Sunday, 20 October 2013 0 comments

Smells Like Teen Spirit Isolated Vocals

So hauntingly beautiful. Kurt Cobain was definitely taken too soon.

Friday, 27 September 2013 0 comments

Lip Sync Battle with Joseph Gordon Levitt, Stephen Merchant and Jimmy Fa...


"#Hashtag" with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake

Thursday, 26 September 2013 0 comments

Tuesday, 3 September 2013 0 comments

7 Reasons 'Sons of Anarchy' Should Be as Big as 'Breaking Bad' | TV News |

7 Reasons 'Sons of Anarchy' Should Be as Big as 'Breaking Bad' | TV News |

Now, I absolutely love Sons of Anarchy - it's one of my favourite shows on TV, but I just don't think I'd enjoy Breaking Bad. Can someone please convince me otherwise?
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 0 comments

Reckless Abandon

Abandoned things fascinate me. Abandoned cities, buildings, theme parks; any place humans have used up and discarded as if it never mattered, as if there were never memories to be made there. Some are famous, some are not, but all are like a snippet in time of where we once were. I have not had the fortune to explore a major abandoned place, be it a city or factory or ship, abandoned hospital or asylum or school. However, I think my fascination started as a child when I used to spend many a sunny day roaming around concrete bomb shelters that littered the fields behind my house, finding new ways to climb through the ruins on a regular basis, intrigued by the history of them. Like so many things, they were demolished to make way for new housing because those that are in charge don't seem to grasp the concept of nostalgia, but the memories linger on in the minds of those in the know.

With that being said, I thought I'd share with you some of the ones I have "discovered" whilst trawling through abandoned pictures and websites dedicated to urbexing, or the URBan EXploration of abandoned places.  As stated in the previous paragraph, I have not had the pleasure of being able to explore any of these places, so the photographs I will post are not my own.  I will give credit where it is known, and should anyone prefer I not use their photo, please let me know and I will happily remove it.

Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat, on the northern Ukraine border, is infamous as the site of the Chernobyl disaster which took place on the 26th of April 1986, when an explosion and subsequent fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant released a large number of radioactive particles in to the atmosphere. The decision to evacuate the population of approximately 49,400 was taken the day after the disaster and buses and trucks arrived to shuttle people away.  In the years following the disaster, no-one has returned to live in Pripyat, as the radiation levels remain too high for it to be habitable, but tours to the area are possible as the radiation level isn't concentrated enough to affect short-term visitors.

Inside Pripyat is an amusement park that was scheduled to be opened on May 1st 1986, but was never officially opened due to the Chernobyl disaster.  It did, however, open for a brief period on April 27th in order for the residents to enjoy it prior to being evacuated.  Today the Ferris wheel and bumper cars stand as an eerie reminder of what once was and many of the buildings are so unsafe that tour guides are no longer allowed to let people go inside them.

An abandoned ferris wheel and a merry go round at the Soviet Palace of Culture
Ferris wheel at Pripyat amusement park - Michael Day/Barcroft USA
Bumper cars
Bumper cars at Pripyat amusement park - anotherview/Flickr
Swimming pool
Sports Hall overlooking Pripyat amusement park

Hashima (端島), Japan (aka Gunkanjima [軍艦島] [Battleship Island])

Located to the north east of Nagasaki, Hashima is an island once inhabited as a coal mining facility that was operated by Mitsubishi from 1890 and included housing for its workers.  In 1959 the island was one of the most densely populated on earth as it recorded a population of 5,259 sharing just 16 acres.  With the increase of petrol as Japan's major fuel source, the coal mines began to close down and the Hashima mine was officially closed in 1974 and the residents relocated.  The island remains abandoned today, with strictly limited access to tourists being granted in 2009.  Special permission from Nagasaki City Council is required to visit certain areas of the island, including "Stairway to Hell", seen below.

Stairway to Hell - Jordy Theiller
Hashima - Google Street View
Decaying beauty: The ruined architecture of Gunkanjima is every urban explorer's dream

The deserted island on the west coast of Japan is slowly crumbling away

Michael Gakuran

Six Flags New Orleans, New Orleans, LA, USA

Permanently closed in 2005 due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the Six Flags New Orleans amusement park had only been operating since 2003 after previously operating under the guise of Jazzland between 2000 and 2003.  Located on a low-lying area of eastern New Orleans, the parks drainage pumps failed during Katrina and the park was submerged to a depth of up to 7 feet in corrosive brackish flood water from Lake Pontchartrain, forcing the park to be closed indefinitely.  Upon inspection it was discovered that all of the park buildings were 80% demolished, all of the flat rides on site were ruined by long term saltwater immersion and the Mega Zeph ride was damaged beyond repair. The only salvageable ride was Batman: The Ride which had an elevated platform and corrosion-resistant support structure that was relocated to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in 2008 and renamed Goliath. Six Flags determined that the damage done to the park was too costly to repair and eventually came to a settlement agreement with the City of New Orleans to terminate the 75-year lease on the land.

Today, Six Flags New Orleans remains untouched by developers.  Items that could be taken and reused from the park by Six Flags have long gone and the remaining structures are covered in graffiti and the floor littered with debris.  Whilst the City of New Orleans now controls the land upon which the abandoned theme park sits, there has been no consensus on how to redevelop it, despite many proposals.

Six Flags New Orleans 14/09/2005 submerged after Hurricane Katrina - Bob McMillan/FEMA
Pontchartrian Beach entrance - willcrusta/flickr
Barbe's ice cream shop - willcrusta/flickr

Mega Zeph - willcrusta/flickr
This is it for the time being.  As I have the time I'll add more places and pictures to new posts. If there is anywhere in particular that you would like me to cover, please let me know, and I'll do my best to provide you with some information!
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 0 comments

2013 MTV VMAs: Everything Was Black, Except The Winners

2013 MTV VMAs: Everything Was Black, Except The Winners

I actually think the most problematic thing is that in 2013 people are still insisting on separating black and white. We are one race, the human race, and the colour of a persons skin is still going to be an issue as long as people keep talking about it. Moaning that white people are doing "black" things is no different to black people being called Oreos because they're acting "white". Black people (and white people in some instances) are never going to be seen as equal as long as they keep singling themselves out as different.
Thursday, 1 August 2013 0 comments

Yorkshire Airlines

In honour of Yorkshire Day, an old, yet still funny video!
Monday, 29 July 2013 0 comments

Live By Night

There's something really peaceful and comforting about this time of day. It's almost like you're privvy to a secret world that the rest of the country is missing out on. Right now I can hear a few late night cars on the motorway in the distance, the occasional jingle from the collar of a neighbourhood cat that roams the night solo and, every once in a while, a train passing through the station to an unknown destination with no passengers to speak of. 

My room, my solace, bears no light bar the one emitting from my iPhone as I type and the little dots of colour that reveal the electronics that clutter the space at the bottom of my bed. The silence, as they say, is deafening. Yes, there is background noise, but my mind seems to forget it is there and is able to clear itself completely from the mundane things that normally consume it.

I wonder how many people are awake at this hour, knowing it won't be too long until they have to wake again, ready to start a new day. The insomniacs, the new parents, the just-got-ins, the workers. We share the night with the creatures who inhabit it with as much comfort as we embrace the day, and yet it is this time that makes me feel so alive, so content. To live by the darkness is to see the light in our lives and to embrace that which we cannot see leaves us open to the possibility of life and love and laughter; and in the end isn't that what it's all about?
Thursday, 13 June 2013 0 comments

Suicide & Redemption

In the past week has come the shocking news that Paris Jackson tried to commit suicide. What do you say if discussing it when someone asks what would drive people to that, when you've been there? The thoughts that run through your head, the planning, even if the eventual execution never takes place. When you look at a bottle of pills and wonder if you took enough if you'd just drift off to sleep and not wake up; when you wonder if it's possible to learn how to tie a noose and hang yourself off of the rafters in your garage; wondering how much damage jumping off of the roof would do (probably not a lot); knowing how easy it would be to jump in front of traffic. All of these thoughts have crossed my mind at one time or another, and I can't say that one specific thing made me think it. I could point to a list of things that get me down; I could sit here and give you a 'woe-is-me' tale of my childhood, right through to adulthood, making pit stops at all the upsetting and frustrating situations that have made me who I am today. I could show you the countless scars that mark my body, all brought about by own hand, that are daily reminders of how miserable I can be, how miserable I sometimes am.

I would like to be able to say that I never cut anymore, that I never think about cutting anymore. I would like to, but it would be a lie. It is a daily struggle to not pick up the razor blade and press in to my skin until the oozing red liquid comes out. The release it gives is like washing my mind of it's problems, all be it temporarily, and the satisfaction of not being in emotional pain, for however brief a time, makes the scars worthwhile. I look at the scars on my arm often. I reflect back on the pain that I was in to mark my skin in such a way that is marred with both fondness and forlornness. The most visible of scars are well healed now but that does not prevent me from trying to hide them. The looks you get from people that notice them are those of pity, shock, disgust and confusion. They want explanations, they need rationale to digest what they have realised, but how can you give this to people when you can't recall the exact thing that made you slice your arm open in the first place? When you can't explain the release, the goodness, the pure feeling of just being when you do it. It's almost like a reminder that you're alive and you just need to get something, anything out. Letting go of the blood is much quicker, and easier, than letting go of the thoughts that plague you. It's hard to explain to people who've never been there, never wrestled with the razor, with the voices telling you to do it and with those telling you not to, why you do it. How there's no real pain - it's so instantaneous that it doesn't register - and how it makes you feel better. It's a contradiction of it's simplest form - harming yourself makes you feel better. How does that make sense? It doesn't. But neither does the dark thoughts, the misery, the sheer pain, the wanting to rip your heart out just to make the pain stop.

All the scars and the misery makes it appear as though I hate life. I don't. I love life. I have a passion for exploration of the abandoned, travelling far and wide, music, rugby league, ice hockey, escaping to another world in a good novel, photography, nature and animals.  I am constantly amazed by the wonders our world has to offer, at the same time as being scared because I know there will never be enough time for me to see all I want to see and do all I want to do.  I don't want to settle for the life I currently have.  I want to dream big and explore and discover.  But I can't help the way I feel, and there are often days I don't want to get out of bed, I don't want to get dressed, I don't want to live. I don't want to speak or see people and I just want to lose myself in another world where the pain doesn't exist. I want to hide from reality and not deal with the aching void that consumes the space where my heart should be.  But I make myself, I have to make myself, because if I don't get up today, there may be no getting up tomorrow, and that would be another day of amazement that I would have missed.  It is just hard to rationalise the sheer marvel I have for our world with the torment that takes place in my head and the aching in my heart.

I hope no-one ever has to feel so low that they are desperately clinging to life, holding on to every single minute sliver of joy; holding it tight and using it to fuel their mere existence.  Suicide is the very last resort for anyone, and for those that don't understand what it takes to get to that point where you think that you have no alternative, I am sorry; I can offer no explanation as to why some people get to that point - there isn't one. There can be numerous reasons and none that can be put in to words, but you will never be able to make them understand fully if they have never been there themselves.
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 0 comments

OMG! Red Wedding!

This looks just like my reaction to the Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones (season 3, episode 9 - The Rains of Castamere).

Monday, 10 June 2013 0 comments

All The Right Friends

Events this year have made me look back and examine numerous friendships over the years. I think back on all of the things I've done for other people and how it just seems like it constantly gets thrown back in my face. I don't believe I'm high maintenance, I don't ask a lot of my friends and yet somehow, I'm the one who is always made to feel like I've done wrong by them. It would be nice sometimes if I could just feel like I was worthy of friendship. Instead, I'm made to feel unimportant, disposable, a nuisance. It would be nice if the same loyalty I offered to them was returned to me. I am not loyal for loyalty in return, but it would be nice to know that I am appreciated and wanted/needed. I will not stop being loyal to those who are there for me when I need them, but I refuse to be trampled over anymore. I have been hurt too many times in the past that I would rather be alone than in a friendship where I am neither appreciated nor valued.
Monday, 27 May 2013 0 comments

Will & Jaden Smith, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Alfonso Ribeiro Rap! - The Graham ...

Monday, 4 February 2013 0 comments

Fall Out Boy - My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) [2 C...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012 0 comments

Blaine Larsen - How Do You Get That Lonely


Good Charlotte - Hold On


3 Doors Down - Loser

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 0 comments

Military Heroes and Their Hero Dogs - ABC News

Military Heroes and Their Hero Dogs - ABC News
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 0 comments

Black Stone Cherry - Peace Is Free - 9/11/2011 (Dedicated to 9/11 Victims)

Monday, 27 August 2012 0 comments
Monday, 5 December 2011 0 comments

Left Out

"And how does it feel, to be the one whose always in the way; to be the words that never made the page; be the one that's always left out in the rain." - Shinedown

It's funny isn't it, always been the one that shall miss out, always been the one that's thought of last. Been the one that cares so much, but doesn't matter in the end.  What are you meant to do when you want to be involved but constantly feel like no-one wants you involved? When you're someone's back up plan.  Only there when people need something from you rather than want you there. My heart aches and there's not a great deal I can do about it other than watch these precious moments fly past me without my presence.
Saturday, 18 June 2011 0 comments

Goodnight, Travel Well

123 days. That is how many I have to wait until I will finally get to go back to New York. After the week I've had at work I wish it wasn't so long. It's been absolutely horrendous, to the point where I even had to go to the MD because it had all got too much.  Sometimes I just wish that I could do something to make it all better and so I enjoyed going to work again, but the atmosphere is so uncomfortable in my office now (it has even been described as like a morgue) that there's nothing I can think of to change it.  I don't know how things will be when I go in on Monday morning - I'm nervous to see.

Anyway, back to my holiday. 123 days. It may be excessive to count down so far in advance, but I can't help it, I'm that excited.  I am starting off with 5 nights/6 days in New York with a couple of friends, doing the "tourist" thing as neither of them has been before. It will be nice to take people and show them New York, but I'm hoping being able to do that means that it won't feel repetitive as the majority of it I will have done before.  We shall be staying at the Affinia Manhattan during our time there, which should be a good base to do everything we want.

When my friends leave I will be heading down to Nashville, although I won't actually be spending that much time there - I have one full day (no travelling) and I'm spending it going to Lynchburg, TN to visit the Jack Daniels Distillery - I have wanted to go for the longest time, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity when it came about.  That only leaves me the evening of the 25th and the morning/early afternoon of the 26th before I have to get the Greyhound to Memphis, where I will be spending four nights at the Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis - Beale Street, leaving in the evening of the 30th to go to New Orleans.  When in New Orleans I will be staying at the Chateau Bourbon Wyndham Hotel, which is on the corner of Bourbon Street and I can't wait to explore.  New Orleans has been one of the places I've always wanted to visit in the US, and now I'm ecstatic that I finally get to do it, plus, it means I get to spend Halloween there, so that should be a lot of messy fun!  From New Orleans I'm going to Atlanta for three nights, staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Downtown before heading back to New York on the 5th for a further three nights at the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City (which for those of you who don't know is actually in Queens, not on Long Island), right over the Queensboro Bridge from Manhattan, before I head home, although whilst I'm in New York for the last three days I'm thinking of flying up to Vermont for the day to visit the Ben & Jerry's Factory.  It all just depends on what I end up doing on the days I'm there.

I have had a bit of a nightmare with flights on this trip.  I thought I'd done really well, getting all my transportation and accommodation booked well in advance, only to have two of my flights change on me.  The first was my flight from LGA to BNA which was originally scheduled for 7pm, only to be changed to a 10pm flight.  When I looked after the change the 7pm flight was still showing as available, so I phoned up American Airlines who promptly moved me back to the 7pm flight.  This gets me in to Nashville at 8:35pm, which is a whole lot better than 11:20pm, which is the time I would have arrived had my flights remained the same.  The other flight was my big flight from MAN to JFK, which I originally booked with Delta - a direct flight, which was then cancelled and they put me on a flight that would take me through Paris, involve a change of planes, and add an extra 3 hours+ on each leg of my journey.  In the end, I had to cancel that flight and book on the American Airlines flight (direct and gets in to JFK a couple of hours earlier than the Delta one did and also earns me frequent flyer miles) which has cost me slightly over £100 more, but is the flight I wanted to go on originally anyway, and at least it's direct!

So that's my travel plans I have to look forward to. It's what keeps me going and gets me through the week when I'm having a hard time of it at work.  I would be nothing without music and travel to keep me sane. I'm always planning and thinking about where I am going next, and my aim for the year is to have at least 10,000 songs on my iTunes (only 492 to go - I think it's doable). Just got to keep positive and aiming for that next thing =c)
Monday, 13 June 2011 0 comments

Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running)

I felt I had to write about all the negative comments aimed at the Leeds Rhinos fans for booing Sam Tomkins on Friday night at the England/Exiles game.  It has really annoyed me how it can be called "disgraceful" by Jamie Peacock or "out-of-line" by Luke Robinson, amongst other things.

As fans, we are all entitled to our own opinion, and it just happens to be that we dislike Tomkins, and the way we express that is through booing.  Now it's fair enough to say that as England fans we should support England (I think the fact we paid decent money to what can only be described as a 'friendly' can be considered support enough) but this game wasn't even a 'proper' international.  If the game had been against the Australian or New Zealand (or any full international squad) side then perhaps the booing wouldn't have occurred, but as fans of clubs with players in both teams, we cheered on both sides.

There has been mention that it is because he plays for Wigan.  If that was the case, then why weren't Sean O'Loughlin, Michael McIlorum, Pat Richards, George Carmont or Thomas Leuluai booed?  They were all playing on Friday and all play for Wigan normally.  The team he plays for has nothing to do with it.  If there's going to be criticism of the fans booing him for playing for another team, surely there should be criticism for us cheering for a member of our own squad?  It can surely be considered the same thing, singling out a player based on the club he plays for?  Yet there were chants for 'Sir Kevin Sinfield' and nothing has been noted about that, but in my opinion you can't have it both ways.

Because of the nature of the game, the fans were cheering members from each side (both England and the Exiles) and as a Leeds fan, I cheered if Danny Buderus made a good play or Kylie Leuluai had a big hit. But I also cheered when the Exiles scored or made an impressive tackle or there was fancy footwork involved, whether it was a Leeds player involved or not.  I did the same for the England squad (minus Sam Tomkins) because I was there to watch a good game of rugby and cheer/boo accordingly.  And I wasn't the only one.

Now, I have a lot of time and respect for Jamie Peacock - he is one of England's true greats, and a deserved England captain - but what he said bothered me.  "When you come to support England, you should support England no matter who is playing for them," said Peacock. "I'm England first and Leeds Rhinos second and some other people should get that mentality." (Quote from the link above).  Now, before I start my little critique of this, let me say that I respect his opinion and the pride he has in his country, and I don't deny anyone their entitlement to it, but, it's alright saying that he is England first and Leeds second - who is there paying good money to support him week in and week out?  Who was there willing him to come back from his knee injury because they wanted to see him back playing?  Who is there paying his wages by buying tickets/merchandise/travel/etc through the Rhinos?  It's certainly not the England fans, it's the Rhinos ones! Who is going to be there when he hangs up his international boots?  The Leeds fans, that's who.  And which club team is it that the majority of the fans who were there on Friday support?  It's Leeds, that's who.  Now granted, the game was at Headingley, making it easier for Leeds supporters to get to, but it's not like the other clubs are that far away - Wakefield and Castleford close by, and the remaining Yorkshire teams and the Lancashire ones are all basically just down the motorway, and I did notice some fans from other clubs there, yet no criticism is aimed at them, despite the fact that they too could have been booing.

In summary, leave the supporters alone.  We have every right to show our dislike for a player, whether the organisers consider it an international game or not, and at the end of the day we have paid the money to go to the game and that entitles us to cheer or to boo.  Nothing would have been said had it been an Exiles player we were booing, even though they too shouldn't be singled out on the basis of the comments made since.  We went and we supported a game that has no real merit on the international scene.  Now, perhaps it wasn't the right platform on which to do it, but I vehemently stand by my right to do so.

One last thing, Sam Tomkins tweeted this about the game - I do hope he's including himself as one of those idiots, especially the way he spells disappointing!

Rant over =c)
Sunday, 6 March 2011 0 comments

Do You Know What I'm Seeing?

It's funny how a day goes by and you think nothing of it, but then another goes by and that thing you keep putting off gets a day further away from being done. Then two, three, four days go by, and eventually it turns in to weeks that have gone by since you decided you want to do something. That's how it is with blogging.  I've been meaning to update for a while now, but just kept putting it off for another day! Anyway, here we are, and here we go…!

I went to Jamie's Italian in Leeds last Saturday (the 26th) with Clare.  She wanted to meet up for lunch and had never been there before so we decided to go.  Have to say, I love the place, but I wasn't that impressed this time.  My food was nice, don't get me wrong, but nothing that made me go "wow!" and my main course was served to me cold (it wasn't meant to be).  I sent it back, but by the time I got a replacement Clare had finished her food - quite annoying as the replacement wasn't that much warmer, but I had waited so long that I thought it best just to eat it anyway!  They did give me a free dessert, which was nice, and they couldn't apologise enough, but it taints the meal slightly!  Anyway, as always, some pics:

Now granted, it may seem strange to have pictures of the toilets, but they were breathtaking, like the rest of the building.  It has been so well done out, it's hard to believe that it used to be a bank!

Music Blues
When I feel a bit down I tend to like to buy things.  On this particular Saturday we decided to go to HMV to see what they had on offer.  Well, talk about not being able to resist!  I think this is one of the reasons that I attempt to stay away from HMV when I go in to town - I can't really control myself!!!  Of course, I can justify every single purchase, but I shouldn't really splurge like this:
I decided I could justify all the DVD's because I bought "Life" and I can consider that educational!  I wish I could give some stupid reason for all the music, but the only one I have is that my life is nothing without music!  Everything just seems so much better with a soundtrack.

Random Photos
I love taking photos, and I've recently downloaded a whole bunch of apps to my iPhone in order to edit and create effects on photos, so here are a couple of them:
Fish and chips - yum!

Flat mushrooms stuffed with couscous, roast vegetables and parma ham, topped with cheese and grilled - so good!

A shot of the sky in the side mirror heading home one night.
Just recently (this past week) I have felt so ill.  I can't remember the last time I felt so physically ill.  I have been so lethargic, with a throbbing migraine, fever, a throat so sore it felt like swallowing razorblades, and I recently developed a nasty cough too, although that only seems to strike at night when I'm trying to sleep.  I don't think I have ever needed to sleep more than I have recently, and the majority of my shopping has looked like this:
 - full of migraine strength painkillers, cold & flu tablets, menthol lozenges, cough medicine, tissues and Ribena.  I have not really wanted to drink anything other than Ribena (not even cups of tea) so it's been a God send this week.  On a night my throat seems to get really dry, so it's been great to keep some cartons by my bed so help lubricate it.

I managed to get in to see the doctor on Friday (on Thursday I was told there were no appointments for Friday, then miraculously they had a choice of appointments when I phoned up in the morning) and was told I had a throat infection, so have been given a course of penicillin to take. God bless Sir Alexander Fleming for discovering it!  Today is the first day I'm feeling much better although I'm still very lethargic - all I want to do is sleep!  Trying to force myself to stay awake so that I am well refreshed for the morning!

On Monday we booked our hotel for whilst we're in New York!  We're staying at the Affinia Manhattan - on 7th between 30th and 31st for five nights.  We arrive on the 19th of October and leave on the 24th.  Clare will be heading back to England and me and Catherine will be heading out on a bit of a road trip, the exact details of which have to be determined.  Whatever the exact date for finishing the road trip is, I am hoping to be able to head back to New York for a few days at the end of it.  I have booked time off work to arrive back in England on the morning of the 9th of November, although it does mean going more-or-less straight to work that afternoon.  It will be more than worth it though.  It's all so real now that we've started to book things, although it's so far away still that it doesn't quite feel like we are actually going.  I'm sure that will all change as time gets closer.  SO FRIGGIN' EXCITED!!!
Thursday, 24 February 2011 0 comments

8th Period: It's OK, But Just This Once!

More ramblings:


So, when I walk Treacle, we usually go through the cemetery - I love cemeteries.  There's something so peaceful and serene about them.  In a way, something so reassuring - I don't know why.  However, I was walking through one night when something caught my eye, and I just had to go over and investigate.  This picture is of the grave that I had seen.  Now, it was for a stillborn child, and I can't possibly imagine the pain of losing a child in such a way, but I just thought this was a little excessive (apologies if it's your child's grave) and not something that I would expect to find in a cemetery.  I think it would be okay perhaps without all the lights, but that's just my opinion.  I find the solace of cemeteries perfect for thinking and just being. I used to go and sit in there on a night just to think and sort things out in my mind.  A little weird maybe, but it helped.


Last week I went to two different places for dinner - on Tuesday I went to Little Tokyo, which is a Japanese (shock!) restaurant, and quite possibly my favourite in Leeds.  I always have the same thing - a mango duck bento box followed by lychee ice cream - and it was delicious, although trying to eat the last few grains of rice with chopsticks when it's designed like this is hard.  So, for those of you in Leeds, even if you don't think you like Japanese food, I recommend checking it out.  It's behind House of Fraser on Central Road and does takeaway - here is a menu (although it could be slightly out of date now, but the majority of the items are still available) -

On Wednesday I went to Brio's in Colton.  I've been to both the one in The Light and this one a couple of times before, and have always enjoyed it.  This time I went with my auntie.  There were meant to be three of us going for a late Christmas dinner thing, but the other person from our office couldn't make it, so the two of us decided to go, and the three of us would have a Christmas dinner at a later date.

I had bruschetta with parma ham and parmesan on it to start - it was delicious, although perhaps too much parmesan (the parma ham rolls were filled with it) as it is quite an overpowering cheese in the quantity that it was served in comparison with the quantity of the other ingredients on the plate.  For my main I had a chicken and beetroot salad thing, which it turned out I had actually had before and not realised - I enjoyed it the second time around too, and it was very filling.  There wasn't enough room for desert!

On Sunday I went to Frankie and Benny's and had a Manhattan double stack burger - it was sooooo nice, I really enjoyed it, and I had the best banoffee sundae.  I love anything banoffee, and it was the perfect ending to the meal.  Slightly sickly, but I would have eaten it again!

Steelers game

After Frankie and Benny's we went to the Sheffield Arena to watch the Sheffield Steelers beat the Cardiff Devils and it was so good to see them play again.  It makes me miss the days when we used to go to every single home game and quite a few away games.  It's a shame it's so far away really, because if I lived closer, I would certainly go more often.

In the programme for the game was a page talking about a "legends" game that is going to happen in August, where they've been trying to get old players back for a game against the Cardiff Devils "legends" to celebrate our 20th anniversary and Cardiff's 25th anniversary.  Me and Christine decided that we were going to go, even if Brian couldn't.  It will be great if they can get some of the old players back and be able to see them play again!
Monday, 14 February 2011 0 comments

Happy Valentine's Day

So, I don't understand the need for Valentine's Day.  It's just some bullshit holiday that is an excuse for card manufacturers to make more money, and shops to sell red, heart themed crap in the hopes that some sucker will buy it so they can make a profit.  I realise all you skeptics out there will think I'm only saying this because I'm single, but I honestly think if you need a day of the year to remind you that you need to tell your loved one that you love them and think they're special, then there's something wrong with your relationship.  You should love and cherish them every single day of the year.  What would happen if on February 13th your loved one died and you never got to Valentine's Day?  Wouldn't you rather have told them how much you cared and loved them instead of waiting?  Just saying.

My List

So, as usual, it's been a while since I last blogged, but hey, that's life.  Not necessarily too busy to blog, just can't be arsed sometimes!  So, think I'll do a couple of blogs on a couple of things!

Russell Howard

I went to see him perform last Friday (the 4th) at the MEN in Manchester on his "Right Here, Right Now" tour.  I had seen him previously on his "Big Room and Belly Laughs" tour in December '09, when I thought he was absolutely hilarious.  This time round he was very funny, and I spent the entire 2 and a quarter hours laughing, but I couldn't help but think that it wasn't quite as funny as his previous show.  Whether it was just me or not, I don't know, but I couldn't help but think that there was something missing, some spark maybe, that would have just given it that extra pow!  Then again, pretty much all the material was fresh to me this time around, where as his previous show I had a lot of the jokes on Mock The Week or other shows he'd done, which kind of spoilt how much I enjoyed it.  Overall, it was a good show, and I would definitely go and see him again, and maybe next time I'll think he's even funnier.


There's only a couple of sports I really, truly love.  Those are rugby league and ice hockey.  Yesterday marked the day that the Leeds Rhinos 2011 started.  It was a shaky game, and a terrible first 55 minutes in terms of productivity.  We were throwing wild passes, the play wasn't flowing, and we weren't making any yards.  Combine that with getting NO calls from the referee, Steve Ganson, and that includes any potential 50/50 calls.  Now, we've never had much luck with the referees, because for some reason, none of them seem to like us.  Now probably every fan says that about the referees attitude towards their team, but for Leeds it really is true.  I have overhead people who aren't even big rugby fans say that certain referees will never give anything our way and that we are not liked.  Now, it doesn't bother me that we are not liked, I just wish that we got the same treatment as every other team in the league.  In yesterday's game, Brett Delaney got sin-binned for holding down after only ten minutes of play, yet not one of the Bradford team did, despite repeated warnings from Ganson, and then Patrick Ah Van nearly took Rob Burrow's head off with what can pretty much be summed up as a clothesline to the neck, and I couldn't even tell you if he was placed on report (I have since discovered it hasn't!), let alone sin-binned or sent off.  He then went on to score a try and a couple of conversions, despite the fact he should have gone for an early shower.  I just hope something is done, disciplinary wise, despite the fact he wasn't placed on report.  Despite the issues with performance and the officiating, we still went on to win the game 32-28 thanks to a penalty try in the dying minutes of the game after a strong fight back in the final 15-20 minutes.  I am so happy to have rugby back, it's just a shame that I have to wait until the 25th of this month until they're at home!

The New York Rangers played a depleted Pittsburgh Penguins team last night and they won, at last. It seems like so long ago that they won a game, but hopefully this is the start of something good!  They're maybe starting next season in Europe, and I hope they do, just so I can see them over here (I will be going to see them when I'm in New York as well). I love this sport and I love this team!  Some may think that it's crazy staying up until all hours to watch a team who play at least 3000+ miles away, but I think it's worth it.  I could watch the games at a later, more convenient, time, but I find that it's not quite the same as watching it live, even if it does mean I get more sleep!  Luckily last night's game was an afternoon one, meaning that it was on at 8pm here - perfect!

Leeds Town Hall/Aqua Preena

I went to a vintage fashion fair at Leeds Town Hall with Emma yesterday, and I had forgotten how beautiful it was inside. Naturally, I took a few pictures to demonstrate!

After we'd been around the vintage fashion fair (I didn't buy anything, Emma got a gorgeous compact mirror), we had brunch and then made our way towards Aqua Preena for a 'fish foot massage'.  The sensation when you first put your feet in the water is ridiculous.  As soon as your feet are in, the fish swarm them and they tickle!  After you get used to the sensation, it becomes relaxing and enjoyable, and after 15 minutes, when you take your feet out of the water and dry them, they're soft and smooth! I hate my feet (all feet, I just don't get the fascination with them), but I would definitely do this again!

Monday, 31 January 2011 0 comments

One Big Holiday

I can't believe how long it has been since I last updated my blog - I guess I didn't really have a lot to say over the festive period or for January either!

Let's see, what has happened? We have a new person joining us for part of our road trip - Clare is going to be coming just to New York with us. I guess it will be fun doing all the "touristy" things again - both Clare and Catherine are New York virgins, so we're trying to fit as much in to the 6 or 7 days we are there as possible for them without taking anything away from the trip and feeling like we're rushing around constantly.  Since my last update the holiday seems to have changed completely. We're now thinking about going on the Sunday instead of the Monday (flights are about an extra £15), and Catherine has to come home a day earlier than originally planned (she has to leave the US on the 17th of October) which kind of messes with the entire structure of the road trip, as it was all planned out just so! Not to worry, when I meet Catherine we can discuss exactly what dates we can do and how we can overcome having a day less.  I think I am also going to stay the remainder of the third week and head back to New York for a few days before I come home so I can spend time with friends and just generally "hang out" in the city, cos that's what I love to do when I'm there.  I may even spend a couple of days elsewhere before heading back to the city, if I can get cheap enough flights out of NOLA that have cheap connections to New York.

I spent a couple of hours discussing the New York aspect of our trip with Clare on Saturday, but unfortunately we can't decide anything until I can speak to Catherine and can decide exactly when we're going.  For me, the longer the better!  I've booked the full three weeks off of work, so if I can manage to go from the Sunday right through to the weekend three weeks later that would be amazing!  I can't wait to sit down with Catherine and sort it out now!
Friday, 17 December 2010 0 comments


Don't you hate it when you talk to people and it doesn't matter what you are saying, you know full well they are not listening?  I can't think of anything ruder right now.
Sunday, 21 November 2010 0 comments

Trip Hoppin'

It seems like an absolute age since I last blogged, so whilst I've got a spare half an hour before the New York Rangers at Minnesota Wild game starts, I thought I'd write a post about the road trip I'm planning to go on next year with Catherine, my old manager who is also a friend.

We're starting off in New York (naturally), and I'm leaving all most of the planning for our time in the city up to her, given that I have travelled extensively in the city, and she has never been before.  My only real requests were that we can eat at certain places (Crif Dogs being a must), and if the Rangers are playing at the Garden then we (or at least me) can go.  I also want to visit the Paul Frank store and Cat Fish Greetings, both of which are on Mulberry, about a block away from one another.  We will be spending about five full days in the city, plus whatever is left of the Monday once we clear immigration (we are going on Monday 3rd October), so hopefully that will give Catherine a good feel of the city, and give her plenty of time to do all the 'touristy' things she wants to do!

We were debating about which direction to take our road trip on, as one of Catherine's friends had recommended going to Chicago.  I too recommend this to anyone, but we decided that we would be able to see more things by driving Southwest rather than West, so that is the direction we will be taking.  She decided she would leave the rest of the trip up to me (obviously she has to agree and stuff, but for the most part, the planning on this is mine).  I figured we could hit Philly, Baltimore, DC, Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans, and have enough time in each in order to get a sense of the place without spending so long in each one that we miss out on the others.

My thought for a plan of action was to leave New York on the Sunday and head to Philly for the day, doing a one day tour of all the touristy places there (Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, City Hall, Rocky statue, etc), and then heading to Baltimore, where we would stay overnight and have the full day there on Monday.  At night we would head to DC, stay the night and have nearly a full day there before we set off in the direction of Nashville.  I have visited all these places before, but didn't have very long in either one then, so it will be nice to go back and see them again.

Once we leave DC, I figure we have to stop about half way between there and Nashville, as the drive is just too long to do in one evening, so my theory is to stop somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway as it's meant to be beautiful there.  Although we won't have that much time to explore the area, I think we should be able to appreciate it's beauty on the drive towards Nashville in the morning.  As a huge Jack Daniel's fan, I am hoping to stop in Lynchburg, TN in order to visit the Jack Daniel's Distillery, which I have wanted to do for so long.  This shouldn't be too much of a de-tour as it's on the way to Nashville, just taking a slightly different (and longer) road.

As for the rest of the trip, I have planned a couple of days in Nashville, a couple of days in Memphis (where I cannot wait to visit Graceland, and hopefully stay in the Heartbreak Hotel), and then a couple of days in New Orleans, before flying home on the 18th.  We just have to decide whether it's best to get return flights to/from New York and then buy a one way flight from New Orleans, or buy a plane ticket to New York and then from New Orleans… I guess we just have to see which works out the cheapest and most practical.  Catherine knows someone who works for a travel company, so hopefully they should be able to help us out when it comes to flights and car hire, but we will have to look ourselves as well!

I really can't wait to go, especially back to New York.  I never feel more at home than when I am there, and it's the only place that I have found where I am truly happy.  In England, my entire focus is on working to save money to go back to New York, and once I'm there I never want to leave.  It's just a shame that I have to wait so long to go back.  Maybe I'll win the lottery before then and be able to go in February…
Thursday, 14 October 2010 0 comments

We Used To Be Friends

I commented on someone's status update on Facebook with something they didn't like and now I can't 'like' things or make comments on status updates or photos on his or his wife's Facebook.  This bothers me more than I care for, but, like so many people, I've decided they can't really be my friends.  It's a comment, an opinion - what difference does it make?

This is why I love New York.  There's no bullshit there.  Being here sucks.  I work in a customer orientated business, yet the staff, including the General Manager, don't give a shit about customers, and would rather I take abuse from customers on the phone instead of getting the sales team to return calls.  A customer should not be waiting over a week for a phone call, and I should not be having to spend every day apologising for the staff, who are 'so busy' that they can sit there twiddling their thumbs and sitting outside smoking 5 or 6 times a day.  They all talk a load of bollocks, and the GM's opinion seems to be that if he shouts loud enough he doesn't have to fully deal with the problem.  What an idiot.
Monday, 4 October 2010 0 comments

Long Way To Happy

I am just not happy here.  It's so frustrating being in one place and wanting so much to be in another and knowing you can't be there.  Yes, I have next year and planning a road trip with Catherine to look forward to and keep me occupied, but it's just hard not being able to attain what it is I want out of life.

I enjoy my job, but it's frustrating.  I love my family, but they're frustrating.  I don't feel like this is my home anymore.  New York is home to me, and it just seems unfair sometimes that you can't be where you want and need to be.  I understand that they don't want too many immigrants and the like, but I think it should be considered different when you're so much in love with a place that it makes you unhappy to be anywhere else.  I think the fact that I go back every year that the place means a lot, and if there was some way to prove how much it means to me then I would if it meant that I could stay.

I have never felt such immediate understanding with another human as I did with Bobby, the guy who tattooed me, when he saw the scars on my arm and asked what had happened to me.  I said 'I happened to me; life's just shit sometimes you know', and he replied with 'yeah, that's why I tattoo myself'.  It's funny, but it is the little things.
Saturday, 2 October 2010 0 comments

Streets of New York

So, it's been that long since I updated, and even then not fully, that I thought it was about time to do a full and proper blog posting!  I was just so busy whilst I was in New York, and now I'm back in Leeds, jet lag is kicking my arse something proper, so it seems like a good a time as any!

So I left my last post after my birthday.  On Saturday I started the day fairly relaxed, going out for breakfast (probably just coffee and a croissant at the Starbucks on the corner) and headed uptown to buy one of those stupid brown Bloomingdale's bags that everyone insists on having that I personally don't see the point in, but my auntie wanted it for someone for a Christmas present, so whatever, and some product for my dad's girlfriend that we can't get over here.  Then it was back down to the hotel to listen to the Rhinos game.  It was the semi-finals of the Superleague, and they lost.  Gutted!  Still, given all the injuries and issues they've had this season, it's been an incredible year, even though they haven't actually finished with any silverware.  After this had finished I decided to cheer myself up by going to Shake Shack.  I got distracted by some market vendors at an event in Madison Square Park beforehand, but after waiting in line for fifty minutes for a burger, fries and a shake, I ended up sharing some of my fries with this little creature, who ended up climbing up on my shoulder to see if I had any more when they eventually ran out!  So cute!  I just watched some free music in Madison Square Park whilst eating before heading to the Rangers game.  The evening was spent heading to New Jersey to see the Rangers play the Devils again. Once off of the PATH train there were no signposts indicating which way it was to the Prudential Center, and in the end I asked some Devils fans, who were really nice - but I was sure to tell them that I was a friendly Ranger!  Again, they won in overtime, and it was a good game, although I was sat in the nosebleed section.

Sunday was a very enjoyable, yet busy day.  After a slow start to the morning, I grabbed breakfast at Starbucks and headed down to Little Italy to the San Gennaro festival, which is held every year to celebrate the patron saint of Naples, I believe.  It was the last day, so there were really only food vendors and a few selling t-shirts and Italian memorabilia or jewellery.  I had some pizza and deep fried Oreos, which were yummy, but sickly - a bit like a more carbohydrate-laden deep fried Mars bar - and then headed to Coney Island to meet Cher.  The weather wasn't particularly nice, but we went on the Wonder Wheel, and then headed to Luna Park for some unlimited riding!  It was enjoyable, but I really wished that the Cyclone had been open - I thought it would have been, what with the rides and amusements open just next door.  However, it was not to be, and at 5:30pm I had to leave to get the Subway back up to Chelsea, quick change in the hotel, and then I headed to Yankee Stadium to watch them play the Red Sox.  What a fantastic game.  After getting off to a slow start, the Yankees eventually won it in the tenth in an exciting finished that meant the game didn't finish until after midnight, and even with the rain pouring, so many stayed to watch the conclusion.

Monday was a ridiculously early start considering I didn't get to bed until 1:40am.  I had to get up at 5:30am to be at the Port Authority for 6:30 to collect my tickets and get a Greyhound to Atlantic City.  Well, what a disappointment Atlantic City was.  It was okay, and I'm sure in the summer when everything's open, it's really nice, but on this day it was rainy and overcast, a lot of things were closed, including part of the Boardwalk and the Steel Pier, so there wasn't really a lot to do.  I went to the Hard Rock Cafe to get a shot glass, and headed to House of Blues for some food, only to find it closed, so I ended up at Johnny Rockets, which was so good!  Another burger and fries, but if you can't eat them in America, where can you?!  I wandered along the Boardwalk and the beach, before heading back to some shopping outlets, where I bought some stuff from Converse and Gap.  I then went for a Starbucks and ended up getting an earlier Greyhound back to New York than originally planned, because I was tired and couldn't be bothered doing anything else!

Tuesday was Cher's last day in the city, and my last full day, so we went to Ess-A-Bagel for breakfast (best bagels in the city) before I headed down to Battery Park to go across to the Statue of Liberty and up to the crown.  I had bought tickets to do this in January and completely forgot about it, but this time I managed to remember!  It was a horrible day to be going over, the worst day (weather wise) the whole trip.  It meant the waters were choppy, resulting in not exactly smooth sailing.  Still some amazing views as we travelled across though, and climbing the stairs wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, although I did stop a couple of times on the way up.  The crown was a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be, and I imagine on a clear day it is absolutely spectacular.  However, because you have to book crown tickets so far in advance, there is just no judging how it's going to be.  When I went they had sold out of crown tickets until December!  It's amazing just how many people want to go up compared to those that actually can.  After some pictures, a climb back down and a boat back to Battery Park via Ellis Island (I didn't get off) I found myself in the East Village.  I spent five hours getting a half sleeve tattoo at Addiction Ink!  It's of a girl listening to music, surrounded by roses, with the lyrics "Sit back New York City, you're not cute, but you're oh so pretty" and musical notes above her.

It was sore and red, but is healing nicely now.  It's just bruised, a bit sore, and starting to itch, which I can only consider a good thing!  Hopefully it won't be too long until all the redness, swelling and bruising is gone and hopefully it will be wonderful!  I have no idea how to tell my father, but I imagine he is going to freak when he sees it!  Good job it's turning to winter and I can sort of put it off for a while - at least until it is healed fully!

I had such a good time in New York.  I literally cried on the plane ride home.  It's the worst part, coming home.  I wish I could just stay there forever.  It's the only place I truly feel accepted, unjudged, free and at home.  One day I will get there, of that I am sure!

For now, I think it's time to try and get some sleep.  I may write more tomorrow, but I may not!  Goodnight!