Monday, February 28, 2011

He’s Like A PlayStation..

After returning to London, my son participated in a football tournament. He has only been involved with the club a short time but he's already an influential player in the team.

I watched him recently and he displays great strength and composure. He developed discipline when I used to take him to Goals and that built the foundation blocks for him to improve. He has a great eye for goal but just needs to learn when to pass! I wasn't surprised to receive a picture in my inbox today, with him holding awards for his performance over the weekend. I only wish that I could have been there but hearing him describe the events and his excitement was a great substitute! I hope he persists with football and follows the example set by my brother who has played for many clubs over the years. I have had too many distractions to commit to an illustrious football career. Superlatives aside, Boy has potential to do well over the next few years and with his self-belief even Messi has competition...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Come On Lads...

Totally Enormous Extinct DinosaursImage by Reena Mahtani via FlickrNintendo Wii had been popular this week, well to be precise Mario! It's become an obsession, and yesterday to escape the mindless violence we headed to the O2 Academy for Propaganda. The evening was a success, electro music was our boyfriend! Subway beckoned songs about sandwiches, cold turkey was on the menu and not because we hadn't played Mario in a few hours! Instead an argument had broken out between two customers, tension mounted and security intervened. You read that correctly, Subway in Leeds has security! "Come on Lads, this is a sandwich shop" came the response and ended any further embarrassment. Obviously an incident caused by video game withdrawal?! We retired to be reunited with a certain plumber! Today followed a similar pattern and tonight we headed to Leeds Metropolitan Student Union, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Darwin Deez were the entertainment! Both being the stand out live acts I have experienced recently and we were privileged to have them on the same line up. Credit to the promoters for making that happen. They didn't disappoint either although I can't keep up with the various changes to the Deez entourage. Disappointed that Zachary Cole Smith appears to have been replaced as I liked his energy and enthusiasm. Avoided Subway tonight, it's not about that!!

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shire... Baggins

Tropical World, Roundhay Park does exactly what it says on the tin, it's a World that's tropical themed... There's a swamp, humid rainforests, waterfalls, swirling pools of colourful fish and many exotic plants and flowers. The children were instantly impressed with the butterflies everywhere, my son wanted to catch one but my daughter made sure he didn't! Following on from the success of the Compare the Meerkat advertising campaign, the profile of the Meerkat has been raised considerably! Their enclosure was greeted with the most interest, but after learning that a group of meerkats is called a "mob", "gang" or "clan" don't be mislead with how cute they look, there's something sinister going on here. One display had close to several hundred mice on a piece of wood which looked crowded, I'm sure some of them must end up as food for the snakes. Another enclosure contained bats who were too busy feasting to notice whether they were going to fly into each other. Amazing to watch but nothing compared to the Slow Loris enclosure! They had a Jerboa for company, and these rodents are weird!! It appeared to understand how to open the door and was frantically leaping to reach the handle. I'm going to have nightmares for months.. With the time approaching for my brother to take the children back to London, we headed into Roundhay Park to explore. Not much to write home about but found a tree that looked like it belonged in Middle Earth! Fortunately there weren't any Ringwraiths but it was soon time for my brother and the children to leave for London. Come back soon!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kick The Baby

Having spent the last few days cleaning and making preparations, this afternoon my brother and children were in town. For anyone keeping score, that's his second appearance and he's dominating proceedings in much the same way he does in various fantasy football competitions!

We promptly headed into town towards Clarence Dock and onwards to The Royal Armouries Museum. Not sure why but one of the workers instantly took a dislike to our group. When the museum closed we had an awkward encounter with him as he attempted to kick my son, he was provoked but it was innocent and didn't require that reaction. This evening we headed to AMF Bowling, which proved to be a popular choice as everyone participated. My brother paid which was really appreciated and the night was a huge success. I even managed to sustain a winning streak which was unexpected and without the rails too. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

You Stay Classy, San Diego

leeds at nightImage by tricky ™ via FlickrRemember when I wrote about the events that followed the Media History exam? That's probably been my favourite night because Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast! I learnt earlier in the week that I passed and to celebrate I have booked tickets for Live at Leeds. I have fond memories of The Great Escape festival and hoping this will be the same. Attending gigs at venues across the city will be a great experience. At least in Leeds I won't have to sleep in the car overnight, that was exclusive to Brighton. Focusing back on the exam and I'm disappointed with the final grade. I expected better but then it's the first exam I have done in more than a decade. Overall I have probably learnt the most from this module, but more in terms of preparation than the course material. I have further exams at the end of the semester and I shall be aiming for a vast improvement. Haven't been sleeping too well lately, a combination of the mattresses provided in student accommodation and the water supply system!!
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Would You?

BreastI wasn't sure whether I would be eligible for a bursary, but I have done and according to the website it will contribute significantly to my financial wellbeing whilst I study at Leeds Metropolitan University. To celebrate we decided to take the girls to Red Leopard, actually they organised everything!

With our newly acquired wealth women wanted to be involved with us and it was intimidating. I won't pretend I have never been to one of these clubs before but these were packing heat. Whenever our girls weren't around they made their move! The conversation always progressed down the same path - I've noticed you around, I find you very attractive, Would you.. Um... Eventually the temptation became too much and our friend decided to follow the rabbit. I have a feeling that the girls wanted a private dance too but they remained composed. The night made a change from the usual but I felt it wasn't just the drink prices that were cheap. I can understand the attraction and our friend appreciated the private time but I won't be applying for a loyalty card anytime soon!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is...

Canon Love..making stuff and eating too much!

Creating something that's a reflection of your relationship, has meaning and provokes memories that's a true gift. Finding someone you can share that bond and understanding with is more important than any elaborate purchase.

Today we put the art into smart and also got to eat at the restaurant that's taunted us for months! I recommend Red Hot Buffet as the food tonight was close to being a lover's fantasy which is the actual description on the website. We felt like Charlie Bucket in the Chocolate Factory, sampling everything available and going back for seconds, thirds, etc. It would have been rude not to...

There were no Everlasting Gobstoppers but we weren't going to complain because everything else was covered. Afterwards you could have stuck a fork in me because I was done! 

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Sunday, February 13, 2011


If someone asked you to jump off a bridge, would you? I would be concerned with the proposition but my girlfriend agreed without much persuasion.

I wanted a unique experience for Valentines Day, something that would be memorable and set the heart racing. I explored several options, but none seemed to offer the appeal of bungee jumping. The thought of jumping from a structure whilst connected to an elastic cord had romance written all over it, right? My girlfriend thought so anyway. She admitted to being nervous, but after arriving late and waiting in the cold for ages, she was the first to jump from the bridge...

The Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge was the structure, the only working example of it's type in England. The experience was booked through Red Letter Day, and made all the more difficult with the appalling weather conditions. I felt for my girlfriend's sister who travelled with us and had to brave the elements. She captured footage from the entire afternoon, watching from below as we climbed the steps to the platform. After hearing the words "three.. two.. one.. bungee" and watching as my girlfriend composed and jumped with elegance, I finally understood what I had to do and the realisation must have been etched across my face. Here I was thinking bad romantic decision! Why not settle for having a quiet meal together? The organisers asked whether I was ready, I responded by informing them that I could hardly back out, I would never live it down.. I felt like I was walking the plank as I approached the edge. Looking below I could see that she had been collected by a boat and was being taken to the side. The instructions were relayed as though they were my last rites. "Three..." Don't hesitate, it's the worst thing you can do.. "two..." Focus on the highest point on the horizon and jump outwards.. "one..." Do you have anything to say before the sentence is carried out.. "bungeeee.." What an experience, even with a cold this was incredible. Well, it was quicker than the walk of shame and facing those steps again! I'm already considering options for next year, a plane jump hasn't been ruled out!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Tale That Wasn't To Bee

Wind-up bumble-bee toy.Image by another sergio via Flickr
The Otley Run is a pub crawl that takes place in Leeds, West Yorkshire. The route follows the A660, also known as Otley Road at the point the pub crawl commonly begins (Wikipedia, 2011). The Otley Run is a popular social gathering for students, societies and a common activity for birthdays and other celebrations among graduates and city residents. Participants often wear fancy dress and coordinate their costumes to a particular theme.

I frequently notice groups in costume when travelling through Headingley, although until last night the opportunity to participate hasn't been presented! Delicate from Thursday, we were easily persuaded and headed into town to purchase outfits. The budget limited our creative freedom, but we persevered, browsing several stores and settled for the inspiring partnership of the bee and the ladybird! Beatrix Potter would have been proud! More often than not even the best laid plans have difficulties and unfortunately we weren't able to overcome the first obstacle we encountered... By making arrangements through Facebook and not obtaining the appropriate contact information, we had a bag full of insect accessories, and didn't know what stage of the Otley Run to meet everyone! Admittedly we could have gone in search of our friends, but where would we have started -

1. Woodies Ale House
2. The Three Horseshoes
3. The New Inn
4. Citrus Bar & Lounge (Fancy Dress and Otley Run has now been banned)
5. Headingley Taps
6. The Arc
7. The trio Bar and Grill (since Citrus banned the Otley run)
8. The Box
9. The Skyrack
10. The Original Oak
11. The Hyde Park
12. The Library, Woodhouse Lane (formerly Feast and Firkin)
13. The Packhorse
14. The Eldon
15. The Old Bar
16. The Terrace
17. The Fenton
18. Strawberry Fields,(Strawbs)
19. The Dry Dock

Until the next time, that is all...
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good Time

BeautyImage by joedawson via FlickrThe NME Awards Tour arrived in Leeds and we were there to sample the vocals, guitars and bass. I have been excited for this ever since we received tickets from my sister for Christmas. I had previously attended the Brixton Academy show, which was amazing and this year provided an even more intriguing mix of talent which included The Vaccines, Everything Everything, Magnetic Man and Crystal Castles.

Arriving on massive hype after finishing third in the BBC's Sound of 2011 poll - The Vaccines started proceedings, playing tracks from their debut album What Did You Expect from the Vaccines? which will be released in March. I wish we had arrived earlier to fully appreciate their set but waiting for people to style their hair is an important ritual. Next were Everything Everything, I have seen them a few times with their show at Abbey Road Debuts making a lasting impression. Not to dismiss this performance but that one was incredible given the setting and acoustics. Magnetic Man aren't really anywhere near where I would be located on the musical horizon but Benga, Skream and Artwork provided an entertaining and experimental set that pounded our bodies with basslines. I have admired the live persona of Alice Glass for a while, and with Crystal Castles headlining I was excited to get a first taste of her energy. Unfortunately her leg was in a cast but that wasn't going to hold her down and arms flailing she still managed to whip up the crowd. They have a great sound but I was disappointed not to witness the complete stage performance. Ah well, there's the festival season approaching for another chance and here's hoping that she will be recovered then...

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Tangled, Literally

Boy 8thImage by joedawson via FlickrToday my son celebrated his eighth birthday and I was more excited than him about the occasion. My girlfriend and I had arranged to take the children to the cinema and then bowling - Saturday utilising the early morning family promotion and then bowling with my family on the Sunday. Being late for the family promotion we had to chose another feature but I didn't expect this would later take away the option of bowling. We settled for Tangled which wasn't included in the promotion but was a great and thoroughly enjoyed alternative. Their mother then rearranged her plans to take them bowling the following afternoon. Obviously I wasn't the only one disappointed, members of my family were also looking forward to a rematch. Especially following on from the previous birthday meeting which resulted in footage being uploaded to YouTube. It wasn't worth making a scene about because my son's enjoyment was most important, even with further confusion over his presents I decided to avoid confrontation! He has enjoyed the fuss this weekend and they both joined me Sunday afternoon in high spirits for the routine birthday cake and family meal. It's back to Leeds for us this evening and the children should be following in a few weeks...
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Friday, February 04, 2011

Another Brick In The Wall

The iPod family with, from the left to the rig...Image via WikipediaThis week has seen the start of the second semester, plenty of information to absorb about the next few months. My aim is to be more organised, not leaving assignments until the end of the semester. Admittedly revision for exams is the only exception, I need to find a different approach to revising as what I tried last time didn't provide the desired results. That said, I think the university exam isn't like anything I have previously experienced. I have two exams this semester with the other modules consisting of group assignments and essays. The contemporary media assignment wants us to create a case study, to reach a better understanding I participated in iPod research hosted by the teachers. This provided a valuable insight and I'm already excited about working on this module the most.

This week has also seen El NiƱo arrive at Stamford Bridge, I'm not sure I agree with the transfer and would have preferred the squad strengthened in other areas. He's an exciting addition but with UEFA sanctions and Chelsea not the force they once were, I'm not sure he was the right decision! Torres makes his debut
 against his former club this weekend, but whilst we're back in London for my son's birthday, we won't be at the game. Not sure what's on the agenda as arrangements are never clear but cinema and bowling have been mentioned!
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