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January 09, 2008

Crisis and rubbish

There are things that I am rubbish at. Difficult to believe, I know. Don't worry, this isn't going to be a post about being mental because (a) you're all fed up with that; and (b) I'm feeling ok today.

So, the answer is not: sleeping, relationships, parenting, thinking straight, and such.

The intros round.

Is the answer.

What do you mean, what?

Oh, ok, some further explanation may be required.

I am rubbish at that fun quiz thing when someone starts playing the intro to a well-known song and you have to shout out as soon as you know what it is. We did this at new year, my mates and I, and as usual I didn't get any.

I don't understand this. I listen to music a great deal, and I knew the songs that were played, but I just couldn't identify them from the opening bars. So I stood there and waited for someone else in my team to shout the answer and then shouted that out, more loudly. Like I always do. Why doesn't my brain work in such a way as to allow me to shout out the answer before anyone else, just once? I can only remember ever getting one once, in the pub quiz, and that was because I was older than everyone else on my team. (It was 'Ride On Time', by Black Box, since you asked, and that is very distinctive for anyone old enough to remember).

For the general amusement of everybody I did a fiendish quiz for new year. I reckoned if anyone got half the answers right they were doing well - and the winning team (which had the LOML and Mumbling Nige on it) got 22 out of 40 in the end so I was about right.

The teams that got less than ten were a bit bored though and now I'm worried that I set questions that were hard just so I could be all superior and knowledgable and not because it would be fun for everyone else. *sigh*.

See what you think, a few sample questions below:

1. On a clear day, what is the furthest you can see from the top of the Eiffel Tower?
2. What is the square root of one quarter?
3. Which sport uses a piece of equipment exactly 9 by 5 feet?
4. Into which ocean or sea does the river Nile flow?
5. The Queen Vic is on the corner of Albert Square and which other street?

I'll put the answers in the comments so have a think before clicking over, and then let me know if they are (a) too hard and I am an arrogant egomaniac; or (b) they are ok standard and I am just trying to help everyone have a good time.


January 01, 2008

HNY and all that

What I said above.

I am currently at death's door from man flu, which I think you'll find is worse than ordinary flu. I have been revising my will, and making preparations for my funeral, as I am sure that if anyone can die of man flu, that one will be me.

Still, progress in the crisis household. All the family now have iPods, so there is no need to talk to each other any more at all, which is a plus. Smallest child sings along with Lily Allen at high volume, including the f-word ("Dad, it's a lyric"). I must remember to have a word with her about doing that in public. Customers in Caffe Nero don't expect angelic-looking 9 year old girls to sing "But you were fucking that girl next door, what'd you do that for?".

Even if it is in tune.

Grumpy (aka Child One) is now officially the first cyborg human. He is physically linked to the playstation or DS, umbilically, so that if you cut the cord he would be dead in minutes, flopping around like a haddock on the deck of a trawler. His eyes have evolved into little LCDs and his thumbs are now completely swivellable. He can tap his fingers faster than the eye can see. His arse is flat and wide, for balance while sitting.

Still, going skiing in a few days. He'll be able to learn to snowboard and that will be the end of that, we'll never see him. He's already got the long hair and the grungy clothes. Oh, and the girlfriend.

What's that all about? She's just like a female version of him. Lovely, but mad as a sack of fish. I'm quite scared by this. She was born the day after him, which they think means they were fated to be together. Bless.

2008 will be better, the LOML and I have promised each other.

Hope it's true for you too.

December 17, 2007


Thought I'd perhaps share some with you, since I was going on about it. These are from the summer hollibobs. They're in pencil so they haven't come out all that well on the scanner, but still.

I did these on the beach and in the cafe, quickly, before the subjects moved too much. I prefer doing them this way; not getting too involved with each one, just try and capture the moment and the movement and then on to the next one.

If wasn't who I have become ...

... I'd live by myself in a city-centre flat
... I'd still ride a motorbike
... I'd get up at noon
... I'd go to bed at 4 am
... I'd be very untidy
... I'd need to grow up
... I'd have every playstation and xbox going
... I'd be a borderline alcoholic
... I'd play poker every day
... I'd earn money only when I needed some
... I'd not have any proper close friends

... I'd be emotionally shallow
... I'd be desperate for a partner but wouldn't admit it
... I'd be the oldest bloke in the club on Friday nights
... I'd dream about my own kids to cuddle and love me

... I'd be even mentaller (? spelling) than I am now

So: it's not all bad, life, is it?

You've only got four thousand weeks. Four thousand weeks is less than eighty years. I've had half mine already.

Two thousand weeks doesn't sound very long, does it?

Best get on with it. Especially if you don't believe in an afterlife, as I don't.

So I will:

... push to get properly fit
... push the limits when I am skiing, and not just dwell in the intermediate
... remember to thank my wife every day for saving me from myself
... not shout at the kids for stuff that doesn't matter
... stop talking about it and learn to kitesurf next summer
... be less bah-humbug about Christmas
... play the piano more
... take a sketchbook out with me more often, and draw a wider variety of subjects
... use all the methods I have been taught to manage my depression
... go to bed at a sensible time and stop sleeping in the day.


I can manage that.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and sorry for doing the resolutions thing before we've even got to Christmas.

December 13, 2007

Untitled no 1



Still alive.

Dunno if anyone wanted to know that, but still, you do now.

Spent a bit of time rocking back and forward in the dark, and a bit of time asleep in the day.

Spent some time sitting looking out at the world like I am hiding in a room behind my face. Alcohol does this to me. I have largely given up drinking because of this: my eyes are one-way mirror set in a plaster face mask: from the outside, blank, relective. From the inside, I can be doing what I want and no-one can know. Sometimes I am crying, sometimes I am laughing at you. Sometimes, I am shouting as loud as I can, but only I can hear.

Spent quite a lot of time awake in the night.

Channel 201 is quite good. It shows Jackass repeats which is quite good if you're up at daft o'clock. You can watch people hurting themselves and not have to think about anything else for a bit.

I'm waiting to see the psychiatrist.

That isn't easy to write, you know. There is a social stigma to that. But I've done the GP thing, and the drugs don't work as well as (a) they used to; and (b) they should. Maybe the consultant has some extra, non-GP knowledge which can help.

So, how can I still be optimistic during all this. I am, though. I still think that everything will get better, I know it will, one day. I went to a managing depression support group thing at the hospital. That was a laugh. We had to do a questionnaire - have you felt unable to get out of bed, have you felt low on a scale of one to five in the last week, two weeks, month?

Ha, ha, hahahahahahahahaha, haaaaaaah.

Uh, yes?

I won. I was the most mad. Yay, me. However, I didn't tick the 'suicidal' or 'self-harm' boxes and never have done. There's that optimism again, see?

Quick joke.
"How many Freudian psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?"
"Two. One to change the lightbulb, and the other to hold the penis stepladder."

That cheered me up.

Sooooo, all the above being said, I'm actually ok. I know that sounds unlikely, but I am really.

I know I have a physical condition which should be treatable, and if not, I can manage.

You have to make the best of what you've got. I am colour blind, deaf in one ear, chronically depressive. I do not, as we speak, have cancer, or muscular dystrophy or whatever else. So, ok.

Go out and do your thing, make the most of every day. I'm trying, I really am.

Irreverant gossipy posts to follow.

August 30, 2007

Always ahead of the trends, me

Just back from hollybobs, and judging by the Sunday style mags I am, yet again, ahead of the current retro fashion. No, not loon pants. Or cowboy boots - big this winter, apparently - and I just happen to have some. Nope, I am ahead of the current fash for camping.

It's all because of the festival explosion, y'see. I mean, the explosion in festivals. The number of festivals. That are out there. Now. Are we there? (Syntax error - I do intend to suggest some horrific Islamist terrorist event at a music gig. Sorry about that). I used to go to festivals in my youth, but that's a whole 'nother post.

Anyhoo. If you want to sleep at a festival, you camp. No alternative option, except, if you believe the aforementioned mags, for glamping, which is just a shit name for luxury camping. I don't do glamping, I do glaravanning. (Uh. This might need some work. Stylavanning? Retrochicavanning? Chicavanning. Whatever). I have a retro-chic 'van. By this, I do not mean a seventies caravan which is so fucking old that it looks retro, but a deliberate seventies style caravan which I have on purpose because the style is chic and funky and disco. (Although, you could argue, and with some justification, that these are one and the same thing. If you must).

In fact, it was made in 1980, and trust me, I am gutted about this. What is it about 1979 which is retro and laid back and disco and therefore cool, but 1980 is yuppie brick-phone headband legwarmery shit? So from now on, it is a seventies retro-chic van, and I am not going to allow the truth to get in the way of a style decision. Agreed? Good.

It's got a brown awning with tassels on, for fuck's sake. And gas lamps. What's not to love?

So the whole family Crisis have just been for nine nights on the Yorkshire moors, with mountain bikes and maps and stuff. I have a new mountain bike, remind me to tell you about it. The LOML lost a Birkenstock in a bog and we had to go wading in the freezing stinky gloop for it. But found it. I got a bit pissed in a succession of country pubs while looking for somewhere to get lunch after two o'clock ("While we're here, we might as well just have a beer they've got their own microbrewery look, we'll get some crisps to keep the kids happy, yes pint of Old Snatch Grabber two blackcurrant fruit shoots and half a lime and lemonade, please. What? What?"). Went from Pickering to Whitby on the chuffer train. Lost the kids for 40 minutes in Whitby. Panic? Me? Never. Went to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to look at the Andy Goldsworthy stuff. Fabby.

So, you'll have guessed, I am now back at work, which is why I am writing this and not actually doing anything proper. No change there then.

Nice to be back though.

August 17, 2007

Wow. Hello!

"Last updated on 23 February 2007".



Bin busy, y'see.

I have returned, obv., because I should be doing something else. In this case, finishing a drawing writing a specification taking the kids to the outlaws going into town for photocopying and the chemist and dog food changing the wheel on the caravan going to the bank printing and sending two reports to prospective clients phoning three existing clients and a contractor ... and so on. And this afternoon ... oh, I can procrastinate for Britain, me.

I'm also going on my jollies on Sunday. (I know, just as soon as he gets back, he buggers off again). So if you see a retro-chic early 80s caravan trundling Midlands -> Yorkshire give us a wave. Back ten days or so afters.

But rest assured, I'm still here and not at all dead. I'm very well, thanks for asking. Both our businesses (get us!) going well enough to pay t'bills, ta. Though sorting kids out on holidays is a chore.

I'm still being irrationally irritated by trivial stuff. Like, ladies, wearing leggings is a privilege not a right. Puh-lease. Just turn round and look at your arse in the mirror and have an honest think about it. If the material is so stretched that you can tell what colour your pants are through the holes in the weave, then walk away from the leggings.

Still, at least I don't have to sit on a train every day. Or clock in. Or do timesheets.

Right. I'll just get a coffee. Then I need a poo. And then I'll get some work done.


Nice to talk to you all again.

February 23, 2007

Fucking OneTel genius

I have had no email since Tuesday. I am trying to run a business. This is not good.

I rang the number. Talked to a nice person in India. The email will be down for another 24 hours maybe.
Where is my MAC code that I requested 10 days ago and should take 3 working days to provide?
I'll need to transfer you.
Please do so with all alacrity.
[Jennifer Rush singing The Power of Love right through twice...]
Another nice person in India. I'll do that for you it'll take 3 working days.
No. It should have been done already. 10 days ago.
I'll have to put you on hold while I check.
[Mariah Carey warbling some shit, I was distracted and didn't catch which song, they all sound the fucking same anyway]
Yes sir, we've generated it and sent it!
It was sent to [the LOML's email address] twice!
But, uh, wait for it ... the email's down ... and you knew that, hmmm?
Oh. Oh yes. It is.
[Brightly] Is there anything else I can help you with today?
[sigh] No. Thank you. Just send the MAC code again as soon as you can, please.
Is there any particular reason why you are transferring away from OneTel to another provider?
[has to put phone down due to fit of hysterical giggles]