Monday, 28 February 2011

Camels Are The Worst Of The Even-Toed Ungulates

The house move is going well so far. I'm currently working my way through our alcohol stock, on the logic that it's easier to drink it than transport it. I prepared a short Powerpoint presentation for Other Half on this subject but she just rolled her eyes at the title page, flicked the lights back on and passed me the bottle opener. It was another easy victory for the Otternator.

I've been thinking today about how much I hate camels. I don't know why this occurred to me while I was carrying a 32" flatscreen TV up flights of stairs, but that's the way my mind works. They are are evil, vicious beasts and as such, they are punished by being placed high on the Scale of Lame. A camel tried to kill me halfway up a volcano when I was 15. This is a fact.  I shall elaborate - I was on holiday with my best friend and her parents in Lanzarote, and they had decided that we should take a drive to see the scenery and enjoy one of the more touristy attractions - the geysers in Timanfaya National Park . The day was pleasant. The sun was shining but not too brightly, and there was a nice breeze. I was covered in my usual Factor 50 sunblock because even at that age I'd resigned myself to the fact that red-haired, green-eyed people were supposed to remain deathly pale forever and would never get to star in Baywatch.

I'd never ridden anything other than a horse at this point and the thought of getting onto a camel, riding up a volcano and generally pretending to be like Rachel Weisz in The Mummy was overheating my teenage brain with excitement. How little I knew then. I mounted the camel along with the rest of the crowd and off we went in a line, one guide at the head of our column and one guide bringing up the rear. About halfway up the volcano, I began to get properly nervous. (Heights are also on the Scale of Lame, just above wasps, if you're interested - some day I may post an actual list). I tried to breathe deeply, tried to admire the view. The breeze began to change direction. My camel lifted its head, legs slowing their pace, as it sniffed the air. It turned its massive brown head and stared at me, Suddenly, without any warning, it totally fucking freaked out. It gnashed its teeth and tried to bite me. It tried to buck me off. It foamed at the mouth. Now, I don't know if you've ever seen an animal foam, but there's something about this action that instinctively warns you to stay away, that coming near this animal is a really, really bad idea. It seems reasonable to assume, therefore, that the last thing you should ever do with an animal that is in fact currently foaming rather violently and staring at you with mad, rolling eyes,  is ride it.

I was terrified. The path was nothing more than a dirt track, and there was no rail to protect against falls. The camel was staggering drunkenly and we were veering closer to the edge. I became reasonably certain that I was going to die a virgin with a terrible haircut. It all seemed terribly unfair. If there was an afterlife, I was going to have words with someone. I screamed at the guide.

Me: (wailing) Save me! This thing is trying to kill me! HELP! HELP!

Guide: (trying to approach) It doesn't like you!

Me: We didn't even talk on the way up!

Guide: (managing to grab the camel's head) Are you wearing perfume?

Me: I wasn't aware he had a preference.

Guide: They don't like perfume.

Me: That is really the kind of thing you should tell people AT THE BOTTOM OF THE VOLCANO.

They calmed it down eventually although it did spend the rest of the trip eyeing me with a murderous rage. To this day, I have never forgiven that one camel, and I've tarred the rest with the same brush. If that makes me camel-ist, so be it. Let it be known, from the Book of Otternator, verses 126 to 127, that the Otternator spoke from on high, and said yea, listen closely both people and animals, do not try to kill me on a mountain or volcano, or even a small hill, for I shall consider this to be the end of our friendship and also it makes you a dick. Yea.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Parents, Parties and Predicaments

Since so many of you enjoyed the 'King Justice' part of yesterday's post, I thought I'd write a little something about my family. Trust me when I say I have a veritable comedy goldmine in the form of my mum, who really only needs to be awake to produce some truly hilarious sentences, although the chances are massively improved when she is sleepy or drunk. My dad says this is why he married her. If I showed you the wedding photos, however, you might wonder why she married him, because he had a ginger afro, a ginger moustache and looked like one of the 118 men. For those international readers who won't know what that refers to, look at this  Yes. That's right. Sexy, isn't it? Still, it was the 80s. It was acceptable at the time.

My mum has very little mental filter. Anything she thinks in her head is invariably repeated, like an echo, out of her mouth. If you watch closely you can see her little brain cogs whirring and grinding together, and then you only have a matter of moments to interrupt the conversation or change the topic before she says something truly embarrassing. Whereas most people have boundaries to their conversations - or at least have an inner voice that tells them 'this is probably a good time to stop talking' - my mum does not possess such a thing. Over the years, her family and friends have learned that as a rule, it's much more interesting and amusing to allow her to do this rather than trying to interfere. I seem to have inherited this trait although it is not fully-fledged - it appears to get stronger with age. However I don't believe that, even if I live to be 100, I could ever surpass my mum as a magnet for these types of situations. If it had a name, she'd be the queen of it.

Let me illustrate with an example. My parents had decided to move house a few years back, into a small village only a mile or so away from the small town I grew up in. My mum, who is a very small, chatty, blonde hurricane, had spotted a neighbour lady hanging out her washing in the garden of the house opposite. She decided this would be a perfect opportunity to ingratiate herself with the locals and perhaps make a new friend. I want to confirm now that this story is completely true. I actually could not have made it up. It is not possible to pretend or fantasize this level of insanity and mortification.

My mum headed across the road and introduced herself. Before long, she and the neighbour lady were chatting away when the conversation turned rather gossipy.

Lady: And that man, in the house on that side, he cheated on his wife!

Mum: Ooh!

Lady: (conspiratorially) And the man living next to you... well, he's very nice, but he's a homosexual and sometimes he has (and here she mouthed a word to my mum)

My mum was puzzled. She wondered why the lady was mouthing a word rather than saying it. She couldn't quite make it out, but thought that it had looked a bit like 'parties'. What was so wrong about parties, my mum  mused, that this lady would disapprove so much? Maybe she wasn't keen on noise or disturbance? My mum, instead of asking like a normal person for clarification, clung to her conclusion like a drowning man to a log.

Mum: (brightly) Well, I don't mind that. As long as he invites me in as well!

The woman's face changed, very slowly, from an expression of friendliness, to sheer confusion and more a little horror. My mum realised, with the sinking feeling she must be very used to by now, that the conclusion she'd arrived at must have been dead wrong. Not parties then. It dawned on my mum, with all the immediacy of a bullet to the head, that the word the lady had mouthed was in fact 'partner'.

Mum: Sorry, .

Lady: (backing away) Um, I'm quite busy, doing, something, so...see you around...

The lady fled, and rightly so, back to the safety of her house. My mum turned sadly and walked straight back into her new house. My dad was unpacking boxes in the living room, humming happily to himself.

Mum: We need to move again.

Dad: What? We just got here!

Mum: I know, but I sort of accidentally told that lady that I wanted to have a threesome with our gay neighbour and his boyfriend.


That's my family. And I'm a product of that environment, which is a fairly frightening thought. Maybe some day, one of my future-children will roll their eyes at something stupid I've done and blog about it. I can only dream.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

They Shoot Lyrics, Don't They?

We got two sets of keys to our new house yesterday. When we arrived there, using Other Half's keys, it wasn't clean. The letting agency apologised, sent a cleaner around and a giftbasket. Other Half and I were reasonably appeased by this sacrificial offering, and decided not to Hulk out about it. Anyone can make a mistake. However, when the taxi dropped me off at the new flat this morning, alone, struggling with a massive rucksack that weighs about twice as much as I do, along with several heavy bags full of books and my guitar, I was understandably horrified to find that my new set of 'exterior door' keys did not work. I tried them a couple of times, but they wouldn't even fit in the locks. I stood there for a few minutes, bewildered and straining under the weight of my worldly belongings. I'd just used all my change to pay the taxi. I was running out of phone battery. I was over a mile away from our current house. My joints were already beginning to hurt. In the gentle mid-morning sun, on the steps, with the steady soothing hum of traffic passing by, I began, very quietly, to have a complete meltdown. Luckily, the lady who lives in the flat underneath was home and answered my desperate buzzer presses and was very kind about it. Turns out only my 'indoor door' keys work. Therefore, I only need to be able to break in to the stairwell and all systems are go. Perhaps it's some kind of test, to see if I was resourceful enough to be able to live there. If they were looking for a new Jack Bauer, I'm afraid I'm a disappointment. I can't even watch 24 because it makes me too nervous, never mind live it.

While unpacking, once I had eventually managed to get into the new flat, I spent some quality time dancing like a drunken badger attacking a hedge and singing tunelessly to my ipod playlist. The acoustics in the new flat are great. I tried a rousing rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, trying to emulate Janette FM and was pleasantly surprised. When Rihanna began playing, I was reminded of a time only a few weeks previously when I was listening to her song 'Only Girl In the World'.

Perhaps you've also experienced this feeling. A modern pop song on the radio blows you away with its catchy melody and foot-tapping rhythm. You find yourself singing along heartily only to realise half-way in that you are repeating ridiculous sentences. Case in point - the aforementioned 'Only Girl In The World' song begins with the lyrics "I want you to love me, like I'm a hot pie."  Really, Rihanna? Because the way I love a hot pie involves sharp cutlery, perhaps with an accompaniment of baked beans or mashed potatoes and I'm not sure that's really what you meant. Even worse, she doesn't even go on to specify the kind of hot pie. Is it apple? Mississippi mud? Steak and ale? Details and continuity are important, Rihanna. They make a good song great. You wouldn't catch Simon and Garfunkel making this kind of rookie mistake.

I told Other Half about this and she informed me, rolling her eyes as usual, that it's actually "hot ride", not "hot pie". This makes even less sense. Is Rihanna a rollercoaster? Does she want people to experience nauseous, andrenaline-fuelled terror while listening to her songs? Does she consider herself better than, say, Oblivion, or that Space Mountain one? These are questions that trouble my mind greatly. I think I preferred it when she was a pie.

My family often provide me with much misquoted lyrical entertainment during our weekly catch up phone calls. A man at my dad's workplace walked around singing "King Justice" for weeks until my dad finally took him aside and explained that MC Hammer was actually singing "Can't Touch This". I believe it was an uncomfortable moment for both. I personally would have tried to alleviate the awkwardness by Hammerdancing. I find this works as a momentary distraction from most social faux pas, such as cannibalism chats, embarrassing verbal mishaps and explaining in great detail to people you've just met that spiders are constantly trying to assassinate you.

In summary, always listen closely, check your keys carefully, and when in doubt, Hammerdance.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Of Polar Bears and iPods and Cabbages and Kings

Now, you'll probably have figured out by now that I don't really think like your average person. I love references and enjoy quoting various films/tvshows/books/stand up, on average, about a zillion times a day, possibly to the point of overkill. My memory for such things is incredible. And yet I get distracted fairly easily and often reach the bottom of the stairs only to find myself puzzled as to why I descended in the first place. In addition to these endearing traits, I tend to view the world in a way that is very practical and logical to me, but utterly puzzling and nonsensical to other people. I mentioned previously that I like to name my possessions - for example, my regular ipod is called Hector while my tiny shuffle ipod is called Jeremy. This makes perfect sense to me, and the reasons are twofold. Firstly, it's cute. I just dig it. Secondly, it makes it easier to identify items when they have become lost, or dragged off to be molested by one or more curious cats, or retrieved by the spider army to complete their latest weapon.

In a perfect world, this logic would be used by people everywhere, and lost items would be, in my opinion, a damn sight easier to find. The conversations would be like this:

Me: Have you seen Jeremy?

Other Half: Yes, he's right here.

Me: Oh frabjous day! Callooh callay!

Other Half: Come to my arms, my beamish Otternator!

In my perfect world, Other Half would be able to reference Lewis Carroll poems without rolling her eyes, and she'd allow me to interpretive dance in the kitchen next to the knife rack (because that's where the floor is best, danger be damned) and let me fill up the fridges with more than four kinds of cheese and buy enough Terry Pratchett coasters to cover every available surface and all that other stuff that drives me into a frenzied geek meltdown. Sadly, it is not a perfect world and other people wilfully insist on not using my methods and denying me cheese variety. Therefore, Other Half and I instead have conversations like this:

Me: Have you seen Jeremy?

Other Half: Who?

Me: Jeremy.

Other Half: Is that one of your Twitter friends?

Me: (appalled) Do you even know me at all?

Other Half: (holding up Hector with cautious optimism) This?

Me: No.

Other Half: (holding up a spatula) This?

Me: No.

Other Half: Me?

Me: (pinches nose and sighs)

I'm going to veer off for a moment to give another example of how differently I view the world on a day-to-day basis. A couple of years ago, in a previous job, some colleagues were exchanging banter about terrible chat-up lines they'd heard. The banter turned to conversation openers rather than stoppers (a field in which I have much expertise) and  one colleague turned to me. Unfortunately for him, he hadn't yet realised quite how odd I am. This would not bode well for our budding friendship.

Colleague: This is a good one - how much does a polar bear weigh?

Me: (without pausing) I think the males weigh about 900 pounds, on average. The females will weigh less.  


Colleague: (gaping) Um. You're supposed to say you don't know.

Me: But you asked me a question.

Colleague: You're not supposed to know the answer.

Me: What kind of person asks an unanswerable question? Who are you, Chuck Norris?

Colleague: What?

Me: Nevermind. Jeez.

I've been aiming to write one post a day for as long as I can force my brain to cooperate, but Other Half and I are moving house this weekend so this may be more difficult than I'd originally anticipated (I'm sure it will provide many entertaining tales for future posts involving dislocated joints and broken items). Still, I enjoy the stress that adventure and impending deadlines bring to my life.
Heart rate up. Challenge accepted.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Janette FM

Since Other Half's words to me this month have consisted of treasured compliments, such as "you know, you look like the bastard offspring of Clea DuVall and Justin Bieber with that hair", and since my friends reading this blog commented on how much more they admire her for putting up with my obvious insanity (and really picking up the Bieber joke and running miles and miles with it), I am going to retreat to a corner, glare balefully at the world, and talk about something other than Other Half.

I work in an office. We have some rather good banter, even though everyone in my department is at least 20 years older than me and most of them have children my age. The lady who sits next to me is very nice. I refer to her as Janette FM, because she sings and hums constantly, in a warbling soprano. She recently got a new mp3 player so this habit has eased up in the past week or so, but it still remains a constant theme of my day.

I never know what exciting song choice she will entertain next. In a single day she could range into multiple genres, including both new and old classics. On Monday last week she treated us to a harmonious hymn mash-up medley followed swiftly by a delightful operatic rendition of We Don't Need Another Hero. You can put in requests, I have discovered, but she does not do Jay-Z or Tinchy Stryder. I consider this a great waste of her talents. You can also join in but since Janette FM is slightly deaf, chances are that she'll belt it out at her own pace, regardless of how you're interpreting the song, and you'll just have to keep up. Breathing exercises help. It's all in the diaphragm.

Janette FM's slight deafness lends itself well to unintentional comedy moments. Her boss Alice sits over a small dividing wall, and our poor, long-suffering colleague Pauline sits diagonally behind Janette FM. I have no idea why the laws of physics and acoustics do not work in this particular spot - Janette can't seem to hear a thing Alice says but can hear anyone else in the same small two metre radius. The conversations, therefore, go like this:

Alice: Janette, do you have the documents for [important sounding acronym for something businessy]?

Janette FM continues working at her computer.

Alice: Janette.

Janette FM continues working at her computer.

Alice: Janette!

Janette FM continues working at her computer.

Pauline: Oh for god's sake. JANETTE!

Janette FM: What?

Pauline: Alice is talking to you.

Janette FM: (looking bemused) Is she? What's she saying?

Pauline: (sighs) Alice, what are you saying?

Alice: I'm asking if she's got the [important sounding acronym].

Pauline: She wants to know if you have the [important sounding acronym].

Janette: I'll have to check.

Pauline; She'll have to check.

Alice: I heard her, I'm not the deaf one!

Janette FM: What?

Pauline looks at me despairingly. People are always looking at me despairingly.

Me: Wouldn't it be much easier if you just emailed each other?

Janette FM: What?

Eventually, I put my headphones on. My ipod Hector - for some reason I really like to name inanimate objects - drowns out the first lines to Sweet Caroline with an awesome Crystal Castles song. Just in time, I think. Just in time.

All Your Bears Are Belong To Us

Other Half is a enigmatic creature. She routinely scorns my geekery for higher pursuits, but her interest can be captured if you play your cards right. Over our time together, I feel I have become a master of this delicate art. I once tried to explain this concept to her through the equally fine art of interpretive dance, but she just looked at me for a while, unblinking, and then left the  room. I'm a firm believer in interpretive dance. It makes for a great conversation stopper at parties. I speak from experience.

I've recently been playing a game called Red Dead Redemption on one of our PS3s. We have six consoles overall. Other Half likes to pretend she thinks this is too many, but since the colour actually drained from her face when I suggested returning the Wii and her special Goldeneye game/controller set, I think it's safe to say she enjoys them almost as much as I do. We tend to have reasonably similar taste in games, although hers tends towards the first person shooter variety, and I prefer more strategic, turn-based games because my aim onscreen is about as good as my aim would be in real life. I spent most of my time during Resistance: Fall of Man with my camera view pointed inexplicably and rather sadly into the sky as my player was continually riddled with bullets.

At this point Other Half  has been on a two week long Grand Theft Auto binge (and I'm not sure I care for the way her elbow twitches every time we walk past a particularly shiny car) and she's being rather derogatory about my new game, which is basically Grand Theft Auto but with cowboys. It's even made by the same superb company. Introducing Other Half to my games, especially these kind of games, is a bittersweet business, as I am fully aware that given fifteen minutes she will be beating the everloving crap out of me and all my high scores/previous amazing achievements. The things we do for love.

Other Half: So, what, you just shoot animals? That's awful!

Me: Didn't you just take out a whole branch of the Mafia?

Other Half: That's totally different.

Me: Well, you have missions in this game too. You shoot the animals to skin them for pelts, which you can sell in the towns. You get to lasso horses and hunt down wanted criminals. It's pretty fun.

Other Half: That's stupid.

Me: It's awesome.

Other Half: Where's your car?

Me: It's the Wild West. You get a horse. And sometimes a wagon.

Other Half: Again, that's stupid.

It occurred to me that Other Half was perhaps protesting a little too much. I continued to play, ignoring her, while she read a book on the other side of the couch. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her glancing towards the screen. I completed a mission and went out to the next one, stopping on the way to save a lady from being hanged. I shot some bears in the face in slow motion. It was like being a cowboy Superman. I was living the dream.

Other Half: So, what kind of guns have you got?

I knew it. Hook, line and sinker. She wanted to play but she'd called it stupid. She'd take time to come around, like a feral animal.  I talked soothingly about the guns for a while as she inched closer. Eventually:

Me: (casually) Do you want to try? I'm going to the bathroom anyway.

Other Half: Well, I suppose. If you're going for a minute I could try...

I returned minutes later. She was jabbing at the controller in frustration.

Other Half: What is wrong with this bloody horse?

Me: (defensively) I've grown quite fond of J-Lo.

Other Half: You named the-you know what, nevermind. How do you reverse it?

Me: I'm sorry? I don't think I heard you right.

Other Half: How do you reverse it? I can't get it to walk backwards.

Me: Didn't you grow up on a farm?

Other Half: Yeah, so?

Me: Turn it around, for god's sake! You don't reverse a horse! It's not a BMW!

Other Half: (dawning comprehension) Oh, I see.

Other Half went on to surpass me at Red Dead Redemption, completing it three time and earning all the trophies. However, I still kick her ass at Risk. She hasn't noticed that I always start from Australia.  It's just a matter of time.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Spiders versus Murderers

We're moving house soon. The house we currently live in has a ridiculous number of problems - leaking roof, leaking sinks - in fact, leaking pretty much anywhere where water residue would smell bad or start to ferment oddly. Our downstairs bathroom and hall flooded about a month ago. It was, for lack of a better word, swampy. We managed to dry it out somewhat, but then the carpet started to form mould. I really wanted to set up a lab experiment to evolve the mould, to see if we could turn it into a new evolutionary branch of nature, but Other Half put her foot down. It squelched.

However, I could endure the problems - the constant dripping, the fact that some genius had the shower head installed at knee height so you have to crane like a foetus to get under it, the fact that only the hot tap works upstairs (and it goes from tepid to volcanic in about four seconds, so you better be damn quick if you want to keep the skin on your hands),  - if it wasn't for the constant creaking. It's a relatively new, modern house. There's absolutely no reason for it to sound like the centrepiece in a Tim Burton film. Also, it's right next to a field, which I'm fairly certain is being used by the government to grow the most hideous, determined, gigantic spiders in the entire world.

I have a few phobias. Wasps, heights and germs all rank fairly high on the Scale of Lame. But spiders are right up there at the top, just above drowning and just below being drowned by a spider. I recently read a post by Hyperbole and a Half (who has a great and hilarious blog that I have spent hours of my life on, giggling helplessly and emitting liquid from every facial orifice) about spiders. I immediately carried my laptop, power cable trailing dangerously close to the still squishy carpet, to my Other Half. I pointed at this, and explained that when I totally freak out over a spider (or indeed, over a piece of fluff on the floor, or a button, or anything that to my twitchy, paranoid peripheral vision looks remotely like a spider) this is what I see, or at least, think I see. Well, almost. I imagine them more as having a knife between their teeth as they climb rapidly towards me, multiple furred limbs blurring with speed, staring at me as the burning desire to eliminate me burns in their awful beady eyes. It's a kind of Inigo Montoya situation.

Other Half is my hero in these situations. However, being a vegetarian non-killer, she traps the spiders and releases them outside instead of killing them dead like she should. I know they'll just find their way back to base camp. They'll relay the details of the most recent mission, and the spider commanders will pore over their maps and charts, replotting my death, devising new and more ingenious ways to ambush me. Other Half thinks this is ridiculous. She says that spiders naturally enter the house. She cannot offer any explanation for the way they all seem to aim directly at me, or when I swing the bathroom door closed behind me, there is often a spider on the other side, like a kind of horror film assassin, trapping me.

Back to the creaking house of creakerdom. Let me explain, Other Half is not fearless. She has a fairly bad phobia regarding murderers being somehow in the house. I can understand this. Not many people would enjoy finding a murderer in their house, and since it's much, much harder to trap a man under a cup and throw him out the window, I can see why she considers spiders to be no real threat. However, it means that she wakes me from a deep and pleasant sleep on particularly windy nights to have this conversation:

Other Half: Wake up! Oh god, wake up!

Me: ...What?

Other Half: Someone's in the house!

Me: ...What?

Other Half: Get up! Get the hammer! GET THE HAMMER!

Me: ...What?

I usually try to pull the "what" stunt, hoping that she'll resign herself to us being murdered and go back to sleep. This has never worked, but it's worth trying just in case.

Other Half: We're going to die!

Me: (stretching) Okay fine, I'm up, I'm up. Jeez.

Other Half trembles like a puppy in a bullpen as I flick all the lights on and check the house. The noises are attributed to creaking, or to our two mischievous cats, or to the wind, and not to rapey murderers hiding in closets ready to have stabby fun. I trudge, sighing morosely, back to bed, and Other Half is appropriately appreciative of my  bravery in the face of absolutely nothing. I get back into bed, but it's usually only after Other Half's breathing starts to sound like what I like to refer to as Snuffly Hedgehog Noises that the thought occurs to me. Not murderers...It must have finally happened. The spider army are on their way, amassing to attack. Damn. Where did I put that hammer?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Cannibalism and Other Social Faux Pas

A few months ago, the Other Half and I were settling into bed. She had her puzzle book. I was pretending to read a real book. I had been reading like a real human, rubbing my eyes all over its papery goodness, up until a few seconds previously, when something had dawned on me.
Now, if you read my previous post, you'll know I have OCD. I don't like to find myself in situations where control and rules are far beyond my grasp. It really stresses me out. So to ease my anxieties, I have little rituals. I rate things according to a Scale of Awesome or Lame, although that comes with its own special set of problems when I find myself still awake at 4am, worrying about the placement of an item on said Scale.
I also make plans for every conceivable situation so that, for example, if  a  zombie apocalypse happened, I would be immediately able to recall the instructions I had decided upon and act on them, while everyone around me is flailing wildly, making spontaneous, foolish plans that aren't fooling anybody and being bitten by the drooling undead.

Back to the story. It occurred to me that we'd never discussed, as a couple, the appropriate procedures for a plane crash and subsequent potential cannibalism. At this point, Other Half and I had only been together for about a year and a half, so she'd had plenty time to get used to the mountain of crazy that is Otternator. Still, I did see a look of real worry flicker over her delightful face when I turned to her and had the following conversation:

Me: Darling.

Other Half: What?

Me: Sweetness and joy of my life.

Other Half: What?

Me: I love you.

Other Half: (peers at me suspiciously) Where's this going?

Me: Say, just as a casual example, we were in a plane crash. There were other survivors but they've been all KAPOW'd *makes hand gestures to indicate general melty-blown-to-smithereens-dismemberment* in the aftermath of the explosion.

Other Half: How did we manage to-

Me: It's not important.

Other Half: ...Okay.

Me: (looking earnest and puppy-eyed) We need to talk about this now. Otherwise, if we do crash on a mountain, we're going to waste valuable time discussing the plan of action. So, plane crash, we are the only survivors, you're kind of weak and/or dying and I might have a chance to live if I feast off your flesh. What's your take on that?

Other Half: WHAT? I don't want you to eat me! Especially not if I'm still alive!

Me: I'd fix that for you. Mountains are covered in nice, big rocks. You'd never even see it coming. 

Other Half: This is really disturbing and inappropriate before bedtime. Can I please go back to my crossword?

Me: It'll be a lot more disturbing on that mountain. In the cold. In the dark. And you'll wish you'd talked it through with me.

Other Half: Wasn't here a film about something like this?

Me: Yep.

Other Half: What happened to those guys?

Me: They ate each other. Nom nom nom. Come on, be a team player! I'll let you eat me!

Other Half gives me such a look of terrified despair that I subside and pet her hair.

Me: Okay, okay. I can eat you, but only when you're dead. Right?

Other Half:...Kay. But you're not allowed to kill me and claim that I was dead already.

Me: You always find my loopholes. That's why I love you. Smarty-pants.

Other Half: I love you too. Please don't kill me, okay?

Me: Sure, sure. (nodding quietly to myself, thinking that if she's weak/dying anyway it's practically a kindness to put her out of her misery. Like a wounded deer. Besides, she's a vegetarian. I bet they taste real good.)

Other Half: I MEAN IT!

Now I never said life with me was easy. It probably isn't. But isn't it better to know what you'd do beforehand? I don't want to approach her, topic unbroached, on that mountain with the plane wreckage burning behind us, wielding a sizeable rock in my hand and grinning innocently. It feels like cheating. And I like playing by the rules.

Monday, 21 February 2011


This is my first ever post on my first ever blog. I feel like it should be a more momentous occasion, but since pretty much everyone and their gran has been blogging for years, it's old news. A lot of my friends have blogs and a lot of people I know from the internet and enjoy staring at occasionally on Twitter have blogs, and while I'm pretty sure I'm never going to compete with, say, Hyperbole and a Half, or Steam Me Up Kid, what the hell. Might as well let it all out.

Here are a few fun facts. I have OCD. People tend to know a little about that. I also have hypermobility in my joints. Basically, my mind wants to control everything, but my body is incapable of following those orders. My girlfriend just watches, mouth agape in wonder, as I fail to complete even the simplest of motor control tasks. Pouring is not my strong suit, let me tell you. Neither is walking, or avoiding obstacles while walking, or trying to get through a doorway while walking. Putting on an article of clothing while walking, even gloves, provides unintentional slapstick entertainment for everyone in my immediate vicinity.
For years my parents chalked this behaviour up to "clumsiness", "laziness" and, my particular favourite, "not trying hard enough-ness". It was only years later when diagnosed by a doctor that everything made sense. If you throw a ball at a normal person, they will react - their muscles respond to their brain's instructions to move in the right ways in order to catch the ball. If you throw a ball at me, my first and only instinct is to attempt to shield myself with flailing, pathetic arms while screaming like a child, because I lack co-ordination like a mofo and the idea of even trying to catch the ball is fraught with a million memories of being totally and utterly fucking useless at anything that requires movement.

To be fair, my other half does a lot of the manual jar-opening, milk-pouring labour for me now. She has the reflexes of a snake and can pour two things at once without spilling. It is like watching a wizard. However, due to my OCD and tangenty thoughts, and the general mash that is my mind, we have conversations like this.

Other Half: (explodes into room,waving magazine at me) Who is this? Do you know?

Me: (squinting at the magazine) Oh...Rachel McAdam?

Other Half: It's Emily Blunt! EMILY BLUNT! This proves my theory. You have no facial recognition skills whatsoever.

Me: They look exactly the same.

Other Half: They don't.

Me: They really, really do.

Other Half: (stares at me with mixture of pity and defeat) Rachel McAdam was in The Notebook.

Me: Never saw it.

Other Half: We watched it together!

Me: Oh, THAT. Yeah, I hated that. It was awful. What was the question?

Other Half: There was no question.

Me: Don't play coy  with me! Did you want me to guess another? I'll guess another.

Other Half tries to pull magazine away but I yank it free. I point triumphantly.

Me: (beaming proudly) I know who she is! That's Kim Cattrall.


Me: (squinting again) Are you sure? They look so similar.

Other Half: How do you even know who I am?

Me: What do you mean? Like if you were kidnapped?

Other Half: Uh...

Me: Yeah, okay, like  you got kidnapped, and then they did a Face/Off on you, and you came back to the house but you looked  like Rachel Blunt or whoever-

Other Half: (pinching her nose) Emily Blunt.

Me: (getting into it) Uh-huh, and then you'd be all "I could eat a peach for hours!" And I'd know then. I'd know you were Nicholas Cage. And if that didn't work, I'd smell you, because you'd probably smell the same even if they surgically removed your face. Unless you'd been eating peaches.

Other Half: (quietly staring at me) There is something wrong with you. Really. Quite wrong.

She leaves the room, taking the magazine and what remains of my dignity. I manage to maintain a suitably downcast isn't-it-a-shame-that-my-brain-doesnt-work-like-other-people's-brains-do but then I remember that I don't care. I rather like the way my brain works. I've had quite a few head injuries in my day and I tend to think that these have somehow altered my brain. That and I never learned to drive, so there's was lot of empty space to be filled with pointless knowledge. At this point I will take out her puzzle book from wherever she's hidden it and slowly, quietly, and with great relish, complete all her crosswords.