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Happy Belated Birthday Xandutch

And, um, me too, in being late. Hope that you had a fabulous birthday.
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Because I promised [livejournal.com profile] seiyaharris...

I managed to score the hottest ticket in town (seriously, people have been paying £2,000 a ticket) to see the latest production of Othello at the Donmar Warehouse theatre. A friend got the tickets by dint of sitting on the phone and constantly re-dailing the day the tickets were released until she got through. The entire run sold out in 20 minutes... But as a result we got tickets for the princely sum of £15 a piece.

And why were the tickets so sought after? Well, the Donmar is a very small and intimate theatre, seating a mere 250 people at a time. And Iago is being played by one Ewan McGregor...

So, what was in like? In short, it was the best production of Othello that I've seen. This is my fourth production, so although I've by no means seen a vast number I think I've seen enough to provide a far comparison. Chiwetel Ejiofor was an absolutely superb Othello, powerful, poignant and truly sympathetic. I've seen past Othellos who have left me impatient at their gullability, but Chiweto sold me completely. Likewise Kelly Reilly's Desdemona. Alternately strong, compelling, tender, bewildered, her love for Othello was palpable making me really believe that even though she had become terrified of her husband she would make no move to leave him. And she fought back convincingly in the death scene, no meek and mild maiden she. Chiwetel was at the centre of a strong cast, but had Kelly's Desdemona not been so convincing I don't think his performance would have shone quite so brightly as it did.

And what of Ewan? Well, it must be said that he is the weakest of the three leads. Chiwetel and Kelly are the best Othello and Desdemona I've seen but the best Iago is still Bob Peck, who was amazing even with the hindrance of a rather risible Donald Sinden (in blackface *winces*) as Othello. But, Ewan was by no means the worst of my Iagos, and to say that he's the weakest of such a strong cast is no insult. He managed to portray Iago's casual malice with the appropriate self-centred amusement and left us in no doubt that here goes a sociopath who really enjoys pulling the wings off butterflies.

The remaining cast members were all almost uniformly good, and coupled with a spare, clever setting of bare flagstones, minimal set decoration and a lovely moment when gauzy, full curtains cascaded from the ceiling around Desdemona's death-bed it made for an evening of riveting and spectacularly moving theatre.

If you could, I'd say go. But it has long since been sold out, save for 10 standing-only tickets sold each day.
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Happy Birthday Temaris
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Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] moonlettuce

Belated Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] tikiberry and [livejournal.com profile] zellieh

I can't believe I spent a good chunk of time yesterday with [livejournal.com profile] zellieh and didn't say Happy Birthday! Sorry, hon. Guess we were all too overwhelmed with the bitching festivities. *g*
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So last time there was bad weather in Yorkshire I phoned my parents, worried that they'd been affected. And they were fine - their house is on a village green near the top of a hill.

Today, even near the top of a hill though they are, the cellar is flooded. My father used to have a wine collection down there worth well into five figures. Lucky he sold it, although the cognac needed rescuing! I pointed out to my mother that they must be insured for any damage - they've been trying to bail the cellar out all day but without success.

Eldest nephew's school is also flooded, much to his glee. Kids! Still, he could help his grandfather bail the cellar out...*g*

But it's bad, really bad in and near Sheffield. I grew up near there and I've never seen anything like it and for my parents house to flood, even with their top-of-the-hill location is scary.

I don't think we've ever seen anything like this in Sheffield.

Sobering thought re global warming.
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So, what have those fuckers done now, I hear anyone who's with Virgin-fucking-media ask?

I've just received an email from the bastards.

From 1 July the broadband helpline number is changing. Which, okay. But what is most definitely not okay is that we're now going to have to pay 25 pence per minute, plus a 10 pence connection charge, to talk to them when we have a problem with the service. That's from a Virgin Media line, BTW. Phoning from some other line could cost even more.

Yes, that's right. The service that was previously free (when connecting from a Virgin Media line) is now going to cost us what could potentially be a large sum - I mean, have you ever tried to sort out a broadband problem? It can take forever.

I phoned up to complain. Person I spoke to knew nothing about it, but could - and did - sympathise. I mean, it's not as if I'm paying a small amount for my bleeding broadband as is, let alone have to pay for it to be fixed when chances are it's their fault it's gone wrong in the first place.

I shall be writing a letter of complaint.

The address is:
Virgin Media
PO Box 333
Matrix Court
Swansea
SA7 9ZJ

Christ! Every piece of news since Telewest was taken over by Virgin-fucking-Media has been bad. But this is plain insulting.

*hates*
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Happy Birthday, Pinkdormouse
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LJ speaks!

Go to the news page.
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Received a card recently from my dentist, saying that my check-up is now due. Immediately made an appointment. Because I have that rarest of beings, a...NHS dentist!

Yes, that's right, they still do exist and if you remain very quiet and very still you may just about catch a glimpse of this rarest of beings, the extremely shy, fine feathered, um, dentist.

So, the fact that I am actually a NHS registered patient makes it even more shameful that I haven't been to the dentist for, er, well, 5 years!

What? I wait for the reminder that my check-up is now due before making an appointment. Because. Dentist! *shudders delicately*

And what is the result of these years of dental neglect? What price am I going to pay for shamefully and wilfully shutting my eyes to the fact that I haven't been to the dentist for so long that I really couldn't remember how long it had last been and they had to tell me. 5 years! Gosh!

Well, a couple of fillings are a bit worn and need replacing. And, er, that's it. Talk about getting off lightly.

I think it's a win for genetics, though, rather than me virtuously taking good care of my teeth, as my father still has a complete set at the age of 75.
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So, something woke me up in the early hours last night, and I heard sirens etc. But as I live in London I hear emegency services sounds all the time and didn't think anything of it.

Until I tried to drive to the supermarket. Road at the end of mine, leading to the North Circular, was cordoned off. Now the North Circ is the main arterial road across the whole of North London. It's actually classified as a motorway, as it's a multi-lane highway for the most part. So, if the North Circ is closed, a large part of North London grinds to a halt.

And, oh, did it ever. I drove round some backstreets to try and take an alternative route to the supermarket. But all the backstreets were gridlocked. I'd never seen 'em like that before, not even during rush-hour. Gave up in the end, turned round and came back home and set off to walk to another, closer, supermarket to pick up a few things to tied me over until tomorrow.

I figured that there must have been some sort of serious accident to close down the North Circ, and as I crossed over the North Circ on route I saw one of the vehicles involved being taken away. Took one look at it and knew there must have been a fatality - there's no way anyone would have survived in that car. Asked a police officer when the road would be reopened and they were hoping for within the hour - but that was a good 12 hours after the accident happened.

Got home, to find that the accident was on the news (BBC report is at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6602905.stm). Turns out it involved a police chase, and pedestrians crossing the road - the same part of the road that I'd just walked across and cross every time I walk to the park, or to the local village (London is largely made up of a combination of villages) - at least one of whom was killed outright and the other is in intensive care.

The driver of the car, a BMW, that was being chased is alive. The driver of the car he or she collided with (a Citroen, and the car I'd seen being removed from the scene) is dead. Sadly, the blameless driver, and pedestrian, have paid the price for the other driver's criminal behaviour.
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Happy Birthday to phantomas and z_rayne
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Happy Birthday Becca
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No, really, it is. Had the pleasure recently of flying to Atlanta to attend the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] laurakaye's wedding, staying with the fabulous (and obliging) [livejournal.com profile] thermidor.

All went smoothly (well, except for the accident on the M25 that closed the motorway for about 30 mins as I drove to Gatwick. Luckily I left myself lots of time to get there...), waltzed through security and passport control (took my shoes off, made sure I wasn't carrying any liquids etc), flight took off on time and landed a few minutes early. So far, so good.

Bit of a wait to get through passport control, but nothing more than anticipated. Queued up for the obligatory mugshot and fingerprints, went to baggage reclaim, breathed a sigh of relief when the suitcases turned up, queued up again for Customs. No problems there. Everything was as usual in my experience in flying to the US post-911.

Started looking round for the exit, excited at the thought of seeing [livejournal.com profile] thermidor again, as she as picking me up from the airport and--

Um, what?

You want me to hand all my luggage to who? Member of the airport staff. Right. Er, why? So they can be x-rayed... And then you want me to join the queue (the very, very long queue) there. So I can have all my hand-luggage x-rayed, take my shoes off, and pass through the security devices. Again! And after that I have to go on a train to the main terminal, where I can pick up my luggage - again - on carousels where absolutely everyone, including any Tom, Dick, or Harry who fancies wandering into the airport from the streets and helping themselves to some poor hapless traveller's luggage, has access to.

Er, you do know that I've just flown to Atlanta, don't you. That my luggage and person were subjected to security checks before I flew? Oh, you do?

Ri-ight!

Yes, that's right, if you fly internationally to Atlanta when you land they subject you to the same security checks that you went through before you flew. 'Cos Atlanta's such a major target for terrorist incidents, you see. *nods sagely* Makes NYC and London look like the havens of non-terrorist activity that they are. I mean in recent years there've been none, that's right no, terrorist incidents in Atlanta.

What's so sad is that all of this palaver gives travellers an entirely unwarranted unfavourable first impression of Atlanta. Which I absolutely loved, BTW. Gracious, beautiful, warm and welcoming in all respects. The exact opposite of the bleeding airport!
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Sometimes you just have to love Google. I suspect that they may have become a leetle bit tired of the stupid.

Go to Google Maps, type in something like 'New York to London'. Check out Step Number 23...
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There have been so many rumours flying around concerning what will be/what's likely to be/what there's no way in hell will happen in Season Four.

But if the latest is true, I have to ask, are TPTB actually trying to piss off the fans?

Beware! Spoilers behind the cut.

Read more... )
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Spoilers for latest SG1 episode, for which I was sweetly unspoiled, behind the cut.Read more... )
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She asks plaintively.

Why does Channel 4 in Wales feel the need to put on some Welsh-language (not that there's anything wrong with the Welsh language, you understand. It's just that, language of my fathers though it is, I don't speak a bleeding word of Welsh), family entertainment (God, the horror) programme on at 9.00pm on a Friday night.

I'm in a hotel in Cardiff (Torchwood!), preparatory for a work-related course I'm attending at Cardiff University tomorrow, and was looking forward to seeing Ugly Betty at 9.30pm. But when I flicked through the channels at 9.00pm, and came to the '4' channel, which should be Channel 4, I discovered that it isn't. Or, well, actually it is, but it's the Welsh version and prime-time consists of various Welsh-language programmes, instead of the normal Channel 4 programmes.

Oh my God, they've got a Welsh-voice choir on now.

And before that it was a tenor, singing something that I think was meant to be funny.

It's just...really, really awful!

And I have to ask, why? I mean, it's the climax (I think) of Celebrity Big Brother over in England (and presumably Scotland), which is Channel 4's biggest ratings earner. And they're depriving the entire population of Wales the opportunity to watch it. No, I'm not pissed off at CBB (as I rather loathe it, and that was before the racism/ugliness, ignorance and stupidity debacle), but I wanted to watch Ugly Betty dammit. Okay, so I'm recording it at home and will be able to watch it when I get back on Sunday. But that's so not the point.

Bloody Welsh Channel 4.
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Happy Birthday Temaris

Have a fun-filled and frolicsome day!
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To any non-Brits on my friendslist. See now, that's what Welsh accents sound like.

Which is why most of us keep on saying that Peter Wingfield (Highlander) doesn't have a Welsh accent. Hey, he's worked really hard to lose his, poor bloke, and anyone who insists he has a Welsh accent are dissing all that work he's done to sound generic upper middle-class English.

And, yes, I really enjoyed Torchwood. Almost (almost) makes up for the postponement of SGA's The Return II.
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My assistant at work handed in his resignation today. I knew it was coming as we'd discussed it at length, but I'm still I'm sad about it, although I think his new firm is a great opportunity for him and that he's definitely made the right decision in deciding to move firms. I also sprained my ankle (God, it was painful, although the women in the nearby branch of Alliance & Leicester were incredibly nice and helpful and sweet, fetching me an ice-pack, and pressing a cup of water on me, and offering me tea. Well, of course). Anyway, the upshot is that instead of concentrating on some work I ended up chatting a lot with assistant to take my mind off my ankle.

He's ex-army, served in Croatia with the British Army, as a young lieutenant. We were talking about the way members of the British forces are disciplined (he hopes to build up a steady practise of courts martial work, given his army contacts) and of course I discussed with him what happens to people who disobey orders. Now, he's not RAF (Royal Air Force), of course, but his view is that military discipline is pretty much the same across the various British armed forces. I asked him what would happen if a British officer did what Sheppard did, disobeying orders in Afghanistan in trying to save the lives of fellow servicemen. Cutting for potential Season 3 spoilers...Read more... )
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I nipped into Forbidden Planet last week and picked up a few (*cough*) books. Among them is one called Melusine and well, anyone know if the author is a slash fanfiction writer?

Because this book reads like Original Slash. Oh God, does it ever. One of the (male) protaganists is a beautiful, haughty, long-haired immensely powerful wizard, who is the lover of the city ruler's brother and...Read more... )
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Happy Birthday Claire
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For anyone who's been reading online or hearing the news about the very encouraging progress made by the Hamster, AKA Richard Hammond (he's now in a general ward and there are reports of him sitting up and eating cornflakes) if anyone wants to make a donation to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) service a website that has been set up to give donations is here.

The YAA very probably played a large part in saving Richard's life, and as my parents, sister and nephews all live in South Yorkshire (although I hope that they'll never need the YAA's services), I'm extremely happy that people have been so generous with their money - one person alone gave £50,000 which is mind-bogglingly generous and so far the donations, adding in the tax relief that UK residents can elect for, totals around £175,000.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] topgeartotty (a fine LJ community *g*) for the info.
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The news about Richard Hammond is distressing me hugely. I love cars, you see, the sleeker and faster the better. I love speed (in safe conditions - I'm not an idiot and do actually care about other road users and pedestrians). Unsurprisingly, I'm an avid fan of Top Gear, which has the accolade of being the most downloaded TV programme round the world and is massively popular. If you like cars, chances are you'll like Top Gear. Well, so long as you find the laddishness amusing. Mostly, I do.

So the news that Richard Hammond has crashed whilst filming for the programme and is critically injured is-- God, I'm all choked up. He's my favourite of the presenters (yes, yes, because I'm shallow) and I just really, really hope he'll be okay.
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Jesus fucking Christ.

Cutting for spoilers Read more... )
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So Steve Irwin has been killed whilst filming a wildlife documentary by a stingray.

It did seem that he took risks - I remember the cocodile and poisonous snakes vividly - but I didn't expect the poor man to actually die from it. I know some Aussies found him to be a bit of an embarrassment, but I am sorry to hear the news.

I suppose he died doing something he loved, however I doubt very much he wanted to die from it. He was aged 44.
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In Common Ground Teyla spoiler )
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Well, bugger. I was (mostly) enjoying season 10, as well. Yes, I know, not everyone shares my feelings, but I was liking it more than any season since 5, I think.

OTOH, if SGA was no more I'd be really upset. Phew.
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Went off to Sainsbury's to do the weekly food shop this morning. It was pouring with rain, so I grabbed a trolley from the nearest trolley-drop in the car park and ran for the entrance. Sometimes there can be a bit of a shortage of trolleys if the lads on trolley duty have been a bit slow in recovering them from the various trolley-drops, but not today. Today there were trolley's everywhere, as many trolleys as you could want, trolleys frollicking in the car park and nestling by the entrance, gleaming trolleys sparkling with rain drops, or dryly stacked by the entrance. Suffice it to say, anyone who wanted a trolley could have one, or several, or as many as they wanted. For, behold, there were loads of trolleys. *important plot point*

I'd made it as far as just past the entrance and up to the magazines with my pristine, empty, as yet untouched by potential purchases trolley when a stocky little man yelled at me, "Stop! You've got our trolley."

*Blink-blink, blink-blink*

As I stood there, expression akin to a deer caught in the headlights, he came up to me and, gaping scowl plastered across his face, grabbed at my trolley, which was still clutched in my, frankly, boggling hands.

"I think you'll find," he began grimly, flicking over a small, Sainsbury's leaflet that was decorating the bottom of the trolley, "that you've got-- Oh, no. Sorry," mumbled in a small, sheepish voice. And he bustled off, leaving me to catch the bemused gaze of a couple of fellow shoppers.

"Shocking," the man commented.

"That's right," the woman next to him agreed, "fancy taking a trolley that's left out for everyone to use--"

"And not realising that it's got his name on it," the man finished smartly, gazing at my wordless, smartly stainless steel trolley.

And then we all cracked up.

Later, in the check-out queue the man queueing at the till next to mine inadvertantly bumped my (by now full) trolley with his. "Oh, sorry," he said automatically, and then, obviously recognising me, with delight, "It's the trolley napper!" And then to his male friend, "Better watch this one, she takes empty trolleys, you know, for her own use!"
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US all time box office ranking: 10

UK all time box office ranking: 209

Need I say more?
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I feel for the people there. Madrid, London, Mumbai. All have had their public transport networks attacked.

The death toll in Mumbai is at least 130 and rising. It appears to be chaos there with 7 bombs having been set off pretty much simultaneously.
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Just over a year ago I want to an annual legal shindig, popularly known as the Touts' Ball. Why? Oh, it's all to do with counsel touting for work, of course. On the table next to mine was a young solicitor, who was looking a tad bit harried, as she was trying to attend the shindig and an engagement party and a birthday party, all at the same time.

On 7 July 2005 she was on a tube train that was blown up near Aldgate. She died. Her name was Fiona Stevenson

Last night, the Touts' Ball came round again. Before dinner started a short address was given by the senior partner of the firm Fiona had worked for. I was sitting next to a colleague who at the time worked for the same firm as Fiona. They shared an office. My colleague's hands were clenched tightly together on the table during the address.

It was the only time in the entire evening (including the post dinner speeches) when the room was completely silent, except for the voice of the senior partner of Fiona's firm. During the speech, I glanced up to the top table, to see a solicitor I know who is defending one of the people who is alleged to have perpetrated the terrorist plot on 21 July 2005, when the bombs didn't go off. His client is obviously a different person to those who committed suicide and murder on 7 July 2005. But. I know his feelings about it all. I suspect I know what everyone in that room was feeling last night. But I also know that he will defend his client to the best of his ability, because that's his professional duty. It's what we do, you see, and you have to set personal feelings aside, even when you're mourning the loss of a colleague.

Fiona Stevenson. I wish you were still here.
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So, I'm sitting at home working on some legal stuff this afternoon. When I hear this tremendous sound through the open living room windows. I run to the window and I see my car (my precious baby) which had been nicely parked a couple of doors down from my house - it's London, we mostly don't do garages, as there's not often the room.

My car was now skewed against the side of the road and forced back against the car that was parked behind it.

A neighbour was standing in the street looking, as I rushed outside. )
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I'm watching the post-match commentary for the Germany/Italy World Cup semi-final and it's just a bit weird to see the crowd (the German part, anyway) singing along to Walk On (can't remember the real title, but it's the Liverpool song about not walking alone) in English.

Cut to avoid spoiling any fans who don't yet know the result, with apologies to those I've already spoiled. )
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As soon as they said Read more... )
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(and if I can manage to annoy [livejournal.com profile] moonlettuce as well, why, that's just an added bonus...) I'd like to announce that I've booked my hotel room for [livejournal.com profile] connotations. No, of course I haven't registered for the con yet. Let alone paid the registration fee. Perish the thought. *eg*

Yes, there really are a lot of people about who happily announce that they're going to the con, have booked the hotel and everything. Oh, except for actually registering and paying the registration fee. Alas, it turns out that I'm one of them... *eg*
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Am just catching up on LJ and am rather late is wishing [livejournal.com profile] phantomas and [livejournal.com profile] z_rayne Happy Birthday. I hope that you both had a lovely day.

And, even more belated (shamefully so) birthday greetings to [livejournal.com profile] evildrem.

Thanks for all your posts, which have inspired me, enthralled me and made me laugh.
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Happy Birthday Becca
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