Monthly Archives: April 2011

Waffley versatile

I have a little freezer in my fridge. It has been frozen over since I moved down here. I tried once to hack the ice out, but didn’t make much progress. Today I set upon it with a hammer to try and devastate its stupid monkey face. I made more progress than hackageddon, but less than I would have hoped. Turns out ice is more resilient than I gave it credit for. Don’t know what those global warming fools are on about – if anything ice is evil, and is definitely trying to take over the world.

It must be stopped.

Anyway, while sipping on my can of Coke I discovered abandoned in the fridge, I came to the realisation that I’m probably better off without a freezer. What would I do with it? Fill it with Birdseye Potato Waffles, that’s what. And maybe some peas. Not having a freezer avoids the simple, BEIGE foods temptation and forces me to get fresher stuff, which tends to be better for you.

So well done not having a freezer. Though I suppose I could just store waffles in the fridge. It’s not like they’re instantly going to go off. Just have a week or so to eat them. Nom nom nom. I want waffles now.

I can hear you all screaming “but Ian! You liar! You can use the main freezer in the house’s shared kitchen!” and you would be right to scream that at me. At the same time you’d also be a douchbag from hell, as you clearly don’t understand I want to keep my time in the communal areas of this house to an absolute minimum. Otherwise I run the risk of having a conversation with that thing that lives here.

And that would be a fate worse than the evil ice taking over the world.

Bet you’re glad you get two of these today.

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My new-old look: you decide (warning: contains six photos of Ian)

I’ve been very nostalgic in recent months, as you may have picked up from the fact I’m constantly going on about how nostalgic I’ve been in recent months. Part of this involves looking through old photos, of which I have about a thousand or something. They’re mainly terrible, but also absolutely wonderful at the same time.

Anyway, I have decided to change my image – something I’ve never consciously done before. But instead of reinventing myself and going new, I’m going to delve into my past and find something old to ‘be’. Re-Ian, if you will. I now present to you the options for which I demand you vote:

Option one: Ian + dog circa 2008


Option two: Ian with broken finger squeezing girl’s face because it genuinely felt like Play Doh circa late 2004


Option three: Ian with a weird chinny beard looking smug and/or hammered circa 2005


Option four: Ian responding to his adoring internet critics via widely-circulated video statement (this is a press shot for the event) circa 2006


Option five: Ian in a tiny tank top showing off his bufftitude (also with no fat) circa early 2004


Secret favourite option six: Ian being a miserable twat in Belgium circa… umm… 1999?


The choice is yours – get to the polls.

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Dransfield’s Top Culinary Tips

I think it’s about time for me to reveal some top culinary tips for all you foodies out there. Now I’m not a professional chef – though you might think otherwise after reading my recipes – but I have picked up a few tips and tricks I’m ready to dole out to you poor schlebs. Let me take you on a food odyssey…

I should point out at this juncture that all of these concoctions are real, I do make them all fairly regularly and they are all – as far as I’m concerned – delicious. Read into that what you will. I just subscribe to the ‘do what the fuck you want’ school of food preparation, even if I am bad and unimaginative in the kitchen.

Ryvita ala gravy – serves one
Don’t worry – I’m not talking about using the gravy as a dipping sauce, though that would be the best idea ever. No, what I recommend is getting a dry slice of Ryvita and instead of buttering or whatevering it up, simply sprinkling some dry gravy granules on it. With just a small pinch you can turn a dry, humdrum rye crispbread into a dry humdrum rye crispbread that tastes vaguely of beef. The ideal snack.

Cumin, chilli and hot sauce in beans, mixed with either pasta or rice
The recipe here is self-explanatory, no need for fancy names, but the method in which the mixing is carried out does need some confirmation. First, open your tin of beans. Second, put all the stuff in the tin with the beans. Third, mix with a spoon. Then add to cooked rice or pasta. Genius!

Monkey vomit-mash
One of my absolute favourites and a classic for the ages. First you should prepare mashed potato in the normal fashion you prepare it – I’ll leave that up to you. Once the mash is mashed up and still in the pan, you should add beans and whatever the hell else you want. Stir it up over heat for a few minutes (keep stirring to stop the mixture from sticking to the pan!!!!!) and serve in a bowl. It may look like the vomit of a monkey, but it tastes jumbo delish!

Pot Noodle sandwich
When you’re feeling flush this is the only way to truly enjoy God’s Own favourite pot-based noodle snack. Prepare PN (“PN” is a shortened version of “Pot Noodle”, thus saving space in this here description and meaning I don’t have to waffle on for as long), leave to stand for a few minutes, then pour on bread and attempt to eat. AMAZING! You can also substitute PNs for Super Noodles if you’re as rich as The Queen.

Toast
One of the greatest foods of all time, but one we very much take for granted. See, right now I am unfortunate on two counts. One, I do not buy bread very often. Two, I do not have a toaster. You can see the conundrum this causes. But when you are willing, able and have adequate equipment and supplies, toast with butter/marg/vegetable spread/whatever is one of the best things ever.

Clementines
SUBSTITUTE ALL MEALS WITH CLEMENTINES.

Treat your tastebuds to a wonderful holiday – of food!

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A belated and not at all worthy tribute to Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

What better way to celebrate the life of a deceased author than to make it about myself? None, that’s what. Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the death of Kurt Vonnegut. He wrote Slaughterhouse Five. That’s pretty much my favourite book. And I’ve never read anything of his I didn’t like. Hence why when I heard of his death all those years ago I had to go and have a sit down, as it upset me more than the death of anyone or anything else I have ever known. If that makes me a bad person, so be it.

I don’t think he’s the best writer out there, but he is certainly my favourite. While his message can be convoluted – as a stylistic choice – and go left, right, up, down, backwards and forwards on itself, it still has a simplistic quality that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s hard work to distil a message down to its core components, but Vonnegut always did that. For me, at least.

I don’t know if I copy him in that regard – I don’t know if I’m skilled at getting across a simple message in what is seemingly the most confusing manner possible (even though it’s actually quite simple). I might do in some ways, but it certainly isn’t something I’ve noticed. What I have noticed is my ripping off of his use of repetition.

Vonnegut often repeated little turns of phrase, little slogans, sayings and remarks. He would repeat them as the narrator. He would repeat them via the main character. He would repeat them through whichever fictional religious organisation he had concocted in order to lampoon the very real religious organisations out there. Repetition is said to be bad in writing. Vonnegut was one example of why that is such a bullshit opinion, and I think – if anything – the correct, intentional, sometimes funny use of repetition is the one thing I have taken from my distant, book-reading relationship with Kurt Vonnegut.

Seeing as it’s one of the few things I actually like about my writing, I’d have to say that’s a decent thing to take from the man. And not to end on the least original ending ever, but you really do have to: so it goes.

What better way to celebrate the life of a deceased author than to make it about myself? None, that’s what. Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the death of Kurt Vonnegut. He wrote Slaughterhouse Five. That’s pretty much my favourite book. And I’ve never read anything of his I didn’t like. Hence why when I heard of his death all those years ago I had to go and have a sit down, as it upset me more than the death of anyone or anything else I have ever known. If that makes me a bad person, so be it.

I don’t think he’s the best writer out there, but he is certainly my favourite. While his message can be convoluted – as a stylistic choice – and go left, right, up, down, backwards and forwards on itself, it still has a simplistic quality that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s hard work to distil a message down to its core components, but Vonnegut always did that. For me, at least.

I don’t know if I copy him in that regard – I don’t know if I’m skilled at getting across a simple message in what is seemingly the most confusing manner possible (even though it’s actually quite simple). I might do in some ways, but it certainly isn’t something I’ve noticed. What I have noticed is my ripping off of his use of repetition.

Vonnegut often repeated little turns of phrase, little slogans, sayings and remarks. He would repeat them as the narrator. He would repeat them via the main character. He would repeat them through whichever fictional religious organisation he had concocted in order to lampoon the very real religious organisations out there. Repetition is said to be bad in writing. Vonnegut was one example of why that is such a bullshit opinion, and I think – if anything – the correct, intentional, sometimes funny use of repetition is the one thing I have taken from my distant, book-reading relationship with Kurt Vonnegut.

Seeing as it’s one of the few things I actually like about my writing, I’d have to say that’s a decent thing to take from the man. And not to end on the least original ending ever, but you really do have to: so it goes.

1. Find a subject you care about.
2. Do not ramble, though.
3. Keep it simple.
4. Have the guts to cut.
5. Sound like yourself.
6. Say what you mean to say.
7. Pity the readers.

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Interesting people should be made mandatory

There are days that remind you why you do the job. Admittedly with my job it’s most of them. Or at least ‘more of them than not’. I like my job is what I’m saying. But it can still get you down, you can still feel things are dragging a bit and you can still phone in some performances. It happens – I’m human. Sorry. Jesus. Fuck you too.

But then you get a different kind of phoned-in performance that reminds you why you bother to do it – why you get so happy about doing it. I got to do a phone interview with a warning of about ten minutes. Normally this would be a case of stez-throwing time, but this was the top bod of one of my favourite developers – one of the people involved in the creation of at least five games that would hit my top 50 list. Not a bad reason to stay behind at work.

But, going back to those reasons why the job can drag a bit, there are concerns when talking to people. It could turn out they’re boring, or they won’t talk about anything apart from what’s on their script, or they’ll get offended when you ask them any real questions that don’t pander to their ego. You can probably tell by the positive tone that this didn’t happen.

Far from it. I had an interviewee who engaged in every question, explained clearly, raised new avenues of discussion, wasn’t averse to acknowledging criticism, knew what jokes were, would discuss theoretical directions for his studio, was willing to speculate on the potential future of some of my favourite series and lots of other things that have firmly planted this man as One Of My Favourite interviews I’ve done in my life. And all with ten minutes notice. This makes me happy, and if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

And the best part? It’s a 45 minute interview that I don’t have to transcribe. BOOM.

I opted out of a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut here on the anniversary of his death, as I wouldn’t be able to do it justice with this headache and workload this evening. Tomorrow. So it goes.

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I shout at people in menial jobs to make myself feel better

I made a mistake earlier today, which could have proven costly were it not for some stunningly brilliant awesomeness on my part (oh, and all the help in the world from someone else, though all he really did was flick a switch. Lazy bastard). I was catching a coach and hadn’t printed my ticket out, as National Express tell you to do. I relied on the fact I could show the driver the confirmation email, as I had done on the way out. I had not relied on Victoria coach station seemingly blocking any and all phone signal to my handheld device, thus stopping me from loading up said email.

Fortunately the driver turned on the in-coach wifi, I connected to that there internet, showed him the email, got on the coach and was too warm for a couple of hours. It all worked out fine. But that’s not the point I’m making here. That vague, uninteresting issue I wanted to cover follows now.

I made a mistake. It was my fault, and I was apologetic. The driver openly mocked me, patronised me slightly and didn’t immediately offer any suggestions beyond “I need the ticket number”. So how did I react? Did the fury spew forth? Did my traditional fiery nature get the better of me and cause me to rain down the verbal pain upon this high-vis-jacketed prole? Did I give him ‘what for’ and tell him to do his damn job and help me out?

Of course not. I’m not a dickhead. I was nice to the man, politely accepted his mild ribbing – it was my fault after all – and it was all sorted out. It just made me think how brilliant I am for not being a complete and total piece of shit prick to the guy, when I could so easily have been.

There’s your vague, uninteresting issue.

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Today’s complete entry, in full. Total. Complete. All of. Yeah.

“Be loose and honest, and good things will probably happen, and if they don’t? At least you are relaxed and haven’t lied to anyone.”

From a random commenter on Reddit. Now I’m off out – ta ta.

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An open letter to The NHS RE: my ankle

Dear The NHS,

I like you. In fact, I love you. You’re brilliant. But sometimes, just as with all brilliant things, you’re shit. When I thought I had stomach-AIDS-super-cancer-of-doom you were good to me, though two (2) doctors did decide they wanted to get to know me a bit better than I normally known medical staff. You put me at ease, you saw to me quite quickly and it was all smooth sailing. Then the doctor told me I had some of the healthiest blood he’d ever seen, which made us both laugh (genuinely).

But there have been other times. Like back in November of 2008, when I crocked myself playing football. My ankle was quite clearly More Knackered than it had ever been before. It was a fucking balloon. I was hobbling at 0.000000302 metres an hour, such was the agony I was in. The doctor I saw took a quick look, squeezed some bits (not my anus this time) and told me to keep walking on it, and that I would be fine in six weeks.

Two and a half years later, after it’s been in pretty much constant pain, it’s just spazzed out on my while I was exercising and now it hurts a fair bit again. I only did intermediate maths at GCSE, but I think 2.5 years > six weeks. Correct me if I’m wrong.

But my complaint isn’t being misdiagnosed; it’s the fact that the young doctor who saw me was very clearly hugely overworked. He simply couldn’t afford to give me the time necessary if he wanted to try and help as many people as he could in the day. And I know why there were so many people there – I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, The NHS, but you offer your services for free.

I have a suggestion for you: why not try charging money for people to be cured by your voodoo? That way there wouldn’t be all those stupid poor people in the waiting room, slowing down my chance to see a medical profession and recklessly speeding up his diagnosis of my injury. Charge money for these treatments and I could have gone straight in and had all the time in the world with the doctor. We might have even had a cup of tea together.

Then I wouldn’t have re-crocked myself slightly.

Some may argue that poor people being unable to afford medical treatment would mean they’d, like, die or something. But… well… not to sound callous, but so what? ‘Poor people’ is an oxymoron if ever I’ve heard one. They’re not people. They’re barely-evolved apes wearing tracksuits. Let them die. For the good of my ankle, let them die.

Yours,

Annoyed And In Pain, Dorset

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A bottle of pop has sex with a scotch egg. No hope.

There is an advert where a bottle of Oasis has sex with a scotch egg.

This is the kind of thing that confuses me. One, because it’s horrible and shit. Two, because if I was in advertising it’s the kind of thing I would suggest. I would never be enough of a prick to make a car or perfume advert, and I’m not quite enough of a misanthropic twerp to make such a hateful piece of shite as the Halifax adverts. Especially everyone’s favourite ISA ISA baby one. Which I’ve just thought about and am now sadder than I was mere minutes ago.

But a bottle of still, fruit-based soft drink making whoopee with breaded sausage meat wrapped around a boiled egg? Yep, that sounds like me. Though oddly it didn’t make me want Oasis at all, it just made me have a massive craving for a scotch egg. Which is fair, as scotch eggs are brilliance personified.

So here are a couple more ideas to advertise certain popular products. I’ve definitely planned this in advance and not just decided upon doing it right now.

Heinz Beans
A beaver, driving a tractor, runs over a shepherd. The slogan flies at the screen, possibly in 3D, saying: “BEANS ARE BETTER THAN BEING KILLED”.

Bodyform
A donkey wearing rollerblades falls off a small ledge, landing on top of a shed.

Sky TV
A cocktail sausage in a hammock hovers into an A&E ward and is immediately confronted by a stressed-looking nurse. She slaps the sausage out of the hammock, feasts on its unconscious body and lies down in the now-empty floating hammock. Then Rupert Murdoch instructs his newsreaders and papers to talk shit, or something. SATIRE.

Tropicana orange juice
The Moon explodes, and a man watching said Moon explode says to his friend: “I want some gammon”. Fade to black.

Whoever made the Oasis advert should clearly give me a job now.

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Your ultimate beard guide, now with AMAZING DRAWINGS

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they wear their facial hair. Yes, I’m writing something like all of those men’s mags and shit websites have done in the past. Except my version will actually manage to be less funny.

See, when I was growing up I was frequently told that having facial hair – specifically a beard – made you look ‘untrustworthy’. I think the people telling me this probably meant ‘scruffy’, but they stuck with people having beards failing to earn the trust of people around them. Which is odd. Anyway, as soon as my facial hair started getting darker and growing thicker I obviously grew a beard.

Well, tried.

Anyway, I don’t agree that having a beard makes you untrustworthy. But I do think different facial hair says things about you. Also I wanted to do some drawings. So here we go.

Goatee
If you have this beard, you are either The Undertaker, a nerd, Gordon Freeman (see previous) or are someone who could not be bothered having a full beard. This is as deep as I can guess about your personality. Oh, you might be a biker in the mid-90s too.

Standard beard
If you have the Standard, as it’s clearly known by everyone in the world, then I hate you. Mainly because I can’t grow one properly. Still. Even though I’m 27. And apparently male. So, you know, screw you if you have a Standard. I hate you.

Lumberjack
If you have one of these then see the above point and multiply my dislike for you by a factor of about FIFTEEN BILLION. You tosser.

That weird line beard thing
There’s a different kind of hate going on here. No jealousy. Oh good lord no. These sculpted things I do not understand. What I do understand is that I want to remove them from the faces of the people wearing them. With a razor blade. By removing their face from their face. Makes sense.

Toothbrush
You are either a very funny man, or a very funny man. You are either trustworthy and intelligent, or rather untrustworthy and quite thick. You are either Chaplin or Hitler. Regardless, I’m probably going to have me one of these at some point.

Neckbeard
You are either a prick, Amish, or me before I was convinced to let my 12-year-old’s moustache grow out last year.

There are more beards, but I’m bored of this now.

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