Monthly Archives: August 2010

Transfer deadline day: rarely as thrilling as you’d hope

Transfer deadline day is a day of thrills, spills and surprises – endless edge of your seat action where you don’t know which way it’s going to turn, or which superstar is going to end up at your club or in your favourite league. It’s also the time we can look back to and say “nobody thought the manager was sane when he brought that 16-year-old in for a million quid, now he’s the best player in the world!!!!!!!!”

The problem is, all of this fun, these thrills and the many spills can only be had in Football Manager, if today’s end of the transfer window is anything to go by. The BBC’s live transfer ticker, updated by a few people throughout the day, could be a bona-fide argument against having the licence fee. Let’s just hope the Tories weren’t paying attention, shall we?

I guess the fact that there are big surprises every now and then keeps people thinking this shit will happen every single time – Robinho going to City instead of Chelsea the other year (and still thinking he was going to Chelsea) is a fine recent example of a genuine shocker. But it doesn’t work like that, and… well, I’m really just annoyed at the fact that I kept that transfer ticker loaded up in my browser all day at work today, and nothing particularly interesting popped up on it.

This isn’t an eBay auction – you’re not convincing yourself to put an extra £2.34 on a bid in the dying seconds of the sale to bag yourself some vintage Nazi underwear signed by Justin Bieber. It’s big business, with the vast majority of transactions conducted over a protracted period of time and in intricate detail. Unless you’re West Ham and you sign a couple of Argentineans and don’t actually bother reading the contracts, of course.

It’s just another sensationalised part of news reporting that gets my goat. That is all.

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Bank holidays: shit, or REALLY shit?

Bank holidays – bit shit really, aren’t they? Having a day off is great, clearly, but they’ve never really had much of an allure to me, myself, personally, to me, in my opinion, personalopinionally.

When I was a student they were irrelevant. I mean, if I didn’t want to go to school then I just didn’t go – the day didn’t matter, so an official day off meant little more than there were more wankers out at the pub. More wankers in Preston: A GREAT THING.

Then I moved into the fast-paced, fine and utterly lovely world of unemployment, where no days matter apart from Sundays – because they’re when the post doesn’t come so you have a mental marker point for what day it actually is – and one day every two weeks, when you had to remember to go out of the house and lie about searching for jobs. Bank holidays did little more than remind you banks existed and were the places that held the kosh over you because of your massive debts. Sigh.

Working in a shop? Well that just meant bank holidays were horrible. They are some of the busiest days of the year, seeing as shops only open at working hours on normal days, and working hours are the hours when people are at work, meaning people who work can’t get to the shop in working hours. As they’re at work. Then when they finish work the shop is closed and… sigh. Anyway, as these days are so busy at shops they were the days when we had to work. You couldn’t get a day off unless you’d booked it approximately eight years in advance, and they were always massive ballache days where every dickhead under the sun would come in and make unreasonable demands, like you having to ‘deal’ with them or something.

Then – after more unemployment and some freelance (N.B: exactly the same as unemployment) came this job. This job is based on monthly – and weekly – deadlines. I am contractually obliged to complete a certain amount of work per week, regardless of the week. You can see where this is going. Obviously normal days off you aren’t expected to work and when you’re out and about on press trips the workflow is limited accordingly. But bank holidays? Nope – you still have to do a full week’s work. Which means I’m now sat here on my extra day off doing work that I would have been doing at work.

Screw you, bank holidays. All you do is slow the world down for a day and get in the way. Banks shouldn’t fucking take holidays anyway. Get on with looking after my money*.


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When are you at your best?

When do you write your best stuff? Blogs, emails, things for work – whatever. I do a lot of writing, as I may have mentioned (via writing, hilariously) so I tend to be able to judge when and why I’ll be at my best, my worst or my least enthusiastic.

Strangely, being drunk doesn’t actually hamper my ability to string together something half-readable. It does impair my ability to hit the right keys, naturally, but I’ve re-read things I’ve written when three sheets to the wind and a fair few times they’ve turned out to be okay. It must be the removal of internal barriers – less inhibited writing leads to more openness and honesty. And as we all know, they are good things.

Similarly, writing when hungover (hello!) can have a positive effect on the wordage. While there are times when the headache has been too great, or the nausea has been too much to successfully concentrate on writing more than a token couple of hundred words, there are times when it comes out okay. It’s another case of being in a more open, honest state. Though more guarded than when drunk, I find myself being more reflective and talking about more emotional things than I do at other times.

Sober? Well, then I write how I write. It can be okay, it can be good (rarely) and it can be bad. To be honest it’s not often that bad when I’m sober. Unless…

I’m tired. When I’m tired it goes either one of two ways: I cannot write, as my brain will not fill in the words. Or I will write tripe, as my brain can think of some words, but none that apply to what is actually being written about. I used the same phrase two or three times in the space of one paragraph a while back when writing something on about two hours sleep, such was the inability of my mind to bother trying very hard. Or even to keep track of what I’d written the sentence before.

I’m sure there are other states of being I could go into, but I’m a combination of hungover and tired right now, so I’m going to think of some inward-looking, emotional words to write, because I’m a combination of hungover and tired right now.

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Truly worthless prattle (ABOUT MY NEW TV)

Can’t talk. New TV.

Yes, the delivery man did eventually come. This is after I rang up City Link to confirm it was coming today, only to be told “errrrm”. Not the best of answers, I have to say. “It’s in our system… there’s… nothing,” he said.

I replied, and this is a direct, non-exaggerated quote: “No no no no no. NO. NO.”

I also explained what my issue was with his assertion – I didn’t just say “no” a lot. Though I did say it quite a bit. Anyway, he actually looked on the computer – miraculous, I know – and it turned out the telly was on its way.

Anyway, I digress from the more pressing issues. Mainly of sorting out the picture on my new telly-vee. Do I want contrast at 91 and brightness at 3, or contrast at 92 and brightness at 2? Oh, decisions, decisions. This is going to be a long bank holiday weekend, let me tell you.


Still, it’s now been tested with Terminator 2 on Blu-ray, Just Cause 2 on PS3 and Eastbound & Down on the USB avi player thing it has built in. Which is fuckin’ awesome, seeing as it means I no longer have to play things through the PS3, which is – I’ll admit – getting on a bit.

Anyway, I’m off out to do things for the first time in fuckin’ ages. Hopefully the TV will be okay without me, and it won’t shatter the glass stand it’s balanced on. I swear that thing bent in the middle when I put the telly on it for the first time.


Sorry if you weren’t interested in this entry. Frankly, I don’t care.


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My issues with Reading. No, wait – reading.

I’m rubbish at reading. Well, I’m not rubbish at reading – I can read quite well, and reasonably fast. Though not as fast as ‘Freak Eyes’ Anna, my darling girlfriend. She could read War and Peace in about 20 minutes, such is the speed of her eye-to-brain-to-comprehension mind-matrix. BUT! I mean this as in I am rubbish at the process of actually sitting down with a book and reading it.

When I get going, fine – it’s generally going to get read. Unless it’s shit. Or unless it’s Naked Lunch, in which case it’s just going to take me about four months to force myself through it and not enjoy it*. But I have a box over <– there somewhere full of books, about 75 per cent of which have never even been opened.

I suppose it falls back to my other commitment issues which I hilariously covered ages ago, in that I find it very hard to start something new. Once it’s up and running, fine – but it’s that initial push that I just can’t give myself a lot of the time.

Anyway, I was prompted to write this shocking confession because there’s a copy of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian sat right next to me. It’s only been here a week, but I can just tell it will be here next week, and the week after and not get touched. Either that or I’ll just move it.

I am, as they say, ‘a bit of a nong’.

*Anyone who says they enjoy or understand this book is an idiot, a liar or possibly both.

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Here comes a deep and insightful opinion on Big Brother!

This was the last year for Big Brother, that TV thing that started off as quite an interesting idea and soon devolved into the maniacal wank-fest that it was over the last few years. I’ve managed to get through this year without seeing a single second of the godawful thing, which makes me very happy, and very proud.

What the fuck do you mean it’s still going on? Ultimate what what? Oh god.

So it would appear, as it’s the last series eveerrrr (it’ll be back in less than five years, I reckon) Channel 4 are pulling out all the stops to keep people watching. First of all by extending it for however long they’re extending it for (I don’t know how long this is, and I’m not checking. Screw you), then by bringing in John McCricirkckkiriskckzzk.

Well blow me down, if that isn’t just the perfect recipe for a slice of delicious TV Pie I Want To Watch (And Eat). Ohnowait. It’s exactly the kind of thing that makes me glad I rarely bother with TV, as I would likely rather have a limb chopped off than watch that utter gash.

I can’t take some arrogant high road though, as I have indeed watched a bit of Big Brother in my past. I watched the series with Kate thingy in it, I caught the latter part of the series where that horrible fat thing put a bottle up herself and I saw it the other year – mainly because I was forced by the Evil Taskmasters at hecklerspray to write about it. The series with that ginger twat in it, whose name I’ve forgotten.

Anyway, there’s no payoff here. I don’t like Big Brother, I’m not really shocked it’s still going on, I’m not going to watch it. Revelatiooooooon.

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Ian’s fashion fix, or something

I’ve never been much of a clothes person. That’s not to say I don’t wear them, like those fat old weirdos you see on TV sometimes. No, just I’ve never been a person either interested in wearing nice clothes, or capable of buying myself nice clothes. It’s an ailment, I tells ya.

But just because I buy clothes of the non-nice variety doesn’t mean I refuse to wear them – far from it. The most recent pair of trainers I bought are horrible – big fat skater shoes with what look like shiny telegraph poles on them. I look like a particularly unfashionable 14-year-old when I wear them. But I still wear them every day.

I do have standards though, so here’s one thing I know I’ll never wear:

Look at it. Just… look at it. The only people in the world who have any excuse for wearing that… thing are professional sportspeople. And even they’d struggle to explain it away to me. I know for a fact* I would look like the epitome of sex, melted down and poured into a perfectly-fitting man-body-mould if I wore it, but that makes no difference. I find it ghastly, and hope it dies. I probably hope some of the people wearing them die too, but that’s a whole other post.

But there are some things I would actively go out of my way to buy and wear. Let’s see… like this:

Seriously. I would look like a fucking king among men in one of these badboys. My birthday isn’t for another 11 months, but there is a Christmas in the way. Anna – get on it. Though all the time I’d be wearing it I would just be repeating “zoot, zoot, zoot” over and over in my head. That might not actually be a downer though.

AUDIENCE INTERACTION: Clothes wear you would, hmm? Or not!

*Not a fact.

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City Link are worse than super-cancer-AIDS

I’d written a fun little blog earlier today about the trials and tribulations of sitting in all day, waiting for a package to arrive. It was whimsical, humorous and finished with said package arriving. If I’d have remembered while writing that it was City Link delivering the package, I would not have bothered writing that pre-emptive blog.

No, City Link is a stain on humanity; a company that fails to do the one thing they actually set out to do. And when they fail to do that thing – “that thing” being delivering things – they make it as hard as possible to get them to re-do it, and re-do it right.

Amazon unexpectedly sent the new TV I ordered out early, as well as via next day delivery. What this meant was it was going to arrive when I wasn’t in, and would then be taken back to a depot I couldn’t get to very easily to wait for me to collect it. Did I mention it’s a TV? A fucking big one?

As such, I begged a little to be allowed to stay at home and wait for the package, and was allowed. Unfortunately this is still unauthorised absence and it doesn’t exactly reflect well on me. Taking a day off at short notice because your house has exploded/dad has set on fire: fine. Doing the same because you’re getting a telly delivered: not so fine.

The City Link delivery status was updated at 10:23pm last night saying the package had been collected and was on its way to my local depot. It was an eight hour drive from the collection to delivery depots, and they had all night to do it in. They then had ten whole cocking hours – from 7:30am to 5:30pm – to get the telly from the Bournemouth depot to my house. My house is a 15 minute drive from the depot, apparently.

Obviously by 5pm it hadn’t turned up and the status still hadn’t been updated from 10:23pm last night. So I gave them a ring (via No To 0870, of course).

“No, you’re not going to get that today.”

“For fu… why wasn’t I told?”

“It hasn’t been scanned here yet. We’ll deliver it tomorrow.”

“I’m not in tomorrow. Can I have it delivered Friday afternoon?”

“We don’t do afternoon deliveries.”

“I’m not in in the morning, you don’t guarantee delivery times, I need it in the afternoon. Sigh. Can you deliver it on Saturday then?”

“Umm… that’s an extra charge.”

“I’ve taken a day off work to sit refreshing a web page it turns out was lying to me all day. You’ve not provided a service you’re supposed to provide. AND I’ve been on hold for about half an hour.”

“I… umm…”

“I would like it delivered on Saturday. If you could, that would be GREAT.”

“I’ll put a note on your account to arrange Saturday delivery.”

“There we go.”

“If anything goes wrong, I’ll ring you. Bye.”

Why does that last line fill me with dread? He agreed to my demands a little too easily, then gave himself the easy get-out clause of ‘if anything goes wrong’. I don’t expect the TV to be delivered on Saturday.

City Link have messed up, as far as I remember, every single time I’ve had something delivered from them*. No other delivery company springs to mind when I think of inept, pointless companies that need to be burned. And Amazon needs to stop using them.

*Oddly, apart from the dozen or so times I’ve ordered from They never failed to get it right then. COLOUR ME CONFUSED. Maybe they only get booze orders right.

(NOTE: Searching ‘city link’ on Google image search is quite funny, as it returns lots of images of big-name footballers. Obviously ones linked to Man City. END NOTE.)


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My PS2 is dead, long live my PS2

This is a late entry today for one very good reason. Well, not actually a very good reason. In fact, it’s a bit of a shit reason. But it is undeniably a reason, so that’s something at least. See, I rooted out my PS2 and, on trying to play a few games, found that the always-dicky disc drive – bane of my existence since November of 2000* had gone and rather selfishly died on its arse.

And so I spent Sunday and most of this evening messing about with the little bugger, trying to install and get working HD Loader – the program that allows you to rip your games to the hard drive and play them from there. It’s not illegal, though it is a bit of a grey area – just to clear that up.

One thing I’ve found, though, is that reading these dozen or so hacking sites is like having to learn a new fucking language every time you go to a different one. I’m glad these kids (and they are likely to be kids) go out of their way to try and help us newbies get involved, but dear god someone needs to tell them to take a fucking breath. As well as to learn to write. More the second one really, if I’m pushed into picking one.

But you wade through the unintelligible instructions, you fight with archaic technology (the PS2 only supports USB 1.1 and the FAT file system? What a loser!), you wonder why the hell your hard drive won’t register with your PC, you rip games, you realise the disc is too scratched to rip them, you find other games you forgot you had, you find Twisted Metal Black (the sole reason you started this whole merry dance), you use ‘exploits’ and ‘independence’ things and you dick about with poorly-made GUIs. Then you repeat about four times.

Then – finally – you have a hard drive full of your PS2 games. And they work. And you’ve saved them. And your launch day PS2 retains its usefulness. You can carry on playing.

But then you try Shadow of the Colossus, and all you get is a black screen.

I don’t know whether to cry or just give up.

*Alright, so it wasn’t actually dodgy from the very beginning, but hush down.

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Sometimes nostalgia works

Nostalgia is a powerful tool, and is something I have a great love for – and affinity with – as well as a great distaste for. At least for those who wield it incorrectly, for the purposes of seeming wacky with past-o-knowledge or… *shudder* for marketing.

Nostalgia has its issues though – and while you can’t really blame them on the beast itself, it is still fair to highlight that it can be an utter bastard when wielded alongside the human brain. You will remember something, and you will consider it a grand thing, a wonderful thing from the past, when things were cheaper, and you didn’t feel you were going to be mugged at the drop of a hat, and there were less Tories in power.

A better time, so surely a better thing.

And then you go back to whatever it is: you re-visit the town you holidayed in with your family; you listen to that album again; you mix up your accidental cocktail concoction, only this time on purpose.

What happens? The town is testament to the death of small businesses and the rise in crackheaddom; that album is unlistenable shit and one of the instruments is a fucking piccolo; your cocktail tastes like beans mixed with toothpaste (because it is).

You realise your brain has made you seem quite the fool with a bit of help from that utter bastard that is nostalgia. They’re both laughing at you, mocking your stupid face for thinking any of this stuff was ever going to be as good as you remember it.

But then, sometimes, when nostalgia is feeling in a good way and your brain isn’t quite awake enough to play tricks on you (like the shit it is), sometimes things are just like you remember them. And you are happy. And you feel warm. And you blow cars up with rockets and machine guns.

Today I played Twisted Metal 2 again. And it was good.

(I am aware this entry is painfully similar to a couple of others I’ve done (search ‘nostalgia’), but shut up. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for it. Oh, and I’m not defiling that image with my face. Go to XKCD and look at more.)


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