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Thr tkng ur jaaaaahhh!!!!
You'd think that allowing Bulgaria and Romania into the EU was like opening the gates of Troy or something, the way people are carrying on.. It's insane!

And now for something completely different.. The following is a mixed up version of things I've been writing for the last few weeks..
This Morning..

Holy shit.. I'd forgotten just how awesome the train rides to work can be..

I'm on the train now, and the fields either side are filled with mist, only up to about hedge level.. above that, the air is crystal clear.. If you don't actually know the effect I'm talking about, then I sincerely doubt that I can describe it in such a way as to do it justice. Suffice it to say, there's something truly awe inspiring about clouds resting in fields..

Then add to that the sunrise - because the sky is so clear, the sun is rising straight out of the horizon (rather than a thin layer of cloud).. It's bright red, and through the mist you can look right at it, as it moves past the silhouettes of trees.. The sky itself is a clear blue, right up to the eastern horizon where it turns gold and purple..

There are compensations to waking up at 6am.. And it won't be too long before I get sunsets on my way home, which is always rather neat also.. :o)
Meanwhile, earlier..
Five days ago..

It was rather interesting watching Stephen Fry talk to Carrie Fisher about manic depression.. I don't for a second think I suffer from it or anything, but some of what they said about how it feels when they're manic kind of reminded me of how I tend to feel every day.. Blind optimism might be foolish, but it feels rather good at the time :o)

I have a wicked chess strategy, which I may as well write down..

W. Pawn to King 4
B. Pawn to King 5
W.Queen to Rook 5
B. Pawn to King's Knight 6
W.Queen x King 5 (check)
B. Bishop to King 7
W.Queen x King's Rook 8

It relies on the standard opening gambit of King's pawns to the middle of the board, and further requires the black player to threaten the white Queen with a pawn, but I know a fair few players who'd do that.. It allows you to take their Rook for no risk, and leads to better things.. For instance, they can't move their Knight because it's pinned, so you can take that on the next turn. Then you threaten their King - if they move it, you can take their Queen, so they're more likely to bring their Bishop back to where it started. If you can then shift your Queen's pawn, you can take your black-square Bishop to Rook 6. They can't take it with their Bishop, because it's protecting their King. You then take their Bishop with your Queen, and that's checkmate.

New random stuff.. for some reason I knew that the Spanish word for hands is "manos".. I just looked at my hand, and thought "I know what this is in Spanish", though I don't recall ever actually being told. Obviously I've either been told it, or I've read it, but the main point is that there's no reason why I should remember the word, and have no idea where I might have picked it up. And yet there it is, in my head. I might only know a handful of foreign words, but I know them in like eight different languages, which is surely not bad..
Talktopuss... talking octopuss... it's awesome... wish we had one... earlier. ...
Six days before that..

I'm quite pleased with myself for knowing when to stop gambling.. last night, I over-credited my National Lottery account and ended up with excess funds, so I played a couple of instant-win games.. I spent £5, and won £9, so that's an extra £4 for later.. and then I opted to quit while I was ahead, which was nice.. If only I could reach a point of being ahead in the main lottery draw, on which we have yet to win a thing after a spend to date of £50.

But that's not what I sat down to write about..

This morning on the way to work I decided to honour something I told myself when I was younger. I remember wondering why it is that old people don't like new music, and (as many people probably did), I assured myself that I would never get like that.. I would always make an attempt to get into new music, and stay current. Little did I understand the mental torture that would await me if I ever tried :o)

I am quite the musical luddite really, when I think about it.. I made me a little graph to show how much I like Live, plotting the year of an album's release against the percentage of songs on it I really loved.. The graph starts strong at 25% in 1991, peaks at 50% in 1997, is still above 25% in 2001, but plummets off the chart thereafter. A similar experiment on the Goo Goo Dolls would probably show the same - I tend to write off everything after their third major label album. Don't even get me started on Everclear..

I don't think it's entirely my fault.. The type of music I like is just very specific, and found more often in bands that are just starting out. For example, I like Dav's solo stuff, but I prefer Easyworld's KTLR. But I prefer TIWIS to that. And I prefer Better Ways to Self Destruct to that. And actually, some of my favourite songs are Me, Lights Out, Three Minute Pop Song, Feensong, Hundredweight, all of which predate them being called Easyworld. In fact, I was listening to a load of Beachy Head stuff earlier, and it just reminded me how good they were when it was just three piece pop-rock..

I can only defend myself with the fact that I like songs that are accessible to me as a guitarist, and which are fairly straightforward 'guitar + bass + drums' pieces, rather than lots of instruments and polished effects etc.. Layered music is all very well, but I can only hear about four or five different layers when I try to imagine how songs go, so...

In any case, I used to want to like new music, so I thought I'd give it another chance.. So on my way into work, I decided to listen to the new Live, Goo Goo Dolls, Snow Patrol and Rogue Traders albums. The fourth was just as a joke really, it's actually a rather decent album, but I wanted the synth/dance stuff in there to provide comic relief :o)

I have to say, thus far I'm impressed.. The first three GGD songs were all actually really good (though I've no idea now what they were). And the one Snow Patrol song that came up was also good, though I have a feeling it was released as a single, which means it's probably one of the better songs on the album. Still, it's a step in the right direction :o)

Live, however, are still rubbish beyond all belief.. Which is quite sad really, but not unexpected..

So granted, I'm not getting into the Franz Ferdinands or The Kooks of this modern world, but I'm at least trying to enjoy new songs by old bands I liked, which previously I would have dismissed :o)
Anyway, that's it for that.. :o)

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I'm glad we didn't watch the whole of that Stephen Fry show - apparently we'll be watching it in one of our Advanced Psychopathology lectures on bipolar. Which would be even more boring had I seen it the whole way through.

(I'm not quite sure why it is that our lecturer wants us to watch it, seeing as how her opinion on Robbie Williams' bipolar status is that "he hasn't got it"...So surely watching him ramble on about it can't be the best way to use our lecture time? Ho hum.)

The point is that Robbie Williams said he did not have Bi-polar. I believe the reason S.Fry interviewed him was to make the link between depression and performers. The fact that they are able to lift themselves out of the darkness to perform with such enthusiasm and talent. Robbie made a point of saying he did not have manic depression although he did get an incredible high from performing in front of crowds, but would go and hide under a blanket at the end of the show. So your lecturer is correct, but it was interesting seeing someone who had deep depression talking to someone with Bi-polar and being able to distinguish between the two. Enjoy the lecture and be sure to tell me what you learn because I think it will be fascinating. Lucky you!

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