Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Jesus Christ, Sabouter.

It's now two days before my birthday, and people are already trying to muscle in on the celebrations, and take some of the annually-anticipated attention off of me. I say "people" but really it's one in particular.

Jesus. That little sod is determined to steal the spotlight on Friday; getting shops to replace birthday cards with Easter ones, smothering everything with little chicks and daffodils instead of diamonds and roses, and he’s even roped in the Easter Bunny (who I used to have a great deal of fondness for) to help convince children that Good Friday is the day when they get bought chocolates! Tsk. Shameless.

I think I'm going to start trying to rebrand Christmas, and see how he likes it.

Ol' JC isn't the only "superstar" aiming to exploit the fact that everyone has been given time off work to celebrate (for which not a single person has thanked me yet,) as the TV channel Dave are broadcasting the first of three new episodes of Red Dwarf on Friday night. This blatant hijacking of International Kate Day is slightly more acceptable than the other, as I have spent far more hours watching Cat, Rimmer, Lister and Cryten than I ever devoted to watching the free copies of The Easter Story that tend to crash through letterboxes across the land at this time of year.

Now, cheeky as it is of the television schedulers to cling onto the birthday-bandwagon, it seems that their efforts are all too effective. Much to my chagrin, they have successfully brainwashed even those nearest and dearest to me. The best example is that of my grandmother, who turned seventy last month. I decided that - in the midst of a recession, with family visiting over Easter, shopping to do for my father's forthcoming nuptials, and his birthday looming at the end of the month - it would be better to have a quiet birthday at home, and not do anything that required the frivolous spending of cash none of us have. It's not a huge concession, particularly if I am recovering from the trauma of suffering my mother's company during the day, so wasn't something I particularly minded. I'm more annoyed about turning twenty three, as it means I am now of an age equivalent to half the cast of skins, or five and a half Miley Cyrus's.

Anyway, in a last-ditch attempt to muffle the cries of "aww, you can't stay in on your birthday!" that I was hearing from every quarter, I suggested to my grandmother that we rally a small family gathering for drinks in our local on Friday, as it wouldn't be too expensive a night if it were limited to a few of us, and they do cheap food if people fancy it. Now, I expected her to be overjoyed at the thought of recognising the twenty-third anniversary of the moment she became a grandmother, (or at least pretend not to be haunted by the memory,) but the conversation went as follows:

Me: "The Red are doing 2 for 1 on meals, so we could always take everyone up there? Will be nice to get everyone together."
Nan: "That would be nice, but... Can we do it on Saturday instead?"
Me: "Why? I was really hoping we'd do it on Friday night, as it's my birthday!"
Nan: "I know it is, but it clashes with Eastenders."

Now, I took far more offence at this than I should have because my ego never has reacted well to anything that threatens to deflate it. It's actually very funny, and reminds me of a feature on a radio show I used to listen to. Many of you will know of it because of the press-coverage devoted to its death throes, but before it suffered its own grandparent debacle, Russell Brand and his co-host Matt Morgan devoted a section of the programme to "nanecdotes." These were charming or amusing anecdotes sent in by listeners about their elderly relatives, and the pair always riffed and elaborated on their audiences’ tales superbly. I can't help but imagine them adopting their little-old-lady voices for the sound-byte "Oh I know it's your birthday dear, but it clashes with my programme on the tellybox." I hope the Daily Mail are happy with themselves. They have denied a grandmother her dream of stardom! …I'm not particularly sure she ever did dream of being on the wireless - her biggest aspiration seems to have been to own a monkey, which she never attained - but I'm pretty certain that had I emailed a national radio station about her, then she would, at the very least, have forgiven me eventually.

As it happens, now Dad is planning to cook Sunday dinner for us all, which probably requires several days’ fortification for anyway. My preparation for said Bush-tucker Trial has been inspired wholly by the (awful) film Snakes On A Plane, where the pretty Spanish girl coats her mouth with olive oil to prevent the poison from entering her bloodstream when she sucks the poison out of her fellow passengers’ wounds. I forgot to buy the olive oil when I was in Tesco’s yesterday – and to be honest in Portsmouth it’s not easy to find extra-virgin anything – but there are some cod-liver oil tablets in the cupboard we give the dog, so failing all else we can dose up on those before Sunday teatime. I just hope Peggy Mitchell appreciates it!

At this juncture it is probably polite to wish you Happy Easter, but I’d prefer to hope you have a marvellous International Kate Day. I urge you to you go forth and continue the trend. Think of it as a task on The Apprentice; it’s us against the church team! Greet your friends, neighbours, colleagues and random strangers with my egotistic salutation, so we get the brand out there. Come on – Christ has his own little cult to run his PR for him, I don’t even have Max Clifford! (Though he does have an opening on his client list now, so I might offer the poor bloke some work.) With your loyalty and devotion we can’t fail!

…but if Jade digs herself up over the weekend, I’ll be really fed up.

That 80's blanket is so retro-chic right now. I wasn't just "on-trend" - I was two whole decades ahead of my time.
10th April ftw.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Mischief and Mayhem

Well it's April Fools Day 2009, and I'm already bored enough to have just typed "Google" into Google, on the off-chance that someone out there in cyberspace had set it up to display an error message saying I'd broken the internet. If I worked for Google, then on the 1st April I don't think I could pass up the chance to subvert the well known myth that asking Google to search for itself will cause a catastrophic breakdown in communications. No one who types "Google" into Google actually expects anything heinous to occur, but the opportunity to give someone a bit of a shock would be too much to resist for one such as myself. I think I'd like to set up a page which - instead of returning "Results 1 - 10 of about 2,640,000,000" - would feature a briefly displayed warning message, before settling on a humorous image like this: (the Superpoke application error screen, which made me chuckle when I inadvertently broke Facebook.)

Of course, such seasonal tom-foolery isn't restricted to bored, insomniac twentysomethings (though there's a lot of that about this-morning), and I don't doubt that each of you will stumble across a prank or two over the course of today. Whether you realise it or not is another matter!

My favourite of the japes I have come across already today are two faux newspaper stories. The first is a Guardian article embracing the new social networking phenomenon "Twitter" - which for the uninitiated amongst you is a string of 140 character "status updates" - a bit like Facebook without the cacophony of colourful photo's, applications and groups.

Link: Guardian Twitter Article

I was particularly tickled by the suggestion that they are currently transcribing their back-catalogue of newsworthy moments in history to make them suitable for the Twitter format.

Major stories already completed include:

"1832 Reform Act gives voting rights to one in five adult males yay!!!"
"OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see tinyurl.com/b5x6e for more"
"JFK assassin8d @ Dallas, def. heard second gunshot from grassy knoll WTF?"

Some of the best examples of the Guardian's "Twitter archive" are:

Highlights from the Guardian's Twitterised news archive

OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring day
otherwise *sigh*

W Churchill giving speech NOW - "we shall fight on the beaches ... we shall never surrender" check YouTube later for the rest

Listening 2 new band "The Beatles"

Berlin Wall falls! Majority view of Twitterers = it's a historic moment! What do you think??? Have your say

RT@mohammedalfayed: FYI NeilHamilton, Harrods boss offering £££ 4 questions in House of Commons! Check it out

I also like the equally current photo-shopped images of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith - who has this last week been embroiled in a ludicrously over-inflated (possibly a bad choice of words) sex-scandal, after her husband purchased two pornographic movies on pay-per-view and accidentally claimed the tenner back on expenses with the rest of their bills. His dalliance with deviance isn't an issue I feel requires public attention - it's obvious the cost of them was in all likelihood not added to their business expenses deliberately. I was more disgusted that he'd pay a couple of quid to watch Oceans 13 - twice - and that he'd pay to watch the interminable "Surf's Up" at all.

Today's photographs depict Ms Smith leaving the high street staple Anne Summers, laden with carrier bags full of saucy swag.

Both these articles are little more than an amusing distraction, particularly in the current economic climate; which has encouraged the newspapers to do little but incite "panic on the streets of London" in a way only hitherto foretold by the wise and wonderful Morrissey. (Though it always seems cruel to reference him in relation to anything of a sexual nature, it is pertinent in this instance, as Jacqui Smith's husband has discovered just how easy it is to empathise with a man whose genitals were believed to be "little more than a cruel joke." Mind you, looking at his missus, I don't think anyone would castigate him for seeking an alternative punch-line.)

All this mischief making puts me in mind of my favourite faux news story from a few years ago, when scientists announced that they'd discovered a new species of furry shark. Anyone who knew me at the time may well recall just how much I desired that story to be real. So much did I wish it to be true, that I have still never actually looked it up, so that the memory of it might swim fuzzily around in my imagination, untainted by cold, hard, realities.

On a personal note this week, the M.E Clinic informed me that I am their most recalcitrant lab rat, and seem to derive pleasure from being contrary and impossible to categorise. I was determined to take this as a compliment, though they were just as determined to assure me that it wasn't meant as one. I might try and go a little easier on them next week, after all, there are far worse jobs being doled out to unsuspecting rats than their traditional clinical roles. Oh yes, these days rats are at the frontline of more than just medical research.

This little fella - who I must say looks rather snazzy in his little harness (only to be improved if they'd given him miniature aviators to complete the Top Gun style) - has been trained to sniff out landmines because he can run across them without setting them off. I can't help but think that in this picture he looks like he's helping Macauly Culkin out with some ingenious scheme to combat Taliban burglars after all the troops withdraw from Iraq and accidentally leave him behind.


Note, RamboRat is not an April fool, as (possibly) validated for you by this newspaper article from the 31st March. Daily Mirror Article

If it does turn out to be a fabrication, don’t tell me. I wish to forever live in the kind of blissful ignorance that sees a lifetime of furry sharks chasing legions of little scurrying soldiers around the deeper, darker corners of my marvellously meandering mind.

Before I release you from your obligation to stick this blog out to the final full-stop, now it’s April I am officially allowed to start hinting about the fact that it is my birthday in just over a week. Not that I am ever either subtle or tactful in my attention seeking, but I feel that your loyalty in reading through my written ramblings with enough dedication to reach these last lines deserves some reward; so consider this fair and timely warning that I am going to be more insufferable than ever for the next couple of weeks.

On a final and very sad note, a social worker who spent some time working alongside my father in Portsmouth has died this week of an aggressive cancer she was left without time to fight. Some friends of Claire Ramsbottom’s are raising money in her name, and so I am including the link here just in case any of you have some change to spare. To donate, or if you just wish to leave messages of support for her family and the fundraising team who will be doing the Race For Life, please go to: www.justgiving.com/jeffriesnetballteam.

I wish you all a glorious day full of mischief and mayhem, and hope that anyone attending the Stop The War march contains their passions in a peaceful protest. There is no sanity in trying to end violence with violence, though historically it has proven to be human nature to try just that. x