Avatar Four Word Reviews: King of Stage

After four long months – that’s over nineteen weeks, if you’re counting, or more than a third of a year – I have finally returned home. Just temporarily, for now, you understand: Steve Stevingtons has an important three week “Malcolm in the Middle” conference to attend, so the place is empty. But temporarily or not, here I am. And if I am back at my desk again, you know what that means: it’s time to grit my teeth and endure another dreadful album of unknown provenance. Today, we subject ourselves to Bobby Brown’s 1986 debut album, King of Stage, released when he was just 17.

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Avatar Banana safari

The modern world is an amazing place. I went to the kitchen a bit hungry, just hoping to peel a banana and let that squishy yellow mush satisfy my snack reflex.

But my banana had other plans. Look at this sticker.

“Visit my farm!” it says. Well, you’re damn right I’m going to visit your farm, Mr Banana. Let’s do this.

Slam those numbers into the Dole website and you can join me on a banana safari. Welcome to farm 10608, the Guapiles 2 Farm in Costa Rica. Here’s some Guapiles Facts.

  • Costa Rica is home to over 100 volcanoes, five of which are still active.
  • The farm meets the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management, relating to waste management and air, water and soil contamination.
  • All plastic waste is collected, sorted and reused or compressed into bales and recycled.
  • The farm’s full official name is “Guapiles 2: This Time It’s Personal”.
  • It’s 6.03pm there right now, and 23 degrees celsius. (This one will vary in accuracy depending on when you read it.)
  • 204 people work here.
  • The farm is in a region called “Limón”, despite growing bananas, not lemons.

So far, so absolutely brilliant. Obviously, the next thing I wanted to learn was the story of the grinning bloke at the top of the page, who obviously loves his life at Guapiles 2. I want to know whether he knows the other 203 people by name, and whether he gets involved in collecting, sorting, reusing or compressing into bales and recycling the farm’s plastic waste. I want to know how he feels about the ISO 14001 certification, and whether he thinks Guapiles 2 is ready for ISO 14002 yet.

We will never know the answers to these questions. It turns out that Pedro – he’s definitely called Pedro – doesn’t work at Guapiles 2. Smash any five digit number into Dole’s palace of lies and there he is, pretending he works at Perla 3 where it’s now 29 degrees celsius, or Zurqui C near Sarapiqui, or one of just 70 people working at the evidently very exclusive San Jose 2.

Pedro has let me down, an agent of Dole, purveyors of fantasies and ruined dreams. I don’t know what to believe any more. It seems crazy that I ever thought you could grow bananas in a place called Lemon. How foolish I have been.

I threw the bananas in the bin, and had a Twix instead.

Avatar A Tunnock’s tragedy

As you almost certainly know, last year I made the fatal error of joking to Ian that what I wanted for Christmas was a bucket of Tunnock’s Teacakes. For Christmas he got me a bucket of Tunnock’s Teacakes.

Despite eating a lot of Tunnock’s Teacakes – including, on more than one occasion, eating three of them as “breakfast dessert” – there were still some sitting in the bucket at the end of March.

At the end of March, of course, I was forced to abandon my usual residence on top of the exploding mattress emporium, and among the many belongings I left behind, I foolishly failed to cram a bucket of teacakes into my suitcase.

A couple of weeks ago my flatmate Steve “Stevey” Stevingtons was kind enough to fly overhead in a sort of psychedelic biplane and airdrop some of my belongings, including several t-shirts, a few bits of post that I would have been happy never to receive, and a bucket containing precisely five Tunnock’s Teacakes.

I ate one and I won’t be eating any more.

The passage of a further four months has caused them to deflate. Inside, the chocolate is now strange with white bits in it, and the marshmallow has turned sort of hard and chewy. The biscuit is virtually inedible.

The last four teacakes from that epic gift are now, as a result, in the bin. A sad end to a brilliant Christmas gift.

Avatar Happy Slick Voles Day!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have woken up this morning, looked at your Pouring Beans Calendar 2020™, and been absolutely thrilled to see that today is Slick Voles Day.

A very slick vole

Sometimes known as St. Vole’s Day (Scotland), Slick Vole Sunday (Australia and New Zealand), Voling Sunday (Canada) or even Slickvolesday Brought To You By CitiBank (USA and Argentina), this is the day when we join together to reflect upon and celebrate the life of St. Vole.

I’m sure you have your own plans to smother some voles in warm butter, so I don’t want to take up too much time when we should all really be with our loved voles, but I did want to take a moment to share with you my favourite Slick Voles Day Carol.

O Besainted Vole

O Besainted Vole
Thy dark eyes quick
And tail darting fa-ast
Hail to you, O Vole

Seek thee holy slickness
O Vole, slicken thine self
Slicken thy-y se-elf

From owl, hawk, falcon flee
From fox and racoon do go
With footness fleet and fur so slick
Evade coyote and bobcat

Seek thee holy slickness
O Vole, slicken thine self
Slicken thy-y se-elf

Of marten and bobcat do hide
Of snake and weasel take flight
In safe burrow revel in oils and butter
Slip thee from cat’s claw and lynx

Seek thee holy slickness
O Vole, slicken thine self
Slicken thy-y se-elf

Take thine golden teachings
Saint Vole, at the Lord’s right paw
Take thi-ine go-o-olden teachings
And slicken thine self

O Vole
O Vo-o-ole

Avatar Scommuting

So, all the rules change. Your carefully ordered plan no longer works. You must adapt. You must find a new way. What do you do?

In my case, the rules meant that a half-hour walk had to be inserted into my commute to work. So I adapted in the only way I knew how, the only way that made sense to me.

I bought a scooter. I’m a scooter commuter!

Now, my life is brilliant (see picture). The drudgery of a 30 minute walk twice a day has been turned into a fun 15 minute scooting adventure.

If you have a problem, I suggest you buy a scooter. Doesn’t matter what the problem is. Just get a scooter. You won’t regret it.

Avatar Bad planning

Here we are, then. The end of June. I moved out of my home, the penthouse apartment above the exploding mattress shop, on 24 March, meaning I’ve now been Of No Fixed Abode for over three months.

Packing is tricky when you don’t know how long you’re packing for. Thankfully, some of the decisions I took when I moved out were good ones. I didn’t bring my coat, for example. It would have used up space and it wasn’t cold for long after I left. I brought what felt like too many books, but in hindsight was enough to keep me going even now.

Other things I could have done with more of, but there wasn’t much room. The same three work shirts in rotation are feeling a bit dull now. The same ten pairs of socks are getting pretty worn. I wish I’d packed at least one more pair of jeans.

Here’s the decision I regret the most, though. When I picked up some treasured sentimental objects, I chose a photograph of my sisters and my Pouring Beans 2020 Calendar. Then I looked at the envelope containing the calendar pages for July to December and I thought… no, surely not. I’ll be back before July. July is forever away.

Now my calendar is running out, and while you will simply turn the page tomorrow morning, I will have nothing. Nothing but regret, and a need to look at my phone to see what day it is.

Avatar Bowl

I’ve never done anything very interesting while I’m asleep, beyond rolling around a bit, occasional light snoring and a bit of sweating. Until Monday night, that is, when I did the nearest thing I’ve ever done to sleepwalking.

I was having a very vivid dream, you see, that took place in the bedroom. Over on the other side of the bed, Some food had spilled onto the floor – I think it was a large amount of sausages, but very very thin sausages, almost like noodles. Anyway, there was a ton of it and if I didn’t get it off the floor soon I wouldn’t be able to eat it because it would be covered in carpet filth.

So I rushed out of the bedroom, in my dream, and headed to the kitchen so I could get something to hold all the slender sausages. The first drawer I opened had all the plates in it, and they were no use, so I closed that one and opened the next drawer where all the bowls were.

I picked up a big bowl and headed back to the bedroom in a hurry.

It was only when I was opening the bedroom door, bowl in hand, that I realised what I was doing, and that there were no sausages on the floor, because that had been a dream. It was 3am and I was now awake, carrying a bowl to the bedroom.

I did the only thing that seemed sensible, which was to put it down by the side of the bed and go back to sleep.

Avatar Take a seat

It’s been a long day. Would you like a little sit down? Of course you would.

Lucky for you, while walking around at work, I’ve found a wide range of places to sit, offering delightful opportunities to rest in relaxing surroundings.

Where would you like to be seated?