Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Behind The Front Lines

I think it's agreed... anyone caught sneezing (or in my case coughing) is quickly assessed as a danger. I have to admit on the tube home today even I was wary of the sneezers on the train, and even caught the eyes of one lady as she wiped her nose and she seemed even more worried than I was about her sneeze. This did not help me get over my urge to start walking to work (a practical impossibility alas).

Here in London it feelings like people's feelings are in flux caught between keeping calm and sensible based on the evidence and panicking like a mad person based on rumour and conjecture. We get a confirmed case of transmission on a tube train and London will grind to a halt.

But perspective is key, it's hardly anything to really concern ourselves with at the moment. More worrying are the stupid idiots being brought out of the woodwork who I mention on my other blog.

In better news I earned my first flexi day today (i.e. a day off because I've worked over my hours) and can't wait to use this new novelty following on from my rather large first pay cheque yesterday. Happy times for me!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do Fantasists Dream Of Apocalyptic Sheep?

As I'm sure you, Dear Constant Reader, are more than aware I have a Stephen King fetish obsession. One of his most well known books is The Stand, which just happens to be one of my favourite books of all time. I'm blaming this for my current state of excitement anxiety over the latest flu hoopla.

My over excited mind already has the entire train of infection leading directly from Mexico City here to my place of work. I can see the imaginary journeys and interactions leading to the ultimate collapse of civilisation pretty clearly in my head, possibly all due to a badly trained police man trying to warn his out of town relatives on the outskirts of Mexico City. Darn him. Yes, I have read The Stand far too many times.

I foolishly ventured into Boots chemists in Hammersmiths at lunch and found myself surrounded by coughing/sneezing sick people. This did not help my overheated imagination.

This is exactly how I was during the SARS outbreak sitting someone between excited, anxious and not bothered. Yes I do understand how excited sounds pretty grotesque given the personal tragedies involved. I'm not encouraging it, just being honest!

So I've contented myself with trying to believe that the swine flu is a mild, soon to be forgotten incident somewhat less than even the SARS outbreak and that I've nothing to be excited/worried about. Oh... except for the stupid internet folks I spoke of yesterday on my other blog. I'm extremely worried about these people and hope that if anyone else must contract swine flu it is those who believe that the name "swine flu" is offensive to their religions. That is something I'd describe as criminally stupid.

P.S. Saw TubeBoy today, and he was looking particularly awesome (i.e. his hair's grown out again after a gruesome marine style cut). Did well not to follow him. That way madness lies.

P.P.S Left "The End of Faith" on the self service checkout at Tesco's. :(
This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Drunken Ramblings Of A Kentish Bent

So after a stressful week at work (as per usual!) it was a relief to get out of the city and back down to Kent for Jim's birthday on Saturday. On Saturday, after a McDonalds breakfast, we headed up to the County Members (the local in Lympne) and proceeded to get somewhat intoxicated. In fact we were there for 8 hours during which we consumed more alcohol than I've drunk in a very long time.

It was a good day/night in which Jim, Tony and I put the world to rights, played rubbish music on the jukebox and I even failed miserably at a round of pool.

Afterwards I came home and collapsed into a drunken sleep.

Today we've been looking at properties in Stowting, a pleasant village just down the road from Lympne where my family wants to buy a house and stables for their horses plus a cottage for Jim and I. Oh, it doesn't hurt to dream does it? To escape the big smoke and live out in the country...

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Let The Right One In

Or, as we should rightly call it, Låt den rätte komma in.

Sweden... land of meatballs, Ikea and child vampires. And all the better for it.

This movie is a delight. A delight in the dark, backing the murdering bastards sort of way. The central youthful love affair between Oscar and Eli will draw you in, even as the blood and gore with satiate the hardened horror fans among us. Your horror movie hiding pillow will be wet with tears.

The idea of an American remake is, to be perfectly blunt, an insult and an abomination. Perhaps those who are unable to watch movies with subtitles, through no physical impediment, do not deserve to see such gems as this. To remove it from it's context, from it's intrinsic Scandinavian character, would be to remove any joy from it whatsoever.

Once America was the land of movies, but now they just remake their own, and everyone else's, movies. Whatever happened to their writing talent?

Anyway... watch Let The Right One In in Swedish and be a better person.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Topless Rugby Players In The Name Of.... Advertising???

Tamati Ellison and other rugby players go topless... for some difficult to discern reason...

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Love Of My Life

Whilst Jim might rightly be described as such there is a second; the animal kingdom. No not in that way you dirty minded person! But imagining my life without interactions with animals is difficult.

So it recent things I've picked up on at work really disturb me. Kelly, an Australian, was talking about her recent riding trip to Wales when one of my colleagues mentioned she'd never been on a farm. I was taken aback. Never been on a farm? It had never crossed my mind that someone would not have visited a farm.

Now you might think that coming from Kent I'm some sort of abnormal country boy. But trust me I'm not. I was brought up in Snodland and Folkestone, which are fairly average towns as it goes. Although I admit that I had a best friend who lived on a farm, the reason I was shocked was that a trip to a farm was one of the first school outings my school every did. It was treated as one of the "basics". You learn to add. You learn to write. You visit a farm and learn that animals smell. It's all delightful.

So I was shocked by that but discovered she wasn't alone, and some even suggested that the idea of "touching" animals repelled them. I thought that sounded like something you'd want treated like a fear of balloons or an annoying twitch.

I know, I'm being incredibly judgmental and wrongly projecting my world views on to others. But I sorta feel sorry for these people.

So I said I wasn't a country bumpkin but I have spent a lot of time in contact with animals. First the domesticated ones; the pets of my life:

11 cats (Misty, Garfield, Marmalade, Bonnie & Clyde, Crystal, Millie, Angel, Herlock, Scooby, Tinkerbell)
4 dogs (Max, Shane, Geisha, Molly)
1 American bullfrog called Pocket Money (sadly banned in this country)
Uncountable amount of fish both goldfish, pond fish and tropical.
Stick insects
6 or 7 rabbits (Shudder... BOB!)
A guinea pig
2 goats
2 tortoises (Thomas I and Thomas II both of whom were found wild and returned (i.e. they wandered off) to the wild in and around Snodland)
5 hamsters (Honey & Spice, Chekov and a couple more)

Then the wild ones. We used to take Shane and Geisha for walks in down The Pit in Snodland every day and it was one of the most amazing places for wildlife I've ever been to. Adders, smooth snakes, grass snakes, slow worms, sand lizards, common lizards, newts a plenty and frogs of every colour (some of rather worrying colours). Nothing quite like seeing a pike staring up out of the water at you from underneath an overhanging tree. You'd think twice about getting into the water after that, trust me! Seeing the dark shapes of unusually big fish (carp but could of been whales the way they looked!) from up on the edges of the pit looking down. Poaching goose eggs (yummy when scrambled!). Hunting rabbits. Fishing on the Medway. Hunting lugworms in Dymchurch so we could go fish off the sea wall at high tide. Even just walking to work from Lympne and seeing foxes, rabbits, pheasants and... sheep. Horse riding. Horse jumping.

And then the exotic:

Being mere centimetres from the face of a rather pissed off silverback at Port Lympne, riding an elephant in Thailand, watching porpoises swim along side Bill's yacht in Spain as we went for a cruise or stroking a tiger in Kanchanaburi.

What would my life really be like without those experiences? Amazingly dull. Terrifyingly dull. And whilst I don't think everyone SHOULD have those experiences I really wish they did.

I'm sure they can say I'm missing out on things they do that they love. But at least I'd probably not be repelled by it.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Saw Zoe on Sunday, which was lovely and that is the highlight of my week. Roll on Saturday.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Planet of the Dead: Doctor Who 200?

Doctor Who was on last night for what was billed as the Doctor's 200th story. Woo!!! It can't be all bad if he's made it to 200!

I am going to be honest, I was not looking forward to this special. The end of series 4 left me feeling cold and the Christmas special was the biggest disappointment ever (Cybermen everywhere are still angry).

But I was actually rathered pleased with it. It was watchable, the acting wasn't too cheesy and even an appearance by Lee Evans failed to spoil it. The effects were good, the story didn't drag and David Tennant was brilliant as always. It wasn't the best Doctor Who story ever, Rembrance of the Daleks was of course the best, but it certainly saw me through the evening yesterday!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Polar Bears Are Not Cuddly (But They Are CUTE)

Polar bears are the world's largest land carnivore. Males can be up to 3 metres long. The largest male ever record weighed a metric tonne! So I think now all understand... going head to head with a polar bear is a bad idea. Nobody surely would be as stupid as to jump into a polar bear enclosure, even if it did contain the world famous Knut?

Yes. Someone really was that stupid.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Weekend

I've made it to Lympne and the family. Jim's hand looks horrible as the big bandage has been removed but, good news has been received meaning things look better health wise for him. Yay!

Yesterday we went shopping. Homebase, B&Q and Pets at Home. Jim got a new laptop which means I get his old one on Monday meaning: NORMAL SERVICE SHALL BE RESUMED! Saw the largest rabbit at Pets at Home, a giant house rabbit at a mere £129. I want!!!

Today we all took Noodles to the beach in Dymchurch, driving across the Marsh which made for a scenic journey. Noodles loved the sea, and is now thoroughly exhausted. I won Jim a rabbit on the grab machines. Had some ice cream and Nan even turned up. All very nice.

I hope everyone else is having as enjoyable an Easter!

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pedants Corner

I struggle every day to not be pedantic. I'm becoming more accepting of really bad English, mainly thanks to a recent Stephen Fry Podgram where the T'Internet Messiah Himself admitted he too struggled with language pedantism and needed to get over it. But there is one subject on which I cannot stop myself correcting "mistakes": Britain.

I know, the United Kingdom has only been around a couple of hundred years and is very likely not to last another decade. I am slowly accepting this. But even so I cannot stand people referring to British monarchs as "English". It drives me to distraction. Call them wastes of space. Call them German. But please don't suggest Queen Victoria was "Queen of England". Please do not even think that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, is "Queen of England". It's just wrong. I'm not being political here, although as a unionist I'm sure you know where I fall in a Britain vs. England political argument. But calling Her Queen of England is not correct. It is not true. It might make sense to some people, but I've always been more a "de jure" person rather than "de facto".

So you can imagine my disgust when my brother showed me some chocolates Mum had bought him when she went to Hampton Court Palace this week. No, I wasn't jealous of the chocolates (he was giving them to me.. mmm...) but instead was shocked by the fact the chocolates were themed on the "Kings and Queens of England". Included among the Stuart and Tudor monarchs (who I will accept had the titles "of England") were Queen Victoria, King George III and King George IV. They are British monarchs. These chocolates had educational "tidbits" on the back and I just thought, how can they be educational when they are historically wrong?

So I sent the House of Dorchester a message explaining that it was wrong. And I feel bad about it. No, not about pointing out their obvious mistake (made no doubt by some poor soul who doesn't understand how disrespectful to the rest of the British population it is to suddenly steal Queen Victoria for England alone). But instead I worry about what that makes me. I find everyone else is so much less dogmatic and pedantic than I am about history and our monarchy. I wish I could be so flexible with the truth. I wish I could not be a pedant but embrace the St. Georges flag (note he never killed a dragon and he never came here so exactly what the heck is this Christian martyr doing as our patron Saint???) and just enjoy myself. Instead I find myself watching everyone else embracing their Englishness and feeling ever more sickened with it all.

I'm just going to have to accept that whilst I'll never consider myself English, the cause of being British is lost. Maybe I can set up a musuem. Where the chocolates have British monarchs and English monarchs and even, imagine, Scottish monarchs. That would be a hell of a lot of more educational.

And Dear "Foreign" Constant Reader do me a favour. Next time you here someone talking about the Queen of England (and not refering to Queen Anne or someone earlier) correct them. Just do it for me. Please. And I'll make sure people over here know Sydney is not the capital of Australia, that the United States of America is not full of idiots and that Holland is just a small part of the Netherlands.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Am I Posh?

We were discussing Twilight at work today and I dismissed it as a piece of trash (easy to do when you haven't read it, I find near jerk reactions to popular items much easier than true critical review) because of it's representation of the relationship involved and the subservience of the girl to the boy which frankly rubs me up the wrong way. Anyway...

After I some how insulted everyone by accusing the News of the World Screws of being rubbish and came out as a Guardian reader one person said I was "posh".

Me? Posh? This boy from Snodland, Cheriton and a caravan on Hermitage Lane? I mean, what is posh?

I grew up the son of a single teenage Mum herself a daughter of a divorced Mum of 5 working 3 jobs and living just above the poverty line) and after we left Nan's house when I turned 5 (and Mum turned 21!) we moved first into temporary B&B accomodation in Tunbridge Wells (Tunbridge Wells = Posh, Temporary B&B = NOT POSH). Then we moved into a caravan on Hermitage Lane (next door to a man with a hook for a hand who scared me silly!) and finally into a council house back in Snodland. Hardly posh?

Then what happened? Mum married Shitface, house raided by police, Shitface imprisoned, Mum and me flee to Sellindge and I sleep on the sofa in Tony's room. Now sure it was a mansion, but said mansion was home to the mentally disabled so hardly posh!

We eventually moved into Folkestone, with a nice house and Mum got herself an education and a job. I went to Grammar school, but it was in Folkestone so whilst it might be posh to some who live there to everyone but other than to those from Thanet it's nothing to get excited about (in Thanet I believe they worship Folkestonian Grammar School kids... well I've seen them burn effigies so I'm assuming...)

So I went from working class to middle class. I talk odd for a Kentish person (I've stopped saying "Ain't it" which means 50% of the population no long understands me)

Ok... maybe I'm a snob. But I'm not posh. Alright? And if you call me it again I'll get one of my cous' to fucking belt ya one... ;)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Poor and Poorly

Oh yes, poverty has struck me once more, although there is one more pay day before I have to wait until the 28th for my next cash injection. But as I'm normally paid on Friday I'm crossing my fingers the pay run is put through early for tomorrow otherwise I'm truly buggered.

And I'm poorly with the sorest of sore throats. I woke up this morning and experienced that momentary cross between devastation and joy that one gets when you realise you are very ill but won't be going to work. But, alas, my voice returned within 5 minutes and I decided to make my way in so the joy part was replaced with an added dash of more devastation. D'oh.

Planning on heading down to Lympne tomorrow evening after work to spend the Easter weekend with the parental units. Jim deserves the comfy bed and warm surroundings in his current state.

Hmm... hungry and tired and poorly. Hopefully things will get better after the 28th.

Ooo... I just saw a pig fly past my window.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Kayne Lawton

Forget Charles Dera, forget even Spartan. There's a new kid in the fight for Jae's unwanted attention. Kayne Lawton of the Gold Coast Titans rugby league team. Whilst I am more a union man myself, I can't help be amazed by his athletic ability.

Yoinked from All Aussie Beef

Yeah... look at his athleticism. Yum. Such a sports fan... ;)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Mecca Mosques "Wrongly Aligned"

It's this sort of story that really highlights the stupidity of the religious. I don't have a problem with others believing what they believe but honestly guys... can't you see it goes too far when people start suggesting using laser beams in order to be certain of aligning your mosque correctly to Mecca???

Why is no one scared by this? And why is no one worried by the new religious tones of the United Nations Human Rights Council?

It sort of puts the whole Cat Religion on Red Dwarf into perspective:

"Most of the cats on Red Dwarf died in Holy Wars fought between the two factions -- those who thought the hats should be red and those who thought the hats should be blue."

No matter how much of a good laugh the Red Dwarf jokes are, it's sobering to think people actually think like that IN THE REAL WORLD!.

Well not about the hats.

We all know they should have been blue.

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

Friday, April 03, 2009


So the last two days have been kind of a let down. Based on the G20 protesters self promotion and the media furore around the event I was expecting nothing less than an apocalyptic rearranging of the natural order of our civilisation.

Instead we got some broken bank windows and a couple of bloody noses which, even if we count the one possibly unrelated fatality, is probably a better tally than a Friday night in Soho. Hardly revolutionary.

Thanks to Zoe who bought me a book from my wishlist! Hater by David Moody which is, based on the first few pages I’ve read so far, the sort of book I like. Zoe is hereby awarded “Dearest Constant Reader” status.

Things I’ll Never Understand, Part One of Many

1) People who press the buttons to open the train door before the button lights up. And I don’t just mean press it once, they stand there pressing it repeatedly and, in so doing, inevitably miss the moment the button lights up and make us all wait an extra second. Sure I don’t mind the extra second, but it just seems to be counter productive as I’m assuming they are pressing the button so furiously as they are anxious to vacate the train. Based on my experience I’ve so far never seen a train door open BEFORE it lights up thus is there really any point standing there repeatedly pressing the button like a numpty? Nope.
2) People who read magazines in W H Smiths. So you are bored, waiting for your train, and you decide you want to have something to read while you wait. Do you: i) go to W H Smith, buy a magazine, keep people in the retail and press sectors in honest work and go to a place out of others peoples way to read it or ii) go to W H Smith, decide to be a cheap arse and thoughtlessly stand in the way of those paying customers wishing to get to the magazines you are standing directly in front of just so you can peruse some trashy mag? Which do you choose? If it’s ii) I think you suck. I went to W H Smith the other day and spent almost 5 minutes trying to reach one magazine during which time not one of the mindless zombie readers even thought to move an inch let alone let me pass. And if you are reading this magazine just to check that you’ll like it before purchasing it, I shake my head in disbelief. Buy the magazine. If you don’t like it, don’t ever buy it again. It’s £5 and possible disappointment or you save money but cause inconvenience to others. £5 is cheap, surely, to avoid getting in others way? Or am I the only person who cares about other people when in public?
3) People who can’t use pelican crossings. It’s real simple. There’s a button, you press it, you wait for the green man to appear, you walk. It seems every time I get to one of these crossings everyone is standing there like an idiot and not one of them has thought to press the button. I appear, press button and due to the length of time that’s passed since the last normal person came by and pressed the button the green man comes on immediately and everyone crosses. Amazing!
4) People who wait until the last minute. Be it waiting to get their ticket out until they are at the ticket gates at a station, waiting until the cashier asks them for money before they begin the long hunt for their purse/wallet or expressing surprise that those behind them might want to use the cash machine as they finished half an hour ago but have decided the machine gives the space to rearrange the contents of their coat pocket/bag.
5) People who moan about other people getting in their way, and delaying them. Who do they think they are? Do they think the world should revolve around them? Arrogant bastards the lot of them ;)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist