Down with Christmas – Part 2

I got a Christmas card at the weekend, a full 39 days before the true horror of Christmas should really begin. I find this a little early to be honest, that said I would find any card that gets here before the 24th early and thus thoroughly unwanted, unlike cards that come on the 24th that are just plain unwanted.

If this were from some slightly amnesiac friend who somehow forgot that I loathe Christmas, I might just pop it straight in the bin and think no more about it. However it was not from such a friend, no, it was from someone far, far worse. It was a piece of marketing bumph! Marketing bumph that I clearly don’t need and don’t want.

What’s it selling you might wonder, what would warrant such an invasion of my letter box, a cure for smallpox maybe, the secrets of the lottery, tickets for a luxury cruise around scenic Bhutan, well no, in fact it’s not really selling anything at all. You see the bloody thing was from the Royal Mail informing me that I should get my post in early to ensure that the cards I won’t be sending get there intended recipients on time.

Now this is fairly annoying, I find unsolicited post enraging at the best of times, however this had taken a special place in my rage filled heart. The reason you see is simple, on the back of this vile seasonal missive was a small little sign, a sign that was informing me that I should “recycle now”. Adding that, “when you have finished with this letter please recycle it”.

Now call me odd but is it not a little rude to tell me what I should be doing with the crap that you send me, crap that I did not ask for. If I wish to burn it for no reason at all, I will, if I want to turn it into priceless art, I will, well I would if I had talent in such areas, but I digress, if I want to compost it and use it to fertilise a crop of heroine to sell to children, I will.

If you cared so much about saving the planet and thus wanted me to recycle the thing, maybe, just maybe you should just not print the fucking thing in the first place. I imagine that would be infinitely more friendly to the planet and it would definitely be more friendly to Christmas loathing individuals such as myself.

Somewhat luckily there is an address to return this junk to if it’s undelivered, so I’ll be posting it straight back. That’ll learn them!

Posted in 4 - Enraged | Leave a comment

Tube woe.

The tube has been causing much angst in the last two days. Firstly, yesterday I had to suffer the audio atrocity that was a busker at Notting Hill station. Now, as you might imagine, I’m not a fan of buskers at the best of times, they all fall in to two camps, the awful and the very awful. OK, that’s a lie, some of them do have a talent, it’s just a talent I never want to hear whilst whisking myself about Londontown on public transport. This is a fact that will remain true until the day I catch some underground minimal tech house Djing action, a day I never expect to see.

There is a base level of annoyance at any busker, so imagine my shock and horror when I alighted the carriage I was occupying to be confronted by a noise so awful, so displeasing, that I’m immediately tempted to shatter my eardrums with a rolled up London Lite. Yes you guessed it, some bastard was playing the bloody bagpipes. This is an instrument designed to strike fear into the hearts of a foe on the battle field, an instrument so ghaustly that no one on earth can find pleasing to listen to. So why, you might wonder, was he not turfed out of the station by some burly guards for disturbing the peace forthwith and possible given a shoeing for good measure?

Well it seems that not only was he there by permission as an official busker, but I also happen to know, like all of the tube’s buskers, he’d passed an audition to get a licence to be there. Someone actually heard that racket and decided that it would be fun to inflict it on everyone else? I can only imagine that the rowdy piper got his license by threatening to stove in the head of the people conducting the audition with his fascist, jackboot clad, feet if they turned him down. It’s the only explanation…

The next moment of irritation came after a wonderfully ecstatic trip to Westfield, Europe’s largest inner-city shopping centre, a trip where nothing at all annoyed me. The masses of people blundering about getting in my way, the stupid layout of shops, having items in display that you couldn’t actually buy was all brushed aside, such was the warmth of the capitalist glow that was enveloping me.

However, on leaving this Mecca of commercialism I wended my way to Sheppards Bush station, a station that was rebuilt not more than 2 months ago, what was I confronted by? I was confronted by 3 in ticket gates, 5 out ones, a mass brawl of people trying to get in, and NO ONE AT ALL trying to get out. Quite why the tube chap who stood there bellowing like a dullard for people not to push didn’t just engage his bloody brain for a second and swap a few of the out barriers to in ones I don’t know.

More to the point, why did the flaming antipodean galahs that built the bloody thing not think that perhaps the new station might be a bit more popular than it used to be, what with a fucking huge shopping centre they stuck next door, and thus might need slightly more ticket gates.

The whole sorry situation was only made more infuriating by the morons ahead of me in the queue getting an oyster FAIL notice and rather than seeing assistance as advice (although I realise from experience this can be very tiresome), decided to repeatedly jab their ticket on the reader holding me up for even longer. Bastards.

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Booze booze booze.

So we have more outrage on the news at the levels of boozing that is going on, people are getting spannered and causing trouble in town centers the length and breadth of this fair land, children dropping dead in their thousands from cognac overdoses, old men are running riot, high on alcopop sugar rushes.

It’s all a terrible outrage I admit, clearly something must be done and the solution is to ban boozing, and if you can’t do that you should make to so hard to buy that only Lords, MP’s and Russian Oligarchs can afford to get their grimy mits on a vat of sauce once in a while.

Only no, that’s frankly a blisteringly stupid idea. It’s clearly not just the availability of cheap booze that turns people into vomiting morons. Why we just have to cast an eye at wonderful mainland Europe to see that (clearly, stop looking once you get past Germany into eastern Europe…They like fun juice even more than we do judging by the number of Polish sounding people I see sipping cans, of Okocim/Lech/Tyskie/Zywiec/other unpronounceable super strong beverage, with fine communist zeal at 8 in the morning by my local bus stop).

Sure we should do something to prevent the streets being awash with drunken morons at the end of the night whilst I wend my way home from a few civilised pints of gin at my local inn. However making all booze unaffordable will clearly effect me as well as yob X so that won’t do, it won’t do at all. No we need another plan. Somewhat strangely I think I’m just the man to craft said plan!

First we should ban anyone under 25 from boozing in public, sure let them get hammered on meths at home or in a local part away from prying eyes, I don’t really care if they batter their livers into submission before they make it to 18 as long as they are decent enough to do it away from view.

Secondly anyone caught fighting, unconscious, vomiting or singing annoyingly loud ditties in the street will get a stern warning from the army of lone vigilantes we will recruit, commit a second offense and you will immediately be killed, liquidised and used to fertilise cider orchards.

Thirdly ban anything from Belgium from being sold anywhere on earth. Why you ask, well a) Belgium is horrible and generally thinking about the place makes me angry so they should be made to suffer at any opportunity, b) I pretty much blame Stella Artois for most of the social ills we are under the yoke of at the moment.

Of course, I don’t really have an opinion about wither people booze too much at all and my policy is clearly preposterous and probably unworkable, I am however sick and bloody tired of stupid news articles moaning on and on about this problem without ever offering a sensible solution other than making is so expensive I’ll have to revert to drinking diamond white (which is just what everyone else will do and thus just exacerbate the situation, rather than solve it). All they have to do is call me and I’ll have it sorted out in a jiffy I assure you…

Posted in 5 - Angry | Leave a comment

We are at war people, WAR I say!!

My body, my brain and I have been at loggerheads of late, I try to mediate between the two but there is no joy it seems. They are determined to stitch each other up at every available opportunity.

All week they have been squabbling over what time to sleep, the brain wants to stay up Monday night to watch election fever reaching a head, the body wants to collapse into a slumber after a long day at the coal face. Tuesday evening both were quite adamant that after getting home very late from work snoozing might be a good idea, hurray agreement.

But what’s this, 4:50 am that sneaky fucker body decides now would be the perfect time to play a trick on the brain and wake us all up, why I don’t know. We lie there for a minute or two pondering whether the world’s ended with the election of Palin (I always assumed that if McCain won he would die of a heart attack from celebrating too much/been shot by Palin in a terrible hunting “accident”). So we get a moments agreement between mind and body allowing the arm to flip the radio on.

This happens just in time to hear Obama’s rather good acceptance speech thingy in Chicago. Maybe the body is not so spiteful after all, maybe it felt a disturbance in the force and thought the brain might like to hear this, it was after all very good to hear.

It’s over, great we can get back to sleep for another 2 hours, wake up and get to work pretty refreshed to make the site I’ve been slaving over live. Only no, now the mind is pissing about thinking about work. What the fuck am I to do here, can’t we just work together, we’re on the same team people, sleep damn it. No fine, in that case we’re getting up, HA take that mind, take that body, I’ve called your bluff!!

So we get to work at 7:30, pretty quickly however we all realise that this petty squabble has gone horribly wrong, we’ve turned into a jibbering wreck, luckily though a swiftly purchased bacon roll helps us hold it together long enough to get the changes done in time. Yay. we can leave early to get some sleep.

However what’s this, the brain has other ideas, it decides that going to bed at 7 and getting a nice 13 hours sleep is not the ticket, no, it hatches a plan to trick the body into visiting the local tavern and imbibing a few pints of fermented apple juice.

At this stage the body is very wary, it knows the past, it knows what’s happened before, it remembers the long nights of abuse it’s endured at the hands of the brain in the company of various reprobates and vagabonds. Sadly it’s powerless to resist, after getting up so early it has expending all it’s defensive energy some hours previously. As you can imagine it all goes horribly wrong and there is another night with about 90% too little sleep. I even had the forethought to turn off the alarm to try and get the extra kippage needed.

Pointless.

Body wakes us up as usual at the normal hour in a further escalation of this timeless battle, another day of feeling exhausted and angry ensues.

One day I will get a peace accord between the two and we can all get along nicely, no more lying awake filled with rabid anger at not sleeping, no more rage inducing hangovers. Till then drunken insomniatic apoplexy will continue I fear.

Posted in 3 - Furious | Leave a comment

Down with Christmas – Part 1

I hear on the news today that the worlds seems to be in a bit of a financial pickle at the moment Apparently there are a number of people who don’t have enough money, a few nations are short of a herring or two and some banks have stopped giving out free pens to cut costs.

This is all very tragic of course, no one wants to see the world crumbling into anarchy under the yoke of financial ruin, but what I was disturbed to see on the idiot box this morning was a special report about some estate full of people not really copping that well somewhere in the grim north. It seems that everyone on the estate is both poor and an idiot, a pretty bad combo.

Everyone is broke you see, so they are taking loans out to buy heating, then taking loans out to pay their loans, then loans to pay for the loans that are paying for the loans that are paying for the heating and so on and so on.

Now I know what you are thinking, surely you can’t be angry that people are poor and are being prayed upon by frankly awful door step loan sharks? Well no for some reason this did not irritate me despite the blindingly obvious flaw in their loan strategy.

What did make me incandescent with rage was one of the hags they interviewed.

Hag: “The bills in the house are too expensive to make you think about buying Christmas presents, I don’t know how people cope.”

Umm what, leaving aside the poor grammar this strikes me as an odd thing to admit? Your too poor to turn the heating on, but you’re still pondering whether to waste money on presents for a festival that’s so far removed from it’s real meaning we might we well just cancel it once and for all? Frankly if this is true, I’m half inclined to demand that all benefits be removed from anyone seen in Toys’R’Us at once, including child benefit, if indeed this still exists, I half suspect it’s been removed and the funds diverted to repaper the walls of the Queen’s lavatories.

If you can’t afford heating, stop bloody wasting money on utter crap for your urchins. Sure they might be a bit upset for a few weeks, but I imagine it will be more upsetting when they freeze to death one night in dark, cold, January clenching their brand new High School Musical 3 box set in their now frozen fingers.

I don’t mean to sound mean spirited, well OK I do, it’s well documented that I loathe Christmas and wish to see it canceled for ever, but you are choosing to waste money on it, it’s not a basic essential, you could just carry on with life as normal and not throw away all your hard borrowed swag on complete bollocks.

Have some bloody priorities…

Posted in 1 - Incandescent Rage | Leave a comment

The internet is dead.

That’s it people, the internet is no longer useful, we might as just stop the whole thing now and shut it down. We can use the soon to be empty internet tubes to pipe maple syrup into everyone’s home to facilitate tastier pancakes for all.

The reasoning behind this decision is simple, the internet has been written by blistering imbeciles, and yes I know I write bits of it, but like all useless systems there are a few nuggets of marvel to be had. Sadly not enough to make up for the crap.

In an ongoing tale of woe with my new Barclaycard I tried to sign up to their online website thingie so I could do all the things I did on the old website, quite why I needed to sign up again I’m not sure, surely they could just transfer my data from old site to new? Oh no wait it would seem that their log-in detail requirements are so stupid that it would not be possible at all unless the previous site had also been designed by an undereducated technophobic screech owl.

Firstly they don’t let you choose your username but assign you a random collections of numbers meaning I’ll probably have to write that down to stand any chance of remembering it. Secondly they limit my password to 6 characters, that must be numbers. Why? If I want a 23 character mixed case, mixed character password, surely, you should let me, I will be the one to decide how secure to make things. By all means have some kind of minimum requirements to prevent the simpering idiots out there having a password of ‘password’ or ‘gandalf’. But 6 numbers, that does not strike me as very secure at all.

Next we get to the memorable word, oh that should be easy there are lots of nice words I can remember, pericombobulation, sesquipedalian and angioplasty are some. Alas these are no good, no, for they are not secure. Apparently only words 6-8 characters long are secure enough to prevent Derick and Akin, the only surviving children of late Mr. Mrs Rasheed, a highly reputable business magnet (a cocoa merchant) who
operate during his days in Nigeria, from getting into my account.

Sadly there are really quite lot of 6-8 character words, how will I remember which one I picked?!?!? JOY, RAPTURE, ECSTASY there is a memorable word reminder field which should be a “phrase or question that will remind only you of your memorable word in case you forget it”!

Great, this’ll be easy, I’ll just craft a sentence that will help me out when the mind finally succumbs to the onslaught of port and loses it’s way… Wait what’s this, I can only use 21 characters, what kind of fucking reminder can I fit into that… I’m just thankful I don’t speak welsh at this point.

I finally do manage to register, but the combination of random username, password and meaningless memorable words means that I will have to write this down somewhere, I’m not getting any younger and senility might hit at any moment.

The more cynical part of my mind (all of it) might wonder if they are doing this on purpose so they can deny any compensation claim for stolen funds, if you write down your details and they are “stolen” I’m pretty sure they would claim you lose the right to getting your money back.

Posted in 2 - Apoplectic | Leave a comment

Youts on the loose.

Once upon a time, a one, Vincent Gambini had cause to defend a couple of youts who had been wrongly accused of murdering the sack of suds store clerk. Luckily, no one can pull the wool over the eyes of a Gambini and these youts were cleared of murder once we learn about a thing or two about positraction and 1960’s metallic mint green convertibles. However, to two urchins I was forced to encounter this weekend were clearly guilty, of many many crimes…

The first meeting occurred whilst cycling home on Friday evening after a gruelling week of hard graft at the coalface/sitting at a desk staring dreamily into the sun, wondering why my eyes were hurting. It was a meeting that swiftly led me to the realisation that children, anyone under 25, should be banned from using or going anywhere near any form of level, zebra, pelican or general street crossings furniture. They should be forced to just take a chance that they won’t be dashed against the speeding bumper of a passing lorry if they ever wish to cross the road. We can implement some form of simple biometric test at the crossings and any youte flouting the law can just be lasered to death instantly. It’s the only way they will learn not to abuse the things that are put there to help people.

What, you might wonder, lead to such a revelation, well like many historically important people I had an epiphany, for the first of the weekend’s troublesome youtes made themselves known to me.

Whilst wearing some frankly preposterous combination of a stupid baggy hoodie, trousers so low I can barely imagine how they are able to walk and an oversized baseball cap, probably with the price tag still attached so we all know how new and “cool” it is, they decided they needed to cross the road, so like any decent law abiding person wouldn’t do, they just walked out into the road without looking either way.

Sadly the future young offender in question was not immediately struck down and smeared across the road; no they in fact made it safely to the other side, in the process, causing me to have to slow down somewhat speedily to avoid crashing into them. This was pretty irritating frankly as I would have loved to have mown them down there and then, but I did not really have time over the weekend to wash the blood from my bike so decided against this action.

However, what infuriated me the most was than on crossing the road, I spied, whilst swearing at him for being a blistering idiot, that the little fucker then thought it would be a hilariously amusing idea to press the “I want to cross the road” button and then fuck off on his way, leaving a potentially pointless red light just minutes away from happening. He even looked like he had just cured cancer as he did it, such was the brilliance of the gag that he probably spent weeks crafting in his, no doubt, future Nobel prize winning mind.

It things like this that almost make me think that I should run red lights on my bike in future and be damned any old people who are not sprightly enough to get out the way.

The second youte that was encountered infuriated me so much that I think it best to just give you a visual representation of him, which you can see below. I’m fairly sure you can spot one or two things about his overall appearance that would cause any right thinking fashionista to explode with anger.

A Youte in the wild - Yes that is real hair that looks like a tiger print and an atrocious Scarface jacket.

A Youte in the wild - Yes that is real hair that looks like a tiger print and an atrocious Scarface jacket.

I’m still, some 6 hours later, confused as to what is more irritating, the head or the jacket. Just imagine the time and thought process (if indeed there is a brain in that somewhat curious head) that went into crafting that “look”, and for what, just so people can stare at you with incredulous confusion as to what you are trying to achieve?

Posted in 3 - Furious | Leave a comment

Lo sgombro non e’ piu’ disponibile

I went out for dinner yesterday, it was a nice evening, food was wolfed, booze was swilled, conversation was had.

All in all it was excellent, what was not excellent however, was the serving wench who facilitated us with menus. Like all good restaurants they had a selection of daily specials, there was some soup, that was bean flavoured, I think, the accent was hard to get through to secure the true meaning, it might have been pea, or green. Quite what green flavoured soup would be I don’t know but clearly there was too much ambiguity about the whole thing so I shied away from that item.

They also had another special on offer, lets for the sake or arguments call it “lo sgombro non e’ piu’ disponibile”, that’s not the name but it was something Italian that I could not pronounce let alone remember, apparently it was delicious. I had my doubts as it was made from mackerel, one of the worst fish available if you ask my taste buds, but the description that was forthcoming from the waitress almost made me think twice with the poetic prose that she wove together extolling it’s epicurean wonderfulness.

Only had I wanted to order it, I would not have been able to, for it was so delicious that it had sold out long ago. Quite why she wasted a minute of my life telling me how delightful a dish, that I couldn’t order, was, I never know. Maybe she just likes deliberately wasting the time of the customers in honour of the late Mr. Henry Wensleydale… Also she laughed at me for asking for no mushrooms, I still don’t know why, it made me very suspicious. Hag.

Posted in 5 - Angry | Leave a comment

No, it seems you can’t help me.

In an effort to not have more tube based barrier angst I thought it might be a good idea to call up my credit card people and do something about this stupid card thing.

So I call up the number on the back of the card and listen to some pleasant ringing for a few seconds before being funnelled into a web of pre-recorded messages, jab 5 for a new face, hammer 2 for some bailiffs to show up at 3am, that kind of thing.

After much jabbing and stabbing of the phones keypad and a period of awful hold music being blasted into my ear I get through to some Indian sounding chap, who, for security, accused me of being 60 something and then gauged the level of my outrage to see if I was really me or not, luckily I am me and the call progressed.

Indian Chap: How can I help you today sir?
Card user: Oh hi, well I recently got a new credit card in the post that comes with a snazzy new thing called Pay Pass. Unfortunately this is causing me some trouble with other cards I have, is it possible to request one without this function in it?
Indian Chap: Ok sir I’ll just have to put you through to the right department to deal with that.

We then enter into the second period of hold music, although it’s got worse, joy. There really should be some international moratorium of this sort of thing, they already have bloody keypad menus why not put them to good use?

Welcome to On Hold Radio, Press 1 for filthy minimal tech house, press 2 for Bavarian Ompa bands, Press 3 for Mongolian throat singers, press 4 to have you ear drums ruptured by soulless teen pop wailing… And so on. Alas this was not there so suffer I had to.

Scottish wench: Hello sir how can I help you?
Card User: Oh hello, I got a new card from you recently and it’s got pay pass in it, however I don’t really want pay pass as it’s causing trouble with other cards, is it possible to send me one without it?
Scottish Wench: I’ll just put you through to the right department
Irate Card user: I just got put through to you as the right department….

Hold music…

Confused but very polite sounding Lady: Hello!
Slight sinking feeling card user: Hi, I have a pay pass Barclaycard…
Confused but very polite sounding Lady: Ok, I’m not sure what that is…
Clearly listing card user: You’re not customer services are you.
Confused but very polite sounding Lady: No, I can put you thorough though if you like!
Sunk card user: It’s ok, I’ll try later, thanks anyway.

So I wait till lunch and call again.

Ring ring
Jab jab jab.
Indian person: Hello, *pointless security question*, how can I help?
Ever angrier card user: I want a card with out pay pass please.
Indian person: I’ll just put you trough!
Scottish person: hello can I help?
Ever more furious card user: New card me, this one is teh bobbins.
Irn Bru swilling Scottish “help” operative: Sorry we can’t help with that, you’ll need to call Barclaycard;
Ever more apoplectic card user: I did, they put me through to you.
Fried pizza consuming Scottish lout: Well nothing I can do here, dial 0844 911…
Incandescent card user: That’s the number I used to get to you… Oh forget it.

I try again, the exact same thing happened, I even threatened Indian Guy with a thoroughly non enforceable “it better be the right department!” but to no joy. In fact I think it made it worse as he sent me through to a total “all cards have that these days sir” hag.

Sadly, when I asked to close me account at once as a result of this outrage, the hag tried to insist that I pay the outstanding balance before doing so, this was the most despicable thing about the whole episode, how dare they demand MY money when it’s THEM that has slightly inconvenienced me a few times in the last week, I mean REALLY! I’ve a good mind to invoke anti-TERROR legislation against them and seize all their assets.

Posted in 1 - Incandescent Rage | Leave a comment

A tale of two Donnies and an Oyster

The other day as I was making my way to work I had a slight spot of oyster bother. It seemed that there was some trouble reading my card. Beep beep beep but no joy, eventually however the barriers deigned to do a red sea and part for me thus giving me access to the wonderful tube network.

I sat there trying to read my book, whilst listening to some hag twitter away on her mobile chatter box about some crap or other, waiting to pull into white city, which in time is just what the train did. Joy, work beckons.

I drift up the stairs and get to the barrier and once again it beeps in an error style noise, well this is annoying, maybe I should take card from my wallet and try aga….

*SNATCH*

What the fuck, some tube worker has stolen my wallet. With it firmly grasped in their greasy thieving mits they are jabbing it repeatedly on the sensor. I later learn, whilst drunk and tired and fantastically annoyed by the inconvenience of not being allowed to get home without a verbal sparing session with a tube based ticket man, that she was using up all my credit by touching my card out repeatedly, which was nice. She waves me through, finally giving back my now much flatter wallet. I’m mildly annoyed but work is moments away which is always a happy event so I head off a full bout of rage.

Over the next few days I keep having problems, I get various tube urchins to check the card, nothing wrong, it works fine out of the wallet but not in. Maybe I have some lead money I got from somewhere shielding the sensor, who knows but it’s getting very annoying.

Then today I was gliding down an escalator on my way back from Bournemouth and see an advert, for a Barclaycard, with a built in oyster card… That’s fine, it’s a blisteringly stupid idea but hey not my problem, I don’t have a Barclaycard. Only I vaugly remember that my credit card company were recently taken over (apparently there is some financial crisis at the moment) and I got a new card, a Barclaycard as it turns out, but not an oyster one surely, I would never ask for that… Only on closer inspection it is. The bastards have sent me an oyster credit card without telling me that it’s one and have caused a fucking week of me being that wanker at the barriers holding everyone up due to dual card interference.

The rage inducing realisation of this topped off a nice day of rage.

For earlier I tried to watch a film whilst on the aforementioned train back from Bournemouth, a UMD (Unbelievably Massive Disappointment is probably what it should stand for) on my PSP. A film that I bought some 2 years ago because it was very cheap, in a soon to be closed down shop. I was really looking forward to it, it was Donnie Darko, it’s a great film, I’d seen it before but not this particular copy. It’s a film that does, as far as I know, not star Al Pachino… Or Jonny Depp. It’s not about mobsters either… So why are all these things turning up on my tiny portable screen? I’ll tell you why, because some twunt somewhere had got confused between Donnie Darco and Donnie Brasco and put the disk of one in the innards and case of the other. I did not want to watch Brasco at this moment but that’s all I had… Forget about it…

Posted in 3 - Furious | Leave a comment