Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Link. Me. In.

“Stop seducing me with the cricket and put something else at the top of the page,” says Anonymous.

fuck you, I’m a cicada

Alright, Anonymous.  I shall attempt to remember a) that this blog is not about cricket* and b) not to freak out about anonymous comments, because they aren't necessarily going to be mean.  Mostly they are people who wish for me to blog more yet do not wish to reveal their true identity, to which I reply: quality not quantity, but mostly neither, and also, are you a superhero? I shall assume.  

On a related note (quantity, not superheroes), future productivity is not looking rosy: I’ve moved into a new role at work which is going to eat my time like a baby eats molasses (badly, messily, enthusiastically, to the horror of everyone around it).  I won't go into detail here because I try to keep my professional life and my writing about butt plugs life vaguely separate, but what I will talk about is the sudden need to update my Linkedin profile so it has some vague relevance to what I actually do.

Starting with the profile picture.

LINKED IN TO FUCKING WHAT, IS MY QUESTION.  At this point I appear to be linked in to the occasional “Colleague McWorkmate would like to be your LinkedIn friend, I mean connection because this is the professional part of the Internet” request.  

Sometimes I get endorsed, which is always as lovely as it is startling, and sometimes I’m encouraged to congratulate one of my connections on something they have achieved, which seems pointless as if we are close enough friends that I would say "Hey, great skills upgrade, you must be counting down the spreadsheets until you are a Level Three Excel Wizard" or however the fuck these things are measured, surely I would've already said congratulations in person, or on Facebook.

Are you sure you want to exit the wizard?

I recently joined a Linkedin Group and now I am linked in to getting more email notifications from Linked In.  

It's all very exciting but unfortunately I am not enough of a grown up to use Linked In properly.  I don't even have a profile picture.  I can’t even remember how many words "Linked In" is supposed to be. I’m like a grandmother referring to the Book of Faces and the Googler.  Fuck.  

Luckily Linkedin isn’t the first thing that pops up when you Google me, though!  That’s my Twitter profile.

Yeah, that's much better.

Anyway, I need to update my Linked In profile so it’s no longer a photo-less monstrosity with a job title that was correct three job titles ago, because if I don’t, apparently my career will hurtle irretrievably down the toilet.  And also because all of my friends, I mean connections, have photos and I feel like a bit of a knob. A knob pointing directly at the career toilet. This is not the sort of knob I wish to be, professionally speaking.

So I googled how to fix my shit on Linkedin and these two articles gave me some wonderful advice, which I plan to use to make my Linkedin profile a thing of beauty and a joy forever!  Here are my two favourite pieces of the advice.

Apart from, "Stop doing this."

First piece of advice: include a 'jaw-dropping headline in your LinkedIn profile summary.'  Here are two examples of how you can do that, straight from the article:


I intend to combine the two above with “IS IT EVEN LEGAL TO FLUSH RED HOT LEADS DOWN THE TOILET?”  I feel this would certainly pique the reader’s interest, especially if the reader were a plumber.

Second piece of advice: Don’t just use your job title, but also don’t just describe your wacky antics. The best bet, [expert] says, is to find a middle ground. How about “Dynamic sales manager and risk-taking skydive enthusiast?’"  How about that!  How about that indeed.  How about that for someone I would never want to work with ever.

You have 120 characters,” [expert] says, “Make the most of them. If you can Tweet, you can write a creative headline that gets to the point."

I’ll let you know how it goes.

*but if it was, this would be a good time to talk about the Black Caps – sorry, BLACKCAPS** – magnificent defeat of India in the first ODI.  But it isn't, so I won't.

**why does it have to be in all capitals? Are they writing their Linkedin profile?  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sports News*

*more accurately, 'Cricket Bullshit with Kenny Rogers'

It has been a day of relative inactivity at our house, mainly because HB had a boys' night last night (phone call, 9pm: "We're going to the pub and we're going to get kicked out!") and is feeling the after-effects.  

Luckily, there is cricket on!  

I don't like cricket.


 I love it!

I really like cricket, except when you're watching it in a group of people who know things about cricket, and you have to pretend that you, too, know these things.  This is highly achievable with other sports, like rugby, but for some reason very tricky with cricket.

With rugby, no matter how limited your knowledge, you can get by with a portfolio of vague-yet-sporty phrases to trot out at opportune moments.  Reliable favourites include "Great hands" and "good at the breakdown."  What do they mean?  No-one knows.  You can say them at pretty much any point during rugby, though.  (Except when someone is kicking.  Don't say "great hands" when someone is kicking.  Don't say "great feet" either, that isn't a thing.)

My delightful colleague Button and I recently watched some rugby in a group and, after some practice beforehand ("If it goes up in the air and they catch it, that's Good Under the High Ball.  If they don't catch it, that's Patchy Under the High Ball") managed to thoroughly impress everyone by saying things like "Looks like they're going to have to play their running game."  

We guess this is as opposed to their 'casually sauntering' or 'carefree skipping' game' but we aren't sure.  Great hands though.

Ooh, patchy under the running hands lineout ball!  
Hands try ball ball ball!

It's harder to bullshit your way through cricket because there are so many different cricket words, and unless you know the difference between leg side and off stump and cover point and square leg and gully and mid-wicket and cow corner and third man and second slip and mid-off and silly mid-off, well you're fucked, aren't you.  And then just when you've learnt leg side from off side a left-handed batsman arrives and everything swaps around.  

"Looked like it was swinging down leg side!" you say excitedly, and everyone looks at you in confusion and says, "It was clearly plum" and then no-one talks to you for a little bit.  Insider tip: you can tell mid-off from silly mid-off because one of them is in a different place.

Second insider tip: there is no actual cow at cow corner.

Button and I watched cricket once - I think from memory it was a fairly dull test session. We had very little cricket knowledge to bust out, but luckily we were able to improve our cricket knowledge by intently studying the bowling form of Dernbach.

"Dribbled down leg side."
"Stick to the cricket please, Button."

Here's an unrelated picture of Brendan McCullum.

Moving on to other, equally sexy sports-related news: I bought a pair of awesome boxing gloves on Boxing Day (that's why they call it that), and now I'm a not-to-be-fucked-with boxing machine. 

Minutes spent boxing: 0
Minutes spent admiring myself in mirror: yes
Minutes spent being grumpy when HB wouldn't take a picture of me wearing the gloves: also yes.

Tried them out with the punching bag for the first time today; thought it would be good to have some motivational music, not unlike Rocky, and popped iPod on.  iPod correctly assessed my level of boxing prowess and played Lucille.  

At a bar in Toledo- jab!
Across from the depot- jab!
On a barstool, she took off her ring- jab jab RIGHT!

I'm hoping that if I keep this up I'll become so conditioned that every time I hear Kenny Rogers I punch someone in the face.
Do you know when to walk away, Kenny?  
Do you know when to RUN?

And that was sport.  Back to you, Rachel.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas & Things (but Mostly Christmas)

Hello everyone, I hope you all had properly relaxing Christmases!  The neighbours are listening to Jingle Bell Rock and having a barely-suppressed argument* about school choices, so obviously their Christmas is still going.  

[EDIT: just realised this post gets better towards the end; should you become bored early, skip down to the nice picture I drew of me at the gym and go from there.]

Started writing about Christmas traditions in my family but it quickly became boring**, so I deleted it and will instead share with you a Nana Fact. 

Nana, who is 97, has been around longer than most of the Christmas carols you know and love, including but not limited to 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' and 'Little Drummer Boy'!  This is now my second favourite Nana Fact.***  Favourite one is in the footnotes, that is what those little stars mean.

My Christmas was excellent both company and presents-wise, although less traditional than normal; not only were there minimal carols and not a brandy snap in sight, but HB and I went to the gym on Christmas morning and did Festive Rowing Machine and Festive Bench Press and Festive Midair Situps Thing.  I tried to Google Midair Situps Thing so I could show you what I meant, but it's actually quite hard to google something that you don't know the name of, so instead I have drawn you a picture:

Why am I naked?  Because it makes you gym better, that's why. 

Rather than ask HB to teach me all the proper names of the gym machines, I have named them myself; after all, who really wants to do something boring like an "Above-Head Press" when they could be doing "Pretend Rocky" or "Going Sideways!"   

("Going Sideways!" is my favourite exercise.  Least favourite is "Tricky Wrist Thing", because it's too fucking tricky.)

"Hey so yesterday I bench pressed 100kg- "  
"Yeah that's cool, but I did 20 go's on Boob Squidger."

In a final bit of Christmas news, HB and I braved the Boxing Day Sale crowds and discovered the most ridiculous piece of packaging ever.  It was in Acquisitions - sorry, I mean @cquisitions, because when you're selling overpriced homewares in a retail location it's important to be in touch with the savvy online youth of today - and it was the most obvious night-before, can't think of a slogan, 'let's just write something down then go for a beer' kind of an effort.

Anyway, time to pay attention, because siliconzone wish to offer us an invitation (or perhaps some life advice) via the eternal medium of their Egg Chair Collection.

Take a seat...

...eat an egg!

I can only hope this is one in a series of activity-related food storage products.  Stand up, have a panini!  Lie on your belly, have a bagel!  

Fart in the bath, enjoy a biscuit!  

As we were leaving, I noticed a fellow shopper had used the Scrabble magnets display to express their thoughts on siliconzone, @cquisitions, and Boxing Day in general: 

Quite.  Happy holidays.

*you know the ones - the arguments where you and someone else have realised that you completely disagree about the subject at hand, and also the other person is an idiot, but social circumstances/vestigial politeness prevent either of you from veering into proper argument territory because no-one wants to be the person who finally snapped and said, "WHATEVER, dicknuts" over the brandy sauce. Eventually whichever one of you is more concerned with being seen as the bigger person says "Well, agree to disagree" and you both seethe about it for ten minutes.  It's the Christmassiest kind of argument!  Except if anyone calls it an argument you instantly claim it's a 'discussion'.  Because that's what adults have, and we are all adults here, except for Peter, who is obviously a dicknuts. Pass the brandy sauce.

**"Oh, your family eats too much and plays board games? HOW FASCINATING, ALLY"

***My favourite is that she and Grandad's first date was a night tour of the Pyramids, because they were both stationed in Egypt during the war, and also because when Grandad and Ryan Gosling eventually meet in Heaven, Ryan Gosling is going to shake his hand and say "Lewis, despite being called Lewis, you are a suaver man than I could ever hope to be." 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Aloutte! Ahhhhh!

This morning I had a childhood-ruining moment.  Not in a ‘Hollywood failed to properly recreate the Fraggles/Captain Planet* universe’s socio-political environment in their live-action remake’ way, more in an ‘unexpected animal cruelty ruins bilingualism forever’ kind of way.  I’m sure it’s happened to all of us.

Alouette is a French children’s song designed to teach you about the different parts of a bird, because obviously this is a critically important thing to know when you visit France, to the point where they stop you at the border and say “What is the word for beak? No? Right, fuck off, no Eiffel Tower for you.”**  We sang Aloutte in French class at school – the basic idea is that you’re admiring a bird, and you sing about the different bits of the bird that you admire.  I know, right? WHY WOULD WE NEED A SONG FOR THAT.***


Here is how I was taught it goes:

Aloutte, gentill Alouette - Bird, pretty bird
Aloutte, je te plumerai! - Bird, I admire your plumage!

Je te plumerai la tete - I admire the plumage of your head! 
Je te plumerai la tete - I admire the plumage of your head.

Aloutte! - Bird!
Aloutte! - Bird!
Ahhhh – Ahhh…

And so on and so forth, until you had named all the parts of the bird.  Aloutte! Aloutte! AHHHHH!


I was thinking this morning, in the shower, about the utter pointlessness of this song. Why do we need a song that names all the parts of a bird? This could have been achieved with a diagram.

I thought I’d google it and learn more about the song about the Aloutte. What I discovered was that not only is ‘Aloutte’ a lark, not the non-specific cop-out ‘bird’ of my youth, but ‘je te plumerai’ doesn’t mean “I admire your plumage”.

It means, “I will pluck you.”


And now all I can think about is a classroom full of kids merrily singing about plucking a bird, to the bird they are plucking – “And I will pluck your beak!  And your eyes!  And your head!  Bird! Ahhhh” – while an easily entertained French teacher looks on, smirking.

Well played, Mrs Bell.  Well played.

*Given Hollywood’s current penchant for endlessly rebooting superhero movies, how the FUCK have they not made a Captain Planet movie yet?  Come on, Hollywood. You had time to make ‘Battleship’, you have time for this. I thought Chris Hemsworth was the obvious casting choice for Captain Planet, but then I Googled it and someone else has already made the picture I’m about to show you, and now I’m not so sure.

Liam Neeson, maybe? Hugh Grant? Casting is hard.

**it’s ‘le bec.’  Enjoy your Eiffel Tower

***not that English children’s songs are much better - I’m looking at you, ‘I’m a Little Teapot’.  Right now a funny and very good-looking French lady is blogging about how when you go through British customs the official puts their hand on their hip, points at their elbow, and roars, “WHAT IS THIS? No? Right, fuck off, no Buckingham Palace for you.” 

Spoiler alert: it’s your spout.