Angelic Paranoia

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – May
Thursday 9th May 2019 7:13 pm

This month I'm going to watch The Orville. I keep seeing it mentioned, so I am curious. I am not hopeful though, because I watched a trailer a while ago and it wasn't funny, but I thought the programme is supposed to be funny. Which doesn't bode well. But the first episode is only 10p (even if first episodes are never a good way to judge a series).

But if anyone has any suggestions of good episodes to start with, let me know - I won't get to anything before the weekend.


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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 8th May 2019 8:07 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
Death in the Spotlight by Robin Stevens. And I am up-to-date! Until the new one comes out, then I'll be waiting for the library to get it in in e-book form. I enjoyed it, but had no idea who the murderer was. Probably not helped by most of my reading being in bed at night when tired.

What I'm Currently Reading
This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay. Adam Kay was on Cats Countdown in dictionary corner and read a bit of this and it was funny. And then I found the library had an e-book of it... and a very long waiting list. It finally came to my turn, so I am two chapters in. It isn't as funny as I thought it was going to be, but it is still amusing some of the things that happen. It's also really thought-provoking when he talks about 97-hour weeks and never getting Christmas off.

A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin. I was halfway through, but stopped for library books. I like that most of the chapters are about characters I like. I dislike the Iron Born and Dorne chapters though, they are hard going.

What I'm Reading Next
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. It's finally out in paperback, so I asked for it for my birthday.


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The Menagerie
Sunday 5th May 2019 6:05 pm

No Discovery spoilers this time.

I rewatched the Menagerie and realised it's really just a tale of friendships - of Spock and Pike and Spock and Kirk.

Spock plans to take Pike to Talos IV. He has it all worked out with the Talosians to take over the Enterprise and distract Kirk long enough to get Pike there. He tells Pike he has it well-planned and he does. That part at least.

Going to Talos means the death penalty and Spock commits mutiny, which is not exactly going to do much of his career either. Those parts are not so well planned - he pretty much relies on Starfleet feeling sorry for Pike and understanding why Spock does it, once he explains. He is also perhaps relying Kirk putting in a good word for him. He risks a lot for Pike, which speaks to the depth of their relationship.

What makes it interesting, is Kirk's reaction to all this, once it's all been explained. He says:

Mister Spock, even if regulations are explicit, you could have come to me and explained.

Spock says he didn't because he didn't want Kirk to face the death penalty too, which Kirk doesn't get the chance to respond to. But it does tell us that if Spock had gone to Kirk with his plan, Kirk would have helped him. Kirk didn't even know Pike - they only met once. So it speaks a lot for the depth of Kirk and Spock's relationship that Kirk would take on the same risks, just to help his friend help another friend.

Kirk points out at the end that Spock has been very emotional about it all. Of course Spock says it's all logical, but really, it's not. The planning Spock does it logical, but initiating it is entirely out of emotion.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars April wrap-up
Tuesday 30th April 2019 7:58 pm

This month I watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

I looked through the episode descriptions (which Netflix likes to make difficult) and chose one that seemed most relevant to me (ie didn't involve small children). The format was that it introduced you to the people who were getting tidied up and why they were doing it. And how American houses have so many cupboards. And then they are inspired to tidy up, with some cut-aways to Marie Kondo giving us tips.

It was interesting to see how she inspired them to get rid of things and interesting to see different people's lives and American houses. I just didn't feel the need to watch any more - I feel like if you've seen one you've seen them all. And also you can find similar videos on YouTube for free (although it turns out if you don't have Netflix for a year you get another month free).

So I'll give it a 7/10.


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This time with Discovery spoilers
Monday 22nd April 2019 11:50 am

Read more...


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Not posting much
Sunday 14th April 2019 7:31 pm

I'm struggling to find the time to post much. The three evenings a week I am in look like this:
6pm get home
6-7pm dinner
7-9pm 1 hour coding plus 1 hour doing things I need/want to do (not necessarily consecutive or in that order
9-10pm feed Sammy and watch TV
10pm go to bed to read

Two nights a week that 1 hour free I have includes half an hour of doing things I need to do (eg food shopping). I end up leaving most things for the weekend and then don't have time to fit everything in.

But I am doing better at the coding thing, now my rules are to do 10 minutes to an hour and no more than that, except on weekends when I can go up to two hours.

And I am watching more TV. This is partly because I have Netflix for a month to watch Discovery, and it turned out to be another free month, no idea why, but I'm not complaining. I have got through it quicker than I thought I would, partly because I have had some time with no energy to do anything other than watch TV that doesn't require a brain. And partly because it's not as bad as the first series (which is not hard).

I have two problems with Discovery this series:

  1. They're obsessed with spinning the camera round and can barely keep it still for two seconds, so it becomes more something I'm listening to than watching
  2. Last series there was one character I liked, one I hated and the rest I was meh about (well, by the end of the series - there was another I hated at the start). This series has one character I love, who I suspect is not going to be in series 3 (if there is one) and two I hate. They keep teasing that the characters I hate are going to die/leave the series and then they don't.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – April
Monday 1st April 2019 7:11 pm

This month I have Netflix, to watch Discovery, since it finishes later this month (and why pay for three months when you can pay for one). So I am going to watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, because I'm intrigued to see what it's like.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars March wrap-up
Sunday 31st March 2019 8:09 pm

This month I've been doing 100 days of code. The idea with the 100 days things is that it gets you into a habit. Except that it's a habit that requires having an hour free each day and I just don't have that. I tried squeezing it in and made myself ill, which is not great. I think it would be better if it was 10 minutes, but I can't see how you wouldn't get much done in 10 minutes for many of the 100 days challenges.

It has been good for getting me doing it, I just need to not overdo it again. So I am carrying on doing it, as I'm a fifth of the way there and doing it will be achievement. I'm just going to do the more relaxed version where days don't have to be consecutively and a day can be less than an hour.

I'm going to give it 6/10.


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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 27th March 2019 8:07 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold by George RR Martin. After finishing series 7 of Games of Thrones I thought it was about time to get back into the books. And I am behind - this is the fourth book. Usually I struggle to get through these - they are wordy and they are big and heavy and it feels like the chapters that bore me are the longest ones. But this one I read in a weekend.

Roswell High: The Outsider by Melinda Metz. This was both strange and interesting. It was strange all the differences between it and the two series (well, what I remember of the Roswell High TV series). Mostly that Max is blonde, which I just can't picture at all. It was interesting to see what Max, Isabel and Michael felt and what they could do. On TV you see Max healing people, but in the book it explains how he manipulates molecules. It was all right, but I don't know that I need to read any more, particularly.

What I'm Currently Reading
A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin. I literally just started this today. It is about 750 pages - 200 pages longer than the last book. So it might take me a bit longer - not least because I don't want to spend another weekend too ill to do much other than read.

What I'm Reading Next
The Chalet School and Cornelia by Katherine Bruce. The thing I love about pre-ordering books is that I forget I order them and then one day I get home to a book in the hall. Which is what happened with this book. It's set in the Tyrol days, so I'm looking forward to it.


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Busy, busy
Sunday 24th March 2019 7:21 pm

I have mean to post (and comment and do all the other things) recently, it's just all been a bit crappy.

The week before last I got over-excited by the 100 days of code thing and got some coding done every free moment. And overdid it. I spent last Sunday doing nothing to recover. I decided last week that I would redefine a 'day' from being an hour, to somewhere between 10 minutes and 2 hours, and I wasn't allowed to do more than 2 hours in a day.

And then it all completely went tits-up by work being crazy, so there was no way I had the energy to do any coding, even when I wasn't working in the evening/morning before work.

And because bad things come in threes, my stove died. By sparking a lot, which was scary. And didn't do much for my stress levels. It is the least bad it can be though because the only thing not working is the ignition, and you can light the gas without that. And it's under warranty, so at least it won't cost me anything (extra) to get it fixed.

So I have spent this weekend catching up on TV and reading. Last weekend I finally got round to watching Game of Thrones series 7 (only two years later...) and then decided to catch up on the books. I was watching a series, reading the relevant book six months later to get the background, then watching the next series. But I got really behind and after spending some time trying to work out which I read last, I'm now partway through the fourth book.

The one bright spot in the week was dancing, which I didn't have the energy for but is de-stressing. I learnt a new dance, after having watched it before, dancing a position at the back of the hall, and then dancing it for real. All those years of ballet were good for remembering sequences (well, better than I was, if not perfectly). We'll see how well I remember it next week. It was a simple dance, but it was a self-esteem boost.

This week shouldn't be as crappy as I'm only doing my job, not my boss's as well (they got rid of him and shared his duties out between three of us, so we do his job on top of ours once every three weeks and I find it so stressful).


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars March
Sunday 3rd March 2019 7:23 pm

This month I'm going to do 100 days of code. Obviously not all 100 days in March. Not even all 31 days in March because there are some days when I'm only in the house long enough to eat and sleep. And I already missed yesterday's because I was reinstalling my operating system.

But I will do some of the 100 days of code and doing that this month should then keep me going to finish it - which will probably be around the end of summer (depending on how hot this summer is).


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars February wrap-up
Wednesday 27th February 2019 8:51 pm

This month I've been reading Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. On the whole, I enjoyed it, although if it was made into a TV series or film I would definitely not watch it.

It was a murder mystery with magic and I like both of those things. I didn't like the gory bits or the sex-related bits (I am generally not interested in reading either of those). I did find the plot got a bit convoluted and I wasn't quite sure how exactly the whole thing ended up being solved. But that might have been a side-effect of me reading more than one book at a time and taking a while to read this one. I spent a lot of the book trying to work out why it was called Rivers of London and eventually worked out it referred to the B plot. It was really specific about London and Covent Garden, which I liked.

However, there was one massive thing wrong which annoys me every time I read/hear it, and that is the police caution. It's not specified in the book, but at one point one of the characters arrests another. The arrested character carries on talking and the police officer then points out that she just said that anything this character said would be used in evidence against them. That's not how it works, it just isn't. For a start, the caution just says that anything they say will be taken down and used in evidence. Full stop. And logically, anything they do say could be used for, as well as against. It's lazy research - the caution is literally written on the government website.

I'll give it 7/10.


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Stuff I love: Sammy
Sunday 24th February 2019 12:34 pm

Stuff I love

I haven't done much of this meme, but I couldn't not include Sammy.

Sammy

I discovered recently that he is tame - the definition is pretty much not scared of me, trusts me, doesn't freak out immediately if you hold him. He has had all four feet on my hand a few times. It's just hard to get him to do it because he's big enough to stretch to get all the food on my hand. He still freezes if I talk to him when he's up - as if he's been caught out. I think he's just not a people person. Which is fine, because neither am I.

He is all about the food. I don't put very much in his food bowl because he gets all his food from my hands or from the food I've buried around his cage. Not that he realises I'm the one who buries it. A while ago he had a couple of days of getting up earlier and went around his cage looking for the food that I hadn't buried yet.

He is pretty lazy. I put a treat in a cardboard puzzle. Missy would have destroyed it in less than two minutes. I make his easier and he finally gets round to them after two weeks. Male hamsters tend to be more laid back and Sammy is as laid back as it's possible to get.

Sammy


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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 20th February 2019 8:59 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Hive by Brannon Braga. One of the squares in LJ Book Bingo is graphic novel or comic. I was intending to swap it, but I thought I'd look at the graphic novel section in the library just to see if there was anything interesting, as at least graphic novels are really short. I found this one, which I did not enjoy. The plot was confusing and it was about the Borg which was dull. They had an OC important to the plot who looked just like Beverly Crusher but with slightly differently shaped hair. Plus it's a comic, which I just find hard to read when it's more than just a three square strip.

Sunny Side Up by Susan Calman. It's hard to say what this is about. She meanders a lot, but it's partly about how she's now happy (mainly thanks to Strictly) and how everyone should be more kind. Despite the meandering and hard to explainness, I enjoyed it anyway.

What I'm Currently Reading
Still Dune. Very slowly. It's getting interesting, but hard going. I am half-tempted just to look up a plot summary because I am interested in the mysteries but don't care about any of the characters.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. I am enjoying it, it's an easy read. I definitely wouldn't want to see a TV series or film of it, though, because it's a bit gruesome. I am just glad I skim read descriptions at the best of times. I am liking all the police stuff in it, though, with the added supernatural makes it interesting.

What I'm Reading Next
These will keep me going for a while, but I'd like to read the Roswell High books. Watching Roswell New Mexico is reminding me of the series and I'd like to see how similar both series are to the books.


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Clocks
Sunday 17th February 2019 9:22 pm

It's all been going on with clocks recently. Well, two of them. Well, my alarm clock and my watch.

One morning I went to turn my alarm off and the button disappeared into the clock. Fortunately I could still turn it off by unsetting the alarm. But the button that no longer existed was necessary to change the alarm time. The clock is over twenty years old and a piece of it fell off years ago. I thought I'd glued it back on but found that was not the case when I turned it over to take the battery out.

I did consider for a while whether I needed a new alarm clock. There is an alarm clock on my iPod and my phone and my travel alarm clock. And I have one of those clocks that gets light before it goes off. Which I've found good for being able to wake up in the light in the winter, but frightens the life out of me when it goes off (it has 16 volumes, they are all loud). It also doesn't do the waking me up gradually thing, so is useless in that aspect. It also doesn't have a battery back up if the power goes. It does take a battery, it just doesn't do anything useful.

I also don't use it as a clock. It's just too far away and too big, so if I need to know the time I pick up my small bedside clock and put it up to my nose. It also has an alarm, but it's a very unreliable clock and a more unreliable alarm.

My alarm clock is a radio alarm clock, but I don't listen to the radio either. I've had it for so long that I associate the slightly tinny radio noise with annoyance and it makes me want to turn it off the second it's come on.

But I ended up buying a new radio alarm clock for £7. You can spend ridiculous amounts, mainly for the ability to charge your phone with your clock. Even though it would be cheaper to buy a plug. Since the new clock is smaller I've moved it further away from the bed so I now have to get up to turn it off, rather than just sitting up. This is because the traffic on the way to work got hideous so it would take 10-15 minutes extra to get to work. Considering my journey is generally only 20 minutes, that's quite an increase. Since I tend to spend about 10 minutes after my alarm goes off trying to get out of bed, putting my alarm clock further away means I have to get out of bed and am not going back again afterwards. Of course, once I'd shaved 10 minutes off my morning routine the traffic went away and I was 10 minutes early. I've started leaving a bit later and it's all fine now.

On Friday I looked at my watch and realised it wasn't vaguely telling me the right time. Or ticking. After thinking about what a pain it would be to take it somewhere to get the battery changed and how it would cost nearly as much as I paid for it and it didn't look that hard, I thought I'd have a go at changing it myself. I did manage to prise the back off, but broke off a plastic piece that held the strap. I have now bought a tool so I can get the strap off and not do that again. And glued the piece back on - I've been trying Gorilla glue and it is really good. I glued the hoover back together and after it set I couldn't get it apart again when I pulled.

The battery was the tiniest thing in the world and needed a magnifying glass to see what type it was. At which point I realised I don't have a magnifying glass. I found an app for it, which unhelpfully turned the torch on, which reflected off the battery so I couldn't see a thing. I eventually managed to find the battery type, established it's not one you can buy in the shops and ordered one for about £1. So on balance it's probably cost me more than I would have paid if I'd gone somewhere, but it will at least be cheaper next time.


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Stuff I love: Jeremy Hardy
Friday 1st February 2019 7:31 pm

A meme for the month:

Stuff I love

I was going to post about this already, but it fits nicely into the meme. What with the snow today I worked from home, which meant I could check Twitter from time to time. I half-joke that my Twitter is basically just comedians and tennis. The tennis twitters are pretty quiet this week, recovering from the Australian Open and us with a bye in the Davis Cup. So my entire twitter feed this morning were people talking about Jeremy Hardy, how funny he was and what a nice guy he was.

For those who don't know, he was a stand-up comedian, well-known these days for being a panellist on The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. There was a page about ISIHAC I saw years ago about the singing rounds as being funny because the panellists can't really sing and in Jeremy's case, really can't sing. Which just makes his singing funnier - and the audience cheer louder. ISIHAC have a tribute of his best One Song to the Tune of Another and Pick Up Sung rounds at http://isihac.net/jeremy-hardy/

I saw him in stand-up years ago and he was funny. But I particularly enjoyed him on ISIHAC, for his jokes as well his singing. I particularly remember one Christmas special where he did a duet with Andy Hamilton, who really could sing. It was hilarious.


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Books
Wednesday 30th January 2019 8:16 pm

Reading Wednesday and I've Never Seen Star Wars in one post again.

What I Just Finished Reading
Fanfic. I've had so much marked to read for a while and then in December there were about ~30 SGA Santa fics. And SGA Santa fics tend towards the long. So I've put a load on my ebook reader and am reading through them in alphabetical order.

What I'm Currently Reading
Along with the fanfic, Dune and a Jeeves and Wooster book I can't be bothered to look up the title of, but the cover is green. For Dune I struggled to make it to page 50 - my copy has 561 pages, so I thought I should at least make it a tenth of the way through. But I heard it improves and I wanted to give it a go, but when I'm tired the fanfic and Jeeves & Wooster is so much easier. They have finally made it to Arrakis and it is picking up, so I haven't given up on it yet. Although I think I may have done it the wrong way round and should have watched the film first.

What I'm Reading Next
Rivers of London. Because it's come up a few times recently in different places and it sounds interesting.

I've Never Seen Star Wars January: this was Dune. I might update the score once I've read it some more, but for now it's 4/10.

I've Never Seen Star Wars February: I am going to read Rivers of London for this. Since I'm getting an actual book (rather than an ebook) from the library, I will therefore have to finish it or give up on it three weeks after I get it!

In other book news, I signed up to [info]ljbookbingo. It'll be a little while before I get a line because Dune, assuming I finish it, would qualify for six squares: sci fi, ebook, one word title, made into a movie, a new-to-you author, and a book that is part of a series.


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Car
Sunday 27th January 2019 7:50 pm

I now have my new car and I have driven it. I want to say that I like that it starts when I turn the key, except that it's a button, not a key, and because it's a hybrid when I press the button it's silent. It starts up the petrol engine when it needs to, which it did when stationary the first day I had it, because I couldn't work out how to turn the heating off (after pressing all the buttons I discovered it was the one marked 'off'). At one point it frightened the life out of me when I got out to check that the lights were on and not the fog lights or anything else and it started up just after I got out of the car.

I like that you can move the seat up. So I can now sit up straight enough to get the sun behind the sun visor in the mornings. And the lights of cars coming towards me aren't so blinding. I feel like I'm driving a 4x4. And have a tendency to hit my head on the sun visor.

It has a lot of gadgets, most of which I haven't used yet because I'm still getting to grips with the driving and the heating. The driving especially, because it's an automatic. I was fine the first day, but ever since whenever I want to put it in any gear I end up in neutral. I'm very glad the screen tells me what gear I'm in because I keep wondering why I'm not moving. And my instinct after putting it in reverse is to go upwards (for first gear) and then end up in park (which also means the car doesn't move).

When they redesigned the car they made it 20cm longer, which is in the boot. Although given that there's less space between the front and back seats, I don't know where the rest of the length went. I have, however, managed to make the boot smaller. In my old car there was a part of the boot that lived above the main boot that meant it was all flat if you put the seats down. Since the new car was the same width, and the old car was only going to be recycled, I took it out of the new car. It does fit, but not quite as well, so you have to be a bit careful about where you put stuff. Which ends up in having less space overall.

But I have less in the car. I found a lot of stuff in there I didn't know I had. I remember what the sellotape was for (making sure the headlights stayed attached after a pheasant flew out in front of me) but I have no idea why there was blu tack in the car. I don't remember ever needing to blu tack anything in either of my previous cars.

After buying a new car for the first time, I am going back to second hand after this. It's just such a lot of faff, whereas buying second hand is so much easier. And I feel like it's a bit posh for me. I miss having a bottom of the range, doesn't do anything fancy car (as much as I liked listening to the tennis on 5 Live Sports Extra on the way to work this week).


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What I’m Reading Wednesday on a Thursday and I’ve Never Seen Star Wars – January
Thursday 17th January 2019 4:05 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
The Book of the Year 2018 by No Such Thing as a Fish. Having read The Book of the Year 2017 I knew what to expect with this one and it was just as I expected. Interesting, informative and a bit silly. Only trouble is that I've forgotten all the facts I read.

The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov. This was a re-read for Redemption, where I volunteered to be on a time travel panel. I knew this one was interesting, but couldn't remember the ending. The first time I read this I wanted to go back and read it again because everything that happens is a clue to the ending. But I didn't. This time I read it carefully and the ending still came as a surprise. It's a good book and throws up some interesting morals about messing with history.

What I'm Currently Reading
Nothing because I just finished those two.

What I'm Reading Next
Dune by Frank Herbert - for I've Never Seen Star Wars. Because I've never read it. I have the film on DVD - it was free - and I've kept it thinking I'll watch it one day. So now I'm going to read the book. Depending on how it goes, I'll try the film once it's been long enough for me to have forgotten the book. Getting hold of this is the reason this post is on a Thursday, rather than a Wednesday.


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Andy Murray
Monday 14th January 2019 8:26 pm

So Friday was a bit of an unexpectedly big news day. To the point where I wasn't at all surprised at the end of an item on 5 Live with kids paying tribute that they clarified he wasn't dead. As sad as it is that he's having to retire rather than deciding to, I still prefer his brother. And there are plenty of other British players around - it's looking a lot better than it has for years. And I realised last year that although I'll miss the Big 4 and the ones below them, I'm ready for the next batch to come through.

I have two Andy Murray memories that are not at all like anyone else's that have been retweeted on Twitter.

The first time I saw him play was at an exhibition. They were trying to do things to pep the sport up a bit. This was to have just one set - an idea that didn't catch on. We saw a few matches and Tim Henman was due to play in one. But he was injured, so he commentated and a 17 year old Brit who I had never heard of called Andy played John McEnroe. He lost 6-1.

Afterwards McEnroe said that Andy was going to be good one day. I didn't believe him, partly due to losing 6-1 (although in retrospect a 17 year old losing 6-1 was not a surprise) but mostly because he was British. And British players never do well.

Then there was the 2012 Olympics where I didn't see him win a gold medal. I was in Court 1 watching the bronze medal match between Del Potro and Djokovic. We were sitting at the back where there was a gap between the side and the roof and it was freezing cold. It says something about how long ago it was that the crowd were all supporting Djokovic. We were supporting Del Potro, partly to be contrary. At Wimbledon, during the sit downs, they show you the scores from other courts. But not at the Olympics. We were following the progress of Murray vs Federer via the live scores on my sister's phone. And updating the crowd in our vicinity, mostly due to our surprise at the scoreline.

The bronze medal match finished and unlike at Wimbledon we couldn't get on Henman Hill (it was manned and ticketed) and there were no screens around anywhere else. We ended up stood watching a scoreboard while my sister ate ice cream (it had warmed up a lot). I've been to Wimbledon before on the final Sunday, sat on Court 1 and had no idea who had won the men's final. There was clearly no point in bothering this time, as God Save the Queen was a bit of a dead giveaway.

Speaking of not knowing results: when Andy won the US Open I had no idea until I finished listening to the match the following evening. I'd gone to bed after the first set. At the time the only way of following it was on the radio and it's really hard to listen to that and not fall asleep. As I remember from listening to Greg Rusedski in the US Open final. People were amazed that I managed to have no idea he'd won (I avoided all internet, TV, radio, shop and told people at work I didn't want to know).


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