Journal – November-December 2011

Here’s another set of journal entries to wrap up the year, including a friend’s birthday, new DVDs, an accidental recovery for Nan, and our first Christmas without Dad, as well as some more jokes I’ve received via email. I hope you enjoy!

Monday November 7, 2011

Forwarded from a friend:

Prison vs Work

Just in case you ever get these two environments mixed up, this should make things a little bit clearer:

  • Prison: You spend the majority of your time in a 10 x 10 cell.
    Work: You spend the majority of your time in an 6 x 6 cubicle/office.
  • Prison: You get three meals a day fully paid for.
    Work: You get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it.
  • Prison: You get time off for good behaviour.
    Work: You get more work for good behaviour.
  • Prison: The guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
    Work: You must often carry a security card and open all the doors for yourself.
  • Prison: You can watch TV and play games.
    Work: You could get fired for watching TV and playing games.
  • Prison: You get your own toilet.
    Work: You have to share the toilet with some people who pee on the seat.
  • Prison: They allow your family and friends to visit.
    Work: You aren’t even supposed to speak to your family.
  • Prison: All expenses are paid by the taxpayers with no work required.
    Work: You get to pay all your expenses to go to work, and they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.
  • Prison: You spend most of your life inside bars wanting to get out.
    Work: You spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.
  • Prison: You must deal with sadistic wardens.
    Work: They are called managers.

Thursday November 10, 2011

Forwarded from a friend:

  • A mate of mine recently admitted to being addicted to brake fluid. When I quizzed him on it he reckoned he could stop any time.
  • I went to the cemetery yesterday to lay some flowers on a grave. As I was standing there I noticed 4 grave diggers walking about with a coffin. 3 hours later and they’re still walking about with it… I thought to myself, those buggers have lost the plot!
  • I was at a cash machine yesterday when a little old lady asked if I could check her balance. Not being one to disappoint, I pushed the old dear over.
  • A new Middle East crisis erupted last night as Dubai Television was refused permission to broadcast The Flintstones. A spokesman for the channel said “A claim was made that people in Dubai would not understand the humour, but we know for a fact that people in Abu Dhabi Do.”
  • My son’s been asking me for a pet spider for his birthday, so I went to our local pet shop and they were £70! Too expensive, I thought. I can get one cheaper off the web.
  • Statistically, 6 out of 7 dwarves are not Happy.
  • Just heard there was an explosion at a pi(e) factory in Huddersfield. 3.1415927 dead.
  • My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our forthcoming anniversary. She said “I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds.” I bought her some bathroom scales.
  • I start a new job in Seoul next week. I thought it was a good Korea move.
  • I got some new aftershave today that smells like breadcrumbs. The birds love it!
  • I was driving this morning when I saw an RAC van parked up. The driver was sobbing uncontrollably and looked very miserable. I thought to myself “that guy’s heading for a breakdown”.

Forwarded from me in response:

  • I’m always happy to lend a hand down my local. Today I filled up the glass washer. She’s 19 and her name is Emily.
  • Just got back from my mate’s funeral. He died after being hit on the head with a tennis ball. It was a lovely service.
  • I was in a cab the other day and my cabbie said “I love my job, I’m my own boss. Nobody tells me what to do.” I said “Turn left here mate.”
  • The other day I was indecently assaulted by a group of mime artists. They did unspeakable things to me.
  • People said I would never get over my obsession with Phil Collins. Well, take a look at me now.
  • I just got back from a positive thinking course. It was crap.
  • I love watching videos of lakes and rivers on the internet. I’m viewing a live stream right now.
  • To the one-legged guy that stole my camouflage jacket, you can hide but you can’t run!
  • Corduroy pillows – they’re making headlines.

Sunday November 20, 2011

It’s been over a month since my last entry, because things have been ticking over much as usual.

I’ve just got back after going up to Exeter yesterday evening for AB’s 30th birthday party at The Globe, which went very well. Lots of her family members and church friends were there, plus her new boyfriend DB, while our friends ST, BG & SG from school turned up, and I hadn’t the latter two for probably 10-15 years. So it was good to catch up with various people. AB had paid for a good buffet spread, plus a DJ who was running a disco, even if some of his CDs had a tendency to skip now and again, and we heard a few songs more than once.

So it was good to catch up with various people, and I enjoyed a couple of games of pool with one of AB’s younger relations. Other than that, it was mainly me, DB, ST, BG & SG sitting together, having a laugh and a chat. The buffet was nice, as was a cake had been made for AB in the shape of a football pitch. And AB’s Mum had made a lovely collage of lots of photos of AB over the years, which must have taken ages.

So it was a good night. The main downside was when SG had clearly one too many ciders – he’s clearly no better at handling his drinks than he ever was before. So when it came to my turn to buy a round in for us, I refused to get him one, as he was getting aggressive and was clearly out of it. BG offered to buy him a drink, getting his bank card out to do so – only for SG to steal it, and one of AB’s relatives had to get it back off him. SG was escorted from the pub, then came back again, and that happened a couple of times, until someone persuaded him to go home. And I doubt I’ll be seeing SG again any time soon, which is probably just as well.

At the end of the party, I went back to AB’s flat with her and DB and her parents. Her Mum helped AB to put her collage up on the wall, before AB’s parents left. AB opened a few more of her presents, including a set of 2 Winnie The Pooh cups, which were quite a nice big size, and a bottle of Cava champagne from Waitrose. And she’s got money and other things too of course.

AB, DB & I went back to The Globe early in the afternoon today, where we also met ST after AB rang to invite her along, and we had a chat over lunch (I had spaghetti bolognese) and a couple of drinks. We then went back to AB’s flat shortly after that – she took the rest of the cake and other unfinished food from the party back with her at that point – and then I made my way home, as time was getting on by then.

And things are fine here. I finished digitising the vinyl records this week. Just over 3 months to record over 2,800 tracks, lasting nearly 6 days in total. Tracks that were scratched I ripped from Youtube where possible. All tracks on 78s that I wanted to keep I also took from Youtube where possible, as the record player isn’t designed to play those. Some were operas and classical pieces I didn’t want anyway. As for 45’s, if I already had both sides in my MP3 collection (as with all the Beatles ones), I didn’t bother doing them at all. If I had one side in my collection already, I copied that into the singles folder, then recorded the other side. The singles and EPs only took a couple of weeks to do, as they’re obviously a lot shorter. So it was good to get them finished and put the record player away – that can go in the skip when we get one really, as I won’t need it again.

We also gave away the last lot of books to the Rowcroft Hospice shop when we went out shopping yesterday, so that’s a nice lot of boxes emptied. Next will be the videos, and then the ornaments that are still in reasonable condition. Then the rest of the stuff in the loft cupboards is simply rubbish. Anything that can go in black bags – or taken apart to be small enough for black bags – I will try and do so. The rest I’ll box up for the skip. Mum still has bits in the kitchen, and a few little things in the back room upstairs, to sort out, and we have the shed to do. Plus our builder’s going to squeeze us in his diary to fix the roof (a neighbour having work done noticed a slate had come off), a couple of cupboard doors and my smoke detector. So there’s still plenty of bits left to do. But we’re making very good progress.

I’m also ordering plenty of DVDs right now, including lots of stand-up comedy DVDs that are coming out for Christmas, plus Torchwood: Miracle Day, Doctor Who: Series 6 & Chuck: Season 4, and music Blu-rays for Queen: Days Of Our LivesThe Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live In Texas ’78. I’ve already got Season 4 of Chuck in fact, but I’m currently rewatching Seasons 1-3, as I haven’t seen them this year, and I do enjoy them a lot. I finished the first trilogy (episodes 4-6) of Star Wars on Blu-ray, so catching up with Chuck is giving me a good break in between that and the prequel trilogy. The last Harry Potter film is out on DVD soon too, so I’m going to catch-up with all of the rest of them first before watching that. And they’re releasing Ultimate Editions of all the other films on Blu-ray first, with additional slightly extended cuts and a lot of extra material, so I’ll get those to replace my old copies.

So, all in all, I’m building up quite a backlog of things to watch, which is great. I had lots of comedy stand-up DVDs stacked up last year as well – which, with Dad’s passing, helped to cheer me up a lot, I must admit. The night he died, I was up until nearly 4am in the morning watching those.

The news has been largely about the ongoing economic woes. Greece and Italy now have new leaders, with both countries suffering financial troubles with the amount of debts they have – particularly Greece, but Italy isn’t safe either. And some protestors, as part of a movement called Occupy that started in the US, have been camping outside St Paul’s Cathedral for weeks (as they couldn’t do it outside the Stock Exchange where they wanted to), and intend to stay there until the new year at least. They’re protesting against the greed of countries and capitalism and that sort of thing, because the poor are suffering at the expense of the rich. A noble cause, but the way they’re going about it isn’t going to achieve much, and the council there are trying to evict them. It even led St Paul’s to close the cathedral to the public for a few days over health & safety fears, and for a couple of its top people to resign, which hardly seems fair. And there have been other political arguments too, with claims over how the borders agency relaxed checks and things like that. Nothing too fascinating.

In more cheerful entertainment news though, Children In Need raised over £26 million, with Radio 2’s auctions and music requests raising over £2 million as per usual. The TV show itself wasn’t very interesting, though the Eastenders cast did perform a Queen medley and the cast of Outnumbered sang The Monkees. But it’s great that people are still willing to donate a lot even in the recession for such a worthy cause.

So those are the main things really. I can’t think of anything special coming up before Christmas, and that’s going to be a strange one this year, obviously, without Dad. We are having an office Christmas lunch of course, though it’s in a different place this time, which should make a nice change. That’s on Thursday 22 December. Not that far away, only just over a month to go now!

Wednesday November 30, 2011

Forwarded from a friend:

Greek Bailout Package – How it works

It is a slow day in a little Greek Village. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the taverna.

The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit.

The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything.

No one earned anything.

However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.

Sunday December 25, 2011

It’s Christmas, and a considerably more relaxing one than last year’s. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost a year since Dad passed away. But looking back, we’ve had a very successful year in terms of getting things sorted out and just getting through it in general.

I had a long weekend off work last weekend – and obviously we get the Monday and Tuesday off this week for Christmas, and next Monday for New Year. So I get a nice bit of time at home. Last weekend I went over to Plymouth for the first time this year, and got us a few treats from Marks & Spencer, as we have earned a few treats I think. To my amazement, I even found Tunis Cake in there, something I haven’t had for a few years now, as we’ve never been able to find it in Tesco. Although, when ordering groceries from Tesco online recently, we were able to get Mum a Royal Iced Christmas Cake, something else we haven’t found for a few years. In London, where there’s tons more choice, finding things like that, or even treats we would never have thought of before perhaps, will be easier.

Our builder also came down last weekend, to have a look at the roof, and to fix a couple of cupboard doors and other little bits and pieces. There is a slate missing as one of our neighbours told us a month or two ago, and the gutters have a fair bit of moss and stuff growing in them, causing them to drop a lot on to the conservatory roof sometimes instead of draining properly. So he’s going to get some scaffolding and come around at some point in the new year to help us sort that out.

Nan had a bit of an accident as well really, though it seems to have done her the power of good in a strange way! Her mind hadn’t been right for a little while – she was having strange dreams, and perhaps wasn’t as aware of everything as she normally would be. So it was hard for Mum to talk to her on the phone and things like that. But a couple of weekends ago, Nan fell out of bed and hit her head on the edge of the commode, resulting in a big bleeding gash, and knocking the commode over. So my Aunt found her lying there in that mess, and rang an ambulance for her.

Now, with many old people, the shock of that alone could kill them, if not the accident itself. But not Nan, despite being 104! The hospital checked her over, giving her all the tests, and a tetanus injection and stuff like that, and they also put stitches into the wound to hold it together. They reckon she has the liver of a 50 year old, and very few wrinkles for someone of her age. And she was sent home the same day!

Since then, Nan’s been much more with it. She’s been able to talk to Mum a lot more easily, and says that she feels it’s been a great benefit to her, as if smacking her head like that helped to unblock something and free up her brain a bit. Maybe there had been a bit of a blood clot there or something like that. And she’s not bothered by what happened either – it’s not frightened her. It’s amazing really. To be on the safe side, though, my Aunt’s moved Nan into the front room downstairs, and sleeps in there with her.

And with all that going on, we’ve now told them of our plans to come up to London next year, and they’re very happy and keen for us to do that. At the very least, it’ll take the weight off my Aunt if Mum can help look after Nan a bit, plus my Aunt can take Mum out if she wants to, even after Nan’s gone. It’ll give her something to look forward to after Nan goes I think. My Uncle’s ok too – a bit ill, but nothing more than usual.

We got an M&S hamper from them for Christmas, which has a nice selection of goodies in. Plus they sent us a parcel with a couple of t-shirts for me and a top for Mum as well, plus a £50 cheque for each of us (which we’ve spent on a dressing gown and new work trousers for me from M&S, and some flowers for the New Year too). Mum and I didn’t get each other presents this year, as there wasn’t really much point – we’re just happy to see the year through really!

As for me personally, I finally finished watching the fourth season of Chuck on DVD – very good it was too – plus I got to the end of all the Star Wars films plus extras, and have just completed Season 14 of The Simpsons as well. Still lots of DVDs to get through though, including lots of comedy ones, as well as the Queen documentary, the Rolling Stones concert, the Harry Potter films, etc. So, along with a few bits and pieces on TV – including a Doctor Who Christmas Special and a new season of Sherlock starting in the new year – I won’t be stuck for things to watch for a while!

As for work, we had our Christmas lunch on Thursday, at a place called Hole In The Wall, and it was very nice. I had soup, followed by a full roast turkey dinner, then profiteroles for pudding. I had cider and wine with the meal, then had another cider as we chatted afterwards. Most people made their way home after that, but I went on to another pub with 4 of my colleagues, where I had a couple of Cokes and then one more cider. We went our separate ways after that – I got the bus with a couple of them before walking home from the bus station. Next week should be fairly quiet at work, I think there’s only four or five of us in the office at most next week.

Not much to report in the news beyond the usual economic stuff really. Kim Jong-Il of North Korea died last week though, so there’s been mass mourning in the country, with people wailing and crying in the streets and by his body where he’s been laying in state, though it’s clearly over-the-top propaganda. The citizens of the country are very cut off from the rest of the world, their entire daily lives are run by the government, and conditions for most people are extremely poor, with food shortages and stuff like that. So it’s not a nice place to be.

But in happier news, George Michael is now recovering from severe pneumonia – his people played it down while he was in hospital, but it became clear from a breathless, emotional press conference that he was really at death’s door for a while there. Which isn’t surprising, it doesn’t get much worse than a condition like that. So here’s hoping he gets better so he can get back to performing soon – his fans will love to see him back.

And talking of music, it looks like X Factor won’t be number one again tomorrow, thankfully. There’s been a programme running on TV this year, which I hadn’t seen, where a group of military wives were trained to be a choir. And so they’ve now released a single for Christmas – Wherever You Are – with words taken from letters they’ve sent to their loved ones while serving in the war zones. It’s a lovely song, and certainly more worthy of the top spot than this week’s X Factor winners, Little Mix. I don’t think X Factor’s been quite so successful this year from what I’ve heard – I think Strictly Come Dancing has beaten it much of the time. Won’t stop it carrying on though. But anyway, yes, congratulations to the Military Wives on getting the top spot.

And on that note, I’ll leave it there. It’s a nice relaxing Christmas, and it’s going to be an interesting, exciting and busy year ahead with any luck. Plenty to be thankful for and to look forward to. Merry Christmas!

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger, culture vulture & accessibility advocate, with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

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