Falling behind...

I'm falling behind with blog posts as I've been focused on other tasks of late. I've got a bunch of stuff to blather on about including but not necessarily limited to visits with my cousin Dave and his family who are in town this week, attending the Earl's Court Doctor Who Exhibition (the largest such exhibition ever mounted apparently), attending a taping of The Friday Night Project and seeing David Tennant and Freema Agyeman there (along with briefly meeting Alan Carr) and my trips to Edinburgh (which was last week) and Paris (for which I leave in about an hour or so).

One day I will get caught up... perhaps in a week or so once I'm back from Paris and things have calmed down a bit.




Congrats to Kevin Martin and the members of his rink who have just won the 2008 Brier and will represent Canada at the Worlds next month. Unlike with other networks (ahem, TSN) I was able to watch the feed here live via CBC's website and enjoy the match - a tense one at times on what looked to be quite tough ice. Not only did Martin win the Brier, he did so with a perfect 13-0 record much to the enjoyment of Albertans everywhere.




Courtesy my friend Rob I've been given a link to Guy Kawasaki's blog (Kawasaki is a former Apple Fellow and all-around technology dude) where he posted about his recent trip to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. He was quite definitely not there when I was, but it certainly wasn't too long after, and he managed to score a much better tour of the place as he was accompanied by Fergal Murray, Guinness Brewmaster.

Among other things he got to do, like actually pour a pint himself, he snagged a nice 3-minute video of Fergal talking about how a proper, "perfect" pint of Guinness should be poured.

For the enjoyment of all, I include here said video:


BBC TV Centre revisited

This past Saturday night I had tickets to go to a taping of a nerdy sitcom (called "Arcadia" - good luck finding much on Google yet, I certainly couldn't find much beforehand) at the BBC TV Centre. This time I dragged along a friend so I at least had someone to yap with during all the waiting (and there is indeed a lot of waiting - waiting in the queue to get inside; waiting to get through security; waiting on the audience foyer; waiting while shots are set up; other miscellaneous waiting) and certainly had fun at the British TV Mecca. The show was mostly rubbish and really quite puerile (as is the case with much that winds up on BBC3, apparently) but a few laughs were had, even if they mostly came from the warm-up guy working the audience.

The highlight of the evening was quite probably our squee moment when we saw a fully assembled Who-esque Police Box standing near the audience foyer entrance. It was a very nice surprise and of course we did some requisite pictures in front of it; those pictures have of course been posted.

Each of us blew off differing birthday parties to which we'd been invited in order to visit the TV Centre and while I didn't have a terrible evening by any stretch, there's something to be said about wanting to trade it in for a night out with friends at the pub.




Saturday was the Invasion 2008 Doctor Who convention, a day of geekery and drunkenness, and the first Who convention I'd attended since 1988 - yes, 1988. The event started FAR too early for my taste, especially since I had been to the concert the night before and didn't get back until about 12:30am (the stupid queue for the coat check took forever!) and registration began at 7:30am. It also didn't help my ears were ringing after the concert which hampered my ability to fall asleep.

Anyway, I begrudgingly woke up when I needed to do so, got ready and headed for the tube not long after 7:00am and got to the venue well before 8:00. I stood in line to get my registration package and met up with a friend who got there a little after me before we found seats for the introductory session.

The day was essentially comprised of discussion panels (recounting stories and audience-provided questions) and the autograph session. The first panel featured some kid guest stars from Who; the second featured people from the 7th Doctor era; the third featured the 8th Doctor, Paul McGann; the fourth featured people who played various monsters; the fifth was a solo effort from Tom Baker about his time as the 4th Doctor (among other things). The panels were all enjoyable, but of course loads of people were there to see Tom and take in what he had to say. He was quite engaging and certainly didn't disappoint, other than when he had issues hearing the questions being asked of him and he pretty much answered a completely different question. To be fair, he's not young, and he remarked there was a problem with the acoustics, but nevertheless whatever he said in reply was enjoyable and generally humourous.

The autograph session on the other hand was simply atrocious. There was about a 45-minute break between the panels and the autograph session and when Baker's panel finished there was a mad rush to the exit. I chose to wait until it was easier to get out but found out afterward the mad rush was there as people were trying to queue for the autograph portion. By the time I left the auditorium and went to queue there were a few hundred people ahead of me. I couldn't count how many but it was an obvious majority of the attendees. The autograph portion also started late which didn't help. It was also known/noted that Baker had to leave earlier than other guests, meaning the possibility existed I and those in the queue with me might not get his autograph. Certainly by the time we got to the door, well over 2 hours after entering the queue, the powers that be had closed the queue for Baker and thus nobody else was going to get his signature. That was quite disappointing, but not only did that mean I was unable to get his signature, the delays in starting the autograph session meant there was no way I'd be able to get all the autographs I'd wanted (especially when I saw Jean Marsh leaving the building well before I got into the auditorium). So, I prioritized somewhat and wound up getting Paul McGann, Paul Kasey, Nicholas Briggs, Sophie Aldred and Anneke Wills.

That's about where the day ended, convention-wise. Afterward a few dozen folks went over to Barking to a pub and consumed far too many potables. It was a fantastic night though, being able to hang out with a bunch of the Who fans I already knew and meeting a bunch of others, the highlight being spending a fair chunk of time with Anneke Wills in a social situation, hearing some of her stories and just being able to talk with her like a normal person rather than having to do so in the more awkward methods available at convention signings and such. She was an absolte sweetheart and a very down to earth person. The chap who published her autobiography is one of the Who fans I've gotten to know since arriving here and it was certainly thanks to that affiliation that I was able to meet Anneke, though she's certainly sociable and approachable enough that she wouldn't have minded if I just went up to her at the pub and started a conversation without having first been introduced to her by Tim.

Today I'm quite sluggish between the fatigue and drink, and even though I slept in a bit I'm still all cobwebby in the head and haven't yet gotten to some work that I had slotted in for today... though thankfully I don't have to get that sorted until Tuesday so I still have time. Soon it's podcast time then I think it's going to be an evening of relaxation with a movie or something.



Friday night saw the rescheduled Underworld concert which I was originally supposed to attend on October 19th last year. I was quite disappointed of the postponement at the time, but the delay allowed me that much more time to build excitement and indeed I was excited to go to the show.

The website for the show said a 7:00pm start time, so I made sure to get to the venue early so I could collect my ticket at the box office, and also to make sure I found the place alright since I'd not previously been to the Camden area where The Roundhouse happens to be. When I arrived I noticed a sign posted saying doors were at 7:00, the opening act was at 8:00 and Underworld took the stage at 9:00. So after killing some time wandering around the various markets in the Camden area and grabbing a bite to eat I popped back to the venue a little before 7:00 so I could stake out a good position near the front.

Eventually, the opening act (a solo artist called "Yoav" - pronounced YAHV he said) came out and did his thing for about half an hour, then he left, and earlier than scheduled Karl, Rick and the gang took the stage and played for over 2 hours until about 11:00. The show was very enjoyable and because I was 6 feet from the stage all night, very loud. I made the attempt to bootleg the concert on my phone but so far I've not had the time to pull the files off the phone to see how well the attempt went.

Overall it was an enjoyable show except for the people who kept harassing me to let them go in front of me because they couldn't see around/over/past/through me. I told each and every one of them I wasn't going to let them go ahead of me, and I think for good reason. It's not my fault I'm the height I am, nor is it my fault they're the height they are. If they can't deal with someone standing in front of them then they should have gotten there earlier than they did and staked out a good spot just as I had done. I didn't mind the first time or two someone had asked me but by the 4th or 5th person I was getting slightly aggressive in telling them no. I paid my money to get in like everyone else, I made the effort to get a good spot, they should respect that and just let me enjoy the show instead of pulling my focus a dozen or more times and disrupting things.

Anyhow, it had been nearly 9 years since I last saw Underworld (which was in Seattle in April, 1999 for the Beaucoup Fish tour) and it seemed like yesterday that I last saw them once they took the stage and starting doing what they did. Good times.