Tuesday, January 31, 2006

hindsight is a twat

Despite avoiding public transport to get to work of late, I am discovering the wrath one can get immersed in when one decides to drive to work via Queens Drive, as this morning's journey demonstrated.
Personally, I have always preferred the Dock Road route to work and thus far I've had no real complaints regarding the traffic or the time it takes for me to arrive, however, two of my more learned colleagues have seriously lambasted me for my route decision. I have argued my case, but as they are locals, and Bob (one of the two said colleagues) has been traveling from South Liverpool to work for Sefton Council for some forty years, I felt obliged out of respect to his long service and vast experience.
What a load of crappola.

In 'Highway 61' , Dylan states that: 'the Highway is for gamblers', in response I agree but I would also add that 'Queens Drive is for suckers'. Better use your sense.
It just goes to show that just because someone has a superior knowledge, and experience it doesn't make them any more wise than the next man. In fact a newer, fresher approach can often be the better.
So I decided this morning, more as a whim, to travel down one of the worst road in this fair city and it took me approximately 20 minutes longer than usual. Granted, I appreciated that I could have taken a route which would involve going via Church Road and Mill Street to arrive in The Old Swan which would have saved me a significant amount of time, however, as we all know; hindsight is a twat.
For the most part of my tedious journey I was stuck in a traffic jam from hell. Forced to stare at a Renault Megane's rear end for nearly 27 minutes. Remember of course, the vehicle I am currently using has no radio and I have nothing to occupy my mind whilst I wait, expect to curse my colleagues and curse myself for not sticking to the courage of my convictions.
It seems totally crazy that people have to fight like that every morning, to get in the right lane, or prevent someone from getting in your lane ahead of you, guarding your position in the queue like a lioness guarding her cubs why do they do it?. There are so many cars too, it really makes you wonder if people were more prone to car sharing then it would rid us of half of the cars on the road.
I'm not knocking driving as a mode of transport. I actually love motorway driving and feel that's my territory.

I actually started to appreciate the small victories one gets whilst travelling via a train; getting the last seat, catching the train with seconds to spare, getting away without paying etc. Whilst driving, all the small victories are just too damned small and insignificant to be worth while tof their persuit. Take yesterday for example; I found a way of avoiding the round-a-bout on Princess Avenue/Croxteth Road/Belvedere Road. I tried this route and I could see that after executing this manouvre, I was several cars ahead of the van that was previously in front of me. A moment of great exultation soon vanished when the van pulled level with me at the Parliament Street Traffic lights minutes later. It seems so incredibly futile. At least whilst you are travelling via public transport it's you versus the system. Sometimes you beat it, other times it will beat you and you feel more secure somehow, you know what the odds are. Plus you occupy nothing but your own space rather than the protective shell the automobile provides. Human contact is unavoidable. Just knowing that in every single car that is trying to beat you to work, there is a human behind the wheel going through the same emotions as yourself, only they feel the satisfaction that they are protected from making real contact with the other commuters and therefore they can say what they want about them with no fear of reprisal. The poor bastards know no better. At least on the train you become extremely familiar with the other drones. You'll spot them elsewhere in the city outside of the setting of travelling to work and you can marvel at their civilian clothing or what their partner looks like. Sometimes, there will even be a smile or nod of acknowledgment from them. You also know that should anything awful happen like a fire, crash or bomb, then you'll be going down with them- which is oddly comforting.

If I wasn't so damned lazy, unfit and sweaty, I would love to be able to cycle/walk to work and avoid this misery. That's the loner's purest form of transport. It's just you vs the cars.

Last night 'the' Asda proved once again that domestic bliss comes at a cost. £128 to be precise.
It was a strange phenomenon, but I quite enjoyed it. I think this was partially down to the fact that I had picked up Lisa after she had got off the train (she was there with my old commuter pack...sob) so she was wanting to get back to the flat soon after another trying day at work. For some reason I really shine when people around me are miserable.
It was also a blessed relief not to be doing on a weekend as per usual.

It pretty much went without a hitch until we once again went on a quest for a baster. Can you believe that neither 'the' Asda nor Ikea sell this important item? I'm now going to have to walk to the Strand (shudder) to find one in time for Sweet Jonny's birthday tonight (don't worry-we've got him proper stuff too)I did purchase a casserole dish and managed to break some pottery whilst attempting to pick it up from the shelve, much to Lisa's embarrassment. As someone who thrives on other people's discomfort I then did a jokey-kick-under the shelves of the busted crockery, mostly for the further embarrassment of Lisa and for the general entertainment of the other shoppers who seemed to find my tomfoolery funny (ahhh I've still got it), this encouraged me to act in a hyper active and silly manner for the remainder of our time there, thus reassuring me that I can still be one of the most annoying people on the planet when I try.

It was this reassurance that helped me get the first decent nights sleep for a heck of a long time which helped me prepare for my visit to the Council's occupational health department as a result of my lengthy absense from work.

Monday, January 30, 2006

When You've Got No Use for Time.

Another weekend flies past all too quickly once again and like the majority of the population I too must wrestle with another Monday morning and engage in the trivialities of weekend conversation; football results, weather, Ikea, DIY and Saturday night Out anecdotes et al.

Like most weekends of late, my time was split between the visiting of my mother and trudging around a plethora of inane household shops with Lisa. My mum and my Grandparents were on good form on Saturday, and food was forced upon me as only my grandmother can do.

I woke early on Saturday as hungry as a mule and decided that whilst carrying out a list of errands that needed to be sorted before my departure to York, I would visit a fast food establishment with the intention of consuming something fattening. So I tip toed out of the flat and after my main objective of giving Jon & Eve their Manchester Vs Cancer concert tickets I drove on to my local outlet of McDonalds with naughty grin splashed across my soon to be fatter face.

When I drove to the window, I was greeted by a very familiar face, that of a young girl whom I walk past every day on the way to the train station. This flustered me somewhat as if someone could now verify my guilt's existence. I ashamedly asked for a cheeseburger, fries and a cup of tea. She looked quite bemused and flustered herself, so I came to her rescue as I realised it was only 10.15 am and quite clearly too early for the 'meals'.
"Is it too early?" I asked.
"It doesn't matter" and I drove away. I wasn't going to compromise my desire for comfort food by having to chose something from the 'breakfast menu'. No, a traditional sandwich shop was the sensible alternative.
I visited the shop opposite the McDonald below where I used to live with Steve, and asked for a sausage and cheese sandwich, which whilst asking for it infront of the Daily Star/News Of The World crew, l felt like a deviant.
I was happy enough with the sandwich, but whilst I drove in silence towards Yorkshire, I realised that the mounds of grated cheeses, coupled with the economy sausages was too rich of a combination for natural consumption, hence why so few establishments advertise it as an option.

As mentioned previously, my mum and grandparents were on top form. Perhaps it was the extra stodge in my system but I felt extremely drowsy for most of the afternoon, and soon I found myself fighting to keep my eyes open. As my g'parents eat about 4 hours earlier that I do, we went for a bite at the 3 Cups pub in Stamford Bridge ( tea at 5pm!!!). I of course was still full, but managed to negotiate my way through a steak and ale pie and I also managed to insert a wooden spoon in a bottle of vinegar in error (don't ask).

For Sat night festivities, Lisa and I watched the 80's classic: Weird Science.
It had been a while since I saw it last and I remember two of the following from my youth. Firstly, I believed that even if you weren't the most popular guy at school you could still have the potential to pull the school hottie, although one did require assistance from a computer made goddess in the form of Kelly Le Brock. As I grew up glued to my Commodore Amiga, I realised this wasn't the case, and infact most of the school hotties would be knocked up by the age of 22 and didn't care, as I was led to believe, for the sensitive types, unless of course they had a Porsche. (except for the Sally Williams Incident, whereupon I wrongly assumed that as she was a hottie she would have no interest in the likes of me, and when being told she fancied me I took it as a cruel joke- no doubt the sad details will appear on this blog at somepoint in the future)

The second misapprehension, was that all house parties would be like the one they have. I remember my first house party being the now legendary Sarah Head party in her parent’s terraced house in Bilton, but disappointingly it was just a mess of under age drinkers, cigarette induced sickness, sloppy kissing and ‘Blood, Sugar, Sex Magic’ being played repeatedly throughout. I mentioned this at the party scene and Lisa thought the same. It is still a fine film nonetheless, and the extensive work of John Hughes should be more revered that it is. I mean, the guy wrote and directed so many consistently good films, and 'Planes, Train & Automobiles', 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' and 'Breakfast Club' should have his name mentioned along with the likes of Woody Allen, Hal Hartley and Wes Anderson.

Sunday brought on another dreaded trip to Ikea. Sadly this time weren't all wide eyed and in awe of the beech veneered furniture, this time it felt like a pain in the ass. I found myself judging the couples who also walked around looking to see if a set of shelves would look right in their living room. I would judge whether he was too good for her, or she was too good for him, this amused me until me head began to hurt and I started to roll my eyes with impatience. Thankfully we weren't there too long, but the whole trip was marred by an incident involving a Turkey baster.

We had spent the best part of 10 minutes looking for one, but despite coming across every variety of kitchen utensils from Pizza cutters to grapefruit slicers I couldn't find any, so decided to ask one of the apron clad assistants for some help. The chap whom I asked was putting glasses onto a display tower and wore a look of sickening despondency. I politely asked him whereupon one might locate the basters. His reply:
"I don't think we sell them"
I took immediate umbrage with this statement and repeated:
"You don't think you sell them?"
To which he grunted something.

I walked on and let my fury be known to Lisa, who of course took a diplomatic approach and told me to stop bleedin' moaning. But the fact still remains he didn't think they had any.
Later upon our journey back to Liverpool, I continued this thought. Lisa suggested that perhaps he was new or had been working for twelve hours straight or something and was waiting for we annoying customers to go. I mean, I have worked in several Supermarkets where indeed you are dying for the customers to bugger off, however basic customer service skills always prevented me from being unhelpful.
He didn't think they had any. This statement was not a conclusive answer to my simple question. Surely he could have asked one of his co-workers or even just lied and told me that they definitely didn't have any. I would have appreciated this more than his apathy.

The flat now has a linen chest, two beech veneer chest of drawers and yet another bookshelf all still in their packaging and require assembly. No doubt my ISS Pro Evolution 5 training will suffer.
‘The’ Asda tonight.
Great. Thankfully I have my job to keep me sane.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I am a cheese sadist

Grated cheese has got the greatest texture of all sandwich fillings but it sadly falls short mark when it comes to categorising a fillings sustainability i.e. staying in the sandwich. I have been giving the concept of cheese glue a serious consideration in my mind for a while now. Surely this must be a possibility, but how would they do it and not ruin the taste of the cheese? Answer: make the glue out of cheese!

The pedants out there will just counter argue that one should not grate the cheese, rather one should slice the cheese to avoid the cheese crumbs that litter the floor around my chair here at work. My retort to these folks would be quite reasonably point out that grated cheese is my preference and that they should keep their opinions to themselves. Maybe perhaps the spill factor is what keeps my lifelong affection of the post grated cheese? Perhaps I am a cheese sadist?

Is grated cheese more economical than the regular 'whole' cheese? Is this why sandwich outlets across the land choose to grate their cheese or does it make crap cheese taste better? There is a lot I don't know about cheese, but I do know what I like. My time working in the cheese factory taught me nothing except for the skill of cutting holes in the centre of a 'cheese wheel' and the coating of said cheese wheel in wax.

By 1o'clock in this bum hole of an office, you will always see the lost flakes of cheese scattered around my keyboard and feet. Life could be much better. I stood as a young man in the prime of my life surrounded by the holes from these cheese wheels and these were the size of pint glasses. These cut offs were then brought to the staff canteen whereupon we cheese factory workers dressed in white overalls, white hats and white steel toe capped wellies could help ourselves to this rejected cheddar. Some time in July 97 I ate the thickest slice of cheese in my life and knowing that I had succumbed to gluttony and that very soon i was going to either be sick or have a heart attack was very satisfying. So nearly ten years later it is particularly sad to look upon the pathetic little pieces of cheese that got away from my sandwich and remember a better time for cheese. It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all I suppose.

With this cheese fear question swimming around in my head, I REALLY wanted a cheese sandwich and went to the shop as per usual, only they had no brown roll and could only offer me a meagre "white bap". I politely declined and thought that a trip to Greg's was in order. It will require the visiting of the Bootle Strand, a repulsive shopping centre catering for yesterday's people with the shops of tomorrow.
I mistakenly thought it would be good to feel the fresh air on my face and let the oxygen enter my system. I had also planned to acquire series 3 of 'Curb your Enthusiasm' so I was going that way anyway.

I bumped in to Kev whilst on route to Music Zone and we had a good chat about the TV we'd been watching. Funnily enough it was Kev who first brought my attentions to 'Curb...' a couple of years ago on route back from a gig in Nottingham. I also know for a fact Kev loves cheese.

After I purchased the DVD I went to Greg’s for my usual Steak Bake (my usual fortnightly cheese sandwich alternative), however I watch enchanted by their new creation the Cheese and Pepperoni pastie. Moreover, I was suitably impressed by the service they gave. I know this isn't going to sound like much, but when the young lady who was poised to serve me was asked by myself what this new concoction was she said "do you like cheese?" (spooky!). anyhow, she offered for me to try a piece; which I subsequently did and enjoyed. I simply couldn’t imagine this happening in Sayers.

On route back to the I decided that this pastie simply wouldn't keep me going until I got home and decided to get me a pack of crisps. Unfortunately I let myself down again.
I had decided previously never to purchase anymore crisps fro the local off licence, as every time i had got one there, it was out of date. In fact, my last visit -some 5 months ago- I pointed it out to the (fit) girl who worked there that they were several months out of date and she apologised accordingly- but like the soft schmuck that I am, I told her it didn't matter and took it anyway! So when I bought this packed I immediately checked out the sell by date which was friggin' Dec 05! Did I take it back?- no of course I bloody didn't, I just thanked her and went on my way.
I now feel disappointed with myself and nauscious, either because of the pasty or the mouldy crisps all because of my white bap snobbery.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I was a 'shit' martyr

Faecal Matters

As I may have often prattled on about in other equally unsanitary blog enteries, the toilet in this office is a constant source of contention with me. Not being particularly prudish or squirmish about using it, I happily will park my breakfast at work without any real concern. Of course-without covering old ground- I always employ the courtesy flush as the Office is extremely small and I consider myself extremely considerate to the needs of my male colleagues in this department. After all due to the size of the office we all know who's in. Moreover, the toilet has no windows and is about the size of a confessional box, only supplied with a 3 month supply of paper towels and toilet paper and a toilet of course. The need for discression is paramount.

Today, however I was met with a most unpleasant problem... I should warn you at this juncture- those with a weak disposition should not read on.

10am ish my regular morning constitutional was required. I was even more bored with the day so decided to bring my phone to play some poker as this, I felt, would be a useful way to spend some time. As per most mornings here, the fellow worker before me had left the place thick with their own warm, rich, aroma. I did my usual wiping of the seat (which was tres warm may I add) and took up my throne and proceeded to play on my phone for about 10 minutes before I was about to 'drop'. As I was poised to incorporate the courtesy flush (flushing whilst you go to eradicate and smells/sounds) I noticed a blob of faeces on the floor. It was the diameter of a 50 pence piece and was located directly in front of toilet, inches from where my feet where.


I was presented with a very awkward situation.

Do I ignore it?
Do I storm out of the toilet demanding to know who it was?
Or did I clean it up?

Of course hating confrontations and paranoid that someone would believe in error, that it belonged to me, especially as at this time in the morning their is a usually someone waiting to use the facilities when you vacate it; I proceeded to scrape it off the floor with a piece of cheap office tissue paper.

I have tried to deduce whom this crass hole was, but in all honesty I probably don't really want to know that answer, as forever more I should only be able to image them stood over the toilet, suit jacket hoisted above their mid drift, wiping their arse after a particularly bad dose of the squits - being in so much is pain and relief that they don't notice a little has gone astray.
Shit Shrapnel.

It brought to mind, remarkably, a long forgotten memory whilst at Primary school. We were kept from going to our lunch as some dirty twat had laid a large poo on the toilet seat and it had totally traumatised several girls in the class. The teacher in her infinite wisdom took us all to the toilet to inspect it and proclaimed that we weren't going to go on lunch until it had been cleaned.
After about a minute of tears and 9 year old hysteria, I thought "what the hell" and after wrapping a large amount of paper towels (the evil tracing paper bog roll would not have been adequate for this job) around my hand, I broke forth from the ranks and picked the brown log up and dropped it in the toilet. A job well done. Alas, this act of extreme bravery was considered an admission of guilt, and I was duly castigated by my fellow classmates and the bitch we had teaching us. Ah, I still remember trying to dry my hands and protest my innocence, as I was frog marched to the Headmaster's office via the school hall.I was a 'shit' martyr then, imprisoned wrongly for trying to help the masses during the tyrannical dictatorship of Miss Bradley the "hippie teacher". Now after nearly 20 years I have become a shit saint, working for the greater good for one an all. Amen…”..I smell a TV series”

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I am a dead whale too.

Okay so I’m still smarting that I only received 102 emails. I know I shouldn’t be as there’s more pressing issues that require my concern, but it just re-enforces my lowly status which, although I don’t wish to run the corporate treadmill, still makes me despondent and depressed. I did, however find something lurking in the bowels of my drawers (office furniture not my pants) which can give me a temporary reprise of the blues. Yes, today I shouted Huzzzar without irony for the first time in my life upon my discovery that I had a new 2006 calendar to use. Not just any calendar, but an insightful daily calendar which not only provides the reader with historical information but also makes one reflect inwards with its distinctive thought/advice for the day. Example- today in 1554- The city of Sao Paulo was formed, and the thought: “A grandmother is a babysitter who watches the kids instead of the television”.

Great. So everyday I can have a small memento of fascination to accompany my decent to the abyss.

I do remember ordering it in May, and it promptly arrived in June and with its vast quantity of pearls of wisdom lay dormant in amongst my spare envelopes and uncompleted job application forms. Granted I may have a job with absolutely no power or interest but at least I got them to spend £4.00 on it he he.

Since my return to the working environment, I have already slipped back into old ways. Firstly, I’m back on the tea in a bad way. I know this may not seem like a terrible thing, but when you’re drinking 11 cups of tea just whilst you’re at work, then you need to rely on your friends and colleagues to form an intervention (step away from the kettle Matt) . As I’m the only member of the team who is office bound permanently, I’m always happy to accept a brew if offered, unfortunately this entails being offered more that one an hour and for the most part I duly oblige and accept happily. Whilst away from work, I was starting to develop a taste for Green Tea as a healthier substitute and would only have two, maybe three in the whole day and I certainly felt more like a human being.
I’ve also started to consume sandwiches from the near by outlet after promising myself a healthier diet which I had strictly adhered to until yesterday. I’ve also driven to work for the last two days, and it’s incredibly lonely. It is so hard to mentally undress other commuters whilst you’re driving, where as the train (which as I am fully aware is far from the perfect mode of transport) I was adept at the subtle, seedy glace and using my mental photoshop to cut and paste members of the fairer sex’s clothing on and off accordingly. Also it’s very hard to listen in on other peoples’ conversations whilst they are in a different car, and making up what I think they’re talking about just isn’t that much fun.

So I'm getting fatter, lazier, and giving up the will to live. I'm more precious than that bleedin' whale though, c'mon someone haul me back to freedom on a barge.
Have Primary School children draw me pictures and write me poems.
Have krusty old celebs speak out on my behalf.
Feed me raw fish and applaud my stupidity.
Give those bosos at ITV new the opportunity to further speculate what might happen with there flash animation.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Carwash HUNT

Nearly seven full weeks without so much of a sniff at the internet, I have returned, alas, to work today only to find it dull and the same. Was it always like this? Why have I of late, dedicated far too much of my time to the trawling through its depths hoping to find a cure for paperclips or an antidote to snooker repellent or a decent MP3 recording of "Ooops I did it again" by Richard Thompson. During my blog hiatus, in which time I had paced the corridors of the intensive care unit, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, and tried keep my mum's spirits' up, it appears; that not a lot has happened.

Only 102 unread messages on my work's email were awaiting me this morning. Most of my colleagues get more than that in a week.

Of the 102 unread emails, none (as i had imagined) were Xmo or New Year's best wishes from friends who hail from further a field and who would have been unaware on my recent woes. Neither was there any messages from disgruntled associates and confidants wishing to show their contempt towards me as they did not receive their annual Mestiv Fexmo message from yours truly, a veritable Yule Tide Treat for one and all.

On a plus note however, I must give a great big fat greasy thanks to the kind folks at 100 T Shits, especially Miss Bob Blackwell, as despite working fairly hard-ish to design some T Shirts for their aforementioned T Shirt contest, I was unable to send off my final designs. However, despite them not getting any replies from their numerous emails they submitted my designs anyway, and converted the designs into the correct format for me from the erroneous ones I had previous emailed over. Thanks to their fortitude and helpfulness two of my designs were selected...woot! Alas, this didn't come without its cost. For some reason they thought the 'fing design' looked better the wrong way around! Sigh.

(http://www.p-ornithology.com/) -

Okay, because of the family emergency and all that, there was little to be cheerful about, however, the following is a brief list of things that have been good, when everything else has been crapolla:

Arrested Development (season 1 Box Set)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (season 2)
My new webdomain (www.robotbytheriver.co.uk) -cheers bro.
Seeing a yellow car and having carte blanche to hit whomever you are sitting near.
'Spiderland'- by Slint
oh and friends/family/loveones etc.
'crazzzzeeeee' That Niles Barclay song (man I love that)
Money Pit (Tom Hanks we hardly knew ye)
Women -By Charles Buchowski