3D and the NotSoSmart TV (aka AVATAR the unwatched 3D version)

It’s been a sad week for all of us in the family, as our Dad passed away suddenly on Wednesday. He was the nicest, quietest man, who never wronged anyone. He didn’t know Twitter, computers or blogging but he did have a sense of humour and he knows that, as part of coping with his death, humour would continue to play a big role in getting me through these days. He’d appreciate this little story which only happened last night. It’s dedicated to my Dad, Eric……

My stories were never going to be about members of the family. I have a plethora of characters I’ve made up along the way and there’s always things happening in politics or sport to provide enough fuel for my meanderings. However, none of the characters involved in this short skit would be upset by what I’m about to describe and I’ve already told them that………๐Ÿ˜‰

So…… Fran’s uncle and auntie had booked to come over from Ireland this weekend. When they heard the news about Dad, they said they wouldn’t come. However, I knew they would lighten the load a bit so, we agreed they would still get the ferry to Stranraer and drive the 90 miles to our home……..

Now, I bought a ‘smart tv’ back in January, a 46″ Samsung thing with 3D and apps etc. it was easy enough to set up and came with two sets of 3D glasses. After having had the thing for a couple of weeks, we couldn’t resist buying a copy of AVATAR in 3D and setting things up to give it a go. I was t really expecting much. I’d seen the original film in 3D at the cinema on a humongous screen. There was no way it would be as good as that. I’d always remembered a scene where some general is talking to an audience. In 3D it looked as if the actors were sitting right in front of us, with a bald guy in particular, who looked so close to me, I remembered mimicking patting him on the head (yes childish I know โ˜บ๏ธ)

So, we got the telly set up, switched on the active 3D glasses, et voila, there was AVATAR, in our living room, in three glorious dimensions. It didn’t quite have a the depth of the big screen but I was impressed, very impressed and, wearing contact lenses most of the time, was looking forward to more 3D special nights of televisual entertainment……..

4 months later, the glasses now covered in a slight layer of dust, suddenly, last night, someone suggested we get AVATAR out and impress the relatives with our 3D gizmo. Now, there were five of us and only four sets of glasses. However, since Kate had already seen it, she opted out and was left sitting watching us get set up. Both Fran’s Auntie and Uncle wear glasses, so they looked a bit awkward sitting with the 3D glasses on, as did I, who’d taken my lenses out of tired eyes earlier.

So there we sat…….

‘ start it then D…. Start it….’

‘Give me a minute, there’s more remote controls here than I can shake a stick at……..’

That’s the only thing with modern technology. We have about six different remote controls, and, to make things worse, in the dark, wearing 3D specs on top of my normal glasses, I was trying to switch AVATAR on using the cordless phone………. โ˜บ๏ธ

After a couple of more minutes of technoblunder, we were off and running……. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

‘Thats it, that’s it…….ok, can you see 3D’

‘I’m not sure Frances, I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to look like…..’ said Fran’s Uncle.

‘Does everybody have their lights flashing?’
‘What bloody flashing lights’ I said

‘The lights on the glasses. There’s a little button to press, remember…..there its on the screen, mine are on….’

Fran was right enough. It was coming back to me now. There was a button on the glasses and I could see the green indicator on the tv with the message ‘3D glasses now connected’.
Now, the rest of us tried the same thing and, randomly, little messages of ‘connection’ success started appearing on the bottom left of the screen.

‘Ok, can everyone see 3D now?’

‘I can’t tell you whether I’m looking at three, two, or just the one bloody direction’ said uncle Ian.

Then Fran said the immortal words……’mum, what can you see……?’

Kate, as we mentioned earlier, was sitting watching the chaos unfold with no 3D glasses on.

‘Perfect, it’s perfect….’

‘What do you mean, it’s perfect……it should look fuzzy to you….’

‘Nope, it’s as clear as a bell’

There was so much going on, all in the dark, people putting glasses on and off , pressing connection buttons, taking the batteries out and putting them on again, that we’d forgotten to check what the one person without 3D glasses could see……… ๐Ÿ˜ณ ………then, it dawned on us. We’d forgotten to switch the 3D setting on one of the menus on the TV itself!

‘ for goodness sake D, were faffing around all that time and we’re not even in 3D mode…..!’

By this time, the cats offer to play scrabble with me, looked the much better offer…..

‘Nope, still looks 2D to me…’ Said a now grumpy Fran.

‘Well, I’m trying to push these buttons on the remote in the pitch black and, every time I go back to the menu, the 3D option says OFF………..I’ve no idea why it’s doing that….’

‘What are those other options with one person, two and that other thing at the end?’

‘I’ve no idea. We’ve only used it the once, how should I know……I’ll try it…..’

Five minutes later, we were now all looking at a blurred picture.

‘Jeezo, that’s not right…’ I exclaimed, looking for an exit plan.

Eventually, after more darklit, now random, button pressing, Fran exclaimed’

‘I’ve got it, that’s 3D……perfect………..does everyone have 3D now?’

I’d lost interest by now, we’d missed the first half hour of the film and fran’s auntie and uncle looked as interested in 3D television as if I’d started explaining to them how Twitter works……….

‘Nope, just looks the same to me’ said uncle Ian, who in the reflected light of the amazing ‘smart’ tv, looked as if he’d given up as many ghosts as I had.
‘Well, you try my glasses…..’

Uncle Ian swapped glasses…….

‘Oh, yes, I think that floaty thing is coming towards me… Ooh get it off me……’

‘Its the glasses’ said Fran ‘I can’t see any 3D with uncle Ian’s glasses’

We worked out, in the dark, by a studied detailed 2 by 2 factorial statistical experiment…….. or just random swapping of glasses, or one of the two,โ˜บ๏ธ, that two pairs of glasses worked and two didn’t. It then donned on us that we’d bought the two extra ones online. Although they were proper Samsung glasses, maybe they were copies or the batteries were not so good. After battery swapping experimentation and more pressing of buttons, we came to the conclusion that none of us ever wanted to watch AVATAR, in any three, four or indeed five dimensionsional status, ever again.

‘I think I’ll be off to bed’ said Uncle Ian.

Never a better statement had been made by anyone all night…………. within seconds the ‘notsosmart’ TV was off, the 3D glasses were cast asunder, and duvet time beckoned……๐Ÿ˜Ž

‘3D and the NotSoSmart TV’ was brought to you by SMILE and Dodo Productions ยฉ and dedicated to our Dad, Eric Linden, who died on Wednesday, 23rd April 2014 ๐Ÿ˜”

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The Pasta Maker

I’ve always had a penchant for trying out new cooking ideas. Although I’m by far the worst cook in the house (I narrowly beat the cat in a cook off last Xmas) quite a few of our ‘special’ meals are ones I tried first. Initially I was your typical bloke in a china shop. I’d have pots in places pots had never been, implements, condiments lying around, all to the detriment of the God of Kitchen Tidyness. I also started buying loads of cookbooks with the vain intention of opening one of them eventually. Even worse was a phase of buying cooking equipment. From fancy frying pans to pasta makers, I was the MAN. The man who didn’t know what he was doing………….

The pasta maker was a classic example. I’d probably watched some Italian Cook on sky 247 Good Food channel, produce thin beautiful spinach and ricotta filled ravioli, using one of those little silver pasta makers, which clamp on to your worktop and produce beautiful pasta with ease.

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It would probably be a Saturday night. Couple of glasses of wine, nowt much on TV and I’d be bored. Next minute I’d be on Amazon dot co of the UK, trawling through the Kindle store and then………I’m looking at pasta machines. One minute I’m glazing through the various pasta makers and suddenly, wooomph, I’ve ordered one.

Sunday morning, memories of the previous evening fully located the land of vagueness, draped in misty clouds and non surprises. Then, a giant coffee fan clears the mist and a silver pasta machine appears…….with a hefty price tag attached. Oh god I didn’t order a pasta maker. Please tell me I didn’t. Yes u did……….. I’m a fool, I was a fool……..I still was……. I didn’t dare tell the household what I’d done, for fear of mockery and derision (not necessarily in that order). They’d find out soon enough……

Two days later, it arrived. I was actually quite excited. Well, I wasn’t getting out much these days, so the prospect of something to grapple with, was slightly higher up the Richter scale than normal. I took it out of the box (#notetoself – first mistake! โ˜บ๏ธ). It looked innocuous. Small, shiny,and silvery. How hard could it be.? Even the instructions looked simple. Make a dough, roll it out a bit, stick it through the machine a few times and, et voila (or whatever that is in Italian), I’d have tagliatelle for tea.

All I needed was some 300g of ’00’ flour and 3 eggs. How simple was that. ๐Ÿ˜ณ I waited for days until I was going to be ‘home alone’. I’d secretly planned this using stealth and diplomacy, normally only used by experienced world leaders, to a point where I was now left alone with some flour, eggs and a pasta machine.

I weighed, then laid my flour out on the board. The board wasn’t quite big enough ( a phrase I’d heard many time during my life……๐Ÿ˜”) and, as a result, the flour was quite close to the edge. I soldiered on, creating a hole in the middle for eggs. I cracked them open and plopped them in the hole. It wasn’t long before I realised, this wasn’t going to plan. A rivulet of egg yolk lava, was making a break for it over the side of the flour volcano. I tried to retrieve the situation, but, within seconds, egg white and yolk lava was now crescendoing off the edge of the board and over the workbench. The more I tried to get it back on the board, the worse it got.

Within a minute, the volcano had erupted and my first attempt at pasta making had hit the buffers. I cleared up…………… I could have given up at this point but, it’s easy to give up isn’t it? Very easy indeed. It’s much easier to give up than keep trying. Sometimes, giving up is the right decision but this was not the time, the place. I would keep going…….

I decided to look up ‘how to make pasta’ on YouTube…………within 32 seconds of watching the video, I realised now stupid I’d been. The idea was to put one egg in the middle at a time and mix it in. Not all three as I had done. I had it cracked……

I started again. This time I would put ONE BLOODY OBVIOUS EGG IN AT A TIME!

This was working. I moulded and blended the egg into the flour like an artisan. It was sticky. I cracked open the second egg and dlopped it in. I went over to the sink to wash my hands before the next bit. As I turned back to delve my fingers back into the finest pasta mix which would be made in the village that morning, my eyes widened. Next doors cat had come through the open kitchen door and was now on the worktop. Now, next doors cat wasn’t any ordinary cat. It was a Bengali monster, with no morals and it was now heading towards the flour and egg mix. As it’s tongue started licking the egg yolk I flipped……….yaaarrghhhh!…………..yaaarrghhhh, yah!

Now I’m not sure what ‘yaaarrghhhh!…………..yaaarrghhhh, yah!’ meant, but all it resulted in was the cat scattering the embryonic pasta mix all over the place. I chased the cat out of the kitchen into the yard. I turned around. yaaarrghhhh!…………..yaaarrghhhh, yarrgh…… that darn cat had created a white Xmas in April.

I was about to drop to my knees when fate tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me of the embarrassment that would ensue if the family returned to find me pastaless. I started to clean up. Nearly 32 minutes later the kitchen was spotless. I’d now been at this palaver for two hours. I was on the verge of calling the police and charging amazon.co.uk with aiding and abetting, when I discovered the solution to the problem. There were no more eggs. I’d run out. A whole box of eggs gone, finito, vanished.

I washed the pasta maker, put it in its box, where, to this day, it has resided ever since……..๐Ÿ˜Š

‘The Pasta Maker’ by @qosfc1919 ยฉ Dodo Productions

If you liked it please retweet or like ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

University Challenge World Leaders (and Boris) take on ‘Donetsk’ University.

Hi, I’m Jeremy Paxman, and welcome to this weeks University Challenge Special, live from Donetsk in Ukraine. I’m joined by teams from Donetsk University, who stormed into the final beating the University of Crimea into a pulp in the first semi final, and, our World Leaders team, who received a bye in the second semi-final, after the Ukrainian Army team didn’t turn up.

Ok, so let’s meet our teams. First of all, we say hello to the Donetsk University team……..

‘Hallo, I eem from Donetsk University, studeeing Arms and Munitions Support…….

‘Hallo, I eem elso from Donetsk University, studeeing Covert Activities in Meeleetary Kombat’

‘And our 3rd member of the team……’

‘Hallo, I eem also from Donetsk University, and heff leeved here all my life, end am studeeing the geographee of Yukraine, including all road, power and transport leenks’

‘And finally the captain…..’

‘Hallo, my name is Vladimir, I am from Mother Russia and I eem studyeeng the faces of de udder team’

APPLAUSE

‘Before we move on to meet our second team, I just wanted to point out that it’s ok to remove your balaclavas if you want to’

…….sniggers and snorting from the Donetsk University Team…..

‘Ok, strange lot indeed…….let’s move on to our second team……’

‘Ok, my name is David Cameron and I’m the Prime Minister of Great Britain’

‘My name ees Chancellor Merkel and I am the leader of Europe……oh sorry I mean Germany and I am ze coach off the Merkel Meerkats Basketball team’

……….and our 3rd contestant…..

‘This is all spiffing what, My name is Boris, I’m the Mayor of London, bish bosh, and i haven’t the foggiest as to why I’m here, but tally ho chaps….’

……..and the World Leaders….and Boris by the sound of it’s team captain….

Hi, my name is President Obama, I am the leader of the Democratic Free world, President of the United States of America, coach of the Obama Saints basketball team and I DO not worry…..’

‘Ok let’s get started. Here’s a starter for ten. It’s a music question. For ten points tell me what this is….’

……Music starts……

…………………………………………………………………………’ nobody? Surely……..somebody………..
…………… Donetsk………surely someone from your team………..no?’

‘WORLD LEADERS JOHNSON’

‘Oh, Bish Bosh…….is it Elgars violin concerto in B minor?’
‘No you lose 5 points………..nobody from Donetsk at all…..no……c’mon…..you MUST know it……….ok…nope……..well, you’ll kick yourselves it’s your own Ukrainian National Anthem……..how embarrassing, you would think you’d never lived here……’

‘Ok here’s another starter for ten…..A country sends thousands of troops in to another country, separating a section of it from its parent, declares a vote and calls it it’s own….what is this called?’

DONETSK VLADIMIR

‘Eez eet success’

………sniggers from the rest of the team…….

‘Nope, you lose 5 points……..World Leaders….?’

WORLD LEADERS OBAMA

‘Is it annexation?’

‘…… At last someone is off the mark. 10 points to you, here is a 3 question bonus picture round. First of all, what is this………..?’

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*whispers between World Leaders team….*

‘We saw these pictures before, 3 or 4 months ago when we were looking to see if it was true that the Soviets we’re building up their basketball facilities……..Yes Mr Obama you’re right I think in the end we decided it was an ice cream making factory……Yes David, that’s it, we did. You are a genius……….Bish Bosh, fillies and chaps……but aren’t those tanks?……….Don’t be zo stoopid you buffoon….zees peectures were examined by the ZIA, EMI5 and 3 EU Papershufflers………’

‘Have to hurry you I’m afraid’

‘WORLD LEADERS OBAMA’

‘You don’t have to buzz as it’s your bonus round’

‘Sorry man……is it an ice cream factory…….?’

‘Nope, it’s a picture of the build up of tanks on the Soviet/Ukrainian border, taken 4 months ago’

….and this picture?

‘Is it a soldier?’

‘Yes, I think even my 5yr old niece could tell me that. I’m looking for the specific country and location of said soldier’

‘Is it a Ukrainain soldier in Donetsk?’

‘You were really close there…nope it’s a Russian soldier in Donetsk right now surrounding this building as we speak’

*sniggers from the ‘Donetsk University’ team*

Ok, and finally this…….

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‘Is THAT the ice cream factory?’

‘Nope, that’s a secret underground military base which the Soviets have built under the Ukrainian capital Kiev’

*gasps from the Audience*

‘Ok your next question for 10 points is on energy. Your gas supplier suddenly increases your gas bill by 80% and threatens to cut off your supply if you don’t pay. What is this called?’

DONETSK NUMBER 3

‘ goot feenancial practees?’

‘No you lose 5 points. World Leaders………and Boris?’

WORLD LEADERS OBAMA

‘Is it gross exploitation and blackmail?’

‘ten points to you, here’s your bonus picture round’

‘For 5 points, tell me who this is?’

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‘ that’s easy. It’s that asshole Putin…’

*noises and commotion from other team*

‘Oops Vladimir appears to have fallen off his chair……are u ok Vladimir? He’s choking, someone get him a glass of water………gosh, he’s quite small no wonder you got all those cushions on your chair, we wouldn’t be able to see you……….ok while they are sorting him out we’ll carry on with the bonus picture round……ok for 5 points….who’s this?’

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‘Sorry, we don’t know. Looks a nice man but no idea sorry….’

‘It’s Vladimir Putins father…….and lastly for 5 points…..who’s this?’
>

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‘Well, we don’t know but based on the other questions, is it…..Putin and his mother?’

‘Mama……’

‘Sorry, it’s not your turn Donetsk…….are you ok Vlad, you’ve got a hankie out there’

‘She was so beautiful……’

‘Yes she was Vlad, we need to move on……’

*The gong goes off……..*

‘Well, that’s it. Thank you both sets of contestants…. And the winners are the Western World Leaders by 30 points to -10…….well played…..everyone……’

‘Niet Niet, these weel not happen. Surround them……’

*vladimir takes his balaclava off followed by gasps from the audience……*
‘Ah Mr Putin, pleased to meet you. I thought there was something wrong when none of you knew your own national anthem!’

‘Never mind that, arrest heem and hold the rest of these so called leaders. We deed not lose, thees prrogramme weel not be televised, my modder would be proud….hail Modder Russia’

Outside, 2hrs later

‘Hi, I’m outside the Donetsk University Library, where 2hrs ago during a recording of University Challenge, Vladimir Putin annexed the building and declared it part of Soviet Russia after the audience voted to secede from Ukraine. President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, UK Prime Minister David Cameron were all released but allegedly, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson voted to secede to Russia along with the audience. Jeremy Paxman was also released but only after confirming the ‘Donetsk University’ team had won the game by two hundred points to zero.

We’ll keep you updated on any further news. I’m Tony Preccaro, Have a great evening….’

Dave and the Evil Door

I don’t know why, but DIY and I, don’t get on, never have, probably never will. It’s probably something to do with my DeoxyRiboNucleic Acid, as my birth certificate seems to indicate, I was cloned from a block of cement. So, as a rule, I avoid DIY like the plague (although! luckily I haven’t had to avoid the latter as much as the former).
However, having been left ‘home alone’ with the cat for 3 days, it was inevitable something would happen, which would leave me with no alternative but to open the scary object known as…….the toolkit.
My main objectives for the weekend had been to update this blog, keep the cat alive and avoid doing any DIY. In order to achieve these objectives I had a master plan, which I’d created in Microsoft Project. It had cat feeding times, lists of what chickenyfishybeefinjellyish items I had to give it, and in what order. My list mainly consisted of tweeting times, football on TV times and a list of tips on how to avoid DOING ANY DIY WHATSOEVER!

So, although the cat hadn’t stuck entirely to the Project plan, it was still alive after 24hrs and I was sipping wine watching television before heading to bed. It will always stick in my mind, that I was watching Thin Lizzy live in Sydney from 1978, when I heard a slight thud. Nothing to ‘jump out of the chair and grab the nearest object’ type thud,but, it was a slight nondescript silent thud. I continued watching Phil and the boy, but eventually realised it was getting late and, no doubt, the cat would be up at dawn wanting fed……

I headed for the door to the hallway. Now, at this point you should be made aware we’d had door handle problems a couple of months ago. It wouldn’t open properly. After inspection and a bit of lubrication, it appeared fine. So, I turned the handle, and turned the handle and turned it again. Already, I was thinking along the lines of ‘having beaten me at scrabble, the cat was now playing tricks on me’. I turned around. Nope, the cat was still purring away on its luxury bed (ยฃ49.99 Pets At Home sponsors theworldaccordingtodave.wordpress.org)

Even the cat wasn’t clever enough to pull a stunt like this. I tried and tried and tried but, nope, midnight, a bottle of wine inside me, and I couldn’t even get outside the living room door of a Saturday night #strange . Luckily, fate nudged me on the shoulder and reminded me I could get throught the conservatory and round the side of the house. Fate also whispered in my ear that, most likely, I hadn’t locked the kitchen door, and then, she reminded me laughing, if I had, I was f…….

Fate was starting to get on my proverbials. Even more so when she reminded me I’d moved my trainers (Adidas Samba trainers ยฃ49.99 amazon.co.uk sponsors theworldaccordingtodave.wordpress.org) through to the hall. Bu$$er, I’d have to walk round the side of the house in my socks. Cursing a little ๐Ÿ‘€, I opened the conservatory door and headed across the grass. Now, I’m not a wimp. Wet feet I can live with, but, the side of the house is all gravel. Ouch, ouch, ouchity, ouch. Even numbed by wine, crossing foofin stones at midnight, in the dark, with just socks on, is not a recommended Olympic sport.

As I reached the kitchen door, the pains in my feet were subsiding. The #evilskydish on the roof was cackling at my mishap with aplomb (both of you who read my twitter posts will know what I’m talking about), but the kitchen door handle moved, and, et voila, j’รฉtais dans la cuisine!

I got to the, now appropriately named, ‘evil door’, and wiggled the handle from the other side. It just turned, like a mirrored version of its counterpart on the other side. I couldn’t leave the cat locked in, I’d have to find a screwdriver and take the door handle off. Now, even with poor DIY DNA, it’s bad enough, but trying to take a door handle off at midnight half squiffed, is an art form worthy of the Tate Gallery. Eventually it relented, and little bits of broken inside fell into my hand. It was well and truly bu$$ered.

Next morning, the cat woke me at 6:30. With no other half available to look after said cat, I had to attend to its every whim. ‘Why won’t you go outside and do whatever cats do of a morning…….ok that’s it, I’m closing the door……..walks to kettle…..jeezo…..now it wants out again…….’.
Once I’d been dealt with by Princess Spike, I remembered I’d have to fix the door. I went to remind myself of the job in hand. Ha ha! I’d remembered from a previous occasion that checking the size of the lock mechanism was important. It should be simple. Measure it, get new one, slot new one in hole, screw it together, et voilร  , la porte est fixรฉ.

So, after a coffee or two, and some tweeting, I headed off to Homebase, confident, that by the time the family’s ferry had berthed at Cairnryan, I’d have the door handle easily fixed. 5 minute job, ya dancer.

Finding stuff in Homebase is easy. They almost never seem to move things around. Unlike M&S foodstores where they appear to want to drive members of the public insane by constantly moving things around like deck chairs on a ship. After a bit of shenanigans, I found the right sized lock, checked it visually with the existing said item, bought some screwdrivers I didn’t need, and headed for the till.

Now, tills. I hate queuing for anything. I hate queuing nearly as much as I hate DIY. You can almost touch your life floating past you, as you stand inanely looking at packets of sweets, the food you’ve bought, or even worse, the conveyer belt itself. As I approached the till, I could sense ’tillgate’ was about to happen. It always does. Never, just up to the till, scan item, pay for item, out the door, home, fit lock, pat self on back, get beer, watch footie. Nope, never ever ever!

There was a man and a small child already at the till. As I moved towards him, two attractive women appeared on a convergent course. Now, being nice, and, being a gentleman, even though I was slightly ahead of them in the ‘race’ for the till, I’d made up my mind I would let them in front to me. I smiled, and nodded to them to go first. They kept talking to each other and looked at me as if I was wearing a Darth Vader mask and only underpants. Miserable sods I thought, as I trolled myself into the queue behind them. If only my light sabre I had brought ๐Ÿ˜œ
Just then a woman joined the queue behind me and I heard the dreaded words. “Next please”
From 20 yards away the customer service till was obviously posing as a normal till. I assumed the women in front of me would go first. NOooooo. The woman behind me was faster than Lewis Hamilton. Off she shot, as I stared at the back of her horrible beige coat.
As I turned round expecting to find the two women tutting, they’d bu$$ered off too!

This was not going well, simply reinforcing my hatred of all things queuing. ๐Ÿ˜ž

I turned round to the man with the small child, who were now standing at an unmanned till. He turned to me ‘sorry about this, I got some 20% off vouchers 3 millennia ago and she’s trying to see if they’re still valid’

I groaned. I groaned even more when I saw the 2 snobs I’d let in front of me plus Lewis Hamiltons beige coated friend heading for the exit door.

The little girl with the man was pulling his trouser leg. She had a DVD in her hand. ‘Can I have this Papa, can I have it?’

‘No, put it back, you’ve already eaten me out of house and home and now you want a DVD!’

I felt sorry for her for 2 long more minutes until she’d gone through the same routine with a 3rd DVD ‘Can I, can I have this one instead…?’

I nearly took it off her and put it back on the shelf myself! Finally, the 20 percenter returned. They’d done a deal with God and we’d soon be running past that till……..

‘Sorry for keeping you waiting today’

Arrrgghhhh! She’s only doing her job Dave. Only doing her job. She had no inkling my life was being wasted away by women in beige coats and 20% off vouchers.

‘Its ok, not a problem’……..what was I saying……it was a problem……..I smiled a smile of nonsmilility.

And then it was over, I was on my way to a 5 minute DIY job, a pat on the back for repairing the door handle and a conglaturary beer.

I cut open the polycarbonate casing with more aplomb than u could shake a stick at. Then I thought ‘toolbox, screwdrivers’ and other DIY thoughts that your brain throws at you during DIY eventualities.

So, there we were, toolbox on living room floor, screwdrivers, two of, one Phillips, one flathead, new door mechanism 3″ correct size in hand………

I tried to slip the mechanism in the hole…….oh don’t tell me…….it wouldn’t fit, it doesn’t fit……..oh how cruel could the world be……..it was too big for the hole! After all I’d been through to get here, the endgame. I was thwarted once more. My balloons were always getting burst.

‘Get a grip Dave’ I said to myself, in one of the worst motivational speeches I’d heard for while.

I searched the toolkit, garage and woodshed, finally stumbling upon some chisels I didn’t even know we owned. Next minute I was back at the #evildoor , chisel and hammer in hand. Now, I did say I’m not good at DIY and this would be no exception. I chiselled and chiselled, lock in, lock out, chiselled some more, lock in lock out. I wished I’d YouTubed it for posterity to warn kids to learn DIY In their teens.

Eventually, with now half the door in chiseledy woody bits lying over the carpet, it was in the hole.
I smiled as I put he door handle through the hole and started looking for the little screws. After cursing trying to get the little grub screw in, then the tiny locking screws which I kept dropping, I was finished. I’d done it. All that pain. All that anguish. Just for this moment. It was worth it. I closed the door. Christ, the door wouldn’t shut. It was hitting the faceplate at the front. Arrrgghhhh!

I beat the door as if it was wearing a beige coat..

I unscrewed the whole lot and chiselled some more. I then had to drop the little screws again for a while before finally the door closed. I fell back to the floor, I was sweating, I was weary. Even though I’d beaten the door it felt like defeat. I was shattered.

I looked the mess on the floor. I’d have to do the second most hated chore and hoover. What a nightmare. I collected the tools and put them in the toolbox. Even it, had a sting in the tail, as when I lifted it, it had left all sorts of debris on the carpet from lying in the shed, including a spider which sneered at me as it headed through the #evildoor.

Eventually, the door decided it would open and close properly. As I hoovered, I realised that, once again, I’d been reminded my DNA gene had been inactivated at birth. I had been beaten by two snobby women, some 20% off vouchers! a cute pigtailed girl with a DVD, a door and a woman in a beige coat. It would be the last time I would do anything with the letters D I and Y in the sentence. Well, at least until the next time………………

‘Dave and the Evil Door’ was brought to you by @qosfc1919 and sponsored by wwww.beigecoats.co.uk. ยฉ Dodo Productions Dumfries Scotland theworldaccordingtodave.wordpress.org

#Conversations

Somewhere near Holyrood…………..

‘Nicola, is it ok if ah have ma cup of tea now?’

‘Nope’

‘Oh, Nicky, Nackie, Nookie, Noo nooz. C’mon, just a cup of tea……’

‘You know fine Alex. You have your cup of tea at 3pm. Not a minute before, not a minute after’

‘Alright, alright, so can a put ma independence tartan slippers oan?’

‘NO, you cannot! You know it would be bad luck to wear them before we actually are an independent Scottish nation. Plus remember, David Cameron has asked you to call him at 2:30 which is in 5 minutes. I hope you’ve prepared everything as planned?’

‘Posh, arrogant b……..’

‘What did you say?’

‘Nothing, NIckyย nooz, I feel uncomfortable recording the call without him knowing’

‘Don’t be daft, I had security check this room this morning. There were MI6 bugs everywhere. He’ll be recording every word you say, so remember, stick to what we discussed. Ok. All we need is him to admit why he won’t have a debate with you, We release the recording to the media, and, wham bam thank you Mam, we win the referendum’

‘I think I’ve lost his number…….’

‘Oh for god sake. I should have known. After all, you’re a man, and a man at that, who can’t even unfurl a saltire flag properly, whilst watching a game of tennis! Multitasking my bottom. Here’s the number here. Dial it, and I’ll switch on the recording equipment . ย Just remember to put it on loudspeaker. The destiny of Scotland depends on what you say over the next 5 minutes…’

‘Whits all these leaflets aboot Botox on this chair?’

‘GIVE Me that, that’s nothing to do with you. Just get that number dialled!

‘Its ringing……’

‘Hello, you are through to the Prime Ministers personal number……….

……..if it’s Queenie…..Press 1…..I will be round immediately ma’am…..

……..if it’s President Obama…..Press 2…..thank you Mr President…..

……..if it’s Chancellor Merkel….press 3…..

………if it’s any mad despot from Russia or North Korea……please text #WETFISH

……..if it’s Nick Clegg, please discuss a potential booking with my secretary…….

……..if it’s anyone from Scottieland…….’

‘Its Us it’s us!!’

‘………please Press Zero’

‘Ok press it press it…….’

‘Give mi a chance wummin…………..ok it’s ringing……..’

‘Hello, Farage speaking……………hello……….is anyone there?……….Hello?…..’

‘he’s done it again the……….’

 

 

Reminder of the #TAFTAS NOMINEES

The Nominees for the first TAFTA’s (Torthorwald village Annual Film and Twitter Awards) were as follows:

Best Comedy Writer @qosfc1919 for allegedly being ‘funny on the inside’
Fermer Broon for his whimsical humour in the
Community Council newsletter and 93yr old Hilda von
Voomswinkel for her Church Gazette

Lifetime Achievement Award The Wet Fish for ‘Slapping Premiere Putin’

Best Wildlife Documentary

Katie the Yak for her appearance in the remake of ‘Dr Doolittle’
Charlie the Dodo in David Attenbroughs ‘ Extinct – Really?’
The Nematodes for ‘Return of the Nematodes’

Best Evil Character EvilSkyDish for ‘Demon on the Roof’
@homesickscorrie
Vladimir Putin for ‘How I Stole The World’

Best Actress Katie the Yak for ‘Dr Doolittle’
Freaky Fiona for ‘The Madboys’

Best Actor Crane for ‘Crane – Intergalactic Hero’
Mad Malkie for ‘The Madboys’
Fat Eck for ‘The Madboys’

Best Foreign Film Olga and Dmitri for ‘Crimea wtf happened?’

Best Newcomer Crane for ‘Crane – Intergalactic Hero’
RedUrzuBird for ‘Crane – Intergalactic Hero’
Boorp for ‘Crane – Intergalactic Hero’

Best Sports Documentary

The Nematodes for ‘How The Nematodes saved Scottish Rugby’

Best Short Film the Tunnellers for ‘Tunnel to Cardiff’

Best Twitter Hashtag
#strange
#wandofstupidity
#theMadBoys
#itcouldstillbeadodo
#evilskydish
#tunneltocardiff
#camouflageclub
#taxiforDave
#freedomfriday
#thescotsmonautsarecoming

#Disasterchef brings you our Lobster Thermidor Recipe – Enjoy!

Ok. For todays #disasterchef recipe, we thought we’d push the boat out and go for something that we don’t do every Thursday night, Lobster Thermidor. We’ve got our wine, double cream, mustard, fish stock etc. Only one thing missing…….the lobster!
Now, I’ve never cooked lobster before, so, this might be interesting. First of all we’ve got to go and find our fresh lobster. Ideally, in an ideal idyllic world, there would be a harbour 100yds from my house with a fisherman and waders holding a lobster he’d caught 10 minutes ago.
However, the sea is unfortunately miles away, so it’s off to Tesclos………..

Ok. So here we are at the shopping equivalent of Nirvana, Tesclos. Not that I like choosing them, it always feels like the fish equivalent of Death Row,but, hopefully they’ll have a big tank with loads of fresh lobsters enjoying a wee swim….

Let’s go in……smile at the security guard……nice glower back……..oh, there’s some Halloween stuff cheap……..oh wait it’s only March……concentrate on the job Dave………

Here we are, the fish counter, no fish tank, but plenty of stuff sitting out on the ice. Not sure whether a lobster can survive for long sitting on ice, but it must be able to as there it is, sitting there staring at me. No one around……….

10 minutes later…….’hi can I help you?’
‘Yes I was looking for some nice fresh lobster’
He points towards the salmon……..’isn’t that the lobster over there…..?’
‘Oh sorry, I thought you said salmon’ . He looks nervous.
‘No, I’m after some fresh lobster, is it fresh?’
‘Of course, very fresh this lobster is’
‘It looks a bit….well…….past it’s best…….is it still alive?’
‘Of course Sir, it just blinked at you…..’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes look…….’ He pokes it with his fat finger. ‘There u go it moved’
‘Are u sure, it seemed to just…..well…. list over a bit……’
‘Honestly, it’s fresh in today, look it’s moving…….’ He prods it again
‘I think it’s claw just fell off…..’
‘Oh f…..look I’ll give u it at half price…….I’m only the bloody butcher…..wouldn’t you prefer a nice piece of fillet steak……?’

So there u go…more tips coming soon………My Lobster Thermidor recipe care of #disasterchef ยฉ 2014 ๐Ÿ˜Š

Basketball News….. Obama Saints 0 Putins Pulverisers 48

Well we’ve watched an amazing game here in Kiev tonight. There were big points available in the Eastern Western Basketball League tonight but, once again, the Obama Saints came unstuck and now have a zero-four record against EBL teams this season.
I’m now with Saints coach Mr Obama at pitch side. Mr Obama. Were you worried in the lead up to this game?’

‘Hi Tony, first of all I’d like to say we did not know the game was actually coming up. Most of my team and I were on holiday in Hawaii when we got the call to tell us the league was commencing. I told my team they should not worry, I told my coaches they should not worry, I told their families they should not worry, I told the people of Maine, Nebraska and even Alaska, that…..THEY…..SHOULD……NOT………WORRY…..!’

‘Were you worried Sir’

‘Hell yeah, of course I was…. as the Brits put it, I was crapping myself, I tend to be worried most days. I don’t know if you know but as well as coaching the Obama Saints, I have a part time job running America’

20140418-022120 pm.jpg

‘Wow, I didn’t know that Sir. Is that the reason you were unaware the Soviet teams had been training for months?’

‘Well, satellite images showed tanks, planes and thousands of soldiers but no basketball players, so, we didn’t really think anything abnormal was going on’

‘Yes ok Sir, I think we should move on to the game itself. The Saints seemed to start the first quarter slowly and you found yourselves twenty zero down within a very short time. What do you think went wrong?’

‘Well, we were asleep at the start, and when they annexed off our point and shooting guards, it was always going to be difficult’.

‘You seemed to change tactics in the second quarter with your players appearing to be talking to each other more…….?’

‘We encouraged them to use ‘strong words’……..its a well known tactic when your guards have been annexed and your Center is fast asleep……๐Ÿ˜ณ, in the 3rd quarter we used even stronger words, moving to using ‘rude gestures and pulling faces’ ๐Ÿ˜œ in the last quarter. However, they seemed to drain and eventually cut off our energy, especially to the European players in the team, at, what was, a critical part of the game. Eventually, their extra training, and, catching us with our pants down, ended, as you’ve seen, with a zero forty eight scoreline. I did think for a moment that we might have some luck, and have the game abandoned, when the spectator wearing the Queen of the South FC soccer shirt, ran across the game line and slapped Coach Putin with a #wetfish. However, it was not going to be our night’

‘So where do the Obama Saints go from here Sir…..?’

‘Well, we need to go off and eat some of Moms Humble Apple Pie, practice our strong words, funny faces and our rude gestures before the next game against the Ukraine Disturbers. I’m confident that if I do all the worrying others will..not..have…to worry’

‘Well, thank you Coach Obama, good luck. So there you have it, another crushing blow for the Obama Saints. Here’s hoping they can turn things around. We’ll finish off tonight with the results of tonight’s other games. And it’s not been a good night again for the WBL teams with Merkels Meerkats going down forty eight zero to the Crimean Annexers and the Moscow Marauders thrashing the EU Papershufflers by forty eight to zero. I hope you enjoyed the game, I’ve been Tony Preccario, have a good evening’

Mad Malkie meets Tom Hanks at the #TAFTAS

MadMalkie came too, soon becoming aware he was no longer in the Village Hall. In fact he was somewhere warm and damp. As his brain cells started to send some synaptically challenged signals to each other, the smell entered his nostrils, taking a few seconds to reach his ‘blimey that don’t smell good’ section of his brain. Suddenly he was blinded by a torch shining in his face.

“Ok Sir, if you just come with us. We’d like to ask you a few questions’

MadMalkie wasn’t sure who was behind the torch. Was he being abducted by aliens? Or, was it the guy from the pub who he’d borrowed a fiver off the other night and forgotten to pay back. Either way, it didn’t sound good.
As he was helped down, he could see his ‘helper’ was a policeman and not a 6 armed slimy alien with big teeth. He breathed a slight sigh of relief as he was escorted to the police car.

At the same time, Tom Hanks was being interviewed in his limousine in the Village Hall car park.

“Well, one minute I was announcing the winner, and the next, this guy in a Batman suit flies onto the stage on a zip wire and took me clean out”

“Had you met this individual before? Maybe he held a grudge against you?” The policeman was struggling to stifle a snigger.

“Are you serious? I only flew into Scotland 4hrs ago, was driven down here from Glasgow Airport and, the next minute I’m being attacked by Batman……which I might expect if I was in the middle of Gotham City, but not a tiny village in the middle of nowhere”

“Ok Mr Hanks, we’re just interviewing the individual in question. I take it you wish to press charges?”

“Hell yeah, I got knocked about less filming Saving Private Ryan and Captain Phillips for christsake. Let’s knock this critter out of the park”

In the meantime, Mad Malkie was being questioned in the back of a police van.

“Christ, what’s that smell”

“Sorry, I landed in a trailer of silage, it wisnae ma first choice”

“So, you dressed up in a Batman outfit, attached yourself to a zip wire and took out one of the most famous actors in the world, with both feet”

“Ah, ok it’s comin back to me now. I remember the guy on the stage. Did I hit him?”

“I’m afraid you did”

“Well, I didn’t mean it. Who the hell would want to hit Forest Gump?”

“Ok, maybe ah could talk tae him”

“Give me a minute, I’ll ask”

Two minutes later, the policeman returned.

‘Ok Batman. Mr Hanks will talk to you but only with one of our team in attendance. He’s after pressing charges for assault. You should see the keeker of an eye you’ve given him. Oh….and by the way you stink…….’

MadMalkie slithered out of the back seat of the police car. The policeman pointed to where Malkie could see a torch in the darkness. He headed over to hopefully tell Tom something which would make him change his mind.
As he made his way across the grass, in his, now very stained and smelly Batman outfit, he wondered where Fat Eck had disappeared to. His right hand, 23 stone, man, was always at his side in times of need, and boy, this was one of those. Having only recently got off with a warning for attempting to climb the Midsteeple in Dumfries while drunk, again, dressed as Batman, he certainly didn’t need to appear in court charged with assaulting the great Tom Hanks.
He could now see Tom in the torchlight and, he was sure once he reminded Tom of something, he would change his mind. As he reached Tom, Malkie held his palm out to shake his hand.

“Hi Tom, I’m really sor…….”

Just as he grasped Toms firm handshake, MadMalkie slipped pulling Tom with him. Suddenly, one of the great American actors of modern times and one of the maddest baddest ‘gang’ members this side of Mouswald, we’re rolling in unison down a grassy embankment. When they finally came to a halt, Malkie found himself lying on top of Tom. Even in the dim light, Malkie could sense Tom wasn’t best pleased.

‘Get off me man, you’re a jinx…….and a lunatic…..’

Malkie went to say sorry but thought better of it. He lifted his arm looking for something on the object that had stopped their fall, to pull himself up on. He latched on to something hard and metallic pulling himself upward. Suddenly the object gave way, causing Malkie to fall back towards Tom.

‘Right that’s it……’ Shouted Mr Hanks as he started to push Malkie off his chest.

They both heard the noise above them, and, as the rest of the silage from the trailer Malkie had landed in earlier, started to fall, they looked back at each other one more time before the whooshing noise started. It got worse as the policeman with the torch slipped as he tried to help landing a foot on Toms good eye.
Malkie heard Fat Ecks dulcet tones coming towards him. Next minute, he, Tom and the now silage covered policeman were on their feet.

‘Whit are ye daein ya bampot? Rollin aboot in this stuff…….liked the way ye bamped thoan Hanks felly oan the zip line ….absolute comedy genius….’

‘Eh, Eck, shut it mun, I’m in enough trouble, that’s Mr Hanks right behind you’

Fat Eck turned around. He switched on the torch he’d found lying on the grass. There in front of him was a grimy faced, smelly person with, what looked like, the early symptoms of two black eyes.

‘You guys are just imbeciles…..this place is crazy, never in my life……’

Suddenly Toms voice tailed off.

‘Don’t I recognise you from somewhere?’ He said looking at Fat Eck

“Aye, Tommy, dae ye remember gan tae thoan chip shop in Anstruther”

“Aye……I mean, yeah……I do”

“Di ye remember being embarrassed as ye had nae cash and havin tae borrow money tae buy that fish supper?”

“Aye……I mean……yes…..that’s it, it was you who gave me the money, and left yourself with not enough to pay for your own……Anstruther, 2007 wasn’t it?’

“Yep. Tommy Boy, that wuz me”

‘Hey, I’ve never forgotten that. It was such a nice thing to do.

MadMalkie stood jaw dropped in full jaw dropping mode. Fat Eck had never mentioned ever meeting Tom Hanks, ever!

‘You know this clown?’ said Tom, pointing at Malkie.

‘Aye, that’s ma best pal, Malkie, he likes dressing up as Batman’

‘Well, it’s a good job you turned up to save his ass. I was just about to sue his backside. We’ll call it quits as long as you keep Malkie here, as far from America and me, for as long as is humanly possible, it’s been a blast guys…….a real blast’

…..and with that, Tom headed back to his limousine, and disappeared into the darkness of the Scottish night.

Malkie put his arm nearly round Fat Eck ‘ you are full of surprises ya big beauty, gimme a kiss’

‘Get off me ya bampot, let’s get back tae the hall, there’s Yaks, Dodos , a Wet Fish, thoan Tunnel folk, it’s buzzing…….’

The #TAFTAS PT 3 – The Tunnel to Cardiff

After the drama of the award for Best Actor, the #TAFTAS (Torthorwald village Annual Film and Twitter Awards), which saw Tom Hanks end up on a stretcher, moved on to the second award, Best Short Film. Up for this, were the 8 ‘dwarves’, a motley crew, who, apparently, were not really dwarves, just generally vertically challenged, apart from one of them, who maxed out at 7 feet tall. How, you might well ask, did I know all this? Well, while Tom Hanks was being carried to the exit, someone had suddenly appeared, and handed me a colourful programme entitled, ‘THE TAFTAS – a global phenomenon’.
Now, as a reporter with The Times, I know a few global phenomenons. Vladimir Putin, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, the Wet Fish. The list was endless. I’d never heard of the TAFTAS. Had it gone viral while I’d been stuck on the train from Edinburgh? How had the TAFTAS escaped Googles all seeing and knowing eyes?
I opened the booklet and quickly scanned the first few pages. I settled on a page entitled ‘Tunnel to Cardiff’. It described why this documentary had been put forward for the award of ‘ Best Short Film’. The documentary told the story of how 8 ‘dwarves’, who appeared not actually to be dwarves, had been commandeered to build a huge tunnel, linking Southen Scotland to Wales via the ‘Tunnel to Cardiff’. As I started to read their story, my eyes widened. Surely, this was fiction, a story produced in the weird mind of a comedic madman. I read on……..

‘Gadget, this is hopeless. 3 weeks we’ve been digging this tunnel with one pick and one bloody shovel. 35 feet……35 bloody feet in 3 weeks. We’ll all be dead long before we reach the Solway, never mind Wales!’
‘Ok ok, I’ll speak to the boss and see what I can do. Christ, who’s farted?’
All faces turned towards Stinky.
‘Why do you all look at me every time?’
‘Was it you?’
‘Yeah, Gadget you’re always the smartass, aren’t you, I can’t help it. It’s genetic.’
‘Genetic my arse. Hey Cooky, don’t give him anymore brussels……’
Cooky was the engine behind the team. He could cook something out of nothing, having learned his skills from 10 years in the SAS. He’d entered Masterchef once, but had been disqualified for hitting Greig Wallace with a fresh bream, after he’d slagged off his raspberry pannacotta.

In the meantime, BigMan was lifting a huge rock into the skip. At seven foot tall, he was the giant of the groups and could lift almost anything. Unlike most big men, who’s main skill was lifting heavy objects, BigMan had a PhD in astrophysics. On his gap year, before heading to work in Switzerland on the Hadron Collidor project, he’d heard about the #tunneltocardiff project on Twitter. So, here he was, lifting rocks and eating Brussel Sprouts with the strangest group of individuals he’d ever met.
As he dumped his rock, he noticed Birdy was doing his morning ritual of feeding the birds and other wildlife over by the burn. In the three weeks he’d been with them, he’d started to notice all the team appeared to have some unique and sometimes, unusual skills. In Birdy’s case, he had an affinity with every bit of wildlife that moved. Birds, squirrels, Yaks and even the weird looking ‘pigeon’ which had appeared out of nowhere the other week. They all flocked to him as if he was their best friend. As yet another robin landed on Birdy’s head, BigMan smiled.

Just then, Driver and Fengshui arrived. Driver, could apparently navigate to anywhere, even without a TomTom sat nav app in sight. Since they’d only dug 30ft, he hadn’t had anything to do yet, but he was the practical joker of the group, and, annoyingly, was always smiling. His partner in crime, Fengshui, was a different bag altogether. All the way from Northern Mongolia, he practiced his martial arts every day. He was as quick as lightning, sometimes appearing out of nowhere, with that big grin on his face. His nickname came from his penchant for arranging things to allegedly ‘harmonise with our surroundings’. He’d even arranged everyone’s tents facing each other to ‘match’ their personalities. BigMan rolled his eyes as Fengshui moved his skip 2 inches to the right.

Over near the tunnel entrance, Stealth and PoshGit we’re having a game of chess. Stealth, was a member of the infamous local #camouflageclub. He could hide anywhere, merging into the background like a chameleon. His skills had a downside, as, in the short time they’d been here, he’d been sat on twice and nearly decapitated when Gadget was testing one of his flying gizmos. PoshGit was, well, posh. An ex Etonian, his parents apparently owned Southern England or something. He could talk real proper, but he wasn’t lacking in intelligence, and, had already shown he could plan things meticulously.

………….The article on the ‘dwarf’ Tunnellers went on, but my attention was dragged back towards the stage as Rant and Reck returned to the microphone.

‘Ok errybuddy, Meestah Hanks eez ah ok. Now to present sekonda award, all the way from Cardiff issa very rubbery @GillWRU ‘. Applause rang out as the lady wearing a beautiful evening dress, but carrying quite a large handbag, walked out on stage. In a lovely welsh accent, she announced the winners of Best Short Film Documentary as the strange group of bods I’d just been reading about. As they climbed the stairs to receive their award, I could relate each individual to their descriptions in the programme. I’d already made up my mind. This place and it’s characters were fascinating. I wouldn’t leave tomorrow as planned. I had to go and interview the Tunnellers. The was a lot more to them and this place than met the eye and the night was yet young……………..