Don’t call it a comeback…

So I went away for a while.

Sorry I didn’t check in and let you all know that I was okay. That was rude of me and I apologise. I hope you didn’t worry about me too much.

I have no excuses….although I will say that work got busy, I got lazy and my laptop got broken. This made blogging pretty tricky.

Okay, so that may be an excuse…my bad. I did miss you all though.

Anyways…it’s been an interesting year at my end, fraught with social faux pas, inappropriate actions and pure awkwardness. I’ll fire up the laptop this weekend and start sharing again.

Speak soon.

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Where I get a little serious and ask you to help someone…

I love the internet!

Whilst it could (maybe) be fun for me to provide a comprehensive rundown of why I adore the world wide web, there are just way too many reasons for me to list right now.

All I will say is that I am in awe of the internet’s ability to create little internet communities and bring people together. Due to my laptop and broadband connection I have been able to connect with many people whose path’s I would never have crossed otherwise. I now find myself more interested and invested in the worlds of complete strangers than I ever imagined possible.

Reason why I love the internet #257: This picture

Reason why I love the internet #257: This picture

Blogging is a great example of this. Through this blog I have engaged with, spoken to and read about people from all corners of the earth who live much more diverse, entertaining and interesting lives than me…I am basically referring to all of you who are reading this. Don’t blush, you all are much more interesting than me.

Internet Forums are another great example of online communities. I am a member of a forum myself and I am shamelessly addicted to it. Over the last few months I have found myself spending more time than I care to think about idly discussing pointless topics with strangers.

I also get hopelessly reeled in when one of my fellow forum users finds themselves in a bind and reaches out to other members for advice and support.

Today I stumbled across the below post on the forum and I felt compelled to share it with others.

Now I know that my blog is not normally very serious or dark in tone so this will be a slight change of pace for you but please have a read….

 

Hey chaps

I’ve kept this quiet, because I’m not one to do my grieving in public, but my Dad passed away suddenly just over a month ago. He had a massive cardiac arrest and suffered hypoxic brain damage as a result. We sat around his bed and waited for him to die when the life support was switched off, and it was harrowing, easily the worst experience of my life. He and my Mum were very close, they did everything together, and she was – and is – in pieces. She’s just…broken.

They had a favourite local band on the Isle of Wight where they lived, and would often go and watch them play in the pubs and social clubs. It was a source of real happiness for them. The band are called Lucid. When Dad died, the band sent flowers to mum with a card, and popped round to see her and how she was doing. They also came to the funeral and allowed one of their songs to be played during the service.

Since then, they’ve taken Mum out for lunch and dinner, made several visits, and basically made sure she was ok as could be expected. They’ve been brilliant, so kind and caring. I’d like to pay them back somehow, and with your help, I might be able to do it.

There’s a festival in Wales in August, the Green Man festival, and there’s a competition to give an unknown band a shot at opening the whole shebang. The 3 bands with the most votes will go into a final “play off” for a chance to win this prize. Please can I ask that all you Facebook users out there (half the forum closes this post in disgust at this point) go to this link –

http://www.greenman.net/rising/2013/lucid

and “like” the band to cast your vote.

PLEASE help – without their support, this whole situation would have been a lot tougher on Mum. They’ve not asked for anything in return, they’ve simply been there when needed, without being asked.

Thanks lads, I know from experience how powerful the forum support can be in this sort of situation. Appreciate it.

TL-DR – please go to the link above and “like” the band Lucid to give them a chance to play at a festival. They have supported my Mum in recent weeks since my Dad died, and I’d like to show them some love in return.

 

As soon as I had finished reading this I could not click that link quick enough! I hope you will all do the same.

Apologies if I seem a little a little preachy or soppy here. Due to R’s girlfriend leaving various Nicholas Sparks books around the house (I am currently out of reading material so may have read one or two) and C’s girlfriend leaving piles of chick flicks laying around the place (which just happened to fall into my DVD player) I am noticeably more sappy and soppy than usual.

I am off to drink some beer, watch sport and possibly even womanise in order to return to my traditional ambivalent alpha-male self.

(note – the last line may have been a slight lie. I will most likely have a bubble bath whilst reading A Walk to Remember and then watch The Vow on DVD)

 

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Where I make a (not so) Triumphant Return…

I’ve been away a while. Sorry about that.

I have a few things going on which have prevented me from blogging.

I won’t go into all the boring details but work has been insane, my laptop broke, I discovered I was able to watch Netflix on my Playstation (which meant I could start and finish Arrested Development season 4 without a laptop) and I joined a new football team. I also had a few trips to go on and I made a new friend…only to ‘lose’ said friend a few weeks later (a story for a future post). I didn’t actually like him anyways so please don’t feel too bad for me.

Anyways, the laptop is fixed, my social circle had decreased (again), I have watched almost everything on Netflix and work seems to have calmed down. This means that I can get back to sharing the details of my awkward existence with you all.

Worth every penny.

Worth every penny.

As I mentioned a few lines ago, work has been busy, really busy! A couple of weeks back I had a particularly crazy week which involved me going to meet a client in Portugal before heading to London for a meeting and then going to Ireland to catch up with an existing client of ours. After Ireland I would be on a plane to Germany for another meeting before heading home (you can probably see why I have not been blogging much as of late!).

This was a big responsibility as a lot was riding on the success of these meetings.

If you have read my blog before then I do not blame you for expecting me to make some kind of enormous faux pass at one or two (or even all) of these meetings and spoiling my career prospects in the process.

I am happy to report that all meetings went well.

But before you think that I have turned a corner and am no longer a social misfit I need to tell you about my flight from Ireland.

Not my experience of Ireland...

Not my experience of Ireland…

I had taken my seat on the plane to home that came before my connecting flight to Germany (don’t ask) and, strangely enough, found myself sat next to an Irish girl.

My first thought was that she was cute. I mean, she wasn’t the prettiest by conventional standards but, in my mind at least, did kinda resemble Lene Marlin…sort of. In case you are not aware, Lene Marlin is a Norwegian popstar who had one major hit single here in the UK. I had a massive crush on around 2000/2001.

My plan was to admire her from afar silently before texting R upon touchdown and together we would curse me for not having the guts to talk to her.

However, our flight was delayed shortly due to some problem with the runway. She turned to me and asked me if I knew what people who were getting connecting flights were supposed to do when they touched down.

I didn’t.

My initial instinct was to lie to her and strike up a conversation but I decided against it.

She then spotted my book on Morrissey. As she was a huge Smiths fan this led to a conversation on music, gigs we’ve both recently been to, magic tricks and, randomly, how we both spend way too much time blocking people on Facebook who have annoying statuses.

At the risk of sounding ever-so-slightly insane I think that, within only an hour of knowing her, I had fallen in love with this girl.

My worst fears were confirmed when she had to pop the toilet. This gave me a couple of minutes to daydream. Don’t judge me too harshly but in the 140 seconds or so that she was gone I played out the entire relationship in my head, asking myself various questions along the way. How I could maintain a long distance relationship with someone in Ireland? Will I have to learn to Skype? Would we get married in England? Will her family hate me? Should I start drinking Guinness or Beamish? Would we raise our family in Ireland? What would I do for work? Would our children be classified as Irish or English? Hopefully they’ll like football…proper football that is and not that Gaelic nonsense they play over there this was one of the most important ones too.

I was snapped back into life by her return.

Oh Lene, we'd have made beautiful children!

Oh Lene, we’d have made beautiful children!

It was then time to put our seatbelts back on and prepare for landing. We had enough time for her to tell me about her biggest Facebook gripe (people posting pictures of their pets if you’re interested) before we had to get off the plane.

I was happy when it transpired that we were walking across to the same terminal together for our next flight. It meant we were able to continue our chat for a little bit. It then dawned on me that we would be going our separate ways soon though so I decided to steer the conversation towards getting her phone number.

Before I could ask she told me that she was going to do a spot of travelling in Europe and then spent some time in India. This meant that her phone would be more or less out of action for the next month or two.

She did say that she would have access to a web café so asked for my full name and email so that she could email me and add me as a friend of Facebook. I duly obliged.

A good friend of mine has just returned from India so I was able to give her some insight into how great the place is. She said that she was really looking forward to her adventure but that her mum was really worried about the foreigner rape stories that apparently were all over the news back home.

I didn’t really know how to respond to this comment so I shrugged it off as standard parental paranoia and ignored the remark.

By now we were queuing for passport control, I suddenly realised the time and that I was getting pretty late for my flight so decided to say my goodbyes and try to get through security:

Jay: “My flight leaves in a little while. It’s been lovely chatting but I have to dash. Hopefully we’ll chat soon.”

Girl: ” I hope so. Expect a friend from me in the next couple of hours…and you’d better accept it!”

Jay: “Of course I will”

Girl : “Good”

Jay: “Anyways, best of luck in India”

Girl: “Gee thanks”

Jay: “Don’t get raped, yeah?…”

It was at this stage I was expecting her to laugh before disappearing to see the world with thoughts of me in her mind. It would only be a matter of time before we got back in touch, fell in love and live happily ever after.

Instead I was greeted by what I can only describe of a look of pure and absolute disgust! I am not sure if I have ever really been greeted with genuine hatred before but this was not a look that I will forget any time soon.

I had blown it. Big time.

essentially this expression (thank you Google images!)...

essentially this expression (thank you Google images!)…

In retrospect I realise that rape is a kind of a sensitive topic and probably not one that I should be making jokes about…especially to strange girls who I am attempting to woo.

After her reaction I panicked, mumbled a goodbye, turned away from her and shot up the queue asking people if it was okay if I go ahead of them because my flight was about to leave. Fortunately people were allowing through without hardly any fuss so I was able to make a quick getaway.

I arrived at security and joined one of the queues. As this queue was moving at a painfully slow pace I was replaying the final exchange over and over in my head, kicking myself for my stupidity and lack of social decorum. For some reason I turned to my left. Guess who I saw standing a few metres away from me?

Yep, it was her. Standing with her arms folded and a face like thunder.

She saw me too. After a fleeting moment of eye contact we both put our heads down and seemingly partook in a mutual decision to ignore each other for the entire time of going through security.

This all happened 2 weeks ago. She has not emailed me or sent me a friend request.

Oh well. I didn’t even want to move to Ireland anyway!

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From the Vault: The Strip Club

I have another story from my past to share with you all.

I was reminded of this tale at the weekend.

Several of my friends have been in long term relationships for a while now. As our group makes the journey further into adulthood (well…most of us anyways!) more and more of them are taking the plunge and entering into holy matrimony. As per tradition, this involves a Stag Do (some of you may call it a Bachelor Party). I have 4 lined up for the next 4 months. The first of these was this weekend.

The night was pretty routine. After hitting up a few bars, necking several drinks and frequenting a night club, our group all decided that the most appropriate way to end the evening was to visit a strip club.

Everyone, that is, except my friend Dean and I.

As our group drunkenly congregated towards the exit of the club, Dean and I made the choice to stay out and enjoy another drink or two. The strip club was not an option for us.

You see, we’d had a bad experience in the past…

If only...

If only…

 

The Strip Club:

Last Summer, R, C, Dean and I all went for a summer getaway to Portugal.

The plan was simple: one week of doing nothing bar sitting in the sun, swimming in the sea/pool, catching a tan, eating nice food and enjoying an array of insanely strong/elaborately decorated cocktails.

The reality was one week of binge drinking, monster hangovers, clumsy attempts at seduction, sunburn and awful food.

After a couple of days in Portugal I was bright red from sunburn, dangerously over budget from visiting more clubs and bars than I can remember and tired…really tired (coming home at 6am every night will do that to you). Also my insides were totally devastated from the effects of a combination of this massive drunken bender and meal after meal of undercooked meat.

I needed a rest. Badly. Dean did too.

We agreed to explore the quieter regions of the city, find somewhere decent to eat before getting back to the hotel at a decent hour.

After dinner we decided to take a stroll through the town, across the beach and back to our hotel.

R and C were both in relationships at the time (I sat ‘at the time’, R still is and C is in a different one). The prospect of being allowed to stay out late and drink to excess without fear of reprisal was very much a novelty to them and both were determined to make the most of this.

They were both trying to convince us to head to a bar or club. There was even talk of Gentlemen’s Club being nearby and that we should try to locate it.

I was ignoring their pleas and was texting away in order to avoid being drawn into this debate. I had fallen about 20 feet behind them all at this stage.

Before I could really process what was going on C and R were heading into this large building on the corner of a eerily quiet street. Dean was sheepishly heading in behind them too.

It wasn’t until I walked past a man wearing a sandwich board that simply read ‘strippers inside’ that I knew I was heading into trouble.

Don't think the sign was seedy enough

Don’t think the sign was seedy enough

 

I have a confession to make. I had never been to a strip club before. It’s not that I am a prude or sheltered or anything like that. It’s just that the thought always seemed a bit too sleazy and desperate for my liking. Besides, since being ‘of age’ I had almost always been in a relationship with a girl who was the jealous type. Visiting a strip club just did not seem worth the hassle.

My worst fears were confirmed the instant I stepped into the place.

With the exception of a group of 4 large, exotic looking, muscled men sitting by the DJ booth there was no one else inside.

Entrance to the venue allowed us 1 free drink each so we headed to the bar. Also at the bar were the strippers. Before I could say the 4 of us were set up by roughly 20 scantily clad Eastern European women. All of which were vying for our attention in the hope that we would part with a minimum of 30 Euros for a few minutes of their time.

Once they realised that I had no money (I purposely left my wallet at home in order to have an excuse not to go to a club) I was more or less left alone. Every so often a girl would come over and talk to me. Rather than be a tease though I would let them know that I could not afford their services and they would duly leave.

I pulled up at one of the available seats next to a stage/runway and continued texting. Dean sat next to me and spent his time finding his beer bottle fascinating whilst calmly telling any stripper that dare approach him that he was not in the mood for a dance tonight.

R and C were revelling in the attention though and disappeared almost immediately to the ‘private dance’ area to part with their hard earned cash.

All I got for my troubles was a telling off from security personnel for having my phone out.

Without my phone I stared into space and wished away the minutes until C and R would return and we could get the hell out of this place. I also looked over enviously at the group of large guys. For some reason they were not getting hassled by the strippers like Dean and I were.

My thoughts were interrupted by the endless loop of generic dance music coming to a close and a loud voice booming over the PA system.

“IT’S TIME FOR SOME STAGE DANCING!…”

I have seen strip clubs on TV and I knew what was coming next. A lady would come out, shake her money maker a bit and then expect the crowd to toss notes her way. I feared an awkward encounter stemming from my lack of money was on the horizon.

“…now welcome to the stage…the sultry ,the sexy…PEDRO!”

All of a sudden, my brain clicked back into life and I turned to Dean .

“Ummm…did he just say Pedro?!”

Dean just stared blankly at me. Clearly he had been as lost in thought as I was. He actually looked like he was on the verge of sleep.

I then had what could only be described as a genuine moment of clarity. It suddenly became apparent. Those guys in the corner weren’t fellow patrons but they were strippers. One of which was about to perform to the crowd. A crowd consisting solely of me and Dean!

I thought about leaving but before I could the opening bars of ‘Hero’ by Enrique Iglesias came over the PA system and Pedro was already on stage dressed as Zoro. He was looking directly at me.

I wanted to leave. I was tired, irritable and was ready to go home. I was not in the mood for seeing the naked body of a man who was built like an Adonis. At best, it would inevitably invoke feelings of insecurity about my own body in comparison. Dean felt the same.

However, I then had a thought.

I imagine that when he entered the stripping profession, Pedro probably had visions akin to that of The Full Monty or Magic Mike or something, where he is performing his craft to a crowd of screaming woman who can barely keep their burning loins under control, such is the raw sex appeal of his stripping. He probably spent years honing his craft; sculpting his body, perfecting his dance moves, growing his hair (on his head) and devising a routine to make the crowds swoon.

Instead, Pedro was performing in front of 2 half asleep English guys who were less than enthused by his presence. This must be pretty demoralising for the lad. We figured that rather than trample on his dreams, we would indulge him and let him do his thing.

So Dean and I sat through Pedro’s entire dance.

Credit to the guy, he was a true professional and performed like he was dancing in front of thousands at the Stripper Olympics (if such a thing exists). However I must say that it was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. Please believe me when I tell you that I could feel his eyes burning into my soul as he maintained eye contact with me whilst his junk swung a mere 5 feet from my face.

Suffice to say that I was glad when the song ended and Pedro picked up his clothes up off the floor and departed from the stage. Apparently this is frowned upon in Strip Clubs.

As we are so very, very English (and polite almost to a fault) we instantly broke into a tepid applause. We then found ourselves grouping together what little change we had in order to provide Pedro with a tip. At least he seemed grateful.

We then upped and left.

Walking home Dean and I made a pact to never speak of this to anyone and to try and avoid strip clubs for a while.

This blog post aside, we have remained true to our word ever since.

However, whenever I hear ‘Hero’ by Enrique Iglesias I can tell you that Pedro is not too far from my thoughts.

Damn him!

 

 

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The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

After having an extended period of not getting into trouble, I fell from grace emphatically yesterday.

I was going write about it and tell this story of how my inner monologue failed me once again and caused me to inadvertently insult a girl of a larger build who works in my building.

I was in the canteen getting myself a Redbull. She was in front of me and was offered some cake by a colleague of hers but she declined. I was idly texting on phone and mused (aloud) that she was probably declining because she had had “enough already today”. Needless to say, she was not best pleased. Her friend thought it was funny though.

I now have been bringing in a lunch packed from home in order to avoid the canteen, and therefore, my rotund nemesis.

For some reason, I struggled in getting the words out for this tale so I went in a different direction for this post instead…

  Very Inspiring Blogger Award

You see, a few weeks ago I received a comment on the post where I wrote a letter to myself informing me that I had been nominated for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Views Splash.  I forgot about it until the other day.

Initially I scratched my head at the nomination. Is my blog inspiring? It is very inspiring? How would stories about me being socially inept and/or embarrassing myself be a cause to inspire anyone?

I have never been referred to as ‘inspiring’ before and cannot recall an instance where I was called an inspiration (well…without the comment dripping with so much sarcasm I needed to put on waterproofs!) so I was genuinely baffled. Unless he meant that my blog inspires people how not to live their lives.

I realised that maybe I was reading into this a little too much and it was simply a tip of the cap from a fellow blogger who wanted to acknowledge my blog and try to spread the word to anyone who reads his blog. That’s how these awards usually work anyways.

Therefore, I wanted to say a big thank you to Views Splash for his nomination. I am truly grateful. You’ll be happy to know that I read your blog most days mate. Those links of Dilbert cartoon strips that pop up in my reader never fail to make me smile. When you guys have a moment you should all check it out too.

Anyways, let get down to business…

  

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The rules are simple for the Award are painfully simple:

1.) Display the award logo.

2.) Link back to the person who gave you this award nomination.

3.) State seven pieces of information about yourself.

4.) Nominate 15 fellow bloggers, post links to their page and drop them a comment to let them know.

As 1 & 2 have already been taken care of, I can get on with the business of sharing some information with you all and nominate some deserving blogs. I will try to avoid using the usual information that people share in these things. I will also let you know how each blogger that I have nominated inspires me.

 

7 pieces of information:

1) My name is Jay. Just Jay; not Jason, James, Joe or Jamie. Jay is not short for anything at all. I can show you my I.D. to prove this if you like. This is a conversation that I have roughly 4 times a week.

2) None of my friends or family know about this blog.

3) At school I had a huge crush on a girl called Emma Kerr but I did not have the nerve to talk to her. By the time we got to college I had worked up the courage to engage her and we actually got on well. One May afternoon we were out on the football field engaging in a spot of heavy handed flirting/playfighting. Somehow this got out of hand and I (accidentally, I must stress) broke her arm. We have not spoken since.

4) As a kid there was some graffiti outside a supermarket by my mum’s house. It read “Jay is Gay”. My mum told me that she had written it…about me. To this day she still won’t admit that it wasn’t (a) written by her & (b) written about me. This was also how I learned what the word gay meant.

5) I am ambidextrous. This helps me greatly when playing sport.  It doesn’t serve many other purposes really.

6) Somehow, I am the guy in our circle of friends who the others come to with their secrets.  I hate this. Currently I am harbouring news about a friend having an affair, someone about to dump his girlfriend, a pregnancy, gambling debts and a impending redundancy. I am buckling under the weight of this and constantly worry that I will, accidentally, let something slip out.

7) I got a friend request on Facebook yesterday from a girl called Laura Anderson. She was my girlfriend from the ages of 8-10 until she moved away that summer, never to be seen again. I thought back on my time with Laura and suddenly realised that she and I never officially broke up. This means that technically we have been together for well over 15 years now and I have definitely cheated on her…quite a few times! Am I a bad person? I should really break up with her.

 

Fellow Deserving Bloggers:

Happy Cancer Girl  – A genuinely inspiring blog about a woman who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is blogging about her experiences. Whilst I seldom comment on the blog I do read every post she writes. She motivates me to make the most of life as you never know what is around the corner. She also post music videos, normally they are good ones too!

Awkwardcharm – My sister in awkwardness inspires me to be myself. It’s reassuring to know that there are other people like me out there. Because of her I now more eager to embrace my awkward ways!

Currentlynaive – She inspires me to be more honest. Natalie writes about her life, her OCD and her family very openly. I wish I had that courage. She also writes poetry at frequentneed. I wish I was creative enough to write poetry. I once tried to but after realising I had rhymed the word ‘defenders’ with the word ‘defenders’ I knew that poetry was not my forte.

Guyliner – This guy is one extremely talented writer who I am very much in awe of. I also imagine he is very much above accepting awards such as this. None-the-less he inspires me to constantly improve my work in the hope that one day, when I grow up, I will be half as talented as he is. You all should read his blog.

SunnyDaysinDC – This girl is beyond funny and I am sure she inspires me somehow….I can think of how at this very moment but she does…probably. However, I am mostly including her as I know this will piss her off greatly! What was it you called it? Blog Herpes? Well consider yourself infected again!

A Dad’s Guide to Growing a Nerd – He inspires me to the belief that one day, eventually, I will grow up and will finally be able to figure life (and the world all around me as a whole) all out.

Parlez-vous moo? – Inspires me to be more creative. Her posts on ‘people watching’ are up there with some of the best stuff I have ever read on WordPress. Write more please Nutty Cow!

Hermitage No8 – She inspires me with her advice. Her comments on my blog posts are always wise. I imagine she is like a female Yoda…with a better grasp of syntax of course!

Sociopathicuttlefish – This guy has opinions…on a lot of subjects. Whereas I am more of an apathetic guy who shrugs his shoulders at most news stories. This blog inspires me to think about subjects and topics that I normally would not. I try to chip in on his posts in the hope that he thinks that I am smart.

Stressing Out College – She is very, very clever and it translates through her blog. Reading her blog inspires me to be smarter in my posts (i.e. use terms like ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ less).

Thesecretawkwardlife – An honest and funny account of a 20 something girl who is trying to make sense of the world around her. Reading her blog inspires me to try and be a little more open in regards to how I live my life.

Diary of a Plain, Awkward Girl – In my head I have come to view her as a little sister of sorts (although I think we are similar in age). I attribute this to her talent as a writer.  If I was smarter, I would be able to fathom up a reason why she inspires me but I am drawing a blank. Her blog is awesome though.

Reasons Why i’m Still Single – This blog is too funny not to get a mention. His blog actually inspired me to watch Scooby Doo the other day. This is never a bad thing.

Socially Oxward – Another blog where I am not entirely sure how I am ‘inspired’ by it. What I will say is that I thoroughly enjoy this blog, it always makes me laugh. At times I swear these two are in my head…or at least some sort of female alter-ego of mine. I imagine that receiving this award will make their day!

 

*On a side note. I feel that I am currently neglecting my blog a tad at the moment. The sole reason for this is that nothing of interest or note has really happened as of late. I doubt that this will last!*

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A Guest Post (well…kind of)…Project Revolver.

Today I am going to share some things with you. I also have a guest who is going to share something with you. They’ll be here in a minute.

So when I was a kid I did not always want to be an awkward, semi anonymous blogger who works at a tin pot marketing company in Southern England.

Now I realise that this may come as a great shock to you all but as a youngster I did not imagine myself being the guy who made up fake amazon reviews, writes a Grown-Up list or accidentally insults old female colleagues at work. In fact, I had several dreams, ambitions and plans for my life that seem to have gone unfulfilled.

As a very young man I wanted to marry Kylie Minogue (google her if this name means nothing to you) and live with her in the converted police station that The Ghostbusters occupied. As I got older the my affections turned towards Melissa Joan Hart AKA Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Then I hit my teens and decided that my efforts were better spent pursuing girls who: (a) weren’t famous, (b) were my age, and (c) actually attainable for me in terms of looks.

I also had several career paths that I wanted to travel down as a child. Each of which were unrealistic. I will share them with you now. In no particular order, I have at one time or another wanted to be Spiderman, a professional footballer, a Power Ranger, a professional wrestler, a Ninja Turtle, an artist, a Sheriff and, of course, a Ghostbuster.

However the main dream I had was to be a Rock Star.

Could have been me...

Could have been me…

This Rock Star dream was one that I took a little more seriously than the others. I mean I know that I did once practice climbing walls whilst masked in order to perfect my Spidey skills which resulted in a broken collarbone and the police once turned up during one session thinking I was trying to burgle my nans house. But that was more of a phase than anything else.

The Rock Star dream consumed me as a kid and I spent countless hours in my room, listening to the radio or whatever CD’s I stolen from my dad’s house (this was originally mostly The Beatles, The Clash, Madness, Joy Division, Oasis and Nirvana albums), whilst miming in front of a mirror with a tennis racquet in my hand.

I formed a band called “Gin & Tonic” with my friend Phil despite us having no instruments. We got as far as writing out stage intro of “i’m Gin and he’s Tonic…together we are Gin & Tonic!” before it dawned on us that bands need instruments.

In order to realise this dream I began taking music lessons. I was lucky that the school I went to offered free lessons to students with parents on income support.

After failing in trying to master the piano (hated the teacher), the guitar (could not afford one of my own to practise with), the drums (no coordination) and the bass (I actually did OK with this one but I was too small to stand up and hold the bass on stage so got self conscious and quit) I realised that I have no musical ability and gave up on my quest to become a Rock Star.

I thought about becoming a groupie for a little while…I then realised what a groupie is! This revelation caused yet another dream to fade.

However, throughout my pursuits I did develop a love of music. Since my teenage years I have spent most of my disposable income on purchasing new music as well as going to various gigs and festivals.

Back in the day, I used to frequent the local second hand record shop in order to discover new music. However modern times have seen a death of smaller record shops (and several of the major chains too), couple this with me being an adult (with a job and hangovers and ironing to do) and I find that I do not have as much time to discover new music as I had when I was younger.

Luckily, I work at a computer, so I now use the internet to discover new music.

This brings me to my guest poster. The Revolver Project.

We would have been huge!

We would have been huge!

The Revolver Project is an interesting and unique WordPress site that I stumbled across a while back. This site invites contributors to discover and share new music. Basically Project Revolver accepts contributions from anyone wishing to list their top 5/top 10/top 20 songs of a certain artist or genre. Project Revolver will then post these on the blog with links to a YouTube video of the song.

It is a quick and easy way for anyone to either find out about a certain band or share an act they have recently discovered with others. I visit the site a lot and have contributed a couple of lists (one of which that I am still waiting to be put up Project Revolver…tut tut!).

I asked Project Revolver to contribute a few words to my blog by way of introduction but after some emails both and forth we both agreed that it made more sense if he/she (even after exchanging many emails I am still none the wiser as to his/her gender) gave a list of his/her Top 10 favourite artists of all time. Included is a link to a song for each.

Project Revolver’s Top 10 Artists of all time:

Hope you all enjoy. If you have a band or artist that you wish to share then get on over to the site and send Project Revolver an email.

 

PS – I am now on Twitter. I still don’t really understand what it is or how it works but if you are also on Twitter then please feel free to stop by. https://twitter.com/The_PS_Blog

 

Posted in Guest Posts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The EX-Files

I have been in 2 serious relationships in my life. One of the many upsides to this is that I only have 2 ex girlfriends.

I ran into both ex girlfriends yesterday.

In the morning I got on the train and the only remaining seat was next to ex number 1. I didn’t realise it was her until I was already sat down. I feared the worst when I realised the situation. However, after 5 minutes of awkward chit-chat, the train arrived at her stop and she got off. A sense of relief coursed through my veins as I felt that I had a dodged a majorly awkward bullet there.

I then saw the most recent ex walking down the street as I walked home from work. This exchange did not go as smoothly as the first.

Whilst she and I are on good terms these days and text each other every now and then, I had not actually seen her in the flesh for roughly a year! It was a strange thing seeing her right in front of me. I must confess that I was a little pleased to see, however this was because she was looking a little rougher than I remembered.

Anyways, there she was, walking no more than 10 yards in front of me (and at an annoyingly slow pace too!).

As I am a mature individual (and am able walk quicker than a tortoise with 2 broken legs) I knew that I would have to overtake her and, therefore, engage her in conversation. As it was so bloody cold outside I wanted to get home as quickly as possible and taking an alternative route was not an option.

After weighing up the various options and ways of initiating conversation in my head I decided that the most appropriate course of action would be to run up behind her, jump up in the air and grab her whilst shouting “boo” and, therefore, scaring her shitless!

Now I realise that, as ice breakers go, there are better ones available. However that little voice inside my head went “screw it” and I went for it anyways. Besides, she was always a bit weird so I knew she’d see the funny side.

…it wasn’t her

However, in an ironic coincidence, the girl who I did scare had a right hook that was strangely similar to that of my ex.

(*Legal Disclaimer* – my ex girlfriend did not actually beat me!)

 

Posted in Humour/Awkwardness | Tagged , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

The kids are alright…sort of!

I have a big family.

Now I know my brother C crops up on here a lot (for example here and here) but there are many, many more of us.

For starters, I am the oldest of 5 children.

Having plenty of siblings has shaped my personality in various ways. For example, I am good at sharing. I am also experienced at settling disputes (we argues and fought loads!), I am not perturbed by cramped living conditions and am adept at tormenting those who are physically weaker than me!

I am also good with children.

Now if you read this blog regularly I know that this may surprise you. What with me being something of an awkward guy and all.

However, as I also have roughly 30 first cousins, over 50 second cousins and more aunts and uncles than I could ever list (yeah my family are like rats…you are never more than a metre away from one of us!) I have been in the company of children my entire life.

I take a sad sense of pride in being good with kids. As I am not great with adults, it is nice to have a social arena in which I am not utterly hopeless.

So when my friend Danny said he needed my help with his 3 year old daughter on Friday afternoon I jumped at the chance to assist.

not like this...

not like this…

I looked after little Bean (her nickname) an awful lot when she was a bambino and we always got on well. Granted, she was asleep most of the time, but she always looked happy enough. A little while ago, Danny and his fiancée then moved to Scotland for work reasons. Things didn’t pan out up North so now that they are back and settled in Portsmouth again.

This would be the first time that I had seen her in the 18 months since they left. I was eager to reconnect with them all and re-establish myself as Bean’s favourite grown-up.

Sadly, It did not go too well.

For some reason she found me terrifying, the instant I walked through the door she squealed and then spent the next 20 minutes cowering behind her father’s legs.

My attempts to bribe her into liking me by using chocolate were unsuccessful as Bean has recently developed a dislike of dark chocolate and now only eats white chocolate.

Upon hearing this news, my taunts of “come on Bean, you don’t want to be a chocolate racist do you?” served only to backfire on me as she then began asking what a racist is. This got me a kick in the shins from Danny. You see both Danny and his fiancée are of Vietnamese descent and they wanted to wait until Bean is older before the subject of race is discussed.

not a chocolate racist...

not a chocolate racist…

Things picked up though as through an impromptu game of tag, a heart warming rendition of ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and me repeatedly pretending to hurt myself (as well as actually hurting myself a couple of times) Bean eventually began to warm to me.

There was a brief moment of panic when she asked me to tell her a story. With no books immediately available I drew a mental blank and ended up retelling her the story of the origin of Spiderman (I had re-watched the film a few days ago), forgetting that Spiderman’s origin story includes being bitten by a spider and his uncle being murdered.

After watching her angelic, yet confused face struggle to deal with concepts such as teenage angst, radioactivity and murder I decided to park that story and made up some bogus tale about fairies instead.

That was until the magic tricks…..

Whilst Danny was preparing lunch, I decided to treat Bean to my array of magic tricks before she went up off for a nap. It’s all standard stuff, I can make a card disappear, make a pen go up my ear and out of mouth can make coins appear in her ears.

Someone really should have told me that an irresponsible uncle had allowed Bean to sit through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a couple of weeks ago. Watching this served to  traumatise her greatly and she now associates magicians, wizards and witches with death and horror.

When I made the pen emerge from my mouth she began to scream.

Long story short. I had to leave the house in order to calm her down.

Pure Evil

Pure Evil

Danny called me Sunday afternoon.

Whilst he and his fiancée thought the whole story was hilarious they are now scratching their heads as to what to do Bean. She had spent Friday night in her parents’ bed as she was so upset by the whole affair. She had also been begging her parents to make sure that I never visit again. Saturday night was the same.

Like the concerned friend that I am I immeidately felt awful.

I took to google and found articles and links to pages and sites which talk about tips to get children over fears. I researched techniques in helping children get sleep and emailed it all over to Danny.

I really did feel bad about this one.

Monday morning came along and I had a text from Danny asking me to call him. He said it was urgent.

I called him. I was not sure what to expect but it was safe to say that I was worried.

My worry sooned turned to confusion as the phone was answered by the all too familiar voice of Bean screaming “APWIL FOOLS!” down the line at me.

It then dawned on me. Those bastards and their demon child had planned the whole thing!

I now need revenge. The question I put to you, my fellow bloggers, is how to get all 3 of them back. I am thinking I may just tell her that Santa is not real.

Is that too harsh?

Posted in Humour | Tagged , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Does anyone know Shaft?!

Once again, I have embarrassed myself in front of a client.

After this incident and this incident, I am now starting to think that I should not be allowed to talk to clients anymore.

Anyways, on with the story…

For the past 2 months I have been working closely with a client who goes by the name of Shaf. I know his name is short for something, I have no idea what though.

Shaf and I have a similar sense of humour. Dry, yet goofy. Most of our email exchanges end up with us sending silly creations on Microsoft Paint back and forth. When we speak on the phone, if I ever ask him if he needs anything else he will always dryly say “Well Jay I can’t decide whether or not to leave my wife for my mistress. What do you think?”.

Basically this guy is as odd as me and we have fun with it.

After months of working together Shaf finally came on down to our offices earlier in the week. He wanted to meet with our directors, see me in action, discuss future projects and grab a spot of lunch.

I am quickly going to jump in here and let you all know that the instant I heard the name ‘Shaf’, I thought of ‘Shaft’ the private detective played by Richard Rowntree and, later, Samuel L. Jackson. Whenever I hear his name my thoughts instantly turn to the famous ‘Theme from Shaft’ by Isaac Hayes.

...right on!

…right on!

 

So Shaf comes into the office. I go down to meet him, let him in and introduce him to everyone.

For some reason, that I still have no explanation for, I decided to use the Theme from Shaft as my way of introducing him to my bosses and colleagues.

Since Shaf has announced that he will be coming down, I have played out this scenario in my head a million times. It always went like this:

Colleagues: Who is this?

Jay: (*singing*) He’s a complicated man and no –one understands him but his woman…

Shaf: (*points at himself*) SHAF!

Jay: You damn right!

(*then all my colleagues and Shaf all fall around the floor laughing, before composing themselves and giving me hearty round of applause*)

 

However, it didn’t actually go that way.  In reality, it went a little like this…

Colleagues: Who is this?

Jay: (*singing*) He’s a complicated man and no –one understands him but his woman…

(*Shaf and everyone else in the office all stand perfectly still and in total silence. They look confused*)

Shaf: ..ummm….

Jay: Really? Not one of you?…Come on…Who’s the cat that wont cop out when there’s danger all about?…

(*people start to look uncomfortable. I notice that all of them are avoiding eye contact with me*)

Jay: …yeah…so…moving on. This is my client Shaf.

Shaf: Hi everyone.

Colleagues: Hi Shaf.

 

I then had to spend the next 10 minutes explaining to everyone why I had burst into song, that I hadn’t gone mental and that I was simply making a play on words because Shaf sounds like Shaft.

None of them knew what I was talking about.

They did not understand and reference and therefore, did not find my wordplay funny.

This was in equal parts awkward and frustrating for me. Even more so as I had genuinely imagined a round of applause for this.

Luckily I handled this whole situation like an adult and spent the remainder of the day sulking at my desk.

I went home and explained this story to C, and then to R. I got the same reaction from them. Nothing. They did call me a loser, a nerd and a dork though (in that exact order!).

Upon arriving at the office this morning I saw that I had an email. It was from Shaf. He had sent me a picture of my head on Isaac Hayes’ body.

He still claims not to know who Shaft is though.

I hate my job sometimes!

Posted in Humour/Awkwardness | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Where I write a letter to myself…

As most of you will know, last weekend was a bit of a rubbish one.

Fortunately, this weekend was one that was relatively incident free. After the past 7 days it was much needed.

The only downside with a quiet weekend is that it gives me little to write about. I was worried that I may have to delve into the archives again and share with you the time my dad drunkenly offered me Viagra! Luckily I don’t.

However inspiration struck me when I was reading through some other blogs. In an act of blatant thievery (if that is even a word???), which has not been seen since Winona Ryder walked into that Fifth Avenue store back in 2001, I pinched an idea that I saw used on two other separate blogs…

…writing a letter to yourself in the past.

Their posts (I wish that I had links to them) were interesting, creative and full of depth. Each displayed a long emotional journey with highs, low and heartfelt words of wisdom that one can only articulate after reflecting on a tough and strenuous life. Luckily, they had both come out the other side 0f it better off and seemed truly comfortable with themselves.

I am not certain if mine will be like that but I will give it a shot.

Now, you should know that as an 18 year old I was an idiot. However as I am now a little older and a little wiser I really think that I am in a position to give that idiot a spot of advice. So here goes nothing…

You know what you are Ryder!

You know what you are Ryder!

A letter to my 18 year old self. 

Dear 18 year old Jay,

I am writing to you from the year 2013. Yes, that means that I am writing to you from the future. Despite your daydreams, time travel has not yet been invented and you are yet to have any adventures going back in the past a’la Marty McFly. (You will actually still be hoping for this to become a reality in 2013).

Now I know you don’t really feel all too comfortable with all the emotional, sentimental and soppy stuff so I won’t dwell on anything of that nature here. All I will say is go and visit your Nan more often (she does not get better) and make sure you give Kelly Mac a call whilst you still can.

Anyways, I figured that I would use the benefit of hindsight to drop you a quick line and give you some advice in order to prepare you for the years that lie ahead.

As I know that you get headaches from reading lots of text I will break the main parts down into points for you:

Whilst we’re on the subject, those headaches are because you need glasses and not because you maybe have a brain tumour you hypochondriac! Go and get an eye test now! Do not ignore it for 2 years and make your eyesight worse!

That faux-hawk haircut does not suit you. Please remove it immediately.

As of 2013, Liverpool are still yet to win the Premier League. Stop making foolish bets on this with your friends every year. You’ll save yourself a fortune.

Change your email address! Trust me.

In 3 months time work will surprisingly invite you to an awards ceremony where you actually win an award! Jeans, T-shirt and Baseball Cap are NOT appropriate attire for this event. You will be mercilessly teased for years (even by people who weren’t there) if you go dressed like that. Wear a shirt and tie you idiot!

Whilst building a wall of used beer cans in your room may sound like fun, it will actually make your room stink to high heaven and will almost ruin things for you with a girl you like. Just throw them out upon consumption.

– Drink some coffee before you take that girl from your English Class to the cinema. Otherwise you will fall asleep during the film, only to wake up and find out that she left already. It will be beyond embarrassing for you.

In 5 months time, you will go to a nightclub, drink too much and feel queasy. Do not then approach a bouncer and enquire as to where a good place to throw up would be. He’ll throw you out into the street and it will hurt for weeks afterwards. That’s part of his job. Duh!

When you meet Hayley’s parents for the first time, do not try and light a cigarette on their stove. You will end up singeing your hair and eyebrows, thus making you look like an idiot! You will then spend years unsuccessfully trying to prove them wrong.

In fact, don’t smoke at all. It’s bad for you…and expensive!

Hopefully these will all hold you in good stead and make your transition into adulthood a little easier.

Oh, seeing as I am here I will also give you a heads up that you were right and Mason is autistic.

This will take a while to become official, Mum will also not remember you making this suggestion so feel free to mention it at every given opportunity. She won’t mind. Don’t worry about him either. He is blossoming into one of the most fascinating, funny and remarkable people that you have ever met.

One more thing, you and R eventually do end up sharing a house. You are living with him now. It takes you both a little longer to get there than you originally planned though (women get in the way) but that is a story for another day.

C is living with you too. Yeah, you guys are mates these days. Practically best mates in fact…I’m not even kidding!

Before I leave I should also say that I know that after smoking some illegal substances and re-watching The Matrix recently you are a little paranoid that computers will soon become sentient and will enslave all humans. Please relax, this has yet to happen and doesn’t look like happening any time soon.

I leave it there. I wouldn’t want to spoil the future for you.

Don’t worry. Everything is going to fine.

Take care.

2013 Jay.

 

Posted in Advice, Humour/Awkwardness | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments