BELLEND'S BLOG.

 


  Faffers...

Do faffers annoy you like they annoy me? You know, the people that decide to have a family conversation in the doorway of Sainsbury's, or stand looking at the different varieties of toilet rolls for ten minutes deciding which to get.   "Do I go for quilted, super soft, extra long, peach flavoured, extra absorbent, chilli-impregnated, fibreglass-woven, low carbon or just shiny prison type? You can't help but watch them and think. "It's for wiping poo off your bum, just f*****g buy one!!

Faffers invade every part of our society. Everywhere normal humans can get, faffers will be waiting. Roads, shops, aeroplanes, offices, workplaces... you name it, faffers will be there. The first explorers to reach the north pole probably found a bunch of people in their way deciding where to park their KIAs.

Perhaps if I became a faffer, I wouldn't get so annoyed by them.....

First of all I would need to purchase some  comfortable beige trousers out of the newspaper and buy a suitable vehicle like a KIA or some hybrid piece of crap.

I would have to practice driving round and round car parks looking for the perfect space that has my name printed on it. Even if it's a nearly-empty car park I need to squeeze my car between two others. I can then take 17 attempts to park in it so it's just right, with my door four inches from the next car so I have to struggle to get out. At some later date I will actually emerge from the car and spend ten minutes in front of the pay and display machine reading the entire lists of tariffs and then searching for the exact money so the machine doesn't make an additional 10p out of me.

On a visit the cash machine, I need to check every possible menu option and feed in 4 different cards to check the balances on my different accounts, much to the indignation of people behind me, then draw a tenner out of each account, and stand studying my transaction receipts for a further 5 minutes.

If I visit the petrol station I need to go when it's full and  buy a dozen lottery tickets, top up my electricity meter, get a car wash and vacuum and buy half a tonne of barbeque coal.

In my faffer car I will drive at a steady 25 in a 30 limit, 30 in a 40, and 40 in a 60 limit as these are the special 'faffers' speed limits. As I watch other drivers risking their lives trying to overtake me, I have to say something like " he won't get there any quicker"  -  (even when he clearly will).

Visiting a shop like Smiths, I need to plant myself right in front of the magazine rack with several of my faffer colleagues and then proceed to read every magazine from 'iPhone apps' to 'Manure Monthly', cover to cover so nobody else can get near.

Going on holiday, I would be the guy who boards the plane then blocks the isle for ten minutes while I root for stuff in my hand luggage whilst people are waiting behind me. Even better than that, the true professional faffer is the one nobody can find when the plane wants to leave. You know, the people they put announcements out for. You will be the one that has somehow forgotten he is supposed to be on a frigging plane and is busy blocking the magazine rack in Smiths reading 'Plankton Collectors Magazine"







 
 iMoans....

Back in the 80's I owned one of the first 'transportable' mobile phones. It was literally a 'brick' phone, being basically a box with a huge car battery in it and a car phone on top. Not very practical, or transportable, but the cutting edge of cellular technology at the time.

But... it always had a signal, and it never cut you off. You could be in a government underground nuclear bunker under 16 feet of concrete and it would still ring.  It also had the 'feature' that you could often listen to other people's private conversations - and even butt in!  (That could be a good feature now!) As the years went by the new GSM digital system appeared, pioneered by Orange, and soon we were issued with their handsets for work. Orange had somehow gone to market with a system that didn't actually work in buildings. Unfortunately I,  like most people, lived inside a building and was often to be found inside other people's buildings. If you had an Orange phone you just got used to saying " I'm going to lose you now because I'm going inside". You even knew the various points on the motorway where you would be cut off, and you would tell the person on the other end you were about to disappear! Orange was basically an expensive answering machine that charged  you  to pick up messages left because  their system was crap.  It didn't even work in their own Orange shops for god's sake!

Orange later installed small transmitters in their shops, plugged into  BT sockets,  so their display mobiles would work there! How ridiculous is that?  One thing that Orange phones did have was a strange little menu option called SMS message. This was a odd little feature that allowed you to send a short text message to another (Orange) phone. Why on earth would you ever need to do that? None of us at the time could imagine how that seemingly pointless waste of software could be useful for anything.  (Just shows how wrong you can be). 

Anyway, nowadays every object over 6 metres high has a mobile base station attached to it, so the days of getting dropped calls have gone......

Unless of course you have an iPhone 4S.

Like all the other brainless lemmings with no imagination,  I joined the iPhone brigade. It is good, I will admit. If you need to know the weather on Jupiter, want to play Sonic The Hedgehog whilst driving or can't live without checking if Stephen Fry is on the bog, then it's the gadget for you. Even I have to grudgingly admit that the Trafficmaster, Shazam and motorway camera apps are useful to me. I used to pay £60 a year for Trafficmaster info, now it's on my phone for nothing.

But... and here's the elephant in the room.... it's not a very good phone. As a business phone it can come nowhere near the performance of my old Nokia 6310. The trouble is that in their quest to make their gadgets do everything, they end up doing everything in a mediocre way. A jack of all trades and no f*****g good at any of them as we used to say...

 




What my iPhone says a lot of the time.....



                            


II wonder if it's still in the loft?

                                   



                              

 




Eeeeeeeeee! It's Christmas!!


Every year in January I regret not having felt more 'Christmassy' over Christmas. I always make up my mind in August when the first decorations go up in shops that I will try and capture the magical Christmas feelings of my youth. I make up my mind to strap myself to a chair in front of 'The Muppets Christmas Carol', attend a carol service (somewhat hypocritically), or have lunch out next to a big log fire and numerous other things to try and attain that elusive state of 'Christmas'.


In practice that never happens. It's always a headlong dash to sort everything at work, an endless rotation on the radio of The Pogues, Slade, Wizzard and Mariah Carey, and later slumped in front of the telly watching 'Gypsy Housewives Deadliest Ice Road Shark Attack' on Sky.

AAArrgh! Even as I write this, Mariah Carey has just screeched her final ultrasonic note of the above song and bloody Wizzard is just starting!! Did Mr Roy Wood do any other tunes I wonder?


Then there's Christmas shopping - shoveling your life savings into a pay and dismay parking machine, in the cold and rain, shuffling around shops heated to 4000 degrees, along with lots of other miserable looking people and queuing endlessly to get ripped off for stuff that will be half-price next week.

Just going off at a tangent, who commissions all this crap on the telly? For instance 'Come Dine With Me' is a programme where carefully selected bell-ends are put on telly to host a dinner party for some other bell-ends. A piss-taking guy then narrates the whole thing. The one thing all the contestants have in common is they don't realise they are bell-ends and this trait is the only reason they have been chosen - because bell-ends make great telly. (Remember The Apprentice!) Luckily precisely because they are bell-ends they don't realise this.

There is the pretentious woman with the enormous house and a walk-in 'shoe-room'.Then there is the guy who thinks he's king of the planet but lives in a flat the size of the above woman's shoe room. He then has to empty his entire home and put it in storage to fit a dining table in for the show.


AAAARRGG! Now it's SLADE!!! (no I'm not making this up). Noddy Holder's bank manager must love Christmas.

Anyway, back to 'Come Dine With A Knob'.... There is usually a lefty, veggie, weird woman who only eats gruel and a huge fat woman who moans about absolutely everything, including the choice of
loft insulation and the air pressure. The usual contrived routine is to go rooting round each other's houses to look for carefully pre-placed photos and items designed to make the contestant look cool. I think this would be much more entertaining if they went rooting for 'marital aids' or for the guy's porn stash.

GROAN! Now it's The Pogues...... Is anyone going to ever write any new Christmas songs?

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but as with most adults it's because the kids are around, and the break from work (if you're lucky). Unfortunately in this competitive retail world there will always be lots of people who have to work between Christmas and New Year because there are Herberts out there expecting to buy a can of fly spray or a barbecue on Boxing Day and they expect the rest of the population to be standing behind tills waiting for them.

Well, I've shut my security gate on the world for a couple of days. I've sharpened the spikes on the top of it and tipped them with Amazonian Tree Frog poison to keep out the carol singers. It will only be opened upon presentation of a valid retina scan and DNA sample. We have the contents of an entire Sainsbury's store compressed into our fridge-freezer and enough alcohol to kill a bull elephant.

Happy Crimbo :-)


Oh Crap, now its Coldplay!! PLEEEEEASE PUT SLADE BACK ON!



   
  Caravans

I was sitting in a traffic jam on the M6 the other day. Apparently they hold one every day and everyone's invited, so it would have been rude not to turn up. Anyway after a few minutes excavating the contents of my nostrils along with several thousand other bored people, (with their own nostrils obviously) I began to survey my fellow 'jam-ees' around me. Have you ever studied some everyday object and realised that you have never actually looked at it properly before? No, I don't mean your partner, I mean something like a tea bag or Hoover. Well, parked alongside me was one of those weird caravans that's about 2 foot high and obviously unfolds to a more normal size and I began to wonder how it worked. How on earth did the cooker and windows squish down to that size? More to the point, WHAT THE HELL IS THE FECKING POINT? Not only do they have to put up with the misery of caravanning, they have to unfold the damn thing when they get there. Of course, they could be dwarves and just not bother unfolding it.

Many of us have memories of caravanning with parents when we had no choice.
I have memories of our parents driving for what seemed like 3 days ‘down south’ to eventually arrive at a caravan site. The one we frequented most was full of posh new cars and caravans with names like ‘Lynton Executive’ emblazoned across them. We would chug up in our poor 1500 Moscovich towing our decaying Sprite Alpine and park it next to Peter Perfect with his new Rover 3500 and luxury caravan that had 4 floors, a gym and its own swimming pool and was bigger than our house.

At night we would sit around a portable 12 Volt TV, watching the picture get gradually smaller as the battery went flat, while being gassed by carbon monoxide from the gas lights. Then it was off to bed on a bunk assembled from the door of the toilet and some wooden sticks from the wardrobe. The bunk beds were cleverly designed to be a couple of inches shorter than the average person, making for a very uncomfortable night. If you jammed your head against the toilet wall and locked your legs out so your feet touched the wardrobe you could probably take the bunk away and you could still be stuck there. In the morning all your vertebrae would be fused into one solid 3 foot bone. Your parent's bed was infinitely better, being made from the dining table and the seats, offering them comfort you could only dream of. A curtain down the middle spared everyone's blushes, well as best as a piece of cloth can.

If you wanted a wee in the middle of the night you had to go into a tiny room in the corner that appeared to be made from cardboard and attempt to wee quietly into a plastic bucket with a seat on, while trying not to disturb what horrors may lie below. If you wanted a poo you just held it in. You couldn't possibly stand the embarrassment of laying a rectal cable with your whole family listening in (and smelling in). You would rather your lower intestine burst than suffer that indignity.

The rectal cable and other associated ablutions would be reserved for the next day and the walk to the shower block with your rolled up towel and soap. This was always at the top of a hill. There you would stand in a freezing cold cubicle and feed your 5p into a gas shower thing that was the work of Satan himself. As it went cold on you with your hair full of suds Satan laughed his bollocks off.

Mum fried breakfast on the tiny stove and cups of tea were made after she trod up and down on a little button thing in the floor which made water come out of a little tap. Washing up demanded much frenzied pumping of the poor little floor button. Good job we didn't have a bath. Ahh happy memories....


And people still do this. Why exactly?



 
                                   





  'Managers'

Whichever walk of life, hobby, job or pass-time you engage in, there are always the accepted conventions, attitudes, brands and equipment. For example, if you ever see hikers, there's always an 'accepted' appearance, that 'trousers tucked in the socks' look, with the accepted brand of boots and coat, the waterproof plastic coated map etc. If you turned up on the same trail wearing jeans and trainers with your paper OS map or car satnav they would look at you like you were from Jupiter. If you were to turn up at a metal-detectorists meeting with a 'Radio Shack' metal detector and your garden spade (instead of one of those folding things) they'd probably put you in a different field in a different county. Do you think that anyone actually buys those mobile phones from the shopping channel made by companies with names like 'Fucom' and 'Shitell', we all want iPhones and Blackberrys. Similarly nobody wants a HP tablet, simply because it's not the one to be seen with. I think it starts in school. If you turn up on your first day wearing the wrong stuff, you get the mickey taken out of you, so you have to somehow persuade your parents that looking scruffy, with your books screwed up in your pockets, and feet shod in Dr Marten's patented 'bother boots' is completely normal. I went to a school with trainee car thieves and future burglars, so not 'fitting in' meant a grisly death.

This need to fit in sticks with most of us for life, and work . This brings me somewhat strangely to middle managers. 

I hate the generic spiky haired twats with the hard stare, hydraulic handshake and love of management buzzwords like  'keeping my ducks in a row'   'shifting paradigms'  'client focussed'  and  'mission critical'. Arrrrrghhhhh! Just typing that shite makes me mad. Where do these people come from? I hate their stupid buzz words. I hate their stupid flip-charts and white-boards full of interminable bollocks. I despise their pie charts, Venn diagrams and process maps. 

These are the people responsible for the fact that a bed is now a 'sleep system', a van is a 'logistics solution' and a window is a bloody 'external awareness panel'.

Luckily, just like every other walk of life, there are companies making standard kit for these guys. Rolex make the stainless steel model, Burtons make an excellent range of twat suits and BMW make the graphite grey 320 diesel with the badges removed. (Sometimes with an 'M' badge substituted). To a bloke like me who goes to work in jeans, calls a problem a problem and drives a car befitting its badge, these people are like the antichrist.

Right, I'm all ranted out. I'm going to get into my personal transport system, go to a retail outlet and puchase a nutritional solution from a customer focussed centre of excellence. (I'm off for a burger).




                                                        

"""            "We need to develop a vortal web site as a customer event horizon"

                                 AAARRRGHHH!! Someone stab him in the face!!


                                                                                      




DAB Radio?


I am one of those annoying people who advertisers try desperately to reach, because I avoid their adverts at all cost. I nearly always watch recorded TV and fast forward the ads, and on the rare occasions that  I watch live TV, I will skip any number of channels to avoid them. I'll find myself watching 5 minutes of a documentary about 16th century horse polishing or some fascinating stuff about someone who can balance on their own eyeball. In fact almost anything but watch some fat twat sing about insurance. I can proudly say that the fat  guy has never managed to get more than 2 words across our living room before being rudely interrupted by a flash from my infra-red remote control beam of death.


I never tick those boxes that are signing you up for junk mail either, and the few bits that somehow reach me go straight from letter box to bin. The only place they can strike at me is local radio, you know the adverts:

"I ignored a chip in my windscreen and it made my house explode and my wife leave me, oh how I wish I had contacted Autopiss Windscreens when it first appeared"  You wouldn't mind if it was a couple of times a day, but it's after every bloody song. The trouble is, there isn't much choice. I tried Radio 1 but Simon Bates doesn't seem to be on it any more, and I haven't heard of most of the music they play. It's always something like  DJ Calvin  Spermflange featuring Boney Goat Fiddler. Radio 2 is ok if you don't mind listening to Matt Munro or Reginald Dixon on his mighty Wurlitzer, whatever that is.

There is apparently a bit more choice on DAB so I invested in a shiny DAB radio for my workshop. I plugged it in eagerly, pressed autotune and waited. 'No stations found' it smugly displayed. Some days later, after making some enquiries I found out that DAB is in fact complete wank, and needs  the size of antenna usually used to communicate with nuclear submarines under the Pacific.  Some time later, after erecting an external 18 foot, 3 element beam antenna I managed to get some music out of the annoying little box. And very good it was. However, should so much as a hover-fly land upon the antenna for a moment, my music was instantly turned into the sort of noise you would get if you put a pig in a cement mixer. Unfortunately some months later my station list started to dwindle again because a twig got a bit close to my antenna, and I couldn't be bothered to climb up there and trim it. I was left with Asian talk radio and a station from somewhere called Wales.

Anyway, it's back to good old FM and jingles about tiles, meat, tyres and just about everything else....



                                                                       
   



Dangerous stuff...


You know, I've never broken any bones, fallen off a mountain, set fire to my face, paralysed myself, drowned in an underground cavern, had to be dug out of a field in Kent when my parachute didn't open or been eaten by sharks, alligators or even nibbled by a water boatman.



Do you know why that is? It's because I don't do any of that dangerous shit.


What on earth possesses a grown man to want to go squeezing down inside underground water-filled caverns? Just how dull does your life have to be to want to and jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane with what amounts to a bed-sheet strapped to your back? Why would I want to go hurtling down a mountain on a push bike or swim alongside sharks? All of this stuff mystifies me. Men especially seem to like doing dangerous things, but I have never joined the ranks of this danger brigade. I know someone that goes rock climbing. I've a good head for heights because my job involves it, but nothing on earth would make me crawl up the side of a mountain with my only lifeline being some little metal thing I've hammered into a crack and a piece of garden string. Yes I know I'm boring but I'm alive and all my limbs and internal organs are where they should be, not inside a shark or smeared on a mountain or in some underground pooey hole.


My only foray into danger is to see how much strong lager I can drink before I lose the ability to talk, or to dice with death in the form of a late night donor kebab with extra Escherichia coli sauce. Having said that I face death every day at home if I get caught not flushing the toilet..


If I wanted to start a brand new dangerous sport for these annoyingly intrepid guys I think it should be something like seeing how much electricity you can pass through your love-spuds or Rottweiler wrestling with bacon strapped to your spam truncheon, and it should be televised. At least we could have some entertainment out of their passion for danger.




  
  I drowned in a pooey hole a mile underground.                                    I didn't


 
   
 


Amscrap.

You can't fault Lord Alan Sugar's business abilities. Love or hate the miserable scrotum-faced bugger, he's a money making machine and you have to admire him for that. What makes this all the more amazing is that he has become a multi-millionaire selling stuff that nobody wants! When was the last time you heard someone say they wanted something with Amstrad written on it for Christmas?



I am old enough to remember his first crappy products and I am ashamed to say that as a young man I was drawn into the amazing deal of a hi-fi stack system for a fraction of the price of comparable systems. In those days a cassette deck, tuner, amp and speakers from a reasonably good manufacturer would probably have set you back about £200 per module. Amstrad was offering a system with all this and a double cassette deck for about 250 quid. It was a no-brainer. Fortunately I had no brain. Unfortunately though, in my first flushes of manhood I had been too busy discovering what my reproductive organs were for, and hadn't yet learned the one rule that should take you through life, that being 'you only get what you pay for' (Moron).


My Amstrad 'stack' arrived, complete with smoked glass door and a black wood-effect compressed-sawdust cabinet. It looked good, with several 'units' and lots of knobs to play with. On closer inspection however the 'separates' were actually one plastic front moulded to look like several units. The 'graphic equaliser' was in fact just a picture of some graphs which could have been anything from Venezuelan mean monthly rainfall figures to Red Eyed Tree-Frog sleep patterns. This was ably assisted by a row of red LEDS that danced up and down when music came out, but offered nothing in the form of user interaction. All these years later I can just picture the slightly less scrotum-faced Sugar of the 70's probably saying something like 'just stick some graphs or other shit on it, the mugs love like stuff like that". After some further inspection of my 'stack' system it was clear that I didn't have to search far for knobs, because the biggest knob of all was actually sitting in front of it.


The best feature as I saw it was the fact that it had 2 cassette decks and the ability to copy tapes. This was great because you could borrow cassettes from friends or the library and make your own copies for your car. There was a certain amount of guilt attached to this because I suppose it was the earliest form of piracy, but what the hell, with my super-duper Amstrad I would never have to pay for car tapes ever again.

But I was wrong..


The theory was sound, but unfortunately the 2 Amstrad decks ran at different speeds on different days, so the outcome would be very odd. I would be listening to Elton John for weeks in the car and wondering why he sang an octave higher on the radio. In my car Madonna was a baritone. Some experiments with a stopwatch soon showed that the decks were a mile out, so I called the service line and a 'technician' visited. This guy was obviously just a third party who worked for lots of manufacturers and he had difficulty disguising his mirth when he saw my Amstrad 'stack'. He undid some screws and the front of my 'stack' system hinged down to reveal..... well, a lot of air, and one apologetic weedy PCB with not a lot on it. I had seen more electronics in a central heating timer. He tweaked with some screws on the motors and did his best to get the thing somewhere near but it was clear that it was never going to be right. Little did I know but Amstrad had inadvertently invented the very first anti-piracy protection by making all their cassette copies sound like shit. The technician explained in the nicest way possible that I had bought a heap of crap and I was a mug. In the end I gave it to my Dad and later bought a Technics, which I still own 25 years later and it still sounds great.


Later in my life there appeared crappy Amstrad PC's and no chavvy street was complete without a matching row of bright white satellite dishes emblazoned with the Amstrad logo. Some years later, the Amstrad name seemed to take a back seat, possibly because it was becoming synonymous with crap. This caught me out once because our satellite receiver died one day and a nice Sky man fitted a new one for us. It soon became apparent that it wasn't a patch on our old one, with sluggish menus and generally poor performance. A look around the back revealed the Amstrad name. Old scrotum-face had sneaked some more of his shite into our house. I bought a Pace off the web and threw the thing out. Later, when we upgraded to Sky+ I was waiting. The Sky man was told to take it back to his van and get me another make, and this he kindly did.


Sugar never understood why nobody bought his email phone, despite plugging it shamelessly on his 'Apprentice' show every week. I think I saw one in a council house once.



                                                        I know you want one.

   
 




The hottest chicken wings on the planet, and they're not kidding.


It's been a while but the Bellend is back! Too busy with work I'm afraid. If you are a watcher of 'Man Verses Food' on Sky you may have seen the episode where he tries to eat the hottest chicken wings on the planet. He actually only managed 2 of the 10 in the challenge before he looked like he was going to die. That was worrying in itself because Adam, the guy on the programme can eat almost anything and is rarely beaten by hot foods. Well, I happened to be on holiday recently and found myself within driving distance of that very place, so we took a day out over that way to take on the famous 'fire in your hole' wings challenge.



The first surprise was that the cafe in question was a tiny dive of a place in the less-than-salubrious end of town, and the last place on earth you would normally think of eating anything, or even getting out of the car near to. The filming that had been done there was very misleading because even though the place is just a counter and about 6 square yards of floor, they had packed it with about a million people, giving the impression that it was a large busy restaurant. In actual fact it was more like when you go to the plumbing wholesalers and there's just an entrance door and a counter with a man behind it selling bog flanges, or in this case dodgy grub.


Having purposefully directed our 6.2 litre American barge through nearly 100 miles of useless American drivers to get there, not going in wasn't going to be an option. The first thing you notice is the wall full of Polaroid photos showing lots of people looking most unwell, or in many cases projectile-vomiting. Interesting I thought. Undaunted, I asked them for the 'fire in your hole' wings and after some considerable time (I think they had to catch the chickens) they arrived. One of the rules was that they had to be eaten at the counter (a bit of an obvious rule because there's no-where else except the floor). The member of staff who looks least like a murderer or drug dealer unrolls aluminium foil to cover the entire counter and then presents you with a foil-lined bowl of the 'wings'. Of course, this is America and even though a Chicken is a flightless bird, these wings look like they're from bodybuilding chickens that could fly across the Atlantic. I made up my mind straight away that even if these were just barbeque wings I wouldn't be able fit ten in, so finishing ten coated with nuclear sauce was not going to be a possibility. I settled on beating Adam's 2 from the television and any more would be a bonus. How hot could they be anyway? I regularly eat some pretty hot curries and chillies back home. I have eaten Vindaloos and even Phal curries over the years. I was going to show these American homosexuals what shit we British could eat. After the rules were read to me (the main rule being not to puke in the 'cafe') it was time to begin...


The first couple of mouthfuls were pleasantly surprising, yes it was spicy but not all that bad. In a matter of 30 seconds I had polished off the first wing and I told the other guy behind the counter who looked like a serial killer that he needed to 'spice them up a bit'. He just looked smug like he knew what was about to happen. It was around midway through the second wing that I began to regret that remark, as hell itself began to burn my mouth and throat. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before, someone had poured concentrated nitric acid into my mouth. I struggled through the pain to eat 3 1/2 wings but there was nothing on earth that would have made me eat any more. I would rather have stir-fried my own scrotum in butter than eat another one. I reached for my Coke and struggled outside gagging. I had to pour Coke in constantly for around ten minutes, if I stopped for a second it felt like my oesophagus was being wrung out. I managed to get a couple of words out, they were "more Coke".


I know what you're thinking - I'm a Bellend, well you'd be right, but I still beat Adam off the telly. I take my hat off to the American guys who finished this shit because they must be men of steel. In the end it was me who was the homosexual.


Epilogue: I was up all night with some very severe stomach pains, I think the bloody things stripped everything in my digestive system. Never.. ever.. again.
 


                                     


                                     
   
 



Screwdrivers made from Cheese.


Every DIY-practicing man has at some stage picked up a 'bargain' set of screwdrivers or a 1000 piece socket set for what seems like a ridiculously low price. The trouble is, you get them home and you find out why. The socket set turns out to be made from a metal so soft, it has trouble staying solid at room temperature. So you're there underneath your car, trying to undo the exhaust clamp made by Satan himself, and the hexagonal socket decides it doesn't like being that way any more and becomes circular, thus causing your hand to fly off at 400 mph into something nearby that's sharp and rusty. Your hand then becomes a mess of blood, oil and rust, a lot of naughty words are uttered and the dog gets yet another kick in the balls. Alternatively you can be there pressing hard on your Tandy screwdriver trying to undo that corroded screw on your lawnmower when the handle (which appears to have been made from a boiled sweet) shatters and the blade attempts to ram itself through your palm.



I've had screwdrivers so soft that they would probably melt during a hot summer, Who makes this shit? Somewhere there's a factory called 'Crap Tools & Co' with the motto 'Dedicated to making shite for idiots to buy or get for Christmas for 50 years'.


Power tools are no exception. There is an obsession now with all things cordless. Yes, professional cordless drills are great and building sites are full of them, but some of the stuff you see in DIY stores is crud. Cordless circular saws that would need recharging after cutting through a match. A cordless Strimmer for heaven's sake. The weeds would probably die from laughing at you brandishing this utterly ineffectual plastic excuse for a machine with a Meccano motor and 2 'D' cells in it. "No more messy extension leads" it says on the box. Well bearing in mind that it's only suitable for a window box, you wouldn't have needed a bleedin' extension lead would you?


I'm sick of it. I bought a yard brush recently. How can you make a crap yard brush? Well B&Q have mastered it. You just get someone to make the bit where the shaft meets the head out of some plastic that would be more at home in a margarine tub or the dashboard of a Kia. I'm not a particularly big or overly strong example of a human male but I managed to snap it off while brushing some dust out of my greenhouse. I'm now left with a wooden stick that's ideal for home defence and a large hand brush. (Only useful if you've got some large hands that need brushing).


Years ago my brush would have been milled from solid oak and pig-iron, I would have purchased it from a hardware store that smelt of creosote, from a main wearing a brown coat, and apart from a 50,000 mile service it would have served me until retirement, whereupon I would have handed it down to my children. It would have been made in a proud factory in the North with chimneys and the company name spelled out in white bricks. It would have been crafted by hard working grimy men smoking Woodbines and dressed in boiler suits. Most of all it would have been fit for purpose.


My big problem with all this modern manufacture is the obsession with shaving pennies from production costs by making crap. What B&Q didn't grasp is that the 10p they saved in replacing a tiny piece of metal with plastic in my brush was false economy because firstly I would have paid the extra money, and secondly I won't be buying another.


No picture this week, got a busy day planting lots of stuff. Hopefully I won't snap my B&Q balsa-wood and tin-foil spade on a weed.
   
 




Cookin' dasn't get taffa than this.....


Do you watch that Masterchef on the telly?



Thanks to Sky Plus I seem to have ended up following this strangely compelling series, which is rare for me. Basically loads of amateur cooks of varying degrees of skill enter the competition and are given various challenges in a back-street 60’s office block with a Masterchef logo nailed on it. They all have one thing in common though, they are all convinced that they are good at cooking because their families say so. It’s an X-Factor of cooking basically where some turn out to be genuine stars and some are hopelessly deluded morons who could overcook a pan of water.


The two presenters, who for some reason never address the camera, but talk sideways across your telly to someone sitting in your fireplace, consist of a chef guy with no top lip who reminds me of the Churchill dog and a baldy grocer whose job it is to copy everything the chef guy says.


A bunch of worried looking contestants are wheeled in and given about an hour to make something from a pile of ingredients. They are also quizzed about their culinary ambitions. “Hi I’m Harvey and I’m a Professor of ridiculous calculations at Oxford, but I dream of working long unsociable hours in a hot, cramped kitchen for crap money”. While the cooking efforts take place, both chef guy and baldy guy make a point of pulling disappointed and surprised faces on camera while they watch their hapless victims accidentally putting red cabbage in their Eton Mess and such like.


The worst kind of contestant is the one who thinks he or she can produce pretentious Michelin-star quality food when clearly they can't. It's down to the judges to put them in their place by telling them that their pan fried mole-spleens served with a Scottish fog garnish look beautiful but are sadly lacking in taste. Should have just done the chicken Kiev then.


The results of all these efforts are now judged and this often ends up being a piece of beef or lamb that looks like it could probably recover and walk away back to the field. Alternatively it is scallops, which seem to pop up in every episode (much to the indignation of all scallops who may be watching) and these seem to vary in quality from completely raw to the consistency of engine-mounting bushes. Chef guy usually gives his opinions first, baldy guy (who often seems to have trouble with spoon manipulation, holding it like a chimp) then says exactly the same thing when he finally removes the cutlery from his gob.


The culinary cretins who failed are then asked to pack up their expensive knife sets and leave the building in shame. They skulk off back up the grubby street to face their families and friends, and to explain why their lamb was still twitching and their mash lumpy and under-seasoned - whatever that means.


The lucky winners of that round then trot off to some posh eatery in London where the Professor of ridiculous calculations finds out just how much fun it is to work your balls off in a hot kitchen for hours with some pedantic self-important foreign bellend of a chef whinging at you. He’s thinking that perhaps sums aren’t so bad after all.




                           


   
 



Compo culture...


Hello, my name's Dave Cretin and I've just tripped over a paving slab because I'm a clot and now I think someone must pay"



Sadly this is the way we now think. In years gone by, if we tripped on the pavement we'd just surreptitiously look round to make sure no-one was laughing their balls off and sheepishly hobble away. Nobody thought that it could possibly be the council's fault that we couldn't look where we were going, why would they? Even if someone accidentally dropped a motorway bridge on your car and you spent months in hospital having your entire skeleton replaced, you'd still laugh it off as your own mistake. We now live in a blame culture and although not as bad as in the US where you can claim 1 million billion dollars if you so much as slip on a chicken nugget whilst in McDonalds, it's getting that way. I saw something a few nights ago where some guy's disposable shaver was broken when he took it out of the packet and he scratched his face leaving a barely visible scar. He got six grand compensation. The amazing thing was, he had an existing scar on his chin that looked like he'd fallen head-first into an industrial mincer, so you never even noticed the faint line from the shaver incident. I don't know about you, but I think I'd notice if my shaver had fallen to bits. Some fat stupid morons in the U.S. have even tried to claim from McDonald because they say they didn't know that living on the stuff would make you fat. Even given the intelligence of the average American, that's got to be pretty thick.


In the old days, if someone was daft enough to drive into the back of your car you'd swap details, get the car fixed on their insurance and that was that. Now instead people struggle out of their cars after a 3 MPH shunt rubbing their necks, with their eyes lit-up with pound signs, while they mentally book their next holiday with the ensuing compensation. They then have 12 weeks off work with a traumatised neck bone and claim 5K. These same people moan that their car insurance costs a fortune, I wonder why that is?


The nanny state is the obvious reaction to the compensation culture. All those handy leaflets and signs advising "don't forget to breathe" and "please watch out for pointy things" and "do not eat the road surface" are in response to an ever-increasing population of stupid people doing stupid things and thinking that someone else is to blame for them being a moron. If you put up a sign saying "pointy things ahead" then you are covered legally when some moron impales his brain on one. That's why we're bombarded with safety signs everywhere we go.


The trouble is, even then you have to make allowances for people who can't read or don't speak the language, so you end up with a yellow and black pictogram with a brain impaled on a pointy thing. So now instead of a 'beware of the dog' sign on your gate, you need to erect a sign with a yellow generic canine quadruped figure munching a non-gender or race-specific black coloured human lower limb...


Just in case you don't switch the light on,  snap your pelvis and make a claim, Oldham Council have thoughtfully provided this notice.





                                          

   
 



The black helicopters are watching you...



"Dreams can come true" sang Gabrielle. Well last night I dreamt that a Pterodactyl was eating our lounge ceiling, so I hope not lass. Imagine filling in the form for the house insurance. While I was scanning through SKY the other night desperately looking for something to watch, I came across 'Invasion of the Daleks'. Now I know it's an old joke that all you have to do to escape a Dalek is go upstairs or up a kerb, but that was 40 years ago. We've fitted so many disabled access ramps and lifts, and widened so many doors that the Daleks could now invade quite easily. We even have the Disability Discrimination Act. I think that it's all a big conspiracy, that the Labour party is actually run by Davros (that would explain a lot) and that the DDA is in fact the Dalek Discrimination Act and is paving the way for a future (and much easier) invasion.



This may sound barmy but it's no barmier than some of the stuff people believe on the internet. Let's just pick one apart, like the fact that the U.S. blew up their own twin towers with explosives. I work in a lot of big buildings, they are run by a team of building managers and maintenance staff. You have to be security checked and have to sign out passes and security swipe cards to go anywhere. Just how do you gain access and plant tonnes of explosives? "Hello, I'm from a contractor you've never heard of, and I'm here to fit some 'special air conditioners' that you haven't ordered in all of your service risers". Let's just for a moment assume you manage to do it. How many people would you have to involve? Lots. How would you ever keep them all quiet? You wouldn't. Most conspiracy theorists don't consider this sort of irritating detail because they don't live on the same planet as normal people.


What about Roswell? Well we're expected to believe that a futuristic flying saucer navigated its way across millions of light-years of deep space to get here, then managed to crash into a small hill. Some Americans then carted off the bodies and wreckage and have used the technology for their research. Well here we are 60 years later and it hasn't helped them much has it? The pinnacle of U.S. technology is the stealth bomber. It's made out of the same shit that they make bikes out of and it's still powered by the 60 year old jet engine. So much for anti-gravity then. Apparently the most popular types of aliens are the 'Greys' from Zeta Reticuli. By some amazing co-incidence (or dreadful lack of imagination on their part) they have 2 eyes, 2 ears, a nose and a mouth, albeit in different proportions to our own. This is much like Star Trek where all aliens have different rubber heads but with the same old familiar features as our own and speak perfect English. If you're going to invent some aliens at least have a bit of imagination...


I'm sorry but there aren't any flying saucers. Crop circles, cattle mutilations and human abductions are all carried out by humans, or are inventions of the human mind. I only had to float some bin bags in the air with candles inside to get UFO reports in our paper. Don't you think it's amazing that despite half the planet now owning camera-phones that no-one has yet come up with a good picture of an alien/flying saucer/ghost/apparition? I'm still waiting.



                                          


   
 




 

Why is my brain crap?




It's been a while. Been busy with work and then Crimbo and more work. I'm now on that Windows 7 because my PC exploded and I needed a new one fast. It seems ok but despite supposedly being compatible with everything Vista-ish it won't run Autocad because apparently now I'm 64 bit whatever that means.

 



I was watching a programme the other night about artificial intelligence and how we were having problems getting anywhere near the abilities of the human brain. Well I don't think brains are actually that good.




The calculator on my desk was free with something, yet it can do far more complex calculations than I could ever dream of, with 10 pence worth of Silicon inside it. My computer could probably store 1000 large books and recall any sentence in less than a second, when I can't remember what I had for lunch. A computer checking spuds on a conveyor belt will do it 24 hrs a day without moaning that it's bored or tired. In contrast a brain would take around 16 years to develop from birth to a useful capacity, and then it would want to read The Sun all day and go home and sleep for 8 hours! When you see a robot struggling to do something apparently simple like pick up a cup, remember that you took several years to learn yourself!




Yes, it is amazing how a hover fly can do all those flight calculations using nothing more that a bit of gunge the size of a full stop for a brain but it's had several million years of development. We've only been messing about with semiconductors for 50 years and we've already got FaceTube, but never mind, some useful things have come out of technology as well. It's still going to be a good many years before we see intelligent robots working for us I think .....




                                        





   
 


 Dogs. What is the point?


If anyone is ever brave enough to mention genetic engineering or cloning, there is an inevitable outcry in the press citing 'Frankenstein' or 'meddling with nature'. Well we've already been doing it for years, where do you think the poodle and the sausage-dog came from? Selective breeding is of course genetic engineering but nobody ever mentions it. I've never watched one of Dave Attenborough's epics and seen a pack of wild sausage-dogs working together to hunt down a bison, although it would no-doubt be entertaining and would result in lots of pizza-shaped dogs and that can't be a bad result. Just on that subject, I don't know about you but I don't enjoy watching animals tear each other to bits on these programmes. If it was me shooting the documentary and it got to that point where "the weaker baby antelope starts to fall behind the herd, and the lion sees its chance" I would shoot the lion through the brain, get it on a spit over a campfire and show it who really is at the top of the food chain on this planet. As an alligator closed in on some desperately swimming cute and furry animal, I'd be there at the controls of a hydraulic dredger to squash its head flat, saying "call that a bite?, this is a bite Mr Snappy". As a pack of hyenas closed in on injured baby goat I'd strafe them all with a vehicle-mounted chain-gun and take the goat to the vets. As the snake slid silently towards the nest of baby mice, a spade would come somewhat unnaturally into shot and chop its head off. My version of nature programmes would be so much more balanced and satisfying for the public. Somehow I don't think they'll be ringing me though.





Anyway, back to dogs. Dogs are pointless, noisy, smelly, baby-eating wild animals and should all be shot. They don't serve any purpose and don't lay very nice eggs. From the smallest handbag sized micro-mutt to those things that look like a bloke in a furry suit, they all need introducing to the 'pan shovel on the cranium' treatment. "Come off the fence" I hear you cry. The only point in having a dog as I see it is for something to boot across the hall when you've had a bad day at work. For people like me, who don't want the smell, noise or dog hairs they could make a nice imitation one with plenty of weight in it and a big arse and maybe testicles too. They could have one of those gadgets inside to make it yelp as well, and it should also have a G sensor in there so the heftier the punt the louder the yelp. After a hard day you could open the front door and boot it all the way up the stairs. Incredibly satisfying. I need to go on 'Dragon's Den' with that one.





The most noticeable thing about dogs is how their owners develop immunity to their charms. Little Spot can be barking for 16 hours non-stop and its owner miraculously doesn't even notice. Being a normal (not dog owning) person it would seem perfectly reasonable to me to whack it on the head with something satisfyingly solid, but for some reason dog-owners are completely deaf to their own mutts. Why is that, and why do dog lovers all assume that everyone else is a dog lover and just stand there while this hairy stinky wild animal slobbers over your hand or frots your leg?



Some common dog types:




The native town dingo.




Found in most run-down British towns, usually a gingery colour with a curly tail. Knows how to use pedestrian crossings, eats fag ends and other dog's poo. Can be seen trotting purposefully from place to place like it knows exactly where it's going. Lays turds of porridge consistency at frequent intervals and often strategically placed in those bits of grass between the curb and footpath, so if you're visiting the less salubrious end of town you have to spend ten minutes with a twig trying to get the former contents of its bowels out of your shoe treads while trying to keep your own stomach contents in.





The ball-sniffing dog.




This is the bane of tradesmen everywhere, and Labradors seem to be the worst offenders. They always have heads at human male testicle-height and they use this genetic advantage to sniff your crotch instantly upon meeting you. However hygienic you are, even if you have just scrubbed your frank & beans with Mr Muscle Drain Cleaner until you could see your face in them, they will still sniff away. They always do this in front of their owner, and particularly if this is a woman it can be embarrassing and make you feel uncomfortable and somehow unclean. It is always going to be difficult to explain to a woman that you have just met, that your balls are in fact spotless, so you just end up living with it. Again, the owners will shamelessly sit there without intervention as Fido tries to bury his head in your trousers, while you try desperately to 'pat' him away. Of course, as soon as the owner is out of sight you can exact revenge with a carefully deployed rolled-up copy of The Sun.




The noisy aggressive middle-sized dog.




These are generally barky but skinny types who like to chase visitors like postmen, however their bravery is fairly short-lived if you turn round and chase them. I was once delivering leaflets for my (then) employer and I was accosted by a dog owner for worrying his dog! This black wiry mutt chased me down his drive so I chased it back up his drive and tried to kick it in the spuds, which in itself is quite a demanding piece of limb co-ordination while running. He saw me and I got a telling off, but in keeping with dog-owner philosophy he didn't notice when the dog was chasing me the other way. These dogs really are all bark and no bite and are happy to be brave when you're walking away. Chasing dogs is something nobody ever considers, like taking on a motor cyclist in your car. Both can give surprising results if you are prepared to turn convention around and think like a Bellend.





The baby-eating dog.




Usually owned by a Grunt (see 12th Sept). These dogs you shouldn't attempt to chase because they don't run away. They are designed for killing and would be a handful for even an adult man, although I'm confident that with my claw-hammer or garden fork I'd sort one out. They are generally more intelligent than their Grunt owners and are called names like Tyson or Killer. It is unusual to find one called Spot. What normally happens is the Grunt spends years whacking Tyson on the head regularly with an iron bar to make it more aggressive and then one day it eats one of his kid's faces, to the total astonishment of the whole Grunt family who say what a good dog it always was. Baby-eating dogs are available in various sizes and have capacities of 1-5 babies a day depending on age.





                                                







                                                                       Collectors.... Why?



Some genius at the computer shop fixed my other PC! Something called RAID had somehow forgotten I had any hard drives apparently. It just needed reminding again. (with £20). That's good because my new Windows 7 PC didn't like anything, my printer, my scanner, my house, my face, my software... apparently it's 64 bit and my face isn't...


I'll keep it on standby for when I can afford a new printer, scanner, house, face, software etc etc.. I never thought I'd be glad to see Vista, but here I am.

Some nights, if the telly's crap (which is often) I'll grab the wifey's Macbook thingy and type some random stuff into Google like 'DIY surgery' or 'eating pet food' or 'homemade sex toys' or any random rubbish which comes into my head to see what I get back. The results are often deeply disturbing. The other night I typed in 'toilet paper collection' and yes, some spanner out there collects toilet paper. Of course then I couldn't resist trawling the web for more of these strange collections and their owners.

Have you ever wondered what a funny bunch collectors are? Also they're almost exclusively male. A few random searches found hits on spark plugs, calculators, teddies, street lights, milk cartons, bus tickets and all manner of football shit. What is it about the male human animal that gives him the urge to be a collector? You don't see gorillas with collections of interesting tree stumps or a rat proudly admiring his full collection of McDonalds wrappers. It's not always manly things either, If you collect live nuclear warheads or steel girders, at least it's manly, but teddies? As a young man, if I had ever shown a desire to collect teddies, my father would have instantly enrolled me on a 5 week residential shed-building and truck repair course, followed up by bonfire-construction (level 3) and advanced manual hole excavation. When I came back I'd have been eating bowls of nails and Brillo pads for breakfast, reading 'Which Boiler Suit' magazine and drinking orange coloured tea with six sugars from a chipped enamel mug.

I think part of the collector's satisfaction is the careful cataloguing, arrangement and the sheer self-indulgence of smugly admiring his collection. In every field of collecting there must be a 'holy grail' that they all strive for, like the coin that got minted wrong and they only struck 50 of, or the toilet paper with Queen Victoria's skids on, or the limited edition 1962 milk carton where they spelt 'Milk' wrong. Some collectors are incredibly anal, I watched something the other night and a model train collector was there with a magnifying glass checking to make sure that a model loco have never been run. Why? Does it really matter? Obviously it does, and a lot.

The only things I've ever collected were penalty points on my licence and those stupid petrol station vouchers which isn't quite the same I suppose. Were you ever stupid enough to collect those? With every fill-up you got a little paper slip which you saved with the idea of exchanging them for a telly or something eventually. When you'd driven twice round the earth, worn out four company cars and amassed 6 bin-bags full of vouchers you would get the catalogue from the petrol station and find that if you did another circuit of the earth you may be able to get the nasal hair clipper.

There was talk that Virgin Airlines saved enough over 4 years for the Tupperware set but unfortunately the scheme was shut down before they could claim it.


                               A cretin who collects milk cartons.
 






British Grunts..... best in the world.   



I had the misfortune to spend a day working in Blackpool yesterday. I always remember it as a dump, but it seems to have gone downhill from there, just sad little shops with peeling paint, selling crap and endless chip shops full of slack-jawed tattooed Grunts. Driving through the town it was evident from the hotels that some people were actually on holiday there, a fact which defies belief. One place had tables outside where one can relax and watch the bins being emptied, and there sat the most gormless looking couple I had ever seen, complete with a fag each. Of course they could both have been Particle Physicists, and it's just me making unfair generalisations. This set me thinking about the one thing that we still do manufacture in this country - the Standard British Grunt. We have been making these for some years now in a variety sizes and in both sexes.


Here are some of the options available when 'speccing' your shiny new British Grunt...

Fuel

Most Grunts are powered primarily by McDonalds, however you can power your Grunt on almost anything providing it has a high enough fat content. Greggs, Burger King and Ted's Fish 'N' Chip Emporium are all suitable. Stay clear of salads as this may impair your Grunt's performance and even cause internal damage. Grunts need regular additives to their main fuel in the form of Alcohol and Nicotine to ensure trouble-free long-term unemployment.

Trim Specification

The standard Grunt comes in a variety of colours, and you can individualise yours with a wide range of add-ons. Most popular being chunky jewellery, various stupid haircuts, tattoos, ear rings, 'sportswear' and baseball caps. The combinations are endless. With careful choice of these you can design a Grunt that looks a completely useless gormless twat and be the envy of other Grunt owners everywhere. We do supply a design service if you are having difficulty customising your Grunt.

Body options

Most of our Grunts are supplied as wide-body models for storage of large quantities of fuel. This makes long distance trips possible, to betting shops and benefit offices and also enables the Grunt to push a shopping trolley of fags and beer all the way from Netto to its council flat. Lightweight body options are available should you require your Grunt to be frequently pursued across fields by members of the Her Majesty's Traffic Police.

Processing power

Various processors are available for operating your Grunt's higher functions. From the standard Amoeba model up to full Moron status. The top level Moron unit has a full 200 neurons and can match a Cockroach in raw data processing. Our processors have good pattern recognition functions ensuring your Grunt can spot useful logos like McDonalds, Benson and Hedges and Stella, allowing it to easily locate fuel sources and also to recognise its Citroen Saxo among other Grunt's similar vehicles. Strong reproductive instincts are written into your Grunt's subroutines, ensuring that it will always have a council house and state benefits for the purchase of its fuel and flat-screen televisions, however limits on ROM mean that your Grunt will not actively seek a job. In the highly unlikely event that your Grunt gets a job, it must be immediately returned to the factory for re-formatting.

Notes

If you are using the Amoeba level processor we recommend that this is co-ordinated with tattoos spelling out names of close family members to keep your Grunt reminded of its identity.


                                   Base Model Grunt.