Thursday, October 20, 2005


I like pressure. If I'm not really really busy, I get bored, and when I get bored I get depressed. No, I much prefer to be run off my feet, always on the move from one thing to the next.

The downside of this is that you can never stop for a moment. If you're busy keeping six plates spinning, you always have to be moving from one to the next. If you want to add something new, of do something unexpected, chances are you can't.

Another problem is that the only way to maintain that level of business is to use a tight schedule. Things have to run to time, and time has to be allocated in regular blocks. You can block out every Monday of the year easily enough; you can't randomly pick six Mondays during the year, at least not if you want to do other things with the other 46 Mondays.

At Cadence, I was asked on more than one occasion whether I was single. The answer was always yes. When asked why, the answer was always that I didn't have the time. No-one ever believed that. But, sadly, it was absolutely true.

I Feel Terrible

I have the flu. This is not fun.

Especially since magnetic fields seem to make it worse, and computer monitors produce big magnetic fields. I think perhaps I'm not in the ideal line of work at the moment.

Sorry I've Been Away

It's been a while since I last posted. It turns out that once you realise I can't talk about work, and won't talk about RPGs (since I have another blog for that topic), my life really isn't that interesting.

Shopping and Consumerism

Since my post of two weeks ago, hundreds of people have asked me whether or not you get extra points for parking closer to the entrance of the store. (Okay, that's a lie. No-one has asked. But, if someone were to ask, I expect that is what they would ask.)

Anyway, the answer is no, you do not get extra points for parking close to the store, at least in the British version of Shopping. However, it is worth noting that there is a similar but distinct game wherein one does gain extra points for just this trick. I refer, of course, to the American sport of Consumerism.

On the surface, Shopping and Consumerism share many similarities. However, the underlying rules of the game are quite different. For one thing, Consumerism is a far more serious sport, wherein many people each year are taken to hospital with serious injuries (usually in a clash over the 'must-have' toy for Christmas). Indeed, things have become so bad that the referees of the game, known as Wal-Marts, have taken to issuing all consumers with body armour (sorry, armor), the better to protect them. Additionally, all manner of weaponry can be found secreted throughout the stores (or, for the truly dedicated, the more advanced malls), for the use of Consumers in recreating the film Battle Royale.

Or so I've heard.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ah! Physics!

I was at work today when I was suddenly hit by a flashback to the physics I did at university eleven years ago. Try as I might, I could not shake off the nagging thought that things should work a particular way, and that I couldn't put together just how that was. By the end of the day, I was sure my head was going to implode.

One thing that was particularly worrying is that eleven years ago, I would have been able to see the connection I was looking for immediately, but today I was not. It's alarming how much is lost how quickly.

(There's a post in there for my other Blog, but that's not relevant here.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Single Bloke's Rules for the Weekly Shop

1) Like any other activity you engage in, the weekly grocery shop is a competitive sport, and should be considered as such. However, as in cricket, the scoring system is arcane and understood by few. Note that bowling spherical fruit in an underarm manner is considered bad form, and may lead to disqualification. Note further that, although one may get oranges at half-time, it is not acceptable to eat the oranges until after the final whistle.

2) Regardless of how much is purchased, or how near or far the car is from the house, all purchases must be carried to the house in a single trip, or a hefty points penalty is applied. This applies even if doing so makes it impossible to actually squeeze the purchases through the door.

3) Jedi mind-tricks are acceptable. Therefore, it is considered acceptable to ask for help, provided one adopts a somewhat mystical, far-off look, wave one's hand around in a Jedi-ish fashion, and say, "To the pickles you will take me, hmm?" Note that Hutts and Toydarians are immune to Jedi mind-tricks. Note also that children, although especially vulnerable to the use of the Force, are prone to growing up to become Dark Lords of the Sith, and are therefore best avoided.

4) Additional points are gained for clever stunts performed while in control of a trolley. However, if the trolley develops the "wonky wheel" defect during the execution of a stunt, no points shall be awarded for the stunt.

5) It is considered a mark of gentlemanly conduct to adopt a slightly baffled look, and ask an attractive member of the opposite sex's opinion on which brand of a product is best. This shows deference to their mastery of the field. The use of this tactic with regard to cleaning products is especially risky, but if achieved without being slapped brings the kudos of one's peers. Additional points may also be awarded if a second opinion is successfully solicited about the same type of product. One final warning: if the dreaded SO is present, it is considered unnecessary to ask for assistance. The SO will perform this duty, and is liable to be angered by your usurpation of his role.

6) Except as outlines in the above rules, it is not acceptable to speak to anyone in the store, excepting to answer direct questions. In this circumstance, answers should be kept as short as possible, with monosyllables being preferred. The use of 'please' and 'thank you' are considered Jedi mind-tricks, and so are always sanctioned.

7) When passing an aisle containing a 'special offer', it is necessary to take advantage of the offer, regardless of how much of the item, or indeed whether or not you even like marzipan-flavoured Penguins.

8) If someone 'phones you while in the store, it is acceptable to state that you are doing the weekly shop. However, if then asked what you are getting, it is necessary to list only items with a single syllable, such as beer and meat. Cheese is considered acceptable. An exception is made for Irn Bru; however, an exception is also made for soap, in that it may not be named. Bonus points are gained if none of the items listed are actually in the trolley at the time of asking. Finally, if the person calling is female (or a cat), it is considered acceptable to state that you are buying 'a big ball of string'.