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Monday, 30 May 2016

1605.30 STRICTLY SHUFFLE'S WEDDING

Yesterday (Sunday) we went to celebrate my friend "Shuffle's"  wedding. It was at a very nice hotel on the other side of Sheffield. It was in fact the same hotel Morticia used to work in about 20 years ago. It was a well put together do, now my friend Shuffle and his bride (and a number of his friends - not me obviously) are really good dancers. I've seen him perform a number of times. His wedding day was no exception, the happy couple performed a choreographed routine for their 'first dance' before the other dancing couples hit the dance floor. Later the amateurs got to have a go.

Fun on the Dancefloor
It was a great night with only the bar prices letting the event down.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

1605.29 SPORTSMANSHIP

This weekend there has been 2 big football matches at Wembley Stadium featuring teams from South Yorkshire. I'm not about to talk about football, if you know me you know that football isn't my thing. What gets me is the reaction from some fans when a neighbouring team who pour hate and scorn over the achievements of others. I really don't get it. They are all as bad as each other. Surely if there are 2 teams playing then you put your support behind the one most local to you? I always thought the term 'sport' denotes 'fair play'.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

1605.28 THE HEAVY BIKE PROS

Everyone in the cycling world seems to go on about how light a bike must be. Carbon fibre seems to be pretty much the norm on a Sunday club run. But what if I said there was something in having a heavy bike, usually made of steel? Maybe vintage? I'm not suggesting ditching the carbon bike by any means. What about that commute to work though?

I, like a lot of people, commute to work by bike. I don't use my favourite carbon machine or even the aluminium one I save for those bad weather rides. I have a heavy steel framed Raleigh which was built in the late 1980s. It has a rack over the back wheel with pannier bags for all my gear, the machine weighs about the same as a Nissan Micra(!).


So what's the benefit in the heavy weight? My commute isn't that far so to get the best out of the journey and for it to contribute to my training the weight provides some good resistance training, by making the going a little harder I get maximum benefit from the journey.

If you're in the market for a commuter machine and your journey isn't too taxing then consider a heavier bike. Don't go straight for the feather light or listen to the sales pitch about how a lighter bike is always better.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

1605.26 CRYSTAL BALL

Morticia visited a clairvoyant yesterday. She likes that sort of thing. Personally I'm not convinced but I do have an interest in the supernatural so I like to hear what they say. The details of the reading are of course personal to Morticia so I'm not going to go over the whole thing but some things were said that relate to me. They're fair game. 

Our eldest daughter was mentioned, they said she would be in touch at some point. Apparently our luck is about to change and it might be a good idea to put the lottery on. My work is about to get better or my hours may change after a long stint of difficult times. Our youngest is extremely clever, well balanced and is going to succeed (I don't need a psychic to tell me that). 

I think to convince me they'd have to tell me something that I didn't know (but could later coroberate), after all I'm not above believing in mind reading. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

1605.25 TOP TELLY PART 2

Ok here's the second look into my telly viewing habits. They're in no particular order. If you missed part one you can see it here.

Sleepy Hollow
An 'out of time' reimagining of the Ichabod Crane story sees the hero transported to modern day. This season (3) has been a bit difficult and I was surprised to see it get renewed for a 4th season. I expect many changes next season.

Continuum
This is an older show I'm catching up with on Netflix. I'm busy with other shows at the moment so it's on hold. A time travel sci fi show, what's not to like?

Elementary
I love Sherlock Holmes. I am a big fan of all the incarnations. This version sees Sherlock in modern day New York.

You're The Worst
I came across this by accident and was immediately hooked by this grown up comedy. Season 1 was crammed on 5USA (double bills every week), I'm hoping we get following seasons in due course (although Channel 5 aren't to reliable).

Spooks
Never caught this on it's original run (called MI5 in the US) so I binge watched season 1 and half of season 2 on Netflix.

Second Chance
This has just started showing on Universal channel and I've got episode 1 queued on my planner. Just learned it has been cancelled so not sure whether to bother.

American Horror Story
Supernatural anthology series. Last season "Hotel" was one of the best yet. Can't wait for the next season.

American Crime Story: People Vs OJ Simpson
Don't know if this was a 'one off' series but it was very well made and gripping (even if everyone obviously knew the outcome).

Colony
Another alien invasion show. I've given up after 2 episodes because it just wasn't gripping me.

iZombie
Another chance find on Netflix. A light hearted crime show with a zombie twist.

Raised by Wolves
One of those 'hidden gems', an actually funny sitcom returned for season 2.

Sherlock
Most of the world likes this one. 

Humans
Quite a thought provoking drama about androids set in an alternative present day. Hoping for a season 2 soon. 

The A Word
An eye opening and occasionally funny drama about how a family copes with a child with autism. The little boy acted amazingly. 

I've still got some more to mention. Coming soon to a blog post near you. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

1605.23 DARK AND SUNNY WEEKEND

When you look at other peoples' lives from the outside they look like they're having the best of times. Facebook, I feel exaggerates this. I know that people rarely share the bad stuff on social media unless they are (probably) attention seeking. From time to time I feel the dark hand of.... well, er, I don't quite think I have the words but it what I get since 2012 when I had what I can only describe as a life changing event. Anyway, this weekend has been a bit of a 'dark time' for me, without a noticeable reason either. Reading those Facebook statuses of "friends", colleagues, ex-colleagues and people I may have met briefly at some point in my life haven't helped, to that end I've not been interacting on there for quite a while now. I only keep it around because it's the only way to speak to my cycling club.

Anyway, I digress. This weekend I've pretty much shut myself away, I didn't even feel like getting out on the bike yesterday despite the billed ride being a spectacular one and the weather being pretty nice too. I'm off today and up to now I'm not even dressed.

I just read that back and I can't make much sense of it, I'm going to publish anyway since it is a reflection of where my head is at at the moment.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

1605.21 ANOTHER STAR TREK TRAILER

You wait years for a Star Trek trailer then you get two. This time it's for the next 'reboot' movie "Star Trek Beyond". I've always had mixed feelings about this movie, mainly because of the last one which was on it's own a good sci fi action pic but as a Star Trek movie, an abomination. But let's look forward. I'm trusting Simon Pegg with this one (he's co-wrote this installment) as he has gone on record as a Star Trek Fan. 


So having watched this I have to say I'm a little more excited than worried. It looks that it may be going back to the roots of Star Trek whist still feeding the casual fan with action. I still believe that Star Trek belongs on TV, that's it's home and I'm glad it's returning there (see last post). Having said that I'll be at the cinema watching this on it's release. After all it can't be worse than "Into Darkness" can it?

Oh, and is that an NX class starship at the end?

Friday, 20 May 2016

1605.20 NEW STAR TREK TRAILER

So this week they released a trailer for the up and coming new Star Trek television show. That's right! For everyone who lives in a cave they are making a Trek show for TV! Now initially when I first heard about this I was a little concerned, after all the current caretakers haven't been kind to the franchise of late (I'm talking about you JJ) but the more I read about it the more excited I get. 

Ok, it's just music, a deep voice over and a new font but it's awesome!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

1605.17 UNWANTED DEVELOPMENT

Just behind my house is a small patch of wasteland which used to be the site of a public house. For a while now I've been expecting someone to want to build on it. Then we got the letter.

Planning has been requested to build a 4 storey block of flats that will directly overlook the rear of mine and my neighbours' houses. This wasn't what I wanted to hear, Morticia got upset about the whole thing. I was hoping they'd build a couple of houses there.

After reviewing the plans I've submitted my objection to the development. I would hope my neighbours would also but they are pretty apathetic when it comes to such matters. I'm going to try and speak to a couple of them.

Now we wait.

Supplemental 1605.21; I noted today that one of my neighbours have spoken out and put in an objection against this planning. At least we no longer stand alone.

Monday, 16 May 2016

1605.16 WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS

I was sad to learn that the last surviving cast member from Casablanca,  my favourite movie of all time, Madeleine LeBeau, passed away this month in Spain. She played Yvonne, the one night stand that Rick casts off and is later seen emotionally singing La Marseillaise in defiance of the Nazis in Rick's Cafe.
Madeleine LeBeau 1923-2016
I've loved Casablanca since I first saw it when I was 17, it's an emotionally charged story that still resonates today. I'll be re-watching soon in tribute to Madeleine.

Here's looking at you kid!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

1605.14 TOP TELLY PART 1

I used to do this years ago so here's a look at my current telly choice. This is not a review, it's more of a snapshot into what is on my telly at the moment. 

Arrow, Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow
I grouped these together because they all are interconnected. Arrow I feel has lost some of it's darkness but is still compelling. The Flash, I feel,  is the strongest of the group and is proper 'comic book' action. Legends of Tomorrow was the latest offering and most anticipated. Sadly though it's the most disappointing so far. I'm hoping it pulls it's socks up ready for season 2 (confirmed).

Supergirl
In the same vein as the Arrow/Flash shows (they even inhabit the same DC universe) this is a hero show supported by an ensemble support team. So far it's entertaining but not as gripping as it's siblings (season 2 confirmed)

The Simpsons
What's can I say about the Simpsons? Homer is a God amongst yellow men. Long may it run.

Daredevil
A Netflix exclusive show which does a great job of reinventing the blind hero after an abysmal movie adaptation. Dark, violent and moody - a superhero show for grown ups. Currently enjoying season 2.

Better Call Saul
Another Netflix exclusive and Breaking Bad prequel that's compelling to watch. Has the same BB feel whilst still being completely different. Just cracking through season 2.

Limitless
A sequel to the movie of the same name, this amusing drama is easy and enjoyable to watch (season 2 not confirmed). It'll be a shame if it gets cancelled. 

11.22.63
A Stephen King standalone miniseries about a time traveller who has to prevent the assassination of JFK. I'm almost at the end, so far this is an amazing story. The only show on TV that I watch on transmission day.

Bates Motel
A slow burner up to now but as Norman Bates gets more crazy the better it becomes. I feel the best is yet to come. 

Blue Bloods
Staple easy watching NYPD police drama about a family who all work in law enforcement.

This is just a small look at what I'm watching on TV at the moment. There is more which I'll share in a second post soon. 


Friday, 13 May 2016

1605.00 THE DELIVERY DEPOT

Being a shift worker means I'm at home in the day quite often. The local postman and quite a few of the courier drivers have figured this out. Others see a car on the drive (I don't use the car for work anyway).  This means that quite a few of my neighbours have me as a drop off point while they work (this isn't a formal arrangement). What does annoy me is when they don't come round and pick it up straight away, some have been know to wait days!

The thing is when I receive a parcel and I'm not in it always ends up back at the depot with the smiley happy people. It's a real pain in the arse to go down and pick it up.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

1605.10 NEXT ON MY CYCLING...

I've noticed how I become lazy when it comes to my cycling when I haven got a goal to aim for. I miss club rides and other cycling opportunities from time to time. The only constant is my commute which is always by bike (except when it's thick ice or snow).

Because of this I've set myself 2 new goals over the next 12 months which should kick me up the arse. Firstly I plan to ride the 65 Roses Holme Moss Classic Sportive again in September (it was an amazing experience last year) and secondly I've signed up to ride the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Sportive. Both are challenging rides which should give me the focus I've been looking for.

Monday, 9 May 2016

1605.09 GURUS

Never seen this before but there seems to be a few spiritual gurus knocking about. One of these cards was pushed through my door the other was slipped under my windscreen wiper on my car. At first I found them odd, then I found them amusing.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

1605.07 THE STAG

Today it was planned that Morticia and I would be enjoying a meal for 2 in a nice restaurant somewhere. Then I found out this was the date set for my friend's stag do.

I've not been on many stag nights in the past, that's what comes of having a small circle of friends. I organised my best mate's years ago when I served as his best man. It was a difficult one as he kept cancelling so it ended up just being some drinks in town followed by a curry. My stag do was better (at least it had a stripper!). All this was many years ago, now the last of my group of friends is getting married and it's time to give him a 'send off'.

As a night out it was a good night. But was it a good stag? I suppose that's not for me to say, maybe that is the option of the stag? However this is my blog not his so my opinion is that it was too be considered a poor stag, at least until the point where I left it. Maybe after that they got to a strip club, maybe the stag is still taped naked to a lamppost somewhere just off Division Street? Somehow I do doubt it (I've asked for an update).

An impression of how the night
should have progressed
The problem in the first part was the numbers. There were a total of 3 participants (a 4th arrived late on just as I left). Having said that it was a good night.

I left to catch the last bus (23:50) which was the usual zoo of great unwashed. I was been stared at creepily by an Asian guy (who was either high on some substance or maybe suffering from a mental illness) and listening to the xenophobic views of a couple of drunk guys loudly discussing the Europe exit and immigration policy.

For the record it was a good night with good friends. 

Friday, 6 May 2016

1605.06 PANTS, MALTEASERS AND SEAMONKEYS

So my birthday is over for another year. I worked a day shift which was horrendous. Seriously it should be compulsory to get the day off - really it should be law!

I had no plans for the evening, except Morticia baked me a minced beef pasty (a favourite). I don't drink much but I do enjoy the odd ale, I have a small stash which I dipped into and enjoyed a Brains SA (to remind me of my favourite place in the world).

My gifts included pants, socks, a Kelo Ren glass, assorted chocolate and Sea Monkeys (I'm sure I'll be talking about them in the future).

Morticia's birthday is the day after mine, she is so much more popular than me, her cards outnumber mine threefold. We went to a local carvery as a family for a combined birthday treat.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

1605.05 BIRTHDAYS, ELECTIONS AND BUNS

Most people see today as the day they cast their vote in the local elections. I see it as my birthday.

I voted earlier in the week via postal vote as I didn't wanted to be bothered by it on my birthday. I've said many times that voting is important and I always make the effort.

My ballot papers
I'm working today so yesterday I had to go out and buy buns and biscuits for the team. It was challenging getting them to work on my bag. I'm glad I fitted panniers.

I'll say more about my day tomorrow when I can evaluate the occasion.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

1605.04 STAR WARS ANALOGY

I make no apology for the Star Wars analogy and I'm certainly not making light of my situation.

Star Wars (force awakens) became poignant for me whilst thinking about current aspects of my life. Part of the story deals with a child who rebels against their parents and crosses over to the dark side. I feel this as my eldest daughter went over to the "dark side" 4 years ago. I also feel like Han Solo, as if I've taken a lightsabre to the heart. The hurt is always there and never goes away.

It's always hardest around birthdays and Christmas, she is missed by us all.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

1605.01 SHEFFIELD STARFLYER

It's been the Tour de Yorkshire this weekend and once again I haven't been out to see it. I'm still carrying something on my chest which combined with recent events at work and my upcoming birthday have made me feel pretty low lately. It was decided that today we would do something special. Morticia's friend has her birthday today so combined with mine and Morticia's (next week) we thought it might be a good idea. Morticia is no good on fairground rides so I'm usually alone when it comes to that sort of thing. So is Morticia's friend. As a birthday treat we thought we'd take in Sheffield's newest attraction: The Sheffield Starflyer.

We went with Rags and our friends, Det and Moby. First thing I noticed when we arrived in the town centre was how busy it was. We only just managed to get a parking space (in the second car park we visited). I guess it was busy because it's the bank holiday combined with the World Snooker Finals. With that in mind I thought that there would be a queue and I was regretting not booking in advance. As it was there was no queue. 

Morticia wasn't going on (not in a million years), neither was Rags nor Moby. It was just Det and me. I seem to surround myself with wusses when it comes to fairground rides. We paid our money and chose a pair of seats. We were the first on and we're made to wait whilst the rest of the seats filled up. This took about half a bloody hour, the attendants didn't mention the wait when we arrived. Anyway, we were in good spirits and the moment arrived where we were airborne. 

Ride afforded great views but was over very quickly so not much time to take in the urban vistas (you can see other pictures on my Instagram). 

Afterwards we had a walk to the Crucible Theatre and then through the Winter Gardens (which doubles for the TV studio for the snooker in the early rounds) and the Peace Gardens. 

We went for a meal at Yates on Division Street, it was busy and a little rowdy, a little like a Saturday night, but we got seated. The food was ok but nothing really to write home about, and the portion was a little small. Not a patch on Wetherspoons'.