Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rugby Notes

Its almost here.

The new rugby season is looming fast. Ebbw Vale plays this year in the newly formed/created/dreamt up/invented league SWALEC Championship. Its made up of 6 teams from last year's Division 1 East, 7 from Division 1 West, and unlucky Pontypool who were cut adrift from the Princiaplity Premiership.

First up is, as usual, Glamorgan Wanderers away followed by  a home game against Narberth. Some new trips this year and some old acquaintances to be remade. I've not visited the grounds of Tata Steel, Whitland, Narberth, Cardiff Met (UWIC in old money, or SGCHE in even older money)

Having won Division 1 East in each of the last two seasons, this looks like a tougher task. The drop-off towards the bottom of the division was marked last year, but that's unlikely to be the case this time around. A few players have left and there are a few new faces, but new captain Ashley Sweet has a good nucleus to work with. Good luck guys, although I can't be at the first game. Remember - "all the time, ref!"

Things I don't understand (OK, this could be a long list, but this is just for starters):
How is Bedwas worth a place in the Premiership?
How is RGC 1404 (the made up North Wales region) in Division 1 East? East? 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Joke Notes

As usual this time of year, the media draw up a list of the best jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. From amongst the ordinary and/or dross, a few gems:

"When I die I want my remains to go to my iPod, my iPhone and my laptop. I want to be left to my own devices." Gareth Richards
"I'll never forget the day when I got a rear-view mirror installed for the car. I never looked back after that!" Jimmy Cricket
"I find that ants over-praise me. Sycophants? Yes I am." Tim Vine

And a few off the telly:

"The Scots released Al-Magrahi because he only had three months left to live. That still made him one of the healthiest people in Scotland." Frankie Boyle
"How does Bob Marley like his doughnuts? Wi' jam in!" Peter Kay
"I spilled spot remover on my dog.. he's gone now." Stephen Wright

Notice that there's nothing by Michael Macintyre here. There's a simple reason...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Movie Notes

Ava was packed off to the in-laws last weekend, so we went to the movies. Yeah, we know how to roll.

Ted. Now, if you like Family Guy, you'll like this. And if you like the idea of a sweary, come-to-life teddy this is definitely your movie. Its got mixed reviews but I thought it was terrific.

A typical exchange between Mark Wahlberg and his Ted:

Ted: Oh hey listen, try this. I told my weed guy to step it up and he gave me this.
John: What is it?
Ted: It's called 'Mind Rape'. Its actually pretty mellow.
John: It doesn't sound mellow.
Ted: Well he only had three other batches: 'Gorilla Panic', 'They're Coming, They're Coming' and something called 'This Is Permanent'. Go on, spark it up.

BTW, I think Gorilla Panic would be a great name for a rock band.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cat Notes

We have gained a cat.

Within weeks she went from being a stray stuck in a tree in the garden, through tentatively accepting food left on the patio, all the way to being a properly domesticated puss curled up on the sofa.

A trip to the vet (handy that we know a couple of reputable ones) revealed no microchip and an RSPCA collar got no response, so she has been adopted. She was no thin and light when we first got her that we thought she was a kitten. Jon the Vet told us she is about two years old, and most likely got lost from a previous owner or else has been abandoned. Which is unfortunate, but a huge benefit in that she is already house-trained, happy around people and probably spayed.

She has been given the fine name of Ferris Mewler. Ferris has been working hard to impress us; already we have been presented with the bodies of three rats and ten shrews (a maximum of one on any given morning, thankfully). It appears that Ferris has settled nicely into a routine of eating, sleeping and killing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Olympic Notes

Enjoyed the Olympics far more than I thought I would. I guess it started with the torch relay, which I wanted Ava to see. The crowds for the relay through Pontypridd were huge, and that got interest growing.

And as for opening ceremonies, they are usually cheesy, confusing and full of weird dance routines. 2012 was exactly the same, but somehow it worked as a brilliant ceremony that was completely barking and completely British (& N Irish).

BBC coverage was an improvement on the Jubilee nonsense, but their continuing use of recently retired athletes means that there is never any criticism of the British athletes - as usually they are all mates. I'll let them off the excitement over Mo Farah, but generally the coverage was sycophantic. Gary Spinneker was as useless as ever ("how does it feel?") and John Inverdale was an excited schoolboy most of the time.

Clare Balding was the best of the anchors, and Michael Johnson was cool and rational. The coverage of the diving (mostly on the red button) was excellent, and Leon Taylor was spectacularly knowledgeable.

The BBC coverage itself was so biased towards British athletes that if they wasn't a Brit then it never appeared on TV. Jess Ennis and the heptathlon was wall-to-wall, the decathlon (no significant Brits) got probably a minute. Ennis' win whilst carrying the weight of expectation of the entire British public was a wonderful achievement.

Best moment? Grenadian sprinter Kirani James winning his heat and then shaking hands with the rest of the field before going to Oscar Pistorius to exchange shirt numbers.

Worst moment? The realisation that all of the sporting coverage for the next four years will again be soccer. How does that provide sporting role models for young girls? Victoria Pendleton or John Terry? Jess Ennis or Wayne Rooney? Gawd help us.

Crash Notes

Hell is other people. Or more specifically, other drivers. Had a head-on crash with a motorbike on the way home from Aberystwyth on Monday.

It was a narrow lane and thankfully I was going slow enough to stop - but of course he wasn't and so plonked his Sakacakky 5000 into my front bumper and headlight. Couldn't rant too much though as he was a sorry sight as he picked himself up off the muddy road mumbling "I'm sorry", and struggling to pick up his bike from under my car. He then took off his helmet to reveal a pensioner who told me that he was on his way to Llandovery for a cup of tea.

Oh, by the way did I mention that I bought the car three weeks ago. Argh!

Endless phone calls to insurers will ensue no doubt followed by "no witnesses" and the dreaded "knock for knock". Bugger.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cricket Notes

After enjoying the England India ODI in Cardiff last year, I treated myself to a Glamorgan season ticket for 2012. £100 seemed like good value.

Didn't factor in the dodgy summer though, did I? And adding in work meetings and being away with work, thus far I've managed just two CB40 games - a drubbing of Scotland and a hammering by Hampshire. The plan is to see a few days of the two remaining 4 day matches, weather permitting. But looking at the results, I don't think I've missed much. 

After all the investment in Sophia Gardens, its a shame to see the place almost deserted. But you need attractive cricket (or at least some results) to get people to attend. And as the saying goes "they don't come and see me when I'm bard".

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I'm back

Now if there was a magic way of simply getting thoughts straight on t'interweb without all the messy typing, spellchecking, formatting and such, then I reckon the blog would run like clockwork.

Anyroad, with the rugby season approaching and after a long layoff I think there's plenty for me to bang on about. And if you enjoy reading my assorted rants then that's just gravy.

More to follow soon.