Avatar Guinea Pigs – underrated?

Pigs come in all shapes and sizes. They are natures gift that keeps on giving because no matter what happens to a pig, the results are always tasty. The pig is clearly held in such high regard because there are other animals who want to be a pig so badly that they’ve even changed their name to pig.

I bring you to the furry slice of nonsense that is the common guinea pig.

Look at it. That’s not a pig, but it’s called a pig. It’s a rodent with pig ambitions. You have to give it credit for trying because they’ve gone the whole hog (ding!) in getting to this point. Guinea pigs used to look like voles with a bad haircuts, now they’re domesticated and in addition to being a fine way of trapping Dr Zoidberg, they’re a firm favourite with small children.

I recently visited a farm near Skipton that had a fuck-tonne of the little buggers. The guinea pigs I’ve been used to in the past were squealing nervous things that wouldn’t touch you to scratch you and if you tried to get close to them they’d have a heart attack or run away. These farm guinea pigs were so desperate for attention that they were climbing over themselves to get to me. I’m a fairly popular person with both people and animals yet this level of appreciation is almost unheard of.

I spent a good deal of time petting these pigs and wondering if perhaps I have been wrong about guinea pigs all this time. They’re cute and absolutely no threat to me or my family. I could crush them all but would I really want to with cute little faces and lovely eyes like our chap above?

I’m not going to start eating them (I’m looking at you, South America) nor will I be purchasing any in the near future. Consider me a changed man though, one who would be happy to shake a guinea pig’s paw and offer him in for a cuppa and maybe some bacon (or ham) sandwiches.

Avatar Twenty years on

This September we take a moment to pause and look back on a major world event. In September of 2001, Ian and myself helped to found a new country.

Filled with youthful hope for a brighter tomorrow, we joined forces with Chuckie and George, and – deciding that the spirit of the Office would serve as a perfect basis for a nation state – declared independence for a small area of Leeds suburbia. Through a complex system of writing down random letters, we named it Zyurisizia.

Geographically, it faced certain challenges, with its capital city located inside an office in a school building. Most of Zyurisizia’s territory lay across the path between the music block and the sunken playground, and its vast rural hinterland took in the wildlife area, a small field, and a slightly bigger field that we didn’t really go in much.

Moving on from the sixth form in 2002, the four of us bequeathed this fledgling nation to the youth of tomorrow, hoping that it would serve to bring them enlightenment and liberty as it had us, and hoping that one day its boundaries would extend to a worldwide empire where equality, justice and silliness would be shared by all humankind.

Let’s see what became of Zyurisizia in the two decades that followed. Here are the borders of the nation superimposed on modern-day satellite photography.

Satellite imagery © Google. We were unable to source pictures from the Zyurisizian Space Agency for some reason

As you can see, the rapidly developing country has been completely urbanised. It’s delightful to see that the wasteland we left behind has been turned into this sprawling metropolis, known to its inhabitants as “Scholars Gate”, stretching in every direction to meet the borders of the nation. The name of the settlement is a clear indication of a society that prizes education and enlightenment above all else.

One can only assume that the proud citizens of Zyurisizia are continuing to uphold the traditions of free-spiritedness, self-determination, and occasionally writing unsolicited letters to Tony Blair. As a founding father, and a former passport holder of Zyurisizia myself, I could not be more delighted.

Here’s to the bright future of Zyurisizia. If I could remember the national anthem, I’d sing it.

Avatar ABOFB 26: Sex & Sandpaper

A episode that’s a month late, but guaranteed not to disappoint*, we take a very quick detour from the starting question to discuss:

  • How to attach sandpaper
  • Dog kennels
  • Double dipping chips
  • The merits of various sauces

*Guarantee valid only for residents of care homes and Finland.

A Breath of Fresh Beans
A Breath of Fresh Beans
ABOFB 26: Sex & Sandpaper
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Avatar Culture in the workplace

Flushed with success at my recent foray into workplace safety, I decided to take more steps to improve the lives of my colleagues.

I noticed a long time ago that one of the bathrooms I regularly use at work has a small A5-sized frame with a glass front that faces you as you enter. I assume it was out there to hold notices from our facilities department – maybe a sign saying “we clean these toilets regularly” or “if you’re unhappy with the state of this bathroom you should see some of the others on this floor”. But as far as I know, it’s always been empty, possibly for years.

What this frame needs is a picture, and I have just the thing. I printed one out and stuck it in the frame. Now, instead of a joyless beige bathroom, toilet-bound staff members are greeted with the sight of one of the world’s finest artworks, placed there by me to lift their soul.

I don’t know how many of them have noticed it yet, but they are very welcome.

Avatar Shoe FM – the return

“… and we’re back, back for another hour or so of the best boot-y-licious tunes you’ve heard since yesterday. Shoe FM is here for you and yours, and maybe even your neighbour too. Crank up that dial for the best in shoe and shoe-related music all day, every day.

As ever I am your host, coast to coast, Jazz Bungleton, ready and willing to satisfy your need for tweed. After all those flip-head bangers this morning I think it’s time we slowed down and indulged a little. There’s no need for the pace to fully drop though, we’ve gotta keep pushing through to the afternoon; that’s when things get shoe-per good.

This is your friendly reminder to check out our most recent podcast where martial arts actor Robin Shou picks out his top five desert island shoes. Even I was surprised with what was at number one and I can guarantee that shoe will be too.

Get cosy with your loved ones because we’re schmoozing out of the gate with a double bill of ‘All I Want is Shoe’ then ‘With or Without Shoe’ both by U2. Whilst I’ve got you in a vulnerable position take a little bit of ‘Shoe Got It’ by Roy Orbison with a pinch of ‘Miss Shoe’ by the Rolling Stones. Then as we’re approaching the hour it’s time to hold onto your brown brogues because Bryan Adams is going to ‘Run to Shoe’ before Bon Jovi needs to tell you that ‘Shoe Give Love a Bad Name’.

Edge of the seat stuff I can tell you.

If you want to be in with a chance to win a year’s supply of shoe polish courtesy of our superb sponsors, Kiwi, the world’s number one, then you need to call or email the station with the answer to this question: “who was trying to dress shoe up back in 1984?” Only by getting the answer right can you potentially qualify for our game ‘Shoe Do You Think You Are?’. Call or email now.

Sandra Qwango has a fresh platter of news laid out towards one o’clock, Bernie Boxfresh is here after two o’clock but to perk up your buns before they can get comfy George Harrison has a confession to make because he’s got his mind set on shoe. Take it away, George…”

Avatar Fundraising

Man has been raising money since the dawn of time.

It all started with Jesus being bet that he couldn’t be killed, buried AND come back to life. He took that bet and started going round the local villages asking for sponsor money, rattling down dem neighbours with his charm and natural-born charisma. Three days later, with a pocket full of sponsorship money, he walked away and donated it all to the burly orphans of the holy mother and disappeared. What a guy (I believe that’s how it went down, I don’t really remember much from R.E. at school).

Since then everyone has wanted a piece of the action. There are so many many MANY good causes out there. If you can think of something or someone having a hard time then there will be a charity in its name, winking in your general direction and hoping you will slip something in their back pocket. With this in mind, how could you ever choose which to help, which to slide the burden onto your manly shoulders? My personal advice would be to spin a wheel or flip a coin.

For the whole month of April I am walking for women.

*comedy voice* why can’t women walk for themselves?

Well, comedy voice, the fact is they can but I am also walking for them, with them. I’m stepping into their shoes and loaning my legs to do a good thing. It’s not all altruistic though because I get fresh air and exercise in return for my walking. It’s all for selfish reasons. All I was hoping for was a bunch of people staring at me whilst I walked and it is paying off big time. I wouldn’t do it unless I got something out of it. Call me a sociopath all you like but that’s how I roll and you’ll all have to deal with it. Oh, how I am such a good at the walking too. You’ve not seen walking until you’ve witnessed my awe-inspiring thighs crossing your path.

So stop your grinning and drop your linen, give me / they / them money now by using the link and being a good guy. I feel almost as inspirational as the time we did that exercise and I ate biscuits in ‘Nish 3’.

https://www.facebook.com/donate/845080713017722/

Avatar ABOFB 24: Free/Not Free

A Breath of Fresh Beans returns for its monthly instalment with what is possibly our longest ever episode!
Inside we discuss:

  • Borrowing
  • Love in Greggs
  • Exciting books
  • Theft
  • Plungers

A Breath of Fresh Beans
A Breath of Fresh Beans
ABOFB 24: Free/Not Free
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