Monday, 21 June 2010

The trouble with the Internet is that it's replaced masturbation as a leisure activity

I love technology. I think that’s pretty obvious from previous blogs. Today though, my main topic is the internet.

I remember when we first got an internet connection at home. Dial up, on our huge desktop PC stashed out in our rickety wooden conservatory. If you wanted to be connected, we had a long telephone extension cord, trailing from the BT socket at one end of the living room, through the dining room, keeping the patio doors open, pull the desk out a bit so you can crouch behind the computer and plug the cord in. Then you had to make sure no-one wanted to make a phone call for half an hour, and check with Mum that we could afford the cost of the “phone call”.

You loaded up good old AOL (does anyone actually still use them?!), and clicked “Connect”. Then you sat excitedly while listening to the wonderful sound of dial-up.

Back then it was highly unlikely that a 14 year old had much email to go through. This was before social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. You had to know other people who had MSN Messenger, and they too had to go through the “connection” process. Whatever you wanted to say, it would have been quicker to get on your bike and cycle to their house, knock on the door and ask their mum if they can come out and play.

It’s hard to believe that all I’ve just reminisced about was from 1999. Doesn’t sound that long ago does it?

11 years.

The World Trade Centres still stood tall and made the New York skyline stand out from all other cities.

Star Wars: Episode 1 was released.

The population of the world hit 6 billion.

Feel old?

Look how far a household had advanced in such a short time. In 1999 we had one computer. My brother and I had fights over who got to use it in the evenings, and whoever lost had to do their homework by hand. The term “Google” sounded dirty and something I shouldn’t repeat in polite company.

Just a short time later came the mobile phone boom in the UK. I got a job to earn enough to buy my own phone, and I then had to keep a job so I could top it up, and use it. My first network was BT Cellnet. Remember them?! They’re O2 now. My Pay As You Go, “U” phone was the only phone on the market that could send little smiley cartoons alongside your texts.

It had no internet connection. Why would it? I could phone people AND send text messages! How cool was that? Life couldn’t get much better than this surely?!

Wait a minute…2001 brought us mobile phones with COLOUR SCREENS?!

Holy crap, we’re going to be living on Mars in my lifetime.

I remember around the same time as colour screen mobiles, and the release of the PS2, my mum’s boyfriend (now my step-dad) moved in and converted us to broadband internet. Mainly because he brought his own computer with him and didn’t want to be fighting with two teenagers over who gets to check their empty inbox.

We couldn’t believe it. More than one computer in the house? Connected to the internet at the same time? And one of us could make a phone call as well? Where’s my robot butler?

We all seem to forget, when going about our day to day lives just how far our society has come, technologically in just a few short years. When you think about it, it is really quite incredible.

For those who don’t know, I should probably mention that I work in Customer Services for Virgin Media. Well, Mobile but it’s all the same company. I should also, for job safety mention that anything I say in these blogs is my own thoughts and opinions and do not represent those of the company, customer or other employees working there. You get the idea.

Anyway, working for such a company, you do sometimes forget just how easy we have it. I’ve worked there for just over five years now. When I joined the company, mobile phones had just started having cameras as a standard feature. And they didn’t take good pictures. But who were you to complain, you’re phone had a frigging camera for crying out loud!

Now I can do more on my phone than I could ever have dreamed of doing on that slow desktop PC out in the cold conservatory during a rainstorm, being shouted at by your mum because she needs to phone your Grandma and can’t because you’re too busy pissing about on the internet.

I loved having that computer. Not many of my friends had computers at home, and I am to this day self taught in all computing and technological stuff. Without that computer it’s unlikely I’d be as interested in all of it today.

This blog is turning out to be much like my other techno-rant. I’m appreciating all I have and all that others have as well. My job sometimes makes me wonder if others actually ever take a step back and look at how lucky they are before opening their mouths.

I’m just waiting for the day time travel is invented. I’d love to go back just to the year 2000 and compare it to now…

…don’t worry though. Time travel can’t be that far away. All cars can do 88 miles per hour these days, so it’s just the flux capacitor bit that needs sorting out.

While writing I listened to some retro tunes:

R Kelly – Bump ‘n’ Grind

Destiny’s Child – Say My Name

N*Sync – Tearing Up My Heart

Tatyana Ali – Boy You Knock Me Out

Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers

Simply Red – Something Got Me Started

Paula Abdul – Straight Up

Right Said Fred – Deeply Dippy

Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover

R.E.M – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight

Sunday, 20 June 2010

It's the final countdown....

So, life has suddenly started getting a bit mental. On Friday, my friend Sam and I put down a holding deposit on a house of our own! 2 bedroom, conservatory, gardens and garage. Also, it's round the corner from a shop, pub and a chippy!

As of now, it is 40 days until the big day. Friday 30th July. Now I just have to pack up my life (once again) and start a new one!

I went to IKEA with my mum this morning and picked up a beautiful TV unit for a bargainsome price! My friend Jen is moving in with her boyfriend and has sold us her super comfy sofa. I still have quite a bit of furniture stashed in my mums garage, but we're still looking for a washing machine and a fridge/freezer, so if anyone knows of any going cheap, please let us know!

Watch this space for more updates on the big move!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Busy Busy Busy

So just a quick check in. This week has been really busy, work has been a bit mental, I've been house hunting and the weather is getting nicer again so I'm going to attempt to not be online as much over the weekend and get out there and enjoy it!

I'm focussing a lot on getting out of the spare bedroom at the parents and getting my own place again. Luckily a lot of my stuff hasn't been unpacked since I moved back home, so the move should be fairly quick once I get a place. I'm hoping to be moved by my birthday, so I can categorically say that I am NOT 25 and living with my mum!

Anyway, until I have something more interesting to say, here are my top ten favourite films, and my favourite quotes from said movies. THese are in no particular order, I'm not sure I could pick out of all of them:

1. Back to the Future - "When this baby hits 88 miles per're gonna see some serious shit."

2. 10 Things I Hate About You - "Am I that transparent? I want you, I need you oh baby oh baby"

3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show - "It's astounding...time is...fleeting" (I don't think I need to go any further!)

4. The Sweetest Thing - "I can't believe I'm fucking a purple elephant"

5. Miss Congeniality - (William Shatner) "Oh shit..."

6. Hocus Pocus - "Oh look, another glorious morning. Makes me SICK! "

7. Josie and the Pussycats - "Du Jour means seat belts. Du Jour means crash positions! "

8. Lethal Weapon 3 - "I'm too old for this shit"

9. Pretty Woman - "I appreciate this whole seduction thing you've got going on here, but let me give you a tip: I'm a sure thing. "

10. Wayne's World - "Hey Phil, if you're gonna spew, spew into this."

Monday, 14 June 2010

Who's Your Daddy?

My parents divorced in 1991, when I was 5 years old.

I remember the day he left. I don’t know if I’d rather not remember it, but there’s not much I can do about that. If I hadn’t remembered it, I might not be the person I am today.

I saw him every second Saturday between the hours of 10am and 6pm. Most of those hours were spent in a pub, watching him play the fruit machines, being taught magic tricks by the bar staff and being handed the odd 50p to go and “play with the jukebox”. They aren’t bad memories, but looking back on those times as an adult, it wasn’t exactly great parenting on his part.

My relationship with my dad ended when I was 11. There was a big family argument, some things were said as a way to hurt his feelings, and he took them as his opportunity to stop showing up. I never got an explanation as to why.

We live in a small town. We live in the same town. He lived a 10 minute walk from my school.

One day, at the age of 14, I finished school, and went and knocked on his door. Lots of tears and hugging, and a vague “this was all a big misunderstanding” conversation went on. I left, and he didn’t try to contact me again. I got an invite to his sisters 40th birthday a few months later, and I, trying to make up for lost years, went along. I watched him and his girlfriend get extremely drunk and not engage in much conversation with me at all, leaving me sat at an empty table and feeling totally detached from those who were supposed to be my family.

I turned 16. His parents cut me out of their life, deciding to move their blame for the whole mess from my mum, onto me. I found out through the “Family Announcements” section of the local newspaper that he’d remarried. A year later I found out the same way they had a daughter. To this day I still haven’t met her, and I doubt she is aware of mine or my brother’s existence.

The week before my 18th birthday, my mum remarried. My step-dad also had no relationship with his father, and before marrying made the decision to change his surname as he didn’t want my mum to have to take the name of someone he didn’t know, or even like. He decided to take his mother’s maiden name, and changed it by deed poll.

I thought long and hard this. It was an idea I’d thought about from time to time, when I was feeling particularly rejected for one reason or another, or times where I’d just spent too long with my own thoughts.

So, in the autumn of 2003 I did it. I changed my surname to my mum’s maiden name. I didn’t want to take my step-dad’s name, as I was 16 when he came into my life, so was never a father figure, and we also have a relationship that is more brother/sister than anything.

I was 18 years old and it was the first decision I’d made that was my own and not influenced by anyone else. I used it as a representation of my life being mine, and regardless of what genetics has given me (I have my dad’s looks, posture, and a few habits that I catch myself doing), what I choose to do now is because of the person I have become as a result of him NOT being around.

I’ve thought lots about who I might have been if he’d been in my life. But I can’t spend all my time thinking “what if?”.

I ran into him in Tesco 3 years ago. I’d moved out, was living with a boyfriend. I’d recently lost a lot of weight, I was feeling good and looking good. I was coming out of an aisle as someone walked past me quite quickly with their trolley. Just from the back of my head I recognised him. I have his walk. He didn’t see me.

He turned down the booze aisle. In a split second I decided to follow him. I walked right up behind him as he was loading multi-packs of Carlsberg (after all these years, and it’s still his drink of choice) into the trolley.

“Having a party?”

The double take was worth the somersaults my stomach was doing. He looked old, older than my mum, even though there’s only 4 years between them. He still had scruffy hair, still needed a better haircut. We had a slightly awkward “nice to see you, what have you been doing for the last 8 years” conversation. I found out my half-sister was now turning 5, he still worked in the same job he’d been in since I was 2 years old. He found out that his little girl was now all grown up, living on her own and doing just fine without him.

I’ve had more comfortable conversations with people who used to pick on me at school.

Anyway, this very long story brings me to last Tuesday, 8th June. I finished work, and popped into Sainsbury’s for a loaf of bread. We’re a little behind the times in our town and they only installed Self-Checkouts a couple of weeks ago. I grabbed a loaf, and joined the queue for the checkouts, which were all in use. I have a habit of people-watching in supermarkets, so I’m glancing around, I notice someone from work with their husband, a couple of people I went to school with, and someone else using the self-checkout who looked really familiar. It was only when I noticed that this person was singing to themselves as they scanned their items, which I also do, that I realised it was him.

In the last three years he’d gone completely grey, hair even more of a mess and looking about 10 years older than his current 48, a statement that pleased my mum quite a lot, as she looks about 5 years younger than her 45.

I didn’t approach him. I’d had a long day, I was feeling a little unwell, and I’m living back in my mum’s spare bedroom. I couldn’t be bothered. I’d have achieved nothing by doing so.

He didn’t notice me as I took over his vacated checkout.

I should think myself lucky that I know who he is, some people don’t. Some may think I should still try and have a relationship with him, because at least I know where he is and that he’s alive. But I don’t need him. If I managed to grow into the person I am today without his influence, what could he possibly do to help me now that I can’t do for myself?

The person I feel sad for most of all is his other daughter. She’ll be 8 this year. I’ll be 25. My brother is 22. She has family that she’ll never know.

I hope that she is a smart kid. I hope she figures out that her dad isn’t perfect. Or maybe he’s learning from his mistakes and making an effort with her now because he didn’t with me. Maybe she’ll turn out to be the person I’d have been. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s not.


I hate that word.

I spent a lot of my teenage years being angry, trying to find someone to blame for my less than perfect life. After changing my name, I felt free from all of that. Of course I still think about it, who wouldn’t? I still have issues with men as a result. I believe he is the reason I don’t want to get married. I believe he is the reason I don’t want children.

Christ, I must be a psycholoigst’s dream.

While writing I listened to:

Kim Ferron – Nothing But You

The Goo Goo Dolls – Black Balloon

Black Eyed Peas – Where is the Love?

Incubus – Drive

Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

The Beautiful South – A Little Time

Natalie Imbruglia – Smoke

The Pretenders – Don’t Get Me Wrong

Bon Jovi – When We Were Beautiful

Phil Collins – Another Day in Paradise

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Technology is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. C.P. Snow, NY Times, 15-3-71

I am not a fan of football. I don’t support a team, and I switch off when conversation turns to the subject. However, when it comes to sport, I do consider myself to be patriotic and I show my support for global events. I get very passionate about the Olympics in particular. Anyway, I managed to be convinced on Friday night to come out on Saturday and join the guys to watch the England v USA match.

I joined them in town at 5pm, and we moved onto our local Conservative Club at about 6pm to get a good seat by the TV.

At 6:30 the TV got switched onto a music channel doing a countdown of the 10 best “Football” songs. I’d have preferred they went onto BBC1 and let me watch Doctor Who before the match, but when I voiced this suggestion I was greeted with a number of grumbles and I decided to just continue drinking my cider.

So, the game started at 7:30pm. Three minutes in and England scored their goal. I’m not going to pretend to know the players, or even the jargon used. But it was evident that people were very happy with the goal and who scored it.

I love that I have a phone that allows me to be connected to the internet at all times. At minute five, I found out via Facebook that apparently some people were silly enough to decide to watch the game on a channel that has ADVERTS. Now this baffles me. ITV HD can broadcast the game and do what they want with it. If they put adverts on, so be it. But if you are truly a fan of the game and want to watch every minute of it, why would you decide to watch it on that channel, where you could potentially miss out on crucial parts of the match?! Which you did!

I’m assuming the reason behind these people’s choices is HD. Now, I love HD. I have a HD TV, and I am a girl that likes her technology. But sometimes, isn’t it worth remembering that colour television was only broadcast in the UK for the first time in 1967? If I’m not mistaken that was the year AFTER England won the World Cup for the first and only time.

Hmmm, I wonder if the people watching that match in 1966 sat there 20 minutes in and thought “this is crap. If only it was in High Definition on a 70 inch flat screen. And you know what? If it was in 3D I’m stop my moaning too!”.

No. They were probably just drunkenly going on about how great it is they could watch the game on a 14 inch black and white telly! The following year, when BBC2 showed Wimbledon in colour, people couldn’t believe it. It was like living in the future!

We really do take our technology for granted these days. We are a spoilt generation, and we still bitch about it. When my mum was 24, she didn’t spend her Sunday afternoon typing her blog on her Samsung netbook, while keeping up to date on Facebook via her HTC Desire phone, and catching up on last nights Doctor Who on her 32 inch HD TV.

No, when she was 24, it was 1989. Sky TV was only just introduced in the UK, and it was the only way you could watch The Simpsons. The GameBoy was launched in Japan, and Microsoft started distributing their first versions of Office, which was not used in homes because people just didn’t have home PCs, or if you did you either had a lot of money, or you’d built it yourself and you were an old-style geek, which I applaud.

So, football fans. Stop bitching about how crap ITV was and take some responsibility for your CHOICE to watch the match on a channel where you KNEW you could miss out. Count your blessings, realise how lucky you are to live in a time where you can do, see and own all you have.

It’d be interesting to see how many complaints ITV have when they open their emails on Monday morning.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Riggs & Murtaugh

So, no blog yesterday. Friday afternoon, went to watch Chris play in some amateurs football thing. We were encouraged to go on the promise of a bar and barbecue. What we actually got was a bunch of dads pretending they are in the actual World Cup, and a bunch of 9 year old kids running around.

After that big bunch of lies, a trip to the pub was in order. 6 hours later, it’s 1am and I’m stumbling through the front door with a box of cheesy chips.


I have always been a fan of the Lethal Weapon franchise. In more recent years, I have become a fan of How I Met Your Mother. If you have not seen either of these, I suggest you do, in chronological order. And soon. Seriously, go do it now, then come back and read this.

Episode 19 in Season 4 of How I Met Your Mother saw Ted discuss his “Murtaugh List”. In short, if you can say “I’m gettin’ too old for this shit” to a certain subject or activity, it goes on the list.

I like to think I’m at the age where I’m not too old for things. Although if you ask me that on a Sunday morning, it’s highly likely I will tell you differently, after which I will also tell you to insert something rather large in a place that rarely sees sunlight before passing out for another few hours.

I’m hoping my 20s is the time to test this thought. I can make my own choices, do what I want and learn from the horrific mistakes myself, without the worry of a parent or guardian punishing me and making me feel any worse than I already do.

So this is my promise to you. If I refuse to do something, citing “being too old” and my primary reason, I will tell you. Otherwise, all bets are off.

While writing I listened to:

Dujour - Backdoor Lover

Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood

The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Hello Hangover, How Nice of You to Visit Again

I like a drink. I am not an alcoholic.

I have thrown up in public from drinking too much. I have never been arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

Bar staff in my local know my drink. I have never been so drunk I can’t find my way home.

I have fantastic memories as a result of going on some amazing benders.

I have many, many scars and injuries that hurt more the next day than they did at the time of the “incidents”.

Alcohol is not bad. People that can’t handle their alcohol or have issues that they haven’t addressed when sober are bad.

There are good and bad things about pretty much everything. Drinking is a prime example. I don’t like drunk, letchy old men any more than the next person trying to enjoy a quiet pint in a beer garden, but sadly such people are a fact of life around these parts.

I myself have been less than classy when drunk on more than one occasion. Certain friends have witnessed things I will never tell my children, or any other impressionable youths that are unlucky enough to have me present during childhood. Then again, I have started sharing these experiences with my mother recently, and have come to found she decided on the same tactic when raising me, and there’s quite a lot I don’t know.

My most recent drunken error was at the end of March where I ended up in the local A&E on the Sunday morning with my good friend Karlie after a 14 hour drinking session.

Just a word to the wise: showing up at A&E on a Sunday morning while still slightly drunk, being told you’ll be waiting about 2 hours, and the hangover kicks in about 45 minutes into that wait is NOT nice. Especially when you have screaming babies, pikey parents unable to control them and most people talking loudly in the most common of West Country accents.

Luckily the nurses were very nice about my foot injury which occurred at hour 8 of the 14 when I decided jumping off a high kerb in kitten heels would be a great idea. I ended up flat on my face, while my friends roared with laughter before helping me up off the ground and making sure I hadn’t ripped a hole in my leggings.

The nurse who saw to me took my forms, checked my name and date of birth, the standard stuff, and then went onto the important questions:

Nurse: “Do you smoke?”

Me: “Nope”

Nurse: “Do you drink?”

Me: “Erm…”

*Karlie starts to laugh*

Nurse: “Take a look at this. (hands me a laminated sheet of all different types of alcohol, defining what a “unit” of each one is) How many units would you say you drink in a week?”

Me: “A normal week or this week?”

Nurse: (trying not to laugh) “I do need to make you aware that excessive drinking causes…”

Me: “Yep, heard it all before…”

Only in the last couple of weeks have I been able to wear heels again.

Anyone else have some excellent “drunken injury” stories?

While writing I listened to:

Alanis Morissette – Not the Doctor

The Cardigans – Erase/Rewind

Aswad – Shine

Sheryl Crow – All I Wanna Do

The Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You

The Zutons – Valarie

The Fugees – Ready or Not

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Mrs Doubtfire

I love fancy dress. Not in the kinky, dominatrix bend-over-and-whip-me-until-I-say-the-safety-word way. Well, not on weekdays anyway.

I digress, that’s a future blog. Theme parties, Halloween, hell, even black tie. I love every second of it. A party is always more fun when you are dressed up, and look different to your normal, everyday self. You get to pretend to be someone else. Your confidence soars, you smile more, and generally, more fun is had by all. If you are not the dressing up kind, I urge you to try it just once. I find most people who say “I don’t dress up” are afraid of looking silly. But when everyone else is in costume, and you’re not…who's the silly one?

As a kid, dressing up was for Halloween. In the younger years I quite happily rocked the witch look. At the age of 11, my friends and I went Trick or Treating dressed as Men in Black, complete with guns made out of toilet roll tubes and tin foil. During my college years I deemed myself “too cool” for costume, although looking back at the pictures it seems every day was my fancy dress party.

When I was 18 my aunt and cousin took me to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’d never been and was a bit dubious about how to dress. I went for the dangerously low cut white shirt with heavy make up. I needn’t have worried. I was sat next to a 20-stone bloke wearing not much else apart from fishnets and a thong. I was less worried when I went again a few years later with my mum and Sarah. I’d gained a lot of weight in those years, but I still shoved my 18 stone frame into fishnets and shorts. OK, I had to cut myself out of them when I got home and had spent the night with my thighs looking like a fat naked guy in a hammock, but I had an awesome night, and that’s what mattered.

A friend’s 21st back in 2007 was “Things beginning with P” themed. She was dressed as a princess, her boyfriend a priest. There were plumbers, punks, prisoners and so on. I went as a painter, wearing stained overalls and used an empty, rinsed out paint bucket as a handbag.

My 23rd birthday was a Hawaiian Luau, complete with leis for all guests, a patio heater to simulate the sun, paddling pool, limbo and little cocktail umbrellas.

More recently I have seen myself finding any excuse to be in costume.

Halloween 2009 saw Anthony and I dressed as Marilyn Monroe and JFK. While my costume was obvious, him dressed in just a suit caused confusion and resulted in me drunkenly scrawling “Jeff K” on his forehead in red lipstick (if you get the TV show I was referencing, give yourself 10 points!).

Just a few weeks later saw my company’s 10th Anniversary party. 90s themed, I convinced a friend and colleague, Lizzi to be the Garth to my Wayne. I spent a silly amount of money on a proper Wayne’s World trucker cap, shipped from the USA via the wonderful world of eBay. Complete with inflatable guitar I partied the night away with people dressed as Fembots, Spice Girls and we even had Right Said Fred perform which topped my evening off quite nicely.

Moving onto the future of my costume events, we have my birthday and this years Halloween to think about.

I have started making it known to my friends that my birthday will be themed as “People from the 80s”. This is as far as the planning has gone, I still do not have a location or a plan, but the costumes are the most important part. I didn’t want people sticking on a pair of leg warmers and calling it a costume, so I have made it clear that half-arsed attempts are unacceptable, and I don’t require a present or even a card if the costume is of an acceptable standard.

Halloween 2010 has been decided for some time. After the fun of last Halloween I have convinced Anthony to come back to our home town for this year’s event and team up with me again. We’ve decided on Batman and Robin, with him as Robin. That part was my idea, not just because I want to see him in red tights, but also because it’s bloody funny.

I’ve always wanted to do a toga party, so maybe that’s a future birthday attempt…

If you have any good costume ideas, or have been to any creative and interesting theme parties, please do share them!

While writing, I listened to:

Letter to Cleo – I Want You to Want Me

Bobby Brown – Two Can Play That Game

Spandau Ballet – Gold

Lisa Loeb – Stay

Sugar Ray – When it’s Over

Fleetwood Mac – Tell Me Lies

Ting Tings – Shut Up and Let Me Go

Erasure - Sometimes

Ween – Voodoo Lady

Michelle Branch – Empty Handed

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Mr Dark Side

While I like to live positively, even in the most miserable of situations, there are always things that irritate you so much you feel the need to either a) swear loudly, or b) shake things vigorously. Here are just a couple of my biggest pet peeves:

Poor Spelling and Grammar

I’m not perfect. I’ll happily admit that. No-one is perfect, and anyone who thinks they are perfect is too arrogant for me to waste my time on. Now, I know there are people out there who will read this and pick out every error I make. However, I do feel in this day and age that there are people out there who have no excuse for their lack of grammatical intelligence and blindness to spelling mistakes. Two of my top gripes in the abuse of the English language are:

a) Saying “should of” when the correct term is “should have”. It always has been, and always will be. actually addresses this error when searching for the definition of the word “of”:

Because the preposition of, when unstressed (a piece of cake), and the unstressed or contracted auxiliary verb have (could have gone, could've gone) are both pronounced /
əv/ Show Spelled[uhv] Show IPA or /ə/[uh] in connected speech, inexperienced writers commonly confuse the two words, spelling have as of (I would of handed in my book report, but the dog ate it). Professional writers have been able to exploit this spelling deliberately, especially in fiction, to help represent the speech of the uneducated: If he could of went home, he would of.

b) When there, their and there are used interchangeably. This is basic ignorance and neglect of your primary education people. I remember learning the rules for these words when I was about 6 years old. 18 years on, and I’m still able to remember it. Of the 375 million people in the world who speak English as their first language, surely I am not the only person who was taught this rule at an early age.

I’m not going to pretend that I remember everything I learned at school. This is mainly because the things I have forgotten are as a result of not needing to use that knowledge. However, I speak every day, I write every day and I type every day. This is what my education was for, to ensure I don’t come across as a total moron in my adult life. I have no idea what everyone else thought they were at school for.

Uncontrollable Children

Now, I may offend people here, but quite frankly, I don’t care.

It’s not that I don’t like children, I like some kids. Usually when they are occupied, or engaged in an activity, like they should be. However, I find more and more people incapable of ensuring their children are not bored and seem to think the best option is to let them get in the way of me enjoying my life. An example of such an incident is:

Food Shopping. I like my weekly food shop. I like to plan my week, figure out what lovely meals I’m going to cook, decide if I can afford to cook for friends, or eat out one night. What I don’t like is hearing bratty children demanding ice cream, screaming when they don’t get a response, or get the “wrong” response. As a child, I wouldn’t have dared act like that in a public place, mainly for fear of what might happen to me when I got home, and also because I didn’t have a need to act like that. My mum would keep me occupied by letting me read the list out, or pick the items from the lower shelves, or even the promise of popping to the park over the road afterwards. It’s not difficult, all kids want is to be involved in the activity that the grown ups are doing.

There are lots of other things that get my goat, but those are my main gripes with society today. A few other things on my “dislike” list are Marmite, bones in my fish, heartburn, soaps (on TV, not the cleansing bars) and soggy jeans.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Mr Bright Side

For this week I'll be giving you an insight into who I am and what I'm like.

I like a lot of things, of which I will share a few with you now:

Dancing to music circa 1980-1999: this excludes “banging” Ibiza dance tunes where the DJ seems to think the only way to make the song better is to pump the club with dry ice, making you cough and accidentally grope the pensioner next to you on the dance floor who thinks he’s still hip enough to be in such an establishment – come on, even I feel old being out on a Friday night sometimes.

Wearing sexy high heels: usually only when I am going to a place with guaranteed seating as I can’t stand up for long in them, regardless of how attractive they are.

Early X-Files: Season 1-5 in particular. Yes, quite a change from the last 2 statements, but there it is. I also enjoy various other 90s sci-fi shows, namely Buffy, Angel, Roswell and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Wine: there is a very fine line between love and hate, and this is the relationship I have with wine. I am a rosé drinker by reputation. I love the first glass on a Friday evening after a long week at work. I like being asked “refill?” when I’m only halfway through the glass. I dislike the fact that my hangovers are worse with wine than with any other form of alcohol. I dislike that the calorie content is more than if I were to stick to vodka mixers for the night. But when I’m offered a glass…who am I to refuse?!

Hot Baths and Cold Showers: depending on the weather I find them equally satisfying. I don’t think I need to elaborate. If I do, please let me know!

My friends: without them I would probably be a lot less happy, but a lot more healthy, with less scars and hazy memories.

The guys, Anthony, Tom ,Chris and Ben make me laugh whenever I am around them. They are funny, honest and the most genuine guys you will ever meet. I don’t care if they are blokes.

Leah is the only other girl that regularly joins me and the boys for nights out. I’ve known her since we were 7 and she’s now based in Portsmouth with the Army, but comes back quite often for a weekend of fun and frolics. Like me, she’s happy spending time with the guys, and doesn’t really miss the lack of oestrogen in the room!

Sarah has been my friend and confidant for my entire adult life. She has been there for every emotional crisis, celebration and just general need for a friend who will tell you when you look fat and ugly, just because she loves you. She’s moving to Cambridge this summer to be with her man, and while I will miss her dearly, she is going to be so happy, and will always be a phone call, text message or email away.

I blame all of these friends for my alcohol and 2am burger consumptions over the years. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is just a very brief run down of my likes. There are many others.

Next time: things that piss me off. You won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Mr First Blog

So. There are a lot of firsts that every person goes through in their life. First smile, first steps, first day at school....

Then a just a few years later there are your first exams, first jobs, first driving lesson, first relationship....

And then you reach your 20s and your firsts become less and less. Well, for some. For others there's the first wedding (yes, I'm only about 65 words in and the cynic shows its face), first home, first child. And that's all great. For them.

Hi, I'm Hayley. I'm in that group of 21st century 20-somethings that seem to be forgotten by society. Single, childless, and I don't own my own home. And I'm OK with all of that.

This blog will be a space to make people like me, and the way we live our lives known. We need a voice. We're not hopeless and useless. Far from it.

OK, so I'm not married, or in any long-term relationship. But that doesn't mean I spend my days sat alone on a park bench, buying single pork chops and only lighting one candle at the dining table.

I don't have children. I'm not entitled to any government benefits, credits or subsidies. I do however, work full time and struggle to make ends meet, but because of my "circumstances" I am apparently able to fully support myself while paying every penny of tax I'm expected to.

I don't own my own home. But I want to. However, I have no opportunity to save, especially when buying a loaf of bread Tescos causes me to whip out the calculator and decide if I really need sandwiches this week.

I know I am not alone. I belong to a forgotten and split generation of 80s kids, born under the Thatcher regime, and will be left to pick up the pieces of our broken society by working all hours under the sun, never earning enough to have all we want, and bitching about those who do have it all and still aren't happy.

Despite all of that though, I do like my life.

While I'm not entirely satisfied with my job, I have been there long enough to appreciate that I am looked after, respected and have met many good friends and acquaintances through the company. I have a boss who does her best to make sure I am happy, and is helping me to slowly climb the ladder. It helps she is also very funny and can pack away as much wine at the weekend as I can, a fact that will make the grape-squishers in Italy very pleased indeed

I moved back home last July after ending a 5-year relationship. In the last year I have learned to be more happy with life in general. I am less stressed, I smile more, and for the first time, I have been able to say that I am halfway through the year and I am still fulfilling my New Year's Resolution of "saying yes more". While it means I have less money, I have had more fun and created more memories in the last 6 months than I ever thought I would. OK, I am living in my mum's spare bedroom, but there are plans afoot to change that - watch this space.

I have fantastic friends, which will all get mentioned as my blog continues. Some have only been in my life since last summer, but now I couldn't imagine what this year would have been like without them.

So there you go. I intended this first blog to be a quick rundown of me and the way I think, to give you a taster and hopefully have you stick around for future installments. I have realised that I haven't even scratched the surface, so maybe this was a better idea than I first thought....

While this blog was being written, I listened to:
REM: Losing My Religion
Take That: Million Love Songs
Diana Ross: I'm Coming Out
Coolio: Gangster's Paradise
Kriss Kross: Jump
Velvet Chain: Strong