Monday, March 31

Yakety Yak

I've been listening to the Coasters this past week. They have a song on the Death Proof soundtrack that I really like called Down In Mexico.

15 years ago I did a huge 'arts & craft' project for some woman named Anne, who I was trying to woo. Back then we listened to music on something called cassettes. I did a mix tape that consisted of 26 songs, sequenced to begin with each letter of the alphabet. My 'Z' choice was 'Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart', by ... you guessed it, The Coasters.

They also sing Yakety Yak, which I detest. Over the years it has been used as a theme tune for a bunch of 'current affairs' type shows (mainly because its opening line is Take out the papers ..)

However this week it has been the theme tune to Isobelle the Cat, who is Yakety Yakking all over the house at impossibly stupid times of the night. We are awakened by the sound of her throat reflex, which gives us approx. 3 seconds to push her off the bed and onto the wooden floor (easier to clean). Post spew, she looks at us with doughy eyes and then goes back to sleep. Despite sleep deprivation, I still love that cat.

Sunday, March 30

Sticking it to the Man

After Saturday night's parking lot altercation we hit Whole Foods. Check out line and we are stood behind a guy buying 24 yogurts. The Whole Foods cashier is a 350lb brother with aggressive arm tats. Affirmative action in full effect!

Yogurt guy announces that he has 12 2-for-1 coupons for all 24 yogurts. In the 5 minutes it takes Whole Foods lower management to deny the guy his right to use more than one coupon, two things of note happen:

1. The cashier tries 7 times to count the number of yogurts on the belt. Never quite manages.

2. I have to listen to the twat behind me explain how "Not all projects my company work on are classified, just all of mine."

Back to the yogurt incident. The guy announces he will go back in line another 11 times and use his coupons one at a time. #1 brother shrugs and scans the first 2 yogurts. Upon coupon redemption the guy gets money back! Now I realize why he wants to buy all of these stupid organic yogurts.

We've been stood in line 10 minutes now, but we just don't care. This is modern day theater, the ART should do a season of this stuff! Middle management appears, to apologize for the length of the wait. Guess what liberal do-gooders? Middle management is a white guy in a sweater, and he patronizes the A-A cashier for taking so long ... and then asks him to explain what had transpired - in effect holding us up for another minute.

Meanwhile yogurt guy has moved his remaining 22 yogurts to one side and gone to the back of the line.

I like Whole Foods, really I do, but much like Starbucks they are frequented by righteous idiots.

I pulled this example from stuffwhitepeoplelike

“Wil Shipley, a Seattle software developer, uses his iPhone at the Whole Foods fish counter to check websites for updates on which seafood is the most environmentally correct to purchase. He quizzes the staff on where and how a fish was caught. Because he carries the Internet with him, “I can be super-picky,” he said.”

In recent months I've avoided going to Whole Foods (Anne is way too healthy and spends an eternity in the produce section), but I might just have to change my policy and start tracking down these fools.

Saturday, March 29

Tough Guy Alert

I had an altercation this evening in the Whole Foods parking Lot. We were pulling into the lot and stopped behind one of those asinine PT Cruisers. That should have been my warning, but it was Anne who realized first that the car had stopped for no good reason. Maneuvering around them, we both starred at the driver and his passenger, who looked on in bemused fashion.

Having found a space and got out of our car we noticed the PT idiots had now inched down to an even more stupid place to stop, oblivious of the traffic they were causing behind them. We overheard the passenger explaining to a passer-by that they were lost. (No shit! Unless you are looking for Whole Foods). Meanwhile the driver (remembering me as the guy who had mouthed "douche" at him 45 seconds earlier) had the audacity to give me the eye.

As I walked by I shouted "Did you lose your turn signal?" In print that sounds lame, but I pulled it off with a certain amount of attitude. I would not usually get into any kind of ruckus. I'm not the toughest of guys. But I'm also good at Math, and anyone with a passing knowledge of statistics knows that the chances of having your ass kicked by a PT Cruising rim-job in Whole Foods are close to zero.

Friday, March 28

Hardly seems worth it

Driving home from work last week, I remembered that I had to buy a gift for a party.

Struggling to find a legal space in my neighborhood the obvious next step was to look for a parking meter. Actually the logical thing would be to park my car at home and walk to the store, but I'm lazy.

Back to the meter idea. Problem - no coins in my car, and I try not to carry change in my pockets (I have an irrational aversion to touching metal).

I drove into a restaurant parking lot to turn around and noticed that their parking fee machine took credit cards.

Upon closer inspection, you can buy 15 minutes for just 25¢ ... with a credit card. I decided to splash out and go for a massive 30 minutes at a cost of 50¢.

Tuesday, March 25

63.7% of statistics are made up

I think 41% of my rants concern being in coffee shops.

Yesterday I stopped for morning coffee in the place with the green and black logo. Once again, it's not the product I despise, it's the experience.

As I stood sleepily in line enduring the awful piped in muzak, the woman in front of me asked the barista (in a chirpy fashion).

"Who is this singing?"
"It's Jack Johnson", came the perky reply.
Turning to me, the woman said, "It's good isn't it?"
"No" I deadpanned.

Sunday, March 23

It was terrible 20 years ago ...

Another video project from college. All we had was a Fairlight machine that let us do some blue screen and dub an extra sound channel.

Just short of 10 minutes and not so good. It might be 'bad' good, but I'm not even sure about that. We were all Bond fans and wanted to highlight the clichés of the genre. Hence.
Dancing crazy woman titles (but no love scene because nobody was available); Asian baddie with fake facial hair and comedy eye patch; A muscle car chase featuring the 'vehicle of the moment' the Sinclair C5.

Throw in awful sound effects, men in drag, a Yorkshire accented Bond picking his nose, and badly dubbed one liners and you are left with ... disappointment.

I have a Hitchcock style cameo, but was behind the camera most of the time. The stunt man edits were supposed to be bad, but looking back they are probably the best. And let's not talk continuity.

I took this tape to a college that I hoped to attend. Amazingly the woman I met with watched about 8 minutes of it! She finally stopped the tape when the overdubbed car screeches morphed into laughs.

Saturday, March 22


Trawling thru' old tapes I came across this video project from college. No Macs and Final Cut back then.

We were copying the retro ads of the day. Levi's were running soul music styled commercials and we were 'ahem' trying to tap into that zeitgeist.

Of course this is hack. Terrible lighting, camera and editing. But we had such good times doing this stuff.

Friday, March 21

That's a fat lady singing

Minute long video from our holiday in Italy. We were driving back from Como to Bellagio when a policeman asked us to stop. For once I wasn't speeding.

Musical accompaniment from Verdi's La Traviata.

Thursday, March 20

Serenity Now

Nothing to do with Scrabble

I was in London on Monday, crossing the busy Tottenham Court Road. I noticed 3 thugs walking down the street, and further down a 'Parking Enforcement Officer' was writing down license plate numbers.

As the guys got closer to Mr Parking, one of them walked straight up to him, and standing about 6 inches from his face, said just one word.

It was the "C" word, and I ain't talking cancer.

He then re-joined his friends and carried on walking down the street, towards Heals (for those with London know-how).

I was going to Barclays Bank to use the ATM. However the machines were down. I hopped inside the bank and joined a line (or queue if you please). Everyone had the same idea and I stood there for 25 minutes waiting. At this point a young customer service rep with a cheap suit and even crumbier tie announced "The ATMs have been working for the last 10 minutes". We all inwardly sighed, except one lone voice at the back of the line. He shouted "Wanker". As I turned I was delighted to see it was the same guy who had dropped the C-Bomb only 30 minutes earlier.

What a great technique. Just stating your thoughts in one word expletive bursts. Home of Dickens and Shakespeare you know ...

Wednesday, March 19

The most patronizing thing I could have said

I complimented Anne on her blog writing the other day.
She writes professionally. I don't.
Anyhoo, her thoughts were revealing and entertaining. Read them here.
link 1 link 2

Tuesday, March 18

Hanky Panky

Like a slightly slower Miss Mammy Two Shoes (the lady from the Tom & Jerry cartoons), I received this gem on my answer machine the other day.

"Rich, hi, this is your cousin Hanky"

Monday, March 17

Release the Panther

Isobelle getting all animated. That's her exercise for the year then.

Wednesday, March 12

Downright Filthy

Apparently this is the name of a well established Juice Bar in the UK.


Here's a video of our apartment in Bellagio overlooking Lake Como and the Italian Alps. Great view from the bathroom!

Hey Johnny we have your backing band

The Hurricanes arrived here tonight. Trying to sleep in our hotel it sounds like the ocean is lashing against the side of the building. Sadly we are 80 miles inland. The wind is making noises I've never heard before.

No idea if we will be able to fly in 3 hours time. Anne just said she didn't want to and I tend to agree. We're only 200 yards from the airport, but I have a sneaking suspicion that we will have to walk to the terminal, which in this weather will leave us drenched to the bone.

Fingers crossed for Italy, but we can always spend another day with my family.

Tuesday, March 11

Grave Concern

We passed the local cemetery in the village where my family lives today. Anne swore she saw a floral tribute that said "HATE". Upon closer inspection the word spelled out was "MATE"
But as we walked around the new graves, a whole host of craziness popped out at us. With all due respect to those who passed away (but with much less to those who decorate their memory), we saw the following.

Al Jolson in black face? Why not add "Here lies a racist?"

A cat, cocktail, butterflies and endless tat.

As my mum said. "If anyone does that to me, I'll come back and haunt them."

Finally, these photos also show that despite the weather forecasts, we were not hit with a hurricane today. Meteorologist - I think it derives from the Greek for plankton.

We also canceled Monday plans because of the weather - and lo and behold it was sunny. Tonight and tomorrow (when we fly to Milan) will be bad however.


Screw growing old gracefully. I can take the gray hairs and the lightweight status that alcohol now brings down on me. But THE one thing I hate about growing old is additional ear hair.

My parents have one of those magnifying mirrors that demonstrates how bad your skin is. Today, quite grossly, I was trimming the aforementioned ear hair with my little pair of scissors. It was going well. In fact I developed reckless abandon. And snip. I cut into the fleshy part of my ear.

So I currently have a piece of toilet tissue wedged into my ear in a futile yet facile attempt to blot the blood.

Comedy injury.

Monday, March 10

Kids love Mis-Shaped Bisciuits

We went to Haworth on Sunday. Home of the Brontë Family with a pretentious umlaut over the "e". Being well educated and from this part of the world it stands to reason I have an encyclopedic knowledge of their works. Sadly, I've never read one of their books, an issue I will aim to resolve in the coming months. The missus being an English Major has read all of them! Smart-ass that one ...

Anyhow. My favorite moment came outside the Parsonage where they resided (before their inappropriately early deaths). The High Street is full of B&B's, sweet shops (candy stores) and bakeries.

They might be mis-shaped but they still taste great. And those two little bastards would not stop running around like deranged miniature monkeys.

Saturday, March 8

Anyone sitting there?

More Friday night shenanigans ...

We took a small plane from London to Leeds. We've flown on an Embraer jet a few times, and know what to expect – a 1 and 2 seat configuration.

Friday night's flight had approx. 8 passengers. At check in we were told to sit on the back row for 'load balancing'. First problem was the flight attendant stood in the aisle right next to our seat. I guess it is protocol to stand there, but come on, we're trying to get settled in and there were only a handful of folk on the plane.

But as the door was closed, she proceeded to pull down an extra seat that faced down the aisle, essentially creating a 4 seat back row. I felt like a retarded nervous first time flier. In case of emergency I would have been trapped in. Which would suck considering how few people were on the flight.

So there I was. Taking off with Anne to my right and attendant to the left. We didn't crash (evidently) but it was still a shaky flight. The offending extra seat is quite poorly shown. It's hard to take a passive aggressive photo on an airplane.

Friday, March 7

In case of a crash!

Anne and I flew to the UK today. On different flights. It recalls the reason why royalty never travel together. In case the plane crashes the dynasty continues. Isobelle the Cat must be relieved.

I had the bizarre spectacle of seeing Anne's BA flight taxiing this morning, as I waited in the AA terminal. My flight sat me next to Lupé, a doughy eyed big boned Latina. Although she had exceptional feet I had no desire to see them perched (sockless) next me for the bulk of the flight. Also when it came to beverage time, she asked for milk. That struck me as odd somehow? She also insisted on getting up to go to the bathroom while I was still enjoying my premium AA coffee. Who asks someone to move when they still have the tray table down?

Lady in front of me lost her glasses. Guess which kind young man™ was on his hands and knees in a vain attempt to find them?

Lots of bloggables on the plane, but I was enjoying my book and iPod too much to notice. The woman in the middle row blubbed out loud at the Steve Carell/Juliette Binoche/Dane Cook vehicle/movie. It didn't look that moving while I listened to The Detroit Cobras. Then again I once cried out loud on a flight. It was some Kevin Kline movie about a house. It was so gay! I think someone died of the big C, but the guy sat next to me still said "Dude" and left it at that.

Anne just arrived in Terminal 1 and is trying to wrangle a seat next to me on the shuttle flight to Leeds. For Isobelle's sake I hope we don't crash!