Monthly Archives: February 2010

A routine procedure

Woe is me. It’s been at the back of my head for a while now, but things really came to the fore this morning. I realised that I’ve settled into a comfortable routine. In the past I’ve been fine with this, as my routine consisted of sitting/laying down and being poor. Usually while playing games or trying to make Anna watch things she doesn’t want to (films, you perverse morons. And not those kinds of films either – the classics, like Aliens and Terminator). That was an honourable, scummy routine any true bum would be proud of.

But I am ashamed to admit that I have settled into the lower echelons of habit-forming, on a par with smoking, crack and smoking crack. For you see: I have a particular seat on my particular bus in the morning. Obviously this has been true for a while now, but I only noticed how much this affects me when I saw someone – an interloper – sat in my place this morning. The other regulars know their places, they respect boundaries and it’s a mutually beneficial situation. But these outlanders come in and completely upset the balance, sitting where they want and throwing the whole thing into disarray. What do they think it is, public transport or something? Oh wait.

Regardless, it isn’t their fault that I have allowed this banality to encroach on myself, instead of truly living life to the fullest. This stark realisation forced me into something drastic this morning, when I had to sit in a different seat (one with no leg room, natch). But from now on, I make a vow: I will totally mix up where I sit every day. It’ll completely fuck with the heads of the other regulars and – you never know – it might inspire them to follow suit. Soon enough it’ll be anarchy on the bus: people sitting in seats they don’t normally; some getting off at stops that are one or two before their normal hop-off point; some even going so far as to get off a stop later! Oh, the potential for hilarity is endless.

One thing’s for certain though – we’re still not going to talk to each other or make eye contact. That would be ridiculous.

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Oneaday? Nottoday.

I’m no motivational speaker. I’m not one for arrogance, and I have an ego the size of a pea – most of the time. I don’t tend to get on board with causes, nor do I preach very much. I’m far too unmotivated to set up any kind of group activity, and I’ve never been to a book club. But there’s one thing I’ll say for Ian: when I say I’ll do something, I’ll at the very least try my hardest do it. This blog is case in point – I only decided to join the #oneaday thing because my good chum Rich was doing it and I felt a bit left out, but now as I look at all the others taking part I’m seeing people drop like flies for one reason or another.

Probably most shocking, however, was that of the chap who set the whole thing up, who has apparently signed out of this mortal (blogging) coil with this here message. I said before, I’m no motivational speaker. This isn’t a post trying to convince people to pick up their… fingers… and get writing again. I suppose more than anything it’s a comment on my disappointment.  A lot of the people involved who have fallen by the wayside are scribes by profession, yet have seemingly found it too hard to churn out a few hundred words a day on any topic they want. This, frankly, is ludicrous. Though to be fair, if you can’t sit for ten minutes with a blank Word document and fill that page with ideas for blog entries then maybe you’re better off quitting. You should probably give up the writing gig too, as it’s evidently too hard to do a bit of work on any subject you want which should take you less than an hour to complete. Half an hour tops, really. And that includes editing a daft picture of yourself into every accompanying image.

I understand there are reasons, there are days you might be travelling, away from a computer or whatever else – and obviously this little piss about shouldn’t get in the way of real life happening. For example, I’d let you off a day if your Mum died. Only a day though. And I’m not judging or singling people out – especially as I don’t know 99 per cent of people doing it. I just find it incredibly disheartening if a bunch of writers can’t actually do – or can’t be bothered to do – what they’re supposed to be good at. I’m one of the least proactive people I know, so if I can manage it (while fitting in a trip to Sweden, visits to my girlfriend’s house in Manchester (I live in Bournemouth) and god knows what other social engagements) then so can you. Pull your finger out and get fucking writing. You’ll feel better about it in the morning.

I know this will bite me in the arse when I quit in a few weeks, but hey – I’ve outlasted a few of you. So ner.

Fuck it: I’M GOING BUKOWSKI ON YO’ ASSES.

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What is writing? HMM?

I’ve never thought of myself as much of a writer. Sure, I can string words together and make myself (and sometimes others) laugh. But I’ve never been able to successfully dissect the very meaning of a piece of literature (or a game, more realistically), I’ve never been able to set myself out in a logical, academic fashion and I absolutely cannot write essays. I can write to the extent that I can churn out reams of bollock on command – that much I’m sure – but give me a one sentence statement of academic leanings with the word “discuss” at the end and I’m pretty much fucked for what to put.

At the same time, I know of many people who are more than capable of spunking out an essay of literary worth without so much as a second thought, but to whom the thought of waxing lyrical about nothing in particular for a few hundred words off the top of their head is absolutely alien. As well as the thought of writing sentences as long as that. To me, it is these people who are the freaks. But it still doesn’t mean I really think I can write.

See, making a thousand words appear on a screen when you’re working from thoughts and instinct isn’t truly writing. Or is it? One of my most preferred authors is Charles Bukowski, a man who professed a love and respect for the art of sitting and letting the words come. But I’ve been through a life of schooling that has taught me otherwise: research, planning, structure and a lack of opinion is what makes something truly good to read. No one wants to read the opinions of others – and no one wants to read shitty blogs like this.

There are many types of writer, many types of reader, but so much gravitas is placed on those who can formulate the stuff of academia that I’ve always felt somewhat second-class. Thing is, I just realise I can work in an awful pun, thinly-veiled knob gag or put on my wank hat and go to town on something I truly love without caring about if my words will impress. So it’s all good, I suppose.

Apologies for the self-doubting (Thomas), rather confused entry; I will return to my usual ball of self-confidence and respect for all tomorrow. It’s just something that springs to mind when you’re meant to be a writer (not a journalist, as this what I do isn’t journalism) and you’re in one of those daft, reflective moods.

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The Best Joke Ever Written

I would like to try and set up some kind of mob war/diss trading thing like those there American rappists do, but I can’t. See, the chap I want to mobwardiss, Rich, has had his blog account suspended like a dillweed. This means I can’t link to his blog to show what I’m on about, nor can we keep up some daily, weekly or monthly updates on how far our confrontation has progressed. Still, I’ll diss him even if he can’t blog respond, as I am super-cool.

See, Rich claimed the greatest joke in the history of the world is on Airplane. A fair start – immediately wrong – but fair. Then he goes on to explain why a forgettable-though-quite-funny sight gag is the funniest thing ever written. You’d get a better explanation if his site worked. It doesn’t. Still, it’s safe to say the man is deluded, and me and my homies are going to… errm… diss his ass… or something. Solely because the greatest joke ever written, or performed, or whatever else, is on Police Squad! – another Leslie Nielsen vehicle.

The setup: Frank Drebin, local supercop, takes up residence in a neighbourhood locksmith and shoe repair shop in an undercover fashion. He has been sent there to investigate a local mobster who has been shaking down businesses in the area, and so poses as a local businessman to lure in the gangsters. On rooting out who the bad guy is, Drebin finds where he is located and pays the baddie a visit. We take the scene from Drebin’s entry to the mob boss’ office:

Mob boss: “Who are you? How did you get in here?”

Drebin: “I’m a locksmith, and… I’m a locksmith.”

Repetition, wit, timing and simplicity. It’s the best joke ever performed. The ball’s in your court, Rich. HAHA YOU CAN’T REPLY AS YOUR BLOG IS BROKEN! Ahem.

Still, there is that other joke, where the woman hasn’t told him where she lives… and the “piece of cake” quip… oh, and there’s…

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Valentine’s Day alternatives: THE LIST

So for two Valentine’s Days in a row I have managed to stop myself from being single – this in itself would be worthy of a post as it’s a bona-fide miracle (or just a sign that this certain girl is clinically insane). Instead though, I’ll opt for something along the lines of what I’d do if I were still single: my suggestions for other incredibly important, definitely-not-just-cash-cow-nonsense, “special” days that should be introduced onto calendars around Britain – if not the world. Prepare to have your minds literally blown.

  • Hilarious Post-Ironic Anti-Cards Card Day. This would be sponsored by a Facebook group, most likely, as we all know how witty and clever they are, as well as how much of a difference they truly make in this world (the group ‘Punching Babies is Wrong!’ managed to rewrite international law as we know it, for example – before it came into existence, I just thought the Baby P thing was both acceptable and hilarious! What a fool I was). Anyway, HPIACC Day would see a lot of suitably wacky types post cards to each other, all of them professing their hatred for cards and the sending thereof. The Facebook group creating the event absolutely would not have been created by the wife of a man who works at the Clinton marketing department, oh no siree. Not here.
  • Let’s All Read a Book Day. On this day, probably in late June (just to annoy people who like going outside), it should be made mandatory for everyone to sit indoors and read an entire book, then send a card to everyone they know. Said card would cover what the book was, what it was about and a brief, 500-word review of any aspect of the book, reading process or effects it may have had on the person. The effects of LARaB Day would be twofold: one, it would mean more people would actually be reading instead of being massive plebs, and two, it would seriously limit the opportunities mega-readers have to boast at you about what obscure philosophical nonsense they’ve been reading this week (did I mention you wouldn’t be allowed to tell each other what you’d been reading for the rest of the year? No? Oh, well you can’t).
  • Let’s All Text Ian Day. This day would mean that not only would I get a few more texts than normal, I’d also get cards commemorating the fact that I’ve got some texts. It would be simply wonderful.
  • The Day of a Million Lazy Blog List Posts. Self-explanatory, but another big earner for Clinton.

I’m sure I had more of these to suggest, but I’m not about to sit here thinking about what to write – too many cards to write, for one thing. I just hope these few suggestions can serve as something of a salve to these irritating VD experiences we all have.

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A discovery of historical significance

I was recently lucky enough to find the rarest of the rare – a large bag containing 18 smaller packets of Nik Naks, the “knobbly, freaky sticks of corn”. This is something most historians will agree is a good find, I’m sure they’d be all too happy to tell you. You see, the “Nik” “Nak” was a strange beast in the childhood of many Britons – the rebel of the crisp world; not potato, not flat (in fact, not even a regimented shape) and consisting of some frankly ridiculous and non-committal flavours like ‘rib’ or ‘spicy’. Not only were they crisp-like snacks on the fringe of potato chip society, they were happy with their reputation – they thrived in being the outsider; the underdog. We all thought we’d seen the last of them, though, after what we thought to be their entire population was wiped out by an aggressive strain of Gibberella (Red) Ear Rot. But this find – in a dig site located in Lidl – showed us otherwise.

It isn’t clear whether I will be able to get the find declared as treasure just yet, as the coroner is away from his post for the next week or so*. By the time he returns, the find may well have perished after being subjected to the harsh conditions of my room in 2010. Either that or their deliciosity will be their downfall – I have no idea.

What it is safe to say, however, is that this find has brought back some memories of my past, though not a great deal. I mean who actually has a huge portion of their history attributed to a semi-tasty corn-based snack made into questionable shapes? Who? WHO?! TELL ME! No one: that’s who. Which is why, in this frankly bizarre entry, I am going to sign off by saying that nostalgia being linked to snack foods as it so often is, is a sign that this country is going to be a big fat fatty in a few years. It’s also a sign that the next fucking Facebook group I see asking “what happened to Wham bars” or “were Frosties (the sweets, not the cereal) good to throw at the elderly?” I will be forced to take explosive action. You have been warned.

*He’s off hunting marmosets in Kenya – they’re not indigenous to the country, so he has to have them flown over in transport crates. Sometimes, if he’s bored, he’ll make the cargo plane release the crates at high altitude before gunning them down with a flak cannon. He’s not a very nice man, to be honest, but each to their own and all that.

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Hair today, hair tomorrow

I don’t like having hair. It’s stupid. It grows and it gets messy and you have to make it look less messy and you have to wash it and the cycle of suffering never ends. It’s stupid. It’s pointless – I mean, why do we even have it? We’ve invented hats, for fuck’s sake, it’s not like we need nature’s take on the whole thing anymore. It’s like the appendix – it has lost any function it once had and is no longer necessary in humans. As Joseph McCabe argued:

“The vermiform appendage—in which some recent medical writers have vainly endeavoured to find a utility—is the shrunken remainder of a large and normal intestine of a remote ancestor. This interpretation would stand even if it were found to have a certain use in the human body. Vestigial organs are sometimes pressed into a secondary use when their original function has been lost.”

I would like to modify this statement for my own, anti-hair manifesto:

“The mostly protein-based filament known as “hair” —in which some recent medical writers have vainly endeavoured to find a utility—is the shrunken remainder of that which once covered the entire body of a remote ancestor. This interpretation would stand even if it were found to have a certain use in the human body. Hair has since been pressed into a secondary use after its original function was lost. Namely: to make people spend ages looking in the mirror and generally look like a complete and total twatend.”

We can sweat, we have man-made methods in which to keep cool and disperse body heat. There is no need to continue this charade that we ‘need’ or even ‘like’ having hair. Who can honestly say it’s fun to put a crapload of gunk on the top of your head in the vain hope it might make people think you look better than on any other day? And surely no one can say it’s “a right laugh” when this outdated, evolutionary throwback decides it isn’t going to obey basic Newtonian rules and instead behave in a manner which completely disobeys the laws of physics, no matter how much force you exert trying to make it stick in the way you want it to. If ever there were an argument against intelligent design it’s this: hair is shit and pointless, and no god would want us to spend half an hour each morning fannying around with it when he could have made us sleek, hairless (figurative) cougars who spend all day fighting crime or something. Take that, religious zealots!

Still, at least I’m not bald. That would be simply awful.

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Arguing with idiots (aka ‘my brain’)

I don’t think I get on with my brain very well. I ask it if I should do something – anything – and it often just goes with “no”. I do feel as if I inhabit a body that belongs to me but contained within it is the brain of someone, or something, else. I mean, if it is the latter I’d hope the ‘thing’ in question is a powerful lion with a penchant for devouring pasties, but we all know it’s a sloth. A sloth that other sloths refer to as “the lazy one” – yes, even lazier than Lazy Sloth McGinty, the (former) laziest sloth in the world and (current) holder of the Guinness World Record for least movement made in one week. The sloth my brain comes from would have taken that record, but Kriss Akabusi never turned up to verify the attempt so it was invalid.

Anyway.

My body, or at least the consciously-controlled part of myself, is really quite willing to crack on with things, to get work done, to go out, to be sociable, to go shopping for basic foodstuffs (it doesn’t want to go shopping for clothes – it isn’t mental) and generally to try and be a real human being. The brain part that controls said conscious body bit, however, isn’t a fan of these ideas. It’s like the boss of some nasty international megacorp that will sit there and listen to the pleading from Joey Small the Tiny Baker in full, look like he’s going to have a change of heart (did I mention? He’s planning to blow up Joey Small’s Tiny Bakery in Lewisham) before he actually sits back, cackles and lets out a booming “NO”. Then has Joey’s family put to death.

That’s my brain. It doesn’t belong in me, but it’s still controlling who and what I am. Curse you brain, for making me this way. Still, the thought of sitting doing absolutely nothing on my four days off does seem like a very good prospect indeed. Maybe sloth-brain is onto something…

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Petulant Manchild Syndrome

Do you ever get those days when the body is willing and able but the mind just decides “nah, can’t be bothered”? That’s exactly what today is. While the part of me that is actually in control has wanted to soldier on, get things done and generally be my usual polite, affable, outgoing, handsome, tall, sexy self, the part of me I don’t control – like my brain – has decided today it does not give a shit.

This hasn’t manifested itself in the way that I’m kicking old people or not apologising when someone else bumps into me – like all good British people should – in fact, I even moved out of my seat to let a woman with a pram take my space on the bus home. It’s just… there’s something missing from the brainpipe. I think I should take up smack to keep me occupied, or something. I’ve heard it does wonders if you want to lose weight.

On a completely unrelated note, did I mention I got Mass Effect 2 yesterday? I played a few hours and I’v..iogjogj  c

sdoj…….

*sound of Xbox booting up and excited squeals of “Mass Effect! I’ve missed you so much today!”*

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The return of enthusiasm

The landlord is here, showing potential new housemates around. If they’re this loud when they’re trying to act polite and friendly – as you should do to a potential landlord – how the shitty knob-face are they going to be when he’s not around? The kitchen’s in use, meaning I can’t be bothered going in there to microwave my pre-made pasta*. AND for some reason some knobber is in the shower at this time, meaning I can’t go in there and do a toilet. Basically, the house has gone wrong.

But who gives a shit, because Mass Effect 2 has arrived. It only took two weeks,  but the postman is officially my best friend again, all because he brought me this little package of discs, artwork and a tiny comic book.

See, this is why games will remain special to me til the day I die/my hands fall off due to explosive arthritis – I can still get genuinely, absolutely, completely and totally excited by them. I still fall for the hype, even though it’s my job to sniff through it and point out what the truth is. I still managed to get giddy on walking through my front door and seeing that I had a package which would allow me to be a space ranger cowboy man who can shoot bad aliens and fucking mine planets. I am 26-and-a-half.

And you know what? I couldn’t care less. It makes me very happy, and now it’s making me not want to write any more, as I’m off to play Mass Effect 2. Did I mention Mass Effect 2 has arrived? Did I? Well it did. So I’m going to play Mass Effect 2 now. Byeeee!

*Yes, I made a vat of it. You can add that to the list of Things You Learn to do As An Adult, which I briefly covered yesterday.

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