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.