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Carlisle Floods 06.12.15

Not a lot to say about this really. It’s happened again.

Now, I was 10 years old when Carlisle got flooded in 2005, and when the power went out in my house the only thing I was feeling was fury at not being able to save my game of Crash Team Racing and losing a bunch of progress.

Today I’m 21, and in my mature state have learned to save often to avoid this in the future. I also feel absolutely awful for everyone who have lost more than a few levels on a PlayStation game.

We haven’t lost power, or been flooded, and it was such a surreal feeling waking up on Sunday morning and looking outside. The sun was out, the street was dry.

My friend Nash popped round so we could have a wander to see what the damage was. I didn’t get any pictures of the water nearest us, but the rest of this will probably just be pictures with small descriptions and thoughts.

We had a good five hour wander around the place, which has left me with a couple of strained ankles, but there was and is some crazy damage going on around the city.
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The bottom end of town was under when we got there, a boat was ready to go and the main roundabout that connects the city was just gone.

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Walked around to the castle, the road running alongside it was luckily safe to walk on.

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Bitts Park, one of many park areas that were underwater. The one closer to my house seemed to have taken on a lot of water diverted by the new defences, effectively saving a bunch of houses. image

Round the other side of the castle we got a view from the bridge of the other side of the city. Sainsbury’s and the houses around it were hit badly.

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imageLooking down at cars stranded in that car park was tragic, a few lights were still flickering as they were filled to the windscreen.

Today (08.12.15) I walked home from work up Warwick Road, the main road from my area to the city centre.

The water is gone, but there’s mud and grime everywhere. Outside houses and businesses, big piles of people’s lives were just lying on the street, water damaged and useless. The community centre car park was still underwater.
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Also on my way home I saw two free hot food vans, set up by a local energy company from what I saw, to feed the army and emergency services and volunteers.

There was a man wandering up the road handing out cups of tea door to door, because England.

As promised, the football team were out and about, pitching in and keeping spirits up, taking pictures with kids and helping around the houses.

My manager has been in for the last two days, despite her flat being right next to Sainsbury’s and having no power. She’s in again tomorrow.

I saw a lot of smiles and no tears today, on a road that has been washed out twice in eleven years, with some insurers not offering flood protection after 2005. The community is unbelievable at times like this.

Also great effort by Welling and Oxford, who are donating proceeds from their matches against Carlisle to the flood appeal. Stuff like that is why living in small, underdog kinds of cities can be awesome.
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Also this guy happened.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Post-birthday post

On the 7th I had a meal and a night out with my fabulous work buddies, on the 8th I had a family meal at a really nice hotel and saw some alpacas, and today, the 10th, I’m waiting to be picked up for another meal to celebrate my birthday. As for my actual birthday, the 9th was a pretty empty day.

So as I sat in bed hoping someone was free at 9:30pm (they weren’t) I ended up thinking about what I could do with the next few years. Turns out there are a few new things I’d like to do before I hit 25, so I made a list. Everyone likes lists.

  • Get to more gigs. This was the main point, the start of the list. I’m currently sat on 20 gigs after I went to see Slipknot last month, not including festivals. I’d like to get that up to 25 by the end of the year, but it depends on which bands are touring that remain on my list, as seen below. I accept that gigs like Oasis and Guns N Roses are a little less likely to happen than some of the newer people on that list, but I still have plenty of options.
Taylor Swift being the obvious first choice.

Taylor Swift being the obvious first choice.

  • Go see an international sports match. With the Six Nations back on and rugby and cricket World Cups coming up I’d love to go and see an international game of some kind. Preferably England, preferably football or cricket, but with the football World Cup in France next year I’m thinking something might happen for that. I’m gonna lump in see a football match in a foreign stadium to this one, because noone wants to read boring sports talk for two whole bullet points.
  • Oktoberfest. Fingers crossed for this year, since I’ve always wanted to go out to Germany somewhere and get involved in Oktoberfest. It just seems like such a cool fun thing to do, totally carefree. Sounds like a perfect match for me. Plus beer.
  • Travel. Kinda linked to the previous point, but I plan on going to many places and seeing many things in my life. Vietnam, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain and New Zealand are top of the travel diary right now. Ideally, I’d have enough money to buy a VW camper and just drive around Europe discovering everything ever.
  • Watch a Grand Slam match live. Oops, may have lied about keeping all the sport to one bullet point… Anyway, tennis is one of my favourite sports and I love the Grand Slam seasons, currently gearing up towards the French after more Murray disappointment in Australia. Obviously, Roland Garros and Wimbledon are the two more likely Slams I’ll be going to, since they’re both on the same continent as me.
  • See Slipknot again. This is basically a way of sliding in the videos of mine from Slipknot’s gig in Glasgow a few weeks ago, but I really would like to go back and see them with standing tickets. The sheer energy and crowd involvement and just the show as a whole was epic. Vids are (hopefully) below. Volume may need turned up as for some reason the sound is pretty quiet.

  • More tattoos! A very long standing objective of mine, there always seems to be something that I’d rather spend my money on. Still, I’ve dreamed up a couple more designs so hopefully when I crawl out of my overdraft I can go ahead and spend my way straight back into it. I’d also like plugs or snakebites before I get too old..
  • Write at least one full length story/novel. A nice challenging one, I’d love to turn one of the many ideas or short stories I have lying around into a proper, full book like what grown ups write. Maybe I’ll write one about superheroes so I can make enough money from film rights to do everything else on this list.

Hopefully I’ll be away to Slam Dunk Festival this year, which will knock off some of those bands. Hopefully also I can cross off all those bands in four years, to make way for the next list I’ll have no doubt assembled.

So by my next major milestone I will have each of these checked off in some form or other. No idea when I’ll be back on here to post again, maybe when I do one of these! Or something else exciting happens to me. Til then..

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Pistorius and Juice Plus+… I have some range.

Hello all, I’ve written this totally back to front so bear with me. The second part of this post was written last night while I was thinking about healthy life and stuff. The gym is a depressing place for weedy little lanks like me.

Last night I was bored but didn’t really have a theme to slap my thoughts on the end of, but now I’m sat watching a classic episode of Spongebob Squarepants having caught up with the elephant of a story that is the Oscar Pistorius sentencing from this morning.

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Baby elephants are among my favourite ever things

I was filled in on the news on the way back from work, and have to say a five year sentence for culpable homicide was totally not was I was expecting. I was sure it was either Pistorius would be given the full maximum 15 years that the crime carries, or else be given a slap on the wrist and set up with a sweet probation/community service order due to his disability and whatnot.

I have to confess that I’m not an expert in the South African legal system, or indeed any legal system. So this is just me giving my opinion on this. I found out today that the prosecution were trying for 10 years, and their guess on how much time he serves is about two years in prison and three on house arrest. The defence think he’ll be out in 10 months.

It just seems like such an anti-climax. Not that the decision should be like the final episode of a TV series, but still. I wonder what it was like in America when the OJ Simpson verdict was given; absolute madness is what I’m guessing. It’s a good thing that kind of controversy has been avoided, but those looking at him to be put away for a long time (a few of my friends included) will be disappointed. A lot of people seem to know he murdered his girlfriend, which I find impossible to believe quite honestly, since shooting through a bathroom door to kill her could not be planned. Premeditated I think not.

In the end I don’t know why he didn’t check to see if Reeva was still in the bed, why he didn’t call out to her or anything like that. I do think between 10 months and two years in prison is not enough for killing another person, but who knows. If he does serve five it may be enough.

What I think is most interesting is the fact that his ‘house arrest’ can still allow him to travel and train, meaning that his athletics career might not be over. Imagine him running at the next Paralympics, through some daft loophole or something. It would take some bravery to step back into a stadium full of people who want you executed.

Baby elephant is not enjoying the changing tone of this blog

Baby elephant is not enjoying the changing tone of this blog

Quick note on that topic about Ched Evans, who got out of prison a few days ago and is vilified in the public, here in England at least. A footballer convicted of rape, Evans has attracted a pretty enormous petition from fans calling his last club, Sheffield United, to ban him from playing again. On this story I just think hey, he’s served his time, the details on the actual rape have been somewhat sketchy, and while it will be hard for anyone in any walk of life to get another job after this kind of scenario, it doesn’t make it right to blacklist people for it. Isn’t the point of prison to allow people to repay a debt to society? If not we might as well just leave everyone in there forever.

After all that grimness I shall reference the last part of my title up there. My girlfriend has been working with Juice Plus+ for a few months now, and her team have just got themselves a website and group and all that fun stuff put up on the webs. The Facebook page for their new group ‘The Formula’ is here and the website (not currently working) is here. At time of writing this (midnight of the 20th) this lil support group already has nearly 250 likes, so doesn’t seem to need my teeny traffic, but hey, it all helps.

I’ve seen lots of people on Facebook and other forum type sites having a right old tiff with Juice Plus+, but can’t really seem to figure out why. My biggest concern with it is the fact that it has two pluses. I read it as ‘Juice Plus Plus’, but maybe that’s just me.

But yeah, many people have said things like ‘oh, it’s just a lazy way of losing weight’ and ‘it’s such a waste of money, why don’t you just buy vegetables?’ While I’m not the person to answer these criticisms – go ask Jess or one of her team people on the Facebook page – all I can say is that I’ve seen first hand what a difference being on this healthy eating plan has done for Jess, her mum and a couple others. They’re eating better, feeling better and either losing fat or putting on muscle, both of which are of interest to myself.

I shall be trying this out when I have the funds to do so, so I might put up a couple of posts explaining to people like me, who are uninterested in the science of it all, how I get on. I’m not fully into the whole science behind it (another plug to go look at the page) but it gets results and that’s what I’m after.

Anyway, that just turned into a rather long, very praise filled advert. Oops, I’m sure normal service will be resumed soon. Makes a nice change from the super serious start. I have some cool things I would very much like to buy and show people, if you could all read all my posts in the next few hours the WordPress guys might start auctioning off ad space on here so I can afford nice things.

This week is work, work, watching men fit radiators, work, work and working out, but I’ll try not to let this page slip into another digital coma. Gaslight Anthem review coming soon! Sorry about the massively different topics going on, please nobody associate Juice Plus with rapists or murderers, or think that if you sign up for The Formula that you’ll be sent to prison for life. Me and baby elephant won’t let it happen.

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Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Sleeeeeeepy blogger

I am bored and tired and am feeling super unproductive. Since the story ideas need more brain power than I can currently provide I’m going to splurge my thoughts onto this nicely dormant page until Match of the Day comes on.

Another reason for this is that I have finally got a replacement charger for my laptop after a few weeks, which has already started getting about eight times hotter than before. I have just realised that I can also now finally put the new Gaslight Anthem CD onto my iPod! Hooray. I’ve listened to it about 11 times through in the car and fancied getting a full album review type thing up on here. So I will be doing that soon to keep the inner journalist happy, channeling my Arts Reviewing module and all that.

What else has happened to me lately.. Got dragged out of bed and into work today and walked out with a free donut and Fanta, so that was waaaay worth it. Also got Slipknot tickets for January! No standing available but seating will do nicely, Ashley and I are old beyond our years and just want to ‘enjoy the music’ like the pair of 20-somethings we are. Pretty sure the album’s out tomorrow as well so will be picking that up after work.

Couple of firsts for me this week also, I saw a dog do a genuine absolute backflip and it was glorious. So much better than one of those crappy robot dogs. I also saw a lady breastfeeding in public while just chatting away to her friend in Waterstone’s Costa. Was a bit odd, mainly because I couldn’t see the baby’s head for a while and got a bit worried.

Anyway that’s about it for now. Gaslight Anthem might go up Wednesday, the one day I’m not working one place or another. My short story will be being judged in November so then I shall put it up for everyone to judge, not too meanly though please guys.

So until I am recovered from tomorrow’s 6am start…

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Update on new direction, terrifying/exciting times!

To any and all of my remaining followers, I am terribly sorry for neglecting this page for so long, and after an ill-fated comeback this might well be the last thing I ever post here.

Quick update on how I’ve been since my last post, I’ve just got a job and have decided after one day that I don’t want to be doing something that sucks for the rest of my life. However, the good news of this means that I will be attempting to move into writing; as I type this I am also working on a crime short story for an upcoming competition.

Because I have no idea how to go about getting into this career I’ll probably be bombarding people with my work over every form of social media I can, including a new blog space just for short stories and novel chapters and lovely things of that nature.

So I’ll either be dropping this blog or using it mainly as a tool for advertising and testing out stuff to get reactions. I’ll try and keep getting some exciting newsy opinion blog stuff on as well, but it would be a lot less frequent than it was back when I was getting posts up more than once a week.

It will annoy me if I end on such an awkward number of posts like 103 or whatever I’m onto now, so the more I think about it the more I think keeping this going would be a good idea, anything to increase readership!

Farewell for now, the deadline for the crime competition is 29.08.14, and as work already published somewhere can’t be entered I’ll be keeping it back just to be safe. The prologue to my novel idea has been coming on well though, so that might be up on here soon!

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Real life is hard

Today I walked a dog, laid around watching tennis, went to the pub to eat an eighteen inch hot dog and two plates of sweet potato fries (demolished it all in the most wonderful 45 minutes), watched some football, went for a run and had a fight with the shower when I returned.

Sounds awfully taxing indeed, the life of a real adult person.

That shower though, it’s been ‘fixed’ to the point where the coldest temperature it runs is mildly scolding, and the screws appear to have been fused to the plastic with some kind of Sith-level hatred. I tried to trick it by turning it all the way down and then right back up, but it got me in the end.

So now after my busy day I’m sat unable to sleep until I finish this, I feel guilty for leaving the blog alone for weeks after just coming back with some characteristically poor football predictions. As I type a moth just spiraled down from my light in a big panic and landed on the floor. Hope it’s not dead.

But the heaps of free time to do all kinds of stuff is a little less fun when you have no money to do all kinds of stuff. I need a job! Just a job, just some money so I can buy films and books and box sets and Oreos and clothes and bills and moving out.

Ah moving out. A distant and hopeful dream. I might need to send out another 30 applications before I get anything, which means remaining at mother’s house for the foreseeable future where most of my stress resides.

It just did it again! I have no sympathy for this moth anymore.

Living at home is so much worse once you’ve lived away for three years, and I am not a fan of these rules, endless questions, quiet night times and so on.

I could elaborate, and I should write something more interesting and entertaining, but it’s going on 2am and I am a rather uninteresting (tired) thing.

Also there’s a very sad Scrubs on and I can’t allow another one to start. Maybe the old blog will see some more regular updates now that I’m trying to save money by staying in the house.

My Xbox controller is dead and another Scrubs came on. I’m still done. Resisting the urge for ice cream.

Moths are stupid.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Post 100!

Well it took a wee while longer than it should have, since I went something like eight months without even looking at this blog, then got stuck on 98 posts since uni started up again, but I have reached 100 of my daft bits and bobs.

Pretty much all I have to say really…

Since I’ve been back to uni I’ve been down to York twice to see Jess, which was awesome of course, got a tiny bit of work started and became a student rep.

This weekend I’m over to Liverpool, via York since it’s cheaper, so four trains in three days is going to be fun. Looking forward nevertheless.

I’m sure more things have happened, but for now that’s about it. Oh yes, the window in my room is making the most gratingly irritating noise whenever the wind gets up, like air coming out of a balloon.

Jess has managed to get me into both 30 Seconds to Mars and, more recently, The Libertines. Probably be a fan of Abba before long.

On that note, I’m off to watch a Libertines @ Reading Fest 2010 video Jess sent me today, as long as laptop lets Youtube work for another hour.

Nothing special and spectacular for the 100th post I’m afraid, maybe for 200 if and when I ever get there.

On to the next 100!

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

My week; sleepover, IKEA & moving in

Short one, having a bored of blog couple of weeks so bear with me.

I also had a bored of life day on Wednesday, so I sat around in my PJs all day. Didn’t really think about this post while I did that, not a lot to say here.

I went and made up for my laziness on Thursday. I went to the gym and washed my car before I had a shower. I went and got mother a birthday card and she took me out to get my last bit of uni stuff.

Friday I had to gym before picking up Dom Emily and Anton. Drove them through to Jess’ and we watched The Hole. Didn’t care for it.

Drove to Carlisle and back on Saturday to drop off the other visitors, then we were little fatties and got a takeaway. I had to drive back through for that, and managed to puncture a tyre, which meant mother had to take us back to Jess’.

Fortunately the car was back at home on Sunday, and mum was cheerier. I came back, showered and that was about it for the day. Oh and later on I packed up everything ready to move back in at uni.

Up and out on Monday morning, picked up Jess and stopped off at IKEA on the way. I’d never been before and it was well fun. I decided kitchens are my favourite room.

Playing spot the Jess here in a little house. The folding chairs on the wall would be useful in case of sudden WWE style battle royals kicking off.

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We went out for a Chinese buffet after moving all my stuff in, then we watched Two and a Half Men and were quite cold. Need the radiators fixed in the uni house. Here is my plate of every meat known to man, and it was delicious.

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Came back Tuesday, watched England match in a very bored fashion. Had enchiladas and they were very yummy. My under 12 stone mission is going well.

I’m hungry, there’s no food in the house so I’m off to buy bread. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

My week; Carlisle, United & Jess

Turns out I did do something on Tuesday night, just wasn’t the pub quiz. James and I went to the Carlisle-Leicester match. Safe to say it was another disaster.

Wednesday was a gym morning, so after that I came home and used our slightly new shower, which now works. Jess was at Emily’s house with friends doing a sleepover, so after shower I went and got her and we went to her house for the night.

Once I got back to my house on Thursday I encountered many odd goings on; the hoover was out, there was pre-cooked pies lying around, the car was there but mother was not, and so forth. Turns out her friend had picked her up.

I got a double Wigton week this week as well, as I went back to stay again on the Friday. Tea is always nice there, and we watched 500 Days of Summer (poor with good ending) and Jennifer’s Body (poor and didn’t see ending).

On Saturday I was back home and bored, so I went to town with James and after watching him try on pants we went and watched some football. Came home and watched a bit of cricket too.

Man United v Liverpool on Sunday. I went to Alex’s for the first half, but then he had to leave so I also had to leave to watch the rest. Alex is now off to uni so I shan’t be seeing him for a while. I watched the Arsenal game after that and cheered up a bit.

Monday I had another good gyming – still isn’t making any difference – and then Jess came round. We had a lovely night sat in Bitts Park eating McDonalds and watching transfer deadline day and talking and it was really nice.

Jess left on Tuesday so it wasn’t as good as Monday. I went to the pub with Liam, but then he wanted to go nightclubbing, so I called it a day and went home at about half 10-11ish. Took me ages to get home and my phone died on the way.

Nice short week, hoping I get to go Wigton for the weekend on Friday, looking forward lots. Get as much coupley time in as possible before uni.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

My week; party, more football & Leeds Festival!

Hello, the first one of these on time for a good few weeks, as I believe I shan’t be attending the pub quiz later, I am broken because of events I shall now explain.

Wednesday was a day of many films, as we watched 27 Dresses when we got up, and Elysium at the cinema. Two films doesn’t seem like very many, but I’m sure there was another one at some point.

First off I went to the gym on Thursday, then went to play some more bingo and won a tenner from a free game. We had an Alex party to attend on the night. We had the fire going and my awesome party playlist to keep us warm outside, since we couldn’t get the surround sound to work in the living room.

Everyone had to be out by 10 the next morning, so I enjoyed some of Alex’s leftover donner pizza and went home. I made sure I had everything ready for Saturday and tried to get an early night.

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As some may know, Saturday was Leeds day! I wrote a lot more about it here, but I shall summarise it again for anyone that missed it. Skindred and New Found Glory were fun, then it rained a lot, then System of a Down were brilliant and Green Day were absolutely epic. We didn’t get home until 3am , and I still had to shower before bed.

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I woke up shockingly early on Sunday morning after what a long day Saturday was. I sat around and didn’t really do a lot until Jess arrived. We then went out with a few friends to town. We got in around half 2 and Jess stayed over.

After Jess left on Monday I was tidying my room when I found her phone, silly woman. I drove out to Wigton and dropped it off along with some Magic Star supplies. On the way back I stopped off at Alex’s for a barbeque and we watched the football. Wasn’t the best match, we had a clear pen turned down so everyone was fuming.

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Tuesday made a nice sandwich and watched Spirited Away, then I walked into town and got a frame for my anniversary present. Look how nice it is, thank you lovely Jess!

WP_20130827_002More cinema action tomorrow and two stays at Jess’ this week! I am excited, as well as United Liverpool on Sunday, should be another good one. If I do go to the quiz later the outcome will be on next week’s.

Also my video of Time of Your Life live has got nearly 700 views at time of writing! Feel free to check out Billie’s (and my) lovely singing voice.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack