Friday, 24 August 2012

WWF: When did I get so old?

When I was about 4 I had a Hulk Hogan wrestling figure. I think I knew he was a wrestler, but didn't really know any more than that, but I did have the package it came in lying around. I used to leave the wrestling figure in the caravan for when we went on holidays, and one rainy day I looked on the back at all the other wrestlers. This is pretty much where my obsession started. The different figures looked so cool, so I started to collection them.

I used to love wrestling. I liked how over the top it was, and how colourful and interesting the characters were. My dad would sometimes take me to MultiVision where I would rent a video of a Royal Rumble or other main event. Mom and dad would also buy me many different books and videos about it.

Since we didn't have Sky TV, and the internet wasn't really around in the early 90s, all of my wrestling knowledge came from the videos I had, or things I read in the books, so it was fairly hard to understand story-lines, but I loved it regardless.

The last time I really watched wrestling was the 1995 Royal Rumble. Something suddenly felt different. I didn't really know at the time why, but I quickly lost interest. It turned out that WWF lost a lot of money due to a steroids claim, and lost a lot of their people, and that is when their popular Attitude Era started. I didn't care for it, it lost it's friendliness.

Every so often I read up about old wrestling storylines, and peice together what I remember, with what was going on at the time. I find it really interesting, but one thing always puts me off from doing it... the realisation of how old I am. When I remember wrestlers, I see them all as muscular, fast, and fairly young men... but when I see them now... wow. In my head it doesn't feel like 20 years has passed, it just feels like they got replaced by new people to fit new audiences, instead of because they just couldn't keep up.

So, here are some of the wrestlers I used to love to watch, as how I remember them, and what they are like now:

Brett Hart

Jake "The Snake" Roberts

"Macho Man" Randy Savage

 "Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibase

 Ric Flair

Rowdy Roddy Piper


The Ultimate Warrior



The Undertaker

Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake

Greg "The Hammer" Valentine

The Honky Tonk Man

Koko B Ware

I would find more, but a large amount of them have died.

I still have my collection of Wrestling figures, and hope that one day my children will like to play with them. I will just have to make sure not to show them what they look like now.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

omglan Dodgeball: The Comeback

Long time readers (just me) will know about omglan's legendary dodgeball team. One of my earliest posts was about our second Dodgeball tournament and it has been nearly two years since our last attempt.

Omglan.Dodgeball is one of the longest running UK dodgeball teams**, with one member, Damo, already inducted into the hall of fame. Damo helped omglan win their first, and only dodgeball round ever. Towards the end of 2011 he tragically died, to much upset from his many friends.

Omglan, a once highly funded team (£65 before we spent it on tournament entry and 3 bottles of Fanta) has came a long way... from the guys who literally didn't know how to play, to once being ranked 13th in the UK. From unknown team wearing black t-shirts, to dodgeball heroes.

... but, as noted above on the website of one of UKs highest ranked teams - Leicester Ligers, we are still yet to win a game.

For this reason, omglan have decided to enter another tournament, located in Coventry, on October 14th. With some new recruits (who also have no idea how to play) we are half determined to win a round, but fully expect not to. After all, we have limited resources, and most of them will go towards finding a kit instead of training.

Expect more of this...

And this...

** May not be true

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Retiring of the 'Huntlands Boxers'

August 2012 will go down in memory as the month that the Huntlands Boxers were finally thrown away.

The Huntlands Boxers aren't just any pair of boxers. They were purchased from H&M during a manly shopping trip with Neil and Joe, where we all bought matching, though different coloured, boxer shorts. Collectively, we are known (to ourselves) as the Huntlands Boys.

The Huntlands Boys (sometimes written Huntlandz Boys, or Huntlands Boyz, or even Huntlandz Boyz, though each only by us) is a non-violent, non-gang collective of three of us who live on, or very near the Huntlands estate (most other people are middle-aged to retired people). We have no aims, nor beliefs, but we felt we deserved a name since each Friday after school we would go to each others house, play poker, and drink, and from those days we have a load of good memories.

The Huntlandz Boys gradually recruited other members, known as "Huntlandz Soldiers", Rhys "I never was a Huntladz Boy" Smith, and Leigh "There's a Blizzard Coming" Martin. 

The Huntlands Boys eventually created, and merged with the larger collective, OMGLAN, and enjoyed many years of Friday nights in playing games and drinking. Like all large groups (there was at least 8 of us), power struggles and inter-group politics get out of hand, and much like the Roman Empire, it weakens from within and eventually operates on a fraction of its former glory.

As for the Huntlands Boys, Joe moved to Birmingham and made new friends, Neil followed his work to London, and I moved to Worcester. Although we rarely get together now as a group (the recent attempt at a walk in Wales failed), we do have one final memory. One particularly hungover morning, we went into town to buy a Subway. Joe's aunt had spotted us, and not knowing it was us, had called Joe's mom to tell her that she had seen some "Suspicious looking youths, dressed in summer clothing", or SLYDISC, as we later called ourselves.

Like the fall of the Berlin Wall, or landing on the moon, throwing the Huntlands Boxers away is more of an iconic moment symbolising the final end of the Huntlands Boys, for the boxers, like the group, were full of holes.

One day the Huntlandz Boys may reunite.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Bristol: Morph Suit Walk, Pies, and Balloons

Last Saturday I went to Bristol, to meet my friend Ollie. I met Ollie on the last day when I was in Germany 3 years ago (an epic short-holiday, obviously featuring Captain Vestman), though back then he was known as Tim. The reason I was going is because he is doing a 1000 mile walk from John O'Groats to Lands End, for charity.

That weekend he was in Bristol, walking in a morph suit to raise awareness, so naturally I jumped at the chance to help. I never turn down the chance to wear a morph suit.

I chose to wear the yellow one, as it's my favourite colour, and I wanted to look like a banana. The disadvantage of this was that I almost-literally couldn't see a thing. Usually you can see fairly well in morph suits, but everything was a hazy yellow mist.

One thing I had forgot to mention... on his walk he is carrying 20 litres of water (20kg). Personally I think this sounds impressive, but for those who think it doesn't, just try carrying it. I managed about 5 minutes before I was dying inside. My arm ached the next couple of days.

The walk was good. I got to speak to Ollie for a while, and wave at people who I couldn't see (thankfully, Brandi would just say "wave to your left".

Shortly (seconds) after the above picture was taken, all the people in front of me parted, and since I couldn't see a thing, I walked straight into a crotch-height post. It hurt. I thought that Ollie had kicked me in the balls, as a joke (... I dunno), so I attempted to just continue walking, but posts aren't as movable as feet, so the post won and I dropped. Ollie found this hilarious.

Apparently, in the centre part of Bristol they were giving out free boxes of Krispy Kremes. This kept me going. I've never had a 12-doughnut box to myself, and I wanted one. Sadly, on arrival the people had gone. I hate them for this. My spirits were raised though when we were posing for photographs, and a really young girl saw me, and came running over and hugged my legs. It was cute, and now I wanted children.

The doughnut side does have a happy ending though. One of the women from the Frank Water charity had picked up a box, and gave me two!

Bristol has a famous pie shop, called Pieminister. Last time me and Brandi went we got there a bit late and it had closed. Since then I had been looking forward to it. I could have had one at the horrible music festival, but I didn't want to associate eating nice pies with being wet and cold, so I held off.

I'm not the kind of person who usually takes pictures of food, and then talks about them, but it was very nice. I had a Steak and Stilton pie, with minted mushy peak, mashed potato and gravy. It was worth the wait.

The day we went was during Bristol's "Balloon Fiesta", which is the largest hot air balloon festival in Europe, apparently. We walked over to the place where it is, to get ready to see the "mass ascent". I still point up when I see a single hot air balloon (which looks strange when I'm on my own), so I was excited. We found a nice area of the field and sat down waiting (though I am unable to sit down without falling asleep now, so I napped for half an hour).

This is a tragic picture of me and Brandi, but it was the only one we have together from the day, so just pretend we look good.

The balloons started at 7pm, and here are a load of pictures I took.

It was cool seeing so many, and there were lots of families there who seemed to have a good time, so me and Brandi decided we would take our children (when we finally have some), and maybe make it a tradition.

Just before we left we went back to see Ollie and his girlfriend at the hostel they were staying at. It was a really cool place.

We had a blueberry flavoured sheesha, some laughs, then it was time to head back home! All in all, a great weekend, and I must arrange to meet up with them again soon!

Monday, 13 August 2012

30 Day Challenge: Photography, Week 4

The 30 day photo challenge is finally complete.

Three weeks ago I started a photography 30 day challenge. Here are the pictures from the third week (and here is last weeks, and the week before).

Day 22
My family came over to Worcester and we went to the park for a picnic.

Day 23
The flowers that I once thought were weeds finally bloomed, and were very pretty, and smell really nice.

Day 24
With the garden taking shape, we decided to try and get rid of all the weeds in the grass. A much bigger job than I originally thought!

Day 25
The car ran out of oil. Here is me being manly.

Day 26
A hot air balloon I saw in the distance during a walk.

Day 27
While going for a walk alone (I was in a mood) I took a nice eerie-park picture.

Day 28
I haven't seen Ollie in a long time. He has been walking from John O'Groats to Land's End, carrying 20kg of water. Along the 1000 mile route he stopped in Birmingham to give out leaflets.

Day 29
I picked some flowers out of the garden for Brandi, into this mini bouquet. In the evening we saw 4 shooting stars during a meteor shower where we lay in a field. There are no pictures of that as they are hard to capture.

Day 30
I joined Ollie in Bristol for part of the walk, wearing a morph suit.

Even though it is literally just taking photos, I found the challenge pretty hard. I would realise quite late that I hadn't taken a photo, and would have to try and find something.

I have enjoyed doing it though. It has made me go on walks a lot more to try and find something nice to photograph. I found myself starting to look at things differently, seeing the beauty in things to try and find a good photograph. I also like that when I look back to this month I'll remember exactly what I did during the start of the summer.

I plan to start another soon, but I am not sure what on. It will either be programming, or Spanish.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Playstation Night & Picnic Morning: Summer 2012

"Playstation Nights" have been a long standing tradition with my nephews. I wrote about a previous one in 2010 (which I just read back and it made me giggle), but didn't mention what they were. Many years ago they wanted to play the Playstation for ages, but would have to go home and get upset. I decided that on one of the Friday nights, after school, we would have a Playstation Night.

The rules are simple, they aren't allowed to argue, and can play the Playstation for as long as they want, and I will provide sweets and other snacks and play too. This hopefully makes me the cool uncle (in reality, I genuinely can't stay up as late as they can, as they don't even start to get tired before 4am).

There are often other activities that go with a Playstation Night, such as a "bear hunt". I am against hunting, but have resigned to call it that. It started because Sam, who isn't as obsessed with computer games as the other two, wanted to do a "monster hunt". In this we would all dress up, arm ourselves with Nerf guns, and go downstairs when its pitch black and hunt monsters. Somewhere along the way "monster" turned into "bear", so now the bears are monster bears (not nice innocent bears).

Anyway, Friday the 3rd of August was to the the first Playstation Night of in mine and Brandi's house. She prepared by making cakes and food, and I went to pick them up.

We decided we should try and get them to do other things than play on the computer all night. First of all we went walking around the area, looking for Geocaches and going to the park. We also showed them the community garden, which has a load of apple trees. On the way back we went into Tesco and bought some snacks for the night.

When we got back we played Risk. I didn't get to play Risk when I was younger, but I love it now. I thought I had a clear victory, but then they allied, and even though I recruited Charlie onto my side, try quickly ripped through Asia, and was on the verge of taking Australia before I called a truce.

That was about as long as we could stop Logan playing League of Legends, which he didn't move from the rest of the night, while me, Brandi, Charlie, and Sam played Bomberman, and then started drawing, and watched a film.

Brandi was the first to drop, going up to bed at about 12:30. I was pretty much asleep at that time, but stayed on the sofa. At 2:30 I gave up and had to leave the rest of them downstairs playing. I think they finally got to bed at about 4:30.

In the morning they were up before me too. I'm getting old.

In the morning, Charlie desperately wanted to go back and look for a Geocache that we couldn't find the night before. While we were looking, Mom, Dad, Vicky, Eloise, Carly, Paul and Savannah all turned up to go for a picnic.

We still couldn't find the Geocache, but the picnic was really nice. The kids went on peddle boat things and got soaked, and the girls went on a bouncy slide. Afterwards we went a walk around the forest and, as usual, I got lost.

It was a really good day, but all a bit much for dad.