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Monday, May 24


Even when I'm less busy than normal, life seems to be eventful. Let's discard landlord visits, misbehaving cats, days at work where things make sense, and days at work where things make no sense. Let's avoid the idea of publicising the various previews of the Fringe show, and somehow procrasting over certain aspects of the preparation for said show in terms of rehearsal and rewrites. Let's even avoid getting various bits of life in order for the upcoming trip to Budapest. What's left?

Well, plenty.

It's at this stage in writing a blog entry, that I write a series of titles for the rest of the post; these will become what I write about. Normally, you might just read ahead and discover them as though they'd always been there, but here's me pulling back the curtain on how this particular trick is done. I'll be writing the titles first, then filling it all in. It's not rocket science; it's not even interesting, but it's truthful.

Gigging in Leeds
Friday night was the night of a gig in Leeds City Centre. I don't gig that far up north very often. It's for a good reason; it's a bloody long way away. I thought I'd arranged a bed for a night at a friend's place, but I set off with the 75% intention of making it a round trip, assuming I wasn't too knackered.

We're talking a 4 hour car journey from here to Leeds. It's not to be pooh poohed on a Friday evening; Stuff could go quite wrong. Traffic can hurt.

As it was, the journey passed by ok. I felt fat... but that's because I am fat. That's not a feeling, it's a fact. A fat fact.

I made it to Leeds at quite a reasonable time. I'd not quite worked out where the gig was, but a bit of random circling of the one-way system, to the surprise of the Sat Nav, and it was soon clear where I was heading. I found a car park at around 8.15pm, and then I was on my way to the venue.

Now I'd been warned that it might not be especially busy. I hadn't been warned firmly enough. It was really really not busy. That's not to say that I "require" it to be busy. Gigs are what they are. I'm not going to object so much if there aren't many people in. That's how the cookie crumbles. It was very quiet, though. Enough said about it. Honestly. Quiet, though. Very. Quiet. Ssssh.

Anyway, we went ahead with the gig and I had a few moments of big hilarity, a few moments when I had to lean on them, a few drops, and the cookie was crumbled. I wish there was a highlight greater than when I got the giggles about my description of the stage curtain looking a bit like a man's perineum. Barrel. Scraped.

Then it was time to decide whether to go to my friend's house or whether to head home. I'd decided to head home. I'd also received some texts from my friend which I'd somehow assumed meant that he was heading to Leeds from Glasgow. This turned out not to be the case. I rang him to say something like "don't rush back on my account" to discover he was still in Glasgow. There'd been a mix-up on dates and I hadn't been especially well organised in reminding him of the dates. So, no apologies to make, I was going home and nothing was going to be affected by this. What could possible stop me getting on the road?

The Naughty Ticket Machine
The title gives this away. I put my ticket into the barrier gate of the car park and was told I needed to see a cashier. I assumed that the machine was faulty, so parked up again and went to a pay station. The pay station tried to charge me £30. It had decided that I'd been there for nearly 2 days. That's impressive. I know time flies when you're having fun, but I hadn't had that much fun. I had no option. I had to press the help button.

This is where a disembodied voice in a call centre started patronising me. It patronised me because I couldn't hear what it was saying and was trying to work it out by asking questions: "you want me to put the card in?" or "am I meant to press the button now?". The guy at the other end assumed I was an idiot. I assumed he was an idiot because I'd already told him I couldn't hear him clearly because the machine was distorting, and he was shouting even harder at me. In the end, he understood that I'd only been in the car park for a couple of hours and tried to charge me the hourly rate. I pointed out that there was a night rate... then he pressed some buttons, told me to press a button of my own, and the machine basically said "give me £4 and I'll give you a new ticket which will let you out".

What had been a £30 hostage situation eventually became a rather amenable £4 exit fee. Job done.

Sleeping until Ironing Time
I got home late. 2am. That's not too bad for a long-haul gig. I spent some time "decompressing" and then hit the hay quite late. I zonked out for a long time. I remember my girlfriend going to work, dumping a cat on the bed, which quickly disappeared, and telling me the other one was outside. I definitely remember waking up around 10am to go and find the other cat, who was shouting at me from the outside of the house, and bringing him in. At this point, I think the first cat came back to sleep with me for a little.

Then it was half past one. The day was largely gone. What should I do with my time? I decided to spend a little time hugging the cat... because I can... and then I took on the ironing pile. This took about 3 hours. It was good, though. I just stayed in and did some ironing. No stress, just me, the new iron, the clothes, and the TV.

A Glut of Doctor Who
It's been quite a Doctor Who based week. The best way to understand how much Doctor Who this is is to itemise it. On Thursday evening, I watched 3 of the 4 episodes of "The War Machines" - a 3rd series William Hartnell serial. I finished this off while ironing on Saturday. Then there was the two Peter Cushing Doctor Who movies, which disappeared under the ironing on Saturday - Doctor Who and the Daleks and Dalek Invasion Earth 2150AD. These were entertaining and cinematic, with some truly authentic Who traits, like a gorgeous blue box, and an ingenious and enigmatic Doctor. They were also 60's formula films where Roy Castle in the first and Bernard Cribbins in the second were both romantic lead and comic foil characters (mainly the second). Thing is, they had some lovely cinematography, which was really enjoyable, even if the characterisations and scenarios were lame in other respects. I'm glad I watched them.

Saturday night was part one of the latest Doctor Who two parter... and then we also watched both parts of a David Tennant story - Silence in the Library and The Forest of Dreams.

That's a lot of Doctor Who. But I like this programme and I'll watch it if I want to.

Doing nothing
Sunday was occupied with sitting around, doing nothing and having fun.

Joe ****ing Power
I couldn't sleep Sunday night. So I went to Channel 4's on demand service and watched the Derren Brown Investigates in which he met Joe Power. This led me to write a reasoned guest book entry on Joe Power's website, pointing out that Power wasn't actually stitched up, and that he seemed perfectly capable of claiming to do readings in any situation that suited him - i.e. not at someone's home, without apparently knowing who the people were - when he was performing in a theatre, but had to immediately blame Derren's Brown's experimental set up for the abject failure in his obvious attempts at Cold Reading at the end of the show. This, simply, is a charlatan being defensive because he got caught out. I found this individual to be a deeply unpleasant cynical manipulator of people.

Derren Brown's conclusion that mediumship might bring comfort to some individuals was a rather charitable point. I think the orange-painted mugs whom this man swindles are truly naive and credulous... but they don't deserve being ripped off.

Skeptics Galore
I'm enjoying the world of Skepticism. In my travels (and I spent about 9 hours in the car on Friday), I've been listening to Righteous Indignation, a podcast which casts its skeptical eye on whatever paranormal/non-scientific stuff is surfacing in the news. As I mentioned on Tuesday, this podcast sort of sets me off, as it contains the thought processes you need to see through the bullshit people peddle. Once you spot some of it...

As a final bit of news, I've discovered that my master plan to provide good software to provide genuine help to a real person... well, it paid off. Yay!


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