Guilty TV Pleasure

I have a confession.  (I seem to be writing that a lot recently)

I have a new guilty pleasure which I am going to share with you.

Every day, and I mean every day, at 5.15pm I watch BBC1.

No, that’s not it. 

I thoroughly enjoy the programme that is scheduled by the BBC, so much so that I congregate in the front room with the wife and two children.  Just like all the family used to crowd around the TV for Bullseye in the olden days.

I’m sure many of you out there will agree with me and do watch it too.

I’m not going to stop watching it and no groups are available for this addiction.

I urge one and all to watch this awesome programme.  It is suitable for all ages and will make you laugh.  I guarantee you will like it (this is not a law abiding guarantee and compensation will be given if you do or do not snort your tea out of your nose.  Terms and conditions apply).

That is all.

Pointless on the BBC

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How are you still alive?!

Office IncompetenceIt can’t just be me can it?  There must be others surely?

I mean, I must not be the only one that has to suffer utter incompetence at work?  The kind of stuff that makes you ask how these people are still alive?!

Ok, a bit dramatic there.

Today’s topic for discussion is stupid people at work.  Now we all know stupid people, chances are you have spoken to some already today, and even taken the time to laugh at these people.

You are entitled to do so.

Stop.  I do not condone bullying or ‘trolling’ (is that a relevant term? I was trying to be ‘with it’) but a line must be drawn.  If they struggle to grasp the simplest of tasks, say like turn a computer on, then ridicule must be delivered.  I mean, they work in an office and have done so for some time, how can you not know how to work your computer?  Fear not though, they are a dab hand with a fax machine!

Pffft.  Fax machine.  Ha.

Right, well today is one of those days for me.  Actually it’s every day but today I’m writing it down.  I’m not going to tell you where I work, that wouldn’t be fair, but it’s a large organisation with lots of offices.

It’s a typical office environment with a plethora of personalities, some weird, a few normal (ish). The workers who sit quietly tapping away on their keyboards, stopping momentarily to take a swig of tea while the shirkers (of which there are maaaaany) who sit in the middle of the room offering their opinions on everything ranging from Emmerdale to capital punishment to anybody, whether they want to listen or not.

But…

It’s the bosses that get me.  You wonder how on earth they got their jobs.  It wasn’t because they were skilled or creative, and it certainly wasn’t because of their attitudes.  I don’t know, they mystery of management that probably won’t ever be solved.

My boss can’t even get the name of his OWN department right.  He’s been supposedly been running it for eighteen months!  How can you not despair!

I admit, there isn’t really a point to this post, I was merely just having a moan and hoping that I wasn’t the only one who has to endure this mire of incompetence.

That is all.  Thank you for listening.

Office Incompetence

Evening Plans? I wish…

Parents out there, how on earth can you plan an evening?

No matter how hard I try and try, it never works out how I want it to.  Does the notion of ‘me time’ disappear when you have two children?  With just one child it’s not too bad, especially when they’re at that age where they sleep through the night with no problems, leaving you with a few hours to yourself to do what you want.  For me, this used to consist of a couple of drinks in front of a film or even some gaming on the XBox.  I look back now and that seems like bliss.

With the addition of the second child, all planning ceases.  You are no longer in control of your own time.

Picture this as a typical evening; child one is asleep and it’s 7.30pm.  Child 2 is happily burbling away in the corner talking to a parrot or monkey or something just as weird.  All seems fine, parents start to act like human beings and begin to go about their business.

Child 2 gets bored of the conversation, the anti-banana debate has gotten out of hand, and starts to whinge.  Mummy attends and daddy carries on, generally with the washing up.  Time moves on…

It’s approaching 10pm, child 2 is getting hungry.  Instead of uttering the words of ‘Oh Mama, I have quite the hunger, could one fetch me a sandwich’, the baby alternative is to cry and scream at the top of its lungs.  He could be saying those words I suppose, we’ll never know.

Whilst Mummy attends yet again, Daddy begins the bottle preparations.  Ten minutes until feeding time child 2 decides to start snoring.  Peace and quiet, you may think…..

No.

Child 1 has heard the noises over the past hour and has now decided to awaken and call for Daddy.  Toilet break.  Fine, I can handle that, just a case of escort to bathroom, wait, escort back, go back to sleep.  ‘Yes Daddy’, the lies children tell.

Back downstairs, Mummy is feeding child 2, all is calm.

Soon shattered.  Child 1 is now fully awake and wants to come downstairs, the battle begins and lasts a significant portion of the evening.

That brief insight into my evenings highlights the fact that nothing gets done.  In any part of the above did you note that I was doing something constructive or fun?  Was it all an interruption of me on the XBox?  Did I have to pause a film?  Not a bleeding chance.

So, dear readers, if you have words of wisdom on how I can reclaim my evenings for me, I will be very grateful.

Please help.

Tired Parents / Happy Kids

Dear Diary: What a week it has been…

The past week has been a write off.  Are you ready for a sob story?

It all started last Thursday evening.  A cold night with the threat of severe snow showers and freezing temperatures.  Of course this would be the perfect night for the heating to stop working!

I live in the sticks and use oil for my heating system.  It’s also rented accommodation so the whole thing is outdated anyway.  This means that if anything goes wrong or needs repairing I can’t just fix it myself (to a certain degree) or phone up someone to come and fix it.  No, I have to phone up the authorities who then send out their approved contractors.  Great.

First off I checked my tank gauge, half full.  Checked that the bloody thing was actually turned on, yes it is.  What the hell is then?  Phoned my boss who lives round the corner for some advice.  He suggests that the pilot could of gone out.

‘That’s nice, I wonder if it’s gone anywhere nice’ I replied.

A moments pause.  Press the big red button on the side of the tank.  Done.  Fires up, happy days.

Two minutes later, I’m still cold.  Go out to the boiler.  It’s not on.  Press the button again, fires up.  Stops. Bollocks.

Phones the authorities, luckily there’s a chap around and he’ll be sent.  Bloody good job, I say.  He has a quick look around, walks up to the tank and knocks on it.

‘It’s empty’ he says.

‘Fuck off is it’ I reply.

I have a look.  By fuck, it is.  No oil, yet the gauge says it’s half full.  I spy a problem.  Is it getting warmer in here, no, that was my blood boiling.  It was him and his mates that had been round and ‘fixed’ the gauge on two separate occasions.  Methinks he didn’t do it properly.

After about ten minutes of my shouting, he was allowed to leave.  Now what?  I have a two year old, a six week old and a wife that is moaning (normal) because she’s cold.  I have to make a drastic decision.

A few phone calls later and the path is clear.  Work will have to make do without me for a few days, I’m going to house where it’s warm.  Luckily my mother was willing to put us up, probably reluctantly going on past experiences, and just wait for oil to be delivered.

But wait, didn’t you say that snow was on the way and it was really cold?!

Yes I did.  It would appear that quite a few other people needed oil and the subsequent problems the snow caused on the roads meant that it was Tuesday before we got any delivered.  Great, now we could go home and I could go back to work.  Hurray!

You may not have any interest in my tale of woe and frustration, but if I hadn’t told anybody I would’ve just let this bug me for weeks.  People, if you are in a position, buy a house and don’t rent.  I hate having to rely on other people to get stuff done.  We were lucky this time that it wasn’t drawn out for hours as it has done before.

Oh well, it’s done.  It’s the weekend time to relax.

What did you say?  There’s more snow coming?

Fuck.  Check the tank…

Snow. A Pain

Back In The Day, Music Was Everything

A bit of background, I grew up listening to music.  Lots of it.  There weren’t many instances where I wasn’t wired up to something.

Read that in context and it makes more sense.

I am a child of the cassette tape.  I missed the first vinyl phase of seventies, but was bang in the middle of the C90.  I had loads of tapes with all my favourite albums, bands and songs.  An eclectic range of music including Michael Jackson, Guns N Roses and random stuff sneakily taped from the radio.

The amount of walkman’s I got through attending school and riding my bike around town, always getting battered and bruised, bashed and broken.  Then there is the personal pride in having a walkman with a digital display and buttons on the front.  Oh the joy!

Time moves on, and along came the humble CD.  It was a sad day where the end was announced for the cassette, but that soon passed.  CD’s were a huge step forward for the home music collection, if anything it was very aesthetically pleasing.  Bit of a bugger though for us Walkman users.

The portable CD player was rubbish.  Any slight movement out of the ordinary like being knocked by a passer-by, or falling off a chair (from previous experience) just makes the disc jump and stop playing.  Which in turn can then scratch the disc and render it useless.  I wasn’t a fan of them.

This became even more noticeable when my music collection grew.  Luckily, the walkman still played a part.  Before the rise and rise of Apple and the iPod’s, the stop gap measure was to record all your CD’s onto cassette tape!  The best of both worlds!!

True, a laborious job, but at least your music was portable again.

The reason for this reminisce is obviously due to the news of HMV.  The death of physical music approacheth.  I recall spending many an hour or day in an HMV store looking through all the CD’s, noticing all the names of bands that I’ve never heard and delving into the bargain bin to unearth a true gem.

HMV was also a very good place for the ‘non-mainstream’ strand of music.  If, like me, you were very much a ‘grebo’ or ‘heavy metaller’ this shop was like heaven.  You could often find all those weird bands recommended to you by friends (in my instance it was a school chap called Andy, he very much cost me a fortune by changing my taste in music!).

Despite the fact that HMV used to charge £17 for a CD that wasn’t in the charts, it will still be greatly missed by a lot of people.  But it does indicate the end to so called ‘physical’ music.  With everything going digital and cloud based, the humble CD is doomed.  Another era of my childhood coming to an end.  Christ, I feel old.

Rest In Peace, HMV. 

PS. What happens to the dog?

RIP HMV

New Year, New You?! Heard It….

Eat far too much over Christmas?  Still feeling stuffed?  Not moved out of the armchair since Boxing Day and are building up a rather impressive collection of sweet wrappers and empty cans around your body?

When your thoughts have moved on from reaching for the empty Quality Street tin and phoning work to tell them that you won’t be in today (using a rather farfetched and pathetic ‘family bereavement’ excuse), an almost instant reaction switches to the new years resolutions.

‘This year, for my new year resolution I will give up the food.  I will lose weight!  Yes, I will be so fit and healthy that I will fit in that 10 man tent I got for Christmas!’

Never has a phrase been used so much but meant so little.  It ranks up there with such classics as; ‘Thanks Nan for the HMV gift certificate’ and ‘No dear, of course I won’t be late, I’m only having the one drink’.

But alas, many of us Brits in particular will make this pledge, and with the best intentions too.  A couple of years ago, that meant running down to town and buying the latest gadget, the Wii Fit.  Nowadays, there is no real tecchy gadget come out that will spur you on.  Obviously there is still the Wii Fit, but also the Playstation Move and Xbox Kinect.  All offer a wide range of fitness software, which is aimed at all ages. I’m pretty sure that these items will fly off the shelves this month.

You're Fat
I have a confession.

I too made this pledge (like many times before) and intend to stick to it.  No, really. 

I conceded this year that I am not getting younger.  A bold statement at the age of thirty, but with two young children now dependent on me, I need to be able to get off the floor without the aid of a nearby piece of furniture.  Or be able to run more than six foot without the need for instant replenishment of oxygen and water.

For me, it’s different this time, I actually have goals I want to achieve and a real need to trim down.  I hope this gives me the impetus to carry on eating right and exercising beyond the month of January.  My previous record was that I made it to March, but then it was my birthday and I decided I needed to treat myself by getting bladdered for a week, topping each night off with a selection of deep fried, unidentified meat from the local snack bar.  Hold the salad.

I sympathise with all the others attempting the same feat with the best intentions in the world, and I wish them good luck for the future.  Many of you will fall before February, some of you will last ‘til Easter and only a few will continue into the months to come, with the prospect of lots of salad in the Summer.  Nice.

Remember though, it’s not a race, it’s a marathon.  Which is a race.  But not a sprint.   You know what I mean.

Weight Loss Theory