Friday 31 July 2009

Plain Speaking

I like plain speaking. I've got all those books lined up on a bookshelf which have been written by people who adore the English language when it is used properly and abhor its misuse.

I'm not sure if the following is a misuse of the English language but I certainly can't understand it. It comes from a commentary of the second Ashes test at Edgbaston:

Clarke works a straight Onions delivery off his pads into the gap at midwicket for a single. At the 15th time of asking, Marcus North gets off the doughnut with a little leg-side tickle as Onions bowls a remarkable snake-like delivery to Clarke which shapes in then swings alarmingly away from Matt Prior.

Now, I recognise those words but could someone please tell me what it all means?

Monday 20 July 2009


I had a female friend at work with whom I spent quite a bit of time. We used to laugh and joke and fool around but we had recurring conversations. One of them was "do ugly people know they are ugly".

Of course, at that point, it was standard practice to discuss the the people we knew who weren't blessed in the looks department and try to determine whether they had enough self-awareness to know the truth. It seemed like harmless fun at the time and I was certainly younger in those days. Know when I think about it, I feel a little bit bad about the laughing and giggling. These days, I can see something attractive in most people and I'm a lot more forgiving but the question is still valid.

  • Do ugly people know that they are ugly?
  • Do stupid people know that they are stupid?
  • Do chavs know that they are chavs?

I suspect that the answer isn't straightforward. Ugly men probably think they still possess some kind of stud-like quality whereas some good looking women probably thing they look like the back end of a bus. Or at least, their public proclamations would suggest that this is true, but deep down, is their self-awareness veering towards accuracy?

The problem is... it's difficult to ask and ugly person if they know that they are ugly (without being rude about it). It's also difficult to ask a chav if they know they are a chav - although there are maybe some chavs who have aspired to chavness for many a year.

I've been thinking about myself recently and have come to the following conclusions:
- I'm unlikely to play football professionally (I am 38 now)
- I'm unlikely to become an astronaut
- I'm better in the work environment than at home (I'm Mr. Decisive at work and Mr. Procrastinator at home)
- I don't scratch surfaces. When I thrown myself into something - I go for it big time. I can't join a sports club! I want to play, coach and run the committee!
- I'm overweight and would like to shed 40lbs. Clever ideas welcome
- I'm useless at dressing myself. Actually, I can dress, but I can't organise my wardrobe. I need a personal shopper.
- I'm getting grumpier as I get older. Grumpier and less tolerant of idiots. However, I really enjoy helping people improve themselves!
- I love the theatre and bore easily in the cinema. Theatre beats cinema; Painting beats prints; Live bands beat CDs; etc.
- I will never be able to play the guitar the way I want. I can play "Streets of London" and "House of the Rising Sun" quite well, but I'm terrible at practising.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Phone Mayhem Update

My strange phone calls in recent days were driving me to distraction. I hated the thought that someone was deliberately bothering me and that I would eventually have to get a number mobile phone number (with all the consequences that involves!)

Today, I had another call. This time, the person asked for Owen. I told him that I was sorry that his call was wasted but I wasn't Owen. I did, however, ask him to help me resolve this phone issue by telling me what number he had dialled. I asked him who Owen was. And the result?

Owen hails from Dublin and has recently started working for National Australia Group - my former employer.

It would seem that Owen has been assigned my old phone number and that he is putting a redirect on to the phone and the end of each day - probably in the hope that calls will go to voicemail? The long and short of it is that the phone is programmed to redirect to my mobile... something that was setup over 2 years ago!

The good news is that at least this is easily resolved. The phone's redirect can be reprogrammed and I will no longer suffer these terrible phone calls. But, here's the issue with these calls...
  1. One of them was abusive and accused "someone" of kicking a dog. Probably our Owen?
  2. One of them was from an Estate Agent trying to let a flat in Dublin
  3. One of them was from a "colleague" of Owen
  4. One of them was from some unknown person who I couldn't make out
  5. One of them was from someone from Dublin who I struggled to understand
  6. A number of them went to voicemail but failed to leave any messages
I did wonder why all these people had southern Irish accents. It seems that they weren't spoofing their CallerID as NAG's exchange was redirecting them to me using their base Caller ID (which isn't a real number!).

So... the chaos has been resolved.

I still can't help thinking that poor Owen will now be left with a trail of chaos to resolve - the dog-kicking accuser was most vocal and really quite threatening; the estate agent may have let the flat to someone else; and who knows what the others were attempting to achieve!