Saturday, May 28, 2011

Eh? Storm in Eh? Teacup

Canadians Kathy Witterick and David Stocker are causing a great deal of consternation.

But then confusion ought to be the default state in Canada - consider:

  • It's about the same size as the US, but has the population of Morocco, meaning that there are three and a half people per square kilometre - compared to the two hundred and fifty in the UK. So, it can get a bit lonely.
  • Half the populace speaks nearly English, while the other practices a disdainful French dialect which would shame a Parisian. (Not often a problem, given the population density you're lucky if you have someone to talk to anyway)
  • It's situated on the North American Continent, yet it's not a part of the United States and its inhabitants will bristle if you refer to them as Americans (can't say I blame them; I come out in hives if someone calls me a European).
  • It worked very hard to gain independence from Britain, yet retains the Monarch as its head of state.
  • Many Canadians put a great deal of effort into pretending to come from somewhere else.  For example, James Doohan, famed as "Scotty" in Star Trek, was, in fact, Canadian despite the tartan accent.

So, given the background level of WTF, how have this couple achieved their not inconsiderable feat?  Simple. They are refusing to disclose the gender of their latest child - who they have named "Storm". Their objective in fostering this ambiguity is to allow Storm to be whatever it (I'm sorry, but I don't see that I have a choice there, under the circumstances) wants to be, unfettered by the social norms associated with males and females.

Storm's two older brothers are only slightly less unconventional, being given complete freedom over how they dress and behave. Apparently, both have wardrobes which would have induced huge pangs of jealousy in the young Eddie Izzard and, with their braided hair, are almost always assumed to be girls. Of course, this cross dressing won't be too out of place in Canada since a recent survey conducted exclusively for and by the Grumbler has revealed that 72.3% of Canadians are lumberjacks. Those of us who have been enlightened by Monty Python will immediately recall the propensity of said tree-fellers towards flower pressing, dressing in womens' clothing and hanging around in bars.  So. transvesticism is a national sport in Canada (the home country achieved all three podium finishes in the drag queen event at the Montreal olympics) and these kids have a head start - doubly so for Storm if it turns out to be a girl.

Storms dad maintains that "If you really want to get to know someone, you don't ask what's between their legs."  Bollocks!  (And that was an exclamation, not an answer.)  Several people asked me last month, and the answer was "It's a Triumph Tiger mate".  Of course, this assertion falls down where Mrs Grumbler is concerned.  If you were brave enough to ask the good lady that particular question, half the time she'd give you a funny look and say "Its called a horse, you fuckwit."

So, all things considered, it's clear that most Canadians must exist in a permanent state of puzzlement.  Which actually explains one thing that's perplexed me for ages - which is why Canadians seem to end every sentence with a question.

I mean, if you lived there, you would, eh?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How Not to be Deluged by Lobsters



Have you ever wondered why you never notice that something’s become a habit until someone points it out?  Think about it for a minute - you spend years practicing something completely harmless, like saying the word “Burp” while belching, for example, only to absent mindedly perform in the middle of the office one day and cause your colleagues to look at you “in that way”…  It’s perhaps fortunate (for me and any potential witnesses) that I have never become unconsciously competent at aping Le P├ętomane’s rendition of La Marseillaise.


My pal Pete "Codger" Cogle (from PC Podcast) and I were in “The Sussex” when we discovered the latest ‘thing’ that we do regularly enough for it to be called a habit is to attend the Great Escape festival in Brighton. And yes, it was pointed out to us in startling fashion when the barmaid greeted us with “you were here last year, weren’t you?”  How on earth does she remember two blokes who turn up once a year and get mildly sloshed?  Please don’t tell me that this might be the only place I’ve ever successfully farted the French National anthem, because I really hope I could remember something like that!


Anyway, to the unusually serious point of this post.  It's more than likely that you're reading this in the interwebby thing, and so its a fair bet that you're Facebooked, a member of the Twitterati and no stranger to the world of internet commerce.  Do you know what Clickjacking is?  Put simply, its one of the latest ways of having your information stolen, or your computer/account hijacked to do something you didn't intend.  This might have consequences as simple as you posting on all your friends' Facebook walls something like "OMG, my ex-keeps checking out my profile!" or a little more complicated, like sending your bank account passwords to a bunch of intergalactic hackers from the planet Zog.  Its hard to explain, so I'm not going to bother; see wikipedia.


I did try to explain to Codger in the pub, though; "It's like pressing the Espresso button on the coffee machine at work, and instead of being served a lukewarm cup of something that's nearly coffee, you actually get hit by a deluge of lobsters". We obviously weren't the only folk to find the lure of the beer in there to be impossible to resist because just then we were approached by a fellow #tge'er, doubtless attracted by our dayglo writsbands, and most definitely feeling no pain. "Were you guys planning who to see tonight?"  Well, we had been planning to, before I got sidetracked into the murky world of internet toeraggery, and "Deluged by Lobsters" would be SUCH a good name for a band.  I'm afraid I did tell a few little while lies before we supped up and parted ways...


So it only remains for me to apply to stage my own brand new concept show (a flatulent execution, in every sense of the word, of the greatest hits of Abba) at next year’s event, and to apologise to the poor fella who trundled beerily away from Codger and me late on that afternoon of the first day determined to see the superb New Zealand based “Deluged By Lobsters” perform tracks from their Psychedelic album “Drenched in Reverb” at a secret street gig…

And if you want a little more about The Great Escape, can I recommend Pete's Podcast, Episode #350?