Tuesday, October 25, 2005
The Tuesday Twat(s)No. 39. Hot Chocolate Drinkers
Perhaps this seems a little harsh. Indeed, I enjoy a cup of hot chocolate on occasion myself. So perhaps I should be a little more specific.
People who drink hot chocolate next to the pile of letters that I have just spent several hours typing and addressing are twats. Particularly when they spill the entire cup over said pile, apologise and disappear on lunch leaving me to start again from scratch....
I'm back on normal shifts, so I shall be resuming my usual blogging schedule in the near future. Just so long as no one spills hot chocolate on my laptop...
Labels: The Tuesday Twat(s)
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The Tuesday TwatsNo. 38. Celebrity junkies.
What is it with these stupid twats? Over the past weeks and months, we have been inundated with revelations about celebity drug use. Obviously Pete Doherty, singer with fucking awful (but aptly named) Babyshambles, has been stumbling out of nightclubs looking like he's just smeared a tub of Utterly Butterly into his hair for years. Thus it came as no surprise that his gormless stick-insect girlfriend Kate Moss has been photographed using cocaine. Boy George, another "former" smackhead has just been arrested in New York on charges of possessing cocaine, whilst "big" Frank Bruno has admitted that coke was what sent him over the edge last year and got him sent to the loony bin.
So what the fuck is it that causes them to suddenly throw all caution to the wind? In a time when dozens of stars are being set up by "friends" with camera phones and Max Clifford on speed dial, who in their right fucking mind would snort Columbian marching powder in a high profile celebrity nightclub? Is there a certain level of fame and fortune where snorting class A drugs in a public place becomes de rigeur? Is there a point at which a celebrity becomes magically immune to opiods and thus no harm will ever befall them?
How does it work?
Bought a Porsche? Check.
Bought a new house in Chelsea? Check.
Spent the night with Robbie Williams? Check.
Shoved several hundred pounds of white powder up your nose every day, hogged newspaper headlines for 3 weeks, then booked yourself into an exclusive drying out clinic staffed by indiscrete nurses willing to sell your medical details to the News of the World? Check.
Increased your record sales/broken box office records/been kicked out of a premiership football team? Check.
Been convicted of possession of a Class A drug? Of course not - you're a celebrity!
It's been a while since we've had a good celebrity fatal overdose. Pete Doherty would be the obvious choice, but hardly unexpected - obviously he is a hopeless smackhead and living on borrowed time. Perhaps Kate Moss could be found lying in her own vomit after giving 5 quid blowjobs to feed her crack habit - crackwhore Kate has the sort of alliterative ring to it that the tabloids love. But, I think that to really throw people and bring the dangers of drug use into stark relief, we need someone as pure as the driven snow (so to speak). Somebody entirely unexpected. Anyone willing to hold Cliff Richard down whilst I shove 10 grammes of Afghanistan's main export up his arse?
Labels: The Tuesday Twat(s)
Monday, October 17, 2005
Thought provokingThis week, Sir Cliff Richard is 65 years old.
Freddie Mercury died at 45.
Who says life is fair?
Busy BloggerI've been pretty lax this week, mainly due to lack of time or energy. I have taken on double shifts at the sports centre, to cover the other receptionist's holiday. It is a long, long day, requiring me to leave the house shortly after 7am and return (hopefully) shortly before 10pm. Or shortly after 10pm if some twat of a customer makes me miss my bus. I have now taken to telling dithering customers exactly when my bus leaves. Surprisingly, most have promptly apologised and promised to ring in the next morning.
It is unexpectedly tiring, due to a combination of feeling rough (I've had this throat bug that seems to be doing the rounds) and abject boredom. I've found that I can only concentrate on reading a book for so many hours each day, and with constant interuptions from the telephone or customers it is hard to concentrate on doing anything productive on my laptop.
Nevertheless, it is a nice little earner. I only get 2 thirty minute breaks to eat, but I can sit and drink coffee until it comes out of my ears. If I am officially on a break I won't generally be disturbed, but since there is nowhere for me to go offsite (there are no amenities anywhere nearby), they are kind enough to regard that as being "on call" and thus pay me. Thirteen hours wages a day is better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick.
Although most of my customers are pretty pleasant, there are a few plonkers. Most annoying are those that insist, when I am cashing up after a long day, that they want to book a court for the following week and that they would like me to change a 20 pound note. I am now sticking to my guns and demanding the correct change or no deal. This has caused some consternation among those customers who like to do this to me three times a week. They don't seem to understand that when I am standing with the till drawer open, a 3 foot till receipt being churned out and a wad of notes in my hand - now may not be convenient for me to change a pound coin for the can machine.
One customer took the biscuit. After I told him that he had to pay the correct amount, he scrabbled around for the change.
"I'm 20 pence short - I'll have to owe it to you"
"No, I'm sorry we need the exact change, or the till comes up short and I get a bollocking".
"It's only 20 pence".
"Exactly - it's not worth me getting a bollocking over 20 pence".
Not a lot he could say in response to that really...
The highlight of the week though came from a gentleman threatening to invoke the Freedom of Information Act because his daughter hadn't been offered a place on a (free!) badminton course. I explained that there is a waiting list and he threatened us with legal action. I went away and spoke to the person in charge of the lists who could find no reference to his daughter. I duly rang him back and it transpires that the invitation was in fact a generic letter sent to every pupil in the city inviting them to phone in and register. He claimed that the letter was ambiguous and threatened to write to his MP (none of the hundreds of other parents who received the letter found it ambiguous).
"I pay my taxes!" he ranted.
"And I expect a certain level of service from the Police, the firebrigade, the army..." he continued.
"and the sports centre?" I interjected helpfully.
"Yes and the sports centre".
Irony? What Irony?
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
The Tuesday Twat(s)No. 37. Michael Parkinson.
Well, it seems that veteran chatshow host Parky has been shooting his mouth off again, criticising his rivals. However, I can't help but think he is completely missing the point. I, like many people, think that Parky is a national treasure. Sure, his gruff Yorkshire accent can be all but impenetrable at times, nevertheless he can wring interesting tidbits out of just about any guest (Meg Ryan excluded obviously - stroppy cow). However, for the second time in recent years, he has been downright rude about other less serious hosts, in particular Johnathon Ross and Frank Skinner. Parky (as we all know, because he won't stop reminding us) stared his career as a "proper" journalist. Ross and Skinner are merely comedians.
Well vive la difference, I say! This weekend, the ubiquitous Ricky Gervais was on both Johnathon Ross and Parkinson. The contrast was perfect and the two shows complemented each other magnificently. First up was Rossy. He and Gervais are longstanding friends and tennis partners - and it shows. The interview was side-splitting, and whilst not rehearsed (Gervais' spontaneous reaction to some of Ross' quips was too unforced for there to have been extensive practise), the two slip into a comfortable double act. Gervais is on the show (at least his third appearance by my count) for one reason only - sure-fire entertainment.
Parky on the other hand gave quite a probing interview. Amid the obligatory arsing about, Gervais gave a thought-provoking insight into the person that he is. For example, despite his seeming ubiquity, he has turned down far more parts than he has accepted.
Two particular points spring to mind.
1) He says that his job is to sit and write scripts with Steve Marchant - that's what he does. Everything else is a distraction.
2) That he doesn't care about ratings (he fought for the Office to be shown on the niche channel BBC2 rather than the mainstream channel BBC1). He would rather that the office was the favourite comedy of 1 million people, rather than the 10th favourite comedy of 10 million people.
rky's criticism is that the Johnathon Ross show and the Frank Skinner show are vehicles for their eponymous stars. What is wrong with that? Ross and Skinner are talented comedians. They have an undeniable talent that his Parkiness lacks. The weird thing though, was Parky's assertion that he is only interviewing entertainers, not politicians, thus he does not need the bite and doggedness of Paxman. Well surely, entertainers being interviewed by other entertainers is the logical conclusion of that argument? I suspect that there is more than a hint of jealousy in Parky's response - after all Ross' viewing figures aren't much less than Parky's and he is arguably higher profile.
So come on Michael, stop being a twat, it's unseemly. If you don't stop pouting, we'll set Emu on you again!
Labels: The Tuesday Twat(s)
Friday, October 07, 2005
A light at the end of the tunnel?Two evenings ago, I sent informal inquiries (with my CV attached obviously) to 2 potential supervisors. One Oooop North and one Daan Saarf. The job market for my particular field is deader than a Brazilian on the Underground at the moment and both of these positions require someone with a whole range of skills that I don't have (i.e pretty much anything to do with proteins!),. So it was with some trepidation that I explained how I am a quick learner and enthusiastic worker and that I have been regularly exposed to these techniques in lab meeting and just give me a chance I'm begging you! Barely 36 hours later, I got a reply from the one Oooop North, telling me that my cover letter and CV made me a very strong applicant and that I should please apply formally. Naturally, I sent a reply thanking them for their rapid response. The application form has been filled in. Tomorrow, I shall compose a suitable "statement". I am reluctant to just do a cut and paste job from the covering email, as it smacks of laziness - so I will probably do a cut and paste from a previous application (heh - only kidding). So, fingers crossed.
Being a smartarse. Possibly a bad idea, but meh!
My University email account is still active (although it will probably be purged in the near future), so I still get all of the usual departmental crap. One of the emails I got today, triggered an immediate response, that whilst amusing, could possibly (although unlikely) come back and bite me on the arse. The secretaries who deal with this sort of thing have a good sense of humour (and besides even if I were to be re-employed at the University, the Dean won't have anything to do with it).
Invitation to: Dr Sanescientist,
As you may be aware, I am hosting a series of lunches with groups of staff and students from across the Department. The main purpose of the meetings is for me to "get to know you". I am not proposing a formal agenda for these first meetings, but I do hope that they will provide an opportunity for a frank discussion of any Department issues that are of concern to you.
I am inviting you to join me and several other members on Friday 14th October from noon - 1:00pm in Room [XXXX].
Please can you let [My secretary] know as soon as possible whether you will be able to attend.
I look forward to you joining me for lunch.
My (perhaps unwise) response.
Thank you for the kind invite.
Unfortunately, I am no longer employed at the university as my research contract ran out in July. Nevertheless, if Da Bossman would like to hear my views on how I feel the Badminton court booking system at the local Sports Centre could be streamlined, I have formed many strong opinions on that subject over the past few weeks.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
The Tuesday Twat(s)No. 36. Bus drivers.
OK, this is catharsis for me, seeing as I have been catching 4 buses a day for the last few weeks.
*Quick note to American readers. In the UK, not everybody owns a car (no, seriously), and even those that do often catch the "bus". A bus is a large form of "public transport". That is, it is a type of transport that you share with other people. It's a bit weird and bohemian I know, but Europeans are funny like that.
Anyways, there are a number of reasons why catching the bus has been getting on my tits - and the individual behind the wheel is generally the main cause of them. So, in the hope that any bus drivers reading may decide to improve their skills, here are a few pointers.
1) You are not a rally driver. A double decker bus weighs about 10 tonnes. It is also about 8 metres long and 3 metres tall. Thus it is not designed to slalom around other roadusers at highspeed.
2) There are more than 2 speeds. Assuming that the antique speedometer on the dashboard works, you will notice that the dial is graduated into a series of numbers in a circle, typically from 0 to 80 on the outside and 0 to 130 on the inside. On the side of the road, you may have noticed large signs with a red border and a black number. If you are driving in the UK try and match the number on the outside of the circle to the number on the roadside.
*Note. The number 80 is just for show. No matter how hard you press the accelerator pedal, even on a straight road with your elbow on the horn, the needle will not reach that number. So why even try?
3) It is safer for all concered if you glance at the road ahead more than once every 30 seconds. To make this easier you may consider learning the route before hand (so that you don't keep on having to refer to the route plan stuck to the windscreen) and not composing text messages whilst in motion.
4) Whilst the captain of a ship in international waters may enjoy a certain leeway when it comes to interpreting the law, bus drivers generally do not. What I am trying to say, is that the ever-present 13 year old girls that perch on the handrail by the driver's cab and cadge cigarettes off you are still under the age of consent for sexual intercourse. Please don't groom them, even if they do dress like a slut. And keep your eyes on the road, not their thighs.
5) Returning to the subject of graduated controls, the brake pedal also has more than 2 settings. It really isn't necessary to maintain fullspeed when approaching the bus stop, pretending to ignore the "please stop I want to get off" bell, only to push the brake pedal to the floor and swerve wildly across 2 lanes of traffic when you are certain that passengers are just getting up. Doesn't that joke wear thin after a while? Don't you get sick of filling in accident forms and collecting people's teeth? Remember, it is spelt "Brake" not "Break".
6) On a similar note, please be aware that not everyone has the balancing skills of a native-born Hawaian surfer. Thus, when passengers get on the bus (particularly those over the age of 90 or 3 days away from giving birth to triplets), why not let them find their seat before lurching drunkenly into the traffic and sending them flying? (On a related note, why on a bus full of 20 something students was it up to me, sitting at the very back of the bus, to give up my seat for the exhausted looking pregnant woman who looked like she was about to drop a sprog any minute? And would it be too much trouble for passengers to move their feet and bags so that she could avoid tripping - she probably couldn't see where she was planting her feet?).
7) Timetables. I realise that it is impossible to predict journey times to the nearest minute, particularly during the rush hour. Nevertheless, you are far more likely to deliver your passengers to their destination on time if you leave the bus depot when you are scheduled to, rather than when you have finished reading the sports pages of the newspaper, eating your sandwich or simply standing on the street scratching your bollocks and talking to the other drivers, most of whom also have a bus full of seething passengers. Remember, just because your boss wears a fluorescent green coat and doesn't give a shit what the time is, doesn't necessarily mean everybody else's boss is similarly forgiving. Oh and as we are on the subject, whilst it is laudable that you no longer risk prosecution for talking on your mobile phone or sending text messages whilst navigating at 30 mph past a primary school at hometime - do you really need to pull over to the side of the road and phone your mate to discuss the cricket scores for 15 minutes mid-journey?
I hope that any bus drivers reading find this useful. Your Tuesday Twat Award is back at the depot next to the kettle, where it can be admired by you for the 7 hours of your 8 hour shift that you spend there drinking tea.
Labels: The Tuesday Twat(s)
Monday, October 03, 2005
That's so sick, it's not even funny.Warning, the post below is really disgusting. Consider yourself warned.
Friday night I had the misfortune of seeing something so gross, I almost threw up.
Late in the evening, the security guards who patrol the sports centre usually pop in for a brew and a chinwag and a quick look at the footie scores on the TV. Friday evening, the conversation turned to amusing videos downloaded onto mobile phones. The duty manager showed us her collection - basically a load of animated cute cartoon animals saying the word "Fuck" a lot. Not exactly Monty Python, but I laughed politely. Then one of the guards pulled out his phone. Now I don't like to judge people solely on their looks, but lets just say that I wouldn't be happy if I caught him hanging around a school playground in a large overcoat and sunglasses.
The first clip he showed us was pretty tasteless. It a cockpit video of US forces shooting running men, allegedly "Iraqi terrorists". I wasn't impressed, and suggested that it was no wonder so many in the muslim world hated the US. My unspoken implication that he was no better than the sick fuckers exchanging graphic photos in exchange for porn flew straight over his head.
The next video was worse. It started off as a hardcore video clip. I'm not prude by any stretch of the imagination, and frankly each to their own I say. There were no customers around, and all of the staff were watching so there was no danger of anyone blowing the whistle and getting us into trouble. Anyways, I had enough and started to move away.
"No watch. This bit is really funny".
I expected one of the girls to sneeze and bite one of the bloke's balls off or something.
Nope his definition of "Funny" involves defecation into someone's mouth. It happened so quick, I didn't have time to turn away. For a heartwrenching moment I thought I was going to throwup there and then. I tasted bile.
Despite me telling him to shut the fuck up, he continued to give a commentary on the rest of the clip, which got even worse (and no I won't describe it).
That isn't funny. Not in the slightest, and why he thought I would find it so is beyond me. Basically, he gets off on that sort of thing. Fine, each to their own. But unless someone tells you they like that sort of thing - show a bit of discretion eh? And if he is around during the children's lessons, I shall be watching his sightlines closely.
FOR YOUR PERUSAL