Sinister Lefty Types

Standard
Choose your weapon.

Choose your weapon.

“Wait, you’re left-handed?”

“Yes… we’ve been bowling for twenty minutes and you’ve only just noticed?”

“What can I say, the view of you walking away left me kind of distracted”.

“How rude – do you talk to all the girls you take on dates like this?”

“Only the ones I like”.

“So you like me then?”

“Far to early to tell”.

“What?!”

“Oh I was a big fan, but now I learn you’re a lefty? I’m not so sure. You know that’s where the term sinister come from, right? As a dexterous right-hander with a winning smile and a heart of gold, it remains to be seen whether your left-handedness is enough to draw me out.”

“Hendrix, Cobain, McCartney – these are all my partners in arms. I wouldn’t write them off.”

“You might not write off, but they could be left off!”

This remains an incredibly clever joke that, being based on
homophones worked much better outloud. She was impressed. I assume.

“Oh God, that was terrible”.

She was impressed on the inside

“I’m just going to the toilet for a dexterous whizz, then I’ll be back”.

Upon returning, she’d gone. Ah. Maybe I’d overdone it with my left-handed talk?

Then a text arrived.

“Righty was right. Lefty has left so if righty wants to do what’s right and walk her home, righty had better collect the shoes that he left or lefty will go right the way home without him. Two minutes left as of right now.”

I REALLY liked this girl.

photo credit: Balls of Fun via photopin (license)

Ninja Equality

Standard

“Wake up. I can’t move my neck. I think something’s happened to it, it’s gone all stiff.”

“Look, save your overly obvious innuendo set-ups for when I’m awake.”

“I was just woken up by the sound of my own neck snapping. This is not a good sign. What if it was a failed ninja attack?

Ninja

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”

“Who would send a ninja after you?”

“Oh I know things. I spent an afternoon in 2005 reading 9/11 conspiracy theories online. They can track that sort of thing now. Of course it was all bollocks, but they don’t know I thought that.”

“So your theory is the American government sent a 15th century feudal Japanese warrior to kill you for reading information on a public website which you don’t even believe?

“HE COULD STILL BE IN THE ROOM!”

“Fine, I’m awake. But what makes you say it’s a “he”?”

“Oh I see, my life is in abject peril and it takes a unnecessarily specific pronoun to stir you?”

“Words matter. Your whining does not.”

“I may not be able to look down, but I can still look down on you. And as such I OH GOD I SEE A LIGHT!”

“I just turned on the light.”

“Oh good, good. I just OH GOD I FEEL DEATH’S FROZEN HAND UPON MY CHEST!”

“That’s my hand”

“Oh good. I wondered why death was tweaking my nipple.”

“Look, there’s no ninja, you’re fine.”

“You’re right. Although as a ninja, turning the light on wouldn’t make us any more likely to see him”.

“Or her.”

photo credit: Ninja stance. via photopin (license)

You’re Now Reading an Award-Winning Blog

Standard

I started this blog in the New Year to encourage me to actually do something productive with my spare time. In particular something involving sitting. I have a lot of fun doing it (except for the 30 min period each week when I realise I actually need to write something and curse its name while softly weeping). But I never really imagined much would come of it.

A few weeks ago I read about a competition to find the UK’s Funniest Blogger of 2015. Presumably delirious from a night of Netflix I decided to enter. Why not, eh?

Then I got an email from them to let me know I was one of 11 that had been shortlisted for the public vote… OK, well I’ll beg, blackmail and intimidate friends into voting for me (perhaps less of the latter as my gangly frame doesn’t inspire terror as much as what-are-you-doing awkwardness), but I was up against some pretty famous blogs and professional comedians. I may also have bribed my office with a promise of cake if I won. Still, at least I could say that I tried.

Then the results came out and I was very pleased to discover I’d come third in the public vote! I’d been beaten by two much larger blogs so I’m incredibly happy with third place. My friends must have really pulled out all the stops when it came to the voting.

3rd Place

 

But even greater for my fragile ego, I’d won the Judge’s Award. Sure I couldn’t pull in the voter numbers of the big boys, but this at least showed me I was doing well. I’m like an alternative blogger. Sure I’m never going to sell out massive arenas forums, but the critics appreciate my art. Or Pokemon references.

Judges Award

This makes up for years of sports trophy rejection.

So a massive thank you to all who voted. And a massive apology to those who have to live with me over the next few days. My ego may be a little out of control. And after much negotiation with the office, we settled that I at least owed them biscuits, since technically I did win.

But that’s OK, because I’m the critic’s choice, so that makes my selection the critic’s choice choice of biscuits. And the critic’s choice choice is chocolate chip.

Pillow Fight

Standard

“You stole my pillow!”.

“I did not steal your pillow”

I may have stolen my girlfriend’s pillow.

Cushions

You’d think with the number of cushions she’d have given half a chance that she wouldn’t begrudge me the use of one…

Now we’re a loving couple, so we share most things. Except a toothbrush. And a mutual love of One Born Every Minute.

As a result if I had chosen to borrow her pillow this wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world. If she hadn’t been asleep on it at the time.

“You did! You stole my pillow and bloody well went to sleep on it!”

“Ah, see, no, that’s where you’re wrong. Yes I MAY have removed the pillow from under your head as you slept. DELICATELY I might add! But I didn’t proceed to sleep on it. I fluffed it up and put it against the headboard. I was tidying. You know that thing you always accuse me of not doing?”

“But I was using it! I don’t come and knock the guitar out of your hands while you’re butchering Kansas, just as I don’t expect you to so violently interrupt me when I lay my weary head to rest!

“Niche references aside, I can’t help that my subconscious chooses to listen to you. If I had my way I’d never listen to you, but apparently when my conscious brain is down and out, I become the man of your dreams. Or at least a Twilight-Zone-esque be-careful-what-you-wish-for-style twist on your dreams. And I can’t be the man of your dreams while you’re dreaming because that defies the point. So really, my subconscious is just proving that I love you.”

“That’s… kind of sweet I guess.”

“And my conscious brain think you’re OK too. Besides, you know what Cornershop had to say on the subject. “Everybody needs a bos-”

“Shut up, give me back my pillow and go to sleep or I will hurt you.”

“Yes dear.”

photo credit: Posh Living’s Custom Bedding via photopin (license)

Can’t Shop, Won’t Shop

Standard
Let's go shopping

Preach it, brother.

When I was 16 one of my friends said she’d take me clothes shopping and make me cool. While I knew that it would take more than some new threads (which is how I understand young people refer to clothes) to make me cool, I agreed. Armed with £120 and the promise of a Burger King half way through, we set forth.

All in all the day was a success. I got a couple of pairs of jeans and some new tshirts, including one from FCUK which I’m fairly sure she recommended just to commandeer the carrier bag once I’d paid. Still, I was happy with the results.

We made our way to the exit, and I was almost home free. The quickest way to the bus stop was through a department store. Before you know it I’d be safe from the need to shop for at least another 6 months. Maybe 8 if my incredibly fussy diet was stunting my growth. Fingers crossed.

“Oh, I just need to quickly stop for one more thing and we can go.” she said suddenly.

I knew right then that it was a lie. It’s never a quick stop. But I knew saying this would just make me sound like a whiny child.

“But it’s never a quick stop!” I said anyway.

“It’s from this shop, on the next floor up. It won’t take long.”

I relented. And I also learnt an important lesson, namely to check where someone is taking me before agreeing to go along.

“Bras?! You’re making me shop for bras?”

“I’m not making you shop for anything”.

My only retort was an exhasperated sigh, but I think I made it eloquently.

“You don’t have to come with me, I won’t be long so I’ll come and find you.”

Result. I used my narrow escape as an opportunity to look at some stuff for myself. Man stuff, not the nambly pamby clothes malarky I’d been looking at all day. Except the 16-year-old male-shopper-with-time-to-kill demographic was drastically underserved by the department store.

After ten minutes of perusing the gifts and gadgets sections I headed off to find her. This is where I learnt my second lesson. Never underestimate how much thought women can put in to their underwear. Almost as much thought as us men put into their underwear.

This was swiftly followed by the third lesson of the day – that women want your opinion, even on something as personal as underwear.

“Which do you prefer?”

Now this is an incredibly odd situation for me. She’s one of my best friends and I’d do anything for her, but at the same time it’s like if one of my guy mates asked for my opinion on their boxers. With the added downside of her having boobs – possibly the only time I’ve considered that a downside.

Since then I’ve learnt a simple trick is to make factual statements about the two options without actually offering an opinion. “Well that one is definitely a more salmon-colour, but this one has polka-dots”.

However, on this day I was young, tired and surrounded by images of women in underwear. My response was more akin to a cry of “please don’t make me choose” before her going to try them on, leaving me to stand outside the women’s changing rooms trying to look as nonchalant as I could without appearing too comfortable there.

This was pre-smartphone days. No checking Twitter to awkwardly remove myself from the situation. I was there waiting for everyone to see.

She was gone so long I can only assume the ones she chose didn’t fit so she made her own. But eventually she came back, and was ready to go.

They say that lessons come in threes (though this was never a “valid excuse” to leave school early, apparently). The saying may actually be that bad news comes in threes, but my experience shows the best lessons in life come from bad news. That day though I actually learnt a fourth lesson.

Online shopping is clearly the way to go.

photo credit: 1236 sn1 via photopin (license)

The Next Stage in Telephonic Evolution

Standard

My girlfriend left the home phone’s handset off the charger again last night.

Once you get over the shock that I still have a landline, I hope you’ll realise how much this inconvenienced me.

Why can’t they design a phone with some kind of cable which allows the phone to charge even when it’s not in the dock? This cable, or chord, would completely eradicate this problem. What’s more it would mean you’d never misplace the phone, and then need to call yourself. Only to realise you’ve misplaced your mobile phone too, leading to a desperate search for both, tears, and half a bottle of Calpol to numb the pain before your girlfriend comes and saves you.

They could build the buttons into the phone base itself, and not the handset. No more trying to hold the phone between your shoulder and ear, only to have your neck-fat hang up on your loved-one.

Plus you wouldn’t be forced to leave the room. Suddenly the passive-aggressive tsks would go the other way – you can pause the TV, but I can’t pause my mother’s rendition of what she had for lunch last Thursday. And apparently it’s “rude” when I try to.

There are literally no down sides.

Why does it take me to think of these things?

Telephone

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you – The Future!

Photo credit: Black Phone via photopin (license)

The Evil of Broccoli and How You Can Fight It

Standard
Broccoli

The face of pure evil.

Broccoli is evil.

Given half a chance, the “humble” broccoli would kill all life on planet Earth. And we humans are the only force standing between it and victory.

We all know that broccoli is incredibly good for us, and that’s very true. It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can get. But broccoli contains another, secret ingredient.

Cyanide.

Now there isn’t enough in the humble servings we have for tea to even be noticeable, let alone dangerous. But that’s mostly because we are the victors in the war between out two great civilisations. In the thousands of years since, we’ve selectively bred broccoli to be our bitch, making it contain less cyanide and a greater ability to retain gravy.

But legend holds that one day a leader will emerge. A legend as old as this article itself. One day, the story holds, a broccoli of pure cyanide will be born, and with it bring reign of terror and slightly less colourful meals for all mankind.

We must be on the lookout for this dark dark day. And it is the duty of all – men and women, boys and girls, to eat as much broccoli as is possible.

The broccoli wants you to eat chicken nuggets and turkey twizzlers, but we cannot give in to these temptations. That’s their plan, feed us rubbish, make us weak, and exact their bloody revenge. Together, we can vanquish this enemy and gain it’s strength.

The price we must pay for our victory, my friends, is eternal vigilance. And I for one shall do my part…

On a lighter note, what did the broccoli say to the getaway driver?

Floret!

Sunny Hours

Standard

Tower BridgeOne year ago today I quit my job. With nothing else lined up, it was the biggest gamble of my life.

That night I went out for drinks with the guys from the job I was leaving. And the next morning I woke up on one of their sofas with a delicate head craving tea and bacon (which were suitably supplied by the local cafe).

I made my way home at about 9.00am and needed to change at London Bridge so I decided to catch a bus. As I was stood waiting that was when The Fear hit. I realised I was unemployed for the first time since I left university. I had no plan, a sore head and was stood waiting for a bloody bus. And for what? Some vague dream of doing something to do with comedy somehow?

But then a song came onto my iPod – a song I had forgotten I even owned. The song was Sunny Hour Reprise by Long Beach Dub Allstars. Oddly enough it’s a remix of the song used as the theme tune for the sitcom Joey (please don’t hold that against it). It’s about a guy who finds a sundial on which he reads the following:

“I only count the sunny hours, the brightest hours of day
I never count the gloomy hours, I let them slip away
And when the sky is dark and grey, and there’s no love around
I simply just refuse to count, until Sol comes around
And sweeps those clouds away.”

And then I really looked where I was.

I was stood on London Bridge. On one side I had the beautiful morning sun shining off Tower Bridge. On the other side stretched the capital with all the promise that a Saturday morning offers.

I have no doubts that I made the right choice now. That job was right for someone, but it wasn’t for me. Instead in the past year I’ve organised a comedy show with some of my absolute heroes, I’ve conquered my fears and tried stand-up for the first time and, with the help of one of the biggest bands in the UK, I asked the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met to marry (and more shockingly she said yes).

Now this story could have ended every differently. That decision could have been the dumbest thing I’d ever done. But at that point, stood there in the February sunshine, something drastic changed for me.

Whatever happens in life there’ll be good times and bad. That’s a given. But right at that moment I lost my fear. I no longer let the worries of the bad times stop me chasing the good ones.

Whatever happens, where ever I am, I know there’ll be plenty of sunny hours.

photo credit: The Tower Bridge via photopin (license)

It’s Like a Party in My House, and Everyone’s Invited

Standard

As a younger man I used to have many a house party. Of course I use “man” here in the loosest sense of the word.

We used to rip the roof of the joint! Then swiftly reattach it in an orderly manner so as not to leave a roofless domicile when our parents returned a couple of hours later.

Red cups

Red cups – the holy grails of the house party

I was lucky enough to have a terrific set of friends. Every season, 1-10 on DVD. But when I wasn’t watching those I thought I’d better socialise. Which is not necessarily the most natural thing for the type of person who spends 15 minutes trying to unclench from the fact that technically that he should have put a capital “F” on Friends, but that ruins the lame attempt at a pull-back-and-reveal.

Some of my very best memories of being a carefree youth are hosting house parties or attending those at my friends’ houses (or, at least, their parents). These were never your Skins-esque free-for-alls. To be honest for me alcohol was never an essential ingredient. I fully believe alcohol consumption would decline 84% amongst young men if they knew how to both dance and speak to women. Knowing all of the attendees meant talking was never an issue, and there was no way in hell I’d bust a move at a house party regardless of alcohol imbibed.

That’s not to say there wasn’t alcohol. I’m pretty sure I saw a bottle of Jack Daniels, with it’s branded-label appeal, break the land speed record when placed on the counter at one point. But getting drunk was never the goal – we were there to hang out as good friends, holding a conversation, not each other’s hair back. The main risk of the night was never the possibility of a visit to A&E, but the inherent gamble of leaving your iPod on shuffle. Or worse, having someone commandeer the music and playing Disney songs instead (and it was never one of the girls).

I’m at that odd age now where I’m never quite sure whether a house party will involve skittle vodka and loud music or assorted cheeses and a cribbage board. The not-knowing make it an exciting time to be alive. Although Guitar Hero continues to be acceptable at both options. Or indeed heartily encouraged.

But when you’re older and you start to have more money and less time, a house party starts to lose its allure. Why bother devoting time to buying in supplies, throwing away rubbish (after systematic recycling duties have been adhered to) and doing all that washing up, when all that can be outsourced with a simple visit to the pub? Or enhanced with a delicious meal instead? Pulled pork over pulling cans out of the hedges any day of the week.

Still, after a nostalgic New Year’s house party this year, it did remind me of the appeal. A lot has changed – we’re all working now, some are married, others engaged, some visiting from around the globe, but get us all together and you realise nothing’s really changed – we’re exactly the same friends we were all those years ago. And long may it last too.

photo credit: rhombus via photopin (license)

Love is a Charizard

Standard
The face of love.

The face of love.

“Love is a Charizard”.

“What?”

“You heard me, love is a Charizard. You used to collect Pokémon cards, right?”

“Of course, I still have a bunch under my bed.”

“Oh thank God, I was scared of what was in that shoebox under your bed.”

“Well then you’ll know that the most valued of all the cards was the Charizard.”

“Well in the base set. If you were to include the Jungle, Fossil…”

“You know I don’t! And don’t get started with all your Team Rocket talk!”

“Right”

“Well, the Charizard was the ultimate goal. Every booster pack contained the potential of finding a Charizard to lord it over your friends and show that Timmy Brandon that you were worthwhile.”

“Psychological breakthroughs aside, where are you going with this?

“Well that was the true excitement of collecting. Imagine if you’d found the Charizard in the very first pack you bought?

“That would have been amazing!”

“Would it though? You’d have been deprived of all the fun and excitement of the search, the hunt, the stories of all the trades you’d have to do, the packs you bought. And that’s love. Imagine finding love straight out of the gates. You miss out on all the stories, the first dates, the break ups, the one night stands.”

“Yeah, but would you rather you didn’t have it?”

“Well that’s the problem, if the very first pack contained that Charizard, how would I know its value? To me it’s just as valuable as any other card – less so in fact because I already owned it.”

“Plus you don’t have a Charmander or Charmeleon to evolve it from.”

“True but…”

“You wouldn’t even have a deck at all to use it.”

“Yes but…”

“Let alone the shed-load of fire energies to make it anywhere near effective”

“OK you’re really missing the point here. What I’m saying is that if you fall in love without all that other shit, you’ll never appreciate what you have in the same way. Your entire view of the game, the meaning of collecting, is entirely warped by your success, and no amount of other people saying how lucky you are will ever convince you they’re right”.

“I see what you mean”

“Great”

“But that’s bullcrap”

“What, why?”

“Because it’s not about finding that one which everyone is looking for because it’s objectively the best. It’s completely unique to you.

“OK, but…”

“Nor is it a binary thing. You don’t “achieve” love. It’s about finding someone to grow with, who shapes you and changes you in ways you don’t expect as the two of you become ever closer. The in-jokes. The shared memories. The milestones. It’s not about meeting the right person, it’s about becoming the right couple. Neither of you are the same person you were going in to it, as you intertwine together and change. That’s what love is.”

“Not unlike…”

“Ditto”

“Exactly. Love is a Ditto.”

“…”

“…”

You realise that anyone who doesn’t understand Pokémon probably thinks that’s a ‘Ghost’ reference, right?

photo credit: charizard via photopin (license)