Thursday, September 28, 2006

Go to the top of the class and give out the penguins

That was one of my dad's favourite sayings - he would have been sixty today. 59 is a really stupid kind of age to die at. Anyway, interestingly enough, one of my teachers at the uni is also the financial controller of the Crich tramway museum, which was one of my dad's favourite places for a day out. In fact, I have a feeling I met this guy the last time we went there - he gave us a lecture on the effects of recent tax laws relating to charities that was very similar to one I've heard before from a tramway person.

Another of the three lecturers didn't turn up at all - he had some good excuse, I forget what, but it meant we got to go home early. I was pleased to note that my reaction to that was "yay, I get out of school early" rather than "tch, I've paid good money for this course and the teacher doesn't even show up". The third was a rather dull guy who pronounces 'finance' differently from anyone else I've ever met. You'd think a career as an accountant would persuade someone to say the word the same way as everyone else, but obviously not.

Pot Noodles are two for a pound at Sainsbury's at the moment, so I bought a couple for the first time in years. That takes me back to my student days a lot more than going to university did (my university career wasn't really characterised by me showing up to classes very much, but it did involve a surprising number of pot noodles). I had one for my tea tonight, and while I'll admit it wasn't what you'd call nice, they do still have a certain something.

Anyway, my brother's coming round this weekend, so I might not write anything for the next couple of days. Not that I think anyone would really care, but I'd hate to have people logging excitedly onto the internet over the weekend specifically to see my unique perspective on world events.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

But if I wore a cap, they'd never let me back in the university

It's back to school tomorrow, the first day in my weekly course of learning lots of useful accountancy-related things that nobody in the history of the universe has ever found a use for in the real world. It starts at 3:30 and goes on till 8:45. I'm also going to work in the morning, so I'll be well and truly worn out by the end. Still, having this qualification will come in pretty handy when I run out of money and need to sweet-talk my way back into the world of the wage-slave. And even if I don't, I'll get to impress a classful of impressionable youngish accountants with how clever I am. Besides, it'll be fun to be learning and preparing for exams again, probably. I need to remember all my old excuses for not having done my homework.

Ntl have changed the numbers on all their channels, for no earthly reason. The letter explaining it even says "we've also decided that channels on a revolutionary digital TV service such as ours are bound to grow a bit so we're changing to three digit numbers to allow for ongoing additions."

They already used three-digit numbers on quite a lot of their channels! The only difference now is that they're all three digits, so basically in order to allow for expansion they've changed from having the choice of any number from 0 to 999, to any number from 100 to 999. Weirdos.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Nerdy rant

It's kind of old news now, I know, but I've just been watching the Doctor Who episode "The Satan Pit", and I feel I have to say to the uninterested world that you can't do a story in which a space station's crew are composed of six major characters who work and interact extensively onscreen together, and two extras who say and do nothing and then die at dramatic moments. It just looks really weird. They could have at least given them names - that doesn't mean you have to pay them extra, does it? Or heck, just mentioned them in the dialogue so the whole production doesn't scream at you "hey, we need to establish that the Ood can kill people, but we need all the characters for later on, better throw in a couple more cannon fodder at the last moment..."

They didn't need to kill two people, anyway, the second one was completely pointless. Couldn't they have splashed out on one more speaking part instead of two walk-ons?

Sorry about that, I just fancy myself a drama critic from time to time. Anyway, it's not like I've got anything monumentally interesting I could be talking about instead, it was basically that or the football because since there's too much stuff on telly tonight that I want to watch, I've taken an executive decision to give the memory and calculation training a break. Describing it like that means it qualifies as effective time management instead of laziness.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Could have been embarrassing...

The zip's broken on my work trousers. Luckily, it didn't come open until I was taking them off tonight, or I really would have had a chance to see if anybody would notice a striking trouser-related change in my appearance like I threatened the other day.

The boss wants me to come in part-time now until the middle of December. On the one hand, this is good, because I'm not sure I want to leave anyway. Although I'll soon change my mind when I get to the annoying part of my monthly routine again, of course. But on the other hand, that'll be four months from the time I told them I was leaving, and it seems to me that any competent company would have had me replaced and things running perfectly smoothly by that point. And this whole voyage-of-self-discovery sabbatical thing isn't quite the same if I'm going in to work every now and then through it. Still, I just do what the universe throws at me and enjoy the ride.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


When I have nothing better to do, or at least don't have the inclination to do anything better, I can occasionally be seen browsing the children's section of a bookshop. As an aspiring children's author myself, it reassures me to see some of the rubbish that gets published these days - makes me more confident that some of my own rubbish could still find its way into print eventually.

The only drawback to this confidence-building exercise is that occasionally I stumble across a piece of work so brilliant that I could never in a month of Sundays hope to produce anything like it. And then I get all depressed again. One such book, which I came across today, is "The Giggler Treatment", by Roddy Doyle. It's sheer genius from start to finish. It features, among other things, a seagull which hates fish and if it had its way would round them all up and dump them in the sea, a character called Billie Jean Fleetwood-Mack, a man who's in a bad mood because his sandwiches and flask of chicken soup at lunchtime were robbed by a vulture, a short cut from his house to the train station via the Sahara Desert, the river Nile and the Eiffel Tower, and a chapter written by the dog in which, without advancing the plot at all, he describes the difficulty of using the computer without his owner noticing, and mentions that his girlfriend Lassie recently moved to Galway and he thinks he misses her more than she misses him.

"Measure a mouse's eyelash. Not down. Across. That was how far Mister Mack's shoe was from the poo. And his rescuers were in Egypt! In North Africa! They'd never make it on time."

The whole book, in fact, takes place in the time it takes for Mister Mack's foot to descend towards the dog poo. He's wearing new and very stiff trousers, so it takes longer than you'd expect. Seriously, this book reaches heights of excellence that I could never hope to aspire to, even in all the months of Sundays I've got in store for the next year.

In other news, I also bought the new Oor Wullie book yesterday. I'm more of a Broons fan, but I still get the bi-annual Wullie collection too, and this bi-year I did laugh out loud at least a couple of times, so I think I've got my money's worth as well as keeping up with tradition.

And speaking of traditions, I seem to be making one of critically analysing each new Coco Pops advert I see, but I can't help it - this latest one raises deep issues that need to be explored.

It's an advert for Coco Rocks, actually, the horrid-looking crunchy-and-soft-choc cereal that Coco Monkey and his gang also advertise. In it, the villainous Croc steals the Coco Rocks and expresses the intention of scientifically analysing them to discover the secret of what makes them so delicious. Coco observes that "all will be lost" if he does crack the secret, but doesn't elaborate on exactly why. What, exactly, would be the consequences of Croc learning the secret? All I can think would come of it would be that Croc would be able to make his own Coco Rocks without needing to steal them (he can afford the lab equipment and gorilla henchmen, so you'd think he'd be able to buy his own, but perhaps he's barred from the local jungle supermarket), and surely that would be better for everyone except the Kellogg's cereal corporation.

At worst, his plan could be to market his own Coco Rocks clones and make a fortune. And although this would maybe be unethical, I think that frankly Kellogg's could use some competition to their monopoly in this market. Coco Monkey's urging of consumers to help him thwart Croc's plan smacks of brainwashing innocent children into tools of corporate propaganda. I think it's disgraceful, and should be stopped. I've lost all respect for Coco. And Ozmelda Ostrich can forget about me asking her out on another date.