Sunday, 25 April 2021

More Extraordinary Penpals


Welcome to sunny South Manchester on day 407 of Covid-19 restrictions. The good news is that infection rates are still dropping in the UK even after the slow easing of lockdown. 

At the moment, shops are open again as are gyms and schools, and we can meet up to six people outside (as we did last week) and even sit outside in a pub. The timetable is such that from May 17th people will hopefully be able to meet indoors (again up to six people) and pubs and restaurants will open fully with the same restriction of six people in a group. 

The next and final stage is to remove all restrictions on June 21st and return to something like normality. In theory, by then, all adults in the UK will have at least had one jab (apart from those who can’t have the vaccine or consider it to be a conspiracy that allows Bill Gates to spy on us).

And the weather is improving too. 

Let’s hurl ourselves into some silly questions from Sunday Stealing, shall we? 

1. What issues are important to you?

I am desperately trying to rid myself of the burden of caring about politics. The last eleven years have been bloody awful politically in the UK and I have found myself ranting and raving about what has gone on. And no matter how much I have ranted, I seem to have wasted my breath because we now have an incompetent malignant narcissist that looks like a scarecrow in charge. 

I just want to forget about it and concern myself with less irritating things.

Other things are important too, like the fact that we are turning our planet into a toilet and not really doing anything about it or maybe acting too slowly.

I think I am going to stop answering this question now before I start ranting again.

2. Which breakfast foods are your favourite?

I love a traditional English breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs, beans, black pudding and toast. I also just love Marmite on toast. I don’t really eat cereals these days and I must attempt that I am tempted just to try some again. Normally, though, I just eat some fruit for breakfast most days in a bid to stay relatively healthy.

3. How often do you change your hair style?

I haven’t changed my hairstyle since 1988. Before that I had a magnificent mullet that was taken off in a misunderstanding with the hairdresser. In the early 1980’s I had a cool and trendy short hairstyle but before that in the 1970’s I let my hair explode into massive long mess. One teacher called me “the boy with the chrysanthemum head”. It looked a bit like this guy’s:

4. Your most peculiar talent or interests?

I have written a post tentatively entitled “The Weirdo” which may go into this in more detail and is due to be published next week on this very blog. Suffice it to say I am a total geek and a nerd and I am very proud of that. 

Watch this space in the next few days…

5. Something you’re a natural at

I have always been a natural when it comes to mathematics and logic, which is ultimately why I am a so-called computer programmer or, as they are referred to these days, a software engineer. My degree was in Computational and Statistical Science and I passed it relatively easily (with a little hard work admittedly). 

Note for American readers: the correct saying is “Do the MATHS” rather than “Do the MATH”. 

6. Women who inspire you

I am very impressed by Greta Thunberg and how she is bringing climate change to the attention of the world, in particular those stuff old white men who think that there is nothing to worry about.

I’m also impressed by Malala Yousafzai, a young woman who was shot in the face by a mad gunman for trying to pursue her education and continues to fight for the same cause for other girls.

7. How often do you take a break from everything?

I am a true believer in work/life balance and try to organise my time such that work does not dominate. I try to start work at the same time (depending on the day) and always try to finish at the same time. I have created a decent routine for every day of the week since lockdown restrictions and that routine allows for fun, hobbies, exercise, habits and also total relaxation. 

It is one of the good things to come out of the last year or so and I plan to let it continue when things go back to normal (hopefully in the next month or two).

8. What are your go to dancing songs?

I don’t really dance much to be honest – but I can dance (I think). Usually if we are out and about for a wedding or Christmas party or something I will usually be led by Mrs onto the dance floor to dance to something that is truly awful. Having said that there are few songs that might tempt me to move my body in time to the music. Something like:

9. Favourite carryout and takeaway foods to order

I love fish and chips though it is quite unhealthy if you eat it all of the time.

We sometimes get pizza and Chinese food as well as Indian and I love them all. We usually prefer to cook though to be honest and eating take outs is relatively rare for us.

10. People you like to spend time with

Family and friends, of course.

11. Hobbies you started within the last year

I haven’t started a new hobby in the past year but I have consolidated a couple. I have started freewriting, which is basically forcing myself to write every single day, even if it is just a few words. I started in 2018 and have written all sorts of junk, ranging from thoughts of the day, to journal entries, writing exercises and other nonsense. It is a bit weird reading it back actually but there are a few nuggets of gold in the rubble.

12. What scents, sounds, and sights of Spring do you like?

Spring is great because after a bleak winter you can start to smell the flowers as they bloom. My morning walks are far more enjoyable now than they were a few weeks ago when it was cold, dark and wet. These days I can hear birds and see squirrels racing around the park. People also seem happier as the days start to get longer. Spring is not a bad season. I just wish it was warmer (it is a bit chilly at the moment).

13. Cultural aspects you cherish and enjoy

Despite all attempts to ruin things by our government I do enjoy British life and British culture. I just wish that we would embrace more from other cultures. There has been a trend towards a more inward way of looking at things, instead of embracing other values and principals (Brexit being the main driver of this – I must not rant). 

This is why I love travel so much. Whenever I go abroad I dive headlong into the country that I am visiting and there is so much to see and learn. If some of my fellow countrymen don’t feel that way inclined, I shall carry that torch. 

For example, when I go to Spain, I don’t want to sit in an English bar drinking English beer and eating fish and chips, like some of my fellow countrymen. I want to eat tapas with the locals and try to speak Spanish (badly). 

When I go to Hong Kong, I don’t want to sit in an Irish Bar eating a roast British Sunday lunch. I want to eat authentic Chinese food with chopsticks.

It’s even the same for America and Australia, which are both similar to my own country. 

14. TV shows and films you liked this month

I watched Zack Synder’s version of Justice League – all four hours of it – and it was a vast improvement on the theatrical release. 

I have also enjoyed The Expanse, The Boys and have just started Narcos. Also, we are currently watching the American sitcom Modern Family, which is quite amusing.

15. What do people usually come to you for help with?

I am a software engineer so it usually involves technology. People assume that I am an expert in all things technical. 

For example, I do not own an iPhone and I have never owned an iPhone. I am an Android person. But people hand me their iPhones and say “You’re a geek – can you get this working for me?” Now, I can usually work things out but iPhones are not that familiar to me – so it takes me longer to find out what is going on – but I get there in the end.

To be fair, I love playing with gadgets.

I am a total geek.

And yes – some people have referred to me as Dilbert in the past.


Kwizgiver said...

I miss a good breakfast fry up. And real fish'n chips--neither is the same here in the States.

songbird's crazy world said...

I love your answers for #6.

Bev Sykes said...

more than two of us mention Greta Thunberg. I also shujld have added Malala Yousafzai to my list as well. I have read her story and seen her current life and am very impressed

Elephant's Child said...

I also spend far too much time ranting about politics. And despairing about it too. Our politics and international politics too. And don't get me started on my country's Federal responses to climate change and the environment.
Love your choice of inspirational women.

CountryDew said...

Darn, I forgot about the Justice League movie. Wasn't it awesome? It was almost an entirely different movie from the theatrical release. It had a much better tone, the Flash came across much better, and Wonder Woman was strong and decisive, as she should be. It flowed well and made much more sense.

River said...

#3, I had a similar hair explosion in the 80s, unintentional afro. I have a photo somewhere.
#9 I also love fish and chips and buy it to eat on the lawn whenever I go to Semaphore Beach, which is not often enough. I used to live there and want to do that again.

zippiknits...sometimes said...

I've got my eyes peeled for #4 in a few days... lol
HAIRDO! Pretty much what the twins looked like in the 80's, at least until one shaved her head, and the other one got a huge multi colored mohawk. Oh what a wild few years those were.
Did you notice that the fish in the fish and chips looks like a fried foot? =o/
Have a great week you maniac.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

I once had fish and chips in Boston and it was fine - if not a little huge!




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Songbird,

There are more - but I didn't dig deeper.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

Yes - Greta is immpressive considering she is so young. We could all learn from her.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I don't really follow Aussie politics too much but I know you have had your fair share of arses.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

Yes it was awesome. And Wonder Woman is amazing. I love her theme tune.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I might try to dig out a photo of my hair for a laugh.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Zippi,

Ha ha. Yes it does look like a fried foot.