Tag Archives: travel

Boredom tries to take over… DEFLECTED!

I officially have nothing to look forward to right now, and it’s getting me down a bit. Not in a terrible ‘I require Prozac’ kind of way, nor in any way that I’m thinking about it non-stop. But the fact there’s no real event coming up for me in the near – or far – future is making me develop cabin fever, or something.

That’s what happens when you do a bunch of stuff in quick succession though, I suppose. You get used to how actually Doing Things manages to take your mind off how Boring things are normally. I am accustomed to boredom, as I have pointed out many times, and I should probably run seminars on how to deal with it – how to embrace it – as I am sodding brilliant at that. Ask anyone who’s spent any real time with me; they can vouch.

But it doesn’t stop me from yearning, and right now I’m yearning hard for some plan – any plan – to do something. I don’t think it helps that, for the first time since about 2006, I actually have a little bit of money to my name and can afford to do something more interesting than buying a small bottle of Chekov vodka and drinking so much my brain decides to take a leave of absence (only to return in the morning and kick the shit out of the inside of my head for being such a dickhead).

But I’m sure it’ll pass. After all, I got Dark Souls today, so that can keep me occupied for a month or two. I don’t need the outside, people, experiences, travel or activities – I can slay the undead in the comfort of my own hovel.

No, really – I am actually looking forward to this.

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Leeds Leeds special needs IN A BIT

It’s been more than a year – about 13 months, actually – since I last went to Leeds. I feel I have hyped it up a bit too much in my head, as all I’m going to do is stand around being moody listening to music, have a pizza or two (and likely be let down as I’ve hyped that up too much too) and generally sit indoors, away from all the people I haven’t seen in an age.

But STOP JUDGING ME. Realism doesn’t come into play when I’m reasonably excited about going somewhere for once. I’m even looking forward to the couple of train rides I have ahead of me, what with me now having access to full-on Football Manager 2011 on Tiny Laptop. Great days.

It’ll also be nice to have some days off work. Not that I don’t enjoy being there, it’s just always nice to not have to get up for any job, ever, if only for a few days. The day I can work the hours of 8pm-11pm will be brilliant, perfect times indeed. It’s usually when I’m at my most productive anyway, so I should probably take advantage of that from an employment perspective.

Right, this is another diary-ish entry. Soz. It’s a blog, get over it. I’m going to go finish packing my bag then walk to the train station, then five-and-a-bit hours later I’ll be in Leeds city centre. Meet where the old CEX was, yeah?

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Planes, trains, automobiles, John Candy, sleep.

I used to be brilliant at falling asleep everywhere. I remember, ish, a time when I was a tiny wee child (that’s as in ‘tiny and covered in wee’) – we were at some holiday camp thing in a loud family club. I was tired and reacting in the way I still do when I get tired, which is by being a massive twat about it.

I decided I would crawl under the chair I was sat on and curl up into a ball – remember this was in a family club, where it was loud music, idiotic talking people, dancing, banging (not like that), whatever else. But I still managed to fall asleep.

I always used to be able to fall asleep wherever I needed to. Planes, trains, automobiles, John Candy – wherever. But these days it just isn’t the same. I can sleep if I’m on the verge of dying, as evidenced when flying back from New York in January, and I can sleep if I’m literally so tired I pass out.

But generally speaking I can’t do it. It means I end up being awake for far, far longer than I have any need to be. Trains are uncomfortable and move too much, cars make me feel sick if I close my eyes too long, planes are too fear-inducing for me to take my eyes off them (as well as uncomfortable and lacking room)… I just can’t do it.

I might try sleeping on a moped, actually. That’ll probably (definitely) work.

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“That’s logistics!” *BANGBANGBANGBANG* “Aieeee!” *BANGBANGBANG* “Stop! Stop! She’s already dead!” *BANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANG*… ahem

I dislike trying to arrange things, as it never seems to end well. Actually, that’s a lie – I’ve not ever had any monumental cock ups (so far), but I do still dislike the whole ‘arrangement’ thing. Which is why half-looking to help sort out our travel/stay in Belgium/Nederlander is seeing the beginnings of me getting stressed out. Even though I haven’t actually done anything and it’s a while until we actually go.

Why must we be forced to actually arrange things? Why can’t we just sit around in our pants, swearing blindly at the TV as flecks of dried spittle fall, almost gracefully, into the piles of our own detritus that surrounds our morbidly obese, stinking carcasses? Why do I have to traipse through Hostel World looking for somewhere I think we won’t get bummed to death (unless we* absolutely want to)? Why can’t I just ignore everything and have it all work out okay?

Actually, thinking about it, I probably can. And now I think about it more, I actually arrange a fair few things when it comes to getting out and about in the world. Not the big things, mind, just the whole ‘getting there and not being bummed to death on the way’ angle. Like catching buses. I can do that.

This means I am brilliant at arranging things. I should be Captain Logistics, or something. They should put me on a shit advert where an astonishingly contrived song plays in the background about how logistics are both a) great, and b) anything, at all, worth singing about ever.

Really – there’s a fucking advert with a song about logistics on it. Fuck this world – it’s broken. I want out.

*Jack.

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A collection of today’s thoughts. THRILLING.

Is it any wonder I can’t think of anything to write when I’m being confronted by a few gurning dullards in suits opining like the utterly un-thrilling dweebs that they are? I think it is no wonder at all. Before kickoff (I’m on about the football, shockingly), they began to speak of Ben Foster’s quality. As soon as they mentioned him and it became apparent they were talking of how good he is, I predicted Hanson would point out that “having a great keeper behind you fills you with confidence as a defender” or something along those lines.

Naturally, he did. Because he’s an unimaginative, uninteresting prannock who doesn’t seem to bother even trying to form any kind of original thought about the sport he’s paid to cover. It’s his job – his main focus. And yet he’s fucking terrible at it.

Anyway, I don’t want to rant about pundits again because I’ll end up on about Alan Shearer, and that will just make me sad.

Turns out I’ve been to 17 countries – that I can remember. Rather than thinking “oh, that is quite good – I have seen a fair few places around the world and met people of all walks of life in doing so,” I instead thought “oh, that’s not enough.” Cue frantic searching for cheap flights places and browsing of Hostel World for an hour or so.

Still ended up looking at going to San Francisco again though. Hmm.

That’s all for today. As you were.

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Murdering boredom, one gadget at a time

Strange that I’ve decided to write this now, seeing as my travelling will be cut down severely from what it was only recently. Still, an idea of what to write here is exactly that, and if I think I can make it mildly amusing for myself then that’s fine – it takes up a day of the blog, which is definitely the right attitude to have about this whole thing. Right, onto business.

I travel a bit (see above for caveats) – as such I need to have with me things that can make boredom disappear. To be fair, that’s all we ever do throughout our entire lives. Try and argue with that point and you’ll fail – everything anybody ever does is in order to avoid being bored. Hence why games are brilliant and if you dismiss them you’re a fucking dickhead. Ahem. Where was I? Ah yes – travelling is a special case for boredom-killing though, as you tend to be cooped up with no way of just going for a walk or wandering listlessly around your flat, brushing your new haircut into amusingly shit styles (that you know you’ll probably stick with in coming weeks, as your hair is always shit and you hate it anyway). You’re sitting, with no escape. You need to mind-escape. You need shit.

I have an ever-increasing pile of crap I can throw into my bag and pull out at any point to make boredom go bye-bye. Let’s just list them, rather than babble on incoherently here:

PSP
I love my PSP, still, even though everybody in the world hates them. It hurts my hands to play it for a long time, but it has some great games and the ability to play any PSone game I want on it. With some creative modifications of legal firmware, naturally. It used to be the main port of call, until I got…

Tiny Laptop
Possibly the best thing I’ve ever bought. It’s 10.1 inches of sheer pleasure HAHAHA COCK JOKE LOL LOL LOL LMFAO LOLOLOLOLOLsigh. But yeah, it can play old PC games and movies, and I can work on it too should I need to. Plus it does an internet where it’s available (i.e. not many places). £160 and the Best Thing Ever? Yeah, I’ll take that.

DS
Doesn’t get touched as much as it used to. In fact, last time I played it on a train I put on Cooking Mama for ten minutes before I realised I was being judged by everyone around me for playing a game where you chop onions as fast as you can. Naturally, this meant I just played it more. Louder. Harder. With shouting involved. Then called them all cunts and ran off laughing like a maniac*. *May not have happened.

iPad
The new addition to the family and untested on the road, this little Apple thing could well turn out to be brilliant. I’ve already downloaded War & Peace on it, so I can pretend to read it and look like a really smug twat. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s an app where you can pretend to read Dostoyevsky and actually have a Dan Brown book hidden inside it. Not that I’d ever read Dan Brown, but for the purposes of the joke let’s pretend I would. Then let’s all collectively vomit at that thought. Umm.. yeah. Canabalt.

Books
Depending what it is and depending the mood I’m in, books can be brilliant or a complete waste of time. A seven-hour flight with genuine flu isn’t conductive to me being able to read Blood Meridian, for example. Whereas I managed Breakfast Of Champions in one train ride from Manchester to Sheffield. But then, I do fucking love Vonnegut more than anything else.

iPod

I still remember the days of taking my CD player on the train, cramming it in my inside coat pocket as it seemed to fit there, the auto skip-correction system eventually wearing down and the music becoming unlistenable as the bumpy ride took its toll. Also I listened to more shit then. Not to say my tastes have got better, just that I listen to less music now. Anyway, the iPod is a nice distraction as it’s not an active pursuit – you can just switch it on and leave it. And turn it up loud to annoy the fat smelly person next to you who keeps rubbernecking at your screen. Cocks.

Wow, that was a lot more boring than I expected. Sorry, I seem incapable of being funny about shit like this. I do seem capable of almost writing 800 words on the subject though. Jesus crikey I must be bored. Soz. 7/10

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I don’t want to go there

This world is magnificent, beautiful, awe-inspiring and lots of other things David Attenborough has told me. It is the only one we have, and we only have a short amount of time to actually see the bloody thing.

So why is it there are some places in the world I just don’t really care about going to? I don’t mean like Somalia or Zimbabwe or Scotland or any other failed state situation – I mean genuine, proper, normal countries where you’re only quite likely to get knifed up. There are real places in the world that I just don’t want to go to. I have no interest in them.

This makes no sense. They are places I have never been – never seen. If I go about things in the way I intend to, I will never actually see them. So how can I be content in this attitude? Is it a damning indictment of me as a person? Does it betray my small town roots to the world at large (or just most of it, as the case may be)?

You know what – it probably does. I am a small minded gibbon of a man, and while I wouldn’t say no to a free trip there, I’m not going out of my way to take a trip to the likes of Russia, China, the Caribbean in general, Austria (that one’s for you, Anna), Greenland or Wales.

I do kind of want to go to North Korea though.

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Virgin Atlantic: an apology

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to Virgin Atlantic, after they put me in my place yesterday/today on our flight from LA to Heathrow. You see, I was under the impression that they were a capable, functional carrier, offering an efficient, modern service. As such, it is my duty as a man of (supposed) integrity to offer a full, frank and complete apology to the company, as my 11-hour-plus experience with them taught me they are very much nothing of the sort.

After a flight out with Air Canada – on which I assumed we would be flying with moose-skin suits and all the flight attendants would be mounties – I had already been surprised by how really bloody good it all was. I am quite tall – about 6′ 3″ – and yet I fit in the economy-class seats rather comfortably. The food was decent if not special, they gave us ice cream randomly at one point and service was constantly going up and down the aisles, making sure we were well-catered for. Oh, and the movie/TV selection was quite good.

So when your colleagues say they are “looking forward” to flying Virgin as by all accounts they are a “great” service, you can understand my dismay on boarding the fucking shanty plane they had sent out to fly us over. Apparently it was an Airbus A340, which was 10 better than Air Canada’s effort. But apparently-also, the A340 Virgin operates doesn’t bother with any kind of modernisation. Or basic, human comfort, for that matter. I’m not small, but I’m not an American-fatty. As such, I really shouldn’t have to squeeze into my seat. I understand leg room is a bit of a complaint on a lot of flights, but I had not encountered a problem in any of the four prior journeys – including one on a plane smaller than my thumb – until boarding the Virgin flight. Being cramped is something I am willing to put up with – it’s punishment for me being so tall (and awesome). But on an 11-hour flight it’s just a piss-take.

I could go on. And I will.

See, it’s one thing to be cramped owing to a plane design that doesn’t offer adequate space for customers with less money than the others. It’s a whole other thing to have that combined with a fat, stinking woman next to you who falls asleep completely underneath a blanket (face and all) and then ends up taking up half of your seat. I can only apologise to the little Mexican/American girl next to me who had to endure my leaning away and growling at the fat piece of crap. I think I still have the delicious tang of mustiness on my breath, actually. A genuine cattle carriage, it was.

But hey, you can always amuse yourself on a plane by looking out of the window and seeing sights the human eye was never meant to see. Except for the fact that my view only stretched so far as the toilets on either side. Why not try looking forward and watching the world (on a plane) go by? Ah, view blocked by a bulkhead. See, in stadium situations, seats like this are cheaper than the norm. In Virgin Atlantic situations, they are the same price as any other Economy-class ticket. Make them cheaper, point out to people you can only see the embarrassed look on a girl’s face after she’s clearly been for a massive dump and left a huge queue of people waiting outside (instead of the Rockies, for example) and you would get people happily snapping them up and avoiding all complaints. But hey, they’re here to make money, right?

So instead I could just watch a film on the headrest TV unit – a selection of a few dozen recent releases, some classics and a few dozen TV shows on top of that means the hours should fly by. Except for one minor drawback: every single movie and TV show I tried to watch would not work, and it would instead show me a random clip of the Sandra Bullock film The Blind Side. I wanted to watch The Simpsons, or Peep Show, or even sodding Family Guy. I did not want to watch Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side, Oscar or no. I would have watched something on my laptop, but it had ran out of battery. Though this wasn’t a problem on Air Canada, as their seats have plug sockets in them. But hey – we’re British, we don’t conform to fucking common sense, right?

Even the food was stereotypically shite, again being put to shame by the Canucks. And there was no ice cream.

So, just to reiterate: I am sorry Virgin Atlantic. Sorry for thinking you could be anything other than an utter, complete and total failure. Next time try crashing – put me out of my fucking misery.

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I blame British Rail. And Thatcher

Train rant. Woo woo! See, it took me a total of seven and a half hours to get back to Bournemouth from Manchester. Normally this takes about five hours. A 150 per cent of standard journey time is not something that makes me very happy, to say the least, and I would like to know just a few things.

Why the fuck do we have to go via Reading? Why can’t we fucking well go in a fucking straight fucking line? What the fuck is the point in going to that fucking place? I mean, yes, there is a point in going there, but only for people who want to go there. A train from Manchester to Bournemouth should have two stops: Manchester and Bournemouth. That’s it. Cut hours off the ridiculous length of the journey by not doubling back on yourself halfway down the country. Stupid bloody direction.

Then there’s the endless engineering works. Build the fucking tracks out of something that doesn’t degrade – adamantium, or something. Get it prepared for the future, then you won’t have to replace the bloody things every single weekend. I was supposed to catch one train – one train – and I ended up getting three and a coach. I also ended up standing in Winchester for 35 minutes for no fucking reason.

But hey – surely it’s okay? In all seriousness, I know engineering works can’t be avoided. Problems come along with the fact that the cattle being shipped across the country (also known as ‘passengers’) are not told a bloody thing about what’s going on. The most you get is “sorry, engineering works” and then you’re electrically prodded off the carriage. I’m sorry – yes, the British trait of apologising when you’re the one who should be apologised to – but I would like to be told what the hell is going. WHY did I have to get off at Winchester? WHY was it a coach from Banbury to Oxford in the first place? WHAT the hell is Banbury anyway?

Then there are the things I’ve mentioned before, like the complete lack of space – hence making me sit in the disabled seating and thus making me feel quite bad. And the astonishing cost of a ticket across the country – I would like to, at some point in my life, at least think I have some money left over to spend.

Still, I am happy I can get from here to Manchester. If I couldn’t, I wouldn’t be able to go and see the girl who makes me cookies and bread. And that’s not a euphemism.

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