I had to smile this morning, when I received an email from Sony: their regular newsletter detailing all their latest offerings, designed to tempt me to part with my hard-earned. Pictures of their latest TVs; Home Cinema systems; Speakers; Headphones; Cameras and Smartphones. It was this last item that made me smile… or rather, wince.
“… enjoy films on your smartphone, the way they were meant to be seen.”
Meant to be seen?
On a tiny, likkle 6.5 inch smartphone screen, rather than on a bloody great ginormous screen at the cinema?
I don’t think so, somehow, Sony.
But, I also had to smile yesterday, when I found myself following a little silver Corsa up the M1, during my morning commute. As we were stationary for quite a while – as is always the case with the M1 on a weekday morning – I was able to read what was written on the back of the car.
This wasn’t scribbled on a piece of card and placed on the parcel shelf; it was (or at least, looked like it had been) done professionally.
If you are going to pay a professional to sign-write your car with rubbish sayings, you’d like to think they could spell!
I know why: my balls were much too heavy last night.
I should have used lighter ones.
But, that’s the trouble I have with bowling balls: only the really heavy ones have holes big enough for my fat fingers.
One ball – with particularly capacious finger holes – reminded me of an old girlfriend… but, that’s another story.
So yes, we went ten-pin bowling last night – a family outing for Amelia’s birthday. I won. Of course. Me and my big heavy balls.
A good start to the weekend.
And this morning, I have been up to Bletchley Park again, where I had a very pleasant wander round. I went with a colleague from work and I pretty much acted as an unofficial tour guide for him. He certainly seemed happy enough with my commentary. Hopefully, I got my facts right.
The most enjoyable bit for me, though, was visiting the National Radio Centre and explaining to him – a fairly non-technical person – how radio works. He was fascinated by it all and I think he thoroughly enjoyed the visit. We both did.
Tonight will be spent with pizza and a couple of beers in front of the telly, where we will re-watch Infinity Wars from the Marvel canon, in readiness for Endgame, which will be out soon. But not soon enough. I can’t wait.
And Sunday? Well, I’m not sure whether to start on my next project, or whether I should try sorting the garage out.
Now, I know what I should be doing, but… well, you know.
In an effort to claw back some of the quality ‘together’ time that we have lost over the years (thanks to the kids) last night, the current Mrs Masher and I locked them in a cupboard and went out to see a show.
It’s been quite a while since we went to the theatre together, and so we decided to make a night of it and booked into a hotel as well.
Rather than pay a small fortune to see a show in the West End, we instead paid a small fortune to see one in Aylesbury.
Our accommodation was at a Wetherspoons pub, which doubled up as a hotel and whilst the pub was a little bit tired and old-looking, I’m pleased to say that our room was clean, modern and comfortable.
We thought it prudent to have something to eat and drink, before we ventured over to the theatre, which was just a few minutes walk away. I went for ham, egg and chips – you can’t go wrong with that – while Mrs M opted for scampi.
The show we went to see was called The Comedy About A Bank Robbery and it was a fast-paced, gag-packed show full of slapstick. Made by the same people that did the critically-acclaimed The Play That Goes Wrong, I was suspicious when the stage-manager walked on halfway through and declared that something had indeed gone wrong and that there would be a short hiatus whilst they sorted it out.
From our seating position – right in the middle of row F – we had an excellent view of the stage and whilst I could see some activity going on behind the set, there didn’t seem to be too much going on. After about five mins, the play resumed. I think there had been a problem with one of the props and they had to hurriedly change the way the scene played out. Of course, not knowing what was supposed to happen, it didn’t make much difference to us in the audience.
It was a fun show though and at the end, the cast all donned red noses, as it was Comic Relief night, and then fleeced another fiver out of me.
I was looking forward to getting back to the hotel at the end of the night – not just because of the adult shenanigans that were on the cards, but because I was genuinely quite tired. Mrs M kept complaining she was really hungry and, upon sighting one of those food vans in the street, she rushed over and ordered herself a hot-dog, which she scoffed down, ravenously.
We had a couple of drinks before heading up to the room.
Mrs M lay on the bed. “I don’t feel too good” she said.
Before I could finish, she legged it to the bathroom and barfed her dinner into the toilet.
A few minutes later she wandered back in. “You OK?”, I asked. She certainly didn’t look OK.
“No, I feel fucking awful”, she said, before turning round and heading straight back to the barfroom for another chat with Phil and Hughie on the great white telephone.
And then, a bit later, the sluice gate at the other end opened up.
And that’s how it it was for much of the night: her getting up every half-hour to go to the loo and me trying to not listen to the eruptions emanating from the bathroom.
Neither of us got much sleep… but certainly not for the reasons we’d intended.
It finished and as I pushed the button on the remote to exit the streaming service, the TV reverted back onto BBC 2, where the ridiculously difficult quiz programme Only Connect – hosted by the ridiculously wonderful Victoria Coren Mitchell – was playing out it’s final half.
Too lazy to go channel surfing, we sat and watched it through to the end – attempting to answer questions as we went along.
I think I managed to successfully answer just one question… and that was a guess.
When that programme finished, it was immediately followed by that stalwart of British quiz shows: University Challenge.
Still being too lazy to do anything else, we watched some of that too.
This time, I managed to get two answers correct.
We watched just the first half, before Mrs M claimed she’d had enough and went into the kitchen to do the washing up.
Sometimes, you don’t have to be smart… just patient.
Once again, it was a huge success, taking the blogosphere – and the internet in general – by storm.
It was crazy.
Anyway, I’d like to thank our French and Welsh correspondents (happy St David’s Day, Bren), who regularly join me on this little self-imposed blogging challenge and I’d also like to thank you, my reader; my wife and family for supporting me throughout the month and… anyone else that knows me.
Usually, we’ll meet several times a week, over in the woods and we’ll stand and chat for a while, whilst our respective pooches chase each other round and around the trees.
Until they are knackered.
The pooches, not Kevin and Mike.
And then we go home.
To our own, not to each others.
There are other dogger types that I sometimes meet up with, but I don’t know their names.
But I know their dog’s names.
And so, when I get home, I’ll sometimes mention to Mrs M that I bumped into “Sacha’s mum” or that I was “…talking to Monty’s dad”.
It’s a strange – but friendly – world, when you have a dog.
I was somewhat surprised that she didn’t know, but then realised that this was such an old, outdated technology, that it was very likely she would never have seen one before, never mind actually used one. I explained what it was/is and she went away… probably not much the wiser.
But it got me to thinking about methods of communication.
In the early eighties, I spent a month travelling in California and I wanted to let my parents know that all was well. It was expensive to make international calls back then and sending a letter could take several weeks. So, I sent a Telegram.
Yes: a telegram. Remember them? I think I still have it, somewhere.
But, of course, telegrams were phased out a few years back and can no longer be sent.
And what about the humble letter? No-one sits down and writes actual letters anymore, do they? The speed and convenience of email saw to that.
But even email is being pushed out of favour, as the immediate accessibility of today’s Twitters and Instafaces persuades people to communicate so much more with each other.
But also actually saying so much less.
I recently saw a film called Io, advertised on Netflix. Being one of the two moons of Jupiter that it has been suggested could support life (Europa being the other, of course), my ears pricked up immediately and so I read the synopsis and thought it worth a shot. So, Mrs Masher and I sat down with a beer and pizza in the week, and we watched it.
It was absolute rubbish.
Nothing to do with Io at all! It was about a young woman who stayed behind on a dying earth whilst everyone else buggered off to colonise the titular Jovian satellite. It was tediously slow and had a rubbish ending that left more questions than answers. If you get a chance to catch this on Netflix, I can highly recommend… that you don’t bother.
Similarly, we have just finished watching The First. This was an 8-parter shown on Channel 4 last year and has been sitting on the TiVo, just waiting for the right time to watch it. Billed as the story about the first manned mission to Mars, I had high hopes that it would be an enjoyable series with lots of serious sci-fi in it.
It too was rubbish.
It was actually more about the personal problems of the crew in the build up to the launch, rather than any actual science. The actual launch happened in the last episode and we see them starting on their journey… and then it ends. Nothing about the danger and drama of actually landing on Mars and what they might find and how will they get back. None of that.
It was just Sean Penn showing off his muscles whilst he deals with his messed up daughter.
And what was the bit with the telephone guy? I didn’t get that at all.
There you go: I watch this rubbish so that you don’t have to!