Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

After what seems like a geological ian spent indoors, we decided it was time for a family day out, and where better than to spend it than at the zoo, where animal convicts earn their keep by parading around in front of us. For funsies.

So off we went to Bristle zoo, and had a very enjoyable few hours showing my little boy traditional fauna, including the lions, or "Rahs!" as he calls them. A 'rah' also refers to a tiger, a red panda and, worryingly, socks. Mind you, he calls crocodiles "Neighs" so I'm not expecting much of a zoological future for him.

One thing he did seem to enjoy was the aquarium, and it was fun to point out the fish, of various hue and girth, which he dutifully pointed at all excitedly. One area was a tunnel through which you can walk under the aquarium and look up at the fish, in this manner:
So it was a good teaching opportunity for him, exposing him to some of the denizens of the deep(ish) waters of our planet. It also happened to be glass-cleaning day at the aquarium, and obviously this was far more exciting to little kids than boring animals, especially when the silhouette of one of nature's top predators came gliding over the walkway:

Lots of 'oohs' and 'ahhs' and ignored fish ensued, so in order to continue the animal exposure, we went off to be insulted by lemurs.

A little later on, we came across the river otters, and obviously he was far more interested in the traditional otter food of . . .
. . . white rat lobbed over the fence. Traditional otter fare, that one.

I'm thinking of taking him to a dedicated aquarium next, where divers get eaten if they spend to long with their algae scrapers.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tis the seasoning . . .

Well, xmas has occurred, and thanks to our pagan heritage we still drag a bush in and have a big old nosh-up smack bang in the middle of winter. I may not be religious or a traditionalist but, if it involves booze, grub and a heaving sackful of goodies, then you can paint me yellow and refer to me as High Priestess Woo-Woo the Oblique for all I care.

And the food was luvverly. We started off with something that was once de rigeur for any stylish household, but lost favour and went the way of chicken-in-a-basket as edible fashions deemed it a tad 1970s; only prawn cocktail! I even managed to get red glass bowls which would've been right at home on the set of Abigails Party. Look at 'em:

You can't tell me your mouth isn't watering at the sight of de-exoskeletonned crustaceans in ketchup and mayonnaise.

The other thing I discovered was cranberry sauce, the staple condiment for turkey in every civilised country. Now, obviously, I know what cranberry sauce is, as it comes in a jar and gets heated up every year. But no! Not this year. I was shown the delights of making it myself, in 10 minutes, from real cranberries. They go from this:


To this:And it tasted fantastic. For a start, it doesn't taste too much of cranberries, which are absolutely disgusting and have been know to turn a man's face completely inside-out with their tartness. A load of sugar, wine and some other niceties and - Violin! - you have deliciousness in a pan.

It's one of those food groups that, despite being up there with ambrosia in terms of tastiness, you only eat at a certain time of the year. Llike Advocat. And Creme de Menthe.

After the consumption of more calories than you might find in a deep-fried deepfryer, I now weigh 73 stone, so it's off for a run in the morning for me. I'll just have this last ferrero rocher . . .

Sunday, December 28, 2008

That good old good feeling.

After a brief hiatus from this blog where reality stepped in and rudely interrupted my internet time, I went for a walk yesterday in order to clear my head, recharge my lungs and re-vim my vigour.

It's cold here at the moment, although we haven't had any snow since 1978 because of cow farts and 4x4s, but after a small amount of walking (barely a mile from my house), the scene that greeted me was lovely. So lovely in fact, I took out my phone and used it for its primary purpose. Taking photos. Occasionally, I talk to people on it, but that's just incidental:

Obviously, photograms don't do justice to the real world (except for porn, where they make sex look a bit better), but here, the cold snap of the air, the cloudy breathing from cattle, the skeletal trees looking like roots rather than anything that might possibly photosynthesize, all combined to make me feel . . . good.

And believe me, it's been a few days since I felt that way, which makes it extra special.

Wherever you are, I hope your locality offers a little bit of good.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

D'oh, a door, a feeble door!

Money isn't everything, but it certainly helps keep the wolves from the door. Unless they are real wolves and you haven't got a door. Happily, I have a door, and this is a good thing even though wolves are typically scarce in this region, ever since the myxomatisis outbreak of '56.

This is my door:

Nice eh? It's made of all plastic and glass that is, for some reason, better than a great slab of wood with a knob on it. As I'm no door expert I shall bow to received wisdom and refrain from replacing it with an oaky edifice, although the only advantage I can see is the transluceny issue. Not good in oak doors.

However, it has been laid low recently when it failed to lock, and as some wolves are noted for their tenacity and door-opening abilities (as seen on TVs 'Animals Do The Funniest Things, Right Before They Invade Your House And Eat Your Family'), I deemed it necessary to consult a locksmith and PVC door expert.

He soon found the problem, and did a quick, albeit temporary,repair. It would seem the whole inner bit needs replacing because this bit is knackered:



In case you're wondering, it's the bit on the left. The red paperclip is for scale, and not commonly found in the better sort of door. I'm reckoning about half a centimetre long, by the looks of things. I am cheerily informed that the whole bit can be replaced as soon as a new inner part is ordered.

"Fair enough" says I. "Get the part at once, Mr Locksmith and PVC Door Expert. And can you tell me, just for funsies like, how much the whole shebang will be?"
"Of course." replies Mr Locksmith and PVC door expert, "One hundred and eighty-five pounds and sixty-five pee, including VAT."
"Hmmfeeeeee?!" I expectorated, and felt a clammy, tight feeling near my wallet.

And the annoying thing is, he's not ripping me off. Research has since confirmed that this is how much it is to repair my door. I could do it myself for a bit less, but this would eventually be more expensive when Mr LaPVCDE has to come round to repair my amateurish fumblings, possibly while paramedics are trying to work out how to extricate me from the frame.

I wonder how much a bloody great slab of oak is?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

None Shall Pass.

Whilst wandering wistfully within welshest Wales one wednesday, our path was blocked by two local and mean looking inhabitants. They were quite neatly turned out, attired in similar accoutrements and sporting the latest in thermal protection, perfectly suited to the chilly environs of which they were so familiar.

It made me stop and think. Mainly because I'd just walked uphill for a mile and any excuse to stop was welcome, even if it was to think, but I did anyway. What might they want? Were they hostile? They looked indifferent, but that might have been the carefully cultivated nonchalnace adopted by the professional (and competent) thug.

I suddenly realised they were assessing me to see if they recognised me, to see if I was a threat. Their world was probably relatively small, insular and dangerous, with the same few people occupying the same few roles in society. Bosses and underlings, suppliers and users, all familiar with each other and all identifiable. Even the enemies, the predators and the traitors, would probably be recognised by these two, so it was imperative in their view that they be vigilant, and causing some discomfort to innocent visitors a small price to pay.

After a moment, they moved aside to let us pass, with not even a cold nod of acquittal. We avoided eye contact and went on our way.

In a moment of clarity however, I understood they were checking me out to see if I was a grass.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Balance this!

A balanced diet consists of, according to our Dept o' Health, fruit and vegetables; bread, other cereals and potatoes; meat, fish and alternatives; some dairy, fat and sugar. They haven't mentioned brown sauce, which I'm sure is simply an oversight, but I get the impression this is a fairly accurate piece of advice.

I don't require the ignorant witterings of self-appointed nutritional therapists with worthless diplomas and no scientific knowledge whatsoever to tell me what's good for me, or what's bad for me, or what's a new miracle food because it's a berry, and it's purple, and the Aztecs used it as a cure for IBS. As a contemporary western male with an education and the ability to have nuggets of wisdom drawn to my very fingertips by way of internet tubes, I am aware of the dangers of not eating variety, and the benefits of ensuring I eat a balanced diet.

It's common kowledge. Common sense even.

However, I'm also a typical bloke, which is why my dinner today consisted of this:

MANFOOD! Guh. Guh. Guh.

Obviously, I heated it up a bit first.


And I stuck one slab of meat between two pieces of bread, so that varied things up a bit. Oh, and I had Barbadosian Hot Sauce on it, which is not only a separate foodstuff, but practically a different type of matter to that usually found in the universe.

Now if that's not varied, I don't know what is.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What to do . . . what to do?

Cursed with an easily distracted mind, I was staring at our house rabbit t'other day when it occurred to me that what he really, really needed was for his ears to be threaded through a toilet roll tube.

So I did:
Apparently, this is a better thing to do that place Jaffa cakes on my new-born son's eyes so he looked like Elton John wearing shades.

I'm not posting that one, cos the missus told me not to.

Shame.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We're all going on a . . .wintery holiday.

I'm currently on holiday (although we've stayed in this country), for a quick winter break. We're doing lots of activities which is great fun, but it's not leaving me much time for bloggage.

Anyway, me bath's running, and I just found this picture I took on a previous holiday of a famous European landmark I took from an unusual angle. See if you can guess where it is:
I'll give you a clue. You might get an eyeful of this tower in the capital of France because it is the Eiffel Tower.
Cryptic stuff . . .

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Not just trees 'n hills.

I suddenly had a feeling that I was coming across all rural and anti-urban, perhaps appearing as some curmudgeon who likes to stay out in the wilds, what with pictures of critters and mountain tops, and rants on the pleasantness of meeting no-one at all.
I need to remind myself that there are some rather nice backdrops to be had in other settings, and we needn't just rely on the majesty of nature to provide nice places to visit. We're lucky round our locale as pleasant cundry ambles often follow the local rivers and canals, which can pass through areas that have a rich and surprisingly interesting industrial heritage.
By interesting, I don't mean I'd flick through a dissertation on the historical minutiae of pig-iron use in 1800s warehouses, I mean nodding appreciatively for a moment, before moving on to a pub with a good line in local ale.
This pic was taken under a railway embankment for instance.

Well, I like it. And it's my blog, so it's staying.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Terrapin Living In Water Shock! Brits Amazed!

Continuing the topic of our cold-blooded cousins, the UK isn't really noted for it's reptilian denizens. We've got the aforementioned snakes and a few lizards scattered about, but not much else. British people tend to get quite excited when we see a gecko, cos it means we're somewhere foreign and, most likely, warm.


In fact, after a visit to Greece, your old Auntie Mabel will most likely regale you with tales of feeding a rock lizard on her balcony rather than discuss the historic architecture of Athens or the cultural impact of Grecian philosophy on western civilisation.


"Brown, he was dear, like the waiter!"


Anyway, to show that occasionally we do stock slightly more interesting things than rabbits and sparrows, I thought I would share with you some pics I took of my local disused and overgrown canal, where the following chap has resided for the past six or seven years. Presumably, he's an escapee, but apparently doesn't find our Winters too distressing:


There. Okay, how about a close up . . .


There he is! A big terrapin thing, about a foot long. No idea what type of terrapin, or if he's just a tortoise with a thing about baths, but he can be found basking sedately on a log throughout the Summer and sometimes into the Autumn.

This might not seem much to you, but I'll have you know this thing made the local paper round here. Honest.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Phobiaphilia

My missus has a touch of ophidiophobia, although she would disagree that it is a phobia. In her opinion, a phobia is an irrational fear, and fear of snakes is completely rational as they're poisonous and in some cases big enough to eat you. Not many people are ridiculed for being a touch nervous around tigers.

It's a good point. However, it's not just coral snakes and anacondas she's scared of, but anything which slithers along the ground or does a vaguely relaistic impression of a snake.

I often forget this, and recently found these delightful critters resting 'neath a slab in my garden:


Two slow-worms and a grass snake. Now, I'm daft enough to still get excited by these sorts of things and I then want to share my ebullience with the person I share the rest of my life. Hence my trotting happily over to her with two fistfuls of squirming captives.

It didn't go well. The shriek was audible in Tehran, and echoed around the fields and churches of our rural county for about an hour. Bats dropped out of the sky, stunned, whilst dogs ate their own ears.

Apparently, pointing out that slow-worms are legless lizards, not snakes, doesn't help, and niether does remonstrating with her for scaring them with her banshee wails.

I felt we both learnt something that day. She learned that she actually suffers from herpetophobia, not ophidiophobia, and I leaned that we have a very comfortable sofa to spend the night on.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The New Ukulele!

I've noticed that a lot of blogs are about exposing issues important to the very innermost depths of someone's being (like sex, loneliness, sex, friendships, sex, weight-loss, sex, roadkill etc). Now, I don't really do that, as this blog is generally just a bit of light-hearted wittering and pointless spewage from my psyche.

Today though, I'm going to be different, because it's linked to my tragedy post (http://gravelfarm.blogspot.com/2008/11/tragedy.html). A few people offered their condolences on the loss of my ukulele, for which I'd like to thank them, and I also mentioned I was attempting to learn Sweet Child O' Mine on it's replacement.

Understandably, there was some concern about this, so I think it only fair that I back up my claim with a video. Unless that was what the concern was about (Oh crap - he's going to video that and post it, isn't he?). Playing and singing exposes your very soul, according to some musician friends of mine, so let's give it a go shall we. Excuse the singing as this is a work in progress and I'll get my tone in another day!


video

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Avoiding the crowds


I like this picture. I went out in January for a walk up our nearest set of mountainettes, Pen Y Fan in Wales. They're only about an hour away, and yet it was almost like a different world up there.


I'm not a fan of crowds, which is a problem on an island the size of this one where over 60 million people live. You can't go many places, especially in England, where you won't be sharing the scenery with lots of other folk. Usually though, they tend to be pleasant, like minded sorts, as dreary chavs tend to be urbanophiles and don't often come out of town, so the effect is mitigated somewhat.


In winter though, you hardly see anyone. The views are often the equal of anything in the Summer, sometimes better as they're aren't many leaves to block the view, and as long as you wrap up well, jobs a good 'un. You also get a real sense of achievement as well.
Does this make me a grumpy bugger, I wonder?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Big and yellow

December cometh, with associated frost and nippiness. I was out at 6.30 to go to work in the dark, scraping the ice of the car with the heating turned up to max. It feels like Summer was a long time ago, but whilst flicknig through the photos on my phone, I came across this:


Ah . . . bask in it's sunniness. A quick reminder that it was quite nice around here just a few months ago.

This is relevant to the blog because it was the result of the fecund growth of the Tropicarium I regaled you with a while ago: http://gravelfarm.blogspot.com/2008/11/growth-medium.html

More bulletins as events warrant!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hypernomenclature

Imagine you've got a shop. What would you call it? If you actually do have a shop, go and look at the sign and check. Something to do with your name, or what you sell, perhaps? Maybe Jones' Hardware or Patel''s Patent Mantraps, that sort of thing.

Nah. What you want is something like this:

Now that's a shop name.

Saw it in Cyprus a few years ago. I've no idea what they sell, but you can bet it's going to be pretty damn awesome. In fact, I expect there is absolutely nothing they don't stock, this side of a parallel dimension.

"Left handed screwdriver sir? Aisle 48."
"Shark farts, madam, of course. Ailse 2."
"Rameses testicle in a jar of liquid methane? Would you liked that gift-wrapped sir?"

I went in for a pterodactyl sandwhich but . . . wait for it . . . they'd run out of bread!

Ah than' yew!



Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tourist attraction

Last year I took a bike trip around Scotland, and it was like biker heaven. The scenery was amazing, the sinuous roads empty and stretching with gentle undulations through gorgeous panoramas that made you glad to be alive and sat on two wheels.

Of course, I could put up some pictures of said scenery to demonstrate my appreciation of the trip, but I'm thinking you might as well go on to a tourism website and look at proessionally captured images. So I won't.

Instead, have a look at this one, taken in the Kyle of Lochalsh just prior to a ride over the bridge to Skye. It demonstrates how the town has embraced modern technology and is at one with the new technocentric order of society:


Useful to know. I was tempted to follow it to see what sort of computer deserved it's own road sign, expecting some sort of Deep Thought artificial intelligence with hordes of technicians hurrying hither and thither, delivering important questions from locals about this year's haggis harvest and digging new single malt wells. Unfortunately, the call of the Talisker distillery was too strong so I didn't divert, so don't expect an explanation.

If you want to see it yourself, it's at the crossroads in the centre of town, just after the 'Microwave - 200 yards' sign.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tragedy!

According to Kahn and Steeves in their cheerfully titled chapter 'The Experience of Suffering' (1996), suffering is a quintessential part of the human experience.

Now, I'm not one to diminish the experiences of others, but putting perspective aside I would like to share with you a tragedy the likes of which Sophocles or Shakespeare would have thought twice about including in their works, lest it tear the very fabric of society in twain with lamented wails of anguish.

My ukulele fell off the back of my motorbike:



Then got run over by a following Volvo.

Frowny, frowny face.

I know what you're thinking - how can he function? What's the point of carrying on? How has he the power of will to get up, brush himself down and overcome such adversity. Well, as the adage goes, life is problems and living is solving problems, so I came up with a cunning plan.

I bought another one.

Yay!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A funny thing happened at a funeral the other day . . .

I'm quite proud off my little boy. He's 20 months old at the mo and like an information sponge. You only have to tell him something seventy or eighty times and BLAM, he can sometimes retrieve it within hours. He does like books though, mostly with pictures (which I can relate to) although I have noted he's starting to recognise the odd letter here and there, and I'm encouraging this as best I can.

Imagine my pride when we were attending the funeral of his Great Uncle recently, and he interrupted proceedings to point at a great big wall-mounted crucifix and cheerily shout "Tuh! Tuh! Tuh!"

His Great Uncle would've appreciated that, I know.

It's quite a weird concept the christians have there, with the method of execution of their head wizard becoming their ultimate religious icon. If it was done today, would they all be wearing little electric chairs or syringes round their necks?

Imagine if he'd died of a heart attack during an orgy? I'd wear that pendant.



Thursday, November 27, 2008

Inspiring stuff

I prefer to post my own pics on this here blog, as much as I can. In a small way, it gives me a sense of creativity and originality I suppose, even though the photos are just straight off my phone.

Every now and then though, you come across an image on the interweb which just screams achievement, which inspires in you a sense of awe and is a reminder that, at the end of the day, one should always aim as high as possible. The first image is this, tak
en from the conservatory on the International Space Station.Human achievement at it's pinnacle, here. I've got this as my desktop wallpaper.

Of course, such grand accomplishments are not resticted to Homo sapiens, and sometimes it is the feats of other species we can use to inspire:


One word. Orsum.


One word meme sucker!

Well, AV (at http://netherregionoftheearthii.blogspot.com/2008/11/i-got-stung-again-but-from-different.html) nominated me and 4 other suckers for this one-word meme, the rules being that I can only provide one-word answers to each question, and then I have to nominate 5 blogs for the same treatment.

I'm not sure why there isn't a number 10, but I presume it's because answering it would be too revealing. Here we go:

1. Where is your cell phone? There!
2. Where is your significant other? Adjacent
3. Your hair color? Braaaaaaaahn.
4. Your mother? Crone.
5. Your father? Bearded.
6. Your favorite thing? Multitool.
7. Your dream last night? Immemorial.
8. Your dream/goal? Immortality.
9. The room you’re in? Lounge.
11. Your fear? Nothing.
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Younger.
13. Where were you last night? Work.
14. What you’re not? Green.
15. One of your wish-list items? Finglonger.
16. Where you grew up? Willslock.
17. The last thing you did? Nappy.
18. What are you wearing? Out.
19. Your TV? Boring.
20. Your pet? Bert!
21. Your computer? Laptop.
22. Your mood? Positive.
23. Missing someone? Repetitively.
24. Your car? Practical.
25. Something you’re not wearing? Halo.
26. Favorite store? eBay.
27. Your summer? english.
28. Love someone? Absolutely.
29. Your favorite color? Green.
30. When is the last time you laughed? Recently.
31. Last time you cried? Weeks.


Do you lot fancy a go:
http://alexandtheblogdelusion.blogspot.com/
http://boomer-musings.blogspot.com/
http://shoppingkharma.blogspot.com/
http://doyouhateittoo.blogspot.com/
http://roarrah.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Growth - medium.

My old crone of a mother (she refers to herself as that) is pretty good with plants, and seems to derive some pleasure out of gardening. She recently encouraged me to get into it, and advised one of those cheap plastic mini-greenhouses to start off with, as apparently you can get a good amount of herbage even in the dank shade of this North Atlantic island.

So earlier this year I took her advice, ready to delve into the world of horticulture, already imagining hosting a universally lauded gardening programme on BBC2 in a couple of years, not that I get ahead of myslef or anything.


Behold, I give you, the Tropicarium!

Note the bricks and sandbags. You can't have your crop being blown away by a sudden gust, so that's my first bit of gardening advice.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

99% Perspiration

According to recent research, there is no such thing as innate talent, and having an IQ above 120 does not single anyone out for extra success in life. Apparently, in order to become a world expert at anything, you need to do something revolutionary;
Practise.

Okay, not particulalry startling, but this here research (and by research I mean magazine article) also suggests that, to truly master something, there is a certain number of hours of practise you need to get under your belt, and it doesn't matter whether you wnat to be a virtuoso on the violin or an evil criminal druglord, it's the same figure.

10,000 hours.

That's about 10 years, if you're dedicated, and appears to be the amount of time people thought of as the foremost practitioners in their field have spent getting to the top of their game. So I was thinking, what could I become a master of in ten years if I started in earnest now. I recently carved a hallowe'en courgette, which shows promise, although it's not as scary as might be anticipated:

Imagine how awesome that would be if I'd been doing nowt else for a decade! Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

So, what would you do, if you had the time and support? Ten years from now, you too could be an expert courgette carver, although I think the planet is too small for more than one.

Get your own niche.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Groove armada

Like most blokes, I'm easily distracted, particularly by stuff that pops into my head. The other day, whilst being dragged round Mothercare, I had an awful brainworm - the lyrics to Kelis rap song "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard . . ." circling round my brain like a budgie in a Hoover. You know the thing, a jingle or snippet of song that you can't get rid of, whether you like it or not. Bloody annoying.

So, to combat the brainworm, I found myself proposing a challenge;
"To voyage around the world in eighty days!"

Actually, no, it wasn't that. That would be silly. It was to take a photo of something amusing in the next minute.

And I found this:


For some reason, the song really suited the close up of the knights grooving on down. I classed this as a success because it amused me, even if no-one else was privy to the humour, although it didn't get rid of the brainworm.

I had to start singing "I should be so lucky, lucky lucky lucky . . ." for that. Thanks Kylie.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cost effective special effects

I'm hoping that the trend to having films with lots of special effects and chuff all content will be coming to an end soon. They should have both, preferably, but if the dosh is being divvied up, it should go to the storysmiths and script writers first, and the CG artists second. I realise that, in this time of crunching credit, the charming little cottage industy of filmcraft is being hit hard, and money for special effects and scenery will be tight. Mr Lucas et al might be after some advice on how to cut costs.

To help, allow me to demonstrate by providing, in toddler building blocks; a flawless rendition of a popular film and television set piece; the stargate off of Stargate, which was some sort of gate to the stars:



Please note, this is not to be confused with the stair gate, which is used to stop said toddler from practicing his unintentional parkour.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The 9 layer meme

There's this here set of questions that's doing the rounds on some of these blogs, and I had ten mins so thought I'd do it as an exercise in self-discovery. And there I am, look, all discovered!

LAYER ONE:–
Name: The Jules. Not just any Jules, but THE Jules.
Birth date: One Summer morning in the early seventies, heralded by portentous aurorae and visiting dignitaries.
Birthplace: Lichfield.
Current Location: An island in the north Atlantic.
Eye Colour: Grey.
Hair Colour: Greying.
Height: 5’9” – thus securing my position as the World’s Smallest Giant.
Righty or Lefty: Dextra
Zodiac Sign: The Jumping Flea.

LAYER TWO:–
Your heritage: From a long line of bastards.
The shoes you wore today: Steel toe-capped boots.
Your weakness: Invulnerability
Your fears: Being stuck in a locked room with two hungry polar bears.
Your perfect pizza: A real man’s pizza, with all cleavers and mahogany on it.
Goal you’d like to achieve: Immortality. Might have to wait a while to see if I’ve made it.

LAYER THREE:–
Your most overused phrase on AIM: “FIRE”
Your first waking thoughts: “Better luck next time, Mr Kruger.”
Your best physical feature: My ha-ha.
Your most missed memory: Where I put my keys.

LAYER FOUR:–
Pepsi or Coke: Either
McDonald’s or Burger King: Neither
Single or group dates: Orgies
Adidas or Nike: Prefer Non-labels
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Beer
Chocolate or vanilla: Either
Cappuccino or coffee: Both

LAYER FIVE:–
Smoke: Sometimes
Cuss: Only for fun.
Sing: As above.
Take a shower everyday: Tend to have a shower, rather than take one. But no.
Do you think you’ve been in love: Oh yes.
Want to go to college: Been
Liked high school: Yes
Want to get married: Already there.
Believe in yourself: I’m pretty sure I’m here. Or am I . . ?
Get motion sickness: Never.
Think you’re attractive: Sometimes.
Think you’re a health freak: Nope.
Get along with your parent(s): Yeah - they’ve got half my genes each.
Like thunderstorms: What’s not to like. They’re thunderstorms.
Play an instrument: Ukuleletastic.

LAYER SIX: In the past month…–
Drank alcohol: Yup. In fact, in the last 6 seconds.
Smoked: No.
Done a drug: Apart from booze and antibiotics, no.
Made Out: Yup.
Gone on a date: Married – but yes!
Gone to the mall?: Yeah, and I work shifts so it’s not too bad in the week. Chuffing awful at the weekend though.
Eaten an entire box of Oreos?: Nah.
Eaten sushi: Yes.
Been on stage: A small one.
Been dumped: On? Yes. It’s not a good story.
Gone skating: No. And now I want to . . .
Made homemade cookies: You can buy them 6 for a quid at Sainsbury’s.
Gone skinny dipping: Only in the bath.
Dyed your hair: Yeah – grey highlights.
Stolen Anything: Someone’s thunder.

LAYER SEVEN: Ever…
Played a game that required removal of clothing: Yep. S’fun.
Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: I can’t remember. So yes.
Been caught “doing something”: It’s half the fun . . .
Been called a tease: Nah – I deliver.
Gotten beaten up: Yup. Still missing the tooth.
Shoplifted: No. can’t stand thieving.
Changed who you were to fit in: Possibly, although almost subconsciously as I like to think I don’t care what others think of me. But I’m sure I do a bit.

LAYER EIGHT:
Age you hope to be married: Minus 6 years.
Numbers and Names of Children: 1 – The Little Jules
Describe your Dream Wedding: Kofi Annan squared up against a purple dragon called Phil, and the profiteroles all had eyes!
How do you want to die: Never.
Where you want to go to college: Done it. A few times. No more though.
What do you want to be when you grow up: More sure of myself.
What country would you most like to visit: New Zealand at the moment.

LAYER NINE:–
Number of drugs taken illegally: Four – I get a bigger high rockpooling.
Number of people I could trust with my life: 6 – not including a load of mates who are paramedics.
Number of CDs that I own: about 100.
Number of piercings: None - I like to be unusual.
Number of tattoos: None – I like to be unusual.
Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper?: Quite a few, worryingly.
Number of scars on my body: Half a dozen or so.
Number of things in my past that I regret: Oh sweet baby Santa, the barnet. THE BARNET!

Happiness is a dog egg.

I've been flicking through some blogs on here, which is dangerous because it's addictive, and I note that a lot of them are about happiness; pursuit of, lack of, acheivement of, loss of, ephemerality of etc etc etc. It seems to be a recurring theme in people's day to day worries. Am I happy enough? Is this the right sort of happiness? Is she happier than me? Am I depressed or just a bit sad?

I don't worry about happiness. If I was permanently sad, for no good reason, what would I be when something bad happened? Extra sad? A realy, really sad bastard? Possibly the latter.

So, in the interests of maintaining a positive mental attitude, which is essentially how you survive in this world without turning into a quivering emotional jelly, I think we should take joy in mildly amusing stuff, no matter how childish or trivial.

To this end, I bring you a thing from my little boy's letter board:


Heh - that totally says 'dog egg'.
Obviously, sanity can only be maintained if we ignore reality, because that shit will just depress the seratonin right out of you, but I'm fairly confident we've all got the wherewithal to do that.
If you find yourself slipping into some kind of reality-induced melancholy, try this link.
Hope it helps.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Another sign . . .

I was visiting inlaws in the awesome metropolis of Uttoxeter a few weeks ago when I came across this sign on the Barclays Bank entrance:


At first, I thought it was amazingly sycophantic, and wondered if it increased their business at all. And then I realised how insulting it is to disabled people.
Apparently, the loveliest people in Uttoxeter walk through them there doors. Yup, if you roll, you can't be one of 'em.
Tough ambulatory titty.

Self-referential

Walking past a local (and very posh) school recently, I came across this:

I'm not sure if this is clever or dumb.
I'm going with dumb because (i) it's a graffito, and that just smacks of someone desperately trying to gain immortality through daubing, (ii) because it's not on a particulalry ugly or pretty building so can't lay claim to either protestation or irony and (iii) because it's not Banksy, who has a license to graffite from the Dept of Daubology.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bother

We seem to have an upsurge in door-knockers round our parts these days, selling eternal salvation and promises to relieve you of your sinful wages, in return for . . . well I'm not exactly sure what you get. Some stories about being nice to other people, some questionable antics about life-after death which don't seem to have much in the way of an evidence base, and an absence of decent music, I think.

A couple of days ago we even had some missionaries from America who had decided the UK is a heathen, godless society and, rather than accept my hypothesis that it is all the better for it, a one-way discourse ensued in which they described how much better religious folk were than unbelievers. I wasn't convinced, and pointed this out.

To reiterate their point, they asked me where my morality came from, if not from a higher source. My answer was that it seems to stem from an innate morality derived from evolving as a co-operative species, and is common to most humans, whereas they appear to get theirs from a giant CCTV camera in the sky, where it is only the fear of being caught and the possibility of a reward when they die that prevents them from molesting kittens.

Doesn't sound very moral to me.

They were not open to my opinions, and I was also closed-minded to theirs, but only until they come back and provide some evidence and then I'll cumbaya with the best of them. Until then, I pointed out my car sticker - which says it all really:



From my exerience, religion has far too much of a hold on public life, and influences policies in this country that affect me, which just isn't right. I don't want my taxes used to support churches and pay the wages of mystics with ideas of relevance. Can we request that they keep it private, like other passtimes, and not force their hobbies onto the rest of us?

There. I've said it. Now to wait until the mainstream religious machinery is dismantled around us. I expect it'll take a day or two . . .






Wednesday, November 19, 2008

To start as we mean to go on.

Sometimes, the only thing worse than being a pedant is being an observant pedant. I'm not a grammar nazi, and think that the beauty of language is in it's fluidity and dynamism, but sometimes I see something that just makes me have to take a pickcha.

I mean really:



There's no excuse is there? Not even the jaunty capitals at the beginning of every word can save it. I know it's just a supermarket who's name of The Co-Op will go unmentioned here, but surely there's someone in their (see, not so hard is it?) advertising dept who's got a qualification in Engerlese and might have spotted these before they went out to 3,000 stores across the UK (presumably).

Well they didn't. And their lack of a proper checking procedure has resulted in them being BERATED in a BLOG by someone they've NEVER heard of!

I hope they can sleep tonight.