Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to work

So the guy at work didn't win the lottery so there will be no Brewing Gum....yet.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beer flavoured chewing gum

Apparently the Mega Millions lottery jackpot was up to $250 million last night.

A guy at work was talking about what he'd do if he won it and one of his ideas was to create a beer flavoured chewing gum.

I decided it should be called Brewing Gum.

The purpose of this post is just to record that I did in fact come up with this name and if you ever see Brewing Gum on the market, somebody stole my name.

I don't know if he did win the jackpot but you can't be too careful these days.

This post may one day be re-named Exhibit A.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Oasis split....again

So Oasis have split up. Or have they?

This time Noel has quit the band. A statement on their website says: "It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis last night. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer. Apologies to all the people who bought tickets for the shows in Paris, Konstanz and Milan."

And that was it.

One member of the band seems to quit every time they play a few live shows so you'll forgive me if I don't get too excited by the supposed collapse of one of Manchester's finest.

The band were playing the V festival last week and managed to play one show on Saturday before pulling out of Sunday's show claiming lead singer Liam Gallagher had 'viral laryngitis'.

Is it permanent this time? Probably not. Does anyone care? Probably not. As much as I love Oasis and will catch them live whenever they appear in or near the city I live in I just don't care about all of their petty little squabbles anymore.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vampires and aids...discuss...

My wife and I were watching Being Human on BBC America the other night when a question suddenly struck me.

If you've never seen the show, it is a comedy-drama about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost all sharing a house.

My wife is a fan of vampire movies but even she was stumped by my question.

Can vampires get aids?

In the show, the vampire and the werewolf work in a hospital. The ghost stays home because she's dead.

Obviously a hospital is a convenient place to find blood but what would happen if the vampire picked a victim who had aids? Would the contaminated blood be passed on? Would the vampire suffer any adverse effects or would they be unaffected?

You hadn't thought of that had you?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Miss Universe

It's the Miss Universe Pageant tonight.

If you want my tip, put your money on Earth. We have a good track record in this competition.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

E-mail responses

I've been pretty rubbishing at replying to e-mails lately.

It's not that I don't intend to reply but I'm blaming it on modern technology.

You see, the problem first started when I got my iPhone. After loading some fun applications on to it and then remembering that it could also be used as to phone people, I added my e-mail address so if I had an e-mail it would pop up on the screen and I could go and check it.

So far so good.

It's just that the keyboard on the phone is quite small so typing a lengthy reply would take a lot of time so I close the e-mails down with the intention of sending a response when I get home and can log on to the home computer.

My plan seems to fall down because I rarely use the home computer these days, mainly because I can do everything I need to on my iPhone!

It's a vicious circle!

So apologies if I haven't responded to your e-mail in the last three months, I do have a post it stuck on the inside of my eyelids with your name on it, but I wouldn't hold your breath!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Got to love those cheap flights!

As you know, my Wife and I are returning home for a flying visit for our first Wedding Anniversary.

As our families are scattered all over the place, we found ourselves having to fit in four different cities, in three different countries, in twelve days.

Luckily those three countries are all fairly close (England, Ireland & Scotland) and most cities can be easily accessed by train.

We also just booked flights from Manchester to Dublin, and then Dublin to Edinburgh.

Ryanair are running a special offer with flights from £5 one way so we snapped their hand off! Ryanair have unreserved seating so we paid an extra £3 per person for priority boarding but you still can't complain with that.

We booked a return flight to Edinburgh with the same deal, although as Dublin was the departing city the rate was actually 5 Euros so with the exchange rate, it worked out even cheaper than £5!

When I lived in England there were some good deals and I went to a few different cities for the weekend with friends. It's a shame there a no US airlines offering similar deals. We'd probably do a lot more travelling if we could fly to New Orleans, or even Las Vegas for $10!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Season

The new football season starts today so it is very exciting. Well, the Premier League kicks off today, the rest of the English leagues started last week.

It's always a long summer in an odd numbered year as there is no world cup or European Championship to fill the void.

This summer was fairly quiet on the transfer front. Ronaldo left Manchester United early and with the minimum of fuss which suggests a deal had been in place long before anyone actually admitted it. United can't complain about the service he;s given them over the last six years and the world record fee received will soften the blow further.

While still having a good season helping United clinch a third championship in a row and reaching the Champions league final, Ronaldo failed to reach the heights of the previous season and it was clear his heart wasn't always in it.

So the big four haven't really strengthed their squads during the summer and it coule be argued they are weaker. United also lost Carlos Tevez, Liverpool lost Xabi Alonso and Arsenal lost Emmanuel Adebayor.

Chelsea have made a couple of low profile signings and have retained their squad from last season so I think they have to be favourites this year.

Having said that, I definitely think it will be a lot closer this year. Manchester City have spent a lot of money and have assembled a good squad so it will be interesting to see how they fit together. This year may be too soon for them but they could be a threat over the next few years.

So there you have it, Chelsea are my tip for the championship, United and Liverpool will battle it out for 2nd and Arsenal and Manchester City will take 4th and 5th, although which finishes 4th will probably come down to the slightest margin.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Going Home

My Wife and I have just booked flights to England.

I haven't been back home since I moved to Houston just over 4 years ago. I don't think it's really settled in yet. It's been so long since I was there that I haven't started thinking about what I want to do when we get there.

We'll be in England for our first anniversary. I thought we should do something special so I'll be taking my Wife on a tour of Old Trafford. Ok, so I'm just kidding about that, we don't have to go on our actual anniversary..

We'll be there for 12 days and we have to make stops in at least three different cities, maybe four so we'll spend a lot of time running around getting to visit everyone.

My Wife hasn't been home to Ireland since 1999 so we're planning on going there for a couple of days. Flights from Manchester are only £10 per person (including taxes) so there's really no excuse not to. Maybe some of my friends can meet us there for a night out so we can kill two birds with one stone.

The first thing we've thought about is all of the goodies we can bring back with us. Obviously I will be stocking up on Cadbury's Dairy Milk and my Dad has already placed an order for some Mince Pies so we'll have to take a couple of extra suitcases. Times certainly have changed. We used to visit the US with a spare case for all of the clothes we could buy here, these days the spare case is for food you can only get in England (or Ireland).

Ever since we met, my Wife has been telling me about something called a Spice Burger. This is something you can only get in Ireland and apparently isn't actually spicy but I'm sure we'll get to try one on our trip.

I'm hoping to show my Wife where I grew up. I think she will be surprised at the part of Manchester we used to live. It wasn't any worse than most areas in Manchester but it is a world away from the life we have today. I think after the visit she will put any thoughts of moving back there one day right out of her mind!

It will be November when we're there so we can do some Christmas shopping, but the weather is going to be quite a shock after four and a half years in Houston. My Wife doesn't even own a coat so no doubt there will be a shopping trip to stock up on winter woollies.

It will be good to see friends and family we haven't seen for a while, especially those who couldn't make it over for the wedding and I'll finally get to meet the rest of Jennifer's family that I've heard so much about.

I did joke that I would have to check United's fixtures before we booked the flights to make sure I got to go to at least one game but we'll be so busy that there is plenty more I'd actually rather do. That statement alone shows you how much my life has changed since I left England!

Anyway, I'm sure the excitement will only grow between now and then as one of the best parts of travelling is planning all the places you're going to see.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sir Bobby Robson

The weekend before last, on Sunday afternoon, my Wife and I were pottering around the house when I turned on the TV to see what was on.

On one of the sports channels, there was a charity football game between England and Germany. This wasn't any old football match between the two historical foes. This was the teams from the 1990 world cup semi-final meeting again for the Sir Bobby Robson foundation.

Sir Bobby Robson was the England coach for both the 1986 & 1990 world cups. It says a lot for Bobby's standing in the game that so many former players, not to mention a full crownd at St James' Park in Newcastle turned out for the occasion.

Before the game, they wheeled Bobby out in front of the crowd and I was shocked to see how bad he looked. After four previous fights with cancer, Bobby had been diagnosed a fifth time with terminal lung cancer in 2008.

The reason I mention this now is that sadly, Sir Bobby Robson died on Friday and the football world lost one of it's greats.

The 1990 world cup holds a lot of memories for me. It is the first world cup where I watched pretty much every game. England started slowly but made it to the semi-finals, the furthest they'd got since 1966.

If you're not familiar with the outcome of that England-Germany semi final, the Germans won on penalties and it remains the only game of football I have cried over.

The game itself was full of drama, from the Germans' first lucky goal, to Gary Lineker scuffing in an equaliser, to Gazza getting booked and the tears of missing the final should England get through.

A penalty shoot out is a horrible way to lose a world cup semi final. I was 12 years old and after Chris Waddle and Stuart Pearce missed their kicks to let the Germans through, I calmly went into the kitchen and cried for about five minutes, hoping no one else came in. No one did and I wiped my eyes and rejoined the family in the living room.

One of my favourite memories of Bobby Robson is the legendary story of when he greeted England Captain Bryan Robson one day with a 'Morning Bobby.'

To which Captain Marvel replied 'I'm Bryan, you're Bobby'.

For so many reasons, Sir Bobby Robson will be missed.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Office Move

I'm moving office this week so the last couple of weeks have been mostly spent getting everything ready.

Once we're actually in the new place I hope things will calm down a bit.

If you find yourself craving my thoughts on life, why not check out my rant blog over on Fine Red Wine.