Saw the shining
Well it wouldn't be Halloween without some form of vandalism. We drove back to my house and were pleased to see we weren't egged this year, but when I opened my boot, I noticed my rear window wiper had been burned off. It was as if someone had attached a firework to it and blew it up. Fucking scum.
I would have liked some of these entries to be their own posts, but I've been pretty busy doing old blogs this month. So here's a crammed monthly post!
For Kim's birthday I bought a load of balloons, got up really early and blew them all up with my enormous black lung power. I also bought some decorations. We then celebrated by getting a toilet seat from B&Q. Afterwards we went to Las Iguanas with friends for some din-dins. I then had to pick my parents up from the airport, but I got back to the party at ours in time to see Kim drunk. A fire was also made in the garden.
The next day (on her actual birthday) I made cooked brekkie for us both. We dropped Ieu off and looked at my parents' holiday snaps. We later went to see Impractical Jokers in the CIA as my co-worker Sal got the tickets for free. Some times things are good (and free). I thought they were evening tickets, but they were actually matinee when I finally got around to checking and we had to rush to get there.
Tap for Money
People have been using contactless for some time now, but when my new Lloyds card came, I'd just missed out on it. I thought "I've been using Chip and PIN for so long, I don't mind carrying on". Contactless became quite inviting though. I used Apple Pay for a few weeks before I lost my iPhone SE on a night out. For the time that I had it, it was amazing.
Finally, October rolls around and I get my new credit card with contactless. Everything is just so much faster. You only really save 20 or so seconds, but it all adds up. Especially when you just want to get out of the supermarket as quickly as possible (like I often do). It hasn't made me spend more, but it has made buying things easier and faster.
Ieuan told me that he got the job at B&M Bargains afterwards. I was ecstatic and was looking forward to him being back in employment. After a few days I spoke to him again and he said that he wasn't enjoying it. They were putting him on the night shift without mentioning it and the people that he was working with weren't the best. He reluctantly went in for another shift to see if he could stand it any longer. I spoke to him shortly after that and he had decided to quit. I'm glad he did. He stuck out the job for a few shifts to see how it was and made up his own mind that it wasn't for him. It sounded horrible.
With the rise of the Weinstein scandal, lots of women are speaking out about past abuse. One name I was shocked to hear about was Del Noble. He's a big promoter in the math/post-rock community and has put on a lot of large gigs in London. Jos had a scuffle with him a while back about not booking us for some reason. I never felt like he was a bad guy, but Jos definitely felt some aggression from him. A post went up on the Facebook group written by his ex-girlfriend who called him out. Apparently he was an abuser and.
Old Timey TV
Before I can consume any new TV, all of the old TV must be devoured. I've seen a lot of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em over the years, but I never got around to watching all of it. So that's what I'm doing this month. Along with watching Last of the Summer Wine from the very beginning. I expect to finish around late next year sometime. Did you know that it's the longest ever sitcom in history? Of course I would pick something like that to watch. Honestly though, it's so refreshing. No real plot point to each episode. Just three old guys being cheeky scamps in a Yorkshire village.
All Aboard at the Play Station
I've been really getting back into games again recently. Specifically old PS1 and PS2 games. I finally got around to playing Metal Gear Solid and finishing it. The next day I found an old save on Spyro the Dragon and completed that. Then I completed that copy of Jade Cocoon I bought 7 years ago. Now I'm playing Fahrenheit and it's a refreshing change from I'd usually play.
I Can't Play Worms
Remembered the good times I had playing Worms 3D and how fun it was. I would love getting to the end of a match with both teams down to one worm on either side of the map and trying to kill each other with bazookas. The last time I played Worms 3D was when I tried to launch it on my first MacBook with lots of apps already open. It killed it.
I thought I'd like to play it again so I bought it online for PS2 for £2. It finally arrived, but my controller didn't work. The buttons were registering, but it wouldn't allow me to continue. I found out online that it must be a controller issue. Maybe it needed a PS2 controller instead of a PS1 controller. I picked up a third party PS2 controller from CEX on my lunch break, came home and it still wouldn't work. Annoyed, I went all the way into town the next day when there was a busy event on to get an official PS2 controller, only to bring it home and find that it was broken.
Convinced I was cursed, I finally got one off eBay and was able to play the damn game. It was all worth it in the end. All those memories came back about why the game was so fun to play. The next day I was looking through my room for something and I found my old copy of Worms 3D. *internal sighing*. At least I now have a spare game and two extra controllers.
Stopped watching WheezyWaiter a while ago. I forget why, but there was just something off with his videos. I think he noticed this too. He seems to have found himself again and his videos have become more entertaining. Come to think of it, I think it was because he shot his videos in that box room. His older videos had a more relaxed vibe of being in an open plan living room. I'm glad he's moved to the living room/kitchen again. It feels much more natural. He and his wife are also expecting a baby girl very soon, which I'm excited to see. He's probably the only YouTuber I've kept up with over the years.
Nothing much to note on this except that I have been eating a box of samosas from Sainsbury's for lunch every day at work. I think I'm addicted. Please send help. Or better yet, send more samosas.
On another food related topic, I bought some local honey while I was at a coffee shop with Kim the other day, took it home and pretty much ate the whole jar in a few days time as spread for toast. What's worse is that I keep finding it on everything in the house. I burned a CD the other day and it was on smeared across it.
Festival of Fear / 13th October
Fear Fest was on again this year. Friday the 13th was the opening night and it seemed very apt. X-Scream last year was ok, but it felt very short. Ross, Dacey, Mike, Tash and Kim came along this time. Dacey got a psychic fortune teller type woman telling her to expect pregnancy in some shape or form. We saw a carnival horror freak show where a guy got naked, had thousands of volts pumped through him and volunteers had to touch his private parts with strip lights to get them to turn on. It was very entertaining. The other freaks were cool and freaky too.
The scare area this year was enormous. Now I know why the prices shot up. There were so many sections! Kim kept getting followed by this man covered in white paint and make-up called (wait for it) Mr White. He caught her in several spots throughout and wouldn't let her pass. It was hilarious. My favourite part was when we were in a forest and we found a fence with a door in the middle. We opened it up and it showed this forested section literally covered in tin foil with this creature out of some fucking anime there staring at you.
After passing that we got shoved into this shipping container and down the tightest passage ever in pitch blackness. I thought I had went the wrong way as I heard shouting and thought they were trying to get me out. It was claustrophobic as hell. Despite not getting to do the zip-wire like last time, it was still an incredible experience. When we were walking back to the car and most people had gone home, there was still one actor hiding in the shadows for one last spook.
PYB / 19th October
We found out in work how the ProtectYourBricks brand will look. Marsden/Mee have done a great job. The logo is very similar to the PYG logo, but with a roof above the wording, which fits in with the aesthetic. The illustrations on the site are of neighbourhoods and towns done in the style of ones I've seen on Dribbble. I'm glad they went in that direction.
TIL - Gnurr
Today I learned that the bits of fabric you find at the bottom of your pocket sometimes is called 'gnurr'. It sounds like a word someone made up as they were rushing the new edition of the dictionary to the printing press.
Since my last post I've been working so hard on my old blogs that I've neglected making any new ones. So here is one to let you know that my sanity is still in check. It's been tough trying to write old blogs, but I feel I'm getting into the swing of things. The closer I get to the end of the year, the more motivated I become. Anyway, enough about that. I won't mention them again until I'm finished.
Remember my site Collaj? It was a great creative outlet for me, but it pretty much fizzled out. I'm thinking it was around the time when I started learning to draw comics, which has also stopped, but I'm hoping to get back into. The whole collage thing just took the backseat and I kinda forgot about it until this Monday. It's difficult to get back into something that you did years ago, but once you start, it becomes difficult to stop.
I'm quite proud of them and that I was able to do five in a row. They don't take that long to make and I don't worry if they don't turn out perfect. My process will usually just involve pulling photos from Flickr, overlaying them in various ways, playing with the levels, changing the hue and using different blending modes to get a certain effect. Nothing special. Then I flatten the image to make sure I can't go back on myself and I carry on until I think it's done. Just doing them has helped my creativity tenfold. I even sat down with my guitar yesterday and wrote a riff.
In other news, samosas are my new obsession. Sainsbury's has been my primary supplier recently. They do a box of two small samosas in the snack section for a £1 that I would reluctantly pay for as I couldn't find them elsewhere. I have since found that they do a bigger box of four for £1.50 in another section and I've been eating that as my lunch for the past week. I couldn't care less that they're cold. They're soooooo good.
TIL - Wild Things Indeed
Today I learned that the original title of 'Where the Wild Things Are' was 'Where the Wild Horses Are' until the author, Maurice Sendak, realised he could not draw a horse. So he drew the 'Wild Things', modelled after his relatives. The drawings look incredible! I didn't even know he illustrated the book.
September was a month that happened and boy, did a monthly amount of stuff happen.
Lidl are officially selling ale for 89p. For a full 500ml bottle! It's insane. I'm enjoying just going there after work and picking up one. One a night sounds alright. I don't like to have any in the house as I know I'll drink it way too quickly. Don't wanna go overboard.
Thoughts / 14th September
One year ago today, I made a site called 'Thoughts'. I needed a space that wasn't my blog to post unformatted stuff whenever it came into my head. I decided to write an entry in it marking the anniversary of its creation.
"It's been one year to the day that I made this website. Has it helped me? I definitely feel that in some way or another it has helped me process things. Just reading over old entries I've noticed a few times where I wasn't feeling too well and I just wrote without thinking about who would see it, how it would look or how it was structured. It would have been bottled up inside of me before.
Aside from links to some images or other sites, it's a clear and concise array of my thoughts all on one page. I created this site with the idea that everything stays on one page and I'm glad it has pretty much stayed the same. Here's to many more years of dealing with things in a written format..."
Jos and Ieu have recently gotten Cineworld Unlimited cards so we've been watching loads of films together. We've been going almost twice a week. It's one of the few monthly subscriptions that I've actually kept. I think I pay about £17 a month and you get unlimited movies with discounts on food at certain restaurants. You also get discount on food at the cinema too, but I'm not falling for that. I buy my shit at Tesco and take it in. Proudly gripping my carrier bag as the lady rips my ticket.
IT / 8th September
My most anticipated film for the entire year would have to be IT. The TV movie from the 90s holds a special place in my heart and Tim Curry as Pennywise is the standard for me. I knew the new film would be drastically different. I had been waiting for years and it didn't disappoint. It was an incredible adaptation. Lots of beautiful cinematography. Props go to the unknown child actors who gelled really well with each other. I was worried that Bill Skarsgård's Pennywise wouldn't scare me, but he delivered. Some very genuinely creepy moments throughout and a lot of risky gruesome gory moments too. As the results show, it absolutely paid off. It is now the highest-grossing horror film of all-time.
Although, I cannot honestly say that it was a perfect movie. There were some downsides. The decision to only show the kids' story made me feel like some parts were missing and I was rushing through the movie, despite it being over two hours long. Compared to the kids section of the TV movie, there were a few things I felt they could have done differently. Some elements of the story were changed and I'm not sure why. While the scares were great, I feel like with Cary Fukunaga still as director, it would have been even creepier. The final fight was also slightly underwhelming, but I understand the metaphorical reasoning.
Nevertheless, I am eagerly awaiting the sequel that is due to be released in another two years. Hopefully they can use the criticism they received from this one and maybe experiment a bit more as this film was such a huge success. The adult section of the TV movie is pretty bland and I'm sure they will have to make the next film even scarier to justify that IT is able to scare them as adults.
My parents and family have boarded a plane to go back to their favourite destination, Majorca. They were really looking forward to it. Kim and I were going too until we saw how much the tickets were for a two day return. Jake didn't know that he was going at all. It was a huge secret for such a long time. He was complaining that all his friends were going on holiday, but Dani and Aidan told him that they would next year. They finally spilled the beans at the airport while 'dropping off the rest of the family' and they got it on video.
While they've been away I've been seeing Ieu a lot and having him stay over, which has been nice. We've even had Stan over a few nights, but he was pretty restless and confused about what was going on. No barking, just constant wandering and the need for attention. He would stop as soon as Ieu and I would head to bed though.
Puzzlewood / 10th September
After putting it off for weeks, the Risca crew decided to check out what the fuss about Puzzlewood was. Puzzlewood is located in the Forest of Dean. It's where the forest scene from Stars Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed and one of the places that inspired Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings. We arrived and ventured in. You feel immediately transported to another world.
The geography of the land looks very different to ordinary forests. This is apparently because of the erosion of natural underground cave systems forming what are called 'scowles'. There is a lot of interesting trivia about the site. In 1848, workers in the area found over 3000 Roman-era coins stored in three earthenware jars hidden in one of the rock formation cavities. The origin of the coins is still unknown. As you walk through the woodland you must stay to the track, but it makes sense seeing as it's an ancient site.
There are many paths to take around the site and there are things to discover around every corner. Everything starts to look extremely similar after a while. You will get lost and it's all part of the fun. We celebrated our escape with a hot chocolate and marshmellows in the cafe on the way out. Buying the local fudge couldn't be passed up either.
Juborajjjj / 10th September
After returning from Puzzlewood, I picked up the Esuna guys for our special curry night at the Juboraj down the bay. We got some lovely panoramic shots of us in the restaurant that we'll treasure forever. We also smoked a J before we went in and we all found it very hard to choose anything. The menu was fucking enormous. I don't remember much else about the meal except that it was fucking gorgeous.
One Night in Bisonbury / 16th September
The bassist from Hoggs Bison was celebrating his 40th birthday with a private gig in a field. A mini festival of sorts aptly named Bisonbury. Twisted ANkle was asked to play and I was asked to drive. Seeing as I hadn't attended a festival this year, I couldn't pass it up. The field was the perfect size. Small enough to be private, but large enough not to feel cramped. We drove down, pitched up and I got started on the beers. The guys were a bit delayed with their excessive drinking as they were playing fairly soon. Twisted Ankle played a great set as usual. Every time I see them is the best time.
I'd heard of most of the bands on the bill except for one called The Shogun's Decapitator. We were all confused that none of us had heard of them before. Later on in the evening when they finally came on, I was blown away. Dancy. Mathy. Loud. This was my jam. They really made me gasp. They became one of my favourite bands that night. At least I think they were, I was high. We then headed outside to the bonfire and the organisers were about to set off the fireworks, but these weren't your average fireworks. They were absolutely spectacular, varied in type and very well timed. Probably one of the best displays I've ever seen, but you know I was pretty high.
We then sat in the car for another J and we recorded our voices singing along to the music outside that was in an unusual time signature. I stopped recording, started playing it back and it perfectly synced up with the live performance. We were all stupefied. Incredibly strange, but I was pretty high. By this point I was pretty drunk too and I remember just wandering around the field on my own then sitting in my car. Must have gotten back to my tent about 3AM. Same time next year yeah?
Jameson's Raspberry Ruffle will be the death of me. Or should I say 'may' be the death of me? I started getting them at lunch from work. Poundland do packs of six (for yep, £1) and I'd take my time eating them throughout the week, keeping them in my car. Maybe two a day. Recently I ate an entire pack and decided that I cannot be trusted with them. They are insanely delicious and I should not be allowed to buy packs unless...no...I would find a way to get them even if someone guarded them. I can only have single bars from now on.
Stan's Birthday / 13th September
Dogs need birthdays too. Like we did with Flo, I was determined to make an event of Stan's birthday so we got him a cake to eat and some new toys. He wasn't really sure what was going on, but enjoyed it none the less. Happy 2nd birthday Stan!
TIL - That's The One
Today I learned that in the 1999 movie, The Matrix, Neo's passport expires on September 11, 2001. Pretty good time for it to expire.
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 and I don't want to delete unfinished posts. It feels like deleting memories.
I can imagine to some people this may seem like a smaller problem than I'm making it out to be, but I have this 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'. He asked "If you were given the chance to go on an extravagant holiday with all your family for a month, but you wouldn't remember it after you got back, would you still do it?" No, you wouldn't. I think this is why it's so important to me. I don't trust my own brain.
Right now 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. It's not that far away.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
drive to work, sal coral dale matt, old faithful pub lunch, 3 pints, drive home, get stuff ready for sleepout, drive to cardiff castle, drop off stuff, park, busking, play volleyball, chat, homeless guy comes over being annoying, 1am drive maria home, back to castle, get some munch, sleeping bag race, didnt sleep - - - - - didnt sleep, left castle, bye to everyone, drive to mcdonalds, get 2 breakfasts, wake kim up, eat, sleep for 5 hours, get ready quick, drive to tenby, park in car park, walk around, buy fudge, pay for bauble with inscription, buy wine, pick up bauble, drive to chalet, set up internet, laze, watch run lola run, kim asleep, smoke down on beach, people with flashlights, walk back, watch vids, sleep
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
didnt sleep, left castle, bye to everyone, drive to mcdonalds, get 2 breakfasts, wake kim up, eat, sleep for 5 hours, get ready quick, drive to tenby, park in car park, walk around, buy fudge, pay for bauble with inscription, buy wine, pick up bauble, drive to chalet, set up internet, laze, watch run lola run, kim asleep, smoke down on beach, people with flashlights, walk back, watch vids, sleep - - - - - - packed up, drive to Tenby, park in same place, bought more fudge, baytree food, walk back to car, drive home in the rain, lazed, kim shaved my head, shower, shaved
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
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.
This is the first year I've not gone. Josh went and did bar work, Jos said hewasn't going, but caved and went for the Saturday. I don't feel bad
probably my favourite trilogy
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is still open for a few more days, but I've currently 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 all over again.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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. No more. Adios. 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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
If I had to name one cartoon that I've constantly heard about online, 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.
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.