Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy 2011! We're all doomed.

It might have escaped your immediate attention. But it appears that animals around the globe are flinging themselves to their deaths.

Now, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. Sure, those of you who challenge my assertion that my cat is secretly trying to kill me might have cause to disagree, but you're probably in on it too. Why else would he look at me like that?

Anyway, is anyone else a bit.. worried? about the fact that birds appear to be randomly falling from the sky and fish are dying in their millions in various parts of the world? It sounds like a plot from a horrible end-of-world movie. Or a pretty convincing documentary set in early 2011.

Funny how the title in Yahoo! (yes, the exclamation mark is important)'s article uses the phrase "stokes curiosity". It suggests that scientists are just merely finding this mass die-off phenomenon vaguely interesting rather than bloody terrifying.

So, what are your best theories?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Cult Of The Facebooked

I don't have a Facebook account. Usually this statement is followed by a look that says "he's a witch, burn him!" from the person unfortunate enough to be conversing with me at the time. Many a bar encounter has culminated in the phrase "Add me to your Facebook."How many marriages across the world now begin with such a request? And how many end?

Likely, this reluctance to participate in what seems like our generation's meeting place is something to do with the fact that I don't like where it's going. All of the functions and applications that are specifically designed to pry. I was on Facebook before, a long time ago when Dinosaurs roamed the earth (did they do anything other than "roam"?) and most people thought Wikileaks was some sort of epic plumbing disaster.

I would receive angry messages splashed across my wall. Some would question why I'm not responding. As if we're in the middle of a phone call and I put them on hold to go on vacation. Facebook etiquette dictates that you immediately inform everyone including friends, friends of friends, their friends' friends, that guy from the bar who added thinking your name is "Charles David Walsh" (my serial killer/don't-want-to-piss-you-off-so-i'll pretend-i'm interested-in-talking-to-you-name) and tech-savvy animals of your relationship status, your likes and dislikes, your recent outings (accompanied by pictures), your phobias, your food allergies, and now where you are at that exact moment. No longer is facebook creeping an appropriate term. Now it's approaching the legal definition of stalking:

"Facebook recently introduced “Places I checked in to,” a feature which allows friends to see your logging-in location. This application uses the IP address to identify the location from where the user logs onto Facebook and posts the location on the user’s wall. A more detailed description, including a map of the location, is then provided by clicking on the location link."

When you click on the map, a list of the user's nightmares appears as well as their fears, followed by a list of local stores that sell night-vision goggles and kitchen knives.

Ok, I made that last part up.

Despite not having an account on there, the Cult of the Facebooked has taken its toll on MY social network. One friend of mine insisted that I water his plants while he went on vacation. It seemed like an odd request, given that he had no plants and it's common knowledge among my circle of friends that my last plant-watering exercise led to the untimely demise of another friend's cherished cacti. But I agreed. It was then he gave me instructions as to how to log on. The guy wanted me to water his plants on Farmville.

This madness has to end.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Responding To Formspring Questions Is Still Cool, Right?

As you know, I have been curiously absent from blogging life for the last little while. Don't worry, I haven't been off gaining real life friends or anything. I've just been getting harassed to do work by people who assure me that's what adults are supposed to do. I still don't believe them. Anyway, submitted for the approval of the midnight society, (surely it wasn't just me who watched Are You Afraid of the Dark?) I bring you random Formspring questions from the past few months, along with my answers (because otherwise this would be very pointless. Well, more so.)

Has a rumour ever been spread about you? (Anon)

There have been many. That said, the best one was probably when I was living in the UK and someone started a rumour that me and this popular girl were going out. Granted, the rumour was probably started as some sort of evil-maniacal plot by one of her "besties" but for those three days in March when I was 15, I was king of the world. Then came the day when someone asked her and she didn't even dignify the question with a response. Well, I suppose hysterical laughter is a response. Sweet girl.

Do you have a place where you like to go, just to get away, or head to after a long day? (Asked by SunGiants)

Hmm. Not especially. I mean unless you count the pub? Most of my days are spent at home working and then in the evening hanging out with friends (at the pub). Maybe I should start going to other places, but then who would hang out with my friends at the pub? It's a double-edged sword really.

Oy vey when are you going to meet a nice girl and give me some grandchildren? (Anon)

Well, that's a good question, especially considering you're likely not one of my parents who would probably think Formspring is some sort of miracle mattress. I've met plenty of nice girls in my time. None of whom wish to split the cost of children with me, nor consider the other horrid biological matters that would likely preface such an event taking place. That said, thanks for the question... weird Formspring parent.

Let me think of something deep... why did you start blogging, and what has it meant to you to be a blogger

I started blogging because real life friends, Sarah and Allison (Sarahbration and My Quarter Life Crisis) had asked that I do so, and given my inordinate amount of free-time during that stage of my life, I complied with their request. Perhaps it was merely an attempt to ensnare one more follower for their blogs, but their commitment to getting me to do this blog cannot be overlooked. It's been an interesting experience so far, being a blogger. The events in my life that would usually be left unnoticed have now been commented on and enjoyed by others. I really appreciate some of the kind comments I've received and since starting this blog I have begun getting writing work as a direct consequence of others reading my rambling stories about my cat and assorted drunken adventures. It's a strange world.

What was you favorite musical group/singer when you were in junior high or high school?

Like all teenage guys living in England, I was obsessed with Oasis. I wish I could say I've moved on to more cultured musicians in the intervening years but I still listen to their music now. It's hard to say why. Stereophonics were also a big favourite then. At the moment, I'm listening to a lot of Ray Lamontagne and other "Talented Guy with Guitar and Beard, That'll do." type music. See Damien Rice and others.

Ok well that about wraps up this edition of "questions that were asked 7 months ago on Formspring but Rob's replying now in lieu of actually writing a blog post". Tune in, in 7 months time when I'll probably have come up with a more creative title. Savvy?

Monday, September 6, 2010


Given enough time and resources, there is no limit to human kind's capacity for invention. Some may use their time for profitable pursuits, (if the music gets annoying, and it will, skip to 1 minute and 52 seconds and the border between North and South Korea) others use their time for brilliantly conceived comments on procrastination 2.0. I however am taking my break from my writing work to blog.

As I opened Blogger, I noticed this new feature titled "stats." They seem a little off to me. No, not because a surprising number of billions of Earthlings have resisted the temptation to view my blog. But according to the stats, I'm getting more page views from Kazakhstan and the Philippines than I am from entirety of Europe. So for all those in Astana (yes, I looked it up) and Manila that have little else to to do on a rainy? Thursday than read about my visit to the train station, here's to you, and to procrastination. Keep those page views coming and i'll keep up with the destruction of the English language. Deal? Thought so.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Future of Music Videos?

The word genius is over-used. This is especially true in my house since I changed my middle name to genius after I successfully hooked up my own wireless. But this is GENIUS. If you like Arcade Fire and feel like witnessing the future of music videos  -

Try to resist the temptation to type in any major waterways, oceans and the like. It doesn't work. I was looking forward to seeing our protagonist splashing around in his runners. All the best ideas are ruined by small flaws.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 1st

So marks my return to the blogging world. For those of you who are concerned with such matters, I am alive and healthy. Well, I'm certainly alive, anyway. Those unfortunate few who saw my last soccer game would have every right to laugh at my inistence that I'm healthy. A grown adult should never have to utter the phrase "stop the ball for a second, let me catch me breathe." 

You might be wondering what I've been up to in the intervening days since my last blog post. No? Okay, well for those of you who don't care, here's an awesome picture which pretty much sums it all up.

As I alluded to before I've been "playing" for an out of shape football team every week. The problem I find with playing on a pub team is that you get 90 minutes of good exercise in and then conclude the evening with a few pints of Guiness, therefore nullifying the effect of the night's exercise. Isn't that how catch 22 works? Or irony?

While we were sitting together at the pub, one of my friends showed me the pictures from the last game. She somehow managed to make it appear as if I were running in almost every one. My teammates were as surprised as I was. "What kind of setting is this and can I have it for my life?" I asked.

My physical abilities were tested even further last Sunday when a friend of mine asked me and a few of the other guys to help him move. I hate helping people move. Yet, I've done it often enough to become some sort of Grand Master at it. I don't know what it is, but fate keeps leading me in the direction of people that need help moving.

So there I was, on a cold, wet Sunday morning discussing with three other guys the best way to lift a fridge. The move took hours and hours. Mainly, because the host kept opening doors to more rooms each with heavier and more awkward to move items in them. "And here's the room where I store all my ballroom chandeliers and pissed off Komodo Dragons. Lift with your knees, boys."

It was like the moving house edition of Narnia. He would open wardrobes that were inexplicably full of other wardrobes and furniture. Sadly there was not a talking lion in sight. I think if you're going to ask me to help you move, a talking lion is the least you should offer. The day ended quite well though, as we all sat together in the now empty shell of a family home and he discussed with us his memories of the house. Oh, but now I have to get him a housewarming gift for his new place. Does it ever end?

So that's a quick update of the last few weeks in my world.

In conclusion, I'm still alive.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tom and X-Tina

Long after the last call bell rang, as the empty beer glasses were being collected and readied for the next night on the front lines of my hometown's battle with alcoholism, I went inside to unravel the scroll that had become my bar bill and haggle with the bartender over which internal organ I could comfortably live without, in order to settle up my debt. After eventually deciding upon using my card to pay, I walked outside toward the collection of plastic tables and chairs that comprised my friends' drinking HQ for the evening. As I made my way over, I was stopped (accosted) by a young lady who was drunk beyond anything I had seen before. She asked me to sit with her and her friends, and because she offered me free beer I enjoy meeting random people, I agreed.  

While I'm generally quite good at coming up with conversation topics for the times when there is little or nothing to say, this was not one of those moments. I had spent the first few moments of my conversation with this young lady simply trying to get her to repeat my name.

"Rob, " I said.




"Yes, fine. Tom." (At least it was a real name. Sorry, if your name actually is Rom.)

Her name was Christina, at least that's what I deduced from hearing the name screamed across the table by her equally drunk friends who spent the duration of the aforementioned conversation telling me that I should be sitting with them. She instructed me to hand her my phone so she could put her number in there. She typed her name slowly and carefully and listed herself as "X-Tina" (marriage material). After I asked why her number looked so "ridiculous," she told me she lived in Guelph. So, in search of anything to say, I asked: what people do in Guelph for fun, apart from leave?

She breezed past my hometown insult by talking about birds. I can't remember exactly what was said. I was obviously in no position to attempt to take notes at this point. But I do remember agreeing to part-ownership of some kind of parrot at a future date because I recall trying to convince her that parrots can fly. She might have got them confused with penguins. (Again: marriage material). I guess I must have found something amusing or interesting about the conversation, as it continued for 15 minutes or so; long after the beer at her table had been consumed initial buzz of meeting a random person had worn off.

My friends, noticing this ridiculous scenario (me talking to girls) taking place, were staring, mesmerized across the now empty patio area of the bar. Perfect time for my future wife here to try and plant one on me. I saw her approach coming thankfully, because a full twenty seconds before any sort of leaning action started, she began closing her eyes. Long enough for me to position myself away from any possible contact and probably long enough for me to have Googled "quick exits from awkward situations."

As she leaned in to try and kiss me, my natural reaction was to slowly pull away so as not to make a huge scene. "Wait, wait.." I asked, to no response, as the bar fell eerily silent with almost everyone on the patio watching the gory scene unfold. After hanging there for what felt like maybe a minute or so with just the warm  night air brushing her lips, she opened her eyes to me, sat leaning back in my chair and grimacing, scared to look at what surely was going to be either A) A very embarrassed person or B) A very angry person. As it turns out, one of Christina's pet peeves is when a guy refuses her advances so she chose option B). I was learning so much about her.

"Who the fuck do you think you are?" she inquired.

"Tom" I thought to myself as I walked away slowly.

"You're not good enough anyway," she added, quite convincingly.

And with that Christina and her friends, one struggling mightily to give me the correct finger, huffed their way down the patio stairs towards the anonymity of the sidewalk, clinging onto the railing as if dangling off a four-story building as they went.

The next day I sent a text message to her exotic Guelph phone number telling her that I was genuinely sorry for upsetting her and adding that I hope that didn't ruin her evening. No reply. Shame, I think Tom and X-Tina could have really been something