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Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Wisdom of Tea Bags

"Radiant inverted question mark, Sneaveweedle, where have you been? It feels as if I sent you for tea three months ago!" Penhill bellowed. "And what on earth are you doing on the floor?!"

"Oh moan," whimpered the travelling assistant. "I'm terribly sorry, but I'm not very stable on moving trains; I had to crawl back from the snacks trolley to avoid spilling the tea."

Penhill stared down at Sneaveweedle for a moment, then at the two paper cups in Sneaveweedle's hands. He took in a deep, whistling breath through his nose.

"Did it not occur to you to ask for a lid?" Penhill asked.

He took the cups of tea and Sneaveweedle climbed back into his seat in a graceless, flailing all-hands fumble across Moonfloat that resembled a teenage boy's first endeavour to second base. Each attempt to avoid touching her inappropriately resulted in making things worse; when he pulled back his hands to avoid touching her stomach, he fell face-first into her breasts. He eventually found his seat with the assistance of Penhill's shillelagh, which dug into his sternum and shoved him to his spot.

Sneaveweedle stared back in red-faced horror and embarrassment at Moonfloat, whose face was also red, but from laughter.

"For future reference," she giggled, "a woman expects dinner before you attempt something like that."

Sneaveweedle made a high-pitch squeak and attempted to hide by pulling up the collar of his green windcheater and slouching.

"I can read your tea bags for you if you'd like," Moonfloat said, pointing an unpolished fake fingernail at the cups of tea balanced in Penhill's left hand.

"You want to read the tea bags?" he sniffed.

"Yeah. I can do tea leaves, too, but no one drinks loose-leaf tea anymore, do they? So, I thought to myself one day, 'Oh, I'll have a go with the bags.' It's not as clear as the leaves, mind you, but it works."

"Indeed" Penhill said, plucking a tea bag from one of the cups. "Ah yes, I see what you mean. This tea bag is most certainly telling me something. It's coming in quite clearly, now: This tea is cold! It is undrinkable, Sneaveweedle."

Moonfloat ignored him, pulling a small square of blue plastic from her purse and placing it on the floor. She took the tea bag from Penhill's hand and dropped it onto the square.

"Hmm, OK..." she muttered, reaching down to pick up the square. She looked at it for a second, wiped it off on her skirt and placed it back on the floor. She then removed the tea bag from the second cup of tea, also dropping it on the square.

"There, you see?" she said, pointing to the floor.

"Brilliant," Penhill muttered. "You've made a mess. Congratulations. You don't charge people for this, I hope."

"See how the splatter pattern is similar to the other tea bag?" Moonfloat said. "That means your destinies are linked."

"And this long tea splatter means an adventure," she continued, pointing to a pattern that extended beyond the plastic square, "an adventure in, well, in that direction."

"Oh, I say," Sneaveweedle moaned, coming out of his windcheater cocoon. "That is quite exciting. An adventure, Sir Penhill. In that direction."

Sneaveweedle followed the direction of his own pointing out the window to a panoramic mid-afternoon view of the Pembrokeshire coast. The sun shone brilliantly. The train was pulling into Fishguard Harbour -- a strange lost fishing village amid green coastal cliffs. It was the sort of picture they put in holiday brochures or on the walls at chain hotels, but for the enormous Stena Line and Irish Ferries boats in dock. The ferries were like shining white office buildings turned on their sides and set on waves of light.

"In that direction is nothing but open sea. Ireland is over there," Penhill boomed, nodding to the right of where Sneaveweedle and the tea splatters were pointing. "The ferry would have to be horribly off course for us to end up in that direction."

"I'm afraid tea bags aren't very clear, Mr. Penhill," Moonfloat said. "But they are also never wrong."

==============================

The above is a piece of Flickr Fiction, inspired by this photo from user Dejon. I am quite out of practice in Flickr Fiction and creative writing in general at the moment, so keen observers will note that the photo doesn't particularly match the story I've written. That said, the two things that stood out for me in the picture were sunlight and a sense of adventure. That's what I've written on.
Also playing along this week are: Donal, Elisa, Sarah, and Tadmack.
You can catch up on previous episodes of Penhill and Sneaveweedle here. With this and a few other episodes, I have written in some necessary direction for myself, but for the most part the story is being written as I go along. I would love your input and ideas on where you think things should go from here.

One weird thing

You've probably seen that meme that has a person list six weird things about themselves. I am stuck for a blogging topic, but too lazy to be arsed with six things, so I've come up with one.

Of course, the question of what falls under the category of "weird" is a bit of a trick. I speak Welsh, I think medieval fayres are awesome, and I follow EastEnders so religiously that I refer to characters as if I know them personally (I am about two dead brain cells away from writing them letters of advice on how to solve their problems: "Stacey, you know that nothing good will come of this thing with Max!"). So, I'm not 100% sure* I'm qualified to judge "weird."

Perhaps that I am so taken with iTunes (a half decade after everyone else) is a bit odd. But for the most part, I don't tend to think that things I do or think are all that weird -- probably because I am the person doing and thinking those things. It's a bit like Catch 22; people who are crazy don't know they are crazy. If they think they are crazy, it's almost certainly a sign that they are not.

So, the fact that I don't tend to think of myself as not weird may be a sign that I am, in fact, very weird. Most likely, though, this is wishful thinking. More likely, I am one of the most boring people on Earth.

In terms of what other people might think is weird, I am either so boring or people are so used to my quirks, that I ceased surprising people years ago. I could list just about any odd thing and people who are close to me would think: "Yeah, sure -- that's not all that weird coming from him."

So, here's my totally un-weird weird thing about me:

I have a science-fiction TV series in my head.

It's about a border-line suicidal space fighter pilot. Because of the accessible nature of electronic information, his branch of the military (which would have to have a cooler name than the usually lame "Space Force" or "Space Marines," but I haven't thought up the name yet. Most likely it would be an acronym) starts putting important information on paper again (written in Sioux). The fighter pilot -- nicknamed "Witke," Sioux for "crazy" -- is given the job of hurtling unescorted (so as to not draw attention) across vast, cold, dangerous stretches of space, delivering various ultra-important messages.

Recognizing that he is already more than a bit psycho (he gets this assignment after being pulled as a squadron leader, having led his group into one too many mismatched fire fights), the yet-to-be-named military branch he works for fits his ship with a beta-version navigational/operating system that is designed to develop a personality of its own. The idea is to give him company on the long, cold (to preserve power and to help avoid detection, most of the time his ship does little more than circulate oxygen, so he's almost always weighed down by cold-weather gear [hence the connection to Heather's kittyhead hat]).

The system learns at an immense rate, so it tends to know everything that can be known, or can learn it in a pinch by gathering information from the future incarnation of the Internet. It is also designed to make itself as compatible and personable as possible to the user, so in short order it develops a female voice (probably with an accent) and Witke names it after some girl he had a crush on as a cadet before she was killed by some habitually-evil alien race that have been warring with Earth for 100 years.

Partially because his mood is erratic, and partially because the software recognises Witke actually enjoys arguing, the two have long, bantering philosophical/humorous conversations as they hurtle through space. They are occasionally interrupted by the need to blow stuff up or narrowly escape certain doom or save the universe. You know how it goes.

Needless to say, this culminates in all sorts of philosophical questions about the nature of reality as Witke "falls in love" with his ship's navigational/operating system, and vice versa. Neither will admit this fact.

At about the same time as this man-software love that dare not speak its name is coming to fruition, the military branch with a cool acronym name decides through other tests that the software -- hard-programmed to be so accommodating and protective of the user -- is a bad idea all around. They order it removed from Witke's ship and all existing versions of the software are deleted.

That's the end of season 1.

The second season starts with Witke in the bar, receiving the equivalent of a text message. The message contains a backup file to his ship's navigational/operating system -- it was sent by his ship, and had been bouncing around the corners of space, making it impossible to trace.

And it goes on from there, with all kinds of possibilities:
- The ship becomes too reckless in actions, because it can always provide a backup of itself, and almost kills Witke.
- An evil-twin version shows up, based on a corrupted version of the file that was bounced around space
- The ship starts to project a hologram of an attractive woman, so it messes with Witke's head even more.
- Through either Star Trek replicator technology or William Gibson microsofts technology, the OS becomes a tangible female form.

*The phrase "100% sure" is there only because I wanted to use the percent sign.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Oh, hey, how are you? I wasn't expecting anyone to drop by. No, no, come in. Sorry about the smell. Are you hungry? I have some mince pies left...

Ever notice that you get listed as blog of the day when you're doing fuck all? And now I feel this tremendous pressure to come up with something brilliant. My immediate thought is to film myself doing something really stupid, like setting fire to my hand.

While I'm thinking of something, I encourage you to check out the "second-hand Redd Foxx anecdote" that City Pages referenced.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wife Gives New Meaning To Boxing Day

My latest column is out, to give you something to read as you stuff another leftover mince pie down your gullet.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I've got a fever; and the only prescription is more sleigh bell.

Merry Christmas
Nadolig Llawen
Feliz Navidad
Happy Hanukkah
Happy Sol Invictus
Happy Quaid-e-Azaim's Day
Happy Constitution Day
And on and on and on...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas cards

We got Christmas cards today from the Phins, and the Johnsons. I mention that just so they will know that the cards have been received and are muchly appreciated. We're putting all our cards on the modern hearth -- the television -- and are now running out of space, so we don't feel too lonely this Christmas.

For our part, we've been ridiculously slow in sending out cards. We got out all the ones to family last week, but I was still sending a few to friends today.

-30-

Random memory

Our first summer in St. Paul was particularly hot and our apartment did not have air conditioning. One day I came home and found the child bride making dinner wearing nothing but an apron.

I responded as you would expect -- with glee. But when I attempted to grab her she was having none of it. She hadn't been naked to be sexy, but because she was that hot.

I'm becoming one of those people

Please send help. Today I made a joke in which the punchline required knowledge of grammar. This is clearly the result of studying two languages and being all wannabe writer-like. Soon I will develop a Bill Bryson beard and become as tedious as Mark Twain*.

Perhaps related to this is the fact that lately I have been seriously considering purchasing a smoking pipe -- preferably similar to the one used by Bing Crosby in "White Christmas." The only thing preventing me from doing this is the fact that the child bride would have a fit.

My taking up smoking would almost certainly result in a sudden increase of Rachel "accidentally" hitting me in her sleep.

*Remember, kids: You don't have to actually be witty if you look like you should be witty.

-30-

The death of bullet points

I've finally been switched over to Blogger Beta, which is now apparently no longer Beta. It's just Blogger. So, nothing's changed. In honour of this switch (if it has, in fact, occurred), I've decided to become a conformist and start using the labels feature. The sad result of this, however, is that it makes my system of using bullet points in a post a bit silly. With labels, I should be creating an entirely new post for each separate idea, even if the idea is as simple as "Dude, look at this thing" (and I should probably create a label called "Dude look at this"). Long bullet-pointed posts addressing a number of topics wouldn't be as efficient.

And, you know, efficiency is really important on this blog. It's an international resource.

Also, you'll note that I now have an AdSense box on this blog. I'm still not entirely comfortable with the idea of advertising, though, so it may be temporary. I have long hated advertisers and salespeople (my railing against the latter is what got me fired at KOLO and in part what eliminated my chances of promotion in every other media job I've held), so I feel scummy and duplicitous for allowing an ad box to exist on my blog. I still refuse to visit any site that has pop-ups or pop-unders.

But like all other bloggers, writers and air breathers, I entertain delusions of importance; I dream of being paid for all the nonsense I put out. Hopefully you will find AdSense to be relatively unobtrusive. If not, please let me know.

It's not as if it matters, anyway. I've had an AdSense box on Good Name for a Band for two months and it has reaped a whopping $0.53 for me. With boxes now on all my blogs, I may see a profit of $0.90 a month. Since AdSense doesn't pay out until I've earned at least $100, I won't see a check until I'm in my 40s. Considering how fast the dollar is plummeting against the pound that means I'll be able to buy a packet of Tesco chocolate biscuits.

-30-

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Booze!

Christmas in Britain kicks the ass of Christmas in the U.S. because of the number of booze-laden products available: mulled wine, mince pies with brandy in them, Christmas pudding with cognac in it, rum sauce to put on my brandy mince pies and cognac Christmas puddings! Woot! If anyone needs me, I'll be lying on the floor.

Ladies' man

I dreamt last night that I was staying at Eric and Kristin's cabin and playing Kubb in the yard when Kristin drove up in a white early 90s Renault; her passenger was an ex-girlfriend of mine.

She (the ex-girlfriend, not Kristin) had Kool-Aid red hair, so I had to stare at her for a second, but then it registered and there was a rush of excitement as I lifted her up in one of those "Oh, my gosh, I haven't seen you in ages"-type hugs.

It was actually her, not an amalgam of female features attached to a name, as can often happen in dreams. My memory of her was so strong that I could smell her as we hugged. Her smell is scored deep in my memory.

Dr. Handy once told me the technical term for a person who remembers based on his or her senses, but I have since forgotten that term because it was mentioned in an e-mail conversation; I couldn't smell her when she told me.

Either way, sensing that this "Oh, my gosh, I haven't seen you in ages" hug was lasting just a second too long and becoming an "Oh, my gosh, you still smell so good" hug, Eric piped in loudly with a comment about Rachel, putting emphasis on the phrase "your wife."

Not missing a beat, Kristin added that almost every column I write is about how stupid I am for Rachel.

This particular dream featured Sarah McDaniels, but it's one I've had countless times.

The dreams are little morality plays of the subconscious, and they almost always go the same way: I meet some girl I haven't seen in a coon's age and am too patient/accepting/happy to see her than perhaps I should be, and then Eric comes in as the voice of reason*.

It's perhaps an odd thing that Eric features as the metaphorical angel on the shoulder in my dreams. But of all the people I know, he has one of the most defined and clear senses of what is right and wrong. Remember that knowing right from wrong is different than choosing right from wrong. But he is still considerably beyond me. I often fail to identify that things I do are insulting or hurtful or inappropriate. It's probably not coincidence that the people who are closest to me are so thick-skinned.

My subconscious works like a poorly written Victorian novel, so these lessons in fidelity usually end with a sort of karmic reward for good behaviour -- I discover that while I've had seven and a half years of happy marriage, the ex-girlfriend has experienced a slow and steady emotional decline since parting from me.

Of course, the side-effect to these dreams is that I end up spending the next conscious day wondering what has actually happened to the featured ex-love interest. The thoughts bring a deep and wistful melancholy. I can feel it pushing against my ribcage; breathing feels laboured. I'm not totally sure why the feeling is so strong, and what it says about me. Most likely is says I am a big girl.

But it's strange to think that out in the world right now there are all these women, all these souls, who have been close to me, and the odds are quite high that I will never see or hear from them again.

"All these women." That makes it sound as if there are thousands upon thousands of them; as if they could all move to the Aleutians and set up a semi-autonomous state of jaded ex-lovers: The People's Republic of Fuck-Chris-istan. But, you know what I mean -- there are more than three.

They are women who actually liked me -- even if just for a tiny space of time -- enough to be close. They saw me as better than I have ever seen myself. They kissed me. They wanted to hold my hand. And, to varying degrees, I tore myself up over them. It's hard to accept that two people could have existed in such intense moments and emotions and then just sort of fade away and never know if the other is even alive.

I often wonder what happened to this person or that person. So much so that I will work their name into a blog post**, making their names Google searchable for all eternity. I have this stupid quiet hope that these little internet snares will lead to the person e-mailing me. But there's probably a reason I don't know where they are or what they are up to; perhaps they have no interest in hearing from me. I'm hardly a recluse; if Jeni Rodvold were to ever find herself wondering what the hell happened to me it would take less than a second to find out.

*His wife, Kristin, will often serve as a second voice of reason. Both are capable of speaking in the blunt way that is necessary for communicating to me.

**I have mentioned Sarah a few times: here and here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Storytime

The story behind why, "Man, this is fucked," is one of my all-time my favourite phrases...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Greatest hits

I'm stealing this meme from Crystal -- the first sentence of the first post of each month in 2006:

I cannot stop laughing at the picture of this kid. Have I ever told you how much I love my job? I'm a food and drink guy -- drink especially. Here's an insight into the genius of the child bride that I only just cottoned to last night: Seemingly at random, Rachel will posit the "When You're Famous" scenario, in which she makes me promise not to run off with one of the thousands of beautiful young women who will throw themselves at me when I finally stop failing in life. It's a holiday in Britain isn't it? It's a day or two late, but my latest column is out. It's been an exhausting week and things only look to become more trying, but, you know, cliché about the complexities of life and how it's all worth it goes here. Sometimes the Welsh language makes me feel like I've been playing that game where you try to hold your head underwater longer than all the other kids. Sneaveweedle was in his room, packing his things, when Bentley brought him the phone. Well, I've managed through my first week of university. Radio Wales' "Eye on Wales" programme came to the house to interview me Wednesday. My apologies for not joining the group of bloggers that met Saturday in London.

Cripes, they taught me in Journalism 101 not to start a sentence with "it" or a variant, but I did it three months in a row.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My girlfriend quite likes the sausage

  • I've decided I want an MBE. How hard do you suppose it would be for me to earn one? What do you reckon I'd have to do?

  • For some odd reason I decided to read a load of American news today from local sources (sites of newspapers and television stations). It was very refreshing because it reminded me of why I was so eager to get out of U.S. journalism and the United States. Presently I feel like burrowing under a roadway, like one of those environmental campaigners: "I'm not coming out until you promise not to send me back!"

  • Most amusing sentence from tonight's Spanish homework: "A mi novia le gusta bastante el chorizo."
    I'll bet she does.

  • Yeesh, this news has got to hurt one's self-esteem.

  • A warning to all snowmen: We ain't particularly fond of your kind around these parts.

  • An example of Britons' razor-sharp wit, as found in my Christmas cracker:
    What's the difference between Santa Claus and a biscuit?
    You can't dunk Santa Claus in your tea.
  • Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    First Kisses Make Men Dumb

    My latest column is out. It makes a great stocking stuffer!

    Also, it should be of particular interest to Crystal, who is overtly mentioned and linked.

    Sunday, December 10, 2006

    The Sheriff of Nottingham can score one more than you

  • What the hell is wrong with you, Britain? Louisa Lytton is out of Strictly Come Dancing. I am shocked. I am outraged. Has the world gone completely mad?!

  • In car news, we've decided on the Peugeot. We went with this one for a handful of reasons:
    1) It's a diesel. They get slightly better gas mileage and the engines hold up longer. Also, diesels are a little noisier and, due to aspects that involve attempting to use the word "torque" without sounding like some idiot who just learned the word "torque" and wants to throw it around, it feels more powerful. So, it is about as manly as a 1.9-litre hatchback can get.
    2) The engine looks easier to work with. Granted, it is still ridiculously wee, but at least I was able to immediately identify the location of simple things like the oil filter, air filter and serpentine belt*. The fact that I knew that much about an engine completely shocked the bloke who sold me the car. Apparently no one in this country works on their car. This fact is most evident in that a common tactic of Phil Mitchell is to remove the distributor cap. This puts his enemies totally at his mercy because apparently no one else in the whole of East London knows how to fix a car.
    3) It's Frenchy; I can see my mother-in-law grimacing now.
    4) It's actually an OK little car.
    I'll take pictures when I get a chance.

  • Dude! The Sheriff of Nottingham in BBC's "Robin Hood" is a member of Fat Les of "Vindaloo" fame! And -- strangely, in light of the previous fact -- he's Welsh.
    For those of you playing along at home, BBC 1 airs a weekly ultra-revisionist/populist version of Robin Hood that the child bride refuses to miss. Hands down, the Sheriff is the best character on the show because he is unscrupulously evil.

    *And some of these parts are actually accessible. Obviously, there's not a whole lot of space under the bonnet ("hood," for those of you playing along at home), but I will be able to change the oil.
  • Saturday, December 9, 2006

    Size matters

  • For months I have been waiting to be allowed to use Blogger Beta, and finally today I got a note that said: "Your new version of Blogger is ready!"
    I eagerly clicked the button to switch over but was confronted with an error message: "Unfortunately, we cannot switch your Blogger account at this time, because one or more of your blogs cannot be moved."
    Why?
    Apparently, the problem is that I have "a very large blog."

  • Random interesting fact about Cardiff Central Station: There is no Platform 5. The platform numbers go up to 7, but for some inexplicable reason, they skip over 5. Actually, that's only part of the platform confusion: the platforms are numbered as such: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4a, 4b, 6, 7.
    So, there's a Platform 0, and Platforms 4a and 4b, but no Platform 5. I am surprised that none of the science-fiction shows that are filmed in Cardiff (Dr. Who and Torchwood) have made anything out of this.

  • Random interesting fact about the Welsh language: It is easier to read Welsh written in 1753, than English that was written in 1753. This is because the written side of Welsh hasn't changed as dramatically over the last 250 years. I am on the fence as to whether I think this is good or bad or if it is even a fact to which any value can be attributed.

  • In car news, we are debating between a Peugeot 306 (1.9 diesel) and a Toyota Corolla 1.3. If anyone can offer advice, please do.

  • Lately I've found it impossible to sleep due to what comic Dylan Moran calls the washing machine of the mind: "What am I doing? Is it enough? Do I enjoy it? Am I any good at it? I should get some sleep; I can't because I'm too stressed."
    I am awake every morning at 6 a.m., and just sit there staring at the ceiling in a slow-minded panic. I have only one week left in the semester and plan to just sort of fall down and weep for a week as of Thursday afternoon.

  • Related to the above, I am still not writing any Flickr Fiction, but I thought I would draw attention to other people's stuff since it's started back up. Taking part this week are: Donal, Elisa, Isobel, Sarah, and TadMack. I may be back next week -- no promises, though -- with a new piece of my own. Remember that all of my pieces are supposed to be connected, so, like me, you may want to refresh on what's happened so far.
  • Best. Album. Cover. Ever.


    All hail Dino Crocetti. I bought this album just because of the cover.

    Wednesday, December 6, 2006

    Alive in Danescourt with my woman, Rachel.

  • In car news, we presently have our eye on a Peugeot 306. A Frenchy car! Bwahahaha!
    Admittedly, we are using confused thinking in trying so hard to avoid buying American -- the auto giants already have their money if we're buying used. And Peugeot are putting several thousand Britons out of work, so it's difficult to claim the moral high ground.

  • The headline of this post comes from Google's translation of the sentence "Vivo en Danescourt con mi mujer, Rachel," which is supposed to read as "I live in Danescourt with my wife, Rachel." The Google version makes me sound much cooler, though.
  • Tuesday, December 5, 2006

    No, Jammie Dodgers do not count in your '5 A Day'

    The child bride and I need a car. Well, the child bride needs a car; suffering Arriva gives me something to talk about and, unlike driving, it is an experience improved by alcohol.

    But Arriva doesn't go to Ebbw Vale, which is where Rachel's new job is based*.

    In searching for pictures of Ebbw Vale, I found a website that offered such exciting scenes as the Argos, the Domino's, and (I hope you're sitting down) the interior of a multi-storey car park. I've never actually been there, but from what people tell me of the place, there's not much else to see. Like a lot of Welsh towns, its history is tied to the slow, miserable decline of mining (coal, iron, slate, et al) until the industry's abrupt death due to Thatcherism. Not a whole hell of a lot has happened since. If you know anything about dietary trends, you know that this sort of situation -- where identity, community, and economy are struggling -- tends to result in high rates of obesity.

    So, Rachel will be working with children and their parents and trying to make a difference. It's not exactly the glamorous European experience that Americans abroad want to put into letters. We want to be able to make it sound like outdoor cafes and reading of broadsheet newspapers are everyday experiences. Nonetheless, Rachel is really looking forward to it; this is actually what she went to university for.

    And, as I say, now we have to find a car. Most likely, we'll end up with something ridiculously small and embarrassing for me to be seen in, like a Ford KA (for those of you playing along at home, this car is wee; it is smaller than a Mini; my bicycle looks quite large in comparison). Although we would like to avoid buying a car that is GM or Ford, this looks to be a lot harder than you would think. We have thought we might get a French car simply to annoy our staunchly pro-American family members. For these purposes, we'd like a Peugeot 206 that plays "La Marsellaise" when you hit the horn.

    *That's called burying the lede, kids. The child bride got a job!!

    Monday, December 4, 2006

    Why the world needs Leatherman tools

    Today's Arriva Trains fun involved the Bargoed train breaking down on the tracks between Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street. Despite the fact that I was going the opposite direction (and therefore not needing to use that section of track) my train to Danescourt was delayed by 17 minutes.

    They eventually managed to get the Bargoed train running and got it to Queen Street, where it promptly broke down again. That's when they really did make this announcement over the tannoy: "Does anybody have a screwdriver? A hammer? Anything? Anything?"

    I'm inclined to believe they were taking the piss, but it's so hard to tell when Arriva is concerned.

    Marw yn yr harnais

  • My apologies for not joining the group of bloggers that met Saturday in London. I really wanted to go; but lately I have been under a suffocating depression that doesn't make me the best of conversation. Coursework is also kicking my ass.

  • Has anyone else noticed that EastEnders seems to have taken on a few pro-wrestling writers? I am still confused by Ruby's heel turn, Sean's face turn, Ian's instantaneous heel-to-face turn and Pauline's ridiculously see-through wickedness.

  • Somewhere in conservative America, I am sure, a hack radio host is working him- or herself close to a stroke over Gwyneth Paltrow. Obviously, though, Gwyneth hasn't ever met a Cardiff teenager (I refer you to the case of Cleveland, Oahu).
  •