Friday, 31 October 2008

Shock Horror!

Tonight is Halloween, and my financial imbalance dictates that instead of dressing up as something scary; like a ghost, or a vampire, or Alan Carr, I will stay in and watch crappy horror films pretending to be entertained.

Thanks to my underachieving six-channel digibox I am left with but one choice; Cabin Fever. Which is oddly fitting seeing as I am sat alone in my room, pretending not to be bored.pumpkin

Before the film has started I know exactly what to expect, and that's because 90% of all horror films (statistically this is only 60% true) have generic conventions so tightly woven into their structure that there is no room left for surprises.

In most of these flicks (14.5 out of 19 in research carried out on 6 films) the following will happen, unless it doesn't, in which case we'll pretend it did for the sake of me being right:

Stupid Teenagers Put Themselves  in an Unnecessarily Stupid Situation...Stupid

We've seen it a hundred times before; a group of traditionally attractive, impossibly stupid, hormonally-charged, sex-crazed teens decide to do one of the following:

  1. Go to an abandoned, supposedly haunted house in order to get drunk and play 'grab boob', neglecting to tell anyone where they are.
  2. Go to the woods, for no obvious reason.
  3. Split up when shit hits the fan, because it's better to be alone and scared than in a big group capable of defending itself.
  4. Get hopelessly drunk and do something irreparably stupid (e.g running someone over whilst 'whooping' through the sunroof), thus incurring the wrath of an unbelievably determined psychopathic killer.

 horror

In reality, if Your best friend comes up with the following brilliant idea:

"Let's go down to Slaughterteen Woods and get messed up this weekend. We can bring some girls and play 'grab boob', it'll be awesome."

you are most likely to say:

"No fucking way, it's cold out, let's just go down to the Nags Head and get drunk there. What the hell is 'grab boob' anyway? You've mentioned that twice now"

Therefor none of the above happens, and the worst you can expect is a small scale bar-fight when your mate nicks your scampi fries.

Stupid Teenagers Get Stupider by the Second

Once it has become clear that the an axe wielding maniac is in hot pursuit of said group of teens, their actions will continue to confound you. For example:

  • When the car outside is running and the escape route is clear, someone will run back into the house to get the kabala bracelet that they left inside. Predictably they will get the shit killed out of them.
  • When the power has been cut (which it almost always has been), Instead of locking themselves in a bathroom until daylight, one teen will go on a mile-long trek to find the generator that is for some reason an unfeasibly long way from the house. He will also get the shit killed out of him.
  • When the serial killer is lying out-cold on the floor, instead of finishing him off with an 'American History X' style foot stomp, the person standing over them will instead run away and fall into a big hole, thus ensuring the painful drawn out death of several friends. The survivors will remove this person from their facebook contacts as soon as they return to civilisation.

The Killer is Indestructible and Verging on being omniscient

After being stabbed 19 times, thrown from a fifth story window, and covered with the rubble of a crumbling abode, we assume the killer is dead. The remaining teens will embrace; relishing their survival. They will then look back at the corpse of their tormentor, only to notice that he has upped and left. presumably sickened by the predictability of it all, he has taken his knife and gone to find his agent.

Also it is worth pointing out that at all times, the killer knows exactly where all his victims are, where they are going, what their deepest fears, medical needs, and cup sizes are, and also that they have absolutely no common sense and are completely incapable of defending themselves.

There is Always a Cat

Seemingly every horror household has a cat in it somewhere. By enlarge this cat seems to live in a cupboard and is trained to jump out at people with a wry "meooow" just as things are getting tense.

The alternative theory is that all serial killers have trained cats, which they leave in strategic places around the house just to build up the fear factor.

Car Trouble

urban1

The car that drove the teens to their location of doom is parked outside. Forty minutes ago it was running fine. It has had one careful lady owner, came with a regular service history and passed its M.O.T with flying colours. 

At the moment of truth however; when the killer is hot on the trail and the car's performance is essential...fucker won't start.

This gives screenwriters the perfect opportunity to include a line like "should've bought American" (which is presumably on a post-it note attached to every American screenwriters monitor) just before our victim gets stabbed right in the eye.

You Can Run, But You Can't Run

Most people with legs are fairly capable of using them. Anyone who watched Tottenham's first eight games this season may beg to differ, but with that notable exception this is a fact.

This rule is only disproved when being pursued by a serial killer in an ill fitting mask, possibly carrying a chainsaw, or an axe, or any other heavy form of weaponry.

In this situation two things become apparent:

  1. No matter how fast our victim runs, the killer's casual stroll will inevitably cover more ground than them, thus giving the impression that they're running on the spot.
  2. The object of the killer's attention will be determined to run backwards, and into things, and over things, and possibly in circles because they have no real will to survive.

Darwin briefly covered this phenomenon in his 'Origins of Evolution' stating: "those who can run without appearing retarded may well evolve into a sequel"

Oooh It's You!

During the climax of the film, the killer's real identity will be revealed.

What's that protagonist? didn't you recognise him?

But of course! He's the guy who's parking space you once stole outside of the supermarket. He then followed you to college, where he lived next door to you for three years without you so much as saying "hello".  There was also that house party where you got wasted and slept with him, giving him gonorrhea. Oh and he's your long lost brother brother. And your local librarian. And your G.P.

All becoming clear?

Sucks to be you right now.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

The Creationist Timetable

As the U.S presidential debate crawls along like a stray dog hit by a passing car, it has come to light that McCain's VP fancies herself as a bit of a creationist. For those of you who don't know; creationism is a rather un-fact based principal, that takes all proven laws of science and immediately refutes them by waving a big fat bible in their face. Assuming that the laws of science have a face that is. Personally this doesn't bother me, I don't expect anyone working for McCain, or in fact anyone in close proximity to the man, to have any common sense. What is slightly unnerving however, is that Palin (the said VP) wants creationism to be taught in schools. This got me to thinking; if lessons taught in schools didn't have to worry about all that 'fact' nonsense, then education would be a completely different kettle of fish.

just imagine....

Period 1 History:

Seeing as facts are not important, a History syllabus will be created according to the mood of the teacher. Recent history will focus heavily on George Bush's claim that it was God himself, who told him to go to war with Iraq. this will, once and for all, put to rest any doubts about the acquisition of oil being the real reason for invasion. If kids are to ask how God got in touch with George, then the standard response should be "via a text message". Examples of said message may be handed out to classes :text_message

           GOD

Hey bg guy, tnk its a prty gd idea if we nvade irq. jst tl em i snt ya. :) ttyl, God xx

Period 2 R.E

R.E will be the main focus of a child's education. Lessons will touch on how god created absolutely everything within 7 days. Any student who dares ask exactly what he's been up to since then, will be made to wear a crown of thorns and sit in the corner of the room. Any difficult questions children may ask can be met with the following responses:

  1. "Well, the lord works in mysterious ways."
  2. "Because that is the way God intended it."
  3. "Do you want to go to hell?"
  4. "Shut up, your parents told me you're adopted, how does that make you feel?"
  5. "No that's not true and for the record Darwin was a c*nt."

Period 3: SCIENCE

The answer to all questions within the subject of science (or 'Devil Worship 101' as the class will eventually be renamed), should be God related:

e.gjesus-dinosaur

A science teacher stands in front of a classroom full of kids, the word 'Photosynthesis' scrawled on the board.

Teacher: So, children, in summary; what three things do plants need to survive?

A child at the front row eagerly raises his hand

Child: erm...light, oxygen and water

Teacher:  Have you listened to nothing I've said? The answer is 'the father, the son and the holy ghost'. Next question...

The teacher stops mid-sentence as he spots a picture of a dinosaur on a child's T-shirt

Teacher: What. The. Hell. Is. That.

Period 4 P.E:

All physical education will be cancelled, because it disproves the fact that God made all men equal. In order to ensure that children achieve a reasonable level of cardiovascular activity, they will be sent leafleting, thus spreading the word of the lord and annoying all house holders with common sense and a firm grasp of scientific fact.

Period 5 Biology:

Most of the teaching will involve detailed attempts to disprove the scientifically sound theory of Darwinism. Handouts will be distributed featuring images of Darwin holding a fork and wearing horns. Changes in the biology of certain animals will be explained in darwinone of two ways:

  1. "God got bored and decided to stir things up a bit"
  2. "Nothing changed, you're imagining it, go and see the drugs counsellor"

Period 6 Mathematics:

This will still be boring.

Period 7 English:

All modern literature will be thrown out in favour of bible study. Any creative writing assignments should feature stories of God being a badass and smiting loads of non-believers. Also, stories about America being awesome and punishing poorer, weaker, countries for being lame, will be accepted. Other than this, any student-produced literature that dabbles in common sense, or 'sci-fi pieces' concerning matters of *ahem* 'science', will be burnt and the students culpable will soon after be stoned by their peers.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Poke Me, I'll Poke You Back

 

Facebook.

Facebook....Faaaaaacebook.

Someone, somewhere, is doing something and it is of the utmost importance that they let you and 237 of their other friends know about it immediately.

Just today I learnt several pieces of valuable information about people I know well, that I wouldn't have been aware of if it wasn't for a certain social networking site. For instance; one of my friends 'just had bangers and mash', another is 'ordering a cot' and one, quite simply, 'loves it'.

It is quickly becoming apparent to me that giving people a voice in the global realm of the Internet, is quite possibly the biggest mistake man has made. Sure, some bright spark split an atom once and made nuclear war possible. Granted there was a slight hiccup involving minority groups in Germany at the beginning of the twentieth century, but when all is said and done, were either of those things as consistently annoying as the unbelievable amounts of useless information that people decide to share with us online?

Before you begin to point accusing fingers at me, I assure you I am self-aware enough to know that this blog, is in its very essence, a shining example of what I am talking about. But at least it's not completely arbitrary in its content (just around 90% of it was my last estimate).

If the status updates on Facebook are bad enough then Myspace has taken the crown for providing people with the opportunity to self-publicise their glaring vapidity. Not only does Myspace have  said 'status updates', but also a 'bulletin feature', which as far as I can tell only serves as a means for people to publish quizzes they've taken about themselves. One of my 'friends' - and I use the term loosely - feels the need to take virtually identical quizzes on an almost daily basis.

This may come as a shock to you, but I don't rightly care what your favourite colour is, what you are listening to right now, or what time you went to bed last night. You are taking up valuable Internet space which could be used for angry YouTube comments or pornography, two things that are not often held in a high regard but are invariably more entertaining than your shameless, and startlingly uninteresting self-promotion.

Some people however, avoid such wordiness at any cost. For those who don't have the time, or motivation to  write updates or even message people on Facebook (which in itself is a tool designed to communicate with people you don't care about enough to call), there is always the 'poke'.

It took me a fair amount of time to figure out exactly what a 'poke' was. The pragmatist in me assumed that if someone had designed this feature then it must, in some capacity, serve a purpose. It does not. The 'poke' is exactly what it sounds like. It is the equivalent of  spying a friend in a bar and instead of striking up a conversation, extending your finger in their general direction, pushing it into their flesh and then returning to whatever you were doing.

If you are able to muster the energy to move your cursor over the little 'poke' icon and click, then would it be too much to ask that you could possibly type a paragraph of greeting? A sentence of well wishes? At the very least, at the risk of sounding demanding; could you stretch to a simple 'hello'? The real crux of the thing is that once you have been poked, you have to poke back. This isn't a legally binding law so much as a compulsion, and in doing so you start an unbearable cycle of poking - like two kids in the back of a car- until one of you finally takes the initiative to realise what's going on and puts a stop to this pointless click-happy practice.

Enough.

Enough Poking.

Enough writing.

I think it's time for me to retire to bed. Before I do I'm just going to pop on Facebook to make sure everyone I know is aware that I am sleeping.

*poke*

Friday, 17 October 2008

Procrastination Across the Nation

Isn't it strange how when you have lots to do, you seem to find an interest in things that wouldn't normally hold your attention for so much as a second.

I am currently bogged down with important work-like things I should be cracking on with, so the obvious assumption is that I am feverishly thrusting fingertips at my keyboard in an attempt to chip through the outer shell of this work-load. This assumption is incorrect.

What I am doing instead is taking my penchant for procrastination to a new level. Evidence of this is all around me; most immediately the fact that this blog window is eclipsing the rather unstructured, almost unintelligible essay that sits behind it. I fail to care. It's boring and writing this (as opposed to reading it) is currently not.

Another clear indication of my urge to be distracted is my watching of 'Katie and Peter' on the telly box (don't pretend you have seen it, it's the reality show about a married remedial couple. One's got really big tits and the other one pretty much is a really big tit. They're quite good together in that respect). Usually I would use this to write a scorning diatribe about how much I hate the world of celebrity and it's bastard child 'reality TV', but that would be too much like work. Instead I am pretending to care about Jordan's surgery woes. The program suggests that after a recent operation (presumably mammary related) her life is in severe danger. I know she doesn't die - It would have been featured in the news right ? - I also know that if she had died It wouldn't be a valid excuse for not meeting my deadline, but still; here I am, watching.

dull460

As an interesting aside to this, Peter Andre is recording new tracks. I'm looking on with anticipation as he road tests one of his new opuses in an L.A club. Upsettingly, people are actually dancing to it. When will we learn? If we keep encouraging him, HE WILL NEVER STOP. There's such a thing as being cruel to be kind you know. I might send him a 'cease and desist' style e-mail...that's probably more important than the work I'm avoiding isn't it?

5 minutes pass. I avoid writing the e-mail by finding something even less important to do. The program is reaching an end and I feel panic set in as I begin to run out of distractions.

"I just want to die" Jordan says in front of two of her small children. No, she hasn't just heard one of Peter's songs, her operation is still causing her pain "Mummy's boobies are so sore" She says to another child, who's vacant expression suggests he neither cares nor fully understands. I wince, swallow my pride and prepare to get back to work. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Fear Mongering, the Helpful Way

If you are the type who believes everything they read in the media (as you should be), then you will be well aware that it is currently impossible to leave your house without being stabbed in the face by an 11 year-old gang member. That's right; hoards of 'hoodies' are roaming our streets so they can brutalise you and steal your money for crack...or football stickers. Then when they are finished taking photos of your bloodied corpse on their (stolen) mobile phones, they go home and watch Pokemon. Kid's today eh?! Utter cunts, the lot of 'em. However hopeless this situation might seem, especially to those of us who don't have teenage kids and quite frankly assumed they were all just violent, gum-chewing shits anyway, some people haven't given up the fight. On the BBC's website today there is a feature about a home office booklet for parents, which teaches them how to recognise the signs that their children might be in a gang...because it wouldn't be painfully fucking obvious if you were the kind of parent that actually paid attention to what your kid was doing.

The booklet; possibly entitled "You spawned an ASBO" gives a handy list of bullet points advising parents to look out for certain changes in behaviour. Here are some of the things to look out for:

  • Has your child started using new slang words?
If your little darling came home yesterday speaking a language that sounded unfamiliar to you, there's a chance he was out last night with his mates, raping the elderly and smoking the drugs spliffs. Don't panic though; scientific research has concluded that as a child grows, his or her vocabulary WILL inevitably increase. So, if your offspring starts using words like "wicked", "cool", "awesome", or "blog", then they probably aren't in a gang. Chances are they will just bug the shit out of you for the next decade or so. What the booklet should have said was; If your child came home last night and instead of politely asking when dinner was ready, said something along the lines of; "Yo bizatch! where the fuck's my munch at blood, i'll cut you yo, I ain't no fool", then you are probably fucked.
  • Do they have a new nickname?
Again, nicknames are quite common during adolescence. If you overhear you child's peers calling him/her something along the lines of "four-eyes", "fatty" or "badger flaps", then it is quite possible that they are just grossly unpopular. The chances of such a child being admitted into a gang are slim to none, so you can rest easy, the apple of your eye is much more likely to turn into a serial killer or internet porn addict than a bonafied gang member. On the other hand, if little James is now known as "Killer" or "Razor" or perhaps "Stabby", then it may be an idea to hide all sharp objects in the house and perhaps start suggesting a career in the military.
  • Has their appearance changed? Are they dressing in a particular style or "uniform", for example, wearing a bandana?
This one's a bit tricky. Obviously children between the ages of 11 and 19 never change their appearance. They already have a firm grasp of who they are and realise that any attempt at experimenting with different styles of clothing would just be futile. However, if your child is stoned or possibly retarded, then you may realise one day that they have become 'emo', or maybe even a 'goth'. Although both of these trends do involve 'uniforms' it is far different to being in a gang. 'Goth's are actually quite cuddly and emo's are far too depressed to think about stabbing anyone. The real tell-tale sign of your child being in a gang is if they start dressing like a hip-hop star. It goes without saying there is no chance that they might just like hip-hop, or that they find baggy clothing comfortable. If this happens, it may be a good idea to ship your kids off to their grandparents. This way if things still go wrong, you can blame them.
  • Do they use graffiti style "tags" on possessions such as schoolbooks?
This is A BIG WARNING SIGN. That's why I have written that in BIG FUCK-OFF LETTERS. If your child draws graffiti, or in fact shows any sign of artistic expression whatsoever, then he/she is, fo' shiz, in a gang. The best cause of action from this point on is to repeatedly hit your child over the head with a shovel when they have their back turned. You may feel some initial guilt after this, but rest assured; you will have saved many lives and helped fight the war on drugs. Also the little shit was probably about to stab you with a kitchen knife anyway, so you can plead self-defence when the police come round. Be sure to use the graffiti as evidence.
  • Do they have unexplained physical injuries?
Obviously the only way your child will ever get any bruises, scratches or cuts, is by being in a gang. That is unless you, yourself, are abusing them. Are you? That's okay we don't have to talk about that now. Anyway if your child has any type of unexplained physical injury, you should tie them to their bedpost and throw holy water at them shouting; "the power of Christ compels you!". If this works then their head should spin a full 360 degrees and they will projectile vomit everywhere. If this fails to work, see the above shovel technique.

Despite the booklet offering much sound advice for the proud parents of troublesome pre-pubescent bastards, youth worker Shaun Bailey apparently thinks it's a bit shit. He states that once you notice these signs of gang involvement it's "way, way too late". However not being the kind of guy to piss on the government's bonfire without then handing them a match, he does offer an alternative; "The best way to keep your child out of a gang is to keep your child a child". The man is clearly a genius. The truth of the matter is that if you can find a way to perhaps cryogenically freeze your child, or maybe inflict some kind of psychological torment on them so as they never properly age, gangs will be a thing of the past. Problem solved! Cheers Shaun!
The real booklet entitled: "The Gangs: You and Your Child is available at www.direct.gov.uk

Money Can't Buy Me Love

Girls like gifts. This is a proven fact and it stems from the truth that people, in their very nature, are shallow and materialistic. It is important therefore to constantly buy your significant other presents. It helps to distract from the fact that you're rubbish in bed, poorly motivated, slightly overweight, worse looking than her and all-in-all, inferior in every way. This in itself isn't a problem; buying things is easy. However, choosing what to buy is where most of us mortal men struggle. A friend of mine once bought his girlfriend an ornamental porcelain frog for a birthday and quickly learned that the old adage; it's the thought that counts, was in fact a huge fucking lie (although one could argue that a porcelain amphibian wasn't incredibly thoughtful). If only he had known then that a site such as treather.com existed. It rids us of all the responsibility of having to think of original ideas ourselves. What could be better? Well, as I discovered, even the 'experts' occasionally come up with some spectacularly dumb ideas:

  1. Pole-Dancing Lessons

The people at 'Treather.com' know how to treat a lady. That's right, like a stripper. This is basically one of those gifts that people buy for themselves, whilst all the time pretending its for someone else. How any man has the balls to try and convince his significant other that they've always wanted to try pole-dancing is beyond me, but I assume it comes just before the conversation about how, "Charging strangers for hand jobs would really help with the bills". This would lead to an enormous argument, followed by some great 'make up' sex, after which the same guy would leave some money on the dresser and go tell his mates all the gory details. Classy! Still, if you can get away with it.
A better idea would be: A porcelain frog. Honestly, this may be the only time that this is ever true.
If you can get away with it: Then you will be a hero to all of your friends. Not only this, but for her next birthday you can hire a stripper and convince her to have a three-way, because it's just what she always wanted!


2. The 'I Love You Toaster'
This gift is insulting on a number of levels. Firstly, it's a toaster. Toasters are not romantic, neither are vacuum cleaners, irons, or washing machines. Remember this, it may one day save your life. Secondly, knowing most men, it will not be you who's getting up early to make the breakfast. This means that every morning, when your girlfriend/wife slams a plate of toast down on the breakfast table, despite the fact that her hatred for you is beyond human comprehension, you will look down at your plate and see the words "I love you". This will enable you to carry on happily with your day, oblivious to the fact your bed mate wants you dead.
A better idea would be: A cookbook. For some reason cookbooks still count as a thoughtful gift and this way you still get someone to cook for you, without seeming like a jackass (well less of a jackass). Also if the words "I love you" are scrawled across your plate in balsamic reduction, you know it's true!
If you can get away with it: Then although unaware of it, you are living in a loveless relationship. Your partner has given up hope and doesn't expect anything more from you than a love-token toaster. WARNING: She may, someday soon, ask you to fix it with a knife while its still plugged in!


3. Paris Massager (aka vibrating duck)
You're really shooting yourself in the foot with this one! Although it is a gift she will genuinely enjoy, you will be kicking yourself when you realise that the sex has dried up and your girlfriend is running baths three times a day to spend time with her vibrating duck. On the positive side, it will give you a lot of 'you' time, you know, for watching football and surfing the Internet for porn. However the duck has a distinct advantage over you; it is guaranteed to satisfy her in a way you can't and it won't ask for a blow job in return. Also she won't have to make the duck that fucking 'I love you' toast in the morning. Consider yourself ousted!
A better idea would be: Book a night in a flashy hotel, scatter the bed with rose petals and pray to god that your technique is up to scratch. Trust us, it's only a matter of time until she finds out about the duck, so try and prove your worth before she does.

If you get away with it: Pack your bags, you're an idiot and might as well have introduced her to your better looking, better endowed best friend.

4. The I.O.U Token
What is this exactly? It's the gift that isn't a gift, and is proud of it! Instead of actually buying your partner a present, cooking her dinner or treating her to a romantic night out, why not just give her a token that says you'll do it some other time. Possibly when 'Movies for Men' isn't doing a Segal week. It may sound like a really shit gift but as the website says the I.O.U token is "presented in a little red organza pouch". So its actually a really shit gift in a little red organza pouch...whatever the fuck that is.
A better idea would be: ANYTHING! Literally, buying anything would be better than not buying something. These are the basics people, come on now!
If you can get away with it: If this genuinely works then I suggest trying similar tokens with your bank manager, news agent, car insurance, and local supermarket. In fact anyone whom you genuinely owe something. Who know's how far these things will get you.
all gifts available at www.treather.com, plus some that aren't shit.