A large number 2..


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 :-)

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

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…

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

Big trouble in little Bielefeld

Bielefeld by night....apparentlyThere is a conspiracy in Germany that Bielefeld does not exist.   There are even Wikipedia entries about it.   So, for any Germans reading this, it may surprise you to know that I have actually been there, eaten food and drank various soft beverages there and in fact was arrested in that veritable Bermuda Triangle of Germany.

First, the conspiracy:

Apparently it started off as a Usenet joke which took on its own life.   Made much worse some years later when Google Maps misaligned their satellite hybrid view, so that the street overview was placed on a blank forest area.   Apparently the council of Bielefeld even went so far as to create an advertising campain with the slogan “Bielefeld gibt es doch!” (Bielefeld does exist!” and they still recieve calls and emails that doubt the very existence of the City.

There are 3 questions that you need to ask yourself:

Do you know anybody from Bielefeld?
Have you ever been to Bielefeld?
Do you know anyone that has ever been to Bielefeld?

If you answer yes to any of the questions, you are part of the conspiracy…

Based on this, it is my belief that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is based there and not, as people were led to believe, in Kansas.

My personal memories of Bielefeld as a city are somewhat cloudy.   I get glimpses of the place in sort of random 4 second snapshots…Almost as if my memory was wiped in an alien abduction/probe kind of way.

That said, I do clearly remember being there with around 5 other guys, at about 8 in the morning on a Sunday.   I don’t actually know why though, seeing as there a no shops open on a Sunday.   I quite like that, even though I am not religious, you get Sundays as a proper day of rest…unless you work in a Bakery.

Or a restaurant.   Or a bar.   Or cafe.   Of course the Kiosks are open obviously.   Other than that nothing is open.   Oh, mustn’t forget the people that operate public transport.   So other than bakeries, restaurants, cafes, bars, kiosks and public transport…everything is.. wait, swimming pools.   And fitness centers.   Almost forgot cinemas…oh and the souveneir shops.   As you can see, they feel really strongly about making sure that the Germans get their day of rest…you can even get in trouble for washing your car!

Anyway, back to Bielefeld…so myself and 5 others were wandering through Bielefeld playing Def Leppard at a reasonable volume (if we were deaf) when the police arrived and asked us very politely to turn it down arrested us.   It might have been OK if we had simply turned it down when they turned up and spoke to them, instead of scattering like cockroaches when you turn the light on.   Apparently, the police don’t like getting exercise that early in the morning…especially before they have had their morning doughnuts and coffee.

It took them around 20 minutes to round us up.   We were slowed down considerably by not knowing where the hell we were running to..although let’s face it, where we were running from was more important at the time.   We, of course, played the dumb English card to try and get away with it…the 2 German lads that were with us did this too, albeit somewhat less convincingly.   Unfortunately English is a little more widely spoken than we gave credit for and we were well in the shite.   Well…as in the shite as 6 kids can be when facing a noise pollution charge…it’s not like we robbed a bank or anything.   I am pretty sure they were just trying to shock us.   The problem was that we were cocky little bleeders…at least I was.   I may have even tried to tell them we had diplomatic immunity *cough*

Still…we got away with it and our parents were none the wiser.

Actually, speaking of the German lads trying to pretend they were English..   A loooong time ago, I was heading to visit my folks in my battered Morris Marina when I remembered that I needed to get some cash out of the bank.   I left work early and headed into Newark to do just this.

I was in holiday mode and not really concentrating too much…so much so that I just followed the traffic into the Market Square.   I pulled up outside the bank and nipped inside.   I left the keys in the car as it was impossible to start without knowing how.   I got to the cashiers desk and was waiting for my money when I heard the distinctive sound of my car trying to start.   A quick glance out of the door and I suddenly notice the world.   A world in which the Market Square is full of Market traders…on Market day no less.   I had followed market traders onto the market square and had parked in just the right position to stop any of them moving their vans around to pack up and leave.

Thinking quickly, I whip off my work ID badge, pickup my money, put on my sunglasses and head outside.   It is fair to say that the guy trying to start my car, along with his 10 friends…were not happy.   He immediately starts swearing at me to move my “fucking car”.   Panicked, I put on my stereotypical German accent and pretend to speak broken English.   I am left with the image of my getting into the car, starting it up and then being guided whilst reversing by a load of market traders talking loudly and in very simple English words.   Trying to explain where to head and making sure everyone was out of my way…   I got my karmic retribution though, a 3 hour journey took 9 hours thanks to an accident on the motorway…

Accents are fun…and can get you out of the odd sticky situation I guess…just try and using them for good

Friday 13th

SuperstitionToday is that most heinously scary of all days, Friday the 13th.   muahahHAHAHAHAAAAAA…or something.

I personally have never subscribed to the theory that a day can be scary in and of itself, unless of course you have decided to go naked skydiving into the Everglades…with a hanky for a parachute…blindfolded and sporting “All Crocodiles are Pussies” tattoos on your chest and arse cheeks whilst singing “See ya later alligator” over and over again.

For instance, and eschewing all fear, I have an important day today that might steer my next few years in Germany.   Did I shrink at the thought of doing it on Friday the 13th?   No, I positively welcomed it…to fly in the face of bad luck.   Or should that be to push my luck?   One of those anyway.

Of course, if it all goes wrong, I will completely embrace Friday the 13th and never leave the apartment again on such a day. Halloween will take on a whole new meaning and I will stop taking the piss out of random American women by standing behind them and whispering “Bloody Mary”.

Apparently, being scared of this day means you have paraskavedekatriaphobia (thanks Wikipedia), which sounds altogether too painful for me.   I love the breakdown though…it comes from the Greek words paraskevi (means Friday), dekatre?­s (means 13) and then you glue phobia to the end of it. Hey presto, you have FridayThirteenFear, and probably A Division by Zer0 visiting to correct me for daring to use anything Greek in the blog.   Noone really knows where it came from though.   I would hazard a guess and say that most people were brought up with the notion that 13 is unlucky….we don’t know why, but we accept it..but Friday??   Friday is the beginning of the weekend, how can that be unlucky?!?   Surely Monday the 13th is more terrifying…unlucky 13 and the first day back at work/school etc?

Gives me the shivers just thinking about it.

Of course Friday the 13th brings out that time honoured British clich?? “Lucky for some”.   That really takes the horoscope side of things doesn’t it.   Of course it will be lucky for some, in the same way that “Cancerians with heads may be forced to take nourishment today, you will read something, you may or may not meet someone and they may or may not like you” is a very accurate assessment of my day.

Also, I wrote this 2nd post for y’all today..which, depending on your view, will either confirm that today is unlucky or not.   Admittedly, it is 09:05 now and I realised it was Friday the 13th about five minutes ago…so thought I would knock something up honour the day in some way.

Back to the grind, try not to step on any black cats made out of broken mirrors if you can.

Mistaken identity and other strangeness

hospital wallSome years ago I was working in a hospital doing general network support.   It was actually a great place to work and had the distinction (at the time) of having a corridor that was almost 2 miles long.   That bit wasn’t quite so enjoyable as having to go from Pathology (furthest point along the corridor), to fix an issue in Maternity (furthest point in the other direction) was not my idea of a good time.   I had a few weird moments in this place, some technical and others not.

The boss had this amazing idea that, if people needed less than 10 network points, I would install them myself.   As you can imagine, this led to me being some sort of network point pimp and extolling the virtues of having (in some cases) 9 spare available because “You never know”.   When this failed it was left to me.

Now, anyone that knows me will tell you that I cannot perform basic DIY.   It is simply something I am not genetically made up for.   Shelves fall down, holes in plaster get miraculously bigger…I invariably hurt myself.   Yet here I was, embarking on a terrifying journey of drilling holes in hospital walls.   I remember having to put a new socket in the Pharmacy to replace an existing one where the cable was broken.   I exposed the cable run and started to trace the cable I needed to replace.   The idea being to tie the new cable to the old, and pull it through.   This reasonable theory hit a few snags, namely that the cable run went through walls into other rooms, corridors and even outside for a few meters.   It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that I made a mistake and disconnected the wrong cable…meaning I had to do it all again.   It’s just aswell there was someone there to help me..oh that’s right, I was on my own.

I had to get through a wall that was around 4ft thick in the Pathology department, but the biggest drillbit I had access to was just under 3ft long.   Confident and complete with tape measure, I was absolutely certain that I would be able to “Eurotunnel” it and meet up from either side.   In the end, and after turning this wall into swiss cheese, I tracked down some builders and stole their giant drillbit to do it.

I had to turn one of the Doctors on-call bedrooms into an office, which involved drilling down from the attic space.   Unfortunately the attic space wasn’t big enough for me to stand up in and my trusty tape measure didn’t appear to be so trusty, so I took to crawling along the corridor on my stomach to try and work out where to drill.   The Doctors knew that there would be some noise and drilling going on.   I am fairly confident that this particular, sleeping, Doctor didn’t anticipate being woken up to plaster falling onto his bed, a drill screaming through the ceiling followed swiftly by a large eye looking through the hole and apologising profusely.   I wouldn’t have been surprised to discover that Doctor sleeping in his car from there on in.

That said, learning from my mistakes at that point wasn’t so easy to me, and I managed to repeat this feat…only this time in the Maternity department….into a room where they were performing ultrasounds…I can’t be certain, as I was rapidly accelerating into the distance, but I may have caused a number of false alarms and possibly a premature birth or two that day.

It wasn’t all about me scaring the crap out of Doctors and patients alike, I had my fair share.     Like sitting at my desk quietly, running a stress test on the LAN with the development team….in the middle of the test, the rocket I had just fired at the head of the Duke Nukem across the courtyard stopped..in mid air, followed seconds later by “Network Connection Lost”.   Glancing up, I see the network monitor screen…and all of the lovely green symbols were turning a nasty looking red colour.   Half the network was down, I call the developers to see if it was them (they were losing after all) and start running down the corridor to the first place that had gone red.     As I am running, I can see that the ladder into the attic space is already down…getting closer still and I can hear drilling.   I hit the ladder and scramble up without stopping, until I see an electrician merrily drilling away.   I briefly consider asking him how he worked out where to drill so effortlessly, but shake that off and check the comms cabinet….which is unsurprisingly devoid of any flashing blinking light type doodahs.   A quick look behind the cabinet and you can see that it has been unplugged…and replaced by a beaten up, paint spattered cord of the workmans drill.   I beat him about the head ask him nicely to stop drilling and plug the cabinet back in.   Wordlessly I point to the rather large sign that instructs people not to remove the plastic cover and unplug the cabinet…before heading off to find the foreman, relieve myself in the toilet and have a large brandy to calm my nerves.

I remember trying to lift a server on my own…that was clearly too big/heavy for me, but noone else was around to help me…and hearing my knee pop.   I get on the phone and Andrew comes running down to me, pushing a wheelchair that I have always hoped was empty when he found it.   I remember, through the pain, feeling quite lucky that this had happened in a hospital, that had a ward dedicated to looking after people with leg/knee pain.   So you will forgive my shock when I was told I would have to make the journey across town to go to Accident and Emergency before they could see me.   Oh how I cursed their computer systems that day…certainly they wouldn’t be high on my list in the future……

I could go on and on…what do you mean I already have?   Ah well… :-p

When I first joined the support team there, they always sent the newbies on a rite of passage…the morgue.   I can still recall the smell of the place as I headed inside…where the morgue technicians tell me that the computer with the issue is in the main fridge room…they have, of course, left the doors open just for me.   I realise that this sounds a little disrespectful…but damn if I didn’t laugh my ass off….when I had finished throwing up of course.

Probably the most memorable, and terrifying thing though was when I was walking back to the office one quiet and peaceful afternoon.   One of the problems associated with being in IT within a hospital is what you wear.   Generally I wore black trousers, a white shirt…professional looking tie and of course a pager.   I had been mistaken for a Doctor on numerous occasions and was quite used to explaining that I wasn’t, and even running off to find them a Doctor from time to time.   One of those things you might say.   Until this day.   Walking back towards my office and a panic stricken woman bursts through the door of the chest/lung ward that was opposite our office.   She clocks me and without a word, starts dragging me into the ward…and practically throws me into a room where her husband (I assumed) was suffering some form of breathing attack.   As I finally start to realise what is going on, I try to explain that I am not a Doctor…but quite obviously this woman didn’t want me talking to her…I managed to focus enough to hit the panic button on the wall and within seconds Doctors and Nurses start piling in the room to help.

I stand back and watch these amazing people go about their business with this efficient calm about them.   A few minutes later and the husband is calmed, breathing more easily and the wife is clearly relieved.   I have the upmost respect for Doctors and Nurses…there is no way I could do what they do.

On top of all that, the wife came to find me later and thanked me for helping….She had forgotten the panic button was there and couldn’t focus to find anyone.   I didn’t know what to say, certainly I had done nothing worthy of thanks from this woman.   People are amazing though sometimes..here was a woman so clearly going through hell and she found the time to thank some poor scared cretin who managed to hit a button.   Also, it shows what having a little faith can do…her husband made a full recovery and left the hospital 6 weeks later.

I like people sometimes, I really do.

Cruel to be kind

Oh my God I look Cute!!Firstly, apologies for the password protected post.   Maybe I will open it up in the future, but right now…that one is for me.

Anyhoo, I was chatting to DS yesterday and was reminded (I forget how) about something that happened a few years ago.

I was walking through a shopping center (mall to you non Brits) when I noticed, some way in front of me, a parent caring for a child in a pushchair…as I got closer I could see that the child was in some distress and was coughing a lot.   Obviously, as a parent myself I was concerned for the little mite, and was even a little relieved when I got close and saw that he had calmed down and was no longer in clear distress.

However, I noticed something…something far more insidious and I recognised it immediately as the possible cause of the poor childs coughing fit.   It was an allergic reaction, and it was so obvious to me that I had to mention it to the father.   I guess that, as a parent, you can’t always notice the dangers around your child, especially from something so innocuous.

So, being the kind hearted parent and good citizen that I am, I leant in close to the father and mentioned..”I think I see what caused your son to choke, I am pretty sure it is an allergic reaction”.   The father looks up at me, somewhat quizzically now, but not dismissive of this strangers advice.   “What is it?” says he.

I take a deep breath, almost a sigh really and point my finger in the direction of the child…pointing directly to a mark on the childs chest.   So obvious now that I come to think of it, I almost felt sorry that this father was so clearly blinded by the love for his child and the distress that he had felt.   He followed my gaze to the offending mark and that’s when he realised and I saw a look of understanding….it was the Manchester United crest on the childs shirt.   A glimmer of recognition flashed across his face and he turns to see me nodding sympathetically.

“That’s close to child cruelty right there” says I, “You are lucky I don’t report you to child services mate” as I back away from the loving fathers swinging fist.   Such a strangely angry reaction for such a random act of kindness from a stranger.

As I rapidly accelerate away, I think to myself:

“There is just no helping some people”

Close encounters..

Stalker.. of the stalker kind.

It is interesting to me what makes people tick.   It is also interesting to me what goes through peoples minds sometimes.

Let me explain…and whilst I do I am aware that some of you reading this might consider this a good thing and others will think of me as an arsehole….you are probably all correct.

I had an “encounter” last Friday night.   It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t sought, it just…happened.   The entire “encounter” lasted under 4 hours from the conversation starting until she left the apartment.   One of “those” nights I suppose (although they rarely happen to me).   I alluded in my last post to a mysterious note that was left on my computer.   The note basically gave me her phone number telling me to call if I wanted to see her again, and then ended with “Thankyou for opening so many doors for me”.   It is this last bit I am confused about.

I don’t recall being particularly chivalrous, and even if I was…there are only 3 doors that are in the way of the route that we took.   Does 3 count as “so many”?   I suppose it depends on your outlook…if you live in a building full of windows and get into your apartment through a catflap…I suppose 3 could be quite a lot.   I tried to think back over the night for any door related activities…I know I opened the pub toilet door an a number of occasions…possibly even on many occasions….but I can say with (some) certainty….I wasn’t with her during my trips to the toilet.   The door to the Anglo is permanently open whilst the pub is serving, and is in fact held open with some kind of futuristic hook device…so I know I didn’t need to open that one.   Clearly we are referring to some form of metaphorical door, which is far too deep for a hangover to deal with…so I did the next best thing and went back to bed.

After waking up in the same amount of confusion, and after spending most of Saturday wondering about doors, I failed to phone her and went out again.   During my evening of consuming “Jugs of doom ™”, I recieved a phonecall from the Anglo….telling me that someone had called to ask if I was there, every hour…for around four hours.   Thankfully, S resolutely refused to give out my number and instead said that they would pass her number onto me.   Having dodged that bullet…I continued with the drinking and thought no more of it.   Again, I failed to call on the Sunday, although this time it was as I was somewhat scared that I might return to my apartment one day and discover a bubbling pan filled with a bunny rabbit that I don’t own.   The situation was discussed on Monday night with JW, where the options were weighed up:

Option 1
Call her..explain that it was a spur of the moment, one night thing.   Apologise if necessary and move on

Option 2
Don’t call her..risk her visiting the Anglo on Friday or Saturday night this week and take the inevitable slap that will head my way at this point.

It was decided in a fit of macho bravado and testosterone/beer fuelled decision making, that I would take the slap.   The reasoning being that it might not happen…and if it did, it might gain me some kudos points.   Let’s face it, the world loves a bastard.   It also stopped me from having to admit that I can’t remember what she looks like.

Then yesterday…I get home as usual after work, check my mailbox and discover a letter addressed to me.   People generally don’t send me letters…well they do, but they are rarely handwritten and are generally asking for money.   That said, I knew immediately who it was from.   Sure enough, it was from my ‘encounter’….again, getting very very deep for someone that knew me for less than 4 hours…and the “me” she met was hammered on copious amounts of German Beer and Jagermeister.

Now I know that it is possible to feel a connection with someone pretty quickly, we have all of us (at some point) been speaking to someone that we feel like we have known for years after 5 minutes.     Knowing these things, however, does not equip me with the tools to understand what is happening here.   How do you form an obsession with someone you don’t know.   I can only think that she is one of those “Superfans” of the Addams Family and has an unhealthy Uncle Fester fixation.

Have you ever stalked or been stalked?   What caused it or how did you deal with it?

Oh…and does anyone want to rent a flat above an Irish bar?   One careless owner…


Where my addiction began….

I was talking today to a guy at work and we were discussing the finer virtues of my Starbucks Venti Cappuccino with 2 extra espresso shots.   He said I should have asked for a Venti espresso and gone for it, which triggered a TV-Show style flashback to when I was working in Cardiff.

I believe I was 18 or 19, I had travelled…lived some might say, but all under the protective coccoon of the Royal Air Force, what I see as youthful exuberance…others saw as naivety.   But through all of my experiences, I had never…well, I am almost ashamed to admit this to you now…I had never had an Espresso.   There,   I said it…I am not proud but please…before consigning me to the scrapheap of your lives, remember that I was young and inexperienced at this thing they call life…..

Holy crapola, zoned out there for a second, where was I?

Ah yes, Espresso…story…tell it.

So, I was doing some work on the side for an Italian that I had sold a computer to at work.   He owned arguably the nicest Italian restaurant in Cardiff at the time and we struck a deal where he would pay me by putting credit at the restaurant.   It was a good deal and my family and friends had some seriously nice meals because of it.   The first time I did some work for him, he invited me over to the restaurant for some lunch.   The chef whipped up an amazing risotto and I got stuck into it.   Pietro asked me if I wanted a coffee, I said yes and he asked if I wanted an Espresso.   I admitted to never having one and yes, I would love to try one.

He brought over this incredibly tiny cup with coffee in it….I had a taste and quite liked it, so I told him that I would try a full cup…and that he didn’t have to bring a taster.

So a full mug of Espresso later I am wired beyond all measurable belief.   I can’t remember the next few days following that drink, but I am pretty certain that my tolerance for caffiene went through the roof that day, and I am now at the stage of needing coffee to get to sleep at night.

I did try and give up coffee a year or two back and it nearly killed me.   I was sick, had the tremors, couldn’t focus, was sweating all the time.   I looked like the classic “Cold Turkey” sufferer that they show in films when people are trying to get off heroin etc.

Not good.   Still, at least I will have given up smoking by the weekend.


SP comedy gold..

A typical American Marine?So, whilst SPs decline from the dizzy heights of casanovadom continues at a rapid rate of knots….he does still have his moments.

This report was submitted to LW headquarters by our roving field reporter GF.

The location:   Daves living room (AKA the Anglo Irish)
Those present:   SP, GF and a random American Marine

Details are sketchy as to how the introduction came to pass, but before I start, let me give you a little back story of the inimitable SP.

SP is a former member of the British Paratroopers, largely considered to be a Special Forces Unit in their own right, even though they are regular army.   Now, over various “visits” to the worlds hotbed of arsehole activity, SP has encountered many American Marines, and has formed his opinion based on these many encounters.   Now, in an effort to avoid the inevitable death threats…I need to point out that I am sure that not all American Marines conform to the stereotype that SP places on them…that said, he has his experiences.   I won’t drink fizzy water for example….case closed really.

So, back to the introduction…

The SP is introduced to a random American that looks like he overdosed on steroids…referred to as your typical person of this type.   On discovery of the random Americans profession, SP makes the following statement:

“Oh are you?   A Marine?   All Marines are gay”

Cue rapid ascent to the heavens and cartoon’esque steam coming out of the guys ears.   He starts to rise from his seat in a, dare I say it, slightly aggressive manner.

At this point our roving reporter GF decides to intervene…

“hahahahaha – He is only joking around…. hahahahahah – Just kidding man”

SP, without batting an eyelid, responds thusly.. “No I’m not, Marines are all homos…admit it, you suck cock” and then walks away.

Genius I tellsya.

When questioned about this almost pavlovian response by me later… I discovered part of the reason for this *ahem* opinion of the American Marine.   SP tells of being on tour, I think in Kosovo (he will no doubt correct me) and meeting up with a number of American forces.

During one of these meetings, an interesting discovery was made.   The American forces were all presented with a small credit card sized information card that said the following:

DO NOT drink with the British
DO NOT gamble with the British
DO NOT fight with the British

You will lose!

I think that adequatly sums it up.   SP is actually trying to find me one of these cards as, let’s face it, they sound like the stuff of urban legend.

A special shout out to our newest field reporter GF….nice start sir :)

Normal failure based service will be resumed shortly on “The Life and Times of a Failed Casanova”


Gout burger?

On my most recent “White Van Man Excursion” I was a little early again for my train, but was hungry and thirsty and decided to stop at the Eurotunnel terminal for a bite to eat.   Whilst outside sucking down a “Fatal Friend” I noticed this sign.

Now, ok, it is easy to laugh at a foreign language sign…Germany has many of them, so why shouldn’t France?   The big issue I have with this is that the entire terminal is decked out in both English and French….you would think they would have at least asked someone…….

That said, it is fair to say that I wasn’t bloody hungry anymore – I mean seriously, a Gout burger…with Maxi Gout and Mini Prix….my Prix is mini enough thanks very much…I don’t need a French fast food outlet reminding me of the fact, especially when I am eating.   Not only that, but they are using crousti chicken.   That just can’t be sanitary.

What next?   A salmonella sausage sandwich?   Botulism Bacon Burger?   Scampi with added scurvy?   A Fillet’ o’Fish?   Ok so that last one is real, but it is still a valid point…

The sign to the left is just as bad if you are a German…Oma means Grandmother in German, so Grandma Fred?   That must be a special kind of family unit they have going on there for crying out loud.   Hi, meet Grandma Fred and Grandad Denise, Uncle Catherine is coming soon and my brother Sally will be downstairs in a minute 8-O

I probably have to stop being awake for so long before undertaking these journeys.

Once again though, customs were too scared to unpack my overfilled van and they let me whoosh straight through, same on the way back….even though they literally stopped every car and caravan in front of me.   I never should have turned down that family of 27 refugees….damnit.

I only fell asleep twice this time though and both times I managed to pull over before it happened….which is a minor improvement on the last journey where I slept around 4 times…whilst doing over 140 Kph on the motorway.   Sometimes my caffiene addicition really doesn’t help, if I get tired and decide to get a coffee for that necessary “jolt” that most people seem to get…my body thinks it is bedtime and tries to bloody sleep more.   If I drink loads of water (which actually keeps me awake bizarrely), I have to stop every 10km for a toilet break.

I don’t think I am cut out for this white van man thing after all…..so thats me done.   I have hung up the road rage and coveralls and will never drive one again…until someone bloody asks me and I agree before I have managed to switch off my mouths autogabble feature.