Archive for January, 2003

me & mj

This impulse purchasing thing is going to get me in trouble one day, I swear.

I’ve always been a basketball fan, and I’ve always wanted to see the great Michael Jordan play ball. This year is his last year in the game, but the Washington Wizards don’t pass through London very often, so it’s a little unlikely I’ll ever achieve that ambition. Except that I’ve just purchased a ticket to see the team play against his old side, The Chicago Bulls, at the beginning of March. And I’ve just bought a plane ticket to get me there and back. I really can’t afford it, but I’m not going to get the chance again.

Can anyone recommend somewhere nice and cheap to stay for a night while I’m in DC?

And Michael, if those creaky knees of yours don’t hold out, and you’re injured for this game, you’ll being hearing from my lawyer. Except that I don’t have a lawyer. Damn.


n. The act of rubbing against the body of another person, as in a crowd, to attain sexual gratification.

While I’m in the mood to embarrass myself, here’s another story (roughly number 45 in an ongoing series, probably). Some years ago I was heading home from work on London’s Northern Line. My train arrives at Leicester Square, slap-bang in the middle of the rush-hour, and is packed. I squeeze on, followed by a couple of dozen fellow commuters, and pretty soon we’re all scrabbling for air and room to stand. I’m crushed between four people at a near 45% angle, but can’t move to make myself more comfortable, a predicament heightened when the train pulls to a stop in the middle of a tunnel and shows no sign of moving. I try and tug myself into a comfortable standing position, at which point the woman I’ve been leaning against swivels round, glares at me and shouts, “EXCUSE ME! WILL YOU STOP TOUCHING ME?” The entire carriage goes silent and two hundred heads turn to stare at the pervert in their midst. It’s awful. I redden from head to toe, mumble a denial, and am grateful that the train starts to move almost immediately. I flee at the next station, leaving behind a wake of silently shaking heads, as others mutter angrily about how London simply isn’t safe for women travellers these days.

Wanna know the really weird part? The woman concerned was a former Coronation Street actress, and I’m not going to reveal which one.

the love report

The evening does not start off well. After gaining entry to Vinopolis, described somewhat ambitiously in the online brochure as ‘The most exciting and atmospheric visitor attraction in the world,’ everybody is handed a unique set of 15 cards with their name beautifully embossed on one side. Except me, of course. Mine are blank for some unspecified reason, so I’m forced to grab a black felt-tip pen and scrawl ‘Fraser’ on each one in psychopath style lettering. The purpose of these isn’t immediately clear, but a little further investigation leads to the discovery of a photographer taking polaroids of all the attendees, images which are then added to a rogues gallery of hopefuls in the main hall. If you spot a face you like, you pin your card to their photo, and at the evening’s end you unfasten the stack of cards attached to your image and can make contact with those people though the organiser’s website.

First up is speed-dating. It’s a bit like having 7 job interviews in 25 minutes, except that you’ve no idea what the job entails. To aid the process you’re given a piece of paper with space for seven names, two colums marked ‘HeadStart’ and ‘HeadAche’ (yes or no, basically), and room to make comments, more than anything else to remind yourself who it is that you’ve just spoken to.

The first girl is cool. She’s pretty, she laughs at my jokes, and I don’t stare at her chest once. Next up is an Amazonian South African, six foot two with hair like Rapunzel. She’s obviously not interested, and doesn’t attempt to hide it, looking everywhere else in the room apart from at me. When she tiredly asks me what I do for a living, I finally crack.

“I’m a biscuit designer.”

That gets her attention.

“Really? What ones have you done?”

“You know animal allsorts?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Well, I did the giraffe.”

At this point our three minutes expire and I move on, leaving her looking her baffled and possibly a little scared. 1-0 to me. The rest pass in a blur. At the end I’ve ticked three boxes out of seven, rather foolishly expressing interest in two girls who I know to be best friends. I can imagine how that conversation will end. Really? You too? Hmmm… I bet he ticked everyone. Creep.

I wander round aimlessly for most of the rest of the evening. The organisation is a shambles – the forty quid may have kept out the dirty mac brigade, but there’s not enough staff at the bar (twenty minutes to get served when I could be romancing), and they don’t have enough change when I finally get a drink. The rogues gallery is so surrounded by onlookers that it’s almost impossible to see the photographs, and when I attempt to find the venue for ‘Blind Date Battleships’ (no, I can’t imagine either) I discover that it’s not marked on the nonsensical map of the venue they’ve provided, nor can the member of staff I ask assist me. “Err… it’s somewhere. Not sure where, though.” Well, gee, thanks.

Half an hour before the end I decide to cut my losses and head for the door. Except that I can’t, of course. The queue for the cloakroom is 40 metres long, so there’s yet another interminable wait before I can finally escape.

Still, at least I didn’t run into anyone I know. I’d hate it if people knew I was doing this. Oh, and by the way, nobody attached their card to my picture.

hello girls

OK. I think I’m ready. I’ve combed my legs, ironed my hair, lanced a couple of boils, purchased a fresh tube of cold sore cream, rubbed toothpaste into my gums, bought a stetson, put on a new pair of cycling shorts and retrieved my cleanest pair of y-fronts from the laundrey basket. I’ll also be carrying a cat under one arm, as an expert I know has suggested that this never fails when one is woo-ing women. Ladies, Fraser’s on his way.

pretty pictures

Blimey. Click here for full gallery

Now that is a very nice picture indeed. Quite spectacular, you might say. It shows the central feature of the Torres Del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia, a group of three volcanic plugs, towers whose walls climb thousands of metres into the air. The reason I posted this was because I’ve at last got round to uploading some more pictures of my recent trip, and this particular one is my favourite. The first time you catch site of these mountains you feel like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters as he reaches the brow of a hill and is finally faced with Devil’s Tower for the first time. It’s truly breathtaking. I’ve been to The Grand Canyon, and this place is better.


OK, time to clear out a few of the links that have been cluttering up my PC. Some are good, and some are merely average. Either way, there’s not been enough linkage on these pages of late, and for that I apologise.

1. The weblog of William Gibson, top sci-fi writer.
2. Strange animals in basketball game. Easy to master.
3. Stick figure mayhem. Violence a-plenty.
4. Chat live and online with a real LA gang-banger. Really.
5. Kubrick’s 2001 explained tortuously but beautifully using the medium of Flash.
6 The most depressing animation in The World. Ever.
7. Hi-fi drawing tool.
8. Addictive and challenging game of square manipulation.
9. Weird noises and stuff. Good, despite the annoying browser-resizing nonsense.
10. Ween sing about cheese.
11. Children raised by animals.


This weeks I bought myself a new sandwich maker. It is shaped like a cow, and moos when you lift the lid. It is fantastic.


OK. It’s not often I need your help, but I need it now. It’s advice I’m after, and I’d like it to be forthcoming in the comments section of this entry, if that’s not too much trouble. Long-term readers may have noticed that I am single – without woman, as I like to say – but 2003 is the year that’s all going to change, and I’m thinking of attending this event to meet some lovely ladies. Does this make me a) a sad or b) realistic? Please let me know.

Disclaimer: I was drunk when I wrote this.


Before I went to Chile, I compiled a checklist of animals I hoped to see on my travels. As you can see, I did rather well.

Silver Fox

Anyhow, I now have what you’ve been waiting for, primed and ready: pictures of penguins! Just click on the thumbnails to see bigger versions of the images…