Tuesday, June 29

What could possibly go wrong?

Opening mail last night I noticed a letter from Mass Gen Hospital.

I've been invited to take part in a medical test that lowers my testosterone! A possible $1,000 awaits me, if I am willing to be less of a man for 16 weeks.

Anne didn't bat an eyelid. Maybe I'm too much man for her!

I returned the letter and ticked the box marked yes please.

They'll give me pills so my breasts don't grow. Those are pecs everyone.

Hope I am chosen. It could be fun. And I can use the $1,000 to buy shoes and pretty dresses. Shit, it's already started.

Nessun Dorma and a Radio

Italia 1990
England could have won the World Cup. But they lost to Germany on penalties in the semis.

Gascoigne's tears, Waddle and Pearce's misses, 3 Tenors and the BBC, New Order and John Barnes 'round the back'.

Great tournament. So close. So far.

94? We didn't qualify. The hosts were USA, so I listened to games on the radio at work. Everyone found some Irish lineage as Jack's boys did their best.

Diana Ross pissed a penalty, and then Baggio did too. Both had twattish hair.

Only one is a Buddhist.

Monday, June 28


Worst brand of tortilla chip ever!

A tragic yet vaguely amusing story from Mexico.

Mexican singer Sergio Vega has been shot dead only hours after he had denied reports he had been murdered.

Musicians performing narcocorridos, songs celebrating the lives of drug barons, often become the targets of rival drug gangs.

Gunmen opened fire on Mr Vega on his way to a concert in Sinaloa state.

Sunday, June 27

How'd it go?

England had their asses handed to them by Germany.

World Cup Fever

So lots of World Cup blog postings would have you believe I'm an avid fan. Really I'm not.

England play Germany at 10am EST today. And I managed to sleep until 2am.

And I still contend I'm not a huge fan. I support no club team, and I've been to less than 10 live games my whole life.

It's just that watching England is part of my national identity. I've always done it, and I guess I always will.

The hope, the expectation, the build up, the let down, the short-lived redemption, the exit, the finger-pointing, the vilification, the erased memory.

Another tournament to qualify for? .... let's start all over again with hope.

Friday, June 25

5 weeks and counting

In 5 weeks time we'll be heading for Australia and New Zealand.

Only 5 weeks until this blog replaces childhood memories of tired old soccer games with low quality shenanigans from the other side of the world.

This week we received our official final itinerary, and a bunch of hotel and shuttle vouchers. This is on!

I'm so excited that I may do a trial pack this weekend. As Anne with attest, it's never too early to write your packing list. She'll probably do hers about 3 hours before we fly.

Desert and glaciers in one trip, all wrapped up with Business Class air travel. We also have 2 short cruises, a cross-country train ride and a helicopter flight to look forward to. Oh, and a couple of 6 hour coach trips.

Thursday, June 24


I'll remember 1986 because I had just left High School and my parents had just moved house. I also remember we had power cuts that summer and I missed the end of at least 2 games.

86 was the year of the 2 schizophrenic goals from Maradona against England. The first he cheated. Yes, he fucking cheated ... the fucking cheat ... by hitting the ball into the goal with his hand. And then the 2nd goal was one of the all time great goals.

So England went out. But earlier they were abysmal, losing their first game, then their captain to injury, then their replacement captain to a red card. It took a plaster cast wearing Gary Lineker hat-trick to push us into the knock-out phase.

In a (non) surprising turn of events, Scotland were once again totally shit. Although in their match with Uruguay a record was set when the South Americans had a man sent off in less than one minute. Scotland and their one man advantage gamely held on for a 0-0 draw.

And Argentina + the hand of God won the World Cup.

Wednesday, June 23


Went to see a movie at the Showcase in Woburn last night. 20 years after a Civil Action I figured they might have their water supply worked out.

Lights went down, and Trailers came on.

Then an angry old Grandpa in a cheap shirt and tie walked up and down the aisle telling everyone to turn off their phones. As the movie began he said it again.

5 minutes in and he hauled 2 people out of the theater.

I love the balls of this, but I'd be shocked if someone doesn't stab this guy within the year.

Oh. And theater has the worst sound I've ever experienced.

Good movie though.

Sunday, June 20

1982 Spain

I'll dip out of chronological sequence and start with the biggest memory of this event. Trevor Brooking a.k.a the wide-mouthed frog, crosses the ball. All that the curly-haired Kevin Keegan has to do is head the fucking ball. Instead he does a little neck-twist head-flourish and he misses the sitter that would have put England into the Semi's. First prize in the prick competition.

We lived 2 doors down from an Italian family. I never liked them, they had a rabid dog, and the miserable bastard dad never gave us our ball back when it (often) went into his yard. But boy was he happy for one month in 1982. Italy, powered by convicted embezzler Paolo Rossi, won the World Cup and our neighbors when FUCKING SILLY.

Meanwhile former Nazi colleagues West Germany and Austria collaborated to deny Algeria a rightful place in the next phase by playing out a pre-decided result. Cheating bastards.

In the semi-finals German goalie Harald Schumacher would almost kill Patrick Battiston of France, as Les Bleus were robbed of a place in the final. I'm always shocked when I hear the French forgiving Schumacher. I never will.

Otherwise, England scored within 30 seconds against France, and Northern Ireland punched above their weight.

Stomach, Back and Must

Add ache. I have all 3 of them. Not so worried about the third one, it goes with the beard.

There is something amazingly shitty about having both a back, and in essence, front ache. It means you cannot sleep. No matter what position I am in, it hurts.

On Friday into Saturday I grabbed a few hours sleep, so last night I prepared to go to bed at around 8pm. With a couple of Ibuprofen and half a Benadryl to push me into a deep sleep I was looking forward to 10 solid hours.

Instead I woke at 1.30 in pain, and spent the next few hours switching between sitting, standing and laying. I tried heat patches, tablets, fizzy water and even got close to yakking, but finally at about 6am I fell asleep for 2 hours. I'm guessing out of pure exhaustion.

Right now I feel better. The heat pads are working the back, and Anne just got back from grocery shopping and bought some Pepto-Bismol.

Here's the rap on the Pepto-Bismol. If you're a pink thick liquid and your label graphics look like a kids product you should taste like bubble gum or candy.

Instead it tastes like a Victorian hospital.

Yuk. But at least there's no yak.

Friday, June 18

Mozart (via Dr. Dre)

I'm on a Mozart trip at the moment. Nothing wrong with that, although maybe I'm driving Anne a little crazy.

It began earlier this week. I was flicking through Sirius bemoaning the emptiness of their 100+ channels, when suddenly I hit a Classical station playing an excerpt from Così fan tutte.

On my drive home back with my iPod - a Dr Dre track came on. Despite his menacing beats he often employs a flute player.

This has always been very amusing to me. Being the flautist in a studio full of weed smoking gang-bangers.

I imagine you get a lot of this:

Flautist: "Love your Glock"
Rapper: "Love your embouchure"

So anyhow, my brain made a quick Mozart—flute connection and before you know it I was listening to the Queen of the Night soprano aria. How does that noise come out of a human? Incredible.

I started re-watching Amadeus again last night. Great movie, but I'm always distracted by Tom Hulce. Mozart was also in Parenthood with a kid named Kool?

Anyhow, here's a not so fat woman hitting the high notes.

Wednesday, June 16

We Make Ants Say Uncle

Pest-End exterminators.

Man do I love a business with a pun name.

Sunday, June 13

Ooh. Nice

When you think Algeria, you think bleach blond hair and a tight lavender shirt.

Saturday, June 12

Professor says World Cup trophy cannot be solid gold

Here's the link, but all you need to know is this ...

Friday, June 11

World Cup - 70s

So the World Cup starts today. And I hope it goes well. I feel like this year something could really go tits up, and I don't just mean waking up today to this terrible story.

World Cups evoke memories. They are reminders of where I was and what was happening in the world. For a while I could say the same of the Olympics but that's dropped by the wayside for me.

So here's my little trip down memory lane. Starting with the 1970s.

1974. Just a kid.
All I know is my dad was on the mend after breaking his leg. Later I'd see footage of Zaire spazzing out, East and West Germany playing against each other, and Scotland fucking up, but none of these images were played out live to my 4 year old eyes.

1978. Scotland fuck-up again.

Beaten 3-1 by Peru in their Red Strip kit. Teófilo Cubillas destroyed them. I watched the game at my Uncle John and Aunt Marlene's house. They had a 2 year old, and I remember the chaos of trying to watch the game with a screaming kid (Melonie) in the background.

Later that week Scotland drew 1-1 with Iran, at the time Iran still had a Shah, but the writing was on the wall for him.

I thought, "How can these footballers, who I watch on TV in the UK each week, perform so poorly against these amateurs?" These were the days before every national coach uttered the robotic phrase, "There are no easy games in World football". In '78 there were easy games ... and Scotland should have hammered Iran.

Then on a Sunday night at home I watched little Archie Gemmill weave his magic through the Dutch defence to beat them 3-2.

But the 2nd Dutch goal meant that Scotland still went out ... and home. The coach resigned/canned. The usual heartbreak, and embarrassment (mostly for their dreadful World Cup song). Earlier Willie Johnston was sent home for failing a doping test. Hey fever remedy was the excuse.

The tournament was held in Argentina. Huge ticker tape welcomes for all the teams. The pitch for the final had more paper than grass (to my 8 yr old eyes).

Argentinian striker Mario Kempes was the star of the show. And their coach was a chain smoker.

At the time I was naive to the fact that Argentina won their last game before the final under shady circumstances. They beat Peru 6-0 to progress to the final. The wide margin of victory edged out Brazil on goal difference. Days, months and years later it was suggested that Peru were convinced to throw the game, and in return they received financial aid from the ruling junta in Argentina.

A few years later Britain would go to war with Argentina, but before that some of their players would move to England and play in our league. Ardilles and Villa were not the first overseas stars, but they were the most high profile. They were World Cup winners!

Finally, Clive Thomas. A Welsh referee. A legend. A douchebag. He blew for time in the Brazil vs Sweden game. The ball was a split second from traveling from Zico's head into the Swedish goal. It would have been a winner. Wanker!

Wednesday, June 9

Denmark + Connecticut

More run ins with Bo Concept and their elegant yet over-priced yet slow-to-deliver yet I-still-keep-going-in-there furniture.

We ordered this orange seat at the end of March. By the end of May it had made it's way at a snail like pace from Denmark to the J.Crew of states ... Connecticut.

Second week of June and the damn thing is still in the CT. Which means they won't be able to deliver it until next week ... earliest. Which means we will have one more blank area in our house this Sunday for our House Party.

Furthermore ... I ordered a simple yard of material at the same time. Still waiting for that too.

The material is for a coffee table that I am making. This will be the DIY event of my life.

But again. On Sunday at our House Party ... no poorly made coffee table. Probably for the best.


Firstly, Pizzazz is an awesome yet sadly impossible Scrabble word.

But it's also a confusing word to read. Break it down — pizza + zz which tends to be a snoring/sleeping euphemism.

Pizza that sends you to sleep? I wish. We had pizza tonight and I know I'll sleep for shit. I feel like I ate a 1lb bag of salt.

When we buy pizza we usually order from the local guy, but tonight we tried Domino's and their much vaunted new sauce recipe.

To be honest I thought it was Papa John's who were the Pro-Lifers, but a quick snoop around the internet tonight revealed I was wrong. It's the founder of Domino's who contributes. Sorry! And sorry to Papa John's for slandering them for years!

Anyhoo. What I found entertainingly natty tonight was that upon ordering on-line you get a 'real-time' update of how your pizza is doing.

It's disturbing/bullshit/misleading/poor business practice that the same guy, preps, cooks, checks, cuts and delivers your pizza ... in our case the quick working but geographically challenged Mohammed.

It's hack lazy ... but I'll do it anyway ... it would have been quicker to go to Mohammed for our pizza. I saw the crazy bastard in his beat up Toyota whiz past our house twice before he finally saw me waving like a frantic starving loon.

But I do like the Domino Tracker. I'm not a great multi-tasker, and I tend to find the time between ordering and receiving food as dead time, when I don't really want to commit to doing much more than reading some Google News. At least this way I get a snazzy graphic to keep me in the loop on the ETA of my salty, cheesy disc of gooey goodness.

Tuesday, June 8

Friday, June 4

Oh Dear

This story combines two of my favorite things.

Ragging on British Airways and poorly managed design projects.

BA are such fuck-ups. The union has them by the balls, Terminal 5 was an unmitigated disaster, and World Traveler is a ridiculous name for Cabin Class. World Traveler Plus is even sillier for their seats with an extra 2" of legroom.

So what should have been a nice story regarding electronic boarding passes in their internal magazine became another colossal PR disaster.

Over the years I've experienced similar disasters. Mistakenly typing an 's' instead of a 'w' on the first word of white wall units meant an expensive re-print.

And a client was irate to receive a scatter proof of soup images to see we had named one of the photos "Bowl of Shit".

And I once produced a Powerpoint presentation for the well-known Scandinavian car maker Vulva.

But I never mistakenly inserted the name of a terrorist mastermind on an airline boarding pass. Well done BA.