Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The most painful hour of my life

Posted: December 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

pai_mei_slider2It’s stressful when your life consists of either being slumped at a desk, or having a dependent life form, armed with a sabre tooth, continually attacking you.

So, I thought now it’s Xmas I would try and unwind with a relaxing massage. I booked an hour appointment thinking I would probably drift off into a pleasant snooze at the midway point, waking feeling refreshed and revitalised. How wrong was I… Turns out my masseuse is actually a merciless torture merchant. 

He started by asking me if I would like it “Hard” or “Medium” – being male and an idiot, I asked for hard. “Let me know if it is too hard” he said.  Over the next hour, this seemingly pleasant Thai man beat the living shit out of me.

He started on my back, with his knees. Then, just when I thought I’d developed a tolerance to this, he started with his elbows. “That’s a little hard”, I said. “Oh, it is much better when it’s hard”, he replied. Fuck, the safe word was all a lie – I was stuck.

Ignoring my grunts of “fuck” and the fact that I was gripping the side of the table with both hands, he continued to smash my back in for a good 30 minutes. If I’d have known what he was going to do my neck, I would have implored him to continue. I can only assume that he brought in a bald eagle, told it I had stolen his young and let it loose on my neck, as no man could possibly grip my neck with such ferocity. 

Then on the half way mark, for no reason whatsoever, he decided to pull my boxers down to expose my bare bottom. I can only assume he did this to add to my humiliation.

To my huge relief, he moved from my neck to my legs. Surely, he couldn’t inflict that much pain down there?! I was wrong. Such was the pain, that I became convinced that I must be being filmed for some hidden camera show, “Surprise!” they would shout and reveal that a king fu master had actually been battering me for 40 minutes. “Hilarious!” But no, there would be no rescue.

By the time, he had finished on my legs, I felt like Reek from Game of Thrones and nearly started weeping when he let go of my left leg and walked out the room. It’s over, thank god. But it wasn’t, he reemerged instructing me onto my front.

On my front, he spent 5 minutes trying to remove my heart with his bare hands like some sadistic kill bill fuck. Pissed off with his failure, he then started punching me in the back. Then it finally was over. I had survived.

Before leaving, my new master asked “How was it?”.  A million things ran through my mind. “Torturous and barbaric”, I wanted to say. But I’m British so I said “Wonderful, thanks, see you again soon!”. Then I left, a free man, vowing never again to flinch when my infant son sticks his sabre tooth in my eye. 

 

White_Van_Man_364500a boxes

Australia is a big country.  Huge.  So I kinda expect logistics to be a bit tougher than in our smaller European countries. However, home delivery in Australia is a novel, special experience.  I would urge everyone to try it at least once.  Let me recount my recent episode with Milan Direct, ‘Australia’s largest online furniture company’…

“Hi mate, it’s Milan Direct, I’m delivering your furniture today…”

[driver burps really loudly into phone]

“Yep..”

“I’m just on your street now, Bennett street right?”

“No, Carter Street… 15 Carter Street”

“Oh.. yeah, near Bennett street though innit?”

“Erm… I don’t think so, have you got sat nav?”

“Yep”

“Can you just use that then…?”

“Ah, too easy mate, I see you, you’re wearing a green shirt right?”

“No, I’m in my house, waiting for you…”

“Oh shit, I think I’ve gone too far down the road then, I’m at 98 Carter Street…”

“Ok, well can you turn round?”

“Your house is definitely on Carter street mate?”

“Are you serious?”

“I didn’t see 15 when I drove down…”

“Well, I can assure you my house is stationary, it’s not shapeshifting to throw you off guard…”

“Can you see me mate? Silver merc van?”

“No, I’m in my house… I don’t normally wait in the street..”

[I decide to go wait in the street and hang up… 5 minutes later the silver merc van turns up]

“Hi, nice to meet you bro, does everyone find it hard to find your house?”

“No”

“Ah right, well can you give me a hand with the boxes? I’m on my own”

“Really? Ok, sure but can we take them out the back?”

“Wouldn’t do that bro, it’s definitely gonna rain!”

“It’s outdoor furniture…”

“Yeah, exactly don’t wanna get it wet!”

“It’s outdoor furniture…”

[driver starts hurling boxes onto the street]

“Are these your boxes bro?”

“I dunno, you tell me…?”

“Well did you order big stuff?  These are big boxes…”

“You sell furniture, I would imagine everything is pretty big…”

[Driver hurls last box onto street]

“Anyway, bro, I’m really sorry, I gotta go, I’m really late… you’ll be ok… they is well light…defo gonna rain, man”

At the point my new friend left me to unpack the giant boxes in the street and carry the items round to my backyard.  To be honest, I was sad to see him go.  At first, I obviously thought he was a complete moron (he obviously is) but it was a special experience.  I was no longer a customer… he was just that mate everyone has, the one they don’t really like, doing me a favour.

I also know what you’re thinking… was he right? Did it rain?  No, of course it didn’t, it was a lovely sunny afternoon.  However, I like to think my new friend is out there now, looking aimlessly at his sat nav, hurling boxes into the street, telling everyone that it is gonna rain…. and one day it surely will… and on that day he will be King.

06-philly-windpg-horizontal back-to-the-future-hoverboard

Apparently, everyone hates rain.  I don’t.  I quite like rain.  It’s ideal if you fancy an afternoon nap, or if you want to watch the entire Star Wars saga (except episode 1) without feeling guilty for not leaving the house. However, I do hate rain when I have to go out in it.  That’s not because I hate getting wet, I’m not a cat (I wish I was).  It’s because I’ll need to carry an umbrella…

Umbrellas are proof that scientists are lazy.  The umbrella has not advanced since Samuel Fox invented the steel ribbed umbrella (wikipedia) in 1852.  I have several gripes with the umbrella.  My main problem is that they are disabling. Trying to commute to work with an umbrella is a nightmare.  You have to close it, wrap it up, then you get piss wet through anyway as you desperately try to use your little finger to get your oyster card out.  It’s like when you have to hold your mate’s pint in the pub.

My second problem with umbrellas is that they are lethal.  As my friend Alex pointed out, it would be fine if we were all the same height but then when someone short (like our friend Brad) comes down the road, you’re in serious danger of losing an eye.

My third problem with umbrellas is that they are impossible to retain. You only remember your umbrella if you have the visual reminder of the rain.  If you happen to enter a building when it’s raining and leave when it’s not, your umbrella stays in said building.  You then have to buy another umbrella.

Finally, they only work in rain but not wind and rain.  Unfortunately, where there’s rain, there’s always wind.  Therefore, they are actually completely ineffective.

So, I know what you are thinking: “Well, why don’t you stop moaning and come up with something better!”.  There are two key reasons for that.  One, I don’t know how to build anything.  I can’t even put pictures up in my house.  Two, it’s not my job. Scientists are far too lazy, it’s the main reason why we don’t have Back To The Future hover boards, which is also completely unacceptable.  In fact, the same technology that could power a hover board could probably provide a protective blast of air against the rain.  Two birds one stone! Crack on scientists!.. thank me later.

F*cking Tapas

Posted: February 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

tapas (1)mini burrito

I like Spain. I like the weather obviously, I like the cities, I like the beaches, I like the beer, I like the people.  But, I f*cking hate tapas.

I am baffled by tapas’ unrelenting world-wide popularity as more and more restaurants opt to serve up ‘small plates’. My first issue with tapas is that I hate sharing my food.  I’m British and therefore painfully polite. I will always offer everyone, everything before myself.  This means in tapas world, I either end up hungry as I don’t eat enough, or I end up eating copious amounts of what is left, which usually means having aubergine as my main meal.

Secondly, tapas is a fundamentally lazy cuisine.  While other cuisines have to consider what makes a good, complete dish, tapas can’t be bothered.  The result is a nice bit of chorizo that doesn’t complement your calamari, that doesn’t complement your roasted vegetables.

Thirdly, tapas is hard work.  In other cuisines, you get a nice dish put in front of you, ready to enjoy. In tapas you have to pass round the stupid little plates taking a little bit of this, a little bit of that, whilst spilling tomato sauce all over yourself.  Tapas is like a posh buffet and I despise buffets.

Fourthly, tapas is expensive.  For some reason making everything smaller costs more.  You need at least three plates and most cost the same as a normal main.

Finally (and most depressingly) tapas is a parasite taking over other cuisines.  In recent years, I’ve seen Thai, British, French and Mexican cuisines all adopting a small plate approach.  This is a disaster. I don’t think I can live in a world with a mini burrito, it’s an oxymoron.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 11.57.42 am copyi-love-email

Everyone has a colleague who has a love affair with email.  The aim of the Email Offender is to send emails with the aim of getting as many emails back as possible, so that they can a) feel useful b) completely waste their day.  The good news is that it’s quite easy to spot an Email Offender, their typical behaviour includes:

1. Sending an email with everyone ccd.  Email Offenders love doing this, it means that they get at least six responses back, which they can then respond back to (cc.ing everyone in again of course).  The problem for you is that you suddenly now have 20 emails to open, read and delete, which completely ruins your workflow.

2. They always reply. They can’t help it, they’ll try anything to get another email.  Typical emails you’ll get back from an Email Offender include banal statements like “thanks”, “ok”, “sure”, emails that provide no value whatsoever.

3. Sending an email that can’t be solved by email.  This is another trick by Email Offenders – they will send out a problem that can’t possibly solved by email.  For example, “Hey team! What do you think our company proposition should be?” Cue, a whole barrage of emails – a result for the Email Offender.  When the problem can’t be solved over email, the Email Offender will then employ it’s nuclear weapon – the team meeting! For an Email Offender, a team meeting is like a wet dream, a chance to witness live, everyone wasting their time.

To survive the Email Offenders trappings, follow these simple rules:

1. Never reply unless absolutely necessary

2. If you do reply, do not ask any questions 

3. If they respond (they will) do not reply

More extreme options include:

1. Move their emails directly into spam

2. Write “please do not reply” at the foot of your email (they will still reply).  

I hope this article helps you avoid the trappings of the Email Offender.  On the other hand, if you are reading this and you’re thinking “Shit, I might be an Email Offender” then it’s not too late to change your ways…  Just please don’t send an email to everyone saying you’re sorry for sending so many emails (another trick of the Email Offender).

Image  pot

“Are you not entertained?” bellowed Maximus in the epic blockbuster Gladiator.  Well, no, I’m not Maximus.  I’m bored shitless.  And the reason is, that there’s nowt on the tele!  So, recently, I’ve been trialling various video on demand services, here’s how they faired:

Lovefilm

Here’s what Lovefilm’s tagline should be: “Lovefilm?… So much so that you’re prepared to wait about 6 months to see a ‘new’ release?”  becuase that’s how long it takes to get a new release through the post.  I watched Lawless last weekend – that film was released on DVD in November 2012.  It was real surprise when it finally turned up on my doorstep, a real surprise because I couldn’t even remember putting it on my list.

Quick comment on the online streaming service… it’s abysmal.  Unless you like shit films by Adam Sandler (excluding Happy Gilmore obvs.)

Netflix

Netflix is cheaper and marginally better.  Their tagline could be: ‘wanna pay £5.99 a month and try and find enough films you actually want to watch?  Give it a go if you like a challenge.”  I watched ‘The Usual Suspects’ last night but nearly watched fucking “Growns Ups” (lucky escape according to IMDB’s rating),  The interface is OK but unless you’re happy with boxsets (FYI 4od have every series of Peep Show for free) then you won’t get value for money.

Blinkbox

Blinkbox is a neat idea but there’s no way I can be arsed to login and enter my credit card details every time I want to watch a film.  I could walk to the cinema and watch a better film in that time.

Now TV

I haven’t used this Sky offering but my friend, a UX specialist, says the following:  “Film quality will vary during the start of the film and can be worse than VHS.  Worst thing though is the buffering; films can buffer every 30 seconds for a considerable time, rendering the film useless.  Couldn’t watch Skyfall for 2 weeks because of this.  If you complain, Now TV will question your broadband saying that you need at least 2MB… I have 60 MBs.”

So Now TV’s tagline could be “Now TV… well not exactly Now TV, but soon TV… just give us a chance to buffer TV.”

So, in conclusion, Video on demand isn’t working.  It’s obviously better than the Blockbuster days (“yeah, I’m gonna have to fine you a tenner because you brought it back a day late, even though this film’s shit and you only rented it because we ran out of the film you actually wanted to see”) but there’s still a way to go.  Entertainment is about choice.  And if I had the choice between this lot, I would probably opt for a pot noodle… only kidding, I’d probably go to the cinema.

Fresh green vegetable, isolated over white      sainsbury-s-produce-manager-rob-taylor-at-the-otley-store-pic-nigel-roddis-52471706

Before online shopping properly established itself about 5 years ago, I used to have my weekend blighted by a trip to the supermarket. Two angry hours spent confused by the price of broccoli to the sound of kids screaming “I WANT THE MONKEY CEREAL!!!”. Then at the end of it all, exasperated, I’d have to endure the embarrassment of a 14 year old asking for ID for my bottle of wine… Then double embarrassment, as I don’t drive and therefore don’t carry acceptable proof of age…

“Please young man, please let me have my bottle of fucking wine, I promise I’ll drink it responsibly”

“Sorry sonny, I’m working towards assistant broccoli pricer and I just can’t take the chance…”

So, when online shopping became simple (yes… it could be simpler) it was a real god-send. I trialed the big 4 and eventually settled on Sainsbury’s (ASDA: poor quality, Ocado: £5 broccoli). And mostly, Sainsbury’s has been good. Sure, they’re often late – a 7-8 delivery slot actually means ten past eight, but they always phone to tell me they’re running late…  And, the fruit and veg is usually ok and the eggs are mostly intact (11/12 ain’t bad!).  The problem I have with online shopping is the substitutions… the team in charge of this policy are clearly smoking some serious stuff…

“We’ve ran our of scotch eggs Paul!”

“No worries, give ’em a coconut”

Ok, so I’m exaggerating.  However, the policy for substitutions is devoid of all common sense.  Tonight, instead of 120g of salmon at £3.33, I was given two packets of 60g salmon for £4.58.  Instead of 100g of black pepper for £1.50, I was given 35g of black pepper for £2.60.  Furthermore, by substituting my salmon for the extra packaged option my ‘3 for £10’ offer became void.  Therefore, I paid over four pounds more for some extra packaging.  Now, imagine you’re in a store and the attendant came up to you and said:

“Hi sir, I’ve noticed you’ve got 120g of salmon there… can I interest you in paying £4 more for the same amount?  The best thing about this deal is that you get  extra plastic and foil…”

Would you even bother responding to this proposition?  No you definitely wouldn’t.  So why do Sainsbury’s insist on trying to sneak in a range of ridiculous substitutions at a time when I’ve got shopping bags hanging from my arms and ears? (they never tell me about the substitutions before decorating me like a Sainsbury’s christmas tree.)

Unfortunately, I guess if you want something done properly, you still have to do it yourself.  And if that means making a fake ID and telling the boy at the till that the brocolli is a lettuce, then so be it…