Little Empire, part 1

Yesterday, my good friend James Frost and I began rewriting portions of the classic sci-fi film Star Wars in a Little Britain style. Here’s an excerpt. James wrote this bit:

OWEN: What I really need is a droid that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.

JAWA: Oh, I can’t see anything here. One moment – Margaret’ll know. MARGARET! MARGARET!

*pause*

MARGARET: YES!

JAWA: Have we got any droids that are fluent in the binary language?

OWEN: Of moisture vaporators.

JAWA: OF MOISTURE VAPORATORS?

*pause*

MARGARET: I think we do have one – it should be out the front there – a red and white, R5 droid.

JAWA: (looks to one side) Oh yes, here we go! An R5 droid that’s fluent in binary, and oh – how funny – his last job was on moisture vaporators!

OWEN: May I have a look?

JAWA: Yes, go ahead.

*pause*

JAWA: Well?

OWEN: I was hoping for a robot with a slightly more domed head.

JAWA: Oh, er… one moment. MARGARET! MARGARET!!

*pause*

MARGARET: YES?

JAWA: Have we got any robots that are fluent in the binary language of moisture vaporators but that have a slightly more domed head than this R5 unit?

MARGARET: I think we do, yes – there’s an R2 unit down there!

JAWA: Oh yes, here we go – and he *does* have a more domed head than the other one.

*pause*

OWEN: Did I mention that he should have dot matrix printer built into his face?

JAWA: I’m sorry, but this one doesn’t have a dot matrix printer built into his face.

OWEN: Oh… is there anywhere in the local area that specialises in droids with domed heads that are fluent in the binary language of moisture vaporators and have dot matrix printers built into their faces?

JAWA: I don’t think there are any in the local area, no.

OWEN: Oh, ok. I’ll wait.

It’s just not Cricket!

I’ve just read the following distressing news on the BBC News website:

Live coverage of England’s home Test matches will no longer be available on terrestrial TV from 2006 onwards.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has awarded an exclusive four-year contract to BSkyB, which will run until 2009.

Highlights of each day’s play in the Test matches will, however, be screened on Five, which replaces Channel 4 as cricket’s sole terrestrial broadcaster.

The BBC has retained the exclusive rights for radio coverage of home Tests and one-day internationals.

I agree whole-heartedly with former England captain, Alex Stewart, when he said

“Young girls and boys should be able to see cricket without having to pay for it.

“The ECB have to look at the whole picture. They may be getting a big cheque but long-term, English cricket will suffer.”

There is nothing I like better than sitting in front of my PC during a test-match, with my portable 14″ TV tuned in to Channel 4, to my left, enjoying the progress of the match through the day while getting on with umpteen other things (you can’t do that so easily watching rugby, now can you?!). Greed! that’s what it is. Bah!

Cellardyke — I’ve finally visited!

Well, today I finally visited the house that Jane and I have bought, in Cellardyke, Fife. And now I’m excited about it. It was hard to get excited about a property that I hadn’t spent any time in (discounting the 30 minutes we spent there in June, looking around before deciding to buy the place).

Today was a hands-on day: I ripped out a cupboard in the living room, fitted a new lock to the front door (the old one had half a key stuck inside!), and cleaned the kitchen (an industrial cleaning task that took most of the day); Jane, her Mum and Dad painted. Everything. Including me! They painted two bedrooms, a hallway, a stairwell and most of the upstairs’ ceilings. A good job, well done. And amazingly, with such a generous slapping of white paint on any available surface we still have some left in the giant tub (a B&Q bargain, if ever there was one!).

Once the parents(-in-law) left Jane and I just pottered around, got paint on ourselves, and began to get a feel for the place, measuring rooms for carpets (I got to use my new sonic measuring toy, er… tool!), discussing furniture (with an open Ikea catalogue and measuring tapes in hand) and putting the pile of free, local newspapers to good use making to-scale plans of a kingsize bed and dining room table. It gave us a good sense of how much space there would be, or not, in the rooms. And how much money we’d have left. It’s not a cheap business furnishing a house. It’s almost worth considering getting married again!

I’m itching to get back there now and get on with the job. I’m not good at long drawn-out projects, I like to get stuff done NOW. “Never leave a job half-done,” my grandmother used to tell me. I don’t think I’ll get back there before Christmas now, but it felt like a good start.

Now, does anyone know how to fit skirting board?…

Dimebag murdered shocker!

'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott

I still can hardly believe it: ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott, the former guitarist with Pantera, and then Damageplan was murdered on Wednesday evening, shot dead at a Damageplan gig in the USA.

A gunman opened fire on a rock band and crowd during a concert at a nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday, killing five people and injuring two.

Among the dead was Darrell Abbott, guitarist with metal band Damageplan, formed from Grammy-nominated group Pantera, who had just begun their set.

Police said the man got on stage, shot Abbott several times at point-blank range and fired at other band members.

He then turned on the crowd before being shot dead by police.

Source: BBC News website

FOR NO REASON!! Such a waste. Such a talent, and an amazing, amazing guitar player, who also endorsed Digitech guitar pedals (my favourite!). Why do they allow people to carry guns in the US?! Why?!!

My heart goes out to Vinnie Paul, his brother and drummer in the band, and to his friends and relatives.

The Damageplan site has a very simple tribute. The Anthrax site had a great tribute to him from Charlie and Scott, both still reeling from the news. As did the Metallica site, with a message from Lars. Dave Mustaine had a message on his Megadeth forum.