Archive for November, 2013

No, Michael, sometimes it’s not a beautiful day

I’ve got this thing about Michael Buble. I can’t cope with him. I can’t cope with his endlessly cheery face and his insistence that he’s totally in love with me, even if he hasn’t met me yet. I’m glad he knows that some day it will all work out and that he’s having a beautiful day and that he’s feeling good and that he has a Christmas album full of love and cheery things and smiles and….. bleeeeurh. 

 

Sorry, I just vomited. 

 

“I can’t stop myself from smiling…. Let me tell you all the reasons why I think you’re one of a kind… And I’m feeling good…” and on and on and on, he goes. About his fabulous happiness and about how much he loves everyone.

 

You know what I want? Every time I hear one of his songs, I listen out for a line that says something like, “I’m a filthy crackwhore and I hate everyone….” Not because I think he’d be much improved, but because he’d seem a bit more human. Maybe he doesn’t need to go that far. Maybe he could just say, “I felt like rubbish the other day so I ate 23 chocolate bars and got drunk by myself at home.” I mean, even that would just round of his edges a little. 

 

He’s too plastic cheerful, like bubblegum or a colourful child’s toy that they learn to hate when they grow up because of it’s stupid cheery tunes and bright colours and you can never find the off switch so you’re forced to listen to an endless stream of squeaky-tuned silly-voiced madness…. 

 

I don’t hate him or anything. I just want him to do something naughty, give someone a wedgie live on television or release an angst ridden song, full of self-doubt and edginess. Maybe he should cover Smells Like Teen Spirit? O, but you know what would happen? He’d get a big band in there, 15 trumpets minimum, he’d have a big smile on his face, he’d do a few Elvis-esque leg-shake moves and he’d bop around having made it, somehow, into a cheery song to make you smile on a winter’s day. 

 

Winter doesn’t bother him in fact. He just dons a fluffy coat, gets some ice skates on and bops around an ice rink, smiling, endlessly smiling, and talking about how great snow is and Christmas and how he loves Santa and wants to be Santa and spread cheer and happiness and he never falls over on the ice. O no! He skates perfectly. And you know what? Even if he were to fall over on the ice, you know what he’d do? Give us a winning smile, say something like, “It’s a beautiful day to fall over on the ice,” sing a little ditty then bounce straight up, inviting the small children to hold his hand and skate in a line, laughing and being jolly.

 

Now, it’s ok to be a generally positive person. That’s ok, I get that. But he’s been saying it for quite a while now and sometimes I just want to shake him and say, “Michael, shhhhh for once, sometimes it’s NOT a beautiful day, alright?!”

 

A final word on his surname, what’s going on there? It’s Bubble, right? Bubble, like bubblegum, like bright colours and bubbles being popped and happiness and children having fun and gaiety. Just like Micheal Buble himself. Ridiculous.

More things I have learned in the art world

1. TY – as in ‘TY for retweet’ – means thank you. Omygoodness, I was puzzling over this for aaaaages.

2. Friends and their jobs/creative outputs can suddenly become very relevant to what you are doing.

3. Things that previously didn’t mean an awful lot (the rooms and rooms of paintings at the National Art Gallery) will now take hours to walk around and you’ll actually start to recognise artistic styles. It will make you feel very cool and sophisticated.

4. You will become a little dreamy and imagine your life in watercolour.

5. Sometimes painters of royals (I’m thinking of paintings of Charles II and Elizabeth I in particular) only used another painting to go off, rather than having had a proper session with the sitter. This will result in, frankly, quite unflattering portraits. The one of Elizabeth I made her look totally like a man whereas in the original, she just looked quite stern. The Charles II one – well, he just looked like a slightly grumpy old man. A slightly grumpy old man with a long black wig and a big nose. Did Elizabeth/Charles see these paintings and think, “Gosh, that’s a nice portrait. It’s very like me.”
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6. There is a photograph in the National Portrait Gallery where a photographer got loads of actors to sit for a Last Supper reconstruction thing. It is brilliant. You should go and see it. If you live too far, check it out on the NPG website. It’s fabulous.

And those are my extremely insightful observations for today. Enjoy.

Things I have learned in the art world

I am learning a lot of random interesting facts whilst poking around in the art world via http://www.kjh-artificer.com. Here are a few of those facts.

1. There is currently a project at the National Portrait Gallery to buy Van Dyke’s last self portrait. It was the last of three he did and he died the next year. All three have been in private collections but this one has become available so the NPG are trying to buy it so they can have it on display for the public.
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2. Damien Hirst is being accused of plagiarism for the cover of GQ that he did with Rihanna. Did anyone see it? With the Medusa thing going on? Well, another artist said he did it first. A few other people said they did stuff that Damien Hirst has copied.  They’re making a film about it.

3. Sometimes people do lines and splodges that don’t look like anything but when you stand back, a picture forms. That is clever.

4. People in different places react differently to different things. Not sure why yet. The instagram audience love this one…
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…but the Twitter audience love this one…
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5. Social media has the snowball effect. Once you’ve started it rolling, you can sit down with a cup of tea and get 10 more followers by the time you’ve finished it. It’s quite exciting. The more followers you get, the more followers you get. If you see what I mean.

6. Sometimes you can journey all the way to a gallery that you know has a few Caravaggios and when you get there, two are out on loan and one is being cleaned and will be back tomorrow.

7. The Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, is making a film about the case the Chinese government brought against him when they locked him up for a year. It’s called something like, The Fake Case and looks really interesting.

I was aiming for ten but I’m off to work in a minute. So seven it shall be. Have a nice day!

You’re having a laugh (I hope)

Good morning all. It’s Wednesday so my guest blogger, Rambler5319, is going to take over for some humour to start your day with.

 

After the last two weeks on Genetics & Education I thought I might have a more light-hearted post this week.

Many thanks to Sam Ignarski and his E-zine Bow Wave for permission to reprint these gems taken from his website.

(For any of you with an interest in the Shipping, Insurance & Container fields, this is one website you should visit: http://www.wavyline.com/current.php)

Here we go then. Enjoy!

Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at £2500 per month.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. Now she’s 97 years old and we don’t know where the heck she is.

I joined a health club last year, spent about £400. Haven’t lost a pound. Apparently you have to go there.

I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.

The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.

If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

And last but not least: I don’t exercise because it makes the ice jump right out of my glass.
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THE FINAL WORD ON NUTRITION (IN ENGLISH)

After an exhaustive review of the research literature, here’s the final word on nutrition and health:

 

1. Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

 2. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

 3. Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

 4. Italians and French drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

 5. Germans drink beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

 CONCLUSION:

 Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

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Four old retired guys are walking down a street in Yuma, Arizona. They turn a corner and see a sign that says,

“Old Timers Bar – ALL drinks 10 cents.”
They look at each other and then go in, thinking, This is too good to be true.

The old bartender says in a voice that carries across the room, “Come on in and let me pour one for you! What’ll it be, gentlemen?”

There’s a fully stocked bar, so each of the men orders a martini. In no time the bartender serves up four iced martinis – shaken, not stirred and says, “That’ll be 10 cents each, please.”

The four guys stare at the bartender for a moment, then at each other. They can’t believe their good luck. They pay the 40 cents, finish their martinis and order another round.

Again, four excellent martinis are produced, with the bartender again saying, “That’s 40 cents, please.” They pay the 40 cents, but their curiosity gets the better of them. They’ve each had two martinis and haven’t even spent a dollar yet.

Finally one of them says, “How can you afford to serve martinis as good as these for a dime apiece?”

“I’m a retired tailor from Phoenix ,” the bartender says, “and I always wanted to own a bar. Last year I hit the Lottery jackpot for $125 million and decided to open this place. Every drink costs a dime. Wine, liquor, beer – it’s all the same.”

“Wow! That’s some story!” one of the men says.

As the four of them sip at their martinis, they can’t help noticing seven other people at the end of the bar who don’t have any drinks in front of them and haven’t ordered anything the whole time they’ve been there.

Nodding at the seven at the end of the bar, one of the men asks the bartender, “What’s with them?”

The bartender says, “They’re retired people from Scotland, They’re waiting for Happy Hour when drinks are half-price.”

 

Needs Funds

Merci Paul Dixon

A young man was having some money problems, and needed £200 to get his car fixed and roadworthy again. But had run out of people to borrow from.

So, he calls his parents via the operator, and reverses the charge and says to his father. “I need to borrow two hundred pounds,” he says.

At the other end, his father says, “Sorry, I can’t hear you, son, I think there may be a bad line.”

The boy shouts, “Two hundred. I need two hundred pounds!”

“Sorry, I still can’t hear you clearly,” says his father.

The operator cuts in, “Sorry to butt in, But I can hear him perfectly clearly.”

The father says, “Good. YOU send him the money!”

 

Quips and Quotes

Sales clerk to customer:
“These stretch pants come with a warranty of one year or 500,000 calories… whichever comes first.”

Woman huddled under blanket on deserted, wind-swept beach to husband: “Tell me again how much money we’re saving with this off-season deal.”

Man is the only animal that goes to sleep when he’s not sleepy and gets up when he is.
–Dave Gneiser

A good answer is what you think of later.
–Sam Ewing

The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application.
–Ken Kraft

No one appreciates the value of constructive criticism more thoroughly than the one who’s giving it.
–Hal Chadwick

My wife and I have structured conversations:
firstly, she gives me her opinion, then she gives me my opinion.

I’m weird, but around here it’s barely noticeable.

The mother of three notoriously unruly youngsters was asked whether or not she’d have children if she had it to do over again. “Sure,” she replied, “but not the same ones.”

Everyone should have a spouse, because there are a number of things that go wrong that one can’t blame on the government.

I accept good advice gracefully —
as long as it doesn’t interfere with what I intended to do in the first place.

I wrote this poem about 15 years ago in Ireland. In those days, that country was so strict you used to have to smuggle condoms through the airport in bags of heroin.
–Punk poet John Cooper Clarke

Never hit a man with glasses.
Hit him with a baseball bat.

Thesaurus: ancient reptile with excellent vocabulary.

There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action. –Goethe

I like pigs.
Dogs look UP to us.
Cats look DOWN on us.
Pigs treat us as EQUALS.
–Winston Churchill

Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic, and so am I.
–Frank Crow

If you cannot change your mind, are you sure you have one?

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at maths.

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

If things get better with age, I’m approaching magnificent!

You’re so open-minded, your brains fell out

You might as well take all of me — the parts you want aren’t removable.

I have an open mind — it’s just closed for repairs.

At least dogs do what you tell them to do. Cats take a message and get back to you.

I’ve gotta be me — everyone else was already taken.

Do not meddle in the place of dragons … you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies.

We occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry on as if nothing happened.

 

Dipping into Chat

The Chat book I mentioned in my last post is still blowing my mind. I don’t know how to start telling you about it because the epicness comes from all directions. I thought I’d do an overall view of things by giving you a few snippets. Sit back and get ready for the amazingness.

“It turned out, Ronnie had seen a ghost once too. He was so perfect for me. I knew Nan had found him for me.” (Her Nan’s dead, by the way.)

“‘You don’t stab someone twice by accident,’ I fumed.” (I don’t know, I think it’s up for debate.)

“‘I couldn’t help myself. You weren’t here and I just had to have sex. I’m so sorry.’ He begged me to forgive him. ‘It was just once, two years ago. I want you, Suzy.’ ‘Marry me, then,’ I said.” (This is totally what I would also say if someone had just cheated on me. Totally.)

“After a year if emailing, I felt I’d learned a lot about Voodoo and convinced Mambo Racine that I was serious about joining the religion…. After I’d learned all those secrets, I had to plunge my hands into three vats of boiling oil.” (Fairly standard religion-joining behaviour, wouldn’t you say?)

“How was I supposed to tell a 7 year old I was sleeping with the housekeeper?! I needed help running our home and the moment I laid eyes on Julie, she gave me the raging horn!” (That’s a phrase we now use, apparently. The Raging Horn. Ah, Chat… a pillar of eloquence and intellect.)

“How I could have picked two such dysfunctional men to marry, I do not know.” (I often wonder the same thing… o wait… no, I don’t.)

As you can see, there is plenty more amazingness to come from Chat. You haven’t seen the last of this book yet!

The Chat book

Something amazing happened. A book arrived through the door the other day. A book of Chat! I didn’t even know they had a book!
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Doesn’t it look amazing?! I opened it, super excited, and found the contents page, which hinted at the brilliance to follow – The Hands That Caress, Our Furry Friends Have Some Spooky Senses, Autistic Love, Did Rape Save My Life, Bloater, Fatgirl Slim, Our Ghost Turns The Coke Flat…. And that’s just a brief overview!

So in I went, in to world of Chat and hilarity and found this, in paragraph 3 of the first story.
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Have you found the bit I mean? About the nipples? And there we are. We’re straight into the nonsense. It gets steadily more mental as you get further into it.

For example, one story was called I Feel Like Chicken Tonight. I’d like you to guess first what this was about. I thought it was a foodie story, maybe someone gets food poisoning. Maybe they thought it was chicken but it was disease-ridden mountain goat or something.

Want me to tell you what it actually is? Brace yourselves.

It starts with a couple. The guy is a cross dresser but she doesn’t approve, he’s trying to get help, etc. They get married.
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As soon as you read stuff like this, you suddenly remember Chat’s main audience. The “I’ll-just-get-married-in-my-tracksuit” type of person. You know.

This story is also fabulous because ‘Clive’ is also referred to as ‘Ian’ 30% of the time. Good editing and proofreading skills, Chat. Hats off to you. Here’s a fine example of it.
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So yeh, that’s also what the story’s about. Not really chicken at all. More cross dressing and bestiality. Is it bestiality if the chicken’s frozen?

Anyway, that was a direction I hadn’t seen Chat go in before. I was on a bus so bursting out laughing at the above part of the story was quite awkward.

Another story I read, called Bloater, was about a fat guy who met a girl, had a family, got skinny, loved it, then got fat again, his wife left and now he’s trying to diet. Interesting.

There’s SO much to get stuck into with this book. I will undoubtedly be reporting back again.

It started with Fjaroabyaggo

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet another blogger? One you didn’t already know outside the blogging world. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if that blogger also wrote one of your favourite blogs, a blog that made you laugh out loud or gasp in horror? There are few blogs I love more than Sean Smithson’s. I love seeing that there’s another post there to read. And every time that little email notification comes through telling me “Sean Smithson” has liked one of my posts, I silently high-five myself and think, “Yes, Laura, today’s post was good.”

My blog, edgy as I like to imagine it is, has got nothing on Sean’s, which, by the way, is not his name. I’ll get onto that. Sean’s blog leaves mine in the dust. He gets stuck straight in, in a way that is almost-brave/almost-stupid. A fine example comes from his ‘How to stay single in your 30s’ post: “If you find that ladies are just drawn to you or that your friends absolutely insist on trying to set you up, then try the following – Be a mildly obnoxious asshole on dates. You need to get the balance just right so that she’ll sleep with you but won’t want you to call her ever again.”

Honesty is definitely the best policy in Sean’s world. O yeh, so that’s totally not his name. But it’s close enough and easier to work out how to pronounce. It was certainly a new experience to be quite far into a conversation and have someone say, “O, by the way, wanna know my real name?”

I forget what was written about Fjaroabyaggo to prompt the joke that there was going to be a trip there but that is how it started. It somehow grew from that into a fully breathing, walking, talking person at the tube station. He didn’t look slightly loser-ish or studenty. He wasn’t clutching a crumpled balance sheet or accompanied by a hooker.

He was tall-ish, well-dressed and well-spoken. He was also courteous and eloquent, quite a surprise after the Sean of the blog. It’s not like I was expecting a total knob end but, you know, something a little more rough around the edges. The thing is, he is also the person in the blog, the person who lands himself in these brilliant/stupid situations. It’s not something you’d realise unless you knew the blog. And it’s kinda fun once you have realised it and he mentions calling hookers to come over to his parents’ house while they’re in bed.

What’s not to love?

The reason for this post is taking me forever to get to. I guess because I’m trying to make you realise how brilliant this man is so that by the time I get to my point, you’ll already like him.

Well, he’s writing a book. Could there be anything better than a good writer with no inhibitions telling you about all the most ridiculous situations he’s been in? A quick peek inside the book is going to look something like this email conversation we recently had:

Sean: “It’s going to be a book of short stories. That way, they can read about the time I was with a hooker on my mum’s living room floor while she slept upstairs on Tuesday’s tube journey. And perhaps on Thursday, they could read about the time I shit my pants before a date…”

Laura: “I would love to read about the time you shit your pants before a date. What’s the general gist of that story?”

Sean : “Just that I was on my way to a date and shit myself whilst trying to fart. Obviously things got a lot worse during the course of that day.”

Need I say anything more?

This book of utter fabulousness (that’s a word) will be out in January. Good job there’s Christmas inbetween to keep me entertained during the wait. And don’t you worry, I’ll do the remembering for you and keep reminding you about it 🙂