EDitorial ± 26-Oct-2005

And Now, From Ipswich

...it's the quiz of the week! No Nicholas Parsons at the Novotel last Friday night but nine teams of six keen to play their part in a charity quiz event. Me & wifey had been invited along as part of a friend's team, and were keen to relive our glory days of five years ago (cue Bowie) when we twice --- two times on the trot, natch --- won the Mellis village quiz as part of Ask The Family. Back then I wrote something on the web about our proud achievement, about which a fellow competitor complained at the next event. Ee, this internet thing's been around forever.

Our team name on the big night: Universally Challenged (groan). My own suggestions were dismissed out of hand:
  • Feeders
  • I Blame The Parents
  • So Very Tired
So, off we went, and it was a slow start (Tallinn is capital of?), scoring only 4 or 5 out of 10 on the first two rounds. Think we were failing to set the world on fire halfway through (US president at time of moon landings?), in about 5th place.

Do you know what's better than getting a question right? It's getting a question right, then being overruled by other team members. Happened three times (Io & Europa are moons of?) in two rounds (number of dogs in a greyhound race?), and gives a chap great credibility (days over which a decathlon is run?) with future answers, even when they're wrong.

Thankfully one of the more alert teamsters had spotted that the pop round was worth double points, and thus would be the one on which to play the Eddie Waring joker. Which we did, and promptly got a whopping max of 40 points. Whoosh whoosh! Credit here to another teamster who knew his Rod Stewart & Who intros, tho' I helped him out on The Spencer Davies Group.

Compared with the magical Mellis marathons, the questionmaster didn't cut it, truth be told, and so we had little or no clue who was ahead (£1m transfer of whom from Spurs to Ipswich in 1994?) as the rounds advanced. But we had a half-decent last couple of sessions, inc. a cracker on food & drink: consomme, pitta, canape, but not bloater.

And then we were done: Mr QM announced only the name of the losing team --- we'd been marking their answers all evening, and they had JFK as the moon landings pres --- and then straight to the winning team, "Congratulations to Universally Challenged!" Bloomin' heck, that's us!

We trooped up to get our bottles of plonk in a rather befuddled state --- shurely shome mishtake? So, who knows how, but the winning run is on again once more. Oh yes.

Next up: how I cured all known diseases and completed CNPS in three weeks (actually still stuck at n-n-nineteen, much like Paul Hardcastle).

EDitorial ± 17-Oct-2005

The Night Is Jung

Adventurer, petty thief, historical sleuth and neglecter of children: that's me.

Before too many of you begin to nod vigourously, I'm obliged to point out that this is not daytime EFB, IT consultant to the stars, but nighttime EFB, Johnny LateToBed and seeker of truths. See, these past four nights --- Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun --- have each yielded a dream (or snippet thereof) that's stayed with me. So, it's access all areas as we psink into my psyche:

Thursday: The DreamMe and a friend, not sure who, are sliding (sledging?) down Valley Road at quite a lick, on the tarmac, and trying to head right along Norwich Road across the double mini roundabout. But we're going too fast and end up outside the Inkerman pub, unharmed. A great feeling of exhilaration ensues. Perhaps we do this repeatedly.

Thursday: Analysis
I do zoom down this very hill most days on my bike, sometimes faster than others. There was one time when I wondered what would happen if I fell, given the speed, but that was a one-off. Mostly I freewheel, though sometimes I pedal to keep up the momentum: whee!

I know that I was part of the way through a Jamie Oliver profile before I went to sleep, and he was talking about taking risks. Maybe it was me & the face of Sainsury's going full throttle in search of new thrills. Maybe it was me & Jools? Top pukka fun any way, and a dream I'd happily dive under the duvet to have again.

Friday: The Dream
So there's me and my friend Bill at a football match. Only we seem to be somewhere that's more like a check-in desk, and there's a pile of cash in front of us: we take the money, knowing it's not ours. At much the same time someone scores and runs near us to celebrate. We quickly depart but leave behind some Dolly Mixtures. I worry about what we've done --- why oh why oh why --- and am concerned that the match highlights on telly will show us in the act. And there's pictures in the newspaper of the sweets.

Friday: Analysis
I awoke feeling very guilty before the relief hit me: it wasn't real and the police weren't going to track me down like a dog. Haven't yet checked whether Bill had a similar night vision. I was already blaming him for making me do it. Nothing pre-meditated about the crime, Officer, no need to send me away.

Guilt's a common theme in dreams, is it not? That and personal nakedness. Not sure which particular thing I haven't yet done was at the heart of this episode, but I did run through my ToDo list pretty carefully later that day.

Saturday: The Dream
Persons unknown and myself are solving a series --- perhaps three --- of riddles, like a Da Vinci deal. Ultimately we find a mysterious box with The Boy's name on it, and which contains a seemingly dead spider... which twitches and then comes to life. I realise, all too late, that fate decrees that this arachnid will get me in the end, but the cats (Misty & Snowy) chase it away. For some reason I'm then trying to key in a password on a computer screen, which I get wrong, when I realise that the spider is crawling up my arm...

Saturday: Analysis
Have you ever shaken the covers when you dream about creepy-crawlies? That was me on Sunday morning: ugh. I was disappointed not to remember more of this since it struck me as a great storyline with a good twisty ending, solving clues along the way. Those spider legs were protruding from the corners of the box, and there was that cliched reanimation moment.

It was an unusual touch to have the cats on my side for a change, since I'm not their biggest fan. Perhaps they wanted a quick word with the spider: "Go on, appear to run away, then go back and bite him when he's got his back turned!" Those treacherous mogs!

Sunday: The Dream
I'm visiting brother-in-law and borrowing various items, maybe DVDs. I leave with one of his sons by crawling through a bedside cabinet, emerging on to a street somewhere. But when I stand up, there's no sign of the boy. There's a gaggle of kids leaving school, all brightly dressed, but the son, who was in my care, has vanished without a trace. I ask around but nobody's seen him, until this old man asks if I've lost a 12 year old boy: yes, I reply. But that happened years ago!, says the strange man.

Sunday: Analysis
Most disturbing of the lot, this one. The crawling exit reminds me of a scene from Being John Malkovich. And that interaction with the weird old man, who appeared to question my sanity, was like an unexpected turn of events from Lost. And isn't there a new-ish Jodie Foster film where she loses her child and nobody believes her?

There we have it, a quartet of vignettes from my bizarro world. An imaginative director could go to town with this material, switching from adrenalin highs to guilt-ridden self-doubt.

Guess what: it's now bedtime. I'll be happy not to remember tonight's mini adventures, esp. if they feature a story heard of BBC R5 earlier tonight about a 10ft snake that's just been caught in the sewerage system of a block of flats. Sweet dreams, y'all.

EDitorial ± 16-Oct-2005

Imperfect Parenting Tip #37

When removing an overstuffed crate of Lego from the car in the dark with only the boot light for illumination, try not to catch said crate on the lip of the boot.

EDitorial ± 6-Oct-2005

I'm Not Left-Handed Either

I suspect that, like me, you were unaware of Left-Handers Day on August 13th. Well, one of my ping-pong opponents tonight was One Of Those, and for once, we're not talking about someone of advanced years.

In previous seasons he's usually come out on top in our games. Not this time. Apparently he's very recently got a new pair of glasses and was having problems adapting. So much so that frustration got the better of him in the third end: mid-game he took his specs off and left them on a seat, and then he switched briefly to playing with his right hand, all to no avail. Wasn't his night, poor chap.

Later, at the post-match debriefing held at the nearby pub (most pleasant to sit outside under the glare of a patio heater), all three of us ordered smoothies. A barman there used to do a mean "special", making use of whatever desserts had been left spare, so there'd be chunks of cheesecake or After Eight in the mix: yum. Sadly he's now moved on, and the new boy has a lot to learn. He did find some shortbread for the blender, but the coffee concoctions were a tad claggy. Needed a J2O afterwards as a palate cleanser.

Friday tomorrow (actually five mins ago): should I go for the traditional full English at work, or will it be granola & yog?

EDitorial ± 5-Oct-2005

Sixteen Fork Handles

Good to be quite literally back in the saddle again today after an unprecedented two days on the trot in the (still scratched) car. I know I don't have to justify myself to you, but Monday was a long planned lunchtime trip to the accountant --- he explains, I glaze over or giggle --- and Tuesday had me ferrying unwell Eldest for childcare at mother-in-law's. Essential journeys both.

So, was undertaking the slow moving traffic when a vest-wearing mountain biker went past. This was just prior to the red light of a pedestrian crossing, and he hopped on the pavement (it is marked for cyclists at that point) and out the other side while I waited for the green signal. Would have let this go, but he didn't maintain his speed and I soon caught up.

As we hit another blockage, he and I both took a short cut on the grassy verge, bumping over various driveways. In my head, this plays like a chase from an old western, with him as the bad guy in black and me as the sheriff, urging our ponies ever faster through the brushwood.

Road clear once more, back we went with a busy junction approaching. This time he waited while I jumped up on the marked path, bounding way ahead past the shops and Rushmere Heath. I didn't look back. Giddy-up!

Poor equine link ahead: in lunchtime chess, played a half-decent move with my queen to take his pawn, only to find my piece threatened by his knight and with me in check: The Queen Is Dead. Game (effectively) over.

If you had your car window wound down near Henley Road at around 6:10pm, you may have heard me cry out as I finally spotted a "16" registration plate. It's been a while, you understand.

I'd also been puzzling over a sign that someone had attached to the traffic lights saying "Amiee And Shane's Engagement Party" with arrows pointing right. That's not a typo: it said Amiee. My guess would be that the lady involved is really called Aimee, and that the notice was hastily created by Shane's best mate, who'll we'll call Gavin, on his PC at work. Only Gavin, who Shane has known since infants, doesn't get on with his best mate's fiancee, and so didn't take much care in spelling her name correctly --- who's going to know or care? --- though Shane thanked him anyway. Gavin can foresee an end to their days of getting wasted on Friday nights and playing footy together on Sundays; he doesn't want Shane to settle down with Aimee or with anyone for that matter. Still, nothing stays the same, and at least Gavin took the trouble to slip the A4 sheet into a clear plastic cover: that says something.