Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Sun Does Not Have His Hat On

It's been a while since I wrote about my parents, and in fact earlier this week, while walking home from the hairdressers (in the pouring rain, I might add, which rendered the lovely man's services quite pointless for the time being) my mother called me.

Mum: Now, I just wanted to discuss the details for your aunt's wedding.

Me: Well, okay. But I can't write anything down right now.

Mum: (cheerily) Oh that's fine!

She proceeded to rattle off a list of a million things to remember and various things I had to yay or nay on.

Me: Mum. It's pissing with rain. I am walking home. I am not currently in possession of pen and paper. I will in all likelihood forget some of this.

Mum: No, you won't! It's all quite simple.

She continued to rattle off more details. At this point, a car about fifty feet ahead of me beeped its horn at the car in front.

Mum: (yelling) WHAT WAS THAT?

Me: A car, Mum.


Me: No, Mum.


Me: I'm walking on the pavement!


Me: I don't even- (pinching nose)


Me: Yes, fine, alright.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

We Built This City On All Your Souls

Fellow Edinburgh inhabitants, you have probably been surprised that I have hardly mentioned the most controversial thing to hit the city in the past decade. I live around Haymarket, so it affects me on a personal level, and indeed has caused me more rage in the past year or so than the mere existence of Crocs ever could hope to achieve.

Yes. I'm talking about the tramworks.

For those of you who don't know, some time ago Edinburgh City Council decided that it would be a very good idea (read: horrific thought) to destroy the entire foundations of the roads (you know, those grey paths that cars, buses and cyclists use to get around when they are not flying) covering a huge part of the city, to make way for trams.

The project, they assured us, would set Edinburgh apart! It would make it shiny and fresh and somewhere cool that people want to visit - since no tourists ever come here, except for those few months every year when we host a massive festival full of performing arts, music, food and literature and are swamped with about half a million extra visitors (and then all the other months of the year when we have masses of stuff going on too and a constant stream of people on holiday enjoying the city). Apart from that though! Nothing! It's like the Marie Celeste! No wonder they came up with this brilliant idea (read: you are all dillholes and the amount of sheer loathing I have for you threatens to overspill from my soul on a daily basis).

You know what I have to say to your idea?

I don't normally rant that much in any post, but this genuinely winds me up to astronomical levels.

My bedroom, for many months, overlooked one of the areas being dug up, tarmacked, re-dug, considered, left for dead, filled in, and then re-dug again in a fit of what I can only imagine is pure whimsy on the part of the overseers.

The above poster, which I saw on the way to work one day and loved so much that I almost smothered the glass with tiny fervent otterkisses of smug satisfaction, pretty much sums up how everyone else feels about the tramworks. The thing is, we didn't want them. We didn't ask for them. And if we had known not only how much the entire project was going to cost the taxpayer, but how utterly enraging it would be to every inhabitant, and how long it would drag on beyond the expected deadline for completion, I think we'd have petitioned to bring back public flogging. At the very least, we'd have thrown some soft vegetables and Irn Bru mush in the faces of those responsible. And it would be no less than they deserve.


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Killer Joe

I had an extra ticket for the premiere of Killer Joe, a new William Friedkin film premièring yesterday for the first day of the Edinburgh Film Festival 2012. The director himself was there to present it, as was the delightful Gina Gershon. However given that it featured Matthew McConaughey, I couldn't find anyone to go with me for love nor money. In frustration, I bribed Wetsoks, which in both foresight and hindsight was a terrible idea.

Wetsoks: (wailing) Ugh, we're outside! It's awful! Look, there are Muggles everywhere!

Me: Buddy. Just... deal with it.

Wetsoks: No! Outside bad! BAD!

Me: (pinching my nose) Oh for goodness sake.

Wetsoks: Why do you take me nice places? You know I hate that.

Me: Because no one else would - oh, never mind.

There was a brief silence.

Wetsoks: What's this film even about anyway?

Me: Um... as far as I understand it from the trailer-

Wetsoks: Is it set in space?

Me: What? No.

Wetoks: Does it contain dragons or any kind of fantasy?

Me: No.

Wetoks: Oh god, it's all the things I hate, isn't it?

Me: I -

Wetsoks: It's not one of those emotional films, is it? Like, with feelings, and stuff?

Me: Well, it has Matthew McConaughey in it... so probably not.

Wetsoks: Actually I quite like him.

Me: There's no accounting for personal taste. Anyway, it's supposed to be about a guy who hires a contract killer to murder his mother, so he can collect the insurance policy.

Wetsoks: This sounds awful.

Me: The Guardian gave it 4 stars. And said it was Matthew McConaughey's best work yet... which frankly wouldn't be that difficult to achieve...

I have to say that in all seriousness, I actually really enjoyed Killer Joe. I found it vastly entertaining, even if the beginning was a little rushed; however give the personalities of the characters, the plot still felt pretty plausible. I can't say that I take back all of my earleir criticism of Matthew McConaughey, because I sat through How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, losing approximately 2 hours of my life that I would have spent happily spent doing absolutely anything else, up to and including participating in a Crocs fashion show, and I can never forgive him entirely for that offence. In fairness, I blame Kate Hudson equally, but I don't think she is actually capable of offering anything more, whereas Killer Joe showed that Matthew McConaughey is actually a pretty decent actor when given something chunky and worthwhile to work with.

A quick word of caution to those of you who are planning to see this film - it is violent. It is shocking in places. And you'll never look at chicken in quite the same way again. You have been warned.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Get Dry With A Little Help From Your Friends

Earlier this week, my friend Wetsoks approached me, looking oddly sheepish. This, I knew from previous experience, was a sign that something vastly entertaining was about to happen. As it turns out, I was correct.

Wetsoks: Hey, buddy.

Me: Dude. What's up?

Wetsoks: Um. Look.

Me: (immediately panicking) Oh god, no one ever starts a good sentence with "um, look"!

Wetsoks: No! Everything is fine! It's just... well...

Me: Seriously, what?

Wetsoks: (uncomfortably) We had some free products at work. Um. Like, samples, and stuff. You know?

Me: (slowly) Yes?

Wetsoks: So I got you some.

Me: Thanks - wait, samples of what?

Wetsoks produced her hands from behind her back with some embarrassment, and thrust a small brightly coloured box at me.

Wetsoks: They're tampons.

Me: Yes, they are.

Wetsoks: Um. Is it weird for me to give you tampons as a gift?

Me: Well... no one has actually presented me with tampons for years, so I suppose it's quite nice?

We stared at each other in mounting puzzlement.

Wetsoks: Um. They're scented.

Me: I see that.

Wetsoks: Camomile.

Me: Indeed.

Wetsoks: (beginning to sweat) I mean, I'm not saying anything!

Me: Right.

Wetsoks: They were free!

Me: Uh huh.

There was a brief silence.

Wetsoks: You should totally blog about this.

Me: No, it's much too embarrassing.

Wetsoks: More embarrassing than... (and here she listed off a number of things which correctly, were much more embarrassing than this post and the least of which involved the fact that earlier this week, I asked for a cup of tea while in a pub, and was ID'd. This isn't so bad until you consider that I am going to be 27 in less than a month and have been attempting to carefully cultivate wrinkles for some years now with only the scantest success) ...with the Lithuanians?

Me: (irritably) Yes, yes, fine, point made.

And so it was.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Please Feed The Muse

It can sometimes be difficult, as a writer, to get your family and friends to read your story while it is still a work in progress. Mine tend to say things like 'send it to me when it is finished', or 'I am so snowed under with work', or 'I'm suffering from a specific kind of leg pain which means I cannot possibly use my eyes right now,' or 'is this ANOTHER zombie one? Can't you write something else?'

Usually I try to be as polite as possible about this - after all, there are only so many different angles on a zombie story that one ordinary person can handle in a short space of time - but my frustration built to epic proportions last night.

Me: I'm going to send my story to you. It's a zombie fairy tale.

Cublet: (tapping on her iphone) Oh... good.

Me: I'd like your opinion.

Cublet: (still tapping) Uh... sure.

Me: I'm serious. I need to know whether the general audience gets where I'm going with this.

Wetsoks: Buddy, she's not going to read it.

Cublet: DUDE! No, you're right, I'm probably not. I don't have time.

Me: Don't give me that, I know you read a ridiculous amount of fanfic. Would it help if I changed all the names to Harry Potter characters to ease you in?

Cublet: No. I don't care about anyone except Fleur.

Me: Then I'll change all the names to Fleur. That's going to get confusing.

Cublet: I'm probably still not going to read it.

Me: I am appalled. You read the entirety of Chauvinistic Coquette!

My dear readers, to spare you from the horror of this particular fanfic, daringly entitled Chauvinistic Coquette, I will give you only a brief summary. Don't go looking for it, I beg you. It is a 100k+ word count story between Hermione and Fleur, full of bad spelling, bad grammar and bad taste. It features such incidents as Fleur throwing Hermione through a glass window, 70 storeys up, and then while Hermione is falling to her death she has time (it was 70 storeys up after all) to realise that Fleur did this because she loves Hermione so passionately. I know when I love someone, I also have an uncontrollable urge to throw them through a window. Damn these spindly otter arms.

Incidentally she doesn't die, because of 'magic'. Don't even try to make sense of that. There is also a horrific public incident with a banana, which is almost exactly what it sounds like, and many other moments which made me weep in despair and beg Wetsoks to stop reading it to me. Eventually, out of kindness, she did. We never finished the story. I am still afraid that one day she will somehow trap me in a box and continue reading until the end. There may or may not have also been a sequel. I can't even bear to think about it.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

O Diabo

Good morning all! This is just a quick post to say that my twitfic story 'O Diabo' has been posted over at - please do check it out!

It's been quite an exciting year for me already and there's still half of it left. At the moment I'm currently working on a story for an ebook prompt about zombie fairytales. It started one way and has now dragged me off in a totally different direction (like a lot of my stories tend to do). I'll keep you up to date on that and all future developments. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Made By Chronos Himself

I was in my friend Wetsok's bedroom the other night, watching Battlestar Galactica. I'd never actually watched it before this year, but Wetsoks had purchased the entire boxset at a very reasonable price, and so we'd spent some time working our way through the substantial amount of discs. While this was happening, Wetsoks was also playing on her laptop.

Me: Hey buddy. Whatcha doing?

Wetsoks: Playing Ranch Rush 2.

Me: Is that like Farmville?

Wetsoks: (glaring at me) .... No.

Me: Okay, so - do you grow crops?

Wetsoks: Well, yes.

Me: And do you raise livestock?

Wetsoks: Well, kind of-

Me: I see. And could it be said that this game covers basic elements of the noble art of farming?

Wetsoks: I.... guess.

Me: I see. Dude, I hate to break the bad news but you're playing Farmville.

Wetsoks: I'm not playing Farmville.

Me: You are. You just don't know it.

Wetsoks: It's Ranch Rush 2!

Me: It's totally Farmville.

Wetsoks maintainted a sulky silence while I started yelling quotes from the amazing Farmville parody on Youtube ("Farmville - pushing the limits of the imagination... BACKWARDS!" and "Farmville, just like real farming.... BUT WITHOUT THE BENEFITS!" are two of my particular favourites), which is below. Enjoy!