Avatar Jolly Good: dog news

A lot has happened over the last month, as you know. A lot.

Lost among all the other seismic news from September 2023 has been this piece of information, though, which feels quite important, so I am now bringing you the facts.

We now have a dog.

The dog is great. Here are just some of the things our dog is good at.

Avatar Dual life

I couldn’t stop laughing. It wasn’t even that funny but for some reason there I was, stifling my laughter in the corner of a Norwegian supermarket in the sweet aisle.

I was deliberately on the lookout for products that had unusual or silly names because I’m that kind of person. I take a look at the beautiful scenery, soak in the culture, sample the local delicacies and then push everyone out the way in the hope of finding a t*tbar or a c*ck pellet for a cheap laugh. You can judge me all you want.

We had already gazed longingly at the huge waterfall at the top of the hill and taken a multitude of photographs so it was time to see what other delights were available in this tiny village. The bank had been turned into a tourist shop, one of about half a dozen within the vicinity, and you could tell this because the store clerk kept disappearing behind the door of a massive safe for further stock. It was the only time it rained whilst we were away so the local swimming area was mostly abandoned apart from a couple of thrill-seeking nutters who had bothered to bring their swimwear.

The food shops and convenience stores were a bit of an eye-opener. With one product it explained just how wide the gap is between the UK’s pound and Norway’s Krone. A box of Pound shop, Christmas-only, I’ve-never-seen-anyone- eating-these-before-in-my-life ‘Toffifee’ was 73.90 Krone or £5.53. Imagine being so desperate for ‘Toffifee’ and having to spend over a fiver for the privilege; let’s hope it never happens to you. Further into the aisle I went and there I found a box of sweets with a friendly bear on the front.

The Bjornar Sota (sweet bear) is a loving, caring kind of bear and you can tell this in the way he gently caresses the sweets in his furry bear hands. Is he planning on eating them? Probably not, he’s too lovely for that. He’ll be tucking them up in bed and popping on a night light before quietly placing mugs of hot cocoa on the bedside tables for them.

The Bjornar sura though (sour bear) is a tired, grouchy old Grinch-esque character who doesn’t want to share his sweets with you or anyone you know, so don’t even think about it, sunshine. He’s clinging onto that confectionary for dear life (the expression on the bear’s face is priceless) and no matter how nice you are to him, he will not let go. He’s sour about you, me and everyone else in the world.

Are the sweet bear and the sour bear the same bear? Does he lose his rag and transform into his nemesis, his Mr Hyde? Are the two bears part of the balancing act the universe carries out so gracefully to ensure life can exist? You’re asking the wrong person so don’t even bother. All I know is that, more than ever, we all should be a bit more bjornar sota than bjornar sura.

Avatar Dogventure

Sunday has been a funny ole’ sod.

After a week lying about and not doing much in the Lake District, we had to come back and face the reality of everything once again. This happened on Friday and after catching up on chores and putting some food back into the fridge I decided to go back over to Vikki’s house so we could collectively bury our heads in the sand together and pretend Monday wasn’t coming our way.

We opted for a local walk nearby rather than driving somewhere. About ten minutes in we were going past a secondary school when we noticed the shape of an animal shuffling in the distance. At first it looked like a cat but it was too big for that. It was a dog. A car turned around at the end of the street and then drove back in our direction. Once this distraction was out the way the dog looked at us, gave a friendly bark and started lolloping towards us.

What do you do with what appears to be a stray dog? I didn’t know and neither did Vikki so I looked up some websites and they advised to contact the Council. The Council, yeah, the ones that don’t operate on a weekend because they’re closed. They claimed to have a 24 hour line to call but I couldn’t find a number to call. With nothing left to do we gently coaxed the dog to come back with us so we could formulate a plan.

The dog was very domesticated and seemed quite old. She would follow and stop at the side of the road when necessary. She was naturally curious as all dogs are but not to the degree where she would run off to the nearest interesting smell or run into someone’s garden to take a pee. Walking a dog without a lead is risky. Walking an unknown dog without a lead is madness and not something I would recommend to anyone.

After some food, water and a bath, Eloise, a name I gave her, seemed a lot happier. We tried taking her round to Vikki’s parent’s house because they have a bigger garden however they were going away that afternoon so her mum put some photos up on FacePlace in the hope of finding the owner through the local dog pages (see, “locco doggo paggo”). There was nothing much else we could do so I said my goodbyes and headed on my way. As I got in my car I noticed a truck that didn’t look like it belonged to any of the neighbours and saw the man heading round to the front. As I drove past, Vikki’s door was open and the man was talking to her. I knew what was happening so quickly parked and went over.

It would appear as though Eva, for ’twas her real name, a mere thirteen years old, had managed to uncharacteristically escape from the garden and got a bit lost. Their house was down the road from where we had found her. The owner was very pleased to know she was okay after seeing the pictures Vikki’s mum had posted and rushing over as soon as they found out. Eva said goodbye and thus ended the dogventure.

Avatar Let’s take a test

Hey you, over there! Stop chugging that chutney and come over here.

You look spritely and young on the outside but how does that compare with your disgusting insides? How can we know that the you within reflects the you without… withunder… outside? That’s right. The only way that you can know how you you are is by taking this short and pointless test.

Aging is compulsory. There is no way round it no matter how many cups of water you drink, how many creams you smear on your face, how many plastic sur’gries you undertake and how many virgins you kill on the first full moon of the month. For each of the below that applies to you add one point to your score and then check your total at the bottom:

  • Getting into / out of a chair emits a noise you didn’t know was possible and you’ve never heard it before.
  • You can’t sit on the floor anymore without struggling to get up.
  • Your neck isn’t comfortable in any position and sounds like a cement mixer when you change angles too quickly.
  • If you sit too long, you feel tired. If you walk too much, you feel tired. If you get the right balance of both, you still feel tired.
  • Trying to step over a moderately-sized fence is akin to trying to push a buffalo into a milk bottle.
  • Drinking any liquids after a certain point in the evening means at least half a dozen trips to the bog in the night.
  • You’ve got more lines on your face that your average Hollywood script.
  • Your hair is more a memory than anything else.
  • People around you at work weren’t born when you were still in Sixth Form.
  • When you hear a song on the radio you like and realise you accidentally put on ‘Smooth’.
  • You now have to check the length of the hair in your ears and nostrils before you leave the house in case they need clipping.

For 0 to 3 points – You’re young, look at you, with your big shoes and your shiny eyes. Get out of my sight, you sicken me!

For 4 to 6 points – So you’re not quite as youthful as you thought you were but hey, we’ve all been there. It could be much, much worse (see below).

For 7 to 9 points – Oh dear, looks as though adult-sized nappies and 7pm bedtimes are on the horizon. Don’t make any long-term plans.

For anything 10 and over – We both knew this from the start. Get your slippers on, grandad, it’s time for your cod liver oil.

Avatar You are such a monkey puncher

What would you think if I told you there was a video game called ‘Monkey Puncher’?

Would you think it was a simple game about twatting a monkey in the face over and over again? Perhaps it’s one of those free-to-play mobile games that you download, use once for a cheap laugh and then carry on with your life? Look at me now, neither of those options is correct.

‘Monkey Puncher’ is a game developed by Atelier Double and released for the Gameboy Color in the year 2000. I had never heard of this until a few days ago where it briefly appeared and then disappeared on the CEX website, no doubt snapped up by some lightning-fast robot desperate for his next gaming fix. The goal of the game is to train a monkey to fight in organised boxing matches in order to save the main character’s father and sibling. Then it gets stranger.

It sounds like a monster-collecting game but sprinkled with other elements. You train the monkey so he gets better at fighting then you *reads* send it out to the shops? It goes out and buys items for you. Huh. Then what happens?

“Sparring involves a normal match between the player’s monkey and a computer-controlled opponent, although without a clear winner or any reward beyond stat increases. All the monkey’s stats have a maximum limit. It is possible to date your monkeys either with each other or with a monkey from a friend or a dating shop within the game. After dating, the first monkey vanishes and is replaced with a new baby monkey.”

When I first read that paragraph I thought it said that you could date your own monkey which seems like a gross conflict of interest and not something that should be in a kid’s game. That said, none of what I’ve read should probably be in a kid’s game. You force the monkey to beat up other monkeys, you let it loose in the general public, you can whore it out to other monkeys to make better baby monkeys and this is all to save your family? I doubt Big Dave would approve of these methods to save his life.

There doesn’t appear to be a sequel, almost as if the world could not take and was not ready for an experience such as this. In a hundred years time when the alien overlords have taken over the world then possibly monkey punching will be a real thing. Given how prone the internet is to fads and everything extreme and extremist perhaps we may not have to wait so long before Twitch is chocked full of streams of trained monkeys beating up celebrities to raise money for charity. If I can make a prediction for the future within the next ten years, I would put money on that.

Avatar Reacquaintance

It’s not too long before the bi-annual Pouring Beans shareholders meeting takes place in Bordon, France. Minutes will be taken, quiches will be shared, and pyjama trousers will be stretched. A fun time will be had by all.

In order to save some time with the introductions I thought it would be beneficial to include some information here so that we can forego the usual icebreakers (I always hated that one where you throw the ball and whoever catches it has to tell the group a personal secret and then do fifty laps of the courtyard) and move straight to the complimentary lunch:

Listen here!

My name is Ian von Drudle-McIver. I was one of the founding members, so I have been with the company for over fifteen years. I co-chaired the committee that reviewed the recommendation to revise the colour of the book that the regulation’s in (we kept it grey).

My day-to-day duties include staring wistfully out of the windows so that photographers can capture my likeness and putting it in leaflets and posters with inspiring messages for the other members of staff, finding anything made of cake and eating it and occasionally holding a cup of coffee and joining other people’s conversations to add the often useful and ultimately timeless response, “I know, right?”

When I am not slaving at the office and in board meetings, I enjoy riding manatees, laughing at belt buckles and pushing tinfoil through random post boxes.

In the next five years, I hope to introduce several changes to make work at the company much more enjoyable. It’s very enjoyable as it is, so what could I possibly want to change? Firstly, I would want every one soap dispenser out of four to dispense chocolate raisins instead of soap. Secondly, it would be hugely beneficial for productivity to have the song ‘We Close our Eyes’ by Go West play all day every day in every part of the office, so much so that you couldn’t escape it anywhere (including the basement). Lastly, every Friday would be ‘bird day’ where staff members can bring their own birds to the office so they can share in the fun. I do have other suggestions, but I wouldn’t want all my secrets disclosed here; I’ve got to keep some jewels to myself.

See you all at the buffet.

Avatar A Question of Biology – what exactly is Ian?

The burning question that has been on all your lips since the beginning of the series is about to be answered. You know all Ian, you’ve seen him, smelt him (sadly, usually against your wishes), shook his hand and then wiped it on a towel afterwards for fear of what you may have picked up. He is a thing that exists, and you know this because he’s persistently annoyed you with stretchy pyjama trouser and fish mystery-based shenanigans for over half of your adult lives.

What is he though? What makes up an ‘Ian’ and how can we stop it happening again?

With the help of a team of scientists and through furious, various and meticulous scientific study, with the approval of the man himself, we finally have an answer. It would have been nice to display everything in a pie chart however that wasn’t in the budget (we blew the last of the money on a dash cam for Derek’s mother-in-law) so here’s a lovely list instead:

Components of the being known as ‘Ian’

43% – Castoreum
15% – Bells
12% – Sawdust
9% – Blood
6% – Laughter
5% – An inability to balance a spoon on his nose
3% – Teeth
3% – Beanbags
2% – Figs
1% – Jazz hands
1% – Cochineal Beetles

As you can see, here is conclusive proof that a lot of Ian is mostly filled with bits and bobs. His biology is a marvel to behold because, really, he shouldn’t still be alive given that the majority of his body is beaver sac excretions, wood remnants and hollow metal objects typically in the shape of a deep inverted cup widening at the lip that sounds a clear musical note when struck.

Further studies are encouraged and once we raise the funding via Stefan’s onlyfans page we should be set. His ‘NSFW Autumnal’ photo set is providing very popular with the usual internet weirdoes.

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.