Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Thoughts Keep A Rolling...

It has been a tough time to write about Pompey recently. Poor performances and bad results have meant that when it comes time to write about the team, it is quite distressing. I felt the distress even more so following Tuesday night’s game against Leicester. That 2-1 defeat hurt me both physically and mentally. Actually I’m not sure how it hurt physically aside from my eyes burning watching that shambles – but seeing the team fold to another team in a similar league position to us, well it sucked! What hurt even more was the fact that I had a ticket for the Tuesday night game as well as the Friday night game against the same team! If they turned us over once and really made us look shit, what was to stop them doing it again? The officiating was dire as well (I’m not solely blaming the defeat on that though, because overall, we weren’t good enough). The only thing we could take out of the game was the last 15mins was really positive and we showed we could fight. The sad thing is we need to do that all game, not when it is too late. Dread set in for the rematch so to speak. But Friday night was different. I had the usual excitement before the game as per usual but I could just feel something different. Not sure if it was the fact I was at the game with my dad for the first time in ages. There was a slight alteration to the team and finally, Cotterill didn’t start Kanu. I love King Kanu but he is more effective at this stage in his career coming on late and attacking tired defenders. Anyway, we started off in much the same way we finished off the last game, with fight. The first half was great – 2 goals for Lawrence (he looks a great signing) and Leicester down to ten men (it was a clear red, deal with it!). I even felt that the atmosphere where we were sitting (North Upper, Block G) was really good (I feared it would be crap, but I was very wrong). I felt we needed just one more goal and we’d be fine. The second half was just amazing. 4 more goals and an amazing attitude (including some great songs) meant the game was just fantastic. 6-1 was the result this club needed to kick start the season. I am happy to report that as of typing, this season is now on a roll. We have defeated Bristol City 3-1 tonight. 3 scorers I wasn’t expecting to see on the score sheet as well. Kind of wish I had gone to the game, but finances were against me on this matter. That’ll be discussed when I do other thoughts.

This week has seen the announcement of the new Labour leader. Ed Milliband is the official leader of the opposition which is good because watching PMQs with Harperson made my ears bleed and my brain shut down. I’m not saying this thing won’t happen with Milliband, but it is less likely. Anyway, it was quite interesting that he beat his older brother to the leadership. I’m actually quite happy that he did because Dave should have taken the job twice before. He could easily have defeated Gordon Brown in 2007 when Blair left and then he should have kicked him out when it was revealed Brown was a shit PM in 2008/09. The fact that he has lost his third chance is quite funny. There was a yougov poll following Ed Millibands succession into the 140k a year wage bracket (I think that’s what Ministers earn these days, can’t be sure though) which asked if there was a general election tomorrow, who would you vote for? Well the poll showed that Labour were on 42%, Conservatives on 40% and Lib Dems on 12%. People are flapping about this as if it actually means something but it’s worth pointing out that this always happens when a new leader takes his/her position (aside from the Lib Dems when Clegg took over, but people were generally asking each other who he was). What will be interesting is a poll in two years time or four years time. This is simply a leader’s bounce and it won’t last long. What is more important than this story is the International Monetary Fund saying that this governments package of cuts and planned action is a good thing and exactly what this country needs to allow the economy to grow and the deficit to fall. That is awesome news. I am not a fan of government cuts where they are unnecessary but these cuts are. The deficit is huge and it’s about time the govt wasn’t used as a job lot. The IMF says it is right, but somehow that will be spun as the IMF supporting the oppression of the working classes and the Tories are evil blah blah blah. Same old nonsense from the opposition and unions. If you ask them what should be done to allow the economy to grow while reducing the deficit, the response is one which is either laughable or not plausible. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but like most medicine, it will make the country feel better afterwards.

That could open a can of worms. Before I get any more grief, I’ll end with other thoughts!

• I mentioned in the last blog that there might be a chance for one more jaunt to the capital this year. This jaunt is on! Got a ticket to see My Chemical Romance when they play London. It’s quite funny because when I had the chance to see them play Download, I was not a fan. Now I quite like them. It is also cool because they are an arena band and this gig will be considered as somewhat intimate. Tickets are reselling for £80+ which is nuts. Speaking of gigs, I’ve just seen there are a few more that I want to buy tickets for. This could be done when I get paid. Hatebreed and Annihilator stand out as must do’s at the moment. The latter of the two has announced a support band which are utter win (Sworn Against btw).
• Black cloud of betting continues. Fuck you AC Milan!
• Weekend of win is approaching. Get the chance to see Moneyfields play again. I think it is FA Vase which is always good. I’m seeing Jason Manford as well. I’ve had a ticket for what feels like a year or so for this gig so it feels good to be able to say that the gig is this week!

“All that happens means something; nothing you do is ever insignificant” – Aldous Huxley

"You can stick the Carling Cup up your arse" - Pompey Crowd against Leicester 24/09/10

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Audacity of Pope...

This week in the UK, the country has been gripped by Popeamania (I’m not sure if that is a thing, but I’ll go with it for sake of ease). The pope is here for the first time in 28 years. I must admit that did confuse me somewhat. 28 years ago it was a different pope. So did Benedict come here on a holiday, or did the last pope (I presume it was him, he was the pope for ages!) come here? I’m sure that even if I knew that, I probably wouldn’t care. There appear to be two points of contention for this visit as far as I can see. The first is fairly significant in that he allegedly helped cover up paedophile allegations against catholic priests and didn’t take enough of a hard line approach on them when it was found out they were in fact paedophiles. I agree with that second bit – the second it was discovered that a priest was guilty of this evil act, they should be sacked from their role as priest (because let’s face it, if God is real [he’s not] and did set a list of rules that the Catholics believe in, I’m going to guess buggering kids was somewhere in the “don’t do” list....hopefully!) and following the sacking, they should be arrested and prosecuted. Being a significant religious figure doesn’t mean you are above the law until you reach “pope” status. Anyway, the second thing people are a bit annoyed about (and rightly so) is that considering these controversies, he is given Head of State status and immune from prosecution while he is here. Richard Dawkins was planning to place him under citizen’s arrest for crimes against humanity (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7094310.ece) and actually, if it could be proven the pope aided and abetted the molestation of children in this country by not stopping priests and not taking appropriate action when it had become public knowledge, he could be arrested and charged. Anyway, with him being given Head of State status, that means the man who thinks woman who are pregnant via rape/incest or who are in danger of dying due to their pregnancy shouldn’t have an abortion and that condom use would help spread aids has his trip paid for by the UK tax payer. I absolutely disagree with him being given HoS status. Technically speaking the Vatican is a state but it is not one recognised by the UN (which as I understand it, is kind of important when trying to set up your own country). Stephen Fry summed up why he should have a state visit here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11316476 better than I ever could.

Not being content with being faced with those two rather significant controversies, the pope seemingly decided to create another one by claiming that atheists are as bad as Nazis and evil. This is wonderful logic (explained expertly by Tim Minchin on twitter [@timminchin] – “#popelogic Nazis killed some Catholics; therefore Nazis are atheists; therefore atheists are Nazis; Nazi = evil; therefore atheist = evil.”) I’ve not hidden the fact that I’m an atheist and yet somehow remarkably, I’ve managed to avoid being a Nazi. I don’t take kindly to someone who has significant influence in the world suggesting I’m a Nazi because I don’t believe in God. Furthermore, Nazis as a rule were not Atheist. It might come across as me being picky, but Hitler genuinely believed he was doing God’s work by ridding the world of the Jewish people who had killed Jesus. So actually, if you are the closest representative of God on earth (allegedly), you might want to get your facts right. Also, it is a little tough to stomach being told that I’m a Nazi, by a former member (I assume he’s a former member) of HITLER YOUTH! Let me just say that again. The pope, a former member of HITLER YOUTH, called me a Nazi because I am an atheist. Hey, stupid, is it possible not all atheists are militant about it like Richard Dawkins? Is it possible that I am a sort of person who has no issue mingling with people of all religions and respect their rights to be religious? According to this idiot, it’s not. I am a sack of shit for not believing in something that cannot be proved. I know that’s not a pre-requisite for some people believing in things, but it is for me. Overall point, I don’t care for being called a Nazi who can’t possibly accept those who are religious. I dislike people using religion as an excuse to be crappy to someone else and I dislike people who force religion down my throat (though as I understand it, it’s not me that’s had something shoved down my throat by a religious leader...)

Damnit, I tried so hard to not make a joke about paedophilia when writing about religion. Ach well, moving on...

So yesterday I went to London. The main intent of the trip was to go to see Bill Bailey perform “Dandelion Mind” again (me and two of the others I went up with went before in June). There were also some smaller intents of the trip as well. Went up via train (by the way, Megatrain is awesome). Walked to Covent Garden and visited the new Apple store there. I really like the layout of the store and of course, some fun was to be had. Changing backgrounds of Macs to show Steve Jobs in a variety of poses – I defy you to name activities more fun (actually, don’t). We visited Cyber Candy which was good. It is quite expensive but it has some great stuff in there, Mountain Dew being a highlight. We also popped into Fire and Stone for dinner. This place does all sorts of awesome pizza. I was tempted again by the Peking pizza but opted to try something new and plumped for one which had bacon and roast potatoes on. Very nice (albeit the cream sauce in the middle seemed odd). There are a few more on the menu I would like to try but the Peking is still my favourite from there at the moment. The pizza however is not how I’ll remember this visit to Fire&Stone. The service was pretty shocking. They took the order fairly quickly and then just fucked off. However considering what happened to another table, being ignored for some time was quite nice. A waitress dropped a tray of champagne over a table, smashing glasses and soaking bags. It was one of those moments where you know you shouldn’t laugh and you’d hate it if it was you, but as its not – it’s hilarious! Bill Bailey was hilarious as expected. He was a bit ill which bizarrely added to the act. I’m sure not intentionally but it provided moments of additional comedy like when Bill discussed being exorcised on stage and Cars in French was ended early but it was genius. I’d love to see his show at Wyndhams theatre but I feel it is not likely to happen again until his next set of warm up dates. Still, I’ll be happy to wait. Also, there were some right cunts on the coach. People who throw elbows and people who turn up 3 mins before the coach is supposed to leave without tickets and enough money. All in all, an awesome trip to London, probably the last one of the year but who knows, might be able to squeeze in another one.

I was able to bet again on football, and it was free rolled which was nice. However my black cloud which briefly lifted quickly popped back to rain on my bet. I think I got 6/9 on my accumulator. Bournemouth and Millwall I know let me down. I’m sure there was another but I can’t be 100%. I will have another go at this gambling thing on Tuesday. It is carling cup day though so it’s a tough call. I am going to a Carling Cup game which would be nice if I wasn’t going to see Portsmouth, the only team in the whole of the Football League not to have won – which is not the best statistic in the world to have. Speaking of football though, I have really gotten into (having only been twice) watching Moneyfields play. The first game was a nice 5-2 victory but the second one was a 2-0 loss. Hopefully if I go more, I’ll see more wins. It costs £5 a game which is quite win. 60p for Bovril when you get in is epic win.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

9 Years Later

Before starting this post, I would like to post my condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives 9 years ago today in New York and Washington. The September 11th attacks on the USA will never be forgotten by anyone. The people who lost their lives that day and in the subsequent days afterwards may be gone, but they will never be forgotten. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that even now, 9 years on, looking at the footage is still shocking. I feel this feeling of shock may take a long time to disappear, if it ever does.

I tweeted about watching 102 Minutes That Changed America. I watched it twice. For those who haven’t seen it and have no idea what it is, it is handcam footage of 9/11. The documentary starts just after the first tower has been hit, and tracks the 102 minutes that follow in real time. It is one of those shows that you know is horrible (you see footage of people jumping from the towers, the 2nd tower being hit and both of them falling) but you cannot stop watching. When watching it for the 2nd time I expressed relief for never having gone through anything even half as bad as that. I simply cannot imagine what these people were going through – watching 102 Minutes helps you to understand as best as you can without being there I guess.

Of course, 9/11 is a significant event in history. Just like some significant events (and some insignificant events) – people consider that 9/11 has a conspiracy theory attached to it. Already this morning I’ve seen someone post that the US government should be ashamed of itself. Now, if that was in the context of suggesting it has been 9 years since these attacks at the world is still as volatile as ever, I would agree the US government has failed. However this is of course suggesting that the US government is to blame for the attacks (Al-Qaeda would probably say they are at fault for 9/11 with their middle east policy – that is not the context I am inferring, more that the government allowed people to attack the towers and kill thousands). I’m not out to call all people who believe conspiracy theories stupid – but to believe them without any real basis is questionable. On YouTube there are quite a few videos “proving inconclusively” that the attacks were caused by the US government – I’d imagine that is why its tucked away on YouTube and not being debated in the corridors of power (oh right, its being suppressed – I’m with you.....) I’m not saying it is not possible that there was more to these attacks than some pissed off extreme Muslims (if indeed, you can even call members of Al-Qaeda Muslims), I’m just saying it’s unlikely – and to suggest you have complete utter solid conclusive proof that it was the US govt or Israel or aliens (could have been right?) on YouTube completely defeats your argument anyway. If you believe in conspiracy theories, today is not the day for them. Today is a day to remember the people who lost their lives in this tragedy.

Some other thoughts

• During the World Cup, I gambled a little bit and aside from one good win, it was a story of lost money. It was then I thought “maybe this isn’t for me” as the win/lose ratio was very poor. However the new football season has started and we’re well into the football league and I started gambling here and there again. For me, betting on football is better than playing the lottery. Granted, if you win the lottery you tend to win fairly big (jackpot wise) and as a rule this isn’t the case when you are betting 50ps or £1s on football – it is more likely that a win will occur. I appear this season however to be a black cloud on betting. I bet in accumulators usually. It is better returns if you can get games come in though so it is good. The story of the beginning of the season was just getting nowhere near the good results. I tend to do 6-7 games and the standard return would be 3 or 4 coming good but not enough for the win. The latest strings of bets have ended missing 1 or 2 games. I’ve decided that I need to bet on different games if doing more than one accumulator and to keep it to a max of 5. Granted, I have a 9 game one on this weekend but I also have a 4 game and a 5 game one on. This sounds quite bad on the face of things but I am quite sensible about it. I still feel shivers when I go into a Ladbrokes branch (my bookie of choice) and see people drop 100s of pounds on football and horses. It is the exact feeling I get when I see people lose big at the casino – a mixture of feeling bad for them and feeling good that it wasn’t me that lost big. Will the black cloud of betting strike again? I tweeted this earlier, but I apologise in advance if I have screwed teams over by backing them.

• I was doing some shopping in Sainsbury the other day and noticed they have Christmas stuff out. Words cannot describe how much I hate the fact shops start promoting Christmas in September. Still better than Selfridges and opening their xmas goods shop in August last year (didn’t read if they were doing that again, so I presume they did).

• It is exactly one week until I make the journey up to London again to see Bill Bailey in Leicester Square Theatre. I seriously cannot wait for this; it is going to be a good one! I’m pretty sure I will have seen most of the jokes when I saw him earlier this year, but I’m not complaining, the man is a genius.