Sunday, 30 January 2011

Do A U-Turn!

Although I am not old enough to be wise or full of stories that begin with "well when I was in Qatar..." I do know some things. The kind of things I see myself sitting my grandchildren down by the fire and imparting to them. Then, when they are adults this kernel of knowledge will pop into their minds and they will say "Ah yes, Grandma was wise".

So brace yourself for this rocket revelation...Sat Navs are shit.

Sat Navs will abandon you the minute you creep into new territory where you have no clue where the one way system begins. It will bark orders like "DO A U-TURN NOW!" and "TAKE THE THIRD EXIT" when the third exit clearly bares a "NO ENTRANCE" sign. Is Sat Nav trying to send me to a certain death? Was my Sat Nav created in a factory infiltrated by terrorists who chose one single console to reprogramme to give clear kamikaze directions to the owner?

I will my Sat Nav to be kind. Take pity on me! I really don't know where I'm going. Help! I try the quivering bottom lip and as the tears start to prick at my eyes I look longingly at her, hoping the sacred flag will magically appear. She continues to ignore me and requests that I "TURN LEFT" only for me to "TURN LEFT" again - taking me in a circle. What. A. Bitch.

Finally the red mist descends and the expletives spill out quicker than D-list celebrity's boobs at a photo op. Maybe this is part of the kamikaze programming and if operation 'do a U-Turn on a dual carrigeway' fails then plan B is to enrage the driver so much they actually self-combust from pure fury.

No, don't thank me. Please stop with the praise! I know, I know, Woman Writes is wise.

Saturday, 22 January 2011


I want to come clean. I am an addict. My vice? Horoscopes. It started off as just casual fun then one thing led to another and now I can't start the day without them. Sometimes three or four times a day.

Every morning I feed the habit by checking my online horoscope to find out whether it was worth me getting out of bed this morning or not.

Today, a very reliable source (MSN) told me that I would be very lucky in the property field and therefore should invest. Damn. I only have a few hours left of today to fulfil this prophecy. I mean how many more times is the moon going to be properly aligned with Venus in my income sector?

Choose your horoscope guru wisely. MSN seems quite friendly to Capricorns this year, which is nice after years of growing up with Bliss and Sugar magazine who showed their blatant HATE for Capricorns by the fact the celebrity they would use to represent all us fellow goats was Gary Barlow - post Take That - when he was eating a lot of pies and a national joke.

Geminis take note, the unusually short-armed Russell Grant is not a fan. Best to stick with MSN who today predict that "joining forces with a group of activists gives you courage." Right on brothers and sisters, or rather twins.

A word of warning, Yahoo horoscopes hate everyone. This is their wisdom for me today "Negativity and a critical tone will only serve to alienate you from potential allies." Shut up! What do they know?

If MSN is crack then Michele Knight is Heroin. Although she is a complete life-tease, correctly identifying that you are pre-occupied with a certain issue (bah! Michele would be more specific than that) Let me try again so, your thoughts are pre occupied with those blue shoes you spotted on Wednesday, should you buy them or not? Well Michele? Should we buy them or not? Michele? She's gone. Shoe dilemma guidance can be accessed through a premium rate telephone number. The Knight is wise, and obviously minted.

In the Morning

Another grim morning crept up and over the warm duvet of the sleeping figure in the bed. The morning's cold fingers reached out and tapped the nose of it's unknowing victim. The figure stirred slightly and turned her head to face the wall, in hopes that somehow the morning would retract it's advances and wait until she was good and ready. There was silence. Both the morning and the girl in a state of stasis, wondering which would crack first. The battle of wills was abruptly shattered with the intrusion of the alarm. Three beeps in quick succession rang out, followed by another, and then another. It was too much to bear. The girl flung out one arm and wrestled the alarm off the dresser and fumbled to find the off switch. Success, and again silence. Sweet, sweet silence.

The girl pulled the covers up around her, making sure to cover her face. Her eyes peeping over staring blankly at the ceiling. A million thoughts ran through her mind, but one shouted louder than the rest. Can I get away with another few minutes lay here, she pondered. She looked to the clock for reassurance. The clock wasn't having it, time to get up.

She kicked one leg out from under the covers as if in hopes the cold air would jolt her into action. It didn't work. She retracted her leg and pulled it back under the duvet, hugging it more tightly around her. Another hopeful look at the clock. Nope, she really did have to get up this time. She swung her leg out again but this time she followed it with the other leg and planted both feet on the carpet. She sat there momentarily before standing to switch the light on and quickly running into the bathroom before the bedroom light could catch her and burn itself into her sleepy eyes.

The routine began. She wrestled her long mane of hair, quick slap of make up. Trundling downstairs she hunted for some snacks. The fruit bowl looked uninviting but she thumbed her way through several possible apples before selecting the least bruised  one and popped it in her bag.

A quick check for her keys and she was out the door on the way to her car. The air was cool and nipped at her face. She yanked the car door open and hurried to close the door behind her. She turned the key in the ignition and was greeted with the familiar sound of the morning radio DJ blasting out of her stereo, a rare comfort she received on her way to work. Like an old friend she picked up from where they had left off and laughed along with the DJ as she made her way into work. The day had begun.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Little Dark Cloud

The Little Dark Cloud is unhappy. He sits alone, above his creator's head waiting patiently for the day the sweeping winds of change move in to push the Little Dark Cloud out to sea, where he will disperse into a light-filled atmosphere. The mood would brighten. The Cloud would be happy.

Millions of droplets of anxiety would evaporate into the sun. The Little Dark Cloud would be dark no more and he could sit amongst the gleeful Fluffy-Whites set in a pastel blue sky looking down upon the glorious glow of the Earth's happiness below.

Until that day arrives the Little Black Cloud must wait in the gloom of the day and the unwelcoming sheet of a star-less night.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

We have a Code Red Situation Folks

In some professions a Code Red usually means danger. CODE RED! Fire spreading to level 20! CODE RED! The bird has flown into the engine! CODE RED! We can't find the snake!

Code Red's are usually an exceptional circumstance, of a rare occurrence. In the case of my professional arena a Code Red situation can strike more times than a professional ten-pin bowler. There is no warning. No Code Amber. We go from dead calm to certain-death blind panic in the same space of time it takes me to email "Oh for fucks sake".

A CRS (Code Red Situation) can erupt over deeply important matters such as:

CODE RED! There is only ONE pint of milk left. I repeat. ONE pint of milk left.
Reaction: Oh SHIT! Strong teas all day? [panic ensues]

Another example?

CODE RED! I need to find the appropriate cultural etiquette for China.

This seems a reasonable request you think? Surely if one is to do business with a foreign land then one must know the appropriate behavioural standards and differences of their culture mustn't one? Not hacking up phlegm after lunch could be deemed a great slight on the host and therefore a lucrative deal goes unsigned. Yes, BUT, what if one's company who one works for doesn't do any sodding business in China? It may make you feel differently towards the reaction to aforementioned CSR:

Reaction: Spend all day Googling and printing off results for useful phrases when in China. Possibly send friend request to random Chinese person on Facebook.

Finally, sometimes (completely out of a dirge of a day) a CSR can create a stellar piece of unintentional comedy:

CODE RED! My trousers have split!
Reaction: Much laughter from myself. The person in question walks around asking every member of the department if they had any sellotape. Ten minutes later witness the unfortunate walk into toilets with huge sellotape dispenser. Much more laughter from myself. A few hours later Calamity Pants requests a stapler. Repeat previous steps substituting 'sellotape' for 'staples'. I have complete hysterical breakdown.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

TV Lied To Me

As a child I watched copious amounts of television. I did read books but tales of lame child gangs spending hours in a tree just didn't entice me like the glossy American TV shows used to. Nobody drank Ginger Beer in California. Nobody had an annoying dog. Nobody was called George and Titty.

They sold an eager pre-pubescent girl a golden dream of the possibilities available to me. Getting older was going to be brilliant, I had it all planned out. I was going to run rings around my headmaster with ridiculous scams. Spend all night out in the woods with my mates telling each other far too creepy stories. Start a band and date a stereotypical bad boy. I was going to find my long lost adopted-twin sister living the life of Riley and I would move into her plush home. I was going to be given a magical 50 pence coin that would let me do anything I wished. I'd be the only female member of an all-male basketball team. My best friend would climb into my always-open bedroom window with ladders just as I skillfully built a computer software programme to do my homework for me.

I would walk into a forest with exploding mushrooms. Join a sports excellence centre and deal with my 'issues'. Play boardgames like "Don't whizz on the electric fence". Fall in love with a can of tuna so much I may want to marry it. Spend ages with my talking cat and try to solve the family mystery, possibly taking trips to Limbo through a closet door.

Any thought of a normal life would be turned on its head when I would be subjected to a toxic waste spill, leaving me with the ability to transform into water and try and infiltrate the secret Government organisation that were responsible.

My drawings would come to life. I would whisper a secret word and become a superhero. I would try and become the next Spielberg whilst having deep and meaningful conversations with my fellow teen.

Putting the tips of my fingers together would stop time.

I would pop balloons full of shaving foam whilst riding a go-kart and be egged on by a long haired-pillock in an arran jumper.

Ah yes, this getting older lark was going to be a breeze. I had it ALL planned out.

TV may have lied to me but I forgive long as I get to be a contestant on Knightmare.

*A List of the favourite TV shows from my youth, for those too young/old to follow my above ramblings. It does have a point, it wasn't me just be a deranged child...well maybe a little bit of that too.
  • Saved by the Bell - Kelly Kapowski was thy mortal enemy.
  • Clarissa Explains it all - Wanted to BE her. Cool bedroom. Mad Parents.
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark? - I declare this meeting of the midnight society closed.
  • Round the Twist - Cabbage patch babies that hold their breath? Incessant stream of bird shit? It had it all. Trippiest kids show ever.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch - Did she ever solve the family mystery? I stopped watching it when she went to college, I'll never know...
  • California Dreams - Actually knew the words to the songs the "band" had *shame*.
  • Keenan and Kel - Who loves orange soda?
  • Sister Sister - One was brainy, the other dumb...genius writing.
  • Sweet Valley High- One was brainy, the other dumb...(what is it with twins?!)
  • Ren and Stimpy - I killlllllllllllll you man!
  • Rocco's Modern Life - Slightly disconcerting toad/frog family. May you all go to Heck.
  • Rugrats - Phil and Lil - rock stars of the cartoon baby world.
  • The Adventures of Pete and Pete - Does ANYONE else remember this?! Two brothers with the same name, their mum had a metal plate in her head and their dad was obsessed with the lawn? Pretty sure Sam Rockwell once had a part in it. Gingers? Brain Freeze? Ringing any bells?
  • The Secret Life of Alex Mack - Toxicity suited her. Never effected her shiny hair.
  • Hang Time - Positively Shakespeare-esque.
  • Dawson's Creek - The one major fault being it's title. PACEY'S creek to the friends. Dawson's Crack to the foes.
  • Gravedale high - Twilight before it's time.
  • Super Ted - I reckon the secret word was "flange".
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - The great tomato war? Get out of town!
  • Penny Crayon - Found the magic crayons in Paperchase but they cost £14.99 so sacked it. Rip off.
  • Maid Marion and her Merry Men - Yep, wanted to be her as well.
  • Moomins - Psychedelic vibe ruined by that annoying little shouty girl.
  • Knightmare - Hardest kids game show ever. Still awaiting response to my application.
  • Incredible Games - Weird level where you dived into a big cereal bowl with magnetic letters.
  • Dungeons and Dragons - Did they ever get home?
  • Jem - Shocking myself with the sheer awesomeness of this list.
  • Rude Dog and The Dweebs - I wasn't even as cool as the Dweebs.
  • Pee-Wee's Playhouse - Sketchy guy being sketchy in a bow-tie.
  • Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? - You tell me.
  • The Queens Nose - Made many futile attempts trying to make a 50p magical by sheer force yielded unsatisfactory results. 50p then used to buy sweets.
  • Bodger and Badger - MASH POTATOESSSSSSSSSSS.
  • Doug - The thicket of solitude. Had blue-faced friend Skeeter (this was never explained).
  • Fun House - Pat Sharpe. Woolly, long-haired, talentless moron. In other words - Legend.
  • Fraggle Rock - The Dozers should be contracted out by the Council.
  • Grange Hill - Just say no, then get on your knees and beg for it to be reinstated.
  • The Biz - Stage school drama with Paul Nicholls when he was young and beautiful and had it all before him. Joe Wicks, lest we forget.
  • Children's Ward - Bit like casualty with....well, children.
  • Teen Angel - Awe, how sweet! His DEAD friend came back to help/haunt him, nice...
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold - Officially the best TV theme tune ever. Don't believe me? Clickity Click!
  • Greenclaws - Woo,wooo, wooowooowowooooooo.
  • Itsa Bitsa - Cried actual tears when I had to learn my spellings instead of watch this. Can never look at a pipe cleaner again.
  • Wackaday - Possible the most ingenious show ever. Bleuuugh. Even as I child I thought Timmy Mallett was a div.
  • The Broom cupboard - Not technically a show but I miss it. All kids TV presenters should be shoved in a cupboard with a duck or gopher.
  • Going Live - Oh how I wanted to speak to the stars with those big-arse mobile phones.
  • The Girl From Tomorrow - Amaze headband. WANT.
  • Out of This World - Her dad was in a crystal. Different.
  • The Odyssey - Boy in a coma and living in his fantasy world. Mum would often pop in, adopt "ow still in coma" face and pop out.
  • Heartbreak High - Australian Grange Hill.
  • Sweat - Heath Ledger. Gay cyclist. Say no more.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Life and Times of Clomp

She is doing it again. The daily ritual of her clomping up the corridor with a permanent look of confusion on her face, shoulders hunched over and an air of desperation entombing her like a hot dog in a stale bun. Her whole demeanour screams a compendium of conflicting messages, "I'm unhappy!", "Please love me!", "I'm better than you, check out my shoes!" Let me explain. She is unhappy as her only friend is canine, she seems to own only three items of clothing and she smells of meat. She is desperate for love as she is lonely and latches on to any spark of conversation, or in a tactical move, bring up a topic six months out of date to use it as a way in to let her social skills shine, and she smells of meat. The only pride she seems to take is in her job role, frequently looking down on the other teams who she will openly call "the working class". This is from a woman who smells of meat.

The heavy footed clomping sound sparks immediate annoyance in me. Knowing that three seconds later she will appear. It is the knowing that is the killer. She will saunter into the kitchen for the first of many trips for water, surveying the options for conversation as she tries to catch someone (anyone's) eye. Slowly she will make the trip back to her desk where I will then wait patiently, furiously punching the buttons on my keyboard, while the clomping starts again. Yes she is making the same journey up the same corridor to visit the toilet. My mind works overtime as I plan out the way I would have been able to make the toilet and water break in one fail swoop.

Efficient toilet break/water gatherings aside the slow corridor mooching is all an attention seeking ploy. Many have been victim to her corridor attacks, they yielded numerous results such as being hailed her inspiration, but each 'attack' leaves me with an inherent sense of cringe. It is a well known fact that several doses of cringe a day are harmful to that part of your brain that controls the muscles to create a palmface. Very soon I will lose control of that instinctive post-cringe action and will have to resort to smashing my forehead on the keyboard.

I must make you aware of one short term side effect, the post-cringe-post-bitch guilt. It gets everyone. Well, everyone who notices her irritating habits and imparts their annoyance to like-minded people. After offloading the rage the guilt will pour itself all over you like a pint of lumpy sour milk, making you feel worse than Lady Macbeth, except you don't have the madness to blame it on. Yet.

Fear not, the maddening ritual will begin again, washing away the stench of guilt and possibly inspiring some irritant-inspired poetry...

Woman Begins...

Like every story we must start at the beginning. My story begins with a rather garish pink headline.Woman Writes is basically a tool for me (i.e Woman) to get back into the habit of creative writing after too-long an absence.

The non-specific title reflects my unwillingness to be tied down to one subject area, because I'm a total freebird, badass! That last statement was a lie, if you hadn't already twigged. My real reason for not locking it down to one subject area is because I haven't written anything that hasn't been work-related, a non-work-related-whilst-in-work email or a rather uninspiring Facebook status update, so do not want to deny any spark of creativity that may hit me one day, be it a new book, song, an overheard conversation or ridiculous celebrity news.

The creative flame that had dwindled since leaving university has now been sparked with fresh ideas and possibilities. Whatever the inspiration I must make sure that I stop being "Woman Who Thinks About Writing" and become "Woman Writes!"