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danbambridge Blog

Moving On Out

Afternoon people! Another month has passed and a lot has happened...

With only a week until Christmas I should probably start thinking about getting some presents for people. I've not really had much chance to think about getting things seeing as I'm in the process of changing jobs and moving out. I don't have many people to buy for so I'm not too worried just yet. The only problem is this week is going to be really busy as now I've found a place to live and I've got to get ready to start work elsewhere in the New Year. Yesterday I was told I'm able to move into my new flat on Tuesday but we're going down on Wednesday to pick up the keys and have a look round since they cleaned it up. It comes fully furnished so I don't really need to buy a lot. Just want to get a new TV and things like bed linen, plates/cutlery etc. I'm not going to move into it until after the New Year and my first night will probably be the day before I start work. It's a bit more expensive than I would've liked but I'm only tied in for six months if I want to find somewhere cheaper after that.

This week is going to be so busy for me though as I've got a lot to sort out. Monday is probably my only normal day although I should be having lunch with one of my Mouchel (my current employer) work colleagues which will probably be the last time I see him. Tuesday I'll have to clear out my desk at Severn Trent Water (my new employer) in Leicester ready to take it all to Coventry (as I'm already working for them as a contractor at the minute). Wednesday we'll be in Coventry to get the keys and make a list of all the things I'll need to buy over the Christmas period. Then Thursday I'll be back in Peterborough to clear out my Mouchel office and hand back my hire car. I really can't see me doing a lot of work this week! :P

In gaming, I haven't been on my Xbox much in the last month but I did have a quick go on Call of Duty: Black Ops the weekend I bought it. I did the first level of the single player which seemed pretty good and had a very brief go online. I think I prefer MW2 but I can't really confirm that until I get more hands on time with it. I've added a few more games to my ever expanding list of games to play – Fallout: New Vegas, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, and Forza Motorsport 3.

As for TV, I've got a couple of weeks now to do my best to catch up on everything I had to put to one side since the Fall season started. I've almost caught up on White Collar and Flashpoint and then I want to watch Misfits season two and the latest seasons of Dexter and Sanctuary. Some sad news was that The Good Guys has been cancelled as I thought that was a great season and after Psych was probably my favourite show on TV. It seems though that nobody watched it which was disappointing.

New Beginnings

Morning people! It's time for another sporadic update...

So there have been a lot of changes happening in my life over the past couple of weeks. It's not the little things keeping me busy for once but a major life changing one! I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that I applied for a new job I didn't think I'd be able to get...well I got it! Now comes the actual realisation that I'm going to be moving away from home, starting with a new company, and leaving my tennis clubs to start afresh. I've spent the last week so looking at places to move to and what I can get for my money. There are a lot of choices and price ranges which I suppose is to be expected. Problem is I want to live as close to my work as possible and as that's right in the town centre, you don't get as much for your money as you would living out of town. I'm not starting until after Christmas but I want to get a place as soon as possible because most things like sofas, beds etc take ages to deliver so if I have a place in mind then I can get stuff moved in before I move over for good. Even if I have to pay a month's rent but not live there it wouldn't be the end of the world.

In gaming, it seems ages since I stopped playing Halo 3 which for me could never have come soon enough. It's just not the sort of game I like and considering how popular it is I wasn't overly impressed. The AI's driving is very shoddy and it's hardly worth being a passenger. There's is almost no story whatsoever apart from the odd cutscene every few levels. That surprised me a bit as I thought it was quite story heavy over the trilogy. When the game decided not to save after completing a few levels I realised I had no interest at all to go back and do them again so I just stopped playing. I decided not to start anything else knowing that Call of Duty: Black Ops would most likely take over. I've pretty much sold all my games and replaced them with new ones so I've now got Red Dead Redemption, Fallout 3, Metro 2033, Alan Wake, Lego Batman, Pure, Alone in the Dark, Fracture, The Saboteur, Too Human, Dead or Alive 4, Street Fighter IV, and Shadowrun all to play! That's a lot of gaming and I have nowhere near enough time to play all of them in any decent amount of time so I'll probably still be playing these in a year's time! Now with BO out I'm sure that'll keep me going up until Christmas but I doubt I'll need any new ones as presents this year!

As for TV.com, I'll be honest and say I've pretty much given up. I'm not updating my guides anymore and nobody else is submitting the new episodes so it's as if nobody cares so why should I. I've got far too much going on at the minute to even think about it but as proved by this blog I'm not going anywhere but I'm just not interested any more. I have only a very limited number of friends left on the site and most of those I'm in contact with on other websites now so I'm feeling less and less ties to keep me here. If anyone wants my currently airing guides then feel free to take them. I'm not getting rid of my ended shows but I just don't have the time to give new seasons the care that they need.

On The Warpath

Afternoon people! A bit of downtime again so thought I'd make the most of it…

As I think I've mentioned before, I've really got into playing Mafia Wars on Facebook over the past few months. I've found the game so addictive I often play it over proper console games which is stupid because you basically don't have to do anything interesting. The fun comes from just completing one more job, or unlocking another cool item, or defeating another boss. I seem to never run out of things to do one it which is amazing that it has so much depth to what is essentially just pointing and clicking. For anyone that plays it I've done quite well having fully completed New York, Cuba, Moscow, and now finally Bangkok – leaving only Las Vegas to work my way through. The only problem with Vegas is that you can't spam the 'do job' button by clicking the mouse constantly as it doesn't register every click like the other areas do. I also did something I swore I'd never do and spent some actual money on a virtual item. It wasn't a lot of money but despite that, it shows that if they dangle the carrot, people will actually real money on a free game. I'm fairly certain other people are more addicted than I am so I dread to think how much they spend

Carrying on with my social network trend is Foursquare which has finally got some proper competition. I know there's always been Gowalla but as I've never seen a single person post on Facebook using that I don't really count it. Facebook's own location based check in service 'Places' was always going to happen as they try to squeeze out any and all competition. As much as I like Facebook, I'm quite pleased that their service is pretty poor in comparison to Foursquare. Like anything with Facebook though, it benefits from a large user base and people being able to see where there friends are as they're more likely to use it. I only have a couple of Foursquare friends whereas I've already seen a lot of people using the Facebook one. I'll admit I haven't used the new one or even Foursquare for a while but I'm sure the 3rd party app will win out seeing as they're better equipped to make a good go of it, whereas Facebook's seems to be a bit sparse on features at the minute.

In gaming, my time on my Xbox is still being sucked away by Pro Evo 2010 and there's one guy who always wants to play which is really annoying me so I don't often bother to go online. I should just get rid of him but I'm sure he'd notice and I don't really dislike him. Over the weekend I went back on eBay after a long break in an effort to pick up some new games. It didn't quite happen the way I'd hoped but I did manage to get a couple of bargains. I picked up Halo 3 and Street Fighter 4 for around a fiver each which is peanuts for a decent game. I'm not a fan of the Halo series but at that price I'm sure I'll give it a good go. I'm also trying to sell off a few of my games in order to fund these new games but at the minute I'm struggling to shift them at the prices I want for them.

Gonna try not to structure my blogs quite like I used to. Far too time consuming and seems a bit pointless in deciding not to blog because I fear it'd take so long!

Phoenix Rising

Afternoon people! I thought it surely must be about time for me to show my face again…

I really can't believe how long it's been since I last blogged. Since I've been working away I haven't even been able to think about anything other than work. A two hour trip each way everyday doesn't leave you with a lot of time for anything else. The job itself though is brilliant and my early scepticism about it has completely gone. Today marks the end of the project I was contracted into do but thankfully they're going to keep us around for a couple more weeks at least. This particular office in Leicester is closing down and moving to Coventry so we won't be here much longer. Severn Trent Water has built a fancy new super centre there so that's where everyone is heading. I'd love to go there permanently but competition for jobs is pretty tough. I have applied for one job which there's no reason I won't get but there are some teams within the building who are more favoured than others and the job already seems promised to someone else. Unfortunately mine is not one of those teams despite the job I'm applying for I am pretty much I'm already doing as a contractor. I shall keep you posted as there would be a lot of changes to make if I got it – including my place of residence!

The summer tennis season has finished now and it ended pretty well. I picked up three trophies this summer winning two different men's doubles divisions and also picking up a trophy in a mixed tournament. Next weekend the winter league starts and this year I've worked my way up enough to captain a side at Boston TC which I'm looking forward to. Last season I played for the E team and we won the league but this year I've taken over the C team and hope to do the same. In this league our teams are ranked so the A team isn't the best. I would say I've got the best all round squad of players. Mine is a lot smaller than the others but I have a good set of dedicated players. I've hopefully got three (including myself) players that were in the winning team last season so as long as things go our way I won't be giving the trophy back any time soon!

In gaming, I have barely touched my Xbox in a long time. Since I last blogged I've completed Bioshock 2 and whilst I've heard many people saying that it's just more of the same, I just saw that as a good thing. If they brought out another game exactly the same with a different story I'd play it! The gameplay was consistently brilliant and the storyline was equally as good as the first game. I was quite happy that being a Big Daddy actually improved on the game rather than made it worse. The lack of new plasmids was a bit disappointing but the weapons were pretty entertaining. I really couldn't get enough of the game and it's one of those along with Dead Space, Resi 5 etc that I could just play over and over again. I'm not liking what I've heard about the next game being completely fresh and different though! The only games I have left in my collection that are unplayed are Dead or Alive 4 and Fallout 3.

On tv.com, my existence on the site has become little more than a normal visitor now. I try to keep up with my queue but I'll admit I don't ever add new episodes at the minute. I think I did all my shows over the summer but I'm not really sure. If anybody wants one of my guides please just submit to it and I won't stop anyone getting them. My moderating duties has been woefully neglected as I never even think to do anything moderation related. I'm completely out of the loop with everything and I have little interest in getting back into the loop. As well many more of my friends have left and no new ones have emerged so my ties with the site are being severed a bit more every day it seems.

As for TV, my days of watching things all day have been over for the last couple of months so a lot of stuff has gone unwatched. It's a shame as I spent the last year catching up on everything but now it's just not possible to continue the volume of shows I once did. Inevitably some shows I could easily cast aside like Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, and White Collar (although the latter I could happily watch). I'm also going to ration the returning shows to a more manageable level although there aren't many I'd want to stop watching. Since I last blogged though I've watched far too much to go through it here so I won't! :P

My album for the day is Disc-overy by Tinie Tempah.

My shuffle song for the day is 'Electric Feel' by Katy Perry.

My joke for today is: My wife said that I'm going through a really immature period and that if I don't grow up, it's going to erect a barrier between us. I replied, "Hehe…period…erect…"

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Working Away

Afternoon people! A good start to a potentially bad week…

I was told last week that starting from this Wednesday, me and one of the other guys in the office are being sent off to a client office to work from there for three months. Now that doesn't sound too bad on it's own but when you add to that an extra 75+ minutes travelling in the morning and then again in the evening it's not so good. I've already had to pull out of a couple of tennis matches because I just can't get back in time. I'm hoping once I get there I can gauge how flexible they are with their hours so we can possible start earlier and leave earlier so I can get back in time. At least I'm safe in the knowledge that as far as I'm concerned I've got a secure job for the next three months. They're going through a few high level management cuts and then I think they're working their way down to my level so I'm hoping as I won't be around then I should be skipped over!

Over the weekend I bought a new tennis racket off of eBay. I had been tempted for a while to get a new one but the price put me off. Not only that but it meant that my 300 pound for a pair old rackets would be obsolete. When I saw it was being sold for new at 113 pounds I jumped at the chance! I was pleased once I'd got it though so impulse buying is the best way! Unfortunately after less than an hour's play the strings broke! They are going to send me a new string out today although it's not really the seller's fault.

In gaming, I just completely ran out of patience with Red Faction: Guerrilla. I already have limited time to play games so I'm not wasting what I do have on a game I don't enjoy. Instead, I've moved onto Bioshock 2 which I had very high hopes for after the original which was one of my favourite games ever! The opening wasn't quite as good as the first game but did a good job at setting up the story. I'm not convinced yet that being a big daddy is as good as it sounds although if you use the guns you don't really notice too much. So far I haven't really unlocked many plasmids which I'm assuming will make the game's combat even more exciting. The setting is just as good as the original and the music and soundtrack are superb. I can spend hours just wandering around looking at the many posters and collecting audio diaries which are always so good. This is one of the few game series where I think more of the same is better than the complete revamp many sequels seem to strive for.

As for TV, I've watched:

White Collar 'Withdrawal'. One of my surprise favourites after catching up on the first season quite a long while after it ended. I'm wondering if the format might get a bit old over time but the first episode of the second season was fairly good so I'm not worried yet.
'Romeo and Juliet and Juliet'. My favourite show in the world came back with a strange but brilliant episode. Seems to be more of the same which is great as I don't want them to change a single thing!
'A New World'. Unlike Psych, everything in Eureka has changed and I really don't like it. I was hoping the alternate reality was a one off special but it seems it's here to stay. Seems pretty pointless if you ask me…
'Season Three'. My interest for this show was waning a lot after season three and the start of season three but towards the end of this season it suddenly came good and the end was incredible. I was planning on taking a break after season three but now I'll go straight into season four!
'Season One'. This has got to be one of the dullest shows on the planet. The music was annoying, the story wasn't that interesting, and the episodes were too long. It got a bit better towards the final episodes but tailed off again at the end so much so that I think I deserved a medal for getting to the end! :P
'Season One'. I had a feeling this was going to be along the same lines as Californication and to some extent it is. I was unsure after the first couple of episodes but it's definitely come into its own after the first five episodes or so. There are a lot of episodes to catch up on but I think it'll be worth the effort.

Good - Entourage 'Buzzed', Burn Notice 'Entry Point', Psych 'Romeo and Juliet and Juliet', Royal Pains 'In Vino Veritas', White Collar 'Withdrawal', Warehouse 13 'Mild Mannered'.

Indifferent Sons of Tucson 'Kisses and Beads', True Blood '9 Lives' and 'Trouble', Hung 'Tuscon Is the Gateway to Dick' and 'Mind Bullets or Bang Bang Bang Motherfu**er', The Boondocks 'The Lovely Ebony Brown', Futurama 'The Duh-Vinci Code'.

BadDrop Dead Diva 'Senti-Mental Journey', The Secret Life of the American Teenager 'She Went That A'way', Lie To Me 'Teacher and Pupils'.

My album for the day is Under Great White Northern Lights by The White Stripes.

My shuffle song for the day is 'Break The Ice' by Britney Spears .

My joke for today is: Just bought an iPod Touch. It's just like an iPhone that can't make calls. No wait, it's exactly like an iPhone. :lol:

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Strolling Around

Afternoon people! Back after a busy but relaxing week…

I had a week off work last week and with the weather being the hottest of the year it was perfect timing! I had thought with Wimbledon being over I'd have nothing to do all day but I never had chance to sit around being bored! My sister took full advantage of me being at home to help look after my nephew with his dad being at work most of the week so that gave me something to do. He's at that age now where he generally knows what he's doing so it's much more worthwhile to just spend time playing with him. He's grown up a lot in this last week as he's begun crawling although he's not yet perfected it. He's also got the basic idea of walking but obviously he can't do it on his own yet.

Elsewhere it's been a hectic week as I came over to college twice but fingers crossed that means I'm completely finished my first course. :) They keep asking me what I want to do in the next academic year but I am undecided yet. I'm not too keen on tying myself into another course if they can't guarantee funding for the duration of the course. I don't want to get a year in again and find out I've either got to stop the course or pay for it myself.

The week before I was off I actually got to go to Wimbledon for a second time which is the first time I've been twice since I started going a few years back. We went on the second Friday on Court One so we had no high profile matches but we got to watch the ladies' and mixed semi finals. We were seated higher up this time but we still had decent seats. In my own little tennis world there's been a lot of matches lately with mixed success. I've been toying with the idea of getting a new racquet for a while now but was unsure which one to get. The other day I just had a little look on eBay at what they had and found one offered at 119 pounds or best offer. I offered 100 and after a bit of back and forth counter bidding we settled on 113. The racquet sells online for 143 so it was already a lot cheaper so I thought it was too much discount off shop price to let it go!

In gaming, I have been working away on Red Faction: Guerilla this past week whilst I've been off work. At first I thought it was pretty good but the more I play it the more I dislike it. Over time it's getting more and more repetitive and the tasks are pretty boring and they aren't particularly different the main missions, except at a smaller scale. The destruction of everything a possibility I thought that would be great but the cartoony graphics make it not so impressive. Everything just aggravates me to the point where I turn it off. So far I keep going back to it and each time doing less and less aside from the main missions. The driving could be better and the range of vehicles isn't as good as it could be. To be honest the only thing keeping me playing it still is the fact I never want to give up on any game.

On tv.com, I pretty much took a week off apart from moderating my queue. It's got to the point when moderating subs that it's almost pointless rejecting if all you want is something changed – you might as well do it yourself. These days maybe one in ten I reject with the intention of them changing it and resubmitting the fixed version actually comes back into my queue.

With no blog last week it was a good job there was nothing new on TV! I've watched:

Entourage 'Stunted'. One of my favourite 30 minute shows has been getting a lot of bad press from what I've been reading but I've never disliked any of the characters, stories, or season arcs. This first episode was a bit weak but I'm still expecting big things from it.
'Just The Tip'. I didn't particularly find season one very good but with all the cable (?) shows they really do grow on me after a while. They always seem to come back with a great season two which is why I never give up on them.
'Season 6 episodes 1-4'. This is one show that I never watched religiously but didn't turn it over when it was on. I think I've probably seen all the episodes although not in the correct order. After such a break it came back pretty well with some solid episodes. The one based around the iPhone was very good and shows it can keep up with current animated shows.
'Over There, Parts 1 & 2'. Despite most people only having good things to say about the second season I thought it was hit and miss depending on how they approached each episode.
The IT Crowd
'The Final Countdown' and 'Something Happened'. It's improving as I had hoped but there's still something not quite right. Moss is not given enough screen time in any of the episodes which is a major disappointment.
Warehouse 13
'Time Will Tell'. It'd been so long since I'd seen the first season that I couldn't remember anything that happened or any of the character names. After only a few minutes though I remembered why I thought it was so good during the first season so I was happy.
'Founder's Day'. Eureka seems to be one of the few shows where they can go back in time, but it seems to flow naturally with the show rather than seem like it was either forced in or being completely out of context with the rest of a show's season.
'Season Two'. Very different to season one but no worse as it just took a different direction. I can see myself getting a bit fed up with it but the two brothers have great chemistry so I can forget about the odd duff episode.
The Boondocks
'Season Two' and 'Season 3 episodes 1-10'. By the time I'd caught up, it had become far more infuriating than it was funny. The voices just go right through me and some of the themes for each episode are just utter crap.

GoodTrue Blood 'It Hurts Me Too', In Plain Sight 'A Priest Walks Into A Bar', Royal Pains 'Mano A Mano', Leverage 'The Inside Job'.

IndifferentLeverage 'The Scheherazade Job' and 'The Double-Blind Job', Burn Notice 'Neighborhood Watch', Sons of Tucson 'Gina' and 'Dog Days of Tucson', Drop Dead Diva 'The Long Road to Napa' and 'Home Away From Home', The Secret Life of the American Teenager 'Goodbye, Amy Juergens' and 'Which Way Did She Go?'.

BadLie To Me 'React to Contact'.

My album for the day is Won't Go Quietly by Example.

My shuffle song for the day is 'Always Tonight' by Catherine Feeny.

My joke for today is: My friend got caught for shoplifting the other day. He wanted 6 cans of Sprite but picked 7up. :lol:

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Afternoon people! Thought I'd better try to post a Monday blog for a change…

On Sunday I played a tournament down by the beach at Hunstanton. By that I mean I played in a coastal town, it wasn't particularly near the beach. :P Last year there were eight teams but only six entered this year so it wasn't so demanding. It's probably the hottest weather I've ever played in but because it wasn't constant I didn't really notice the heat. Last year we came 7th so second to last but this year we had better female players so I had slightly more hope. When I saw the order of play I noticed that pretty much every match went up in order of difficulty. That was good as it meant we were able to ease into our matches which definitely worked in our favour. I've been having a few tough weeks as I've not been playing too well but yesterday seemed to be a bit of a turnaround as I had a great day. I won three out of five matches and the only two we lost were to the winners and runners up. We came third out of six so we were all pretty pleased with that!

We only played one set against each team as there was more than one person that wanted to be home by 3pm in time for the England game! It's a shame we cut the day short as nobody could've enjoyed that game very much. I missed the first half but watched the second half. It didn't take me long to realise we were putting on the perfect display of how not to play football. None of the goals should really have gone in but we were awful defensively. Lampard's disallowed goal just goes to show that football is behind the times because they have no modern day technology to help out. In this instance though we didn't really need any technology as it was blatantly obviously the ball was way over the line. At least now I can go back to my no football bubble and worry about it in two years time at the Euros…

In gaming, I've completed Rainbow Six Vegas 2 which ended up being an awesome game that built on the first game's flaws without changing things too dramatically. There were a couple of sections that required quite a lot of replaying but I didn't mind quite so much this time round. I love the fact that you can just take your time and think about your approach. There aren't many games where it's second nature to walk up to a door and look under it before entering. Having the two squad guys is a safety net that I definitely took for granted. Being able to send them in first means that dying is a lot less frequent than it could've been. Once you go it alone though the game definitely changes as you have to make sure you make as many silent kills as possible and progress is slow because dying could happen at any moment. There was a story in there somewhere but I didn't bother following it. Games like this don't really need a story as the game play speaks for itself.

On tv.com, I got a butt load of plagiarised summaries over the last few days. It doesn't surprise me any more and I'm fed up with rejecting them. I almost don't care about writing a comment but I know I have to…

As for TV, I've watched:

Fringe 'Northwest Passage'. After the disappointment (even more so than usual) of the musical episode I was shocked how much I enjoyed this one. I don't normally have any love for the show but this was good. Maybe it was because Olivia was barely in it or maybe because it was something different to usual but either way it was better. There was a reason this was the last of my Fall shows to catch up on but maybe not any more…
Party Down
'Constance Carmell Wedding'. It's such a shame that this show is most likely cancelled. After a dismal first season it really picked up in the second. Even if it does comes back it'll have a different cast as I'm sure I read most of them have signed up for other shows.
Criminal Minds
'The Internet Is Forever' and 'Our Darkest Hour'. Towards the end of the season it definitely got better but for a long time this season, I've just thought it was falling into the generic crime show genre which I've always thought this show had escaped. The finale was a lot less shocking than some of the ones before but it was still good.
The IT Crowd
'Jen the Fredo'. Very, very disappointing from a show that used to be quite good. It was too focused on Jen who is so not funny it makes me cry. Moss could single-handedly turn it round if he was given more screen time. Give me The Big Bang Theory any day…
The Boondocks
'Season Two'. More of the same from season one which means it was pretty average but had some good moments. Unlike other animated comedies it isn't funny for the majority of the time but comes out with some great one liners!

GoodFringe 'Northwest Passage', Sons of Tucson 'Father's Day', Royal Pains 'Medusa', Burn Notice 'Breach of Faith', Party Down 'Constance Carmell Wedding'.

IndifferentCriminal Minds 'The Internet Is Forever' and 'Our Darkest Hour'.

BadThe IT Crowd 'Jen the Fredo'.

My album for the day is Night Work by Scissor Sisters.

My shuffle song for the day is 'But It's Better If You Do' by Panic At The Disco.

My joke for today is (time for a change!): The History Channel+1. Where History repeats itself.

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Wimbledon 2010

Afternoon people! A big and busy week for me...

Yesterday was my annual trip to Wimbledon and as always it was a great day out. This year I went with someone different and we decided to drive down. Normally we take the train and then the Underground. We drove down to the outskirts of London and got one of the outer tube trains into the London. It wasn't too crowded until we changed trains when it got really busy! We were quite jammed in – very much like a sardine! :P We had already spent 40 minutes driving round looking for somewhere to park so we were running late. We got to Wimbledon around 12.30 so we had a quick wander round before heading to Court 1. I couldn't believe how good our seats were! We were only four rows up from the bottom so you could almost reach out and touch the players. Due to the Queen being there yesterday, all the good matches were on Centre Court but we still got to see Sharapova, Soderling, and Querrey and the people they were playing against.

Just before the last match started we had a quick wander around and we headed over to Court 18 in the hope of seeing some of Isner vs Mahut marathon. They had been updating the score on Court 1 so we knew it was still going on. We literally couldn't even get close to the court as there were people everywhere. A lot of people couldn't even see what was going on but they just wanted to be there for when it finally did finish. 70-68 is the most insane thing I've ever heard and I'd been watching the game all night on Wednesday just because I wanted to see the end but it never did! Neither could break serve and both seemed to be resigned to the fact that they were just playing to hold serve. As I write this Isner has just lost his second round first set 6-0 so he's clearly feeling the effects of the mammoth match!

Wednesday night I decided to update my iPhone to iOS 4 seeing as it looks to improve features that have been severely lacking. It took absolutely forever because I had to sync it as well so it took the best part of two hours to do it. Once done I couldn't get any signal on my phone for ages. I thought something had gone horribly wrong! It turns out the phone thought it was in airplane mode when it wasn't. The only way I found that out was when I went to try voicemail. Once turned on and then off again it seemed to work fine. There are not that many obvious changes apart from the use of wallpaper on the app menus.

Once you delve deeper though there are some neat changes – the best being able to group apps into folders. I'm now down to four screens of apps thanks to that! The only addition I can think of where I've actively been able to get rid of an app is the camera's zoom. I had downloaded an app to deal with that which I've now got no need for. The one negative is the loss of the home button double press which I had always relied on as my default way to access my camera. Having it only as the multi-task opener is a bit disappointing. Leaving all the apps running in the background also hasn't seen much benefit for me as it just means when I open apps it no longer auto refreshes because it is already running. Not much of a problem normally but it becomes annoying for Twitter.

In gaming, my time on Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 has been a lot more enjoyable that the first game. Whilst the controls are basically the same, I think I've gotten used to them at last. The graphics are far superior to the original which helps to be able to spot enemies from further away. Whilst I still prefer the Ghost Recon games but I love the tactical elements this one provides. Multiple entrances, scouting out the enemies before deciding on how to progress, and also having two fairly competent AI team mates helps a lot. The checkpoints are better spaced out as well. Even though you do have to repeat some rather large bits when dying, it's not half as bad as the original game. I think I'm well over halfway through the game now and even though in long sessions it can become a bit boring, it's one of the best tactical shooters there are out there. It's not as action packed as MW2 but I'm enjoying it just as much. If only because I know there won't be any rubbish driving sections!

On tv.com, this week's podcast talks about How I Met Your Mother and The IT Crowd. Both really funny shows from either side of the pond!

As for TV, I've watched some awesome TV in the last week or so despite the proper TV season being over for the summer!

Sons of Tucson 'The Debate Trip'. I really don't understand why this was cancelled. I always find it funny and the cast is pretty good. The kids are generally quite good (although not as good as The Middle or Modern Family) and Tyler Labine is brilliant in just about everything.
'Til Death 'Cold Case'. Thank god I can finally put this show to rest! This season has been completely screwed up with them showing seasons 3 and 4 in tandem. The final episode ever showed just how stupid it was as they ended on a season 3 episode! The fact the last episode aired wasn't even the end means it was almost pointless to watch it.
Ghost Whisperer 'Dead Ringer' and 'The Children's Parade'. I'm not sure how to feel about the end of GW. I used to think it was brilliant but the last season or two have been a bit dull. Jim being killed off and then brought back was strange, but the fact they never even mention it now seems even weirder! The 'shadows' and the 'shinies' they introduced this season just reeked of them running out of ideas for overarching storylines.
'The Jailhouse Job' and 'The Reunion Job'. The two episodes since its return has been great at filling the void left by Hustle.
'Brown Betty'. This singing episode was so completely pointless we were deciding after about fifteen minutes, whether or not we should bother carrying on!
The Tudors
'Death of a Monarchy'. Over the four seasons there have been some really great episodes but for the majority of it, I thought it was pretty boring. Henry Tudor's story was definitely the best one to pick though as so much happened during his reign. I believe it was fairly accurate so it was great to learn about it whilst I was watching. Seeing his fall from an all powerful leader to the man he was before he died was actually quite sad! The final episode was nothing special but it was very well made and not actually seeing him die was the best way. I was shocked that his daughter Mary is actually 'Bloody Mary' as she was portrayed as quite a nice girl in the show.
'A Deadly Game'. I was really annoyed that they didn't get together at the end. Two seasons in is about the right time to sort out any sexual tension between the main characters. With these two it's not like there's any reason they can't be together so just get on with it!!
Pure Pwnage
'Season One'. Having pretty much run out of shows to watch I decided to have a look at this which caught my eye. It's about a gamer and his friends who struggle to separate games with real life. FPS Doug is brilliant as in one episode he runs with a knife because it's 'quicker'! :lol: The main character is the (fictional) number one Starcraft player in the world and he's never lost. The episode where he loses to a n00b is so funny as he thinks he must also be a n00b as well, so begins a n00b lifest.yle! Seriously - if you love games then this really is a must watch.
Royal Pains
'Season One' and 'Season 2 episodes 1-4'. Having completely missed the first season as it aired and having never even heard of it, I was very surprised at how brilliant it is! The light hearted take on medical cases and the location make it one of my favourite shows now. The introduction of Henry Winkler in season two means it has just got even better! Seeing The Big Show in one of them was pretty strange but he didn't look out of place at all.

GoodSons of Tucson 'The Debate Trip', The Tudors 'Death of a Monarchy', Lie To Me 'The Whole Truth', In Plain Sight 'Witsec Stepmother', Leverage 'The Jailhouse Job' and 'The Reunion Job', Party Down 'Cole Landry's Draft Day Party'.

Indifferent Criminal Minds 'Exit Wounds', Ghost Whisperer 'Dead Ringer' and 'The Children's Parade', Castle 'A Deadly Game', The Secret Life of the American Teenager 'Get Out Of Town'.

Bad'Til Death 'Coupon Bob' and 'Cold Case', Fringe 'Brown Betty', True Blood 'Beautifully Broken'.

My album for the day is Time Flies 1994-2009 by Oasis.

My shuffle song for the day is 'Ruby' by The Kaiser Chiefs.

My thing to ponder for today is: If nobody buys a ticket to a movie do they still show it?

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Real Football

Afternoon people! Sit tight and read on, there's surely something for everyone today… :)

Can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I last blogged. Work has become so busy the last few days that I haven't had chance to stop and think. As well as that college is nearing the end of the year so it's been a mad rush to get all my assignments finished. I decided that any time I hat to write stuff down it had to be for college rather than a blog! Yesterday was potentially my last proper day there so now it's just typing up any loose ends. There's one more assignment left to do from scratch so that needs to be done – all the others will just be the odd correction I'm hoping. It'll be strange not going there any more! I didn't really want to go back but now it's coming to an end I will miss the group seeing as none of them will set foot in a college with such poor teaching again!

Last Friday I went to Nottingham Masters Tennis which was the legends version of the normal tournament. Having only ever been to Wimbledon before, this was a totally different experience. The court was in nowhere near the same condition and obviously the people playing weren't either! There were a couple of famous players there though – Richard Krajicek and his half sister Melissa, and Martini Hingis were there. Surprisingly Hingis lost to Melissa Krajicek 6-4 6-4. The highlight of the day was always going to be Mansour Bharami and he really was brilliant! He brought out all his tricks and mannerisms which have made him a legend in tennis despite not being overly successful. A lot of the tricks he performs take a hell of a lot of skill so it's not like he couldn't have done well. It's great to see though that someone loves a sport and entertaining the crowd so much that he'd wave a trophy filled career in order to entertain. He's probably done better than more successful players though as he's still in demand even at his age!

Suppose I'd better mention the World Cup whilst I'm here. These days I'm not a massive football fan like I was in the past but the World Cup is a different ball game (excuse the pun)! I watched the England game last week and surprised some of my newer friends with my post match analysis as since I've known them I haven't been into football. I haven't really watched any others apart from Argentina yesterday which was a good game. Tonight is England's next match so a win is desperately needed and against Algeria we bloody should do!!

In gaming, I've got a lot to catch up on! I finished Gears of War 2 which has turned out to be one of my favourite games I've played this year. It was the perfect length with a great cover and shooting system, storyline, and environments. My only negative is the insanely abrupt ending. One minute you're just harmlessly riding on the back of a monster and the next it's transformed into an end of game boss that I never saw coming!

I was able to get hold of the two Rainbow Six: Vegas games off one of my friends so I thought I'd give them a go. The first game I'd got as a free rental a couple of years ago but got stuck almost at the very beginning. This time round I was able to get past that and complete the first stage of the game. My problem is the very archaic controls as after playing GoW2 and MW2, using the right stick click to aim just doesn't feel natural. Using LT to stick to cover does work though as you're only in cover whilst holding it so it allows for free flowing movement at the expense of being able to aim easily. My other complaint is the lack of checkpoints. This is the kind of game which rewards sitting back and planning your movement carefully. Not rushing in means it often takes 15/20 minutes to get from one side of an area to another. On more than one occasion I died after really taking my time only to have to do the whole thing over again. This doesn't sit well with me as I only get a couple of hours to play a week so I'm not spending my time repeating sections. Because of that I'm giving up on such an old game and moving onto the second game which I'd hoped would fix some of my problems with the first one. So far it has done but more on that Monday (or Friday)…

On tv.com, I finally had to make the effort to update a few of my guides. I hadn't realised a couple of them are airing again so they needed some love. I might even have got myself a whole percent! This week's podcast is about Accidentally On Purpose and Supernatural.

As for TV, I've watched:

Chuck 'Chuck Versus the Ring: Part 2'. The end of Chuck seems so long ago now but it was a great finale. It sure did look like a series finale but thankfully it's coming back for another season!
'Help Me'. I thought this season on a whole was pretty disappointing but this finale was brilliant. I love this out of the norm episodes where they do something different.
'Funk' and 'Journey'. 'Funk' was ok although not my favourite. The season finale though was a near perfect episode which I could not fault at all. The songs were good, the fact they didn't win made it more believable and they even sang their original song which was just the icing on the cake!
Lie To Me
'Beat The Devil' and 'Sweet Sixteen'. It was about flippin' time that this came back. I'm hoping the break has done it good as I thought it was getting a bit stale last year. The problem is it doesn't really have a funny side to it like The Mentalist and Castle so it was a tad boring.
The Secret Life of the American Teenager
'Do Over' and 'Accentuate the Positive'. It's time for my 'marmite' show again. By that I mean sometimes I love it but quite often I just hate it so much. The first two so far have been pretty good so I'll let it off for now.
Breaking Bad
'Half Measures' and 'Full Measure'. Not a bad end to a dull show I guess. Some people just love this so much because of the great acting and writing, but to me that just means it's quite boring ie Mad Men!
Drop Dead Diva
'Would I Lie To You?' and 'Back From The Dead'. So many shows coming and going I'm finding it hard to keep track! Diva was definitely a show for my mum, but for me it is something really good to have on in the background. I do like the cast which in this type of show always helps as the rest of it isn't brilliant.
True Blood
'Bad Blood'. Like Breaking Bad I could never quite see the appeal of this show, apart from its attractive cast and being about vampires. This season three opener though was pretty damn good. I had no idea what was going on at all but I still enjoyed it all the same!
'Season One'. I only decided to watch this because someone lent me the season one DVDs. I knew it was good but I scrapped it off as having too many episodes to be worth bothering to catch up. Season one seemed to be mainly made up of standalone episodes with each one based on a horror movie storyline clichés. Not to say they were bad as most of them were pulled off brilliantly. I'm hoping once they run out of movie plots to follow the show will take on a new direction and improve even more.
'Season One'. I'd heard so many good things about this that I thought it was worth a try. I loved the first episode which was so good. The accents are good, the storylines are solid and the actors are all fairly respectable.
Park 'Season 14 episodes 1-7'. I finally got to the end of what is now my favourite animated comedy. The Facebook episode was just one of the best things I've seen in a long time. It was so true and to even think there's people on there with no friends if just sad! :P
The Boondocks
'Season One'. After finishing South Park this was the next logical step. A show I edit, just come back for a third season, and pushes the boundaries as well. It's not even in the same league as South Park and despite it's supposed to be it does seem quite racist. It is funny at times but most of the episodes I just tolerate rather than enjoy.

GoodHouse 'Help Me', Lie To Me 'Beat The Devil' and 'Sweet Sixteen', Chuck 'Chuck Versus the Ring: Part 2', The Secret Life of the American Teenager 'Do Over' and 'Accentuate the Positive', True Blood 'Bad Blood', Glee 'Funk' and 'Journey'.

IndifferentCastle 'Food to Die For' and 'Overkill', Criminal Minds 'The Fight', 'Rite of Passage', and '...A Thousand Words', Party Down 'Party Down Company Picnic' and 'Joel Munt's Big Deal Party', Sons of Tucson 'Chicken Pox', In Plain Sight 'Her Days Are Numbered' and 'The Born Identity', Fringe 'The Man from the Other Side', Burn Notice 'Fast Friends' and 'Made Man', Drop Dead Diva 'Would I Lie To You?' and 'Back From The Dead'.

BadGhost Whisperer 'Lethal Combination', The Tudors 'As It Should Be' and 'Secrets of the Heart', 'Til Death 'The Joy of Learning'.

My album for the day is Glee: The Music: Journey To Regionals by Glee Cast.

My shuffle song for the day is 'I Thought It Was Over' by The Feeling.

My thing to ponder for today is: Why is it that everyone driving faster than you is considered an idiot and everyone driving slower than you is a moron?

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Time Off

Afternoon people! I'm still here, just had a week off… :)

Having had no time off since the few days at Christmas (and before that around August time!) it was about time I had a break. I didn't get up to a lot really. Last Monday was my birthday and normally I don't do anything but this year I had a tennis tournament. It was a nice day for tennis and we won 3 lost 3 so I was fairly happy. I didn't really get a lot for my birthday this year. I seem to get less and less each year because I really just don't need anything! Whenever I want something I just go out and buy it. We had some friends over on the Sunday as my birthday was a bit busy which was nice.

The rest of the week was pretty quiet. I had thought that after Tuesday I had no tennis whatsoever but I ended up playing everyday! Tuesday we got our first win of the season which was a long time coming. With only two matches left we really need to win both in order to have a chance at staying up! So far it's really depended on my partner as the two matches I've done reasonably well in I've had a different partner to usual so thankfully she can play this week!

As for real tennis the French Open has come to and end after an interesting two weeks. Federer went out early to Soderling which to some extent was no surprise. When Soderling is on top form there isn't a lot that can slow him down! It's a shame he broke Fed's semi final streak and also stopped him a week shy of Sampras' weeks at no.1 record. The problem he seems to have is that he doesn't really win any other tournaments any more. Federer has more Grand Slams to his name at present but because Nadal wins all the Masters tournaments as well so amasses more points. The women's draw was just as interesting with the big seeds going out early. Serena Williams vs Sam Stosur was an incredible match and I've not enjoyed a women's match so much for a long time. I didn't get to see the final as I was playing in Scunthorpe but would've been pleased whoever won that match.

In gaming, I finished off what I wanted to do on Batman: Arkham Asylum. I wasn't getting much satisfaction from finding the hidden riddles so I worked my way up to the next progress achievement and stopped there. I'm pretty happy with finding 70% of them. Overall it's one of the best games I've played in a long time.

As I had plenty of time off this week I was planning on starting Fallout 3 but I just wasn't up for starting a massive game just yet. Summertime isn't a good time for me to start such an engrossing game. Instead I decided to start Gears of War 2. After I really didn't like the first game I wasn't in any rush to start the second. I wanted to play it though, as it continues the story and the first one wasn't awful – it's just not my kind of shooter. Remembering how hard the first game was I decided to pick an easier difficulty and I'm glad I did. They seem to have made a lot of improvements since the first game and I can now happily say this game is awesome! Shooting feels pretty satisfying and having a pretty competent squad is always nice. The cutscenes and characters are excellent and really help to tell an enthralling story that I've really got into. There's a couple of nice sections reminiscent of games like Bioshock and Batman: AA with a voice coming through the speakers of a rundown building.

It's not without its faults though as the driving and on rails sections are far below the standard of the rest of the game. The vehicle bit just seems to be tacked in and not really needed as the game doesn't exactly get dull. The on rails bits are just frustrating because unlike the rest of the game with its very generous checkpoints, these ones seem to be less forgiving. The only other negative seems to be that it doesn't really encourage the use of other weapons apart from the one you start off with. Apart from these minor problems I can't fault this sequel. It's very linear and not overly long but that's not a problem with me.

On tv.com, the latest podcast discusses Fringe and my own request – Burn Notice. There wasn't a lot of love for the latter which I can see why but I think it's quite good. Not a lot else has been going on really. Became editor of Eastenders again after Tom decided he didn't have the time for it. I now need someone else to take it on if they want it? I barely even care about my own guides any more so such a demanding show is not top of my list of things to do.

As for TV, I've watched lots of season finales so need to mention as many as possible!

24 'Day 8: 2:00P.M. - 3:00P.M.' and 'Day 8: 3:00P.M. - 4:00P.M.' Whilst it was not a particularly interesting send off for the world's greatest agent, it was fitting I suppose. For the film I'd love to see them forget about everything that's happened and make it standalone. That way they could bring back familiar faces that we love but have been killed off over the years. If the film features the current/brand new cast then I couldn't care less.
'Future Shock'. Even though it ended on a major cliffhanger, I actually thought the final episode was really good. It's just a shame out of 23 episodes I can count on one hand how many of them were actually good.
'Dream On' and 'Theatricality'. I was really looking forward to the NPH episode and as I'd already heard the songs from it I couldn't wait! Thankfully it didn't disappoint. The Gaga episode was not so good. It seems they learnt from the awful Madonna episode as they didn't just stick to her songs. One thing that really annoyed me was the song Rachel sang with her mother. She said it was her dream to sing with her mother and I doubt she really had 'Pokerface' in mind when she pictured it...
Modern Family
'Family Portrait'. Despite not really enjoying this when it started I've grown to love it a lot over the course of the season. The camera view really annoys me as I prefer the more clean cut/professional look but it's just so funny that I no longer care.
10 Things I Hate About You
'Revolution'. It's a shame it won't be coming back but I'm sure another show will just show up in its place anyway.
Family Guy
'The Splendid Source'. A silly episode to end the season on I thought. I've already seen the Star Wars one so I suppose that would've been a better way to end the season if I watched it now.
The Middle
'Average Rules'. Definitely my favourite new comedy! It's surprisingly underrated most likely because of its generic format but it's actually really funny!
The Cleveland Show
'You're the Best Man, Cleveland Brown!' I have a very love/hate relationship seeing as there are a number of good episodes and a load of bad ones!
The Simpsons
'Judge Me Tender'. I thought The Simpsons finally got back to its best this season. The final few episodes were particularly good. I never thought I'd see the day where it is better than Family Guy but it's definitely there now. Being able to say that after 20 years of episodes is an awesome achievement!
Park 'Season Twelve' and 'Season Thirteen'. Almost there! Season thirteen was especially good after I thought twelve was a bit boring. It wasn't bad I just didn't think it had too many standout episodes.

GoodThe Big Bang Theory 'The Lunar Excitation', The Simpsons 'Judge Me Tender', The Middle 'Average Rules', Glee 'Bad Reputation' and 'Laryngitis', FlashForward 'Future Shock', 24 'Day 8: 3:00P.M. - 4:00P.M.', Chuck 'Chuck Versus the Living Dead' and 'Chuck Versus the Subway', Glee 'Dream On', Rules of Engagement 'They Do?'

IndifferentThe Cleveland Show 'You're the Best Man, Cleveland Brown!', 10 Things I Hate About You 'Revolution', Modern Family 'Family Portrait', House 'Baggage', Breaking Bad 'Abiquiu', How I Met Your Mother 'Doppelgangers', Two and a Half Men 'This Is Not Gonna End Well', Glee 'Theatricality', The Mentalist 'Red Sky in the Morning', Burn Notice 'Friends and Enemies'.

Bad 'Til Death 'Let's Go' and 'The Baby', 24 'Day 8: 2:00P.M. - 3:00P.M.', In Plain Sight 'Death Becomes Her', Family Guy 'The Splendid Source'.

My album for the day is Breakout by Miley Cyrus.

My shuffle song for the day is 'Raise The Dead' by Phantom Planet.

My thing to ponder for today is: If one man says, 'it was an uphill battle', and another says, 'it went downhill from there', how could they both be having troubles?

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