Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Boredom Part 2

Five things to pass the time when chained to your desk with nothing to do

1) Pretend you are in a helicopter. Load up Google Earth and navigate your way home from the office by following the roads.

2) Type “ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKS JACK A DULL BOY” repeatedly until someone notices and thinks you have gone mad a la The Shining.

3) Bid for the weirdest thing you can find on Ebay. I am planning on following the progress of this item “WOW SUPRISE TIN OF FOOD. WHAT COULD IT BE, BEANS ETC?”
Described thus. WOW A SURPRISE TIN. WHAT POSIBLEY COULD BE IN SIDE OF IT. THE LABLE IS MISSING THE ONLY WAY TO FIND OUT IS TO OPEN IT. COULD IT BE A TIN OF PEACHES OR A TIN OF MY MUMS MARROWFAT PROCESSED PEAS OR EVEN SOME CHICKEN SOUP. WHY NOT BID AND SURPRISE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS AND SEEN WHAT A GREAT MEAL WE COULD HAVE.

4) See if you have any entries on Google Images.

5) Find people who obviously have less to do that you, to make you feel better about your pointlessness.
http://www.zefrank.com/sandwich/

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Have you ever been so bored that you pretend you can type really fast? Typing random letters in the hope that you’ll find you’ve typed a word by accident. Or that your stream of syllabary might just reveal the true meaning of life... Just me then

Today is a particularly pointless day. My second day at work this week without anything to do. It’s Tuesday. I have been trying to find ways of passing the time. I spent an hour looking at the net. Then I realised all the fish had escaped. I spent a minute and a half working on that joke. I shouldn’t have bothered.

My writing recently has been the kind of stuff that you could get an educationally subnormal chimp to do. Stuff like “Click here for more information on our great offers”, “Enter our exclusive competition” and “Win bananas”. I permanently have thesaurus.com open trying to find twenty different ways to say luxury and I permanently have my brain disengaged otherwise I would have gone mad. Maybe I have gone mad and I don’t know it. Can you go mad and not know it? What happened to the Frenchman who fell in the river? He went insane...

David Blaine can hold his breath under water for seven minutes. How long can I stare at a computer screen without doing anything...Fifteen minutes twenty nine seconds apparently. Although I am sure the fact that I was still breathing disqualifies me.

Do you think if I went terminal at my terminal anyone would notice? Just spent twenty five minutes with my face in the keyboard...no-one did. Although now I have the indentations of keys on my face. Maybe if I look in the mirror the meaning of life will be revealed? Nope, I just have an ampersand above my left eyebrow which is making me look quizzical.

Ampersand. Sounds like somewhere your Gran might have a Caravan...like Canvey Island. Another twenty minutes filled.

Have you ever been so bored that you pretend you can type really fast? Typing random letters in the hope that you’ll find you’ve typed a word by accident. Or that your stream of syllabary might just reveal the true meaning of life... Just me then

Today is a particularly pointless day. My second day at work this week without anything to do. It’s Tuesday. I have been trying to find ways of passing the time. I spent an hour looking at the net. Then I realised all the fish had escaped. I spent a minute and a half working on that joke. I shouldn’t have bothered.

My writing recently has been the kind of stuff that you could get an educationally subnormal chimp to do. Stuff like “Click here for more information on our great offers”, “Enter our exclusive competition” and “Win bananas”. I permanently have thesaurus.com open trying to find twenty different ways to say luxury and I permanently have my brain disengaged otherwise I would have gone mad. Maybe I have gone mad and I don’t know it. Can you go mad and not know it? What happened to the Frenchman who fell in the river? He went insane...

David Blaine can hold his breath under water for seven minutes. How long can I stare at a computer screen without doing anything...Fifteen minutes twenty nine seconds apparently. Although I am sure the fact that I was still breathing disqualifies me.

Do you think if I went terminal at my terminal anyone would notice? Just spent twenty five minutes with my face in the keyboard...no-one did. Although now I have the indentations of keys on my face. Maybe if I look in the mirror the meaning of life will be revealed? Nope, I just have an ampersand above my left eyebrow which is making me look quizzical.

Ampersand. Sounds like somewhere your Gran might have a Caravan...like Canvey Island. Another twenty minutes filled.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Loyalty is something not many people understand nowadays and I blame Tescos. The constant badgering by major supermarket chains to subscribe to their nefarious direct marketing schemes, thinly disgusted as “loyalty cards” has completely sucked all meaning from the word. There was a time when “loyalty” was an ideal that you died for, along with other outdated concepts such as honour and selflessness. There were even different brands of Loyalty. Loyalty to your country = Patriotism. Loyalty to your king = Fealty. Loyalty to your friends = Fidelity. Now loyalty = twenty pence of your next purchase of Pop Tarts.

I think it has died out because in this Post Thatcheite world of capitalism and self absorption, loyalty isn’t its own reward anymore. Even the added bonus of our friendship and gratitude is just not enough remuneration. Maybe we should all start offering “Reward Points” that can be redeemed against later purchases of intimacy, or a kettle. Or maybe we should all just keep retreating into a world where motiveless mendacity is just something you have to deal with every day. But hey it’s not all bad at least in that Base New World, toaster pasties are cheaper.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Last week was a week of finding out cool stuff that I didn’t know. So in the interests of expanding young minds I have decided to share these two snippets.

Anyone who ever saw the eighties Space Race film classic, will have spent wistful afternoons thinking how cool it would be to spend their school holiday at Space Camp. However, my Summer holidays consisted of the local community centre re-branding itself as Camp Krazy Kidz and offering such brain cell killing activities as face painting, tie dying t-shirts and Country Dancing. Hardly the same excitement factor as wrestling with the controls of an errant space shuttle 80Km above the earth, with Joaquin Phoenix.

Despite my dream to boldly follow Neil Armstrong to the Moon, I am never going to make it as an astronaut. For starters, Physics and Maths aren’t my strong suits and it’s unlikely that they are going to need a Mission Specialist with my skills unless they want someone to set up the first Am Dram society on the International Space Station. I am well and truly grounded, but for people like me, those wonderful bods at NASA have come up with an answer. Cape Canaveral’s Astronaut Training Experience. You can be an astronaut for the day with such stellar activities as losing your lunch in the multi-axis trainer, to operating a full-scale Shuttle mock-up and taking the helm in Mission Control. Now all I need is Joaquin and I can die happy…

http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/visitKSC/atx.asp

I feel cheated. When I was a kid, I was told by the time I was old enough to drive I would need a pilots licence. Every sci-fi film I have ever seen has people dangerously whizzing around the troposphere in flying cars, Back to the Future, Bladerunner, Minority Report, The Fifth Element, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang…so how come I am still depressingly anchored to tarmac? But flying cars are flights of fancy no longer! According to their site – Moller International “has developed the first and only feasible, personally affordable, personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle the world has ever seen.” “Personally affordable” might be a bit of an over statement as they retail at $1million but according to Moller we will be seeing the first VTOL in our skies 1st Jan 2009. Now Science bods, start getting busy on my death ray and Replicator.

http://www.moller.com/skycar/

Monday, April 10, 2006

I have been watching a comedy series called My Name is Earl recently and consequently I have been thinking about karma. This is not the first occasion I have been sucked in by the sweet siren’s song of pop culture. There was the time I searched high and low amongst the sports shops of Milton Keynes for red swoosh Nikes (as worn by Michael J Fox in the Back to the Future Trilogy). Or when I bought a long black PVC coat because I thought it made me look like I spent all day dodging bullets and jacking into The Matrix. Basically I am a marketers dream. But I know the difference between real life and “fiction”…OK so I spent one paranoid summer thinking that I was in my own personal reality nightmare a la The Trueman Show, but usually I know the difference between the “world of TV” and the “world of, well, life”.

So how come I’m suddenly watching this show, which is purely fictional, and thinking about how great it would be if karma really worked that way? You do something good, you get something good back, you do something bad…ditto. And better yet people that messed with your life would not go unpunished.

I used to be a great believer in the adage that whatever people did would come back to them. Now I am not so sure. I always try to treat people how I would want to be treated and help anyone that needs it. I wouldn’t stiff someone to get ahead or deliberately hurt a friend out of selfishness. I strive above all things to have a generosity of spirit that lets me accept the talents I have and rejoice for friends when they do well. Ultimately what I am saying is that I try to live a good life.

All I’m asking for in return, is that in the great cosmic scheme of things people who “do bad” by me get some comeback. Actually I’m not even asking for that, I just want to see that those people (karma knows who you are) don’t get opportunity after opportunity handed to them on a plate. At the risk of mixing my metaphors, that they taste failure once in a while rather than the constant smell of success. Hell I’d settle for them realising the consequences of their selfish actions and accepting that their behaviour was wrong…that would be a start.

But maybe that’s part of karma’s plan as well? Karma’s plan for me. So while I wait for that plan to unfurl, I will have to console myself with the warm sun on my face from my position of the moral high ground. And I’ll be letting all that bitterness go (because lets face it “the only person you are hurting is yourself" is a truism for a reason) whilst mouthing my new mantra, “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”

Monday, February 27, 2006

You will be happy to hear after all the rejection I have been filling these posts with, that I am finally a performed writer! Last weekend saw the premiere of my magnum opus, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (abridged). This less than original idea came to me last summer after seeing that feast of sci-fi minimalism, Star Wars in thirty minutes and the Reduced Shakespeare Company at the Edinburgh festival. What other trilogies could be ripe for this frenetic, cut down treatment I thought whilst taking in the late evening Royal Mile air. The Matrix? - Too much wirework, Back to the Future? - would need a car and the ability to time travel, The Godfather – as a vegetarian I don’t think a headless carrot has the same impact.

Then it hit me. What could be easier than cutting down over 11 hours of films starring a cast of thousands of CGI generated fantasy denizens into an eight hander… So “The Lord of the Rings in twenty-five minutes” complete with sock puppet Sam Gamgee and Garden Gnome Gimli, was born. Basically for those interested in how these things work, you take the full script of the film, work out what is essential to the story and cut the rest. What you are left with is seven minutes of lots of people running about the stage waving plastic swords and saying things like, “Tonight you will taste man flesh” with a straight face…mostly.

And it went down a storm. People who claimed never to have seen the films heaped plaudits on the immensely talented cast, coo-ed over Sock puppet Sam and got wood over resident heartthrob and piney impersonator Treebeard. I even heard that we have single-handedly brought garden gnomes back into fashion, albeit with axe instead of fishing pole accessories, I am thinking of selling some on Ebay. Plans are afoot for another outing for the folk of Middle Earth in the summer, so it is well on the way to becoming a global phenomenon in the style of The Reduced Shakespeare Company or Saturday Night Live. Watch this space.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I know it’s been pretty quiet in the world of my Blog recently. I put this down to actually having to write for a living, skiing and disenchantment…

Work wise, copywriting seems to be my forte and I have been getting more and more projects. Actually I think it has more to do with the fact that I don’t threaten to throw myself off the roof every time a client wants to tamper with a my expertly placed punctuation. Commas are there for a reason, and shouldn’t come before and.

You can’t get precious in this business, in fact my stint as a tabloid journalist probably prepared me for a career in the firing line of illiterate suits who say things like;

“You can’t use “gorilla tactics” people will get confused because it’s spelt wrong”

I considered couriering over a copy of Punning for Dummies forthwith, but decided that if they didn’t understand simple word play then irony would probably cause them to slip into grammar-induced commas.

You have to have a thick skin. Especially when you have had the News Editor of a national newspaper throw your copy in your face and scream, “What is this shit, what do you think you are writing for the f*cking Guardian…Who gave you permission to use words over two syllables. What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn't Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?

Ok so the I made the last bit up, but in my head I was 120 pounds of killing machine cleaning my between the keys of my Powerbook with a mad expression on my face and muttering

“This is my laptop my laptop is my friend” shortly before blowing a hole the size of Alaska through his Armani suit, Private Pyle stylee.

As for skiing, other half broke his thumb in spectacular downhill falling incident, thus putting an end to his career as a professional hitchhiker. And disenchantment, well scriptwriting is a subjective business, one man’s Citizen Kane is another man’s Stop or My Mom will Shoot… it appears that despite professional people in the industry signing on to the project after reading my script, the production company decided that they should get other people to rewrite it several more times, at which point I kind of washed my hands of the process. I am concentrating my efforts writing a script to send to a company with a film-making history.