I have some quirks. I get the piss taken out of me for my quirks and therefore if these quirks are OCDs then having the piss taken out of me is probably the best thing any one could do; people with OCDs should be made to realise the depth of their weirdness.
I have a thing about spoons (actually cutlery in general) and especially the kind you use to eat things with that aren't teaspoons. I am very particular about which spoon I use and if one I'm happy with isn't available then I'll either go and wash one or go without. A spoon has to be aesthetically pleasing in sight and in my mouth; if it isn't I won't use it.
I also have this thing about a dish in the cupboard. It doesn't belong to us, although we have kept it for 15 years. I won't use it. As far as I'm concerned, I don't care how often it's been boiled to death, cleaned in the dishwasher and sand-blasted clean, it isn't my bowl, so I won't use it.
Possibly the oddest thing in my cannon of foibles is... my hang-up about toilets. My mum used to be terrible; she had a real problem going for a #2 anywhere that wasn't her house or wasn't a house where she felt comfortable in. Going on foreign holidays must have been hell for my dad, especially during the first week where she would steadfastly refuse to go to the loo and would start to feel uncomfortable due to its cumulative effects. By the second week, she had grown accustomed to her surroundings and the floodgates would open, literally.
Going for a shit was never really a problem for me, but as I got older I realised that the human brain can do some strange things to you. I was always Mr Not Squeamish; I could watch anything and it wouldn't bother me - eyeball dissections, axe murderers, child birth, operations - you name it, I could sit through the lot as stoic as a Dali Lama ignoring Chinese oppression. Then the wife's brother was diagnosed with a brain tumour (he died 10 years ago now...) and had to have an operation to remove it.
Me, the wife and Neil travelled down to Oxford to see him the day after the operation and while I might have been 40 and growing longer in the tooth, I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see. The back of Glynn's head looked, literally, like someone had taken an axe to it, in a rough and slapdash manner. It must have had a real profound effect on me because the wife saw all the colour drain from me, thought I was going to faint and sent me away. I was actually quite grateful. This changed my way of seeing gore completely, to the point where I literally cannot stomach most of the unpleasant things I used to watch without any problem.
When I was a kid, watching a woman in childbirth was, if we're going to be honest about it, a bonus way of seeing a woman's private lady bits in flagrante, now it's like a bus crash; like something out of Giger's mind rather than God's.
I then started to develop the same problem my mum had. There were a number of places where I felt 'safe' having a dump - my home, my folks', in the shop's bright pink toilet and, um, that was about it. But these were the three places I'd spend the most time in, so I felt the most comfortable in them. When the shop closed it took me about 6 months to trust using Dez Skinn's bog. It was clean and pleasant (but didn't have a lock on it) and therefore I would never feel 'right' about having 20 minutes on the bog with a good comic or book.
Then three things happened that changed my toilet habits dramatically.
The first happened in the 1980s, the first time the wife and I went to Glastonbury together. I had basically been constipated from the Thursday and by the Sunday morning I needed a dump more than anything in the world, but my experiences of the Glasto bogs had always been quite unpleasant anyhow; it wasn't helped by the fact I was tripping my tits off on acid. I really needed to go, so the wife and someone else, I think it was Wendy, accompanied me to the sheds sitting on pits that doubled up as toilets, and I eventually went to a free cubicle, dropped my jeans and squatted. I was off my face; the metals doors were just clanging and clanging and clanging; the sun had come out so it was all beginning to smell very ripe. I sat there and my trip immediately went from good to horrible. I pulled my jeans up and exited the bog as quick as I could; I no longer wanted to dump; I wanted to be as far away from the bogs as possible. For me, it seemed like an eternity; I seemed to be sitting in their for an hour, but it turned out to be less than a minute; the wife and her friend rolled their eyebrows at me and we went in search of food. I went when I got home, two days later.
In the early 90s, there was a bunch of us down the Royal in Wellingborough and I felt that urge and departed for the loos; however what I faced turned my stomach and made me begin my weird trip. It looked, from where I was standing, like someone had drunk about 20 pints of beer and had several hot curries, then, for a joke, decided to lie on the floor with their arse pointing upwards and see if they could fire the human waste into the bowl through the sheer force of crap that wanted to get out. There was shit everywhere; in fact, I stood there thinking that whoever had done this must have got handfuls of the stuff and rubbed it on every bit of clean surface in the cubicle. It looked like someone had been filled with shit and then had a stick of dynamite shoved up their arse for that all over finish!
I left the loo in the same state I entered it, but with my stomach having done a 180 degree turn.
A few weeks later, I was down in London and had been drinking and eating food at a restaurant before going along to some comics gathering. I had an urge for a splurge, took myself into the bogs and suddenly felt that maybe I should inject a little urgency into the proceedings, either that or I was going to shit myself. The bog was quite busy, but I got a cubicle, dropped my kecks and proceeded to make lots and lots of unpleasant sounds, while simultaneously dumping lots of poo in the loo. I suddenly became incredibly self-conscious about my toileting and when I left the cubicle, I got the impression that the people still in there were looking at me like I'd had an alien crawl up my anus and die. To top it all off, the toilet stunk like the inside of a dodgy sewer. I felt really, really embarrassed and probably it was all in my mind.
From that point on, I have been stymied by my reticence to use public or unknown toilets. It has happened about 5 times in total in 20 years and trust me when I say that these only happened because I probably could have gone in the middle of a Tesco's and not felt self-conscious about it. I also think it has had some mildly negative effects on my health, which wouldn't surprise anyone, I'm sure.
Today there are just two places I feel safe having a shit. My house and my old house, now owned by one of my best friends. I have had the fortune to be able to stop off in Wellingborough, let myself in (I had a key up until a couple of years ago) and sit in my old familiar surroundings allowing gravity to run its course. It appears that the Hippie is now considering selling the old house to buy a new place with his long-standing girlfriend; this worries me slightly. His new loo won't be the old one.
Yes, I am aware that it is weird and a bit dodgy, but that's me - a bit weird and dodgy has always been a great way to describe me...
So, here I am, sitting at home on a Wednesday afternoon when I should be at work. I have been sent home because the virus I've had since Friday hasn't gone away and I've now got a very upset stomach - which really wasn't expected. I had to go to the loo at school; that caused me more stress than many things have in the last umpteen years; especially as I lost the key code to the staff loos and had to use the students'.
I realised pretty quickly that I couldn't last the whole day, with my head pounding, my chest tight and the new poo-ey wrinkle having arrived, so my boss told me to go and that is why I am here. Here is boring, but in the two hours I've been home, I've spent most of it in the little boy's room and at this moment in time the last place I want to see again today is the toilet.
Any readers of my TV Dump Thing will know that my opinion of the SyFy channel has plummeted over the years to the point where I have more respect for Abu Hamza than I do for the TV network. The news that the network is to adapt Stephen King's Eyes of the Dragon has filled me with an enormous amount of dread. Mixing King with TV or film is a bad idea at the best of times, but allowing this unimaginative shower of budget-less freaks loose on what was essentially a great little adolescent yarn is like asking your local amateur dramatics company to replicate The Lord of the Rings on a record turntable.
You just know I'll watch it, don't you? Then come on here and rant mercilessly for days about how shit it was.
Speaking of SyFy, Eureka returned with little or no fanfare and I sat and enjoyed two episodes last night and bemoaned the fact that this excellent little series is being canned. When this company do things right, they don't last. Yet both Haven and Sanctuary remain and one can only think this is because these shows only cost about $50 to make.
The country is in the shitter again.
The weather is crap.
I feel like poo.
I have old Blogger back, but the shit one is being forced on us on April 30th.
And Facebook continues to be as shit as a shitty thing in a really shitty toilet...
It's rubbish. Haven't any of you realised this yet? This week, something happened that alerted me to my own news feed. I accessed my alter ego account, which hasn't been used for yonks and yonks and in it I saw one of my closest friends posts. My alter ego has only about 5 'friends', so they all appear regularly in his news feed, I should think.
I saw a number of things from a specific friend, so I checked my own news feed and over 50% of them were missing. Now, a couple of times in recent months, I have either missed a post another friend has seen or someone hasn't seen something I posted in their news feed. On closer examination of that particular persons 'settings' I noted that nothing was unticked. I should receive every update he posts, but I don't get half of them. So I checked a couple of other people and sure as sheep shit, there were things I should have seen in my news feed that mysteriously didn't appear.
Looking at my blog stats, because a lot of referring comes from Facebook, some of my entries have had barely any views. Now, even if you started reading it and thought, this is shit, it would still register as a hit; so something is amiss. I went back into my alter ego's account and noticed how few adverts he has; mainly because he hasn't liked anything. But more telling, he didn't have about 50% of my posts in his news feed; in fact half my blogs, most of the You Tube links and other general stuff isn't in his feed; which suggests to me that you only get what Facebook actually wants you to have.
So, if I've not commented on something or shared it, it's because I haven't seen it and therefore question the validity of Facebook as an all-encompassing social network.
One of my friends, who also has a bogus account (which suggests to me that just about everyone has multiple Facebook accounts and therefore there is only 800 people with Facebook and the other 9000billion are figments of each others' imaginations), checked his and found roughly the same problem, except he got different posts to the ones I got??? He suggested we keep a track on them, but I said, 'what's the point? It's not like we can contact Facebook and complain, is it?'
Next time someone asks you if you saw a certain post and you didn't; check to make sure and if you didn't get it, keep track. Come the revolution and all that...
- I have been listening to: Storm Corrosion (meh), Thomas Newman, Orbital, Steely Dan, Secret Machines and Bass Communion.
- I have been playing on my net book, which feels like it might be a real learning curve.
- I have discovered a cheap and effective way of saving myself money. My DVD player has a USB port for a memory stick and I can play files directly through that rather than going through the sometimes slapdash burning them to discs. It also plays MP4s through it, which it doesn't accept on a disc.
- My spuds are coming up.
- My spinach is planted.
- This autumn I will eat a lot of saag aloo.
- My garden is under water.
- My dogs need aqualungs.
- Fishwife, wife and childlings have gone on holiday for a week - out of school holidays; shockingly irresponsible. Fuckwit had an IQ test, he thought it was to do with busy checkouts at Morrisons.
- My second cousins had babies, who have become my third cousins.
- My birthday week was excellent, only marred by this bloody virus.