Friday, 20 April 2012

I'm still here, just obscured by 11,000 synonyms.

I know, I know; I’ve been completely rubbish at this whole blogging thing recently and I will be the first to admit it! I haven’t even Twitted (Tweeted? Is that the one?!) and let’s face it, if I can’t find time to say what I want in 140 characters, or less, then I must be pretty frikkin’ busy! In the meantime whilst I’ve been being busy, one of my best blogging buddies who goes under the alias of Bella and Robot, has not only managed to start a hugely successful fashion blog that has got her the attention that I could only dream of, she also got invited to an opening of a new underwear shop (as a result of her blog, obviously) and met Theo Paphetis of Dragon’s Den fame- you know the one, the one that’s not the tall one or the one that is supposed to be a woman.
Anyway, back to me. I have been really, really busy. I really have! (Enough gravitas there with the use of italics? I think so! You must believe me now.) And this isn’t the type of busy that involves my usual antics. Oh no! I’ve had to put going to Snobs and drinking myself to oblivion and terrorising people in wheelchairs (sounds far worse than it was!) on hold and started acting a little bit more like the grown up that I claim to be. Life has been pretty mundane, and that just doesn’t make for good blogging! That’s a cue for my more dedicated readers to take me out and get me drunk. No?

But now it’s time to get all serious, so take a deep breath, sit up straight and listen carefully. In these last three months, other than being really, really busy, I’ve been doing some writing of a different kind; I’ve been working on my Masters’ dissertation. Yes that’s right, someone who has participated in a game of nakedspin the bottle can actually do something that isn’t inherently depraved.

So in response to the burning question of where I have been these past few months, that’s your answer; I’ve been working on my Masters, in education nonetheless! I iz rite clever innit bled? I’ve been spending my time writing about qualitative and quantitative research, (and writing reams about it although I still don’t actually really understand what either of them is and how my research is indicative of either of them.) I’ve read 37 (yes 37!) different articles about motivating students, which is ironic as I had a proper rant the other day at one who told me he was just too tired to open his book or write the title and date. So much for the old saying you should practice what you preach. Obviously none of those preachers has come across an adolescent Brummie of the male variety, something similar to a primitive human if you can imagine, in which case the saying would have become any which way you can or something equally non-committal. I even have a favourite critic! I know! I should surely be out rediscovering my favourite bar, or sexual position, or something equally debauched, but no, I’ve been acquainting myself with the glitterati of educational literature and, more worryingly, actually liking it! In response to my recent Facebook status about a newly discovered article by said favourite critic, instead of getting the piss ripped out of me as should have quite rightly happened, the response I had was from a rather worried friend from my Masters course questioning if she was doing enough work as she didn’t have a ‘favourite critic’. What has happened to us all?

All of this has resulted in the production of 11,000 words of a very dubious quality, and some parts that are pure and simple fabrication, jazzed up by the thesaurus function of [shift][F7]. Honestly, use a synonym correctly and you can bamboozle anyone into accepting the belief that you’re actually quite astute. Nonetheless, in combination with a full time job, this has meant that the good old blog has become a bit neglected and that makes me a little bit sad, because I like to think of this as a form of literary karma where I can balance out all the boring clever stuff that I manage to write whilst demonstrating that I’m still my usual dysfunctional self.

Before I go I shall end on this little snapshot of my life, to remind all of you out there that I’m still the fool you know and love.

I was recently given an electric toothbrush (no, it’s not going in that direction before you ask! Rude, much?) and as I was preparing to put the loaded brush into my mouth, I ignored the first rule of electric toothbrushing: do not turn on until toothbrush is in your mouth. Before I could even register what had happened, the blob of tooth paste had rocketed from the head of buzzing brush into my right eye ball, where I don’t think the gentle-foaming-sensitive-whitening formula could really achieve its full potential.

So that proves that even under the guise of 11,000 synonyms, I’m still a bit of an idiot, I’m still me, and I’m still here.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Spread the love/idiocy (but definately NOT germs) a little further...

Howdy y'all,

Much as I love you all, and all your little quirks, it is my mission duty to spread the word of my idiocy a little further, just to warn those around me to keep clear if I'm out and about. So, I have followed the advice of the marketing bod behind Bella and Robot and signed up for Bloglovin. In keeping with this new tech savvy image that I am trying to maintain (ahem!) you can now also follow my smaller (but equally important and often more hilarious) antics on Twitter @CountryBoyBlog. As always your support is much appreciated!

Spread the love
Spread the Marmite

CountryBoy

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3435133/confessions-of-a-country-boy?claim=76t3aq3vdw7">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

An unashamedly self indulgent quest for sympathy... and a hot Ribena please!

So I’m ill again. Yet again to be more precise. One of the little blighters at work has shared their germs with me and I have become an incubus for the latest mutation of the germ that is making my throat feel like I’m swallowing razor blades.
For those of you who have kept au fait of my actions over the past few months, you will already know that I succumbed to a particularly nasty version of man flu over the Christmas period, but I rallied on through. With the help of copious amounts of tissues, decongestants and hot Ribena I survived and didn’t wallow in the misery too much... well maybe a bit but that’s only natural. But this cold is different. This is the type of germ that kicks you when you’re down, the type that crawls into each atom of your being and settles in for the long run. Oh, what the hell, I’m going to wallow and I feel I’m justified in my wallowing. I can count on my fingers and toes the number of days it’s been since the last cold deserted me, which basically means that it is wholly unfair that I’m ill again.
GIVE ME SYMPATHY!!
(And I wouldn’t mind a hot drink too ‘cus the kettle is tauting me from the work surface, knowing that I’m too feeble to get up and make it myself!)
However, there is an upside, an upside in the form of a plethora of daytime television to help me through these trying times. When you’re feeling down, the ten o’clock instalment of Homes Under the Hammer, with its peppy would-be property developers and the feigned enthusiasm at the market valuations, prove that some things never change. This comes as a welcome reminder of my student days when I would wake up in time to see this, followed by To Buy or Not To Buy whilst sitting in my PJ’s and recovering from the night before’s hangover, drinking tea and putting off the inevitable essay. Substitute the tea with a lemsip and the PJ’s for Jack Wills trackies and that’s about where I am now.
(N.B. Yes, you did hear correctly; I am wearing Jack Wills, but I maintain that I do this purely ironically. But I would feel a lot less of a hypocrite if there weren’t so darn comfy!)
But that was not where I was to remain. After the Christmas onslaught my paracetamol supply was severely depleted and I was in danger of exiting the decongestant induced haze that seemed to be surrounding me. So wrapping myself up in a scarf and gillet (I know what you’re thinking; Jack Wills and a gillet, but I’m ill, and it’s cold, and they’re warm so leave me alone!) I braved the short walk to Tesco with the challenge to buy the standard diet of invalids; soup and drugs! In my haste to replenish the paracetamol supplies, I ended up not making my customary list which again serves to show how off-kilter I was feeling. I live for lists. I have lists about lists and notes about lists, but not this time. Not a list in sight and therefore I site this as the root of my failure. Lack of lists. It was because of the lack of lists that I was perusing the cheese section looking at a very appetising mini camembert to add to the other impulse buys of prawn cocktail crisps, half price cherries and yet more soup, (even though I have perfectly good homemade soup at the flat) that I stepped back.
I stepped back and felt the unexpected resistance at the back of my legs, just below the knee, as the leg that I had tried to move failed to reach it desired destination and remained pretty much where it was.
At this point, the upper half of my body had already shifted its centre of balance, in preparation for the aforementioned backwards step and had commenced its trajectory.
It was then that my knees started to buckle in response to the object now behind them and my arms went up to the side scattering the contents of my basket around the cheese isle.
And then I realised that a fall was imminent, and I braced myself...
...to land on the lap of the man in the wheelchair who had stealthily pulled up behind me.
To say he looked perturbed at the fact that a sickly twenty five year-old was sprawled on his lap, would be a bit of an understatement. Completely terrified would be more correct. But ever one to regain composure in a situation like this, I picked myself up off his lap, apologised through a particularly violent fit of coughing, and gathered my scattered purchases to made tracks for the tills.
It was only when I got home that I realised that I had forgotten to buy any paracetamol, and no matter how many combinations of it I tried, soup, cherries and prawn cocktail crisps are no substitute and only served to make me feel even more like a failure.
Needless to say I made a list to remind my cold addled brain what to get at the shop:
Buy paracetamol
Don’t be a tit.
I’m not sure which part of that is more achievable.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Resolutions are made to be broken; it helps you make better ones next time.

This year I made two new resolutions: the first, that I was going to give up drinking in response to the intervention my liver and my conscience somehow managed to stage over the festive period. Needless to say, offer of red or white that came via text from a previously aforementioned bad influence, put an end to that after six days. Six long, dull alcohol free days. But, all is not lost. I replaced that really quite unachievable solution with something that is much more tangible; 2012 will be the year I learn to play the ukulele. I think that’s a fair substitute, right? And judging by the really rather awesome performance on the newly introduced air ukulele, I’M GONNA ROCK! Although I do feel I should pay homage to the fact that this new hair brain scheme was spawned from that alcoholic haze that I had been trying to avoid. Ah well, irony has always been my friend.
This all leads me on to the second resolution I made: to start going to the gym. I’ve been a member of said gym for over a year and I think it’s fair to say that our relationship is sporadic at best. The first time I went, I cashed in on my complimentary introduction with a personal trainer, only to find I couldn’t move for the next week and therefore rendered myself completely incapable of completing exercise of any kind until I could fully straighten my limbs. AND APPARENTLY THATS NORMAL?! AND THEN THEY GO BACK FOR MORE?! Seriously, what’s up with that? The way I felt after my induction I woke up the next morning more than slightly indignant by the fact that there was neither a six pack or a bicep in sight.
None of this is helped by the fact that no one at the gym ever actually seems to be in anything other than perfect shape, or else morbidly obese. I spoke to a friend of mine recently who has noted the same thing. She said that she invested in a fitness DVD to help her get in shape before actually going to the gym. Is this really what exercise has come to? That we have to get fit before we can even go to the gym? It certainly seems that way judging by some of the behaviour that goes on in the men’s locker rooms. Amongst the many Romanesque men in there, air-drying their testicles and doing that thing where each one of their pec’s seemingly dances to its own rhythm, the normal man is very much the minority. For these pec dancing, bicep bulging, hormonally and genetically enhanced specimens, half the reason for going to the gym revolves around the prolonged periods of nudity and the drying of one’s genitals that seems to intrinsically linked to any form of exercise.
I would say that will-power made me survive the locker room, but I think it was actually the fear of being forever consumed in the testosterone haze that drove me on. Nothing was going to stop me. No possible excuse as to why I couldn’t complete some form of physical exercise. No possibly excuse why my muscles would remain untoned. No possible excuse why... I’m procrastinating aren’t I? I do this a lot. I go with the best intentions and then realise that after a few of those up and down things on the weight machine (‘reps’ I believe they are called) that my muscles feel like they are actually on fire whilst the customary pumping tunes morph into the music of the apocalypse. Drums, I hear drums. Probably just my heart, but you can’t beat a bit of well timed percussion to help it all along. I get to wondering if any of this is helped by the fact that my most recent gym session followed the evening of the breaking of the alcohol resolution, so I was facing two of my nemesis; exercise and hangovers.
But putting my best foot forwards, I seized the moment. I said yes to exercise.
I also said yes to the treadmill in between the two fatties ‘cus y’know, ego boost and all that. I then said yes to the bottle of wine and the take away later that evening to ease the pain! What can I say? It’s a vicious circle!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

It's in the genes!

A happy new year to you all! And a merry Christmas to boot!
Now I’m going to start the New Year with an apology; I’m sorry there hasn’t been a new blog for the past couple of weeks. I’ve been ill. Sad times. If I was to ever use one of those silly emoticons, now would be the time. You know the one; the colon followed by the open bracket.
Pathetic I know.
I like to think that my blog is a witty sometimes witty perspective on my own little degree of self indulgence. But let me assure you, if I had written one over the past couple of weeks, it would had the usual level of self indulgence (probably a bit more even): It definitely wouldn’t have been witty. And I reckon it would have had more than its fair share of wretched uselessness. Nonetheless if you had wanted to hear about the time I ran out of tissues after a particularly explosive sneezing fit, I could have spun a fantastic yarn. Although I did discover that I actually had a couple of spares so that story might have fallen a bit flat.
But, I’m not here to talk about me (well not this time anyway). No, I’m going to shed some light on the family tree that has spawned my now well perfected idiocy. Obviously feeling withdrawal symptoms after I properly flew the nest last summer, it wasn’t long before the parentals were looking for further entertainment. And the solution I hear you ask? Simple; relocate my elderly Grandparents from their homestead in Cheltenham to the fresher country air of rural Shropshire. Obviously unsatisfied with the lack of humour provided by yours truly, surely the logical step would be to explore the other end of the spectrum; from youngest to oldest, the talent for causing distractions is present in every generation.
Now, before I continue, I would like to point out that I really like my grandparents, both of them. I really do. But when they come up with absolute comedy gold, my fingers get twitchy and I get the urge to blog.
To get you in the picture, my granddad is now 91 and still sharp as anything. He drinks copious amounts of whiskey and smokes a pipe, which he once asked me to get ‘some of that marijuana stuff’ to have a puff on. My nanna (aged 88, although don’t tell her I told you) then chimed in with ‘yes dear, I’ve heard it works wonders in brownies.’ Ironically when she asked me on my 21st  birthday if I took drugs (as you do) and I said only the good ones, I then had to phone and apologise.
Pure. Unadulterated. Madness. It’s in the genes, I’ll tell you that!
Anyway, seeing as the grandparents had recently moved to the shire, the parentals decided to have them over for Christmas dinner. That’s nice. Family spending time together. Three generations around the same table. Perfect.
But then, as the first course was being cleared away from the table I head.
‘Just slip it in Roy, no one will notice,’ said my nanna.
‘Well it’s not very stiff,’ responded my granddad.
WTF?!
‘It’s gone in fine before so just slide it in,’ she said followed by some deep breaths from my granddad.
As my mum handed me a plate of food to take to the table, it was with trepidation that I returned to the dining room.
‘Jack’s back now, perhaps he will help,’ said my nanna, passing me the shoulder pad that had fallen out of her jacket, leaving her looking like a lopsided Hilary Devey.
I must say I was quite relieved as it all suddenly started to make sense.
But the comedy didn’t stop there.
A few days later, they insisted on taking us all out for lunch which can be a bit of a drama in itself in as much as my granddad doesn’t have a hip, and the other one is a replacement so he’s a tad shaky to say the least. And that’s without the whiskey!
Rather surprisingly, the meal itself was actually pretty good and both of the grandies were on fine form. Until the bill arrived.
‘If you wouldn’t mind putting in your pin-code madam and then press the green button to confirm?’ said the manager.
Plunk. Plunk. Plunk. Plunk. Her finger very deliberately hitting each key in turn.
‘I’m afraid your pin had been declined madam. Could you enter it again?’
‘It is correct. I assure you,’ she said, enunciating each syllable with perfect Received Pronunciation. My granddad at this point took another sip swig of his whiskey.
The plunking followed, and was proceeded with the tell tale beep when the number was declined again.
‘I’m afraid you have only got one try left and then your card will be blocked,’ said the manager.
The look said it all. No words were needed. When she gets that look, no one can stop her. And believe me you wouldn’t want to either! But then again why would you, when you just know something brilliant is about to happen?!
It was with baited breath that the much anticipated finger plunked the key pad that final time.
‘What do you mean it’s not accepted?’ she said with genuine surprise. It would appear that there is something that can withstand the look.  
I was on removing the card and checking it carefully for any malfunction (she still fiercely maintained that the machine was wrong, as the so often are!) that we realised the error of her ways; it wasn’t her card. As it transpired, she had borrowed my granddads card to withdraw some money and forgotten to give it back, but the main thing she focused on was that she wasn’t wrong.
My granddad’s look said it all. But it was the swig of whiskey that told the story.