Shocking revelations

So, I was sat in the beautiful sunshine with CW a while back, enjoying a fine After 8 Frappiato, (I promise I am most definitely heterosexual….it was hot dagnabit) and we were talking about the fact that I hadn’t had a drink for 3 months or more.  On top of that, I hadn’t had a drink in at least a month or so before that….

I know, right…I will let you get settled back into your seat before continuing.  Make sure you have a seatbelt securely fastened as I can tell you something else…I am not even remotely missing it.

The thing is, a couple of years ago (around the same time that I started this blog..coincidence? you decide), I was out a lot.  sometimes 4 nights a week and I was, to quote the 80’s, “Partying Hearty”.

Not even Englands dire World Cup performance could reduce me to drink..let’s face it, if I was going to be driven to drink based on that, I would have been a raving alcoholic since…well…birth.

Now, let’s check the implied benefits of no alcohol.  Please bear in mind that this list is gleaned from years of research (ok ok, TV, Films…and my Nan!):

  1. Sleeping better
  2. More energy
  3. Getting up earlier and enjoying it
  4. More alert
  5. General feeling of well being
  6. Weight loss

Now, let’s review what I have noticed after the last few months and see what we have:

  1. Sleeping worse
  2. Less energy
  3. Getting up earlier and hating it
  4. Less alert
  5. General feeling of *meh*
  6. Weight gain

That’s right Ladies and Gentlemen, I am in fact “Reverso-Man(tm)” and I intend to reverse the trend (hopefully) by taking up drinking again…in moderation at least.

So beware one and all..the camera of doom will no doubt start making appearances again and my Facebook inbox will once again sing to the tune of “aaargh, you bastard…take that down” and other complimentary messages regarding my photographical prowess.

Camera Related Fun:

  • PM will undoubtedly get rather aggressive for me “always posting pictures of him looking like a dick”
  • Women will borrow my camera to wander around the bar.  It will come back to me with more bra and breast photos on it than ever happens when a guy borrows it.
  • Z will take it to do some cool arty shots…I will look through them the following day, and discover a single down the trousers, crotch shot.  I will never mention this to him in case it is him…or worse, someone else.
  • SK will grin at me when the camera is on him.  This photo will be indistinguishable from any other photo of SK that I have..and will require digital computer forensics to know when it was taken.
  • I may accost random strangers for a photo, based solely on one thing that they are wearing.  This may include groups of guys because one of them is wearing a baseball cap…perched on his spiky hair.  I will definitely play the drunk tourist card to achieve this
  • I will “photobomb” other peoples photos with a strange face (stranger than usual I mean) and probably a middle finger gesture.  I will then claim that it was done for the benefit of NBs collection.  The recipient will most likely not know who NB is.
  • Fake poses in ridiculous positions will be pulled..with the sole intention of taking a photo of some poor soul with really really bad hair/makeup/clothing (or all three)

Dave Being Drunk Fun:

  • I will get drunk enough to speak German for extended periods of time…and then swear to the deity of choice that it was an English conversation.
  • I will start on the shots at some point..these will be Baby Guinness, Sprinkboks or…if CR is around…Sambuca.
  • If GW is in the bar…the shots may include Absynth/Vodka mixers
  • If the shots include Absynth/Vodka mixers…I will be able to provide scientists with the irrefutable answer to the missing link on the following day..simply by recording myself
  • I will be surprised at how little I have spent until the bill is presented.  At which point I will feel eternally grateful for my drunken state
  • I think that it is a fair and reasonable assumption to think that I will try and head upstairs to my old apartment at some point
  • I will, at some point, be stroked by a random woman in the bar (this happens more than it should)
  • I will therefore, at some point, be required to stop CW from ripping the head off said woman
  • I will find this amusing…CW, however, will not

Hopefully, my “reverso-matic nights out diet ™” will kick in shortly after this all starts and I can get back down to 26″ waist trousers and zip them closed.**

Whatever happens, I am sure there will be some good nights coming up.

Fingers crossed I can remember them

** Paraphrased from Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine…enjoy the vid below Smile

It’s….SHOWTIME

Golden Mickeys - Goofy

…or at least it was.

A couple of weeks ago was the birthday celebration of CWs mum.  As you would expect, celebrations were planned and guests invited.  Nothing unusual there…something to look forward to in fact.  However, about 6 weeks before the big day…we are over at CWs Mum and Dads place..enjoying a peaceful coffee and smoke outside when SW hits us with the following:

“So…what are we going to do for your Mums birthday?”

I immediately think “shared present..cool”.  This feeling of coolness is replaced quite rapidly when I realise what he means.

You see, and I guess you can be forgiven for not knowing, they have a family tradition of putting on a show for the Birthday Boy/Girl (delete as appropriate).  Not long after CW and I got together, I was invited to SWs birthday bonanza and paid witness to a rather large scale puppet show that everyone put on for SW, based around a childrens story called “Doctor Know-it-all”.

I was pretty blown away to tell the truth, a lot of work had clearly gone into the stage, puppets and everything.  Everyone had a great time and SW even got presented with a Dr Know-it-all T-Shirt as a memento.

I had been told of a previous show that was setup like the dressing room of an opera or stage show…and how all of the cast were interacting while they were getting ready for their parts.  Again, quite a big thing by all accounts.

Basically, this is a tradition that shows no sign of petering out as many do…and so, SW was asking what we intended to put on for CWs Mum.  Oh yes…that’s right..what WE intended.

Including me.

Me.

Now, some of you know me and others don’t…those that know me fairly well might be surprised to discover that I am incurably shy and incapable of any kind of public performance when all eyes are on me.  Others would call me a liar and point out the teams I have run and presentations I have delivered at work…and they would be right, well sort of.

Work = Money = Need.  So I have managed to overcome the deep rooted terror that strikes me whenever I have to do any kind of public speaking…when necessary to my daily needs.

This doesn’t equate to any kind of survival based necessity, so I was somewhat panicked.

It was decided that we would put on a TV Talent show, in a Britains Got Talent stylee.  We came up with ideas, met every weekend from the decision to the actual show and practised, practised, practised.

I essentially became the technician and critic for everyone and was very happy with this particular role….until the matter of judges was brought up and I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I would need to be a judge.  Not only that, I would be wearing a mask of HRH The Queen of England.  Nice one..I insisted that I would not speak..especially as my German is shocking and the audience would struggle to understand English.  I would, however, create some sound effects that would work for me.

So that was that…there were 3 judges (including me), 5 acts and a final big happy birthday song number.  We had intro music, an advert break, judges buzzers, incidental music, sound effects, props and about 25 guests to perform in front of.  SW went out and bought a professional amp and speakers setup…I made use of a laptop, a monitor and a mixer.

Quite the production really.

Part 1:

Judges:  SW as Darth Vader, Me as the Queen of England and the Brother as Dieter Bohlen (think Germanys answer to Simon Cowell…without the humour)

CW was a Michael Jackson dance impersonator who decided to use a broom to dance with and could barely get back up after almost performing some form of splits move

Ickle Sister 1 had a singing fish..and a lot of attitude (not many people have their fish spit water all over Darth Vader)

Advert break

Part 2:

Judges:  CW as Darth Vader, Me as the Queen of England and Ickle Sister 1 as Dieter Bohlen

Ickle Sister 2 played the Vuvuzela…spilled a load of stuff out of it…got angry and smashed the Vuvuzela into pieces…then ran away screaming when the Police sirens were blaring

The Brother was the ultimate performer who, when buzzed off for being…well…crap at Breakdancing, managed to get a 2nd chance and sang acapella for the Queen….she was not amused….nor was Ickle Sister 2, who was refused a 2nd chance.

SW was (and may now forever be) Moni..a drag act, who forgot to shave and got very excitable when reaching the end of her/his song

Final:

Everyone came together to sing a song made famous by a Frankfurt comedy duo.

For me, the highlight of the evening has to be watching CWs Grandad fistpumping and generally rocking out to the final song..that and being told by a very drunk The Brother, that I am a pussy for not drinking…this was when he noticed I hadn’t been drinking all night (at around 2am).

I will be putting it all together as a DVD gift for CWs Mum, so I will inevitably share some of it on here when it is finished Smile

I think I watch too much TV

BratsThis weekend I visited CW, who has been working away in Eastern Germany for the last couple of weeks, in Erfurt.

Erfurt is a beautiful town, clean and modern looking with enough oldie-worldy German goodness that it has that “wow” factor when you wander around.  It is clearly quite a touristy place, indicated by the inability to walk for more than, say, 5 paces..without falling over a cafe, restaurant, ice cream parlour or street musician.

Typically, based on the stories you hear about the East, I had expected a cross between Kosovo and East Berlin…so I was completely blown away by the place….and didn’t have a camera with me.  The thing is, it all seems a little too nice.  About halfway through Saturday..which was when we had a wander and explored the town…we noticed a number of things.

The women there are not beautiful.  Now, this may seem like a generalisation and, coming from a Fester clone, maybe a little cheeky….but it is true.

When you do come across a beautiful woman..it is either that they are simply less ugly than the rest…and based on the famine you have become accustomed to, you feast on whatever you can get.  Alternatively, it is simply the sort of chavvy beauty normally associated with women in Newcastle…

The place is clean, modern, young (in terms of people) and clearly has money flowing through it from somewhere…but it is kind of eerily clean and modern.  We were sat at the least Irish feeling Irish bar either of us had ever been to..when old people walked passed us..I joked that the Police would come and shuffle them off somewhere.  2 minutes later, 2 police vans trundled slowly down the street in the direction of the old people.  Coincidence? I think not…also, the 2nd Police van was basically just a standard red transit van…with Polizei written on the back door!

At 10pm, the place sounded like it was jumping…lots of music, lots of people…beer drinking..general partying going on everywhere.  I remember thinking that the place had really come alive.  By 11pm it was eerily silent.  Walking through the center and you only found teens that look like they walked out of High School Musical and decided to sit outside Burger King.  Seriously, talk about “Yo pants** on the ground”, wish I was American kids..

Everything is closed after 8pm at the latest.  We realised that we needed some smokes, so we decided to get a Taxi back to the hotel and ask the driver to go via anywhere that we could be some smokes.  His response “Oh my..you know it is already close to midnight right?”.  He then proceeded to take us to a place that “might be open”…it wasn’t.  He thought about somewhere else that also “might” be open…but decided to ration what we had and asked him to take us back to the hotel.

Everyone has dogs..and I mean everyone.  There is a bizarre number of waxen-faced people wandering aimlessly around the place whilst being directed by their hounds.  I firmly believe that the dogs are actually running the town and that there is something running through the town (other than brand new trams that have 1940s design) that causes you to instantly need a dog.  Seriously, CW and I were both discussing what dog we are going to get when we have a place that suits it…before I realised what was going on.

I think that they put something in the water…but if it is being run by dogs, I don’t want to consider exactly what that might be.  CW saw 3 shooting stars on Saturday night…I just think that was reinforcements arriving.

All in all a great weekend and as I was visiting the home of the best Bratwurst in Germany, I had precisely…..no Bratwursts at all Confused

CW is due back next Saturday..that is if she has managed to avoid purchasing a dog and being assimilated.  Also…I just thought..maybe the old people are scooped up by the Police and turned into the Thüringer Bratwurst…a la “League of Gentlemen”.

Holy crap, Erfurt IS Royston Vasey.

Eek!

** I should point out here that although I am English, I am aware that in this context that “pants” are in fact “trousers” and not (as it the correct useage) undergarments of the thong, briefs, boxer shorts or indeed Y-Front variety.  Equally, I will not go into the incorrect useage of Fanny..this is neither the time nor the place***

*** Well, it is, but I can’t be arsed…see

Home on the range


Love and Lust
So, as I appear to be in a reminiscing frame of mind at the moment, I thought I would share a story about a pursuit of lust love.  This pursuit would lead to my joining a uniformed organisation and would ultimately lead to a shooting incident where a number of people could have lost their lives.

Exciting, right?  Absolutely…prepare…..for….well, disappointment I am almost certain.

Hmm, I have sat here for at least 5 minutes, trying desperately to remember the year that this took place.  Not that it is important to the story, but I know how you all like to have complete facts and not just spurious memories.  Let’s see, I was in Gütersloh, which I left in 1990…so this would have been a year (ish) before that.  Ok, ok…I’ll say 1988 for the sake of argument.

So, back in 1988 I was living in Gütersloh, Germany as my dad was in the Royal Air Force (I may have mentioned this before).  It was fast approaching the summer, my Uncle Fester/Panda Hybrid looks were not even a remote possibility.  I played regular football, table tennis, squash and a myriad of other sports..and I was fortunate enough to be in the relatively “in” groups.  Life was good and I felt good about that.

A particular lady, however, had achieved the dubious honour of having me lusting after her and, indeed, being somewhat obsessed with her.  She was in a group of friends that regularly overlapped with my group, so we were chatting quite frequently.  Despite my (moderate) successes with the ladies…and the group that I was with…I was still abnormally shy about making any “moves”..so I hadn’t attempted to get with the object of my desires yet.  During one of our chats, it was revealed to me that she was a member of the Air Training Corps (a sort of youth Royal Air Force if you will) and that they were having a huge summer event in a couple of months.  After discovering that the event was a full weekend camping, with BBQs, party and other activities…I decided that I needed to get to this event.

Unfortunately, this was specifically an ATC event…no friends or external invites.  What was a boy to do?

After signing up to join the ATC and getting my uniform sorted out, I embarked upon, what I describe to be, a low point in my life.  Low because of what I was going through in an attempt to be with the object of my infatuation.  I attended every week, went to the special events…learned how to march, how to strip and clean a gun and also how to fire a gun.  Eventually, I got the all clear…I attended the weekend event and had a very….very good time….you don’t really need to hear more than that.

That is not the story though….oh no.  This story is based around what happened during my (self) enforced time in the ATC.  As I said, I attended everything that they wanted me to religiously, mainly to make sure that they couldn’t exclude me from the summer event.  Everything.  Including many visits to the shooting range, where we learned about firing various guns…how to keep them safe, strip them down and clean them etc…and of course, how to fire them.

I excelled at firing them and rapidly gained a marksman certificate for every weapon that we were allowed to handle.  I was one of, if not the, best shot out of everyone there.  We would visit the range almost every week and so I got plenty of practise.  This particular visit to the range was no different.

I should probably, at this point, explain how the range was setup.  It was a very long range, lots of dirt on the floor leading from where we shot to the targets at the other end.  The targets were set at about 1.8m from the ground and were supported by (and placed in front of) lots of sandbags.  For extra support (I think), the sandbags were themselves placed on the top of some rocks.  It was a pretty good setup.

We were firing SA-80s from the “prone” position, which is basically laying down, and were instructed to stop firing.  The rule was that you had to make the weapon safe before standing, then check the chambers and place the weapon (barrel facing down-range) onto the table next to your firing position.  We had done this many many many times and were all pretty skilled at it.

For some reason, one of the girls…I shall call her Brandine, completely forgot what she was supposed to do…stood up and went to place the gun on the table.  At the moment that she was doing this, the Sergeant who had been watching all of us intently, decided to act.  I am fairly certain, that, had he approached her in a calm manner and explained the issue, it would have been rectified without further incident..unfortunately, he decided to be a cliche and proceeded, at the top of his lungs, to scream “MAKE THAT WEAPON SAFE CADET BRANDINE”.

As you and I might reasonably expect, this did not have the desired effect on Brandine…what it did do was to scare the shit out of her.  Brandine, who at this point was in mid-reach to the table whilst attempting to put the gun down..jumped out of her skin and immediately dropped the weapon on the floor.

Dropped.  The.  Weapon.

As I am sure you can imagine (it wouldn’t be much of a story otherwise), the one in a million chance of a weapon discharge happened.

The bullet, travelling at god knows what speed, left the barrel which was (thankfully) pointing down range..and was, I swear, kicking up a dust trail as it went hurtling towards the targets…at about 2 inches off the ground.

This of course meant that it hit the rocks underneath the target and I got to experience my first ever real ricochet.  The Sergeant decided to scream again…but this time with a little more justification and we all hit the deck.

Fortunately, nothing bad happened to anyone (except Brandine, who was banned from the range)…but it could have done…which makes it exciting.

Surely by association, I am indeed exciting and interesting right?

What do you mean no?

Bastards.

So you see the sort of crap that us guys are willing to go through to get the girl.  Impressive or Sad, you decide…just don’t tell me about it.

Oh, and as for the object of my desires…we did get together at the weekend event…had lots and lots of fun…and 3 weeks later we were both seeing other, more interesting people.

Still, it was fun while it lasted.

Confusion


True Story
I was speaking to CW’s Dad the other day..and he told me the story of a guy wandering into their shop, looking around for a little while and eventually pulling out a prescription for orthopaedic shoes.

SW explained to the gentleman that they were not an orthopaedic shoe distributor and were in fact a specialist brush shop.  SW continued by asking for the gentleman’s prescription** and telephoned the actual orthopaedic shoe shop.  They confirmed that they were, in fact, a good 15km away.

SW asked the gentleman if he would like him to order a taxi, to which he got the following response:

“I don’t want to go there, why can’t you just get me my shoes”

Now, this is a true story about an elderly and, possibly, infirm and confused person…so shouldn’t really be mocked., but it did remind me of what happened to me, many years ago whilst in my Zero Morals phase of selling computers for a living.

Now, I worked in a BIG computer superstore in Cardiff.  At the time, this was the biggest of it’s kind outside of London.

Let me provide you with a little background information.  At the time this story takes place, the superstore had been open a little over a year.  Before that, the building was stood empty for approximately 3 years.  Before that, it was a clothes place for around 2 years and before that it was a hardware store (which moved across the street).  These facts are important.

Picture the scene; a sunny Saturday afternoon, a busy superstore full of the joys of spring and Salesmen with a spring in their step and a desire to rip people off sell them high quality equipment at very reasonable prices.  An older gentleman enters the store.  A feat not unusual by any standard, people young and old venture into the store on a regular basis…we generally referred to them as customers….or potential customers at the very least.

From my vantage point, I see the gentleman looking around the various software aisles…picking up the occasional item, reading the back and then setting it back down again.  He seems to be quite interested in a variety of software packages and I lose track of him in the printers section as I have other customers to deal with.

After 15 minutes or so, I am finished with my customers and waiting for more..when said gentlemen arrives at the PC section.  Where he looks around, clicking various mice, checking the screens and keyboards and even looking at the back of a number of the machines.  Sensing a potential sale, I approach..plastering on my best smile and charming demeanour..and ask if he needs any help.

“Thank you” replies the gentleman, at which point he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a sheet of paper.  I immediately assume that the guy is prepared, has specific requirements and will, quite possibly, begin to challenge my skills in the arena of PCs.

He unfolds the paper carefully, checks it…then hands it to me and simply says “I need what is on here”.

Checking the paper, I am confused..and realising the obvious error, I turn the paper over.  It’s blank.  I turn it back over and re-read the information written there:

  • 4 sheets hardboard – 1.5m x 1m
  • 2 dozen hardboard nails
  • 2 dozen plasterboard nails
  • Medium pot wood glue.

“ummm” says I, quite appropriately I feel.

Me: “umm, I think you may be in the wrong store sir”

Him: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, we don’t sell any of these items”

Him: “Eh?  What kind of a bloody DIY store is this if I can’t get some wood and nails”

Me: “Well…the Computer Superstore kind of not a DIY store”

Him: “No, this is DIY R US”

Me: “Actually, this is Computer’o’rama”

Him: “Listen to me, I have been coming here for years..I know what this place is”

Me: “Are you sure about that…maybe you have been going across the street for years?”

Him:  “Don’t you cheek me young man, I know full well where the DIY store is”

Me: “…….”

Me: “….let me get the manager”

Now I wouldn’t mind except that he wasn’t that old…nor did he appear infirm and seemed to have full control over all of his faculties.  Additionally, by the time I spoke with him, he had been in the store fast approaching 40 (quite investigative) minutes.

It took the manager, leading him to the front of the store and pointing across the road to finally get him to agree that he should go there.  However, his parting shot was “They should really tell people if they are going to move premises”…

No words…

Now, I realise that this is my first post in a very long time…and, let’s face it, there have been some false dawns in the past regarding me blogging regularly again.  So I am not going to lie to you…work is keeping me very busy and, seeing as my work involves writing very large documents on a daily basis…I often get ideas, but can’t be arsed to actually write.  Or, I start writing and then can’t follow my own train of thought.

I will say this, I will “try” and write more often again…but I make no promises.  Also, my daughter tells me that I am in trouble for my assassination of her fave Twi-related vampire story…so there could be something coming out of that.

Cheers
TLW

** Not a euphemism

Worlds worst?

I am sure that some of you will remember a British TV show called “Whose Line Is It Anyway”.  Basically, it was a comedy improvisation show that featured a number of American and/or Canadian comedians with a token Brit thrown in from time to time…you know, just to remind people that we have a sense of humour.  It was hosted by Clive Anderson, but this didn’t stop it from being funny….

Anyway, the show regularly featured a segment called “Worlds Worst” where the “contestants” were given a topic and had to provide funny examples of the worlds worst version of it.  Check it out for yourself:

So why am I mentioning this?  Well, I stumbled across a news article with the headline “Smuggler who tied birds to legs awaits sentence”.

Now, let’s deal with first impressions.

Smuggler..ok, trying to get something that is illegal into another country.  Fair enough.

Tied bird to legs..what the fuck?  My initial thought was that he had tied some dead birds to his legs..some rare and protected species that would be sold for a small fortune on the black market in his travel destination.  A not altogether smart move, especially if there are dogs around the customs area..but still – I guess it could work…maybe.

Then I click the link..and read that this future Darwin Award winner had actually tied 14..yes 14 LIVE birds to his legs and ankles.  Here is the picture that proves it:

I mean, seriously, live birds?  HWorlds Worst?ow in the blue hell did this idiot expect to get them through..are they Lesser Spotted Mutes  or something?  What next, a kangaroo for a  jumper.  Maybe a live crocodile strapped to each foot or an albatross on his back so that he could claim to have drunk too much Red Bull.

Would he say that the chirpy chirpy cheep cheep was his false hip squeaking or something?  I am genuinely at a loss as to the thought process that went into this decision.  There had to be some serious drugs involved and a 4am decision made.

Full story

In other news, Stephen Hawking believes that Aliens are out there but “may pose risks”…apparently.

I should think they bloody will, especially if they have been observing us for any length of time and tuned in to any films about Aliens.

Not to mention the possibility of extraterrestrial germs infecting us.  You think bird flu is bad?  Wait until Zargon374 Space Syphilis turns up and starts wipeing out the planet based on a cultural misunderstanding alone.  Picture the scene, the UFO lands, Aliens get out (if they can avoid the redneck americans trying to shoot them) and the world leaders grab the Aliens by their 17 fingered right hand for the time honoured handshake photo opportunity…only to discover that Thralgor had stopped off at the brothel on Venus for a quick 5 minute backscuttle….and that the beings of Zargon374 have their sexual organs in the palm of their right hand-like appendage.

Governments will fall, wars will be raged and the price of penicillin will rocket to around ?2.3 billion per tablet…so yes Mr Hawking, I agree with you…these aliens are dangerous and I for one will be teaming up with as many shotgun wielding rednecks as I can find.

I don’t know about you, I am going to figure out how to hide these 200 coi carp on me for my next trip abroad and will probably be stocking up on Penicillin…a LOT of penicillin as, let’s face it, you never know.

Not entirely unexpected

Internet in UgandaSo…as predicted, I am not on the internet at home.  Well, not properly at least.

I had decided to move from one company to another to get a faster connection and also to get the installation done quicker.  This meant switching from DSL to Cable…the apartment block already has cable to it, so I figured it would be pretty straightforward.  An engineer was booked for last Tuesday from between 9am and 12pm…which I figured was optimistic at best, and fully expected to have to spend the day waiting in an empty apartment for this guy.

At about 9.15am, the engineer comes to the apartment to inform me that the current cable provider to the building (who don’t provide internet…) don’t allow his company to use their cabling.

Bastards, thinks I…I knew something like this would happen.  Still, there are plenty of DSL providers out there, so I decide to have a look around for the best deal.

I stumble across a provider who then tells me I can get 50mb VDSL installed within 2 weeks and they will give me a surfstick so that I can at least be online in the meantime.

Unfortunately, the surfstick seems to be as useful as me writing down the machine code and hand delivering it to every computer on the internet…but meh, tomorrow is the day that the engineer will undoubtedly not turn up…and then insist that I was not home.

So..fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Also…does anyone know if medical science has progressed enough to have a full throat transplant yet?

Ain't no stoppin' us now…

white van man DSCN9143
We’re on the move…as a certain Mr L Vandross once sang.  That’s right ladles and jellyspoons, The Laughing Wolf is continuing his trend of refusing to live more than a couple of years in one place..and is moving across Frankfurt to a beautiful apartment that has just been finished.

I would love to say that I am being a grown up, getting on the property ladder and actually buying the apartment…but no, I will be renting again.  This time I will be renting with CW, and we are both very much looking forward to having you all over to dinner.  Well, not all of you and definitely not you on the left..but the rest of you…you know who you are.

My current apartment has served me well, but it was never supposed to be a long term thing and was nothing more than a bachelor pad.  A poorly decorated, but superbly located bachelor pad.  We are moving to a very quiet part of town…I am not sure how I will cope without the sounds from the pub below lulling me off to sleep.  Although I won’t miss not being able to have a quiet night in due to people shouting me from downstairs.

That all said, the White Van Man does not have to ride again, as a friend of CWs family has offered to do the move for us..which means I just have to help load and unload the van…and when you consider that I have very few actual posessions…it should be nice and easy.

I worked it out that after I moved into the current place, I owned:

3 bookcases

1 bed

1 set of bunk beds

1 computer desk

1 office chair

1 tumble dryer

1 freezer

My computer

Assorted pots/pans/crockery and cutlery

An iron and ironing board

1 ugly set of drawers

I have since added:

2 cheap wardrobes and matching cheap set of drawers

Another office chair

A giant slicer (thanks to CWs Dad)

A coffee pad machine

Fortunately, CW has plenty of stuff…so it will all work out Alien

I think that the best thing about the new apartment is that the toilet is inside…not in the main house stairwell like it is now (and by in the main stairwell I mean in it’s own room..outside the front door of the apartment…..not that we pee in the stairwell).  That and the fact that there is a bathtub and a brand spanking new kitchen that got installed a few days ago.

So there it is, cue massive underestimation of the work required and a marked increase in procrastination when I should be packing.  Oh, and the internet probably won’t get connected in time again..we shall see

Huzzah!

Ok..so I finally caved

Twilight
This post is going to annoy, irritate and possibly upset at least 3 people that I am very close to..my daughter and both M & K.  Unfortunately, this is unavoidable.  Why?  Well…I watched Twilight last night.

We wanted to watch a film and, while we have numerous Hollywood classics available to choose from, CW insisted on finally seeing what all the fuss was about..despite my vigorous protestations.

The play button was hit, and we settled in to watch.  I must add here that neither of us have read the books, but hey..it’s got vampires in it, so it can’t be that bad…they can’t screw up the vampire myth…that’s impossible…right?

Apparently not, apparently it is indeed possible to screw up the vampire myth.  Now, before I move onto the vampire issue (I need to build up as there is very little actual vampire action in the film)..I want to talk about the school.

Is the entire school on drugs?  You know, happy pills…uppers.  As everyone loves her from the beginning.  I spent my formative years moving around various schools and I can say with absolute certainty that a new kid, arriving in a beaten up hunk of junk car who is not exactly a fashion model and clearly uncomfortable with any attention, would not be met with the entire school liking her immediately.

Then the vampires walk in…you can tell it’s them as they are all very very pale and walk in slow motion everywhere.  I can’t tell if that was for dramatic effect, or if this is how vampires are supposed to move in Twilight world.

Don’t get me wrong, I realise that this is supposed to be more a romance than a vampire film..I get it, I really do.  That said, wtf is with the biology class scene.  She sits next to a guy that she has never met..who then runs out of the class and starts trying to move to a different class..and then disappears from school for a while.  When he eventually comes back to school, her reaction is a very hurt “you were gone”..which leads to him being apologetic.  If that were me in that situation, I would have most likely responded with “umm…who the fuck are you, you crazy stalker-psycho-hosebeast?”.

Instead they move into having deep conversations about nothing and it is all a little too teen-angst ridden to be plausible.  He saves her life, then he calls her names, then he hates her, then he likes her..christ, if the costume designer had decided to give her pigtails, he would have been running up to her and pulling them.

Anyway..she figures it out..and strolls past him and into a forest for what is arguably the most pointless scene I have ever seen in a film.  Mr Wannabe Vampire starts leaping about like a some sort of emo frog on cocaine, proclaiming that he is a killing machine…I can’t really argue..he was killing me at that point.

Then he says something along the lines of “I want to show you why we don’t come out in the sunlight”.  Great, thinks I, he is going to sizzle and smoke and be in extraordinary pain to demonstrate to her the danger by which he lives.  No, apparently not..that generally accepted part of vampire lore was obviously too much for the author.  Instead, he looks like he had just left a hen party at a male strip club in Newcastle…covered in glitter ffs.  Strike 1 for vampire lore.

Strike 2 for vampire lore when the author decides, quite conveniently that none of them have the ability to control humans…however, Coca-Frog can read minds of everyone except Miss Teen Angst 2009 and another one can see the future.

Also, the special effects of them running very quickly are outrageously bad..and the least said about him climbing a tree the better.  I think though, that my favourite bit of the whole film has to be the 1980s style face off on the baseball field.  I am sure that they must have cut a breakdance style dance-off from the final film…when the “nasty and evil” vamps turn up and everyone crouches down and leans forward…I almost wet myself.  I would love to have seen them moonwalking and shaking it against each other.

Also, the main baddy vamp can smell the girls scent all the way back to her house, but can’t work out she is human until a bit of wind blows her hair…from half a meter away…give me a fucking break.  At least the fight at the end attempted to show some genuine badass vampire action..well, when he broke her leg anyway.  10 minutes before the end of the film for the first bit of decent action…and it was over after a couple of pulls of a hidden wire and a bite.  Disappointing to say the very least.

I think my lasting memory of the film is that of pressing pause and realising that 40 minutes had gone by and not a single fucking thing had happened…oh, and that there was another hour and 20 minutes left.

So let’s recap here..vampires in the Twilight universe are:

All glittery when caught in the sun
Vegetarians, if they don’t eat humans (w.t.f)
Mind readers (one of them)
Able to tell the future (one of them)
Fine to become doctors and be around all that blood without having a snack or two
Incredibly quick and powerful…but choose to drive a small silver Volvo
Able to control bloodlust by having an angst ridden teenage girl talk bollocks to them
Incapable of having sex without bouncing themselves off a wall and feeling guilty
Emo

Something tells me I won’t be watching “New Moon”.

Now, where is my Blade Trilogy..I need some real vampire films to remind me what they should be like.

Learn a 2nd language…it's useful…honest!

Newark Town Hall
Let me begin this post by stating that after 4 years living and working in Frankfurt, I still don’t speak German.  I speak a bit more than I give myself credit for, and I understand an awful lot, but I don’t speak enough.  Something I want to rectify, but things keep getting in my way….excuses mainly, but I digress.  So you can probably imagine how much German I realistically spoke at age 18 and living in Newark.

It was a nice sunny day in Newark On Trent, birds were singing and my heart was joyful as I left work early to go and visit my parents who were living in Wales at the time.  A relatively straightforward journey, truth be told, that began with a quick trip to the bank before I headed off.

Pretty easy right?  I mean, people make quick visits to the bank every day.  Depending on where you are, you drive to the bank, find a parking space and go into the bank…go back to the car and you are on your way.  It gets simpler every time I read that sentence.

So, I am driving through Newark on the way to the bank and following traffic through to where the bank is.  I remember thinking that it was pretty busy, but parked my car outside the bank and went in.  As it was impossible to start my car without knowing how, I actually left the keys in and the windows down and ran into the bank.  When I was stood in the queue, a noise filtered through to me..the noise of someone (not knowing how) trying to start my car.  I grab my money from the cashier and bomb outside to see what all the hubbub is about.  It is at this moment, as I leave the bank that the dim light of realisation slowly descends upon me and I take in my surroundings for the first time.

Probably the biggest thing that I had failed to notice in my leaving work early euphoria, was that it was Market Day.  Not only was it market day…the market was pretty much over.  Not only was the market pretty much over, the “traffic” that I had followed into the Market Square, where I had ultimately parked outside of the bank…was all market trader vans that were driving in to take down their stalls and pack them away.  Also..as I had parked (quite neatly I might add) on the side of the road…there wasn’t enough room for people to drive their (substantially larger than my car) vans, which had in turn created a giant traffic congestion of vans trying to get out of the market place, vans trying to get into the market place and vans, already in the market place, that were trying to manoeuver into position.

In short, absolute frickin chaos.

The reason for the sound of my car trying to start is now abundantly clear to me…they just want it out of the way.  Fair point, thinks I, but how in the hell am I going to get away with this.  At precisely the moment that I realise I have made somewhat of a booboo, the trader attempting to start my car clocks me..and starts heading towards me very angrily.

Quick as a flash, I remove my work pass from around my neck.  There were two reasons for this…#1 I had come up with a plan and most importantly, #2 I didn’t want this monster to strangle me with it.  Onto the plan…

I am not sure why this popped into my head, having left Germany about 2 years previous and having literally no contact with anyone in Germany or the German language during that time, but I decided that I would break into my least stereotypical, English speaking German accent.

Of course, by least stereotypical, I mean quite possibly the most stereotypical, and quite possibly racist, accent I could have come up with.  Lots of “Vot iss ze problem mit my car and vy are you startink it?” type stuff with added “I don’t unterstantink yew” thrown in for good measure.  I swear, if the producers of Allo Allo had have been anywhere near me, I could quite easily have been the next cast member searching for “Ze fallen Madonna viz ze big boobies”.  Alas, they were not around, my chance at stardom passed in a fleeting instant and I was left panicking and sweating that this monster of a market trader was a) buying it and b) not a German speaker….

Fortunately, upon the realisation that I was a foreigner…he proceeded to follow the tried and tested method of speaking slowly, loudly and gesticulating towards my car in an “away from here” motion.  It drew quite the crowd, with other people trying to help the guy to explain to me what was happening.  We had shouters, we had people making brum brum noises and also the Mime artists…I continued to look suitably confused until I finally jumped in the car.  At which point, they were all very kindly guiding me out from where I was parked and away from the Market place.

To this day I still don’t know why none of them thought it strange that a visiting German, with little or no English speaking ability, would be driving a beaten up old Morris Marina…with English license plates.

Ah well…raise your glass to the kindly hearted market traders of Newark