Monthly Archives: September 2010

Drinking: a habit I seem to have lost

Booze is great, but I’ve found myself not drinking nearly as much as I used to. I’m saying this like it’s a bad thing when it’s clearly nothing but great and healthy and all that shite. Though it does mean I’m not as sociable as I once tried and failed to be.

Alright, so that’s a lie – I didn’t try.

I barely make orders on TheDrinkShop.com anymore, which must have them worried as I’m sure I was their best customer (who was on the dole at the same time) just the other year. But some things just aren’t the same.

I still love Zubrowka, but it just doesn’t have the magic anymore. And as for pressed apple juice (the only thing to drink with it)? That shit seems to get more expensive every sodding day. I’ll have to try some of Lidl’s finest in it one day.

Beer is still just as great as beer has always been, but I want an Oddbins nearby with a crate of 24 bottles of Quilmes for £16, like back in Leeds. The every-few-weekly trips to Headingly with Jack for a crate each were the stuff of LAD legend. Even though there’s a wider selection of beers and ales in Waitrose, it just doesn’t feel right. And beer is a bit too expensive from the aforementioned TheDrinkShop.com (seriously, I don’t work for them).

Wine? Pick it up on the day/night. £5 tops. Gone within an hour or two. Some shit never changes.

But the one thing I honestly think has put me off drinking as much – ordering from The Drink Shop (dot com) – is this: Sailor Jerry’s. They changed the recipe months ago, and it went from being a delicious beverage I was introduced to by Kat and Rich to an awful, bland, pointless stain on the boozing community. And I blame Kat and Rich.

The day they changed that recipe is the day my enthusiasm died, and it’s not yet managed to recover. I’ve been hunting for anyone with remaining stocks and asking advice on similar-tasting rums, but no dice as of yet. I have a quarter of a bottle of the old recipe sitting in the kitchen, and I doubt it’s going to get touched for at least a few years.

Maybe I can finally develop a taste for scotch…

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The day my life changed forever (today)

There are things in life that come along and change you. They make you a different person, as instantly as… instant mash. These things are unavoidable and inevitable – you cannot get away from the fact that, at some point, you will encounter something that irrevocably changes your entire life. Today was one of those days for me.

I was all set to write a blog about something different, to chat shit about nonsense and chit chat about nothing at all. I was happy to fill hundreds of words with inane wordage, as I usually do. But then I was shown something. I was shown something bad. I’ve seen it, I can’t un-see it.

As a result of what it was I saw, my mind wandered away from the task at hand. Whereas initially I had a vague idea of the topic I would cover in today’s entry, not five minutes after I saw the thing I had forgotten entirely what I wanted to scrawl. Not only had it wiped my mind, though, it had changed me as a person.

Immediately I felt it, and since seeing it just a few hours ago I haven’t felt the same. I haven’t felt like Ian Dransfield. I haven’t even felt like an Ian. It’s a good job there’s no one else around right now, as they wouldn’t be able to recognise me as me.

I hope I will recover, at least in some small way. I hope I can return to my usual nonsense by tomorrow, or that I can even concentrate on my work that needs doing during the day. I hope I can end up back in control.

But I know I will never be the same again. And it’s all because of this.

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The lifecycle of my Nintendo Wii

I have owned a Wii since the day it came out. Well, technically I’ve owned one since day one. I physically owned one from about a week after they’d come out, seeing as I had to wait a while to go and collect it from the sorting office.

Like many, I was initially enthralled and excited by the possibilities, and like many I soon became disillusioned and bored with what was on offer. I am a solitary gamer a lot of the time, and while Wii Sports was fun to break out at the many (many) parties I had at my flat, it just didn’t cut it in the long run.

The Wii received a new lease of life in the Manchester flat as it sat there in the living room. This was for two reasons: one, my flatmate’s young nephews enjoyed playing on it, and two, I started getting a bit of freelance for it, as it seemed I was the only one willing to do reviews of Wii games. MadWorld? Score.

But when I moved to Bournemouth the console didn’t even make it out of the box. It stayed firmly encased in its Nintendo-branded cardboard for months on end before I finally broke it out. Why? Resident Evil Zero freelance. Then it went right back into the box.

Today it’s been broken out once more, freed from the constraints of a container that never really held it that well. Why? Wii Party. Guess what’s going to happen once I’m done that freelance? Straight back in the cupboard – though maybe not the box, as I can’t be bothered trying to jam everything in there again.

What have I learned through all of this? I don’t care about the Wii, but I don’t hate it enough to sell it on. Oh, and controllers that use those old-fashioned “battery” things need to fuck off and die. Soon.

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Fuck off Picasso

I now have a painting set. It has 27 “premium quality” pieces in it, including – get this – an apron. I mean, it makes sense and all seeing as painting can be messy. But still, I really didn’t expect my new box of paints and… stuff… to have an apron in it. And it’s made me unreasonably happy. Well, not “happy”, more “oh-that’s-a-nice-touch”. Also it’s “premium”, so it’s clearly the grandest of grand aprons.

Much better than any of my other, standard, aprons.

Now onto more pressing matters: what on earth should I paint? Seeing as I haven’t put brush to canvas in more than ten years, and even then I did it with the minimum of care, attention or – possibly quite importantly – skill, I’m thinking I won’t produce my first masterpiece until the third picture.

The first picture will be a road. A road with a giant dog on it, and the giant dog is made of beans – FURRY BEANS. It will be walking down the road, while made of beans, and will maybe be barking (beans) at a passing elderly couple. And having a shit, obviously.

I think it’s a modest enough start to the career as an artist.

Secondly I will paint a portrait. It will be of Scottish footballing dynamo Kenny Miller. The man with the most interesting face in th… Oh! Sorry, fell asleep while thinking about his face. Which may or may not be a face, as I can’t really tell. It’s too bland.

The third painting – as I said before, this will be my masterpiece – will be my masterpiece. I am undecided as to what it will be right now, but I am open to suggestions. Anything you want me to paint, leave a suggestion and I’ll get right on it.

Also, you should start expecting really, really good paintings as gifts from now on. Just so you know.

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I am incapable of working on trains

I have just spent another productive double-figured set of hours on trains up and down the country, getting on with work, writing entries for this blog and generally using this time that would be otherwise wasted doing all the things a responsible adult should be doiOHNOWAIT.

No, I spent five hours on Friday afternoon watching How I Met Your Mother (more on that another time) and Edge Of Darkness (shit, bollocks Ray Winston and cockarse ending: 7/10). I spent around six-and-a-bit hours (thanks for re-routing through Guildford, trains!) watching more How I Met Your Mother. Much as it helped to pass the time and much as I enjoy watching things and being made to laugh (seriously – more on how HIMYM actually makes me laugh another time), I do think it’s a bit of waste to veg in such a way on these long journeys.

But then, it’s exactly what I would do if I were at home for those hours. Friday afternoon when I’m not playing football, I have no money and Anna’s not coming down/I’m not going up to Manchester? I will sit and do nothing, watching some crap I’ve downloaded “legally”. Why should it be any different on the train?

It also doesn’t help that you get the legions of foul-smelling mouth-breathers who all seem curiously attracted to sitting next to me and not understanding that I’m fucking big, hence they have to make a small sacrifice of a bit of their god damned space to let me be that little bit less uncomfortable than normal. Those gawking plebs staring at my screen as I try to concentrate and be – shudder as much as I do when I say this – creative do not contribute to a healthy or productive working environment.

I’ve managed to write a couple of blogs on the train, but both times I resorted to making the font size so small nobody could read it. My typing is good enough that I don’t need to see what I’m doing to know I’m generally getting it right, naturally. But it doesn’t help. Turns out trains just aren’t the perfect working environment for me I always hoped they would be.

I never hoped they would be, that was a lie brought on by the dementia that explodes from within your skull after having been cooped up in a meat wagon for a third of a day. And knowing that when you get back you have about five hours of sleep before you’re up and back on one to that awful London place.

Still, at least I’m not dead.

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Everything’s Premier but the EVERYTHING. Especially the weddings.

I have no money. I complain about this a lot. I get things cheap a lot of the time, and I go out of my way to scam the cheapest deals I can for things. It’s perfectly natural, as well as a little bit exciting – the thrill of the hunt and all that. But there are some things where I see them, I see they’re a genuinely bargainous offer and I think “oh dear fucking god how or why would anyone in their right mind go for something as utterly awful as this?”

Premier Inn is offering a deal for couples to get married – a package deal involving clothing (and nightwear!), food, accommodation, food, drink and lots of other things. For £199. Wow, what a great deal, seeing as weddings normally cost thousands of pounds. But how much is self-respect?

I’m not saying you should go out of your way to pay as much money as you possibly can on what is essentially one big party where everyone tells the girl how great they are and the man just gets pissed and feels confused and overwhelmed for a day or two. What I am saying is that if you are willing to pay £199 on a package wedding deal where you are hosted at a Premier Inn in Barnsley, then you might want to re-think your priorities. It’s one thing having a shotgun wedding in Vegas or being as frugal as possible with arrangements. It’s an altogether different thing to opt for the cheapest and easiest way of doing things.

There are creative ways around cost, if that’s the real issue. Scale things back, host it at a friend or family’s house, do things on the cheap or cut them out altogether or whatever else. Surprisingly it should be a special day, whether you want it indoors, outdoors, religious, better (“non religious”), upside down, domestic, foreign or even if you bother having a ceremony at all. There are options, and the option you choose to get married should not be a fucking package deal from fucking Premier Inn.

Unless Lenny Henry conducts the service, of course.

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Stop looking over my shoulder, goits

Seems this didn’t publish earlier when I pressed ‘publish’. Soz.

A five hour train ride isn’t a great deal of fun, surprisingly because it takes five hours. But I’ve found there is one great way in which you can make the journey just fly by. Step one is to take some form of device that can play movies on it, so you can watch a selection of movies, or TV shows or whatever else you want to watch. This means there will be a screen on which you are watching moving images – a key point of the plan.

Step two is to make sure there’s somebody sat within your peripheral vision – but this can’t just be anyone, it has to be a particular kind of person. The kind of person I’m talking about, of course, is the kind who will insist on watching things over your shoulder. It just makes the journey FLY BY when you have some gormless oaf who can’t do anything but stare, mouth agape at the fact you have a colourful screen projecting the moving images of famous people you might know of.

While it does make the journey FLLLLYYYY BYYYY, I would still like to punch every single one of these nosey morons in the face. Except for the ones who are bigger than me, or ones who look stabby. I find it intensely annoying, and it’s made all the worse when they comment on what’s on the screen either to their friends or to me. TO ME.

Arseholes. Stop it.

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