You know you're a geek when...

... you notice that the toner cartridges for your photocopier look exactly like lightsabres

[cue vvvvwwwooooom vvvvwwwwooooomm lightsabre noise]


Monkey business

Can you keep a secret? I can. Well sort of. I'm going somewhere on Sunday but I can't tell you where. Why can't I tell you? Well, I know the Monkey* reads this blog and I don't want to spoil the surprise. I've already had to leak a little bit of information but I think I've managed not to give it away completely. She knows we're going to see Tony Flow and the Miraculous Masters of Mayhem but I don't think she realises quite how exciting this is. Perhaps you don't either, but trust me, it is. It's been a while since I've seen Tony and the Masters but they're usually worth the wait and the perfect antidote to writing up a PhD thesis (hers not mine).

On a slight tangent, Moley and the Mad Woman went to see Fuerzabruta at the Camden Roundhouse last week. Apparently it was amazing. Not sure about taking the Monkey to the circus though. Do you think they'd let her out (just kidding Monkey!)

* not a real monkey, it's my girlfriend (long story)


Fish and chips a l'orange

Seems like I've started a trend. Shortly after announcing my intention to leave the cosy, leafy Harborne suburban life in favour of the slightly edgier (but in my opinion far cooler) surrounds of Bearwood, my neighbours followed suit. Last night they took posession of the keys to their new palace and added another couple of names to the Bearwood exodus.

Following tradition, we christened the house with a meal of take-away fish and chips (eaten from the paper with fingers of course), sat on the floor. A couple of people had recommended the Lightwoods Fish Bar as the place to go to so, off Rob and I went and, 15 minutes later, returned with enough food to feed a small army - well, 4 normal people plus me and Harry, the dog. We were a little surprised, when we unwrapped the packages, to find that the chips were bright orange. Blogger orange if you will. They looked more like Cheesy Poofs than the chips I'm used to. Now, can anyone tell me, is this normal? They don't make chips like that in Harborne - or anywhere else in Brum I've had chips from. They tasted normal enough.

Perhaps it's a Bearwood thing? What next, purple pasta?


mobile phone menage a trois

Sometimes I think the gadgets I own and use are more intelligent than they're letting on. Continuing the 'new' theme (new house, new job) I've been knocking off those little jobs that have been on my list for ages and at the weekend I finally got around to getting myself a new phone tariff.

My smugness at (theoretically) saving myself money and netting myself free wireless broadband and a shiny new phone into the bargain was short lived though when my 'old' phone decided demonstrate a hitherto unseen sulkiness that I'm pretty sure was not advertised in the spec. K750i caught sight of me unwrapping the shiny new W810i and charging her up and has decided to give me the cold shoulder.

She won't start up (barely a blip of recognition, despite loving attempts to turn her on) and she's withholding privileges. Well, numbers at least. I've got the pictures, mp3s and numbers that were saved to my SIM card but she's withholding the rest and nothing I can say or do will persuade her to give them back. What's worse, she's got all my task lists and reminders ferreted away somewhere too.

After a long day at work, God help us when AI means that our phones are more intelligent than us and have the personality to back it up.

An apple a day


Nostalgia's easier, as time goes by

"I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair… In '77 and '69 revolution was in the air"

So sings Sandi Thom so-called internet sensation and last week's UK number one single spot holder. This BBC online magazine piece asks whether we're looking back on the 60's and 70's with 'Che-tinted glasses' and, a few days after publishing, the comments on the piece seem to support this argument. We love to remember the Dylans and Led Zeppelins, the sit-ins and the counter culture but we often forget the race riots, the 3-day week and the 60's 70's attitudes to things like racism and sexism. There seems to be a tendency to yearn for the styles and cultures of past generations rather than looking forward and innovating for ourselves. We've perfected the art of pillaging the past for our inspiration but as a result we just end up with polished 20th century versions; 60's/70's/80's lite.

There is hope. Today's techno savvy generation is using sites like youtube and myspace to showcase their own brand of creativity. They may be apathetic towards political revolution but the spark of creativity is still there. Keep an eye out for it amongst the 21st century hippies and punks.

(The evolution of a mohawk)


The rhythm is gonna get ya

Fed up with football already? Need to put a bit of sparkle in your step? Oddjob play the kind of music that it's impossible not to find your groove to. If you're in London on Wednesday, head over to the Tabernacle (spitting distance from Old St tube) and show the world that it's not just the Brazilians who have dancing feet. Oh, and say hello to Tamar from me.


No such thing as a free lunch?

One week into the new job and so far so good. I have a list of meetings as long as your arm (woohoo! more meetings) and a set of goals to achieve for the next 6 months that will hopefully drag the University into the 21st century, kicking and screaming.

I'm still getting email and phone calls for my last job though. Until my replacement starts on Monday I'm in a sort of limbo – doing quick fixes here and there and typing the same email about me not being the editor any more. Typically, my last couple of days in the (old) job and the perks start to kick in. I've been invited to more free dinners and events in the last couple of weeks than in the last couple of years put together. Tonight's dinner is courtesy of Strada, the new Italian restaurant in the Mailbox – "great Italian food and wine in a contemporary setting". I don't feel too bad about taking 'bungs' now that I'm not in a position to do anything about it. By the way, if any car dealerships out there are looking to offload some free wheels, the stinkwagen is sounding a bit ropey and might need to be retired soon.

Finally, and continuing on my jumping on bandwagon theme, the World Cup starts tomorrow. Men and women across the world are looking forward to a month of dazzling skills, endless punditry and half empty shopping centres on Saturday afternoons. For those of you who don't like football and would prefer something more refined, like say ballet, here's a man who's attempting to combine the two.

pic stolen from grannybuttons via flickr


It's not easy being green

It's frightening the amount of stuff you accumulate. I moved to Birmingham just under 5 years ago and I brought all my possessions with me in a single car load. Even then I remember thinking after the third or fourth trip up the stairs, laden with boxes, that I had way too much stuff.

I've been spoiled, living in a big (shared, rented) house with lots of space. My conclusion: if you have space, you will fill it. I now have a whole house worth of space and I'm battling against that rule. I don't want to fill my house with stuff that I'll probably not look at/wear/use from one day to the next.

I've unpacked the majority of the boxes from the move and apart from clothes which are waiting to be put into a wardrobe (when I get one), most of what's left comes under the category of 'stuff'.

I'm going to try to be ruthless (although I think sentimentality will mean there will be a few boxes of momentos which go in the loft). Three and a half years of bills and bank statements were consigned to the bonfire at the moving out party and I'm taking a leaf out of Andrea's book and getting organised. Hopefully the 'It's not easy being green' book that the Monkey got me will help to inspire me to make Castle Smith a bit greener.

As the crew at Howies say: Own less – travel light


Bear (sic) faced cheek

Just catching up on my blog reading and I read Anna's ( post about packing up and getting out of London for sunny Brighton:

Moving house. Not quite as fun as you remember, is it?

Amen to that. But once you're in...

Loved the tip about the bear nose in the next post. Perhaps it should be mandatory at all UN Peace summit negotiations?

Casa del Pub

It's been a while. Thanks to Rachel for the poke in the ribs.

Part of the reason for the hiatus in posting has been the fact that I have no internet connection at the moment (I'm posting this from work – well, I am supposed to be a social media specialist. How do they expect me to learn about it without doing it?). The reason I have no internet? I've finally moved house. Yes, after months of wrangling with solicitors, mortgage companies and all the other fun stuff that is part of moving house, I finally moved in and stayed my first night at Castle Smith last night.

I'm amazed at the sheer amount of stuff I own. It's pretty disgusting. I'm going to try to take this opportunity to purge and hopefully not replace all the stuff I've given away/thrown out with more stuff I don't need. Hmmm well, I'll try.

For those of you who are interested, I'll post some pictures of the new place (and some 'end of an era' shots from last weekend's bonfire party) on my flickr stream. I'll probably make them for friends/contacts only so add me as a contact and I'll sort you out if you can't see them.

Posts may be sporadic while I unpack but no doubt I'll be back to my blogging best in a few days. Happy Friday folks.

pic tea leafed from jon crel