22 May 2017

You know those times when you suddenly remember something from years ago and it makes you want to shrivel up and die? This isn't really one of those times...

With nothing better to do, and deciding to give GTAV a break for a while, I actually turned the TV on and flicked over to SpikeTV, one of the channels that doesn't really advertise itself that well round these parts, where they're showing the original Terminator, and it just happens to be at the sex scene between Sarah & Reece, with full orchestral accompaniment, when I was suddenly reminded of something I did at Norton Knatchbull when I was about 14.

Even though I was still at that tender age, I was earning a part-time wage and I must have looked older, as I was able to easily purchase a copy of said movie at WH Smiths. Around this time my computer geekiness was coming to the fore and I was spending most of my lunch break in the IT room mucking around writing basic DOS programs on the RM Nimbuses and BBC micros. Rock, and indeed Roll.
This was back in 1987...8-ish, back when kids didn't have individual laptops or tablets. We had rolling green blackboards and these babies

As it happened, we did have one of the TV stands in the corner of the room, and after a casual conversation with a schoolfriend about movies revealed that I owned a copy of the recent and increasingly popular movie, I was coerced into bringing it in. 

A week later and we arrange to watch the film in 2 hits, what with lunch breaks only being an hour long. The first session started well enough, but after the second 'Fuck' was uttered on screen, I noticed a couple of members of the meagre audience had left the room. Having been at the grammar school for 18 months, I knew that the choicest of curse words were in regular use around the building, so I was surprised to see someone being offended by some colourful language.

Turns out they weren't. Once word got out that there was an 18-certificate movie being shown in the IT room of a school full of children younger than the recommended age, of course everyone wanted to see it. In short order there was at least 50 pupils inhabiting a room about half the size of your average Starbucks. The first session ended OK, finishing when The Terminator had just performed surgery on himself. I turn it off after that scene and we have a suprisingly involved converation about practical FX in a pre-CGI movie world, and after reading the credits on the box, we all discover the names James Cameron and Stan Winston.

Next day, next session. Word had really got out and the room was packed for the second half of the movie. Chairs were laid out before my arrival, and a buffet table prepared (I shit you not), the lights were dimmed and I offer a quick verbal recap for those that both hadn't watched the first half, or hadn't seen the movie at all. Which, as it turns out, was none of those assembled.

I have this obsession lately with passages of time between events, for example there only being 12 years between the release of Jedi and the planning of Phantom Menace - even though it seems longer. At the time of these events, Terminator had only been released in the cinemas 2-3 years before. This was WAAAAY back when if you wanted to purchase a movie to watch at home, you had to wait. No such thing as a 6-8 week window from cinema to DVD/Blu-ray. No, you had to wait 6 MONTHS, and even then you could only rent the movie. You would have to wait another 3-4 months at least before you could purchase the degradable VHS at your local media outlet. You could purchase the VHS at the same time as it was released to rent, but that would set you back £70

£70 for a VHS copy of a movie that would degrade over time. Let that sink in for a while next time your stream buffers for 5 seconds.

BUT ANYWAY. So now everyone is up to speed, the second half of the movie starts and it's the shootout at the police station. A better start I couldn't have hoped for. All was going well and I was on track to becoming popular. Ot ar least known as that cool kid who bought an 18-reated movie into school.

It's just after that action-packed sequence a teacher affectionately known as Johnny 'Schitz' came into the room just as this scene starts.

It seems as if he hasn't realised what everyone is watching, even though though the room is more populated with pupils than it has ever been, and I'm hoping against hope hope that he leaves before he hears anything his sensitive teacher ears shouldn't. At one point he glances over and asks what we're watching.

'Just the Terminator, Sir'
'Oh. Should you be watching that?'
'(mumble mumble) Oh, yes Sir.'
'Hmmm... okay'

But sure enough, just as Johhny has one hand on the door, the Terminator makes his selection and tells the landlord where to go. 


The teacher stops, and although no-one is actually looking at him, they also know he has stopped, I can tell by their faces.

'Are you SURE you should be watching this?'
50 voices at once- "Oh, YES sir!'

'..fair enough', ~exit, stage right. Years later I got to know the guy quite well outside the school and he was a bloody nice bloke. He was fully aware of his nickname and really didn't mind. Shame I never actually had a lesson with him. Anyway...

This is when it all gets bloody awks

I'm sure you know the movie, but just after the 'Fuck you, Asshole' scene, is when Kyle & Sarah check into the Tiki Motel, and I suddenly have a crushing realisation of what's coming up in the next 10 minutes or so. 


'Um... sorry, can I just check, has anyone else seen this movie before?'
(70-or-so shaking heads)
'Ok... is anyone here devoutly religious?'
'ooooo-kay. It's just... nevermindletsjustwatchthemovie' {play}
And then, barely 7 minutes later, there's an IT room full of pubescent teenage boys and abandoned computers, with all eyes transfixed on the screen as Michael Biehn grabs Linda Hamilton's breasts, nipples on show, their pained expressions of lovemaking carrying on for far too long, as the stirring music swells and I try to look at anything except either the TV screen or the faces of those assembled, because gasing upon either would probably make piss myself laughing and thereby 'spoil the moment'. 

As the scene ends I suddenly feel hypoxic as all those in attendace finally exhale all at once and the room is suddenly full of nothing but carbon dioxide and embarrased 13-16 year olds. 

The film carries on, is enjoyed, and ends. With 20 minutes until the end of lunch those that have an interest spend the time debating how the FX was accomplished. In retrospect, we were pretty accurate about the comination of rear-screen projection, puppetry and stop-motion. 

Not long after, I was informed that although the ad-hoc presentation was popular, it wasn't to be repeated, as the school would actually have to pay for a special license. Which was a shame, as I wanted to traumatise everyone with Aliens the following week.

So there you go. That was my tale of when I accidentally showed a room full of a teenager Linda Hamilton's tits. Probabably not the most fascination of takes, but I've been saying for ages I'd write somthing more substantial at some point. here it is. Don't get used to it, it's probably just a phase...

27 March 2017

Every time. Every bloody time I come in here IUpromise to add something new and original.

Sadly, being a parent of two boys with ASD & ADHD really puts the kybosh on creativity when you're fighting every-fucking-body to get them the simplest things in life - like an education that doesn't regard them as a nuisance. But I digress.

Life recently has been a never-ending steam of work, parenting, Who's Line clips on youtube and the occasional day out. I could probably be more creative if I could afford to be. Still, at least there's beer to numb the ennui, but even then, I find myself trying to entartain myself in 3 different ways at the same time.

There's probably a word for this - and it's probably German.

Sorry. I need a holiday.

02 May 2016

Bit dusty in here

I've been desperately trying to get my creative arse in gear to do basically anything, but there's been so much crap going on family-wise (nothing bad) that I just haven't been able to spare the brain cells. I'm at that stage where I do have several sparks that are down on imaginary paper, but they weren't flowing as well as I'd have liked.

That said, there was a little something I did manage to write, over a period of months, in sporadic episodes, and somehow managed to be longer than Chamber of Secrets. So I know I do have that ability in me, I just need to write something that I can publish in the real world.

I may also have to trim some of the crap on this page down as well. There's a few bits of filler I could do without.

16 October 2011

Well, that's everything wrapped up in a nice, tidy little package then, isn't it?

Following a conversation with an old chum, I realised that what short stories I have written are pretty much scattered to the five winds on this blog, so here, collected for your enjoyment, are my efforts so far. I've left one out as, quite frankly, it was pony...

Heart Shaped Face

Green Fingers


Big Top

Watch the News

There you go. If I ever get my melon back in gear, i should have some more material soon. Yes, I know I've been saying that in every other post since 2006, but I REALLY mean it this time.... honest

03 October 2010

How to beat the Indian call centres and have fun doing it

You know the ones I'm talking about. they operate out of Mumbai or Kashmir, and since they're outside of the EU, they view OFCOM and TPS with mocking eyes. They're also the ones with the automated system that call 5 numbers at once, connects to the first line that connects, then leaves the other 4 with dead air. Illegal in the UK, there, not so much.

We've got this phone with a digital display, which is bloody handy as I can choose who to ignore, which is mainly anyone I don't know. Luckily I know how to work a compootah so a quick trip to google lets me know who just called, and I can plan accordingly.

There's a new scam doing the rounds, which I wasn't actually aware of until my chums at DVDreviewer enlightened me. They call you up and claim to be from the Windows help desk, and ask if your PC is running slow and/or crashing a lot. Now, i'm lucky, in that I'm a PC geek without being a collosal geek. I don't know what TCP/IP means but i have just spent 5 days fixing a laptop with 120 viruses using the existing OS without a recovery disc or access to the bios. It's just knowledge I've accumulated over the last 10 years, and I just do it. Don't ask me to write it down, I wouldn't know where to start.

Anyway,. with this knowledge in tow, and with these videos in mind, I was delighted when 'International Unavailable' came up on the display and I received the following call;

Me: Hello?

Them (pause - click)
: Hallo sir, I amcallingfromthewindowshelpdesk...

Me: Whoa whoa whoa. What the fuck was that?

Them: (pause) ... Iamcallingfromthewind...

Me: STOP STOP STOP!! I cannot understand a bloody word you're saying. Are you reading that?

Them: errr.. I.. am.. calling.. from...

Me: You taking the piss?

Them: No sir, I am calling from the Windows helpdesk. Do you have problems with your compeeyutar running slowly or crashing?

Me: no

Them: you do not have any problems with your computer running slowly or crashing?

Me: (bored) I just said that. Was that not on your script? Did that throw you?

Them:... (thrown).. so your computer is running ok?

Me: Yes, it is, It should be, I built it myself

Them: Are you a windows technician?

Me: I might as well be, I probably know more about computers than you do

Them: I'm sorry sir?

Me: I said I probably know more about computers than you do.

Them: Well, that's probably not true, I am..

Me: How do you defrag a hard drive?

Them: uh...

Me: How do you open a command console?

Them: ...

Me: what do you enter into the run command to open up the directX settings?

Them: well, I won't take up any more of your time...

Me: Hang on, hang on. You DO know everyone knows about this, don't you?

Them: Sorry?

Me: what were you going to get me to do?

Them: Pardon?

Me: You were going to make me visit a fake website that would put a virus on my computer, weren't you?

Them: uh, no sir, Like I said, I am from the wind...

Me: No you're not, you're trying to get me to visit logmein123.com and install a virus on my PC so you can steal all my personal information. Everybody knows about this, you're insulting my intelligence by even speaking to me.

Them: I am not trying to make you...

Me: Get a real job (click, brrrrr)

That felt good. I wasn't actaully angry or aggressive, I'm just a good actor. So, a few hours later, I get this..

Me: Hello?

Them (pause - click): Hulloo, am I speaking with Annabel?

Me: Do I sound like a woman?

Them: Oh, I'm sorry, is this Peter?

Me: Yes

Them: How are you today?

Me: Actually, I'm crap, I've got an infected tattoo I've just had to pay £7.20 for a bloody prescription, my hernia's playing up and I've got a bastard of a headache.

Them: Ah, Good. I'm calling you today from your home town of ash...forrd...

Me: No you're not

Them: ah

Me: If you're going to call me, in my home, don't lie to me

Them: click brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

This is the key, once you hear that pause, then the click, then the indian accent, get them on the back foot immediately. Don't get angry, but try to sound it, it's more fun that way. They are wasting your time and insulting your intelligence by speaking to you.

However, they're not all from India, Carphone warehouse are pissing a lot of people lately by employing an agency to convince you you're due for an upgrade.

Best advice, register with TPS (telephone prerence service) and when they call, tell them you're registered. When they say TPS doesn't apply to them, start filling out a TPS complaint form with them on the phone and ask them all the questions. They'll soon get the gist.

Anyway, since I started my non-aggressive resistance of their bullshit calls, we haven't had a call from them in over a month, when before they'd call us 3 times a day.

10 August 2010

Using a years theme park access to spy on humanity

For the last year, using the miracle of Tesco Clubcard rewards, my family and I have enjoyed everything that The Merlin Annual Pass has to offer. Without sounding like a corporate kiss-ass, I heartily recommend everyone gets one of these if you can afford it. We couldn't, hence the clubcard thing.

Anyhoo, we've done Alton Towers twice, Chessington about 5 times and I'm taking Luke back there the day before they expire. Thorpe Park twice (once on my own on a tuesday - thoroughly enjoyed myself) and Legoland a few times. We also went to Warwick Castle, which is actually a better 'family day out' than the other places, which can end up being days filled with stress, arguments, and crying kids because mummy and daddy wouldn't spend £8 on a mug.

That's one of the main things I noticed about these places, is that a lot of people leave the exit gates at the end of the day looking thoroughly miserable, and probably wishing they'd never come, especially as most of the locations now charge for the car park.

The majority of these people fall into one of several categories..

The Not-Exactly-Forward Thinkers

Two sub-sets: Large groups of lads or loved-up couples. They're the ones that rush to do a ride or two as soon as they get in, then have a bite to eat, after this they'll pass one of the sideshow stalls, the rigged throw the basketball, climb the ladder, hook-the-fish that initially looks easy, but it's up to the Alpha male of each subset to display his skill and prowess, and should he succeed, he'll win a stupidly huge stuffed thing, normally a snake, banana, or in the case of the couple, a cute heart with arms and legs. For the next half hour, the prize will be proudly displayed atop shoulders. After this time, the obvious sets in. It's cumbersome, awkward, you can't take it on any rides, and frankly, you look a bit of a tit if you haven't got any kids with you. Good luck squeezing it into the car for the long trip home, lads.

The Confused Foreigners

Mainly Middle-Eastern, Arabian. many wives and children in tow. The male offspring are pushy little shits, but hey-ho, that's them and all that. The girls, however, are essentially released into the park to fend for themselves. Best way to describe how this group is to relate what happened while I was queueing for Sonic Spinball at Alton Towers, which summed up everything I'd seen over the past year.

So I'm standing in the single-rider queue, waiting bloody ages and staring at Beth, one of the ride attendants who obviously forgot her Playtex that morning (EE madam?) when this giggling alerted me to a group of girls in the main queue. All wearing colourful headscarves that showed their faces, they looked about 14-16. Saudi, I'd guess. Anyhoo, they've all got expensive purses and clothing, and they're watching the cars, which seat 4 at a time, get loaded and set off on the track. If you have any bags or loose items, you hand them to Beth (...sigh...). So it comes to their turn, and 5 of them try to get on at once, with their bags, and look very confused when Beth (...) tells them they have to hand in their bags, and that only 4 can ride. So the whole ride shuts down while these 5 girls try to figure out who gets left behind, and they finally release their vice-like grip on their bags. So 4 sit in the car, one stays behind looking VERY awkward and alone, as if she's been shunned. She doesn't have long to wait as the ride only lasts a minute or so, and all 4 girls come back in their car with their headscarves all over the bloody place. The lone rider sees this and brightens up considerably, and refuses to go on the ride.

Later that day I see the father of these girls screaming blue murder at Guest Services, apparently declaring that the ride has defiled his daughters' modesty. A great time was had by all

The "I've paid a shitload of money for this, I can be as scummy as I want" type

That's almost a direct quote. Second time we went last week, a small family were behind us in the queue for the Sky Ride, which takes you to the back of a park. Saves bloody walking. Anyway the mother is smoking, and passes a sign about the designated smoking areas of the park, and that patrons are kindly requested to only smoke in these areas. Just makes it nicer for everyone else. Not so. "I've spent a load of money getting here, I'll smoke where I want. What are they gonna do? Fucking chuck me out?" Spoken like a true Chav, in front of her kids and within earshot of several other children. Sadly, they joined us in our gondola, and proceeded to impress us with her skills in guessing how old my kids are "See? I were right". Yes, well done, you've won a tumor, please go away.

Sadly, our passes expire at the end of the month, and we won't renew, not this year anyway. It's not the time it takes to get to the parks, or the cost of the fuel to get there, or the expensive... everything at the parks themselves. I do believe it was Jean-Paul Satre that said 'Hell is other people'. He obviously had to queue 2 hours for a 30 second rollercoaster one too many times as well.

(PS, one thing I did notice, out of the 5 major parks I went to, SAW: The Ride at Thorpe Park is the ONLY one where there were signs around the queue line that supplied a phone number where you could report anti-social or aggressive behaviour. Not particularly interesting, but I thought it was worth a mention)

11 June 2010

Well, what the hell happened there?

Complete lack of inspiration, that's what, plus, I was kinda distracted...

He kinda takes a lot of the concentration away from spouting drivel via a keyboard, but it's calmed down a bit now.

I DO have a couple of things cooking, but I tend to start something, barrel along at an incredible rate, then realise I have no clue where I'm going with it.

So, C+, must try harder. I'll see what I can do