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


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....

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

He's given him! The finger goes up. The umpire's Hugh Jarce....

I'll happily credit The 12th Man for my title today.

(If you've never heard him before, here's a link to one of his earliest
recordings - high level of swearing warning :) )

If you haven't already guessed, today's post is about cricket.

Specifically it's about
Ashes cricket, which - you may have read - England actually won.

As per tradition, I attended the Edgbaston test match (I grew up not a million miles from there and a group of us treat it as an annual re-union). This series it was scheduled as the 3rd test, and I'd been looking forward to it for ages (as I have fond memories of the Ashes test there in 2005 - aka
The Greatest Ever Test). Sadly I was to be denied by the weather.

It had rained almost non-stop for 3 weeks prior to the game and the ground was saturated. Despite soaking up all the surface water by working all the previous night, the groundsmen were unable to get the outfield fit enough to play on the first day (the Thursday), despite it being bathed in bright sunshine since lunchtime. All we could do was eat sandwiches, catch up on life and sup the occasional pint of ale. Eventually play started at 5pm and they bowled almost exactly enough overs to deny anyone even a partial refund, then trooped off at 7pm.

We got lucky with the weather on the Friday and play started almost on time. I wasn't there though, because I got held up in traffic and arrived 5 minutes after play started. I'd already missed two Aussie wickets in the first two balls (something rather extraordinary). The day continued in much the same vein, with Jimmy Anderson cleaning up the middle order to dismiss the Aussies for a paltry score. England even then batted well to establish a good lead. It was all starting to come together!

At this point I'll add a couple of photos - the first is of the respective fans. The Barmy Army on the left booked a whole block as best they could and instructed everyone to bring both a red and white top in an attempt to have a St. George's flag effect going on. Seeing as most people were drifting off for an early lunch when I took this, it's not a bad effort. The big yellow blob are some of the Aussies (the deeply original 'FANatics'. Because they're FANS and they're fanatical. Yeah. Subtle Aussie humour rocks....)

The second is of one of the better attempts at winding up the aussies at the ground

There was so much rain on Friday night that I knew they'd never start on time on Saturday, so I meandered up from Bristol by lunchtime to chat to some of the people who were only making that day. Oops. This was the field by the time they abandoned play for the day at 3pm (and yes, those are rather deep puddles forming.)

I hung around for a bit until we'd eaten all the sandwiches and then I was going to spend the night in Coventry seeing a very old friend before returning for the Sunday. I never made it back the next day, but that's for another post :)

My car was parked a couple of miles away and it was *heaving* it down. My umbrella lasted about 200 yards before turning inside out and breaking. I don't think I've ever been as soaked as I was by the time I reached my car - but I couldn't resist stopping for this picture of the West Midlands Police Training Centre.

Seriously - 'Tally Ho!'????? Which eeijit thought *that* was a good idea for a motto?

How to feel old pt. 2

On my way to work today I walked past about 500 freshly-scrubbed young students, gathered on their first day at University to register for their courses and I thought of only one single thing:

Christ, another bunch of noise-mongering bastards determined to hold 'fresher' parties every night for a fortnight and deny me any sleep whatsoever during the week.

I'm not even twice their age yet, and I'm already a crotchety old git :(

Thursday, 3 September 2009


Our work provides free tea and coffee, and should you have forgotten/broken your mug then they have a collection of old ones (presumably left by those fired over the years) that anyone can use. Whilst trying to find my mug last week - after it had been moved by someone, I came across this filthy example of an inspirational message.

Now how do you read that?

I read it as 'why bother doing your job? Someone else will do it for you. Just chillax and surf the web for a bit.'

But then I'm a lazy git :)

I was equally amused today by the news that last year's Billionaire's plaything of a football club (Chelsea FC) has been
walloped with a transfer ban until 2011 for finally getting caught for poaching other clubs players. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of right-wing thugs!

And on that theme, I want to get this as a t-shirt :)

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Just this once...

I don't do memes as a rule, but I'm making this one exception for Pearl and then I'm never doing one again.

Apparently I have to list seven quirky personality traits that are evidenced in this blog and then pass it on to seven other bloggers.

I've spent a while narrowing the list down from ninety-two, so here they are...

1) I have a love/hate relationship with punctuation. I can't stand colons, semicolons or bullet-points - whereas I seem to have an increasingly intimate relationship with the hyphen and putting '...' at the end of sentences as if I'm trailing off. I do the latter because that really is how I speak...

2) I read, re-read, and then re-re-read every post to make sure I've not spelt anything either a) wrongly or b) in American. I don't like using the spell checker because it objects to '...' (see point 1)

3) I feel the need to respond to every comment left here, because I don't like upsetting people. For the same reason I no longer keep a blogroll because I'd never remove anyone - even if I hadn't read their blog for years.

4) Very few people in real life actually know me very well because I choose not to disclose very much about who I really am/how I think. This is why there's little actual personal information about me posted here either (except when I'm drunk). I presume I do this because I'm insecure or something.

5) The last word is mine. Mine, I tells ye!

6) I try to find humour in every situation. Doing this provides most of my ideas for posts here, which are in the main supposed to be dryly amusing (um, if you hadn't worked that bit out yet :) ).

7) Pearl thinks I'm a smart arse. I consider that a compliment :-P

Right then, I would tag people here - but point 3 means I can't. So I'll tag everyone instead (see point 7) ;)

So, highlights of the rest of the week are posts about..

1) Cricket
2) Murder
3) Mugs
4) Peppers
5) Sleeping

Not, necessarily, in that order.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

I do live.

It's been a bank holiday (= for americans yet another free day off work that you don't get. In fact I think we get more free days holiday than you get annual leave. It sucks to be you sometimes) and I've had fun.

Lots of fun.

Woot woot.

Many updates coming soon. With pictures :)

You're all great though. I love you guys. I'd be, like, nothing without you all.