toxicsoup

Well, not toxic, exactly... maybe just a little bit rank. But in a nice way. With a garnish.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

underage

We’re in Pizza Hut!
I grit my teeth and try to look Old and Female.

At first glance, from a distance, you might be forgiven for thinking that I am a teenage boy.
Short spiky hair, hoodie, jeans, trainers, unicycle.

At closer inspection you would realise that I have boobs, I am really quite extraordinarily tall for my age (33) and, I have a few white hairs and my first wrinkle, just there – in the middle of my forehead*.
Years of frowning at people finally has paid off.

I love Pizza Hut.
I love the fact that you can sprinkle chilli seeds all over your pizza and make it so spicy that your lips bleed. I love the fact that there isn’t a single, healthy morsel of food within a quarter mile radius of the building – even the salad tastes as though it is somehow packed with special Pizza Hut calories.
I love the fact that I am usually one of the thinnest people in there.

What I don’t love about Pizza hut is the fact that they are clearly as blind as bats, don’t pay attention and need a damn good spanking.
Or at least, they did last time I was there…

***

Imp, LittleImpA, LittleImpB and me. We nip in to Pizza Hut and we wait at that funny little lectern thing that they have at the door, waiting to be acknowledged and herded to our table.

The lectern thing is also on my list of Things I Dislike. I always feel uncomfortably exposed, as if someone might demand that I make a speech at once, with no notice and no autocue.

I stand next to the lectern, being formidable and sending out incontrovertible messages via aggressive body language, that I will not be giving impromptu talks and No, I don’t mind waiting and being ignored and, in fact I like it.

A pimply girl comes up to greet us. It’s Saturday and she’s earning some cash ready to spend on crack cocaine at the ice cream van parked outside the school gates on Monday morning.

She sniffs and does that I Work Here And Will Smile Till I Puke But I Really Don’t Care If You Live Through To Dessert-look and, eyes sliding past me, faces Imp and says,

“One adult, three children’s menus?”

I could murder her.
Instead I endure the laughter from LittleImpA and LittleImpB and slowly die a tiny bit more inside…


* The wrinkle is in the middle of my forehead, not the white hairs.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sunday Game

I love this game.

I've played many versions of Snake/Nibbles in the past but for some reason A Worm's Life has grabbed me by the neck, put me into a head-lock and just won't let go.

Well, that's what I tell Imp, anyway.

The twist is that there are tempting little power-ups to make life both easier and harder.
A blue shield protects you from bombs and allows you to clear light coloured bricks. A jug of yellow liquid slows you down, red speeds you up, green makes you bigger.
Bombs? You can work that one out for yourself.

The best thing is that you only need one hand to operate, thus leaving the other free for coffee, doughnuts, a beautiful woman or a shot of whisky.

Plinky plonky music (switch off-able, thankfully) completes the retro feel.

Click

Saturday, May 27, 2006

fat and angry

I weigh myself.

The diet hasn’t been going very well recently. I must complain.

It’s true, I took a couple of days off at the end of April so that Imp and I could celebrate our anniversary and I haven’t quite managed to get back onto it yet, but that’s a minor point and, the evidence is merely circumstantial.
I think a solicitor would argue that it would be a ‘moot point’ if someone ever decided to take me to court over my loads and loads of not losing weight.

I don’t know what a ‘moot point’ is, but it sounds pointy anyway, and that’s got to hurt.

The argument in my favour is that it is impossible and also against the law to celebrate anything (but especially anniversaries) without drinking lots of beer and eating naughty things and I think that there might be something to do with Human Rights in there too.. about being allowed to eat Hot’n’Spicy Pringles whenever it’s near, or nearly near, a weekend.

***

The classroom is boiling hot and I can feel my scalp beginning to sweat. My armpits are several gallons ahead of the game and I can feel my socks squelching.

Most of the 13-year olds in the room are doodling or planning their weekends, heads together conspiratorially.
That would be fine if it was break time but they are supposed to be listening to me. Someone sniggers and mimics me in a teenage falsetto.

I’m not taking any more messing.
I’m knackered, I’m hot and I can’t take my hoodie off in case they notice that I’m got a huge, enormous protrusion of a stomach.
I look down and it looks back up at me, largely.

I have a nagging but growing panic near the back of my mind that I should have planning permission for something of these dimensions.
That pisses me Right Off.

“You!” I yell, spitting and snarling in a way that would make Fred West nervous.

“Move to that seat over there and I don’t want to hear another sound out of you unless you’re having some kind of fatal asthma attack”.

The class goes silent.

“And you two. Speak to each other again and I Stop Being Nice…”

I do my Nazi Face.

Their faces drain. Their bravado makes a mass exit and they shrink back, reassessing me, their new goal to make it alive to the end of the session.

I’m almost disappointed that I can’t carry on shouting. I could get into this.

I suck my stomach in and calm down a bit, basking in my fake thin-ness and new-found power.

Friday, May 26, 2006

music

It's that time again.

Those of you who have broadband, get yourselves over to the Mercedes site and download yourselves a free album of new music.

It's a mixture of chilled, trance, coffee-house jazz, pop and goodness knows what else. Fantastic!

Click

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

innocence

I gape at the ten-year-olds gathered around me.

They are all so eager and innocent and I feel slightly guilty about spoiling it all for them and telling them about all the bad things in life like hangovers and drugs and buses being late.

They all smile back at me and continue looking eager and giggle a bit.

They are happy because we are in a pretend pub, and I am propping up the pretend bar and they are sitting around the pretend tables picking at the pretend beer mats and pretending to be grown up.
It is, in fact a real pub, built by real pub-builders but the pumps aren’t plugged in to anything and the bottles are all real but out-of-date and if any one is going to be drinking them it will be me and not them.

I place myself between the ten-year-olds and the out-of-date bottles of beer and leer at them in what I hope is a kind of Don’t Mess With Me Or The Beer-look and frantically try to remember what it is that I am supposed to tell them.

So far I have taught the same 10-minute session six times already, without a break, and I am starting to get confused. Did I tell them about liver disease a moment ago, or was that the last group?
Rather worried I get them all to do pretend Drunk-Walking, which they all enjoy and are remarkably good at and I am an instant hit again.

“Who knows the names of some drugs, then?” I ask.

“Ganja!” someone yells... and everyone sniggers.

“Well done!” I say, in my very enthusiastic Youth Worker Voice. “Any more?”
I try not to look like Keith Chegwin.


“Weed!” someone else calls out.

“Bush!”

“Cannabis!”

“Rocky!”

“Greens!”

“Dope!”

“Hash!”

“Grass!”

“Block!”

“Marijuana!”

“Blow!”

“Afghan!”

I step back, somewhat alarmed. They seem to know a lot of drug names.

When I was ten, I had a vague idea that fizzy pop might be bad for your teeth.

Luckily they don’t seem to know that they are all terms for the same drug and I’m glad that they are still innocent in their own little way.
I gently explain this to them and ask if they know any other drugs. I lean back, trying to look masterful.

“Cocaine!” a tiny little girl whispers.

She is tucked at the back next to the switched-off fruit machine, cute hair in pig tails and little ribbons. She probably is small enough to fit in my rucksack. I expect her parents are solicitors and well-to-do and they probably shelter her from the cruel world outside their door.

“Heroin!” she adds, still talking veryvery quietly.

“Good…” I begin.

“Crystal Meth” she mentions, matter-of-factly.

Bloody hell. These kids seem to know more about drugs than I do. I shift uncomfortably and hope they don’t ask me about date rape.

“GHB, Charlie, Ketamine, 2CB, Base, Whizz, Solvents, Magic Mushrooms, Steroids, Crack!” the group yells, clearly loving every minute of being allowed to talk about drugs.

I check the clock. 7½ minutes to go. Shit.

“My dad got drunk a few weeks ago and got stabbed”, a saintly little boy volunteers from somewhere near the door.

“My Auntie took an overdose and died”, someone else pipes up.

My Auntie could drink a bottle of vodka in 10 minutes and now she’s dead” another serious-faced child calls.. and the entire group of ten-year-olds nod wisely and reminisce.

Panicking, I again check the clock.

7 minutes to go.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunday Game

I like this game because it's mindless.
This is no reflection on me.. I'm actually highly intelligent and not blond at all. Not that I'm saying anything about blonds, I'm just saying.

Anyhow, it's an old one, and old ones are always the best (apart from the really good new ones).

Driller is incredibly, OCD-inducingly, meal-missingly addictive so you really need to make sure you've gone through your jobs-list before you try this one out.
Although if you write jobs-lists, the odds are you already have OCD.

(Imp, take note.)

It's easy enough.... drill to the bottom, collecting air canisters along the way to keep you alive.
My highest score is 253 on the Normal level, but I'm gonna bloody beat it if it kills me.

And anyway, it's better than doing the washing up and it is Sunday and I deserve to stare vacantly - breathing through my mouth - without anyone making comment.

Click

Thursday, May 18, 2006

van

I have the work van!

It’s all very complicated and my head is spinning from trying to work things out, but I have ended up needing to leave my car half an hour away from my flat outside Imp’s place, so that I can collect the van and take it home, ready for tomorrow morning.

It’s a bit like trying to work out how to cross a river with a raft, a fox and a chicken and a bag of grain, or something like that.
But without a raft, chicken, bag of grain or a fox.

Drive car to Barry (place, not person). Leave car, pick up van. Collect visitor’s permit from Imp’s car so that the van can be parked outside my house in Cardiff. Drive van to work. Drive Van to Imp’s. Drive van back home again… get stuck without car. Take painkillers to deal with headache. Scratch aching head and give up. Resign membership from Mensa. Catch train to retrieve car.

But for the moment I am happy. I am in a huge great big van, with scratches and dents and everything down the sides as battle scars - evidence of previous run-ins with bollards and changing lane where other cars are and other fighting stuff.
I chuckle in my most evil Van-Man cackle and swap lanes, safe in both my invincibility and the terror of others when they realise just what kind of driver they are up against.

I rule.

***

Vans are great.

I too, am a Great Driver and when I finally get home I scan the busy street for a van-sized parking space.
There is only one. Luckily it is not too far from my house.
I edge up to it and reverse expertly into it.

*Bugger*

I drive out of it again, having hit the kerb.

I try again.

And again.


And once again.

The problem of course, is not my driving, but the fact that the van is very long and the parking space is very short.
Also there is a tow-bar protruding from the back of the van, aiming right at the bonnet of the Very Posh Car behind the parking space.

There is also a long line of buses, cars, trucks and assorted other traffic queuing behind me.

Clearly they are taking the opportunity to marvel at my superior van-parking abilities. I don’t expect they are bothered at all that they can’t get past me to the traffic lights as I am poetry on a long wheel-base and therefore a spectacle of skill that no one would want to miss.

I try a couple more times, narrowly not colliding with a bus that is rudely and impatiently swerving past.
Obviously he doesn’t take any pride in his driving.

It becomes clear that the parking space might actually only be big enough if I could pick the van up and place it into the spot. Unfortunately I am talented, but not that talented.

Swearing slightly I manoeuvre backwards and forwards about 4,768,444,280000000 times, inch by bloody bastard inch.

Backwards.
Forwards.
Backwards.
Forwards.
Backwards.
Forwards.
Backwards.
Forwards.

Finally the van is squeezed into the parking space and the Very Posh Car remains unmolested.

Exhausted but triumphant; sweat drenching my neck, biceps bulging, clutch foot quivering, I stagger from the van and limp to the front door, unzipping the pocket on my rucksack where my house keys always are.

My house keys aren’t.

They are at Imp’s house.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

working way past bedtime

There are 900 kids in here!

I’m not short by any stretch of the imagination, but for some reason a large proportion of them seem to be taller than me. It appears that the organisers must have pitched the event at Very Tall Teenagers. I make a mental note to complain later, as I’m sure this must have breached some kind of human right that I think I might have.

Find a kid, ask a question, give a prize. Piece of piss. - I’m getting paid for this!

I gaze upwards at the nearest passing teenager, trying to find his face, and yell at the top of my voice. It really is very loud in here. Much louder than a Cliff Richard concert.

It is the Vibe event, which happens once a month. It’s a huge event, featuring the latest Hip Hop or Rap act, along with lots of noise, dance acts, drugs workshops and prize giveaways, street dance and of course, 900 kids trying to look cool.

Obviously I am looking very cool myself. I expect they all see me as a role model, with my spiky hair and clompy trainers*.
I'm glad I didn't wear a cardie.


*Note: I am actually wearing more than just spiky hair and clompy trainers. It’s just that I thought you might get a bit bored if I list everything that I’m wearing. Feel free to ask for details tho’, if you need guidance and direction in How To Look Cool.

I tuck my double chin into the top of my t-shirt and elbow my way into the crush of trendy youngsters, threatening them with tales of a lifetime in accountancy if they dull their minds with cocaine….

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday Game

This is the hardest game of computer pool you will ever come across.
(EVERintheworldibetyouahundredpounds...)


Ickle Bro introduced me to this game a few years ago and we used to spend hours trying to out-do each other with amazing trick shots.

After a couple of years of not playing this I discovered to my horror that my previous astounding displays of skill and talent are a thing of the past. Somehow my ability has left me (probably in a strop) and I am now a total plank when it comes to aiming.

This must be related to my increasing skill with unicycling. Clearly it must be impossible to be good at the same things at the same time.
It'll be a physics-thing. I think it was the kind of thing that Einstein spent his life proving. And a life well-spent, if you ask me.
If only he'd been the bloke to invent sliced bread and he would have been famous...

Back to the matter in hand.
Unlike Lightening Pool, you can't control the power; you just point and click.
As if that wasn't enough, you need to keep an eye on the numbers on the balls... which represent how much time (in multiples of 10 seconds) you have to pot each one. Generally the pink is the most urgent.

Oh, and the table changes at each level, throwing new and more difficult challenges at you until you shakily swear never to even glance at a pool table ever again.

Of course, you'll be lying.

Click

Thursday, May 11, 2006

singing competition

This is a real treat!

Imp loves karaoke and I have never been able to get my head around it... I would rather stick needles in my eyes.
In fact, I can't think of anything worse than sitting in a room with a load of people who think they can sing, wailing embarassingly... and of course, there's always the danger that someone is going to try and get you up to humiliate yourself in front of your (ex) mates.

There's not enough beer in the world.

However, if this is the standard of karaoke on offer I would gladly go along. This woman needs shooting and I would like to be the person to do it.

Click 'play' if you dare.. but don't blame me if your ears bleed.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

polka dot

I do some gardening.

This makes me sound like an old fart, but actually it is an excuse to chop things and use sharp blades. I look for all the jobs that require wielding secateurs, while I leave Imp to push the mower around.

We go about our individual jobs.
Imp mows some very long grass – it is almost knee high and she makes it look like hard work, even though I expect it is quite easy.


It’s not as important, however, as the jobs I am doing, but I don’t tell her because I wouldn't want her to feel demoralised.

I think Imp is very impressed by my gardening skills because I make sure that I do my special Gardening-Growls. These are employed whenever I do any pulling or lifting.
The trick is to snarl in a manner similar to a weight-lifter and to look fierce. I'm very good at this because I used to be a gardener and it is one of the first things I learned, along with How to Make Compost.

I hack some ivy and throw it to the ground, accompanied by a very professional-sounding Gardening-Growl and, checking to see that she is watching, I wipe my forehead on the back of my hand, flick an ant off my arm and do my best to look worn-out.

We continue gardening for a while and Imp gets me a bottle of beer because I am obviously working so hard. It is a very successful afternoon and I have done some Herculean growls.
It’s no wonder Imp fancies me.


***

We collapse on the sofa.
It is then that Imp spots an ant on my jeans.


I flick it off and squash it, then realise with the kind of horror that makes your head go fuzzy, that there are about another 12,900,538,000000000000 ants; some on my trousers, some in my trainers and the rest happily chomping their way up my legs.

“Bastards!” I yell, trying my best to look calm while ripping my clothes off and hurling them on the carpet.

I jump about a bit (but in a cool way) and try my best not to appear frantic.

Imp hits them with her shoes and we stare at the floor, daring any ants to move. It is a stand-off and we wait with breath baited, occasionally leaping from the safety of the settee and beating the carpet as if it were possessed. The ants hide cunningly amongst my discarded clothes and then leg it, just to wind us up.

Bastards!” I screech again, discovering some more in my hair and trying to remove them without knocking myself out.

Imp laughs and gets the hoover.

I whimper and naked, writhe on the settee a bit, hopefully squashing a few while Imp waves the vacuum cleaner around for a while.
They are everywhere and occasionally I find another one dashing its way up my arm, making a break for my head. I expect they are going to try and gouge my eyes out or something.

I hope that they haven't found any orifices.

Imp hoovers.
She looks suspiciously like she is enjoying herself.

I quake; a nude, slightly chilly Big Girl’s Blouse on the settee, managing not to squeal too much, scratching my now polka dot skin and hoping that Imp still thinks I am not a wimp.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday Game

This is one of those games that is so addictive you wished you'd never started it. Or never been born, thus not here and not reading this and not tempted in the least to play games when you should be working.

Either way , it's insideous and shouldn't be embarked upon unless your boss has got an all day meeting in a completely different building in a different continent, or you are the boss.

Anyhow, the scenario is that you are Professor Fizzwizzle (of course..) and you have to reach the exit tube. In your way are gaps, barrels, crates, ice etc., etc.
You need to solve the puzzles in order to reach the next level.

You have the option of playing online, or downloading and playing the full version.

If you manage to get past the level pictured, please PLEASE tell me how. I am nearing emotional breakdown and it is essential that I get past this level. I can't begin to tell you how important it is that I beat this one.

I need help, before I cry.
Thanks.

Click

Thursday, May 04, 2006

not the comfy chair

I am well enough to go back to work!

My blood results have come through and, although it was touch and go for a while, I have now been declared as strong as a post-viral ox and can resume my life again.
This is good news as I have exhausted my collection of ER DVDs and my neck is stiff from lying on the settee, plus I might now need a hip replacement.

***

Being ill in my flat takes a special kind of person, as my landlord hasn’t provided me with a very satisfactory settee.
It’s more a two-seater grannified armchair-type thing and it’s really very uncomfortable. I think I might have to complain to whoever it is you complain to when you are unhappy.
The lady in the post office or Esther Rantzen, maybe.


With the aid of my duvet and pillow I somehow manage to fashion something nearing comfortable (like, almost as luxurious as kipping on a rock-strewn front seat of a Fiat Cinquecento) and pound my spine into the bowed position required by the British Guidelines for Citizens at Death’s Door. I then huddle down and wait for my last breath to rattle its merry way out of my fevered lungs.
For a week.


Anyway.

I didn’t die and now I am only a bit deformed.

***

I stumble heroicly into the office and everyone looks me up and down. There is a noticeable lack of applause.
I straighten my posture as much as I can without crying and sway a bit.


“Feeling better?” someone quips.

I limp to my desk and, doing Bambi Eyes and my best Poorly Voice, I demand coffee.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

pimp my blog

If you can be arsed, follow the link and say something nice*.
Or half-decent, anyway.

*I'll give you the keys to my house and I'll sell my internal organs so that you can buy a new car.



Thanks ;)

weak

I have been ill for days and now I have lost my appetite!

This is a disaster as everyone knows that you are supposed to eat crap when you are ill.
I have a pile of Easter eggs and assorted chocolate in the Secret Chocolate Place in the kitchen (don’t tell Imp) and I am feeling too ill to eat any of it.

Just. My. Luck.

I think my virus might be a special mutant virus and that is why I am aching all over (too much to even type) and I am getting extra grumpy. That is, even more grumpy than normal.

Obviously I am on my Death Bed - or nearing it - and must now think of special things to say so that when I go I’ll have said something clever like, “The wind is free and so, now, is my soul…” and not something stupid like, “I wonder why you can’t recycle yoghurt pots?”

So now, as well as being ill and losing my appetite and having weirdy bleeding under my skin and having to go to casualty and having loads of blood taken (nearly all of it) for tests and feeling ill and having painful arms…
NOW I’ve got to think of something bloody clever to say before I die.
Bastards.

All those people (you know who you are) who have complained about me not writing my posts will feel very, VERY guilty when I die from this virusness of agony and miserableness.

So there.

I force myself to eat a Cadbury’s Mini Egg (weakly), just to keep my strength up and, exhausted from the effort, crawl loudly and grumpily back into bed.

weak #2

NOT MY BED



This is really freaky.
Clearly I am too ill to laugh out loud, but I might just manage a smile if someone will bring me beer...