Thursday, November 30, 2006

Woo. Yay. Etc.

So, this is my 300th post.

I was going to demand comments. You know the drill - everyone says hello, lurkers delurk, people say where they got here from. All that important stuff. And then something happened this evening that put the whole fucking thing into perspective.

Small Person stays with her grandma on a Wednesday. On a Thursday and Friday the Ex picks her up from school and she stays with him until Saturday afternoon. It's all fine - I miss her, but she spends quality time with her dad. So. This evening, the doorbell goes at six fifteen. The Other Half opens the door, and the Ex throws Small Person's overnight bag at him. Literally throws. He then legs it back to the car, grabs a screaming Small Person and bodily hauls her onto our doorstep. To the soundtrack of her screaming "I want to be with dad!", he screeches off into the night, leaving the three of us variously screaming, shaking and spoiling for a fight.

It transpires that Small Person has played the Ex up for a massive three school pickups, saying she "doesn't want to go home". The Ex reacted to this by doing pointless arguing of the sort that sees parents leaving the supermarket laden with unwanted comics, sweets and dvds. It escalated, and he lost it. Totally. At six thirty this evening I was alternately berating the Ex by text message and assuring Small Person that her dad loves her. She was convinced it had all gone irrevocably wrong. I asked him to call her before she went to bed. He didn't.

I have had contrite texts in the meantime asking me and Small Person to go round tomorrow evening to "talk". This is fine by me, to a point. What would he have done if we hadn't been at home when he freaked out this evening? At what point was he thinking about the emotional impact his actions were having on a six year old? Do I trust him with her any more? What the fuck???

Um. Anyway. It's my 300th post! Woo! Yay!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Swings, roundabouts, etc

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Not christmas, you understand. No. Christmas is stress, and buying turkeys, and finding the time to put the christmas tree up, and explaining to everyone you know that, actually, you think christmas cards are a total waste of time and money (but thanks for theirs, obviously). It's people piling into Tesco at 5am to buy sprouts and Matchmakers and pork pies and other things that they will throw away in the third week of January, all the while vowing that next year they'll rein it in a bit.


Anyway. This is the time of year when the Ex finishes his annual Autumn work pattern, which has him working a million hours a week and having no time to see Small Person, which in turn means that he has her on a Saturday night and I therefore see her for a massive two hours on a Sunday night which are all taken up with dinner and bath and nagging and where on earth is your PE Kit for the seventh week running??! But no. No more. We are back to normal. All is good in Surly's world. I get my Small Person back at 5pm on a Saturday evening, which means TV dinner and X-Factor and snuggly Sunday morning and fun things. Admittedly, I am glossing over things like sorting out where she is over christmas, and the fact that I haven't yet rung her new school to sort out meeting her teachers etc, but surface-wise, it's all good.

And the best thing of all is that I'm not the only one who feels that way. Regular readers of this pointless endeavour* will be familiar with my endless agonising over being a rubbish mother, what with the fractured upbringing and the self-esteem issues and the just plain being rubbish and all. It seems, however, that occasionally I get it right.

The following is taken from a diary entry Small Person made on the [execrable] "Tiara Club" website, which seems to be aimed at six-year-olds whose parents won't buy them [slutty] Bratz dolls. I have pasted it totally unedited. Please bear in mind (even as you are marvelling at my enviable parenting skills) that the grammar, spelling and punctuation belong to a person who won't be seven until almost June.

Anyway. Over to Small Person:

I'm so happy.I went swimming with my mum. Plus I got swimming lessons with mum as well.I'snt that great?Plus when I finished my swimming lessons I got to have a ice~cream.Do you wish you had a day like that?But I haven't finished what I'm saying yet. After that we went to Tesco and we got advent calendars, a packet of coloa bottles , and a packet of another type of, sweets but I don't know, what their called, and a comic for me. When we got home I had my dinner it was pasta bolonese and I liked it so much that when I finished it I couldn't find the words to thank mum because it was so nice. After thatI went of to play and thats what I have done today.

I don't think I can begin to describe how this little glimpse into my daughter's head made me feel. So, instead, I'll leave you with the heartwarming tale of how she repaid me for this magical day.

She gave me headlice. Sweet.

* Seriously. Why you not say anything any more? Time for Surly to hand the blogging baton to the next generation? Tell.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Important Safety Announcement

To all drivers:

Over the last twenty years or so, as technology, brakes, tyres and, well, cars in general have developed and become more advanced and much safer than they used to be, it has become apparent that puddles of rainwater on the public highways have become Very Dangerous Indeed and, as such, must be avoided at all costs.

If you find yourself driving in wet conditions, please remember that in no circumstances is it acceptable to drive through a puddle. This obviously applies regardless of oncoming traffic, or the ability of the person driving the car behind you to predict your movements ahead of you undertaking a sudden, breathtakingly dangerous manoeuvre. If you are approaching a dangerous half-inch-deep puddle that extends maybe six inches onto your carriageway, please take the following action:
  • Panic
  • Swerve wildly into the path of oncoming traffic (ensuring that you remember to display your intentions by invoking the Half Shrug With Attendant Well-There's-Nothing-I-Can-Do-About-It-But-I'm-Sure-You-Can-Think-Of-A-Way-To-Avoid-A-Collision-On-My-Behalf Expression)
  • Brake sharply halfway through the above, in order that the car behind you has a chance to get in on the pant-shittingly exciting action
  • If an oncoming car happens to spray water onto your windscreen, flinch so physically as to cause an incredulous mutter of "fucking twat" from the driver behind you

Once you have unsafely completed the above manoeuvre, signal your gratitude to drivers around you by offering a weak, shaky wave and fucking off down the nearest side street in order to avoid being beaten to death with a golfing umbrella and a 1998 copy of the AA Map of Great Britain.

Thank you.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Unjustified bitching

The Other Half observed this evening that I don't rant about work nearly so much now I've changed jobs.

It's sort of true, you know. I love my job. I really like most of the people I interact with on a daily basis, even though some of them tell me to fuck off and then try and steal my car keys. However, everything in the garden is not rosy.

I sort of half considered telling you about my "colleague", who annoys me to the point of open-mouthed disbelief. I thought about how much vitriol, how much bile and invective I could spill. How I could tell you about the mentalist comments, the sheer stupidity, the upside-down filing, the putting-the-files-in-the-places-they-fit-on-the-shelves-and-let-the-alphabet-just-get-over-itself. About the laziness, and the pretending to know what the procedures are while relentlessly fucking it all up and causing me to do it all again so we don't get prosecuted, or shut down, or shot, or something. About how she has a Heart Condition That May Be Life Threatening, and about how I am so bored of hearing about it, and how tired of her I am of her generally, that the mention of her Heart Condition and how it may be Life Threatening makes me do filing instead, and how I don't even disguise my boredom any more which probably makes her feel bad but I don't care because she bores me. About how I have discovered her affair with one of the managers, and that she knows that I know but Will Not Admit Anything, which is sort of fair enough because frankly it's none of my business and anyway, it's more fun just making barbed remarks when they're both in the room and watching them squirm.

And then I realised that you would get bored reading ninety thousand words on What I Hate About The Woman I Work With, and abandon me quicker than you're already doing.

So I decided not to. There. Aren't you glad?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Point or no point?

I think I ought to rename this blog "Things I Don't Get".

To the seemingly endless list (Jordan's relationship advice, people who wear Crocs, why nobody has realised yet that Mariah Carey is a female impersonator from Barnsley), I can now officially add Noel Edmonds. More specifically, Noel Edmonds and the teatime rollercoaster that is Deal or No Deal.

Seriously. I don't get it. I mean, the premise is simple enough; Noel Edmonds, a man so inherently bitter he makes Paul Daniels look happy with his lot, invites a endless series of hapless coach party cannon fodder to guess what's in a series of medium sized cardboard boxes. Every so often, Noel Edmonds will pretend to speak to a man on a pretend telephone. The imaginary man on the other end of the pretend telephone offers the contestant some money in exchange for not being allowed to guess what's in any more boxes. So far, so simple. And, so far as I can tell, that's just plain as far as it goes. What with the guessing, and the boxes, and all.

But no! I am wrong! Deal or No Deal is not actually a simple, mildly retarded teatime quiz show! It is mystical! Noel Edmonds, he communicates with the universe by writing things on his hand in biro! The contestants, they are not guessing! They are intuiting! They are channelling the forces within themselves! They are evolving! It's like Close Encounters with an audience of slightly grumpy pensioners!

Is it fuck. It's one person guessing what's in a box, while another person offers them money not to guess any more. No more, no less. Unless of course it is an enormous plan perpetrated by the universe that I am not included in and therefore I may not understand. I prefer not to go down that route though.

Um. Okay. Next in this rip-roaring series dissecting teatime telly, "Why Countdown is a Big Pile of Shit".

Shut up.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Party hearty...

It's been a pretty good week, all in all. We flew down to Newquay on Tuesday evening. The plane didn't crash, and vodka was two-for-one from the inflight bar. Result!

The hotel was incredible, and was priced accordingly. Having offered a competetive rate for a midweek break, they proceeded to compensate by jacking the prices sky high. So we spent most of our time sitting in the Red Lion pub watching the surfers legging it into the sea from Restormel beach. The hotel itself overlooks Fistral beach, which is possibly the most beautiful place I have been. Just fabulous. When I die (hacked to death by the woman who runs Munchies in Aldeburgh) I want the Other Half to have my ashes blown unromantically into his face on Fistral beach.

We flew back Friday lunchtime. Despite the annoyance of Newquay airport's "development fee" which was basically just demanding money with menaces (you're "invited" to pay a fiver each towards the development of the airport. "Invited" is a bit of a misnomer as, if you don't buy a ticket, they won't let you on your plane. Sweet) it was all fine - the plane didn't crash and it was still two for one on the voddy. Result!

We went out for dinner on Friday night, then met friends for drinks. I learned never to drink wine on nights out as it results in me falling off, out of, under or over any amount of invisible obstacles on the way home. Sorry hon. Then last night was a curry followed by a band at a favourite pub, and the Other Half was summoned on stage so that everyone could sing Happy Birthday at him. Ace.

Today has featured a family tea. We are cracking the champagne in a minute to bring the almost-week of the Other Half's birthday celebrations to an official close. It's like when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, except I don't think Chris Patten's mum served the Chinese delegation a chocolate orange Viennetta at a family tea. Or maybe she did. Who knows.

To sum up, it was a fantastic week. My liver hates me, but we had fun poisoning it. Thank god a person is only forty once. I don't think I could stand the pace otherwise.

Oh, and we got new tattoos. One each. Hurray!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Birthday Boy...

Not much in the way of posting for the rest of this week. The Other Half turns forty on Friday so we're off to Newquay this evening for three days of beach walks, log fires, whisky and...well, you get the idea.

So, to keep you all occupied in the meantime, and for my vicious amusement on my return, please leave your memories of your worst/most unhappy/truly horrifying birthday experience in the comments box. Or a nice one. Whatever.

Go on. you know you want to.

Oh, and please pray to the gods of Keeping-Aeroplanes-In-the-Sky. Thank you.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Yesterday, I went to have my hair cut and coloured.

It went well, and I am now proudly sporting two bright pink bits in my hair. It looks ace. The experience was, admittedly, slightly marred by the apparently dyspraxic shampoo-monkey who kept sticking her thumbs in my ears. It was slightly unsettling. It wasn't as bad as when she poked me in the eye, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. It wouldn't do to label people, after all. Maybe it's a new customer service technique that I was unaware of. After all, dentists poke around in your mouth, so why wouldn't a trip to the hairdressers incorporate a couple of painful digs to a person's ears?

While I was waiting for the colour to take, I flicked idly through an old copy of OK! magazine. Among the gushing sycophancy (Steve Brookstein's Highland wedding; Kate Moss and Pete Docherty - We're Quite Happy Really; Coleen McCloughlin's new tracksuit) was a new problem page, edited by Britain's favourite freak show, Jordan. I do wonder about the sort of person who, desperate for a fresh perspective, asks an over-inflated "glamour" model for relationship advice, but there you go. One of the letters was unremarkable in its subject matter. Same old same old - I think my boyfriend's dicking my friend, what should I do.

The advice, however, was a bit....confusing. I read it six times and still couldn't fathom what the bloody hell our Jordan was banging on about. I wonder if anyone can shed some light:

...You could always do some undercover work first if you want. Get hold of his phone. Go down to your name and edit it to put your friend's number in there and ring it, then you will know if he's got her number in there because if he does it's bound to be under a code name but the number will be the same. Then you'll have evidence if they have been doing the dirty.


It just doesn't make any sense to me at all. If you know your friend's number, why not just check the number listing on the phone? What possible purpose can editing your name to show your friend's number serve? Why ring it? All that proves is that you've rung your friend, surely? How is any of this "evidence"?

It's fairly well accepted that Jordan, while blessed with massive jugs and an undoubtedly shrewd assessment of the sort of image that inflates a girl's bank balance, is not going to be troubling the Nobel Prize shortlist anytime soon. It's also fair to say that I am the sort of person who occasionally forgets how to operate the tin opener. However, I really, really don't understand the thinking behind this advice.

Can anyone help? Sadly, it's likely to bother me until I figure it out.

Stupid brain.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Something for the weekend

Special treat. Go here and marvel at the utter, whirling lunacy of Finger Gloves.

I can’t decide what I love most about this website. Is it the breathless tone of the copy? The frankly mental testimonials ("Manufacturing my dog collars requires the use of extremely high heat and these Finger Gloves™ have saved my fingers")? The phrase “Gripping Nubs”?

I think it’s that, when I first stumbled across it (don’t ask), it made me gape with astonishment and whisper why? over and over again. I mean, I sort of get it. Cracked skin, all that. But for the rest of it? Gardening? Cooking? Whatever the bloody hell “Free Motion Quilting” is? Why would you spend all that time lovingly grafting tiny little latex jackets onto each individual finger; trimming and adjusting and layering and faffing, when you could just, I don’t know, pop a pair of gloves on, or something.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Songs of love and special things....

I cycled to work this morning listening to Barry Manilow.

We go back a long way, me and Barry. When I was five or six, I used to (and I'm relating this second-hand; I seem to have erased it from my memory but I’m sure a trained therapist could retrieve it) kiss the front cover of my mother’s Manilow Magic album*. The first album I ever bought was, embarrassingly, “I Wanna Do It With You” by the same Mr Manilow. I loved it. It was a bit racy, mind, particularly the title song with its frankly graphic lyric**:

“I wanna do it, do it with you
I wanna do it, do it with you
I wanna hold you all night long
Ooh baby, feel so strong
I wanna do it, do it with you
I wanna do it, do it with you
I want to love out my fantasies***
Come on baby please”

I don’t think I knew quite what Barry meant, but I knew I liked it. And, let’s face it, the man is a lyrical genius. Never one to miss a trick, he cleverly shoehorned the phrase “have a banana” into the middle section of that paean to lost love and the merengue, Copacabana. I mean, it was crying out for it. Not quite as satisfying as Abba rhyming “sensible” with “incomprehensible”, granted, but up there nonetheless. And who could forget the cheeky, towel-hopping calypso of “Bermuda Triangle” (Bermuda Triangle! It makes people disappear!), with its breathtaking marriage of “my angle” with “triangle”. Could you have come up with a rhyme for triangle? I don’t think so.

So there you have it. Barry Manilow. Genius. He truly does write the songs that make the whole world sing.


*I was going to put “LP” instead of album, but 1) I couldn’t work out whether it should be “LP” or “lp”, and 2) it looked so archaic I wasn’t wholly convinced that I hadn’t dreamed it. So, album it is then. God, the days before CDs and MP3s were a wasteland, weren’t they?

** When I went online to check the lyrics**** it all got a bit weird. The site I used made suggestions of other artists that people checking Barry Manilow lyrics might be interested in. The list included, along with the perfectly acceptably-indexed Dido and Dire Straits, the rather more random inclusion of Placebo, Rage Against the Machine and Ludacris. Placebo and RATM I’m going to give them. After all, I love Barry so why wouldn’t other fans of guitar music? But Ludacris? I’d love to know the thinking behind that one.

*** I wonder how the sexual fantasies of Barry Manilow might shape up? I bet he’s a plushie.

**** Shut up.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why the Internet is bad...

Bit of a busy week this week. What with the imminent horror of taking my mother to see a singing dustman, a visit from a friend tomorrow evening that will necessitate my nodding sympathetically for anything up to four hours, a Big Night Out on Thursday and a usual weekend of debauchery I may not have much posting time available to me.


It’s discussion time.

I went to Fancy London on Saturday with Kellycat. We met up with Slurker and LC and got rather, ahem, plastered. It was ace – I poured beer down my front, we had such a revolting meal that we left the pub without paying, and the snarking had to be heard to be believed.

Now, I believe I’ve touched before on how geeky and sad the whole blogging thing can be perceived as being. As Slurker pointed out, being a top blogger is the social equivalent of being one of Britain’s Top Five Trainspotters. But where does it stop? How much do we willingly immerse ourselves in the wankiness of the blogging vernacular? Apparently, some early bloggers referred to themselves as “escribitionists” which is so Clever that it makes my brain itch. Nowadays, the blogging world, I’m sorry, Blogosphere, is full of sex bloggers (who will start referring to themselves as Sloggers, or Blexers, or something anytime in the next thirty seconds and we’ll all have to learn a new word), photo bloggers, blog pimps, podcasts, link whores, tech blogs, blogrolls, vlogs, moblogs, warblogs…it’s endless. People who get sacked have been Dooced. Lawyers who blog don’t even have a blog – they have a blawg (Do you see what they did there? Do you?). See this Wikipedia entry to understand just how horrible it can get (Bloll? Instalanche? Momosphere???).

All of the preceding expressions are enough to make me feel slightly uncomfortable when using them in polite society. I always feel a bit like I’m quoting from my Brownie Handbook, or owning up to playing Dungeons and Dragons, or something. However, ladies and gentlemen of that-not-sad-really-practice-of-writing-on-the-internet-like-an-electronic-Anne-Frank, surely the worst, wankiest blog-speak so far is…..(and I can hardly bring myself to even type it)…


As in “So. How many of us here today* are actually Blovellists then?”.

The horror. The unspeakable horror. What say you?

* None of us said this. It wasn't us. Really.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Why the internet is great

Sometimes I wonder what the qualifications held by people in marketing actually mean. This post started out as an expression of my bewilderment at Comet’s latest strapline: “We Live Electricals”. What? What does that even mean? It’s not even a sentence, as far as I can make out. Surely adding industry-speak to a public ad campaign can only serve to alienate your potential market. I mean, when was the last time you stood in your kitchen and said to your other half/flatmate/twenty-seven cats “do you know, we need some new electricals”? Presumably, in the collective mind of Comet’s marketing department, this train of thought triggers “I know! Let’s go to Comet! After all, they live electricals!” Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever used that word. But still.

When I googled the slogan this morning to check I hadn’t dreamed it (I was in a general state of bewilderment at the time owing to watching some random fly-on-the-wall about the Towers of London on Bravo. Surely they are either a) the shittest band ever, ever, in the history of shit bands who have inexplicably been given a record deal/tour budget or b) an elaborate meeja hoax in the style of Spinal Tap which has clever people who read clever magazines smiling ironically at the irony of it all), I arrived at the peach of a website that is Corporate Comet.

And from there I found a media release crowing about possibly the most patronising gadget ever invented. I could rant for days about the utter banality of a device that presumes you are too stupid (as a woman; this is, as happily and proudly declaimed by the press release, “ideal for women so they can count a loss of calories with a favourite snack rather than try to focus on everchanging sets of numbers during an exercise regime”) to understand all those complicated numbers and calories. I could speculate about how much fun the meeting was where they decided on the sliding scale of evil snacks with which to reward pink-faced women on treadmills the length and breadth of the land. I could marvel at the complexity of said scale, and ponder the use of a cup of coffee as a representation of a special treat. It’s just so random – like one of those complicated games seven year old girls play at breaktime with a set of rules so complex the UN would have a hard time ratifying them.

But I won’t. I’ll let you read it for yourself. All the way to the end, mind. And then, as a reward, you can have a lightly poached Oxo cube. Because you’re worth it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What did I come in here for....?

For the last few months I have had a very weird thing going on.

I love reading, me. I used to read all the time. I don't read anything worthwhile, of course - it's all rubbish. But I used to love it. When I was a Small Person I used to take about six books on long car journeys because there was nothing worse (apart from my stepsister putting one of her books/her elbow/her foot on my side of the car, which would elicit whiny cries of "Muuuuum!" and one of those weird, I-can't-see-you slaps from the front seat) than running out of book on a long journey. I used to hate coming home from my Granny's on a Sunday afternoon because it would get dark halfway home and I wasn't allowed to read any more and the only thing to do was listen to my stepdad's Genesis tapes and keep a sharp eye out for incoming from the other side of the back seat.


I can't read books any more. Well, occasionally I can - I've just read "The Bell Jar". But that's the first book I've started and then finished for months. I do that thing where I stand in front of the bookcase, which would normally make me go ooh! and grab for something I haven't read for ages, which would then be devoured in hours flat. But these days I can't even concentrate long enough to choose anything. And on the rare occasions that I can, I can't actually read the bloody book. It's the same with music - I tend to obsess over albums and listen to them endlessly. Again, that hasn't happened for ages (well, until the Other Half got me the My Chemical Romance CD which I have listened to relentlessly for almost a week now). I put a CD on and get bored with it halfway through.

What on earth has happened to my attention span? I've got so many things in my head (busy at work, Small Person changing school, millions of random things) that stuff keeps falling out. I'm going to London on Saturday, but completely forgot about it. The Other Half had to remind me. I can't remember anything. I'm going to end up like some random bag lady, all pockets and bits of paper that say things like "dentist" and "hair" and "brush teeth" on them.


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