Top Five Dumb Things To Say During The World Cup

5. "Is there a game on tonight?"
4. "The coverage is better on the B.B.C."
3. "Are they being a bit liberal with the yellow cards this year?"
2. "No African team has won a game yet. Except Brazil."
1. "Are Joe and Ashley Cole related?"

I can take credit for 2. I'm not proud.


Third Week At Philo's

I'm still here and it's still good. Phil's been back for a week and the cats are pleased to see him. Turns out they moan all the time and I wasn't mistreating them after all. I think I have short cat hair allergy because my nose itches and stuffs up within about an hour of getting home. I still love them, though I can only deal with neurotic Abby in small doses.

I'd go out more but there's a football match on here every night and frequent barbecues. Phil won't accept rent so I buy food instead. We could feed a dozen people with everything we just got: frankfurters, grilling steaks, burgers with chili and sundried tomato, lamb kebabs and chicken legs. I forgot to buy salmon. I hope a dozen people show up because we haven't got any more room in the fridge.

I was at another barbecue last weekend. I did the garlic bread and vegetable kebabs. We stayed in drinking home-made punch and nursing our sore bellies rather than move on to a bar and I think tonight will be the same kind of deal.


The Unflat Flat

I viewed my dream apartment today in Old Market, a neglected area of central Bristol that's waiting for a renaissance to happen. It's within walking distance of the bars and a minute from the motorway. It's a newly-converted warehouse on a row where my mother once worked in a warehouse. I need to tell her which number it is on the street.

I've been pestering the agent (with charm not annoyance) since mid-May, which is when the work was supposed to be completed and the flats [apartments] were supposed to be ready to let. There's lots of interest but for some reason Emma decided to let me view them ahead of Thursday's group viewing. I was able to walk around and choose which one I wanted. I opted for a corner. Over the phone I was told the landlord needed to approve his tenants but I must have done something right because they happily took my cheque today and said the place was mine.

It reminds me of "The Euroloft", an apartment in Brooklyn where two friends from college once lived with another European (hence the name). Mine's in Europe. You go in the main door and there's a small storage room for every tenant, for bikes and stuff. Up the steel stairs. Inside there's a tiled bathroom on the right followed by a brand new fitted kitchen with breakfast bar. The kitchen opens into the main room which is light thanks to a big frosted window and white decor. On the left as you enter is are stairs leading up (up!) to the sleeping area. It'd be a bedroom but for a half-wall balcony making it a sort of mezzanine. You can look over into the main room so the main room has a nice high ceiling.

I can't wait to show you some photos. Two weeks max, they said.


Questions With Tahmoh Penikett

More tales from the recent London Anime Expo show.

I don't often get starstruck but being in the same room as Mary-Lynn Rajskub was a bit of a thrill. I wanted to say something worthy of her sarcastic character Chloe on 24 but you can't always get inspiration on demand. At least I learned how to pronounce her name: Rass-cub. She and four co-stars were waiting for a Q&A panel where they faced "Which is your favourite season?" and other uninspired questions. "Winter", she replied.

Carlos Bernard is just as short and just as mean-looking in real life. I was considering taking a photograph but his face told me it wasn't a good idea. I could have lined up and paid for one but that's not really me.

Likewise, I passed Tahmoh Penikett from Battlestar Galactica on my way for a smoke. He was away from the guest area - probably on a pee break. I hope he didn't mind me striking up conversation when we found ourselves walking a corridor in the same direction. He didn't look like he minded.

FP: Hey, man...
TP: Hey. What's up?
FP: Taking a break. I'm working here.

I briefly explain my job when he asks and offer him a cigarette, which he declines.

FP: I have to say it: Galactica is a great show.
TP: Thanks. I love it too.
FP: You get a lot of screen time. Especially in Season 1.
TP: Yeah, but I prefer Season 2 overall. To be back with the main cast and involved in the story in the way that I am.
FP: Last time we saw you, it looked like you were doing Gaeta's old job.
TP: Sort of. But it remains to be seen how long I'm going to do it.
FP: You're not leaving, are you?
TP: No, I mean how long Helo does that job. They may have something else in store for him. You know how they like to surprise you on this show.
FP: That they do. Wait! Are you Canadian?
TP: Uh-huh. So is Aaron, so is Kandyse... many of the cast.
FP: I guess it makes sense to hire a cast where you film.
TP: Well, I should get back.
FP: And I should smoke. Keep up the good work!
TP: Thanks!

Of course, I should have asked if he was going out with the British cast members that night and could I come too because I want to find out where Baltar gets his suits.


Miss World Cup

Now the tournament has finally started I can get into it. The office closed early today because the boss is a footie fan and I'm watching England v. Trinidad & Tobago as I type. Is two countries against one fair?

We're doing our usual thing of knowing we don't need to play our best game to win against an inferior team so we're not playing our best and now we're in danger of not winning because they know they do need to play their best if they want to beat us so they're playing well! We do have a chance of winning because that's what "chance" means, Media Pundit Fools. All we have to do is win all of our games.

Last night was Germany v. Poland - a grudge match if ever I heard one. I didn't know who to support though because I went out with a Pole last winter and a German more recently. (I do so hate to brag.) It has been observed that I don't date English women very often. It's not an intentional thing per se but the last time was nine years ago. Perhaps I just find it easier to be myself when I'm not dealing with British social games? I'm sure every culture has them but it can be bliss when you don't know what they are.

I volunteered to help some colleagues at an anime show recently. (I had to un-volunteer one of the days so I could go to my uncle's 50th birthday party but it's the thought that counts.) A confident dyed-redhead strode through the crowds of otaku and past our booth. She was not in costume. I said hi. We hit it off. We went for coffee. She told me she was Austrian: yay! And she lives in Austria: balls!

Loving like you're James Bond can be a double-edged sword sometimes. Then again, I've never seen Vienna...


First Week At Philo's

I'm house-sitting for a friend while he has two back-to-back holidays [vacations]. He won't stop trying to thank me for taking care of his cats but I needed a roof over my head anyway so it's not a one-sided favour.

The first weekend passed with little incident because I was still hungover from the pub crawl in the previous post. On Monday, I cooked the Meal From Hell using interesting ingredients from Phil's cupboards. It tasted great but I burned both arms trying to light an already-hot gas oven and I think I gave myself food poisoning. I was off work Tuesday and Wednesday.

Work's been odd. Due to an "administrative error" at Head Office we lost our net connection and everybody had to work from home while it was restored! I brought an old coffee table with me to Phil's. It was standing abandoned in the street next to my car the day I moved out from my father's house, giving me "puppy dog eyes". So I work on this table in the lounge and run upstairs a lot to use the modem. It's not the best set-up ever but it's offset by the joy of having my own space again.


Mostly Legless

The Quinton House
The Albion
The Lion
The Hope & Anchor
The Three Tons
The White Lion
Mr. Wolf
The Cornubia
The Jolly Fryer!