2.121 Cut And Pastry

April 30, 2012

I introduced Carole to the joys of American Pie this weekend. Like Adventures In Babysitting, it was one of those films that I couldn’t believe that Carole has never seen. So we sat down and watched it. And through the medium of film I discovered that Carole is actually quite a prude when it comes to gross out humour. This is a woman who can watch autopsies while having her tea, but show her a young man violating an apple pie and she has her head in her hands and is asking me to tell her when it’s finished. 

So we watched the film. I’ve seen it more times than I care to remember, Carole’s never seen it. Carole realises that I have a thing for geeky redheads after I mention that I used to bloody love Alyson Hannigan and she knows that I have a soft spot for Felicia Day – a woman who, after seeing a couple of things with her in, Carole is willing to adopt. Everything was going great.

And then the whole magic of the film is ruined.

Early in the film Jim is told that third base is like warm apple pie. A little while later, Jim’s mum has made some apple pie. It’s presumably still warm at the point when Jim finds it, although no temperature tests are conducted and with what he does to it that could be quite risky as you never know when you’re going to burn your willy on a bit of hot apple.

Anyway, prior to that, his mum has left a note with the pie. It says something along the lines of “Mmm, apple pie. Your favourite, why don’t you just make love to it”. Or something. I don’t actually know what it says after “Your” because I didn’t get further than that. Because instead of saying “Your” it says “You’re”.

That’s it now. The film is ruined for me. I don’t care what happens to anyone. The whole thing is dead to me. Just because they put “You Are” instead of “Your”. That’s it. I’ve never noticed it before, but this time it was just staring out at me. Taunting me. I went online to see if I had seen what I’d seen. There was bound to be someone else who’d seen it.

And there was. There’s a whole raft of websites set up to expose movie mistakes. But I found no solace in finding them. Yes they confirmed that I’d seen “You’re” instead of “Your” but the rest of the pages just sucked all the fun out of any movie you could think of. I didn’t want to be like that. So now I’m trying to forget that I saw “You’re” when it should have been “Your”. 

But it’s harder than you’d think.



2.120 Lovely Super Smashing

April 29, 2012

We popped to Tesco this morning. For salad stuff. That’s all we wanted. Lettuce, cucumber, radishes, spring onions, beetroot, tomatoes. That kind of thing. That’s all we wanted.

Which is why we came home with that and a toilet brush as well. And more packets of Hula Hoops than you can shake a stick at. And a lot of cans of coke. And a glass.

This glass.

It cost us a whole £1.23, but Carole really liked it. She was smitten with it. She christened it with a refreshing glass of Robinson’s orange and pineapple.

And then, about an hour or so later, I smashed it.

In a broken-into-a-zillion-pieces kind of way, not a Richard-Keyes-being-sexist kind of way.

I knocked it off the worktop as I turned round to open the drawer that contains the plasters to put a plaster on the flap of skin on my palm that I got while I was outside in the rain trying to wrestle the felt back onto our shed roof. Because, for some reason our shed has decided that this weather is the absolute best time to get undressed. So that’s what it’s doing. And the problem is that it’s not stopping raining for long enough to do anything about it and I’ll be buggered if I’m shinning up a ladder in the pouring rain to fix the felt on the roof. It’s that kind of idiocy that killed Rod Hull. Well, that and the fact that Emu pushed him off a roof.

So, as I turned to get a plaster I was chuckling to myself that if I stuck a plaster to my palm I would:

a) Look like one of the creepy adults from a Home Alone film that actually turns out to be ok in the end like the neighbour in the first one, or the pigeon lady in the second one.

b) Look like I had got some sort of friction-based masturbatory injury to my palm

My chuckling took away the concentration and I caught the apple glass. It fell to the kitchen floor. In slow motion, obviously. As it fell, I will be honest, I checked to make sure it wasn’t my Showstopper mug. And then it hit the floor. And smashed into a zillion pieces. And there was me on the kitchen floor in bare feet. I was like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Except I didn’t go anywhere. I just waited for the string of obscenities I was uttering attracted the attention of Carole and she rescued me with a pair of Crocs that were way too small for my feet.

But I feel really bad about smashing the glass. Really, really bad. Partly because it was Carole’s. But mainly because it cost us £1.23 and that seems like a waste now. And all the time I felt really bad Carole was just laughing at me. Laughing until it hurt, in fact. And I was feeling awful. Really awful.

But now, it’s not so bad. Because now I’ve realised that it wasn’t my fault. It was just the final act in a series of events that started when the shed got undressed. And everything is interconnected, after all – I learnt that from that show on Sky 1 where Jack Bauer has the autistic kid. So it’s not my fault.

It’s that bloody shed.

2.119 Avengers

April 28, 2012

We were going to see The Avengers tomorrow. We were going to get up early and go to the first morning showing at something past 10. We were going to spend some quality time wiping the dust off the 3D glasses and head out to spend the better part of twenty quid to see a film. And it was going to be good.

Unfortunately, I’ve spent most of the past couple of days being like a really excited child on Christmas Eve. So, this morning, as we just sat around the house watching TV and casually chatting, I was wondering if we could go today instead of tomorrow. I mean, there’s no reason why not it’s just that, for some reason, in my head the cinema is busier on a Saturday than it is on a Sunday. There’s no basis to that statement. It’s just the way I feel. I always rule out cinema Saturdays, preferring to enjoy a multiplex on a Sunday.

But then, this is The Avengers. And they’re Assembling. Right there. On the screen. And I’ve been waiting for this film with varying levels of dizzying excitement for quite some time. Since the first film in the series, in fact. And with each subsequent release and little end credits teaser I’ve got more and more excited. And then I spent the other day just watching the trailers and clips on the internet. A lot. And grinning like an idiot.

So we went. We broke my no-cinema-Saturday rule. And went to see it. And it was magnificent. The queues weren’t. But the film was. All the time we were in the queue, Carole kept looking at me and saying, “Just remember, this was YOUR idea”. Each and every time I rolled my eyes at the small children who had clearly been brought to the open foyer of the cinema so they could run round, she would remind me it was my idea. I got to mentally tut at a couple of lads in front of us who pointed at the Avengers poster and said “Well, I don’t know who she is, or him.” I resisted the urge, if I’m honest, to lean forward and ask them, politely, to leave.

We were in the queue a long time. A very long time. Children continued to run around. The ran up to the standee of Johnny Depp as a vampire, screamed and ran away. A lot. That’s all they did. If me and my sister had done that our parents would have shouted at is and we’d have been dragged home. Apparently, though, it’s allowed now. That’s progressive parenting and all that. It must be. Just ignore your children as they annoy other people by running down the up escalator you’re trying to use. That’s fine. Just don’t say anything to me when he eventually returns to the bosom of your family with a black eye.

And all the time Carole’s reminding me that it was my idea.

It was my idea. It was my giddy idea because I couldn’t wait 24 more hours.

And you know what?

It was bloody fantastic!

2.118 When One Door Opens…

April 27, 2012

I held a door open for someone today. I was leaving the office and someone was leaving after me. I held the door open. I thought it would be polite. I thought that the person following me would really appreciate my good manners. I know I would have if I had been in the same situation.

Unfortunately, I’d misjudged the situation.

Because after we’d passed through that door there are three more doors before we’re out in the open. Three doors in reasonably quick succession. And I had to hold each one of them open for the man behind me. All the way through the building and out onto the pavement.

It would appear that there is a rule. Once someone has opened a door for you, they automatically become a leader. You can’t overtake that person. The door-opener becomes the leader of the convoy. There’s no voting or anything like that, it just happens. It’s natural. It occurs with no conscious thought from either the door-opener or the openee. It’s just the way it is.

It was like being trapped in the Giggle Loop – a phenomena documented by Stephen Moffat in an episode of Coupling – where you hold back one giggle, and later another, and later another until eventually you contain so many trapped laughs that you will begin laughing uncontrollably at the most inappropriate moment. And that’s what happened to me. But instead of giggles, I was trapped in a Door Loop.

In hindsight, reviewing my actions, I can see that I made an error with the first door. The person I held the door for was too far behind me for it to be a legitimate hold. I shouldn’t have done it. It was unnecessary. He had to do that walk-jog thing that people do when they’re aware that someone is holding open a door that the person approaching the door is too far away from for the hold to be socially acceptable.

That was my first error. But then I was committed. I remember thinking, as he’d passed through the first door, that I was making somewhat of a rod for my own back and that I would have to get each and every door on the way out. It became awkward with each passing door. Each “Thank You” had less emotion to it. By the time we both emerged into the pouring rain, it was just a phrase with no meaning whatsoever. They were dead words.

What I’ve learnt from this situation is that you can open one door for someone. One door is fine. They’re grateful and that’s good. You can open two doors. That’s ok, but it’s starting to get a bit awkward. The person you’ve opened the door for is starting to get a little but weirded out by this point. Any more than two doors, though, and you’re basically opening a portal to the worlds of social awkwardness.

It’s not a mistake I’ll be making again.

2.117 Pussy Galore

April 26, 2012

First off, if you’re Carole’s dad – stop reading this now. Seriously. It’s not actually about what it says directly below this apology but I’m worried what you’ll think of me after the first few paragraphs, so just stop now and look at something else. I won’t mind.


There’s a sidebar on the BBC News Website which asks whether we can stop teenagers looking at porn online. The story is accompanied by a stock photo of some young people using a laptop. Because that’s what teenagers looking at porn would be like. They’d be dressed in pastel shades, in a well-lit room and, most importantly, have all their friends round. The gist of the story is that the Government is concerned that the internet – which they want everyone in the UK to have easy access to, remember – is a bit full of porn and that teenagers can get it far easier than you could in the olden days when you had to scrabble around under your dad’s bed, and rummage through all the drawers and wardrobes to find a well-thumbed copy of Playboy or something. Which you’d then take to school and show all your mates.

Maybe that’s what the Government is objecting to. Finding porn on the internet takes away from the social side of things. There’s no Big Society feel if you’re sitting in a darkened room with the curtains pulled cracking off some knuckle children, but when you take in a grubby, dubiously stained copy of Playboy for all your school friends to paw at then at least you’re socialising. Maybe that’s the main problem.

But porn is not the biggest problem on the internet. It’s not. It’s not even the second biggest. Okay, It might be the biggest or even the second biggest. I don’t really have any figures to back up these statements. For the purposes of this blog it’s not the biggest problem on the internet. The biggest problem on the internet is this:


I have a cat. I have probably, unwittingly, contributed to the problem. I might have uploaded a picture of a cat which, I can safely say, I have never done with porn.

But the internet is awash with cats. You can’t go anywhere without seeing a picture of a cat. A cat on something, in something, near something, pulling a face at something, running away from something, running towards something or under something. There are cats everywhere. Pictures of cats.

Pictures of cats with words on which are obviously what the cats are saying. Even though the cats can’t use words and probably don’t even know what half the things they’re talking about actually are.

Then there’s the videos of cats. Videos of cats near things, on things, in things, under things, running away from things, running towards things, trying to get in things and trying to get out of things. Then there’s the video of the cat which walks sideways when you put sellotape on it. And that ninja cat. And countless other cats.

The internet is awash with cats.

And everyone shares the cats. Look, they say, here is a picture of a cat doing something cute and adorable. Or here is a video of a cat peeping out of a hole. Or into a hole. Look it has its paw in the hole now. Oh look, just look at it. Isn’t it cute. Isn’t it cute. Isn’t it? Isn’t it?

Well, yes it is actually. But that’s not the point.

It’s not a new thing though. It’s not. Ancient Egyptians were known to love cats. We know this because of hieroglyphics. People look at the hieroglyphs and they say, ” Ah you can see that the Egyptians loved cats. They held them in high regard. Worshipped them even. You can see that.”

But, by studying modern culture, I think the experts have got it wrong.

The Egyptians didn’t worship cats. They liked cats. They thought cats were cute. But they didn’t have the internet back then. They may have had a Stargate, but they were sadly lacking in any form of worldwide web or browsing tools. So they turned to the walls of their buildings and they drew their own cat videos on the walls. And then they probably invited their friends round to show them the pictures of the cats. Cats on things, near things, under things, in things, running away from things.

“Look, Imhotep, look how the cat walks sideways if I stick a piece of bandage to his side. Oh, I have seen this drawing a hundred times and it still makes me laugh.”

2.116 Pointless Stigma

April 25, 2012

I’ve got a confession. It’s something that’s been eating away at me, gnawing away at my very soul for a while now. I’ve been carrying this dark secret around with me, trying to give anything away. I walk around and, as people look at me, I wonder if they know. If there’s something in the way that I carry myself that gives away my secret. My deep, dark secret.

I love Pointless.

I do. I only get to watch it “live” once a week, on a Wednesday when I’m free from the bindings of work. Every week I turn the TV on, usually too early so I have to sit with clenched arse-cheeks through the horrible spectacle of Newsround trying to be cool.

The thing is, and it’s a debate that I’ve had with a couple of people, this – is it wrong to either SKY+ Pointless or watch it on iPlayer on the days I don’t see it?

There’s something that just feels wrong about taping a daily quiz show. It’s fine to tape your favourite weekly drama, that’s fine. That’s not viewed as something unholy. But, it would appear, even having the thought that you might tape a week’s worth of Pointless is viewed by people as something strange and un-natural.

The stigma, though, only seems to be attached when the show is recorded. If you were at home and available to watch an episode of Pointless every day that is, by all accounts, fine. But when those five episodes are taking up a couple of percent each on your Sky Planner or are downloading overnight via iPlayer’s handy series link it’s a whole different kettle of fish.

But I want to do it. I want to watch Pointless every day and not just on a Wednesday when I have no frame of reference for the level of the prize money. I feel I should know how many Pointless answers there are every day. And I like to play along with the end game and see if I would have won. That’s part of the fun. That doesn’t make a bad person. Does it? Does it?

Just to put this into context. I want to tape Pointless. A quiz show. It would engage my brain and open my mind to a variety of useless facts that I could whistle out during awkward gaps in conversation. Like the fact that ladybirds have 30 minute orgasms. Or that the longest human poo was 26 feet long (tt was, just trust me or have the images forever burnt onto your mind with a Google search). I think that’s a good thing.

Carole put something in the Sky Planner yesterday. It’s Peter Andre: My Life.

Now who’s the freak, huh?

2.115 Holding Back The Flood

April 24, 2012

There are many times when things in a person’s life seem to be happening in slow motion. I’ve lost count of the number of basketball games I’ve won by throwing the ball towards the net just as the buzzer sounds. The always go in. Every time. I don’t even think the slow motion’s necessary anymore. It’s that much of a certainty.

Apart from that time I was playing women’s basketball with Emma Roberts. That didn’t go so well. Totally missed that shot. No, wait… that was “The Winning Season” that I watched on Netflix. But all the other times have been me. Even that time I was a teenage wolf.

Anyway, it’s common for people to experience these moments of slow motion. Your adrenaline is pumping. Your mind is at a higher level of alert. You notice ever little nuance of that brief moment in time. Usually until the ball’s gone through the net.

I had one of those moments recently. But it wasn’t a ball and a net. It was a toilet and some water.

We’ve all had those moments. When I was at uni, I shared a flat with four other guys. One of the guys – the same one who took a chair into the shower because he couldn’t be arsed to stand – had a nasty habit of blocking the loo. I don’t know what he ate, but it could certainly block the plumbing. To paraphrase a line  from the frankly brilliant  film “Kenny”, we had a one inch pipe but unfortunately he had a two-inch arsehole.

There was many-a-time a casual flush would lead to an overflow. I lost count of the number of times we’d have to fashion a plunger from a mop with a carrier bag tied over the head. It was real McGuyver level problem solving back then.

But I didn’t expect it to spring up at work. I went to the loo. I flushed. And I watch in abject horror (and slow-motion) as the water level rose closer and closer towards the top of the bowl.

It stopped just shy of the rim, and gently receded before something broke free and all the water vanished down the pipe in one fell swoop.

It was probably just the volume of water that did that. But I like to think that I was like King Canute that day. A more successful King Canute.

If, that is, King Canute was shouting, “no, no, nooo!” at the approaching water and hoping he wouldn’t get wee on his shoes.