Randomness abroad

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Frankfurt at night.

Last night I heard a conversation that I expect to hear only once in my lifetime. Spoken seriously…

“Where’s the lobster?

“He’s playing darts.”

Tonight I will be locked in a room and have to find the way out. So will everyone else.

I suppose it was bound to happen.

Stranger in a strange land

I am in Frankfurt, Germany. Not alone, there are seven other guys, one of whom is dressed as a lobster. Nothing too unusual then. The details behind how all this came about will be the subject of a future post but for now I have a pressing need to find espresso.

This is a civilised place where cigarettes are on open display, cost less than half UK prices and you can smoke indoors. Yes, even in bars. There’s not much whisky around but I have seen a bottle of Tullamore Dew for 29 Euros. I should have brought a bigger bag.

The UK could learn a lot from Frankfurt. If I can learn German as well as Danish this year I think my options for moving to somewhere worth living might be considerably expanded.

Hiatus

This weekend is a stag weekend (batchelor party for those in some other countries) and it’s Scottish so it lasts until Monday.

It’s not just booze. So far I have fired my first ever shotgun and exterminated seven evil clay pigeons, been gokarting and driven a truck blindfolded without hitting anything at all.

I have also had a go on a Segway. I have got to get me one of those!

So there now exists a photo of me on a Segway. I don’t have a copy yet. It will never be permitted to appear on the internet.

There’ll be sporadic visits here from me until Monday and then a full account of the parts I remember. There might be a photo of the groom if I get a seriously humiliating one ;)

Until Monday, chaos reigns!

Duping the dupes

A busy week for me. I have to attend a wedding in July (no, not mine) and as it’s Scotland, the stag party starts this weekend. So I have to get ready. I am also expected to wear a kilt at the wedding. Anyone points a camera at me and I’ll use it to check their colon for polyps.

Cafe Girl is off until Thursday, I am off from Thursday to next Wednesday. So she will be quite relaxed and complacent upon my return. That’s when I’ll have my revenge.

Today I read about the terrible, terrible supermarkets taking advantage of the innumerate idiots churned out by modern education. No wonder they used to do that ‘computers for schools’ thing in supermarkets. If they gave the kids books instead of computers they might learn something useful instead of the most appropriate position for a blow job or how to change the dashboard in a Lamborghini.

There were times in the past when I bought two half-bottles of whisky instead of a whole one. It’s not exactly calculus to work out that if a half costs £9 and a whole costs £20, then two halves for £18 is a better deal. If in doubt, they put the price per litre in little writing at the bottom of the label. Pick the option with the lowest unit price. This is not difficult, people.

You don’t need university level maths for this. Look –

individual item prices of larger ‘special value’ packs being more expensive. Which? highlighted Tesco selling four cans of Green Giant Original Sweetcorn for £2, but six cans were proportionately more expensive at £3.56;

£2 divided by 4 is 50p. Hardly a neuron flickered for that sum. So 6 cans should be £3, so the 4-can pack is a better deal. Really, who can’t work that out in seconds? And who the hell wants six cans of indigestible seeds in salty water anyway? If you want that much arse-shotgun ammo there is something wrong with your head in the first place.

seasonal offers, where the higher price only applied out of season. Which? found Ocado advertised a giant easter egg on sale for £7.49 for 10 days in January, before selling it on ‘offer’ at £5 later on.

Here I apply a very simple logic. Is the thing I’m looking at worth the price they’re asking for it? If yes, I might decide to buy it (or might decide I don’t really want it). If no, I don’t buy it. A giant Easter egg for £5? Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, depending on their definition of ‘giant’. What the previous price was is of no consequence. Is it worth the price they’re asking now?

When I was working at Local Gadget Shop for a week, I saw ‘wifi printers’ on sale. Interesting idea. You have one wireless printer and can send to it from all your gadgets (two netbooks, a few laptops, a Hudl and a Kindle Fire) without having to swap wires or files around. The lowest priced ones were around £50. But reloading with ink was the same price. I decided to leave it for now. It’s still under consideration though. No wires and not having to transfer files to the only desktop linked to a printer does have a considerable appeal.

However, there are other money priorities above that new gadgetry at the moment and I don’t really need it right now. It can wait. As can the continual expense of the ink the damn things need.

I’d pay £50 for a wireless printer without a qualm. But I’m not so keen on being locked in to paying another £50 every time it needs ink. Some research is needed into whether the much cheaper generic cartridges will work. Some printers spot them and refuse to print with them.

You could argue that the printer manufacturers are duping you by selling you a cheap printer then charging a fortune for the ink. Yet all you have to do is look at the printer specs then take a couple of paces to the wall of ink cartridges and see what they cost. It really isn’t difficult.

When I can’t be bothered firing up the espresso machine I use Percol instant espresso. It’s the best instant I’ve found. It’s not cheap and here it’s only available in Morrison’s. If I see it on offer I stock up. Even so, they don’t fool me by saying ‘on offer’ with 10p off. I know the price of this coffee and watch for £1 off.

You only get duped if you let yourself be duped. All those price labels have a unit cost in little letters at the bottom. Compare those, not the overall price.

The CMA now has to examine the evidence compiled by Which?, before deciding whether to launch a full inquiry or push for new legislation.

We don’t need a law to deal with this. We have far too many laws already. All we need is for people to stop being such total bloody idiots and learn to think for themselves.

The government doesn’t want that to happen. All those nannying organisations who make a living by patting people on the head and saying ‘It’s okay, we’ll think for you’ don’t want that to happen. They all want you dependent and drone-like.

If it’s going to happen, you’ll have to do it yourself. For many, that’s a very novel concept. I say, give it a go.

You might find you like it.

 

I’m no union man

When I was made redundant, quite a few years ago, I naturally dropped my membership of the union that did sweet FA to stop me being made redundant.

Actually it wasn’t a bad deal. The pay was frozen for three years and redundancy was three years’ pay and a ‘get lost’ note. So my options were either work for them for three years with no pay rises or take three years’ pay right then and go and do something else. Not a difficult choice.

The union phoned afterwards to ask why I had dropped my membership. Slightly confused, I replied that as I was now self-employed and didn’t work there any more, there really wasn’t anything they could do for me. They seemed to think there was.

Since they did bugger all when I was employed, I really couldn’t see how they could help me as self-employed so I fairly politely declined their offer of taking money from me. They never phoned again.

I’m still self-employed as well as employed so my tax code is split 50/50 between the two. I get a small retainer every three months from a company that occasionally phones for advice. Also the books… they make a bit of whisky money, no more, but they count as self-employed. I still fill out a tax form every year and for the past few years I’ve had a decent rebate. It’s time to do it again.

It seems Moribund has been castigated for not sending his election lies to the self-employed. As if any of us are likely to vote for a union puppet anyway. He’s just being sensible really. It would be a waste of a hell of a lot of paper.

But one leading self-employed businessman said: ‘Labour depends on union subscriptions for funding and in reality, few of the self-employed are union members. This is not so much a slap in the face to the self-employed as a left hook.’

Really? Not having to put a bit of paper with crap written all over it into the bin is some kind of mortal insult? I put it all in there. From every party. Unread. Since no election promise is binding, it is an utter waste of time to read any of them. I’ll make up my own mind, thanks. Without bothering to read any lies or slanderous remarks about other candidates.

Now if they had to deliver on promises within a set timeframe or it would trigger another election, those bits of paper would be worth reading. As it is, they are too smooth and slippery to wipe your arse with and are therefore of no value whatsoever. Like the politicians pictured in most of them.

Those leaflets are all a waste of money. Espeically those targeted where there is no hope of a vote. Moribund, if he had a brain, would be saying that.

He isn’t. None of them are.

I’d vote for the first one who did.

The strange world of Local Shop

I fell asleep before blogging last night. The strange shift hours took their toll but I’m re-adapting now. One little chair is upholstered, needs trim added and finishing touches. Soon the final instalment will be ready.

I did manage to glue my fingers to one of them for half an hour but that’s for another time. I’d have taken a photo but I had glue on the other hand too and having a camera stuck to that hand would not have improved the situation.

Local Shop gets weirder by the day. And Cafe Girl gets more violent. I have considered not provoking her but I don’t think I can help it. She’s just so damn easy to wind up.

Today she was in my way while cleaning. I was wiping the tray runners, she was at the front of the cafe getting food for her break. I merely said, quite politely, “Get out of the way. You’re not a proper customer.” and she kicked me! It didn’t hurt but I felt violated and repressed. I must learn not to provoke her when in striking distance.

So I told Boss I had been violently assaulted by a vicious Cafe Girl (exaggeration mode had kicked in by then) and was she going to put up with her staff being physically attacked like that? She just said “Well you probably deserved it”. I get no support at all from Boss. It’s shameful.

Although she did give me a free cake later so maybe she felt a bit guilty about letting Cafe Girl beat me to a bloody pulp on a daily basis (I should turn off exaggeration mode now).

There are new staff. There always are. Most of them don’t seem to last long. Can’t imagine why.

One is a lad who looks about 12. He is built like an anorexic stick insect and wiggles his hips when he walks in a way that the girls would love to be able to do. He sounds like Julian Clary and is more camp than a tent convention. I hope he has a good sense of humour. He’s going to need it.

Another one ‘came out’ as gay recently. The surprise meter barely flickered. We all knew. Even Gullible Girl had sussed that one out. Still, he’s much happier now he’s not keeping a secret we all knew anyway so that must be a good thing,

Someone has been entertaining Mrs. Palm and her five lovely daughters in the staff gents. Boss found the evidence on her shift. She was appalled. I have been asking all the girls which of them he might be thinking about while he does it. Well one of them is turning a young man’s head to handyman thoughts. Speculation, laced with ‘Ewww’, is rife.

Management put up signs in the gents saying ‘Please leave these toilets as you would like to find them’. I suggested ‘No wanking, but if you have to, use a fucking tissue you filthy bastard’ but it was turned down. I suppose it might be seen as anti-wanker discrimination.

Or a sign. I could design a sign. It’s already been vetoed by Boss with a loud and wide eyed ‘NO!’

There are others I haven’t mentioned before. Banjo Girl, who looks like her brother was in ‘Deliverance’ and who always starts that tune in my head when I see her. Boss says she never smiles but she has a nice smile. Unless she shows her tooth. Boss says there are others who don’t smile but they do. She just scares them.

Maybe I mentioned Obelix before. He works in the stores, in the menhir department, and is only missing the horned hat and the moustache. Also in there is Small-eyes Stooped Guy, who is the reason stores are not asked to run tills any more. Yes, they had a tormentor before I arrived. I merely upped the game.

There is Blonde Manager who really does perpetuate the stereotype. She’s pretty and curvy and has a voice like a children’s TV presenter and is ditzy in a way that is cute.. at first. Until you realise that she is pretty much oblivious to the world around her and has an uncanny knack of being in the way pretty much all the time. One day I’ll just pick her up and put her down out of the way. She probably won’t even notice. I can still pick up women, you know. Just… small ones.

There is Smug Git too. The young lad who goes to private school and thinks this cleaner is beneath him. The games to play….

So  many.

No wonder they vote for idiots.

A dysfunctional election

I have tried, I really have tried to ignore the outpourings of pomposity and fabrications from the current band of sad little losers who claim the right to tell us how to live.

I stayed away from the newspapers and never watch TV anyway. But then bits of paper come through the door, covered in obvious lies and promises nobody in their right mind could believe. With smug little faces attached, showing the sort of smile I’d happily extract every tooth from using only pliers and a sharpened spoon handle. One. By. One.

Then I’d put them all back in using a staple gun (Aldi have an electric staple gun on sale but in a rare flash of common sense I didn’t buy one. I bought the 135W combi tool instead). I’d put those teeth back in the wrong order too.

Let’s see them look smug with a smile from the very backwaters of ‘Deliverance’.

Every hour, like some demented sentinel of doom, the radio at work has news about the latest idiotic babblings of the mindless oafs who someone, somehow, thought were the ideal people to run their lives for them. Not the country. They don’t run the country any more. They just run the lives of the idiots who voted for them and if that was all they did it would be fine.

But no. They run the lives of those of us who didn’t vote for them too. That’s just wrong. Voting should be like a contract in which you agree to have your life controlled by an imbecile. No vote, no contract, no control. I think that would be a much better way to run things. If it was done that way, I bet nobody would vote Green twice.

The BBC give the Greens more airtime than that bunch of mediaeval communist tyrants warrant. Anyone would think they were serious contenders for government. People actually vote for them. Why? What kind of thought process goes into putting a X in that box? Vote for them and you’ll live in a mud hut and tug your forelock at your Green masters as they pass in their solar powered Rolls Royces. People want that? Only the sort of trendy cretins who name their daughters Cystitis and Enema and parade them around in unisex onesies.

All this talk on the radio about “How will they afford tax cuts and all these projects? Where is the money coming from?” Nobody has thought to suggest actually not spending quite so much on nonsense and nannying. The wasted money going through this country’s government is staggering and all they can think to say is “We’ll tax the rich harder until they say ‘screw this’ and leave, then we’ll tax the poor harder so they can’t afford the things we don’t want to let them have”.

That’s not what they say. They’ll never say that. Not unless you inject them with a truth drug. Which should be compulsory every time they give any kind of interview.

Well, it’s unavoidable. I am going to be enraged by the coming election. There is no escape.

Expect more on this distateful subject in the future. I’m off to write a truly horrible short story to get this sneer off my face.