Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Image Ideologues

Elections. A fear peddlers paradise. An avenue for liars, muck-rakers and dog-waggers to blissfully engage in the manipulation of the masses. I find the whole process utterly depressing, not to mention extravagantly wasteful. But besides the excess, the lies, and the megalomania, the very worst aspect of new-era campaigning to my mind is the unwavering focus on the negative.

Take the upcoming American presidential election for example. Since Hilary was asked politely to leave after overstaying her welcome (not to mention drinking everyone else's beer), McCain and his cronies have been cranking up the Obama rake-o-meter, taking pot-shots at everything from his lack of experience to his alleged willingness to have an open dialogue with terrorists.

Accusations like this seem to blatantly ignore the fact that the current administration's no dialogue foreign policy (which McCain openly intends to continue with) have been a proven disaster with respect to keeping suspect powers in line. This policy, in my opinion, would be a bit like expecting someone who doesn't like you very much to quit smoking simply by telling everyone else besides them that they smell like the ashtray of a long-hauler. Then, you know, attributing them to some evil axis thing you had a dream about once.

What I find most distressing about this recent round of campaigning is McCain's assertion that Obama is trading solely on aesthetics. I mean, I guess I should expect some level of image attack coming from a guy who looks as though he shares a weekend wardrobe with Sargeant Slaughter, but there was something else that bugged me about this. I couldn't put my finger on what I found so hypocritical about it.. until I opened the paper last week.

Inside I saw a photo of McCain riding in a BlackHawk helicopter somewhere in Iraq.

It looked normal enough, to the untrained eye. But to my heightened sluethy senses, I could see that the image had been PHOTOSHOPPED. Egads!

I couldn't understand why... what on earth were they trying so hard to cover up? I knew that I wouldn't be able to rest until I found out the answer.

After days of searching, I finally caught a break. Hidden away behind JavaScript comments in the source code of the 'Girls Gone Wild' site (I like, totally swear it was the non-members section) I found THIS:

ahhh HA! I KNEW it. I totally knew it. John McCain is a clown fearin', doily nose blowin', nancy boy. Geez louise this was going to blow the entire caucus apart. Assuming I could determine exactly what a caucus was between now and talking to the media, this was going to be big. Tom Hanks big.

UPDATE: For some reason, the Obama campaign office has been ignoring my calls. I guess their machine is broken or something. It really shouldn't be too long now before I'm regarded as a left wing pin-up boy. Aaaany day now.

More half baked political diatribes over at If you mention my name you get a free 'Bush is my Bitch' sticker plus a two-for-one at Wendys.. whatever the hell that means.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Death Defying Metal

Even if you:

  1. have lost your lovely hair, so that now you resemble Lando Calrissian's cyborg sycophant

  2. think that Levi 501 red tabs are the most rock-n-roll jeans ever made

  3. suffer from nappy bum

  4. wear your white Reebok cross trainers every day you're not 'workin for the man'

  5. think that considering how inconvenient pockets tend to be, its surprising more people don't use bum bags

Even if all of these things sum up the person you've somehow become over the last 10 years..

..Never, ever, ever stop loving Iron Maiden.

The sickos over at listen to Bulgarian Two Step. On the count of three, go over there and ridicule them till they whimper. One, two..

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Red Harian Nation

As we shuffled slowly across Victoria Park, I chatted tentatively with Colin in the manner of new friends. He seemed like a great bloke, happily dispensing conversation that drifted quickly away from the stagnant topics we were forced to begin with. Luckily we had his imminent wedding to discuss, which was always going to give us a base camp from which to go foraging. I was looking forward to the wedding; excited to be visiting the Shetland Islands for the first time and secretly hoping to see a plethora of miniature ponies, hopefully being ridden by miniature monkeys. I decided after some deliberation to keep that information to myself; I had learned the hard way that some people react strangely to flights of fancy involving equidite riding simians. Particularly small ones.

The group arrived at Victoria Park Pavilion. Colin and I stood around trying to look like men while the girls busied themselves poking Amy's two year old son Ruban. The little ginger haired chap wore the expression of someone who simply couldn't fathom why everyone was still hanging around being boring when they could instead be at home watching Pingu on repeat. Not getting the reaction they were looking for, the girls continued to prod.

Remembering that the guests had been invited to attend a dancing class a few nights before the wedding, I asked Colin about it. We wouldn't be able to attend and I was loathe to miss it: unless traditional Scottish dancing shared some kind of similarity to Axl Rose's hip sashé, I was going to be in a lot of trouble.

“So I’m a bit worried that I won't be able to remember how to strip the Willow.” I confided.

It was true. The last time I tried I'd lost the group I was dancing with on the very first change. My partner pretended she didn’t mind, but I could tell she was upset. I could plainly see that to her, failing to strip the Willow was paramount to contracting an odious yeast infection. At the time I felt no humiliation over my error. After all, I wasn’t even sure what the Willow was.

“Not a worry mate.” said my new ginger haired friend. “Getting it wrong is all part of the fun. In fact, Céilidh dancing was invented so that Scottish men had an excuse to beat their women.”

An uncomfortable silence formed between us. A coyote howled in the distance.

“That’s a joke, right?” I asked.


“Oh good. Just thought I’d clarify.”

“When you didn’t laugh I thought uh oh. Now he’s going to think I’m a wife basher.”

“Nope. Comedian. Got it.”

But I didn't get it. I was no closer to realising my goal of appropriate Willow stripping. So, lacking the necessary technical know-how to pull off a barn dance heist I settled on a compromise: As long as I could get through the night without falling over and revealing the darkside of my kilt, I would consider it a win.

Sometimes, when I feel low, I go and try on the wedding dresses over at It's comforting to know that I look good in a taffeta veil, even though I'm destined to always have the hips of a bridesmaid.

Monday, May 19, 2008


We take team bonding very seriously at my company. It's not that we want to play network car racing games every lunchtime or stay for that extra pint on a Friday night; it's more of a necessity. You see, when you work in an industry where your very safety balances on a knife edge, you have to know that Goncalo 'Battlestar Galactica' Pereira has his wits about him, and that the guy who always smells of Doritos who you call Paul but who probably isn't called Paul is a man of his word. What I'm saying is you have to know that pseudo-Paul has your back, and that you have his. That's the life of a software developer. We don't expect people to understand.

Which is why the other Dave and I invented this new game called Slebs. Slebs stands for 'Celebs with small heads'. The game is cunning in its simplicity in that you have to photoshop a famous celebrity so that their head is smaller. Then you send it to the other person so that they laugh and hopefully get lambasted by someone of authority, or at the very least get some derisive looks. It's a great game. Here, let me show you:

Sleb 1 - Hulk Hogan (dave)

I was always a bigger fan of Andre the Giant. But it had nothing to do with The Princess Bride, I swear. Anybody want a peanut?

Sleb 2 - Mr. T (me)

Sleb 3 - Rocky (dave)

Look at the shorts. That's attention to detail right there kids. That's how we beat the Russians. Some might tell you it was economics, but they'd be wrong. It was shorts detail.

Sleb 4 - Han and Chewie (me)

If I had a small head, I'd try and look all unperturbed about it too. I'd be all.. "It's coool man, just chillin with my big dog and my small head. It aint no thang."

Sleb 5 - Bill and Hillary

Sleb 6 - Big Bird

Check it out, I even made Mr Hooper look all uncomfortable with his upside down frown and whatnot. Ahh Hooper. Never could handle a bit of malformed bird head.

Sleb 7 - Jon Bon Jovi (Dave)

For all you guitar players, look at his chord hand. It's not a chord!

Bon Jovi is mediocre -- You heard it here first.

Sleb 8 - King Kong

Could you ever love me? Even though I'm a big monkey? It's the head isn't it. You don't go for dudes with disproportionately sized heads. *Sigh* I needs a banana.

More people with smaller heads than you would care to look at over at You know what they say about small heads though, right? Small hats. Very small hats.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Old Man BMX

The other day when I was walking down Well Street to grab the paper a really old guy whizzed past me on a bike. While this is nothing that usual, what caught my eye was that he was dressed head to toe in a fluoro Kappa tracksuit, wearing a huge gold medallion and backwards cap and that his bike was a hotted up BMX.

"Woaaah," said my very impressed internal monologue. "He'd be amazing for the blog. I could explain that he was a perfect example of what you would look like if you'd just woken up from a 60 year coma caused by a BMX accident. I'd need a picture of him, so I could say that I work for BMXing Australia and that I was doing an article on the implications of wearing incontinence pants while freeriding. Hopefully he won't ask for a card, but if he does I'll just say that I've already given them all out down at the Sunny Vista estate and that he could grab one down there from Beryl if he liked, so long as he didn't ask about her recent divorce. 'Yikes' I would then say, for effect."

It was brilliant.. until I remembered that:

a) I didn't bring my camera
b) it had taken me two hours to make up the joke about the coma
c) the old guy was long gone

I was left feeling vaguely uncertain, as though I'd somehow invented the entire scenario in my head; just like in the Labyrinth where that chick wakes up and can't believe David Bowie could actually be the head of the muppets, while at the exact same time have such enormous hair and bad dress sense.

Paying for my newspaper, I cautiously asked the lady behind the counter whether she had seen any old guys getting around today, you know, like on a BMX or something. She turned her head and looked at me out of the corners of her eyes; the way people do when you walk into a bookstore and ask if they have any other books in a similar vein to 'The Notebook', because you're on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster right now and that book made you feel as though you had something to live for and you have every intention of keeping that buzz going, man.

"Forget it." I said quietly and walked out, not collecting my change. Then it occurred to me that the old guy and the paper lady probably have a racket going and are taking over the world, 20p at a time.

I'll find you, geriatric BMX bandit. And when I do, I'm taking the best damn picture of you the world has ever seen. And then I'm taking my 20p back. I'm taking them all back.

More tales of delusion and grandeur over at Please click that link for me? It helps me out a lot while at the same time helps starving kids in that place.. overseas. The dusty one. It's totally win win.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

World Tour of Burger Establishments

With thanks to Charlie

We live in the United Kingdom, which enjoys a fine culinary history of hastily delivered dining. Not only do we have McDonalds and the Colonels Fried Chicken, but we even have a place called PFC (the P stands for perfect, although I assume its in a 'love you just the way you are' kinda perfect).

The king of the hill, so to speak, has always been the greasy tarmac known as Burger King.

United Kingdom

Which got me thinking. Are we alone in our enjoyment of burgers that have more than cheese than common sense? What do other countries partake in when it comes to foodstuffs that even mould tends to avoid?

I decided to find out.




United Arab Emirates

Vatican City

That's all we need; A burger joint run by people who for 2000 years have traded solely on guilt.

At least it'll be convenient in the event of needing your last rights read out.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ever get the feeling someone is watching you?

Dramatic Lemur

Dramatic Chipmunk

Allow me to take this opportunity to retract any statements I may have made that may or may not have suggested that YouTube was inane and/or pointless. After viewing all of the available evidence it seems clear that I was wrong.. so very, very wrong.

Even more inane banter coming soon. It's Monday, and the weekend was pretty, so cut me some slack. Or give me a beer. I'm easy either way.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

While They're Young

A friend of mine Ben has a little brother who has just started going to primary school. Alongside learning about the wonders of numbers, letters, and Transformers, he has also been exposed to a variety of new social structures. Specifically, he's started bringing home the sailor talk.

Unfortunately for him the lesson plan for discussing the different applications of the verb 'to ho' falls a bit short around the playground, which leaves our wee protagonist a bit confused most of the time.

"Ben, what does gay mean?"

"What do you think it means?"

"I don't know."

"Why do you ask?"

"Well all the kids at school call me gay. And each other. That call everyone gay."

"What do they think it means?"

"They don't know either. Their brothers call them gay."

Lo, another generation indoctrinated into sexual ambiguity.

I don't wanna start nothin, but Humor Blogs has been asking difficult questions about your sexuality too. Better go there now and set them straight.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Overheard on the train back from Brighton:

"You know Mery's cet? Yeh, the fet one. Wull it got run over by a car end lost ets tail. Et must heve bin bed, because now et kearn't crep!"


"Mery's cet. Et kearn't crep! Et'd do my hid in."

A very tired Cath rose grumpily from my lap, not being able to contest any further with the tales of feline constipation. "Mery's cet is doing a lot of people's hids in today." she explained to me, and at least 3 other people within earshot.

Kiwis. As ubiquitous as Australians, but just a smidgen noisier.

Friday, May 2, 2008

iPhone called. Wants its tee shirt back.

I've always been quite amused by the arrogant pushiness of the new iPhone marketing. "Say hello to iPhone." it demands, probably interrupting the conversation already going on around it. You politely ignore it and carry on talking, pretending not to hear. You will meet the iPhone in your own time, perhaps after it buys you a few ice-breakers.

Only one problem. Marketing senses your reluctance and reaffirms its request for a more formal introduction. "Say hello to iPhone." comes the more forceful entreaty. "Today."


"Oh, right."
you stutter, a little embarrassed. "Whatup iPhone?"

Que a ten minute diatribe on the Google Maps 'zooming' feature, lightly sprinkled with Macy Gray worship. You inwardly curse your inability to deal with socially uncomfortable situations and wonder what the end of your friends amazing anecdote was. How did he manage to retrieve his underpants from the mouth of that polar bear? Curses.

This situation is not uncommon, and it only seems to be getting worse. For instance, have you seen their new marketing campaign?

Brazen, to say the least.

Still want one.