Saturday, 26 March 2011

Sunday bloody Sunday and shaping my personality

As we are going to be away for Mother’s day on 3 April as well as being absent for her birthday, last weekend we decided to do the honourable thing and take Shuffler (my mother, if you are interested in why I have a fairly distant relationshp with her check out - Girl Interupted ) out for a nice meal....

As it was a Sunday and not any particularly special event that I was aware of we had not bothered to book anywhere. We were eating late - it was about 2pm by the time we had picked Shuffler up and persuaded her that she really should put a skirt on to cover her tena lady's pants before venturing into the great outdoors…Mrs B and I were hardly ready for the sight of a partially dressed Shuffler and figured the world wasn't either…I fear Elizabeth Taylor may have got a glimps and look how badly that ended..

We arrived at the gastro pub that we had selected only to find it packed to the gunnels. People were spilling out the door and the rumour was that we would be lucky to get breakfast the next morning let alone lunch. Fortunately as the car park was so full we had left Shuffler in the car while we made inquiries. Our next choice looked a bit more promising and we invested the time in extracting Shuffler out of the car and into the restaurant only to be informed that they were fully booked for the rest of the day…They were kind enough to check with their sister restaurant, a 20 minute drive away, but it was the same story…..By the time we got Shuffler back in the car it was gone three and my stomach was auditioning for the part of a really heavy thunderstorm.

Now my knowledge of where Shuffler lives is a bit out of date.  It has been over 25 years since I left Essex* and my knowledge of local eateries in the area is not great.  After being turned away from three more restaurants and a couple of pubs we were getting desperate ….so for a combined birthday and Mother’s day meal we ended up taking Shuffler to a garden centre's cafe….and not even a very nice one.  

* Yes ladies and gentleman I am a genuine Essex boy, born and bred.  Thankfully for once I can fall back on my Irish and Scottish roots, which explains why I got married in a skirt.  The only upside of being an Essex boy is that it makes my sister an Essex girl but even then she escapes the worst of it since she was born in Hampstead, which possibly explains why she is about 65% posher than me….  

As we perused the extensive range of bullet-hard, almost-baked potatoes and dried up sandwiches, with their edges curling back like the finest hand-crafted Turkish shoes,  I glanced about at our fellow diners.

There were two Essex housewives, with their peroxide blonde hair and dark roots covering faces that looked harder than nails. If these girls had ever managed to launch a thousand ships, the crews would have thrown themselves overboard before they hit the first wave.

With them they had their charming litter of pre-school children - Chardonnay, Princess and Perry - whose grubby snot-infested little faces and constant swearing only added to the ambience….

Then there were a couple of pensioners who looked like they might be on their last meal and, the coup de gras, a fat family Frankenstein  who looked like they had taken in-breeding to new unexplored territories.

I thought to myself it doesn’t get much better than this….

In celebration I decided to treat myself to a piece of cardboard cake and Mrs B risked a Bakewell** tart. The prices marked as £2.95 and £1.50 respectively – Don’t tell me we don’t know how to live in the fast lane….

** To be honest we could have got them under the Trades Description Act and forced them to call it a Bakedbadly tart. Still since Mr Kipling has been laughingly calling his cakes “exceedingly good” for years I felt it wasn’t worth the effort…

The woman at the till lwas a bit flustered and charged me £3.00

I said – are you sure you have got that right?

Her response -  No, but I can’t be bothered to add it up…..This must be your lucky day….

I decided to keep my thoughts to themselves…..

This incident reminds me of a couple of years back.  Those of you who have been with the BlackLOG since the early days may remember when Mrs B and I attended our friend Mitch's wedding on a cruise ship going from Vancouver to Alaska….

How to almost starve to death on a Cruise liner, with a 24 hour "All you can eat" policy -  Originally published in Aug 2008 

I made it look easier than you would imagine. It’s a bit like hitting sets of red lights; once you get one of them you seem to get them all. Only for red lights you substitute restaurants closing just as you get to the door. I managed a run of five, at one point, as I raced from one to another (I should probably have stayed at the first restaurant and waited the 12 hours, conserving my energy until it re-opened. It’s just I always thought I would make it to the next one). Admittedly I did not make things easier for myself. I was getting frustrated as the restaurants never posted their opening times at their entrance. I even got quite huffy as I stormed away from one of them exclaiming to one poor old couple heading in the opposite direction:

Me :- “I wouldn’t bother - they are closed!”
Poor old couple: - “It’s OK.  We know, eh”
I think they might have been Canadian…
Me:- “How do you know?  They don’t post the times at the damn restaurants."
Smug old couple: - “We just read the day’s entertainment schedule which includes daily opening times for all the ship's restaurants, like, Eh!”
They were definitely Canadians. I should have murdered them on the spot and disposed of their smug, sorry carcasses overboard, but all I managed was a rather deflated:
Me :-“That’s no good I’m male and English and can’t be that organised….”
Before stomping off with my now growling stomach to catch yet another closing restaurant ceremony. I don’t know why I bothered to be honest.  Once you’ve attended one restuarant closing ceremony you’ve pretty much seen them all :-
Me:- “Table for two please”
Smug Maitre’d :- “Sorry Sir we have just closed”
Me:- “Nooooooooooooo!”
SM:- “Yes, Sir it has”
Me:- “but, I’m starving”
SM:- “If you go up 7 decks and go to the very back of the ship, you might just catch last orders at the ‘Rancid parrot’ our low class Restaurant which hardly ever closes”
Me :- “Hardly ever?”
SM:- “Well, it closes generally on Monday through Friday for stocktaking ”
Me:- “So being Sunday it should be open”
SM:- “Probably not, the staff get weekends off, Sir”

I eventually found an area with stacks of Pizza, I went back to Mrs B and asked if that was that OK for her. It was and so I returned (no more than two minutes later) to find they had packed them away. Even the 24 hour popcorn machine ran out when I went to get some. Aaarrrrgggghhhhhh. At least I was getting some exercise but I was beginning to think that I would never find food again. Perhaps this is the way forward for weight watchers - an NCL “All you can fail to eat” cruise. I wonder if they cater for lardy cats……

Not all went well on the eating front once we returned to Vancouver. We had spent most of the morning and early afternoon at the Aquarium in Stanley Park. We decided to eat in the STANLEY’S PARK BAR & GRILL which we had been assured served food from 11.30am to 8pm daily, only…

The shape test
I borrowed a weird personality test from another blogger that I came across this week, the  Accidental Olympian.  The test asks you to interpret shapes as an alternative to answering the more standard text-based questions.

OK, gasp, splutter, splutter….. a quick workout and I’m now considered to be in the right shape to take the test.

 The results were a mixed bag :-

 Handy in the real world manipulation of objects and events, you are easily enthused by practical projects.
 That makes me sound like Dexter…..I think they just called me a serial killer…..I must admit I could murder a bowl of Cornflakes….No wait that’s a cereal killer

 You often ignore or conveniently forget rules and boundaries that limit your freedom.
 To be honest I probably just didn’t see the boundary until I tripped over it. Once you're over it you might as well make the most of it….

 This need for freedom extends even to the personal sphere and though you are kind and gentle, you will often be hard to pin down to a monogamous lifestyle.
 Mrs B and I are like swans, (no not ugly when we were young…the cheek) mates for life…besides Mrs B would skin me alive….

 Because you tend to verbalize so seldom, you can be seen as phlegmatic or impassive.
 100% wrong…..I over verbalize to make up for other people's impassiveness

 In moments of high tension you can often surprise those around you with a light-hearted or humorous remark.
I was once criticised on a course for not being funny – it was the second day and I thought I had been a bit disruptive on the first day and had toned it down…never again

 Because of your facility with the physical world, you are often engaged in sports that require dexterity, such as motorcycling or hang gliding.
 More so than needle work and embroidery….

 You will rarely have time for flights of fancy or unproductive discussion.
 I don’t think I actually do any productive discussion – you’ve seen the level of my writing and that’s me trying to be intellectual

Constraints on your freedom will be regarded as a personal attack.
Isn’t a personal attack one where you beat yourself up? I tried it once but I didn’t manage to land one punch, I kept anticipating my every move…..

Click here if you want to -  Take the test.

Did anyone else get a message saying to report to your local mental institute for a straight jacket fitting? It’s a shame I can’t take up this opportunity as I’ve already been told by Mrs B that I can’t have any more clothes until I have a clear out of my current wardrobe….

Let me know how you got on. I would love to know...

Blog Of War
Still time to sign up - Closing date is the 2nd April - check out the Tab at the top of the blog for further details.

Uptake as not been quite as high as I had hoped - only a few emails so far declaring that they want to enter so it might be a smaller competition then I had originally planned.

A big thanks to Al over at Penwasser Place for publicising the competition.  Otherwise I may have been the only entrant and winner, not sure if I should cheer or boo....I could have been sthe self appointed champion...after selfish consideration I'm swaying towards the boo. I can tell It's going to end badly for me like the boxer who set up his own world championship so he could be crowned champ, only he ended up being crowned chump as, the perennial loser he selected as his opponent had his best ever day at the office and beat nine shades of shit out of him….

Show me the Sunny
Monitoring our way to a fortune (or not) with our Solar Panels

KW Produced so far - 383

This has earned us approximately – £166 so far of that £114 paid

KW generated in the week – 97

Record of the week

Sunday bloody Sunday by U2 - Taking a political song and turning it into a whine about not being able to find a place to eat on a Sunday – Don’t tell me this is not a class act… might well think it…just don’t tell me….

Bend me shape me by Amen Corner – Physiological babble worthy of astrology readings

Photo Finish
The problem with a weekly Blog is that topical content can get a bit out of date by the time it's published.  I'm sure that you have already seen 100 of shots of the Super-moon from earlier in the week....What you won't have seen in those other inferior shots is Liz Taylor dancing into the abyss....What do you mean you can't see her, she's just behind that large bright circular object.

we won't be seeing this again until next month when
it will be similar but less bright.....

Tune in next week for more of the same shit....only you will be a week closer to death or on Elizabeth Taylors case a week futher away from hers....

Friday, 18 March 2011

Indoor skiing and trouble with towels

Blog of War

Anyone fancy a bit of fun – if you have not already signed up there is still time…

It will be  blog on blog action – with competitors going head to head against each other in a knock out competition.

The ultimate prize will be bragging rights as the inaugural Blog of War Champion (I might even create a special one off button) – along the way you will discover other great bloggers, have a bit of fun and hopefully attract, or possibly repel, some new readers….

If interested send me your Blog address and a contact email to with a subject title “Blog of War – I’m interested in giving it a tug….”

Closing date for entries is 2nd April.

If you like the sound of it, I would appreciate it if you would advertise the “Blog of War” on your own blog site, whether you wish to enter yourself or just want enjoy the competition as a voyeur...

Indoor Skiing
We went skiing this week to the Hemel Hempstead snow dome. The best description I can give it, is 160 metres of slightly sloping fridge. I think I managed to get halfway down my second run (around two minutes into our hour long session – which is 240 metres for any amateur mathematicians out there or 240.3567876 metres for you pure mathematicians, I know how precise you guys like to be….) before boredom started to set in.

Indoor slopes are OK if you are a beginner. In fact I would actively encourage more beginners to go to the slopes , as the nearest I came to entertainment was skiing as close to the novices as possible, without actually touching them, with the aim of making them fall over. I got to about a 75% success rate before the ski patrol gave me some warning glares. It’s a shame I didn’t make a ski for it, I could have had some Key Stone Cops style fun dashing down the slope and then back up the pommel with security in hot pursuit . Not too hot though, I wouldn’t have wanted to see the fridge thawing out on us.

At least Mrs B got to demo some skis*. One pair was said to be good for the moguls (No, not muggles, you filthy mud bloods, I said moguls) while the other pair were recommended for rocketing down pristinely manicured pistes. Since there were no moguls or even enough of a slope to get much above 50mph, before having to yank on the brakes and pick beginner skiers out of her teeth, Mrs B could only give them the following fridge rating :-

• The first pair looked very good on the top shelf but were a bit too thin and kept slipping down to the shelf below

• While the second pair kept clashing with the slightly out of date yogurt and a leftover chicken carcass….

The search for a replacement set of skis for Mrs B goes on…..

* Her last pair having worn out after 7 years of stylish service. My skis tend to last longer because I don’t go in for any of that fancy turning malarkey, preferring to just point the skis downhill and aim for the soft spots…..

The trouble with towels
I’ve been in a bit of bother with Mrs B this week. Apparently for the last 20 years we have had a colour code for our towels. I was never informed of this or for that matter even noticed that each week we have a different designated towel colour - I vaguely recall being admonished for taking the wrong colour towel to the gym but I was always too exhausted, on my return, to take it all in.

Since I often get into the shower (I told you that smell wasn’t me) without checking the contents of the towel rail, I frequently find myself dripping around the house, belatedly looking for something to dry myself off with …. At this point I don’t have time to run through any complicated matrix to establish what towel colour I should be using. I work on the more immediate “find whatever is nearest system” (The cats have learned from experience to stay well clear) grabbing the first towel that comes to hand (I use a similar system for discarding towels, i.e drop it as soon as I no longer need it, which for some reason Mrs B also finds objectionable. That might be because, more often than not, the damp towel seems to end up on the bed - more specifically on Mrs B’s side of our bed. Now either I’ve been lucky in the past and always managed to accidently grab the correct colour towel or I’ve finally worn away Mrs B’s tolerance.

In either case, here’s an idea, why don’t all our towels come in the same colour…? I can then use any towel I come across, in my soggy travel around the house, without cocking up “Towel Feng Shui”, or whatever the hell is the driving force behind our draconian colour co-ordinated towelling system…. Certainly works for me, otherwise I’m going to have to fall back on the old colour-blind defence…..

Possible future conversation with Mrs B

Let’s see, I was on the road to Damascus (no that won’t wash, rather like our un-washing machine - See show me the Sunny below)…. I was on the road to Tescos (better, remind me to try and get some revenue for future product placement) when I ran into an Angel of the Lord  a second hand towel salesman (played by Samuel L. Jackson) who was so annoyed that I had run him over that he smote me down and in a deep voice declared (See? It had to be Samuel L. Jackson, only he has the power in his voice to carry the scene):

“From this day forward you will be colour blind….. but only for towels….”

There were mitigating circumstances…. He had stepped out right in front of me and I had hit the brakes almost immediately and only knocked him back a couple of hundred feet. (It’s all in day’s work for Mr  Jackson.). Plus luckily for me he only had powers limited to towel and towel related products.... 

What chance of Mrs B buying any of it?

What chance of my Editor (Mrs B) not censoring it?
(Please note if you have got this far and have not seen a reference to towels she probably censored it, either that or you have been skip reading again...In which case don't, in between the rubbish is some blogging gold)

Tune in next week, where I can guarantee you won’t find out the answers as I will have no doubt moved onto a number of other random subjects….

Show me the Sunny
Monitoring our way to a fortune (or not) with our Solar Panels

The end of a week of relatively sunny weather has coincided with the replacement of our Vampire solar panel system (see last week if you missed out on that story) with what appears instead to be a scare-the-shit- out-of-the-sun model . This has proved  very effective and we have not seen a single drop of sunlight since it was installed….Grrrrr. Thus our cloudy investment has given us the following return so far

KW Produced so far - 286

This has earned us approximately – £121 so far

KW generated in the week – 23 (Actualy this was for the last two weeks, much of which our solar panels spent in a coma, brought about no doubt by sunstroke....)

Putting us another 500 years behind on our break-even plan….

Some good news, we did make some minor power savings this week when our washing machine broke down but these were adequately wiped out by the hefty repair bill….

Record of the week

Love is a wonderful colour by The Icicle Works - but only if it matches this week’s towels

Bring Me Sunshine by Eric & Ernie – No longer depressed by seeing the sun, I'm now like the majority of people on the planet (excluding without prejudice - Albinos, Vampires and Scottish people) depressed by not seeing it....

Photo Finish
The Beast had a quiet week, so no new shots.  He could not even be bothered to take some seditious towel shots.  However, to get over the disappointment that is fridge skiing and to put us in the mood for our skiing holiday in 9 days time I have resurrected some shots  from last years holiday.  You may well ask why no shots of me skiing, well someone has to hold the camera and looking at some of the crash shots I think it more than justifies my decision to be that person……

(Shot 1)

Joe's little brother Alex, proving that
snowboarders are at least good for
something, even if it is only
 great jumpshots....

(Shot 2.1)

 Mrs B floating like a butterfly.....

(Shot 2.2)

 lands like a tree....

(Shot 3.1) 

 Joe, proving the harder you ski..... 

(Shot 3.2)

the more spectacular
your demise will be....

(Shot 4)

 Kirsty – Joe’s iPhone footage of her fall was classic
but Sadly it would not load onto the blog....The
 photo gives a little bit of the flavour .. 

Kitsty.:- “Wooooooaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!


(Shot 5)

 I do hope we see the return of the tourettes
skiier this year.  The holiday would not be
 the same without a solo from Lisa...



That's another week gone, hope to see you next time...

Friday, 11 March 2011

7 sections including a nose picking Nazi miracle advertising war

This week’s BlackLOG contains a lot -  is more random than usual and has a misleading title, feel free to treat it like a hotel and pop in and out. I’ll leave the door open, help yourself to the honesty bar .....(OK who nicked the fridge....Now no one can have drink)

  • Blog of War - The spirit of competition
  • Nose picking - The argument against
  • Exercise Nazi’s - These are not reasonable people
  • The miracle that is advertising  - I'm probably going to hell for this but Nokia started it....
  • Follow through from last week - This is 4.1 otherwise the title is even more of a lie
And regular features:
  • Show me the sunny – The sun is out, what can go wrong?
  • Record of the week – Songs that might, in an insane world, compliment this week’s topics
  • Photo finish – pictures (generally taken by The Beast) to end the blog with 

Blog of War

Inspired by an idea over at Average girls blog, Battle of the blogs, which unfortunately has come to a halt as Average girl is currently taking a blog sabbatical. (For fans of Average girl I have contacted her and got her agreement to be included as the inspiration behind the new competition. I was amused to be described as a loser and stealer of ideas by a couple of AG’s followers, it is a free country and you are entitled to your views.  I see it more as picking up the baton and taking a great initiative forward…..only adding a bit of BlackLOG competitive spirit. Average girl is far too nice a person to push the competitive element. I, on the other hand, am not).

The idea at the end of the day is to promote people's blogs, while having a bit of fun and at the end of it  I will be   one Blogger will be crowned as the inaugural "Blog of War" champion….Anyone interested? Closing date for entries 2nd April 2011

If you are, send me your Blog address and a contact email to with a subject title “Blog of War – I’m interested in giving it a tug….”

I would also be interested in subjects and ideas for competitors to blog about (I have a few ideas myself but I’m sure there are far more creative people than me out there) – any Ideas used will be credited to me to the supplier.  Send ideas to  Title – “Blog of War – I want someone to blog the shit out of the following idea….”

If you like the plan, I would appreciate it if you would advertise the Blog of War on your own blog, whether you wish to enter yourself or just enjoy the competition as a voyeur….   

How it will work
Depending on the number of entries (If I get none, don’t worry I won’t be down about it.  I will just crown myself as the Blog of War champion and move on with my life) names will be drawn out of a hat and allocated a topic. 

It will be a  knockout competition where bloggers who enter the competition (after all you have to be in it to win it) are given a subject or task to create a blog about.

Each week two bloggers will go head to head.

Readers then vote for the blog which they think has done the best job that week and the winner moves onto the next round.

The blog post will be hosted on the blogger's own site and must have a link to their opponent's blog as well as a link to a central area for readers to have the opportunity to cast a vote for the blog that they feel won that week's battle as well as being able to see past results. 

Go on, you know you want to enter.....

Since my entry into Battle of the Blogs didn’t get to see the light of day I thought I would give it an airing here. 

The task set was "Nose picking"
My opponent was instructed to defend nose picking  
My task was to act as the prosecution

Nose picking - The argument against
Let’s start at the beginning, picking noses for your child
Should parents be allowed to select a nose for their unborn child?
Face it, many people’s lives have been blighted by their parents’ choice of name
If you don’t believe me try living your life as :-
  • Richard Head (Dick Head)
  • Penny Black (The name I was going to be if I had not been born a gonad scratching, toilet seat leaver upper, hairy Neanderthal, with curves in all the wrong places….Phew, that would certainly have left a stamp on my life)
  • Emma Royd (Which frankly would be like living with a constant pain in your backside)
  • Mike Rotch (out of common decency I decided not to go with Hunt)
  • While you might feel sorry for Fred Art that is as nothing compared to his poor sister Fanny Fiona…..Please don’t make me spell it out – She was so desperate to lose her maiden name that she did not think things through when she accepted a proposal from Mr. Sack.
And don’t get me started on anyone called Randy
I can just imagine Randy’s first day at school

Randy - "Hi I’m Randy"

All the other Kids – “snigger,giggle phenarf phenarf”

Teacher – “Out of my sight you disgusting pervert ”

Resulting in instant expulsion for getting fresh with the teacher, being home schooled and not having any friends….. The only saving grace being that the nose he was born with was perfection personified and the only reason for him to live. This might not have been the case if Mr & Mrs Sod had been allowed to choose Randy’s nose as well … research has shown that 99% of parents who call their child Randy, when given the choice, would select this nose.

Then there would be that first day at work – actually, scrub that - at his job interviews

Randy - "Hi I’m Randy"

Prospective new boss -“Sorry we are not hiring at the moment”


Randy - "Hi I’m Randy"

Porn director -“That’s good to hear. When can you start?”

In short, parents should not be allowed to pick anything for their children, let alone noses – otherwise they may well be turned into friendless porn stars

If you don’t believe me check out these almost-famous porn stars:

Randy Allnightlong (famed for being very pale as he never got any daytime work)
Randy Duracell (The red head with real staying power)
Randy Limpdick (To be honest they didn’t really make it big in the business)
Randy Newman (Allegedly reborn after every film, probably just as well if you check out some of his back catalogue- I don’t just make this stuff up….well not all of it)

That still leaves the question, should people be allowed to pick their own nose after a certain age?

Again the answer is no, based on extensive BlackLOG research, the arguments being :-
  • Humans are so sheep-like that 90% of people will pick the same nose – how dull would that be? 
  • What looks good on the dummy in the shop may not look quite so good when plastered all over your face
  • Michael Jackson…… enough said 
  • Of the 10% of people who don’t go for the same nose, some of them may well decide that they want two noses or even more, leading to nose shortages across the world. With demand high, nose thefts would become common place leading to people being mugged for their noses. Result - even more shortages. Nose riots break out, eventually leading to a catastrophic third world war.
This is nothing to be sniffed at and is why people must not, I repeat, must not be allowed to pick their own noses. It will result in the end of the world or worse still Michael Jackson Mark II

I rest my case

If you happen to be talking about bogies (why didn’t you say so earlier?) That’s a whole different story. Why would you want to waste all those nutrients…..???

Late breaking news Fanny Fiona has divorced Mr. Sack and is soon to marry Randy Steve, we wish Mr and
Mrs Ucker all the best in their future endeavours….

As I don’t have access to my opponent's blog in defence of nose picking, I count this as a no-show (harsh and very unfair, but life can be like that). I’m going off to celebrate my cheap victory.  Feel free to suffer the remainder of this week’s BlackLOG

Exercise Nazis
We have been going to Body Attack classes at our local Gym – I describe it as “a Glee Nightmare workout on steroids” (the sooner it is banned the better).  Way too much waving of arms and scampering about for my liking but hey it’s an exercise class that Mrs B can actually make and I thought she was enjoying it.  Turns out - not so much.  All these shrieking arm-waving women  are getting Mrs B’s Goat (not sure where they are getting her goat from, I’ve never seen it, or for that matter what they are doing with the poor thing?)

For some reason the Body Attack class seems to attract more than it’s fair share of Fitness Nazi’s, desperate to annex more than their allotted space. They are not averse to using elbows, feet and, if all else fails, teeth to get their own way. You can tell a Fitness Nazi: they are generally wearing brown or black and have acres of space around them, while the rest of the class are banded together, quivering like 1930’s Poland and Czechoslovakia. 

I normally act a bit like Neville Chamberlin and just ignore the Fitness Nazis but this week one of them pushed it too far. I had created my little empire in the back far-hand corner.  This woman goose-stepped in late and proceeded to stand where I was, as if I was Denmark. (Sixteen Danish soldiers died in the Nazi invasion in 1940 and after two hours the Danish government surrendered.)  Begrudgingly I gave her a bit of my space (she looked like she had sharp teeth) and carried on.  

About three tracks in she moved, muttering about not having enough Lebensraum.  This meant I could at least breathe (and gave a little bit of additional space in case Mrs B’s goat got returned). After another two tracks she was back and was puffed up (perhaps the bitch had been off eating the goat...........still no sign of the poor thing) and swinging around like a whirling dervish.   I stood my ground and watched her continually bounce off me, managing to survive my experience with minimal bruising.  Mrs B is so sick of being herded around the ghetto of Body Attack and no doubt in protest of the theft of her goat she has decided to give it up, which certainly suits me.  
The miracle that is advertising
I’ve always felt that being in a bad mood makes for excellent, if cruel humour, which is obviously what happened to Mrs B  after returning from the war zone that is Body Attack.   We were having breakfast (which is probably another reason why Mrs B was not in the best of moods - the Body Attack class is early on a Saturday morning) when an advert popped up on the TV.  It was for a Nokia phone which was being used as a camera by a blind person (I can’t wait for the next advert in the series which will no doubt show a deaf person making a phone call on his camera). This opens up a number of questions :-
  • How does the blind person know he has a Camera phone in his hands and not a packet of biscuits?
  • With so many sighted people in the world taking bad photos how does our blind friend (or rather the bozos behind the concept of the advert) think that he has anything to bring to the table….? 
  • How do you tell a blind person that their photography is rubbish :-
 Me - "The colours are a bit off"
Blind Photographer – “I don’t see it that way”
Me – “It’s a bit blurry”
Blind Photographer – “No, can’t see that either”

The entire dialogue for the advert is as follows :-
“Being Blind and using photography opens the door to the rest of the world”
“One of the biggest satisfactions is the outcome”

“Say for instance the roller coaster shot, I was kind of confident that the shot was there because of the sound of the roller coaster straight over my head”

“That was like scoring a goal you know”

A picture then appears on the screen,  which was about 90% blue sky with the roller coaster creeping into the top right of the picture

Mrs B remarked – “He might at least have got the roller coaster centred ….”

I’m afraid at this point I sprayed my cranberry juice across the room,  through inappropriate laughter….

I get the process of going to a restaurant that is in total darkness, where you are served by blind waiters (it certainly makes it a level playing field and it means that if they spill anything down you they have a good chance of getting away with it). I guess the premise is that being in the dark heightens your other senses and since they are used to bumping into things the blind are ideally qualified for the role.  I’m not so keen on all those Golden Retrievers being in there with you though.  How would you know they haven’t sampled  half your meal on the way to being delivered  to you and that delicious light and frothy sauce isn’t in fact Retriever drool…..?

As far as I know the chef and kitchen staff can see – otherwise I suspect many diners might accidently become cannibals, as bits of fingers and other parts of the chef's body get diced into each course.

Is it just me or is photography for the blind a step too far…..? Although I have just thought of the perfect place for them to display their photographic endeavours........... A restaurant in total darkness……
So in summary, advertisers now have the power  to show us what blind people don’t actually see????

Follow through from last week
Following up last weeks "incident" - I’ve been told that I am certainly not alone in this experience.
You have to ask when car companies are going to start installing loo rolls as standard...???

Show me the sunny
Monitoring our way to a fortune (or not) with our Solar Panels

With the sun finally hitting the UK with a vengeance this week I raced home with excitement to see how much revenue we had generated…..The answer?  A gobsmacking zilch, zero, nada, nothing, nought, nil whatever way you look at it, from whatever angle our meter had not moved a millimetre….

We appear to have the world's only Vampire solar panel installation - a slight exposure to sunlight and it stops functioning altogether. (I wonder where I can get hold of those rings that the Salvatore boys wear in the Vampire Diaries, which allow them to play outside in the sunshine?  I probably also need to go and check if Buffy has been driving wooden stakes into the heart of each panel.   

The installers have promised to come over and try and resurrect our dark souled system, once hell freezes over (they are apparently waiting for parts, but since they have not inspected the system I’m not exactly sure what parts they think they need….new fangs or fresh supplies of virgin blood perhaps).  In the meantime they have told me to wrap its black satin cloak (with red lining) tightly around it, have the coffin lid screwed down tight at all times (except when topping up the Transylvanian soil) and keep Van Helsing, Buffy and other paranormal hunters at arm’s length.

In a reversal of normal life I am actually depressed at the moment whenever the sun comes out.  As I drive Ellegee with the roof down, I don’t get the normal feeling of elation to be speeding along in fresh air.   I have  a lump in my throat and the sick feeling of financial loss. The roof equivalent of 1929’s wall street crash - only it’s 2011’s solar panel burn out…

Record of the week
Tug of War - by Paul McCartney - I tried to get Paul to change the title  

Pick a part that's new - by the Stereophonics - just make sure it's not a bogie

Promised you a miracle - by Simple Minds - probably didn't see it through

Don’t let the sun catch you crying - by Paul Carrick - On no the sun has come out again I'm so depressed

Photo finish
In honour of the Nokia advert, this week’s photos are brought to you with a blindfold and just my enhanced senses. For best results you should also  wear a blindfold, which will give you the full-on blind photo experience and improve the pictures' viewing no end. For the record The Beast was not happy about taking part in this experiment and only agreed when I threatened to remove his batteries and CF card.

I could tell that I was going to get the car shot that
I wanted, I could smell the burning rubber and hear
the screech of brakes as if the car was on top of me ....

It was worth it though and I have been told that I should
be out of intensive care before Christmas and the
permanent limp will make me look distinguished

My window on the world
The way the moonlight plays across the picture –
contrasting the dark and light just makes my
heart skip a  beat.

Still not sure what it is....???
The Beast tries using the blindfold as well
So that's it for another week, although those of you who stuck with all of it may have taken the week to get here.

If the comments section is not appearing below then you can activate it by clicking on "Right to reply" at the top of the blog.

Friday, 4 March 2011

The art of living in a crime zone without shitting yourself

This week I report to you from behind the metal shutters that now adorn our windows and the barricade that we have built up behind our front door.  It is day six of the siege that began shortly after our road became the most crime-ridden street in the district….. Thanks Paul.  To think how safe we felt until you showed us the “reality” that is the – ‘Crime and policing website…..”

Knock, knock

“Sorry, excuse me everyone…”

Me - “Hello, who is it?”

NWC - “Hi, it’s your neighbourhood watch co-ordinator”

Me - “Wow, You’ve risked crossing the road, are you alright, not been mugged or anything…?”

NWC - “It’s about that actually…. and for the record I didn’t knock, this is an email…so that knocking should have been a sort of "boinging" noise, telling you that you have new mail…”

Me – “So, can’I make you a cup of tea or anything?”  (Sorry I’m English it’s what we do….I don’t even like the stuff… but you have to offer.)

NWC – “No thanks.  Besides I’ve told you this is an email not a conversation and I’m just informing you that….”

Me – “So why exactly is this in the form of a conversation?”

NWC – “That’s a bit of blogger's licence for you and anyway why are you asking me?  It’s your blog.”

Me – “Oh, yeah so it is….. get on with it then, some of us are trying to write a blog here…”

The Email from NWC informed me that our road isn’t actually a war zone and the horrendous report on the Crime and policing website about our street is actually down to a statistical error….

Apparently when the “Crime and policing” site was first setup, crimes were registered against where they were reported i.e. the local police stations.  This meant that when the local police looked on the web site they found themselves living in a crime zone (even worse than our street apparently).  The estimate of the value of the police stations had fallen through the floor - not even Policemen want to live in crime hot spots,  so they decided to change the reporting methods.

The report is now compiled based on where the reporter of the crime is calling from and so the figures for our street included:-

·         A man who reported his sister being beaten up.  She actually lives in a different town

·         A 999 call made in error from a child's mobile phone

·         Umpteen calls from my friend Paul wanting to boost the crime figures for our road

So it turns out our damned neighbours are all goody goodies and it is merely their vigilance and  superior citizenship that is sending our house prices spiralling down into oblivion.

I sent the following response  to our neighbourhood watch co-ordinator (I’ve removed our road name to protect the innocent….)

Thank god for that, we have been barricaded in our house* since our friends, from that den of Iiiquity (AKA Millers Close), reported, with a bit too much relish for my liking ,  that we were living in Britain’s worst  hit  crime road.  I must admit that I’m impressed with the local council and the fantastic job it has done removing the burning vehicles, dead bodies, prostitutes and drug dealers from our road before anyone even noticed…..Perhaps they have been a bit over zealous though as they seem to have removed most signs of life as well or is it just that we are all busy indoors reporting crime from around the county, country, world ?

* Only venturing out to commit various crimes in the surrounding roads, in a valiant attempt to disguise the figures and make our obviously riot-torn road look more acceptable.

After reading through the problems associated with reporting crime (I’ve heard that we are only a couple of reports short of getting our own major ITV  series “Hertfordshire’s  real life ghetto….”)  you can understand that I’m reluctant to report the following suspicious characters seen hanging around recently.

Now don't tell me these don't look like trouble

Then I thought to myself t"To hell with the house prices I feel it is my civic duty..."

Yours from across the  war zone that is our “Look both ways before you cross and don’t forget your stab vest” street….

What I can’t quite get my head around is why the police don’t record the crimes against the location where they actually occur…..
A shitty drive
If you ever hear anyone claim they have had a really shitty drive I can inform you they have not, not even close…..

·         A couple of extra hours behind the wheel?  That’s nothing

·         Cut up by some arsehole?  Get over it

·         Run off the road by some nutter….?  OK that’s pretty shitty but still not in the same league as…..

Getting into your car for a 10 minute journey, imagine you are feeling fine - you have just been to the cinema and seen a really good film, “Paul”:  I can highly recommended it.....

.....when, 5 minutes into the journey, you get a sudden excruciating stomach cramp, followed a fraction of a second later by a violent expulsion….What the….? Not even time to think "Wow I need to get to a toilet.….."  I did have these thoughts though:

·         Oh my god I better not crash, that would take some explaining….”No I didn’t shit myself because of the accident….Give me a polygraph if you don’t believe me”

·         If I end up in hospital does it count if I tell them that I started out with clean underwear??? Despite all evidence to the contrary…

·         I’m glad that I’m not wearing shorts, they would never have contained this mother lode….

·         I wonder if this will end up looking like tan on my legs?**

·         Hope Mrs B has not got home yet….(unfortunately she had)

·         What do I say if I get stopped for speeding – other than “No officer I think it would be better if I did not get out of the car….”

·         How bad would it have been if this had happened in the cinema?  Now that would have been the walk/shamble/shuffle of shame, as I tried to squelch on out of there….I guess I could have attempted to claim the film had scared the shit out of me…but I probably would not have got away with it, “Paul” is a comedy after all…..

·         Just as well my friend Ash and I were in separate cars….

I managed to make it home, despite some additional squelchy aftershocks and spent the next 24 hours hosing myself down in the shower. With just the loss of a once perfectly good pair of underwear, my trousers and my dignity to keep me company.  

Mrs B helpfully stood at arm’s length with one hand clamped over her nose, proffering bags for ex-clothing through a crack in the bathroom door…..This was one shit that certainly didn’t come up smelling of roses….

So like I say, next time you claim to have had the shittest journey ever, I think I can give you  the runs  a run for your money 

For the record Mrs B didn’t want to touch this part of the blog even with an extendable loo brush….

** Coincidently LilPixie covered tanning in her post this week but for some inexplicable  reason didn’t cover "The car and trouser tanning technique – for those who want a bottom half tan only (patent pending)"….. You should go and check out her blog, It's a lollipop world, I think it’s really funny (let’s hope that it is meant to be and I’ve not misinterpreted a serious blog.  It wouldn’t be the first time. I mean how was I to know that “Floaters” was not  hilarious stories about unflushables, rather than the sad story about people who drowned …..)  

In a desperate attempt to get something positive out of this experience…..

A couple of days before “The event” I had deposited a huge steaming turd of an aside made the following remark  on LilPixie's tanning blog.  I had been worried it would remain hidden in the depth of her comments section. However this seems like an ideal opportunity to flush it to the surface….  

I'm happy being a pale English Rose and have used a towel factor 5*** since I was a teenager.

*** 5 Towels covering my body at all times - even when in the shade - you can never be too careful..

I do find it hilarious when people turn orange for the sake of “looking good” (snigger, snigger, snort, like a small child on a sugar and E number overdose) you can do that by just eating carrots****, although not as safely as you might think. Huge amounts of carrot eating will lead to you developing an orangey colour to your skin and even the whites of the eyes may turn orange. The palms of the hands and the soles of feet can also become carrot coloured in serious cases. At this stage if you carry on eating those evil carrots, you will most likely die of carotene poisoning…

On the plus side if you go for an open casket funeral you will at least have a “healthy” orange glow…probably enough not to require additional lighting in the chapel of rest or would the service be better held in a greenhouse?

**** Makes you wonder if the Hulk was suffering from a green vegetable overdose - I know that being forced to eat just a few vegetables, as a kid, certainly made me mad, so who knows what might happen if someone forced me to eat a lot now?

Fortunately I don’t own a pair of ripped purple shorts so we will never know….

Hang on a second, I don’t think Dr Banner did either ….

Unsolved mysteries of the world… just where did the Hulk's purple shorts come from?? Was he being forced to eat some aubergine along with those greens???

Lilpixie likes to reply to all comments - a girl after my own heart.  If someone has taken the trouble to make a comment they deserve a response….

Lilpixie  - A tragic oompa loompa death by carrots. Who knew...
Me - I’m not sure I would describe any Oompa Loompa death as tragic, more like a result….

Lilpixie  -You know it's funny you said "aubergine". My best friend is from England & she came to visit me this summer & educated me on the European eggplant. I can't remember what ya'll call the zucchini over there now. Corgettes, am I correct? (Those are really cooler names than we have.)

Me - You are correct on the Courgettes front, yucky horrible things… I think the cool name thing is probably down to unfamiliarity…although even I have to go with Aubergine over Egg plant any day of the week…. Funny how Pulp Fiction did comparisons with fast-food rather than vegetables

Lilpixie - So, the Hulk was made out of Spinach? Where the hell have I been? I would have been watching my intake by now, before I turned into swamp thing at the dinner table.

Me - I’m way ahead of you and have been restricting my green intake for years, until now I just didn’t know why….Thank you gut feeling you saved me from a lifetime of anger management therapy and having to maintain a green co-ordinated wardrobe..

Lilpixie - Haha. You're awesome!! I love long, humorous comments!

Me - Thanks for posting a blog to get my teeth into. You may wish to retract the awesome comment once you have read next week’s BlackLOG, possibly way too much sharing even for me….

Lilpixie  - The Hulk was more than likely growing eggplants in his shorts, or is half made of eggplant. You learn something new everyday.

Me - I guess he probably had something growing down there, I’m just way too English (i.e infuriatingly polite) to speculate about it. As for learning something new every day, I try not to. At my age, with so many brain cells already confined to history’s wastepaper basket, I have enough difficulty remembering my own name let alone anything new….

Show me the Sunny (a rebranding of Energy Watch)
It was going to be “Show me the money,” but I thought that was a bit mercenary…. Besides I was frightened Jerry Maguire might sue for infringement of copyright ….

Monitoring our way to a fortune (or not) with our Solar Panels

KW Produced so far - 264

This has earned us approximately – £113 so far

KW generated in the week – 41

I discovered this week that the average sunshine for the UK should be 175 hours, in the period that we have had our solar panels but this year it has been only 125 hours….that is a whopping decline of around 29%.  Sorry Britain my bad, I guess putting up Solar panels is the equivalent of going out without an umbrella, which makes it 99.999% certain that it will rain…..Hang on a second, we live in Britain - it’s already 99.998%  certain it will rain, I shouldn’t be crucified for an extra .001% should I?

Show me the Sunny -

our way to a fortune or is i
how to turn a large fortune
into a small one.... 

Record of the week

We got to get out of this place  by the The animals

Shit creek by Icicle works
Accidents will happen by Elvis Costelo
Photo finish
Many of you will be relieved that there are no pictures of "The incident"

I must admit that I’m impressed with the local
council and the fantastic job it has done removing
 the burning vehicles, dead bodies, prostitutes
and drug dealers from our road before
anyone even noticed…..

The metal shutters and the barricades
have been removed. We are just relieved 
that we can go back to living the peaceful
existence that we always thought that
we were living….

Tune in next week for some exercise Nazi’s, me upsetting other bloggers and an irate Mrs B (see the exercise Nazis) has a pop at the blind (we should be OK as long as the BlackLOG is not translated into Braille or anything that can be read by a Golden Retriever….….)