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…

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Free At Last

In fairness, finishing my first term of Uni isn’t quite up there with gaining civil rights plus I am a middle-class white boy. Nonetheless, and though it shall pass, for the moment I am sitting in bed with coffee just feeling as if some tyrannical yoke – of capitalist oppression? Apologies, still writing for exams – has been lifted. If I were on the other side of this post I should scoff at the whingeing student bleating away. From this side all I can remark on was how bloody tough it has been this first term.

I imagine it is largely to do with my congenital idleness married to the first formal academic environment since school finished some *ahem* twenty years ago. It was a shock. On induction day we had warnings about trying to do anything else other than study. Two day long lectures plus one, one hour tutorial a week  meant I indulged in a small snort of derision. I was so very wrong. Part-time job has gone, much socialising has gone, girlfriend has gone and application has steadily increased. Although I am not up to the additional voluntary thirty hours a week of self-directed input suggested, I am creeping towards it.

All I need to do today is get ready to go to Canuckistan by buying dollars, chucking a few shirts in a bag and indulging in totally guilt-free feelings of excitement that precipitate a trip home to B.C.

If you are my mother’s neighbour in Canada and are reading this then I remember your kind remarks and will drop by to say hello. Two options for you are now available: battening down the hatches, turning off the lights and cowering in a back room pretending you are not in (a very British way of dealing with Trick or Treaters incidentally) or alternatively, mines an egg-nog laced with rum thank you very much.

These last two to three weeks has been a time of a relentlessly steady but minutely incremental application of pressure. If anyone wants to know about the Hegelian dialectic approach to crude Marxist theory please don’t expect me to enlighten you. No essays, no revision and no exams. Free, free at last. Well until next January.

Bah Humbug

Blovember #20 – On Swearing

There is a perennial debate about whether using expletives in written or spoken exchange is a sign of intelligence or stupidity. Before writing this I did a bit of digging and this topic has produced much debate through the millennia.

Unsurprisingly, the bible covers this off in typical “this is bad, don’t do it” style. After all, what would one expect from the manual documenting the rules by which religion attempts to control it’s followers. It has also been through so many iterations at the hands of so many special interest groups that it is no surprise that you can find a version that says what you need it to. For example: Ephesians 4:29 apparently tells us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Define unwholesome exactly? This is the nub of the swearing argument as there is no hard and fast list of “unwholesome words”. In some circumstances an appropriately used fuck may help those who listen. However, to paraphrase from the good book; one man’s meat….

Yesterday I used the word fuck in my post and a friend remarked on this possibly not reflecting well on me. In my circles an appropriately deployed fuck is both acceptable and necessary. In theirs it isn’t. That’s the way it is. Ranting and repetitive use of the word fuck, to me, is unnecessary overkill and spoils the effect. To others it fits just so and to them it adds the emphasis they feel is needed.

I can get on my intellectual high horse and look down on them for overuse of the word fuck. Others can do the same to me. If you invest the word fuck (or many others, fuck is a good example) with power to shock and offend then it will do just that. Additionally, you weaken yourself because anyone who wants to try and shock/offend/unbalance can then use this utterance to do so.

My mother, raising three boys as she did, had a great reaction to overhearing one of us say fuck. We were collectively marched to the bookshelf and the Oxford Dictionary of Slang was produced. We were made to look up the word fuck, recite the definition and use it in a variety of sentences. Took the fun right out of it. FYI it is first found in use in 1475 in an old English poem called Flen Flyys. However you slice it there is no denying that  fuck has turned into a very interesting word. I wish my dear Mother also had this explanation from Monty Python:

From unwholesome swearing to reading and research  in one easy step. Fucking cool eh?

Blovember #17 – Not Anymore, Lord Levermore

But it’s not, it’s an intentional typo to get  the title to have a bit of zing. Lord Leverhulme  is the fellow’s name and he is reputed to have said he knew half of his advertising was wasted, but didn’t know which half.

The  bit of the digital revolution that seems to pass people by is just how this has been kicked into the long grass.  All these cool services and all for “free”.  Facebook, Google, Nectar Cards and so on and so forth. They are buying your personal data from you so, as they would put it, they can tailor their specific offerings to you.

Bollocks:  if you’re spending money on advertising you can now get a very granular view of where the money is generating a return. I used to run very efficient Google AdWords. You give data for free, they package it and sell it to me, the business owner, as a product. It’s like being sold a .50 cal sniper rifle. It can do far more than you can ever imagine. My issue was having the time to use the power of the tool amongst all the shag and hassle of running a business. I could tell a huge amount about the users of the site, what pages worked, the route through the site to purchase etc. I could tailor my web offering – how we sold – so much more effectively. And that didn’t rely on me harvesting personal data as you’d already given it to Google. Thanks.

When you participate in a Loyalty Card style scheme you are just doing their job for them. Give it 50y and we’ll all have an implanted chip that we can (you hope) choose who gets to read. Very sci-fi and paranoid sounding I realise. Nonetheless, imagine if your chip can register your physiological reactions to certain stimuli as well as your easily observable habits and send them to a computer?  How saleable is that?

I am not anti all this ever increasing intrusiveness because I believe that in my lifetime at least I’ll get to choose who I give the crown jewels of my personal info to. If I pimp out my data then I expect to know what I am getting. Compelling offers, unique content, personalised marketing, ad spend tracking are all ways the free market operates to sell more for less. Caveat emptor – don’t blame the companies. If you don’t like it then don’t play.

As one Mr Shadbolt Esq put it once:  “If you’re not the customer, you’re the product”.

Blovember #16 – Friday Bits’n’Pieces

So it’s Friday. So don’t expect even a flailing stab at literary competence. A round-up of the week is what’s needed with some fun and illuminative trivia thrown in.

  • I am possibly the most easily distracted and idle person I know. A friend saw a cartoon yesterday and fell about laughing. “That’s you” they choked out between gales of laughter. “That’s so you.” I gave a careful and considered response of, “piss off”, and then started laughing as well.
  • Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: If I had a dollar for everytime I got distracted, I wish I had some ice cream.
  • You can’t tell but I was just distracted my Mrs S. Sadly she wasn’t offering ice-cream though.
  • Now my whole thread of the wretched post is gone from my head.
  • Check email again.
  • Oh yes, Idle. When I work I really work and in between I am a master time-waster. There ought to be a Guild of Master Time Wasters. I wish I knew how to make myself into a tightly  focused and driven individual.
  • Just connected two people via LinkedIn. Think it is v. cool that technology has made so easy something that was previously nearly impossible.
  • Speak to one of said people. Talk for 20 minutes.
  • I prefer to think of it as multi-tasking with a slight random element.
  • My new helicopter arrives today or tomorrow. Am sure that won’t divert me from planning.
  • Planning – oh yeah, I am starting a business. That’ll have it’s own site and blog so ’nuff said here.
  • Looking forward to collecting my free Calamari from Lou’s between Christmas and New Year. Thank you Facebook.
  • Food, mmmmm.
  • Very modern dilemma – am speaking to my domain name provider to merge all my various domains under one roof and register a few new ones.
  • Dilemma – just been to Wikipedia to ascertain that I have indeed been spelling it incorrectly for many years. Two “m’s”, go figure.
  • Bought some bike rollers this week as I hate turbo-trainers. They turned up yesterday. Slippery buggers. Will take some mastering. In the meantime my friends have not been helpful. See Blovember 13. Bastards.
  • It was my dad’s birthday a few weeks ago – 75, time to get a Honda Jazz as I may have mentioned – and he is rubbish at asking for pressies. Finally we get an answer…floor mats for the Jazz please.
  • I feel a bit dirty writing the search term “Jazz Mats” into Google.

Gotta run. I hear an ice-cream van.