When IKEA opened we had a similar excitement. "Oooh, a new shop, we must go and wonder round like petit bourgois drones. Ooh, we can now buy stuff that other people in other parts of the country can buy and be as well-dressed/chic/styling as them." Or desperately unoriginal. It's the same thing.
Nobody has talked about whether the city can cope with an increase in shoppers (it can't) or what effect this will have on being able to park anywhere near the centre (good luck with that) or even the economic effects on smaller non-chain shops that actually have a soul (sod them, they're not multi-million pound companies).
Until those considerations start getting mentioned in the sycophantic press, excuse me for not getting excited about an overpriced pseudoposh unnecessary department store opening. I'm not a wannabe yuppie or social climber so I don't think I'll find much in there that interests me. Just a hunch.
This word pair is actually anglicised Japanese, that can also be spelt/said Betsu Bara. Interestingly, Japanese doesn't have an 'R' or an 'L' so either can be used when it's anglicised, which is plobabry why steleotypes of Japanese people speaking Engrish mix them up.
Anyway Betsu Bala means 'additional stomach'. Apparently only women have them and it explains why women might not be able to finish their main course, but will have enough room for dessert. You'd use it as in the following:
"My friend Terri who has just come back from Japan couldn't finish her roast potatoes at the carvery the other night, but fortunately, while in Japan, she developed a Betsu Bala, which meant she had enough room to order the treacle sponge with the bottomless jug of custard. The pig."
Eight years on from 9/11 and how time has flown. What’s interesting for me though is how many conspiracy theories have sprung up in quite a short time.
Just to set out where I’m coming from – I don’t believe any of the conspiracy theories for two reasons. 1) As I see it, a jet plane crashing into a skyscraper is likely to destroy it without the need for thermite charges or the CIA. 2) I don’t believe large groups of people can keep secrets very well.
A lot of people would have to be involved in a conspiracy to bring down the World Trade Center. And human beings are unreliable blabbermouths. Someone would have let slip that there was more to 9/11 than the official view, if there was more to it.
Plus there’s the reasoning (if you can call it that) of the conspiracy theorists. Basically their argument runs like this: If the Government conspired to destroy the WTC, then they would deny it. So the fact that they deny conspiring to destroy the WTC ‘proves’ they did actually conspire to destroy the WTC.
Just about every conspiracy theory I have ever seen has that circular reasoning at the heart of it.
Ultimately conspiracy theories are just people looking for a ‘supernatural’ explanation for something quite mundane. We don’t want to believe that a handful of people with only rudimentary flight experience could cause such carnage, so we invent a conspiracy to make us feel safer – this must have been a huge operation with government complicity and decades of planning and so on. That’s far better than the thought that this was a random act of terror caused by a few people, which could be easily replicated.
As a race we have often created ‘supernatural’ explanations for random, frightening events that we have no control over. Whether it’s sacrificing virgins to appease the volcano gods, or throwing gold coins into rivers to ask the river spirits for safe crossing, it comes down to the same thing. We want to ‘explain’ the randomness as somehow caused by something, because that makes it less scary. We can perhaps do something to propitiate the gods (or the government) so that the danger goes away.
But the thing is, just wishing the world was a safer place doesn’t make it so.
The Daily Mirror are currently running a promotion giving away free Star Wars Lego. Saturday's model was a Stormtrooper on a speeder bike. I thought 'I want one of those.'
I went to the WH Smiths in town to buy a paper and pick up the model, but they had run out. Then I had a brainwave and went to the Smiths store in the Central Station. They had oodles of them. The girl on the till asked me if I had kids and if I wanted more then one. I couldn't lie and say I had kids, but I did say 'Well, if you're giving them away...' So she gave me three.
And here they are flying in formation with an Imperial dropship model I got given last Christmas. Oh, yeah, the Stormtroopers are gonna get you!
Yesterday I had a job interview. Sadly I didn't get the job. But, as Cathy always says, I have to count my blessings. Here are five of them.
1) The experience. For me it was the first time I've ever been personally prayed for by a bishop - and the first time I'd ever been to a job interview that opened with a prayer. It was at Lambeth Palace in London, which I had never been too before and was simply something else. The room I did my prep exercise in felt like I was typing in a drawing room in a stately home. Not many people in the world have been able to ring the doorbell at Lambeth Palace and say 'Hi, I'm here for the interview'. Plus afterwards I walked over the Westminster Bridge and wandered round Parliament Square and Westminister Abbey, which I don't get to do every day.
2) The affirmation. Doing the prep, writing the CV, reading the references people wrote for me, just getting on the shortlist for a high profile job has encouraged me and affirmed me. When the day job feels like a grind and you keep having to sort out bitty, petty things you can believe that your skillz are petty too. I guess when someone sees potential in you, then you start to believe in yourself. My presentation was really well recieved and I held my own. It came down to secondary skills, and the Bishop's voice was full of real regret that they had had to make such a hard choice between "exceptional" candidates.
3) Feeling the love. I had a lot of people rooting for me. Some were praying, some were thinking positive thoughts, and some had their fingers crossed. But knowing so many people were on my side really gave me a confidence boost. And since I heard I didn't get it, two people have said that they are selfishly slightly glad I'm not going anywhere, which in some ways is really nice.
4) I don't have the upheaval, but I haven't settled either. I do enjoy my job (sometimes) , but there's always a danger you get in your comfort zone. At least I won't have the nagging fear that I'm settling for the easy option. I gave it a go.
5) I can finish the unfinished business. There are a few proper writing projects at work I would like to continue through to completion. Having to leave good projects mid-task would have been a bit annoying. So now I can get my head down and crack on with them.
So, yes, I'm still a little disappointed. But there are upsides to the downside.
I went with Matt to his first ice hockey match last Saturday, a pre-season friendly between the Devils and Coventry Blaze. As it was a warm-up game (no pun intended) they didn't go into overtime, so the game ended at 2-2 - an unusual scoreline for a hockey game.
Given that the Blaze were in the title hunt last year and are considered one of the 'big 4', Cardiff didn't do too badly. They more than held their own, scored while they had a man in the sin bin and rode their luck at times. Plus there was fighting, which Matt as pleased about.
I'm thinking of getting into hockey, and as Matt enjoyed it enough to come back too, we might make a habit of it. We both bought souvenir pucks anyway, because, you know, you can't have enough souvenir tat. And now we can make puck jokes like 'What the puck is that?'.