Saturday, October 29, 2005

Peru Prologue

I'm back from Peru!

I had a great holiday but after almost 24 hours of travelling and just one hour of sleep, I'm absolutely shattered!

So in 14 days I managed to travel by plane, train, automobile, motor-boat, canoe and a boat held aloft by recycled plastic bottles!

I've stayed for a night with a farming family on an island in lake Titicaca, in a lodge with full mosquito netting(!) in the middle of the Amazonian jungle, did the last day of the Inca trail and have seen the brilliant Machu Pichu with my own eyes. And that's just brushing the surface!

Bed time for me now....More soon....

Friday, October 14, 2005


Bizarrely I've had two things happen to me this week which though inconvenient would have been a lot more troublesome if they had occurred whilst I was off on holiday.

First I woke up on Wednesday morning to find that my fridge-freezer door had popped open at some point during the night and in the process of defrosting itself had left a big puddle of melted ice all over my kitchen floor!

I'm completely to blame though. It's been in dire need of defrosting for weeks now and it was actually quite fun watching the ice build up in the top freezer compartment and start to descend into the fridge section.

Like a glacier slowly pushing, it had decided that down wasn't the only way to go and had pushed out as well. As soon as the door was open into my (always warm) flat, it was like global warming on a smaller scale with floods of huge proportions (for my ant flatmates anyway.)

I had to frantically chip away at the near-impervious ice with a screwdriver whilst keeping an eye on the time as I was running late for work!

But can you imagine if it had happened whilst I was on holiday!?
The ants would have had a free feast. Walking in on a Saturday night, knackered and finding something like that! ARGH!

Actually whilst cleaning the house up last night to make sure there's no chance of any stray crumbs around the kitchen, I spotted a spindly-legged spider surrounded by loads of dead ants in the corner behind one of my cupboards.

So if the poisoned bait doesn't get you, the spider will!

He's my new friend :)


And then earlier on in the week my all-singing, all-dancing heart rate monitor-compass-altimeter-barometer (it tell the time too as an added bonus) watch's battery ran out. Getting one of those in Peru would have been hard and it's amazing how annoying and inconvenient it can get having to rely on others to know what the time is.

The watch is made by Suunto, a Finish company (I think), and I bought it on E-bay from someone with a very good rating (I never buy from anyone below 100, ideally 1000!) for massively less than RRP.

I worried for a day or so that the watch was faulty but one new battery later, everything is hunky-dory. Excellent!

I'm off from work early today so I can actually do my packing. Everything is in a pile at the moment. I've tried using telekinesis to get it to pack itself but it's not working :(

A cab is picking me up at the ungodly hour of 04:30 ! 14 hours flying!

Luckily KLM, who I am travelling with, allow you to check in online and even choose your seats, so that's out of the way. So, leg room seats sorted! Thank you internet!

So thank you for reading and see you all in 2 weeks!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Found Serenity

Sorry all, I've been living a secret second life. An addiction. I've tried to hide it; not let it interfere with my real life but it just took over me for the past week.

So I'm off to Peru on Saturday for detox from the drug that is World Of Warcraft.
Me, Doobrie, currently a 15th level Paladin resting soundly in a local inn :)

I did discover that, like cocaine (apparently,) playing WOW is a great aid to dieting. You just sit at the computer playing, chatting to others, ganging up on monsters, solving quests....
Just one more quest...Just one more level and before you know it, it's 3 in the morning, you're starving and it's time to hit the sack.

Okay, perhaps I didn't get THAT bad but I could feel myself slipping over to the dark side once or twice. Luckily, I have strong will power so can switch off if need be.

Is my life really that boring? Well, no but the World of Warcraft is just so damn interesting. Childhood fantasies of being the hero, casting spells. The amazing creatures you can meet, the whole surround sound, 1600x1200 experience is just too good to pass on.

And it IS fun, why else do hundreds of thousands partake (posh word!)?
Are they all obese computer geeks with no life? Hell, no. People from all over play these things. It is cool in a geek-chic type of way.

Will I ever survive two weeks without it in Peru?! Of course I will :)

Back to the real world, I went to see Serenity at the flicks last Thursday (Played WOW when I got home though.)

The film was awesome. I'm a sucker for sci-fi action and this film (and it's sequels) were what the last 3 Star Wars film can only aspire to be. Exciting, funny, action-packed with characters that get fleshed out better than George Lucas seemed to be able to do lately. Needless to say, I loved it. 10/10 and that is a rare thing with me. I saw the original series Firefly and perhaps that has biased me as obviously the characters are already known to me. However, regardless it was
a good film and with the right word-of-mouth, I hope it does well.

I'm planning to see Night Watch this week if I get a chance. First, I still need to sort out holiday insurance(!), clean my flat from top-to-toe before I go (to lessen the ants' holiday experience whilst I'm away) and sort out what I'm taking and start packing pronto! *stress*

One less thing to worry about though was I did manage to get a really good exchange rate for my currency today from a funny little exchange booth on Baker Street where the guy basically out-bid all the banks and Bureau De Changes in the area who were trying to give me 1.68 dollars to the pound and gave me 1.74 instead. I didn't have to haggle even though it looked like the kind of place where you could. It does look legit, just a bit strange compared to his surroundings. He's squashed between a restaurant and a dentists!

Also, I asked for a receipt and he gave me a hand written note with a stamp on it. LOL!

I'll probably go back in two weeks to find that he's disappeared *grin*

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I bought World Of Warcraft today...A few people at work have been raving about it.

I just had to try it.... I'm a reborn geek!

If it's good....You may not hear from me for a while.

That's either good or bad. I don't know....

You decide...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Do Stuff!

I'd been suffering from apathy a bit this week. Not just blog apathy but generalised apathy. But now I've had enough of that and it's time to get off my ass and do stuff!

Okay, so it's not as if I haven't been doing anything. I managed to go to the cinema twice (having started to suffer withdrawal symptoms from not having been for the past fortnight!), discovered that High Street Kensington is the place to go to buy travel gear (I hadn't been there for over 10 years) hence bought the perfect holdall for my holiday and checked out Oxford Street on Saturday whilst it was closed to traffic for it's rather weakly named 'Celebrate Oxford Street - Dress To Impress' day.

I was planning on seeing 'Revolver' but the universal panning by critics (pah!) and people I knew who had seen it (oh dear) scared me off.

So on Thursday, I went to see 'Land Of The Dead' instead. I never used to be that much into zombie flicks but the humorous gory aspects of Romero's films are quite cool.

'Land' was quite good. Not perfect but watchable nonetheless. Plenty of 'cool' gory killings but definitely not scary. If you don't like this kind of film, then this won't change your mind.

Reading between the lines it's about the masses rebelling against the governments and corporations driven by profit that try to control their lives. Just to make it really obvious, at one point the main 'bad man' played by Dennis Hopper, says "We don't negotiate with terrorists" when talking about one of the 'bully boys' that he has created to do his dirty work who is trying to blackmail him.

It could have been made at any time in the past three decades really. So a cool zombie flick but not really pushing the bounds of the genre anywhere new. 6.5/10 from me.

I went to see a completely different movie, 'A History Of Violence' on Friday. At least, this time, the cinema had more than six other people, as had been the previous day.

It was okay but I couldn't help but feel that Cronenberg's direction was a bit off. It's one of those films that you feel you shouldn't not like because everyone else seems to like it. As I said, it was okay but once again, not exactly genre busting. The story was interesting enough but bits of the movie felt out of place. There were a few scenes that felt a bit redundant.

The film was over an hour and a half long and I have to say that I didn't notice. So I guess that it did enough to keep me interested. I'd give it a 6.9/10. Could have been a lot better though.

I'm really looking forward to seeing 'Serenity' this week though, hopefully on Thursday, as I couldn't beg, borrow or steal any premier or preview tickets :(

Anyway movie reviewer bit over. HAHA!

As I mentioned, I popped along on Saturday to check out Oxford Street's traffic-free day. It's another one of those promotional attempts to get shoppers back into London's main shopping street after the events of July and various other factors have apparently knocked loads off the profits of the shops on the street. (Shame!)

It certainly worked in terms of the number of people who turned up. I was there after 3pm and Oxford street was packed to the gills. A few bands were performing on stage in the middle of the traffic-free section and various Z-list celebs were in some of the stores trying to feel important.

My friend, who popped down to London with me, had a good point though when he pointed out that although there were thousands of people packed into the street, practically none of them seemed to be carrying any shopping bags. So I'm not convinced that the shops along the street would really have benefited that much.

In fact at one point when it started raining, loads of us popped into Waterstones, the book shop that faces the main stage. Waterstones were well prepared. They had one security guard on duty and he struggled to keep people away from the entrance as the door alarm was going off non-stop!

Then we got bored of seeing reality-show rejects on stage and tried to head back the way we came. It took us twenty minutes to work through the, now, very compressed crowd. Some fights almost broke out as some people tried pushing a bit too hard!

Policing was a bit of a mess too. A one point there were about eight community police trying to form a chain across the whole street to stop more people getting through to the stage section.
Needless to say that eight against a few hundred doesn't work. Later on, proper London Metropolitan police turned up and sorted things straight away.

Frankly we were glad to get out of there in the end. I'm sure that all that happened was that they weren't prepared for the numbers that turned up around the main stage. Stupid really!

Anyhow, I was happy in the end as I managed to get a decent holdall for my Peru trip and just need to get some US currency now to spend over there.

Thirteen days and counting!

PS: Reading back I realise that I sound really cynical about the whole Oxford Street Event. I think that it probably was a good event so long as you stayed out of the over-crowded areas as I hope that my pictures of the wacky geishas on stilts and spinning teapots show.