Monthly Archives: December 2010

WE DIDN’T LISTEN!

I remember this feeling from last year, seeing as it all happened in a very similar fashion. Let’s take things back to a simpler time: it was known as December 2009 – suddenly! – cold weather struck. We were… unprepared. The greatest minds of our nation had predicted things, they had noticed the air was getting colder – at least colder than it had been a few months before. But they never expected that. How could they? Temperatures plummeted by a few degrees, some frozen rain fell from the sky and the country… well, the country came to pieces.

I was just one man back then, trying to make my way in the world. Some called it a pilgrimage, others said I was a fool to pursue it – but I had to get to the Holy Land of Zurich, even if it killed me. Well, not if it killed me, but I did really want to get there with the minimum of fuss. But the weather. The weather. In the days leading up to my attempted departure, things had been grim. Temperatures had hit the lowest we’d ever seen in and around Gatwick airport – 1 degree, 0 degrees, and at one point I swear it got to -1 degree, but that may just be an urban legend.

But somehow, some way we got through it. Call it luck, call it the indomitable nature of the human spirit – call it whatever you want. It was close, it was frightening and it wasn’t something I wanted to go through again – but we got through it. I got there. After the Attack Of The Weather we promised ourselves it would never happen again. We would never be caught off-guard. We would always be alert.

But it’s happening again. How WEATHER slipped past our keen defences I have no idea, but slip past it has. I’m scared, people. Last time we barely managed to scrape by – I arrived at the final destination on my pilgrimage a whole two hours later than I was supposed to. I don’t know if I can go through that again. The doctor says I suffer from something – PTSD, he calls it – all because of last year’s events.

I can’t go through it again. We should have seen it coming. We should have been prepared.

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The final stretch, pretty much

We’re fast approaching the point where my 365 (mostly) consecutive entries will be up. This is number 345, meaning there are 20 to go. Less than three weeks. As you can still see on right-hand side of this page, I expected to get bored or annoyed with the One A Day thing after no time at all. I did, but I also carried on for a few reasons, probably the main one being that I do very little in my life and it’s good to have something to live for*. In that time I’ve grown somewhat as a writer – and as a fatty – and have learned some techniques I’m sure will stay with me forever. Like writing a 100-plus word intro that says nothing, for example.

Anyway, I’ve been asked a few times in recent days and weeks – both in real life and the Cyber Future World of the Information Superhighway – if I will be continuing on with this. Plus Pete blogged about that very thing today, so he acted as my inspiration. My answer has remained the same to everyone who has asked: I do not know.

Right now the most likely course of action is that I will blog as and when the need hits me. Unfortunately that’s the most dangerous way I can operate, as I am notoriously not-so-proactive. If I set myself no timeframe to work within, I will simply not bother doing it more often than not. I honestly don’t know if I’d be fine with that, which is weird. I’m so accustomed to churning out a few hundred words each day it feels wrong whenever I forget to do it, or can’t for whatever reason.

I could always set myself new goals – one a week, or one a month. But then I think there would be a burden of expectation on the average of 40-or-so readers I get every day. If I were in their shoes, I’d be expecting something actually good if the writer had more time to come up with it. Hmm.

There are other ways of doing it, I’m sure, and I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen a week into next year when I’ve finished my One A Day run. We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it, because for now I can pre-prepare the celebrations for actually finishing this thing. See – confidence! Who’da thunk it?

*Melodrama. I actually have about three things worth living for. One of them is this badass dressing gown.

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This post does not contain SATIRE! about iThing owners becoming zombies. Damn.

Why did nobody warn me the iTunes store is as dangerous as it is? I’ve only ever bought one thing on it before, and that was a single song about a year ago. As such, my brain isn’t up to speed on how it all works. As a result of the life-changing, twat-becoming news the other day, I went to browse the available games to see if there was anything I would actually want to play on the iPad.

Now, fortunately I didn’t go mental and only spent about a tenner, but it struck me as decidedly odd that you can make it – literally – a one-button purchase. You click the price of the app, it’s yours. Obviously that’s brilliant in that it’s simple, to the point and you don’t need to dick about, but I can see myself being drunk, bored or drunk and bored and ending up with £50 of stuff I do not want or care about.

As for the… jesus.

I’ve just realised it’s already started. Twice in one week I’ve written a blog about my iPad. Which I don’t even have yet. I’m already turning. I’m like the bloke on the zombie films who hides his bite, slowly watching the infection manifest itself into an orgy of gore and brain-fuelled sustenance before his one-time friends have to put him down by destroying him in whatever way they can. Either that or I’m the one who gets bit and everyone knows he’s been bitten, but they decide to keep him around as he’s useful and they like him until ohmygod he starts to turn and it becomes the heart-wrenching moment where the best friend doesn’t want to pull the trigger and then he has to because his former friend is now lunging at him, trying to claw his eyes out with his dirty zombie fingers.

Something like that. Read into it what you will my talking of iPads before going off on a tangent about being a zombie. It could almost be devastatingly arrogant satire, if it weren’t for the fact I only noticed I’d done it after writing it. Sigh. This comedy career will never go anywhere.

Still – I got Harbour Master HD!

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Musings on not existing, or something

I paused the game I was playing at about half past seven – I know as I remember looking at the clock then. I sat for a bit, did a bit of surfing the information superhighway, ate some delicious, life-giving toffees and clementines and generally got my dressing gowning on. Then all of a sudden it was half ten. That honestly felt like about 20 minutes had passed, but I’ve actually been sat here three hours doing nothing of consequence or worth.

See, in this situation even playing the game I paused (which is still sitting there on pause) would have been productive, as it’s for the mag. But no, I have done nothing, accomplished nothing, I’ve barely even said anything funny to DSG. I may as well have not existed for the last three hours.

If I hadn’t existed – just for that period of time – would it have mattered? I honestly doubt it. Nobody would have missed much. Even DSG would have just written it off as me not talking to her for a bit, rather than me being sucked through a tear in the fabric of space-time. Which is what it would be, naturally. And not just because I watched Star Trek earlier.

I think it’s interesting to put things into that kind of perspective – that I am so thoroughly unimportant the world wouldn’t even consider maybe thinking about possibly ever breaking its stride if I was to cease existing. And I reckon it’s the same for most, if not all of you reading this too. Just consider that for a second – aside from a (relatively) small group of people who know and love you, what would it matter if you disappeared tonight? It wouldn’t. You are as insignificant as the billions of people who have died before you.

I mean, I don’t actually care about any of this. I’m just filling up words. I like sitting around doing fuck all, and I’m clearly really good at it. Loads of people I know can’t spend four minutes in their own company with nothing but a computer in front of them. I reckon they just need dressing gowns. I’m going to try and blink away six hours tomorrow, then nine on Sunday. I might let you know how it goes (I won’t).

As for not mattering? I could go into my real, genuine feelings on that but I’d end up sounding like a BUMMER GAY, so I won’t. Needless to say, nobody is insignificant. Well, apart from you, obviously.

Christ, that was almost like free writing.

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A dark day for Dransfield

As of January, something pretty major is going to change in my life. On the tenth day of the month – just over a week into space year 2011, just a few days before I go to New York and just 11 days before Darling Sweetheart Girlfriend’s birthday I will become something totally different. I will become something I never expected to become, and something I had honestly never really wanted to become. It will change me to my very soul, and I know there’s nothing I can do to divert that inevitability.

I will become an iPad owner.

I will become one of the buzzword-spouting, wannabe-artistic, can’t-use-a-real-computer, arrogant-because-they’re-told-they’re-right-to-be  twats I dislike so very much. There’s no two ways about it, as I simply will not be able to resist the magnetic pull. After all, it is a nice product. Ahem.

Fortunately I can at least maintain some of my integrity, even taking into account my previous postings decrying ownership of iPads and iPhones. I’m not buying this thing – I’m not using my own money to become a part of this merry dance. No, it’s a bizarrely generous Christmas gift from my workplace. I did not succumb. The mountain (“iPad”) is coming to Mohammed (“Ian”)*. Therefore I can quite easily and reasonably convincingly justify this to myself while at the same time remaining somewhat hostile to the whole iThing cult. You could say I’m having my cake (“iPad”) and eating it (“maintaining negative opinions about the brand and culture behind it”).

But I’m not going to eat the iPad. It’s too valuable for that. No, I’m going to nurse it. It will be my child. I will love it. It will make me a cooler person and a more boho, modern chap. Yes. iPad. I love you. iPad. Yes…

Wait, what?

*For anyone reading this that follows the Islamic faith: I am in no way comparing myself to Mohammed. No, I see myself as more of a Jesus-type, what with the scraggly beard and proclivity for hanging around with social outcasts.

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Like something you wouldn’t expect me to? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

I’ve only gone and pre-prepared an entry while I had some spare time. MENTAL.

I have a thing about comedy that makes me… selective, shall we say, about what I watch/who I give a shit about. With sitcoms it tends to be: I barely watch any of them. I give them a chance, I get annoyed with how thoroughly basic and obvious the jokes are, how bland the characters are and how much I simply don’t want to be watching it anymore.

But there are some that slip through the net – never mind the obvious ones, I’m talking about genuinely popular shows that you might think I, on top of my ivory tower of I Have Opinions About Comedy, would scoff at. Friends, for example, I love – always have. One show in particular though is one I avoided for years – I knew of its existence, I knew a couple of people I liked were in it* and I knew what its basic premise was. But I feared it would be shit and a waste of time to watch.

I apologise, How I Met Your Mother.

I’d caught it randomly a couple of times over the years, probably late at night and probably mostly drunk, and picked up on the theme – a dad in the future telling his kids how… THE TITLE OF THE SHOW EXPLAINS IT. I noticed Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan were in it, both of whom I am fond of – NPH because of Doogie Howser when I was a child and Harold & Kumar (one of the most overlooked – and brilliant – comedy films ever made), and Willow because she was Willow and that’s all definitely not because I had a massive crush on her oh no siree not me.

But that didn’t convince me to watch. I happened to catch an episode when I was killing time in Stockholm a few months ago (I’m so cool) and the realisation hit me: I did not dislike this show. It did not make me feel slightly sick, like something like The Big Bang Theory has done, nor did it massively rub me up the wrong way like Seinfeld. It didn’t make me chuckle much, but the seed was sown.

I soon “LEGALLY PROCURED” a couple of series to give it a test run. This is a boring story and you know where it’s going. Basically, it’s very funny and a spiritual successor to Friends in my mind. The central plotline is getting a bit thin six series in, I have to admit, but it still raises a fair few genuine laughs when it wants to. Mainly through Marshall aggressively offering out Gouda.

It’s infiltrated my mind to the point that I’m using catchphrases from it in everyday speak (“lawyered” and “challenge accepted!” for example). This probably needs to stop, but sod it – it’s something I like for once. I’m not complaining. You should be happy. You should also give it a go too, if you haven’t already – it’ll make you like Doogie Howser even more than you did before.

*And the third one, Jason Segel, is one I like but one who wasn’t originally in the “I like lots” list until earlier this year. So I forgot I liked him. Or something. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Undeclared, this and probably some other things I forget – he’s ace.

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For science!

I am currently in the third… fourth?… a day of my new experiment, wherein I am trying to retrain myself to only need 6-7 hours of sleep a night. As you may be able to tell from my opening confusion, my brain is not handling the changes to my normally massive sleep schedule too well. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s rebelling a bit.

But I have set myself this challenge, and I will at least try to make it work before giving up and going back to 10-12 hours of sleep. I’m sure that after a week or two my mind will be numbed enough to just accept what’s going on and go with the flow, even if the flow is a fair few less hours not having to think about things. It likes that time. I can tell. Stupid brain.

I’ve known for a while that those who sleep the ‘recommended’ 8-10 hours a night actually don’t live as long as those who do 6-7, but that never stopped me. It hasn’t stopped me now, either, as for one I don’t know where this “YOU WILL DIE BY SLEEPING” stuff is from (it could be the Daily Express, for fuck’s sake), and two, who wants to get old? It’s shit. You can’t do anything, you hobble about a bit and then shit yourself on the bus.

Actually, no, that sounds both brilliant and pretty much like what I do now anyway.

Right, yes. So I decided the other day I would intentionally limit the amount of sleep I get in a night. The first night was easy, as I’d been out drinking and always find it hard to get a full night’s sleep on a boozy head. The second night was harder, as hangover sleep usually lasts 14 hours, but I prevailed by forcing myself to play GalCiv2 for hours. Third and fourth nights: easy, as there’s been the alarm. But now I’m wavering, as I’m just bloody tired right now. I want to go to bed. But I can’t until 1am, because that’s how I’m to get the experimental sleep time.

On the plus side, this means my time after work has gone from almost-approaching hectic (but not quite) to really-rather-leisurely. And that’s probably the main reason I’m doing it. It’s only been a few days, but already I’m seeing benefits. I’m not rushing the blogs, I’m not avoiding playing games I want to play as I think I’ll only be able to put half an hour in and I’m able to catch up on shows I’ve missed and “LEGALLY” acquired at a later date.

So it may leave me cranky, give me a bit of a headache and generally make me slouch even more than I did before, but the positives far outweigh the negatives: more time for TV shows, films, video games, writing and coffee. Aweszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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You can’t even driiiiiive!

For some reason I’ve been thinking recently that I really should learn to drive. Then that line of thought gets onto the fact that I started learning back when I was 17. Then I remember I’m 27 now. Then my brain tends to say something along the lines of: “Oh. Bollocks.”

I had a dozen or so lessons, but then went to uni and kind of forgot about it. Then when I came back a couple of years later and had some time to learn again, I stopped again when I decided to go back to uni. Again. And I absolutely was not about to try and learn in Preston, as I value the whole Not Dying thing. There’s logic in there somewhere.

But do I really need to know how to drive? I walk to work, and if I can’t there’s a bus stop 11 seconds walk from my house. I could use a car to drive up to Manchester instead of taking the train, but the added cost of petrol, tax and all that other shit cars require means it would probably end up costing more than it does without a car. Generally, it makes me think of this:

Maybe I’m just trying to convince myself that I’ve not actually done the wrong, idiotic thing by not learning to drive. Who knows? I do. It’s that. Yep. I should have learned to drive by now. I could own a van and everything. Instead I’m relegated to having to walk or take buses, and I have no independence when it comes to actually getting anywhere. Balls.

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Yorkshire born, Yorkshire bred, strong in the arm, thick in the head

I have a confession to make. Some of you may not recognise this, or have noticed it about me thanks to my fantastic efforts through my life to limit its impact, but still: I am northern, specifically from Yorkshire. There – the last scintilla of doubt just rode out of town. Now those of you who were in denial, or those of you who just hadn’t noticed, or those of you who thought I was southern can all rest easy in the knowledge that I am from the place that is poor, makes a treasured, regional dish out of batter and consumes a lot of mushy peas.

The reason I start with that is because I know some people – mainly northerners – either genuinely don’t know I’m from Yorkshire or just think I’m foreign or something. I have to explain that because it seems just about everyone from the south of the country thinks I have the thickest northern accent known to man. Let this also be said: I don’t. You’re an idiot who has never spoken to northern people (most of who I don’t understand) if you think I have anything approaching a thick accent.

Anyway, this treatment leads to quite a lot of what I like to call “being patronised” – that means “having someone talk down to you”. Don’t get me wrong – my friends are all fine, and there’s the healthy amount of ribbing you associate with Being Born Somewhere and Not Sounding Like Everyone Else. Ask Adam at work – he’s from Blackburn, the poor bastard.

But I think you would be surprised to learn how much I am treated either in a patronising or dismissive way by some people when meeting them for the first time, or when I’m part of a group of people – those kinds of situations. They hear the accent, they assume dumb, you get treated accordingly. It honestly takes time and effort on my part, with some people, to wear them down into believing the words I say aren’t accidentally forming these deep-friend chunks of hilarity, and that I don’t actually sound like Geoffrey Boycott crossed with Alan Bennett. I always get through to them though, given enough time and exposure to me and the accent.

I’d hate to think how hard it is for Lancastrians though. Poor, poor, poor bastards. “Y’avin’ a breeeeeeeeeuw?” Idiots. Ahem.

So I may not ever be persecuted for being black, attacked for having religious beliefs that not many others have, vilified for KILLING JESUS LIKE BASTARDS or any other genuine, hurtful, petty, small-minded and altogether pathetic form of discrimination. But I’m definitely on a par with the plight of all minorities everywhere in the world ever. Definitely. DEFINITELY.

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VGAs? More like SHITGAs. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ahahshdha

I’m currently halfway through watching the VGAs – Video Game Awards, or something. They’re on in America, hence the late hour. I wasn’t going to talk about it as I wasn’t even going to watch it, but I’m still up and it was easy to find a stream, so yeah. It’s getting some writing right here.

If you think this is like the Oscars for video games then you’re on the right track: it’s a bunch of decent games (“FILMS”) that avoids any interesting choices for the award (“ACADEMY AWARD”). It’s a glorified advert and thoroughly The Most American Thing Ever, such is the sheer volume of adverts.

But unlike the Oscars, where the celebrity hosts will at least feign interest for the subject matter, wax lyrical about their experiences with film or at least attempt to imbue their performance with something we call ‘character’, the VGA presenters don’t seem to want to bother. Fortunately now-fat Dane “Shit” Cook has fallen completely flat with his attempts at mentally subnormal frat boy humour so far, so at least there’s that.

The other ones though? Fucking hell if they don’t want to be somewhere else right now. It’s the epitome of doing something just because the smell of a reasonable-sized cheque wafts under your nose. Sigh. But it’s to be expected, and it’s the route the arranger-folks are going to go down to try and make it a more credible show. Why not get some celebrities who like games to present things? Why Denise Richards? She can barely read. Sigh.

Still, it has world exclusive trailers, which fill me with glee. ELDER SCROLLS V. VGAs are shit though.

Take into account it’s still on while I’m writing this, so it might get a hell of a lot better. But it won’t. My Chemical Romance were just on it. When did they go from almost-alright to completely-different-but-possibly-better? Hmm.

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