In which I mourn apostrophes

Musings from the sofa

So, I’m recruiting at the moment and it’s something of an eye-opener. The covering letters have been ghastly, to the point where I think there must be an automated covering letter generator, into which prospective employees load a few generic skills. Then they push a button and the generator vomits forth a few paragraphs of meaningless business jargon in seemingly random order. Still, at least they’re helpful in weeding out those who can’t be bothered to sort out even glaring errors.

If I have survived this trial by verbiage, I’m next faced with the CVs of doom. Time after time, hopeful candidates reference their ‘GCSE’s and A-Level’s’. It is, of course, difficult for me to imagine that anyone who can perpetrate such a horror has actually obtained so much as a cycling proficiency badge, let alone a degree and a couple of years of work experience. My colleagues tell me…

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Being Assaulted

Last night I was assaulted in my own bed, and it was great.

C. 2230h I was busy achieving a semi-comatose state when I became aware of a disturbance. All of a sudden the covers were whipped from me and with a fearsome thump a body landed in the space beside me.

Now I was awake and in the gloom I realised that I was in for a bit of a hard time. Right beside me was a thrashing, kicking, snuffling thing, breathing noisily through its mouth. My brain eventually worked its way through the syrupy gloom of sleep and I realised. It’s Héloïse.

I am too tired to care plus it’s kind of sweet I tell myself.  She proceeds to make herself comfortable and sod me. I eventually wrestle some duvet back, explain is some rather base language that I am not there to be elbowed and kicked, for what it’s worth.

I make it to 0430h before I start to toss and turn, woken because someone half my size and strength has managed to appropriate about 85% of the available duvet and mattress real-estate. It’s like the shifting front in WWI and I reclaim a bit more ground, though I know it will only be a temporary thing and with the weary resignation of Mr E Blackadder I eventually concede defeat and rise for coffee.

It’s wonderful and I hope that Neverneverland envelops Jericho, she doesn’t age and keeps coming to snuggle in my bed from time to time. Sadly, I know it is unlikely to happen that much more.

 

 

The Faint Whiff Of Desperation

The term is over, I have some time on my hands and I don’t really meet many girls that I’d like to date (none, truth be told) at my college.

[Before you suggest I look inwards: Ruskin girls are, broadly speaking, a bit too much of the roll-ups, ill-considered radicalism and the generally overly hirsute variety for my liking.]

Whilst sitting at my desk I was conscious of hearing a Match.com ad on Spotify, whilst into a heavy Def Leppard session. Why not, I thought? After all, all you are paying for is someone else to use a technology platform to aggregate a bunch of folks in the same boat. Sounds very logical in the cold light of day and it reduces the chance aspect somewhat as it is merely an aggregation and basic sorting service. But oh no, it isn’t that. It is a way of collecting all the people we don’t even realise are out there into a seething mass of weirdness. That and a few of us fringe normals. Like moths to a lightbulb the weirdoes seem to have flocked here.

But before I explain about what makes them weird, the Match.com people need a mention for their callous exploitation of the eagerness of their customer base. They must coin it in so monetising their service is not hard when you charge people looking for love. After all, I paid up but now keep hearing this in my head – “I’d buy that for a dollar“. Visions of the Match team laughing at yet another hopeful.

The platform feels about five years out of date – a lifetime in Internet terms –  and little thought or investment in the GUI has been made. It is clunky, inconsistent across platforms and a pigging nightmare to use. It remembers little, refreshes in an untimely manner and shows a general contemptuous towards customers. If Twitter, Facebook , iTunes or Google were even half as bad they would have tanked by now.

I want to up my chances of finding a similar person to me. One that I gel with, have fun with etc etc. I am, however, pragmatic. This is reducing the randomness and increasing the odds, sure, but expecting something different because a bit of tech has been involved? Many of the people on this seem to think that the magic of the silicone chip is either to be feared or it gets invested with power it doesn’t actually have. Let me e x p l a i n … computers are just really really really fast calculators that handle Ones and Zeros at speeds you can’t imagine.  This means we can give them more complex tasks like removing the non-sport participants from my search, calculating BIG sums fast etc, that’s it.  They cannot match you with The One. The whole vibe feels pre-scientific revolution when belief in magic was a big thing.

But back to the weirdoes though. I have emailed with and met a few of the normal ones and they have shocking stories to tell regarding the guy to girl requests. From total strangers; please could you post me some tights that you have worn and haven’t washed? Please can you send me a picture of your arse, just your arse? Please can you send a photo of you naked and smoking? And so on and so forth. I didn’t think I was particularly shy or repressed. However, I am sadly lacking in a decent brass neck so I can’t imagine treating a woman in such a degrading manner. I cringe. I guess that is what comes from being raised largely by my mother or perhaps it is just manners?

I have yet to meet someone face to face that I have really hit it off with. I have made a couple more like-minded girlfriends, which is nice. I do not go into an encounter expecting the magic of the silicon chip to have sprinkled the Internet fairy dust around ensuring that if the computer says we are compatible, then there will be sparks, fireworks, swooning, tumbling into bed locked in a sweaty embrace etc etc. (I think I may need to go and lie down for a moment. Do excuse me)

I can’t speak for other chaps but allow me to dispense a little advice regarding some of the pitfalls when creating profiles. This is not exhaustive but just my own simple observations from one week of using the site:

  • If you are on Match to find a partner then how about making an effort with your profile?
    • Pictures – decent full length ones. We are all judges of others by appearance first. We all have a type. This is science speaking.
    • Put several up. No picture = no look. Simples.
    • Not grainy selfies that have been screwed with in Instagram. What are you trying to hide and why?
    • More than three pictures. Really, lack of openness starts alarm bells ringing.
    • Focus – obviously a novel and elusive camera feature for many. Blurry = hiding stuff.
    • Fill out the entire profile. it’s what it’s there for. I am an atheist. If you are a devout Catholic then lets both smile and move on. I do not appreciate being hooked in to find out you are, in my opinion, a lunatic.
    • Use the phase, “to be honest”. I’d fucking hope so. Now I am left wondering what you may not be being honest about.
    • Curvy is not how I’d describe clinically obese. Athletic and toned does not count if you think seeing a piece of exercise equipment from afar occasionally means you are an athlete and Very Attractive? Not vain at all are we?

 

  • Here is selection of a few of the astonishing remarks on some profiles:
    • I basically work to live – hmm, illiterate AND boring. Goody.
    • Curling up in front of a log fire – if suburbia had this many log fires then I’d expect to see much more smoke belching from suburban chimneys of an evening. Just to be clear this is in the top five most overused clichés.
    • I don’t like reading books – goes well with the next one…
    • I love watching soap operas. KMN for both.
    • I’m possessive – this reads, “and in my spare time I refine my bunny boiling apparatus”
    • My friends say etc etc – possibly my all time pet peeve. If you lack the ability at 40 to be self-aware enough to write about yourself and instead have to rely on a biased audience for comment then shame on you.
    • Basic grammar mistakes. They and they’re etc etc… If you are wondering what the others may be, then it’s you.
    • Eating out – who doesn’t enjoy a nice meal out? Do you mean Nando’s or Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons.
    • And travel – oh my god, trying to sound so very cosmopolitan by levering travel in. Travel is good and it broadens the mind but nearly every profile has it and most read like a list of places to go before you kark it. Just sounds a bit contrived.

At the risk of sounding even more like Mr. Angry – and I had to work myself into a proper froth to write this – do fill out your profile, don’t lie, don’t obfuscate, don’t try to pretend to be someone you are not, put some decent informative pictures up. What do you expect if you are crockfulla shite? Similar respect is likely to be accorded in return. It’s just a pre-selection service. Get over it. And when I make the effort to send you an email after trawling through the scammers (oh yes, you are very obvious), sparsely written, and grasping ones then at least have the decency to send a one-liner saying thank you for making the effort but no. Back to manners I guess.

 

PS: Some good comments – read on.

New Breakthrough In Breakfast Awesomeness

Fans, loyal followers, seething masses, all three of you. I am about to share a revelation in scrumptiousness. You heard it here first. Remember where you were when you read this so you can tell your kids. Yah di yah di yah….

Take 250ml (1/2 a large one) pot of Waitrose Low Fat Greek style yogurt. Slice a banana into it. Take a large desert spoon sized dollop of Waitrose Seriously Zesty lemon curd. Mix together vigorously and behold. You, my friend, are poised on the edge of epicurean delight.

Take the same spoon and get your laughing gear around a massive mouthful. The greedy size  you can only eat when on your own. Repeat until finished. Scrape every last remaining yogurty lemony morsel from the pot. Use your finger to get remaining dregs as much  as you can.

Mmmm…

Ship Of Fools

Why would one invest all the time, effort and expense to go to University if you are not going to do the work (reading, assignments etc), turn up late, leave early and generally behave in an anti-intellectual manner? Why oh why?

Is it so they can go around saying they are doing a degree and impress their pals? I think the technical term is “requiring an external locus for approval”.

Still wondering? I’ll tell you who. Some of the effing muppets on my course. Here’s hoping they find it all a bit much and don’t come back next year. That would be a travesty.

Fingers crossed….

Revolutionary Secrets Revealed

It’s not often that I’ll throw food away that I have bought, especially cake. However,  I think I may have unwittingly stumbled on the secret weapon that the Ukrainian people have used to prosecute their revolution.

To explain; today there was a food fair put on by the various Oxford International Societies so as a loyal member of IRSoc I scooted up there to show solidarity, by eating their food. Having done a lap of the hall to see what was on offer I decided to eat from stalls representing places I have never been. I settled on a Jamaican Lamb Patty that was gorgeous but lacked authentic hot sauce (wtf?) to drown it in.

Having a bit of spare space in my tummy I sidled over to the Ukrainian stall and partook of a delicious herring and beetroot w. potatoes concoction.  I was then further seduced by the sight and sound of a Sour Cream Cake that had an impressive layered construction, so I parted with a further two quid. I didn’t realize that it is actually intended for disabling armoured vehicles, such was its density. Initially I thought it was a rather parsimonious portion for my £2. How wrong I was as the plate sagged in my hand and the plastic fork splintered when I tried to cut a piece off. However, I wasn’t going to let a mere mechanical failure deter me from eating my cake so with some effort I hoicked the piece up and after several mouthfuls conceded defeat and binned it. It made a rather disturbing thump when it bottomed out in the bin.

As I left the last thing I saw as I glanced over my shoulder was the sight of some poor chap trying to lift out the bin-liner to replace it with an empty one. Poor chap, it looks like several people before me had had the same idea. His back, my tummy.