Showing posts with label Piss and Moan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Piss and Moan. Show all posts

Monday, 17 December 2012

Glow Your Own Way

Howdy. Been sorting out my big move back to the capital of the North over the last week hence the lack of updates. Took the Goose up the line on Friday morning and stashed it in my brother’s garage before getting the National Express back late last night. I set off at about 6.30am on Friday morning in an attempt to escape the biblical storm that was sweeping across the country and I almost made it – it was only in the last half hour of the journey that the rain finally caught up with me and soaked me to the bone. I know I’ve moaned about this many, many times over the last year – but Christ. Every single time I get on that fucking thing, the heavens open. All last week it was dry as a bone. Ridiculously cold, but dry. And then as soon as I decide to get on the bike and transport it, the rain starts. I’m not stupid enough to actually believe that some arcane rain god has it in for me, but it just always seems to be that no matter how nice the weather is, as soon as I get on my motorbike, it turns shitty.

Apart from the rainy (windy and dark) journey on Friday morning, the weekend was quite pleasant. Spent Friday night at my dad’s and Saturday night I went to a friend’s house party/Christmas do that eventually spilled out into a few pubs. It was in a place called Ramsbottom on the outskirts of Manchester and was a really good event, not least because the pubs around that area mostly seem to be proper ‘real ale’ pubs with good friendly atmospheres. I don’t really know Ramsbottom that well, but from the few times I’ve been there to visit this particular friend, I have quite a positive opinion of it. The place seems to be very ‘old fashioned,’ but not in a horrible, urban decay way – more in a ‘dry stone wall’ way, where a lot of the buildings are made of those grey odd-shaped bricks. There’s also a proper steam railway around there somewhere, so it gets a thumbs up from me. I fully intend to dress as Isambard Kingdom Brunel and ride that quaint fucker one day. 

I went to Minehead a few years ago and we went down to the station there to have a ride on the steam train, but the twat wasn’t running so we just went to the pub instead. So yeah, Saturday night was a bit of a blur involving lots of ale and party food. Earlier in the day I got lost on the ridiculous motorway network encircling Manchester and ended up somewhere near Liverpool when I was trying to get to Stockport (and predictably I also got piss wet through), but apart from that, it was a chilled weekend. 

I got the coach back from Chorlton Street in Manchester and discovered to my horror that it isn’t only Birmingham coach station that charges 30p for the pleasure of being able to have a piss or shit in their toilets. Personally, I think that this kind of thing is disgusting. Charging people to carry out essential bodily functions. I remember when I went to Hull a few months ago and was bursting for a piss, but the toilets in the train station were even more expensive than the two aforementioned coach stations! I can’t remember how much, but I’m pretty sure it was more than the already outrageous 30p levy at Brum and Manc. In case you were wondering, I didn’t use the bogs at Hull, I just emptied my effluent all over the main High Street instead – not that you could tell (this is a joke, by the way – I think Hull’s a pretty nice place, especially since they built that new shopping area). But anyway, enough of my boring life story. 

When I was in Manchester waiting for my coach, I stepped into a shop called Clas Ohlson, which to me at least, appears to be Ikea without the furniture. It’s full of all sorts of tat – from garden tools and kitchenware to electrical and computer accessories. I love it, and could spend ages wandering around just looking at stuff. One thing I did see was this: 

768 colour combinations apparently. Not sure about that.

It’s a lamp. Not just any lamp though - its called 'Glow' and it comes with a remote control that lets you change the fucking colour! How insanely cool is that?! 

Each button changes the colour, the ones on the right adjust the brightness

Standard 'orange' mode

Probably should've tidied up before taking these pictures

As soon as I saw it I had to have it, so I shelled out £30 for it and transported it back halfway across the country with me. What else? Oh yeah – I sold my old iPod on Gumtree as well as my laptop in order to fund my latest ‘big’ purchase – an iPod Classic 160GB. It’s silver and matches the new MacBook Pro I got last week. I’m becoming everything I ever hated buying all this Apple stuff, but you know what? I think I can see why people desire Apple stuff: it just fucking works. It comes out of the box, you turn it on...and it just works. As simple as that. I’ve had no issues whatsoever with the MacBook, and the iPod is just the same. None of those stupid Windows dialogue boxes popping up with error messages accompanied by that stupid alert noise. Nothing but silky smooth performance. Sure, the MacBook is only a week old so that’s what you’d expect, but the OS is so much better than anything gaudy old Windows 8 could ever be, what with its hideous neon squares and incompatibility issues. Urgh. I played around with a Windows 8 PC in Curry’s last week and I was pretty horrified by how clunky it felt compared to Mountain Lion...and that was after using the Mac for about 3 days. Am I an Apple convert? Well, I was always slightly into Apple macs anyway (my first job after Uni was selling and demoing Apple G5 Powermacs), and I did all the online exams to gain ‘Apple Product Professional’ status (those RAID exams were fun, let me tell you), so I don’t think it’s a question of being a convert. More a case of ‘I ditched Windows because Mountain Lion kicks ass.’ Or something like that. In other iPod news, I’ve managed to download a piece of software that converts DVDs into mp4 movies that can be played on the iPod – so now I can watch movies on the cross trainer in the gym. Which, frankly, is awesome. Right, that’s enough from me for the moment. Until next time.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Pebbles

While I was waiting for a bus on Tuesday morning, I spotted a guy in the station doing chalk drawings of various cartoon characters on the pavement. I rummaged around in my pocket for my last remaining change and threw it in his hat as a token of good will, and then asked if I could take some photos of him at work. He obliged and I got chatting to him. His name was Pebbles, and he'd been homeless for 10 years but managed to get by on the money he collected whilst doing his pavement chalk drawings. His nickname, so he told me, came about after he started creating drawings on the beaches of the south east with pebbles and other flotsam that had washed ashore. He was a really nice bloke and is a totally self-taught artist (his words were "I can't play the guitar so I bought some chalk and taught myself to draw"), so I thought I'd post a few images of his little display from Tuesday morning.

Incidentally, when I got to Birmingham coach station later on Tuesday morning, I was bursting for a piss. I found the toilets but there was a 30p levy for using them...and I'd given all my change to Pebbles before getting on the bus. I then had to wait 40 minutes on the brink of pissing my kecks until I got on my connecting coach, whereupon I made a bee line for the stinking chemical bog at the back and unleashed a torrent of piss more akin to a fire fighter's hose jet than a human widdle. Just so you know.







Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Frying Pan

Just looking at my calendar and I've seen that I only have five months left to endure in this dump. That's a relief. I was beginning to think this misery would never end. I don't know why I do it to myself, I really don't. I wanted to leave the military because I was sick of being surrounded with people with whom I couldn't have an intelligent conversation, and now I'm surrounded with...well no-one. I believe the phrase is 'out of the frying pan, into the fire.' 

I should have just gone home when I shed that uniform, but I thought I knew better, thought I could just transplant myself into a new town and instantly have friends and a social life and all that other shit you think you'll get when you move to a place with other sentient lifeforms. I found out several things the hard way – the most obvious one being that there aren't many sentient lifeforms in Gloucester, and the ones that do exist don't speak to you if your accent isn't the same as their weird medieval drawl. 

Honestly, it's driving me fucking mental – all I can think about is going home. It's got to the point where I can't even focus at work because all I can think about is how much I despise being in this town, how much I hate them all. Just walking down the street forms a ball of pure hatred in the pit of my stomach...it's taking over my life. I guess it's because there literally is nothing else in my life apart from going to work and going to the gym/running. That's it. That is my existence. And it's horrible. True, I get to see my girlfriend a few times a month...when I brave the horrors of the motorway/wind/rain and mud-strewn pot-hole riddled 'roads' for 3 hours every weekend (well, 6 hours if you factor in the return journey as well) on the motorbike. I'm so fucking fed up...probably why I'm struggling to actually find anything to write about other than how shit everything is, because at the moment...it is. It's like nothing else exists except my desire not to live in this place any more. Fuck the job, fuck everything – just get me out of here. 

When I do get a rare moment of clear level-headedness and actually think about my situation, the answers seem so clear and easy to grasp: jack the job and fuck this place off. Surely mental well-being and a social circle of friends and family is far more important than having something to put on a fucking CV?! I don't know. I'm just pouring my slightly mentally-deficient thoughts out onto the internet. Hopefully, I can look back on this in the future (much how I sometimes look at the archived posts and recall what I was feeling at the time I wrote them) and then laugh heartily (or maybe maniacally) about my ill-fated decision to try to make a life in a new (crap) town. Anyone who is thinking of trying this themselves should think long and hard. In some cases, it may be a risk worth taking, especially if the new location is a town or city that actually has a pulse. If it isn't though, think about how you'll cope with the long evenings of your own company and lack of anything to fill your time with. You'll probably end up hating your very existence and start writing overly negative, world-hating blog posts about your experience. 

In other news, I did finish the book I've been reading. It's called The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks and is the first book in the Night Angel trilogy. I usually stick to science fiction when it comes to literature, but this book is a bit of fantasy novel set in a Tolkien-esque world of magic and war. It tells the tale of a young lad who is brought up in the slums but ends up becoming a kind of assassin's apprentice, and ultimately a master of killing (with a few magical powers too) that can (probably) change the fate of the world. It's a great read, and I recommend it to anyone who likes to root for the underdog. I've just started the second book in the series and hopefully it'll be every bit as epic as the first one.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Dreddnaught

One of the things most car drivers take for granted is the fuel gauge on their dashboard. I don’t have one on my current bike, due to the no-frills nature of the instrument panel. All I’ve got is a speedo, a rev counter, indicators, neutral and hi-beam icons. That’s it. No fuel gauge, no oil temperature...nothing but the basics. It’ll probably come as no surprise to read then, that on Monday afternoon I ran out of petrol. On the M5. It wasn’t a particularly nice experience, especially as I was overtaking a lorry at the time. There I was, thundering along at 80mph when suddenly the bike started to lurch and grumble, lost all power and started to slow down. Luckily, the motorway was fairly quiet so I was able to indicate into the outside lane and then trundle to a halt on the hard shoulder. I wasn’t actually aware of the reason for the bike’s reluctance to start up again (I just thought it was a re-occurrence of the problems I had a few weeks ago) until I opened the fuel tank and shook the bike from side to side. Empty. Great. I was two miles from the junction I was planning on coming off at so I had no choice but to push the Suzuki up the hard shoulder and up the ramp and then negotiate a bridle path before finding a petrol station. I filled up, and she started first time. So, if you happened to see a bloke pushing a Suzuki Goose up the M5 on Monday afternoon – that was me! 

Also, let this be a lesson to you: never underestimate the power of the petrol gauge. To be fair, I’ve had the bike for a few weeks now, and the only time I’d actually put any fuel in it was when I put a fiver’s worth in...erm...a few weeks ago. So I’ve only got myself to blame really. Small engine bikes are so fuel efficient, you almost forget that they actually require fuel, and without the gauge on the dash screaming ‘put some petrol in you dick!,’ it’s easy to forget. Furthermore - Suzuki Gooses (Geese?) are heavier than they look, so pay attention to your petrol level, fellow non-gaugers.

It wasn’t all bad though – my faith in humanity was restored slightly by the number of other bikers who pulled over to ask if they could help. When I told them I was out of fuel, most of them offered to take me to the nearest petrol station...but then we realised I had no petrol can and that it would require going back down the motorway to the next junction and coming back up on the other side in order to get back to the Suzuki. So I just resided to push it. But to those helpful fellow motorcyclists, I say thank you: you just don’t get that kind of assistance when you drive a car. 

I went to see the new Judge Dredd film the other day. I had high hopes for it, seeing as I’m quite familiar with the comic-based version of Dredd. Back in my early teens, 2000AD was one of the many periodicals I would waste my mum’s child benefit money on (or, if I happened to have a paper round for that particular month, my own money), so the Dredd character is one I have a particular interest in. When I actually sit and think about it, 2000AD and the various ‘Tharg’s Future Shocks’ spin-off comics were probably my first real exposure so science fiction, so you can see why I was really rooting for this new movie to be kick ass. I love the whole setting of the franchise – the huge, dirty mega cities, the idea of a no-man’s land outside the city walls, the dystopian lifestyle depicted within said walls. It’s like Blade Runner and 1984 rolled together, but with a bit of dark humour thrown in for good measure. 

The first Dredd movie didn’t do particularly well at the box office, but I still think it’s a pretty decent film (even if Dredd/Stallone does take his helmet off). I reckon the reason for that film’s lack of success was that the whole Judge Dredd thing was/is a British comic strip and American knowledge of it in the early 1990s was pretty limited. I’m guessing most people in the US had no idea what the fuck Judge Dredd was meant to be when the Stallone version launched. What? It’s a courtroom drama? Set in the future? With Rambo in it? I’ll pass, thanks. 

So the latest take on the Dredd universe? Well, it’s pretty fucking good to be honest. I wasn’t sure what to think when I heard that Karl Urban had been cast as the main man, but his performance was outstanding. And his chin/grimace is more ‘Dredd’ than Stallone’s could ever be. The storyline is fairly basic – Dredd and a new recruit (Anderson) get called to a homicide in one of the city’s vast tower blocks (remember the ‘block wars’?) and discover a massive drug manufacturing plot. The drug lord behind the operation then locks the block down and orders her gangsters to flush the Judges out before they can shut her down. It’s a simple story, but set in this world, it’s enough to power an entire movie. I don’t know what it is about Karl Urban, but he just ‘does’ Dredd so fucking well, and the gore and slow-motion effects blend perfectly with the firefights and humour. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a comedy, but there are a few laugh-out-loud moments along the way. 

The only slight criticisms I have of the movie are the lack of character exploration of Dredd himself and the lack of exploration of Mega City One. Remember in the previous movie how the whole thing kind of hinged on Dredd’s past – the way he was cloned, had a long-lost brother and all that shit? And then there were the sections with the flying Lawmasters that showed you more of the city? There just isn’t any of that in this new one. I suppose this just sets up the possibility of a sequel where we get to see more about Dredd’s past and more of the city, so it’s not all bad...but I was left wanting more from the storyline. Also – where was the fucking ABC warrior?! More ABC warriors in the sequel, please. 

So Dredd then. Worth a watch if you’re a fan of the subject matter, but also worth a watch if you’re a fan of the science fiction genre in general, as the pickings at the cinema are a bit thin on the ground at the moment...apart from Looper, which everyone is raving about. It looks intriguing from the trailers I’ve seen thus far...I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be Inception or The Adjustment Bureau all over again. Two films which looked fucking awesome...but turned out to be either incomprehensible bullshit (Inception), or a totally wasted opportunity (Bureau). 

I only really go to the cinema if there’s a film on that I really, really want to see (I think the last thing I saw was Prometheus The Dark Knight Rises), mainly because it’s so fucking expensive. Dredd was only showing in 3D so I had to pay for the glasses too, and even though Cineworld advertise Tuesdays as ‘bargain Tuesdays,’ I still ended up forking out nearly £9 for the pleasure. When I got into the theatre after all the fucking weirdoes watching Anna Karenina had cleared out, I found that I was pretty much on my own and had the entire cinema to pick a seat from. So I sat right in the middle so I could get the best view of the screen and optimum 3D viewing angle. No sooner had I sat down than these two fuckwits came in and sat right behind me. As soon as their asses touched the seats, they cracked open cans of coke, started rustling crisp bags and began a full-blown conversation at the tops of their voices. Fair enough, I thought – they’ll shut up as soon as the trailers start. They didn’t. They carried on talking – at full volume – right through the start of the movie and beyond. When one of them started kicking the row of chairs I was sat in, I turned around and looked at them. This was enough to shut them up...for about 5 minutes, and then they started again. I just got up and moved to another aisle, and even though I was far enough away from the pricks to enjoy the rest of the movie, I could still hear them from the other side of the auditorium during quiet moments in the film. Who does that? Who pays nearly ten quid to go to the cinema and then talk through the whole fucking movie? I was determined to find out. 

After the credits started to roll, I went outside and waited for these two fucktards to emerge from the cinema. Because of the lateness of the hour and the small number of people watching the film, I easily spotted them after about 3 minutes of loitering, and I approached. “Thanks for the running commentary,” I began, “I really enjoyed paying £9 to listen to you talk through the entire film.” One of them was quite big and I was expecting trouble, but he stepped closer to me and apologised. I didn’t want his fucking apology at that point, but I was glad I’d given them a piece of my mind, as most people today just let shit like this slide because they’re scared to open their mouths in case they get shanked. Not me. If someone threatens to shank me, I’ll shank the fucker first – in the eye. But that’s just how I roll. Anyway, this bloke started apologising whilst the other one was suddenly quiet. Turns out it was a dad with his mentally handicapped son. The son is on medication for his extreme ADHD and other mental issues and that’s why they were talking – it’s the only way to keep the son’s attention and stop him wandering off etc. I did feel a bit bad about jumping to conclusions and having a go at them without knowing the facts, but how the hell was I supposed to know? I can totally see why the guy took his son to the cinema at 9.30 if he has to talk to him through a showing...but why sit right behind the only other person in there?! Jesus. 

Last bit of overly geeky horse shit: I’ve finally discovered why I can’t play original Xbox games in my 360: the hard drive. You see, my 360 is one of the slim ones, but it’s the matte black 4GB version. I discovered, much to my dismay mere weeks after I’d bought it, that 4GBs of memory simply aren’t enough if you want to install games and demos etc on your system. So off I went to eBay and I got an unbranded HDD for peanuts, whacked it in, and hey presto – more space than I’m ever likely to fill! Winner! Alas, I’ve since discovered that due to the lack of a partition for the saving of original Xbox game files, this unofficial hard drive renders the console unable to load original Xbox games...so no Halo 2 or Outrun 2 unless I go and give Microsoft even more of my hard-earned for an official hard drive. And to that I stick two fingers up. 

It’s the Bristol half marathon this Sunday and I’ve already got my race number and timing tag etc. This’ll be the first race I’ve taken part in this year where I haven’t been totally smashed the night before, so I’ll be sure to divulge on here how I get on. Bearing in mind that all of the previous post night-out races have resulted in either personal bests (Sturminster Newton ½ Marathon) or podium finishes (Puddletown 3rd and East Manchester 2nd), I reckon it’ll be interesting to see how I get on.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Permission to Scream: Authorised

Well, I finally sold the Honda. I suppose that should be a cause for celebration seeing as it’s been the source of quite a bit of stress over the past week or so. Ever since I bought the Suzuki, I’ve had the burden of entering the murky world of vehicle sales looming over me like some kind of sentient shadow. A bit like Count Dracula’s in that shit movie with Neo Anderson from The Matrix in it. But hold the champagne – the celebrations haven’t been given the all clear just yet. One word: Paypal. I’ll come back to that in a second, but first let me explain why getting rid of the Honda has been such a pain in the ass.

The first and most important thing I had to contend with was actually getting the bike exposed to a buying public. I advertised it on eBay as a classified listing and had exactly zero phone calls for about a week, before noticing (quite by chance)that eBay had placed a totally random telephone number in the ‘contact the seller’ section. I clearly remember entering my actual phone number, so where this random string of digits came from, I don’t know. I know some services offer a ‘number masking’ thing, where buyers only get to see an 0800 number to protect your identity, but eBay never offered one: this random telephone number seems to have been entered seemingly at random. Odd. Suffice to say, that after entering my correct details I had a call within an hour that led to the eventual sale. But we’re not at that point just yet. Due to the lack of interest from eBayers, I decided that putting the bike up for sale on several websites would garner more exposure, so off I popped to Gumtree.

I’ve sold things on Gumtree before, but the kinds of people who respond to Gumtree ads tend to be the ones who bring a certain odour with them when they turn up to buy stuff: that of sweat and faeces. Why? Who knows, but they do. Anyway, I tried to post an advert in the motorcycles section of Gumtree, but every time I did, the advert appeared in the ‘cars’ section. This happened about 7 times, and every time I tried to contact customer services to ask why, I was met with an automated response with a different (stupid) name attached at the bottom. People like ‘Gary Sultana’ then started to bombard my inbox with requests to take a customer satisfaction survey and such like. Here’s my customer response, Gary Sultana: take your ridiculous name and go fuck yourself you prick. Your service is nonexistent and your website is a fucking joke.

I’m pretty sure one of the emails was from an actual person – somebody calling themselves ‘Liam Henderson.’ I wrote a lengthy and polite email to customer services explaining that I was trying to place an advert in the motorcycles section and that my advert, once accepted, would continue to be placed in the cars section, ergo anyone searching for a motorbike would not see my advert...because it was in the wrong section. You get the idea. Liam Henderson sent me a reply saying this: “Your advert is in the section ‘Cars, Vans & Motorcycles – Cars – Honda’...seems like the right place to me.” FUCKING MORON! At this point, I realised that trying to communicate with this online entity was like smashing my head repeatedly against a submarine hatch, so I admitted defeat and put a filter on any future Gumtree mail sending it automatically to the ‘junk’ folder.

I also paid £15 to have a third advert placed on the pages of MCN (that’s Motorcycle News, for those not in the know), and I didn’t actually have an issue with it, other than a few calls from people who were from hundreds of miles away asking if I could deliver the bike to them (erm...no. That’s not how buying a vehicle works).

Even in the face of this web-based adversity, various time wasting phone calls, and several visits from people who were clearly trying to get the bike off me for a fraction of the advertised price, I managed to sell the bike. The guy rang and emailed yesterday (after I amended the aforementioned eBay contact info issue) and seemed like quite a keen, decent buyer. He turned up, looked at the bike and we agreed a price (slightly lower than the asking price, but a sensible offer and one I was only too happy to accept after the developments of the past week). The only problem was that it was about 7pm and the banks were all closed so he couldn’t get the cash out for me. We decided to use the Wi-Fi in my flat so he could send the cash to me using PayPal, which seemed like a perfectly acceptable method at the time. That is until a) I realised that PayPal had siphoned off about £50 for the pleasure; and b) I got an email from them saying that my request to withdraw the payment to my bank account was ‘pending’ until they had reviewed it. REVIEWED WHAT?! The guy was sat in my house chatting with me when he did the transfer from his bank account to my PayPal account. We shook hands, and he left a happy man. Why does PayPal feel the need to stick its fucking stupid face in? I’ve queried this, and been told that it’s for my protection. Eh?! From what, exactly?! 

So that’s the current state of things. I’ve sold my Honda and the buyer is happy with it. I’m happy with the price he paid. But I still haven’t got my money because I made the massive mistake of letting PayPal become involved. And there isn’t a single fucking thing I can do about it.

The morale of this story has several layers. I propose the first one is this: do not sell a vehicle unless it is a matter of life and death. The stress levels you will encounter are (probably) similar to those endured when moving house or losing a loved one (as those are, apparently, the two most unsettling events you can go through in a stable, developed country...although evidence suggests that’s bullshit). Secondly, the internet fucking sucks...or rather, the people tasked with running shit that is based on the internet suck. Ultimately, people are people...and as I stated in a previous blog post, quite correctly in my opinion, people are cunts to each other. The last one is this: PayPal seems to be a company that creates its own rules and regulations and generally they fuck with people’s lives. I’ve had a look at the community forums to see how long they generally take to release users’ cash, and there doesn’t seem to be a definite answer other than: when they want to. Which is quite a big flaw, actually. The closure of my account will be pretty swift once I get my cash – well done PayPal.

I’m quite relieved that this whole ordeal is (almost) over, and when I finally get my money released, it’ll be a good few years before I dip my toe into the world of vehicle buying and selling. I’d like to dip my fist/boot into Gary Sultana or Liam Henderson’s face though. And PayPal’s collective face too, if possible.

In a sudden and rather unexpected change of tack, go here to read my blog post over at the National Archives blog. It’s about Digital Preservation, so not going to appeal to everybody...but go have a look anyway. Expand your horizons and all that shit.

Update: I've just been looking at my PayPal account and it appears I have a limit on the amount of money I can withdraw or send through my account. I've just been on the phone with them and they said that this shouldn't affect the transaction from yesterday and that my money will go into my bank account in the next few days. Gah! If only I'd insisted on a cash payment. Hindsight: what a fucking amazing invention. I'm not holding my breath - I expect a bloody, drawn-out war over this. My Afghanistan, if you will. Further updates as they happen.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Bikes an' Phones an' Shit

Turns out that the issue with my new bike being a twat (by ‘twat’ I of course mean ‘cutting out at 70mph on the M5’) was easier to remedy than I initially anticipated. I visited a dedicated Suzuki Goose fan site and managed to download a pdf of the Japanese owner’s manual. Inside, there was a really helpful diagram showing how the petrol tap should be aligned...and it transpires that having the tap turned to ‘on’ actually puts the bike in ‘reserve,’ and turning to ‘reserve’ allows the main tank to be accessed. Those crazy Japs and their upside-down petrol tank markings! I extend a thousand thanks to the people at www.suzukigoose.co.uk for uploading the manual...although the site doesn’t seem to be updated anymore so I’m not sure they’ll ever know how much I appreciate it. Maybe I could somehow deduce where the webmaster lives by analysing the backgrounds in his photos and cross-referencing against the entire Google Streetview image library, and then turn up at his gaff with a cake and a card. Bit much?

As usual though, another slight problem has arisen – the headlight is held in place by the indicators screwed into the sides through a bracket...but the indicator threads are a bit worn and loose, so there’s quite a bit of play in the angle that the headlight hangs at. This means that it’s pointing at more towards the floor than I’d like and isn’t much use as an actual headlight in the dark (as I found out to my disgust last night whilst riding through quite a poorly lit rural idyll). Hopefully I can remedy this with the replacement indicators I’ve purchased from Amazon. When they turn up I’ll have a go at securing the headlight with more...er...security, and hopefully that’ll be the end of the minor annoyances. These things are to be expected when you buy a used vehicle though, so I’m not too surprised to discover that I need to do a few jobs. And to be honest, I kind of enjoy tinkering with anything mechanical anyway so I don’t see it as a chore. What I do see as a chore is the sun going down way too soon now we’re heading into September, meaning that the work I’m doing has to be done super-quickly and right first time...or it has to wait to the next day. Fucking seasons. Fucking rotation of the Earth. Fucking sun. Fucking space. With futility bordering on the ridiculous, I shake my fist at you all.

Speaking of shit just going wrong, my phone has decided that it no longer wants to function as a phone. Texting and internet browsing – fine, go ahead. Actually make a phonecall you say? Nooo. And that’s because it’s a piece of fucking crap. For a start, it’s made by some tin pot organisation that probably has it’s head office in a back street in Kowloon walled city: Huawei. It’s a pretty basic and budget priced Android phone called the Huawei Blaze, and my initial impressions were that it was quite a good gadget for the price. I think it only cost about £70 and was pre-unlocked so I could just pop my GiffGaff (more on those cunts shortly) sim straight in and start using it. Only after a few weeks did I realise just how shoddy the thing really is. There are massive delays between you pressing any icons on the screen and anything happening, and it constantly locks up. The thing just doesn’t seem to have the power to handle the operating system (Android 2.3.5). Texting is a nightmare due to the lag between screen presses and letters appearing, and most of the other features you’d expect on a smart phone are either complete arse or just don’t work (e.g .the camera is bollocks and the radio doesn’t work). Now, the thing has decided that letting me hear someone when I call them is not within its job description, so all I get is silence through the earpiece. The caller (or called) can hear me, I just can’t hear them. So this thing is getting slung as soon as I can afford a new phone. Trust me – do not buy a Huawei handset, no matter how cheap and enticing they seem: they’re fucking trash.

Moving on to GiffGaff. I wrote about this new(ish) mobile phone network a couple of years ago when I first discovered it and I was full of nothing but praise. How soon things turn sour. I really don’t want to sound like I’m exaggerating but GiffGaff must have the worst network infrastructure on the planet: at least once a month (at least!), the network goes down. Either you can’t send texts or the data isn’t working or you just don’t have a signal, and the first you know about it is when you can’t send a text or whatever and then go to have a look at the GiffGaff website. Because it’s the network ‘run by its customers’ (utter tripe), they don’t have a customer service line – just a forum where you can ask questions. These questions are generally answered by forum moderators and they can be helpful sometimes...but most of the time, if there’s a problem with the network and it’s causing you a major headache (because y’know, you need to use your fucking phone to get stuff done), they’ll just post a generic ‘corporate reply’ with some piss-poor pseudo-apology. If you then write something in reply that is deemed ‘unfavourable,’ all these forum-lurkers who would apparently die for GiffGaff just jump on you and attack your forum post! It’s really fucking savage and one gets the impression that you should never question the shitness of the network or suffer at the hands of the forum campers.

During that network wide O2 outage a few months back, I dared to suggest that GiffGaff sort their shit out. I wish I’d never bothered question the all-knowing GiffGaff moderators. It was like the gates of Troy had opened and twenty thousand armour clad soldiers, prepared to shed blood for their beloved network had just poured out. I logged off and didn’t go back for a week...and when I did, the number of replies destroying me was unbelievable! So combined with the way the network is always offline due to a burst water pipe in a server room (yes, they’ve used that one about 3 times that I know of), the savage way disgruntled customers are treated by these forum cunts (forunts?) leads me to strongly advise against joining GiffGaff. I know that the network ‘piggy backs’ O2 and they usually blame O2 if there’s an issue...but I know plenty of people on O2 who never seem to be constantly without an operational network. So yeah, I’ll be leaving soon I think. I clearly need a new phone and I want to go with a proper network again, so I guess I’ll maybe move to Tesco mobile or something.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Premier Disservice

My next post was going to be about getting rid of my car and getting on two wheels (that’s a motorbike, by the way), but first I feel I need to vent my frustration. Frustration with Barclays Bank. Now, fuck all the shit in the news with them fixing prices or whatever it is, and fuck all that stuff about the Chief Exec resigning and lining his pockets on the way out the door. I want to go all the way down the ladder to the bottom of the pile, where people like me reside. The greasy little people who live in bins and just happen to have an account with them. Hello.

Right – here we go. A few weeks ago I was in Sainsbury’s getting some shopping. A few tins of beans, some bread, apples etc – the usual. I also nipped in to the petrol station on the way out to fill my motorbike up. When I got to the cashier, and handed over my debit card (which worked fine 5 minutes earlier in the main store), I was told it had been declined. The cashier tried it again and was confronted with a message on the till to call merchant services. She did, and after what seemed like an age being on hold, she finally got through to an operator who requested to speak to me. I was told that my card had been declined for ‘fraud prevention’ reasons, and that I needed to answer some security questions, the first of which I couldn’t answer (the incredible exchange went like this: Operator - “what is your home phone number?” Me - “I don’t have one” Operator - “I’m afraid that’s incorrect”). Eventually, I answered the questions thrust upon me like I was in some kind of real-world version of Shenmue, and my card was accepted and I went on my way (after apologising profusely to the queue of people building up behind me in the petrol station, that is).

The next morning, I checked my bank balance online to see if my rent standing order had gone to my landlord, only to be confronted with a message that my account had been suspended due to a fraud investigation! I rang the bank and spoke to somebody in the fraud department and got my account unlocked (apparently, buying motorbike forks and Dreamcast games on eBay flags up fraud activity with Barclays), but I noticed that because of this overnight block (that I thought had been sorted over the phone in the petrol station the previous evening) my rent hadn’t been paid. Cue another call to Barclays, where I was told that the standing order to my landlord 'couldn’t be found,' so I’d have to set up another – which I did. Now, fast forward to the beginning of this month. I check my balance to see if my rent has been paid – it hasn’t. I ring the bank. Again. They tell me it’s been sorted, but low and behold – another issue arises. The next day, I get a letter from Barclays telling me that I had insufficient funds for my rent standing order and that they’re charging me £8 for the pleasure! I check my online banking thingy and discover that they’ve assigned one rent standing order to a side account I never use, and another to my main account. HOW FREAKING INCOMPETENT CAN YOU GET?! So after another bout of phonecalls and explaining the situation to about 10 different customer services idiots (and, fingers crossed, resolving the issue), I think I’ve decided that I’m going to change banks.

You may think this is an overreaction, but in the weeks between these two incidents, I tried to change my account from a £25 a month ‘Premier’ one to an £8 a month ‘Travel’ account, and was then subsequently placed on the wrong scheme so ended up paying an extra £15 for an account I never asked for. And this is how they treat ‘Premier’ customers with various savings accounts and a fully paid-off loan to their credit. I’d hate to be, y’know, someone who just has a ‘normal’ free account. Jesus. Talk about rubbing your customers up the wrong way – here I was thinking I was ‘always right.’ Pfft. Anyway, the point of this uber-rant is that I wanted to get my tale out to the wider world (yes, I know nobody reads this), for my own peace of mind. I’ve got an appointment at another bank today, so hopefully switching my accounts should be done by the end of the month.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

mp3G

Whenever I try to ring anyone on my mobile, I find myself having to dangle by my feet out of the fucking window in order to get a signal. Either that, or go outside so the GoldenEye satellite can get a fix on me and triangulate my Nokia. And that, my friends, is because the mobile phone network in this country is utter dogshit. You may recall that a few weeks ago I was spunking all over my new 'non O2' network Giffgaff, and waxing about how good it was. And to be honest, my opinion hasn't changed. It's outstanding value for money. The only downside is that it still runs on the O2 network...a network that, in all honesty, is about as reliable as an Alfa Romeo without an engine. So, you can imagine my interest when the BBC released a network map of the UK that details the coverage of the 3G signal.

Where I currently reside (and in the vast majority of rural locales I find myself in), you can count yourself lucky if you can get two bars of 2G signal, let alone 3G so all these people with smart phones and other devices that rely on a high-capacity data connection in order to function - forget it. And yet the major networks are all getting giddy about the impending 4G standard that should start rolling out in the next few years.

Now, I'm by no means a telecommunications expert, but here's an idea O2, T Mobile, Vodafone and the rest of you cunts: how about sorting out the 3G coverage before you start looking at moving to 4G? Just an idea. Oh, and while you're at it, how about extending it beyond the boundaries of London? How fucking brazen can you get: I was listening to Talksport the other day - a national radio station - and I heard an advert for Vodafone that was boasting about how good their signal was in London. London! Fucking great! What about the rest of the country you douchebags?! I realise that a lot of people who reside in our nation's capital are probably oblivious to the fact, but there are other places that exist outside of the boundary of London y'know. Sheesh.

But I'm digressing. The crux of what I'm bitching about is this: what's the point of trying to improve the data capacity of the mobile network in this country if the current one is still a pile of festering arse? Surely it'd be cheaper and more useful to improve the 3G coverage as more people currently own compatible handsets. The mind, my friends, boggles.

Other news: Steve Jobs has finally stepped down as the head honcho at the world's most pretentious company. Thinking of sending him a farewell card with a note asking for the reimbursement of the money I wasted on multimple iPods over the years before I realised they were SHIT and stopped buying them. As I've mentioned here in thepast, I've cracked my way through several iPods in my time simply because they stop working for various reasons. Batteries stop holding a charge, chargers break, buttons stop working...I could go on. Anyway, on the subject of mp3 players, my last one (a Phillips GoGear Vibe) died earlier this week and so I needed a replacement to use while running. I headed to Tesco and found this thing for a mere £9.50:






Yes, it looks like something Miley Cyrus might shit out, but I'm quite impressed with it. It's a Samsung Tictoc, and it's clearly aimed at teenage girls, but I'm open-minded. And tight as fuck too, so the £9.50 price-tag was a deal-breaker for me. It's quite an odd contraption - there's only one button but it takes on multiple functions depending on how you orientate the device. Press the button while it's facing upwards and it increases the volume, press it while it's facing the floor and the volume decreases. Press the button while holding the thing horizontally and it skips tracks etc etc etc. It's a bit like a Wii, but in mp3 form. Without a shit-load of rubbish games. Or the layer of dust as it sits under the TV unused since the last strained dinner party with your wife's work friends. Or the stench of the death of Nintendo as a proper games company wafting through the room.


I'm digressing again. So I'll stop.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Snobbery?

Got to work this morning and someone had bought a newspaper and left it on the side. I picked it up. Inevitably, it was The Sun (inevitably, because most of the morons I work with aren't capable of digesting news written in a style other than that of a Ladybird book). Now, I haven't read The Sun for quite a while because there's now a newspaper published in these fair lands called The I, which is an offshoot of The Independent. It's basically a smaller, condensed version of said broadsheet and is in all honesty one of the best rags I've ever had the pleasure of reading. And it only costs 20p - but that's beside the point. The point is, I read The I. Not The Sun. So, one can only imagine the utter disgust I couldn't help but display when I flicked through the nation's 'favourite' red top this morning. It's fucking full of stories about The X Factor, Rihanna's tits and (honestly) a scan of the sea bed that revealed a shape that vaguely resembled the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars. I couldn't actually be bothered to finish reading the fucking thing - so I threw it at the wall and left it there in a sorry heap.

I can't believe that people pay 30 pence to read such festering dogshite. I'm no snob, but after nearly a year of buying The I (and being labelled as 'intelligent' for doing so (it's meant as an insult in the military, by the way)), I'm shocked that this comic can still masquerade as a legitimate newspaper. Atomic Kitten are not news. Amy Winehouse is not news. Joey Barton's Twitter account is not news. I could, rather depressingly, go on giving examples of subjects covered in today's copy of The Sun that shouldn't qualify as news items. But I won't, for fear that I may projectile vomit all over the computer.

I suppose I shouldn't really be suprised that every single person I observe leaving the shop on the base where I live/work has a copy of either The Sun or The Star (spit) folded up under their arm on a morning - the vast majority of them look as if they have only just mastered the ability to walk in a straight line and/or fashion their own name on a slate with a crushed crayon. And if that comment makes me a snob, then so be it.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Bleary-eyed Musings

Well, it's 4am and I just thought I'd check in to spill my thoughts across the technological void. Just finished watching series 1 of Dexter - a US TV show/drama about a psychologically unhinged Miami forensics expert who also moonlights as a serial killer. And I have to say that it's one of the best shows I've had the pleasure of watching. Prior to Dexter, I was pretty engrossed in Fringe - a kind of next-gen X Files clone, but I got a bit bored of it towards the end of season 2 because it got a bit ridiculous and started throwing loads of random new characters in...and just got a bit boring. Same thing happened when I tried to get into series 1 of 24. I know everyone bleats on about how good 24 is, but I got to episode 15-ish (I think) and then got bored. Dexter, on the other hand, kept my attention all the way through. I borrowed the series 1 DVD box set off a friend last week and blasted through all 12 episodes in under 2 days and I'm seriously considering purchasing series 2 and 3 once I have sufficient funds. And for someone who never, ever buys DVDs, that's a strong indication of how good I thought the first series was.

Thinking about it, it's quite apparent that I do have something of an issue when it comes to sticking with things to the end. That's because it something doesn't really grab me, I switch off and let it fall to the wayside. And it's not just TV series - I do it with films too. Most movies follow some kind of formula and with the vast majority, I seem to be able to predict what's going to happen and then just switch off about three quarters of the way through. And then there are games too - I usually get a fair way into a game and then get bored and end up trading it in before I've even finished it. Why? who knows...but I guess I'm just one of those people who needs to be constantly shown something new for my attention to remain focused. Probably why I'm always complaining about being bored. Hmmm. Either that, or I'm just generally bored with my life at present. Yeah - it's most probably that, to be fair. Pfft.

Just looked at the little clock in the corner of the screen. It's 4.35am now. 2 hours to go before I can get the fuck out of this hideous little cell and go to bed. And fuck, do I need to get some sleep. The past 3 days have seen me go to bed at about 7am and then get up again at about 11 to go to the gym or some shit, but I know for a fact that today that simply isn't going to happen. I am absolutely fucked beyond belief and I reckon I'll spend the whole cunting day in my pit. The upside of that is that tonight I (hopefully) won't feel like a wet, crumpled newspaper; the downside is that when I awake I'll only have coming back here to this fucking horrendous cubicle to look forward to.

It's bad news when you hate your job as much as I do. You spend so much of your life at work that when you despise it this much, it has an adverse effect on your whole personality. Look at the facts. If you enjoy going to work, there's a damned good chance that you're likely to be a generally happy or upbeat person. Which is great. If, however, you see your job as some kind of punishment or prison sentence (as I do), and you spend every second that you're away from it dreading going back...then it's going to manifest itself in the form of a generally negative attitude. Hence my current, slightly melancholy outlook on life. Oh, to have a job I enjoy. Oh to have a job where there's someone to actually talk to or have a laugh with. Humph. I have had jobs in the past that I enjoyed, but they were mainly temp jobs and so by their very nature didn't last that long. One particular job I had was working in the reprographics department of a huge law firm in Manchester. The 'workshop' was in the basement of the office block and there was a team of about 5 of us down there basically photocopying documents etc. Sounds dull as fuck, I know, but in reality it was anything but. Normally, we would have to enlarge building plans etc and because the photocopiers were only able to enlarge up to a certain size, we sometimes had to do it by hand, using rulers and massive sheets of paper across the tables. It was actually quite good fun recreating massive scale copies of the documents and architectural plans, and the banter was brilliant, too. Ah...halcyon days! A far cry for the miserable and solitary existence I now lead. Tut.

This post has gone off on a bit of a random tangent (don't they all?!) and I'm bored now (see paragraph 2 for further information), so until the next time (probably 4am tomorrow morning)...adios.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Nights into Dreams

Something is wrong. I finished my shift at 0630 this morning and only managed to get about 2 and a half hours sleep before I had to get up again...and I've been up since then (and been to the gym. And Tesco. And Gamestation), but yet I don't feel even slightly tired. True, I've had about 15 cups of coffee today, but still - I should surely be feeling some kind of lethargy. Maybe it'll kick in at 3am and I'll get court-martialled for falling asleep on duty. Ah well.

As I mentioned just a few sentences ago, this afternoon saw me venture to Gamestation with all of my 360 games with a view to swapping them for something I'll actually play. Previous hopes of getting a good trade-in value for Modern Warfare 2 didn't come to fruition though, as the cunts would only give me £18.50 for six (yes - SIX) games. They were: Fifa 09, Fifa 10, Modern Warfare 2, Red Faction: Guerrilla and Project Gotham 3. I left with Lost Planet 2 and Project Gotham 4. Doesn't really add up thet - especially considering that I also had to pay an extra fiver. But hey. Fresh games come at a price.

Not played PGR 4 yet, but Lost Planet 2 appears to be quite a good shooter in which you get to run around a jungle shooting massive aliens with massive guns. I'll post more in-depth thoughts on it when I've played more than the first few chapters, but initial impressions are positive.

Speaking of jungles, guns and aliens - I went to see Predators last week. Wish I hadn't bothered. That's because it's a nonsensical load of old bilge. Sure - it's better than both of the AvP movies (fuck, eating dog shit is more enjoyable than either of those celluloid carbuncles), but there are so many "eh?!" moments peppered throughout the film that I left with more questions than answers as to what the fuck was going on. OK - I get the basic premise: humans are dropped onto an alien world and then hunted by the Predators...but why is that other Predator strung up on that totem pole thing? And why do the 'dog' things disappear halfway through? And why is Lawrence Fishburn a big fat cunt if he's been living off the land and fighting Predators for so long? And what's with all the half-assed pseudo references to the first film? See where I'm going with this? Basically, I didn't like it. It wasn't a complete disaster (see AvP Requiem for that), but it was well below par in my humble opinion. I just hope the rumoured Aliens prequels end up being semi-decent, or I'm giving up on both franchises.

I might go and watch Inception next week as it's one film I've been looking forward to for some time. That, and Di Caprio's movies are generally quite good. In fact, most of the films I've seen with him in have been pretty damn decent: The Aviator, The Beach, The Departed, Catch Me If You Can...the list goes on. Hopefully Inception will be added to that list, and if the reviews are anything to go by, it won't disappoint. The only slight issue I have with the concept of the movie is thus: all of the 'dream' clips I've seen tend to be set in real-word locations like cities or hotel corridors etc. How often do actual dreams resemble anything like real life? Sure, some do, but the vast majority of my dreams (well, the ones I can remember) seem to take place either in completely unrealistic places or just 'nowhere' and don't actually have a narrative or logical sequence of events. OK- maybe having dream sequences in a film where a frying pan just floats about in front of a rainbow wouldn't actually lend itself to any kind of decent or coherent storyline, but Hollywood always makes 'dreams' out to be totally legible things - not just a load of completely random bollocks...which is what the vast majority of mine are. Just thinking out loud, people.

Anyway. I'm off to heat up some ASDA Smart Price soup in the microwave. Now that's the stuff of dreams. Or is it nightmares?

Perplexions of a Dangerous Mind

Howdy. Been off for the past week and couldn't be arsed writing owt. That, and it's been quite sunny so I've had no inclination to sit indoors on my laptop writing arse just for no fucker to read. But now I'm back for another week of the dreaded night shift, so blog away I will!

Just read on the BBC News website that PC Zone magazine is closing down in September. Seems that a lot of mags are being wound down at the moment because no-one is buying them. I'm not particularly fussed about PC Zone shutting it's doors as I've probably only read it once or twice (I've always been more of a PC Gamer kinda guy), but it's still sad that yet another mag is going to the wall. During my teenage years, my whole life was gaming - buying/swapping games, talking about games, arguing about games, fighting - yes, fighting - about games and reading/writing about games. I was obsessed with games and more to the point, games mags. I regularly bought about 3 or 4 of the things a month and still have the vast majority of them stacked up in a bedroom at my dad's gaff. There are hundreds of them and if someone with a sadder life than mine actually wanted to arrange them in date order (requests via email, peeps), you could probably see which console I had at the time due to the leanings in the purchased content.

I used to get CVG and Gamesmaster every month anyway, but along with those I bought stuff like Mean Machines Sega, Saturn Power, Official Saturn Mag, N64 Magazine, DC-UK, Dreamcast Magazine etc. Because of the mags, It soon came about that I started to think that maybe I could become a games journalist and began writing reviews for a local newspaper (South Manchester Area News...anyone know if it's still going?!). I did that for about 2 years all in all and got paid £20 per article...which was a fair old bit for a tramp like me back then. As usual, this isn't going anywhere - I just thought I'd regale you with a tale of Tomleecee of yore. A trampy, skint cunt who played too many computer games and wanted to write about them for a living. It didn't work out as I planned - I'm in the navy now. But who knows where I'll be in 20 years. I could be the editor of Edge by then. And if I am, I'll sack the whole editorial team and reform the team from Amiga Power circa 1994 and turn it into a decent, fun and entertaining periodical. Edge: taking the fun out of gaming since time began.

So yeah, PC Zone is no more. Which is sad. Sort of.

Did some volunteering last week. I've not suddenly become some kind of charitable avenger of justice - I just did it to avert my attention from the boredom of living in Hades (Somerset). The week before, I signed up with a volunteering website and then someone from the Council rang me a few days later...and viola - the following week I was building a gate in a field. Oh, and removing some graffiti from a fence. And pulling up weeds. It was a pretty good day to be honest and quite a good laugh. I may go back and help out again next week - it certainly beats walking around the town centre on my Jack Jones looking at crap in shops that I don't really want or need but am buying because my life is dull and void of interesting shit. Although, speaking of interesting shit - I'm going to Paris in September with my ladyfriend. Actually quite excited as I've never been to France before - hell, I've never organised a holiday before - so it's a whole new (grown-up(ish)) experience for me. Me - doing 'grown-up' shit. There's an oxymoron right there. Hmmm.

The hotel I've booked is pretty basic (and has received some horrendous reviews), but to be fair - I don't give a flying toss. I spent the early part of my life living in battered wives refuges and homeless families hostels so I'm sure I can handle sleeping in a basic-looking hotel for a week. Furthermore, I'm not going to be sitting in the fucking hotel 24 hours a day - I'm going to be out and about and revelling in the culture and hustle bustle of a 24-hour continental capital city. It's going to be about as far removed from fucking Yeovil as you can possibly get. And for that, I am truly, truly thankful. That's because - and I make no apologies whatsoever for the following statement - Yeovil is a boring cess-hole. But I digress.

Completed the single player campaign on Modern Warfare 2 today. I'm a bit perplexed. Y'see - I was just getting in to it...and then it ended. What a goddamn joke! And what a crap final scene! Sure - I'm happy to take back my previous comments about the game, but the ending is such an anti-climax. Bah! And what's all that shit with the museum thing at the end?! Bizarre. I'm going to take it to Gamestation this week and swap it for Alan Wake or Lost Planet 2. Hopefully they'll give me a decent trade-in amount for it as they've bumped the price of a new copy back up to £44.99...aaaand here I am talking about swapping games again. Old habits die hard, evidently.

I've got more stuff to write about, but I'm going to try and stretch it across the week. Because it gives me something to do when I'm at work, to be honest. Bye bye, me hearties.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Topical Thunder

Imagine sitting in a tiny cell for 12 hours a day with nothing to do but constantly get up to hand ignorant fuckwits a key that they bark the number of as they walk through the door. Imagine doing that for seven days a week. Welcome to my hellish existence. And people wonder why I sometimes appear to be a miserable cunt. Yep, my job involves little more than what I have just described, only augmented with a liberal dose of boredom and a good dollop of feeling like a worthless bitch. So, the next time you may think your job is dull or maybe a little monotonous, spare a thought for me sat in this horrible, tungsten-lit nightmare...where every fucking day is exactly the same. Groundhog day ain't got shit on this...at least Bill Murray could kill himself in inventive ways, safe in the knowledge that he'd wake up again the next morning to the ambient chords of Sonny and Cher. Damn him and his fortune. Damn Bill Murray to hell.

Just seen an advert in the jobs section at the back of The Sun (the newspaper, not the heavenly body) that is advertising a position with a salary between £40k and £100k per annum. What is slightly bizarre though, is that it doesn't actually state what the job entails...just that you need your own car. I'm guessing for that kind of cash, it won't be delivering Grattan catalogues to council houses in Merseyside. Saying that, it could be delivering catalogues to houses in Newcastle - the massive wages coming in the form of danger money, what with that nutter running about with a shotgun up there. Topical and humourous? That'll be me. Guffaw.

It's 'Air Day' this weekend at the base that I'm currently calling 'home.' What this means is that the airfield will be opened up to thousands of plane-spotting geeks and their spoilt, bratty, posh children so that they can wander around taking photographs of old planes and marvel at the Vulcan bomber as it soars overhead burning thousands of pounds worth of aviation fuel every few minutes. Not that I'm all about berating the Vulcan. I've seen it flying a few times at various airshows I worked at whilst I was a recruiter, and it's a pretty impressive sight. I'm just being a moany biatch because I hate my job (see paragraph one, above). That's enough cock and bull for one day. See you next time for more of the same. Bye!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Minimal Pretention

Hello. You must excuse my absence from bloggage...it's just that nowt has really been happening that I thought anyone would want to read about. Saying that - does anyone actually blog about stuff anyone else wants to read about? The answer is: NO. I've been looking at some other blogs on blogger, and the vast majority are complete and utter arse. I'm not saying that the shit I write on here is any less arse, but at least I fucking know that what I compose comes under that heading. I can't actually explain why I get so riled up about this, but blogs with stupid, in-jokey names and have posts about the most mundane crap written in some kind of obtuse manner in order to make the author appear to be a troubled literary genius...well, they fuck me right off. Don't use long words where you can use a short one, dickhead, because contrary to what you may think, it actually just makes you look like a fucking cunt. Oh, and you're not a troubled genius - you're a pathetic amoeba scrawling excrement all over the internet and nobody cares what it is you're scrawling, big words included. So there. And my dad could beat up your dad, too.

As an experiment, go to the top of this page and click 'next blog' or whatever it is in the blogger navigation bar thingy. Chances are, the next blog will be some minimalist bullshit with a little entry written about raindrops on a window with a sultry image of the author holding a rose. FUCK OFF! I wouldn't mind if it was meant to be a joke or something, but the vast majority aren't! Aaaaargh!

Anyhow. Now I've got that off my chest...what else? Went and watched Shrek Forever After the other day with 'er indoors. A word of advice: never go to watch a kid's film at 6pm. Because, invariably, the theatre will be full of...erm...kids. As this one was. Fucking thousands of the little cunts. All screeching and whooping and cackling at the screen. Now, I realise that what I'm saying here is making me sound like Victor Meldrew...but fuck it - I don't give a toss. The film was pretty good...the surroundings slightly annoying due to having to strain to hear the film over all the prepubescent hollering. Furthermore, when we emerged from the cinema, I managed to fall down the steps and land on my back like a complete retard. Winner!

The day after, I went down to Plymouth and got hammered. Which was all well and good...except the drive 'home' on Sunday was slightly emotional due to the fact that I kept (almost) nodding off at the wheel of the inglorious Proton. I stopped a few times in order to get it together, but it was no use - I just had to power through. Got back in one piece though, so it's all good.

Look, I told you there was fuck all interesting happening at the moment.

Another rant though: Facebook. Again.

Right, on my phone (Palm Pre), I used to be able to access three different versions of Facebook: The official Palm 'app,' the official Facebook 'touch' site, and the actual proper version of Facebook that you get on your PC. Now, for some reason I can no longer access the proper version of the site, just the two cut-down 'mobile' sites. These are all well and good for updating statuses etc, but they are too basic to do anything else...you can't view photos without the thing locking up, you can't view photo comments, you can't actually do anything of any real use...in short, it's fucking useless. The thing is, somehow, the powers that be at Facebook have engineered it so that you can no longer access the full site, even if you put the normal url into the address bar...it just reverts to the 'touch' version. Why? WHY?! Fucking arseholes.

I'm off to look at some more pretentious blogs with stupid names. Adios!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Home Truths

Why the fuck can't someone hurry up and invent a time machine? Preferably priced at £9.99? If such an item existed, I'd more than likely travel back to last weekend and change the course of my personal history drastically. As it is, I've lost my abode, lost a lot of self respect and am now on the verge of losing someone very dear to me...all through my own rash stupidity and bad behaviour. I suppose I'm just one of those people who has a self destructive gene. Hardly surprising when I sit back and actually think about my upbringing - most of which consisted of chaos, destruction, violence, women's refuges, homeless families hostels, fighting, violence...and, er, fighting.

Obviously, there was a bit of guidance away from this cycle in the latter part of my adolescence (hence my journey through college, university, umpteen jobs and now the military), but I can't help but feel that if I'd had a more 'normal' childhood (y'know - like not having your toys smashed up on Christmas day by your dad; or seeing your mum beaten up by her subsequent boyfriends) I wouldn't be anywhere near as melancholy or generally self pitying as I am now. Don't get me wrong - I don't walk round with a constant scowl adorning my face (infact, quite the opposite), I just seem to always manage to bring about the worst outcome in any given pseudo-negative scenario. Recent events have only proven to me that I need a drastic change of attitude, but how does one go about changing one's entire outlook on life, the universe and everything?

I have learnt through this past week though, that I must completely change my outlook if I am to change my attitude and subsequently my life, and just writing this is actually making me feel slightly better about recent events. Obviously I give more of a fuck about some of the past week's events than others, but without going into too much private detail (well any, actually), I also need to work out how to repair the damage I have done in certain areas of my life. I know this diatribe is a diversion from my usual rantings about O2, fucking ASDA Smart Price and the like, but it's been a while since I've felt so completely devastated and wracked with remorse over my actions, and I just wanted to vent.

On the flip side of this though, the rational, intelligent Tomleecee is whispering in my ear. You can't please everyone, is what he's saying. And you know - I think he's got a point.

Come back next week and I'm sure I'll be back to my usual crap, regaling with tales of drunken derring-do and bargainous gadgets that I've managed to beg, steal or borrow...but for now, I'm in a slightly pensive mood.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Termination

Went for a run yesterday. It wasn't a proper 'outdoors' run, mind. No, I went on a treadmill. It was the first time I'd actually stepped on one for about 8 months and to be honest it felt a little strange. As I've documented here numerous times over the last few weeks, I've been suffering from a knee injury that was brought about by excessive road running (70 miles a week on average), but yesterday's return to the treader has had no repercussions whatsoever. So hopefully, I'm fixed! Like the 6 Million Dollar Man, but on a budget of 28 pence. I'll still exercises some restraint with my...er...excercise over the next few weeks so I don't encourage my knee to go tits up (?) again, but hopefully I'll be back out pounding pavement like the good old days soon. Possibly won't be trying to crack 20 milers like I was doing...but we'll see how it goes.

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.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Big Brother is...

Facebook. It's a modern phenomenon. Pretty much every fucker I know is on it, and in my opinion it's a society-defining application. Back in the olden days, before Facebook, if you lost touch with someone or lost their mobile number or something (in my case usually by losing/breaking my phone whilst out pissed), that was it. No more contact until you randomly bump into them 6 years after you last saw them. This happened to me loads of times before I entered the world of Facebook and to be honest, these situations are generally quite awkward. Awkward becase you find yourself face to face with someone you used to know but haven't seen for fucking ages. Any common ground you had has long since been swallowed up by the canyon of time and so you just end up asking the same fucking moronic, 'polite' questions: how've you been; where are you working now; what've you been up to...BUT YOU DON'T FUCKING CARE. I'm just being honest, people.

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:

Status Updates

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.

Privacy

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.

Addiction

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. 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.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Mind Slurry

Urgh. Checked my bank balance last night. More overdrawn than I thought. Fuck sake. How the FUCK do I manage to spend so much money and have so little to show for it? It's not like I live in an episode of MTV Cribs or owt. So yeah, I'm horrendously overdrawn and my next wage will be swallowed up by the Black Hole of Barclays. Next month's gonna have to be excruciatingly lean if I'm to claw my way out of this bog. And by 'lean,' I mean 'fucking boring.' Because that's what it all boils down to really ain't it? We all (well, some of us) work, in an effort to earn money in order to live...but when it all boils down, modern life in a 'developed' country is all about the pursuit of entertainment...stimulation of the mind. And that's it.

It makes sense when you think about it - if you flout the rules of society and commit a crime, your punishment is the removal of all forms of stimuli, ie prison. Well, that's the theory, anyway - but most of the tabloids would have us all believe that 'lags' all live in fur-lined cells with four poster beds, solid gold Xboxes and enough cake and sweets to enable them to become disturbingly plump. No, what I'm getting at is that without money, it is hard to entertain oneself and ultimately the main goal in most people's lives is to find entertainment. So by overspending last month, next month will essentially be a form of prison for me...a massive, Butcher Bay-esque prison of long, quiet days and drawn out, mind-numbing evenings. Urgh, urgh, and thrice urgh. Spot the oxford comma, win cock all.

Apart from being eternally broke, there is another thing that really, really annoys me and I feel I must write about it here. It's blokes...talking about football. Now, I love football. Can't get enough of it. I love playing it, love watching it, love playing it on the computer...but talk about it?! I can't think of anything worse. As I write this, I can hear people talking about football. And it's sapping my will to breathe. It's just cliche after fucking cliche. A pale imitation of the kind of horse manure that tumbles from the lips of Garth Crookes or Alan Hansen during any edition of Match of the Day, only without the action replays. It really fucking winds me up, even more so when I'm roped into the conversation. I don't give a fuck about West Ham's game with Wolves. I don't give a fuck about Tevez. I don't give a fuck about fucking Liver-fucking-pool! AAAARGH! I'll happily sit there and watch a match...but please, don't try to talk to me about inane footy-related subjects...because I'm likely to slap you. Or fall asleep.

Got hold of the third book in the Takeshi Kovacs series a few weeks ago. It's called Woken Furies, but I've not started reading it yet because I can't be arsed. I think I only bought it because I've read the first two and the completest in me forced me to purchase it in order to silence some little part of my soul that would boil and burn in anguish forever if I didn't. Like one of those weird kids at school who had to have all of the Teeny Terrapins out of Kinder Eggs. Fucking Kinder Eggs. What a load of arse those things are. The suspense...the awe...the horrible 'foreign' chocolate followed by the life-altering depression that came crashing against your sense of self like a tsunami when you opened up the little plastic capsule to discover...a plastic molded hippo wearing a tutu and holding a harp (especially when all you wanted was one of those little cars with a flywheel inside). That, my friends, is the stuff of nightmares. Forget Tim Burton and his (well intentioned, but often poorly executed) bullshit - the Kinder Egg is pure, unrefined horror...that can be matched only by having to listen to blokes talk about football.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Noodle Snack My Bitch Up

What up, ma be-hatches? Cough. Seemed to have slipped out of my usual Queen's English for a moment there. Anywho, I thought it was about time I updated you, erm, be-hatches on what's been going on in the wonderful world of me. First up - I'm not moving. Which is a major relief, because according to some bullshit article/urban myth we've all undoubtedly heard of, moving is apparently the second most stressful 'thing' that can happen to you, after a family bereavement. I personally believe this to be a massive, steaming pile of sweetcorn riddled shit. To whit: when you move house or whatever, all you're doing is throwing your meagre possessions into a few boxes, transporting them to a new gaff, and then getting them out again. What's so fucking harrowing about that? Fair enough, it's a pain in the fucking arse - but second to a family bereavement? Have a word, sunshine. Here's a (non-exhaustive) list of things that are worse than moving house:

  • Having Cilla Black sit on your face

  • Knowing that you had a fiver in your pocket, reaching for it when you've got a load of ASDA Smart Price Noodle Snacks on the checkout, and then realising that you've lost said fiver.

  • Waking up with a hangover and spew all over your duvet

  • Having a shit job that you hate

  • Living in a the squalor of a shanty town

Not that I've ever experienced the last point on the list, but I can guess that the notion of moving for someone who does (live in a shanty town), is far from the 2nd most grief-filled experience of their life. Especially if they're moving out of said shanty town. Into a big pink mansion. But I digress. I'm not moving. This is because after weighing it up, moving all the way back to my previous abode, what with it's freezing temperatures, basic kitchen facilities and complete lack of mobile phone signal, would be an adventure too hideous to bear. Furthermore, my landlord offered me the opportunity to keep my room, but pay vastly reduced weekly rent when I'm working (for a week at at a time) on the base. Can't say fairer than that, really. Furthermore, the nights at the house that were intended to be my last were actually a really good laugh with my housemates, so I rescind any previous comments I may have written here without justification. Consider me devouring an entire, family sized ASDA Smart Price humble pie.


On the subject of Smart Price, who the fuck decided this shit is 'smart'? Fair enough - the price is low enough, but 'smart'? I think not. Y'see, this month I overspent massively. And I mean massively. So with just over a week to go till payday, I found myself a fair way into my overdraft, and keen to avoid any further sinkage into the mire of debt, I cleverly decided to try and get to payday spending as little money as possible - something I'm sure we all do from time to time.

Cue a trip to ASDA, and a trolley full of green and white-labelled foodstuffs. At this point, I'd just like to point out that on a QWERTY keyboard, the letters A,S,D are all next to each other. Conspiracy? You decide. But going back to the point, I bought a butt-load of Smart Price stuff. And it's all fucking disgusting. Case in point: the 'Noodle Snack.' Now, I know it's only 20p a pot and I know that it's hardly going to be a luxury dish by it's very nature (it's dried noodles in a pot, for Christ's sake), but fuck me...the shit is barely edible once you've added the boiled water. The noodles themselves simply will not soften - no matter how long you leave the thing to stew...and the lack of any discernible flavour is...well...not really that surprising, to be honest. In retrospect, I suppose having to endure the tasteless sensation of an ASDA Smart Price Noodle Snack is my punishment for being too frivolous with my money. A rather fitting main meal to go with my dessert of humble pie. Hmmm.