Yet another disaster has devastated Cactus World. I was in my bedroom a couple of days ago when all of a sudden I felt the Earth move, but not in a good way. A crashing sound in the lounge followed by an ominous rumbling similar to how I imagine the Gates of Hell would sound if being opened (without the support of a can of WD40), is not a good thing to hear. I quickly switched on the TV to my favourite Cactus World news channel, CW1 News, to try to find out what had happened.
A few weeks ago, the Easter Cactus in Cactus World produced The Flower. In fact I wrote about it here, it being such a once-in-a-lifetime event and all that. Well news was soon coming in of a disaster of cactusclysmic proportions. (Did you like how I altered cataclysmic to put cactus in it?) Obviously overtaxed by its recent efforts, the pot holding the Easter Cactus had become detached from the ceiling of Cactus World and plummeted to earth. Emergency services were quickly dispatched, but the pot had fallen into one of the most inaccessible places in Cactus World, behind a speaker and a lamp in the corner of the room, which hampered initial efforts to reach it. When they finally arrived at the incident zone, the rescuers were met with the sight of the pot, upright, but with most of its soil missing. More critically, there was no sign of the Easter Cactus anywhere, although some mangled sections of it stem were spotted lying about. However, satellites supporting what was quickly becoming a full-scale emergency, quickly spotted that the Easter Cactus had been entirely separated from its pot and was hanging precariously from the top of the speaker. Once found, highly trained paraplantmedics were quickly airlifted to the incident zone, but had to carry out a full pot transplant at the scene. It seems too early to tell what the long-term consequences of this are, but in the immediate aftermath, estimates from people who’ve visited the scene have described the horrific sight of seeing around 30% of the Easter Cactus having been ripped from the main body of the plant and parts of it lying around all over the place. Experts are suggesting that there will now be a glut of baby Easter Cactus plants for Cactus World to share with its neighbours and friends over the next six months.
Despite this disaster, officials has expressed relief that the pot actually landed the right way up. The gully into which it fell is heavily crisscrossed by power lines and other services that support about 75% of Cactus World’s entertainment industry. A large amount of dirty water and soil in this area could have devastated TV, music, DVD, Blu-ray and cable services for weeks, had it got into what are technically known as “the wrong places”. Given the incident zone’s inhospitable and inaccessible location, along with ongoing concerns about the safety of the area due to dirty wet soil and anyone nearby getting understandably depressed about the mess and the damage to the Easter Cactus, cleanup teams have not yet been dispatched to sort out the mess and it remains officially off-limits to visitors.
To try to reassure the general public, the authorities have issued a single picture of the Easter Cactus, resting peacefully after its pot transplant.
Right now I’m listening to “3 Minute Hero” by Sonic Boom Six.
Easter has come late to Cactus World; (about six weeks late, to give some context to this statement). Preferring to eschew the dubious values of stuffing ourselves silly with overpriced and over-packaged chocolate, the citizens of Cactus World prefer to take a more traditional and dare I say it, a more cerebral view of the event.
First spotted as a small, red bud, by Cactus World’s top scientists a few weeks ago, my Easter Cactus has now produced its first ever flower! At the age of, (well the sort of age that polite society suggests that you don’t ask houseplants what their real age is), this one’s magnificent bloom has been casting a wonderful, scarlet tinted hue across the skyline all day, on what is also the sunniest and warmest of the year so far. Pretty well the entire population of Cactus World has visited The Flower today; I myself have been several times to gaze in awe at it. To protect The Flower from well-wishers, who might inadvertently damage it in an attempt to take pictures or smell it, an official photograph has been issued by the authorities, which I’m pleased to be able to reproduce here. An official statement has also been released, to the effect that The Flower has not produced any especially discernible scent.
No one knows exactly how long The Flower will last, but calls for 22nd May to be made a National Holiday have already surfaced. The best news is, of course, that there’s a second flower bud developing, so hopefully another will appear soon.
Right now I’m listening to “Fall Into Place” by China Drum.
I have just officially wet myself:
Right about now I’m wishing I owned a gas mask. Why? The Mother in Law’s Tongue on the window sill has decided to flower. This common indoor plant, hardy and innocuous enough, which we’re all used to seeing in offices and receptions areas etc, hides a dark secret within its soul. When the sun goes down, its flowers release a scent of hypnotic power. It draws all towards its sweet nectar, man and beast alike, as the heavy perfume overcomes all inhibitions, rational thought and self-determination, sending those who seek its wisdom in a sleep that lasts 1,000 years zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………
Well okay that’s not all entirely true. But it does however have a seriously powerful smell at night that quite frankly would give any air fresheners silly enough to challenge it a good slap. My entire flat stinks of it at the moment. It’s not that it’s got a bad smell or anything, but it does feel like I’ve got a can of Tesco Value air freshener and sprayed it directly up my nose. It’s serious quite overpowering and I am just a little worried that if I go to sleep I really will not wake up for 100 years, a bit like Sleeping Beauty; (although the similarity probably ends around about there). It’s also making my throat and nose feel weird. Penny’s in an odd mood tonight too; personally I think she’s been sniffing it a bit too much.
And here is a photo of the beast. Sorry about the slightly weird look of it, but I had to take it by hacking into a US spy satellite and borrowing its camera for a few minutes, as there’s no way I’m going to risk getting close enough to it to use a normal camera.
You think I’m exaggerating things? Ha! You have no idea what I’m dealing with here!
Anyway, I bet you’ve never even seen one with a flower before. It doesn’t happen very often. Then again, this is Cactus World, where nothing is ever quite like it seems; and, after all, I am the horticultural equivalent of Superman. (Please ignore all the rubbish you might have heard about these plants needing to be neglected to flower; that’s just rumours put about by jealous people who can’t manage the magic I can. In fact, you virtually have to agree to marry one before it will even consider flowering; and yes, that’s a bit of an awkward issue that I’m going to have to deal with later.)
Right now I’m listening to “buried alive” by Visqueen.
Despite evidence to the contrary, life for the population of Cactus World isn’t always doom and gloom. Yesterday, Cactus World was blessed with the appearance of a new cactus flower and one of its community minded citizens was on hand to record this momentous occasion.
Behold! The Flower:
Sadly, today it’s looking somewhat limp. (Please inset your own penis joke here). However, there are reports coming in of not one, not two, but three flower spikes on the Mother in Law’s Tounge approaching Cactus World. Stay tuned…
Meanwhile, Penny has faced her nemesis, The Puppy Shaped Door Stop! Again, one of Cactus World’s brave citizens was around to record this epic battle, which shows Penny heroically fighting a piece of string, which the cowardly Puppy Shaped Door Stop is apparently using as cover for it own nefarious plans, whatever they may be:
Right now I’m listening to “Underwear Goes Inside the Pants” by Lazyboy (or Lazy B if you prefer).
My telly has broken down. It was working – and then it wasn’t. It’s only 14 months old and was itself a replacement for its predecessor, which broke down after less than a year. It’s not like I use it that much either, probably only about 6 hours a week, to watch DVDs. When I was young (and there’s your cue for humming Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony Number 9, Opus 95, “From the New World”, aka the Hovis commercial music), TVs were complex, high-tech things made by hand, yet they seemed to last forever. Now nearly everyone (at least in the so-called Developed World) has at least one in their home, they’re a more ‘mature’ technology and we’re able to automate most manufacturing, for some reason the TV making industry (does it even have it’s own name anymore) appears to employ monkeys to put them together. Not only does this seem cruel (to both the monkeys and the humans like me who buy the things), but leads to shoddy TVs being supplied.
Last time it was replaced (with a better model I have to say) under guarantee by Dixons (which I also have to say dealt with the problem very efficiently). However, now it’s out of the one year guarantee period from Dixons, I was left with the worry that I’d have to go and work as a male prostitute on the streets of Reading in the evenings for the next ten years, (well I don’t think I’d earn very much to be honest so it would take a long time), to enable me to be able to afford to replace it. (Because okay yes, it’s a stupidly big TV that cost a fortune and doesn’t really fit in my lounge, but because I’m a bloke I had to buy the biggest one I could possibly get, to impress birds, make guys jealous, improve my social status and otherwise make me look like I’m a success in life, and basically say, “look, my TV is huge, so just image how great I am in bed”. None of this has actually worked by the way). So anyway, I rang up Samsung. (Not at random, it was made by Samsung monkeys). The good news is that a repair should be covered by the manufacture’s guarantee and that it will be arranging for an engineer (whatever happened to “TV repairmen”) to come and fix it. So like all good mini-series on TV, I leave you with this cliff-hanger of an ending. Part 2 to follow…
And as an added bit of culture, here is the ‘famous bit’ of Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony Number 9:
Right now I’m listening to a live version of “Fill Me Up” by Citizen Fish.
Well well, it’s been a while since I wrote anything here. I guess that means I’ve been in prison again, on a secret mission for the Government, or abducted by aliens, (which in the latter case would be the third time, as far I can remember anyway). An alternative might be that I’ve just been too busy at work to want to type yet more stuff when I get home, or perhaps I’m just a lazy, old sod. Who knows?
Talking about being old, it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I spend the day in a place called ‘Up North’ at a meeting, to hear how we’re all going to be reorganised at work. I really like my job (most of the time), but I must say that I’m fortunate indeed to work for the organisation that probably restructures itself more than any other in the entire universe. (Okay, I appreciate that I’ve not actually got a total understanding of the universe and all the organisations in it, but I do have a good enough grasp on things to realise that it’s simply not possible to restructure more and not break any laws of physics.) But as I’m apt to tell the people I work with, if you don’t like the changes don’t worry, because it will all get changed again in a couple of years.
Anyway, back to my birthday. There I was, sitting on the final leg of my journey back to Reading, the last 30 minutes between Paddington and Reading, looking forward to getting home for my birthday; not that I had any plans, but there’s a principle here so stick with me on this. So anyway, there we are, speeding along at something over 100mph, when, oh dear, someone decides to get run over on the track up ahead and consequently turns my 30 minute journey into one lasting more than two and a half hours. Well done mate. Now this is of course, a really tragic thing to happen and call me self-centered if you like, but it was my birthday! And I’d had a long journey too. So much for partying the night away with a crowd of beautiful women, plentiful drugs, good music and an endless supply of beer. (As an aside to this, I only got two birthday cards, and one of those was just a 50p off voucher in a card from some company that I probably won’t use, but it did say happy birthday on it so it counts.)
And in other big news, I’ve decided to join the human race. What I mean by this is that I’ve now got a Facebook account. Having felt for several years like I was living off the grid by refusing to have one, ‘The Man’ has finally got me in his grasp. Bastard. I do need to point out that I’ve not done this because there’s been a huge influx of people suddenly thinking that I’m the best thing since sliced bread and wanting to be my mate; (sliced bread isn’t that good for you anyway, it doesn’t fill you up and it’s full of rubbish calories and salt, a bit like me really). The fact of the matter is I’ve only done it because hardly any bands are using MySpace anymore (as they’ve all gone over to Facebook as the new MySpace is virtually unusable now) and I’ve started to feel like I am loosing track of things. As this is basically all I care about in life (actually that’s not quite true but for dramatic effect I’ll say it), this is obviously a bad thing. I wonder how many Friends I’ll manage to pick up. None so far. I hate it’s ugly, blue colour and angular design too. The one good thing is that my having an account there has probably doomed it, as has been the case with several other social networking sites I’ve joined in the past. Facebook is the social networking equivalent of Tesco, minus the Clubcard Points. Oh God, I’ve even put a link in to them…
Right now I’m listening to “West Blanket” by Picked Dick (now known as Mike TV).
Technology hates me. I know this to be a fact…
First my car became incontinent (which it has been for many months), in the sense that it couldn’t hold a charge in its battery for more than three days; (cure, nine days off the road and a bill of £638.31).
Oh and while I think of it, both the Nectar and Ford web sites say I can collect Nectar Points from my local Ford dealer, but just you go and try to do so. (Cue whiny, Ford employee’s voice), “you have to get a voucher from the web site as they took all our swipe card machines away.” Then ring Nectar to get told (in a, fuck you you’re a moron, do you really think customer service means customer service kind of voice), “there aren’t any vouchers, you need to get the dealer to swipe your Nectar Card, it’s nothing to do with us.” Lying bastards. They’re first up against the wall when the revolution comes. ‘They’ haven’t heard the last of this from me, ‘they’ don’t know who they’re messing with.
Then my immersion heater at home broke; (cure, three weeks or so with no hot water and then its replacement is apparently scared of heat, given the barely more than tepid temperatures it seems capable of producing).
Then my computer decided not to start; (cure, a morning of my time, three trips to Maplin and about £60 for a new power supply unit). Just as well I’m an IT god.
Then last week no less than three trains I was travelling on got badly delayed; always on the way home of course.
Then finally, American Express are on the phone whining at me to pay my credit card bill as I’ve gone over my limit. Don’t they realise technology hates me? I bet all those bankers with their disgustingly huge bonuses didn’t get rung up and moaned at when they overspent by billions? Oh I forgot, it’s them on the phone whining about my credit card payments and halving my credit limit without giving me any notice whatsoever, just so they can charge me £12 for going over my limit, to feed their obscene greed. Bastards.
Sometimes you see stuff on TV about people who live in what are little more than mud or straw huts, have bugger all belongings or money, but seem very happy. No TVs, no cars, no DVD players, no expensive holidays, no iPhones, no electric can openers, not designer clothes, no ready-made meals, etc, etc. How can they possible be happy? Then you realise this is exactly why they are happy. No consumer shit to worry about breaking down or being stolen. (This of course assumes they’re healthy, have enough to eat and enough money for the things they need, which given the way so many countries exploit so many others, probably isn’t especially likely. But give me a break okay? It’s called a poetic licence.)
Right now I’m listening to “Wilderness” by the Mega City Four.
Watched Four Minutes on DVD last night. This is a 2006 German film (so that means subtitles for the Euro illiterate like me) about a young woman who’s in prison and also a great pianist. It’s the best film I’ve seen for months (and I watch a lot of films). It looks good, it sounds great, the story mixes up a lot of different subjects that you don’t normally get together really well and it has two actresses in it playing the main characters that’re totally awesome. It manages to include prisons, guns, punch-ups, decapitation, Nazis, lesbians, incest, pianos, really intense arguments and a psycho pianist! And it’s nothing like how I’ve just made it sound. It also has a great final scene (the four minutes of the title). It’s not a comedy and it’s actually quite a slow and serious film most of the time. You need to go and watch it. It’s certainly a new entry into the Top 50 Films of All Time in Cactus World. Penny hated it though, so not a great film to watch when you’ve got all the neighbourhood cats around.
Right now I’m listening to “Pathways” by the Frank and Walters.
God no, I’ve got another gig induced cold. As usual it’s the worst cold anyone has ever had, ever; even surpassing my own personal Worst Ever Cold, which was the last one I had of course. At least I’ve worked out why I never get ill other than colds; because nothing can bloody well find a way to infect me because a cold has always got to me first!*
*Incidentally, I’ve not idea if statement is medically accurate or not, but I never get sick with anything ever, except colds. However, in the weakened, pitiful state I find myself in right now, this thought gives me some comfort, as I sink into a hazy twilight of pain and misery, combined with all the dance-floor moves and vocal attack of a zombie. I guess I’ll soldier on somehow, without making too much of a fuss; I’m not one to cause any bother or over-dramatise things.
Incidentally, in an evolutionary sense, what is the point of the common cold? Like wasps, they just appear to exist to piss people off, me mainly I think.
And just in case anyone has thought it, what I have is no way anything like Man Flu. Man Flu is a bit of harmless fun, whereas what I have is probably new to medical science and Extremely Dangerous to all life on Earth, just like my last cold was, probably. But here’s an amusing little video all about Man Flu, by Punks Not Dad.
Right now I’m listening to “4Q” by Blitz.
Oh dear, the clocks went back last night, so it’s only going to be five o’clock today when yesterday it was six. (Well you know what I mean.) I’m now in for an Hour of Hell from Penny…
Oh, Ooh, I think it’s started already…
But worse than the claws, it’s the looks that really hurt…
Right now I’m listening to “Make Them Apologize” by Ani DiFranco.
My legs ache. When I say this I really mean the muscles in my calves and the front of my knees are all totally wasted. Last night I went to see Sum 41 and the night before I went to see Feeder. I also spent the Feeder gig day cutting and laying carpet tiles in our new office at work, kneeling on the concrete floor to do it. I think these four things are quite closely related.
The Feeder gig was great. Feeder is a band that seems to consistently punch above its weight live. Of the two gigs I think I preferred this one, although to be fair there isn’t much in it. Two excellent gigs in fact. Feeder has a very mixed fan base and this felt the more friendly of the two gigs too. Think I nearly overdid it in the most pit though. Sum 41 are great live as well and have a better selection of songs. (Feeder can sound a bit too much like Coldplay at times; a sickening and perverted thought I’m sure you’ll agree.) Got floored once in the mosh pit, the first time for many months I’ve ended up in a heap on the ground. Actually I ended up more on my knees, as I tried to twist to one side to avoid falling on top of someone else; this was very painful, given the state of them at present. I know I know, I’m such a self-sacrificing hero to the masses. However, the Kentish Town Forum has quite recently had its wooden floor polished, so it did at least provide me with a really great and unexpected opportunity to examine it up close. (Who says you can’t combine a detailed study of interior design and moshing?) Sum 41 also boast “Still Waiting”, which is in the “Top 50 Songs Ever Written” in Cactus World. And here’s the rather excellent video for it.
“So am I still waiting, for this world to stop hating? Can’t find a good reason, can’t find hope to believe in”. Lyrically, a powerful blast of nihilistic energy and a song inspired by the dreadful things that happened on September 11th 2001. (It obviously brings out the music journalist in me too.)
Tonight I watched Sherrybaby, a film starring the very lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal. Another film about a dysfunctional family and well worth a watch. Very good acting and a very realistic feeling film too.
Right now I’m listening to a live version of “Apathy” by Subhumans.
How exciting, I just checked and discovered that I’d got my first bit of spam here! But really, does Penny look like the sort of cat that wants to see Russian bondage porn? (Well it was hardly aimed at me was it? It’s not like I’ve made a career out of regularly commenting on this specific topic, so I can only imagine Penny’s been using the computer when I’m out and signing up for a range of dodgy literature to be sent to her; we’ll be having words about it later.) But here’s a little tip anyway, to all those that make their living from sending out spam. If you’re going to send porn to cats, do at least make it feature young, naked, live mice, splattered with a thick layer of catnip juice, wrestling in the jelly from a can of extra meaty Whiskas Supermeat. Now that’s hardcore.
Right now I’m listening to “Coppers” by Rancid.
I drive a car; it’s a company car; it’s a Ford Focus. I try not to use it too often, as it’s a car and cars are the spawn of the devil in environmental terms; however, I do find I need to drive one for my job from time to time. It’s now about 4.5 years old. As such it’s been entirely reliable, except for one tiny, tiny little detail; the fucking thing has an inability to hold any sort of change in its battery! It’s been four days since I last drove it and this morning it won’t start, again. I can’t even bump start it down the slope, as for the first time this winter (and I know it’s winter as I had to put the heating on at home last week), the windows are all frosted up and I can’t see a thing out of them. I can’t even wind the window down to look out of as they’re electrically operated. I also can’t easily clear the windows, as I broke my last window scraper last winter and haven’t quite got around to buying a new one. (I did try once but Halfords was sold out. How Halfords “We Go the Extra Mile” and probably the biggest vehicle superstore chain in the country can be sold out of windows scrapers I don’t know, but there you go.)
I’m presently waiting for the breakdown vehicle to come out (for I think the fifth time this year) to get it going again. It will probably be the same guy again. In fact with my busy social life I probably now see this chap more often than any of my friends; he’s going to start thinking I fancy him or something, as no one can really have such an unreliable car can they? (Not that I have any friends as I’m a total loser and socially inadequate.)
No it’s not the battery. A new one was fitted less than a year ago. Anyone who remembers the fun I had then getting it imported from Inner Mongolia (well it’s a Ford Focus, so it’s apparently pretty exclusive and requires obscure parts) will remember that this isn’t a new problem.
No it’s not the electrical system. It was in the local Ford dealers about two months ago getting the problem ‘fixed’. (Like the same dealer has ‘fixed’ the missing hub cab three times after I’ve asked it to, which strangely still seems to be missing. Or the cracked button on the hand brake, which looks remarkably similar even though I’ve asked for this to be replaced twice. )
So basically what it must be is that the engine has been taken over by a supernatural entity with a crap and very limited sense of humour, who enjoys pissing me off. Either that, or Ford make shite cars (and run even more excrement fuelled dealerships who’s mechanics couldn’t organise a children’s party in a Toys ‘R’ Us store). Humm, choices, choices.
Right now I’m listening to (somewhat inappropriately) “Maximum Joy” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Well, Cactus World has survived its conversion from Live Spaces to WordPress, just. I’ve a lot of battle damage to repair over the next few weeks and I have a feeling that those of us that lived through it (so that’s Penny and I) will probably never be quite the same. It was touch and go at times, I really wasn’t sure we were going to make it through; it was very much a one-way trip and the idea of a one-way trip to nowhere didn’t exactly inspire me; I don’t especially like travelling at the best of times. The emotional scars are there on so many levels. It’s not something that I, or probably many people, could ever express in words; (and you can probably imagine how difficult it is for Penny, with only a few variations on meow to pick from). But I just know things will be different in future.
When I need to reflect on life, I tend to look for analogies from Star Trek, Thomas Hardy or punk; (and quite frankly, let us all face the truth, right here, right now; what else is there)? To reflect on this particular experience, I’ve decided that the following video sums it up pretty well. (For Xindi substitute WordPress and for Cactus World read Enterprise). Enjoy!
It really was exactly like that, over dramatic looks at one another, explosions, stuff falling out of the ceiling, Penny running about with a fire extinguisher. Whilst this Home Page may look okay now, everything else is still a bit of a shambles. We were ‘that’ close to going under. To be continued….
Right now I’m listening to “Underwear Goes Inside the Pants” by Lazyboy.
In all great TV series, the episodes which pit our heroes against their own side or prevent their very destruction, are often some of the best. So in the same way, today comes the news that Cactus World itself is under threat of being closed down by Microsoft; (okay, along with about 6,999,999 other blogs, or 30,000 or 30 million, depending on what you read, but that’s not the point). And to be honest and without wanting to spoil the ending, it really appears to actually be more of a promise than a threat. When I logged in tonight I got some message about being forced to transfer everything to WordPress or die; (well that’s not exactly how it was put but that’s what it meant.)
Is this really the end for Cactus World? What is WordPress? It sounds quite painful, (if you’re a jumble of letters anyway). Is my admitting I’ve never heard of it a cyber social faux of the worst sort? Will the eye bursting colour scheme be no more? Does anyone even care? Is this really ‘it’ for Cactus World, after nearly five years? Or will it regenerate, in a similar manner to Doctor Who? (God knows what hell will break forth once I press the “Migrate to WordPress or Die” button. )
Actually, what really frustrates me most is that I’ve made up around 434,674 social networking profiles on different sites over the past ten years, yet strangely the only site that I haven’t used, Facebook, seems to be the most successful and enduring. Can’t they just leave things alone for goodness sake! These days, not having a Facebook profile means you’re virtually living off the grid. At least it’s taught me that I should never gamble or dabble in the stock market, not with my luck.
I have to say Live Spaces has been a pretty crap site to try to keep a blog on for the past five years; everything is so disfunctional. Perhaps you have to risk all to truly gain everything? (That’s probably way too deep for me to understand.) However, what worries me most is that WordPress looks so depressingly corporate that I’ll be forced to wear a suit every time I blog on it; and I don’t own a suit. I wonder if you’re allowed to write bad words down?
It was fun. Oh my.
Right now I’m listening to “Gun in Your Hand” by Lagwagon.
Mentally ill or just a nasty fucking human? You decide!
Right now I’m listening to “Low Winter Sun” by Therapy?
(Read the following in a Hollywood movie trailer voiceover voice; you’ll get a lot more out of it if you do.)
This Summer, no one is safe, as danger, famine and heartbreak threaten Cactus World. This time it’s personal…
(Okay, you can stop the stupid ‘voice in my head’ now.)
2) No gigs for six weeks, due to the World Cup. (Seriously, I had bad withdrawal symptoms; I was in physical pain).
3) No rain and lovely sunny weather. (Nice!)
4) Big Brother on TV. (Yes I watch it, what you’re gonna do about it then?)
5) Watching the whole of Andromeda on DVD, part way through Season 4 now. (Great, massively underrated TV series, except the first half of Season 3 which is, quite frankly, pants.)
6) A new electric toothbrush. (Never mind removing plaque it’s my whole head I’m more worried about, it’s like trying to brush my teeth with a Lightsaber on speed. It takes two hands to tame its awesome power.)
7) Spending my entire month’s salary in under two days (and over half my £200 overdraft too.)
8) Buying the entire back catalogue of Doctor Who on DVD over the past couple of months, including Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures, plus all the lost episodes on CD. (Well it was part of my childhood.)
9) Realising that 7 and 8 above have more than a little in common. (I’m so irresponsible with money, so it’s lucky I never seem to have much for long.)
But never mind all that, instead celebrate Doctor Who with me with the wonderful “Doctor Who” by Parry Gripp.
Right now I’m listening to “Popcorn” by Hot Butter.
I’m sending this post from my secret underground bunker, so my apologies if it’s a bit of a mess as when I designed this place I forgot to include any lights, so it’s somewhat dark (well pitch black really) in here and I’m having to type from memory, never a popular option for me.
I’m in the bunker as I’m fighting a war against Them!. But let me start from the beginning. It’s hard to believe how hot it was just a few days ago, but, em, it was. So I decided to open my bedroom window to let some air into my flat. Penny loves the window being open too, as she can hang out on the window sill between the plants, smelling the air and generally watching what’s going on below. Unfortunately, unbeknown to me, ‘they’ had been spending the winter preparing their forces ready to invade my flat and take from me everything I hold dear. The open window and warm weather gave them their opportunity. Before I could work out how to pronounce “zcghrtjhewjg srdlrktl’s hzzwquft” they were in, ants, the size of people (probably). At one point during the ensuing battle there must have been nearly ten of them in my bedroom! It was horrible. One night I was even forced to retreat and sleep in the lounge, such was my worry that they’d take advantage of me in the night.
Now I have to remind people at this point that I’m vegan, although there’re three types of animal I have a pathological hatred of, wasps, sheep and ants. I don’t wish them ill but quite frankly the day someone lends me a time machine I’m going to go back in time and tinker a bit with evolution to ensure they never come into existence. Anyway, after a while I realised that The Ants were not taking my attempts at negotiation seriously; even my offer of a temporary summer home for them in one of the pot plants was rejected; I guess they thought they could take more by force. It became apparent to me by Day 2, that I wasn’t going to win this war through talking or conventional warfare, (keeping the window closed, flicking them outside when I found them, etc). They were just like the Borg. I was facing the ultimate fighting force, one that seemingly had an endless supply of troops that never lose morale; they also seemed to have perfected the ability to teleport into my room too, as I never did work out how the hell they were getting in; even with the window closed they still appeared, walked about and did there diobolical ‘ant stuff’ in my bedroom, whatever that is exactly. I even found one in my bed at one point, bloody pervert. I will probably never recover from the emotional turmoil of it all, but in the end I was forced to use the Nuclear Option. I had no choice. I reasoned that in the end it would shorten the war by perhaps many months and ultimately reduce the suffering of millions (well me anyway). It was a tough decision but that’s what I’m here for when it comes down to it. So I ordered the full deployment of a bottle of Dettol Anti-bacterial Mould and Mildew Remover (which I just happened to have in the bathroom) and a can of Johnson Raid Ant & Cockroach Killer “kills in seconds and last for weeks” (that I purchased from a local arms dealer, codename “the corner shop”). In fact they had to be deployed a number of times and I’m ashamed to say that the collateral damage was considerable, my hands smelt of bleach for days, two black t-shirts and some bedding were caught in the blast zone and now have brown bleach marks on them, whilst the window sill itself, the main combat zone, will probably never look the same again as the varnished wood surface has been partially destroyed. It was all pretty horrible and most annoyingly I felt really bad seeing these horrid little insects perish one by one. I feel like a mass murderer without a sociopathological shield to defend me from the emotional effects of what I’d done. I will probably need counselling now. However, as a means to an end it worked and my bedroom has been ant free for several days. Which makes me wonder, why am I still sitting in this bunker? Duh!
Writing this has actually made me itch all over. Eew.
Right now I’m listening to “Sad?” by the BMX Bandits.
Travel and comedy news first. I went to Milton Keynes by train today, to meet someone who works for Network Rail. You have to admit there’s a certain symmetry in that. On the way back I travelled with my boss as far as London. We were discussing the attributes of e-mail; my suggestion that my boss gets his family to e-mail him when they want him for anything when he’s at home, thus ensuring they don’t get forgotten about and he can do more work at the same time when they don’t need him, certainly amused the man sitting opposite us! (You probably needed to be there.)
In financial news today, I’ve just had to spend £243.80 on a new pair of Shure SE530 headphones, as for some reason one of the earphones on my existing pair has apparently sneaked off and got itself a part in a slasher film and has now been almost totally decapitated. Strangely, the fact that it’s now hanging on only by the thinnest strand of exposed copper wire doesn’t seem to have done the sound quality any harm. Humm, pairing up probably the world’s best in-ear headphones with plenty of crappy 128bit mps3 files ripped from dodgy old 7” singles perhaps isn’t the most sensible idea I’ve ever had; it’s like dropping a GE90-115B (the world’s most powerful jet engine) into a Smart Car, and then making it drive around Reading in the rush hour. Equally stupidly, I now face another few months of poverty as a result of this unexpected purchase.
Finally, in music news. In 1979, my favourite four bands in the world were the Undertones, the Buzzcocks, the Stranglers and the Monochrome Set. The Monochrome Set have now reformed, thus giving me the opportunity to actually see the four best bands in the world (in 1979) 31 years later. This is good news. It’s probably on a par with the invention of, em, something really very good. I probably ought to sound more exciting; trust me, I’m celebrating on the inside.
Right now I’m listing to “Wide Open” by Reset.
This year I’ve really got much more into ska and reggae (mixed up with punk and various other things); just as well really, as the UK music scene in general is pretty weak at the moment so there’d not have been a huge number of decent gigs to go to otherwise. There is a whole (if small) underground scene in the UK (well at least London anyway) that I’d not really come across before. Bands like Sonic Boom Six, Mouthwash, Dirty Revolution, Random Hand, the Skints, the JB Conspiracy, Anti-Vigilante, all great stuff. Oh dear, sad old bloke hits mid-life crisis alert! Well it’s better than my going out and buying a big, open-topped sports car to let my three strand hairstyle blow in the wind.
I was going to have a bit of a rant about the recent election here, but then realised I can’t be bothered; it’s just more grey men in suits with different coloured ties. I enjoyed watching the election night on TV though. I had a pint of lager every time Labour won a seat, a pint of ale when the Tory’s did, a cider for the Lib Dems and a short if another party won anything. That’s over 300 drinks in one night, honest. As part of this ‘election results as an excuse to abuse yourself with alcohol game’ I was also facing the nightmare possibility of having to make myself go and throw up each time the BNP won anything, but fortunately it didn’t; it would have been a huge waste of alcohol if it had. I voted for the Green Party anyway. At least it got its first MP. I’m looking forward to a wind farm outside my lounge window anytime now.
Right now I’m listening to “All the Rest” by Stiff Little Fingers.
I buy two tickets every week in the National Lottery. Winning the Jackpot is effectively my retirement plan and a whole lot simpler to sort out than all those pension scheme things you read about. Anyway, it’s been a long time since I won anything on it so I’d started to imagine it was saving up the biggie for me. So last week it was no real surprise when it finally happened, I won! I actually won. Now its happened though, I can’t really get my head around it. The money has already been transferred to my account so it’s definitely true. I must have ticked some ‘no publicity’ box at some point, as I’ve not been hassled about being involved in any of that sort of thing, which is good; I don’t want hundreds of begging letters from those in need as I’m a greedy, selfish slob who’s going to keep it all to himself. I can’t work out what to spend it on first; there is only so large a TV, stereo and computer you can actually buy. (I’ve no imagination okay?) I don’t want it to change my life, but I guess that’s going to be difficult considering what’s happened. I have thought I might go travelling, fly everywhere first class and fuck up the environment a bit; I’ve more than done my bit for it already so why shouldn’t I take advantage of it now? Penny is going to be a bit of a problem, as I obviously can’t take a cat with me, so I guess I’ll have to have her put down. She’s 16 anyway, so quite old. I haven’t told anyone at work yet that I’m leaving. Might buy them a cake or something as a good-bye present, not sure yet.
Actually I’ve just read that back to myself. It’s amazing how winning £10 has turned me into a complete shithead. I’m so shallow.
Right now I’m listening to “One Man’s Meat” by the Lurkers.
The summer has (sort of) arrived, finally. This is a good thing; I’m especially looking forward to hearing the first person this year moan that it’s too hot.
I don’t seem to have written that much here for a while. I’d say I’ve been suffering from Writer’s Block, but as I don’t write anything worth reading anyway, this seems highly unlikely. It would be interesting to be able to say that I’d been abducted by aliens, but as I’ve used this particular excuse more than once in the past, again it seems unlikely that it would have happened to me again. So I guess I’ll just have to say that the dog ate my homework. The fact that I don’t do homework or indeed have a dog either, isn’t that important right now; (geez, some people want every single little fact to add up in life.)/span>
Penny is fine; except with the onset of the warmer weather, every time I stroke her I’m left with what I can only describe as a tsunami of fur that engulfs my entire flat. Strangely this leaves Penny no less furry than before (although I’m sure I do detect just the slightest of smirks on her face whenever it happens), but results in several hours of housework on my part, as I fight my way through the chaos this seasonal phenomena causes. I’m sure I spotted a UN helicopter overhead at one point.
I watched Look this afternoon on DVD. This is a film that was made to look like all the action was recorded on various security cameras and just covers a few days in the lives of a number of people whose stories interact. Actually it’s pretty good and quite addictive.
Em, em, that’s it really. Well, I also had some pasta, (soya) yogurt and three bananas to eat today, had a shower, opened a new bar of soap, realised I’d left the immersion heater on overnight for no reason, did some washing up (mostly bowls and spoons), folded up and put away some washing (mainly t-shirts and socks), wrote a couple of work e-mails, did a few press ups (I used to be about to do 250 now I struggle to do 40), cleaned four wall tiles in the shower (well I clean four every time I have a shower), switched the small fridge up to 5 (as it’s not keeping things cool enough) and drunk several cups of tea (Fairtrade and organic). However, this is too banal even for me to record here; except that it’s apparently not.
Right now I’m listening to “Holding the Wire” by Echobelly.
A nightmare has come upon me. The No Win Scenario is at hand. My very own Kobayashi Maru, but unlike Captain Kirk I don’t think I’m going to get out of this one. Therapy? is playing three nights in a row in London in March, for a live CD, with a different set each night. Unfortunately, on the same three nights Random Hand are playing (on two of them) and the Automatic on the other; I already have tickets for these latter gigs as well. If this wasn’t bad enough, I’ve also got gig clashes to deal with involving the Primitives vs King Blues, MC Lars vs the Stranglers and Stiff Little Fingers vs Power of Dreams. This totally sucks*. You don’t have to like any of these bands (and with my taste in music why on earth would you)? However, I hope you can appreciate my pain.
*for those over 30 this means pisses me off.
Oh yes, happy 2010.
Right now I’m listening to “Live Young Die Fast” by Alkaline Trio.