Archive | July 2013

My week; party, retaining quiz title?

Another bit of lateness, been at Jess’ since yesterday.

Wednesday I went to see Monsters University with Jess and Dan and Jess’ little sister Lily. It was quite good, not as good as the first but a lot better than I was expecting it to be in all honesty.

Thursday a friend had a small party at his enormous house for his 19th birthday. It was a fun night, very much enjoyed it. Jess felt poorly at around 12 so we went home and watched TV and slept. Hope Nash feels a little better than he was that night. Poor thing doesn’t get a lot of drink.

I took Jess home on Friday and we hung around all day. I took dog for a walk because Jess was still poorly, get well soon!  The kids were feeling ill and the dog was sick on Thursday as well, ill household.

Saturday was another gym day, which I followed up with a walk into town with Luke and my first visit to a comic book shop.

I had a total write off of a day on Sunday, so much so that I’m not too sure of the details. I think I played xbox and watched Top Gear.

On Monday I braved the gym alone, and then ended up playing bingo with Alex and his mum. It was very fun, adding to my old manliness. Tried to get car insurance sorted, had a big long talk with many people at Admiral.

I got my car insured on Tuesday morning, £100 cheaper than Monday’s quote. We sadly fell to a respectable fourth place at the quiz, the music round once again our downfall.

And that’s that, hopefully next week this will actually be ready on time and I wont be starting another one at the same time.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

My latest dream: The Conjuring v Inception

First off I haven’t made my football transfer post this week. This is down to my laptop being slower than a blind sloth with no legs over the last few days, and multiple tabs and pictures and things just confuse it.

Anyway, last night I was having a very strange dream about a party. It was in a combination of my house and my old school, to accommodate all the faceless people that were there for whatever reason.

At some point I was playing football, but we were using rocks rather than balls if I remember. I then had to go pee in a paddling pool in the house. I peed for ages before waking up and actually needing to pee at about 8am. Thank you subconscious!

It was after I went back to sleep again that I had a very strange dream.

I was at a strange house that was just a big flight of stairs with one room on each floor. I came in and went into a bedroom with a TV. There was a video playing, it was a bit like the one in The Ring, but it was basically the trailer from The Conjuring.

So I was watching, and before long realised the house I was in was the same as the one in the video. At that point one of my uni teachers walked in with a child, and we all got a fright at each other.

He said something about the house being a big scary maze or something, so I left to go outside. Instead of turning back up the stairs however, I went down into the darkness below the bedroom.

It was all very tense, so I ended up running back up the stairs as fast as I could, but it felt like my feet were weighed down with concrete, so I was crawling out towards the door.

I got past the bedroom and round the corner where the front door was. Upon leaving I found myself on a New York style street. Everyone outside turned and stared at me angrily.

I put my head down and walked off, but they started following me like the dream state in Inception. Everyone was Chinese, apparently hinting to me that it was a dream.

I eventually got to a car park with a strange man I didn’t recognise. He gave me some wood and I made a dreidel to spin and check if I was dreaming.

It span for ages before finally falling, meaning none of this was a dream, despite me dreaming it. I also remember seeing a Japanese man which meant it couldn’t have been a dream because he wasn’t Chinese.

Then I woke up, thoroughly confused and in need of a cup of tea. I’m now settled after a lamb Sunday dinner and watching the end of the F1, completely stuffed.

Thank you for reading my convoluted and irrelevant dream.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

My week; forgetful me, pub quiz glory!

I know, I know. I didn’t get my week up yet, I am annoyed at myself.

However, since I have been rather busy and away from my laptop as I tend to be increasingly these days, I haven’t been noting what I’ve done all week, so I’m going to have to try and remember from here.

Rather than a usual list I shall have a sort or highlights round up of what we all did.

I know for certain I was helping mother at her school on Friday. Tidying up a primary school while the kids had their last day of the week was challenging, but it was money.

I watched the second Ashes Test match throughout the week. The lack of competition doesn’t make for a great series so far, hope Aussies improve at Old Trafford.

I have been to the gym a couple of times in my attempts to become a bit more filled out, made a righteous chorizo omelette to recover one day, was delish.

Saving the very very best til last, on Tuesday we went and did the unthinkable and won the pub quiz! We technically came second after a tiebreaker question, but we suspect the winners had been cheating all night, so it was a moral victory for us.

After the quiz Jess and I took a drive down some very foggy roads with some creepy music on. Oh, I also gave Jess her early Christmas present, 30 Seconds to Mars tickets.

Next week somewhat normal service will be resumed.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Musical discoveries

This is going to be a very short post, but I had to do something different since I’ve only had my regular weekly things out the last couple of weeks.

Basically, I am a man of many musical preferences. I’m not entirely sure where I get it from to be honest, where does anyone get their musical taste from?

Anyway, the other day I was thinking about how I only have one or two songs by a certain band on my iPod, and realised a couple of them got there through other means than listening to the radio or albums.

These first two I heard many many years ago, as you will see from the references to where I heard them.

Kasabian – Club Foot

PES. Yes before I took my current job as FIFA pro I used to be a PES player. It just used to be better! That’s the reason I play with alternate controls these days on FIFA, that and the fact I’m left-handed. I had every Pro Evo until 5, which I think this song was on. Nothing has yet beaten FIFA 2000 though.

 

Papa Roach – Blood Brothers

I picked this song up from another awesome old PlayStation game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. Not sure entirely why Papa Roach and various other songs played throughout the entire city as you skated around, but it made the game more fun. Maybe we were listening through our skater’s headphones to the same six songs over and over…

 

These next three songs I’ve picked up in the last year or so, so while Kasabian and Papa Roach now feature heavily on my iPod, these ones sit all alone, poor mites.

Swiss Lips – U Got The Power

Right now this and Pompeii by Bastille are my two frequently played songs. I first heard this on a BBC Three advert for the Women’s Euro 2013 football tournament. An odd channel to find football, an odd way to find a good song.

 

AWOLNATION – Sail

This one started off as a 10 second outro on FIFA Youtuber Calfreezy’s videos. I wondered for a few weeks what on earth it was, and wasn’t sure it was an actual song at first. Then through reading many comments over many videos I finally checked it out. It’s weird, but a good song.

 

Five for Fighting – Chances

I heard this first about two years ago when Alex and I started watching wrestling again for some reason. Shawn Michaels was going into the Hall of Fame, and I was very excited as he was like the best wrestler ever when I watched it when I was little. For the montage of his induction they used this song, and it was so epic I needed it.

 

Ah, memories of Tony Hawk and wrestling being cool coming flooding back as I put these videos in. That HBK one is well worth a watch for anyone who used to watch it back in the 90’s and 00’s.

Turns out to be a decent length post, make a liar out of myself why don’t I.

I have more lists of varying sizes at this link here, and more music posts here.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

The Merry-go-round 5: Man United, Rooney out Fabregas in?

Right now I have no idea what is going on at Old Trafford. My first two potential moves deal with my Man United, since the transfer window seems to be getting somewhat more exciting for us this week.

Wayne Rooney; Man Utd – Chelsea/Arsenal/PSG

No need to explain the choice of photograph, I’m sure.

Oh Wayne, what will become of you and your petty ways? I’ll bet everyone has heard or expressed this view before, but back in 2010 when he first went off the rails and handed in a transfer request, it was down to the club’s lack of ambition, yes?

Fast forward two years and Fergie buys the league’s top goalscorer from one of his biggest rivals. Rooney becomes surplus to requirements in the main striker role, and becomes angry, as it seems United have now become too ambitious.

I’m not sure we really need Rooney in all honesty. On the enormous wages he is on he should be 100% committed to the team and to winning trophies, not trying to weasel a move elsewhere.

Yes, his goals and assists records have been top class over the last five years or so, but as we all know nobody is bigger than Manchester United.

Annoyingly, he has played absolutely brilliantly in central midfield. This is annoying because of the complete disdain he shows to being given that role.

If we got £20m+ for him, I don’t think I’d be sorry to see him go. Hopefully we can offload him into Europe, so this statement doesn’t come back to bite my behind in May.

Likelihood: Chelsea 2/10, Arsenal 5/10, PSG 6/10

Francesc Fabregas; Barcelona – Man Utd

And now, to follow directly on…

While Rooney briefly seemed like the answer to our poor depth in midfield, he doesn’t like it. Boo hoo, we are going after someone better, it would seem.

A £26m bid has been rejected already, if we are to believe the news. With Tito Vilanova’s sad news expected later on today, Barca may not be in a position to sell Fabregas until a successor steps in.

I can’t see Fabregas outright choosing United over Barca, but he is used sparingly at the Nou Camp and still has age on his side for a good few years as a regular starter.

This would be a seriously exciting signing. Fabregas could slot right into the role Scholesy has filled for the past 20 years.

I do wonder how his Emirates return would compare to RvP’s for hostility, since he wasn’t exactly loved when he left.

It just seems to fit, this deal. We need a bonafide, world class CM. Barcelona happen to have a spare one lying around on the subs bench. Game time for Fab, money for Barca, trophies for United. Win-win-win.

Having said that, it could easily be one of those to good to be true things, which is why I don’t normally write about these kind of deals. It’s just been an exciting couple of days.

Likelihood: 5/10

Pepe Reina; Liverpool – Napoli

Right, less of the MUFC fanboying. Another Liverpool player makes it in this week.

Pepe Reina has been at Liverpool since 2005, and he is still only 30. As a keeper he still has a few of his best years to come, you would feel.

I’ve never been the biggest Reina fan, but I do feel sorry for him when it comes to international football. Being born in the same generation and country as Iker Casillas is just unfair for a goalie.

If Rafa does come calling on his old club as is expected, I would like to see Reina go to Italy to test himself in a new challenge. The last couple of years at Anfield he seems to be on cruise control.

One major advantage Napoli have over Liverpool is they might be able to put Reina in a keeper kit that doesn’t make small children vomit or bleed from the nose on sight. That could apply to many of the recent Red’s kits though. Or is it just me?

Anyway, with Simon Mignolet turning up on Merseyside Reina might be eased out of first team action this year. Moving to Napoli might be a bit of a sideways choice, as they are similar to Liverpool in terms of ambition, but I just think he needs to be fully testing himself again.

Who knows, perhaps the competition Mignolet provides might actually spur Pepe into a burst of his old form. One thing he’ll always have going for him, he’s one of the best penalty savers in the world.

Likelihood: 7/10

Bafetimbi Gomis; Lyon – Newcastle

Another day, another French international being courted by Newcastle.

Whether Alan Pardew is afraid signing a player from outside France will upset the feng shui he has going on in the Toon dressing room at the moment I don’t know, but I think Newcastle will have a much better campaign this year.

In my opinion, the reason they failed so badly in the league was their European obligations, coupled with their squad size. They just didn’t have the resources to compete on both levels.

Now after all this Papiss Cisse talk has blown over, as I imagine it will, Newcastle can look forward to a solely domestic season, and bringing in someone like Gomis is a step in the right direction.

He is a big strong lad much in the Ba mold, and while people say he could unsettle Cisse I think the opposite could be true, similar to Reina and Mignolet.

I honestly think Newcastle should play with two up front. Cisse and Gomis could form a great partnership, and with Ben Arfa sitting behind them they could cause a lot of teams a lot of problems.

Newcastle top 8 this season for me.

Likelihood: 8/10

The Wishlist! Hal Robson-Kanu; Reading – Swansea

Having seen him just sign a new contract last month, this shall not be a viable transfer. Hence its inclusion on the wishlist.

Like Alonso last week, Robson-Kanu is a player I enjoy watching, and I’d like the chance to watch him again next season in the Premier League.

When Reading played Man United last year he was terrific down both flanks and caused all sorts of problems. Reading have done well to tie him down after the season he had.

He is only 24, and although I have put Swansea as my destination of choice it is more a placeholder for any side with top 10 ambitions.

Don’t think he’s ready for a top four club yet, just look what happened to Scott Sinclair. But I am sure that he will find his way back into the Premier League, if not with Reading this season then certainly in the one or two after that.

My week; Crumpets, Brad Pitt, present!

This week’s post is late! I am extremely sorry. It just caught my mind before bed, so I got it out before sleep, meaning it is still Tuesday to me.

This Wednesday’s film of choice was World War Z. In my head it was so much more than a zombie film, and used zombies more as a counterbalance than the whole pivotal plot point. Well I was wrong, it was very average. Peter Capaldi was in it though which made me happy!

After the cinema we went to Dom’s and stayed over. I had a crumpet. We watched Hot Tub Time Machine and it was better than World War Z, but not great still. Thursday daytime I went with Jess to find a granddad present for Colin, and we picked an enormous mug.

Friday Jess came round and we had fun in the garden and talking about lots of things. She popped off to see a friend, I blogged, she came back and stayed over.

Jess had to leave early Saturday to get back to Wigton and go to work. I went to see Alex and his nephew for an hour, then went into town and met Dan for a bit.

Sunday I did pretty much nothing. If anything I did some grooming and the usual eating and breathing and whatnot.

I was scheduled for my Jess night on Monday, but then I had to bring her and the dog to my house for the night. He seemed quite happy, apart from not sleeping and being a bit sick.

Today (technically yesterday) Jess gave me my anniversary present. It was really lovely and a bit cheesy, but anniversary cheesy is good. Had a shocker at pub quiz this week I’m afraid.

Plenty planned for this week, hope I’m not late again. Until then.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

The Merry-go-round 4: Agger, Benteke & more

Latest I’ve ever written this, last weeks have been done by at least Thursday.

Going for something slightly different this week. All rumours, all given my own rating of likelihood. Obviously, my ratings are not even close to gospel, so if I’ve nailed someone on to join the Premiership, expect them to be playing in Qatar come the new season.

Daniel Agger; Liverpool – Barcelona

Barcelona have the best team in the world, the best passers in the world and the best individual in the world. What they don’t have is a battling centre back to replace the ageing Carles Puyol.

I am a huge fan of Daniel Agger, he is my type of defender. He’ll stick a foot or a head in at one end, then charge forwards and smash a rocket in the other.

Not too convinced by these Barca rumours, but he’s been on the exit list in the newspapers for a couple of seasons now so anything could happen.

I don’t see him leaving, primarily due to Jamie Carragher’s retirement after one of his best seasons, and no replacement brought in. Liverpool can’t afford to be another defender light, and so I see Agger staying at Anfield next season.

Obviously if Barcelona come calling with a sizeable deal, the player will struggle to say no to them. However I would have a think about the fates of Alex Song and, to a certain extent, Cesc Fabregas.

Likelihood: 4/10

Peter Odemwingie; West Brom – QPR

Poor Peter. That drive to London on deadline day must have felt so long once he got there and found out QPR didn’t want him. Not as long as the drive back mind.

I’m constantly surprised by Odemwingie’s age. He’s 31, despite looking about 23, and his best years are certainly behind him. However, he is still an excellent signing for a mid-table Premier League team.

For that reason I can see someone like Cardiff or Fulham coming in and stealing him away from QPR. Odemwingie was clearly keen on joining the R’s, before their relegation of course, and I’m sure they would take him now as they are pretty much nailed on to lose the likes of Remy.

If he did go to QPR I would predict he would finish as top goalscorer in the Championship, but I think he would want to spend as many years as possible in the top leagues.

It’s all but confirmed that Odemwingie is out of the Hawthorns after his ridiculous antics last season. Where he’s going may well be one of the teams coming up though, rather than going down.

Likelihood: QPR 1/10, Crystal Palace 8/10

Javier Saviola; Unattached – Cardiff

This guy. This guy was my LMA Manager 2007 career in a nutshell. Every game I started he was my first signing, and he was unbelievable.

He’s just left Malaga after his contract expired, and at the same age as Odemwingie has played for Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as Argentina.

For Cardiff it would a massive coup to land him, but at the back end of his career Saviola could easily fancy a crack at the English Premier League before he hangs up the boots.

I have no doubt he would thrive, he is a poacher type of striker in the van Nistelrooy mold of finishing. His age favours Cardiff in terms of bringing the wages down, and price is a non-factor as he is a free agent.

I would love to see Saviola in the Prem, and he could turn out to be a Michu-like signing for the new Welsh team in the top tier. His unattached status increases the chances of him appearing in Cardiff red next season.

Likelihood: 6/10

Christian Benteke; Aston Villa – Arsenal/Tottenham/Chelsea

Where oh where will this man be plying his trade come August?

Now all of London’s big guns are after him, the only problem being an enormous asking price Villa have put on his head.

Chelsea have Romelu Lukaku coming back from his West Brom loan, and do they really need two big strong Belgian strikers? You can never have too many of those I suppose.

Arsenal have been linked with each and every wantaway striker this summer, but if they’re going to be spending big they should be doing it on a proven top European goalscorer.

Tottenham are soon to be rid of Adebayor, Defoe seems to be on AVB’s periphery and Clint Dempsey isn’t the 25 goal a season man they need leading the line. Benteke can be the foil Bale needs if he settles back into his second striker role again this year.

My best bet for the Belgian would be Spurs, but their neighbours could well take a more serious interest in him as the window goes on. One condition, if the £25m asking price Villa reportedly want doesn’t come down he won’t be going anywhere.

Likelihood: Chelsea 3/10, Arsenal 5/10, Spurs 7/10

The wishlist! Xabi Alonso; Real Madrid – Liverpool

We need him back. As a league and nation we need him back passing Liverpool back towards the top four.

Alonso is magical player to watch. Through all of football, my favourite players to watch have been Pirlo, Scholes, Xavi and this guy. He is that good.

People have said he isn’t what Liverpool need, that they need a more destructive attacking force, but I think he enables the likes of Gerrard to play in the position he plays best, going forward.

It has been rumoured quite a lot this deal, but at the end of the day seeing Alonso back in a Liverpool shirt would be good for everyone who watches this league.

The club obviously has a place in his heart, so if he was going to come back to England it would have to be Anfield. He would risk his place in the Spain team if he did come back, as Del Bosque seems to be unwilling to look outside Barca and Madrid for his first pick XI.

I don’t see him coming back, not this season at least, but I fancy him returning to Liverpool before his career is over.

Likelihood (this season): 6/10

My week; Wet n Wild, Wigton, Wimbledon!

This week’s pub quiz went better than last week’s, think we might have even got 4th. We got all the dingbats as well, nearly all by ourselves. As usual the music round left us with no chance of winning, but it was all fun. Went back to Alex’s for some more drinks and a massive takeaway.

Anyway, sorry for the lateness but I forgot it was Tuesday. Next week I’ll be able to start with Wednesday I guess.

Wednesday we woke up in the morning at Alex’s, watched some more TV and then went to see Now You See Me. Loved the film, then I went back to Alex’s for a couple of hours.

Petrolled up the car and headed off to North Shields for some water park fun at Wet n Wild on Thursday. Was so much fun, we had a float around on the rings first and then went round all the rides. Had a break then went back on a couple more rides and floated around some more before we got ambushed by the wave machine. Got a McDonalds on the way back.

Friday I had some housesitting to do with Jess, so I went and housesat. As I have posted, I watched Wimbledon pretty much all day.

Saturday I watched all the more tennis action while Jess was at work, and took the mongrel for a walk. I sorted the bunny rabbits and did some hoovering and emptied the dishwasher and I was very proud of myself.

Sunday was Saturday minus the dishwasher and hoover. Watched Murray win and went home for some Sunday din dins, yum.

Monday I decided to go into town to get out of the heat of my house, and went into the even more heat of the outside world. Met Liam and played some pool and FIFA for a few hours with Dan and Beal, then went to Spoons and then watched Liam be very drunk and finally got home.

Tuesday is now, only just, and we have just finished our worst pub quiz yet. It all started so well… I also went gyming with Luke because I was bored of being in the house again.

Weird Wimbledon dream

Pretty easy to work out where this one came from really.

I’m playing against Roger Federer. For some reason I’m Andy Roddick, but still me at the same time.

I beat him easily, 6-4 7-5 or something like that. Don’t know why it was three sets either, maybe to speed us along a bit.

So I get my trophy, I’m sat between Alex and Gary and they ask to see it. Alex tries to steal it, and Gary pops a hole in it and it starts leaking air. This is just after I established it was made of plastic.

This, only plastic and holey

When it stopped we left the school hall where this odd presentation was taking place, and went to sit in my old form room. From there I saw Avril Lavigne outside posing for photos with the other champions, even though she hadn’t won anything.

This somehow made me realise that I had to be out there instead of her, so I hurried out.

We got from Wimbledon to here suspiciously quickly

That ended up with me Jess and someone else walking home. We got to the top of the hill near my house and saw all our stuff laid out like a picnic on the pavement. I kept getting annoyed because the other two kept leaving the tops off their bottles.

Then I looked across the road, and saw to my utter dismay that my local Chinese place had been replaced by the noodle shop in York I’ve seen.

I woke up somewhere in the middle of this dream, and I think I won the weird Wimbledon again at some point. Sets me up in a slightly confused way for the day, but it was fun enough to make me go back to sleep to carry it on.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Wimbledon, yay (Sir) Murray!

First off, I think giving knighthoods to people like Bradley Wiggins and even Chris Hoy is stupid. A knighthood is a reward for a lifetime of work, a generation or two of inspiring young people and raising the profile of their sport, for sportspeople at least.

Give them an MBE or an OBE or something, and when they have dedicated a few more decades to helping the next set of icons to the next level, reward them.

Might just be me, but to be called Sir means you’ve had more than just your own career’s worth of success. At the very least wait until they’ve retired.

Anyway, finally got sat down to watch some Wimbledon goodness on Friday. Had some housesitting to do which gave me the chance to just put Djokovic v Del Potro on and watch all the way through Murray v Janowicz.

Thoughts, Djoko-DelPo semi was the best match I’ve seen since Federer beat Roddick in the final on the same court in ’09. I don’t like this Janowicz character but I can see how he will be good for the game. Every sport needs a bad guy rebellious type.

I caught the women’s final on Saturday, that was even more anticlimactic than today’s main event. First set was over so quickly and from then it was only ever going to be Bartoli winning it. I felt so sorry for Lisicki but she just didn’t turn up until halfway through the second.

Also Bartoli’s two-handed forehand is really strange to watch, but got the job done clearly.

Then the Bryan brothers came on. I love watching doubles, it’s so much faster than singles and it weirdly does offer something a lot different, despite being pretty much the same.

So they went a set down straight away, which made it more interesting to begin with. Then I think I took the dog for a walk, and by the time I’d got back they’d knocked out the second set.

From there it was pretty obvious they were going to win, and hold all four Slams simultaneously. Plus Olympic gold. What a team. Bob’s service games are unplayable, his massive serve and Mike’s amazing volleys were just too good.

As well as being the best doubles team in history, 90 titles now, they have the best celebration in the game. That is a chest bump in progress, for those unsure.

There’s a reason charity events and matches are doubles, it’s just more fun. You get more highlight reel moments as the ball pings back and forward between all four players at the net.

And so earlier today, the main event. I must say I didn’t get excited when Murray got the first break, because against Djokovic it has to be served out, which he didn’t do. He should have wrapped the set up in the first three games I thought.

But once he won the first set I called it. Murray in five.

Djokovic come raging back at him and smashed himself into a 4-1 lead in the second. Murray defied my prediction by breaking back, before taking a 6-5 lead off Djoko’s serve and sealing the set with an ace.

I reassessed my earlier prediction. Murray in four.

Murray broke early in the third, and I almost dared think he was nearly there. However, I’ve watched Novak Djokovic enough to know that he just doesn’t stop.

The man has some ridiculous engine, and overcame a break to go 4-2 up. I thought he would get at least one on the board after that, but no. Murray comes back and wins four games in a row, easy as.

At some point during that third set, probably at 5-4, I changed my prediction to the correct one. My Twitter feed to the right should reflect the extreme accuracy I showed all match.

I thought the final was a bit of a let down really, did not see it ending in three sets. Some of the rallies were outrageous though, definitely the two best players in the world right now.

And a Brit has won Wimbledon, hooray. I started getting excited when he broke in the second, and I am pleased that he finally won.

Saved us another sobbing speech at any rate.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack