Don’t Eat The Spam!

9 Jun

Sometimes, spam comments looks genuine; at first glances, I thought this was:

My brother suggested I would possibly like this web site.
He used to be entirely right. This put up actually made
my day. You cann’t believe just how a lot time I had spent for this info!

Then I thought about it: her brother used to be entirely right?  I has brothers.  I don’t thinks so….

It’s definitely spam; or the author is an only child and wishing it ain’t so.

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On a seriously note, I heard that the illiterate emails we is getting in our inboxers are deliberate: nasty spammers want to weed out the intelligent and/or persons what can spell, becAuse they are less likely to be gullible and therefore taken in buy iritating emails.

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Does you like how I am writings in the style of spam?  It’s very pleasance.

I was going to asks you all to do similar or the sames in your comments, but yours proberly ennd up in my spam filter.

By the way, the title refers to a family story going back about six years.  My nephew and niece were staying with us for a couple of weeks and I made lunch.  Much hilarity ensued because I squirted a bottle of tomato sauce from directly over the top of a sandwich and still managed to miss.  Such are my cooking skills.

Nephew & Nice sat down with their sandwiches and Spud and Wary Boy were given theirs.  One of the boys smelled it and said, ‘I think this ham is off.’

You know how in The Night Before Christmas visions of sugar plums danced in their heads?  Well, visions of vomiting children for whom I was temporarily responsible danced in mine and I ran into the other room screaming, ‘Don’t eat the ham!  Don’t eat the ham!’

Nowadays, if I ever say the word ‘ham’, everyone in the room yells at me, ‘Don’t eat the ham!  Don’t eat the ham!’

My mistake, of course, was not to give food poisoning to my own children.   They wouldn’t have laughed at me then.  Ah well, we mothers can’t get everything right.

 

Sofa Surfeit

26 May

It’s that time of decade.  We last bought a new couch in 1993. I wish I was kidding; I’m not.  We’ve had new-to-us couches since then: a lot of new-to us couches, bought secondhand or given to us or donated by Freegle or inherited from dead parents; but we have not bought a new one since 1993.

We have had a couch each for some years now – unmatched in size, shape, style or fabric.  We sold some stuff and saved and eventually we had enough dosh for two new couches.  I demanded only identical couches with no space underneath for junk storage or stale dog pellets; the Hub demanded comfort.  As usual, I got my way.  As usual, he didn’t.

We found two lovely couches in a shop on eBay – style, colour, everything perfect. They arrived.  They were installed.  They look fabulous in the lounge.  They give you backache within five minutes of sitting on them.  The arms are too low; the back too not right in any way that counts with a couch.

We arranged a refund – hooray for seven-day returns policies! – covered them up for protection until next week’s collection, and  went out the very next day and purchased two beautiful, matching, comfortable couches from a shop, where we were able to sit as long as we liked, testing their efficacy.  They efficked just fine and all we had to do was sign on the dotted line and wait four weeks for delivery.

And so that’s how we find ourselves in the unique position of owning six couches but unable to sit on any of them: two are rain-soaked in the garden, awaiting a man in a van to take them to the dump; two are under covers in the lounge, awaiting collection (possession being nine-tenths of the law, they are ours until they are gone); two are currently under construction in a warehouse somewhere, desperate for a loving home.

Meanwhile, this six-sofa couple is sitting on tatty old deck chairs in the living room.

You couldn’t make it up.

Snippet

12 May

This is a snippet of Alex as Jamie Wellerstein in The Last Five Years.  Jamie is telling the story of Schmuel, the tailor of Klimovich.

The show was Colla Voce Theatre’s début production and it was fantastic, particularly given the venue, which was practically a dungeon (two or three storeys below ground, in an old Woolworths building).  A two-hander, Alex and his partner, Olivia Doust, had roughly ninety minutes of singing between them.  Olivia had never acted before but you wouldn’t have known.  She gave an assured performance and she has a lovely voice.  Alex was in agony: he had a throat infection and said it hurt from start to finish. He spent three days not talking, treating his voice with honey and great care.

You can read a review here: Blunt Cinema.

In other news: this week, Alex is appearing in The Forgotten Songs of Lerner & Loewe.  If you are in the Sheffield area, tonight is your last chance: details here.

There was a clip available but it won’t play, unfortunately.

He’s got two shows coming up in the summer; I’ll share details when I’m allowed.

Apologies to those who feel outraged that this humour blog has been overtaken by the Alex Cosgriff Fanzine.  What can I tell you?  I’m a proud mama. 

Speaking of which, Hairy Boy was home this weekend.  He came to visit on Friday and turned into Invisible Boy on Saturday morning, disappearing to visit his friends and reappearing in time for Sunday dinner and his train home.  At least I got to feed and wash up after him.  There’s always a silver lining.

Me And EU

29 Apr

The EU referendum is coming up; I’m feeling a little down because I’m truly undecided: I see pros and cons for in and out.  I’ve been going back and forth on this.  The top and bottom of it is, however, that I feel British, not European.

That got me thinking about what makes me British:

  • The Queen (obviously)
  • Rain
  • Queues
  • Peculiar Spellings (previous answer refers)
  • Earl Grey Tea
  • Big Ben
  • Cadbury’s Chocolate
  • The NHS
  • Polite Silences
  • Football (NOT ‘soccer’) (What kind of word is ‘soccer’ anyway?  It’s just weird)
  • Carry On Films
  • Stamps
  • Snow Panic (Three flakes?  Shut down the country!)
  • Shakespeare
  • Fair Play
  • Humour
  • Austen
  • Pragmatism
  • Coronation Street (even if you don’t watch it, there’s nothing more British than busybody small business owners clustered together down the pub, gossiping)
  • Stiff Upper Lips

None of these things help my decision, sadly – unless Europe wants to make this a republic, in which case I’m throwing the towel in and voting out.  I’m a royalist through and through and I have the stamp collection to prove it.

Tell me, what do you immediately think of when you think of Britain and the British?  Stereotypes welcome here.

 

The Last Five Minutes

14 Apr

We’re going to see Alex in The Last Five Years this week.  If you’ve recently defriended me on Facebook, then you’ve probably already heard that. 

Alex doesn’t get nervous before a show, though he will confess to butterflies. I confess to a whole swarm of caterpillars, and I sweat like they’re shedding their coats in my stomach, especially in the last five minutes before he goes on.

Afterwards, of course, I never doubted for one minute that he’d be fantastic and not forget his lines or hit a bum note or come on stage from the wrong side.  He’s never done any of those things so I don’t know why I worry.  I’m a mother; I just do.

It doesn’t help that my nerves are already jangled from the drive up to Sheffield: Snake Pass in the rain, snow or fog (it’s usually one of those three) is not for the fainthearted; I am the faintest of hearted but I’m a mother; it’s what I put myself through.

This is me before a show:

And after:  

See you on the other side.

Fed Up

11 Mar

I’ve been busy with one thing and another, none of it interesting.  I’ve also had backache, headache, hipache and – of all things – leftbuttockache.

Word has been restored but I ran out of printer ink.  I don’t know how to replace the ink cartridge, but that’s a job for the Hub, anyway.  And he’ll do it as soon as I remember to tell him I need ink.  I can’t think over this left buttock shouting at me all the time.

I couldn’t get warm last night, until the Hub brought me an extra quilt and a hot water bottle.  I’m too warm this morning.

One of the dogs was sick in the hall and I had to clean it up.  I always seem to be cleaning up after one end of a dog or another.  They both need a bath and a haircut. So do I.  I bet they get theirs first.

Don’t talk to me; I’m in a BAD mood.

I did laugh one night this week.  We went to see Alex in a new play, Not From Round ‘Ere.  Think In Bruges in the Forest of Dean.  It was a farce: new writing from student Alex Bushnell, and very funny.  Alex Bushnell had a short film play at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an award, and I could see why. The play needed some tweaking, as his youth and inexperience showed in places, but on the whole it was excellent.

A strong cast (no names for you, because there were no programmes available due to a problem at the printer’s.  That didn’t help my mood) included our Alex, who played seven characters, plus a couple of voiceovers and one chicken sound effect. He didn’t have a lot of lines but he made the most of them, and his simple dropping of a walking stick onto the floor brought the house down.  Sadly, there is no film so I can’t show you; but I do hope to have a photo soon of him in a long blonde wig, cheeky denim shorts, and high heels.

I can’t make fun of him that way just yet, but here’s a video of him at Sessions: basically, student karaoke.  He was one of the last to go on so he’s very, erm, merry. The paper he’s holding has the lyrics on but he forgot he was holding it; and he’s wearing cat ears just because…

Like I said, he was slightly inebriated.

It was nice to see him in a comedy; he hasn’t done one since Lend Me A Tenor: a play rehearsed and performed in a week, at school.  Sixth formers do it for fun after exams.  Here’s a clip:

A few weeks ago we saw him in a concert of André Previn’s unused score of Goodbye Mr Chips.  Not From Round ‘Ere is running until tomorrow night. Tomorrow morning he’s doing Shakespeare for Breakfast for charity; and on Sunday he’s in a preview show of The Last Five Years, which he’ll be appearing in in April, after his week in yet another play at the National Student Drama Festival. Then he’s going to sleep for a month.  Oh no, he can’t, because in May he’s singing in a concert of Lerner & Loewe’s forgotten songs.

In case you think I’ve forgotten Wary Boy, he’s doing well but prefers that I not broadcast his activities i.e. doesn’t tell me much of what he’s up to.  He did get a very nice tattoo on his forearm this week, but I don’t know how to move a photo from my phone to my laptop, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

I’m useless with technology; I can’t use it to share news and it’s always going wrong or running out or wasting my time.  No wonder I’m in a bad mood.

Now I Get It

8 Feb

Before I begin, let me just say that this is the first time I’ve used the new-look New Post feature and I HATE it.  It’s all white space and missing or moved buttons.  Wassup with that, WordPress?

I’m in a bad mood.  I have discovered the point of philosophy, a question which has puzzled me since the summer of 2003.  That was the first year of my Open University degree.  I attended summer school in Manchester – seven minutes away from my house by train; and I chose it for just that reason, having a sick husband and two young children at home.  Plus, I was a wimp in those days. Travel alone in such a lawless country as Britain?  Forget it.

It was a glorious summer (the sun always shines on happy memories) and I had a blast, spending all of my time in lectures and learning, singing in the choir that was composed of almost the whole cohort of students, and playing Medea’s daughter in an amusing stage parody.   I was disappointed not to get two weeks, à la Educating Rita, but loved any break from my adorable family.

I attended a lecture on the piece of music which was the subject of my next assignment and it was so good, all I had to do was transcribe my notes into coherent sentences, giving me one of my best marks that year.  It’s not cheating if you’re just paying attention in class.

Music was not my best subject but Philosophy was definitely my worst.  I just did not get it.  I remember sitting in a tutorial that summer and asking, What is the point of philosophy?  The tutor looked startled and then annoyed, and he didn’t have an answer.  I rest my case.

I wish he was here now, because today I learned the answer: philosophy exists to enable desperate poets to cope with the vagaries of Microsoft.

My Word stopped working.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what version it is.  I don’t know why I didn’t read the dialogue box that came up every day for a week or more which probably would have told me.  But that doesn’t matter because of course it’s Microsoft’s fault: it is the creator, and we always blame the creator when things go wrong.  That’s my philosophy.

I haven’t been around the blogosphere much because I’m nearing the end of phase three of my second poetry collection: the editing process.  The editing process is my favourite part: the research has been done; the poems have been drafted from thin air; I don’t yet have to brutally cut some of my favourite babies, or put out for a publisher.  All I have to do is neaten, tidy and completely re-write until I’m sort of but not quite satisfied with the work that’s already done.

I edit, therefore I am happy.

I type, therefore I am busy.

I think, therefore I am using the education the Open University gave me.

I stay at my computer, therefore the Hub doesn’t have to see me.

I lose Word and my life falls apart: what am I supposed to do with my time if I can’t edit poems?  I might have to talk more to the Hub [shudder].  What if the world never gets to read my genius because Word owns me?  

Tain’t right; tain’t fitting; tain’t proper (how I miss you, Ross Poldark; please come back to my TV and be gorgeous again).

I may just be losing it…it’s only been thirty minutes since Word said Get lost and I’m babbling like a woman who just lost her Word.

On the plus side, I now have time to read your blogs.  

Sidebar: the architecture block of the 2003 course was fascinating but the only thing I remember is how to identify columns.  To this day, I have a weird finger thing I do to remind myself of whether a column is Doric, Ionic or Corinthian. Identifying a type of Classical architecture is a totally useless skill for me to have but I love that I can do it.

What’s your useless skill?  

A Poem to Mourn a Great Loss

I miss Word.
Word has gone.
How will my work be done?
I’m editless; I’m numb.
This poem is the sum of my madness.
Return, Word, and all will be gladness.  

Now you see how good a poet I am, you’ll understand why I’m going crazy here.

Vivinfrance's Blog

mainly poetry, also quilts, pictures, life-writing and the occasional short story.

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