Wednesday, 28 October 2009

October- The Review.....

I know it’s not officially over yet, but I have a few things going on in the next few days and thought I had better pass my eye over the past month now, just in case I have no time later on. If anything spectacular happens in the final dying moments of October, then I will swiftly follow it up with October 2-The Bits We Couldn’t Show You! like some directors cut of a low rate horror, or those awful teen sex comedies.

Then again, seeing as these directors cuts are normally filled with extra nudity, and more scenes of slow motion exploding heads than you could possibly handle, the chances of any of that happening to me between now and the 31st are quite slim. But I always remain extra hopeful (And trust me, on my trip to the supermarket this morning, that stupid woman ahead of me in the queue? I wish her head did explode. How can you haggle over bread? It’s bread, not a fine rug from a Persian market?)

October. What a month this was! Filled with excitement, fun, drama, tears, and almost uncontrollable laughter. And all of this was happening to other people outside my window, whilst I sat in daily, bleary eyed in front of my computer screen, hunting for that ever elusive job. I’m still sadly unemployed, but plugging grimly away at finding something.

Kates spotted a position that would represent my ideal job though. The BBC runs every year something that they call a Journalism Trainee Scheme. They basically take 15 members of the public who are interested in journalism and writing for a career, mentor them for 12 months, and then hopefully offer them positions once the scheme is over. How brilliant is that? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s very bloody brilliant is what it is.

As obviously anybody with any interest in writing and journalism would kill to work for the BBC, I can imagine it will have a vast number of applicants, so I probably stand a snowballs chance in hell (a snowball that is wearing a hat, woolly mittens, and a rather large scarf) of getting accepted, but I have applied anyway. Nothing ventured, no wonder dream job gained.

They’re not asking for anybody with a media background, as they train you on everything, but have asked if you have any form of experience in public writing. So with some trepidation, I linked my blog to my application. I am now wondering if my continuous usage of the words genital and zombies in my blog posts will go against me? If there is suddenly a zombie outbreak, and the said zombies have a craving for human genitals, then surely I would be the only journalist qualified to cover it?

If I don’t get anywhere this year though, I will keep on trying until I either get accepted, or they issue a restraining order against me. Whatever one comes first (My money is on restraining).

And now here is my breakdown of my month.

Things I Have Enjoyed.

1) My ever growing love of my Tuesday puppy party. As I have written about previously, Kates has a lovely puppy called Peggy. Now every Tuesday, we take her to the local vets for what they call a “Puppy Party”, but what I call, “The best hour I spend in the week”. It basically consists of me on the floor, surrounded by about ten puppies, and just getting involved with the fun. Everyone else sits primly on the sides, watching, whilst I get on the floor, mindless of getting covered in urine and faeces, and start flinging puppies around with gay abandon, letting them jump up and sit on me, and generally looking like I am having more fun than they are. Give it a few more weeks, and I am sure I will be running around on all fours with a dog chew in my mouth. Some perverted men would pay good money for that. I get it for free. I rule.

Apologies for the blurring. Puppies by their very nature are a bit too fast to try and take a photo of. I am just out of shot, probably having a play fight with a Labradoodle.

The white fluffy one is Fifi. She fancies me. She won't let any of the other dogs sit near me.
Once again, I am irresistible to the ladies....

2) Cooking. As I have the time on my hands now, I have decided to increase my culinary skills (which were basic, to say the least). So, armed with a collection of cook books, some spices, and some fairly fruity language, I have been giving it a good crack. And mostly it has been a success. Mostly……

3) This blog. 43 followers. Never thought it would happen. What's wrong with you all?

Things I Haven’t Enjoyed.

1) Credit card bills. As my credit cards are my only source of surviving at the moment, I have been hitting them pretty hard. Every time I use them, a small part of me dies inside forever. I was debt free not more than six months ago. I believe the phrase I am looking for is bugger?

2) Insomnia. I am beginning to hate that quiet hour at four in the morning when I am wide awake, staring at the ceiling, and wondering how the hell everyone else does it? Though I have made a new friend during those long hours- a spider who I have found living in the corner of my room. He crawls around on the ceiling as soon as it has just gone past midnight, has himself a regular little party up there. I never see him during the day, only at night when he busts out some 70's funk and starts getting down (I may by lying about the 70's funk). I have called him Steve. He is a very antisocial arachnid. He never waves back at me. The company is nice though.

3) Worrying about my mental health (See above-Steve).

Some Films I Have Enjoyed This Month.

1) Up. Loved it. Loved it! Nobody does a film quite like Pixar. And yes, I did cry. The first ten minutes slayed me, then the bit where he is looking through the scrap book finished me off.

2) Zombieland. Its zombies? Of course I was going to like it?

3) Rogue. If you are only going to see one film about a giant crocodile trapping a gang of tourists on an island, then munching them one by one, make sure it’s this one. 

Some TV Shows I Have Enjoyed This Month.

1) The Thick of It. Hands down, my favourite TV show ever. And it made a welcome return back to my screen this weekend. It’s a biting and scathing political satire that takes a look at the background goings on that take place around Whitehall. And it has the best swearing of all time.

2) Peep Show. My second favourite comedy. This follows the lives of two very socially awkward men and the disasters they always get into. The plus point is that it is shot from each person’s point of view, so you get to see and hear what they are thinking. Well worth checking out.

3) Life. BBC wildlife documentaries have been a staple of my life growing up, and one of the reasons that I have become so fascinated with the natural world. The latest is called Life, and yet again is worth paying the Licence Fee for alone. Filmed using the latest Hi Def cameras, it shows you things that are so beautiful; they can sometimes leave you breathless. But these shows would be nothing without one man, Sir David Attenborough. The term “Living Legend” is banded about to much these days, but in this man’s case, its fully justified. Well into his 80’s now, he has lost none of the wonder that he has for the animal world. One of the most important educators around.

Some Books I Have Enjoyed This Month.

1) The Road- Cormac McCarthy. Probably the most harrowing thing I have ever read, this harsh and brutal book tells the story of a man and his son, travelling to the coast after some unnamed apocalyptic event has taken place. There is just no let up from the sense of despair that is felt, you just can’t see any foreseeable happiness for the pair, and then you reach the end of the book and find out that you were right all along. And yet through the darkness, the man’s love for his son still shines brightly. Well worth seeking out (even more so than before the film comes out and spoils everything).

2) The Hell of It All- Charlie Brooker. Brooker is a god in my household. The most scathing critic and columnist out there. Some of his views on life with have you crying with laughter, yet nodding in agreement at the same time (which can make you look a bit odd).

3) The Dead Zone- Stephen King. I often have a King book on rotation at some point every month. I think this is his first really mature piece of work (Ohhhh, hark at me? All professional sounding.) A man comes out of a coma and finds he has the power to see into the future. It doesn't end well. There is a long and drawn out sense of sadness throughout the whole book. I like that.

So that was October. A pretty slow month, everything just moving along like before. I have high hopes for November though. This will be the month to end all months. A dazzling pyrotechnical wonder, all Vegas show tunes and sequined high kicks, a month where things will finally start to change……..

What's the betting that I will still be sat in front of my PC, in my pants, still trying to find a job? Pretty high, I guess? But at least I will still have you, right?

And Steve. Mustn't forget Steve……….

Monday, 26 October 2009

Some Lovely Awards.....

I have been lucky enough in the past few weeks to be the proud owner of some freshly minted, hot off the press, and quite simply, pretty damn fantastic awards of late.

They have been sitting in my cabinet, glaring at me and demanding to be let loose on the unsuspecting public, to be found new homes like tiny little kittens, mewling and purring, just waiting to be petted (I have no idea where this is going?).

So it may have seemed lax on my part to wait this long to dish them out, but I haven't been sitting on my backside, hoarding them whilst cackling manically, oh no. I have been expanding my network, boldly going out into cyberspace to seek out new life forms, exploring new blogs, and meeting some rather lovely people on the way.

So now I have some new chums, I feel that it’s time to set these awards free on the world.

First up:

I received this from the lovely Matthew. And in no way does this award reflect on our masculinity at all, we are quite comfortable in who we are, and if we were ever to meet, we would give each other a manly handshake and talk about football. But it is a lovely award, so thank you Matt for this, to come from a writer as good as you makes me feel a bit stupid really.

So I would like to pass this on to the following lovely people:





Next up is:

I was lucky enough to receive this from Ladytruth, which really made my day. Anyone taking the time out to get involved with your blog is brilliant, and to have someone actually like it is even more brilliant, especially when it is someone who writes as well as she does. Thank you LT.

So I would love to award this to the following:

Alice In Wonderland



Coming up after this commercial break:

This little beauty in no way looks out of place beside my childish scrawlings and actually lends the place a touch of class. And it was kindly passed on by the lovely Judearoo, someone who’s writing I envy, and who I also wish would post a lot more than she does.

Now apparently before dishing this out, you have to give a brief snapshot about who you are by writing your 5 obsessions. So, here goes………

1) London. I am lucky enough to live on the outskirts of the greatest city in the world, and I am obsessed with the place. I love the architecture, the ambience, the sense of place. If I ever leave the UK, then London will be the thing I pine for the most.

2) Animals. Big animal lover. Can’t pass a cat or dog without petting it. I dream of travelling afar to work with endangered or threatened species. And it’s not just the cuddly ones, even things with scales and pincers are on the love list. Just any form of animal really, because comparing us to the natural kingdom just shows us how limited as a species we really are. And yes, I am the man who spent the best part of an hour in a park in London, trying to get a squirrel to eat nuts from my hand. I’m not ashamed. Deal with it.

3) History. Geeky, but I love history. I love being in a place and trying to imagine what it was like many years ago, how people lived, what they did to survive, how we basically ended up where we are today. That's probably why I love London; you find pockets of history everywhere you turn.

4) Stephen King. The best storyteller of the past 100 years. Not fashionable in some circles, because of the subject matter he normally writes about, but the most gifted person around at crafting a tale. Some of the earlier stuff will be discussed in later years in the same way as Dickens.

5) The Wire. Yes, I am one of those people that thrust the DVD boxsets in your hand, begging you to watch it. But it is good though.

And now I would like to pass this on to:


Mr. Condescending.


Susan at Stony River

Phew, this is tiring! Nearly there.

And last, but by no means least:

This cool little baby was given to me by the lovely JennyMac, one of the best bloggers out there, whose writing is so sharp; you could cut your eyes on it as you read. Now with this, the person receiving has to write ten things we might not know about them before passing it on. So these are some fairly new blogs I am reading, and whose minds I would like to know that little bit more about.



Whysoserioustoday (New posts needed from you mate!)


And that, as they say, is that.

A big thank you for anything that has come my way, and an even bigger well done for everyone's award. I have only been in the blogging world for a few months, but I can honestly say I have really enjoyed meeting everyone and reading some amazing things. Some funny, some sad, some……odd. But all of them have the same thing going for them, they are all brilliant.

So as we all get ready to leave, I wonder if you wouldn’t mind joining in with me for a final song.



Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I Can See Clearly Now......

*Warning, the following contains graphic information about eyeballs. If you have a slightly strong phobia about these squishy little vision orbs, might be best if you stop reading now. Or not. I’m not telling you what to do or anything. It’s not like I have any control over you? Wish I did though. That would be fun. I’d make you wear silly costumes and run about in the street banging baking trays on your head. Then if I controlled enough of you, I would make you all link up on each other’s shoulders like some giant Transformer and ride you into town. All kneel before the mighty MechaDan! Anyway, this is about eyes.*

I used to be short sighted. Like, really short sighted. When I wasn’t wearing my glasses, my world basically consisted of a little 3 foot sphere which was the limit of my vision. If anything happened outside of that sphere, I wouldn't really know anything about it and would remain oblivious. I would always end up walking past people I knew and ignoring them because of my poor eyesight (Plus I am rude as well).

Due to my upcoming police medical, and the fact that I was sick and tired of having to run my hands over the numbers on the front of buses to tell what they were, I decided to have laser eye surgery done.

I devoured all the literature on the procedure, had various people at work tell me about their sisters friends cousin, who all said it was one of the best things they ever did. How it was well worth the money. How it opened up a whole new world. All the usual stuff.

But you see, I, like most people, go a bit funny over the thought of someone playing around with my eyeballs. They are just so squishy and vulnerable, like walking round with two soft boiled eggs in your eye sockets. One little poke too hard and you’d have yolk everywhere.

“It’s nothing,” I would be told. “Just like somebody blowing into your eye, and then it’s all over and done with.”

That didn’t sound too bad? A little puff of air, then it’s all finished and I could start checking myself out in shop windows. So I did it. I booked an appointment.

I first of all had to do all the tests that came before the procedure. This consisted of having my eyes measured, scanned, light tests, the whole works. And lucky for me, they said I was suitable for treatment. I would never have 100% vision, but they could get me to about 90%, which was good enough for me.

So it finally came to the big day. The surgery. Now this isn’t a boast to prove how manly I am, and I’m not saying this with my shirt off whilst flexing my awesome pecs at you, but I don’t really get nervous. I am one of those insanely logical people whose outlook is “What's the worst that could happen?”, and that normally displaces any fear that I might have about something and just lets me get on with it.

So as Kates drove me to the opticians, I was feeling pretty A-OK, and was actually looking forward to having it done. Sight. How weird would that be?

When we got there, I was led into the little waiting area and met by the optician who would be doing my surgery. Leaving Kates in the waiting room, I went in confidently. It was a funky high- tech little room, all shiny machinery and bright lights, with a large chair in the middle of it that looked like the ones you find in a dentists room- a chair I was invited to sit in.

“Now Daniel,” the optician said, “I’m just going to explain the procedure today. We are only going to do one eye as the level of your sight is quite bad, so we need to make sure that the operation is a success before we do the other. We don’t want to leave you blind now, do we?”

Hmmmmmn. That sounded ominous.

“Do you understand exactly what it is we will be doing today?”

“Not really.” I replied. And I didn’t. Sure I had read all the pamphlets, but you skip over all the technical bits, don't you? Like when you get a new DVD player, you just want to know how to play the discs?

“OK then, well, what we will be doing first of all is holding your eye in place with a suction cap so that it doesn’t move during the operation. We will then be making an incision on the surface of your eye to make a flap, we then pull that flap back, where the laser will burn the lens of your eye to the correct shape which is what will improve your vision. We then will pull the flap back into position. How does that sound?”

That didn’t sound like a little puff of air on my eye. Suddenly my rule about not getting nervous was starting to look very stupid.

Taking my silence as a cue that everything was hunky dorey, he slapped my leg and said “Let’s get going then.”

The optician and nurses busied themselves around me as I lay on my back, staring at the harsh lights that were beaming into my face. Some eye drops were put in that made everything blurry.

The first thing they did was pin my eyelids back with these metal prongs that hooked under them (Think Clockwork Orange). This was not nice.

“I’m now going to put the suction cap on.” the optician said. And I could see him bring up a little plastic disk on a tube that was making a sucking noise. “This may feel a little bit uncomfortable.”

He then put it on my eye.

Sweet Mary, mother of God, what was he doing?!!!

Imagine if you put the nozzle end of a vacuum cleaner on your eyeball. That's what it felt like to me. I immediately started to squirm in my seat.

“Now Daniel, you will have to keep still otherwise the cap will pop off.” Which of course it then did, scraping harshly across my eye.

I moaned.

“OK, we will have to reattach the cap Daniel; you really have to keep still.” he said, crossly.

And as he brought that hateful little sucking cap back onto my eye, I really did try to stay still, I honestly did. The upper half of me was as solid as a rock. From the waist down though it was a different matter. My legs and feet were moving so much that if you stood me upright, I probably could have done a rousing rendition of Riverdance across the surgery floor.

“Bugger,” the optician said, as the cap popped off my eye once more.

Nuurggghle burf hurder!” I replied, the pain so much that I started to speak in tongues.

We tried for one final time. The cap popped off for one final time. It hurt for one final time. By now it sounded as if I was mumbling in Latin. Oblivious to nothing but my throbbing eyeball.

“Daniel, we are going to have to leave it for today. Your eye is now quite badly bruised. You are going to have to come back in a few weeks to try again.”

Try again?! Was he mental?!! This was like something from a bad dream. A dream where some lunatic gets off on attaching things to your eyeballs, and then gets annoyed with you when for some strange reason you take offence to this. He might as well have just attached leeches to my eyes and electrodes to my testicles and just be done with it. The man was obviously a born sadist, and this was how he got his kicks. The filthy pervert.

I stumbled from the chair and tried to make my way back to Kates, a nurse leading me by the arm as everything was too bright and too blurry.

“Oh my god.” Kates said as she saw me. My eye looked as if it had been replaced by a red snooker ball. This was what it looked like about six hours after.

Nice huh?

So two weeks rolled by and I was due to return. Lucky for me, the optician had given me a dose of Valium to take before I arrived. So when I finally got there, to me, everything was like the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, I was as high as a kite.

“Hello Mr Keenan.” The nurse said, as she took me by the arm to take me to the surgery room.

“Hello you.” I replied with a beautiful smile, and carried on beaming with a grin so wide, the top of my skull nearly fell off. Everything was so warm and wonderful. Another nurse smiled at me as I was led past like a confused geriatric. I smiled back, even turning my head to keep on smiling as I passed her. She looked quite worried. She also looked like all her edges had been erased by a pencil rubber. These drugs were good.

So I found myself once again back in the chair with a suction cap attached to my eyeball. But it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. I was ripped off my tits on valium, and he probably could have gone poking around in there with the sharp end of a pencil and I wouldn’t have minded. The nurse put some anaesthetic eye drops in to numb the area.

“OK Daniel, the caps on, we are just going to make the incision now.”

And in my head, I had an internal monologue that seemed to be commentating on everything.

Ohhhhh, look. That caps on now. That feels weird, doesn’t it? Did he mention incision, that sounds nice? Oh my, they have just cut into my eyeball, how lovely. And now he is pressing a machine onto the surface of my eye, and its pushing down so hard I can see stars. Pretty stars and now some rainbows (that might have been the drugs though?) And now the machine is making lots of loud banging noises. Lights, noises, floaty Dan. And is that my eye that smells like it is burning?

“Ok Daniel, we have just reshaped the lens of your eye, I just need to move it slightly.”

Oh wow, he is moving the lens of my eye with what looks like a little cocktail stick. He is really moving it around. And now he is closing the flap. The flap he cut into my eye. How lovely.

“And we are all done.” the optician said, with a note of relief in his voice.

I stumbled to my feet. The room felt like it was spinning round and my face was hot. But the odd thing was, I could see out of one eye! True, it was a little blurry, but it was clear vision. No distortion or anything.

It was when I was being driven home that the pain started. Imagine if someone was scraping sandpaper over your eye every time you blinked. That's what it felt like. And it lasted for about two days. The eye wasn’t as bad as last time though.

The odd thing was, I was short sighted in one eye, and not the other. So i found it very hard not to stop myself from walking round in circles. In all honesty though, after the pain went away, the difference was amazing.

A few weeks after this, I had to go and have my other eye done. There was no valium this time, sadly, but I went in with a determination to just get this over with. Cap on, incision made, lens shaped, flap down, get the hell out of there.

Unlucky for me, I had no-one to take me home this time, and had to make my way back on the tube on my own. Bad mistake. The numb juice they had put in my eye started wearing off the moment I stepped outside. I was stumbling half blind down the road, my eye weeping continuous tears, bumping off things like a human pin ball machine.

The dusty train didn’t help matters much either. I was sat across from a woman, who quickly moved seats when this weepy, red eyed sex pest sat opposite her and kept on winking. To be honest though, most people that have to travel home on the Central Line at 5.30pm end up weeping at some point. It's that kind of service.

This was all about eight months ago now. My eyes have healed and my eyesight is great. Would I recommend having it done? Definitely. But I would also tell people what they were actually getting into. It's no puff of air like I was informed. It is someone slicing open your eye and doing lots of weird shit to it.

And it freaks you out.

And here is a nice song about eyes to finish this post off.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Will Blog For Cash………

I’m nothing but a bum. A dirty, good for nothing bum. A wastrel, a miscreant who sits alone in his flat daily, wearing nothing but soiled underwear, shovelling microwave meals into a fat open mouth, cramming it in with both hands, slobber running down my chin, while piggy little eyes stare vacantly at the TV screen as it beams an endless procession of mindless images directly into my soul. I’m an outcast, a work shy free loader who deserves nothing but your contempt. If i was on fire, you wouldn’t spare the water to put me out, in fact, you would probably find something even more flammable to put on me, like jet fuel or something? I am an insignificant human being, and that is how you, yes you, society, view me, as you sit up high in your ivory white tower, all dressed in your top hats, monocles and brandishing canes, as you lean over your porcelain balcony and scrape the leftovers from the gourmet meal you have just scoffed into your posh faces over the side, as it falls to me, and others like me, as we lie writhing in our own filth and excrement below, and howl, howl to the moon!………..

I’m sorry; I don’t know what came over me there? What was I talking about? Oh yeah, that's right. I’m unemployed.

I am an unemployed human being. I am……. one of them!

I used to be employed, and now I’m sadly not. And the best thing, the thing that really does make it that whole lot more interesting and fun, I am unemployed during quite possibly the most severe recession known to man, where we basically are surviving by wearing clothes made out of our own pets, and boiling our own shoes for a nourishing meal.

It’s not much fun, believe me.

I used to have a routine. I would wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, and then do it all over again the very next day, just like everyone else did. And it was comforting, that routine. True, it was monotonous, you would probably moan about it continuously as you struggled with the crowds on the tube, all of you packed in like cattle on the way to the slaughterhouse, but I tell you something, you really miss it when its gone.

I used to be in banking. And then I woke up one day and found that I wasn’t in banking any more. But it was OK. I had my police application that was nearly completed, I had done the hard part, passed all the exams and interviews, just the medical next, and then it was only a matter of time before I was given my placement. I could ride out a month of being unemployed.

And then I failed the medical due to my hearing issues.


Now things were serious. Suddenly a ticking clock in my head started to count down like in Jack Bauer’s worst nightmare. I was unemployed!

A cold clammy hand was now clenched tightly around my heart. What was I going to do? How was I going to live? What the hell was I going to do for a new job?

Lucky for me, I own my flat outright. I had no mortgage on it, so at least the roof over my head was safe. And I have basically survived by living off credit cards, a massive blow as I had only recently (and quite proudly) declared myself debt free. But I had no available savings to hand, so sadly I have been funding myself from my nice new shiny plastic cards. My flexible friends, who at some point are going to come back and bite me on the backside. Hard.

So now my days consist of this. Wake up, go to the computer, and spend hours looking online for jobs that thousands of others are currently looking for as well. And handily for me, most job adverts have a lovely little counter in the corner of them to tell you exactly how many other people have looked at the same advert as you. And let me tell you, its many.

Now the strange thing is, after time, my whole daily routine has suddenly taken a slow slide into the realms of the unusual. I am naturally a night person, a combination of suffering from the aforementioned insomnia, and the simple fact it’s just a part of my genetic makeup, I found over a period of time that the moment I was finally getting off to bed was getting later and later, and I was also now waking up around the same time that most students were. I had turned into a nocturnal vampire, but minus the inherent sexiness and thirst for human blood, I just hungered for chocolate biscuits.

I was basically turning feral. Everyone I knew was at work, so there was no one to talk to. It was just me and the cat. Now normally my cat isn’t the most social of creatures. Unless there was some form of food in it for her, she wasn’t really interested. Suddenly the flat has started to seem much smaller, and the world outside much, much bigger. I resisted the urge to cover up my windows in black bin liners and make a loincloth from stale bread, I wasn’t quite at the Lord Of The Flies stage just yet, but needless to say, I am now forcing myself to take nice walks outside more often.

And then there came the moment that I hoped wouldn’t come. The day I had to……oh god, it pains me to say it……I had to……. (Deep breath)……sign on. (For others not living in the UK. When you sign on, it basically means you claim benefits)

I really didn’t want it to come to this, I really didn’t. I hoped that I would find something before then, but after countless rejection letters, and ever mounting bills, I had to swallow my pride and go down to our local Jobseekers office.

It was hell, and basically brought the inner snob in me racing to the surface. Imagine if Paris Hilton was dumped in the middle of a leper colony, that was me the first time a signed on. I know it doesn’t paint me in a particularly shining light, but it was true.

“I don’t belong here, I really don’t” I would whine to myself, as I faced the utter humiliation of lining up with all the other lowlifes, those who were just claiming because they couldn't really be arsed to work, not like me. I was a member of society, I wasn’t really meant to be here, this was all some horrible mistake, and someone was going to offer me a job any minute now and take me away from all of this.

This rather awful thinking stayed with me for my first few times of visiting the offices to claim my money.

And then something changed.

I wouldn’t really call it an epiphany, more like someone giving me a massive slap round the face and screaming at me, “You are an arse!”

I was lining up as usual, when I saw a rather smartly dressed man looking at me with obvious dislike. I couldn’t really understand his thinly veiled contempt for me. And then I managed to catch my reflection in the glass frame that contained one of the many motivational posters that were dotted around the office. I was beardy, my hair was scruffy, and the collar of my shirt was sticking up. I looked like all the other people I was stupidly dismissive of the first time I visited the office. I looked unemployed. And that was obviously why the man was looking at me like I was nothing. He thought I was scum.

And that forced me for the first time to really look around me, to take a long hard look at my fellow job seekers. And I could finally understand how painfully ignorant I had been. I didn’t know anything about these people, their lives, their problems; I was just making blind assumptions due to my own misguided views.

There were a few that you know were just abusing the system. They stuck out like a sore thumb, openly bragging about it in fact. I even had one man do a drug deal over his phone whilst waiting to sign on one time. You were always going to elements like that.

I also saw young mothers come in with their children, overheard many frustrated conversations about whole families with no money, asking how they were going to find work, any work, and also survive. These were people that were probably in the same position as me. Safely in work one day, and then sadly not the next. And the worst thing is, the only person I have to worry about is me (and the cat) I don't have to worry about where the food for my children is coming from, or how I am going to keep the roof over my head.

It was a grim eye opener, it really was. At least I have a decent work history to go in my favour; I will be employable at some point. I now know that others might not be as fortunate.

When I do find work, and please god may it be soon, I know now I will have a better understanding of the state of this country, we have let an awful lot of people down in the way things have been run, and sadly, there are far too many people that are going to struggle out of it.

I just hope I’m not one of them.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

What Are You Thinking About?……

My mind is one that I constantly have to distract; otherwise I face the consequence of having to listen to the utter drivel that parades around within it, masquerading as my thoughts.

Some of the stuff that goes on in there really does beggar belief. I have no idea where it comes from, but on a daily basis, I am assaulted with musings that wouldn’t be out of place if scrawled on a wall in crayon by a hyperactive toddler. But that's not the worst of it. The worst of it is when I actually allow these thoughts to enter the real world and interact with people. That's when it gets scary.

One night, I was in bed with Kates, and we were both dozing off, when out of the blue I sat up and asked her the age old question that has been spoken by many couples throughout the annuls of history.

“Kate wake up.” I said, shaking her shoulder.

“Wuurgggh muh?” she replied, rolling over and looking at me with befuddled eyes.

“Can you grate an egg?”

“Can you what?” she asked, sleep and annoyance combined in her voice.

“An egg, can you grate one? Would you ever need to?”

“Why are you asking me this at one in the morning?”

“I need to know.” I replied, with urgency in my voice.

“There is something so wrong with you.” This was said in a sigh as she turned over, her back like an advertisement board that read You are clearly an insane man, and I am never sharing my bed with you again.

And she was right. There was something wrong with me. And that something was the almost uncontrollable urge to find the answer to this question. I quickly got my phone out and texted the very same question to a service that apparently can answer anything you ask it. A service that I always imagined with some hope was run by two massive brains in jars, with huge tentacles coming out of them as they quickly tapped the answer out and beamed it back to my phone.

About five minutes later, I got the reply I was hoping for. You could indeed grate an egg, and more importantly, there were many dishes that were suitable for it. (Salads, fish dishes, and one particular Indian dish that I forget the name of. If curious, why not use the text service like I did? But seeing that many of you actually have a life, maybe not?)

Happy with the answer, and with the knowledge that in the morning I could proudly proclaim to my girlfriend that it was a worthwhile question, and in no way was I strange for asking it, I rolled over and tried to sleep.

I get thoughts like these all the time. My mindscape is a minefield for them. They just pop inside my vast empty cranium, and then bat against the sides of it annoyingly like a bluebottle fly trapped behind a window.

If you ever see me gazing wistfully into the distance, looking for all the world like I am weighing up some of the great mysteries of life, never, I repeat, never, ask me what I am thinking about. Because more often than not, I will reply with something like do sharks see in colour, or, can monkeys wear shoes, and that will surely destroy any image of profoundness you may have for me, and also any notion of sanity as well.

I have often been described as a very restless person. Even when sitting down, I am always moving, not in flesh, but in mind. I obsess over things, scrutinize them in great detail, prod and probe until I have a satisfactory conclusion, and then move onto the next topic.

And the worst time for this is bedtime. I suffer terribly from insomnia. It is my burden that I carry with me nightly. And it is also the time when my mind comes out to play with me. Those long dark hours are a breeding ground for my traitorous brain to not start thinking about how lovely sleep is, but instead an ideal opportunity to start bombarding me with inane questions that no right minded human being would ever conceive of. I lie there awake, staring into the shadows of my bedroom, and then a tiny little voice in my head pipes up. A tiny voice I have grown to hate.

Can ants get sad?

If my legs were made of helium, would I have to walk on my hands?

If I cloned myself, would we be friends?

And once those thoughts were in my head, they wouldn’t leave until they had been dissected down to the tiniest detail and a worthwhile summary was found. Then I would look at the clock and find out that it was half three in the morning and I was still wide awake. Then I would start crying.

So my mind is a frightening beast that I have to contain. I try to trick it, lull in into a false sense of security. I read for an hour or so before bed just so it can focus on words and story, to let if rev down like an idling engine. And most occasions, that does indeed work for me. And on other times, it just ends up just racing about like a dog in a blindfold, and no amount of soothing words or chilled out music will tame the beast.

But I’m not odd though…….

Sunday, 11 October 2009

How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?.......

When I make my fortune through either a) writing a bestselling novel or b) that sex tape I made with a Hungarian dwarf and various root vegetables, called, No Gyurka, Not The Rutabaga!, finally hits the net, the first thing I am going to rush out and buy with my ill gotten gains is this:

A full size replica of the American Werewolf In London.

That's right.

A full size freaking version of the American Werewolf In London!!!!!

8 feet long. Fully detailed. Fully amazing.

Now on my cool-o-meter, that is off the scale. When I saw it, I immediately started bouncing up and down in my chair, pointing at the screen, shouting, “Gimmie. Want it. Gimmie!” And it will only cost me a tidy $5500 to buy one. A bargain I feel?

Before I continue, I feel must apologise because this does seem slightly similar in theme to my last post and I honestly was going to write about something different, but then I saw this last night and had to mention it, because it is quite frankly, the best thing ever. Plus I have sort of fallen in love with the film all over again as it has recently come out on Blu Ray and has never looked better. And even more excitingly, it has also received a 3D makeover and will be playing at a cinema in the West End on Halloween and obviously I have tickets. There could be a slight issue with this though, as if the 3D transfer is a good one and it looks incredibly realistic, during Jenny Agutter’s nude scene, I might be unable to stop myself from reaching out and trying to grab them. From a side on view, I will look like I am either groping thin air, or molesting the Invisible Man. Either way, could get awkward.

A full size replica of the American Werewolf In London!!!!!!

Now any ladies reading this might fail to see what the fuss is about. But the men will fully understand. We love our toys, we really do. Anything that takes us back to our childhoods is OK with us. I honestly feel if you left a group of men alone in the woods, it wouldn’t be too long before they were playing war games and making pretend machine gun noises like we used to do on the playground. And ladies are you honestly telling me you wouldn’t like a full size replica of Johnny Castle from Dirty Dancing propped up in your bedrooms? Anyone? Thought not…..

Please don't think I am tacky though. I’m truly not. I like classical music. I go to art galleries.... sometimes. (Though I always make myself look stupid. Kates studied art. I never. So when we go, I normally end up walking round with my hands clasped behind my back, muttering things like, “Fabulous use of colour.” and, “It’s like the artist has painted my soul.”). I am well cultured, innit?

Another good reason for getting it would be just to see the expression on my cats face if I managed to sneak it into the flat without it seeing. The first time it wandered in the room and saw my new pet would indeed be a priceless Kodak moment. I could send it off to Iicanhascheezburger with an accompanying amusing caption. Something like, “DO NOT WANT!” or, “Youz haz gotz to be fuzzing kiddingz mees?”

Now the only problem I can see is trying to persuade my girlfriend that an 8 foot werewolf in the living room is in fact a wonderful addition to the household and should be cherished. Something that could actually be a hard thing to do. But I will try because it’s a full size model of the motherloving American Werewolf In London!!!!

I see today that I am lucky enough to have received the same little meme doodah from both the lovely Matthew and also the lovely Jenny Mac

Now with this, you are supposed to tell people ten interesting facts about yourself.

So here goes……….

1) I hate seafood. Anything that is armour plated, has eyes on stalks, is slimy, waves around claws, wears scales, is in my opinion, not food.

2) One of my main ambitions is to hug a monkey. I have come close once with a koala bear on a visit to Australia.

3) Also on said visit, I was attacked by an ostrich. I was feeding it, and when I run out of food, it started to peck my head. Due to a rather unfortunate incident with a chicken coop on a farm when i was about 9, any bird pecking me freaks me out. I took off and the ostrich took chase. Cue much hilarity.

4) No matter what I am doing, my cat thinks it is fine to walk up to me and stick its tiny little poop shoot in my face as some form of greeting. The worst is when I am on my computer and she jumps up on my desk, walks past, sticks it right under my nose, and then walks off again. This is in no way nice.

5) I suffer from claustrophobia and vertigo. So on a trip to the Eifel Tower, that little lift that takes you right to the top was my version of hell. I was almost chewing through the walls in fear trying to get out.

6) Due to hearing loss in my left ear, I have no sense of balance. So I can’t ride a bike or roller-skate. Ice skating I can sort of do. I hold on to both knees, push out, and go careening across the ice, people diving out the way like I was a live hand grenade.

7) My favourite period of English history is Victorian, especially Victorian London.

8) I once met Michael Bolton at an airport. The man neck is the same size as his head. I was 12. (Dunno why I thought it best to chuck that in?)

9) I have no form of self censorship and say things very loudly when I shouldn’t. One time, getting on the tube, there were two seats left for me and the missus, we quickly rushed to them but were beaten. I said something very loudly along the lines of, “You absolute bastards.” I might have embellished this slightly; it might have been something stronger. I will get punched one of these days. I wish I had an off switch.

10) I really want to do this.

Wow, that was fun. Tradition is to pass this on, so I will keep it in my cabinet with some other awards that need to go out, go hunting for some new blogs, and then dish them out to some lovely folk.

It’s a full sized version of the motherfunking, I can’t believe they made it, if I buy it my girlfriend will kill me, but I might get it anyway because I live on the edge, American Werewolf In London!!!!!!!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Shhh, Did You Hear That?...........

Human beings loved being scared as long as it is in a controlled environment. We love fairground rides, ghost stories, horror films, anything that gives us a little jolt, a little taste of our own mortality, but with the promise that by the end of it, our feet will safely touch the ground and we can queue up and do it all again.

Now I personally dig the horror genre as a whole. From an early age, I devoured the books of Stephen King, snuck classic horror films like The Thing and An American Werewolf In London from my friends fathers collection (though one time, when I was about 12, I grabbed what I thought was a copy of Return Of The Living Dead. It turned out to be a film called Deep Inside Vanessa Del Rio. I played it. My life changed. Ahhhhh, so that's how you do it?), and just generally got off on reading and watching stuff that gave me a little scare.

And even into adult life, I still love horror. When I write for pleasure, it’s nearly always something with a supernatural twist, or has a slight fantastical air to it. And a good majority of the books I buy I normally come from the Horror section of Waterstones.

But I have noticed over the past six or seven years, this is becoming a more and more difficult thing to do. Mainly because the kind of books that I want to read are slowly being pushed into a little corner of the store, to be replaced by all those awful paranormal romance novels.

And I blame Buffy.

Ever since that show ended, there has been a slew of all these watered down, sub Vampire Slayer knock offs, spearheaded by Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. You cant bloody move for them, they are everywhere. Taking up a whole three rows on the bookshelf. Every cover looks the same, Anita Blake, looming out at me, promising me vampire hunting, excitement, and smooches with the undead.

And then of course there is the whole Twilight saga.

Now Twilight has pushed the whole notion of vampires as evil, foul, creatures of the night, back into the shadows and replaced them as moody, foppish, angsty teenagers, where the actual notion of being a member of the undead just leaves you slightly miffed with everything, like you have a permanent strop on. “Ohhh, I am so dead, and it like, really sucks, and like, everything's so, dark, you know? Bummer.”

Where is Nosferatu? Where is Stoker’s Dracula? King’s evil monsters from Salem’s Lot? I want my vampires to crawl in the dirt, to lurk in the shadows, and above all, to be bloody scary. I don’t want legions of teenage girls to be mooning over Edwood Cullen and how dreamy his eyebrows are.

But it is not just books as well where the horror has died. I can’t remember a film that last scared me? Gore is fine in doses. Nothing more than an amusement and a way for the special effect technicians to show off their latest gadgets. But gore doesn’t scare. I’m talking about that creeping, unknown feeling, where the hairs on the backs of your arms slightly raise and makes you wonder what that creaking noise is outside your door.

Maybe it is an indication that I am just getting older? What used to scare me as a kid, doesn’t really scare me now? Now I am scared of long term illness, unemployment, losing money. Ghost and ghouls vanish when you turn the lights on. The fears of modern living don’t.

But the general output of Hollywood movies is also to blame as well. I can probably count on one hand the number of films that I have seen in the last ten years that actually scared me. Blair Witch, REC, er…….Hannah Montana? (Only the trailer, but man, that was enough. Billy Ray Cyrus? It’s like your worst nightmare made flesh)

Now it seems that horror films fall into two categories. PG-13 vanilla horror films, minuscule scares, at least one shot of the lead heroine in her pants (In itself, not necessary a bad thing, granted). Or the other end, the totally boring, and as about as scary as putting your face into a bag full of kittens, gorno films, the torture porn, if you will? Not scary. Not fun.

The only decent film on the horizon, one that has been getting a slow rumble of appreciation across the pond and seems to be justifying the hype, is this one:

Paranormal Activity.

Looks spooky, doesn’t it?

Also looks like another Blair Witch clone. But if all reports are correct (and a lot of reviewers are saying so) then this could be the scariest film in ages. And god bless it if it is. Because in the watered down version of horror that us scare junkies are currently living in, we need something to cling on to.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Ninja Genital Apocalypse.....

Nope, not the latest movie from Michael Bay, but a recurring theme that seems to run through a remarkable amount of my posts. After reading through some of them, I have noticed I can’t seem to help but slip in some of the above aforementioned words in most of my blogs. What that says about me I don’t know, nor would I particularly want to find out either.

But ninjas are cool though.

Well it seems as though my little blog is over a month old now. And as I take a glance to my right, I can see that somehow I have managed to lure at least 31 of you into my world. 31 of you have decided to sign up and slavishly follow my every word, to sit rapt by your computer screen, just waiting for my next posting, wondering what fresh musing will plop from my luminous mind…….

That is what the egotistical side of me is thinking. In reality, I am mature and stable enough to know otherwise. (But you do love me though, right? This isn’t just some one night stand, is it?) But either way, to have this amount of readers/followers is something I would never have conceived happening in just one month, and I won’t lie and say that doesn’t make me deliriously happy, because it does, it makes me dangerously happy. So to anyone who has decided to stick around, thank you. And I truly mean that.

But what you don’t know is that I have been placing subliminal messages in between my posts, and at one point, when I type the trigger word, all of you will become my mindless zombie slave army, just waiting to do my bidding. It will be small stuff first of all. Things like fetch me doughnuts and play with my toes. But when there is enough of you, I will send you out into the world like the flying monkeys from the Wizard Of Oz. Fly my pretties! Fly!

But I digress……..

Actually having people follow your blog does place a slight bit of pressure on your shoulders. You start to scrutinise every piece that you write before you send it out into the public domain, like they are your tiny children and you only want the best for them. You start to question yourself all the time. Is that interesting? Does that make sense? Where did that Filipino man come from, and why am I naked?

I know this is pressure of my own making, and I know that once you start to get readers (that still sounds a strange thing to write), every person with a blog probably feels exactly the same way at some point, but I still feel some sense of responsibility to justify making someone click on that follow button. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying this, I really am. My girlfriend suggested I start a blog as a reason for me to keep writing, to do something I love. And it has been great, just thinking of something to write and then seeing if there is a response to that piece. I have enjoyed every minute of it. But now I feel as though I am starting to fall into the trap that others have posted about before. When more people end up reading it, the more you want to write interesting and worthwhile things.

I didn’t really expect to get many readers; I thought maybe I’d get one or two as I didn’t really know how to go about getting my blog out there. So to begin with, it was mainly just for me. But when I started, the best bit I found about the whole process was finding all these other people and the blogs that they had. And the thing is, I really do enjoy waiting for the next postings from them, as every single one is so different and unique in its own right. So in some small way, that makes me feel better about my own blog and the more readers that I get. Nobody is really expecting anything from me (and God help you if you were), but are still more than happy to hang around and see what happens next. So if all of you don’t expect anything from me, I am more than happy to fulfil that role for you all quite admirably.

And yet I still can’t shake that small feeling of responsibility. So what I intend to do from this moment on is make my next postings at least 46% more interesting than before. I will choose an explosive first word that will have you instantly captivated and unable to leave your pc until the last sentence has been uttered. Instead of being a low budget indie film, with long takes and pregnant pauses, this blog is now going into the realms of a Hollywood blockbuster, all shiny lights and Megan Fox, with a James Cameron script on a Spielberg budget……..

Or I can just poodle along as I am?

I think I will do that. Sounds a bit less…..hectic?

So to all of you lovely 31 folk who have decided to keep on reading, it’s been a pleasure. And apologies for going all Woody Allen, I’m never any good with an audience. (Cue orgy joke right….about….now)

I was also recently given two lovely, shiny, awards from Matthew and Ladytruth. So a massive thank you to both for each of them. I intend to store them for awhile and then pass them on once I have familiarised myself with a few more new blogs of note, of which there are far to many to keep up with at the moment, but I am having fun trying. So thank you very, very, much!

Things I Learnt Last Month:

1)This man is very, very, funny.

2) It is not socially acceptable to go to a puppy party and to be more excited than the puppies.

3) Trying to review the news for a job application is harder than it sounds.

4) No matter how much of a Mod fashion statement they are, cardigans will never look good on me.

5) Vodka chilli spaghetti is nice.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Dan-Curriculum Vitae.

Name: Dan.

Age: 31

Occupation: Occupied.

Top Five Favourite Films:

1) Jaws.

2) An American Werewolf In London.

3) The Blues Brothers.

4) Ghostbusters.

5) 28 Days Later.

Top Five Favourite Songs:

1) The Great Skua- British Sea Power.

2) History- The Verve.

3) Sharpen Up The Knives- Puressence.

4) Nobody But Me- The Human Beinz.

5) Comforting Sounds- Mew.

Top Five Top Five Lists:

1) Top Five Smells.

2) Top Five Things To Do With Whipped Cream.

3) Top Five Beards.

4) Top Five Numbers.

5) Top Five Ways To Pass Out.



Tastes nice. Good with crackers.


Makes everything look pretty.


Cute. Furry. You can stroke some.



They are mostly out to annoy me. Can’t stroke them. Not without police getting involved.


Food of the Devil. Don't like the way it moves. Or smells.

Cruelty To Animals.

Wrong on every conceivable level.


Tidal Waves.

Not like the horrific tsunami that took place in Samoa, or on the 26th December 2004. But huge mile high bodies of water, towering over you, blocking out the sun. All stemmed from watching the film Meteor with Sean Connery when I was a kid. Freaks me out. Didn’t like Deep Impact or The Day After Tomorrow. Too many tidal waves.


See above. Can’t swim. I can doggy paddle, but that makes me look very stupid. Very hard to doggy paddle and look manly. Had the indignity of having my girlfriend trying to teach me to swim on our last holiday. Impossible to make rubber arm bands look sexy.

Women With Gold Handbags And Matching Shoes.

This also freaks me out. Don’t know why?

Things I would Like To Happen To Me:

: Have someone run to meet me at an airport after I had been away for a long time.

: Have my girlfriend believe me when I say I think she is beautiful.

: To own an Alaskan Malamute dog.

Things I wouldn’t Like To Happen To Me:

: To be stuck in a lift with Sharon Osbourne. Only one of us would get out.

: To loose my hearing.

: To suddenly be handed a big tarantula.

If you feel the above makes me suitable for anything, please feel free to post your comments.