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.

Travel fun

'Grupo TACA' A321 Cabin
*SNOOOOOOORE*

*CLICK CLICK CLICK*

*SNOOOOORE*

*SCRIBBLE SLIDE BUMP* “Sorry” *CLICK CLICK CLICK*

*RUSTLE RUSTLE NOM NOM RUSTLE RUSTLE*

*AAAAHHTCHUU RUSTLE SNIFF NOM*

My technology post reminded me of my journey back from the UK a couple of weeks ago, and the text above pretty much details what the audio version of this memory would be like.

I travelled to the UK for work and as such, got to experience the lovely travel experience of a decent airline.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that you get what you pay for with the likes of Ryanair etc, but it is still nice to not have to sprint to the front of the line to make sure you get a decent seat.  That said, boarding took ages due to the numpties that apparently can’t read a screen that says “Now boarding: Rows 14-22”.

Still, I had selected my seat of choice a day or so before departure (very civilised), so I wasn’t concerned about being trapped in the aisle waiting for these morons dickheads numpties lovely people to get their luggage stowed and take their seats.

I chose the aisle seat as I assumed there would be some form of delay thanks to the apparent Ice Age unfurling all over Europe and wanted to make sure I wasn’t clambering over people to get to the loo should the need arise.  Of course, the problem with being one of the first to board…and having an aisle seat means that you will get semi-comfortable before one or both of your seating buddies will turn up and need you to move.

Sure enough, a few minutes after sitting and starting to believe that my row of chairs was going to be empty aside from me, El Blobbo turns up.  Now, before you think bad of me for referring to him as such, I realise that I am of the larger persuasion myself…but this guy takes the biscuit (actually, he probably takes the whole pack…and anything else he can find that looks remotely edible)…he was certainly the kind of person that makes us bigger guys feel a whole lot better about ourselves.

Sorry, I digress.  El Blobbo has booked himself into the window seat..so I get up and allow him to squeeze into his chair (and some of the middle one too), and then take my seat again.  10 more minutes pass and I am just starting to believe that I may end up with the extra comfort of the middle seat being free, when El Techno turns up.

Fortunately (at least for the seating arrangement), El Techno makes me look like El Blobbo, so we all appear to be relatively comfortable.  El Blobbo immediately falls asleep with light (read ear bleedingly loud) snoring.  El Techno decides that the overhead storage compartments are for losers…and brings a briefcase, laptop bag, coat and a whole load of paperwork into his small seat between El Blobbo and myself.  During seating he manages to avoid hitting El Blobbo…but unfortunately hits me with, well, everything it would seem.  I get the paperwork on my lap, the coat over my head, the laptop bag and briefcase hit both of my knees with deceptive force.

Through the pain I realise that he has finally settled…and got out an iPhone to add into the mix.  So now, he is taking up more space than El Blobbo and knocking into me with monotonous regularity when swapping between the iPhone, briefcase and laptop.  Of course, it would appear that he has never travelled before as…just as I am closing my eyes and getting comfortable, I am disturbed by the stewardess to get this idiot to put his seatbelt on and take off the iPhone headset.

We then taxi (technical aviation term, we didn’t jump out and get in a black cab) to the runway..where the captain informs us that, due to the French Air Traffic Control issues….we will be a little delayed in taking off.  Of course, noone actually knows how long the delay will be, so we can’t listen to iPods or mess with computers etc…that would be far too civilised.  Instead, I am forced to listen to El Blobbos Snoring Concerto in Oh My God flat.

Eventually the French come back from their onion soup break, and we are given the all clear to set off.  El Techno is asked to take off his iPod headphones again, El Blobbo remembers to ask for his extra sized seatbelt, and we are off.  At this point, I have finished the amazing in-flight magazine and am looking around the cabin for anything of interest.  Now I come to think of it, why do they call it an in-flight magazine…it isn’t stored behind some sort of cupboard that only opens when the plane is actually on the move..in-aircraft magazine would be more acceptable surely..Anyhoo, I digress.

As the flight is only scheduled for an hour and a quarter, the crew start tearing around, trying to get the drinks and nibbles out to everyone, and I start trying to contort myself so that a) My shoulders aren’t getting hit every few seconds by the crew and trolley and b) I don’t end up in El Technos lap.  I manage to avoid sitting in his lap and the doctors assure me that I will regain full movement of my shoulder in 12-14 weeks.

It’s a busy flight so, as I have chosen the rearmost seat, I am forced to wait until last to get my free coffee and biscuit.  The snoring to my left is as loud as it has ever been until, that is, the crew get the trolley to me.  They haven’t even said a word and El Blobbo is awake and ordering a coffee, 2 orange juices, some crisps, a couple of biscuits and a roll.

El Techno declines, presumably, because any form of liquid would pose a major electrocution risk and I take a single coffee and biscuit.

As I settle in to have my coffee, I notice the guy opposite me for the first time.  I will call him Sneezy Bean McFerret as, well, he sneezed…a lot…and looked like a cross between Mr Bean and a ferret.  There were two reasons for my astute observation of this fine example of a hybrid man/ferret….#1 he was in the seat that I should have had, on his own in the entire row.  #2 was his peculiar nut eating habit.  He would rummage around in the packet…with his nose almost buried in there…pull out a single nut, look up…throw the nut into his mouth…chew, sneeze and then repeat.

Now, I am not talking a CW’esque cutesy “chu” type affair, I am talking a full on…probably slowed the plane and caused the turbulence, gale force 9, Wizard of Oz, knock over the staff and cause a number of natural disasters over Europe type of sneeze.  A sneeze so loud that it made my ears bleed and I think crashed El Technos laptop.  Honestly, it was a sneeze of comedic proportions…cartoon makers would have been fearful of basing a sneeze on this one in the fear of noone believing it.

You couple this with the rapid click click clicking from next to me and the snoring from the window and I did not have the most pleasant journey home imaginable.  I should note though, that even with all of this…and the typical latecomers trying to cram oversized suitcases into the full overhead lockers, by attempting to move and indeed crush my laptop bag…Ryanair should still pay attention about how to run a flight.

In other news…I get to do it again soon….something tells me I will be making a phone call to discuss my travelling companions in advance…they make you specify your size, the amount of technology you plan on using and if you have a FUCKING NUT ALLERGY but intend to eat them anyway….right?  RIGHT?

What in the blue hell??!??

Me, heading to workOK, I know I have been away a while…and I do have a number of blogs in “I should probably finish” mode…but I feel compelled to write a blog’ette this morning.

CW just called and recommended that I look out of the window.  Which I duly did (I am nothing if not good at following orders) and was greeted by a certain whiteness.  Whiteness…SNOW!!! AGAIN!!  This can’t be happening.  I realise I made the largest mistake that a person can make last week, when I commented on how I was glad that the temperature was rising and that the snow had finally cleared….which I guess makes it my fault.

Christ, when I looked out this morning I swear I saw an angry Santa..in his pyjamas, bouncing around and trying to hang on to the sleigh for dear life, screaming at Rudolph about how it’s NOT FUCKING CHRISTMAS!

Right..I better head off to work now, with any luck I will be able to catch a lift with sleepy Santa.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH

2!!!!!

Weihnachtswichtel und Nikolaus
Photo by caruba
…or 3, depending on when you are celebrating Christmas in your country/region.  Days that is, and frankly it is all speeding up here in Frankfurt.  Little things happen, or you go to certain events and you suddenly realise…It’s Christmas.

The Christmas market and annual Feuerzangenbowle consumption is a pretty good clue…along with attending (the first half at least) of a Christmas choir concert featuring ST (she has a fantastic voice…despite the choir leaders best efforts to fuck it up with the composition choices…), some bad acting and cute German kids singing english christmas songs with German pronunciation (sometimes)…they even did the whole sound of a storm with just their bodies…was really good.  I was just too tired to enjoy it properly and had to bail at half time.

Peoples inability to drive in the snow…and CW building the worlds smallest and cutest snowman..then carrying him for a mile to place him on the windowsill of the apartment.  He almost didn’t make it though…I think she made him out of that rarest of stuff…Lemming Snow..as he tried to leap to his escape from her hand, and lost his buttons.  Still, he seems happy on the windowsill…and his suicidal tendencies have deserted him (for now at least.

Also, I got a text from my daughter last night telling me how many days were left until I see her :D

Anyway, onto the main reason for the post…you see, I had it all planned out…my passport was due to expire on the 31st of December.  I had known this for a while and decided to book an appointment for when I was in the UK and get a nice spangly new one by using the same day service they offer.  All fine, all dandy..no need to panic.  That is..until CW actually checked my passport on Friday and informed me that the date of expiry was the 16th of December.

Cue huge panic and phonecalls to the Consulate, Ryanair, the Consulate again and various others.  My conversations went something like this:

RING RING

Consulate:  How can I help you?

Me:  Helpelphelp!!! I need you to save me from my own stupidity (explains story)..can you do anything for me?

Consulate:  It is perfectly legal to fly into the UK on an expired UK passport.

Me:  Really??  That’s fantastic!!

Consulate:  Who are you flying with?

Me:  Ryanair…why?

Consulate:  ..ah

Me: Whaddya mean..ah??

Consulate:  Yeah, we always have problems with Ryanair…I would call them and check.

Me:  OK, I will call you back asap.

RING RING

Ryanair:  How can I help you?

Me:  Explains story, explains that Consulate advise that travel with an expired UK passport TO the UK is fine, is that a problem for Ryanair.

Ryanair:  That’s illegal, you cannot travel on an expired passport.

Me:  It’s perfectly legal, the Consulate Passport office themselves have told me.  They also told me that pretty much all of the major airlines will accept it.

Ryanair:  No, it’s illegal and you may be arrested for trying to travel with false documents.

Me:  I would be impressed if they could..it isn’t false..just expired.  It is still my picture and details…just the date is wrong

Ryanair:  Well, we don’t accept that for travel

Me:  That’s all I asked..you may want to read up on the law regarding this area…also, I will assume that Ryanairs aspirations to become a “Major” airline are non-existent.  Thanks

RING RING

Consulate:  How can I help you

Me:  Ryanair won’t allow me to travel, what else can I try?

Consulate:  Get here for 9am Monday morning and we will sort your passport out for you…we don’t normally offer a same day service..but in an emergency like this, we will do what we can.

Me:  A passport?  I thought you would just give me an emergency travel passport..

Consulate:  Naah, that’s 102 euros and only gets you into the UK once..I will look to get the full monty for you.

Me:  Fantastic, see you Monday

CHECKS INTERNET FOR RAIL PRICES

Me:  Aaaaaaargh!!!  How Much!!!!!!

RING RING

LA:  Hiya, how are you?

Me:  Not great…TELLS STORY…is your car up and running and available for me to steal on Monday?

LA:  Sure, no problem

Me:  Lifesaver, thanks :)

RING RING

Work:  Hiya, what’s up

Me:  You know how I have Wednesday onwards booked as holiday?

Work:  Yeah

Me:  Can I swap Wednesday to Monday please?  TELLS STORY

Work:  Sure

Cue Monday’s slovenly and snowy arrival and we begin our journey at a very unsociable hour.

Check list..

  • Passport forms – Check
  • Passport photos – Check
  • Car keys – Check
  • Sat Nav – Check
  • iPod and Cassette adaptor for car – Check
  • CW – Check
  • Me – Check
  • Money – Cash.. (you see what I did there?)

We arrive at the car, clear the snow from it, start the engine and wait for it to warm up.  Everything seems fine and we head off once the Pratt Nav finds a signal.  Once we hit the motorway, all the snow, salt and other assorted crap starts hitting the windshield…no problem thinks I, a sharp squirt of the washers and sight will be restored…

PUMP WHIRRING NOISE, WIPERS MOVE AND SMEAR WINDSCREEN

We are now driving with what appears to be a sheet of dirty paper on the windshield..another pull of the washer lever results in more smearing and less visibility…

Arse, thinks I

We pull into a service station and try to clear the blockage – Needle in jets…nothing, Hot water poured over jets…nothing, pulling lever back for a minute or so in an effort for it to clear…nothing.  So, undeterred, we head off.  Repeat this every 15 to 20 minutes and the 250+ kilometers journey did seem to take a lot longer than it should.

A few things to note about yesterday…

#1 Düsseldorf must be a very healthy city, and full of superheroes..seriously, they appear to not even have heard of salt.  The motorways surrounding the city comprised of the sort of snowy mush normally reserved for small villages with little or no traffic and the pavements were designed for a city full of people that can fly…as all of the snow that had been forced off the road…had moved to the bloody paths…that didn’t have salt on them either.

#2 I get all patriotic when in the British Consulate Generals office…don’t ask me why, I really don’t have an explanation.  I told CW on at least 3 occasions that she was standing on British soil now and said “Gawd Bless ‘er” to the picture of the queen.  Additionally, German reception staff with English speech inflection is genius…

#3 I hate snow…my dodgy ankle hates it more.  CW learned all about Karma when having a go at me for almost falling over…She almost fell over herself less than 2 minutes later (no…I didn’t trip her)

#4 I was told that I was a big strong lad and would I fancy clearing the snow..by an old woman walking behind us.

#5 If the option is getting on a tram like a sardine in a can, or wandering aimlessly around…I will wander aimlessly around..despite my previously mentioned ankle issues.

Most importantly of all, the British Consulate General Passport Office is full of absolute genius, friendly and helpful staff..yes yes, I realise it is Christmas and no, I wouldn’t recommend stitching yourself up to test out their helpfulness…all I know is that they could have handed me an emergency passport and a bill for 102 euros…..but they chose to get me a full passport issued in a little under 4 hours…

Gawd bless ’em

Oh, and Merry Christmas everyone…no doubt I will post a repeat of this in 10 years when I forget to renew my passport in good time again…

..and it seemed so promising

take a bow...
Photo by gin soak
So today I am at work and get a message from CW…

“So who is Lisa H then?”

Confused, I trawl through the dim dark recesses of my alcohol and age addled mind for the answer…multiple searches prove to be fruitless and I am forced to concede possible senility once more.

Me: “Never heard of her, why?”

CW: “Well, a parcel just arrived from her for you”

Me: “For me?  I am not expecting anything”

CW: “Yep, definitely for you, correct name and address”

Me: “Intriguing…an early pressie to open…I wouldn’t have minded if you opened it”

So I have been at work, wondering what this package could contain.  Certainly, I am not expecting a thing..nothing has been ordered..no threats upon my person uttered.  Damn, I need to know.

Maybe it is from a fan…a new stalker if you will.  Someone that has read the blog and decided that they love Panda bear/Uncle Fester hybrids that talk bollocks in a blog.  They love me so much that they have tracked me down and are now sending me their underwear and naked pictures of themselves.

Could happen…you see it all the time…well, in films at least.

Then I realised that, with my luck, if it was that…it would be from Keith in Burnley rather than Monique from Monte Carlo.

Maybe it is that cheque from the Nigerian Prince, finally giving me that money that he promised two years ago..I could be a squillionaire right now. My financial dreams all coming true.

Again though, reality sets in and I realise it is more likely to be free samples for a new Weight Loss, Hair Restoration, Viagra hybrid.

What is it, what is it, WHAT IS IT?  I can’t wait to get home and find out.

The possiblilities…the mystery…the intrigue…the ***YOU HAVE A NEW MESSAGE FROM CW***

CW: “It’s that printer part you ordered 2 weeks ago for CR”

Me: “Ah…umm..yeah..I totally forgot about that”

Arse

A large number 2..

..hundred.

So here it is, my 200th post.  I guess it is a milestone of sorts…getting me to write 200 (semi) coherent things in less than two years…quite the achievment really when I think about it.  I guess my teachers were right after all ;-)  Not that I am prepared to find them and admit that, but still…some of the more psychically intuitive amongst them may have already sensed…well…nothing (other than the fact they are talking bollocks about this “ability”)…but I digress.

A woman in the UK has had an appeal turned down.  Nothing unusual in this you may think, but you would be wrong.  The appeal in question was to life a noise ban on this womans night time activities.

Click the pic to find the full story…if you can bring yourself to look at it for any length of time (cue standard paragraph from me stating that I am indeed no oil painting etc..)

eww, just ewww (pic courtesy of BBC website)

Now these two people are apparently responsible for keeping an entire street awake with their “lovemaking” that is described by residents as “sounding like murder”.  Apparently, noise tests were performed that showed the volume reached 47 decibels.  Let’s put this in context shall we?

  • A jet aircraft at 100 feet away is supposedly around 140 decibels.
  • A rock concert is 120 decibels
  • City traffic is 70 decibels
  • Being sat next to a running dishwasher is 60 decibels
  • Being sat next to a humming fridge is 40 decibels.

So, listening to one of their sessions is approximately halfway between being sat next to a dishwasher and a humming fridge… Well, that’s not too bad really is it?  I feel like I have been involved in louder sessions. When I think about it, my fridge and dishwasher are both pretty quiet considering.

Until you realise that this is the volume level collected outside their home…on the ground floor (whilst they are on the upper floor).  With insulation, double-glazed windows and brickwork, this is the MUFFLED volume.  The real volume would have to be double…right?  Which would make being in the same room as them marginally quieter than being at a rock concert (or slightly louder than a Jonas Brothers after party).

What I love about this is that she appealed claiming that she the right to respect for her private and family life.  Let’s be honest here, if you can’t keep the noise below a rock concert….you are most definitely moving yourself away from privacy and into the “screw it, let’s project it onto the side of the house so people can at least see what’s happening” territory.

That all said, as embarrassing as it may seem…you just know that the bloke in this here scenario…won’t be buying any beers for a while, and may even get some proposals.  The article very clearly states that the noise goes on for hours every night.

So if you get yourself a screamer…try and put SOMETHING in her mouth to shut her the hell up…or you may end up on an ASBO.

ASBOs, not just for hoodies anymore :-)

What is the world coming to?

Pigeons speed eating yesterdayI realise that I could pretty much go anywhere and write anything about this title.  I could, but this is more a post about stupidity.  Some time ago a Mr Lewis Napper, in the US, felt that people could benefit to having a Bill of No Rights to work alongside the Bill of Rights that exists.  For those of you interested, you can find it here.  I read this a long time ago, and have always thought it was pretty funny, but wondered who it was really for…surely people can’t need this sort of thing…people aren’t that stupid…are they?

Well, apparently they are.  Whilst looking at my iGoogle page today, I noticed this in the How To of the Day box.

What the....?

Now, linking to a particular time in a Youtube video…pretty useful for some people.  Replacing the screen on an iPhone…again, pretty handy How To right there.  However, let’s focus on the 3rd option.

5 tips for eating slower.

Seriously!?!

5 tips for eating slower?

This is what we have been reduced to as a species?  The topic alone made me die a little inside, and I had to follow the link, praying that I would find a deeply ironic pisstake of a post from a blogger that would become my new fave…and all would be well with the world.

Unfortunately not…the article is quite serious.  It also lists 6 tips…so not a great start from such a conscientious and helpful author.   I will list the  5 tips in 6 parts below…

1 Set aside some time to eat

They suggest not watching television as an example.  Make sure you focus on eating and only eating.  Now I don’t know about you…I would expect that being fully focussed on eating is more likely to make you eat faster…not slower.  The key surely has to be distraction.  I recommend watching a movie on your ipod, chatting on MSN with a friend, watching TV and reading a book…each bite you take will be at lightning speed, but you will take 5 minutes between bites.  Thus extending the dining experience indefinitely.

2 Opt for meals with a variety of flavours and textures

It would appear that they believe that having bland food makes you wolf it down too quickly.  I would argue that the opposite is true…surely.  If I am having the same old same old, I am more likely to take my time than if I have something that hits the tastebuds and has you drooling at how nice it is.  I get that it *could* make you savour the new flavours some more, but in all likelihood, it will taste better than the normal crap you eat and will make you bolt it down.

3 Use smaller utensils

Which is completely pointless.  This will just make you shovel food into your face twice as fast, but with half the portion…so no gain at all…and chopsticks?  Give me a break…the only time chopsticks ever slows anyone down, is if they are eating soup…and possibly blancmange.

4 Put down your utensils between bites

Ok, so this one could actually work…provided you leave them down for longer than it takes to masticate your way through the mouthful….

5 Set a minimum number of chews for each bite

Again, not something I can see actually slowing you down too much…I personally get bored easily, so forcing myself to count to 15 chews or something would get old…fast.  Mine would be something like   1………2………3………4…5…6…7..8.9.101112131415.  Not really slowing me down all that much when you think about it.  Also not good if you set it too high and are eating something that loses flavour really quickly…you need to get that chew/taste balance right so that you swallow at the optimum enjoyment moment….not chewing something into a flavourless paper mache substance.  That said, this might cause you to stop eating…the only thing likely to have ANY effect on weight loss.

6 Deliberately taste your food

Seriously?  Even the most tastebud damaged curry enthusiast will taste their food (pelican’esque gullet gulping notwithstanding of course).  They probably mean savour…but still, savouring is in the mouth of the eater….I enjoy my food, I even savour it from time to time, but I don’t take 2 hours a plateful to do it.

Apparently all this is an aid to weight loss…how????  You are eating exactly the same thing…just more slowly.  Assuming that you finish the plate, and that your portions don’t change….IT’S THE SAME!

Also, there is an additional tip that states you should grow your own food…I think, right there, the author finally hit the nail on the head..that would most definitely slow me down…waiting for that bit of garnish to finish growing before eating my steak…and this would definitely aid weightloss…in a very successful (albeit terminal) way.

Discombobulatory ramblings

Movable Type galley. Galera con tipos móviles.
Photo by Xosé Castro
I don’t know if I can say that I am completely suffering from writers block right now…writers malais possibly, writers half a job definitely…the problem I have is that I have ideas…see things, hear things that would normally dump me in front of my PC for a decent writing session.  Now, having ideas is not a bad thing, and definitely suggests that I am not blocked..but therein lies the trouble.  I can’t seem to get a cohesive post together about any of them…or when I do, it becomes a couple of paragraphs and consigned to the draft posts cold storage…never to return.

With that in mind, I thought I would just throw a few things in a post, lest these things never see the light of day at all

Oil Paintings
Today I saw, what can only be described as, the inspiration for every witch every artistically rendered.  Proper, proper ugly…hooked nose, sunken eyes…warts on the face, the whole shebang.  If you visited her house in the evening and she had one of those green facemasks on, that they always show in the movies, you would scream your bleedin’ head off…and possibly set fire to her.

Now, those of you that no me would probably say that I am not exactly Johnny Depp myself..followed by a series of bleeding heart “someone for everyone” and “beauty is in the eyes of the beerholder” nonsense..but seriously, proper ugly…I saw one guy actually stop eating his lunch after she smiled at him** Mothers and Fathers were shuffling their kids off to one side (in fairness, not out of fear of the childs trauma…more out of fear of kids propensity for pointing out things that parents DO NOT want pointing out).

Now, I am not suggesting that she should never leave the house again (unless she wants to), all I am doing is pointing out the wide range of technological advances that have been made in the home delivery arena…nothing more.

Football fans
Are rarely as bad as you think (at least not these days).  Some time ago, I took Zak and Brandon to a Liverpool match here in Germany.  It was only a friendly, so I didn’t really anticipate a full house, especially in the travelling Kop.  I was pleasantly surprised (and a little apprehensive) to see a full visitors section of over 700 fellow reds.

The kids were in awe, and having a great time…and when we went a goal down, a particularly hardened and haggard (old) fan, started chanting some rather abusive anti-german slogans.  He was all on his own, and immediately told to shut it by the rest of the fans.  Other fans took it in turns putting Zak and Brandon on their shoulders and making sure that they had room to stand etc..it was amazing, a proper family atmosphere.

There were a couple of stand-out moments though…bearing in mind that Liverpool fielded a team of people who weren’t even going to feature in the coming season, and in some cases…ever again.  Firstly, as I said..it was a sell out…but it was also a sell out for the home fans too…and it would appear that they were there to see us, the LFC fans.

LFC fans always sign You’ll Never Walk Alone both before the kick off and just before the game ends.  We were a couple lines into it when I realised that the whole stadium was silent, apart from us lot singing.  I thought it was a little strange, but carried on regardless..as you do.  When we finished..their fans gave us a standing ovation…it was bloody mental.  The second stand-out moment can be put down to the cultural differences between fans from different nations.  In the UK, stadium announcers announce the squad one by one.  Each name is read out in full and the crowd cheer or boo respectively (depending on which team you follow).  In Germany, the stadium announcer announces the first name of each player…and the crowd chant their last name.

So, in a perfect world in England…it goes something like this:

Announcer:  Number 9, Fernando TORRES
Crowd:  YEAHWOOOPRARGONANDOYEAH etc

In Germany, this would be:
Announcer:  Number 9, Fernando
Crowd:  TORRES!!

At this particular match, therefore, it went something like this:

Announcer:  Number 9, Fernando
Crowd:  YEAHWOOPRARGONA…uh, hey what the TORRES..RES

I love football me

Why do fools….
…irritate me so much?  I can’t quite pinpoint the moment where my intolerance outgrew my tolerance.  I guess it could be age and I am just on the wonderful route to being a grumpy old man..which isn’t too bad as I hear that it means that I get a country for myself***.  I think I am still holding onto some vestiges of my previous easygoing nature, but more and more I find myself hitting rant mode (as anyone reading this blog recently will no doubt have noticed).  It could be something little like repeatedly pressing the open door button on the train whilst it is still moving, only to then not press it at all when, wait for it, THE GREEN LIGHT COMES ON TO TELL YOU TO!.  Maybe I have just reached an age where I expect a certain level of intelligence from the people around me, or maybe I am just a miserable git who expects everything to happen how I would do it…but is that so wrong – I mean, my ways clearly work….mostly :-P

It isn’t like I am really asking for much.  A little courtesy…some of my seat being available to me and not taken up by YOU with the giant paper to, no doubt, show your importance to the rest of the train.  Papers are sooo last decade anyway..you should at least be annoying everyone with incessant, psuedo-important, phonecalls and constant checking of the latest jokes important work related emails from your colleagues.  Or the smokers that insist on sparking up on the platforms in the No Smoking train stations, and worse than that….in the trains themselves.

The rocket scientists smoking dope on the street…not even remotely covering it up.  The police that check my ID for 40 minutes when doing a random bar check…and try to stop me going outside for a smoke…even though they HAVE MY ID.  Or worse, the guy that was playing with a knife right in front of the police officers when he was told that he couldn’t go in the bar until they had finished, and on top of that decides to try and engage CW in conversation as if we were with him….moron.

What about the ridiculous contract situation with, well, pretty much anything over here.  Forget to cancel a few months before and it automatically renews for a year (or two) with no method of cancelling except paying in full.  The way that you are supposed to be greatful for being allowed to pay for their service.  The ability to freeze your accounts for a ?10 bill….fortunately not something I have dealt with.

I could go on and on…and I am speaking from a position of loving the country that I am in :-)

You have to be Joker’ing…
…right?

I read a while ago that Batman fans feel that Heath Ledgers portrayal of the Dark Knights arch nemesis was so good, that they want to retire the character and not allow any more Joker related storylines for any future movies.

Now, forgetting the fact that the Joker is arguably the best villain in the Batman story arcs, meaning that stopping useage of the character would effectively kill the Batman series…Penguin anyone?  No..you liked him, ok, what about Mr Freeze?  Need I say more?  Still, I said we would forget that though.  So my opinion is this, Heath Ledger was a great Joker…a superb Joker in a great film…but the definitive Joker?  I don’t think so…and I genuinely believe that the discussion wouldn’t have even arisen if he hadn’t died.  I actually thought that Jack Nicholson was at least as good as Ledger in the role…but all of them, including any that may come in the future, pale into insignificance when compared to Cesar Romero…the quintessential Joker if you will.  This man played the original Joker on the Batman TV show..alongside, may I say, probably the finest Batman ever portrayed.  You want “Faithful to the comic books”?..these guys even had the Zapp, Kerpow, Zing, Splats that were daubed all over comics of the time.  Gen-I-Arse I tellsya.  Can’t beat it…

There were others, but some of them were deleted and others were…well…shite.

:-)

** Ok, ok…that would be me….but still!!
*** Sorry, couldn’t resist

BBC Song Analysis Fail

Men at Work
Photo by Red~Cyan
Go and have a look at this article by the BBC.  No, it’s ok I can wait.

Now, does that look like an article that tells you “What the Men at Work song Down Under is all about”…no, absolutely not.  Sure, they explain a couple of the terms…and they even manage to speak to the writer of the song himself…and it still leaves you with a sense of…well…nothing.

I wouldn’t normally have taken this on, but as an Englishman I feel it my duty to clean up the mess that the BBC have made.  Fear not Mother England, I will salvage the BBCs reputation…even at the expense of my own.

I bring you… Down Under by Men At Work

Traveling in a fried-out kombi
On a hippie trail, head full of zombie
I met a strange lady, she made me nervous
She took me in and gave me breakfast

Now, I will go as far as to agree with the BBC and state that, a fried-out kombi is indeed a vehicle..and not, as I first thought, a combination convection grill/microwave oven.  With that in mind…and seeing as those particular VW vans were the mainstay of hippy travel for many happy years, I would guess that the hippy trail also fits.

Quite how you follow a hippy trail is beyond me though, it probably goes in circles and stops a lot for “relaxation breaks”.  It will no doubt be littered with “doobies” and bio-degradable condoms…making following it a bit easier than first thoughts suggest.

Now we come to a problem.  If a strange lady makes you nervous, why oh why would you allow yourself to be taken in and given breakfast?  It makes no sense…well..unless you consider the “hippy trail” and the inevitable munchies that will occur…I suppose.

And she said,
Do you come from a land down under?
Where women glow and men plunder?
Cant you hear, cant you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.

Ok, so she is a little nosey…and has clearly heard bad things about Australia…namely their (apparently) sweaty  women and their (again, apparently) thieving men.  Personally I think she is going a bit far there..I mean, it was a very long time ago that Australia consisted of convicts.  I have a question though, what kind of place…that you can be taken in to, and served breakfast…wouldn’t be able to protect you from a thunderstorm?  Unless you had made some sort of breakfast faux pax…say, ketchup instead of brown sauce, asking for coffee instead of a cup of sweet tea or, worst of all…toast instead of fried bread.  Let’s face it, breakfast faux pax of this ilk deserve severe punishment, and being thrown out into a thunderstorm suggest getting off very lightly.

Buying bread from a man in brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscles
I said, do you speak-a my language?
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich

I always suspected that Brussels is the root of all evil.  Claiming that a banana isn’t one because it didn’t bend enough, stating that we can’t call sausages…sausages, same for chocolate.  Bastards the lot of em.  And here we finally have the proof…some musclebound evil sociopath, handing out Vegemite sandwiches with a malevolent grin on his face…He probably even advertised them as Marmite..just to entice people to have them.  Bastard

And he said,
I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Cant you hear, cant you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.

Ahh, so our evil Brusselian sociopath is claiming to be an Aussie.  I’m not entirely sure that he could convince anyone that wasn’t on the hippy trail…but hey, you can only convince what’s in front of you I suppose.  However, he is now essentially stating that Aussies can’t drink…which has admittedly been my experience, but you expect a little bit of national pride here.  Also, I can only assume that Australia never gets thunderstorms…like, ever!  I mean, they are all bleedin’ terrified of the things.  All this running and taking cover…it’s thunder ffs…christ on a rope, I can’t imagine their reaction if there was some bloody lightning.

Lying in a den in bombay
With a slack jaw, and not much to say
I said to the man, are you trying to tempt me
Because I come from the land of plenty?

Bombay…man this guy gets about a bit doesn’t he.  I mean, hippies are normally so tanked up that they “visit the world” purely in their mind, so for one to move around so much…strange to say the least.  He appears to be visiting bombay with a slack jawed redneck too…which is nice.  Is Australia really the land of plenty though?  Plenty of sunburn I suppose…Plenty of things in the water designed to kill you too (thanks Dylan Moran)…plenty of what “Men at Work”, plenty of what?  The public needs to know…well, I do at least.

And he said,
Oh! do you come from a land down under? (oh yeah yeah)
Where women glow and men plunder?
Cant you hear, cant you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover

Well, it would seem that the good people of Bombay would struggle to deal with storms too, although the rumours of sweaty women and all the men being burglars, seems to have reached there too.  Oh well, no smoke without fire I suppose…

So there you have it, not my best song analysis…but to be fair, look at what I was working with people….seriously.

Men At Work, try working at trying harder to make sense.

I am off for a chunder after a zombie in a combi in Bomb…i  :oops:

Stupid…not descriptive enough

Air India VT-ALD
Photo by Drewski2112
So…whilst the airlines would have you believe that flying is safer than staying in bed (or something), the general public, and indeed some of the aircrew themselves, are determined to lay this safety myth to rest.

Apparently, claims of sexual harassment within a cockpit of an Air India flight erupted into a full on, fists flying encounter that spilled into the passenger area of the aircraft…no doubt reminiscent of any number of action movies.   You can’t beat a bit of argy Bhaji (you see what I did there??).   I had visions of the in flight film being Passenger 57, but displayed in 3D…which would then have the passengers believing that “This new 3D technology is sooo realistic”…or something.   The question that doesn’t seem to be being asked is about how it all started.

Ok, “Sexual Harassment Claims”…I get that bit.   When I first read it, I suspected that it happened months ago but, due to a fatal flaw in shift planning (or a sick sense of humour), the accuser and accusee where scheduled on the same flight.   However, it appears to have happened on the flight, where the woman (rightly so) reacted and then the Knights of the Small Cock(pit) had at it…one defending himself and his innocence, and the other defending the fair maiden in distress?   Whatever happend, punches were thrown and I think we can safely say that the passengers were grateful for Autopilots…and of course the extra in-flight entertainment.

Not so entertaining though, is the wonderful example of British womanhood that was on display flying from Greece to Manchester (explains a lot).   Apparently, two women managed to get onto a plane, pissed out of their heads…and with their own bottle of vodka that they were drinking when the aircrew denied them more from the in-flight bar.   One of them, being somewhat the worse for wear, decided that what she really needed was some “fresh air” and decided to open the door….at 10,000 feet.   Apparently, when the crew decided to restrain her, she started trying to batter people with the vodka bottle.   Klassy huh?.

Personally, I would have spoken to the captain…confirmed that a cabin depressurisation wouldn’t down the aircraft…advised all passengers to strap in, and then let her open the frickin’ thing.   Some people deserve to learn the meaning of consequence.

I am sure that even the most cursory google search would return about a million pages with examples of sheer bloody stupidity in the air.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind a bit of an “Air Adventure”…maybe the chance to rugby tackle an unruly passenger hellbent on killing us all, not through malice but, through sheer bloody minded stupidity.   What happened to people just getting in trouble for smoking in the toilet…after sex…with the pilot…during takeoff….whilst stealing wine from the trolley.

Times they appear to be a’changin’