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  1. #BEDM14: More tea vicar

    16 May 2014 by superlative

    BEDM14 What’s your [insert beverage of choice] ritual?

    There will probably be quite a lot of people writing today about how they make their tea, but it’s an obvious choice because it’s one of the few drinks that has a ritual. And although I say to people that I’m not fussy about my tea and I’ll take it as it comes, the truth is that I don’t like the way most people make it because they make it wrong.

    So here is the correct way to make a cup of tea:

    Boil the kettle.

    Put a teabag in a mug. ON NO ACCOUNT PUT MILK ON THE TEABAG. MILKY TEABAGS ARE DISGUSTING YOU INHUMAN MONSTER.

    Pour freshly boiled water on the teabag. If you leave it in the kettle for a while before putting it in the cup, boil it again just before you pour it.

    IMMEDIATELY stir the teabag for a few seconds and squeeze it out against the side. Just something like three seconds of stirring, you don’t need to go nuts. I don’t like the teabag to sit motionless in the water for very long because you end up with funny filmy bits floating around on top of the tea.

    Remove the teabag and dispose of it. If you use it to make a second cup, I will know because the colour won’t be right, so this is only appropriate if the second cup is for someone other than me.

    Pour in a SPLASH of milk. Not loads. I do not like my tea really milky, it gives it an unpleasant texture. If in doubt, err on the side of too little milk rather than too much. More can be added (although I would hardly ever need to), but you can’t take milk out once you’ve put it in.

    Stir and serve.

     

    There. You are now fully equipped to make me a perfect cup of tea. If you make your tea any other way to this, you’re very, very wrong and I pity you.


  2. #BEDM14: What’s the problem?

    14 May 2014 by superlative

    This is actually the BEDM14 topic from several days ago, but I didn’t get round to writing anything for it then so I’m just stealing it now instead.

    I tried to think of some actual problems I could write about – things in my life, for example, or problems with society today – but in the end none of them really inspired me. So instead I’m going to write about this: What’s the problem with Modern Family?

    Answer?

    Manny Delgado.

    hate Manny Delgado. I really, really do. He’s a vain, self-absorbed, arrogant, pretentious, unattractive, condescending, supercilious, priggish little pervert. I honestly believe he’s a sex offender in the making, and terms of his love life that’s probably a good thing because his personality is so repulsive he’s never going to get any by normal means anyway.

    I’m not blaming the actor, of course (although you could stand to lose a little weight, tubs, diabetes is no laughing matter), as it’s not his fault the character is written that way. And yes he’s probably important to the dynamics of the show and the creation of certain plot lines and blah blah blah. But I still hate him.

    From the first season Manny has had a rather distasteful attitude to women. He dresses it up as appreciation of the female form and tries to make it sound romantic by reciting poetry, but really he’s just a perv. When his cousins Alex and Hayley come round for a family-tradition pyjama party, he’s all “Oh, Hayley’s welcome to get changed in my room!” Why? So he can perv on her. Because he’s disgusting. Jay has to threaten to turn the hose on him.

    And it continues from there, through an endless parade of unfortunate females he tries to thrust his greasy affections onto. By the fourth season Manny is well into Buffalo Bill territory when he develops a crush on his brother’s nanny. How does he express this? By drawing endless pictures of women’s tits. To the point where his teacher actually becomes concerned about his behaviour and has to get his parents in. He even made this:

    Manny Delgado is a pervert

    He’s meant to be about 13! And yes 13 year olds get curious about sex and don’t always know where boundaries are, but Manny is ostensibly a very intelligent, mature 13 year old. He’s always banging on about it. So he has no excuse – either he’s too young to be slobbering over women’s breasts, or he’s intelligent enough to know better. Pick one, Manny, or get maced.

    And on top of being a disgusting little sex pest, he’s not even nice company. He dresses like a fop, and looks down on practically everyone in his family (or at least the ones he’s not currently hoping to penetrate). He’s sulky and attention-seeking, frequently flouncing off to his room to make everyone chase after him. And when he’s not sulking or undergoing a convenient bout of depression (go fuck yourself, “old soul in a young body”), his good moods are even more insufferable: he’s either bouncing around whinnying about how great his swarthy, deadbeat father is, or talking over everyone else about the play he’s just been cast in or the fucking opera he’s going to sing.

    He’s insufferable.

    So there you go. I hate you, Manny Delgado, and if your mother weren’t so terrifyingly adept with firearms I would slap you in the face.


  3. #BEDM14: Which superhero do you identify with and why?

    10 May 2014 by superlative

    I had to have a good long think about this one, because I don’t think I’m particularly similar any of the superheroes I like from comics and films.

    In the end I went for this: Superman

    Now before you burst a blood vessel laughing, let me explain. This is not because I think I am as amazing as Superman (although I do think that, but I’m not going to write it on here because you’ll think I’m a knob). No, I have chosen Superman for a very different reason.

    On the outside and to people who do not know him, Superman as Clark Kent is boring as hell. He faffs about in his smart clothes, occasionally stuttering and looking like a geek. Lots of people may not even notice him, and those that do might think ‘Wow, he’s dull. I’m not bothering with him’.

    But underneath his boring exterior, Superman is fantastic.

    It might take a bit of effort to get him to show you – you’d have to try to take over the world, for example – but once he does, you’re impressed.

    And that’s why I identify with Superman. I’m boring, I’m quiet, I’m bookish, I’m pasty, and it takes effort to find out if there’s anything more to me. But if you manage it, I’m the coolest person you’ll ever meet.

    You just have to persuade me to take off my shirt.

    Superman shirt rip


  4. #BEDM14: Don’t you want me, baby?

    8 May 2014 by superlative

    BEDM14 topic: Make us want you

    Do you need your DVDs put in alphabetical order? Or your books, CDs or anything else?

    Then you want me. I’ll do that for you. I’ll love it.

     

    Do you want to find the best rate for your savings? Or a better mortgage? Or a better car insurance deal?

    Then you want me. I can research that for you. I’m good at that.

     

    Do you want a nice home-baked cake? Maybe a lemon drizzle? Or a raspberry cake with white chocolate ganache?

    Then you want me. I can bake nice stuff.

     

    Do you need something translated from French or Italian? Maybe the instructions for how to build a scale model of the Titanic? (I have actually translated that; I’m not even joking)

    Then you want me. I’ve got a degree in that shit.

     

    Do you want your snazzy web design converted into pixel-perfect, cross-browser compatible CSS?

    Then you want me. I make it up half the time, but somehow it comes out pretty awesome.

     

    I can do all kinds of weird stuff. Most of it isn’t very useful, and it comes wrapped up in a neurotic, anxious, moody, tired, tipsy package. But as long as you can live with all the crap that comes alongside too, then

    I’M. YOUR. MAN.


  5. #BEDM14: So… it’s free?

    7 May 2014 by superlative

    BEDM14 topic: What was the first bit of the Internet that blew your mind?

    I remember exactly what the first thing on the internet was that really blew me away.

    I was sat behind the counter at Leyton Library, where I used to work (I know – me, a library assistant, it couldn’t have been more apt), and I was talking to a librarian called Lesley Pink. I’m still not completely sure that can have been her real name; it sounds rather more like a character from Cluedo. And she was telling me about something.

    It was called Hotmail.

    “Oh yes,” she said, “you can just set up an email address. Type in www.hotmail.com and have a look.”

    So we went to it together, and she talked me through signing up.

    I was AMAZED.

    “And this is free? I can just have any address I want for free?” (I was able to sign up with my first name and surname @hotmail.com. This was back in the good old days when every single address wasn’t yet taken).

    “And then I can send emails? To anyone I want, anywhere in the world, and it’s all free?”

    It was a revelation. Of course, I didn’t have anyone to send emails to at that point, but it meant I had the possibility of sending them, and that was enough.

    I could not fathom that anything existed like this that did not require payment. Today everyone expects everything on the internet to be free, to be paid for by advertising which you then don’t look at or which you screen out using an ad blocker. No one wants to pay for anything. I can count on one hand the number of web services and sites I’ve actually paid money to subscribe to in the 16 years I’ve been using the internet.

    I still have that email address too. It’s served me well, even if I have since switched to rival, Google-based products for most of my emailing. I should probably get an Early Adopter medal from Microsoft or something.

    So the thing that first blew me away on the internet was Hotmail. Plus a gay porn site called Bedfellow, which was the first one I ever stumbled across. On the same computer in the library actually. Not quite sure how I got away with that…


  6. #BEDM14: A letter

    6 May 2014 by superlative

    Dear reader,

    Last year one of the BEDM topics was to write a letter to your readers. This year the topic isn’t as specific, but I’m choosing to write a letter to you again anyway. You lucky, lucky thing.

    It’s been a funny year in many ways. My work life has changed quite considerably, as I’ve already mentioned, and in some ways so has my social life. Friends have moved away, become busier or had children, meaning I’m seeing less of them, and I’ve met some new people. My circle of friends hadn’t changed much for a few years, so it has been a peculiar feeling. It’s nice to meet new people and have new things to talk about; but at the same time I’ve found myself being stuck with some of the same problems of shyness and insecurity that I’d largely been able to forget about previously, or to tell myself I’d overcome. Apparently I was wrong about that; I just hadn’t talked to any new people for a while.

    Although work being busier and more challenging is a good thing, it has also been more stressful and more tiring, and again that’s an unusual experience for me compared to how things were before. I feel like I don’t have a lot of time for many things any more – whether it be blogging, or reading, or looking at lolcats – and I’m missing some of them.

    So it has been quite a different year really. I feel like lately I haven’t felt as happy or content as I was a while ago. I’ve felt more troubled, with a few things weighing on my mind that I haven’t had the time or inclination to write about on here. There’s nothing awful, but I’ve felt a bit distracted and uncertain.

    I might just be remembering things through rose-coloured glasses, but it seems in my mind that three or four years ago my life was a very contented one. And now I don’t feel quite the same. I’m sure if I think hard enough about it, it probably won’t be true – I was probably dissatisfied with my working life and feeling unfulfilled back then, and I’m just ignoring those bits now. But that’s just how it feels right now. It might be to do with getting older – I’m acutely aware I’ve just turned 33 and I don’t think my life has moved on very much from when I was about 28. That’s not time I’m going to get back, and I might not have that many years left where I’m going to feel ‘young’. 40 is rather uncomfortably closer than I would like it to be. I know there’s a couple of other things involved too, but, well, I’m not writing about those. I’m going to be enigmatic. It might even make me seem more interesting.

    This didn’t end up being much of a letter, did it? Except I wrote ‘Dear reader’ at the beginning. I hope you are well anyway. I hope you wake up each morning and feel excited about the day ahead. I’m not sure anyone in real life actually does that, it sounds entirely implausible to me, but I hope it for you nonetheless.

    Enjoy your Tuesday. Write back – it’s nice to get letters.

    Much love,
    Simon


  7. #BEDM14: 5pm today

    5 May 2014 by superlative

    (Yeah I skipped yesterday. Sue me.)

    At 5pm today I was sitting on my sofa, feeling the gentle buzz of having just polished off an unnamed cocktail followed by a cranberry martini, and wondering what it would look like if a muscular young man were to squeeze the butter out of a crumpet onto his abs. I had my reasons for this, I’m not just weird.

    I’d also just finished playing my first ever game of Smallworld, a Risk-like board game involving giants, dragons, wizards and orcs which Chris and I bought this afternoon. It was quite fun, but somehow his bitch Amazonians managed to defeat my giants and dwarves (who had negotiated an uneasy non-height-discriminatory alliance), and being a bad loser I was left rather disappointed.

    So there, that defines a lot of my life pretty well: geeky, gay, and a bit tipsy. That was my 5pm.


  8. #BEDM14: Facebook or Twitter?

    3 May 2014 by superlative

    As much as I love Facebook for the way it lets you share photos, send group messages and set up events, I’m going to have to pick Twitter.

    Twitter is the more geeky response in some ways, and it can seem less accessible and even quite hard work to someone who is only used to Facebook. But it terms of hours of amusement and keeping me company, I think I get far better value out of Twitter. It’s a much more immediate platform – you either see something when it’s posted or you miss it – and of course that can be a disadvantage sometimes too, but I find it gives it more of an energy than I get from Facebook.

    Twitter has made me die laughing many more times than Facebook, and it’s great when there’s something happening on television and Twitter comes alive as everyone watches it together. People have surprised me with just how funny they can be. I’ve also made many more new friends through Twitter than Facebook, just because its very nature encourages you to interact with people you don’t know, as opposed to Facebook where you reach for the pepper spray if a stranger adds you. During the darkest and most boring days of my previous job, I honestly don’t know how I would have managed without Twitter always giving me someone to talk to.

    I also have Twitter to thank for connecting me to my best ever online-met friend, Matt Smith. He always has time for me, even though I can be tremendously boring, and the two of us have made a concerted effort to break the Twitter platform through the sheer number of DMs we send back and forth during each day. Most of those times you’ve seen the Fail Whale in the past were probably down to us.

    Finally, Twitter gives me a medium to share my sparkling wit with the world in a way I just can’t do on Facebook. I don’t post as much as I used to any more, it’s true, but I’ve had some great times on there.

    So, Twitter, I choose you.


  9. #BEDM14: Fear 2, the sequel

    2 May 2014 by superlative

    #BEDM14 topic – The things you’re most afraid of

    I wrote about this topic last year so I’ve already used up two of my biggest fears – cancer and death. I’m not doing those again, so I’ll have to think of some more things.

    Being wrong
    This one affects quite a few aspects of my life. I hate doing things wrong, or making the wrong decision, to the point where I’ll try to prepare and plan for every possible eventuality. I have to research everything, learn everything and feel I’m in complete control of a situation or it freaks me out and I get really uncomfortable and anxious. So this fear also covers moments of change in my life, especially if I’ve initiated them by moving house or starting a new job or anything similar. What if I commit to something and it’s wrong? What if I mess it up? Even worse, what if someone else KNOWS I’ve messed it up? Urgh, it’s horrible.

    In some ways this fear helps me, because it’s a good motivator to be really clever and know about everything. But it’s also a bit crippling, especially if it makes me avoid change, or expend lots of energy worrying about being wrong or losing control. People just are wrong sometimes, so I’m never going to be able to prevent it entirely. But I find it hard to let go.

    Kids
    This is another anxiety-related one. I was mugged several times as a child, and was always one of the bookish, easy target sort of children that attracted the attention of the yobby East London boys I grew up around. So, not unreasonably, I developed a fear of rowdy or rough children in the street. I got good at spotting them from a distance and adjusting my route to avoid them without actually looking like I was avoiding them. I did my best not to be noticed by them. I still feel traumatised by the worst muggings and other experiences I had as a child, and I try not to think about them because of the rage they create in me at the injustice of it all.

    But the worst thing really is that my fear hasn’t gone away in adulthood. It has expanded to include rough-looking adults in the street too, but I still also feel anxious when passing a group of rowdy children or when I’m on the bus with them. I don’t think I’m afraid of being physically attacked by them – I’d like to think that even I could beat up a child if I really wanted to – but I worry that they’ll hassle me and make me look like an idiot. Children these days know you can’t do anything to them or give them a clip round the ear like people used to, so the shitty ones feel free to be horrible to people with impunity.

    Obviously I try not to look like I’m worried about it, and I don’t tell anyone because it sounds rather foolish to say you’re feeling afraid of those 13 year-olds over there. And nothing ever actually happens anyway; why would it? So the whole thing ends up being rather pointless.

     

     

     


  10. #BEDM14 1: What would be on your bucket list?

    1 May 2014 by superlative

    I’ve had a little think about this during the day, and I’ve decided I don’t really have a bucket list. Maybe it takes a terminal diagnosis to focus your mind, but I have a nice life and I don’t want for much.

    I’ve done my best anyway, and tried to answer this question: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

    1. See some Aztec or Inca ruins
    I was always fascinated by these cultures as a child, and I’d quite like to see a stepped pyramid surrounded by jungle at some point. I’m not sure if there’s much else you can do there, other than look at them, but I think it would be nice.

    2. See Mount Rushmore
    I don’t know why I want to see Mount Rushmore, but I love the idea that humanity in its arrogance has carved the massive faces of a select few people into the side of a mountain. Why would you even think of doing this? It’s a MOUNTAIN; it’s fine as it is. And what if one of them later turned out to be a paedo? You’d be stuck with it. You’d have to put up a sign next to it saying “Sorry about the paedo.” I’d like to see it though, so I can say “God. That’s a bit weird.”

    3. Sit on a deserted beach of pure white sand, in front of a clear blue sea, drinking a cocktail out of half a coconut
    I think that would be a pretty sweet way of spending a day.

    4. Write a novel
    I’ve mentioned wanting to do this before on here, and I still want to. A novel would still be around after I’m gone, sat on a shelf somewhere with my name on the side. And then maybe someone would pick it up and think “I wonder what he was like?” (answer = fucking awesome)

    5. Harry Judd
    He won’t be my favourite forever, but if I had to pick one person at the moment I’d really, really like to do Harry Judd. Someone arrange that for me. If you want to combine items I’d be prepared to do him on top of Mount Rushmore.