Sunday 28 July 2019

For the Queen's Curiosity

On Thursday of this week we had the July hottest day on record in the United Kingdom. Now, it is raining – as it did yesterday.

UK weather can be depressing and to lift myself out of the doldrums, I thought, for a laugh,  I would answer some bizarre questions that I found on Sunday Stealing until I actually force myself to write a proper blog post drawing from the inane nonsense in my head.

Here goes:

1. What is the nearest book to you?  Your Kindle does not count.

The nearest book to me at the moment is my Kindle. However, next to that sits “The Dictionary of Insulting Quotations” by Jonathan Green. I love reading insults, the funnier the better. Here’s an example:

Nancy Astor to Winston Churchill: “If I were your wife, I would put poison in your coffee.”

Winston Churchill in reply: “If I were your husband, I would drink it!”

2.  When was the last time you took a "me" vacation

Earlier this year. Mrs PM and I went to Vietnam for the first time, which was her idea. However, I insisted that we pay a visit to Hong Kong on the way back. I love Hong Kong and I always feel at my most content when exploring that amazing city.  Mrs PM also being there with me was the icing on the cake. I like to think Mrs PM enjoyed it too.

3.  How many telephone numbers do you have?

If you count work then three. We have a landline that we hardly ever use and I have my own personal mobile phone. I would willingly refuse to answer my work phone though.

4.  If you could fix one thing in the public school system, what is the one thing you would do immediately?

By public school, do you actually mean those schools in England where the super-rich pay extraordinary amounts of money to send their obnoxious children only for them to leave and then do their best to ruin our country by becoming a Conservative Prime Minister like the nasty blustering clown that a tiny minority of Conservatives have just elected?

If you do then I would close them in favour of normal schools and then overhaul our entire education system to make things more equal instead of biased towards the privileged few.

5.  Are you a big tipper?

No I am not. I know that in America it is expected but in the UK and Europe, it isn’t because a lot of the times service charge is included. If it isn’t then I usually only tip if the service has been good.

6.  Do you watch reality shows?

The only one I watch is The Apprentice (the UK version) because I love to see useless egomaniacs brought down to earth with a crash. I watched the American version once or twice but soon became sick of watching Donald Trump’s ego seeping out of my TV screen.

I can’t stand other reality shows because they are full of people who just want to be famous but have zero talent whatsoever.

7.  Who is your favorite sports team player?

I’ll tell you in May next year when the football season is over.

Note for American readers – when I say “football” I do not mean American football. I believe you guys call the sport “soccer” for some crazy reason.

8.  If you could travel in a spaceship to any planet, which planet would you like to visit and why?

I think that would have to be Saturn because it is beautiful –just as long as I don’t have to land there.

9.  When was the last time you sat in a church?

In 2017. I do not go to churches other than for weddings and funerals, or if I simply want to take photos of them.

10.  Are there any aspects of blogging that annoy you?

From a personal perspective, I am annoyed with myself for not posting more often. I am now trying to remedy this situation by making time to do so.

11.  When someone follows you on their blog or subscribes to your Facebook page, do you automatically follow and subscribe back?

I am on Facebook but only in name. I tend not to use it at all unless somebody takes a photo of me and tags me (usually with me pulling a funny face because I hate having my photo taken).

If somebody comments on my blog, I usually return the favour and pop across to theirs (if they have one).

Sunday 21 July 2019

Book of Questions

Here we go again – stealing questions and answering them on a Sunday morning.

As usual these are from Sunday Stealing so let’s dive straight in.

1. Do you think the world will be a better or worse place 100 years from now?

I love technology so I would like to think that we will have achieved a lot of things by the year 2119. Sadly, though, it is becoming evident that there is a price to pay and I don’t think that we will see what that is until it comes to bite us on the arse – and then it will be too late.  I would love to see what it is like – I really would – but I fear it will be worse, thanks to the toilet we are making of our planet. I’m ever the optimist though and I have faith in humanity to sort things out.

2.  Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave the country and never set foot in it again.

At the moment, with Brexit looming again, and the outlook for the UK under the clown prince of idiocy, (Alexander) Boris Johnson, the answer is a definite yes.

3. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the body or the mind of a 30 year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

I’m a relatively old git now and my body is falling apart slowly, which is something I am getting used to. My mind was really sharp when I was 30 years old (albeit a little na├»ve) so I would gladly live until 90 with my mind from that time.

4. What would constitute a “perfect” evening for you?

A couple of beers with Mrs PM, followed by a nice meal and a progressive rock concert (which sadly Mrs PM would not want to attend because she hates my music).

5. Whom do you admire most?  In what way does that person inspire you?

That’s a really difficult question to answer. As an ageing cynic, I believe that a lot of people, no matter how good they seem to be, have a hidden agenda. That said, I was very impressed with Barack Obama and his bid to become the first African American President of the USA, especially given the mess being made at the moment with Donald Trump in charge. It just goes to prove that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it unlike the arses we have had as Prime Minister in the UK for the past decade or so.

6. Do you prefer being around men or women?  Do your closest friends tend to be men or women?

I like being around both men and women. I am lucky to count both within my circle of close friends.

7. If you could use a voodoo doll to hurt anyone you chose, would you?

Oh yes but only if the doll was an effigy of a complete and utter arse like (Alexander) Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Jamie Oliver, Piers Morgan and an ever increasing list of people that is too long to publish at the moment. And I’m a nice guy so it would just be enough pain to make them realise what arses they were being and hopefully change their ways as a result.

8. What is your most treasured memory?

There are far too many to mention – and more being made as time goes by.

9. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?  Is there anything you hope to do that is even better?  (Let’s exclude raising children, if you have them)

I have travelled extensively to a lot of very interesting countries, both with work and for pleasure. I like to think that I have made a small difference to people I have met and if their memories of me make them smile, that’s even better. I do hope to write a book at some point in the future when time permits.

10. If you went to a dinner party and were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it, even if it sounded strange and not very appealing?

Yes indeed – but it depends what it is. I have eaten some very strange food in my life, especially in China and Japan, so I’m not averse to trying something new as long as I know exactly what it is.

11. Do your close friends tend to be older or younger than you?

Both. I have close friends of all ages.

12. How do you feel when people sing Happy Birthday to you in a restaurant?

I feel very embarrassed. I’m not very good at being the centre of attention.

13. When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate or embellish it?  If so, why?

I have been known to exaggerate on occasion, usually to get a laugh out of a funny story.

14. If a friend were almost always late, would you resent it or simply allow for it?  Can you be allowed to be on time?

Mrs PM is always late, despite my best efforts to make her more punctual. I usually allow for it but I moan in the hope that they will get fed up me going on about it.

15. If you could have free, unlimited service for five years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, or personal secretary, which would you choose?

All of them. I need more free time to pursue more interesting hobbies.

Sunday 14 July 2019

Sad Sleepy Survey Rambles

It’s a rather dull Sunday afternoon and I am sitting in the back room with the Cricket World Cup Final on in the background as England, who destroyed Australia in the semi-finals (sorry – I just had to say that), attempt to beat New Zealand.

It’s a good time to answer a few questions from Sunday Stealing.

Have you ever been teased because of the things you like?

Yes – repeatedly. I don’t really care to be honest. I have been teased for my views on politics, sport and music. For example, in the case of music, I am treated like a dinosaur by my younger work colleagues who claim that nobody likes the style of music I listen to. I beg to differ. Besides – I like what I like and I don’t care.

Do you hold grudges?

I try not to. If somebody upsets me or does something particularly nasty, I simply ostracise them. I suppose in a sense you could say that is holding a grudge but I think this is just removing them from my life. If somebody has done something terrible, it is better to remove them rather plot some kind of vindictive revenge.

Were there any classes you enjoyed because of the teacher?

In junior school, I had a crush on a teacher, so you could say that I really enjoyed classes with her. In later life, at the grammar school, there were one or two teachers who made the subject at hand enjoyable by their teaching style, keeping me interested even though I didn’t necessarily like the subject. I guess the answer is yes, therefore.

Was there a dress code at your school?

I went to a grammar school and the dress code was very strict. Pupils in the first and second year had to wear a school cap on the journey to and from school for reasons that I have simply never been able to fathom. This was particularly bad for me because I had to walk quite a fair distance and there were a couple of other schools on the way that had more relaxed dress codes. Local kids did not like kids who attended the grammar school because they assumed it was upper class. I was definitely not upper class, coming from a working class background and living on a working class estate. The journey to and from school with a stupid cap was therefore fraught with danger and sometimes I had to face groups of kids whose sole purpose was to ridicule me or, worse, to steal the cap. To make life easier, I chose not to wear it. But even then I was spotted by a teacher who happened to live near to me – and I was in trouble on numerous occasions because of it. I guess this is when I started to become a bit of a rebel. When I finished my third year, I burned the cap on a bonfire in my back garden. My parents were angry with me. I didn’t care.

Have you ever been a bad friend?

No. I am a nice guy and I always try to help people no matter what the circumstances.

Has a friend ever replaced you with somebody else?

Possibly. I have lost touch with people so I guess that they have replaced me with other friends. Nothing specific leaps to mind so I suppose in many ways, I have replaced them too.

Have you ever disliked something just because it was popular?

No. I dislike things because I don’t actually like them. If it happens to be popular, that’s irrelevant.

Have you ever watched a movie just because it starred an actor you liked?

No. I watch movies because I like them, not the people who are in them.

Are there actors/musicians you have met?

I have met a couple of musicians that you probably haven’t heard of. For example, I have met three of the five members of the English rock band Thunder.

Do you ever judge people based on the music they listen to?

I try not to. I do express my distaste for their music though – as do they in return.

What about your top five music albums?

That’s a tough one. I will give you my current top five albums:

Second Life Syndrome by Riverside

Renaissance Men by the Wildhearts

Empath by Devin Townsend

Resist by Within Temptation

Distance Over Time by Dream Theater

I may try in future to list my top five albums of all time – but I think that will take some time to work out.

Do you remember the first album you ever owned?

I certainly do. Given that I like progressive rock, progressive metal, hard rock and heavy metal, you may be surprised.

It was Donna Summer’s Greatest Hits.

Do you still use an mp3 player, or just your phone?

I still use my iPod because it can accommodate all of my CDs. My phone simply does not have the capacity. Also, the battery on my iPod is far superior to that of my Samsung Smartphone. If the technology and capacity and battery life of phones improves, I may swtich in future.

Do you like Elton John?

I like some of Elton John’s early music. His version of Pinball Wizard is magnificent. I also like Song for Guy.

Have any celebrity deaths hit you hard? Which one(s)?

I wouldn’t say any celebrity deaths have hit me hard – but I was affected by the death of David Bowie.

Saturday 6 July 2019

I Love Questions

I’m back!
I’ve had a bit of a strange year so far and sadly blogging has dropped right down the list of stuff that occupies my time. I may spill the beans in the future but hopefully I will soon get back to normal inane crap on this little corner of the internet that I use as an outlet for my weirdness.
Something else I haven’t done for ages is to answer a set of questions from Sunday Stealing so to ease myself gently back into blogging, I’ve decided to have a go this week.
Let’s dive straight in.

1. Are you satisfied with the way your life is right now?
I think the answer is yes. After a few ups and downs I think stability is being resumed and I have a rough plan of action for the next ten years or so. 
2. Do you drink enough water?
I made an effort at the start of the year to make drinking a lot more water a regular habit. But then I did some research on what this really means and I have cut down a little in favour of other drinks like tea, coffee and fruit juice. One of the main problems with constantly drinking is the number of trips to the loo and Captain Paranoia tells me that my friends and colleagues have started talking about where I disappear to on a regular basis. They may be right – but I don’t actually care.
3. When was the last time you ate at Burger King?
I haven’t eaten at Burger King for well over a decade – nor McDonalds come to think of it.
4. Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?
I love the tranquillity of sitting on a beach, listening to the waves gently lapping up on the shore. That said, I also like the clean air and views of the mountains. I think the beach wins because it is easier to get to.
5. How do you usually feel when you wake up on a morning?
It depends on the day. Monday to Thursday I feel  tired and depressed because I have to go to work. Friday is good because it signals the last day of work and the start of the weekend so I feel content. On Saturday and Sunday I am relaxed and happy.
6. Would you rather take someone on a date, or be taken on a date?
I would rather be taken because I think the other person would have to try and impress me rather than the other way round.
7. When was the last time you wore high heeled shoes?
I have never worn high heeled shoes. Why on earth would ANYBODY wear them? Mrs PM struggles massively in them and I have to suffer because we can only walk so far and at such a slow pace that snails are overtaking us.
8. Vodka or wine?
Wine. I avoid spirits.
9. How often do you cry?
Not very often and usually over daft things.
10. Ever had a crush on a teacher?
Yes. When I was about 10 years old we had a young teacher called Miss Thomas and I had a severe crush on her. She was gorgeous.
11. Can you wire a plug?
Yes. I would really struggle if I couldn’t.
12. Do you wear socks to bed?
No. They make my feet itch.
13. What is currently bugging you?
Don’t get me started. Okay – two things. The ongoing disaster that is Brexit, which is embarrassing enough – but then the prospect of having the most untrustworthy lying clown as our next Prime Minister. If you think Brexit makes the UK a laughing stock – wait until Boris Johnson is in charge. God help my country! 
14. Can you change a car tyre?
I have never changed a car tyre. I have changed a wheel though.
15. Have you met more than ten celebrities?
It depends what you refer to as a celebrity and your definition of “met”. Although I have seen many famous people out and about I have only ever spoken to a handful of them. Do you count footballers and not so famous band members as celebrities?
16. Do you sleep naked?
No. I won’t go into the reasons why.
17. What was the best music gig you’ve ever attended?
I have been to too many to make a decent choice. Maybe Queen in 1986. 
18. Have you ever had sexual feelings for anyone you follow on line?
No. I don’t think you can judge a person in such a way unless you actually meet them. Call me old-fashioned. Also, Mrs PM would almost certainly perform a nasty operation on me.
19. Who is someone who has changed your life positively.
Many people have changed my life by helping to steer me in the right direction over the years. I think I’ll dedicate the question to some of the teachers who stuck with me when I was an obnoxious teenage brat. I doubt any of them are still alive – but you never know.
20. Favourite city?
In the UK it has to be Manchester. In the rest of the world, Hong Kong.
21. Can you drive?
I have been driving since the age of 24. 
22. Cigarettes or alcohol?
Alcohol. I have never smoked. 
23. Favourite and least favourite accents?
Bizarrely I quite like listening to Dutch people speaking English. My least favourite accent is probably that faux southern accent that supposedly hip and trendy celebrities try to speak to make them seem “down to earth” – for example Jamie Oliver.
24. Did you play Red Rover when you were a child?
I had to look this one up and I discovered that it is a descendant of a game called British Bulldog, which was banned at my school because it was too dangerous. So I think I have played a variation of it.
25. Do you like 1980s fashion?
Absolutely. I started that wonderful decade as an eighteen year old and tried my best for the entire ten years to fit in with the bizarre fashions on parade. I love the 1980s.
So that’s it for now.
I’ll leave you with  a feel-good song by the great  Devin Townsend with a video that features a gorilla playing a bass guitar and elephants playing drums.