There’ll Be Jor El To Pay

May 29, 2016

We got the Sky Planner’s available space to ¬†zero the other day. Sadly, there was no sort of congratulatory message when we hit full capacity, although someone from Sky did ring and ask to speak to Carole, so maybe they were going to say well done.

It turns out that the Sky box crashed during a recording, which then saw us tape E4 for over ten hours. Ten hours. Do you realise how many episodes of repeated Big Bang Theory (very much E4’s new Friends) that amounts to?

Our Sky box crashes more often than George Michael driving along a round lined soley by branches of Snappy Snaps. While it’s a great bit of kit, it’s also all kinds of shite and we should probably have a word with soneone at Sky and get a new one.

I mean, we should. But obviously we can’t. Because even if you take out ten hours if E4’s hip and happenin’ shows, there’s 90 of the planner filled with stuff we want to watch but never do.

I’d happily sit and binge watch the twelve or so episodes of Supergirl nestled digitally within the box, but I think Carole’s sussed out I have a thing for blonde women who can fly and wear blue and red so I’ve got to play it cool. You know, “Kara who?”, “Oh, was that Supergirl? I didn’t realise…” That sort of thing.

If I’m clever and don’t let her in on my plan, I think I might get away with it.


Farther Away

May 28, 2016

You don’t really appreciate how much marketing there is for things like Father’s Day until you don’t have a father to celebrate.

Not that we, as a family, ever really did Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Grandparent’s Day or any of that. I mean, even Earth Hour would often find us with every light in the house blazing away, albeit unintentionally, undermining the whole affair.

But, obviously, this year I’m hyper aware of the whole thing. It’s the same with anything that has the slightest mention of cancer – even a horoscope can rub me up the wrong way, but that’s just a typical Taurian, or the countless adverts for funeral plans and end of life lump sum payouts. Up until the end of February they were just things, now they are constant reminders and bloody annoying ones at that. Also, why do these funeral plans always give away a free clock so that you can watch your remaining minutes on Earth tick away.

But I digress. Slightly.

Father’s Day this year will just come and go, I suspect. We won’t mention it, dwell on it or stand out in the garden holding lit candles in remembrance. It’s made trickier by the fact that it is adjacent to my mum’s birthday, so we’ll obviously be visiting and wotnot, but the father thing won’t come up. In much the same way as we all glossed over his birthday in April without any mention whatsoever.

But that still doesn’t make the marketing less annoying. And the email stuff is just awful. You open up your inbox to find, for example, an email asking my why I hate my father so much. Shit, I’d love the chance to hate him again. That would be awesome. But I can’t. But thank you, marketing email, for allowing me to feel shit that a part of me, a teeny tiny part, hates my dad for dying on us.

When you tick, or don’t tick depending on what trickery the website is using, that box that ends up with you on a mailing list you realise that it’s going to get on your tits every time you see an email, but you don’t think it’s going to make you feel awful because there’s been a change in your circumstances somehow.

What companies should offer you, the customer who subscribes to their newsletters and sometimes buys their products, is a service in which you can tweak the messages you receive. Take Facebook, for example. You can – or could, they’ve probably changed the notification settings sixty times since I last looked – adjust every notification you received. Emails? Alerts? Message alerts? Certain friends? All that. You could tailor the experience to suit you, the user.

So companies with marketing emails should apply a similar process. You sign up for the mailing list. It gives you the option, then, to tailor it to tell the company what it is you want to hear about. Do you want to know about gifts suitable for your mum, your dad, your children? Do you want to know every time there’s a sale? Do you want an email every time Tassimo are giving away a free T-disk rack (they are ALWAYS giving away a free disk rack. ALWAYS. ALL THE TIME. FOR EVER. Although sometimes it’s a glass mug that has no handle but conducts heat like a trooper)?

You should be able to update your preferences based on your life. I should have been able to go through my various email newsletters that I never remember signing up to but occasionally read, and ticked a box that said “maybe stay away from Father’s Day” or “I don’t care about your free disk holders!”

That way I wouldn’t be asked why I hate my father so much, or why I haven’t bought him the perfect gift this year.

I’d just be able to coast through to my mum’s birthday and ignore the other thing.

The Frap Trap

May 27, 2016

Starbucks are a bunch of mean teasers.

This morning, me and my squeaky shoes walked through Bridgewater Place having picked up a delicious breakfast  yoghurt from Tesco. Our journey took us past Starbucks, my Friday lunchtime refuge from the stresses and strains of office drudgery. On the door to my preferred coffee establishment was a poster advertising three new flavours of Frappuccino.

Cookie Dough, Cupcake and Cinnamon Swirl.

All three of these flavours, to be honest, sound like sex on legs to someone who enjoys such things.

And yes, before you all bang on about it, I know that each of them possesses enough calories to boil five tons of water or something like that, but I genuinely don’t care for that level of food nazi-ism. So pfft.

Anyway, three new flavours.

I spent all morning trying to decide what flavour to have. I narrowed it down, quite quickly, to two – cupcake, sadly, is the third choice because it’s just a drink that will taste like a soggy bun. I mean, it will be nice and everything but it’s nowhere near the greatness of the other two.

As I set off for Starbucks at lunch time I was more or less decided. I would probably get Cookie Dough. Or maybe Cinammon Swirl. But probably Cookie Dough. And I would enjoy it and love it and want more of it – if only to upset the aforementioned food Nazis.

But when I got there, none of them were an option.

What the hell is that about, Starbucks? You tease me with the lushness and then you snatch it away at the last moment. You are cruel, cruel purveyors of coffee and cream-based beverages.

You’re just luck the banana caramel s’more is still on the menu, otherwise we’d be having words.

Sole Music

May 26, 2016

I can’t wear my work shoes outside of the office. They possess not one single solitary ounce of grip upon their frictionless soles. In fact, even wearing them in the office can be risky as they have been known to just slip along the carpet tiles if I’m doing some quality leaning.

So, as a consequence of this, I travel to and from work in a pair of knackered trainers which I bought for that tiny phase of my life where I went to the gym and just walked on the treadmills and rode the exercise bikes for a bit while watching a shit selection of TV on the in-built screens.

Realistically, I need a new pair of trainers. But I just can’t bring myself to get some, so I’m wearing the crap ones which have added to their repertoire of evil by slowly gouging a hole into the back of my right foot so that every now and again, when I’m walking along, I’m forced to utter “ah ya bastard!”

Not that anyone can hear me say that.

Because they have developed the most amazing squeak.

It’s so loud. Like ridiculously loud. I don’t think it could be louder if I made a small raft of voles, bound together with twine and fastened them to the bottom of my feet. It’s incredibly loud and I like to walk along pretending that the noise is not coming from me. Sometimes, when I walk twixt bus and office, I like to try and get in step with someone in front of me so that they think, even if just for a brief moment, that it’s their shoes that are squeaking.

I guess it doesn’t help, as well, that I take a route from the bus stop through a building with a cavernous atrium. And cavernous atriums tend to let the squeak of a cheap, knackered trainer, echo around their voluminous insides.

I’ve discovered the only way to get anywhere without the squeak is to walk on the outside edge of my shoes, like you used to do at school for some reason or other that time has forgotten.

The only thing with that is, though, that no adult should ever be seen walking on the outside edges of their shoes. Unless they are acting out what they used to do at school. Which no adult ever is.

Except me, if asked.

Sleep Like The Dead

May 25, 2016

I was sitting on the floor this morning, with my back leaning up against the pouffe, or whatever you wish to call it.

And, I’ll be honest, I was bloody knackered.

I don’t know why. I fell asleep insanely early (for me) last night, lying on the couch writing yesterday’s blog entry. I kept waking up and writing another line, or just inputting consonants for some reason, and then nodding off again. In the end, I just published it during an awake phase because otherwise who knows what could have happened. So I slept a lot last night, and I had a weird dream in which I was at a dinner party but couldn’t stand any of the people so left to eat in the kitchen. I didn’t get any vegetables, and I remember being miffed about that. But I definitely slept.

So, why I was so zonked this morning is a mystery to me.

But tired I was. I was fighting my eyelids for most of the morning and, sitting on the floor, I was starting to nod off.

But then I realised that I couldn’t. I couldn’t just fall asleep where I was.

Because if anyone was to walk up the path and glance in the window, they would see me, propped up against some furniture with my legs spread out across the floor and my eyes closed.

In other words, I would have looked like I had somehow died in prominent view of someone who could alert the authorities.

I didn’t want the postman, delivering my Graze box (excellent selection today!) and seeing me slumped there and having to decide if I was dead or alive. Maybe banging on the window or trying the door to see if they could get in and check me for vital signs.

Had either of those things occurred, however, I’d like to think that the fact I would probably have shit myself would have been proof of life enough for the both of us.

In the end, I dragged myself off the floor and went for a nap. Because I am now of an age where that’s a thing, apparently. And it was fricking lovely. I don’t care how old it makes me look or whatever, I am not refreshed and alert and probably unable to get to sleep tonight.

But at least it didn’t look like I’d died when the postman came…





May 24, 2016

One of the fun things about owning a cat is getting to see their sudden and overwhelming sense of urgency randomly emerge.

Peppa can be chilling, relaxing, basking in the sun or curled up on a human and then, all of a sudden, it’s like she realises she has to be somewhere urgently because she’ll leap up and double-time it to wherever she needs to be.

Which is all well and good unless you happen to be the human she’ssettled down on.

I have mentioned before, I think, how properly bloody funny it is when Peppa leaps off the bed via Carole. If she’s awake then there’s a lot of over-acting and disgruntlement. But if she’s asleep there’s just the slightest hint that Peppa landing on her midriff may cause her to fold in two like a camp bed, and just the tiniest amount of breath forced out of her, like she has a slow puncture.

But when similar things happen to me it is not in any way, shape or form amusing. It just isn’t.

Because it hurts.

Peppa seems to be able to latch onto me as she settles down for whatever is is she’s moments away from being late for. And when I say latched, I don’t mean onto the garment I was wearing. I mean full-on flesh latching. Like she’s putting down an anchor so as not to drift off.

Which is great, because it is genuinely lovely to spend time snuggled with a cat. Unless that cat has its claws well and truely into you.

Then life bevomes a battle between happy and contented and bleeding out on the couch.


Vommy Nommy Nom

May 23, 2016

I think it’s quite hard to muster up the enthusiasm to buy anything from Tesco Express when you’re 98% certain that what they’re mopping up in front of the fridges is actual bone fide human vomit.

I leave the 2% open to other options like, I don’t know, a can of that Big & Tasty Vegetable soup or something.

But let’s face it, we all know it was puke.

Such was the sight that greeted me this evening, as I hopped off the bus and headed in to forage for my evening meal blessed, as I am, with the opportunity to fend for myself as Carole is out at a talk about something somewhere. I was listening but, you know… I can’t remember everything. If I was to remember the salient details of Carole’s evening of cultural growth then I might forget, I don’t know, the theme to The Flumps or something.

As Sherlock Holmes is often keen to point out in one way or other, there is only limited room in the mind palace.

So yeah, puke.

So that immediately ruled out three of the fridges, at least, as there was an overkill (a collective term for health and safety gone mad) of those “caution wet floor” signs preventing any members of the public from straying too close to ground zero. It also ruled out any browsing of the Mexican, Italian or Indian things you can make with a packet as one step back to fully assess the shelf would find you standing atop bile and sloughed off stomach lining.

It’s hard to even remain hungry in the face of such a thing. Unless you really focus of the 2% chance that it might just be soup. Even though you know it’s not. You have to really concentrate on the soup theory as you select something to nom on. And you also have to make sure that whatever you pick does not, in any way, resemble one of those Big and Tasty soups. Because the two are forever linked in one of the corridors of my mind palace and I don’t know what I would need to learn and retain in otder to disloge it.

Having said all that, I was quite peckish. And there are plenty of other aisles in the Tesco Express, as the old Chinese proverb goes…



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