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Crawling through technology, life and love

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Pool Paradise - GC on Wii

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Books recently read:
Time Out Guide to Havana (and Cuba)
And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks - William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac
At My Mother's Knee ... and Other Low Joints: The Autobiography - Paul O'Grady
Star Maker - Olaf Stapledon
My Booky Wook - Russell Brand
When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
Then We Come To The End - Joshua Ferris
A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon
The End of Mr. Y - Scarlett Thomas
I Never Knew That About London - Christopher Winn
The Arsenal Miscellany - Adam Gold
Young Hearts Run Free: The Real Story of the 1970s - Dave Haslam
Magical Thinking - Augusten Burroughs
Veronika Decides To Die - Paulo Coelho
Time Out Guide - Amsterdam
Lillian's Story - Kate Grenville
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Schott's Original Miscellany - Ben Schott
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J K Rowling
A Gay History Of Britain - Matt Cook
Time Out Guide to Madrid
Time Out Guide to New York
Kingdom Come - J. G. Ballard
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
Mutants - Aramand Marie Leroi
A Young Man's Passage - Julian Clary
Growing Pains - Billie Piper
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Wild Swans - Jung Chang
Highbury: The Story of Arsenal N.5 - Jon Spurling
Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins - Rupert Everett
Affinity - Sarah Waters
Lighthousekeeping - Jeanette Winterson
Tipping The Velvet - Sarah Waters
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Of Human Bondage - W Somerset Maugham
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Lucky Man - Michael J Fox
Labyrinth - Kate Mosse
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
The Night Watch - Sarah Waters
The Pedant's Revolt - Andrea Barham
The Republic Of Trees - Sam Taylor
Written On tbe Body - Jeanette Winterson
Untold Stories - Alan Bennett
The Plot Against America - Philip Roth
Read All About It - Max Clifford
The Folding Star - Alan Hollinghurst
Thursbitch - Alan Garner
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
Staying Alive - Matt Beaumont
The Bookseller Of Kabul - Asne Seierstad
Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince - J K Rowling
A Short History Of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
Count Karlstein - Philip Pullman
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Spell - Alan Hollinghurst
The Double Life Of Daniel Glick - Maurice Caldera
The Smoking Diaries - Simon Gray
Straight- Boy George
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
Deception Point - Dan Brown
The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Sydney - Time Out Guide
Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
Eleanor Rigby - Douglas Coupland
The Scarecrow and His Servant - Philip Pullman
Tha Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
The Line Of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst
Barcelona - Time Out Guide
The Closed Circle - Jonathan Coe
The Clerkenwell Tales - Peter Ackroyd
Copenhagen - TimeOut Guide
The Butterfly Tattoo - Philip Pullman
The Broken Bridge - Philip Pullman
In Search of the Pleasure Palace - Marc Almond
Brick Lane - Monica Ali
Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
Last Exit To Brooklyn - Hubert Selby Jr
You Shall Know Our Velocity - Dave Eggers
Touching The Void - Joe Simpson
Life Of Pi - Yann Martel
Istanbul - Time Out Guide
Millennium People - J G Ballard
The Duchess Who Wouldn't Sit Down - Jesse Browner
Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
Eats, Shoots and Leaves - Lynne Truss
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
Our Man In Havana - Graham Greene
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
Lyra's Oxford - Philip Pullman
Doran - Will Self
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
the book, the film, the t-shirt - matt beaumont
High Society - Ben Elton
Man And Wife - Tony Parsons
I Was A Rat - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix - J R Rowling
Great Apes - Will Self
Barrel Fever - David Sedaris
Round Ireland With A Fridge - Tony Hawkes
Close Range - Annie Proux
The Third Way - Anthony Giddens
dot.con - John Cassidy
The Salmon of Doubt - Douglas Adams
One Hit Wonderland - Tony Hawkes
The Thief Lord - Cornelia Funke
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
The Cloud Sketcher - Richard Rayner
Keane: the Autobiography - Roy Keane
A Wasteland of Strangers - Bill Pronzini
The English - Jeremy Paxman
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People - Toby Young
Dead Famous - Ben Elton
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman (again)
The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman (again)
Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman (again)
The Bear and The Dragon - Tom Clancy
101 Reykjavik - Hallgrimur Helgason
Forward The Foundation - Isaac Asimov
Carter Beats The Devil - Glen David Gold
The Tin Princess - Philip Pullman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Tiger In The Well - Philip Pullman
The Rotters Club - Jonathan Coe
Generation X - Douglas Copeland
Perfume - Patrick Suskind
All Families Are Psychotic - Douglas Coupland
The Shadow In The North - Phillip Pullman
No Logon - Naomi Klein
The Dirt - Motley Crue
Miss Wyoming - Douglas Coupland
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman
The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman
Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman
The Ruby in the Smoke - Phillip Pullman
The Sandman - Miles Gibson
Blood and Gold: The Vampire Marius - Anne Rice
The Actrocity Exhibition - J G Ballard
Shameless - Paul Burston
Sing Out! - Boze Hadleigh
Brilliant Orange - David Winner
New Boy - William Sutcliffe
London - Peter Ackroyd
Wonder Boys - Michael Chabon
One For My Baby - Tony Parsons
How To Be Good - Nick Hornby
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Lust - Geoff Ryman
Tulip Fever - Deborah Moggach
Dead Souls - Ian Rankin
The House Of Sleep - Jonathan Coe
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers
What a carve up! - Jonathan Coe
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
The Grapes Of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Heartwood - James Lee Burke
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Man and Boy - Tony Parsons
The Map Of Love - Ahdaf Soueif
e - Matt Beaumont
The e Before Christmas - Matt Beaumont


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Monday, December 31, 2007
Kevin Greening RIP...
It was with great sadness that I heard on Sunday morning of Kevin Greening's passing, aged just 44. I remember when Kevin joined Radio 1 in the mid-nineties and did weekend shows - his dry/wry sense of humour would made me laugh. Later in 1997/98 he would wake me up weekday mornings along with Zoe Ball his co-presenter of the breakfast show. I always thought it was Kevin that should host that show by himself but he wasn't the pushy type.

A few years back Kevin moved to our street and I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know him personally. He was funny, bright and great company. We shared a few beers every now and again, went out for dinner a few times and went to some occasional gigs. I remember clinging to him on the back of his beloved motorbike one warm summer's night as we sped down to Somerset House to watch Sigor Ros together. And on another occasion going to see a band play at the Garage but getting completely plastered at the bar and missing the show altogether because we were having too much fun. I'll miss you Kevin.

The BBC has a nice obituary here and some nice comments by Trevor Dann here. And some members of the public have left some lovely comments here.

Friday, December 28, 2007
Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham...
On Saturday Paul and I went to the Emeroids to see what promised to be the game of the season - the Tottingham / Arsenal derby. Bendtner got the winner on his first touch but the opener was from Adebayor: Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Christmas Day...
We had a lovely Xmas yesterday and I got lots of great presents. It was quiet day for me to begin with as I was home alone but then things picked up in the afternoon when I drove over to Grays to pick Stuart up. After Dr Who (a bumper 70 minutes of festive mayhem) we went over to Andy and Tim for some late supper and a catch up. A nice way to finish the day.

Monday, December 24, 2007
Snow, Snow. Thick, Thick Snow...
For an Xmas message click here: A Happy Xmas to All My Readers.

Friday, December 21, 2007
All Good Things...
Spooks finished this week. I loved the first and second seasons, rather drifted away after that but was back onboard for all of this season six. Having a consistent story line running through the series really helped and it was genuinely thrilling to watch. Roll on season seven. And come back Ros.

The other thing that ended this week was walking-in-the-shadow-of-The-West-Wing Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (or should that be Sunset on the Studio 60). Such a shame as it started so well but then it (and we) lost the will to live. Take some time out Aaron Sorkin and come back better than ever.

Thursday, December 20, 2007
Elf Yourself...
Ian sent us the most fabulous eChristmas card. Watch Stu and I dancing like elves! Yay! Thanks Ian!

Kiki & Herb Stick The Yule Log In The Shepherd’s Bush...
Last night Andrew, Tim, Marcus, Stu and I went to see Kiki & Herb in their show Stick The Yule Log In The Shepherd’s Bush at the Shepherds Bush Empire. It was the usual festive mix of some oldies, some newies but all goodies. Kiki DuRane (the aging, alcoholic, female lounge singer) was in good form with rants about politics, celebrity and Christmas. Andrew and Tim were Kiki virgins so it was nice to watch their faces as at various points in the show they roared with laughter, gasped in amazement or their jaws dropped to the floor. Great fun. And what would Christmas be without Kiki & Herb?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Flash iPlayer...
BBC's catchup iPlayer can now be accessed using Flash. At last.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Marc Almond at IndigO2...
The Saturday before last David, Paul and I went to see Marc Almond perform at the IndigO2. It was great show as expected and piqued with the oddness we've all come to expect when La Almond takes to the stage; the odd tantrum (lights shining in his eyes too brightly), the odd unexpected song (Ugly Head) and the odd bit of drama (running off stage clutching head). Great see him back on form and in a venue befitting him.

Monday, December 17, 2007
Hello Spice Boy...
Last night Stu was just about well enough for us to make our long anticipated trip to the O2 Arena to go and see The Spice Girls. We spent two hours spicing up our lives, jigging about and partying like it was 1996. Everyone cheered in a genuine but oh so slightly ironic way whenever Victioria Beckham took to the vocals. The night was camp as tits and great, great fun. See them if you can.

Sunday, December 16, 2007
Appendix: Update 6...
Stu is well on the road to recovery now; he's sleeping right through the night, up and about during the days and putting some of the weight he's lost back on. He'll be off work for a couple of weeks though until he's work fit.

Friday, December 14, 2007
DivX comes to the Xbox 360...
Yay! Finally DivX on the Xbox 360 via the new dashboard update!

Thursday, December 13, 2007
Appendix: Update 5...
At last Stu is home. He's very thin, very weak but on the mend. I'll have him up and running about by Xmas I hope.

The Golden Compass...
On Sunday Sarah, Ben, Paul, Mark, Drew, David and I went to see The Golden Compass. It's not been quite the runaway success that New Line had hoped and if you haven't read the book you might find the film a bit confusing. Rather like the first Harry Potter film at times it has perhaps stuck rather too closely to it's source material and at other times strayed too far from it. The result is that it sometimes loses its narrative drive. I loved it though. When Stu's feeling better I'll go and see it again with him.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Appendix: Update 4...
Stu was much better last night - although throwing up when I arrived. He called this morning and (touch wood) he'll be able to come home today. I'll probably take the rest of the week off to look after him as he's still pretty weak.

Warner Road...
After many a year my flatmate Paul is moving on. He's found a lovely place that he really likes up in Blackhorse Road and he's getting back on the property ladder. I'm really sorry to see him go but at the same time I'm really pleased for him.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Appendix: Update 3...
Just heard. Stu can go back on food and is off the drip. If he resumes (how can I put this?) normal bodily function then they'll let him out tomorrow. Yay!

Appendix: Update 2...
Stu's scan yesterday was clear which is good. He was still in pain though so was still on morphone, nil by mouth and a glucose drip. They think it might be an internal infamation but they've doubled his antibiotic dosage just in case. Unsurprisely the morphone is making his halucinate. I got a text from him at 5am this morning saying 'he'd call be after the gym'. Bless.

Monday, December 10, 2007
Appendix: Update...
Stu is still in hospital. We were hoping he'd have come home by Saturday but he's still in there and still in some pain. Yesterday they put him back on nil by mouth, gave him a saline drip again and put him back on morphine (amongst a bucket of other pills). He's been sweating a lot too and feeling dizzy. I guess this sweating is simply a result of the strong pain killers he's on but I do feel completely helpless watching him just lying there. He's having a CT scan later today and we'll see what news that brings. Hopefully it's all just a minor setback and I'll be able to bring him home soon.

Friday, December 07, 2007
Stuart is currently lying in hospital. His slight stomach ache on Wednesday turned into excruciating pain overnight and he was admitted to the Whitechapel's Royal London A&E yesterday.

I left the office early and went to see him. I found him lying on a trolley in a corridor. He'd been there for four hours. Soon after I arrived they moved him though to a critical assessment unit. Thereby narrowly managing to keep to that 'inconvenient' four hour Government target.

The critical assessment unit was not a ward as such. It was just a holding area really. Not much better than the corridor. The nurses were great albeit rather overstretched. Stu and I sat there watching the admissions and having a laugh. Stu kept saying, "you don't have to stay you know". But I did. Have to stay that is. I wanted to. I know from experience it's no picnic having appendicitis and simply lying in a hospital bed waiting for a doctor to show up can be quite nerve racking too.

The disclaimer form Stu had to sign did make us wonder whether operations are ever successful! I'm sure they were only doing their job but we were made oh so fully aware of every possible risk of having the operation. Just covering themselves of course but it was a bit like those American drug adverts that list twenty seven different side effects. The one that always stuck in my mind was "possible anal leakage". Yuk.

Anyway the form got signed and we waited to see if they could do the surgery that night. Sadly there was a bit of congestion so his op got bumped until today. He'll have a general anaesthetic, through-the-belly-button key-hole surgery to take out his appendix and hopefully be able to come home on Saturday. I'll be looking after him for a few days until he can get back on his feet. Just one week off work though. Ah, the wonders of modern medicine.

As I was walking out of the assessment unit last night I couldn’t help thinking that hospitals are funny old things. They engender a mixture of safety and danger. You go there to be examined, diagnosed and hopefully made better. But at the same time it has hordes of strangers roaming around. It's where you are at your most vulnerable. And it's where people die.

Luckily I know Stu is in safe hands and I'm looking forward to seeing him the other side of surgery later today.

Thursday, December 06, 2007
Brain Teaser - Rings - Answer...
Hopefully you haven't gone too cross-eyed. There are 3 rings in the stereogram.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Brain Teaser - Rings...
Below is a stereogram. How many rings can you see?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Pickled Gerkin...
Last night I went up The Gerkin - well, we should call it 30 St. Mary Axe now I suppose. It was a corporate do laid on by BT and Cisco called Unified Thinking - An Evening With Ellen MacArthur. The good lady herself was there of course and her talk was very interesting; fascinating in fact. I got a signed autobiography and a snap or two. But let's face it the real reason most of us went was to get a chance to see the sights from the top of the tower. Oh and to quaff buckets of free champagne and nibble on those posh nibbles you only seem to get an such events. So there are some upsides to being a corporate drone I suppose. And being pickled at the Gerkin has to be one of them.

Monday, December 03, 2007
Ofcom Sets New Deadline for Mobile Number Porting...
Mobile phone networks in the UK must allow consumers moving to a rival network to take their mobile number with them and consumers must be able to receive calls on that number within two hours of moving to the new network, under new rules coming into force in 2009. Consumers can currently wait for up to five days for number porting under Ofcom rules. A target for reducing that period to two days by 1 April 2008 had been set previously. Today, the communications regulator said two hour transfers must now be implemented by 1 September 2009.

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