Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Another Card Bites The Dust

A typical journey in today. Travelling in on a packed Hammersmith & City train, we are asked to get off at Edgware Road to what is an obviously already absolutely jam-packed platform in the hope of catching the rammed-full train just coming in on the opposite platform. *sigh*

Luckily for me, I only have one stop left to go so get out and do the ten minute walk instead. Granted the exercise is good, right?

But unfortunately:
1) I strained hamstring muscles over the weekend, so walking isn't as comfortable as it should be at the moment.
2) Walking alongside a busy main road for ten minutes isn't all that brillant either.

I got into the office and check my e-mail to find one from play.com telling me that my card had been refused. What?! *sigh* I have had a few weird problems over the weekend where my card was fine in some places but not so in others.

So I ring my bank to find out what's going on.

"There has been possible fraudulent activity on your card, sir. Did you not get a letter from us last week asking you to confirm this?"

"What?!!! No. I havem't received anything." I wonder to myself if I've left something unopened assuming that it's an advert or some other piece of junk mail.

It turns out that some gambling site registered in Gibraltar had twice tried to withdraw money from my account. *big sigh*

This is the second time in three months that this has happened to me. I look back over my transactions and they are all for large well-established outlets....All that is apart from one....

My jaw drops. I used my card to buy a carpet in Morocco. I KNEW that I should have used cash!!! Damn! Damn! Damn!

I explained this to my bank but they didn't seem all that bothered but they cancelled my card and now I have to go through the rigmarole (oooh, never typed that word before) of waiting for a new card and moving anything across that was using the old one....

Friday, April 21, 2006

Alarm Bells!

Something strange happened to me this morning. I was woken up by the sound of my new alarm clock (something that my brain is still adjusting to the sound of) so I got up and switched it off.

It's on a chest of drawers near the foot of my bed rather than next to me and that's how I prefer it as it forces me to get out of bed to switch off rather than just reaching out, hitting it and going back to sleep straight away.

Anyway, as I mentioned, today, I flick the alarm switch off and lie down for a few seconds. But I can still hear it ringing. Weird!

I get up and switch it off again...

I can still hear it going!!!

I look at it. The alarm switch is off but it still shrilly rings at me.

Damn that new alarm clock. What's going on????

That's when my brain caught up with me and said "You're still asleep, you muppet!" (It's quite a sarcastically cruel brain sometimes.)

Sure enough, I was dreaming that I had switched the alarm clock off but in the real world it was still making a racket!

*big sigh*

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

And slowly and surely drew their plans against us...

I went to see War Of The Worlds at the Royal Albert Hall today.
No not the one with the placenta eating alien freak boy but the electro-hippy-trippy one from the 70s conducted by Jeff Wayne.

I'd bought the tickets months ago and only just realised late last week that the time was almost upon me to go!

Just as well that I remembered. It was a unique experience. Live music, light show, performance and CGI movie all in one. Plus there was the 25 foot tall war machine whose legs descended part way through the first act with lasers flying and explosions going off!

A shiver went down my spine as the animated Richard Burton started his commentary and the first bars of the opening tune played by a live orchestra and rock band inter-mixed kicked in.

It was tres cool baby!

The only down side is that back home, I feel ill now. I think that I've come down with something. My temperature is soaring and I ache all over. *sigh*

Oh well, a good night's rest should help. So g'night everyone!
(or good morning/day/evening depending on when you're reading this!)

Monday, April 17, 2006


Well, that last post was number one hundred for me, and I hadn't even realised. That's ninety-nine entries longer than I've ever managed to keep a diary going for!

I've been back three weeks from holiday and it's taken that long to write it all up. No idea why really, perhaps something to remember it all by in years to come if blogger still exists then.

Check out here for all the pictures. I took everything in digital RAW format but didn't have time to process everything so just bunged them all onto a site for future prosperity. Over time I'll tweak them and save them somewhere a bit more permanent....maybe.

Come Saturday I went along to see a play called "Embers" featuring Jeremy Irons. I paid full whack for a ticket a few days ago as I fancied a bit of culture and was interested by the fact that it was based on a book by a Hungarian author. Annoyingly the day after I bought the ticket I got a mailing from rip-off merchants Ticketmaster advertising the same tickets for half price. Bloody hell! There wasn't much I could do as they don't allow refunds because they don't give a damn about their customers.

Me: "Hey I just got run over and can't make it. Can I get a refund?"
Ticketmaster: "Tough Titties!"
(Obviously fictional, but you get the point.)

I got a nice seat in the fourth row with no seat in front of me, so lots of leg room. That's about as good as it got though. The play was heavy going. I don't know what I was thinking going to a play based on a Hungarian book. Old Hungarians books (and I've read a few, infrequently) aren't exactly known for their light-heartedness. They are full of tragedy or perceived tragedy. Lots of inner monologues and depression. And that's just the good ones.

To be honest, I struggled. It was so unoriginal and uninspiring that I couldn't wait for it to end. Now I know what it feels to be a true Hungarian, I thought to myself.

The first act was mercifully short at less than thirty minutes. My hopes were raised that even though I'd paid a lot for the ticket, I would be out of there quickly. The second act was over an hour long, unfortunately.

And a strange thing happened during the second act. The two protagonists (who were basically the only two people on stage for ninety-nine percent of the time,) were in a scene where they were smoking cigars after an unseen dinner.

The venue, the York Theatre is small/intimate (depending on how creative you are) and the smoke from the cigars basically wafted out over the audience. No surprise then that a couple of people started coughing. Before I'd gone in I noticed a sign warning about strobe lighting (for a short lightning effect) but nothing about passive smoking.

I blocked out the coughing as I was concentrated on the actors but then Jeremy Irons walks up to the front of the stage and talks directly to the audience.

"It's always an option to walk out," he said. And then he carried on with the play.
But the bubble was broken.

We weren't in a castle on the Hungarian plains but back in a small theatre in London town where the star of the show was telling off someone in the audience. I felt so sorry for them. It came across as a bit nasty to single out someone like that.

I was glad when it was all over. I clapped methodically with no real feeling. It was great to get out into the fresh air after. Annoyingly it was raining and cold so the rest of the afternoon/evening was scuppered for outdoor things.

Sunday was just church for Easter in the evening and then a 5k run on the old treadmill (my new year's resolution has kicked in a bit late but better late than never!)

Today, I walked into London (more exercise!) to see an excellent American indie film called "Junebug."

Walking through Notting Hill I passed a Securitas van with an alarm going off declaring in a posh English voice. "This van is being attacked! Please call the police!"

In the front of the van were two men in Securitas uniform looking a bit embarrassed. I guess that everyone assumes that someone else is dealing with it. I couldn't see anyone doing anything so I just walked by too. Hehe.

The photo, taken today, is of the Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park.