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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

The fastest cake

20 January 2008
It's difficult to find things to do at the weekend. Having spent all week being incredibly time efficient: doing my shopping on-line while at work; studying in my lunch breaks; reading improving literature on the bus to and from work; helping the poor and needy orphans in the evenings... By the time it comes to Sunday afternoon, I've done everything I'm required to do, and I find myself increasingly lost for options. I've been to the gym, I've tidied the Nest'O'Love, I've found the cure for AIDS, I've watched two hours of House, it's 2.00pm and I've got nothing left to do. I could, of course, get the hoover out again and give it a quick twice-over, but He Who Only... says that OCD isn't sexy, and I've had to restrict the hand washing and light switch flicking to when he's not in the room.

Today I hit on another brilliant scheme in which to occupy myself and He Who Only...'s wandering eye: baking. I decided today was the day in which to start learning how to make scones.

The first batch turned out like this:

The second batch turned out like this:

One batch involved me working on my own, without interruption. The other batch included the special assistance of He Who Only... hurling flour everywhere, knocking sultanas to the floor, giving me lectures on the best way to sieve and spending longer than is decent squishing butter between his fingers.

If it helps, there they are side by side:

The difference, I think you'll agree, is striking. Them on the left there, those ones are scones as I understood scones to be. The second lot (on the right as you face them)... Well, there's something wrong with them. Something to do with... um... the general flatness.

It might help to see them side-on:

You see what I mean? They're like scones, but flat. They're like scones, but scones that have gone terribly wrong. They're also like biscuits, but biscuits that have gone terribly wrong. They're like someone tried baking, but it all went terribly wrong.

Those ones, you'll have already guessed, were mine.

He Who Only's baking extravaganza looked more like this:

Easier to cut in half and get the cream and jam on. We've named the other ones "Stink Biscuits". Hey, he might be able to cook, but I'm the one that invented a new form of food. Not bad for an idle Sunday afternoon's work.

Wildlife photography in Hackney

13 January 2008
Yesterday, we went out for a walk around the local wildlife preservation in order to achieve two things. These two things were to:

(a) Get some fresh air (no easy task in Hackney); and
(b) Get out of the city, in whatever sense possible.

When we're looking for something a little less urban than the actual area in which we live which is more urban than I can occasionally bear, and also currently the holder of the Teenage Stabbing/Shooting Centre of Britian 2007, we wander up to Hackney Marshes. Hackney Marshes, despite the fact that it has the word "Hackney" in it, is in fact a wildlife reservation.

[I have just been informed that, strictly speaking, the area in which we go for our walks is in fact Walthamstow Marshes. Hackney Marshes refers to the football ground, and the area where the fucking Olympics is going to be in 2012. I swear in reference to the fucking 2012 Olympics only because I am currently heamorrhaging taxes towards these flipping Olympics, but chances are I'll be well dead before they actually come around. Anyway. Two things: 1. I don't care about the Olympics or the correct name for the area in which we go walking; and 2. Shut up, He Who Only..., and go back to watching the football.]

I brought my camera out with me to take some photos of the vast wildlife that's out there. In our walks over the past three years, we've seen hawks, voles*, stoats*, otters*, swans, ducks, geese, a heron, cows and many different dogs. Mainly rats, though. Everything with an asterix beside it above was probably a rat. There are massive rats down there. Fucking huge rats. Seriously. Rats with their own post codes. Massive crazy rats.

Instead, I took photos of the graffiti. It's brilliant round there.

Two new additions since the last time we've been there. This one is currently my phone's wallpaper:

I really like it, and I think the fact that someone's tried to pull most of it off the wall only adds to it.

The other really brilliant one was this:

What might not be clear from this photo is that the barrells are all holding up the fence guarding the building site behind. It's make shift at the very best, but I adore the fact that someone has seen them, gone home, made a template, come back out with their yellow paint and walked along the line marking each and every barrell. About 20 of them in total.

This one looks fantastic:

I love it.

Unless they were all actually radioactive.

In which case, I've got about 48 hours left to live.

Chicken Out

07 January 2008
Because they don't do a banner small enough not to destroy my margins, here instead is the banner embedded in a post. It's the best I can do.

Seriously, though, this is a brilliant campaign and one I'm happy to put my name to (although I'm not sure I can watch the programme itself because I don't want to have to live with the knowledge of how precisely they slaughter chickens. Me and He Who Only... had a two minute conversation in which we discussed the possibility of a machine created solely to break the necks of chickens and/or pull their heads off, and I was left horrified for the rest of the evening).

[The banner has been removed since it constantly made an incredibly loud and irritating noise. You should still sign up though. Sign up here, you mothers]

Tired and Emotional

02 January 2008

I had a full ten days off work, ten days in which to catch up with friends, go and see the newest and most cutting edge of the Irish music scene, drink my body-weight in Guinness, walk the legs off all the dogs available, play with my newest nephew, bound around the place like a lady with five legs and generally have a ball of a time in Dublin over Christmas, and instead I spent the full holiday period coughing up my lungs, feeling like complete shit and, as this photo testifies, looking very distinctly yellow.

I am, in short, fucking pissed off that I didn't get to enjoy my Christmas. I'm only starting to feel half human today, and there's absolutely no point in that, because I went back to work today.

I am planning to try Christmas all over again, this time around March, when there's less flu to be had.