Feeling Cranleigh*

I’m having a bad day.

It’s not the kind of bad day that simply makes you want the hours to fly by, but the kind of bad day that makes you want to to punch others indiscriminately in the face as hard and as often as possible.

Maybe a swift kick in the dick too; gender permitting.

I can’t put my finger on why it’s a bad day, it just is and I can’t shake it, no matter how many times I’ve gone to the toilets for a poo.

Now, for clarity, I don’t actually need to poo as often as I’ve been to the toilets today – because I would need some serious medical attention if I did – but it’s the only place in the building I can guarantee I won’t be disturbed as I sit on my porcelain throne, trousers and lacy thong around my ankles, playing ‘Flow Free’ on my phone. To add a little more joy to the proceedings, the toilets have music piped in.

Perfect splash concealment.

Thanks Ed Sheeran.

I look around at the fresh faced people I work with (at my desk, not in the toilets), buzzing away like bees in a hive, happy to simply go through their day like any other and I realise it’s the sort of attitude I usually have pretty much every day, except for today. Today I feel the overwhelming urge to yank people’s hair as I walk past them, dish out the occasional – yet unnecessarily brutal – Chinese/Indian burn (depending on whichever outdated, oddly racial description of this cruel childhood torture is your preference) and kick away office chairs just as people trustingly begin to sit down.

Actually, let’s be honest here….kicking away a chair is always funny, bad mood or not.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have depression nor do I crave sympathy or attention like so many baited Facebook posts.

#grammarpolice

Nope, I’m just simply in a shitty mood. This might be because it’s Monday, or maybe it’s because I’ve had too much/not enough coffee [delete as appropriate] or maybe…just maybe…it’s because I’ve only had 4 hours sleep the last two nights.

Yeah, it might be that.

Does it diminish my desire to choke passers by, just for passing by?

Nope.

So here I sit, marinating in my deep seeded desire to push over children and people on crutches, using this post as an outlet for the pent up rage bubbling somewhere in the depths of my soul.

I think I’ll go for another poo….and maybe a nap.

Zzzzzzz…..

Thrrrppp!

Excuse me.

 

 

*Look it up in ‘The Meaning Of Liff’.

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FuckMonkey and the five things that annoy me about the gym

Gather ’round, gather ’round; I have a tale to tell……..the tale of FuckMonkey.

Now, before I tell this tale I need to get some stuff off my chest.  At first it will feel like I am never getting to the story of FuckMonkey, but believe me…I am.

All will become clear.

So, to begin, I would like to talk about the gym, again.  The last time I shared observations about the gym I hadn’t been in the country very long so my exposure was as limited as the brain power of…of…well, FuckMonkey actually.

More of that later.

I’ve noticed some behaviours in the gym here in Vegas that just need to be shared. This isn’t including the weirdos who pay a yearly gym subscription just to stretch and do mat exercises on the floor.

Just do that shit at home.

(shrugs)

Anyway, here are 7 baffling and annoying behaviours and practices I’ve seen at the gym, in between gawping at unnecessarily muscular girls’ bums.

1 – Massive Water Bottles.

I don’t really get this one.  These things are mini (but not THAT mini) versions of office water coolers.

water-bottle

Compensating for something?

Considering the gym has drinking fountains and bottle filling stations everywhere offering nice cool filtered water, why do you need to bring such a huge bottle and carry it around with you?  It’s like having a huge plate at an all-you-can eat buffet.  Yes you can put more food on your plate all at once (you greedy fuck), but the food will not be far from the preferred temperature long before you finish the plate.

Mmm, warm water.  Refreshing.

At first I thought it was for those crazy people who do cardio for what seems like hours – putting the rest of us to shame – but these bottles don’t fit through most doorways, let alone the cup-holders on the machines.

Maybe it’s because people don’t want to make the long walk to any of the various drink fountains, but surely that’s just counterproductive…like the dickheads from the car park [parking lot].

This need to carry around enough water to drown a small Hippo still amuses me, and I just want to point and laugh…but I don’t; some of these people are BIG!

Sm bodybuild

Me so THIRSTY!

And, speaking of water….

 

2 – Water Fountain Etiquette

This one is just plain hilarious.  To start, here is an actual photo of one of the water fountains in my gym.

fountains-gym

You’ll notice they’re at slightly different heights; the reason for which is a mystery.  I have seen a dude with dwarfism[1] in there, so is it for him?  I don’t know.

Now I think about it, I’ve never actually seen him take a drink from one of these fountains. He carries around a sensibly sized water bottle because a) he’s not an idiot and b) he has a clear grasp of basic physics.

But there’s something about the varying heights of these fountains that has people gravitating to the one on the left.  I have lost count the amount of times I’ve walked past 2 or 3 people waiting in line for the fountain on the left and quenched my thirst with the one on the right.

If anything, the act of bending down a little further is an extra workout for your abs.

Also, people have no idea how to drink from them. I once saw a mouth breather sucking on the nozzle like it was his mum’s tit.  There’s no way I was getting anywhere near that after him.

Plus, I’ve seen his mum.

(shudder)

Then there are those people who strut to the fountain – overly panting and wheezing (for attention) from lifting heavy things in the air and then putting them down again – only to lean on the fountain with both hands, pausing for effect (and more attention), before drinking.

They can see there are people waiting behind them (at the left fountain, naturally) and yet they stand there all important, entitled and ‘roided up.

Then they take the smallest of sips because the peak of their baseball hat gets in the way.

Speaking of which…

 

3 – Unnecessary attire

I’m not talking about those string thin muscle tops that are less ‘clothing, and more ‘shoelace’, no…I’m talking about hats and sunglasses.

Indoors.

Unless you’re Jake or Elwood Blues, I will always have issues with you wearing sunglasses indoors…you fucking twat.  But I’ve lost track of the number of heavily ‘roided bubble people I’ve seen wearing them in the gym.

bubbleman

“I’m forever made of bubbles….”

Maybe they think it makes them look cool, but they’d be wrong.  I thing I’ve got them sussed; they do all that shouting, grunting and slamming down of weights only to secretly look around afterwards to see if anyone is watching.

We’re not.

We don’t care.

And when these bizarre bumpy behemoths stand around high fiving each other and talk at a DECIBEL LEVEL LOUD ENOUGH TO BE HEARD FROM SPACE, we simply don’t give a shit.

Shut up, bubble people.

But they’re not the worst offenders of unnecessary attire; not by a long shot.  No, the award goes to the mopey teenagers with slouch beanies.  These fuckers really grit my shit.  You know slouch beanies right?  They’re what the smurfs used to wear before they become popular (the beanies, not the Smurfs)

I would normally insert a picture here of a mopey, slouch beanie’d bell-end, but it would fill me with so much rage I might not finish this post.

(breathe…breathe…)

I have lost count the number of fantasies I’ve had of pulling their hat down over their face and garotting them with their headphones.  I find it weird that people wear a hat in the gym anyway, but a big, flaccid woolly bag?

beaniegym

This coming from a man who has a cold head

The reason these skinny (and they’re always skinny), slow blinking, perma-texting Biebers are cold is because the only things that get a work out are their thumbs.  They just move from machine to machine doing half a lacklustre set – on the lowest weight – followed by sitting on the machine with their face in their phones.

Which leads me to….

 

4 – Hogging the machine

If you’re sat on a machine and can see someone waiting, either let the person know how many sets you have left, alternate sets with them, or fuck off.

No reading texts.  No checking Facebook.  Just fuck off.

That is all.

 

5 – Being on the phone

I understand that you may get a call when you’re at the gym; that’s fair.  I also appreciate that sometimes you need to make a call.  But some of these fuckers talk on the phone during their entire workout.

There is nothing more annoying that the person next to you talking constantly, and hands-free on their phones at a volume that is not loud enough to be overheard, but loud enough to piss you off.  Honestly. what is so important that you simply HAVE to have this conversation right now?

Now, the assumption you’re probably having is that all these social butterflies are talking hands-free; not so.  I saw one dude sat on an ab-crunch machine talking into his phone in that walkie-talkie style I despise so much.

Talking like this makes you look like a twat. Fact.

Talking like this makes you look like a twat.
Fact.

For clarity, the ab-crunch machine had overhead handles that you pull down as you crunch, raising your knees and grunting like a porn star.  It was both angering and hilarious to watch this utter penis struggle to maintain a conversation whilst crunching with one hand on his phone and the other holding one of the handles.

It was awkward and embarrassing, all at once.

So, how does all this relate to FuckMonkey?  Well, I’m glad you asked.

A few weeks ago I was in the gym and I was working my back.  Of all the pec-fly machines in the gym, only three of them double as a back-fly machine.

For the uninformed, these machines look something little like this:

fly-machine

Note – that is not Superman

On this day, two out of the three machines were out of service.

I had almost completed my routine and only had the back-fly machine left to use, so I walked towards the one working machine and was headed off by this guy who placed his towel on it and then went to grab some water.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with FuckMonkey.

FuckMonkey hit all 5 on the list.

After standing in line behind someone using the left fountain, he came back, looked at me blankly, put down his oversized water bottle, then adjusted the weight he needed and began doing chest exercises.  I couldn’t believe it, he could’ve chosen ANY of the other pec-fly machines that didn’t double as a back-fly machine, but no…he had to use this one.

Oh well‘, I thought, ‘he shouldn’t be that long‘.

I’ll wait.

He was on the phone (hands-free), mumbling some inaudible shit while he sorted out the height of his seat and began his first set.

I waited.

He finished his set – still mumbling – adjusted his stupid fucking hat and sat there on his phone for what felt like an eternity.

I waited a bit longer.

He pulled himself away from his phone for a for a moment to pout and flex his puny chest muscles in the mirror before looking up at me blankly and adjusting the weight on the machine.

He started his 2nd set.

I waited some more.

After his 2nd set – still mumbling some bollocks into his phone – he went back to texting and pouting and flexing in the mirror.

Again, he looked at me blankly, then adjusted the weight on the machine and began his 3rd set.

After 15 minutes (yes, FIFTEEN minutes) and numerous sets, I caught the eye of a fellow gym member (let’s call him Larry) who gave me a ‘Sheesh! How long is that guy going to take?‘ look.

I nodded back with my best I know, right?‘ look.

After a minute or so Larry walked over to FuckMonkey and did what any Brit would never do; he asked Fuckmonkey how long is is going to be.

Are you going to be long?  That guy behind you is waiting for the machine“.

FuckMonkey muttered something and Larry looked at me, shrugged and went back to his workout.

Now, usually I wouldn’t wait around, but this was the LAST machine in my routine for the day, and the completionist in me just wanted to get it done.

I waited another 10 minutes and FuckMonkey carried on pouting, flexing, mumbling and doing sets…all the time knowing I was stood there shifting from foot to foot and huffing loudly.

Us Brits might not have the balls to confront a stranger, but we sure know how to huff.

At one point, another gym goer asked me if I was using the machine I was leaning against.  I replied with “No, I’m waiting for that machine, right there” and pointed full on and passive aggressively at the one FuckMonkey was on.

FuckMonkey saw me.  FuckMonkey didn’t change his routine.

After a full 25 minutes had passed, enough was enough.  I walked over to FuckMonkey and interrupted his current pouting session.

Excuse me…” (I’m English after all, I don’t want to appear rude), “…how much longer are you going to be?“.

He mumbled something like “M gon’ do, li’, a som’ mo’ set’, li’, 20 o’ wha’ev

I looked at him for a moment, resisting the urge to garotte his weedy little neck, and said sarcastically (and a little aggressively), “So, what are you saying, 20 more minutes?“.

He nodded and said “Yeah“.

And that’s how he got his name.

newspaper

1 This is nothing derogatory about his size, or some cheap shot.  I don’t mock or berate people based on their appearance, but rather their level of sheer Dumbfuckery.  If you’re stupid enough for me to write about you, you’re fair game.  Plus, two of my friends have a beautiful baby boy with dwarfism. (Shout out to J and M!)

10 things I’ve learned about Americans that I didn’t know before.

I love top ten lists.

I think I’ve read every single one of them online, from the top ten destinations in the world or the top ten things to do in video-games to the top ten ways to kill and dispose of a body.

Pff, like I didn’t already know that.

And the other day I realised I haven’t ever composed my own.  It wasn’t due to an oversight; I simply didn’t have any topic that warranted a top ten list.  I suppose I could’ve done the top ten nicest arses in the gym…but that is a) usually my wife’s, or b) pointed out to me by my wife which means it’s technically her top ten and not mine.

So I thought long and hard (smirk) about it and I discovered I did have something that warranted a top ten list.  This is something that encapsulates a lot of ideas I’ve had recently and pulls them together into one post.

You see, before I moved to the USA, I knew there were certain eccentricities, weird behaviours and foibles the Americans had, like the inability to keep quiet, the lack of portion control or the fact they are easily offended by every single thing ever.

Seriously, you call someone a cunt once…..

But there have been a whole shit-ton of things I didn’t know about until I was actually amongst them. And by ‘shit-ton’, I mean ten.

So here are ten things I’ve learned about Americans that I was blissfully unaware of before I lived here.

 

1 – They’re crackers about soup

I’m being literal here, they can’t comprehend that soup can be eaten without first shoving in fistfuls of crumbled up crackers.  In the UK we have a famous brand of crackers called Jacobs and we put all sorts of things on them like cheese, hams (deli meats), spreads and various types of pâté, but I’ve never ever heard of anyone anywhere…ever…crumbling them up and putting them in their minestrone.

Now I think about it, I haven’t seen pâté since I’ve been here.  Probably because there’s no sugar or caffeine in it.

crackers

They’re crackers about crackers…

Anyway, I’ve asked a few Americans why they put crackers in their soup and I get the same blank look and awkward shrug I always get when I ask them why they do what they do.

They simply have no idea.

It’s just what they do apparently.  Some say it’s due to the crunch, but that has to be utter bollocks because the crunch dissolves in piping hot soup in less time than it takes for a redneck to finger his sister.

Note – I just asked a work colleague (and fellow blogger) if that last sentence could be considered more offensive than funny.

He asked me “Do you find it funny?”

I do.

He then asked, “Is it more funny to you than offensive?

It is.

“Then post it”.

I did.

He then followed up with “Did you know that ‘incest’ is the most searched word on PornHub?”

I didn’t.

So sister-fingering stays.

Worryingly, I wouldn’t have even questioned this a year ago.  I would have just written what I found funny and hoped you lovely readers out there would just ‘get it’ (the humour, not the finger).

My god, am I becoming more American?  Am I worried you’re going to be offended?  Am I going to appear on this list?

Nah.

 

2 – They don’t do rounds in a bar

I realise I’ve already covered this one in a previous post, but it really did catch me by surprise.  Interestingly, one of my friends who reads my blog has actually started to go into rounds with me when we go out drinking (shout out to A.G!).

busy-bar

I still find it bizarre that everyone buys their own drink and then complains that it takes forever to get served.

 

3 – Energy drinks!

This is another one I’ve already bleated on about, but seriously…what is going on here America?  You guys drink more of this shit in a day than is available anywhere else in the world over the course of an entire year!  It’s got to the point now where fridges in gas stations across the land are awash with hundreds of different brands, flavours, sizes and strengths.  It seems to be the answer to everything here.

Need a pick-me-up? Have a Red Bull.

Hungover?  Have a Monster.

Heart not beating fast enough?  Down a Rockstar (but not in a groupie kind of way).

11806581

Some people imbibe these Taurine infused, over caffeinated silos of flavoured sugar water with the regularity and ferocity of chain smoking vapers, but more twitchy.

 

4 – TMA (Too Many Acronyms)

I already knew about things like the FBI, the CIA, the DMV or the KKK…and there are the obvious ones like FYI, WTF, OMG, ETC…

But I had no idea how much Americans love to acronym everyday shit….every day.

E.g. (see what I did there?)

TMI (Too Much Information – something I was hearing a LOT. I wonder why.)

BRB (Be Right Back – although why people don’t just say “Be Right Back”; it takes the same amount of time to say….and in the time it took to explain that to me, they could’ve been right back)

CPA (Certified Public Accountant – How the fuck (or HTF) was I supposed to know that?)

FSA (Flexible Savings Account, and NOT the Financial Services Authority!)

FMLA (The Family and Medical Leave Act – It’s a thing out here related to being off sick from work, or something.  Personally I thought it was something to do with a vagina)

TFTI (Thanks For The Invite – This is really a thing.  I’ve heard it used in conversations.  I tend to reply with ‘NP’ which doesn’t go down too well)

PSA (Public Service Announcement. It’s not a service if I don’t know what it means)

CPS (Child Protection Services – something children actually use to threaten parents with; those precious little fucking snowflakes)

OAB (Over Active Bladder, and not Old Aged Bastard as I first thought….although they are closely linked)

HOA (Home Owner’s Association – A governing body that tells you what you can or can’t do with your home, maintains the upkeep of the lawns and parks that you never visit and charges you a fee for that.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?)

HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle – This is a lane on the Freeway (motorway) for cars with more than one person. That’s right, in America, TWO passengers is considered high occupancy)

SOP (Standard Operating Procedures – and NOT something you use in the shower)

EO (Early Out – This is when you leave early from work…because simply saying you’re leaving early is too much, apparently)

QBR (Quarterly Business Report – It makes sense now that I’ve written it, but try being in a conversation when it’s being used every other word and you can’t understand why they keep talking about a UK football club).

It’s a little OTT, TBH.

FFS.

picard-acronym

 

5 – Their jokes are just awful.

Americans can’t tell jokes.  I mean, they can TELL a joke, but the jokes aren’t funny.  Back home we have things called Christmas Crackers which two people pull apart and they make a loud ‘snap’ noise (the crackers, not the people).

cracker-pits

These dogs are about to snap (groan)

Inside these noisy little bastards is a crap little toy, a flimsy tissue paper crown and a joke; a tame, vanilla joke intended to not cause offence in any way.  It’s simple humour to appeal to adults and kids alike.

That’s the sort of jokes I get told here.  Things like, “Where do you take a sick bee?  To a waspital”. Seriously, it’s like that.

I once tested the water with a Jimmy Carr classic; “What do you get if you put a baby in a blender?  An erection.”

The water was cold.  Very, very cold.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been told some genuinely funny jokes in the US, and my new and awesome American friends are some of the funniest people I know, but overall I’ve noticed an innocence in the joke telling here.

This from a country that brought us Family Guy.

Weird.

 

6 – They subscribe to foreign stereotypes.

I knew America had a warped view or the world – if Epcot is anything to go by – but they REALLY believe the stereotypes of the world.

For example, they genuinely believe that the English (or ‘British’ as they call us, which I’ve given up trying to explain) drink high tea every day from small porcelain cups and saucers with our pinkies firmly sticking out.  They also believe that we accompany this tea with either scones or crumpets.

They also find it hard to believe that English muffins aren’t English, French toast isn’t French, and German chocolate cake isn’t German. The irony here is the fact they call Belgian waffles, ‘waffles’….and those genuinely ARE Belgian.

stereotyped-world

When you tell them this, they look at you with the tilted head of a puppy and simply don’t believe you.

Minds, blown.

 

7 – They are the centre of the world, literally.

I was shown this.

usa-centre-map

America, the centre of the world

And apparently, so are children.

Yes, that’s right, schools are apparently teaching this version of the map of the world.  I asked my wife about this and her face dropped before then bursting into laughter saying it was true and she had forgotten that schools actually teach this!

As much as I try and keep my blog light and funny, it does sadden me that so many people I’ve met here are truly clueless about anything outside the US borders.  One woman my wife worked with thought Europe was a country and didn’t know Britain was an island.  I’ve even spoken to people who didn’t know there was a difference between Austria and Australia.

I’m not going to say anymore about this because I’m sure this will be the basis of a future post.

 

8 – Can’t recycle.

I know there is a huge drive to recycle in America nowadays – and so many people are doing it – but that’s not what I’ve experienced. It warms my heart that my employer has recycling bins everywhere, on every floor, and I love opening those bins up and seeing paper, soda cans and…food?  Yes, that’s right, America seems to believe that food is recyclable.

Technically it is, but that’s called ‘poo’.

It’s not only food I’ve seen; there’s been tissues, plastic wrapping, broken mugs and body parts.

Oh, wait, no…never mind.  I haven’t caught anyone putting the wrong things into the recycling bins so that’s not happened yet.  Give it time.

recycle-rage

And it doesn’t stop with recycling.  The USA is unbelievably wasteful.  There are so many products that have a one time use and then are thrown away (in the wrong bin).  People will use a paper/plastic plate to spread cream cheese on their bagel (because, apparently, if it isn’t cream cheese, smoked salmon or some shit called ‘schmear’, it doesn’t belong on a bagel) and then throw away the plate and knife. I’ve been asked to eat off paper plates at home because it ‘saves on washing up’, but it doesn’t save the world (which, as we all know, spans from Maine to California)

The other day I was waiting at a red light behind a car and the driver opened her door and threw out all her rubbish onto the road.  And then, without a care in the world, closed the door and didn’t look back.  If she had, she would’ve seen me giving her the finger…and not in a redneck/sister kind of way.

 

9 – Entitlement

Again, I’ve already talked about how entitled people are here, but I had no idea to what extent.  Jesus, some people here believe the world owes them a favour.  I’ve encountered people like this in my life before, but not on the scale I have in America.

Here’s an example that caused this to make my top ten list….

I heard a tale of a customer who had been sent a gift by a company for being a great customer.  They sent her a beautiful, hand carved, solid wood shoe rack.  The customer had mentioned in passing that she really wanted one, so they decided to treat her.

She received the gift and then, instead of being grateful, called in to complain it didn’t fit in the part of the room she wanted it to and was forced (yes, ‘forced’) to donate it.  She then demanded discounts on all future purchases for the stress and grief caused by receiving a gift she couldn’t use.

In England we would keep the shoe rack, even if it was an inconvenience.

No, really, it’s fine.  Honestly, it’s fine.  No, it’s lovely, I promise.  It’s fine.  I don’t want to be a bother.  Seriously, it’s fine.  Thank you. Sorry. Sorry. Thank you.  I’m sorry.

hold-door

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve wanted to do this…

 

10 – Subtitles for accents!

If you watch any TV show or documentary in America where they’re talking to someone with an accent…there are subtitles.  Now, for clarity, I’m not talking about people speaking a different language than English.  No, these people are actually speaking English but with an accent.

I’m not talking about complicated accents like Glaswegian (because no-one understands those guys, not even the Scottish), but instead Italian, French, Spanish, German, Alabama etc…

I couldn’t believe it.

Is America so unable to understand an accent that’s not home grown?  Mind you, I’ve been misunderstood more times than a redneck fingers his…..oh, wait, I’ve done that joke.

I said, I-‘V-E   B-E-E-N  M-I-S-U-N-D-E-R-S-T-O-O-D  M-O-R-E  T-I-M-E-S  T-H-A-N  A  R-E-D-N…oh, never mind.

bowtie-anger

Wishing the Mile High Club was an actual bat!

A week or so ago my wife and I took a trip to Venice.  In lieu of our upcoming move to Las Vegas we felt it wise to visit some places in Europe while they were still pretty close by (and a lot cheaper!)

Plus, as we are moving to sin city, I thought it was a good idea she see what Venice REALLY looks like, rather than basing her ideas on The Venetian hotel on the strip.  We’d already visited Paris the year before and she’s already been to New York, so the only one left – that the Las Vegas strip had ripped off – was Venice.

And before you mention The Luxor, friends of mine have been to Cairo and apparently it’s a shithole; so fuck that.

Anyway, I want to tell you about our trip.

But, Headinablender isn’t a travel blog, nor will it ever be unless something weird, wonderful or funny happens.  I’m not about to go on and on about the beautiful canals, the crippling expensive food and drink, the amazing architecture or the overpriced gondolas driven (driven? Is that right?) by uninterested Italians with an oar in one hand and their phone in the other.

No, i’m talking about our actual experience of getting there and back; literally ‘the trip’.

There are certain moments in life when you realise you’re now ‘a proper grown up’  These include hosting a dinner party, paying rent/mortgage, choosing curtains and, in the case of our trip, checking in at an airport.

I remember going to the airport when I was a kid and just following my parents around while they organised tickets, passports and luggage.  It was just a thing they did until it was time for all of us to sit on the plane.  I never considered the effort that had been put in before we’d even got to the airport.

The thing is, no-one pulls you aside at school and shows you how to book a holiday, you just ‘wing it’.  Nowadays it’s pretty much all done online.  There seem to be two types of holiday companies; those you’ve heard of, and those who are cheaper. Either way, you select your holiday, type in some stuff, pay some money and it’s done.  Apparently.

No tickets, no paperwork.  That’s it.

Then you find out you have to go to the airline’s website and enter your passport information and pay extra if you want to take a suitcase.

Still no tickets or paperwork.  Just faith that all will be OK when you get to the airport.

So, when we arrived at the check in desk and the clerk took our passports, checked us in, took our luggage and handed us our boarding passes, I felt like a proper grown up.

I felt like turning to an imaginary 5 year old me and winking, but I decided against it as I didn’t want to appear twitchy or weird and I wanted to actually be allowed on the flight.

franco wink

Anyway, fast forward to the departure gate.

We were walking down the tunnel to the plane and there were a lot of people in front of us, and more coming in behind us, including one couple who had a little boy that kept running up and down the tunnel.

“Elliott!  Elliot!  Come back here darling.  Elliott!  Elliott!”

His name was Elliott.

After we (and a lot of our fellow passengers) had enduring Elliott’s delightful stomping and kicking of our hand luggage, shins and patience, we finally boarded the plane.

Then, after waiting an eternity for people to put their hand luggage in the overhead lockers and actually sit their fucking arses down, we took our seats and relaxed.

This relaxation was short lived as, sat noisily behind us, was Elliott and his fucking family, comprising of mummy, daddy and younger sister Imogen.  How did we know their names? It was all…..we fucking heard…..for the duration…..of the fucking……flight.

Mostly from ‘Daddy’

“Elliott, try not to kick the seat in front”

(my wife’s seat; Elliott was playing a very dangerous game)

“Elliot, please sit down”

“Elliott, please let Imogen look out the window”

“Elliott, please stop crying.  Look out the window, can you see the clouds?”

“Imogen, please stop crying.  Look out the window, can you see the clouds?”

“Imogen, let Elliott have a go with the colouring book”

“Elliott, please don’t throw the pens on the floor”

“Elliot, please try not to kick the seat in front”

(this was a popular one.  Notice the word ‘try’)

“No Elliott, you can’t sit by the window now, we’re about to land.  No, please stop crying”

And then, once we’d landed and taxi’d to the gate, we were treated to this moment of absolute fucking lunacy…..

“We’re here!  I’m going to get you an ice cream for being such a good boy”

You had to be shitting me!

Once the ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ sign had been switched off we stood up and joined the rest of the plane, who had already stood up a long time ago, to retrieve our bag from the overhead locker.

baseball riot

This was my opportunity to turn around and get a proper look at these people who had made our two hour flight feel like ten.

The parents looked like death.  Gaunt, tired and dead behind the eyes.  They almost looked grey; drained of all the colour in their lives by the little prick jumping up and down on their laps.

So that made me feel better.

To be honest, the best part of the flight was shortly after the wheels had hit the tarmac.

We were sat over the wing, so as the plane was still hurtling down the runway we were able to see part of the wing lift up; creating more drag and slowing the plane.

I smiled, turned to my wife and said “Flaps”.

Ryan Reynolds grin

We both laughed.

It was all we could do not to strangle (H)Elliott with his seatbelt.

Speaking of seatbelts, have you noticed the crew walk up and down the plane to ensure you’ve fastened it, and THEN show the demonstration of how to fasten your seatbelt?  It seems as redundant as showing a pregnant woman how to lose her virginity.

Anyway, we left our woes at baggage claim and went on the have a great time in Venice. What a beautiful city.  If you ever get the chance to go, go. Photos don’t do it any justice, it truly is stunning.

Venice

By the end of our stay we were looking forward to our flight home.  We had chosen a late night flight to ensure we got as much time in Venice as possible and we could also enjoy a nice sleep on the plane.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

We had the ONLY drunk person on the plane sat behind us, sprawled out across three seats kicking us both in the back for the entire flight whilst he snored like a baboon being sawn in half.  We lost count the number of times the cabin crew had to show him how to use the seatbelt.

If anyone needed to pay attention to the safety brief and seltbelt demonstration, it was this guy.  Mind you, he was having problems blinking both eyes together so it’s unlikely he’ll be able to successfully operate a life jacket.

Silver lining.

Also, we were lucky enough to have three incredibly noisy Italian kids on the row behind him who were the ONLY people on the plane making a noise; everyone else was sleeping.

This is the reason they don’t allow guns on planes.

Still, two amusing things happened during our stay in Venice that i’d like to share with you.

My wife really wanted a new purse/bag, so I said I’d buy her one.  Big mistake.

I was dragged into almost every bag store in Venice, and when you consider that shops in Venice only sell either Bags, Gloves or Masks (yes, masks)…..that’s a lot of fucking shops.

I noticed a lot of the bags had ‘Vera Pelle’ written on them.  Never heard of her.  This designer was everywhere!

vera pelle

My wife pointed out that ‘Vera Pelle’ means ‘Real Leather’ in Italian.  I could be forgiven for my mistake, but i’m half Italian!

Twat.

And the second funny thing was this:

ARS Liquid

Nuff said.

Green fingered, like The Hulk.

On Sunday I decided to bite the bullet and buy a strimmer to tackle the garden again.  It had been over a year since I’d last done it, and last week I swear I saw a man in a loincloth swing past on a vine.

For those who don’t know what a strimmer looks like, it’s one of these.

strimmer

In fact, this is the exact model I bought.

I got it home, assembled it and ventured into the garden to kick Mother Nature in the vagina.

‘This is going to be fun’ I thought to myself as I pulled the trigger and the 350 watt engine roared into life.  I felt manly and primal as I revved the engine in a threatening manner.  The greenery in front of me was about to feel nylon death.

After 30 seconds of sheer and utter joyful destruction, the strimmer stopped cutting.  I switched it off, checked underneath and saw that the spool of nylon cord had snapped.

Actually, if it had simply snapped I could’ve pressed the ‘manual feed’ button and pulled more thread through the holes, but this had snapped completely and gone inside the spool.  The feeling was similar to noticing the cord on your joggers (sweat pants) had retracted inside the holes.

No problem; I’ll just open up the spool and manually feed it through.  I soon discovered that threading the small red nylon cord through tiny aluminium holes in the ‘feeder’ was like trying to perform keyhole surgery with your elbows.

replace spool

(not actual photo, but close enough)

After 3 or 4 minutes of silent rage and suppressed expletives I was back in business.

Tearing through the flora again made me feel alive; alive I tell you!  I shredded through the overgrowth like an 80’s action hero with an Uzi.

It was short lived, however.  Another 20 seconds and the same thing happened again.

I could see where this was going.

This time the nylon cord had not only snapped and retracted into the spool, but it had melted slightly and fused itself to both the spool and the coiled up nylon cord inside.

A further 5 or 6 minutes of keyhole surgery, and some less silent rage and expletives, and I was up and running again.

Feel nylon death you bastard garden!

Another 15 seconds and it happened again.  This time I had to prise the melted cord away from the spool with a screwdriver.

This went on for a while.  In fact, on the 8th time of doing this the nylon cord decided to unspool itself fully right before my eyes.

The strimmer now looks like this.

strimmer rage

(actual photo)

In its 20 minute working life it had one function.

One!

Time to call a gardener.

You, shall not, PASS!

The place – London Victoria Station.

The time – 07:29am.

The scene – Hundreds of ‘cheerful’ commuters ploughing through the ticket barriers with an assortment of tickets and cards.

At times the barriers decide to have a hissy fit and refuse to open.  This could be for several reasons:

  • Your ticket or card has become unreadable.
  • You’re travelling in peak hours on a leisure fare.
  • You’re carrying several bags, boxes and children.

The machines love preying on those who need the barriers to open more urgently than anyone else.

These bastards know; (whispers) they KNOW!

However, this morning there were no commuters carrying anything heavier than furrowed brows and a desire to get through the barriers quickly.  This is when these automated arseholes prefer to strike; picking off the weakest of the herd and testing their patience to the limit.

Today was no different.

A woman strutted up to a barrier, pressed her Oyster card against the card reader, received the usual ‘beep’ and continued strutting, only to be virtually impaled on the unopened barriers.   This can be frustrating at the best of times, but when you’ve got a queue of 20 or more people behind you, it is also incredibly embarrassing.

She tutted and pressed her card against the reader again.

‘Beep’

The barriers didn’t open.

The air suddenly felt thick with silent rage and suppressed violence from those behind her.

“Oh come on!” she half shouted as she slapped her card against the reader.

‘Beep’

The barriers didn’t open.

“Oh for fuck’s sake!”

Slap!

‘Beep’

Slap!

‘Beep’

“Come on you fucking thing!”

Slap slap slap!

‘Beep’

The barriers remained closed and the queue behind her was getting longer and longer like some massive dickheaded snake.

Instead of admitting defeat and seeking the help of a guard, she did something that inspired me to write this post; she began ramming herself against the barriers shouting “come on!”

Over and over she thrust herself against the barriers, trying to squeeze through the unyielding and un-widening gap.  It had eluded her that it was called a barrier for a reason.

Slam!

“Come on!”

Slam!

“You bastard, come on!”

Slam!

“Gnn!”

Slap slap slap!

‘Beep”

Slam!

I noticed the snake had started to dissipate and join other queues, but a few people stayed behind to watch this woman meltdown before their eyes.  I don’t blame them.

She eventually relented and went, bloodied and bruised, to find a guard.

‘Beep’

I went through.

train barrier

Subway club

Imagine a Subway sandwich shop at lunchtime.  It was busy; heaving with people cramming themselves in for 6 or 12 inches of satisfaction.

Ahem…

The queue was practically out of the door and it was going to take a while until anyone was served.  This allowed plenty of time to peruse the brightly back-lit displays of delicious sandwiches on offer.

And yet there was some penis who, after queuing quietly for a lifetime, got to the front and THEN begin deciding what he wanted.

That’s it, start the decision process now dipshit.

Right now.

Not when you came in. Not while you were queuing for an eternity.

Nope…now.

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about what you might possibly maybe want to have, you total and utter bell-end.

“Erm….I think I’ll have, er…hmm, I don’t really know.  What’s your sub of the day?”

“We don’t do the sub of the day anymore sir”.

“Oh right, er, ok.  Right….I’ll have…erm….hmm….what do I fancy?”

At this point I could take no more.  I stood up from my seat (I wasn’t even in the queue), turned him around, clubbed him across his stupid face with my sandwich shouting “too slow cockface!” while covering him in bits of masticated turkey ham and salad, before frogmarching him out of the shop to an enthusiastic, if not distinctly boney, round of applause from the emaciated starving masses in the queue.

If only.

subway penis bread