Archive | June 2013

I want a VW camper van

Look at them. They are just the absolute best things ever. I have a new goal in life.

Jess and I were sat watching TV the other night when we started talking about taking a year out of life to go travel all around Europe, knocking out a lot of the places we want to go in one trip.

Then I got thinking about how confusing and expensive all the B&Bs and hotels were going to be once they totted up.

Then we looked at actual tourist trips around Europe, but they are really restrictive and just sort of shoehorn you round each city in a day.

Then I went on my phone and started looking at these.

Every time I see one of these go by, which isn’t that often, it makes me happy. It’s just such a cool thing to drive, I don’t know how else to describe it other than the best idea anyone ever had.

I mean, we could take it to Leeds fest, take it on holidays anywhere across the Channel, take Jess camping in relative comfort, it just makes a lot of things a lot easier.





And really, who doesn’t want to drive with that steering wheel and those gears? It just looks like it would be totally hilarious.

That interior is probably my favourite that I’ve come across too. I also saw one with a little ladder up to the roof box but I think that was a taller model.

These last two pictures are the two colours I would most like to have it in. I was all set on that blue one until I saw the red.

There are a couple of drawbacks, I will admit. I’m not so blinded by the perfection of the thing to know it might not be the most practical everyday car, and if we have one of these we won’t be able to keep another on the road.

I also know that a mechanically sound VW with a nice interior can go from anywhere between £11,000 and £25,000, so cost may be another issue.

But it’s so pretty and shiny and fun. It shall always be a pipe dream of mine, and maybe one day in twenty years or so I’ll finally own one, take a year out of work and just go for it.

Could just buy one now, do we really need a house? We’re students. I’m sure Jess will understand.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack


My dream theatre

I had a brand new dream this week, unlike almost any other I’ve had. So you have to hear about it unfortunately.

I was playing for Manchester United. Most of my dreams start off with some kind of highlight of me scoring some brilliant goal to win the World Cup or something, but that’s from the view of someone watching.

This time I was actually me, first person view in the Old Trafford dressing room. Only it wasn’t the actual dressing room, more like my sixth form common room.

As I walked out I could see Jess and a couple of friends sat up in the stands, and I spoke to them for a little bit despite everyone cheering.

After that I was sauntering around smirking at people before kick off, which surprised me because the last and only other dream of this type involved me playing absolutely awfully at the Nou Camp.

Like really bad, I was at my usual standard playing for Barcelona, who were all stupidly amazing.

But for some reason I was brilliant this time. I think we were playing City and I was up front, obviously.

Then I’m sure I had a full 90 minute dream of the whole match. It was really weird, and then of course I scored twice and we won hooray.

I was sort of Berbatov levels of languid, but somehow Ronaldo fast. No idea who the other players were, whether they were friends or actual other players who knows.

Not sure why I bothered writing this down, but I tend to forget most of my dreams. I’ve been up an hour and already forgot the one I had last night. Shame, I remember it being good as well.

I’ll try and get them down when I can, be good to have a reminder of them if nothing else.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

The Merry-go-round 2

Afternoon all.

Second lot of transfer shenanigans for everyone. Over the last couple of days I’ve heard stories of Baines to United and David Villa to Spurs, but I’ve gone for a couple of smaller but potentially useful deals.

Having said that, I started with one of the good old sagas that no window could go without.

Luis Suarez; Liverpool – Real Madrid.

If he goes, good riddance. I am one of the anti-Suarez brigade, I have to say.

Suarez has cost Liverpool more than he has helped. He’s missed something stupid like 25 games for Liverpool and Ajax due to lengthy bans.

For all his stupidity, everyone who hates Suarez like I do will have to accept that he is a ridiculously good player though, saying otherwise is idiotic.

The question I ask is whether he is worth the baggage, and when he was suspended towards the end of last season it became obvious that Liverpool don’t need him if they play Daniel Sturridge through the middle.

Sell Suarez, buy a couple of top quality replacements, something they’re already doing, and Liverpool could be back in the Champions League places.

Yohan Cabaye; Newcastle – Newcastle.

Best piece of business Newcastle can do this season is keep hold of Cabaye.

He’s been integral to the import of hundreds of French players to St James’, not the mention the fact that he is without a doubt their best midfielder.

Put Ben Arfa in the same crucial bracket for Newcastle, without those two they could be in even more trouble this year, especially with the clown Kinnear back on board.

A striker and a centre back probably needed, but equally important to keep the key players from the last couple of seasons.

Cabaye is a devastating passer when he’s given the opportunity, and can also hit some decent long rangers, particularly free kicks.

Callum McManaman; Wigan – Everton.

As much as everyone loves to hate McManaman for that tackle, he tore Man City apart in the FA Cup final.

Making Gael Clichy look like Per Mertesacker in the pace department, McManaman proved a key part of a massive cup upset, and with Wigan now playing in the Championship he must be attracting some suitors.

Pace, skill, the ability to play on either flank and be equally as effective, he would be a great foil for the likes of Jelavic and Fellaini for Everton.

While he does look like he has a somewhat petulant nature at times, he does have youth on his side and a cool head like Roberto Martinez could continue to work wonders with him.

Speaking of Martinez Everton also have the ex-manager factor going their way, as well as the player being a Mersey lad. Hope to see him back in the Prem next season.

Nani; Man Utd – Arsenal. £8.5m

It seems inevitable he will be leaving over the summer, which I think would be a huge shame.

I am a fan of Nani, on his day he is as unplayable as anyone. Don’t even get me started on that Madrid red card.

Only thing is his day doesn’t come around as often as we United fans would like. With Arshavin out the door and the likes of Valencia, Young and even Giggs or Kagawa to compete with at Old Trafford, Nani might fare better out on the Gunners’ wing.

Frankly I think the £8.5m fee floating around is a bargain, and he would give Arsenal some proper width on the left, rather than having Podolski play out there.

The Wishlist! Filipe Luis; Atletico Madrid – Everton

The second of my wishlist picks is not about Man United, but it is dependant on them.

Assuming that these Leighton Baines to United rumours are true Everton will be after a new left back to fill a huge hole in the defence.

Filipe Luis is a very able replacement. I have seen quite a lot of him, Atletico being my favourite Spainsh team, and I’d love to have him in the Premiership.

He can defend, a good quality in a defender, but he can always make chances down the left hand side. Hes also not bad at a set piece, although he rarely gets to show this with Falcao and Diego ahead of him in the queue.

If they could get him for less than the Baines fee it would be a great piece of business for Martinez.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Week’s activities

Another possible regular thing, but mainly just a post I can do on my phone without pictures.

This last week let’s see, I shall have to travel back to last Wednesday.

Wednesday I went to see Man of Steel with Alex, it was okay but neither of us had any huge expectations for it so we weren’t disappointed by it at least.

Thursday I’m sure was when I went into town to meet Dan, ended up meeting Dean and Luke and Liam and then Dan. We went to play pool at then to Spoons.

Friday was the first night over here at the dogsitting house aka Jess’ nana’s house. Introduced to the whippets. (Not really whippets.)

Saturday we went to Wigton carnival, was my first Wigton carnival and the rain managed to just about hold off. Also had a really nice ham and cheese toastie.

Sunday I think was the day I played tennis and got my match with Alex to two sets all. Exciting.

Monday we took the dogs to Dalston for a little walk and we finished off the takeaways we got on Saturday.

Tuesday is now, we are off to the pub quiz in a bit and I had another nice sandwich.

Right now I’ve been listening to commentators totally over-hype Laura Robson because she won a match, and Jess is watching Pride and Prejudice.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

The Merry-go-round 1

Right, regular updates. Going straight in with an idea I had seconds after publishing my plea for help.

Every week, let’s make it early evening time on a Friday or Saturday I’ll have a run through a few of the transfers going around the English Premier League in the previous seven days, some that have been wrapped up, some at the accepted offers stage and some interesting rumours going around. Maybe even a personal transfer wish that probably will never make it to reality, but will make my posts a bit different from all the others.

Getting right into it:

Gonzalo Higuain; Real Madrid – Arsenal. £22m

Another centre forward supposedly coming to Arsenal.

Looks like Arsene is doing the right thing in trying to bring in big money names, but it seems as though they have enough through the middle.

Lukas Podolski is a centre forward and should be given a chance next season there. Olivier Giroud scored a lot of goals for his limited game time, and Theo Walcott seems to mope and twine when he doesn’t get to be a striker.

Higuain is a quality player and may well get 25-30 goals a season if he plays regularly, but the strikers already at the club will be concerned about their own future if he signs.

Arsenal don’t have many worries up top or on the wings, perhaps a solid defensive midfielder a la Vieira required. Much strengthening needed at the back though.

Pepe Reina or Rafael Varane would be better targets for Arsenal in my opinion.

Thiago Alcantara; Barcelona – Man Utd. $18m

Agents are meeting, United have allegedly met Thiago’s buy-out clause, a deal is close to being done, and Thiago might be announced as a Manchester United player by the time this post goes live.

I’m not sure if he is the answer to United’s central midfield needs, but he’s skilful and has played for the best club team in the world. Plus, he’s only 22, so could be a good bet to give that area of the pitch some creativity that was lacking last season.

Barca failed to fulfil the requirements that would raise his buy-out clause to $90m, so $18m could be a bargain for an obviously talented player.

I still think putting Kagawa in a more central role would cure the need to hunt out a quality playmaker, but having a Barca graduate couldn’t hurt.

David de Gea wrote a little ‘Welcome to Manchester’ message on the midfielder’s matchball after his hattrick in the European U21s, so the deal might have been close for a while now.

Fernandinho; Shakhtar Donetsk – Man City. £30m DONE DEAL

Quick mention of City’s first mark of intent for the coming season, signing Fernandinho for a massive amount of money.

First thought, a man who has only played in the Brazilian and Ukrainian leagues, is not a proven talent at European or international level and is not exactly young at 28 is not worth anywhere near £30m.

He’s only played five times for Brazil, and seems to have garnered a lot of hype. Obviously City think so or they wouldn’t have parted with so much money.

Can’t see him clawing too many points back for City this season. Jesus Navas looks like the better piece of business, and one of the better signings so far this summer. City starting this window with a lot more conviction than last year.

Ever Banega; Valencia – Southampton. £7.6m

What a buy this would be for Saints. Champions League experience and 17 Argentina caps at 24.

I like Banega, he has pace, strength and is a great runner on the ball. The biggest worry with him is with injuries. He missed the entire 2011-12 season through injuries, including running himself over with his own car.

He also failed to integrate into the Atletico Madrid side he joined on loan in 2008, so attitude could be a problem. He did alright at Valencia though with 118 appearances in three full seasons. Eight goals in that time is a pretty poor return for a number ten, but he is the driving force in the midfield and focusing on goals per game isn’t very fair.

Overall this looks like a decent price for a very handy player, Southampton fans should be thrilled if they snap him up. The Saints are reported to have made a bid of £7.6m.

The Wishlist! Axel Witsel; Zenit to Man Utd

My first piece of wishful thinking involves my team Manchester United, they won’t all be geared towards United though, don’t worry.

Axel Witsel is another player from Belgium’s golden generation, and I think he could become the next Mauro Fellaini in the Prem. He already has the build, the afro and the Belgian.

He is only 24, a big unit at 6′ 1″, versatile across the midfield and could be used as a target man if Moyes sees it in him. I would go for him over Fellaini, but with Fellaini having obvious ties with Moyes, this could be unlikely.

Also with the earlier assumption that the Thiago deal is close, United may look to strengthen other areas. Fingers crossed here though, we have been reportedly interested in him for a while, though that can be said for just about any up and coming or established talent in football.

Plus, Axel is such a cool name.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Ideas for regular items

Had a think about why I rarely have inspiration to write anything, and I have come to the conclusion that if I had some regular things to write about it would help me get more stuff out, something I tried vaguely at the start of this whole blog thing.

Sadly, I do not know what these regular things could or would be, I have literally no idea what these things could be.

Any help on my troublesome job would be much appreciated, then I can get back to using this page on a more regular basis.

Not a lot I can do with sport until the Prem gets going again, maybe something about Wimbledon, or transfers.

Music? Maybe something on the many festivals happening this year on a somewhat weekly basis.

Not especially good at films, better people than me to take on that subject regularly.

Anything wacky or just different I’m sure I can cook up over the next few weeks, til then watch this space.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

My greatest fears

During a midnight pre-bedtime conversation with Emily, the topic of a certain shared fear was discussed. I therefore felt it would make people happy if I shared with everyone a list of things I am scared of. Or bum everyone out who reads this. It’s a risk I’m sure you’ll take.

I’m not so bad on much really, stuff like scary movies, ghosts and walking through dark woods and streets at night don’t really bother me. Most of the things on this list are concepts, what ifs that may or may not happen.

Spiders. I can’t be alone here. I’m fine with small ones, ones that I can get with a napkin or toilet roll or such like. Mid-sized ones I can even get with a glass if there on the floor or table or something. Just those absolutely monstrous things that exist only to fill our lives with torment. Those guys have to be called house spiders don’t they, couldn’t call them outside spiders or three miles underground spiders.

Going bald. The conversation with Emily that started this whole list was about being bald. I know what you’re thinking, how can a girl go bald? Can a girl go bald? I honestly don’t know, but if I were a girl I think I’d still be frightened of losing my hair. Ever since I decided to grow it it’s probably been the main reason people like me. If it starts to recede I’m going to defy its wishes and just go full Hulk Hogan with it. Only without the pythons and steroids and handlebar moustaches and insufferable offspring.

Disapproval. This has just been added last minute, as another couple of conversations has made me wonder why I haven’t got a tattoo yet. Main reasons being cost, and whether one person will even like it and another person will rip off all of my arm or just the skin that has the tattoo on it. The first person being Jess, second being mother. But just in general, I don’t worry about what most people think, just the ones that I care about. They tend to make me think twice about any big decision though.

Getting fat. I don’t look very nice as it is, so being even fatter wouldn’t really help. It’s not the most terrifying thing I can think of, just something I’d rather avoid. I don’t want to be a big beer bellied 40 year old, rather still be in some kind of shape. Good thing I never go out at uni. Also being fat means I’ll be even more unfit than I am now, I would like to stay somewhat mobile for all my life.

Being jobless. This isn’t so much an immediate problem, nothing to do with the fact I may not have a job for much more of the summer. More to do with me having only one more year of uni left before I have to actually go out and find full time work. Finding 10 hours a week took over 20 applications, so how or where I’m going to find a full time job to support myself when I move out is very scary. The whole moving out of my mum’s house idea in general frightens me, but in a good way.

Jess going away. This was called losing Jess, but that seemed too soppy even for me. Although I suppose I’m not really that much of a lovey dovey sort of guy, more just an idiot, which amounts to the same thing I suppose. I am very very happy and I would like it to stay this way for ever and ever. Plus it’s like half price rent and car insurance and stuff, although that is counterbalanced by an enormous shoe budget.

Death. Obviously. I have made sure I’m not the only person who will sit there every few weeks and just think about what will happen to me when I die. Whether there is an afterlife or reincarnation or just nothingness. I hope the latter doesn’t happen as I hate sitting still for a film that goes over 150 minutes, let alone doing nothing for all eternity. Also makes me think of the people in my family who I know I’m going to outlive, and deluding myself into thinking I’m prepared.

Sorry if this list has made you think about all this future dread, especially the last one. Asking someone what they think happens after you die is a bit like asking a friend to imagine their parents having sex. Sorry if that bummed you out as well.

Long post. If anyone can be bothered reading any more things by me please look at my home page. I have a lot more lists that are collecting in this page/link here.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Blog post about blog, Father’s Day

Quick post about tonight’s activities.

Been fannying around on here for a while now trying to find a nicer, more colourful theme for my blog. As you can see I ultimately failed and reverted back to this.

In doing so all my side widgets went away so I’ve been recovering and rearranging them as well.

What else happened today, well I walked into town which took 45 minutes and flared my forever injured ankle up really badly, so please send donations and chocolates and things to make me feel better. Or just write a nasty letter to Cumberland Infirmary on my behalf.

Anyway, went and played pool for a bit when Alex and I realised there isn’t much else to do in town, and then I had to be picked up to come home.

Was a lovely day for a Father’s Day, happy Father’s Day to all the cool and wonderful dads out there! Although this day always reminds me just how many people that I know are without their dad for whatever reason.

The number of people I know who have been through divorce or a parent dying is frightening. I can count the friends whose parents are still together on one hand.

We were going to go down to the crem, but I am useless at remembering the shops all close early on a Sunday, so we couldn’t get any flowers and are going to go tomorrow.

Sat and watched cricket, moved on to tennis for Murray win and funny charity match, back to the end of the cricket, on to football and now more football after a Blackadder/Mock the Week break.

Longer than intended, first game of tennis in about nine months tomorrow.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Our holiday on a fell

We are back in the land of civilisation after our lovely summer getaway up a mountain.

Saturday: Got here, somewhat stressfully, moved ourselves in and Jess sent me around the place collecting spiders and we went to bed. Good job there weren’t any monsters about. I gave Jess her anniversary present a bit early and it went down really well so yay! Also a cow stared us down in the middle of the road.


Mr Cow leading us down a fell at 0.2 miles an hour

Sunday: First sign of sunshine and we headed off to South Lakes to see the zoo wildlife and such like. I made friends with a lemur and spilled ice cream all over everywhere. The drive up a lot of ridiculously steep hills was much fun for me, no fun for Jess.


Rhino. It tried to run around

Monday: Not quite as nice weather today, but we had a walk over the farm to Devoke Water and had a sit by the lake. Not for very long because the sun went away, but it was still nice. There was lots of poo lying around but it was a lovely view across the water.


Me on my stone throne and Jess very far away

Tuesday: Sucky weather so a day in the house, couple more spiders for the collection and general lazing about. Was still a good day though. Tried to get the fire on but had no wood. We did have Sky HD with movies though, so films were watched throughout the week.


Nothing picture worthy today so here is Devoke Water without either of us getting in the shot

Wednesday: Another bed day, we slept until 12ish and then Jess felt poorly so we stayed in and watched Horrible Bosses and The Thick of It. Had my first working shower of the week.


These guys. Were. Everywhere.


Our lovely many-postered bed for the week


Thursday: Almost got out of the house but then realised the internet had lied to us and that Windermere, Grasmere and Buttermere were all an hour away. Instead we went to the shop for some milk. Some dogs and sheep were knocking around when we got back.


The view from our picnic bench and Jess’ head

Friday: Woken up by the full force of God’s nappy bursting over Birker Fell. Went and got the obligatory spider, this one was on the cooker, and had food. Packed up, cleaned up and journeyed back to the flat part of Cumbria. Sad to say goodbye to our nice little cottage.


So now I’m back at home, in bed, trying to sort out ridiculously confusing insurance claims. Looking forward to seeing people again and getting football sorted after a week off. Here’s a picture of a big-ass giraffe and a blurry semi-underwater hippo.


Have a nice day – bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Dogma, View Askewniverse

After having Dogma on my Sky+ planner for so long that when I recorded it Friends was still on E4, I watched it the other night.

Haven’t done a film thing in a while, haven’t really fancied it, but I’m on my own tonight for the first time in a few days so may as well do this.

Before Dogma the Kevin Smith films featuring Jay and Silent Bob I’d seen were Clerks 1 & 2, Mallrats and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. Clerks and Strike Back were the best.

I like Smith’s Askewniverse. It’s kind of like a normal interlinked film series but more stupid. Jay and Silent Bob are in all of them, but actors like Ben Affleck and Jason Lee play many characters in different films.

Dogma has a cool cast and plot and is just a fun film. I like fun films. Not sure about Alanis Morissette being cast as God, but the rest is pretty hilarious.

I didn’t even know Jay and Bob were in this film so I was right happy when they showed up. I also feel like the church that they used in New Jersey were very accommodating to a film that rips holy hell out of Catholicism. No pun intended at time of writing, but after re-reading, sure.

Jason Lee, Chris Rock and Salma Hayek are all rather fine accompaniments to the Jay-Bob-Bethany hoohah, and of course there is Alan Rickman who is just Alan Rickman levels of awesome.

Matt Damon is probably my favourite actor in this film, not sure why I just thought he was good.

Matt Damon.

Pretty much all I have to say on that. I like a film that takes a controversial topic like religion and totally makes light of everything about it. Taking on a subject like afterlife and the whole heaven and hell thing could have been fairly grim.

There are some really funny moments, mostly involving Jay spewing absolute trash and being confused and angered at everything. Crude, but brilliant.

Probably comes close to Clerks as my favourite Kevin Smith film. Thought provoking I’d say.

Happy June! I had some lovely pollock fillets for tea today.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack