Friday, June 23, 2006


Two-Pie Night

GARPS descended on Sweeney Todd's for yet another pie session to celebrate the end of a successful year of gaming. Or, more accurately the Iron Kingdoms players had a social night to which I also turned up. Pies and beer, as usual, were good and the immortal boss lady ever-present (must be the nutritional value of the pies). After dessert, we retired cross-town to The Retreat. Evil pie eaters lead the party along the canal to avoid being drawn into the many lively Kings Road pubs that we could see on the other side of the water. Instead we marched on to St Johns Road and the terraced pub that I never knew existed. Friday night so it was full but we did have the European street-cafe-style seating outside all to ourselves (why didn't I take a photo?!?). Great view of the terraced houses across the road, parked cars and the skyline-dominating Kennet Street construction site. Richard decided to scout out (repeatedly) to find the Eldon Arms where we moved to once our drinks had been finished (although one of the pints of ale, I feel, should have been left in the barrel to die the death nature had intended for it instead of trying to take a couple of us with it.) Richard's work at the Eldon Arms was spectacular and by the time we arrived he had cleared out a whole bar just for us. All in all, a good evening.

GARPS VP (me) and President-Elect (Simon Fern):

Simon (again), Tank Girl and Mawdrigen (aka Richard Crookes):


Sally, Pete (Medical Office-elect), Ed (President):


Matthew Kinsella (Secretary, Secretary-elect) refused to be photographed in case someone recognised him and wanted to know what happened to the "Shipment".

Sunday, June 18, 2006


"Shark" gives you fins

I'd forgotten how sunny it is at 5:30am in the summer, walking home from the Student Ball at Reading University.

Anyway, here's a review I've written on the Ciao website for the Shark Energy Drink.

Thanks to Shark, I've just managed to survive a student summer ball and have more than enough energy to walk home afterwards at 6 o'clock in the morning. The ball had a dedicated Shark'n'vodka bar where single or double vodkas were mixed with a can of Shark for £2 or £3 (bargain). The colour of the drink was a distinctive glow-in-the-dark style yellow which I felt gave it an unnatural look but luckily the flavour was fine - no artificial after-taste to match the colour. Packaging was stylish although I don't know if I relate to the Shark logo - I'm not sure what image the brand is trying to put across with this concept. Is it supposed to be appealing to clubbers that need the energy to keep hunting down sexual prey through the night? 


RUSU Summer Ball 2006

Here's the "Survivors" photo at 5:30am - I am in there somewhere... in the mass of people next to the lifted girl in the red dress if memory serves me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Save The Internet - you know it makes sense

Save the Net Now

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Demonstrations - Madrid style

In Madrid the local police like to be seen, especially on a lovely, warm summer's evening when there's nothing actually to do. Just how many police do you need ...

to control a demonstration THIS big...

I reckon there must have been forty armed police in attendance to watch similar number of people old enough to be their parents. Not sure what the demo was about - the banner (No sabes gobernar pero sabes robar. Accomplice) translates something like "You don't know how to govern but you do know how to rob. Accomplice."



It is SO warm!

Eight o'clock at night (local time) and it is a sweltering 35°C.


Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

At lunchtime I (and the TAMs working with me at the customer site) walked past the Museo Nacional del Prado, an impressive looking building hosting a Picasso exhibition. The area was pretty busy with coach loads of visitors but I assumed it would be closed by the time I'd finished at the customer site, thinking as I was of such places as London's National Gallery (9:00am-5:30pm). Sadly, when I did later walk past the museum after a gentle stroll through the Jardines del Buen Retiro, I discovered that a more tourist-friendly 8pm was the norm (and even later for special events). Nevertheless, I paid my 6 Euros and spent a pleasant hour inside amongst the Rembrandts and Ruebens.

Highlight for me was the La familia real de Felipe IV, an imposing work at 318 x 276 cm that took pride of place in the central hall of the Salon de Actos on the planta primera. Diego Velázquez de Silva (1599-1660) had created an interesting work where the observer of the painting was in fact an alternative subject. The image below doesn't really do the picture any justice but it was the best I could find on the Internet. The painting was certainly one where you just wanted to stand in front of it for as long as it took to try and take it all in. I did refrain from taking any photographs myself while I was there - partly for fear of being kicked out but also to protect the pictures from flash photography (assuming that IS something that damages oil paintings). Maybe I'll find a copy I can buy in the museum shop next time I'm there. All the on-line commentary about the picture seems to be in Spanish so I'll need to dust off my GCSE and get translating so I can find out who's in the mirror.


Sunday, June 04, 2006


Superstar Sister

Here's Lorraine setting off on the 5km "Race For Life" on Southsea Common. Despite having to drag herself from her sick-bed, she managed a very laudable 32 minutes and raised more money than she expected.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


42nd Birthday

John: "And then I asked the pixies what THEY wanted for Christmas. But the xylophone said I shouldn't talk to them because it was beginning to rain. And it was - big balloons of chestnuts. Which was strange, as yesterday was Bumblewitch Cake..."

Father {thinks to self}: "Where did I go wrong?"

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