1000 Shades of Grey
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Happy Blogday
Apparently, today is Blogday 2006, and to celebrate this auspicious occasion, each blogger should draw people's attention to 5 new blogs.

Swiss Toni has been gracious enough to link to me, and in the spirit of international togetherness I would like to point you towards:

Crinklybee - If you aren't already reading this, you bloody well should be. Jonathan's recent four part guide to his son's vocabulary is an excellent place to start.

Stressqueen - Southampton fan, production guru and bride to be, all rolled into one.

Going Underground's Blog - From Stressqueen, I went to the London Underground blog, which scarily seems to feature a picture of Josef Stalin on the Moscow subway.

Next up, it's Little Red Boat - rightly regarded as being one of the funniest blogs around I admit, I went there via Stressqueen, because none of the Underground blogroll were very helpful, and linked to anything other than knitting or cafes, but I didn't want you to miss out on the Stalin picture.

and finally, it's No, We Don't Have Kids Yet, and which helpfully links back to Crinklybee.

Friday, August 25, 2006
Helpful advice
According to my desk top calendar, there is an 8 step strategy to adopt if trapped in a lion cage:

1. Do not run
Presumably because this will startle the lions, and they can run faster than you)

2. Watch for signs of an attack (e.g. low growl, eye contact and a lashing tail)
Well duh.

3. Find a defensive tool (move slowly, pick up anything within reach e.g. water bowl, bench, anything else)
Ah, the trusty bench - man's greatest weapon in the fight against beast.

4. Back away slowly
See: do not run.

5. Watch for mock charges ( a lion may make several mock charges before attacking - mock charging shows a real attack is imminent)
This is when the lion will presumably feint, before stopping, and saying "had you going" or growls to that effect.

6. Yell (as loudly as possible, lions are sensitive to noise and yelling may discourage them)
If you aren't doing so already, now would be a good time to let people know you are in deep trouble - it may persuade the lion to bugger off for some peace and quiet (conversely I suspect it may prompt the lion to kill you quickly, to shut you up).

7. Fend off attack (push it's paws and head away from you with a nearby object)
Better than capitulation - try and avoid claws and teeth (helpful stuff).

8. Keep screaming as loudly as possible
I suspect that when attacked by a lion, this is a natural response.

Helpful advice, I'm sure you agree.

Thursday, August 24, 2006
One week after announcing my late bid for footballing stardom, I'm sick as a parrot having picked up a knock in pre-season, which is likely to leave me kicking my heels on the sidelines for a couple of weeks, and must make me doubtful for our opening league fixture against Cambridge Knights on 3 September.

Basically, I turned my ankle in training last night (having already felt a twinge in the Achilles tendon in my other leg). By the time I got home it had ballooned to be the size of a tennis ball, but following the standard RICE procedure (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) was happy to note it had halved in size before I went to bed.

Unfortunately, I'm still hobbling today, and struggling to put a great deal a weight on it (and the great deal of weight is one of the reasons for doing the exercise in the first place).

Hopefully, I'll be able to resume training in a week or so, but it's not looking too good at the moment.

Thursday, August 17, 2006
Fitter than I thought I was
Flying in the face of the preceding 27 years of evidence, I've joined a football club.

Now, I'd never describe myself as one of those people who was ever much cop at football. My playground years were spent being one of the last left standing against the wall whilst teams were picked. My competitive career being restricted to 45 minutes in the primary school first team, and a run out for the school reserves in their one fixture (a friendly in front of the watching TV cameras - honestly!).

Away from education, I've made appearances in several five and six aside tournaments, and it's fair to say that silverware has never been glimpsed, let alone held aloft.

However, having done almost no exercise since I ran the Great North Run two years ago, I'm somewhat concerned that my inaugaral appearance in the Midland Amateur Alliance League Division Two is fast approaching. Although, having said that I don't expect to feature too often for the side - with more than eleven people to choose from, I'm pragmatic enough to recognise my limitations.

However, not only is there the prospect of the odd game, but also there's the chance to train every week - which means I get to play football, and get fitter, in a fairly structured environment.

Which is what I've been doing.

Unfortunately this has entailed my participation in a number of fitness tests, namely the Bleep Test and the Cooper Test. Neither of which would be near the top in my list of things that I have done and enjoyed.

However, having taken my results and compared them to other standards, I am pleased to report that I am officially fit enough to be: an International Netball Umpire; an International Hockey Umpire and meet the Fire Fighter Selection level.

I'm nearly at the fitness level of a Royal Marine (on day 1 of their training - I suspect they get fitter).

I'm also fitter than the UK women's Basketball and Netball teams were in 1997 (athletically speaking at least).

Not only that but I scored in the Good standard for the Cooper test for my age (and in the Very Good bracket for someone twice my age!)

If I'm honest, I suspect this says more about the relatively low standard of fitness required by all the above organisations and sports teams than it does about my own athletic prowess.

Last night saw the official launch of my new book.

Well, it saw the official launch of "Wor Al: A Fans Tribute" in which I (along with fellow bloggers Ben and Jonathan) express our appreciation of the finest striker any of us have ever seen playing for Newcastle United. (For more ramblings on Newcastle Utd by me and Ben, look here, and expect a review of the book launch party on Crinkylebee sooner rather than later).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Caliban, make it so
Taking advantage of the aforementioned break from work, we took a trip to see the RSC perform the Tempest in Stratford upon Avon.

It's been ten years since I last went to Stratford, and the place hasn't changed at all, with the blend of tourists from all over the globe fusing nicely with the dedicated theatre crowd who emerge at night and dress smartly. We forgot to do the whole smart thing, and promptly occupied a couple of seats somewhere near the ceiling of the theatre looking like scummers.

Still, with the lights out, we're all equals.

The play itself featured the talents of Patrick Stewart (in much better shape than he was when I last saw him in X-Men 3) as Prospero living his embittered life, and scheming away on what appeared to be an island somewhere near the north pole.

The play itself was excellent, with the performance of Ariel in particular standing out for special mention.

If you get the chance, I'd heartily recommend a trip to see it.

Out and proud
Having just spent some time away from the office (on holiday, rather than in hospital, or at her majesty's pleasure) and consequently away from the internet, I realise I've missed the boat slightly, but I'd just like to add my support to Girlwithaonetrackmind whose life has somewhat transformed in the last couple of weeks since you became the latest person to be stung by a journalist (in this case one seeking to "out" her).

By the sound of her response, the Girl is taking it all in her stride, although I can only guess at how unpleasant and uncomfortable the whole situation is/was. I can't imagine telling your parents is an experience she'd be desperately keen to repeat, let alone telling everyone else she knows.

Brace yourself
So Long, Dental Plan is the latest addition to the 1000 Shades blogroll, which conveniently coincides with the disappearance of Pentup Digital Fury which has gone to join the great blogroll in the sky. Apparently the author likes dogging and listening to the radio, although not necessarily at the same time.

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