queue has always been a couple of hours, and secondly, I've been a little scared to be fired along the track that damn fast. Basically, for those not up on their Thorpe Park rides, on Stealth you get accelorated from 0-80mph in just 2.3 seconds, and go straight up in the air at a crazy incline, before shooting straight back down. The start of the ride was pretty scared, and as the countdown to launch began, I braced heavily, but as soon as we got going, I opened my eyes and fully embraced the rush of adrenaline. I mentioned above about how I was braver than usual on Samurai, fact is that it was a common theme throughout the day, as rides that had once got the blood rushing unlike anything else no longer seemed to do the trick quite as well as they once had. Stealth on the other hand brought the full-throttle speed, height, and thrill to return me to roller coaster nirvana. Even still, I managed to break out a fist pump right at the top of the ride, and on the trip back down to Earth. I was even screaming 'FIST PUMP' at the top of my lungs, so loudly that Jane and Tom in front had to try and turn around to find out what was up, as they thought that with the commotion that I was making, that maybe me or Stacey were hurt in some way. 

After getting completely worn out and tired at Thorpe Park, Stacey, Jason and me were only just getting out Tuesday started. Although it was Jason's actual birthday, we'd both celebrated ours on the weekend prior so that Tuesday night could be free for our friend Becky's 21st. To celebrate Becky's milestone, we went for a night out in Maidstone, and ended up in Envy, which was a very nice looking club, if a little dead what with it being a Tuesday night at all. Highlights include: fist-pumping in the middle of the group, and receiving a late birthday gift from Nat and Chris in the form of a hilarious to look at, funnier to drink from Booby-mug! We had a wicked time in Kent's County Town and it looked as if the birthday girl was having a ball. Meanwhile the birthday boy, Jason looked a little sullen on the night of his 23rd. Methinks it may have something to do with being a little lovesick... 


The Monday prior to Thorpe Park and Maidstone was as I already mentioned, my birthday. I turned 22 at 10:41am. To mark the day, Stacey treated me to one hell of a day out. We started it with our first ever visit to Madame Tussauds, and I was completely blown away by the Marvel section that they've added in, including the wondrous Marvel 4D adventure that makes use of the dome left behind by the old London Planetarium. Stacey had also booked tickets to the Sealife center, so after lunch we headed there and got to see all manner of sealife, including stingrays, jellyfish, starfish, penguins, and sharks. Some of the sights there were pretty breathtaking. Once we were finished with the Sealife Center, we headed next door to the London Film Museum which had various props from major movies, as well as exhibits of certain films and stars, and even featured a set from Star Wars. From there we headed to the Forbidden Planet store, where Stacey allowed me to get my geek on, and bought me a Dark Tower graphic novel, following which we went to the cinema in Leicester Square. We watched Bad Teacher which was pretty much what it said on the tin, it was pretty funny, but nothing spectacular. We then ended our day with a huge feast in Planet Hollywood, overlooked by yet more movie memorabilia. I enjoyed some sizzling fajitas, washed down by a Dark Knight cocktail. All in all, it's fair to say that Stacey provided me with a jam-packed birthday to go with what had been a fully-loaded few days. 

Wednesday was day booked off to rest, recover, and recuperate from the mayhem. We got up, feeling rather hungover and deflated at 11ish, and got ourselves around to watching the highly anticipated fifth season premiere of Dexter, after which I discovered that finally, after months and months of pain-staking job hunting, that I have a new full time, proper adult, careery-type job. I'm officially leaving the world of retail next week, and in a week and half will be embarking on my recruitment career. I can not wait. The hours promise to be long, and the work hard, but I'm up for the challenge. Recruitment has piqued my interest for a while now, and I feel that I'll do a terrific job of it. 

With that news, I'll leave it for now... Exciting times are ahead for sure. For now, I'm gonna continue to fist pump.... Woo Woo Woo - You Know It!

Monday, 13 June 2011


I finished reading the penultimate volume to Stephen King's Dark Tower series this evening - Song of Susannah. With only one more part to this epic quest to read (and then the numerous graphic novel spin-offs and the additional novel that Sai King is to release upon the world next year), it's safe to say that my own personal journey to reach the Dark Tower is nearing completion after four whole years. For those of you reading this that may not have seen my previous musings on King's Dark Tower books, then let me just fill you in a tad to say that I've rather enjoyed taking the slow-approach with these novels, and will be sad to leave mid-world and end-world come the end of the literary road.

I probably sound (or read) like a bit of a loser right about now, but truth be told I don't care much about that. I've been enjoying - and still am - these books and whole-heartily recommend them to all, especially with the first movie adaptation only a mere two years away from us now. What inspired me to start writing again tonight though was the addition of some of the entries from Stephen King's own personal journals included at the end of the book. These journal entries span from the mid-seventies right the way through to 1999, and basically tell of the long, artistic endeavour in which King travelled to produce this World of the Gunslinger and the Dark Tower. It's a fascinating read - almost as much so as the terrific tale that precedes it - as it also tells of Stephen King's own personal battles with alcoholism among other issues while he was dealing with them first hand. Everything he speaks to himself of in these 'Dear Diary' moments tells like one of his eery stories and even culminates in a life-altering event, much like what would happen in one of his bestsellers. Many-a Stephen King fan reading this will probably know of the event in the writer's life that I'm referring to, and if not I ask you really? The incident that nearly killed the world's greatest popular novelist has even been parodied in Family Guy... Twice!

The Pieces of the Puzzle

Having reached this point in my reading of Roland and his trials and tribulations in a bid to reach that ever elusive Dark Tower, it would seem that my life - here in the real world - is starting to take form. I mentioned a couple of blogs back about how Stacey had finally been made a permanent fixture in her office, like a piece of the furniture if it does ya. Well, she's doing great, and I'm extremely happy and proud for her. In my world - Our World - I get the sense that everything is slowly, but surely, coming together. Change is afoot, and in the best possible of ways methinks and mehopes. I have finished my degree at last, and with that comes the climax to my life's work to date: Educating myself. I know, I know, we learn new things everyday, but I'm excited and a little nervous about the fact that I'm no longer a student of the game, so to speak. I've even decided to broaden the job hunt and am looking at the possibilities of working in the big, scary city. I'm 22 next week, so I guess it's time to become a proper grown up... I've already just said that I'm excited, and I am... about everything. I love the uncertainty of life at the moment, just the not-knowing of it all. For instance: Where will I be working in a month's time? What will I be doing? When will I be flying the nest? - These are very, very exciting times indeed, and I'm savouring every delicious minute of it! I even find myself daydreaming about all the little ways in which my life will change when I'm a full-timer. Obviously I'll have more money rolling in and will (fingers crossed) be able to move out soon enough. But I also wonder about my spare-time and all my little hobbies and interests. If I commute to London, the train journey each day, back and forth, will be a little bit of Me-Time, as I can already picture myself sitting in an uncomfy, smelly chair each day, moving at 200 miles per hour reading the latest Stephen King, or playing the newest game on my Nintendo, or even watching some movie or TV show on my iPod. 

According to Stacey though, many officey types that she knows are all into exercise, so maybe I'll abandon many of my likes to tone my abs. I suppose at the very least I should get back on the ol' bicycle. My weekly 411 column will likely become an immediate casualty as I just don't see how I'll have the time to commit to it every week any longer. One of my main concerns though is that I not stop writing. I hope to always keep this blog and don't see any reason for it to end, especially since the entries are always sporadic anyways. I guess I'm overreacting now though about it all, as I don't really know what the near future holds for me at the moment. I just want to make sure that I never stop writing as it's something I love to do, yet is something that I can easily see being forgotten about until one day, a much older version of myself (possibly middle-aged, maybe older) rediscovers this blog and wonders just what in the hell happened, just like a scene out of a movie! I'm sure it'll never get to that though. Sure.

Oli Oli Alioli

I cooked dinner for the family tonight. I produced a chili-con-carne, and the general verdict seems to be that it's better than the one Mum's been serving us up for two decades. I'm sure in truth though that it's only an illusion in that Mum's recipe has been enjoyed so many times that mine comes along and looks all new and shiny, and therefore better. Although I did include sour cream, nachos and guacamole to spruce things up from the tried and true Chili 'n' Rice only combo.
While in the supermarket hunting down the ingredients for the meal ('hunting down' sounds so much cooler than 'shopping for'), I remembered a lunch that was enjoyed by myself, and by Stacey in Spain last year. ALIOLI! Alioli is a garlic mayonnaise-like substance that isn't quite mayonnaise. We ate it en Espana spread on pieces of baguette, with a spoonful of tinned tomato puree matter dashed on top, followed by a pinch of salt. Ah it was delicious, and it took until now - 9 months later - to remember to look the damn stuff up! I guess thoughts like that need the required pregnancy time to be born into my head again. Anywho, the bottom line is that I couldn't find it, and so am left wondering whether this garlic-tasting treat is available on our shores. If anyone can help in the hunt for some alioli, it would be much appreciated.

The Monsters Hiding Under the Sofa?

One final note before signing out for the night (Sleepsville awaits my presence), we re-watched the Disney/Pixar classic Monsters Inc. the other week, 'we' being Stacey and me. It's a fantastically heartwarming film that makes you both laugh and cry... not that I cry at films... I'm a man afterall...
It turns out that Stacey takes some of the subject matter a little seriously. Now, she's always had this habit of having to put her feet up on my lap which I thought nothing of - Maybe that's just how she was comfortable sitting - Maybe not. No, Stacey would only put her feet up on my lap when she wasn't wearing slippers or any other appropriate footwear. For you see, there could be monsters lurking in the teeny, tiny crevice beneath the sofa, or bed, or whatever the hell you're sitting on, and apparently the defence against such terrors is warm, soft and comfortable footwear. Hazzah! 

Weird foot fetishes aside, I am in for a hell of a week, as we're pub-quizzing it up tomorrow night, and then this weekend the birthday festivities of myself and a few other friends kick off. I'm looking forward to it all, and will make sure to write about it all, I'm sure. Sure. Still can't believe I'm going to be 22, the age of a couple of ducks as Stacey keeps telling me. Oh well, at least I'm not 23 yet, eh sweetie? Oh yeah and while all the TV shows I've been watching recently have decided to go and take inconsiderate mid-series breaks - I'm looking at you South Park and Doctor Who - the ultimate in television shows is back, as Dexter returns for its 5th season in the UK as kind of an early birthday present from the TV Gods. Life really is piecing itself together.