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February 21, 2006

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Modern Day Leamington Spa

Having spent nearly 5 terms in and around the Spa, it seems now would be a good time to point out the highlights for future generations. These are not necessarily as spectacular as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Nor are they quite so substantial as the Pyramids. However, they have fascinated me in small, superficial and ultimately pointless ways. So without further ado, here are the Seven Wonders of Leamington Spa:

  • The ever flushing urinals of Robins Well Trust me, they never stop. I can't comment on whether women will ever experience a toilet in a constant state of self cleaning, as I am not privy to the, presumably, pristine state of the women's facilities.

  • The waterless "facilities" of Sugar Urban legend tells us that they turn off the water to force you to buy bottled water once you've had too much vodbull. One things for sure – unflushable toilets create a stench. And washing your hands with redbull isn't the same.

  • The 8pm Oriental Star rush If you fancy dining at the Star, do not go at 8pm. However, by 9pm the whole place is empty. I'm unsure as to whether this says more about the Star, or about the dining habits of Leamington.

  • Suicidal Pedestrians Apparently, those strange Government ads about road safety never aired in Leamington. Combined with the fact that those from Leamington Spa do not fear death (ask around, its true), Leamington locals will not think twice (nor, for that matter, will they look twice) about stepping out into the road, no matter what vehicle is heading for them, and no matter what speed it is travelling.

  • The dubious legal nature of some of the Sun in Splendour's services Again, urban legend has it that the Sun in Splendour, on Tachbrook Road, doubles as a whore house. When the goat is outside, the hoes are in session. I stress urban legend – don't come complaining to me if it turns out to be a lie (and in fact, shame on you for trying).

  • Flames The lesser known cousin of Vialli's – Its on Radford Road and its seven-hundred and thirteen times better. Only ever seen to have closed once, the lovely chappies will cook for you any time of day or night, and even furnish you with the local rag to amuse yourself for five minutes. A must on the way home from any given night out. Even if it was a night out to a curry house or some such meal.

  • The sign on the bridge on Willes Road Granted, this may not be important to many. But if you plan on taking a quick route back to Radford Road from Sugar (and really you should, a red bull jacket fails compared to a beer jacket), you ought to be crossing this bridge. And what better way to commemorate your journey than to read this dedication to yourself. Or to others, should you be so inclined. Now, I have no idea what it says, primarily because I cannot remember the journey home on many occasions. However, it must always be read.

So there you have it. Suck on that, world. The Spa has got you by the nads.

January 09, 2006

Quote Happy?

I seem to be restricting my blogs to this more and more but the whole process of procrastination does dig up some gems:

Following another defeat, Crystal Palace manager Smith pointed to Latvian goalkeeper Alex Kolinko who had been in tears after the game. 'I made up a story about him. I said he came from the poorest mountain village in Latvia where he had to fight bears when he was eight. I said his grandparents had been shot by the Nazis, his mother had died of cancer and his sister was raped by a gang of mountain rebels. But he never shed a single tear because he was strong and brave. Then I told them that one month playing behind our defence had turned him into a blubbering wreck! The players didn't know what to say. Except Clinton Morrison – he said, "It's a shame about his sister".'

I'll add that this was a time when we were a bit shite. We're getting better now!

January 05, 2006

A Raincoat Short of a Wardrobe

Funny the things you find hidden away on message boards. Like this about Croydon's latest nutter:

The funniest thing i saw was this nutter walking around with a helium balloon the other day asking people if they wanted to go on holiday with him to Hawaii. He then got us and asked us to "hop in" the balloon. I couldn't stop laughing until he turned around to my friend, who is about 6'3 and build like the great wall of china and says "not you, you can get in my speed boat and come to Miami", he then proceeds to point to his shoe and try to usher my friend in. Very funny.

December 17, 2005

Burger King

Suitably tired, hungover, ruffled and probably quite malodourous, I made my way across London this morning, stopping for a breakfast portion of large fries and a medium coke (my stomach really couldn't face a "chicken" royale).

But it did go some way to cheering me up for I found this on the side of my coke:

…You could have gone larger, you didn't, you could have gone smaller, but you didn't want that. You're decisive and bold….

Or something to that effect (as I suggested, I was not in a "memorise what it says on my drink container" mood). Impressive how much crap can be written about the mere fact that I'd gone for an average, regular, medium drink. Made me chuckle though. Much to the bemusement of the others in the carriage, all of whom we're trying to stay away from the scruffy looking wreck in the corner.

November 30, 2005

Notepad of the Mind

I like to think of my memory as something akin to a notepad. When revising for an exam the other day, I had a terrible realisation. My notepad is full. I've reached the cardboard at the back. Not only that, but I've written all over the bit of card. And wasted a corner of it with a doodle (the doodle is, I think, Quagmire from Family Guy, but its not a very good one and I can't be a 100% on this).

See now the problem is, while I have a mental notepad, I only seem to have a mental biro. Pencil would have been too good in the way of forward planning. So here I am, a full, biro-written notepad. And no mental Tip-Ex. Fortunately, I seem to be scraping through the last year of my degree with a massive wad of post it notes which are slowly taking over all the space inside of my head. Its getting a bit messy.

Now ideally I could tidy it up. Rip out the needless pages. The ones that still have the lyrics to Barbie Girl, a perfectly maintained image of the main exit at Bromley Railway Station, and my seat number for Palace's trip to Wembley for the 1996/7 play off final. Of course, this doesn't work. By even acknowledging their existence, they'll be stuck there for another half a dozen years. And because they've been recently viewed, the notepad will always fall open on one of those pages.

So what do I need to do to readily discover the rules on admissibility for prior inconsistent statements? I can find the page that tells me they exist. I just can't find the page that tells me what they are.

I think, frankly, I need an upgrade. An electronic, cross referenced database. With a junk filter.

Alternatively, I may just be sleep deprived and a little bit excited that I turned 21 a few hours ago. Good night.

November 13, 2005

Simon Jordan Gold

"Note to self Re: the Fonz..."

A little explanation to my housemates for that random outburst of laughter a moment ago. Reading an article by Simon Jordan (Crystal Palace Chairman) in his fortnightly Observer column (13/11/05):

In my opinion, no owner in their right mind would willingly invite an average agent into his academy, any more than a brothel owner would let a syphilitic nutter into his brothel


"...Mark, you are NOT the Fonz"

November 10, 2005


Writing about web page http://www.qarxis.com/Fainting_Goats

"Blitzkrieg! I'm in the Ardennes, nothing can hurt me in the Ardennes!"

See the above link. I've been replaying the clip and pissing myself laughing for the last 20 minutes. Why the hell does this happen? It must be the greatest cock up mother nature has ever made in terms of a self-defence mechanism.

Quite funny though.

"Mark? You're in the stationary cupboard?"

November 06, 2005

An Ode to the M40

"This was definitely a good idea..."

Everytime I head home, I have to take a good hour and a half journey down the M40. Today, I noticed some very strange things on that trip:

– There is a concept of "car friends". Car friends are other cars who tend to keep up with you for a long period of time. Often a yo-yoing effect is involved. Well today, I made a car enemy. He kept with me alright, but he wouldn't bugger off out of the way and was frankly infuriating in countless indescribable ways. Eventually, he exited at Oxford and I laughed a manic laugh to myself, finally vanquishing my foe.

– Several other motoring delinquents were encountered on the journey. They all either emerged or disappeared at Oxford. I have come to the conclusion that Oxford harbours all kind of evil motorists. I can just imagine them plotting on how best to attach spikes to their wheel hubs.

– A slightly less paranoia driven observation: my windscreen wipers will not wipe in time with any dance bassline on Big Tunes 3 - Disc 2. Fast is too fast, medium is too slow, and slow is just a stupid thing to try and fit to dance music.

So if you see an angry looking fellow steaming up the motorway, looking extra cautious and paranoid around Oxford, and playing incessantly with his windscreen wipers, chances are its me. Or someone equally impatient with motorway-driving.

"...There is no possible way that this wasn't a good idea."

November 03, 2005

A Scheme Worthy of Jimmy Carr

"But Officer, she sat on it"....

I've been putting some thought into what to blog lately. I could eternally rant about how woefully inadequate Leamington-based motorists are, but I reckon it'd get boring. Football offered some opportunities, but I'm still sidelined. So following a trip to see Saw 2 the other night, a mass murder-influenced discussion brought up the idea of making a documentary. About students. In the style of a nature programme. David Attenborough style commentary and a leafy twig could provide endless opportunities!

Thing is, I woke up the next morning and contemplated the possible drawbacks. Most notably the risk of someone twatting me round the head for filming them and sarcastically muttering something about their dress sense. That, and the lack of a camera.

So I came up with something new. Inspired by re-watching an old-ish Jimmy Carr DVD, his placing of inappropriate ads inspired me. I'm going to start placing Lonely Hearts ads. Just to guage how desperate people really are. All replies will be posted up here. We'll see just how many people out there really are looking for an "Albino he-she, one leg considerably longer than other, birthmark covering 3.7% of body, allergic to cardboard, seeking similar". Or just how popular an "Half Italian thoroughbred in need of a ride" really is. There's always the classic "Desperate bloke needs shag. Will consider porkers" to consider.

This will not be a purely sex-orientated male venture though. Oh no. I've thought about this. Less women use personals. So, if we put in some fictional women, we can see how desperate the male population is. "27 year old single BBW seeks weedy bloke for interesting social experiment". Etc.

Suggestions welcome.

..."Yeah, right. Now get in with the nonces."

November 02, 2005

Monks And Halloween

Writing about web page http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/chinde/entry/making_evil_monk/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

"You want some do you?..."

Halloween photos are now up and can be found here. Click the link above for the inspiration, making and enjoyment of those wonderful hooded garments.


October 28, 2005

A funny old game

"OK, so they're a bit crinkled. 'Hello, police, somebody broke into my office and crinkled my papers and things'"...

Much seems to be happening with football in my world lately. Suddenly realising that I've signed up to not only a serious, full match specification league (shin pads necessary – but no magic sponge), but that I've signed up to 5-a-side too. Crikey, in week two I was impressed that I ran from the nether regions behind Car Park 15 to Gibbet Hill. (shock #2 for the last 2 minutes – I just typed 'crikey' – too much neighbours).

Unsurprisingly then, our first match didn't go so great. Ocean's Eleven, and strictly eleven – we'd forgotten subs – collapsed to an 8–1 defeat. WBS up next, notorious for being a bit 'good'. If we manage to score this week the celebrations are likely to be injury-inducingly good. In other words, I think we'll just pile in on top of each other then all walk home with damaged vertebrae. Or something. I'm not a doctor.

Of course, I say 'we'. Not me. I got injured. First bloody game and I smash up my toe. Alas! All is not lost! I can still act out my game winning plans on Pro Evo. But I somehow doubt that'll be any good for fitness.

But the football shenanigans don't end there! Oh no! In the space of two weeks, the heroes of SE25 have gone from useless, to that'll-do, to spectacular. Losing to your biggest rivals, who are, incidentally, a crock of shite, only to go on and ease past a mediocre Burnley side before humiliating the European Champions really doesn't make any sense.

..."Its not piss"

October 12, 2005

Magalluf, Prague, and Leamington Spa

So Freshers' Fortnight is over. How was it? Lacking in sleep. That's how. Some how the Law School figured its best to give those living off campus a load of 9am's this year. Add to that my bizarre take up of volunteer work in a vague effort at sharking, and I was up before it was light an unhealthy number of times.

So am I getting old before my time? God I hope not. I used to do this all the time in the first year… I think. Go out all week and still make every lecture. I did… didn't I? It must be Free Spirits. Running around selling a drinking society to students is harder than you'd think. Damnable strong work ethic this year. Or maybe it was Majorca. Coming back from a holiday that generally involved 4 hours sleep a night 2 days before heading back to Leam was perhaps a mistake. An enjoyable mistake though: more like going into the wrong changing rooms and seeing lots of naked women than hammering a nail into your thumb. Might be worth joining the gym and making more mistakes.

But besides the tiredness, can't complain. The Fresher's ball was a dramatic improvement on the Electric Six shambles last year. Not that I'm any the wiser as to who the hell the Go Team are, but they're an entertaining bunch no less.

Actually, I can complain. I should start a petition for some government-funded advanced driver training for the locals. Still absolutely useless, and unbelievably, the fog lights are already out. I've readied my sunglasses in anticipation of an outbreak.

In the meantime, plans for my 21st are underway. A weekend in Prague ought to make a good start. More to follow!

Back to work next week, so that'll be fun. "Hello, could I speak to Mr. X, please, and could he bring his credit card with him…

June 13, 2005

As many a footballer has said.."Just One More Point [Exam]..

The penultimate day of the exam season, for me at least. Three torrid hours now stand between me and an unhealthy intake of alcohol. Oh, plus reading time, but to be honest thats not whats worrying me.

Sadly, international law has lulled me into a false sense of security. Its actually… interesting. Add to this my already revised and examined international criminal law module, I felt pretty darned prepared for this one. Yet with 21 hours before the start, I've just realised that it would probably be best for me to have revised a tad more.

On that basis, I have a few musings:

– Why do Endemol UK consider the end of May to be a good time to start a daily, addictive program? Especially considering its largely exam-taking-student-teenage audience.

– Why do we take exams just when the weathers taking a turn for the better?

– Why will the weather take an inexorable turn for the worse come 5pm tomorrow afternoon?

– Why does my printer think that it'd be funny to get a paper jam whenever I need a past paper?

I could go on, but the Roma are screaming at me from the corner of the room demanding that I revise their plight. Now this is another reason to hate the Hitler's of the world – if you hadn't been such an arsehole, I'd have less to learn.

April 29, 2005

Odds on…

Following on from a conversation with one of my more house-sharing-friendly housemates, and in an attempt to delay writing another essay, I'm opening a book on various household chores. Names will be withheld as I don't know how much the lock on my door can take, and I'm not actually taking bets, its just that light mockery oft gets results.


That casserole dish sitting next to the sink being washed by Monday: 2/1
That casserole dish sitting next to the sink being washed by the person who used it by Monday: 20/1
The rice in the pans left by the sink being scraped into the bin: 10/1
The rice in the pans left by the sink being used as an ad hoc plug: 1/100
Five or more plates being found in Housemate X's room just after putting the dishwasher on: 1/10
Surfaces in the kitchen being so clean you'd eat your dinner off them: 1000/1
Blue carpet turning brown: evens

Best be getting on with that essay now, more odds to be coming soon.

April 17, 2005

Exams cometh..

So this is it. The penultimate day of the Easter holidays. I'd like to say I had a productive Easter, but I don't want to make baby Jesus cry. So the less said about essays and revision, the better.

What else have I managed? I've come close to several coronaries thanks to the relegation-battling (or not as recent weeks have shown) exploits of my beloved red and blue sportsmen. I've been rejected from another Summer placement – though I did make it to the interview stage (hoorah!) – clearly establishing that the city does not take kindly to eyebrow-piercing-shaped-holes-in-your-eyebrow. I've established that Top B is irreplacable, and getting drunk daaan saaaf is far too expensive, though television and working showers are a luxury I shall miss.

Plans for this term (in chronological order) – Organise a Free Spirits Social to the best club night in the region (failing that, Ikon will do [cheap shot I know]). Finish the dark prophecies of academic enslavery (also known as outstanding essays). Success at the coming of said dark prophecies (exams). (I'm not sure if that made sense either, but it sums up my mood towards them).

That's the stuff I have to do out the way. Now what I want to do:

– Get along to the promised utopia that is Spearmint Rhinos.
– Get along to the promised utopia that is Spearmint Rhinos again.

One track mind indeed.

Enough of the bizarre metaphors, and back to the real business. Television. Hustle is the greatest televisual treat of recent years and finally Tuesday nights are given a reason beyond sticky shoes, plastic cups and an altogether unsettling feeling the morning after. Also worthy of a mention is Doctor Who for its all round retro sci-fi comedy efforts, conveniently placed for getting drunk to before Skool Dayz.

And there it is, my most disjointed, aimless, rudderless and most random blog yet. I leave you with these words from a wise old sage (that'll be me after a heavy night on the bus home): "Clothes are the greatest invention of all time. Before clothes, buggery was easy. People everywhere would be walking along, and before you could say bugger, they had been. So remember, my people, clothes are your first line of defense against buggery."

(Might I add, I've had a few this evening as it is)

January 15, 2005

Smoke me a kipper, I'm back for breakfast

A whole 2 months, is it really? I'd better post again then.

There's no real point to this, just a smattering of random goings on in my world. Maybe I should start by updating you all on the state of Leamington's road-goers? Well, it seems that the "Fog Lights – Off" setting remains elusive, the speed limits have dropped by ten miles an hour (though someone obviously forgot to change the signs and/or inform anyone outside of Leamington), a significant number of cyclists are presumably bed-ridden with pneumonia and finally no one bothered to read the section on roundabouts in that shiny new copy of the Highway Code Santa brought them.

In a mini-rant moment, I would also like to congratulate the student driver of a white Nissan Micra, which had obviously failed its last thirteen M.O.T.'s, for taking 15 years off of my life while I followed him in the queue between Campus and the A46. Go get that exhaust looked at buddy, theres cleaner air in a bus depot crammed with flatulent gingivitus sufferers.

In other news, recently found were some still-inflated-balloons under the sofa. These were initially believed to date from Roman times, and were considered to be conclusive proof that those toga-clad colonials knew how to party! Sadly, closer inspection (read: any inspection which allows the logical human brain to identify the object as a balloon) revealed that the balloon was in fact only from a house party in late November 2004.

In entertainment news:

Peep Show and 24 = good, Christmas programming = bad.

Finally, academia. Um, actually thats probably best left out of here.

November 16, 2004

More Leamington–Inspired Motoring Madness

Follow-up to Wobbly Cyclists and Speedlimititus from Crossing the i's, Dotting the t's

Well its been a few weeks since the local motorists last brought my blood to boiling point, but its been quietly simmering away, and recent developments mean I can no longer keep my cool…

So what is it now? People still too slow? Well, yes actually, but thats not the point right now (By the way, ye who sent an email criticising my choice of speedlimititus - you're right, it really is more like speedlimitphobia but it really is lacking in some of the alliterative effect, don't you think?). And credit to the cyclists, they seem to be having greater success in their battle against gravity. However , this time there are two new problems.

The first seems to have been induced by the clocks changing by just a single hour, and the somewhat inevitable onset of Winter. As darkness descends somewhat earlier, the esteemed motorists of Leamington have responded, with a unified outcry of "let there be light!". Fog lights, to be precise. There's just a little problem with this. For all the darkness out there, its really not been foggy yet. And you see, well, fog lights….. The situation is further compounded by the uncertainty as to when the sun sets at the moment – in sheer panic certain members of the motoring public have deduced it is better to simply keep their fog lights on at all times: day, night, fog, rain, snow, and more than likely in blinding sunlight too. At first I confined this befuddling novelty to that of the boy racer's world. But no, the use of fog lights has even been witnessed on Volvos and Rovers.

The result? Well, my retina's now have two scars about a car bonnet's distance apart. Headlights are enough to see at night, so stick to 'em please. Failure to comply will result in my pulling over, and unleashing my housemate on your car, in a San Andreas inspired vigilante fury.

Secondly is a less seasonal problem, more brought on by the fact that other drivers are morons. Indicators. Indicators and roundabouts. If you come onto a roundabout, wishing to take an exit that is, when you go onto the roundabout on your right, by all means, indicate right. But once you have passed the exit before the one you wish to take, indicate left. How you weren't taught this is quite beyond me. Its in the Highway Code, look it up. Until then, that person waiting to pull out of the exit you just took is NOT shaking some coffee beans in his hand. Its me, demonstrating the point to your whole existence.

October 27, 2004

Wobbly Cyclists and Speedlimititus

OK, I've had my month and a half of driving round here now. I'm not going to complain about the traffic in the mornings, or the lack of parking on campus (NB: I haven't paid a penny in parking charges so far – go me). This rant is aimed at two things: Wobbly cyclists and drivers with that dire affliction – speedlimititus.

Firstly: There are a considerable number of cyclists in Leamington. Good on them I say. You're saving the environment and getting fit at the same time (mind you, that cold you're catching is gonna put paid to that). But you'll notice that Leamington to Campus is an 8 mile (via the A46 for the risktakers among you, Kenilworth for normal folk) or 10 mile (via Stoneleigh for those with a penchant for mild risk survival) trip. This is not a walk in the park (quite literally), and by mile 9, climbing the hill up towards campus, you're legs must tire. This tends to make you wobble ever so slightly, or in some cases, veer suicidally across to the middle of the road before sweeping back across and clattering into a bush (maybe this particular cyclist was just drunk, but it was 11am).

I've rambled – what I mean to say is this – stop and rest, and stop wobbling in front of me as I'm coming past, forcing evasive action half way across the road for me. Oh and there seem to be a lot of ageing cyclists who wobble out of practice rather than fault, just get off the road and into a bus, please.

Secondly is this curious epidemic of speedlimititus. It afflicts a wide range of drivers, particularly the elderly, recently passed drivers, or in Leamington, anyone who a) Has a car capable of seating more than 2 people; and b) Does not have a lecture, or anything for that matter, to get to. Symptoms include:

– Extremely slow acceleration. Presumably to prevent from accidentally tipping 31mph. – Extremely gradual braking. Afflicted persons often begin to brake some half mile before the junction which requires said decceleration. This is presumably to pre-empt every possible change in the speed limit. – And now the big one: a tendency to drive (or "peak", if you like) at a minimum of 10mph below the speed limit, though it seems 20mph is a requisite on national speed limit roads. – Finally, these people have a fetish for hanging/sticking things in the back window, with dramatic slogans such as "BACK OFF - baby on board" or, my personal favourite as it is often in 30 inch high letters, readable from the moon, "If you can read this, BACK OFF", presumably aimed at warding off alien invasion.

This is an epidemic that must be dealt with. I do not encourage the breaking of speed limits, merely that folk drive at the speed limits where possible. Please stop pulling out in front of me, travelling at 30mph, and proceeding for a full mile before getting up to my speed.

Finally: those who are suffering at the hands of these plagued persons, I plan to release a car sticker aimed at countering their dramatic slogans. These should be placed in the front windscreen, behind the rear-view mirror. In mirrored writing they shall read – "SPEED UP – I eat babies". (OK, its not quite so dramatic, but I felt "I'm a paedophile" pushed the bounds of good taste)