Thursday, September 29, 2005

:) I'm still smiling about it now. Oh ho ho ho. This will only be funny to people who work where I work. Sooo, there's this fairly miserable old dear that works behind the coffee bar in the canteen at work and she loves nothing better than moaning (no not THAT sort of moaning). One of those people that is happy being miserable. She's also one of those people that either won't say two words to you or she'll hook your ear and talk shit at you for about 10 minutes and you won't want to walk away because you're scared to offend her in case she puts earwax in your coffee or something. Anyway, today she was chatty and she was serving this 25ish manufacturing-type bloke with a cup of tea and they were having some conversation about how he hadn't been told something that he should have been told ages ago and it was important because he needed to know in order to make plans that the comppany were now messing up and this never used to happen and how this company is going to the dogs and now they just treat you like dirt and it's not how it used to be and yada yada yada. I meanwhile was watching from a safe distance with jaw dropped, open eyed, giggle stifled glee as the MD, call him Tom Peterson, walked up to the counter and stood waiting to be served whilst the tea lady told goon-boy what was going wrong with the business. It would have been priceless except he obviously didn't hear anything she said and neither of the muppets knew who he was. Shit. The delivery was funny, the punchline a missed opportunity.

Then I went to get an apple juice and there was a big fly wing stuck to the carton. So I just had water.

"My next book is going to be, 'Gippos - Do we need 'em?'"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Haven't been in da blogging mood lately but did have, what I thought, was a good premise for a sitcom, so I might start jotting down character ideas, which might 'Newton's cradle' to the blog. If you get me. Yesterday I decided to take a break from my little corner of the big office and go for a walk in the fresh air and autumn sunshine. I only walked to other side of the bushes in front of our building and, whilst I managed to receive unblemished sunlight, the air was pungent with the smell of tobacco wafting over from the massive BAT warehouse opposite. Anyway, whilst leant against a lamppost and pondering running away and living in a tree I spied an old bloke ambling down the path with a bin bag and a spike picking up litter (tidying up after the "glitter bugs", as Toby calls them). It was, I admit, a very cliched moment, during which I thought about how simple and stress free this guy's life must be, with a job so direct and uncomplicated as seeing some litter, picking it up and putting it in a bag. He then noticed me and began a sort of ice-breaking tuneless whistle, the kind you may have heard before from a stranger just before they start commenting on the weather, or the state of the bus service etc.

Bloke: "Waiting for a bus?"
Me: "No" [feeling sorry to deny him his, 'state of the bus service' speech'], "just thinking of running away"
Bloke: "Oh, that bad eh?"
Me: "Nah, not really"
Bloke: "I've had it all anyway me. All the stress. All the strain. All the heartache and misery. Made myself sick as hell trying to get the job done"
Me: "Oh. Right"
Bloke: "And for what? I tell you mate, 40 years I spent working my guts out, taking my work home with me, taking all the stress home with me. Trying to keep the bosses happy. Jumping through hoops for 'em. Making myself ill with worry. Getting sick from the strain and do you know what? At the end of the day, when it really comes down to it, they don't give a FUCK!"

And then he just walked off. Whistling his little tuneless ditty and popping vending cups into his bag. Anyway, he certainly put a smile on my face and I went back to work feeling a little bit lighter. Cheers Bloke.

This was a good coincidence, check it: Watching 'Waking The Dead' on Sunday and there was a scene where the detectives were talking to a businessman that was suspected of killing a guy that was blackmailing him. The businessman was being blackmailed with photos of his wife getting shagged by two other blokes and I joked to Sarah that the detective seemed to be very interested with the photos and kept shuffling through them. I said that he was probably checking them out prior to the interview when someone walked in on him:

"What are you doing?"
[embarassed] "Oh, nothing"
"What's that?"
[flustered] "Oh just some pictures of some footballers. Nothing interesting" [sticks them in folder]

Anyway, turns out they WERE footballers that she was shagging. I'd just guessed\said that off the top of my Twilight Zone style head. Do do, do do.

Today's top tip: if you, like me, tend to bite your cheeks quite often when chewing, try puffing them out as you eat. You'll find you can still eat your lunch, without eating your face.

And whilst running spellchecker on this post, would you believe it offered "flogging" for blogging and "bloc" for blog?! Hello! I am blogging in my blog retards, get a spellchecker that doesn't embalm you. Shit, that was supposed to be "embarrass".

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"Here we come again with the funky, funky"

I've just finished packing up a CD to a chap in Japan (a Chapan*, if you like) and I had to dig out his e-mail for the address. At the foot of the mail I noticed that he'd put, "Thank you for a presant transaction". And then it struck me of course, that Japanese keyboards don't have an "L". And if you believe that you're "werr gurribre".

Getting very hooked on Lost now as we go into the 9th episode. I'm actually going to cheat and get the full series from a chap at work and watch them in one hit. I like the main mystery theme idea, but I really couldn't give a toss about everyone's individual stories. Oh, he's got the death of a child's parents on his conscious, oh, she's tried to escape from a domineering husband, oh he's in a band with a brother called Lame, sorry, Liam. Who give's a shit?! Actually I'm finding all the twee American gloss a bit irritating too. For example, at the end of the last four or five episodes now, I imagine to help punctuate the release of tension built up through the episode, the chunky fella will play a CD in his Discman. Then, to the strains of whatever power ballad he's been blubbering (geddit?) over that day, the final scenes grind into a lunch-chuckingly sentimental slo-mo montage of all things cliche: a man throwing a ball to a kid; someone comically falling over whilst onlookers laugh, shaking their heads in mock despair; a girl caught admiring a bare-chested man chopping wood etc etc. He should have put a CD on when the cave collapsed last week, then maybe they'd have had more time to get out as the slo-mo kicked in. And I can foresee that when the batteries run out for his Discman the music will be provided by the guy that used to be in a band, sitting around strumming his guitar. Next to a campfire. Now I know why he's called Hurley - pass me the air-sickness bags.

And who remembers the phone number for the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop? I do - 01 811 8055. "Hello, is that Noel? Yeah, hi. I'd like to swap an 8" black rubber butt plug for...hello? Helloooo? Charming. I was going to ask for Posh Paws' autograph too".

*going more off track now, a Chapan is a type of ceremonial robe from Uzbekistan apparently.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Had a fairly weird, disturbing and entomological start to the day. First up, I had one of last night's dreams echoed in a kids programme this morning. I dreamt I was running through a wood and was stopped by some kids moaning about holes in the ground. I looked into the holes and saw loads of webs. "They're funnel web spiders holes" I advised. "What are we going to do about them?" they responded. "Just fill them in!" I said and bounded off. When I went downstairs at about 7.15am Toby was watching CBBC. The Demon Headmaster was on next and the two CBBC presenters were doing a spooky fill in piece before it about.......funnel web spiders.

Next up, whilst waiting for the bus I saw an unusually shaped flying insect thing careering around in front of me. It bounced round the lower braches of a tree and came to rest on a twig after dropping something. While I strained to see what type of insect it was exactly a wing spiralled down, sycamore seed style, then another, then a leg. When I actually got close enough I could see that there was a small wasp on the fly's back, dismantling it, bit by bit. it was fairly horrific and I later discovered that wasps, being omnivorous, are very partial to this sort of thing. It reminded me of one of those 'life lessons' that you get as a kid in primary school, where your rose tinted, cotton wool, candy floss world is suddenly rent with an unexpected encounter with mortality - like finding a dead rabbit, that looks asleep until you discover that it's "breathing" is actually just the movement of maggots in it's chest cavity. It was a bit shocking. It got worse when I got to work to Google the experience and found that gardeners actually breed wasps, specifically parasitic wasps to keep down pest numbers in their garden in a naturally, eco friendly way. They will encourage wasps that lay eggs in caterpillar brains instead of using pesticides and poisons. Evil isn't it, nature?

From evil to madness. Playing cards in the canteen. Great team building camaraderie and all that and I'm sure they're having a great time playing poker in the midst of up to 80 diners, but from an outsider's point of view (mine) it looks a bit sad. Saying why I find it irritating could possibly say more about me than about them though, so I won't bother. But, if you think you'd find the image of 7 or 8 workmates with poker faces "seeing" each other and rapping their knuckles on the table whilst all around are having their lunch a bit weird, then you're with me. And that's all I care about.

Had a Star Wars Day for Toby and his friends on Saturday, which was quite good fun. The most fun was getting Toby to tell us what he thought the names of various things were, e.g minkin phonecall (Millennium Falcon). We also went for a ramble over in Bagley Wood and went past a garden plant sale in aid of Alzheimer's on the way. Would you believe me if I told you they were selling Forget-me-Nots?

We also went to visit Steve and Sara on Sunday, or Steam and Sara as Toby called them. On the way back we stopped in at Bicester Village and I had the usual wrestle with Toby in the toilet cubicle when I took him to the loo. This involves trying to stop him touching ANYTHING in the loo and also preventing him from opening the door, when I'm trying to go, which he virtually always does.

Lastly, an update on a little experiment I was conducting. They say that hair will start to wash itself after 3 months if you do nothing to it. Well, I can confirm that the same does not apply to underpants. After nearly 4 months solid, mine are filthy.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I was sitting behind a chap on the bus this morning who was telling a story to his companions. Telling, not really just a story, but an almost mythical tale of valour and heroism such that I have never known. A story of triumph over insurmountable odds. The story of a battle of wills, primal and base. A story that has been told in one form or another throughout the ages. Of wild, un-harnessed, passionate instincts driving the almost unstoppable human desire to surpass any obstacles thrown in his path - the eternal fight to survive. A tale so incredible that all around could not help but stop in their thoughts and listen, intoxicated, transfixed, lost entirely to the orators words. This tale, this Homeric epic, this, dare I say it, this legend was about.................him going down the pub after work and not leaving til 11. What a hero. Actually you didn't need to specifically hear his story to determine that he'd been down the pub for a straight 6 hours after work, because if you just looked at him, in his crumpled clothes and crumpled face with 5 o'clock shadow or, more importantly, if you got downwind of him, you could probably have worked it out on your own. He may have looked bad, but he smelled a damn sight worse. From the pervading reek I imagine he must have been sloshing snakebites over himself with gleeful abandon throughout the night, no doubt telling a different gaggle of companions, many different stories of other times he went down the pub straight after work and stayed there all night, urinating in his trousers so as not to waste valuable drinking time going to the toilet and cramming garlic bread and porky scratchings into his gaping maw whilst hanging off the bar. The stench of fags also conjured up images of him probably daubing his sweat streaked face with the contents of the pub ashtrays like some kind of alchoholic tribal warrior in the throes of a mob initiation. It wasn't a good look to be going to work with, but you know it's surprising what you can get away with when you're a folk(ing) hero such as he.

Oh, wicked sneeze. Must be the dust in this cupboard that I sit in when on the computer. It started off as an almost unnoticed tickle, but I managed to reel it in and land it like a big fish. Nice. Wish I'd got a photo of it now to brag to my mates with.

I got an e-mail from Ronald Erwin today, do you know him? Yeah, the subject was "You have go fetal Vatican" (with a funny looking attachment), but I'm all off the whole Roman Catholic\abortion topic so I just deleted it without reading. It could of course have been spam, but now I guess we'll never know.

Lastly, I had to send a parcel to a chap today that lives in Barf Lane, Selby. Is that going to be a nice place to live? It's on the way home from the pub I think, right next to Pissinin Gardens and Home's Close. I thangyou.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Watched Closer last night. Not bad, but I had to suspend my emotional disbelief in the same way one would have to suspend action disbelief in a film like Cliffhanger - they were an unreal bunch of wise cracking, metropolitan mega-shaggers! But actually there were some very good performances from what I'd considered 2 of the most overrated actors around at the moment - Jude Law and Clive Owen.

I mentioned to the dinner lady at work yesterday that it was difficult when my son wants to go to McDonald's and I have to try to explain why he can't go all the time. She suggested pushing him off his chair when he was there so he would associate McDonald's with bad things happening. It's a thought I suppose. Reporting her to the police I mean.

Lastly. Prompted by the idiots in Belfast crying about not being allowed to parade somewhere where everyone hates them (how does that work?!), I realised that when someone says, "the troubles", you instantly know they're talking about the troubles in Northern Ireland without the need for further definition. Just like if someone says, "Would you like a drink?", you know they mean alcohol. And if someone says, "He's in a home", even though everyone lives in a home (pretty much), you know they mean an old folks home. And when they say Sinn Fein are nothing to do with the IRA, you know they're talking out of their arse. How 'bout ye?!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

OK, I've waited 25 years and Texans are back, but where the hell are they? You can buy them online for like 60p each (errr, no thanks). I'm going to have to have a word with our local cornershop to see if they can order me in a few boxes.

De udder day oi wuz cummin into da hoose, sorry picked up a touch of the Irish today. Came into the house the other day and the phone was ringing. I didn't get to it in time and so the answer machine kicked in, but the caller hung up, soooooo the answer machine said, "Thank you for calling". But to who exactly: the caller had hung up. It's tele-madness!

Going back to the Irish connection, BBC Northern Ireland's kids webpage is called Blast - is that not a little bit inappropriate?

Had a good rummage at the Henley RNLI big boot today and was also mightily entertained by the large numbers of "diddies" (is that not very PC? I don't give a shit anyway). "Here, loov. How much is da Goochi?", cackled the mum gippo, wearing chunky high heels in the muddy car boot field, with evening wear and gold rings, chains, bracelets, necklaces, earrings etc etc. The dad was pretty regular, t-shirt and trousers with black leather shoes and a mismatched suit jacket. Actually, he had dark purple cauliflower ears as well I recall now. The kids were in fake designer clothes and this one girl I saw today looked like an anorexic boy with jug ears and a massive gold chain with a diamonte encrusted "S" medallion. She was cradling a doll that was straight out of a freaking horror movie. It looked like an effeminate Dickensian boy in a red corduroy bonnet and matching long coat. It was bloody weird.

About 2 years ago I was at a carboot, waiting to buy a drink from the burger van and this 20+ "travelling chappie", stripped to the waist and carrying a hatstand, pushed in front of me and started talking to the burger bloke and me at the same time, as they do - very sociable, unless you live near one of their camps of course. I was too amused by him to get shirty. The conversation (spoken at high speed with an Irish twang ) went like this:

"Hey, how much is there (plonks handful of change on counter)? How much is that? How much is that there? What can I get for that? What is there? Have you got any sausage dogs? What about a sausage dog? How much is a sausage dog? What about a Tango? How about a Tango? How about a sausage dog and a Tango? How much is a sausage dog and a Tango? I'll have a sausage dog and a Tango? Give me a sausage dog and a Tango" etc etc. He was alternating between looking at me and the guy and we were just blankly looking at each other: a triumvirate of bewilderment. If I remember rightly I just walked off without even acknowledging him.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Texan bars are back!!!!!!!!!! End of transmission....

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Belatedly I need to note that I went to Norn Iron on business last Tuesday with Rich (that Norn Iron link is absolutely THE worst webpage I've ever seen - "Catch yerself on" and "Bout ye"?!). Oh I'd love to say the trip was fun, but it wasn't. There was a crash on the A34, Richie Rich slept in (his clothes by the looks of it) and wasn't ready, then when we got to the airport I discovered that my passport had my pre-deed poll surname on it. At least I didn't get eaten alive by biting insects, have diarrhoea when I was there and get phoned in the bog during a downpour. Oh, hang on a minute, I did.

Last Thursday I choked a sneeze in my throat and then progressed an image in my head from crushing my larynx to having to perform a tracheotomy on myself. I asked Sarah at work, "where do you think they make the incision when they do a tracheotomy?". She looked slightly worried and claimed not to know. Well, synchronicity fiends, that night on House they were seconds away from performing one on a boy whose throat was closing up - and they were going to pop the ballpoint pen through the fleshy bit above the dip in the clavicle. So now I know.

Monday, September 05, 2005

I bought 82 CD albums at the weekend and have given myself a brain tumour trying to list them all on eBay in one night. I failed. I did find it interesting that there are more and more warnings on the promo discs regarding selling and uploading to the net. The latest Super Furry Animals CD is actually individually numbered, presumably so BMG can trace it back to the journo it was sent to in case it ever turns up in the secondhand market. Don't think I'll be listing that one.

Took Toby out to Northbrook yesterday*. Nice little bridge going over the Oxford Canal and Cherwell where they run side by side. There's a small lock and a rope swing where Chris fell out of a tree, landed on me and smashed me in the face with a branch. I passed out twice after stumbling to my feet, much to the amusement of my mates. You always have to gee Toby along when in the countryside because he claims he hates it. He will get involved after much cajoling, but it's hard work. Anyway he liked the blackberries, the horses (despite them whinnying for about 5 seconds at a go which, if you know, is a bloody long time and is a bit intimidating - especially seeing as they were bout 7 and a half feet tall) and the acorns, canal boats, fishermen, the river etc etc.

Rich thinks that because Toby goes to a Montessori school he takes part in polo games using kids from state schools as horses, whacking them in the head with the polo mallet if they don't move fast enough. He doesn't, but I could suggest it to the Headteacher.

* Tried to get a hyperlink for Northbrook, Oxfordshire and got this top of the Google search returns. I'm agree with the Christians, the internet should be banned.