adult
ivity

    September 20th 2017

    Incomplete

    I'm not sure if I've mentioned this here at all. You've most likely seen it on here at some point or another. I'm really bad at writing blogs. Like, really bad.

    I make blog posts about things that happen in my life that I felt were important and never finish them. Constantly putting off writing them as weeks, months and now years pass by and I start to forget details of the events. To combat this, a few weeks ago I went through all of my posts and made an enormous list of the ones that are incomplete. I've made a promise to myself that all 2016/2017 posts will be finished by the end of the year. There are far more to write, but once these past two years are done, I can feel secure and go at a much slower pace.

    Recently I've been feeling pretty down as I've been working so hard to get these done. Coming home everyday and writing about the past. I like reading about the past, not pretending as if I'm writing from the past. I'm fed up of living in the past. So many unfinished blog posts, projects, songs, videos etc. Blog posts are far more immediate than the others, because of memory. The rest I can pick up again whenever I please. I can't begin to live my life in the present until these posts are 100% done. They don't have to be amazing, just finished. Complete.

    I'm so envious of my past self with how naturally it came to write. At the time, there was no backlog. I would come home from a day out and type out my thoughts. That's what I want. I don't want to lose my love for blogging. I've done it so long now (or attempted to) that I do not want to stop.

    I can imagine to some people this may seem like a smaller problem than I'm making it out to be. I occasionally worry that in the future I'll start to lose my memory. It's literally one of my biggest fears. I was watching Larry King on Norm MacDonald Live the other day and he said that. Memories are all we have. I think this is why it's so important to me. I don't trust my own brain.

    I needed some place to write down my current thoughts. This is the first time in a long while that I've written a post off the cuff. I'll tell you, it feels good. I'm looking forward to when I can do this without a backlog.

    September 11th 2017

    Bak 2 Skool

    Well I'm not, but Kim has been back for a week now so I thought I'd make a post rounding up all the recent events. The bank holiday surely didn't go to waste.

    Going Ape
    Ross' 26th birthday was approaching and he was up for doing something outdoorsy. Dacey organised to do Go Ape, which is always fun in a big group. It was quite busy at the start of each section, but it didn't bother us too much. The entire day went off without a hitch except for this one prick behind us who was blitzing the course and going past everyone instead of waiting his turn. He flew across this one section and smacked right into Kim which really fucked me off. I had a go at him and he seemed to slow down and keep quiet.

    He would shout out to his mates when the sections crossed and I couldn't understand why he wasn't with them. He just seemed like a fucking sad guy who went off ahead on his own on a course that's much more fun to do with friends. Kim was shaken up at first, but felt better as the day went on. I obviously felt the need to rant about that. Highlights of the day were Kim crawling through the floating tunnel, Dacey getting stuck in the rings and Mike's tarzan impression. Afterwards, we headed over to Harvester in Spytty to stuff our gullets. Mike and Tash unfortunately had to get back after Go Ape so we abused the salad cart for them.

    Pen-Y-Fan
    I was quite surprised with how easy I was finding it. That was until Ross and I had a little smoke while Kim and Dacey kept on climbing. Damn did that impact the walking up. We caught up quickly, but I was totally out of breath. I actually got to go to the sign this time as last time we only went up Corn Du. We had a nice picnic on the top.

    HUB
    Another big birthday boy this month was local riff scientist, Alex Fawcett. As he was turning 30 years old, we thought we should surprise him with t-shirts of him. I made a quick silly design of him. Vistaprint only £15.

    The silent disco was incredible. They had a channel for rock and ballad stuff and a channel for garage and funk. I hardly even went onto the rock channel. The second channel were churning out hits. Earth, Wind & Fire's 'September' came on and we all immediately got into the groove. The girlfriends all looked on at their boyfriends who were all dancing like fully grown dads. I span around with my eyes closed and as I put my foot down, I stepped on a flattened can, which made me slip and my knee dislocated. I fell backwards and luckily landed in a chair as it popped back in.

    I was out for the count for the rest of the night. Jos had to go as he needed to get up early and pack to move house.

    Coffee4Craig
    Earlier on in the year, Geraldine mentioned they were doing a charity sleepout somewhere and we should attend. Sian said we couldn't as it was another organisation doing it, but we could organise our own one if we really wanted to.

    Tenby
    As this was the last weekend before Kim had to go back to school, we tossed around the idea of going to Freshwater East for the weekend. I had gotten back from the Coffee4Craig sleepout about 7AM slept for a good 5 hours. Kim woke me up and we decided there and then we should do it

    August 31st 2017

    August

    August has been. I think it's just my mood today.

    after bike ride
    blisters, didnt do much at all, lazy weekend, inside for most of it

    kim working out
    going to gym, eating healthy, proud

    To Do
    The one thing I spent a lot of time on this month was writing out every big goal and all their sub-tasks working out if it's feasbale to get them done by the end of the year. It is, but right now it doesn't feel like it is. I think I'm just too excited to be rid of these tasks and start new ones.

    arctangent
    first year not going, josh went, jos said wasn't going, caved and went saturday, don't feel bad

    Before sunset/midnight
    probably my favourite trilogy

    Volunteering
    Volunteering has been going great. We seem to be getting new recruits all the time now. Kayleigh has also started taking photos each run.

    alex passed his test / 8th august
    woohoo

    risca walk / 13th august
    park leisure centre, graffiti still there, walked around canals + Risca

    date night / 14th August
    drove to work, 8.50am, steve back in, cwmbran, buy raspberry ruffle, sainsburys, back to work, sent out pyg invite, drive to bristol airport, pick ross dacey up, dropped them off risca, drive home, shower, kim back, drive to st davids, drinks at tgis, walk to jamies, lots of food, back to car, drive home

    works do / 18th August
    drive to work, sal steve in meeting, me gilles dale coral, drop coral off, get pasta from tesco, pint at three blackbirds, pick coral up, drive to sophia gardens, walk to cricketers, pyg party cricketers, food, walk to cricket, drink, walk to revs de cuba, drink, kim pick me up

    go ape / 19th August
    slightly hungover, kims car, get mcdonalds breakfast, get my car, leave kims car there, pick ieu up from jons, drive to go ape, do course, get diesel, drive to harvester, food, drive home, watch vids and music with ieu, smoke, drink irish cream

    ? / 20th August
    laze all day, tesco, buy food and extension lead, set up desk, watch big daddy w/ kim

    hub / 27th August
    park at dumfries place ncp, take gear into moon, walk round hub fest, food at chopstix, alex lucy arrive, buy him pint, played gig, silent disco in courtyard, dancing to songs, earth wind fire september, dislocated knee, sat down, last pint at the moon, left gear at moon, kebab chippy lane, uber home, sleep

    - - -

    ? / 4th August
    wake up 8.15am, drive to work, talk about bike trip, pub old faithful, gilles got another round, back to office, over parents, see kim off for walk up pen y fan with mum and kim etc, watch tv with ieu, dad home, go to cardiff with ieu, pick up jos city hall, to mine, smoke, watch raging bull, kim home, bed, ieu jos stay over

    ? / 5th August
    drop ieu off, drove home, lazed, played lots of ff8 with kim - d-district to flying garden, watch vids

    ? / 6th August
    shower, tidying, hang up clothes, toast jam, drove to tesco, got boxers toilet paper food, back to house, kim cooked food, watched the founder, lazed, watched videos, smoked, showered

    ? / 7th August
    wake up 8am, drive to work, listen to baths pop music album, go to cwmbran, #mayo chicken, walk around, buy coke zero biscuits, #3 biscuits, drove home, kim made pasta bake in slow cooker, kim shaved my head

    ? / 8th August
    woke up 8.15am, work, added file from url to todo site, drive to lidl, got chicken sauce and naans, home, made curry, kim home, did balance transfer aqua card, shaved, volunteering, took home 4 donuts, smoked, stayed up til 2

    ? / 9th August
    woke up 8am, #weetabix, drove to work, got soothers on way, pyg snag list, matt off now for two weeks, drove to tesco, got pizza and snacks, drove home, watched the fifth element with kim, played rocket league, row with kim, kim did dishes, feel sick and off, bad throat, bed

    ? / 10th August
    up 6am, drive to ross, get diesel, pick up ross dacey, drive to bristol airport, #softmints, #croissant, drop off for rome holiday, kim gone to middlesbrough, drive to work, #pretzel, stay in for lunch, very runny nose, drive home, cook curry, put washing on, write cycling blog, smoke, watch norm vids, bed

    ? / 11th August
    up 8am, shower, #croissant, drive to work, balance transfer processed, old faithful pub lunch w/ gilles dale coral, drove home, picked jos up, smoke, park at arches, tesco popcorn drink, saw a ghost story cineworld, to urban tap house, pint, back to car, drop joss off, chat, car battery dead, him and arthur bump start, home

    ? / 12th August
    laze in bed, made esuna teaser video, shower, went to tesco, bought food irish cream beer, home, made soup, had beer, started half-life, intro to blast pit, watched before sunset

    ? / 15th August
    Tesco, bought groceries and sunflowers + home, Kim made stir-fry, Volunteering, did dishes + watch Norm MacDonald Live w/ Sarah Silverman

    ? / 16th August
    drive to work, gwyneth patreon, drove to parents, mum made curry, chat, drove home, had kims leftovers, walk to tesco w/ kim, buy popcorn maltesers, home, watched before sunrise w/ kim, smoke

    ? / 17th August
    up 8.15am, drive to work, sal steve dale gilles coral, steve sal off to meeting, drive to cwmbran, mayo chicken mcd's, raspberry ruffles, sainsburys kim arrive, pay for her petrol, back to office, steve sal back, pick up desk gumtree - £10, pick up tv gumtree - free, drive home, walk to tesco and lidl, lucozade and curry stuff, irish cream, make curry, watch vids w/ kim

    alexs tshirts came / 21st August
    drive to work, no milk, play around with todo layout and colours, drive to lidl, buy sauce choc bread etc, drive home, alexs tshirts came, kim go to gym, ate leftover spag bol, put washing on, play on half life - blast pit to tentacles, watched before sunset w/ kim, watch norm macdonald special

    ? / 22nd August
    weetabix, tesco before work bought milk and got diesel at shell, drive to work, steve not in, sal gilles coral dale, drove home, kim made pasta bake, kim shaved my head, shower, shave, bath, volunteering, lola started, had to get extra milk, drive home

    ? / 23rd August
    drive to work, gilles off on holiday, me sal coral dale, sal gone 4pm, drive to lidl, garlic bread, made garlic bread, leftover pasta bake, watch vids, picked jos up, esuna prac jos alex, filmed some stuff for video, drop guys off, chat to jos, drive home, talk to kim about cleaning house

    ? / 24th August
    weetabix, tired, drive to work - me steve sal dale coral, added all blogs and clues to projects, know how many big tasks left, drive home, kim leaving for gym, kim made curry, microwaved food, walk to lidl, buy irish cream and choc, home, drive to ikea, buy bookshelf, drive home, sweep floor, do dishes, put wash on, assemble bookshelf, kim home, put stuff on bookshelf, watched smashed, shower

    ? / 25th August
    drive to work, added more projects, got paid updated pay, sorted budget, added logs site, old faithful pub lunch, drove home, kim was going out but not any more, drive us both to cardiff, park at bedford street, gatekeeper, had pint ale, kim had two cocktails, alex lucy turned up, had some nibbles, chat, walk to bedford street, drove home

    ? / 26th August
    drive to pen y fan, ross dacey went wrong way, met them, walk up pen y fan, photos, picnic at top, walk down, tesco buy beer, drive home, watch impractical jokers, have a fire, chat with everyone, smoke, drink, ross dacey go home

    ? / 28th August
    kim drive to my car, get my car, drive to ikea, buy bookshelf and tupperware, drive home, assemble bookshelf, Kim did food shop and made pea and pesto lasagne, feeling stiff, lazed, bath

    ? / 29th August
    drive to work, matt back in, steve sal matt dale coral, drive to cwmbran, sainsburys, chicken tomato basil pasta, get wrap for coral, chicken for steve, £30 of diesel, back to office, tea coffee round, drive to parents, mum gives me spag bol, drive to cardiff to pick up gear but moon closed, drive to st davids, park, walk round town, tesco popcorn coffee, tickets terminator 2, watch, drop ieu off parents, drive home, hang clothes up, shower, watch norm live jerry seinfeld, bed 4am

    ? / 30th August
    tired, drive to work, steve sal dale matt coral, create read site, added fourth priority to 'to do' site, steve left early, drive to the moon, pick up gear, drive to alex's, give gear to lucy, drive home, kim at gym, microwave spag bol mum gave me yesterday, do dishes, kim home, half life - Tentacles to Ichthyosaur, shower, sleep 2am

    ? / 31st August
    kim made me mcmuffin breakfast bap, drive to work, matt dale coral, steve in 10.45am, drive to tesco, popcorn maltesers coffee, home, kim made lime chicken with rice, watch prisoners, smoke, shower, bath, bed 12.30am

    August 10th 2017

    Cycling For Charity

    So you know how I posted over two years ago that I wanted to do a cycle trip across Wales? All I know is that I was mad to think I could do 200 miles straight off. 100 miles to Aberystwyth was more than enough.

    A few weeks before the trip, my friends and family were saying I should do it for a charity. I was apprehensive at first as I had never done anything like it before and was worried if I failed. I eventually came around to the idea and set up a JustGiving page raising money for Coffee4Craig going towards the homeless in Cardiff.

    A day before I set off, I realised how unprepared I was. I took my bike to Halfords and asked the guy if he could do as much as he could to it before close. He managed to change the chain, cassette, tyres and check all the cables etc. I got some inner tubes and tyre levers too and it all came to about £70. My Dad lent me his waterproof trousers and Kim lent me her backpack and sleeping bag. My parents wished me luck.

    Day 1
    I got up about 8AM. My goal was to reach Penderyn by sunset and camp nearby. We noticed the battery pack hadn't charged properly because of the shitty cable. Kim offered to charge it and drop it off later on, which I reluctantly agreed to. As I got all geared up, I took a test ride around the cul-de-sac and noticed the front tyre was slightly flat. We pumped it up and it seemed to be fine. After double checking everything (twice), I said my goodbyes to Kim and headed out of the street.

    Just knowing that I wasn't coming back tonight was exhilarating. The majority of the day went fairly well and was mostly uneventful except for a Milkyway Duo that I bought, which fell out of my pocket. RIP. I cycled to Aberdare with no trouble, picked up two Mayo Chickens from McD's and water from Tesco. I cycled further on the Taff Trail that day than I ever had before. I got to Hirwaun and celebrated by buying a bottle of ale. After Hirwaun, I took a wrong turn off a roundabout and went down the wrong A road. I could either go all the way back or beeline for Penderyn, which meant walking through an old colliery. You know which way I chose.

    The gate was open and no-one was around. Further in, an old train line ran alongside it that eventually led to a bridge that was part of the road I was supposed to be on. I watched my back as I walked down the line. There was also a cemetery on the other side of the tracks and a guy spotted me. I laid low for a while before carrying on. On either side of the tracks at the bridge were very steep and narrow hills. I pushed my bike almost vertically through a bush full of nettles and eventually managed to get through before having to discreetly hoist it over a tall fence. Further up the road was Penderyn and the start of the Brecon Beacons.

    I called Kim to bring me the battery pack and had a good hour to rest on the hill outside the whisky distillery. Setting off again, I figured I had an hour or so before sunset and set my eyes on camping at Ystradfellte. Once I got to the foot of the forest, I noticed the field I had chosen had lots of dips and was very boggy, which was very annoying to walk across with my bike. Looking back, I could have picked somewhere else, but I just wanted to set up camp.

    After setting up in really shit ground, I'd realised I severely underestimated how much water I would drink. The bottle of ale I had earlier didn't help. I looked around for a stream, but found nothing except dirty water. I won't lie when I say I panicked a bit. Especially knowing how there would be no shops for a while. I calmed down once I got back to my tent, charged my phone, messaged everyone and planned my route for tomorrow. I didn't want to smoke at first, but it helped me sleep. I had done 32 miles.

    Day 2
    It was drizzling in the morning and I waited for a small gap to take down my tent. I took off about 9AM, put on my Dad's waterproof trousers and headed through the beacons. I looked down and saw my front tyre was flat. It would still roll, but would bump every rotation as it hit the tyre valve. I tried to pump it back up, but to no avail. Despite having spare inner tubes, I figured it may not be worth it if the pump didn't work. It would also take up a lot of time I could be travelling. Although annoying at first, I quickly got used to it, but I was pushing much more now. Cycling on flat was not fun.

    Having no water was getting to me. I managed to find a stream where the water was clear and I filled up my bottle. There was a huge downhill zigzag on Sarn Helen called the Devil's Elbow, which chipped off a lot of distance. I kept going and as I walked along the A4215, it fucking pissed down. I was drenched from head to toe and was starting to feel lightheaded. I knew Sennybridge had two petrol stations so I used the last of my energy to get to them and spent about £20 between the both of them on food and drink. I gobbled it all up hoping to feel better instantly, but it took a good 30 minutes until I felt normal again. I was banking on getting to Llandovery by 6.30PM so I could catch the swimming pool before it closed and have a shower. That would sort me out. I stank.

    With a Milkyway Duo in tow, I set off once again and headed down the A40. It slowly killed me with bend after bend. Either flat or uphill. No path on the side. Tucking myself in every time a car passed. Just when I started worrying about getting there late, it started going downhill. There was a lot of downhill. Glorious, glorious downhill. It definitely cut over an hour off my time! Eventually I arrived at Llandovery and headed straight for the swimming pool. After using my bike lock for the first time, I went inside and had a well-earned shower. I spent my time in the swimming pool just soaking my feet and repetitively practicing a cycling motion.

    I played with the idea of having a pint and a sit down meal, but I was feeling rejuvenated and wanting to make up for the hour or two I'd spent at the pool. I carried on and hit another big hill. As night drew in on my search to find a plot, I only encountered farms with locked gates and fences all around. When it really started to get dark, I pulled a gate aside to a farm with no house nearby and set up camp hidden among the trees. Slightly worried that I may be seen in the morning by a farmer doing the rounds, I decided to get to sleep early and wake up at sunrise. Heading out at this time would also give me an extra three hours of travelling. Cows and sheep made noises in the distance and at 10PM, I had another smoke to get me to sleep. I had done 33 miles.

    Day 3
    I woke up at 5.30AM on the Wednesday as dawn broke. I packed up my tent in light drizzle again and was sure that I didn't want to camp another night. I could finish it with my extra time. As I walked further up the road, I noticed my feet were still hurting. Seeing that I needed to go through about 10 different towns didn't help either. After walking through Ffarmers, I realised I had taken another wrong turn and decided once again to head further and take a detour rather than walk back. Google Maps recognised the road, but didn't reroute me through it. It was a private residential road.

    Once again, I made my way through quietly and lifted my bike over the gate on the other side without being caught to be greeted by an absolute fucking bastard of a hill. It killed me. It turned into a god damn mountain where everything was rain and fog and drivers seemed puzzled that I was there. Thankfully it ended with another enormous downhill. I was thirsty again. I was praying that the infamous Llandewi Brefi from Little Britain had a shop. They had to have a shop, right? Indeed they did. I spent a full £10 on sweets, savouries and various liquids. I continued on down the B4343. Slowly, but surely. By the time I had reached Tregaron, I was so full of food and liquids that I didn't even stop to check if they had a shop, let alone buy anything. Google Maps urged me to take a cycle path that veered off from the B road.

    This cycle path was a perfectly straight line and faded into the horizon. It was a nice change and I made some decent time on the bike. I got into a good habit of just looking at the floor and stopped caring how far was left. I passed another cyclist who unfortunately had a bee fly into his eye. I hoped he would have a pump, but he didn't. I started listening to full albums to keep me going and also to measure time. Mare Vitalis was reminding me of Aberystwyth. By the time I reached the next A road, I jumped on my bike for another small downhill to realise that the back tyre had gone flat too. Even just rolling downhill was difficult now. I messaged Kim asking if she could pick me up at Aberystwyth instead of me getting the train.

    The mile counter was getting shorter. Once I hit the '10' milestone, I knew there wasn't much left. I saw that Google Maps wanted me to take another bike path that was slightly quicker, but I was extremely thirsty and knew there would be no shops. I instead opted to take the slightly longer route down the calm flat road towards Llanilar, which I noticed on the map, had a shop. I constantly switched between walking and trying to cycle, but it was taking forever. Trying to cycle just made me lightheaded again. Behind every bend in the road was another bend. I felt like I was going insane. This carried on until I saw the town sign and I made a last ditch effort to ride into town.

    The shop was actually open! I bought three separate drinks - a large bottle of water, a carton of Ribena and a milkshake. Drinking them all within a minute or so, I took a few more steps with the bike's handlebars in my hands and decided enough was enough. The combination of my foot pain (which turned out to be blisters), knowing I had another 5 miles left and that Kim would just be waiting for me was just too much to think about. I pulled up alongside a bus stop and sat down, defeated. Kim arrived and packed my bike into the car for me while I struggled to my feet. I was crushed that I couldn't finish the journey when I had come so close, but there was a silver lining...

    I noticed on Google Maps that I had travelled 35 miles, completing my 100 miles! Aberystwyth was actually just over 100 miles and the route I had taken was slightly longer too, which made up the extra miles. I was happy to accept defeat, but also embrace my win. On the drive home in the pissing down rain, messages of congratulations came flooding in from my parents, extended family and friends, which reminded me that it was all for a good cause.

    Getting in the bath was the first thing I did upon walking through my front door. I'd never had blisters before. They really hurt.

    Aftermath
    It's been a week since I set off on this journey. I can finally walk properly again without squirming and the tendons in my feet don't feel so weird any more. The JustGiving page stays open for xx days, but I've managed to raise £375!

    Looking back on the third day, I sometimes wish I kept going as I had time to do it. Although, I know that if I felt what it was like at that very moment again, I would probably throw in the towel again.

    July 31st 2017

    Juli

    It's been a full year since I stopped doing these! I've missed doing them. The little things often pass me by and I'd prefer to remember them. As it's a new year, I've decided to change the month titles to German. There should be a lot more content in these posts now as I'm filling it in every few days. I feel much more organised than when I decided to stop.

    Midge Bites
    When I did my test camp, I stupidly had my tent door open for too long and got lots of midge bites. They form bumps on the skin and I'm terrible at staying away from them. There are a few scabs now and I hate myself every time I scratch it. The heat really doesn't help. Just discipling myself not to touch is the only way. I wonder how I'll cope at end of the month on my actual bike ride.

    Matched Betting
    Matched Betting has stopped for now. As I'm currently paying my debts, some months were tough and I had to withdraw all my money out, which leaves me nothing to play with. I also lost quite a bit on this accumulator as I forgot to check it one evening, which cost me. I'm over it now though and hopefully will be back on it soon.

    Balance Transfer
    Speaking of money, I applied for balance transfer card so I could transfer my credit card debt over to a new card with 0% interest for 6 months. I thought the card would be able to move everything over, but it turns out my limit is £450, so I can only transfer that amount over. Better than nothing!

    Before...
    I heard online about this well-received trilogy of movies about life and romance where it's all just dialogue called the 'Before' trilogy. Before Sunrise, Sunset and Midnight. I was so intrigued as it was the same director who made Waking Life, which I loved, that I had to check it out. I loaded up Before Sunrise and by the end of the movie, I was in love with the movie, the story, the characters, the script. Just everything. I can't describe how much I love this movie.

    Everything felt so relatable and it never dipped. Jesse has this great quote where he says "Everything that's interesting costs a little bit of money" as they are walking around the city either paying for poetry, dance or art in general. I'm thoroughly excited to see the next two movies. Especially as the characters are as old as they would be if they were real people.

    Mum Degree
    In family news, my Mum told me that she's started a degree in Psychology with the Open University. She's been interested in it for a long time and wants to try to balance it with work and to see if she actually enjoys doing it.

    Rotterdam / 22nd July
    Kim went off on a Scouts trip to Rotterdam. She had to leave fairly early in the morning for the bus. It was the first time I've ever gotten a McDonalds breakfast bang on 5AM as they opened. Having the house to myself again for a week was nice. I got a lot done around the house and also had time to just get organised in general. Probably inspiring me to start these posts up again. Kim came back and brought back lots of chocolate and sticks of rock, which we ate pretty quickly.

    Caerleon / 22nd July
    The same day, Jos asked to do something and came up with the idea of going to Caerleon. I invited Ieu along and we walked around the museum, roman baths, amphitheatre and barracks. I hadn't been there since I was a kid, so it felt great rediscovering everything all over again. They stayed over mine that night and we watched Theodore Rex, the (best) worst film ever made. Jos was not a fan.

    Stranger Things / 23rd July
    After speaking with Jos and Ieu about how I find it difficult to watch TV shows, I decided to just pick one. As I'd been watching Gravity Falls, which has a mystery element to it, I chose Stranger Things. I originally wanted to watch it when it came out, but never got around to it. The trailer for Season 2 had recently come out, so I thought this was a better time than any. As you'd expect, I loved it, having binged it in just 3 days. I'm ready for more.

    July Eleventh Nineteen Ninety-Seven / 11th July
    Maya Shore released a song with this title on their album, Farewell To Introductions. It's been 20 years since the date of the song title. I don't know what inspired them to pick this date, but I'm assuming it's the birth of one of their children. I just wanted to make a note of it as I like it when bands use a date as a song title. You know it means something to them, but you don't get to find out.

    Gravity falls again / 12th July
    started watching again but with kim.

    It Comes At Night / 12th July
    drama, not horror. wasnt bad movie. easnt what i expected.

    Kim Got Drunk / 14th July
    Last time dropping Jos off, Pub lunch, get Ieu, drop Kim off then pint at Pen & Wig w/ Ieu, Jos + Alex, Smoke w/ Ieu, drive to get Kim twice + she drunk

    Smelly Car / 18th July
    My car fucking stinks right now for some reason. The heat from yesterday has definitely done something. I thought it may have been the coffee flask that Kim left in there, but it's still smelling after I've taken it out. It probably didn't help though. I've gone and sprayed the insides with Dove spray and locked the car. Here's hoping that'll fix it.

    Raise / 21st July
    While making coffee in work one day, Sal comes in and tells me that if I get this next project done in time, he'll get me a raise. I knew it was time to knuckle down. I got everything done with the limited time I had. Luckily, it was a fun project to work on and I put lots of effort in. Working through all of my lunch breaks and even having to sacrifice going to the pub one week. I know, how awful. A few weeks pass and nothing happens, but I'm patient.

    We knew Steve was going away on holiday for three weeks and on his last day, I get called in to the boardroom expecting an appraisal. Instead, I am given the raise straight up! I couldn't have been happier. This will sort out so many of my problems and will significantly help with everything I've been going through the past few months.

    Michelle / 27th July
    I'm not sure if I've blogged about Michelle, but she's a girl who I pick up weed for. She messaged me on Reddit ages ago and every couple of months she'll message me. She has something wrong with her back after being in the army. Sciatica, I believe. She's on loads of medication for it and other things, but the weed helps the most. It's amazing to see it actually helping. Anyway, we don't talk much, but the other day I had to wait for the dealer so I we chatted for a while.

    We spoke about the situation with Chester from Linkin Park and how he was a big influence on us. She told me how she has no family and no-one else in her life. If it weren't for her cats, she probably would have ended it all a long time ago. I'm just glad that she has my email if she ever needs to speak to someone.

    Works Do / 28th July
    Got paid, sorted money then works do in Newport. It was Dale's first time out with us too so I think he was worrying about how extreme it would be. Had food at TGIs then pub crawl ending at The Crosskeys playing pool, Taxi back with sal, sal told driver my postcode, to parents, sleep on sofa

    CCJ / 29th July
    IT'S FUCKING GONE. Today, I decided to pay it all off just so I could see the back of it. This means that it still shows up on credit searches, but as 'settled', which I'm more than happy with. I just can't believe that I'm actually making progress.

    TIL - It's Good For You?
    Today I learned that Nutella has very few hazelnuts and is actually 58% sugar and 32% fat, most of which is palm oil. Doesn't really stop me from enjoying it though.

    July 27th 2017

    Stories: Dani

    I've had this queued up for years. It was written a long time ago and added to over time. I like writing about relationships in these 'Stories'. It invokes feelings of nostalgia. Not for the person so much, but the times we had together and the 'era' it was in. As the relationships kind of overlap, there may be details shared between posts. This story takes place primarily in Summer 2011. This story only spans a few months, but contains a lot of memories.

    I first met Dani in the Glam nightclub on a Thursday night in December 2010 after a shift at Morrisons. I had to catch the train back to Cardiff and Dan asked me to come out. I reluctantly went and Dan introduced me to some of the people he'd met through University and halls. It was only for a brief moment as I left soon after, but the only thing I remembered about her was that she wore way too much makeup (as you'll see from the photo).

    A few weeks later, Dan was getting his hair cut by Misha. By this point, we started to form a group of people who would hang around Gemma's flat. Dani was there and we got to talking. We got on pretty well as she was always quite lively and had a great sense of humour. I didn't see it in a romantic way. As with Jade, Gwyneth and Tash, I was just enjoying having friends who were girls.

    From then on, our group would hang out on a daily basis. Cath would always think things were going on between us. I can understand why she'd think that as she was so far away and I was busy all the time, but nothing ever happened. In hindsight, it wasn't a very communicative relationship and we were both to blame. Skipping ahead a few months, I finally broke up with Cath after a flat party. The next two weeks were surprisingly nice just being single.

    We scheduled a fancy dress night to Metros for some occasion. In a blurry drunken mess, I vaguely remember Dani tipping water over me and I think she was thrown out by the bouncers. All of us met up again and somehow got back to the flat. Everyone went to bed and I remember we watched Edward Scissorhands for a while before she slowly led me into her flat...

    With the mentality of being in relationships all the time, I assumed that we were a couple as we got on so well. Although, I think Dani thought it was a one-off. We went for breakfast at The Woodville in the morning and barely discussed it. After being around each other for a while, I think she came around to the idea of us being a couple. From then on, Dan, Gemma, Dani and I would do things together pretty much everyday. I even started smoking weed. Something I never thought I would ever try. The main reason I started was that when I was asked to try, I was in such a good place in my life.

    One night together, Dani was getting messages from 'Blonde Dan'. She went over to his that night to talk it over, but to this day, I still think something went on. I'm really not sure. I decided to start writing a real diary every now and then as I wasn't blogging much any more. Dani told me she had read it and I was a bit peeved at first, but was glad that she appreciated me writing about her. We spent most days watching movies in Gemma's flat, walking around Cardiff or bugging Gemma at work.

    The time finally came for us to move out of Cambrian Point halls. I had already signed a contract to live with Jade, Gwyneth and Tash in a house in Roath, but that wasn't effective until August. I didn't want to live back with my parents, so I somehow moved in with Dani. Probably my biggest mistake. Things were fine at first. We went to Download festival together. It was my first music festival. Despite having a few musical differences, we had a great time. When we got back, I realised how much I cared for her after I got a call from her employee saying that she had fainted at work and I sprinted all the way there.

    We eventually got given the keys for our house in Roath so that we could move our stuff in, but not actually live there. On free days, I would occasionally fill up my backpack with my stuff and cycle over to my house.

    Inspired by me writing a diary, Dani downloaded a journal app on her MacBook, but I was not allowed to see what she was writing. I felt it was unfair that I was not allowed to see her journal after she rooted through my diary. One day after she left for work, I went onto her laptop and opened up the app. It required a password. After some snooping through the application, I found the password hidden in a plain text file. Not very secure at all. I went back to the beginning and couldn't believe what I was reading...

    Every post was talking shit about me.

    I had a chronological list of all my problems. "Problems with my hygiene". "Wiping sweat in her pillow". "Generally annoying her". "She doesn't love me any more". I immediately realised I got way too comfortable with her, far too quickly. I panicked and started doing all the chores around the house and bathed myself as much as possible. Every day I would try and make sure she was as happy as can be.

    It soon became a usual thing for me to check her laptop after a day or two to see what she really thought. It became increasingly difficult to face her and make it look like I didn't know. In a last ditch effort, I went out and bought some Chinese lanterns for us to set off in the park together. I checked her laptop a day later and she saw straight through it. "He probably thought it was romantic, but it just felt like friends setting off Chinese lanterns in a park".

    I was defeated. She obviously still cared about me as she'd still message me to find out where I was. She had to go home for a few days and I thought it was the perfect chance for some time apart from each other. Even after she got back, I decided to stay at my parents a few more days to make sure she truly missed me. We finally met up on a Monday after a full week apart. She was happy to see me. We organised to meet everyone that night at The Woodville. We all had a great night and it felt just like old times. We got back to Dani's flat and she went to bed. I opened her laptop, eagerly awaiting to read what she wrote over the week...

    Lots of posts about being happy to be home. Seeing old friends. Wondering what Blonde Dan was up to. Any time I was actually mentioned, it was always in a negative light.

    I immediately got on my bike and left. With tears in my eyes, I wondered where I was going. I cycled in any direction, my phone vibrating in my pocket. It was way past midnight. I pedalled towards my future house and went inside. It seemed no-one was there so I crept upstairs and crawled into my bed. My phone was blowing up with messages and missed calls. I ignored

    The next day, I got up early and took my skateboard to the Cardiff Skate Plaza. I skated for a while and met a guy. He wanted a pack of cigarettes, but he was underage. I bought some and decided to have a few. That's basically how I started smoking. Later on in the day, I went back to my house and started playing my guitar. I remember hearing Dani's angry voice outside the window. I opened the door and she went nuts on me for making her so worried. I told her that I'd read everything she wrote and she looked a mixture of confused and guilty. Dan and Gemma were also there. We went inside and after a long chat, she basically told me "the spark wasn't there". Dan and I decided to go for a skate in Ty Pont car park. We didn't really talk about it. We met back up with the girls at Dani's place and I started packing my things up. I gave Dani an ultimatum. I told her that I couldn't be just a friend. We both cried and held each other. Just like that, it was over.

    I got to the end of the road and in an emotional rage, I smashed up my first guitar on a wall by the side of the road. With the rest of my things in tow, I continued on towards my future house. That's pretty much where this story ends. Not the happiest of endings. I'll continue it here.

    She moved into a house a year later with Jade, Gwyneth and Tash. I heard there was an eventual fall out between them and now they don't speak. None of us really do any more. There was a point where I thought I'd never stop having feelings for her unless she started seeing someone. To my knowledge, she tried to chase after Blonde Dan for a while. She then had a boyfriend for a short time, but I believe she's single again. I reached out to her a few years back, hoping to be on good terms. She said she's living back in Oxford training to become a policewoman. We were polite to each other, but the conversation died very quickly. That was when I FULLY realised that we were two different people.

    Fast forward to now. I still check her profile from time to time. To me she'll always be the one who got away, even though I fully know we never would have worked.

    July 20th 2017

    Chester

    Celebrity deaths don't really affect me (except most notably Robin Williams). It's sad no doubt, but it doesn't put a downer on my mood. That is until I heard today that Chester Bennington of Linkin Park had killed himself.

    Growing up I listened to a lot of questionable chart hits such as Steps and Backstreet Boys. Heavy rock music just wasn't something I listened to. When kids in my school started listening to nu-metal bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit, I hated it all. Haha, I thought it was too loud and shouty. One day I was over Josh Carter's house and I remember hearing In The End playing on Kerrang! Everything changed. The channel notoriously known for heavy music had converted me somehow.

    I started listening to their hits and started expanding my music taste to similar bands too. It wasn't until I got to secondary school where I met Dave and he told me he loved them. I only knew a few songs of theirs so that night I stayed up, listened to all their songs and learned all the lyrics. I loved every single track, replaying them over so much that I hardly got any sleep.

    I came into school the next day with my new-found knowledge of the band and Dave and I bonded over it. I was obsessed with Mike Shinoda and Dave was my Chester. We spent so much time at his playing the songs over and over. I loved the back 'n' forth screaming and rapping dynamic they had. I did countless school assignments on him and the band. All my usernames had 'shinoda' in them. To this day, I still use a password taken from lyrics in a Linkin Park song.

    There were so many memorable moments growing up involving the band. Here are a few...

    • My dad taking a liking to them and putting them on in the car so Ieuan and I could scream along, much to my mum's displeasure.
    • Fitting as many Linkin Park MP3s (including the song Dedicated) on my new MP3 player before going on holiday.
    • Finally getting to see them at Download Festival in 2011 when I went with Dani.

    As secondary school was finishing, Linkin Park had announced a new album called Minutes To Midnight. The first in 4 years. At that point in my life, I was hanging out with a new group of friends and hadn't seen Dave for a while. My music taste had also moved on a lot. I messaged him about the new album saying we should listen to it together. He was also living in a new house I hadn't been to. It was strange hanging out at first, but things quickly returned to normal. We sat on his new bedroom floor and sang the songs from the lyrics sheet together without even knowing them. Dave's mum even came upstairs and commented on how good we sounded. That was funny. She seemed happy that we were together again. I think that was one of the last times we hung out properly. We still speak on occasion and I hope to meet up with him soon.

    Linkin Park was occasionally regarded as a joke in the music community because of their ambiguous lyrics, repetitive song structures and the slow death of nu-metal in general. This never bothered me in the slightest. Yes my music taste changed, but I'd always be up for listening to a song of theirs when it came up on shuffle. Listening back to Chester's lyrics, you can definitely see the links to depression very clearly.

    When I heard the news today, it felt like I had lost part of my childhood. Like a childhood friend had died. I've decided to spend my night listening to their discography and singing as loud as I can. I really hope that they decide to finish the band. These 6 people have been together since the beginning and I wouldn't want to see it continue without him. They were a huge influence on me and they wrote some really incredible songs.

    RIP Chester.

    July 10th 2017

    Solo Camp

    With only three weeks away until I head off towards Aberystwyth on my bike, I thought I should see if I like camping by myself. Saturday came and I realised I'd need to do a test camp. Kim was camping with scouts that day and suggested I don't cycle up just in case a tyre bursts or something and she won't be able to pick me up. I thought about it for a while. About 7pm, I decided to just drive up to Penderyn, park and hike north to somewhere suitable.

    I didn't have to head too far until I found a small hill with a dip after it. With the tent set-up against the lip of the hill, it could not be seen from the adjacent road or either side of the dip. It was a pretty great spot. You could even see Pen Y Fan from it! The one-man tent I'd brought along was surprisingly quick and easy to pitch.

    As the sun dropped over the horizon, I crawled into my little hotel for the night and got settled while keeping the door open. It was silent. Dead silent, except for a few sheep in the distance. There was no wind and it was still pretty warm out. I rolled and enjoyed a smoke as the darkness transitioned in. Reading then seemed like a nice activity to drift off to. I managed to get through a few chapters of Stephen King's I.T. before I realised it was pitch black outside. It felt great to be there.

    Then those goddamn midges started bugging me for ages while I used my phone light to illuminate the book. They were definitely attracted to me that night. I've been scratching all day. About 11pm, I put the book down and rested. It was still really warm out, but it got cold. Rather cold. Too cold for someone without a sleeping bag. I'll need to pick one up, but nothing too thick. Just something to cover myself.

    It was Ieu's birthday yesterday too. He's now 23 years old. Crazy to think. He had a Jelly Tots cake for his 3rd birthday, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring it back after 20 years. I got him Resident Evil 7 as I was sure he hadn't played it yet. I think he appreciated it. I'd much rather get someone something they really want rather than the usual booze, aftershave or chocolates.

    TIL - Good Tip
    Today I learned that after a waitress at a pizzeria helped a customer choose the numbers for a winning lottery ticket in 1984, he 'tipped' her $3,000,000 - half of his $6,000,000 prize money. He called her up on April Fool's Day at 9am to tell her he had just won $6 million dollars and that she was entitled to half of it. He convinced her that it was not a joke. She screamed, and woke her husband to tell him they were rich. The two families will split the lottery payout of $285,715 a year over 21 years. I didn't know there was a yearly option. If I ever won the lottery, I would totally go for that instead.

    July 5th 2017

    Gravity Fell

    If there was one cartoon I heard about online that I was constantly reminded about, it would have to be this one.

    Not even a month has passed since I started watching Gravity Falls and I've finished watching all of it. The show was just that good. It was crazy difficult to avoid looking at any spoilers online, but I managed. Anything from the cast list to just how many seasons there were. I avoided it so I could enjoy it as if it had just come out (except for watching them all back to back). My one regret was not watching it soon enough. Kinda like how I watched Wilfred, where I watched all the episodes right before the final series started airing.

    The last episode aired on February 15th of last year. It wasn't until I finished it that I found out the show has a great community and an active subreddit - /r/gravityfalls. What I find really cool is that they do a mass re-watch each summer, as if you're reliving the show all over again. It's a great idea because the show isn't actually that long and it never felt like it overstayed its welcome.

    Dipper and Mabel work incredibly well together. Their characters are just so lovable. At first, I assumed Mabel would get annoying as it went on, but the exact opposite happened. Stan, Soos and Wendy really felt like their family.

    I went from watching an episode every two nights to watching four episodes every night. I'd binged it all in about 3 weeks and it only made me tear up more at the last episode. Fans had been watching for 3 ½ years! The realisation hit me hard after I found out online there aren't any seasons left and that this is the last time you'll see these characters you've adored watching over such a short period of time. The problems of binging.

    Cartoons with an over arching story and occasional filler episodes are just really enjoyable. The filler episodes take your mind off the plot just long enough to surprise you with a little teaser at the end. With it being a mystery/adventure cartoon too, I was absolutely compelled to keep watching. Small things like the number '3' on the journal from the very first episode keeps you guessing and the plot really ramps up in later episodes.

    It's funny. The only shows I ever really watch are comedies or cartoons. I just don't think I can be arsed with a lot of drama in TV shows. Game of Thrones. Breaking Bad. The Walking Dead. I bet they are really good shows. I just can't be arsed to get into them. I don't feel any shame in admitting that I enjoy watching cartoons more too. Should I watch Steven Universe next or is it just a bit too childish?

    TIL - Bliss
    Today I learned that the default wallpaper of Microsoft XP, titled 'Bliss', was taken by former NatGeo photographer, Charles O'Rear while he was on his way to his girlfriend in 1996. Microsoft then bought the rights to the picture in 2000. It was widely believed that the image was digitally manipulated. There's a lot more interesting information about the photograph and its history on its Wikipedia page.

    July 3rd 2017

    Four Guys, Three Girls and a Horse

    You know, sometimes you fight to think of the perfect title and other times it just jumps out at you.

    We had so much fun at Middle Ninfa last year that we decided to book it again and bring everyone along. Ross also took Dacey there a few weeks back for her first camping trip. Kim, Dan, Ross, Dacey, Mike and his girlfriend all said they could make it, so Ross booked one of the biggest pitches (the Deri pitch) for Saturday, 1st July.

    I was hungover on the day as I had went out to see Sam's new band with the Men In White Coat guys and stayed out til 2am when Kim came to get me from Gareth's. I had fallen asleep in a chair and spilled some wine on the floor. I slept as soon as I got in, but before I saw Kim had got me a Mayo Chicken. I felt so bad in the morning, that I had an extra nap through to the afternoon and even convinced Kim to join me.

    Wake up. 3pm. Need to leave straight away. Grab all the essentials and bomb to Risca. Head to Tesco. Grab a box of ale, crisps and jaffa cakes. Straight out. Get to Dan's, Mike follows then finally head to Ross' where he led the convoy. I had forgotten how steep the climb was to get to there. We met up with the owner with the posh voice (still don't remember his name) who pointed out the pitch. We grabbed two bags of firewood of headed up.

    It was a concealed spot with enough space for four tents and a great view over Abergavenny. We definitely picked a great weekend to do it as the weather was incredible. Each pitch at Middle Ninfa has a campfire and this one at the entrance was quite a large one. Ross quickly found a spot nearby to get firewood like the rascal he is.

    We befriended the local horse who came up to our pitch and we fed grass, leaves and branches. Dyson seemed to be a fitting name for this particular hoover horse and so it came to be. He mostly just stood around and chilled by the fire. After a few beers and smokes, we went for a trek through the woodland up to The Punchbowl and sat by the side of it just chatting for ages. I noticed there were many trails leading further up the mountain, but we decided to leave it for another time. I couldn't tell you what we spoke about, but it was all good vibes.

    The rest of the night was spent back at the campsite chugging, chuffing and chatting. The three Ch's. There also was the constant dedication to keeping the fire roaring. It also got out that it was Mike's girlfriend's birthday the day after, so we sang Happy Birthday on both days. I remember everyone went to bed quite early, but I wasn't really bothered as I'd been out the night before. It was actually the perfect time to go to sleep. I recall it being quite windy.

    I slept pretty well besides the crappy blow up pillow I was resting my head on. Sleeping on an incline was also fun in a not so fun way. I finally got up after hearing murmurs coming from the other tents and decided to get the fire going again out of habit. It's crazy how easy it is when you have a load of embers still hanging around from the night. A packet of Kettle Chips had been left out and Dyson was keen on scooping them all up. I'd planned on getting food at the pub last night, but as we didn't, my stomach was slowly eating itself. Before leaving, we all sat out on the hill just looking across the landscape. It was a nice moment.

    We packed up, said farewell to Dyson, paid for our stay and led the convoy into Abergavenny in search of a Wetherspoons breakfast. Stinking of smoke and sweat, we commandeered a section in the back of the pub and ordered seven breakfasts in total. Kim strangely lost her appetite and has been feeling ill since. Today is the first day she's had off from school in the entire time she's been there. So it must be pretty bad.

    We were all pretty tired afterwards. Ross tried to find a copy of the Crash Bandicoot remaster for PS4 in a few shops, but they all seemed to be sold out. I later found out online that it had become 2017's best selling game in just two days. When I have some more money, I'd like to get it too. We all said our goodbyes and took off in our separate motor vehicles. Kim and I took the scenic route home after adding 'No motorways' to our Google Maps route and had one very lazy Sunday.

    TIL - Nothing To Report
    Today I learned that 87 years ago, on the day of 18th April 1930, the BBC's news announcer had nothing to report. There was no news. Instead of regurgitating older news, a 15 minute segment of piano music was played instead. I'd like to see that happen now. I can't imagine a day without news. I doubt there will be one.

    June 29th 2017

    Claude Rd

    I never thought I'd feel this way about a place that I never lived in. Ieuan, Jos, Alex and Josh had all lived there and I felt like I was part of that.

    A few years ago I would be at 26 Claude Rd two to three times a week. Smoking until the room was like a thick fog. Watching the strangest and most hilarious YouTube poops imaginable. Discovering incredible new music. Realising how late it was and how loud we were being once downstairs started hitting the ceiling. I have so many silly memories that it would be impossible to fit them in this post, but I'll try...

    • The 'Mop' video.
    • Leaving my parcel shelf there one day and never picking it back up.
    • Cops always raiding other houses on the street.
    • Having no way to get in without calling someone.
    • Trying (and failing) to get some chairs through the door.
    • Trying (and failing) to throw paper balls at the windows to get anyone's attention.
    • The loading and unloading of band gear up and down the narrow flights of stairs.
    • Absolutely crying with laughter after filming Josh and Alex blowing into bottles.

    As Josh and Ieuan's lease was coming to an imminent end, we organised to have one final gathering last Sunday at the prestigious 26 Claude Rd with a big massive huge bag of cans and a bag full of 20. It quickly felt just like old times. We didn't really have anything big planned for the last night. I was hoping that some insane creative spark would go off in my head and we'd all participate in something, but it never came. Either way, I wasn't disappointed that it became just a regular night.

    We celebrated by watching and listening to the same things we'd heard a million times before that made us so happy, but it wasn't exactly the same. They still made us smile. Just not as much. It almost felt like it had to happen. That these memories were supposed to stay here to make way for the next. That old thoughts needn't be constantly revisited. By 2AM we had finished the whole baggie. Josh had gone to bed first as per usual, Alex headed home later on and Jos and I ended up staying the night on our respective sofas. It's funny how we all sat on the same sofas and in the same positions every time we hung out. Come the morning, we said our final goodbyes to the place and I went straight to work, dropping Jos off on the way.

    I came back not long after as I had been helping Josh move out and he messaged me saying he still had a few more things to take over to his new place. He's now living in a flat with James Dunn overlooking Roath Recreation Ground. It took about 3 trips to get it all moved and once it had all been loaded, Josh had the duty of turning off the living room light for the last time.

    Ieuan is now living back with my parents and I think it's really helping. As much as Claude Rd was a great place, it seemed to be a place of refuge when we weren't all hanging out. We're all solitary people who enjoy seeing each other every now and then. Sometimes it didn't seem healthy that these people were all living in the same flat together, but still managed to not see one another. As a group, our meetings still aren't as frequent as I'd like them to be, but I know that it will turn around soon. I know it.

    What I'm trying to say is, as much as I'm saddened to close the chapter on this place, I have a feeling that it's for the best.

    TIL - Dollar
    Today I learned that the number on Bender's apartment, 00100100, is a binary representation of the ASCII character "$". I really need to start watching the commentaries of each episode, but not before actually finishing the show.

    June 21st 2017

    We All Live On The Sun

    UNFINISHED POST

    God damn. I thought the 15°C the other evening was bad. The temperature has doubled! Probably not gonna be a long post. It's hard to do anything in this heat. Getting to sleep is the hardest. I get way too fidgety and I've already had to wash the sheets once after being reduced to a puddle of sweat.

    That cycle trip to Aberystwyth I mentioned way back? Yeah, it's definitely on this year. I've booked work off from 31st July - 3rd August. I thought I would be happy with not doing much this summer as I had my yearly holiday back in January to Norway, but I guess not.

    My dad sold me his bike last year for £50 as I wanted to get back into cycling, but never did. I got it out the other day and took a ride west along the A48. It was hard getting back into it, but was so much fun. Aubrey Arms.

    I'm so glad to be watching a TV show again. I pretty much never watch any TV any more whether it be live or streaming. I guess it's a good thing, but I am enjoying just watching one. I've been consistently watching an episode of Gravity Falls a day and I'm loving it.

    TIL - Temperature
    Keeping with the topic of heat, today I learnt that the highest recorded temperature on Earth was 56.7 °C in Furnace Creek Ranch, California on July 10, 1913. It is located in the Death Valley desert in the United States. To keep things fair, the standard measuring conditions for temperature are in the air, 1.5 meters above the ground, and shielded from direct sunlight.

    June 13th 2017

    A Muggy 15°C

    Currently sat on the sofa. My second sweaty shirt of the day has come off. It's a muggy 15°C at 11pm on a Tuesday evening. I feel it's better to start a new blog when you want to mark the start of something new in life. Reassuring myself that the good feelings I have about this Summer will be true.

    Positives
    Let's talk about a few positive things that are on my mind from day-to-day. I'm listening to so much more music these days than the last few years. It may not all be new music, but I'm listening to full albums again. Burning a CD and just chucking it on in the car on the drive to work or home is the best way.

    Taking a second of video everyday seems to be feasible this year. I'm not so worried about some days being bland. Some days just are. We can't all be cliff jumping in Thailand. I've watched mine through so far and I feel like it accurately represents the year up until now.

    I'm watching what I eat and back to tracking my weight again. Kim is making a conscious effort to go swimming each week and we are going to go for a walk every night once she's off from school.

    Reading is becoming so much more of a pleasure than a chore. I'm a little behind, but I'm almost caught up with my goal of 12 books this year. I've finished 4 and I'm currently reading Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl, which is a collection of short stories. I'll admit that sometimes it was a chore to open a book and read even a couple of lines, but now I can't wait to get lost in each new world with their entrancing stories and interesting writing styles. Using my imagination to piece everything together from how a particular place looks to how a character would act is my favourite part about reading.

    I haven't been out on the bike at all yet, but I've made time tomorrow for myself to take a ride down the A48, see how I get on and how long I take to cave and have to scoff a McVitie's Orange Club bar. The bike trip is still on for this Summer and I'll be doing a test ride and camp around Brecon Beacons in a few weeks to really see if I can do it. I think it will be an incredible journey and a great goal for me this year.

    Finally, whilst this is partly a negative, I'm going to try and make it sound like a positive. I am OK with not spending money. Like many people, I used to get annoyed when I hadn't spent any money in a few days.

    Negatives
    Now for some negatives, which I usually avoid posting here. I hardly ever get around to finishing my blogs. Trying to finish older ones is so difficult as I've already begun forgetting interesting details about each event and how I felt at the time. Instead I'll just regurgitate the day in chronological order. To be fair, my Clues page is just bullet points of what I have done each day and I feel that may have spilled over to here. I hate when I write blogs that just say what I did.

    "I went over there and did this, then we did that thing. This was there, he did that, they ate this much and in the end we all had a good time."

    I hope I'll get better at recognising this in future so I can reassess how it should read. It annoys me that I can't even be bothered to write creatively about my life any more. It should be a high priority. At least higher than watching videos on Reddit. After looking back on how I used to blog on LiveJournal like ending the blog with an anecdote, I feel it would make things more interesting. I'll give that a go.

    Getting myself debt free is actually happening, but the wait...uggghhh. 2017 should end without any debt to anyone except Kim. I'm going to save each month next year and pay her back in one so she can afford to go on a big holiday by herself. Though I have learned that being debt-free won't make me happy.

    Playing guitar and writing music has taken a back seat recently. My life has been geared more towards productivity recently and making music doesn't lend itself to that. Inspiration can strike at any moment and last forever. I mean, some nights I would just smoke and play guitar until the early hours of the morning. Just playing one chord over and over. Dale asked me at the house show I went to last week if I wanted to start a band and I genuinely thought about writing some indie music with him and possibly even singing.

    Outro
    It's getting a bit late. I'm going to watch the first episode of Gravity Falls as I hear it's a really great cartoon and I've been meaning to get into a new show/cartoon for ages. Thanks for hearing me spill my brain out.

    June 1st 2017

    West Wales

    UNFINISHED POST

    A few months ago. We found a place on Airbnb in Cardigan called the Coach House. Sloeberry. We thought coupley weekend away

    Sunday arrived and we took a drive down to Aberporth. We walked the coastal path to Tresaith on a recommendation from our Airbnb host.

    Dacey booked kayaking at Fishguard.

    Tenby. By the time we got to the beach, you could tell everyone was full and exhausted after the weekend. We decided to not renew the car park ticket and just leave at 3pm. I think it was a good decision as we had a nice car ride home. Kim and I made a stupid bet about Cardiff being on a road sign before we got to the start of the M4. I chose 'No', with the prize being sex that evening. I lost.

    May 15th 2017

    Big Update

    I haven't blogged in quite a while. Thought I'd write a huge one and get everything out there. It's been nice to take a break.

    Birthday
    Yep, I'm 26 now. Nothing drastic has changed. Dan, Ross, Dacey, Gemma, Kim and I ate out at Las Iguanas for my birthday. It was great having everyone together. I felt spoiled at how many presents I was given. I had a bag of toys from Ross and Dacey. From Dan I received butt shorts and Gemma gave me a chocolate bottle of champagne. Kim needed more time to buy hers, but over time she got me a new shirt, a green backpack, blueberry whisky, some sweets, a PS4 controller (from her mother) and the book, For Esme by JD Salinger. My parents got me 8 packs of apple rounds and the book, The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams.

    There was so much stuff. We then had a few drinks down the Fox to round things off. Overall a great birthday. Every year when my birthday rolls around, I'm so focused on everyone having a good time that I seriously forget about presents. I'd be happy without presents if we could all do something big instead.

    Carz
    Here is a summary of my crazy car antics over the past few months...

    • While driving Twisted Ankle to a gig in Telford, we hit a pheasant, the fan belt snaps, the water pump breaks and the car breaks down. Old lady in nearby house lets us call Green Flag while making us some tea. Awesome Green Flag man tows car to the gig. They play and we get slowly towed home.
    • Buy new parts and Dad fixes car. Decide to fix this car for MOT instead of buying another £500 car. Spend shit tonne of money on parts, tracking and new tyres. Put car in for MOT and fails on FIVE different things. Dad helps fix all MOT failures. Car finally passes MOT.
    • Driving to gig in Bristol with Jos and Alex. Car breaks down at M32 roundabout. Police have to tow car to main road. Green Flag comes out and the car starts absolutely fine.
    • Driving Twisted Ankle to London. Car breaks down before the Severn Bridge. Won't turn over. Wait 5 minutes and starts fine. Have to stay in 4th gear all the way. Multiple breakdowns and waits. Guys get Uber to gig. Give up and call Green Flag. Sounds like the engine is fucked. Couldn't get car towed back home for a day so had to drive courtesy car all the way back the same night. Swapped cars back.
    • Car still drives, but breaks down multiple times a day. Turn heating on full to divert heat from engine and try to stay under 50-60 mph.
    • Car breaks down on a roundabout coming back from volunteering. Two guys from two separate cars get out and help push. I decide that night I've had enough.
    • Checked out a car at Gwent Car Sales, took out a finance agreement for a 2012 Hyundai i30 and sold my old car to them for £100.

    I'm now the happy owner of a car that isn't falling apart. It has cigarette lighter ports that work, a good sound system, aux input, retractable wing mirrors etc. But seriously, my favourite part of the car is that it doesn't break down. Honestly. It has driven really well for me so far and has a good MPG.

    Spa
    Last Christmas, my mother bought Kim and I vouchers for a spa. There were several locations, but we decided to use it for the Lamphey location so we could use the full amount on treatments and then stay at the chalet in Freshwater. I had my first proper massage and it was incredible. 25 minutes of silence except for this chill ambient track in the background. My eyes were closed for most of it so everything else kinda amplified. The oils the woman was using smelt amazing too.

    My time was up and I flipped over for the next treatment. Next came a 25 minute facial, which was really soothing. Coming out of the room, I felt like I was walking on air. It was so good that I could have done it again right there and then. We spent the rest of the time lazing around the pool, watching the sheep in the adjoining field and chilling in the jacuzzi.

    Not knowing how long we would be there for, I booked the lunch for a later time to make sure we weren't interrupted. Perhaps it was too late as there were no other people in the conservatory with us. I think that worked out well. I had these delicious chicken skewers with a really tasty salad for starters and a filling lasagne for main with a great bottle of local ale. All in the comfort of our bathrobes. I wasn't able to steal one in the end. I definitely recommend anyone to give Lamphey Spa a try.

    Knee
    On the topic of vouchers for Christmas, auntie Kim got a voucher for Kim, Ieu and I to use for Cardiff Escape Rooms. We booked it for February and had a blast in the Sherlock room. We were just a few seconds from actually escaping. We had to find a certain street on a map in a dark room and it was way too difficult with everyone's shadows getting in the way.

    There's a bonus room similar to The Crystal Maze where you have the fans come on and you have to catch as much fake money as you can. As Ieu and I scrambled for the money to pass on to Kim, she suddenly collapsed and was obviously hurting. I thought she had just fallen, but her knee had dislocated again. The guy turned the fans off and I sat with Kim as she was in pain. She asked me to slowly lower her leg until it popped back in. Popped being the key word - Jesus Christ. She was fine not long after a few leg puns.

    A few months later on a Tuesday, I was volunteering. We've moved to working behind the table. I needed to get past Geraldine and as I did the slightest turn, my knee dislocated and I fell onto the bench. It made the worst noise and immediately popped back in. It had never happened to me before. I felt sick and just wanted everyone to stop talking to me. After about five minutes I had calmed down, but took a lot of care walking around.

    Longleat
    For Dacey's birthday we went to Longleat Safari Park. After going to West Midlands last year, we thought we'd try this one. As we went into the monkey enclosure. People were looking at us so I knew he was doing something mischievous up there. We got away with only a slightly chewed aerial on my NEW car. It was my own fault. I think we got off easy.

    Playing hide and seek in the maze was one of my favourite parts. To this day it's still the biggest maze in Britain. I found this out after getting incredibly lost in it, which was funny because the first few times I walked around it, I found my way out straight away. It was only when I tried to get to the other corner that I wasn't even hearing people near me any more. Even when you are at the lookout point in the center, you can't see the further parts of the maze.

    I wish we could have stayed longer as we didn't even get to walk the grounds, but I annoyingly had to get back for band practice. The skies were just starting to open up anyway.

    420
    Kim went home to Middlesbrough for a week. I didn't do much. I started walking everywhere instead of driving, which made me realise how much I'd missed it. Just walking around with the wind blowing and experiencing the sights and sounds. Even just listening to music through earphones. April 20th opened its red eyes and Jos asked me to come over. I took a really nice walk over to his just as it was turning dark and picked up a few beers on the way.

    We started watching Your Highness, but quickly turned it over in favour of Ex Machina as some of the guys hadn't seen it. I remember we were all entranced. Unfortunately we didn't order six pizzas with sides like last year, but we chuffed. Oh yes, we chuffed. I'm pretty sure we finished the entire bag. About 3AM, I started walking the hour long journey home and enjoyed just taking my time. However, I did not enjoy waking up for work the next day.

    Houses
    Kim came back from Middlesbrough excited after speaking with her parents about houses. Barclays have a Family Springboard mortgage where parents can help out with the deposit for a house. Kim's been looking at houses non-stop and I even had the bug a little. We found an amazing house in Abergavenny that would have been perfect if it wasn't in a bad neighbourhood.

    Barclays have an online tool called Agreement in Principle where they can check whether they'd be able to lend to you without affecting your credit score. We tried it and it came back unsuccessful. I kinda guessed it would happen with my credit score, but it was evident that Kim was deflated. After talking it over, we have decided to team up and tackle my debt together as Kim's main goal is to have a house.

    CKY
    Earlier on in the year, CKY announced a UK tour with a date in Bristol. I saw them back in 2011 at Download when I was still with Dani, but don't remember much about the show. I had some spare cash for once so I bought three tickets just in case Dan and Ross wanted to go. They were both free and excited to see them after all this time. We were actually in the middle of an argument in the group at the time about being included in things and we were supposed to talk it out at the Fox before we headed to Bristol.

    When we got there I think we collectively realised that it shouldn't spoil the evening and we didn't mention it. It hasn't been brought up since so I don't mind. When we got to Bristol, I parked outside The Marble Factory in quite possibly the tightest gap ever. You could see my car from the venue as it was sticking out from the curb. We had a quick pint at The Stag and went back to the show. The support band weren't the greatest, but it didn't matter to us. CKY were now on and playing all the old songs that we all knew.

    They absolutely killed it. The three of them really click together and the keyboard was a nice touch. I'm really glad they didn't play many new songs as the album wasn't even out yet and it sounds like it might suck. It was just great to see our favourite band ten years on and hanging out with Dan and Ross at something other than the pub felt just like old times again.

    One Second A Day
    I tried doing this last year. Basically filming a second of video every day and then putting them all together to make a 6 minute long video of your year. All the other ones you see online are by people living extravagant lives and I thought it would be cool for people to see a regular person's year. I did well for a while, but failed after a few months. Finding something somewhat interesting to film every day and not repeating yourself is difficult. I started doing it again this year and I'm doing so much better. It definitely helps that I'm using TeamViewer remote log in so I can control my laptop at home while I'm in work.

    Games
    I'd been wanting to play the Resident Evil Remaster ever since I got my PS4 and was still bitter that it was free on PS Plus the month before I bought the console. Still, it was only £16, which is a great deal so I bought it. The developers really outdid themselves. It's just as I remembered the original in my head. It feels good to be back in the mansion again.

    The other game I've been playing is Rocket League. It's been advertised so much online that I couldn't not see it. What a fucking fun game this is. It's really nice to just play something without a story where I can just turn my brain off. It's crazy addictive too and I've been playing all of the different game modes. I spent one night playing matches where my ranking was going up and down the entire evening to end up with the exact same one I had before.

    Moodica
    I've come across another ambience website called Moodica. I'm a sucker for these things. Each panel has a particular mood such as 'Exotic Travels' or 'Ambience' and you can flick between different instances of that mood with the video and sounds to match. It's a little resource heavy, but nice to put on full-screen in the background if you're not using the computer.

    March 29th 2017

    Stories: Flo

    UNFINISHED POST: Add photos

    With it being a year since Flo's passing, I want to share this story. This story takes place between the whole of 2000 - 2016. My family and I had just moved from Elm Drive to Pentland Close as it was closer to secondary school.

    I was 10 years old. Wanted a dog. RSPCA. It's funny how we got her. I wanted another dog. My parents chose this one before I had even seen her. Already had her name. We had these bars in car. She was so excited she got through to us in the back seats. Sausage dog. Hard wood flooring, chew toy, slide her around the floor. Walking up to the steps where she would be waiting after school. Walks she would do what she wanted. When she ran away the first few times, we were genuinely concerned, but as time went on it was funny. She would go take herself for a walk and come back barking outside.

    I went off to University and was heartbroken to not see her everyday. I still her throughout the week as I had to come back for work.

    When I started driving, I was able to come up.

    It was strange dealing with her getting old. Some days I would see her and there would be something she wasn't able to do any more, such as jumping onto the sofa. time I saw her and she knowing she was getting older, but I would think "Well at least she is still lively" and it would be come the norm. We built some steps for her to get to the garden to go toilet.

    Once I started driving, I visited my parents at least once a week and see her too. One Summer day, content with my new found privilege, I fancied taking her for a drive up Twmbarlwm.

    We had a scare last year. She was walking very slow. I took her for what I thought would be her last walk. I walked her towards the green at the end of the street with my parents watching me from behind as I cried my eyes out. Ignorant of the fact she was going so slow.

    The last era of her life

    Looking back, I realise I was extremely fortunate that I live so close to my parents. Some of my other friends have pets and I can't imagine what it must be like to only see them for special occasions.