Sunday, 28 April 2013

Six Minutes

On Sunday nights, I do the ironing. This week, as with most weeks, my mind began to figuratively wander. As I folded my favourite blue shirt (crossing the sleeves over the chest to mimic the pose of a sleeping vampire), I started to wonder how long I had spent, cumulatively, ironing over the course of the last year. Now, every week I get through five shirts, and it takes me six minutes a shirt*. So over the course of every 52 weeks, I spend over 24 hours ironing.

I know it’s mundane, but I thought this was a statistic worth noting. So I got out my notebook, turned to the first blank page, and wrote it down. It was then that I flicked backwards through the book, and spied the entry from last Sunday: “Note: spend more than 24 hours a year on ironing”.

Now, assuming that it takes me thirty seconds to locate the notebook and a pen, and another thirty to write this down, I really think I should get out more.

* Yes, I do time it. No, I didn’t start mentally compiling a league table of my friends according to how long I thought they would take to iron a shirt. Yes, the previous statement was a lie.

Saturday, 20 April 2013


He’d been living with Anna for two years now, and things couldn’t have been going better. They’d settled into an easy pattern; he would get up while she was still asleep, being careful not to disturb her, and slip off to work. He liked that quiet time in the morning. The sunrise truce, he liked to call it. When everything was still and golden, and he could watch her slender limbs cross, and her chest slowly rising and falling as the air entered and left her perfect lungs.

He knew, with conviction, that she would have perfect lungs, and a perfect liver, and a perfect appendix. He sometimes felt a bit guilty about thinking about her like that. He wondered whether that was what other people meant when they spoke about objectification.

He would have asked her if she minded him thinking about her like that, but she didn’t say much. That was what had drawn him to her. She was mysterious. Whenever he came home, she would be there, curled up on his sofa, or sitting in the kitchen. He had no idea what she did all day, and she never told him.

They had met at her mother’s house. She had been staying there, in her sisters’ room. He’d asked her why she had moved back in, but she didn’t tell him. She didn’t say much.

He was there to fix a burst pipe. He was a plumber, by trade, and enjoyed his work. As he fixed the pipe, Anna had followed him around the house. As he moved from room to room, checking the pressure of the radiators, she had stared shyly at him through the doorway. He wasn’t a vain man, but he knew that he wasn’t unattractive. Years of fixing burst pipes had given him broad shoulders, and he enjoyed the weight of her gaze on his back.

He knew it was wrong, but he told her mother that would need to return in a week. He’d need to order in a part. He wanted to see Anna again.

He would talk to Anna as he worked. She didn’t say much. But she stared at him shyly from the doorway, her huge brown eyes beginning to wander downwards from his back.

Two years later, and they were living together.

Was it wrong that she was six?
Did it matter that she was a daschund?

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Dr Who: the next episode's plot

Warning, this post contains plot spoilers...

Next week on Dr Who, the Doctor and his companion will visit an alternative universe in which everyone wears masks of polystyrene and latex, all furniture is made of balsa wood and sugar glass, and all rooms are lit by a strange sort of diffuse lighting that's blue from one side, orange on the other.

When the Doctor and his companion walk into a room, despite the fact that they are completely unknown, the room's existing and legitimate occupants will rush over, and regale the Doctor with intimate details of their pasts. Perhaps their forwardness is understandable - anyone who hasn't told the Doctor or his companion their name, favourite teacher at school, name of their first pet, or their mother's maiden name will be killed within the next half-hour.

Aliens who do not have names, pets, or mothers need not be afraid - they'll be the ones doing the killing.

Greetings card unlikely to be manufactured in the near future

Front message: "On the eve of your son’s execution" written in looping cursive, with a picture of an adorable teddy bear being burnt at the stake by a lynch mob.

Inner message:
On the eve of your son’s execution
A message from the prosecution
though poison and needle
would suffice we’d all
quite like to see electrocution

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Edward Norton (Pastels)

I've been reading a lot of Chuck Palahniuk lately, and found a can of spray-fix while tidying. This happened:

(Click to embiggen).

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


He didn’t want to wake her so he levered himself out of bed slowly, and sideways. He could have sworn he didn’t move the duvet, but she rolled over as he stood up. He held his breath as she drew inwards, arms meeting legs slowly, but with purpose, like a Venus Flytrap closing. Why did he think of a Venus Flytrap? Freud would probably have something to say about that...

The curtains were drawn, and although it must have been past ten, little light managed to squeeze its way past the heavy, red fabric. The rays that did get through burst against the far wall, and dripped down her dresser. From his seat on the edge of the mattress, he could only make out vague shapes on the dark carpet. He cursed himself for wearing black the day before, and set about searching the floor for his trousers.

As he pulled on his trousers, she rolled again. Beneath her eyelids, she was looking straight at him. Where was his shirt? Why did he have to wear black?

He found it by the legs of the chair, and had managed to do up three buttons before she woke.

“Morning,” he said. He kept his back to her.
You off already?” She sounded disappointed.

He was relieved when she switched the light on; in the foreign brightness there was no obligation for eye contact, and he could see the rest of his things in a neat pile at the foot of the bed. He busied himself in lacing his shoes. She watched in silence as he cleaned his glasses. He hadn’t taken his eyes off his feet.

She swung her legs over the edge of the bed, turning so that she sat next to him. “We could do this again sometime. If you wanted to.”

He stood. “With my job... it’d be a bit weird.”

He slipped on his dog-collar, and left.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Television: The Logical Conclusion

It was 2013, the year that television reached its logical conclusion, and the first programme composed entirely of ‘coming up next week’ and ‘previously on the show’ segments aired. No-one voiced any objections; they were too busy checking twitter to see what other people thought about it.

I noticed, though, and decided that it was time to draw a line. Unfortunately, I hadn’t realised that the line was supposed to be figurative, and I hadn’t realised that the pen I had picked up was permanent. When my wife returned home to find our television set neatly bisected by a thick, black, horizontal line, she ordered me out of the lounge. I secretly suspected that she was feigning anger – she had always had a bit of a thing for moustaches - but decided to steer clear just in case. As the evening was young, I struggled to think what I could do; surfing the internet was out, since I put my foot down over getting broadband (again, how was I supposed to know that the foot in question should have been figurative?).

I would have liked to go out to a society. I used to have a great time as a member of Anonymous Alcoholics (you’d go to a bar, and get drunk while refusing to tell anyone your name), and missed the structure of ‘Taxonomists, Royal Society of, The’. But I was barred from both of those fine institutions, after a bit of a misunderstanding. You see, I had watched a documentary which said that ‘humans have the greatest aptitude for social bonding next to chimpanzees’. I thought that I would bring a chimpanzee to a meeting to test this.