30 January 2006

Setting it straight

I got an e-mail from a friend in Indonesia today. Part of it said:

"Anyway, how's lawyer's life been?
AND I heard some shocking and unbelievable news. Someone told me that she heard u got engaged????????? and asked me who the person is..hahahha ngak bener kan? aku kaget banget waktu denger (translation: it's not true right? i was so shocked when i heard).. luckily she didnt say u got married, if not i would have fainted...hehhehe"

I will happily confirm that this rumour is false (even if it is mildly amusing).

I feel a bit of karma here. Last Easter, Omaier went to Pakistan for his sister's wedding. A rumour went around that he was in fact going there for his own wedding. Rather than quash it, Vaq and I thought it would be more fun to tell people it was true when they asked.

You get what you give in this life.

28 January 2006

FA Cup day at the Madejski

I love the FA Cup. It's the peoples' competition. I went with Warren to see Reading try to cause an upset against Premiership Birmingham yesterday. We got a battling 1-1 draw and showed we can mix it with the big boys.

Forget the game itself though. My favourite part of the day was when the Public Adress Announcer came on after ten minutes with the following message:

"This is a message for Chris Hutchins. Will Chris Hutchins please go immediately to the hospital...your girlfriend has just gone in to labour." Whoever the proud new father was got a big cheer. Typical football fan. He obviously knew there'd be a chance his partner would be going in to labour yet he still comes along to watch his team play in the cup. The bloke behind me said "Can't she hold it until after the game?".It reminded me that football is not just about the 90 minute game. It's about the fans and the community around the team.

I love football fans. They're a funny bunch of people and just make me laugh. At the Arsenal v Wigan game on Tuesday, we sat behind this guy who was trying to make fun of the Wigan fans by saying they were a town of "fishers" and started shouting and pointing at them shouting "Hahaha! You're just a small town of fishers! Fishers! Fishers!" I think he meant Grimsby. Wigan is about 35 miles inland. His mates were laughing with him, thinking he was a genius. There was a guy on the bus to the stadium yesterday who was reading The Economist though. We figured he was on the wrong bus.

Football's about its supporters so here are some pics of what match day looks like from a supporter's eye-view with bus ride to stadium, funny mascot, match and dodgy burger van included.

The final score. Now for the replay at St Andrews on February 7th.

26 January 2006

Poor Donald

The weekly e-mail from The Economist brought the news that:

"Donald Trump launched a lawsuit seeking $5 billion in damages against both the author and publisher of a book that claims the property tycoon and reality-TV star is not a multi-billionaire but has a paltry net worth of $250m."

Poor bloke. I'm sure you can only feel sympathy for the guy. It's obviously completely natural to feel agrieved when someone accuses you of having only $250 million. And it's even more normal to claim $5 billion in damages for such an outrageous slur.

Please excuse me while I go and get my hanky out for him.

22 January 2006

An apology

Man Utd 1 (Ferdinand 90)
Liverpool 0

Dear Rio Ferdinand,

I take back all the bad things I said. You are a very handsome man and your haircut is not one bit ridiculous.

Lots of love,

21 January 2006

The best music video in the world

Check this out. It is A Million Ways by OK GO.

Apparently it cost only $24 to make, was shot in the singer's back garden and is one continuous, unedited shot. Brilliant stuff.


Adj. (Noun: Irony)1. Rain on your wedding day. 2. A free ride when you've already paid. 3. Good advice that you just didn't take. 4. Traffic jam when you're already late. 5. No smoking sign on your cigarette break. 6. Ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. 7. Meeting the man of your dreams and then his beautiful wife.

Attributed: 1995. Alanis Morissette, Ironic. Popular music.

That's a pretty good stab at a definition of the word by Alanis Morissette there but I think she's got it wrong. Most of the things she sings about as ironic aren't so much ironic but are really just examples of pains in the arse. It's not ironic if there's a traffic jam when you're already late. It's just annoying.

I'll tell you what is ironic. It's telling the DVLA that you've moved house but them still sending your car tax disc payment form to your old house in Coventry and you having to leg it up there to collect and pay it to avoid a fine, then getting back home from Cov and finding that they've sent an identical form to your new adress.

I can't believe I went all the way up there only to find the same form on the doormat when I got home. Never mind. It happens. It was a good excuse to see people for a short bit as well. Next time I come up I'll give everyone more notice.

14 January 2006

The great 80s telly debate

12 January 2006

On the 7.32

I get the 7.32 train in to college most days. I'm usually one of the very few people not in a suit on the train at that time of day. The carriage is packed with city types in suits. It might just be that it's too early but most of them don't look to pleased to be on the train. They trudge towards their seat (if they're lucky enough to get one) and either sleep, play sudoku or flick their FT at you if you disturb them in anyway.

I have to say that this depresses me sometimes because of the thought that one day I might be doing the same thing as them. Getting up early every day to get on the same train to go to the same office to do the same job day after day after day (except for the 25 days paid leave) throughout the year. But it's not even that that scares me most. It's the haircuts. All the men has a side-parting. Every single one. Some part their hair on the right, some on the left but they all have one. I don't want one but I know I'll probably have one some day. It's inevitable (unless I go bald). My Dad has one and his dad had one too. In fact, I don't think I've seen anyone over the age of forty without one.

One day I'm going to wake up and actually think that it'd be a good idea to put a side-parting in to my hair and that scares me. Imagine it. Me. With a side-parting. I figure I've got at least another eight years until it happens so until then I reckon I just shut my eyes sleep on the train so I don't have to look in to my side-parted future and accelerate the day I think it would suit me.

They're not as sweet as they look

08 January 2006

All you can eat

Every blue moon three hungry old school friends descend upon the town of Woking in Surrey to perform their sacred ritual at the mystical magical place known to the locals as Peter's Palace. The men are called Mus, Gubs and Warren. The ritual is to enter this Palace of Peter and eat all they can for the princely sum of £6.

The aim is to eat so much that Peter goes out of business. It is a goal that has never been reached. Try though they may, the men are never able to overcome the barrier of the fourth plate of egg-fried rice or crispy aromatic duck. Yesterday the valiant fighters adjusted their strategies to finally complete the mission. This involved:

1) Eating little or no breakfast in the morning.
2) South West Trains delays causing Gubs to turn up half an hour late at two o'clock, thus aiding the desire for more and more food.
3) The day being damn cold, making the body work harder to stay warm and thus increasing hunger levels.
4) Not wearing a belt.
5) Eating each helping slowly and engaging in long conversations to draw it all out.
6) Drinking as little water as possible to allow more space in the belly for food.

Alas, despite their best efforts, the men fail after sitting in the palace for a full three hours. The egg-fried rice overcame them once again. Defeated and with bloated bellies, they hit Woking with a vengeance for more jokes and general catching up.

Intriguingly, the restaurant now charges people based on their height. Supposedly shorter people aren't capable of eating less. I know one or two people who could easily put that myth to bed. They used to differentiate prices only between adults and children. They must have come across some hungry-ass child and were forced to rethink their pricing policy.

If anyone under 140cm tall wants to help force another policy rethink just give me a call.

Thanks to Gubs and Warren for a fun afternoon. Hopefully it won't be too long until the next assault.

02 January 2006

Reading 5 - 1 Cardiff: where have you been all my life?

Things have changed around the Madejski. With Reading on a 26 game unbeaten run in the league, seven points clear of second place and twenty clear of third, the visit of Cardiff brought about a full house at the stadium. Thankfully, that full house included me.

Until now I have always been able to turn up to a match on the day and get a ticket. Today, however, I had to phone the Box Office in the morning to check if any tickets were left and wait 35 minutes (I kid you not) for my turn to speak to an operator. Thankfully, there was something left for me. Has was supposed to come but he changed his mind and decided to go see his girlfriend in Cardiff instead. That's right. He gave up the chance to see the league leaders to go see his girlfriend. One day when I fall in love with someone I will probably understand this behaviour but for now I still think he's crazy.

Crazy is just the word for the queue at the ticket office when I reached the stadium. Having waited 35 minutes on the phone in the morning, I stood in a line for just as long merely to collect my ticket. News of the Royals is spreading and now everyone wants to come see us play. (even Chris Tarrant was there to do the raffle draw at half-time). The Cardiff fans made light of this, singing "Where were you when you were s***?" towards the Reading fans, which made me chuckle a little. There were 22,000 people in the crowd today. Last year there were probably only about 15,000 for the same fixture.

After twenty minutes of the match, I saw that there was good reason for this rise. I've been to watch Reading about twenty five times over the last four seasons and never have I seen us play like the way we did today. We were awesome. The passing was slick, the movement was fast and we were going through the Cardiff midfield and defence like a hot knife through butter. It was no surprise when Sidwell knocked us in front...or when Sonko added a second, Kitson the third, Sids a fourth or even when Kit rounded it all off with a fifth from the penalty spot.

Where have you been all my life? No matter how high we've climbed, I've been a sceptic all season long about our chances of actually making it to the Premiership. However, after the fifth goal we started to sing "The Royals are going up, and now you're going to believe us". At that moment I think I really did start to believe. We can do it. We can make that promised land.

There are nineteen matches to go this season and our fate's in our own hands. The next home game is against Coventry on January 14th. I'd love to go if anyone else wants to...but please let me know soon so I can buy the tickets. On today's evidence, there won't be many left.

A full house at the Madejski

Congratulations for Sid after he opened the scoring

Backing the boys: celebrations after Sonko makes it 2-0

Now you're going to believe us...

01 January 2006

Happy 2006!

Our new year's resolution will be to spell better:
May 2006 bring you, your famillies and your friends health, happiness, success and prosperity.

May it also bring England the World Cup. And Reading promotion. And Man United a trophy. And a partridge in a pear tree.