Tuesday, 29 December 2009

ben's irrational hate list #97

That jerk from the T-Mobile adverts.

Apparently his name is Josh. Here he is with noises coming out of his terrible flapping mouth.

The latest advert poses some question like "What would you do with an unlimited text SIM card?"

I've given it some thought, and I reckon I would sharpen the edge of it to a keen blade, and use it to slash at Josh's eyes.

In summary, Ben has had a wonderful Christmas and is now feeling unaccountably antisocial.

Friday, 18 December 2009

you're a pie chart

The last few weeks have been pretty busy as far as schoolwork is concerned. So naturally, I've been doing a lot of procrastinating.

I have been aided in this by the discovery of the visualizer in iTunes.

Lookit! Lookit swirlin'!

Best of all, with Windows' new dual screen snap function thingumy, I can now procrastinate whilst I work. Which either doubles my efficiency, or halves it; I haven't worked out which yet.

It's beautiful................

Monday, 7 December 2009

I... want... to... fit... in

Having successfully destroyed Skynet last week, our fearsome Luncheon Club had to dedicate itself to the destruction of something else on Sunday. But I wasn't there for any of that.

I went to the Big Gay Department Store Christmas party instead.

In hindsight, it's hard to see how I could have possibly thought that an evening trapped in a Bristol nightclub with people that I barely know/can tolerate would be a good idea. All I want from a nightclub is cheap booze, good music, and door staff that will refuse you entry if it looks like your clothes cost more than thirty quid.

Oceana offers none of these things. What it has is a whole bunch of different themed rooms, so that once you've been in one room long enough to completely lose your will to live, you can go to another room with differently terrible music and lose your will to live there.

I think the first room was called something like the Reykjavic Garish Ice House of Fail, and this is where the karaoke happened.

The air was thick with the stench of stale beer and utter fucking despair. Which incidentally is what I stank of when I woke up on the sofa at 3am, having passed out and spilt beer over myself. Again.

Moving further upstairs I found a new definition of pain and suffering in the New York Disco.

And then there was the buffet, which was best described as being full of beige things that you could fit in your mouth.

It eventually became apparent that it would be impossible for me to get drunk enough to adequately mask my contempt for the fucking shower of failed humanity I work with, so I left (and was picked up on my meandering stumble home by the heroic Dom) and made a mental note to never bother with this kind of shit again.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Went to see Crippled Black Phoenix at the Croft last week.

Support came from The Short Life Of Gracie, who played relatively inoffensive and uninspiring folk rock; and Quints Tale, who sounded like a British band covering a DC band playing desert rock. Without bothering to tune up first. Could still be worth keeping an eye on, though...

Crippled Black Phoenix, however, were almost unbelievably good. The mournful prog-folk-doom of their first record is still there, but there's now an air of futile defiance. The new songs are louder and harder, and even older songs were given more of an edge; The Whistler, which on record is a nine minute prog haunting of creepy organ and echoey guitar, started as normal but built up into a thunderous apocalypse of distorted, chaotic noise. Absolutely fantastic.

In the meantime, schoolwork continues to keep me busy; and any time not spent doing that (or at the very least procrastinating over it) seems to be spent slaving away at the Big Gay Department Store. Last week I found myself working on the toy department. On a good day, I'll have to assemble Indiana Jones Lego, or transform Ironhide back into truck mode so he'll fit back in his box.

On a bad day, I get to see lots of these.

It's not just me that finds Sylvanian Families horrifyingly creepy is it? I know they're supposed to be all cute 'n' shit, but to me they look like families of little woodland serial killers.

I think it's their eyes. Their cold, dead eyes.

Boring into the yawning pit of my soul.

We are all




And in other news, our luncheon club finally managed to destroy Skynet.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

say no to crunk

There's a handy little gadget attached to this piece-of-shit blog called Stat Counter. It lets me spy on you spying on me, and has a "keyword analysis" function that shows when this dreary bunch of rambling bollocks turns up as a result of someone's internet search, and what keywords were used in the search.

For ages the list has been pretty sparse, and mostly composed of variations on "umbrella graveyard" - presumably from folk that
can't remember/can't be bothered to type out the full web address. But recently, the list has grown; and in the absence of anything more interesting/worthwhile to drone about, I thought I'd share some of this crap with you.

  • Dutch Steamboat. It is pretty much guaranteed that if a sexual act, or even something that sounds like it might be a sexual act, is mentioned on the internets, then google will find it. That's what the internets is for. As it happens, dutch steamboating (or similar phrases) currently makes up 70% of all search terms that lead to this tirade of piffle. Of course, there is always the possibility that all the searches come from people who are genuinely interested in Dutch steamboats. Maybe even the person who searched for dutch steamboat sex act.
  • www.picturesofgoat.com Someone, somewhere, needs pictures of goats. To be honest, I was less surprised by this search than I was was by the fact that www.picturesofgoat.com doesn't actually exist.
  • gayest goat picture. I hate it when I finally manage to find a picture of a goat on the internet and it's not quite gay enough.
  • willard foxton war. I have to admit that I didn't study history past the age of fourteen, so it is understandable that I know little of the infamous Willard Foxton Wars. It is now difficult to obtain any solid facts on this subject, since most accounts are exaggerated beyond all comprehension. All that we can be certain of is that the Willard Foxton Wars mostly took place on the moon, and involved pirates.
  • philippa's boobs. Fair enough, but this keyword analysis thing only throws up regular web search terms, not image searches. So someone is only interested in reading about Philippa's boobs. Missing the point of the internets, I think...
  • burning zombie. As it happens, www.burningzombie.com does exist. I just don't know why.
Meanwhile, my family came to visit this weekend. We went out for a predominantly wine-based meal, where I discovered that a) sea bass is a wonderful fish, and b) fish is a rubbish steak. Still, a good time was had by all, and the next day we were treated to delicious cake courtesy of Dr. Sister.

It's a Guinness cake, made almost entirely of butter, sugar, and of course Guinness. But that wasn't quite unhealthy enough for my sister; hence the tasteful additions of smarties, liquorice wheels, flying saucers and a sherbet fountain.




Friday, 13 November 2009

no blog post for you

I'm busy with schoolwork and shit.

So no blog post for you.

Apart from this one.

So now I'm a liar, as well as a disorganised jerk.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

god damn this noise inside my head

Not so long ago, my favourite online news spout The Daily Mash ran a story revealing that the skank gene had been isolated, in which they made reference to a "Dutch Steamboat". I assumed from the context in which it was used that this was an act of supreme vulgarity with a funny name, and promptly forgot all about it.

But then it turned up again here. And here, and here...

Dammit. Just what the hell is a Dutch Steamboat? Maybe it's some kind of steamboat...

Of course, I could have searched the interwebs... but then there's always a significant chance of seeing something that I can never un-see. I don't need my fragile little mind getting all warped 'n' stuff.

So thanks to The Boy, who was sufficiently bored at work on Tuesday to scour the interwebs and find this definition on The Urban Dictionary.

Dutch Steamboating - The act of anal sex undertaken whilst spouting left wing libertarian values whilst actually being secretly right wing.

Obvious, when you think about it.

Friday, 30 October 2009


I bought myself a new toy this week.

I have embarked on a university project that requires access to some quite specific bits of very tedious software, which only exist on very specific and tedious computers in university. And naturally, any time I need to use one of these bits of specific and tedious software, either I can't find a free computer, or I find one and it doesn't have the right software on it, or I find one and it has the right software on it, but a class starts five minutes later and I have to leave.

This was all getting a bit tedious; and so after consulting the RoboJEW for advice and then procrastinating for a couple of weeks, I went out and bought a shiny new laptop.

Despite my usually crippling e-tardedness, it was next to no time at all before I was playing solitaire in the comfort of my own living room.

The casual observer might suggest that I would have been able to achieve the exact same results at a lower cost by simply buying a pack of cards. But could I waste an entire evening doing finite element analysis on a deck of cards? HUH? COULD I?!

I wish I'd bought that pack of cards.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

blood for cream

I've been listening to a lot of This Will Destroy You this week. They're an amazing band, but it's not doing much for my will to live.

The only other thing to happen this week was the final banger racing fixture of the year at the world-renowned Mendips Raceway. There were mini-rods and special rods racing, but we barely saw them as we spent most of our time wandering around the pits poking at the wreckage from the main event - the unlimited bangers.

Unlimited means no restrictions on engine size, and since there was also a prize of £50 for the oldest/rarest entrant, we got to see an impressive variety of automotive excellence get atomised.

There were a few Jags...

...an old Triumph 2000...

...a Mk3 Toyota Supra...

...some ludicrously big ol' Daimler of some description (shown here shortly before it caught fire)...

...quite a lot of Volvos (including a team of four bright red 760 estates with the words "TEAM IMPACT" daubed ominously on the sides in lurid purple)...

...and some stuff that could no longer be identified.

And here's what they were all fighting for; big prizes.

That's right; shiny trophies, rough cider, and blocks of cheese.

Welcome to the West Country.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

health warning

Those with a serious aversion to geekery of a toy-soldierish nature should not read any further - click here to watch video footage of a kitten fighting with an electric toothbrush instead.


Here's what happened at Heat One last weekend.

Game 1: Vampire Counts

Y'know, whenever I play a game against Matt's loser Middenhiemers (lead by that unprincipled ruffian loser Captain Von Beard) with my Undeads team, I usually get to see a lot of Matt holding his head in his hands whilst my army doubles in size every magic phase, increasing exponentially until the huge pile of raised skeletons and zombies is so vast that it has its own gravitational field and the moon is pulled out of orbit and hurtles screaming to the earth, triggering earthquakes and tidal waves, blackening the skies, and wiping out every living thing on the planet.

Well, this game was kind of like that; except a) it was the other guy that had the cheating undeads team, and b) his army rapidly started to collapse when my minotaurs chopped up his Vampire Lord in the fourth turn.

So I won my first game (by a whisker) and prevented the occurrence of an extinction level event. And all before lunch, too.

Game 2: Lizardmen

I'll be honest, I didn't really know what I was doing here; so when I won the dice roll for first turn, I just ran towards him with everything.

It worked.

My favourite bit of the game was when his 450pt Slann Mage Priest got chased down and eaten by five warhounds.

Game 3: Tomb Kings

I'll be honest, I didn't really know what I was doing here; so when I won the dice roll for first turn, I just ran towards him with everything.

It worked.

Although not quite as convincingly as before; there was an epic combat in the centre of the table that swung back and forth as we each sent in wave after wave of goatmen and deadites. Fortunately his guys did a better job of exploding into clouds of splintered bone and costume jewelery than mine did.

And so I finished the first day 7th overall, out of 150. And I felt pretty good about that for a short while, until I realised that I had essentially ruined my Sunday by ensuring that I was ranked high enough to only play against wankers with massively gay armies for the rest of the tournament.

Game 4: Dark Elves

This was a massively gay army that mostly consisted of a regiment of always-strike-first Black Guard, 2 Cauldrons and 2 Hydras. They were backed up by a handful of crossbowmen, who were really only there to applaud loudly every time one of the Hydras turned another of my units into a red smear across the battlefield.

It felt like two hours of being slapped in the face with a massive, gnarled green lizard-cock.

Game 5: High Elves

You know that thing about High Elves? That special rule they have, that's the only thing that makes them even remotely worthwhile?

That "always strikes first" thing?

Yeah, well, I forgot they did that.

Game 6: Empire

He had a Steam Tank. And the Grand Theogonist. With Van Horstman's Speculum. And the Sword of Fate. On a Popewagon.

Traditionally, I've always found playing against this kind of Empire army to be a bit like playing any other game of Warhammer, except that your opponent gets to make all of the rules up as he goes along. Or, if you're more of a 40k kinda guy, to be a bit like every game you've ever played against Eldar, ever.

This was no exception.

And so after three wins and three losses, I ended up pretty much exactly where you would expect; in the middle of the table, 76th out of 150. On the plus side, my toys were deemed pretty enough that I was in the top 5 best army nominations, so I still qualify for the finals in February, despite all the substantial evidence pointing towards my supreme crapiness. Huzzah!


...and you're back in the room.

Went to see the mighty Dälek on Tuesday.

First support band Action Beat weren't there, because they apparently don't have any money. Kind of a shame, on their myspace they describe themselves as a noise band that normally consists of 3 guitarists, a bassist and between 1 and 4 drummers. Could've been interesting... or awful... I find the line tends to blur a bit.

Instead the gig kicked off with the inimitable Charles Hayward, some 58 year old guy that was apparently one of the founder members of experimental rock band This Heat (no, me neither). Accompanied by only a weird box of tricks that vomited tuneless electronica into the musty confines of the Croft, he smashed out some crazy beats on his drumkit and only occasionally ruined everything with odd cockney beat poet warbling. Every so often he would glare at us in a confused and agitated way that suggested he didn't exactly know what was going on either.

On the face of it, an absentee noise rock band from Bletchley and a crazy old sticksman might seem like odd support for a hip-hop outfit from New Jersey. But
Dälek are no ordinary hip-hop outfit, as they showed with set opener Culture For Dollars. Industrial seems the best word to describe their music, although it has more in common with doom and drone in reality. No bling, no bitches; just a dense wall of dirty noise, and huge, unstoppable beats.

That said, I have to agree with The Boy's assessment of the crowd as being "a bunch of people all competing to see who can be the least white."

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Beastmans Team - ASSEMBLE

Argh school argh.

Still seem to be needlessly repeating a module from year two. Didn't have access to the online project brief that might enable me to make a start on group project work. Still don't have replacement access card to provide access to engineering computer labs with CAD and FEA software for individual project.

There's a Meet The Employers Fair on tomorrow. A large contingent of firms seem to be defence-based. The rest are in IT and communications.

Fuck this shit. Some people have real problems. Here's my Beastmans team for Heat 1 this weekend.

But pictures ain't enough for you hardcore nerds. Here's what's what.

  • Doombull - with Mark of Nurgle, heavy armour, shield, and The Black Maul (or, if you're Spanish, El Negro Destroza).
  • Wargor - with Mark of Nurgle, Battle Standard, Bloodhunt Horn and heavy armour.
  • Bray-Shaman - with Mark of Nurgle, Chaos Armour, Dispel Scroll and braystaff.
  • Beastherd - 8 Gor & 10 Ungor, with full command.
  • Beastherd - 8 Gor & 10 Ungor, with full command.
  • 3 Minotaurs - with Mark of Nurgle, light armour, great weapons and standard bearer with the War Banner.
  • 3 Minotaurs - with Mark of Nurgle, light armour and great weapons.
  • 3 Minotaurs - with Mark of Nurgle, light armour and great weapons.
  • 2 Tuskgor Chariots.
  • 7 Warhounds of Chaos.
  • 5 Warhounds of Chaos.
  • 4 Dragon Ogres - with light armour and great weapons.
The Doombull runs around with the War Banner wielding Minotaurs, stabbing everyone's face off with his Black Maul.

I know it's a maul. He's gonna stab people with it anyway.

The Wargor and Bray-Shaman get unit of Beastmans each to boss around, the Warhounds are there to die gloriously, and everything else is just well hench.

In theory, it should be a good army. In practice, it'll be me using it; so I'm aiming for just a single win out of the six games, and hoping that I qualify for the finals on that sweet, sweet Best Army nomination meal ticket.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

it's a damn good thing i can't just kill people with a single thought

Back at school now. My barely repressed urge to hit customers with blunt objects has dissipated, and been replaced with the urge to hit all kinds of other people with blunt objects.

Day one was, predictably, a massive waste of time. The first hours "cohort meeting" - in which the students and the programme leader get to, like, chat about stuff - was effectively cancelled when we all turned up to the designated room and found a bunch of other people in there, and so waited in the room next door; and then the programme leader turned up to the designated room and found a bunch of other people in there, and so buggered off. The next thing on the timetable was a two hour tutorial session to follow up a
Control Systems Engineering lecture that hadn't happened yet; so instead we got a basic run down of what the module was all about. Turns out that it's exactly the same as the Industrial Control module that we did in our second year, it's just been re-named and moved to the third year. So either we'll all re-do the module, or they'll "find something else for us to do."

I honestly don't begrudge paying tuition fees.


Day two more lived up to my expectations, insofar as I spent ten hours discovering just how little information my brain has retained from the first two years of study.

And the whole place is just crawling with people. I can't wait until the same time next month, when two thirds of those cool bastards will have decided that it's all too difficult or boring or pointless and drop out. Maybe then I'll be able to get to a computer in the library, and move through corridors without rubbing against strangers.

All of which has nothing to do with diseased killer goat-men.

These are the last of my Beastmans; a unit of 16 Pestigor. They're like normal Beastmen, except that instead of the special rules that make normal Beastmen cool, they get a load of special rules, stat increases and equipment that make them a massive waste of points.

Consequently, no matter how pretty they may be, I don't seem able to find a place for them in the 'orrible Beastman Army o' Death that I'll be taking to Heat 1 of the Grand Tournament in ten days time...

But more about that later.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

dum de dum de dum

A relatively productive and bearable day at The Big Gay Department Store on Saturday was single-handedly ruined in extra time (literally minutes after the store had officially closed) by a woman that wanted a packet of clothes dye that we didn't have, and that she couldn't remember the name of. Also, she didn't want it posted to her, because she was constantly popping into the store; but she definitely wanted one of the many packs of dye that would be coming into the store put aside for her, even though she was constantly popping into the store. We could just phone her to let her know when it was in, or something. That she was the single most important fucking person on earth was a fact only immediately apparent to her, it would seem.

The only cure for such abhorrent dumbfuckery was powerful bands.

And so I pootled off to The Croft, where all memory and rational thought would be erased by slightly overpriced domestic lager, the heady aroma of fresh band merch, and the dulcet tones of Tractor, Hey Colossus and Part Chimp.

I actually got there a wee bit late; but this was by design. See, I'd already seen Tractor a few months back, and and wasn't in a big rush to repeat the experience. Not that I was trying to avoid them as such, but doors were at 1900hrs, and thanks to super-important-fucking-dye-witch I didn't get to leave work until around 1900hrs... I would have had to really rush from work to home to The Croft to see the whole set, and well... it just wouldn't be worth the effort. I was confident that Tractor would be the first band on, because Part Chimp were definitely headlining; and of the remaining two bands, Hey Colossus had recorded three albums that are available to purchase from Amazon and all good record stores, whilst Tractor had recorded a cassette that you could buy from the bar for a quid. If you search for Tractor on Amazon, you will find this.

So imagine my dismay when I turned up just after 2000hrs to catch the last thirty seconds of Hey Colossus. Here's what the last thirty seconds of Hey Colossus sounded like;

DUUURRRRR we're hey colossus RRRRRRRR thanks
chimp RRRRR thanks tractor RRRRRRRRRNK -CLUNK- --sqeak--


And then I had to watch Tractor, in all their ponderous sub-Godflesh plodding screeching glory. In fairness, I think they sounded slightly better this time round - the guitar sound was more like a rusty dentist's drill boring through a velociraptor skull made of blackboards.

Part Chimp, however, were splendid. Having previously heard only one song by them, four years ago, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Wikipedia (where I always go for the truth) describes them as "rock music with elements of noise." Rocksound magazine reckons that they're "Harvey Milk heaviness done Brit-fashion." To me, they played a kind of groovy, scuzzy doom; like Electric Wizard took a gap year and all got jobs in garage rock bands. One moment, a barely controllable barrage of noise spewing forth, everyone riding the wave as best they could and trying desperately not to be dragged under; the next, monolithic, bowel-shattering riffs, devastating all that stood before them.

They were good, is what I'm trying to say. See more Part Chimp here.

The following day was inevitably one of mild recovery, interspersed with a game of badminton, nature films about Stephen Fry seeking out some weird-lookin' zombie lemur, and some car maintenance.

The car maintenance was necessary because on Monday, Matt and Laura and I got up really early so's we could take my car to the Castle Combe race circuit and try really hard to drive my car really fast without crashing. There were around thirty other people/cars in attendance, all of varying ability. We, and a few others, got a special black-on-yellow cross to put on the back of our car.

This is commonly referred to as a "numpty sticker", and gives the more experienced drivers something to aim for.

There was quite an interesting variety of cars in attendance, from fairly regular road cars (1.6l Ford Fiesta, Audi S3), to high performance road cars (BMW M3, Lotus Elise), to stripped-out trackday/race cars (the Pug 205 GTI with perspex windows and no interior springs to mind), to full-on big kid's trackday toys (Caterhams, Lotus 2elevens). My favourites were probably this Volkswagon Golf VR6, completely stripped out and with the bold corporate logos of of many performance enhancing components emblazoned on the side of the door;

...and this race-prepared Fiesta XR2, which in it's day was a heap of quick, affordable crap; but was now a quick, affordable, tax deductible heap of crap with a FIA-spec rollcage and no carpet in the footwells.

The three of us took it in turns to be driver, passenger and spectator. It was as Matt and Laura got into my car for the first session that Sam helpfully reminded me (through the medium of text messaging) of their propensity for spinning and smashing into tyre walls when we had all gone go-karting together.

But as it happens, they were both extremely careful and respectful of my stuff, and managed to strike a good balance between not crawling around the track in second gear, and not hurtling through the catchment fence upside-down and on fire.

A good time was had by all, and at the end of it all my car was still pretty much in one piece - albeit with a bit more travel in the brake pedal than I remember, and some nicely scrubbed tyres.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Last week, I was perplexed and amused in equal amounts by a woman who wanted to return a toaster to the store because her bread didn't fit in it.

No, really.

This drew a small crowd of perplexed and amused colleagues. A lady from the kitchenware department suggested that there was a degree of dimensional creep within the bread baking industry, and that loaves kept get larger. She asked if I had ever had problems with bread being too big for my toaster.

"Not especially, since I tend to buy bread that fits in my toaster, rather than the other way around."

This was as nothing compared to the woman today, who returned a kettle because it was too noisy.

"When you turn it on, it's just really noisy, and I don't think it's good enough for a kettle that costs nearly £60. It sounds like a rocket going off."
"Well, have you checked your kitchen for rockets? It could all just be a mad coincidence. There could be rockets hidden behind your kitchen units, and they're triggered somehow by boiling water..."

In the face of such irrepressible stupidity, you could be forgiven for thinking that I might be looking forward to my imminent return to university. And on the face of it, trading 38 of the 58 hours a week I spend tolerating self-important twat baskets for a load of mechanical engineering mind bending seems like a pretty good deal, if you like that sort of thing.

I like that sort of thing.

But in truth, I'm a little apprehensive. The last time I did any real study was in May last year, when I was preparing for my exams. And although I spent a year working in a job where the degree I am seeking to attain is a requirement for employment, the fact is that I applied virtually none of my learning whilst I was on placement. I am reliably assured by those that have been there and done that, that this is very typical of what I will experience post-graduation.

Partly I'm just unsettled by the uncertainty, the change of routine. Mostly I'm terrified of finding out just how much I've forgotten.

But not as terrified as I am of this.

Thanks, BBC news website. For all I know this fucking evil jumping fucking Cthulu spider fuck is the same size as a Toyota Corolla, can leap tall buildings in a single bound, has a petrifying gaze, and feeds on the gooey stuff that lives inside my eyeballs.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

sweet zombie jesus

Today, legislation came into effect that outlaws businesses to either manufacture or import of 100W light bulbs, or frosted light bulbs of any wattage. And despite the fact that if having to make do with a 60W light bulb is the biggest problem in your life, you don't have the right to complain about a single fucking thing... people have still been complaining.

Mostly this is all just background noise; a combination of people's inherent distrust of EU policy, fear of change, and love of grumbling.

So I was surprised this evening when, as I explained the situation to a customer, she came out with the phrase, "Oh good lord Jesus, save us from this wicked world." With not even the slightest hint of sarcasm.

I felt that this was maybe a slightly over-the-top reaction to being forced to use more energy efficient bulbs that might help delay the complete extinction of the human race by a few weeks. But, as a mere till monkey, I know better than to express an opinion; so I got on with scanning her stuff, put it all in a bag and said, "That'll be £16.55 please, madam."

Which she took as her cue to explain to me how Jesus would return to us one day, and show us the way forwards, but the Antichrist would try to make us all believe that he was lying, and that we had to put our faith in him, and something about how one day everything and everyone will be wiped out and the world will be returned to all it's original beauty and splendour, and she wasn't exactly sure how it was going to happen, but it definitely would...

I quickly started to glaze over, an instinctive reaction to stop her rampant insanity from infecting me through the pores of my skin and warping my fragile little mind. She could not be stopped, not even slowed down, no matter how many times I said stuff like, "Really?", "That'll be nice", and "So, how about that £16.55 then?"

A European ban on 100W and frosted incandescent light bulbs was the herald of the rise of the forces of evil, and prelude to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This woman was consumed, irrational, capable of anything.


Thursday, 27 August 2009

god put a smile upon your face

Today, my cheerfulness was pushed to the very limits when I had to work on Menswear. Menswear is right next to the Audio & TV department, where in order to exhort the capabilities of their wares they decided to play Coldplay's "A Rush Of Blood To The Head".

Over and over again.

For four hours.

I am pleased to report that through a Herculean display of manliness, I managed not to blub like a little girl.

Not even slightly.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Working part time at The Big Gay Department Store is, on the whole, fine. I turn up, do the requisite amount of making-small-talk-with-co-workers and giving-a-shit-about-the-business, and then get to work like shopkeeping is all I was born to do.

And I'm good at it, too. I often have customers remark on how nice it is to be served by such a happy fellow, and how very cheerful I am. I generally smile back and reassure them that I'm crying on the inside madam, would you like the receipt in your bag? That's great, enjoy the rest of your day.

Working full time at The Big Gay Department Store is, on the whole, torturous. I can just about manage to pretend to like my co-workers one day every week, but five days on the trot is a bit more of a strain. Especially when they sit next to me and try to enter into conversation during breaks, or - dig this - force tuna curry onto me. Apparently I missed someone's birthday at the beginning of the month, this woman I hardly ever speak to other than to say hello and exchange meaningless pleasantries; and so to make up for the fact that I wasn't there when she brought in cake and what-not, she decided on Saturday to leave me a portion of tuna curry and a biscuit in one of the pigeon holes behind reception. Unfortunately - or fortunately, I haven't yet decided which - I forgot all about it up until yesterday, and so for all I know, it's still sat there... ew.

And then there's the customers. Empty fucking drones, bimbling about ticking life boxes and consuming to be happy and drown out the sheer pointlessness of all their endeavour.


But then I get the chance to work some extra hours, and I think to myself... What would Rollins do?

He'd take the work. Fuck it, it's not that bad really. I think I may just be indulging in our national pastime of grumbling. Besides, if I wasn't at The Big Gay Department Store focusing all my energy into repressing the urge to be thoroughly unpleasant to every other person I met, I'd just be sat around the flat, wondering what the fuck I should be doing.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

titles are good

And so on Friday last week, my work placement quietly came to an end. I bought doughnuts and tiny cakes for the office, handed in my badge and gun (clocking card and mobile), shook a few hands and that was it. I think I shall miss it; it's been an interesting way to waste a year on the slow trudge to expiry.

Mostly I shall miss the ludicrousness of the health and safety culture, which in my final week saw the installation of small flashing orange beacons on all furnaces. These are supposed to activate every time the furnace door is opened, to alert operators whenever hot metal was being handled. This is despite the fact that:
  • By "hot" metal, I mean molten metal - filled moulds come out of the furnace at temperatures exceeding 1000°C, and radiate an intense heat that can be felt from many metres away.
  • They also glow bright - and I mean BRIGHT - white/orange. Can't easily miss 'em.
  • The only people at risk of injury should molten metal be spilled are the guys that are handling it; and they know that molten metal is being handled, because they are handling it. So a little beacon to warn them that molten metal is being handled is a tad redundant in this respect.
But the internal health and safety audit still determined that sufficient precautions were not being taken, and that the presence of a big ol' fork truck with flashing lights, carrying a four foot tall brightly glowing mould that will burn off your eyebrows at ten paces, surrounded by a bunch of guys in funny silver heat protecting overalls, was not enough of an indication that there might be some hot metal kicking about. Better stick up a flashing light, that should get everyone's attention.

I shall also miss playing boardgames in a kitchen bigger than my living room with my amusingly Catholic housemate Ruth. Of course, we've promised to keep in touch and visit and stuff; but this probably won't happen, because I'm rubbish and she's still not allowed to be friends with other boys - despite being in the "off" part of her on-again/off-again relationship with the insanely paranoid and jealous Sam. Sigh.

On the plus side, I no longer have to spend hours driving to and from Exeter each week, I now have full living room privileges, and I get to spend more time in my own home with my not-even-remotely
Catholic flatmate Charlie Cat.

The new school year doesn't start until the last week in September; so I'm filling the time between now and then by working as many extra hours as possible at The Big Gay Department Store. It's helping to remind me why I wanted to get out of retail in the first place. To do the job well does require some skill, and frankly I'm bloody brilliant at it; but forty hours a week of pretending to give a freshly minted fuck about other people and their dreary existence is a bit much. So I'm attempting to break up the tedious monotony of constant consumption by subtly(ish) working rudeness into my flawless salesman's patter. Already this week I have managed "I've never seen so many knobs", "Would you like me to wrap your dangly what-nots in tissue?", and "Ah... Balls."

Good times.

Meanwhile, the Beastmans have been absent from this shitty blog for too long now; so here's a Giant.

By my reckoning, Giants are the worst thing you could possibly take in a Beastmans Team. On paper, they're full of destructive potential; my head fills with images of my foes fleeing in terror from this great striding behemoth, bellowing with rage and crushing the enemy underfoot as arrows bounce off his steely hide...

...whereas in practice, the Giant will usually swing his club ineffectually shortly before falling over in his attempt to run away from a bunch of peasants armed with sharp sticks and colourful language.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

i want to be a head wound when i grow up

Went to see Kylesa at The Croft a few weeks back. Thanks to me being a bimbly moron, we got there a bit late and only caught the last half of opening act Big Naturals, now performing as a bass 'n' drums thunderous psycha-sludge-doom duo. A very hungover Taint took to the stage next, they're always great. A colossal two-drummer barrage opened up Kylesa's set, which was nothing but noisey sludgey doom from start to finish. Nice.

Meanwhile, grown-up work continues to be tediously dull. I'm not sure if I ever had a job description, but my day now mostly consists of wasting time on the internets. Having now read through the whole of the spEak You're bRanes archive, I've taken to trawling through Wikipedia. On Friday I learned about common rail diesel engines, the Portuguese man o' war, the history of Black Flag and the 80's DC punk and hardcore scene, the American invasion of Panama in 1989, and various stealth aircraft and other American warplanes. I also found out about the Leonard vs. Pepsico case of 1999, which all started because of this advert for the "Pepsi Points" promotion.

Obviously it was meant as a joke, but that wasn't going to stop John Leonard. He'd already collected 15 points, and Pepsi allowed extra points to be purchased for ten cents apiece. So he sent away a cheque for $700,008.50 (which included a $10 shipping and handling fee). Naturally, when Pepsi refused to send an AV-8 Harrier II jump jet to Leonard, he sued.

Thankfully he lost, the court decreeing that "no reasonable person could have believed that the company seriously intended to convey a jet worth roughly $23 million for under a million dollars." According to Wiki, "Leonard claimed that a federal judge was incapable of deciding on the matter, and that instead the decision had to be made by a jury consisting of members of "the Pepsi generation," to whom the advertisement would allegedly constitute an offer."

What a dick.

And now for some toy soldiers. Until I painted Count Drakon Von Carstein, I spent months being a slave to my Chaos Marauders.

So I now have a total of fifty seven of these useless bastards, which as it turns out is about fifty seven more than I would ever consider including in an army. Sigh.

So I've been taking a bit of a break from the square bases, and gone back to my beloved Orkses.

I started my Bad Moonz a few years back, when Orks were shit. But now the rules have changed, and they've become as dead killy as they ought to be. Except for Grotz - they're still shit.