Wednesday, 30 December 2009

It's the end of the year as we know it...

In two days it's another decade, and more importantly it's when I have another year off drinking.

So until now and then I intend to get wasted.

See you in the New Year peeps. Have a great one, and don't do anything I wouldn't do.

Like be sober.

Hic! :)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Concatenation...

Life is always a bit hectic around Christmas. There's always too much to do in not enough time. Therefore it's quite acceptable to take some short cuts here and there to save a bit of time.

Especially, I may add, if you've just been in a city-centre Target on the day before Christmas Eve. A deeply unsettling experience where you can only tell the zombies shopping from the zombies working there by the lack of zombie motivation in the Target staff. It's remarkably similar to certain scenes in Romero's original Dawn of the Dead - only with many times more less healthy looking, ruder zombies.

It is at this point, when you've fled capitalism hell and are both waiting for a subway train to take you home, that short cuts are not needed.

Specifically, when reminded that we have to head towards Coney Island and not Manhattan, don't concatenate the sentence:

"Don't worry dear, I'm not stupid."

to

"Don't worry stupid."

This is apparently 'not appreciated' and I think that the fact it took my brain two seconds to work out what my mouth had said was the only reason I'm not under a N train right now :)


Anyway, Happy Christmas to you all and may you each consume an entire turkey. Apart from those of you that are veggies, in which case I hope an aubergine suffices...

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

That's disturbing...

Following on from my recent Belle de Jour small-world experience, you can imagine my delight when I had another such episode on Sunday afternoon.

For who should be lurking at Heathrow Terminal 3 all afternoon whilst I waited for my delayed flight to take-off?

Stalker girl.

Airports are not very big places when you're trying to avoid someone. Thankfully a batch of the Barmy Army (England cricket fans) were gathering for a flight to South Africa for the test series, so I grabbed a pint and talked about Graham Onion's batting average with some seriously dedicated supporters everytime she looked like she might be approaching.


All of the above is my polite way of saying that I'm in New York again and will be here until mid-January. I'll try and keep up with all your blogs (59 posts in 2 days? You guys must be *bored*) but my commenting might be a bit out of date.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to figure out a way to cook a whole turkey in a frying pan...

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Festive season advice...

While we're on the subject of yesterday's post, I found this to be quite pertinent:

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A Christmas tip...

Should you happen to find yourself to be a small lady wearing a pink woolly hat, I would suggest that shouting across a busy metropolitan shopping centre - to a group of men getting a round in at a German market stall - that you require, and I quote :-

"HOT MAN JUICE!!"

is not the wisest thing you will ever do.



We got her a gluehwein anyway....

Monday, 14 December 2009

Bleurgh.

I've had flu for the last 5 days (not swine flu, I had that when it was less fashionable - this is normal flu which I'm packing in pre-Christmas to be a trendsetter) and I feel like shite, so this will be brief.

I'm off at the end of the week to NY for three weeks to see Mrs RS and celebrate Christmas. She absolutely loves it and I absolutely loathe it, so we've agreed some compromises in order that neither of us is infected with Bah Humbug.

One of our compromises is that I dislike getting presents, whereas Mrs RS rates receiving them somewhere between chocolate induced orgasms and a month old puppy - so we've settled on me supplying lots of presents for her. Lots of win.

Her main present is possibly the best present ever. If I told you what it was (which I can't because she reads this) then you would (if you knew what it was) agree it to be the sort of present that would truly show the depth of my affection (it's that good). Even better, it's being made by my fair hands. Fantastic - deeply meaningful, personal *and* self-made. Could I be a better boyfriend?

Don't answer that.

Anyway, I started this the moment I got back from my last trip and have purchased all the raw materials, power tools and equipment that I will require. I've spent just about every weekend on it, and have tried to squeeze in a short burst after work every night before it gets late enough for the polite neighbourly knock of doom. All in all, I've spent about 30 man hours making it.

Until last weekend, when a mere two hours from completion it broke.

When I say broke, I mean 'exploded into a thousand pieces', 'destroyed irrecoverably' and 'crushed beneath the cruel hammers of fate'. My deepest affection was basically shattered.

And no, it wasn't a shoulder-mounted firework launcher. Although one of those would be tres cool.

Thankfully, occasional commenter Alfaman stepped in with a suggestion and lo! Like a non-flaming, un-birdlike Phoenix - the present lives again! Enough was salvaged from the wreckage to construct something different but almost as good, and I shall feel less like I'm turning up with no presents at all. Mrs RS tells me that the visit is back on.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Ewww....

Ready to feel nauseated?

Yes? If not, feel free to click elsewhere right now.



Okay, whilst having a conversation last week with a colleague about diets (and - concerning mine - a conspicuous lack of vegetables therein), we touched on the subject of fast-food.

I confessed a mild craving for a Zinger Tower meal from KFC whenever I pass one, and he told me what his usual McDonalds order was.

Brace yourself...

2 Big Macs
1 Chicken Sandwich
3 Cheeseburgers
3 Large Fries

and if they have them:

1 Apple Pie for desert.

All eaten in one sitting. I think I'd have passed out from grease-sweats halfway through the second Big Mac myself...

Monday, 30 November 2009

Bill Nicholson I am not...

Sunday was round 5 in our inter-departmental football series, during which my expert management has guided our team from a 14-1 spanking to drawing 4-4 (even though we should've won).

I didn't actually play this time because I wasn't feeling well, but I turned up to hurl good-natured abuse at our team and control all the substitutions. In addition I was given a whistle that seemed to have come from a christmas cracker, the job of time-keeping and the task of 'non-moving official under a brolly'.

A position that I feel I'm well on the way to making my own.

Anyway, after 89 minutes of continuous rain (and the score delicately poised at 4-4), our star forward burst though their midfield and bore down on goal - only to be unsubtly hacked down by the opposition.

'Refeeeeeeeerrrreeeeeeeeee!!!!' I howled, appealing for the foul and waving my arms around on the touchline.

Someone standing behind me coughed politely and added, 'Um....you're the referee."

"Oh yeah."

*peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep*


Old habits die hard...

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Moral pertubation...

Is it wrong to entirely reject a CV on the basis that they wrote 'companies intranet' five separate times on it?

Is it wrong to entirely reject a CV on the basis that they'll get bored and leave within a month?

Is it wrong to entirely reject a CV because they used the phrases 'excellent communication skills' and 'works well as part of a team' in the first three paragraphs?

Is it wrong to entirely reject a CV for a technical role because they cannot tell the difference between there/they're/their?


I think not.


I am Boss. Fear me.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Belle d'hier

I started blogging, um.....let's see.....blimey, over four years ago. I'd just started yet another contract in the frozen wastes of north-east England and was bored shitless living in a basic (if pretty) flat on the coast south of Middlesborough. As I was only going to be there for 6 months I had no internet, no phone, no satellite/cable telly, no central heating and a single 14" TV that the other occupant utilised for continual watching of Coronation Street.

So I did what any normal human would have done - I read an entire broadsheet newspaper every evening over a pint (or two) in the local pub, or I ate fish and chips in the local pub, or I did the pub quiz in....er....the local pub, or I even branched out and watched the televised football game every Monday in the not-at-all-friendly-and-not-very-local pub.

Basically, I was bored shitless.

Then I remembered what I used to do in my previous contract in some other grim and grey northern city. I used to read blogs at work after everyone had gone home and I was stuck in the office with nothing to do but incapable of leaving until I'd completed my hours (due to a rare personal trait of not waking up before noon every day). I say 'I read blogs' but really the truth is I read just the one website to begin with - Things my girlfriend and I have argued about - and a very funny read it was too.

Through TMGAIHAA I heard of an increasingly famous blog about a London call-girl (you should be able to see where I'm going with this) and started adding it to my evening list. That was the first time I heard about Belle de jour. I perused her blog for about a year as it was exceptionally well written - no post too long and every post was interesting (or tried to be). Her writing style took a subject that could easily become lurid or titillating and made it seem so ordinary that you looked straight past the job and concentrated on the person and the strains of keeping such a double life going at full steam, yet the person herself was glimpsed only fleetingly.

In fact, it was her writing that inspired me to start blogging myself (at the no longer required Reluctant Contractor) and I guess, seeing as you're reading this by choice, that some of the things I learnt from those early days have made me into someone who writes something of passing interest. Occasionally.

More importantly, without my blog I'd not have found other readers, met other bloggers in person, and snared Mrs RS (for we met via the medium of Blog). A few times over the last couple of years I've thought that it would be nice to thank Belle for her inspiration. Who knows, without taking this up as a hobby in 2005 I may have ended up as someone who drinks far too much and spends a large chunk of his life on the internet.

Oh...wait....

Anyway, the reason for this post is that (as you've almost certainly heard) Belle outed herself last week to prevent an ex-boyfriend doing so via the gutter press. You can imagine my surprise when I first read the online article:-

She lives in Bristol. Hey wow! I live in Bristol!

She works at the University. Hey wow! I walk past that building every day on my way to work!

I scroll down and see a picture.



For two years - whilst meandering to work having my morning musings, and probably when thinking of how nice it would be to express my gratitude to an anonymous blogger - I've regularly walked past her.

It's a truly fucking small world.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Great news...

No, really - look:

"Drinking alcohol every day cuts the risk of heart disease in men by more than a third, a major study suggests."

:)

"The Spanish research involving more than 15,500 men and 26,000 women found large quantities of alcohol could be even more beneficial for men."

Oh yeah baby!

"Female drinkers did not benefit to the same extent, the study in Heart found."

Shame. They should man up a bit :-P

"For those drinking little - less than a shot of vodka a day for instance - the risk was reduced by 35%. And for those who drank anything from three shots to more than 11 shots each day, the risk worked out an average of 50% less."

Oh stop it already...

"The type of alcohol drunk did not seem to make a difference, but protection was greater for those drinking moderate to high amounts of varied drinks."

Get. The. Fuck. In.

My heart >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Your heart
.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

So good they named it twice...

I'm a bit behind here, but obviously I went to New York a few weeks back to see Mrs RS. We wanted to get out of the part of the city she lives in, and preferably out of the place all together. Unfortunately Mrs RS had business to attend to on the Monday, so for the first two days we just stayed in a very nice hotel near the airport, ordered room service or got take-out, had a few drinks and just generally tried to relax in a place that wasn't Brooklyn.

Being the sort of person who prefers to read maps (I refuse to use Satnav) rather than check online, I'd bought a streetmap of Long Island when I landed and had spotted a nice National Park about 30 miles east of the airport that seemed perfect for a day trip. Consequently, here's a first-time driver's guide to New York:

1) Shit yourself. Constantly.

Um, that's it really. Oh, okay, apart from:

2) Stop trying to get into the proper side of the car.
3) Stop your left foot depressing the imaginary clutch when slowing down as this will accidentally stamp on the foot-wide brake pedal instead and squeal you to a stop. The security guard at the car rental office put me in my place with an expertly delivered "Nice emergency stop man." Git.
4) Just guess the speed limit. It's rarely posted and everyone else seems to just make it up as they go along.
5) The roads are absolutely atrocious. I've seen better on a Bolivian mountain track. Don't bother speeding as you're likely to rip your front suspension off within a hundred yards.

Having said that, within a few hours I was a natural. I stopped letting people out at junctions, I randomly swapped lanes for no reason, I never indicated and I even perfected the local game of trying to judge the exact moment the light goes green so that you can lean on your horn pointlessly. Great fun.

Anyway, we set off in the driving rain the next morning. We arrived in the driving rain. We refused to get out of the car in the driving rain. We drove back to the hotel in the driving rain.

The weather forecast was better for the next day so we decamped to another hotel in the picturesque town (for east coast America) of Patchogue - which sadly isn't pronounced like the start of Kajagoogoo (it's pronounced Patchog). This did not stop me calling it Patchagoogoo for the rest of the week though :)

The sun came out the day afterwards so we headed down to the Atlantic coast and played on the beach as it's one of Mrs RS' favourite things to do. It wasn't cold but was practically deserted and quite beautiful, as I hope you agree.





Plus as a 'bonus', here's Mrs RS and myself. She's tiiiiiiiiiiiiiny :)




For the next day or so we sampled the local restaurants (once), the local brewery's Oktoberfest ale (copiously) and the awfulness of driving in a New York rush-hour (never again if it can be avoided).

I really felt that being out of the city for a few days doing nothing important had helped, and whilst we've both had our ups and downs since, the feeling of being safe so soon after the event was vital. It's easy to fall into the trap of assuming that 'everything is going to be alright' but for a while we really believed that - and that's priceless.

On the way back we stopped in at my kind of place - an Arboretum (Mrs RS likes beaches, I like beeches :) ) - and as autumn was starting in earnest it was lovely.





In the end all we had time to do was get back to Brooklyn, drop Mrs RS off, get to the airport, check the car in at the car rental office, go to the airline check in desk, discover I don't fly until the Saturday, go back to Brooklyn, have a bonus night together and then fly back the next evening.

Could've happened to anyone, alright? We've all done it...



As a total aside (and I know it's fake) but here's football training Uzbek-stylee. Cracking! :)


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Whilst we're on the subject...

If we're going back to The Wonderstuff, how can we avoid this classic?

Takes me right back to pre-university days.

And frankly if you've never heard 'Sit Down' by James then you should be ashamed, but then if I hadn't heard such riches then I could live with being poor....


Monday, 16 November 2009

Morbid thoughts...

Well, technically that is correct, in that I'm most certainly thinking of death. My death in fact.

I'm actually planning my death as you read this. No - really - in minutiae.

To be honest, writing a will shouldn't be this hard.

I've never done one before (which is a bit naughty for someone who's owned property for 11 years as apparently if you don't have one then if you die 'intestate' - something that basically means that you're up shit creek I think - then the state takes most of it), and seeing as I now have someone to leave things to then it seemed a wise thing to do.

The financial side of it is the easy part, it's the other stuff that's hard. Y'see I don't see the point of growing old gracefully so I plan to keep a will such that all beneficiaries are summoned to a dusty lawyer's office and be read a list of hoops they have to jump through to get their hands on any of my cash.

"And now we turn to Aunt Paula, as a UKIP councillor you must parade up and down Cambridge Main Street wearing a sandwich board. On one side must be emblazoned 'I believe Immigration to be a good thing' and on the other side must be written 'Free kisses to all Frenchmen'. If you do this for 7 hours, every day, for a month then you will receive the princely sum of £10,000."

Sort of like Brewster's Bastard Thousands.

Maybe it could be televised for an extra cash incentive? (Makes note to trademark this idea.)

Apart from all the fun things you can do, there is a sad side to dying. Mainly that you won't be able to see everyone's faces when it is announced that the first person to down a bottle of Jagermeister will win a Porsche.

There are also small details to be agreed. As a non-religious person the idea of some well meaning man of the cloth - who's never met me - eulogising about how great I was, leaves me cold. Nah, better to leave it to one family member and one friend (but who shall I choose? Decisions, decisions...) to recount hilarious stories about that time I was hijacked up a mountain, or that time I flew to Australia late on Christmas Eve purely so that I would miss Christmas Day entirely before flying back again, or that time I turned my living room into a lighthouse just so that I could keep an Australian tree alive, or.....well.....lots of stupid tales.

Then there's the music. Hymns? I think not. I can just about stand 'Abide with me' but that's only because of the FA Cup Final. No - we need two tracks, one a tear-jerker and one a quirky tune to sum me up. So we'll have to split up the speeches with
'Wish You Were Here' by Pink Floyd because it's my favourite song ever and most people that know me associate me with it - and then we'll walk out to Size of a Cow by The Wonderstuff (the line 'You know that I've been drunk a thousand times' is me, to a T :) ).

Then we've burial or cremation. Cremation is the way for me. Burnt to a crisp and then my ashes dumped into a hole and an Oak seedling planted in it. Reborn as a knarly, old thing that lives for centuries. Awesome.

Tickets are available for pre-sale, btw. Reasonably priced.



Anyway, let's talk food. How good is the next restaurant you eat at?

Is it good?

Is it yummy?

Is it excellent?

Is it Tong?

Or is it....

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Satisfaction guaranteed...

There are many people in the world (far, far too many) who expect a little bit too much out of life. The man who wants the ideal partner - beautiful, stunning body, intelligent, rich, can suck a golf ball through a hosepipe and is a beer empire heiress (to borrow the Perfect Australian Woman joke).The man who has the vision of what would be perfect and will settle for nothing less, despite being an overweight sweatbag who's main hobbies - of watching porn whilst eating wotsits - has turned his cock orange.

Ain't going to happen mate. Probably best to stick to the lottery from now on, and then if you're incredibly lucky you can rent a close approximation.

Equally there are women out there who see the charming, rugged salesperson with the cheeky wink in his eye and want *that* so long as he also earns a fortune, never works late, is spontaneously romantic whilst never becoming predictable, can sense your moods and produce chocolate in response, is utterly faithful, leaves the toilet seat down and does the washing up himself right after having cooked an amazing meal.

And whilst the number one pleasurable past-time for the majority of men is 'idly scratching their bollocks', that ain't going to happen either.

On the flip side, there are a surprising number of people in the world who want one, single thing and they don't care about anything else. The people who happily live in utter squalor so long as they have a 42" flatscreen TV, the people who think a 1.2 Vauxhall Corsa is a cool car so long as the exhaust is wider than their head, the men who will only date a blonde regardless of any other characteristic, anyone who votes for UKIP or the BNP, the women who will happily bankrupt themselves for another pair of shoes (hello Sis) and those people who sacrifice any scrap of self-respect just to be popular - a few examples amongst millions...

You may wonder why I've started on this topic, and the reason is simple.

I stupidly (in a bid to settle a point of order between Mrs RS and myself about whether putting naked pictures of yourself on t'interweb qualifies you for the title 'Porn Star') googled the stage name for Ms Porn Site of yesterday.

Jesus christ.

I learnt three things:

  1. Google safesearch is your friend.
  2. Alcohol isn't target-specific enough to wipe your short-term memory.
  3. There are some people who will pay ANYTHING to see pictures of two footballs attached to a swamp-donkey.

It's not like I'd ever claim to not like breasts, but it's what they're attached to that's slightly more important. I feel both unclean and vindicated at the same time....

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Like two helium ballons escaping from a sack

That's right bitches - I'm back! Well, sort of. In spirit anyway.

Basically I think you're all great (stop it, I'll shed a tear) and my desire to make balloon animals out of certain people's intestines has diminished (not entirely - we're up to rape 4 in the current spree, including a 14-year old. Total scum.) to the level that I'd almost certainly not do it to someone I know.

Probably.

I have a brief blog announcement to make, so bear with me:

*ahem*

I would like to make it entirely clear that I have the utmost respect for the people that I work with, even the senior management - despite their cavalier attitude to facts, reality or the health of the business.

I want to make it equally clear that I have never personally slagged off anyone at my company, nor posted classified information, nor posted pictures of anyone at work.

Is that clear, Mr Senior Manager from work using his company blackberry to search my blog? I may not be Einstein, but at least I'm not a fucking retard (your ip address has been logged. Close, but no cigar. Fatto.)



Moving on, let's have a pop-quiz:

If you had to choose between 15 CVs for a job and a brief google search on each name showed that one of the candidates had their own personal porn site, would you

a) discard them from your thinking as they're unsuitable
b) get them in for an interview to check that they're both real
c) devise a new technical test involving a chicken, gaffer tape and rohypnol?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Musings...

I've had a bit of a think about what to jot down here today (because I don't want this blog to turn into a whinge-fest - sure, things haven't been great recently but I'd like to get back to my normal service of not-very-subtly mocking the world and slowly drowning in an ocean of cynicism).

I came up with nothing. Sorry.

So instead, here are five things that vaguely wandered through my head - hands in pockets - and idly kicked their heels for a few minutes today.

  • If your company facebook page had 70 fans, and your company youtube channel had less than a hundred subscribers - how confident would you feel for the future when you know the company brand, development budget, marketing resource and roughly 50% of the board time was being invested in building an iPhone app that will be downloaded by about ten people?
  • If everyone did their job to the same level that you do yours, would the world be a better place or a worse place? In my case I think the world would be awesome on the few occasions that anyone got out of bed. Oh, and I'd invest in shares in the Coca Cola company.
  • People who don't eat spicy food should not cook curries for those that do like spicy food. And on that note - a Chicken Madras should not contain cubed potato.
  • I walked behind two young chaps this evening, possibly students - they looked idle and smug - and listened to the following 'conversation'

Idle Bugger 1: "Nydoyuallabootateyo?" (Well that's what it sounded like and it was definitely English to start with)

Idle Bugger 2: "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"

Idle Bugger 1: "Nydoyuallabootateyo???"

Idle Bugger 2: "Whaaaat?"

Idle Bugger 1: "Nydoyuallabootateyo?????"

Idle Bugger 2: "Whaaaaaaaaat?"

Idle Bugger 1: "Nydoyuallabootateyo?!?!?!?!?"

Idle Bugger 2: "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"

I turned for home before I discovered the outcome to this riveting exchange....


  • Oh, and forget Chopper Harris - who would have thought that the best/worst football violence would come from a 'lady'?

Monday, 9 November 2009

Just when you think that things can't get worse...

How much bad luck am I having right now? After a welcome fun night out at a gig in Birmingham on Friday (sordid details to follow) I dragged myself back to Bristol to discover that:

a) I live in Manchester
b) I have 19 kids and am claiming Working Tax Credit on them, and
c) the government would like that money back, please, if it's not too much trouble, now, right now, did I mention how you won't like having any knees? Now. Titty Mau!!!!

It seems all someone has to do is write to HMRC (Her Majesty's Royal C*ntflaps) and claim that you've moved to the otherside of the country and they just CHANGE YOUR ENTIRE RECORD WITHOUT CHECKING. This someone then claims a fraudulent tax rebate and they just PAY THE MONEY TO A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BANK ACCOUNT WITHOUT CHECKING. Then they get puzzled as to why you're still paying tax in the original town that you've lived in unchanged for 12 years and send a menacing letter for back-taxes to your original address.

And the kicker? You can dispute the demand for repayment (on the not unreasonable grounds that it's bollocks) and you will be assigned a case 'handler' who will demand that you prove that YOU DIDN'T RECEIVE ANY MONEY.

I'm not sure you could make it up. Or rather, I'm not sure anyone would believe it if you did :-S

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Levity

What type of cheese can hide a horse?



Answer in white text below:

Mascarpone



Yeah, that's pretty much how I'm feeling right now....

Friday, 30 October 2009

Awkward

So, um, what to say? May as well stick to the facts.....

In the early hours of the fifth day of the trial, Mrs RS was attacked and *insert hideous imagination here* by a group of guys near her apartment.

Which is why I went to NY the next day.

We will get through this together, and I cannot overstate my thanks for the support we've been receiving. We both appreciate everything that has been done for us and, well, kindness will be visited upon those that have shown themselves to be real friends.

If by 'kindness' you mean 'beer'.

And indeed I do.

On a positive side, even without her testimony the perps in the robbery case were sentenced to consecutive life sentences for the murders they committed in the earlier robberies in their spree.

On an even more positive side, I'm rescuing Mrs RS from the ghetto that is the 'US of A'* and she's moving over here where the worst thing that's happened on my street is some student scrote keying my car.



*Like, joke, non-Brooklyn resident dude types

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Being there

I've just got back from NY and I haven't had much sleep for the last day or so, so please forgive me for not replying to your thoughtful comments on my previous post(s) yet.

I was musing on the way back (and there's little you can do but muse when you're sat on a plane that's stuck on the tarmac at JFK for 80 minutes) about the nature of friendship. A very good friend of mine once explained to me - whilst very drunk, obviously - that he saw friendships existing at three levels, and being a mathematician he was forced to use an example; that of phoning a friend at 3am during a personal emergency.

An acquaintance, he postulated, wouldn't answer the phone.

A friend would answer the phone but probably only to commiserate/offer platitudes. Help would be offered but not right then.

A true friend would, no questions asked, offer to do whatever was required to help immediately.

For most people, the number of people you'd be a true friend to would be roughly the same as those you thought would be a true friend in return. For those of us with low self-esteem, the number you'd help outweighs the number you think would help you in such a situation.

So when something truly appalling happens, when something almost too ghastly to contemplate happens to someone you love, something so terrible occurs that you jump on the next available flight and go halfway round the world - and work be damned - when that happens and you need help feeding the cat for a week, watering plants, looking after the flat, giving you lifts, putting you in contact with people that can help you (or just giving you emotional support) and you need all that help right now late on a Friday night before you fly on Saturday morning. When that happens, you find out who your true friends are.

And I feel humbled.

Because something terrible did happen, and they were there. All of them. They know who they are, and all I can say is thank you.

From the bottom of my heart.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Ciao

Okay, my world (or rather a huge fucking ginormous chunk of it) just fell apart.

So I'm off for a bit.

Behave yourselves while I'm gone.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

It's green, so it must be healthy

Couple of things going on right now. Firstly I've had a really bad cold since Saturday and am currently paying for inadvertently ingesting a pint of snot every night whilst trying to breathe.

It probably counts as one of my five-a-day though, right?

Secondly, Mrs RS is attending court for the trial of the men involved in the robbery at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, as one of the key witnesses she has to attend every day and stare at pictures of herself beaten black and blue that are pinned on the evidence board, so my efforts are directed towards talking to her this week. If we'd realised that she'd have to attend every day then I'd be over there now, and I can only wish that the trial concludes swiftly. It's about as open and shut as it could be and they'll get life for murder, but it doesn't mean it won't take weeks.

So I'll apologise now for being rather distracted by events and not posting much. I'll be back to normal service once everything calms down a little.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Lessons in life pt. 28 and 29

Lesson 28:

Should you ever run out of kindling wood and be unable to find any in the vicinity, it is possible to light a coal fire using a mixture of Gordon's Gin, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and wood chips from a spare piece of two by four you've attacked with a chisel and a mallet.


Lesson 29:

When lighting your homemade napalm with a lighter, make sure you wear your glasses (or any other protective head gear). Thankfully I had no arm hair anyway.

I'm so looking forward to bonfire night now :)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Ow

I got added on facebook last night by a colleague's girlfriend, an action that included the message:

"Hello is this <> the one who works with <> who meet (sic) his american love interest via internet?"

Well, when you put it like *that*, it sounds kind of wrong... :(

Anyway, guess what this is:


Any ideas?


It is, in fact, my stomach this evening after copping a brute of a volley at football last night. You can only imagine how hard that was struck to leave an imprint.

And yes, I am that pasty and hairless. What. Ever.

If only I could have got a Nike logo on there as well - I could've sold my stomach as advertising space! Regardless to say, that stings like fuck 24 hours later and a proper yellow bruise a foot across is developing.

Still, my pain is your amusement. I know my place :)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

On the other hand...

(So to speak)

I did quite like this in my statcounter logs:

Detroit Public Schools (76.216.132.35) [Label IP Address]
passablycontent.blogspot.com/2009/08/oh-titty-fucking-bollocks.html
www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=titty fuck blogspot&aq=f&oq=&aqi=


My thoughts:

a) Teacher or pupil?
b) Surely there's better porn outside of blogger?
c) How disappointed were they to see a list of football predictions from a random Englishman? :)

Right then...

I guess I've been not-in-a-good-mood for a few weeks for a very simple reason.

Lack of sleep.

For the last three Sundays I've had almost no sleep, which has resulted in me being spaced and irritable at work on a Monday, which has made all the stupid politics that I normally laugh at seem like a personal affront, which has put me in a bad mood in the evenings, which has disturbed my sleep and so on and so on. Like a negative feedback loop of tickedoffedness.

On the plus side, my Saturdays have been amazing.

I suppose it doesn't help that Mrs RS lives in New York - meaning that the only time we can have a conversation is normally late at night when I've been so very tired. I'm very much looking forward to our three weeks in the same time-zone over Christmas and New Year.

Anyway, my sleep has been destroyed on a Sunday night for various reasons. A few weeks ago was my fault for letting Harper's Island get to me (I've now solved this by watching Match Of The Day right after it finishes as nothing dissipates fear like watching Didier Drogba hurl himself to the ground every five minutes), but the last two weeks have been because of something else entirely.

Seeing as it's the beginning of the week (roughly) and I was feeling all lyrical today for some reason, you may have the reason in poetic form:


I walked to work and what did I see?

Thousands of students looking at me.
Then I thought of something I saw on TV
(That we all owe three-quarters of our GDP.)

I noticed they all had more money than most,
As they smeared caviar on their triangled toast.
So I figured a way to bridge the spending gap,
By picking on those who most need a slap.

Tax hike on cheap Merlot and wine by the glass.
A large fine for wearing a miniskirt to class.
Pay double for Minis and Fiat 500s
(Until they learn to drive without crashes and blunders.)

20% on jeans that show off your crack.
40 on mullets that hang down your back.
Ugg boots and PJs? You'll pay for that!
As much as that git in a big jester's hat.

We'll triple the price of your small bag of coke.
And quadruple the cost of the weed that you smoke.
There is, however, a route through this pain,
And that's to stop having fucking parties on a Sunday night until 4am the next morning and meaning that your neighbours get no sleep no matter how much they knock on your door and complain, YOU UTTER BASTARDS.


I think the last time needs a bit of work though? I dunno. Feel free to add your suggestions.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Sorry

I've been in a bit of a lull recently, so apologies if I've been narky on here.

I aim to resolve this by the end of the weekend.

Tchuss.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

A little bit of politics...

I'm not an overtly political person, in that I have my ideas about life and how it should be run, but I'd not stand around hectoring other people into voting for the same thing.

I like to believe in collective, blind, benevolent voting. Which generally results in everyone voting for the people who promise to steal slightly less than the other people. It's basically the same as normal politics.

But now and then you see certain promises that are so jaw-droppingly bollocks that you have to read them again. The sort of claims that are the smegma neck-tie to the politician's bell-end. The sort of thing that should be outlawed so as not to confuse the dumb people who do most of the voting. I mean that's too easy - you could claim the other party were aliens and a significant minority would actually believe you.

I refer, specifically to the Conservatives 'home protection scheme'.

So let's get this straight. Currently you get old and need residential care. You own a house. The state turns round and suggests you sell your house to pay for the residential care you may get. In fact, if your assets (i.e. your house) are worth more than £23,000 then you have to contribute.

Boo fucking hoo. Cough up. The only people who complain about this are middle class people who've been eyeing up their Dad's cottage and hoping it comes to them in their will.

Don't forget that the reason the state asks for a contribution is because it would costs a fortune to provide it for free. Apparently the Conservatives can square the circle.

According to their own figures, an average two-year stay in a residential care home can cost about £52,000.

That's £26,000 a year. Every year.

The Conservatives plan? That a single sum of £8,000 is paid at the age 65 that covers your residential care for life.

Um, call me picky, but that doesn't even cover 5 months. I mean not even close.

I'm wondering if someone left a zero off a calculation? The only alternative explanation is that the Conservatives are a bunch of lying, cheating, PR-obsessed c*ntflaps who believe that everyone is a bit stupid and reads a tabloid newspaper.

They're so going to win aren't they? :(

Thursday, 1 October 2009

That sinking feeling....

If I accurately described what is going on at work at the moment, you wouldn't believe me. So instead you can have some doodles that highlight my current working life.

I call this 'What my department would be like if it was a well-known ship (and it doesn't half feel like it some days)', or 'My Managers are Clueless Numpties' for short.

















And yes, I did do all of that this evening. Frustration can be a real motivator :)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

It must be love

A sample of today's conversation:

Me: "I almost bought you a present today"

Mrs RS: "But you didn't?"

Me: "No, I've learnt my lesson enough to make sure it fits first."

My brain: "Hah, cunningly throwing the scent off towards clothing or lingerie. She'll never guess I was going to buy jewelry."

Mrs RS: "Was it a ring?"

My brain: "What. The. Fuck....?"

Me: "Not necessarily. Why?"

Mrs RS: "Was it going to have a diamond?"

My brain: "Defcon 3! Defcon 3! Defcon 3!"

Me: "Hah! Like I can afford a diamond!?!"

Mrs RS: "Was it an engagement ring?"

My brain: "Defcon 1! Defcon 1! Defcon 1!"

Me: "No."

Mrs RS: "Good."



Late edit:

Couldn't miss this off the end though!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Two cats fighting in the hallway

Whilst that would be a great (if surreal) Red Indian name, it is in fact now my fourth least pleasant way to wake up at 3am.

And 4am.

And 5am.

And finally 6am before I lost my rag and stormed outside to chase away the stupid bloody cat trying to get into my flat.

(For the record: number three is the sound of the smoke alarm, number two is the sound of some psycho scraping knife blades together - thankfully something I'm only getting in dreams - and number one is the previously mentioned
Tokyo incident)

Last night's attempted refugee from the Pussy Wars in my street was next door's new Siamese. Now I have a problem with Siamese cats because they're:

a) fugly
b) evil little shits.

Your average Siamese would more likely rip your chest cavity open and take a dump in it than show you any affection, unlike my Floyd who's as close to a cat whore as is possible. So, sorry that the ginger fur monster down the street is trying to eat you - but you ain't hiding out in my pad, you pointy faced freak.

Talking of sleep (or lack of it), a colleague at work suffers from sleep-talking. Or rather, he suffers from a girlfriend who sleep-talks. I'm not just talking murmuring a little in her sleep, oh no. She asks questions. And when he (reasonably seeing as he's asleep) doesn't answer, she pokes him repeatedly on the arm and asks him again. If he then doesn't respond quickly enough she sits up in bed (still fast asleep) and shakes him awake whilst blurting out something like 'We need to join the hunt for the spatula!'

She then goes back to sleep leaving him wide awake. This repeats every couple of hours.

I think I'm paraphrasing Meatloaf a bit, but he was spot on when he sang "I will do anything for love, but I won't put up with that sort of bollocks."


Anyway, you may have seen/read on the news that the east coast of Australia is covered in
dust storms at the moment. It must be pretty bad out there, but I fear that the intake of red dust has had an adverse effect on some of the inhabitants - for one of the eyewitnesses proclaimed:

'It was like being on Mars. I haven't been there, obviously, but I imagine that's what the sky would look like.'


You haven't been to Mars yet? Jeez, I thought everyone had gone to Mars by now....

Sunday, 20 September 2009

A moment of introspection, if I may...

There are moments - well of course there are moments, if there weren't then we'd be a bit fucked timewise - but there are moments when you are fulfilled.

There are moments when you genuinely feel content, when you feel happy, when you feel joy. We all have them, and we all have them for different reasons.

There are moments that the cliche dictates that they should last forever, but there's a reason why that's a cliche favoured by bad novelists and gossip magazine fanbois.

(Plus that's my biggest problem with organised religion - do 'this' and you'll spend the rest of eternity doing the same fantastic things. Sounds boring as fuck.)

But there are those times, those fleeting fragments that you savour, that make you feel almost a whole person.

For me, that happens when I curl up on the sofa (or on my bed) and my cat - fat Floyd himself - jumps up, snuggles up in a purring ball and looks up at me with an expression of pure bliss. An expression that conveys that there is nothing more pleasurable that he could be doing than this, that the most astonishingly brilliant thing in the universe is just being in my presence.

And frankly, if you can do that with a cat, then the rest of the world is child's play :)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Yawn

I've made the mistake of watching Harper's Island on BBC 3 on Sunday nights. I'm now hooked.

Plus they show a double bill. I love watching good US shows on the BBC because you get no adverts, and it lets the tension build nicely.

Sadly this is the problem. It's quite scary and....well.... it's giving me nightmares such that my sleep patterns are completely buggered at the start of the week.

I should probably stop watching it, but I reckon I know who did it (no spoilers please) so I'll have to keep on going until the end to prove whether I'm right or not.

Just don't ask me anything complicated on a Monday morning.....

Saturday, 12 September 2009

It's a new day...

So I bring happy joy joy instead :)

I went to see Bill Bailey the other week with my excellently good friend (and I can confidently predict he'll never read this) Mike.

Mike and I have been Bill Bailey fans since the olden times. From his stand-up shows, from his early tours, through some live shows we had the pleasure to experience, and to the present day.

[If you don't particularly appreciate the unique british sense of humour of self-deprecation then I'd probably click elsewhere right now]

I first stumbled across Bill (or 'Our Bill' as us stalkers like to view him) during a new-comers comedy slot on TV when he played his Cockney Music session. He combined a wonderful mix of surreal humour and music into a fantastic combination.

His recent tour-ending show was in Bristol (for he's almost a local) and Mike and I had tickets. I hadn't realised it was the final date of a three year long tour taking in something like 17 countries, I'd just picked the Saturday night so that Mike could get back down to Bristol. We had a fantastic night, and because it was the final night we got encore after encore (and the crew superglueing Bill's foot to the monitor at the interval). I haven't laughed as much for months, if not years.

West Country Hip Hop - 'Say Ooh, Say Aar, Say Ooh, Say Aar'......

Y'see I'd seen the same tour two years previously at the NIA in Birmingham when he did a series of stadium gigs. There's something to be said for 20,000 people laughing along to build an atmosphere but the critical audience interaction (which has always been the fun part of his shows) wasn't there and it lacked something. That wasn't the case in a smaller venue like the Bristol Hippodrome. It were great like. Gert lush and all that innit. (I feel a new translation page coming along)

Some colleagues were there on the Thursday, including the woman at work with the worst laugh ever. I've never heard it as she's on a different floor but my team-mate was entirely co-incidentally sitting alongside her, two rows from the front.

One joke in and Bill stopped to find out who'd laughed as it sounded like 'a swan with a broken leg'. This just made her laugh more. And more.

Anyway, he'd amended and added to the tour as it went, so it only bore a slight resemblance to the one I saw a while back, but to give you some idea of his genius:

Bill Bailey on current music

Bill Bailey on news themes (and the BBC one is so, so right)

And from his stadium tour which appeared to be London only (grrrrrrr.....), the best 'dueling banjos' I've seen for a while. Hindi stylee.

And while we're at it, let's have some Hindi Indie. Radiohead in Hindi-style. I'd laugh if I had enough space between the crying.... :)

Friday, 11 September 2009

In for a penny...

I've thought long and hard about actually posting this, but then I thought 'fuck it, it's my blog and anyone who takes offence clearly doesn't understand who I am'.

Seeing as today is 11/9, it seems to be popular to write reminiscing posts about the terrorist attacks on New York. Seeing as I spend quite a bit of time there it would seem logical to follow suit, but instead I actually want to address a deeper issue.

You see, growing up into my early teens and first getting an understanding of the way the world worked, I actively wanted mainland USA to experience terrorism.

Because 'they', to my mind, were inflicting it on me.

Full of righteous indignation - in a way only a 13 year old can be - I would've had one thought had the Twin Towers attacks happened then. I would've thought 'about bloody time'. Let me explain....

I grew up constantly in fear of the IRA and the numerous bombings of innocent people that they committed (I don't wish to enter into a discussion on the relative rights and wrongs of the time, this is just from the perspective of someone growing up then). I distinctly remember the time a huge armoured military truck drove down the centre of town with a large claw on top of it, ripping out rubbish bins from the pavement because of an IRA bomb threat.

(The knock on effect of that is that an entire generation of people don't use bins because they're not used to them, and just litter the streets instead. I think for 15 years I didn't see a single bin anywhere.)

The IRA (with the tacit approval of the then Taoiseach) received the majority of their arms from the Libyans, but they bought those weapons with a mixture of organised crime in Ireland (North and South) and - significantly - from donations abroad.

Those donations abroad came mainly from an organisation based in the USA called NORAID which simply collected money for the 'humanitarian' struggle to unite Ireland and funded the IRA instead. I'm sure many people gave money believing it would be used for humanitarian grounds, but the facts are that money from the US funded and prolonged the terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland.

So as a teenager I steadfastly believed that all that was required was for the US to understand what it felt like to live in fear of being blown up simply for being a citizen of a country (I mean, I couldn't even vote or influence the parliamentary process, but I was regarded as a 'legitimate target' by the IRA), and maybe they'd mellow a bit, reign in the IRA a bit. In some ways that happened, but sadly so much else did too.

The Patriot Act, the invasion of Iraq (on the basis that one of the almost exclusively Saudi bombers once went on holiday there) and Guantanamo Bay. Go Democracy! (Sadly literally.)

As an adult I don't believe anyone should suffer the effects or terrorism, yet I also understand why it occurs. I understand why the IRA continued their fight, I understand why Palestinians resist the removal of any chance of an independent state, I even understand why devout Muslims feel the need to resort to violence to make themselves heard. I don't agree with it/them, but I understand why.

But as it was shown in the conflict nearest to me, political solutions can be found. Yes, nutters live on - but they rely on implicit support from the general populace. At the end of the day, what the vast majority of people want is a fair crack at a decent life for themselves and their family. They don't want to live in fear. In every conflict such as these there becomes a tipping-point where the majority turn on the militants, where they trust those in power - not much, but just enough - to keep them safe.

It will only come from talking to our enemies. It will only come from compromise. It will only come via political means.

And on today of all days, I think this should be said.



Sorry to go all serious on you. Next week:- fart jokes.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Murder most foul

Or 'Moiduh' as Taggart would've said.

I said I didn't make the 4th day of the Test because of unforeseen circumstances - and that was true, because I spoke to Mrs. RS on Sunday morning and then sold my ticket on.

Y'see I'd not been out with my friend Q in over nine years. Nine fucking years. We spoke on the phone every few months but we'd not met in person for half a decade. Q and I met on my first job after university. He's a couple of years older than me, but seeing as I became technical lead on a product called 'Lotus Notes' within 3 months of joining, he became my bitch. If, by bitch, you define that as a valued co-worker you train up to learn valuable skills whilst retaining utter respect for.

I'm trying to reclaim 'bitch' from the nay-sayers.

I moved back to Bristol within the year to start the heady 'career' I've had and Q stayed on for a year or two before splitting off himself. Brilliantly (and coincidentally) I got hired as a contractor for 18 months at Q's then employer so we resurrected our famous 45 minute smoke breaks.

I don't smoke, but I fail to see why I should be discriminated against.

But since 2003, we'd not seen each other. So seeing as I was in the area for cricket I decided to spend the night in Coventry visiting Q.

To explain Coventry to those who have never been there. Imagine Venice, made of concrete, bombed mercilessly by the Nazis for 4 years, and rebuilt in concrete with all its canals filled with used condoms.

Lovely place. Smells like 3 week old wee, but lovely place.

Q and I laid into the beers, went to his local pub where I met people who actually recognised me and had a great night. We even stopped for an Indian Kebab that was a culinary experience. We then laid into the beers.

I decided to call Mrs RS at midnight to see how she was (so, er, yeah, that's 5am my time. Well toasted I was) and brilliantly she'd been out with her girlie friends as well so was equally drunk (she'd had maybe three whole drinks or something - wasted). We had an enlightening and deeply intellectual conversation about kebabs before she decided she wanted one, so left for food. I passed out at this point.

Mrs RS left her basement apartment (it's a 2 storey building plus basement - 2 apartments on each floor) via the lockable door to the basement and walked through the main hallway before exiting the keypad controlled door and leaving the building.

She went for food.

Half an hour later she returned to a street full of flashing lights and cop cars. After establishing that she wasn't some gawper, they told her that they'd had a body reported and had attended the scene to find a dead woman in the building who was 'half upstairs and half downstairs'.

And that's a direct quote from the police at the scene.

The woman didn't live in the building (she was an 'acquaintance' of the recently divorced guy on the first floor).

So either Mrs RS walked past a good chunk of the woman without noticing.

Or the killer was in the building but upstairs.

Or the victim entered the building with the killer in the twenty minute gap.

Or the killer lives in the building.

Still, the rent is dead cheap for that part of New York....