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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Like Athlete's foot..

Just when you all thought I'd gone away, I'm back! Like a particularly nasty case of Herpes, I've been dormant for ages, only to be awakened by UV.

In answer to the many (unasked) questions,
1) No I'm not dead.
2) No I've not been ill.
3) Yes, I have.
4) Only the once, but I promised never to talk about it.

I have been shockingly idle on the blogging front, I haven't even been lurking. I'm dreading looking at the spam that's no doubt accumulated in the "hidden" comments from old posts. I've noticed that untended blogs are rather like untended dinner plates, after a while they accumulate strange and malodorous growths.

But anyways, I thought it time to check back in.

I'm still working, although we haven't had any overtime for a few weeks. This is probably just as well, since although the money was great, the gain of half a stone in weight and incipient RSI wasn't.

I have just finished a creative writing course at my local college. I'm already missing it. It was a real kick in the arse to get writing properly. Next term I'll have to try and find a course at my local Uni, once I've figured out my work load.

And most importantly, I got into my first-choice University for PGCE. I shan't elaborate any more, suffice to say it is a well-respected Uni Daan Saarf and I'm really looking forward to it.

Next week, I shall be off to Paris on Holiday, then visiting a local Primary school for a day, as part of my course preparation. Although I will be studying to teach Secondary Biology, we are expected to visit a couple of Primary Schools to see where the kids come from, and get a feel for what level they are at before they start secondary school.

Au revoir

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 86. Cats.

Now I realise that this may be a touch controversial. That there may be readers that have a fondness for these nasty little brutes.

My Blog my rules.

Why my ire I hear you ask?

Well, two weeks ago, my best mates went on holiday. Seven AM the day they were due to go, my phone rang.

"Uh, Hi. Can I ask an eensy weensy favour, please?"


"Last night, when we were preparing to take the cats to my parents, we found a flea".

As a biologist, I felt obliged to point out that fleas aren't like Leopards or Eagles. Where there is one, there is usually a shit load more nearby.
He agreed, hence the favour.
Would it be possible for me to drive 10 miles every night to feed them and clean out their litter trays?


My only pets as a child were numerous short-lived Goldfish and an elderly budgie. I'd never had anything that required that sort of looking after.

"Don't worry, you don't have to pet them or anything."

They've got fleas - you're damn right I'm not fucking petting them.

"Oh, and they have to stay in. They'll probably try and get past you when you go out the back. Don't let them".

Naturally, I jumped at the chance.

Now here's the thing. I don't mind driving over there every evening. It's a fairly pleasant, relaxing drive and twenty years of friendship is worth a few minutes behind the wheel I think.

So, OK. How bad could it be.


Let's just put it this way, the cats were on dirty protest at their unexpected confinement. Shunning the litter tray and leaving small landmines all over the hallway, I realised just how smelly cats are. Add to that the fact that one of the cats appeared to be off his food (he's always a bit funny for the first 24 hours I'm told), and the scene reminded me of the Maze prison during the troubles (PS don't tell my mate, but I've renamed the one off his food Bobby Sands).

Something I also discovered rather quickly is that cat food is revolting. The smell made my stomach churn. Even worse, lifting the litter tray I discovered to my horror that one of them had the runs and had half missed the tray, causing it to pour off the side on to the carpet - to this day, I don't know how I didn't vomit on the spot.

In all fairness, by the end of the 2 weeks, I appear to have gottten used to the odour of cat shit and don't lose my appetite at the faintest wiff of cat food. However, if this was an attempt to convince me that my life would be more fullfilled if I owned a cat - I'm afraid it has failed dismally.

My friends got back last week.

"How was it - I hope it wasn't too bad for you?"

"No, of course not it was fine. Just don't go in the kitchen barefoot".

Well, that's what being a mate is all about innit?


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Thinking the unspeakable

Apologies for my tardiness of late. I have a new job (I'll blog about that in the future). Fortunately for my ravaged bank balance, but less fortunately for my blog, they have removed overtime limits for the next few weeks, so I have been working 14 hour days to earn as much money for next year as I can. Making hay and all that.

However today I just had to share this with you all.

There are certain things which are always taboo. They are part of the unwritten rules of society, and whilst we can think certain things, we can never, ever, say them out loud.

For example, several of my new colleagues are parents or proud aunts and uncles. Last week, a few of us were chatting over coffee. One of my workmates has two small girls, and had been away for the Easter weekend. After detailing their exploits, she pulled out her mobile phone and showed us some delightfully cute pictures of her beaming kids. Naturally, this sparked a bout of benign one-upmanship with other pictures duly produced. Not wanting to feel left out, I started showing pictures of my gorgeous three year old niece taken on Easter Sunday. Like all modern three-year olds, the moment someone takes their phone out she gets into her cutest and most photogenic pose. I am of course very biased, but I like to think that my pictures got the biggest "Aaahs" of anybody's.

Finally another co-worker's turn. We've heard a lot about her little niece and nephew, whom she clearly dotes on. I saw the pictures first.

Oh dear.

There is no kind way to put this. The kids were ugly. Butt ugly.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not mocking the afflicted they are clearly healthy, lovely kids. By all accounts, there is nothing wrong with them. They are apparently, bright, happy and popular.

They're just... ugly. A face like a bulldog chewing a thistle covered in piss, as one of my friends might say.

"What a pair of cuties!" I lied, feeling like an absolute shit. Is there something wrong with me? Small children are always cute. That's an inviolable rule.
"They're lovely!" I fibbed passing them on to another guy, who'd been proudly showing off his 5 year-old step daughter. He blinked hard twice, his adams apple bobbing.
"Gorgeous!" he enthused.

Our eyes locked for an instant. Nothing will ever be said. Our traitorous thoughts will never be spoken aloud. But I know the truth.

It isn't just me.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 85. Blind Drivers.

Last Sunday, my Dad insured me on the family car. After an enjoyable pub lunch (sans alcohol I might add), I drove us back home. Three hundred metres from our family home, we stopped at a set of lights. As we sat waiting for the lights to change, I glanced in my rear view mirror. "That's strange," I thought, "Unless the rapidly approaching car behind is left-hand drive, it would seem that the driver has covered her eyes". My thoughts were then rudely interupted by a loud bang and a violent jerk.

Yup, for the FOURTH time since I passed my test 12 years ago (bearing in mind that in that time I have spent less than 2 years in total on the road), some TWAT has driven up the back of me when I've been stationary. Fortunately, as in all the other cases I had my handbrake on (thrice bitten, four times shy!) and so I didn't go up the back of the van in front. Getting out, we went through the now familiar motions. I have to confess, I was somewhat irked and may have inadvertantly accused the other driver of having a liquid lunch. I think I was entitled.

Anywhoo, we retired around the corner and inspected the cars. We had been very fortunate. Our rear bumper was slightly dinged but all the lights worked fine and the boot opened and shut smoothly. Everyone was fine. Mum and Dad were due to go on holiday, so we decided that as the other driver didn't seem too concerned about her cracked front bumper and broken license plate, we may as well let bygones, be bygones - funnily enough, she seemed to be rather keen to leave - I wonder why?

As I said, this latest accident is my fourth. The first happened shortly after my test and was a hit and run from a drunk driver on Xmas eve. The fucker drove off and although we had his number, when he was accosted by the police the next morning they couldn't prove that he had started his mammoth drinking binge the night before. Result - my car was totalled, and I only had third-party insurance. It would be 3 years before I could afford to own another car.

Number two happened a few years later, when I was waiting at a junction to enter a busy slip road. The driver behind decided the gap in the traffic was wide-enough to take and took it - despite me still being in front of him. Result - I got pushed in front of a lorry (who swerved, thank god!), my car was technically written off (it was too old to repair in a garage cost-effectively), and I needed to change my clothes from the waist down. Fortunately, Dad is pretty handy with a tool kit and a sledge hammer and we were able to repair the damage enough for me to drive the car again.

Number three happened on a motorway exit to Dad's car. I had come off and was waiting patiently at the top of the slip road for the lights to change. Three cars back some prick exited the motorway at high speed and set up a domino affect. Result - a redesigned rear-end and months of arguing with Direct Line.

In three of these cases, fortunately, my Dad was also in the car. Obviously I'm not happy about my nearest and dearest being put in danger by morons who can't drive properly. But on the plus side, you can imagine how my father just might have trouble believing me when I ring up for the fourth time, claiming "I've been in another accident and it wasn't my fault, honest".

So, to all of you who like to drive after a beer or twelve, believe that you can drive whilst covering your eyes or are perhaps unable to see a 1 tonne lump of bright green metal between you and the open road - GET YOUR FUCKING EYES TESTED AND CATCH THE BUS!



Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 84. Over-age Goths.

This particular Twat Award was stimulated by a rather uncomfortable reunion recently. A group of my old uni mates and I had met up for an evening of drinking and debauchery (albeit, one interupted by frequent calls to baby-sitters and an early night, since we all have jobs now and can't stand to stay up past one - wimps). Enter "Jane".

Embarrassed silence.

Back in the day, Jane was a goth. Naturally, we took the piss out of her, but all in all, we accepted that experimentation in one's university years is to be encouraged. I briefly parted my hair on the other side for example. However, it would seem that not all of us have grown out of our teenage rebellious phase.

Jane discovered gothism mid-way through her second year. Overnight, she dyed her platinum blonde hair jet black, started wearing torn fishnet tights, painted her nails black and began wearing emulsion on her face. Indeed, for one as naturally pale as Jane, the effect was really rather startling. Of course, she also developed a few of the less desirable Goth traits, such as lecturing us all on how boring and conformist we all were, then sulking for days on end when one of us dared ask "how come, if goths are so indivdualistic, you all dress the same, listen to the same music and go to exactly the same pubs?".

But anyways, she was a pleasant enough lass, and I was looking forward to seeing her for the first time in years. Yet it seems that despite reaching the ripe old age of thirty, Jane still wants to be fourteen. Even more shockingly, despite no longer living at home with her parents, she still listens to Marilyn Manson, her T-shirt proving that she has attended one of his concerts within recent memory. Now call me an old fuddy duddy, but isn't the target demographic for Mr Manson middle-class sixteen year olds who simply want to annoy the fuck out of their parents "cos they don't understand me"? Why would a well-educated thirty-year old with a proper grown-up job, who by all accounts enjoys a healthy relationship with her parents, listen to him? She doesn't even suffer from acne any more. Shouldn't she have grown out of him by now?

Oh well, it was nice to see her again, and once we got past the urge to ask her which of her school teachers she hates most and how often she gets asked for ID in the off-licence, we had a great evening. But as a public service, I politely suggest that any my readers who are over the age of 21 and still listen to Marilyn Manson and dress like Ozzy Osborne - please don't. It's extremely unsettling - rather like finding that an 18 stone Rugby player still wets the bed and sleeps with a stuffed Winnie the Pooh or those Japanese business men who like wearing giant nappies and being bottle fed.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 83. Airport Baggage Handlers.

I can't decide what's worse.

The utter contempt they show for your baggage.

The utter contempt they show for you, knowing that you are standing, watching in horror as the fuckers deliberately and unnecessarily hurl your bags off the plane.

I watched, with dozens of fellow passengers, in absolute disgust at Washington Dulles as baggage handlers lifted suitcases to chest height, before dropping them on to the floor. The windows in Dulles are floor to ceiling, so we could watch our plane being loaded. The bastards knew they were being watched as they kept on smirking at us.

And it isn't just Dulles. After just two trips between the UK and Canada, my suitcase has been consigned to the bin. Even more distressingly, the backup hard disk I had in my case was smashed and required major surgery before it worked. Fortunately, I had packed my "overflow" hard disk in my hand luggage with my laptop, so all of my irreplaceable data was safe fom these cretins.

And did I mention that they are a bunch of thieves? A close friend made it to Australia to find that whilst at first glance everything was still within the suitcase, her jewellry boxes had been emptied and the empty boxes placed back into the suitcase, presumably in the hope that she didn't notice for a while.

All in all, I am glad not to be travelling for a while, and in future I will invest in a bomb-proof samsonite and ensure that anything that these scum might regard as valuable is kept in my hand-luggage.


Friday, February 23, 2007

On the eve of my departure

Well, that's it. I fly back tomorrow, my Canadian adventure at an end.

Naturally, in time-honoured tradition I have barely started packing, I still have three loads of laundry to do and I haven't so much as cracked the seal on any cleaning products. Yes, this post is procrastination.

However, almost all my chores are completed. I closed my bank account today and deposited over $70 of quarters, 10c, 5c and 1c pieces. I spent the best buy vouchers that I got for my birthday - annoyingly Bestbuy is still sold out of the 14disc boxset of all the superman movies, so I settled for the 2-disc special edition of Superman Returns, plus the three star trek films I had not yet got. Before anyone asks, don't worry, my laptop has a region zero plug-in, so I can watch them!

The only remaining chores are to be done first thing tomorrow. I wanted to catch Smallville tonight, so I will be donating my TV to the thrift centre tomorrow, and returning my cable TV and modem to the Rogers store - just as soon as I've found one! Now I have to call a cab for tomorrow afternoon. Rumour has it, there will be a snowstorm. Bugger. That'll make carting my suitcases around a pain in the arse, and also make it more likely that my flight will be cancelled. Oh well, my first flight to this continent went disastorously wrong, there is a certain symmetry to it all going tits up on the way home.



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