Ketchup

A potentially contentious post follows.

If you’ve been buying (or have been bought) Heinz Tomato Ketchup all your life, then let me tell you, you’re doing life wrong.

Try Tesco Tomato Ketchup instead. It tastes more tomato-ey, less vinegary, it’s got a better texture than its frankly artificial-tasting competitor and, the best bit, it’s approaching half the price!

Which? Magazine’s blind taste tests (login required to read the full article) and my discerning palate can’t be wrong.

Go on, give it a try, what’s the worst that could happen?

Cake

This post was inspired by a comment from @neilco on the App.net social network:

"I’m pondering a world where cake is the currency. My dad had this to say about both money and cake: once it’s gone it’s gone.

Just imagine a delicious, frosted, edible currency."

My daughters have an uneasy relationship with cake. The lure, allure, whatever you wish to call the experience, of cake is strong and yet its execution in my household is weak. Before you think this is going nowhere, let me explain.

Cakes are bought, put on plates, cut into manageable portions, put on smaller plates and distributed according to the size of the family member to receive them. Number 2 daughter gets the smallest portion, number 1 the next larger, my wife gets the next-up in size and I, being head of the household and biggest, get the biggest. However, the distribution of sizes isn’t at all as straightforward as this outline implies.

Daughter 2 is still relatively clumsy so the floor gets some, she eats some, she sees something interesting on the TV, all is lost. Daughter 1 is also relatively clumsy, the TV plays a big part in her life too. So, the unconsumed cake, where still edible, usually goes to the head of the household. Me. (My wife is health- and weight-conscious.)

Now, Daughter 2 loves to share. It’s at the very core of her being. A slight issue is the concept of sharing is somewhat unconventionally applied in her world. I get my slice of cake, it’s lovely and moist and identical in all-but size to Daughter 2′s. She looks over want WANTS mine. There’s nothing in-your-face confrontational about the process of her taking over, it’s seamless. One minute it’s all mine, the next I’m feeding her bite-sized portions…

You’d think that would be the end of it. Nope, not by a long way. Because I try to be the best dad I can (let’s not go there) I feel the need to reciprocate the largesse dispensed by my 2 daughters. Ice cream or a trip to ‘The Cupboard’ is allowed. It’s only fair. And when it’s all over, am I owed a debt of gratitude? Maybe, but I’m unlikely to ever collect.

‘The Cupboard’, by the way, is where we keep the snacks, not some instrument of discipline similar to a mediaeval iron maiden. No, ‘The Cupboard’ is a simple cupboard with shelves, situated at ground level with deliciously-edible contents available to all-comers, incidentally a strategy being re-examined as this very post is written.

Eventually I finish my cake, dreaming of simpler times – a single example being once when our 5 cats sat in a perfect semi-circle whilst I fed them the meat from an otherwise excellent triple pack of supermarket sandwiches.

In summary, quantitative easing seems a clumsy instrument compared to the arrival of even a single cake at Turner Towers.

Computer assistance required

Why do people ask for assistance with computer problems they haven’t solutions for? That’s an easy one to answer: so they can show off their superior ability.

An example using you as the twit: there’s something wrong on your screen, a dialogue box appears and you can progress no further. What do you do? You ask your shining white knight to assist! Easy.

Said knight (me) arrives, asks you to do nothing more, not even move the mouse, then asks a series of questions. My first word though is “STOP!”

You:

Dismiss any and all dialogue boxes remaining on the screen,
Pan and scroll the screen so that the area causing problems is no longer visible, let alone in focus,

Answer “What were you doing prior to the event?” with “Nothing!”

Answer “What were the contents of the dialogue box, even approximately?” with “I don’t know, something technical, how am I supposed to know?”

Answer “What do you need to do to progress?” with “I don’t understand.”

Eventually a dialogue is established, an approximate timeline leading up to the error is ascertained, and other big words…

A plan coalesces!

“Right,” I say “I think I know what’s causing the problem and I’ve a solution* I think will work. Should we try it?”

“Yes.” you say.

I start to patiently explain the background, the reason for the error, and steps necessary to avoid the ‘thing’ happening in the future. And this is where it falls apart.

You click, pan, scroll, press buttons, dismiss dialogue boxes, and then, as if it wasn’t enough, offer an alternative solution. You do it before I finish. Every time.
“I know mine will work,” I say. You ignore this with “Yeah, but…” so I walk away.

Until the next time…

A few minutes later I observe a thought bubble above your head: “Er… that didn’t work, crap idea, I’ll go and ask X…”

A quarter of an hour later I observe X walking away a little flustered, and Google search appears on their screen. Eventually a solution appears and it’s implemented. X of course gets due credit. It is indeed only fair.

And there’s a smile on your face, you did well fixing that.

Until the next time…

Dad’s Army mug

Here’s one of my favourite Christmas presents from 2013. On the face of it just an enamelled mug, but to me it’s much, much more than that. There’s a massive amount of symbolism going on here. Drinking from it in the comfort of my comfy armchair and surrounded by the comfort of our modern age I can nevertheless imagine myself transported back it time to…

(insert wavy transition sequence here)

I’m a young recruit to the WWII Home Guard, green around the gills, no clue what’s going on, my ability to take orders my only saving grace… and someone gives me a mug of tea.

Ok, ok, I’m ordered to make the tea but that’s a trifling detail – isn’t this my story‽

Tinny pressed mug; flimsy pressed spoon; muddy water on a rolling boil in a patterned, enamelled container of origin best-not elaborated on. The milk’s a bit lumpy but that’s ok, it goes in, the tea’s good; any refuge from this biting cold is welcome…

(a-aaaand back to the future)

It makes a satisfying tinny sound when stirring tea (with bags, 3-1/2 sugars, thanks!) – it’s reassuringly light, it harks back to a bygone era when a man used what he was given – and liked it.

And it’s already taken on a manly patina. Oh, yes.

Follow

I don't follow everyone who follows me on App.net (or previously Twitter) for a number of reasons, all selfish. Here are a few:

On the date I'm writing this I follow 73 people on App.net. Sure it's not a massive number, but it's enough for now. Some are more prolific than others.

Important to note: I read my timeline daily. All of it. Sometimes it takes more than one day to get through it all.

I skip over some posts of course, but the key thing to remember is I have directed posts (the one side of conversations of people I follow) turned on. It's a lot of posts.

I used to cite my now-practically-inactive Twitter account as evidence that I'm over-committed on social networks. That's no longer the case but my reading strategy is unfortunately still based on that network.

So, if a user's average post count is low I'll follow.

One day I'll figure this out but I'm such a nosy sod I reckon it'll take a while. I hope this helps you understand why I may or may not follow you.

Thankyou for feigning patience!

Killed

All, ok, most old content is gone. I wasn’t really interested in keeping it. A late spring clean?

Alternatively: Oops!