Month: November 2015

Mistress of the Bad Dad Joke

The bloke often tells me that my jokes are terrible.

Obviously, I am hilarious, so he is wrong. He needs a sense of humour transplant or something. Or does he?

Whilst pottering around looking at one of the many Yankee Candle displays in town, we were mocking the names and smells of some of the offerings. Turns out White Snow actually smells like mens urinals, I am informed.

Me: What do you think Angels Wings smell like?

Bloke: Dunno. Depends on how longs he’s been down here.

… and my jokes are bad? Hypocrisy! This did get a chuckle out the shop assistant who’d been listening to us mocking the goods in her shop.

Personally, I thought ‘I make the meanest omelette in town. I only use one egg’ was incredibly witty. When a pea escaped my plate, and I informed everyone that ‘I just peed all over the table’, I just about gave myself a hernia laughing at myself.

I think he’s just jealous that my ‘bad dad’ jokes are better than his.

Hmph!

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My 5 favourite words

Yup, I am sad enough to have favourite words. Here they are:

  1. Lethologica. The inability to remember a word or put your finger on the right word. How cool is it that there is a word for this? Especially one that in itself is more difficult than some to remember?
  2. Spaghettification. The theoretical stretching of an object as it encounters extreme differences in gravitational forces, especially those associated with black hole. Just the meaning behind this, being so far away from that you’d expect, makes it awesome.
  3. Acatalepsy. An ancient skeptical view that no more than probable knowledge is available to human beings. It’s a word that sums up the attitude of ‘It’s been done, so never try’.
  4. Cockalorum. A self-important little man. We’ve all met many. There are plenty in our government. It’s pretty awesome that it is summed up in a word.
  5. Hebetude. The state of being dull. I have this upon waking up every morning.

Britishism – The Tea Queue

I got chatting with a Hungarian colleague at work whilst in the very small kitchen my department shares. This kitchen is small enough that you can only barely squeeze two people into it at once. At certain times of the day, you will find people queuing up outside, awaiting their turn at the kettle. I termed this the ‘Tea Queue’, and my colleague commented that those two words together summed up everything British.

Now, my colleague hasn’t been living in the UK all that long – and she told me a story about her own experience of British Rage when she inadvertently jumped a queue. I felt kind of bad for her – she hadn’t been here long, and had been in a rush to not miss her bus. The bus station is very busy, and the stops quite close together. She hadn’t realised that the long queue she ran past had been the queue for the bus she was aiming to catch. This resulted in a woman in the queue giving her a massive scolding, which has stuck with my colleague even now.

Here’s the thing. In the UK, we’re conditioned to honour the queue. Queue jumping is one of the biggest faux pas you can commit. Seeing queue jumping in action will incite us to fury. However – the majority of people do not mean to be rude, I find. Sometimes, they make an honest mistake. Queuing may not be such a huge thing where they come from. In all the times someone has queue jumped in front of me, I generally find that a polite ‘Excuse me, I think you missed the queue here!’ usually results in the queue jumper looking a bit embarrassed at their mistake and taking their proper place in the queue.

Granted, swallowing your rage can be difficult – especially on a bad day. But I find it pretty sad that all too often, people will let loose their rage without realising that people sometimes have just missed the fact that there is a queue. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t give someone a bloody good telling off if they are unrepentant of their rudeness when you attempt to politely correct them. Still. I wish that the woman who told off my colleague had been a bit nicer. I fear that my colleagues first impression of Britishism may be tarnished somewhat by this experience, and that makes me sad.

Above all, the main Britishism should be politeness first, and fury at impoliteness second.

Show, don’t tell.

The place where I work is very multicultural. It’s a large company, with offices around the world. This means that sometimes, you cannot help but run into a bit of a language barrier – especially when talking more technical things, as you’ll often get with software development.

I was explaining to some German guys about how to use a code review tool we use here, but unfortunately, we were verbally tripping up over each other, even though their English is very good.

So, what to do at this point? They suggested that maybe we could set up a Webex meeting, and I could show them my screen and talk them through everything.

Now, Webex meetings and screen sharing are both awesome tools in the arsenal of computer related tasks when attempting to send knowledge across the pond, but they can be time consuming. You have to schedule time for the whole event, and there’s always one person who has a problem getting into the meeting properly. I came across another solution, instead.

I used tinytake, and made a video of what needed to be done. This application is all sorts of awesome. For free, you can record a specified area of your screen for up to 5 minutes. If you want more, you have to pay for it. Regardless, a minute and a half of recording later, I sent out a demo video to the nice German folks, and they were up and running properly 5 minutes later. No muss, no fuss. More importantly, because it was a video without sound, no more confusing each other. Language barrier – smashed. Hoorah!

I’d highly recommend giving the app a whirl. Not just for busting through language barriers, but I believe it has scope when trying to explain to *anyone* how to do something on their computer without being confusing or caught up in jargon.

Blogger Recognition Reward

Well, I got nominated by the awesome bobaandgames for a blogger recognition reward, which makes me feel all kinds of awesome. Thanks for that! I figured I needed to hold up my end of the whole thing and write up a Blogger Recognition reward myself. This is great, as it gives me the opportunity to share some of my current favourite blogs! Winnage all around!

So, here are da Rules:

  1. Write a post explaining why you started blogging along with a few tips.
  2. Nominate some of your fellow bloggers.
  3. Comment on their blogs to let them know you’ve nominated them.

I started blogging mainly to have something to do. I was just coming out of a bout of depression, and was eager to keep myself busy.

I never settled on a topic for my blog, beyond ‘things that interest me’. I’m interested in many things, so I decided to not limit myself to just one thing. As a result, my blog is now something a bit like a diary. I write about the life lessons I learn, things I’ve done, the people who influence my life, and just any random thing that pops into my head. As it turns out, people seem to enjoy reading it, so I have no reason to stop!

In terms of blogging tips, my main one is this – write about what you are interested in. Don’t write a post for the sake of it. By all means, pick a topic, but don’t force it. Also, dip your foot into the waters of the blogger community pool a bit – you’ll find really interesting people!

This is getting wordy. Oops. So, without further ado, here are my blog nominations (you will probably spot a theme here)

gamecomplainrepeat – I love this blog. One of my favourite game blogs!

tastingeverything – This blog will make you hungry.

karinateuma– Food Is Life. Truest blog title ever.

feedingonfolly – A blogger after my own heart.

wavemotionfist – One of my first followers, and a fabulous gaming blog to boot.

How to be an arsehole – flat tenant edition

I live in a flat. There are 11 flats in total here that share both the car park, and the two bins that are emptied every monday by the council. The bins are quite large, so there is not usually a problem beyond the council ‘forgetting’ to empty the bins over the summer months.

Here’s the fun bit. Every time one of the tenants opts to leave for pastures new, they seem to think that it’s totally fine to fill up the bins with all their offcast junk on their leaving day.

Today, a new low was reached. I’ve opted to write an open letter, since I seem to have few other options.

Dear arsehole,

I know who you are. Sadly, I no longer know where you live. Hence this open letter. Thank you for filling up both of the rather large bins on a Wednesday with all your rubbish. Those of us still living here are incredibly grateful for yet another week of binbags being ripped open by the local wildlife because we can’t fit them in the bin.

2015-11-25 16.51.14
We have 2 of these rather large bins.

In particular, I am most impressed with your decision to offload your rather large collection of polystyrene balls without bagging them first. This was a stroke of genius. Not only do we* have the pleasure of cleaning up the additional mess caused by people being forced to leave their bin bags out, but we now have the additional joy of putting up with a faux snow-storm in the car park every time there is a slight breeze. How christmassy! Such a shame you won’t get to enjoy it, given that you have left for a home that is likely free of polystyrene balls.

This begs the question – where did you get all these polystyrene balls?!?

You sir, are a wanker of the highest order. Enjoy your new home.

* aka: me, because as you noted last time this happened – it’s awfully nice of me to sort out the rubbish that has been left out to rot by the bin men as they refuse to take anything unless it is in said actual bins (‘elf and safety, see), and also left there to rot by the other awesome flat tenants here, who seem to think that cleaning up their mess is not their problem.

UPDATE 26/11/15

So, myself and another neighbour teamed up to try and clear up as much as possible. We loaded up 12 bin bags with polystyrene balls. I came out this morning to find that the neighbour had been back at some point, and abandoned all his other unwanted stuff by the bins to! So, my car is now loaded up with bin bags, an electric radiator, a bin, a mop, and a bucket. Off to the skip I go on my lunch break tomorrow. Thankfully, the landlady has promised to arrange an extra bin collection, so we should get to a point where we can actually put our rubbish in the bins again. Hoorah?

At least the coffee shops sell different flavours.

This weekend just gone saw me and the Bloke have a wander around town, looking for inspiration and mainly just getting out of the house.

We lamented a while over how all the shops sell the same things – which is something that is becoming more and more of a problem. You go into a shop and see something that looks really unique. In this instance, it was a make your own cardboard clockwork dinosaur. We spent a while playing with it in the shop, then found the same thing in the next 4 shops we looked into. Sigh.

You then get curious, and decide to check it out online. Amazon sell the same thing for around £5 cheaper than we saw in any of the 5 shops we found it in.

That’s a problem. In this case, it’s twofold. First off, if you can find the same thing in the majority of the shops you check, it discourages looking in different shops, as there is a lack of variety. This is something that has infected the independent shops in the area as well as the usual chain culprits. Secondly, if it works out both cheaper and more convenient to buy it online, then what’s the point in heading into town at all?

It’s no wonder that the high street shopping centres in towns around the country are being taken over by a gazillion coffee shops. I’ve been trying to be good this year, and buy gifts from the city centre, but I feel like I’m just ripping myself off and wasting my own time doing it. Meaning that I’ll probably be doing the majority of my Christmas shopping online once again this year.