Thursday, 29 April 2010
That's about as exciting events in my life have been since my last post to be honest. Well, the events I'm willing to write about on here, anyway. Sorry. Er...I'll be getting my tax disc tomorrow. Heart racing bloggage, right there. Oh, fuck it. I don't even know why I'm bothering to write this arse. No cunt reads it anyway. Bye.
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
I did, however, partake in a few activities that involved the exchange of currency - the most notable being my return to the enchanting world of the carboot sale. Back in the mists of time, before I joined the navy, I frequented car boot sales pretty much every weekend. The result of this activity was the assembly of a rather magnificent collection of retro games consoles and software. Said collection was hardly a treasure trove of rare and collectible items: Megadrive, MegaCD, 32X, Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn, SNES, Game Boy, Game.com, Game Gear, Nintendo64, Nes...but I did have a shitload of games for them all. Regrettably, I was forced to flog the lot to Computer Exchange (or CEX, or Entertainment Exchange, or whatever they're calling themselves today) when I graduated from uni because I was massively skint (never!) and jobless. I think I got about £300 or thereabouts for the haul. But I digress.
So, I went to a carboot at the weekend. It took me right back to the 'good' old days. I wasn't looking for anything in particular (although my fair accomplice was hell-bent on finding a picnic hamper, fuelled only by intense and burning jealousy that her housemate has one), but my eyes lit up like beacons when I spotted a MINT condition (Dual Shock) PlayStation on a table...for a fucking FIVER! And by 'mint,' I mean that it had all the wires, two joypads without cheese or rotting flesh stuck between the buttons, and the console itself looked like it had never even been out of the box...mint! It all came flooding back: the heart palpitations; the cold sweat; the overwhelming JOY of finding a retro (ish) console for a knock-down price at a carboot! After some discussion about whether I should buy it, and the pooling of several pockets' (and a purse) worth of change...the deal was done. I also managed to blag boxed copies of Ridge Racer Type 4, Rayman and Colin McRae (RIP) Rally for a quid each. So yeah. I'm now the proud owner of PlayStation. For a total cost of £8, which is pretty cool considering that when they came out, they sold for about £300. Which leads me to remember how much N64s were when they launched in the UK - and the fights outside HMV on Manchester's Market Street when people queueing for one found out that there weren't going to be enough consoles to go around. Fucking idiots.
I was secretly hoping to find an 'as new,' still-sealed copy of Rez or Project Justice for the Dreamcast on an old lady's table and selling for 50p...but alas there wasn't even a whiff of anything DC related. Damned heathens.
Thinking about games for the moment, though - they've played a pretty big part in my life. I can recall any era in my past by thinking about the console that I had at the time. Sounds pretty sad, I know, but they are the one constant thing that I've always owned. No matter what else was going on in my life, be it school, college, university, various jobs or family feuds...I can pretty much remember which console I had at the time. Probably because said bit of plastic was my only real source of fun and entertainment at the time. My only friend. Sniff. Just to be straight - that last bit was what's called 'poetic license.' Just so you know, yeah?
It's payday on Friday. Not that it's much cause for celebration. Pretty much my entire wage packet is already earmarked for some dreary activity - my overdraft, car tax, rent or loan repayments. Due to this, my love (hate) affair with ASDA Smart Price foodstuffs will not be abated this month...and will probably continue into June and beyond. It's not all bad - I'll just be giving the Noodle Snacks and 2% lager a wide berth. And on the subject of lager...it's almost BBQ season again. Had two BBQs in the past fortnight, both of which were superb...and involved chicken breast! When I was a lad, the sole preserve of a BBQ was a packet of Farmfoods hoof & arsehole sausages and a box of economy burgers with added onion and rusk. Usually sold in a box of 48 for 99p. Thinking back, this is probably because the main purchaser of the BBQ fodder was a very, very...almost perpetually skint man. My dad.
Like father, like son eh?
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Like I said, when I was living in Manchester this kind of thing used to happen all the time, until it got the the point where if I saw someone in the street who I used to sort-of know, I'd make a point of avoiding them. Where is this bullshit going, you may ask. Well, with Facebook, you can avoid all that awkwardness and crap. If someone you used to know pops up and requests to add you as a 'friend,' then it's fine. Exchange a brief message, click 'accept,' and all is right with the world. There's no making excuses to get the hell away from them, and no cringeworthy "can I have your number...we'll meet up" moment. Because you know, you fucking know that after you walk away from that encounter, you'll never, ever ring that cunt you just spoke to. And that's life. So yeah, Facebook has it's good points - one of which I've just illustrated up there in the paragraph you've just read with your eyes.
It's not all rosy in the garden of Facebook though. Oh no. And this is what I really want to get off my chest in this post. There are several things that I find vexing when it comes to everyone's favourite social networking site. And here they are:
Some people post short, enigmatic statuses (stati?) about something. They are usually of the sad/fed up variety. They don't give much away, just that they are sad or melancholy for some unknown reason. Why? Because they want fucking ATTENTION. Next time you see someone with 'is annoyed,' or 'is pissed off,' have a look at the comments box. It's the same shit, every fucking time: "what's wrong, hun?" Firstly - anyone who uses the term 'hun' need wiping off the face of the Earth like a bug splatter off a windscreen. I despise that term, as many people who know me will attest. What the fuck does it even mean? Honey? It does my nut in. So, to surmise - sad status updates simply written to invoke an enquiry of the problem. Gets up my nose. Like a Gillette Fusion (see previous post).
The next update variety that I despise is the 'I'm having a great time' update. If you're having such a fucking good time, WHY THE FUCKING SHIT ARE YOU ON FACEBOOK?! Example: "...is in the pub having a pint and a good laugh with my mates." No you're not. You're sat on your jack browsing Facebook because either a) you've got no actual mates; b) because the mates you're with are either outside smoking and you're sat on your own inside waiting for them to come back, or they're in the bogs; or c) your mates are sat at the same table as you, but they're not including you in the conversation because they all think you're a bit of a twat. The reason I know these FACTS? Because I've done it. Many a time! These kinds of updates can be used in any kind of situation, be it at a party, at a concert or anywhere that's meant to be a 'fun' place. Don't do it, people.
Another kind of update that irritates me is the 'too much info' update. For instance: "...went to the shop and bought some peas for my tea, then went for a shit and the shit was green." Does anyone actually give a flying fuck? Negative. So sort it out.
OK, so people can put what they want as status updates, and that's the point of Facebook and freedom of expression, but when people don't even try to write something interesting it bugs me. Who cares about the inanity of somebody else's existence? Not me, for one.
At the risk of sounding like either a cuntish hypocrite or a narcissistic wank stain, I at least try to make my updates humorous or relevant. But even that back fires on me almost daily. People are constantly asking me why I'm so miserable or pissed off/angry all the time, but they are missing the point totally. I could write complete arse, and for the general populous this is fine, but I enjoy in-jokes and slagging things off. I enjoy finding the faults in everyday life and pointing them out - and the best way of delivering these thoughts to the masses is through Facebook. I'm kind of descending into a diatribe here, I know, but the point is that...well there is no point. To fucking anything, really. Just speaking my mind. So arse off if you don't fucking like it.
One thing about Facebook that my cousin recently pointed out (at great length, I must add), is that Facebook is a kind of 'encouraged voyeurism.' And he's got a point. Obviously, it's up to you to decide how much personal information you make available, but the vast majority of people will share their address, telephone number (indeed, my Palm Pre automatically imports people's phone numbers from their Facebook profile!), relationship status...every minute detail about their lives. Add to this the photos, the videos, the interests, the political leanings...and you can pretty much choose any one of your 'friends' and make a fairly accurate profile of the kind of person they are. It's quite scary when you look at in that way. Obviously, you can only look at the pages of people you already 'know,' but this is besides the point - and the single reason that as of today, all of my personal information has been deleted. I don't want people knowing where I work, live or how many times a day I have a danger wank in my boss's office. But it's 3, just incase you're curious.
I don't know how many other people this actually applies to, but I'll be the first to admit that I have gone through various stages of Facebook addiction. You know you're an addict when you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do it check to see if anyone's commented on your status. I'm speaking from experience here, and yes, I know it's sad. Now, I have various actual friends who are scattered around the globe in various hostile environments and their only real link to home is through Facebook, so this particular niggle isn't aimed at them. But there are people whose lives revolve around Facebook and what other people are doing. The number of times I've heard people talking about what somebody else wrote on Facebook, or people who've been caught cheating on their partner via Facebook, or even people who've had arguments on Facebook that have escalated to actual punch-ups, are many. And it all comes down to an unhealthy obsession with the site. It's not right to always know what other people are doing - whether they offer up the information willingly is irrelevant. Having to be constantly looking at what others are doing is akin to being jacked into the fucking Matrix, and I'm just as guilty as anyone else. But no more.
Friends. Friends. I have about 203 'friends' on Facebook. I speak to about 20 of them regularly on the site, and even fewer of them in reality, on a day to day basis. Some people have thousands of 'friends.' These are the people who actually have no real friends, the people who are so fucking insecure and pathetic that they feel the need to garner thousands of virtual sycophantic followers just to feel needed. And what's with people who request your 'friendship' that you've never even met?! What's that all about? I got a request the other day from somebody who'd seen a question I asked on a Facebook forum, liked my question and wanted to be my friend. A little bit of investigating revealed that they lived in Peru and were a devout Catholic. Not got anything against 60-year-old, sexually ambiguous Peruvian Catholics, but seriously - how far is that 'friendship' going to go? As a result, I rejected it.
Just to clarify, this post isn't a declaration of war on all things Facebook. I use it almost daily and I do appreciate the benefits of such a global network...it's just that some aspects and users take things to the extreme. And if it came to light that Facebook was actually a New World Order-backed scheme for keeping tabs on the world's population, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.
Thursday, 8 April 2010
The best thing to do with advice, reckoned Oscar Wilde, is to pass it on. So without further ado:
Fucking nose hair. Ghastly stuff, and I seem to have a talent for growing the shit. I was having a shave today when I caught sight of my nostrils and could've easily mistaken them for a photograph of Murkwood. Without further ado, I embarked upon a mission to fell said nostril-forest as if I was the smog-based baddie from The Legend of Fern Gully. I tried first to do the deed with my fingers, ripping the blighters out, but this proved quite painful; and trying to cut the bastards with scissors also proved a logistical nightmare due to the delicate dimensions of my breathing apparatus - the scissors were simply too big to fit up my schnoz. And then I had an epiphany. I had been using a Gillette Fusion razor to shave my face, and this particular shaving utensil has a nifty little blade running across the top of the razor head that is meant to be used for trimming sideburns, goatees etc. I seized said razor and shoved it into my left nostril, decimating acres of nasal woodland. So far, so good. One nostril: clear. It was as I approached the other aperture that my concentration waned and I ended up smashing the blade up against the septum and cutting a deep gash into it. Cue much bloodshed, stinging pain and lots of swearing. I endeavoured to clear the hairs within said nostril after stemming the flow of claret, but I have learnt a valuable lesson: do not try to trim your nose hair with a Gillette Fusion. Just buy a proper fucking nasal trimmer. Or simply put up with giant redwoods growing out of your conk. And there's the advice. Do with it what you will.
Prior to my Saw-esque encounter with the razor blade, today saw me venture back to see the physio regarding my knackered knee. After walking up and down and performing several ridiculous variations of the 'lunge,' (possibly) simply for her own amusement, she (the physio) came to the conclusion that the reason for my continued knee pain (and now foot pain, to boot*) is that I have one leg shorter than the other! Furthermore, my right kneecap is 'twisted.' As a result, I now have to walk around with a heel-raising insole in my left shoe and my right knee has been taped up to buggery in an effort to 'reset' it's positioning. I feel like Forrest Gump prior to the leg-brace escape scene. I just hope I don't have to have my right leg lopped off and replaced with a MOD-issue steam powered cast-iron replacement. From 1875. It is fucking annoying, not being able to run free, but I'm still nailing the cross-trainer and the weights so keeping on top of my fitness.
I'm off work next week though, and that means no gym access, so in an effort to keep my fitness revolution going I'm going to hit the cycling, and hit it hard. I've been looking into cycling routes around Dorset and fully intend to get my ass up and out onto them. I may be a born and bred city-dweller, but I love cycling and where better to do it than the great British countryside? There must be hundreds of little trails peppering my little part of this green land, and I fully intend to explore a few of them. Hopefully the weather will hold out, which isn't a lot to ask seeing as we've now officially entered British Summer Time.
Should also have some family members coming down to visit from the North in May, and several of them have expressed an interest in hiring bikes and going for rides, so what better reason to undertake my aforementioned mission? Two birds, one humongous stone, wouldst thou agree?!
This is a slightly random and disjointed conclusion to the post, but I've just sat through the Brendan Fraser remake of Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Whilst it's a fairly entertaining family romp, I feel I must make an observation: the special effects are absolutely fucking terrible. In places, it's hard to believe this film was actually allowed into cinemas in this state! In one scene, the hapless trio that make up the main cast are involved in a fairly standard runaway mine cart scenario...but in places, the sequence resembles that subterranean level from Donkey Kong Country on the SNES. Truly pathetic CG, I kid you not. Watch it yourself and you'll see what I mean. Oh, and watch out for the equally bad piranha bit. Laughable stuff, really.
And there I shall bring this particular diatribe to a close.
* pun totally and hysterically intended.
Also this week, I've sat through the mindless bilge that is Gamer. It's got Gerrard Butler in it, and it's about humans who get controlled by other humans in a Gears of War-style deathmatch in order to win their freedom. Yawn. Haven't we seen similar themes umpteen times before? Recent takes on the idea such as Surrogates and Avatar instantly spring to mind and indeed, even one of my short film ideas (that remained on the drawing board due to it's been there, done that nature) while at University was a project titled 'Game Over,' which, funnily enough told the familiar tale of gamers who played a video deathmatch and who were killed in reality if their avatar in the game came a cropper. Like I said, "yawn."
And apart from the usual crap like going to the gym, eating noodles infused with hotdog sausages, and sleeping...I have done very little else of interest. That's the problem with working these night shifts - I'm either sat in work for 12 hours through the night, in bed, in the gym...or back at work again! Not an ideal situation, really, and ultimately excruciatingly monotonous. But what can you do? I don't expect I'll be doing anything more interesting over the coming week either, seeing as I have just enough money to sustain life through frugal food shoppage, but all things come to pass. That's the PMA (positive mental attitude) kicking in. If I actually spoke the truth about how fucking pissed off I am, and how I'd like nothing more than to run naked through a shopping centre with a pump action shotgun...well, I'd probably find myself locked up under some kind of obscure terror/mental health act. And that just simply would not do. So I have four nights left of incredible boredom and eye-burning tiredness to look forward to. In the immortal words of Tony the Tiger: Grrrrreat.
Monday, 5 April 2010
When you go into the main foyer there's this massive stain-glass dome forming the ceiling, which is pretty spectacular. The sliding doors that comprise the entrance portal to this wondrous void are less awe-inspiring - they seemed to open and close at random, leading to some interesting situations involving, well, being squashed between two sliding plates of glass. Elsewhere, the dining area and bar didn't fail to impress me: soft classical music, the aroma of quality coffee, the helpful and polite staff. Tis superb and is as opulent and luxurious as you'd expect a 4-Star hotel to be. Special mention must also go to the lift, which makes a bizarre beeping noise every time it arrives. Why? Is it announcing it's arrival to those people too ignorant to notice the doors opening? Who knows. But it beeps. Oddly.
Apart from being over-awed by the hotel, the rest of my/our time up there in the great industrial North was spent taking in the sights, sounds and (usually quite pungent) smells of the city. We went to Salford Quays (via the newly refurbished Metrolink - which is like the London Underground, but less crowded, over-ground, and without the constant feeling of impending apocalypse) to experience the blistering cold razor-wind and the Imperial War Museum North; we ventured into the Gothic splendour of the John Rylands Library; we were seated in a Slug & Lettuce gastro-pub but then left before ordering any scran because they wanted £15 for a fucking salad; and we even went to the Royal Exchange Theatre to watch a production of Shakespeare's A Comedy Of Errors.
I have to admit that I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to Shakespeare (although I have read Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and...er...The Shakespeare Secret), but I really enjoyed the play, and totally understood it too - which was a bonus, considering how dense my swede is. We sampled other delights of the city (Joseph Holt Mild, a meat pie that required it's own foundations, the Arndale Centre, the Wheel of Manchester, the Printworks, all-you-can-eat Chinese, the Frog & Bucket Comedy Club and the Curry Mile included) during the visit, and I must admit that I was quite sad when Thursday rolled around and checkout time loomed...but all in all it was a bloody marvellous excursion and I enjoyed pretty much every second of it. Apart from the feral kids running around the Museum of Science & Industry and the fucking blistering cold, wind and rain that persisted throughout the duration of the stay. But cest la vie, eh? Many thanks, once again if you're reading this drivel, by the way. No, not you.
So yeah, got back to my oft-mentioned house share on Thursday evening and desperately tried to enjoy handing over my rent money, before going to bed. And then on Friday I jumped in the car and drove back up North to Gloucester to spend the Easter weekend with my uncle, various cousins and several gallons of alcoholic liquid. Which was nice. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and now I'm back at work writing this shit whilst a cretin polishes a weapon behind me. And that, my friends, is not a euphemism. Gotta take the rough with the smooth I guess. Now excuse me whilst I embark on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein...it's gonna be a long week.