Avatar The kitchen of the future

We’re getting a new kitchen. This is an exciting time for us, and also for everyone we know, so please rest assured that we will be sharing stories and pictures of this thrilling adventure at every opportunity.

Having decided to buy our kitchen from one of the big kitchening retailers, we had the room measured up and then attended a design appointment where all the possibilities for filling a space with plywood cupboard units were explored in full. We compared paint samples, touched various worktop textures and considered the merits of many differnet taps. Finally, when our choices had been entered into the supercomputer, we held hands and watched as our brand new kitchen was rendered in Hollywood-style 3D graphics before our very eyes. The kitchenologist even printed out a picture of it so we could take it home and gaze on it in our own time.

Our present kitchen, as you may recall, has pale yellow doors and a wooden worktop, arranged in a U-shape around the walls and sticking out on a peninsula. Our new kitchen, which is going to be totally different and better in every regard, will have creamy off-white doors and a natural stone-coloured quartz worktop, arranged in a U-shape around the walls and sticking out on a peninsula.

While the new kitchen will be far better built than the old one, incorporating improvements such as the upper cupboards not leaning precariously off the walls and the worktops not soaking up colourful patches of everything we’ve ever placed on them, the clever 3D render is not that detailed.

When we got home with our print-out, we excitedly stood in the dining room and held it up at the appropriate angle in front of the old kitchen. It appeared for all the world to be a picture of our existing kitchen.

We have put the picture away.

Avatar Gull guile

Last week I was shocked to discover a seagull shopping for carpets

The agony of choice…

I watched for a while but eventually had to return to work. By the time I left he still hadn’t decided which shade of grey he wanted. Who knows how long he was stood there.

Avatar Superhero sale

Good afternoon, sir. You must be here for our big sale. Yes, it’s been running for the last month or so and it has been very successful especially considering the downward turn in brick and mortar shop sales. I’ve barely had a moment’s rest these last few weeks, the staff have been rushed off their feet.

I feel as though I must admit that the majority of the shall we say more desirable super powers have already sold out. If you were hoping for the top tier stuff then you should have come on Black Friday. I still think we have a plethora of decent enough skills that you can wow your family, friends and work colleagues with should the case may be. Let me check out the back and I’ll be back in a moment.

Jeremy has picked out the three best of what is left for you, sir. There’s something for everyone. Let me see…

Flaming Onion Man

Feel the rage of a thousand suns. Feel the heat of a million barbecues. With this power you can generate onions from your hands, set them on fire and throw them at least six feet into the distance. Villains with quiver in fear at the sheer ferocity of the burning vegetables you can produce. They won’t know what hit them. They literally won’t know what hit them, you’ll throw them so fast. You’ll be pitching flaming onions as though they’re going out of fashion because, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never known a flaming onion to not be the hottest topic on the menu.

Here’s a Pen Man

Isn’t it annoying when you’re trying to look for something to write with and there’s nothing within reach? Here’s a Pen Man has two pockets in his trousers that will produce an infinite amount of pens. They’ll never run out. They will also never bleed from the temperature being too warm and will work upside-down in water in space for up to 500 feet. You will be everyone’s best friend in the bank, post office or whatever other environment has an obtuse lust for the use of pens.

Smell Time Man

What’s that smell? Can you smell it? No, right now you can’t because you don’t have the newest thing in town; the ability to smell time. Haven’t you always wondered what the past smelt of? Now you don’t need to wonder because for every photo and ye olde time show reel of people from the “before you” times you will be able to take in the smells of that era. Even better, you can smell time before it’s happened. You’ll always know when tomorrow is coming and when the day is coming to an end. The alluring scent of a new hour. It will all be at your fingertips or nostrils or something like that.

Avatar Jousting update

Yesterday we went to an actual castle to watch an actual jousting tournament. Not a display for tourists where everything is choreographed, but actual real jousting, with proper spears, and people in real armour competing for actual prizes.

Norway were the winners. I will not be taking questions. Thank you.

Avatar Batloholic

Dear Batman,

Hello, Mr Batman sir. I have heard a lot about you since I was a child. You’re the world’s greatest detective. You have lots and lots of gadgets. You’re in perfect physical shape and can do anything you set your mind to. You can beat any villain that turns up in Gotham City. When was the last time you ate?

Your exploits have been turned into comics, television series’ and big film adaptations. There’s not a piece of merchandise in the world that doesn’t have your face on it. I bet in some countries there are even Batman rubber gloves and Batman condoms with some funny tagline: ‘The caped crus-lay-der’ or ‘for when you want to inspect her dynamic duo’. I’m not in marketing so I’m not very good at this. Yeah, they’re probably unlicensed and hidden away in the corner of Brazil or something. I doubt I’ll ever come across them.

Holy room-spinning debaucherously good fun, Batman!

What I will say is that I have never seen you on the booze. You may have at some point, I mean who doesn’t like a drink every now and then? You don’t have time to get wasted at your local, the Penguin has escaped and, I don’t know, unleashed an army of penguin explosives at an orphanage.

I can only presume that this was done without your say so and that you had no involvement whatsoever. I expect you will need to pass this to your lawyers (or bat lawyers, because everything is bat-related) to start the lawsuit. You don’t normally associated superheroes with hipflasks so lord knows what the company that made them was thinking. “Dads are heroes, dads like snifters of whisky when nobody is looking, let’s combine the two shall we?”.

Anyway, keep up the good work. I’ll drop by if I’m ever in the area.

All the best

Unspecified fan

Avatar The worst three

Last weekend, me and the boy decided to live it up and catch the showing of classic cyberpunk anime ‘Akira’ at the local cinema. The cinema was so hot that I struggled to stay awake during the second half of the film; it didn’t help that the one we were in was on the top floor and, as all good little scientists know, hot air rises. I did stay awake but you would think that the combination of psychic children, exploding people and the end of the world would be enough to keep my brain and eyes functioning.

Before the film started, we discussed what would be the three best films we would like to see at the cinema. The conversation then inevitably came to what three worst films we would want. Having been witness to some of the abject atrocities of cinema from the last forty years, I believe I may have an insight into this that most people wouldn’t. I therefore present to you my choices for the three worst films I want to see on the big screen

Paycheck

John Woo was an excellent director from Hong Kong when he started his career. He ended it tucked away in Hollywood directing bollocks like this. ‘Paycheck’ is a personal favourite of mine because it wastes a story by Philip K. Dick, the acting talents of Ben Afleck and Paul Giamatti and features hilarious one-liners that aren’t meant to be funny including ‘I was eating pie!’. I used to own five copies of this however after moving around a few years ago I had to cut down to only two. If you can see this I strongly recommend it if only for Uma Thurman being horribly miscast as the love interest and displaying barely enough chemistry to boil a kettle.

The Jerk Too

As a child I was introduced to Steve Martin films through my siblings. I owned a copy of ‘The Jerk’ on VHS and watched it repeatedly. It’s not his best but it was his first and puts most modern comedy films to shame with the amount of ideas and general lunacy. What I wasn’t aware of was a made for TV sequel done some years later which only involved one of the cast from the original film (his mum). Steve Martin played the title character, Navin Johnson, as a sweet and misunderstood good-natured person. Mark Blankfield, however, plays him as someone with learning difficulties. It was quite unbearable to watch at times. If you need an example of this (it’s not on Youtube, I checked), try and find the poker game in the shack and the scene where someone mentions lemon merangue pie; you’ve never heard someone ejaculate a noise mixed in with an as worrying as Mr Blankfield does in your life. Throw in some bad guys who make The Little Rascals look like the cast of a Guy Ritchie film, a bizarre musical number in the middle for no apparent reason other than a homeless woman to serenade Navin and an opening credits scene that shows you the entire movie before you’ve seen it and you’ve got a perfect recipe for nonsense.

Bula Quo

You all knew this was coming. The cinema could be decorated in hula flowers and coconut drink cups and… hang on, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Primarily funded by the Fiji tourist board as a way of enticing tourists to visit Fifi, ‘Bula Quo’ is a film that’s not a film because it’s a terrible rock band who can’t act running around Fiji being chased by the least threatening gangster villain since I put a fake cigar in my mouth and did an impression of Al Capone. The music is awful, the humour is awful, the acting is questionable and the whole thing stinks, no, reeks of desperation. Fiji should know better. I wouldn’t be surprised if tourism went down after this “film” was released. The only legitimate way to enjoy it is to be absolutely hammered or… no that seems to be the only way to enjoy it.

There were a lot of runners up: The Quest was a strong contender, Reuben in particular chose “Die Hard on Ice” (see ‘Sudden Death’ starring Jean Claude Van Damme), the Doom film, a parade of Adam Sandler films and anything starring Kevin James. Given how Chris has only ever seen one film I expect it will be a difficult question to answer but what would YOUR three films be?

Avatar More culture in the workplace

In May last year, you might remember that I brought a little classical beauty into the lives of my work colleagues when I anonymously gifted the Mona Lisa to the men’s toilets on the third floor.

I was under no illusion that this artwork would be permanently displayed, and so it was little surprise that, after ten or eleven months, it vanished without warning, leaving an empty frame to greet toilet-goers once more. To be honest, I was pleased it lasted as long as it did.

My quest to bring culture to the workplace has not ended there, though. No, it continues, with renewed vigour. Since the Mona Lisa was taken down I’ve chosen to assume that the Toilet Overlords at work aren’t keen on renaissance realism, so my latest contribution is something more abstract.

For gentlemen on their way to their most personal ablutions, I now proudly present Piet Mondrian’s Composition London 1940-42.

Avatar Fallin’ out of love with ‘Fallin”

Words. The world is full of them. They come in all different flavours and no matter what you need to say there is usually a word or collection of words out there to help you. That is unless you’re trying to spell the word jush… juxch… jgusssh… unless you’re trying to spell the famous word where the letters haven’t been invented yet.

Alicia Keys is a very talented musician and songwriter from the last twenty years or so. A quick look at her wikipedia page is enough to make your eyes spin with envy. I’m not talking about the eight albums she’s released or the glut of awards she’s got hiding on the mantelpiece though, I’m going back to the first single I remember.

‘Fallin” was the first single from her twelve million selling debut ‘Songs in A Minor’. Back in 2001 I enjoyed listening to it because it was sweet and simple. A song that could turn up on the radio at any time of the day and I wouldn’t be turning it off. It had heavy rotation on the music channels. She was labelled ‘the new queen of soul’ by some music magazine based on the hype for the album. ‘Fallin” was an excellent lead single, hand-crafted with love and attention, picked by some record executive because they could hear the sound of money at the door.

I heard the song again recently and frowned a big old man frown. Was this the same song that had enchanted me twenty years prior?

Firstly, the music is perfectly fine and lovely, it’s the words that make me remove the rose-tinted nostalgia glasses and question what exactly I was drinking at the age of seventeen. I did a word count and officially there’s only 227. Short, pop songs are as old as the music charts themselves. There’s nothing wrong with short songs. There has to actually be words in them though.

‘Fallin” is a song perpetually infested with oh’s. It’s so full of oh’s it may as well be a box of Cheerios. You can’t go a few seconds without one cropping up. Not even one but a whole host of oh’s, you’re never too far away from them. You’re not subjected to a Mariah Carey level of insane warbling that would make dogs cry out in pain but it’s still fairly distracting and not pleasant on the ears. Then there’s the repetition.

The chorus is used five times. It makes the cardinal sin of rhyming ‘you’ with ‘you’. The weirdest part is that the officially last word of the song is ‘what?’ which I didn’t even remember and had to go back to watch it on Youtube to check that was factually correct, which it is. She gives a sassy look at the camera and asks the question. Is she asking me this because I don’t like the song anymore? Who knows.

What I do know is that ‘Girlfriend’ from the same album is an infinitely better song and I won’t be going back to ‘Fallin” any time soon. If it comes on the radio at any time of the day, I will be turning it off.