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Tuesday, February 28

Now is probably not the time

I really am rather stressed at the moment. I have multiple irons in my fire, and I don't even have a fire. I have oil powered central heating, which I should probably check the oil levels of, since it can so easily require topping up, as the oil doesn't come on an oil mains - is there even such a thing? - and I'm already off topic. Right this moment, all aspects of my life need a lot more time and attention than I think I can spare, since each of them is competing with the other and there never seem to be enough hours in the day for even one of them, let alone multiple ones. Being a newly wed is great, I wish I had more time for it... but the other areas seem to be lovely sources of stress which need time to turn them into the rewarding experiences they ought to be. Here are some snippets of the things I'm supposed to be doing right now:
  • Editing a book
  • Writing a Fringe show
  • Preparing some work-related stuff
  • Organising a national comedy event that's bigger than the book and Fringe show
  • Ensuring I can attend family events
  • Traveling about the place
  • Gigging and getting more gigs
  • Running in new material that I'm supposed to be writing
The list would probably go on if I dared let it. Instead, I'm having a go at using the Blogger app on my new toy - a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. This is a nice toy to have, and the little keyboard you can get for it, which raises its weight to above that of an equivalent sized, but cheaper, netbook, is very dinky and a pleasure to use. You shouldn't compare between a little laptop and a lovely touch-screen pretty tablet PC, but it's hard to know exactly what the difference is when you're sitting typing a document on something which has a screen and a keyboard. If I had to write this on the touchscreen keyboard it would take about 8 times as long. The touchscreen is excellent, but it's not a keyboard. They never will be. On the plus side, I can recommend the tablet, even though Apple's marketing still makes me wonder whether an iPad would have been nicer (it would have required me to sell my soul to the corpse of Steve Jobs, so no). The reality is, and this is true for iPad, if you have a smartphone, you probably already have most of the apps you'd use on a tablet, and on the tablet they can often be just a bigger-screen version of exactly the same thing. It's really portability and loveliness that the tablet can bring to the table and I'm looking forward to finding some better uses for this than just substituting for one of the three laptops that are sitting near me as I speak (the fourth is upstairs, where I'm going shortly). I'm not entirely convinced that some apps really are anything more than a wrapper for something you could just as easily get on a webpage. However, the concept and the reality may differ from each other. I may find out that having this tablet gives me a notebook in my bag that is more flexible and ever present than a clunky laptop, or I may find that I've bought an expensive media player (that's kinda why I did buy this). Either way, I'll have to report back. I should probably try to blog more in the near future as it will help me straighten things out in my head a bit and also give me a chance to workshop ideas that may make it into my show. I don't think I'll be doing a show about new technology, so this post won't be mined for quotes... Probably. Hey. I did get one joke from one blog post once. That's statistically a hit. Right? And out. One final note: I'm glad I'm not using this device as a kindle - the afterimage would do me!

Thursday, February 23

I'm in Favour of Marriage

As I'm in favour of marriage, I found the Coalition for Marriage to contain some rather startling comments.



In the spirit of research, I've emailed them:

To: c4m
From: Ashley Frieze

May request more information about the following:

1. Why does the existance of same-sex marriage have a negative effect on male/female marriage?

2. Which study shows that children do better with married parents of both genders rather than as children of a same-sex couple?

3. How can same-sex marriage affect people's careers?

4. How can fostering, by male/female couples be negatively affected by the existence of same-sex marriage?

5. Why would same-sex marriage open the way to polygamy?

6. Who says that traditional marriage is discriminatory?

7. Why does the existence of same-sex marriage make male/female marriage a different thing?

I'd appreciate your answers to the above, since they seem to be the cornerstones of your campaign.

Many thanks

Ashley Frieze, a man married to a woman.


I'll report back.

Wednesday, February 22

Not even an adventure

Sometimes my life takes me up the garden path, so to speak.

Thanks to a strike at Frankfurt airport, two things happened. Firstly I was right. This doesn't always happen, and I tend to recall when it does (it's Confirmation Bias people - this is not a drill). However, let's assume that I'm not being entirely partial when I say that the strategy of committing to a contingency plan seems to work a lot more than awaiting a maybe. I have a couple of cases to prove this... I'll come back to the Frankfurt thing in a moment, this is not a digression.

When we were organising Funny's Funny an issue occurred where a showcase was pulled. Rather than organise a replacement, I reasoned that we should organise two, since something was bound to happen. By going for a more coherent contingency plan, rather than just a Plan A on that, we managed to do more and have more success that if we'd just organised a like-for-like replacement... a cancellation of which would have probably broken the whole thing.

The more up to date case is the cause of the last few hours of my life. On Friday last I was supposed to have a day trip to Frankfurt for a meeting. On the day before, there was talk of an airport strike and I started talking about contingency plans so we could do the meeting on the Friday as planned. The plans were basically:
  • Go the night before, buying some extra clothes right away and getting on with it there and then
  • Switch the flights to a different airport for the following day
After a lot of umming and ahhing, we decided to wait and see, and then discovered that the flight was cancelled after all when I tried to check in. The meeting was postponed to Wednesday and that was that.

Then the next strike murmurs started. I wasn't larking about. "Let's reorganise," said I, "losing the meeting is worse than losing a bit of unnecessary reorganisation fee". As a result, we planned the trip I've just started... and it's complex - or at least more complex than just flying to Frankfurt. So, we organised it, risking that the strike might not happen and the complex trip might not be necessary.

According to news reports, there's a strike that would have buggered me right up!

So, I had to go to Terminal 1 today instead of my favourite Terminal 5 (Heathrow, of course). This was a shit-tip of a Terminal which made me sympathetic to the Twitter Joke Trial chap, Paul Chambers, whose frustration, which came out in a "interpret this as terrorist threat if you're a total anus" tweet that caused him much trouble. I was clever enough not to tweet that sort of thing, but still felt my blood pressure rise as I progressed through their cack-handed systems in the direction of my plane.

The noisy and shabby airside waiting area didn't help, but I found a Pret a Manger and my pseudo-middle-class soul was slightly soothed.

Landing in Cologne, I had to find a hire car. This isn't hard. I got a nice car, but it was hiding on a different floor of the car park, and the other car rental customer I accosted to half ask for help, didn't seem impressed. He was even less impressed when I flagged him down and told him that I thought we were definitely in the wrong place... but he was soothed when I turned out to be right and he got to his car.

The Renault Megane was in German. It was also a Renault - never driven one of these - and didn't have a key. I had to look around where to insert my card. Then I couldn't work out how to get the sat nav to go on... then I eventually managed to get it into English, though I became obsessed with the possibility that "Jane" - the TomTom English speaking voice - was talking with a slight German twang. At some point I'm sure she told me to take the third reich, rather than right, but I digress.

Having fathomed out how to get moving, I discovered I had a hundred miles of driving ahead of me. This was fine, but then I found myself driving over desolate unoccupied German country lanes, possibly taking a shortcut through some hills: I don't know for sure. I felt a little bit like I was being kidnapped. Kidnapped by myself. That's a fun evening out, that's for sure.

I tried to use the distance-to-destination to nickname some of the small towns I was in. I decided that one little town was "basically Burford", and I was highly amused at "Bad Homburg", which I can only imagine is also the way a German dog owner might shout at his errant hound.

I'm now at the hotel. All is well. I released myself from the kidnapping and I avoided the strike buggering me up. It gets a bit more complex tomorrow. I have a day in the vicinity of here and then I'm driving back to Cologne to stay in an airport hotel overnight. I'll wake up on Thursday morning, have a leisurely morning's tippety tap on the computer, and then be back on the plane for lunchtime. Then I'm gigging in Bangor, N. Wales... of course I am. Another bunch of hills and a self-kidnapping scenario.

On the way home from my gig, I turn 38. Will I then immediately grow out of all this shit? Who knows.

Good luck to all who read this.

Tuesday, February 14

Song Writers Beware

Someone's on our case - Silly Love Songs on TV Tropes.

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