Thursday, June 29, 2006

Warning: This Website Contains Content that May be Considered Christian (apparently)

Today at work Andy was asked by a customer to check for a bible study (or something) that they had seen on a website called Solomons Dance(.com). He came into the office and logged onto the website to find that it was a Christian based site dedicated to the fine art of love making. The home page says this:

The bible teaches in Psalm 149:5 that sex is a form of worship. By coming together in mutual love, as married partners, we worship God, and sing unto him. It is this act of making love that is Solomon’s Dance – a dance before the Lord in the love and compassion that God himself designed into this most intimate of times .

This, as it stood, seemed fine. Sex, obviously, is a wonderful, God given gift so there should be no reason why a group of God-honouring Christians shouldn't set up some kind of web based forum discussing it. What caught our attention, however, was a link titled Intimate Products. Andy had to print off the home page and take it upstairs to the waiting customer (to see if this was the website he meant) but put me in charge of finding out what exactly these Intimate Products consisted of. I dutifully obliged. With Pauline looking over my shoulder (hiding her interest cunningly behind a series of well placed tuts) I clicked on the link to find that Intimate Products divided into four main categories: Intimate Toys, Intimate Games, Intimate Clothing and Furniture. Now many of you may be asking why I deemed it appropriate to go any further? The answer: curiosity. I know it killed the cat and all but I'm on a Christian website so I figure "how bad can it be?".

It can be bad!

The number one bestselling Intimate Toy from Solomon's Dance(.com) was..... well it was rude. I'll spare you the details suffice to say it contained the words "delights", "jelly", and "riser".

Now I appreciate that as a single Christian guy, I could be accused of being a little naive when it comes to such matters (although I should point out that all the married employees of Wesley Owen were just as shocked as I was to see these things being billed as God-honouring aids) but sometimes the Christian stance on sex baffles me.

A couple of years ago I went to see a very close and recently married friend and his wife (also now a very good friend). They were talking about the joys of being married. I was looking round their home and looking at wedding photos and videos of the honeymoon etc etc. But as soon as me and my friend (let's call him Moses) left the house to pick up lunch he turned to me and said "mate - I love sex". Now as two single guys, I had no problem talking to him about all this stuff before he was married but now he was telling me about something very personal and private and it didn't seem quite right somehow. But recently I've been thinking. Should Christians talk about sex more? Moses wasn't bragging down the pub about some fit bird he'd picked up for a night. He had just discovered something very beautiful and wanted to share that with one of his closest friends. When I recently told one of my friends (female and married - we'll call her Cordelia) about this though she was horrified at the idea. She insisted that sex was something extremely personal and shouldn't be talked about outside the relationship. And I've just been wandering, would single Christians benefit if their married friends were a little more open about sex? I have some single friends (mostly female) who are terrified at the prospect of sex and other single friends (mostly male) who are...well...frustrated. Would talking about sex more openly help or make things worse?

In a sense I agree with Cordelia. But I'd also really like to know how I should react to a Christian website that sells E-glass Touch Me Massagers.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

No Neeps, No Tatties, No Job

I've just logged onto the GTTR website (the website through which I've had to do my PGCE teacher training applications) and seen that my application for a place in the Edinburgh PGDE course was unsuccessful. I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this (I literally only found out about 2 minutes ago) so maybe I'll try and break it down into some kind of public cyber therapy.

Reasons I'm Kinda Relieved:

1) It means I don't have to make a very big and very difficult decision.

2) It means I now won't suddenly find myself the length of Britain away from people I love.

3) It means I won't have to spend a year phoning John Mitchenson for Scottish-English translations (I know it's technically the same language and the accent isn't that strong but you'd be surprised how much I struggle)

Reasons I'm Kinda Peeved:

1) I took a week's holiday off, spent a total of 18 hours on a fairly uncomfortable coach and had to sleep in pee - for nothing.

2) It would have been great to do something I love and feel that I'm good at. I also would have enjoyed the challenge of setting up on my own somewhere completely far off. Scary but exciting at the same time.

3) I had to watch the England/Sweden game under the watchful gaze of Scotland.

Reasons I was Kinda Conceived:

1) Love.

2) A desire to start a family.

3) Sex.

Reasons it can Kinda be Believed:

1) I was very late in my application. They were saying throughout the interview that the applications (mine and the four girls who were also being interviewed) weren't really in at the desired time. They said that they only had 15 places, truck loads of people applied this year, it was done on a first come, first served basis and most people apply about October-December sort of time. I kind of got the impression that the whole day was just a formality and they'd already filled the spaces.

2) When they asked me what research I'd done into the Scottish education system I realised that I hadn't even thought about it (I think I might have vaguely known something about Scotland being different with its schooling but at the time of preparing for last Tuesday I had most certainly forgotten). I blagged something about choosing Edinburgh out of a desire to gain experience of different education systems but what I was essentially saying was: "uh?"

3) Some of the other applicants there were those kinda "I will convince you that I'm the person for the job by over exaggerating how very excited I am to be here" type girls* and I just couldn't do that.

All in all, I'm alright with it. It was good experience and I feel I did well (apart from the obvious "Scotland has its own education system!?!?" blip) and I reckon that under other circumstances (i.e. had I applied earlier and known the slightest thing about Scottish schooling) I could well have got in. GTTR will now move my application on but I'm fairly certain I've missed the boat on this one. That's alright though. I can find something else to do for a year.

*For example: Course Leader: Of course you know that teaching is an extrememly demanding profession.

Applicants: (nodding understandably)

Excitagirl: You're not putting me off. I'll do the work. I'll do the extra. I love it. Let me teach. I was born to teach. Teaching's in my blood.

Course Leader: If you don't mind me asking, what will you guys do if you don't get in this year?

Applicants: (collectively) Oh I'll probably find a job, maybe try to get some classroom experience and reapply next year (only earlier, obviously).

Excitagirl: Why I'll teach of course. I'll become a classroom assistant. I'll do it for nothing. I'll learn the National Curriculum off by heart. I was born to teach. Lemme teach, lemme teach, lemme teach.

Applicants: (having left the building after the interviews) So, do you reckon you'll get it?

Excitagirl: Oh I couldn't really be bothered either way.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I have found the most mind-boggling optical illusion I've ever seen. Usually it's the kind of thing when you look at a picture and then think that one line's longer than the other and then get told that they're the same size and you can (if you look closely enough) see that yes - line number one is, in fact, the same length as line number two. And the same rule applies to squares that look like circles, triangles that are not drawn (only implied) and so on and so forth. But then I came across this little beauty:
The question posed was this: Which is darker? Square A or square B? Now this is not a difficult question. With optical illusions you always answer the least obvious? If square A was red and square B was blue and the question reads "which is the blue square?" you would point to square A. After some careful study of the two you would come to realise that yes indeedio square A was actually the blue square and square B was in fact a shade of turquoise that was so striking that, when placed next to square A, made it look red by comparison. So when the question asks "which is darker" and square A is quite clearly the darker square then the answer can only be either square B is the darker square or both squares are exactly the same shade of grey. But in this case there is no way that square B is the same shade (or darker) than square A. No matter how hard you study it, square A is quite visibly the darker square. So what's the catch? That square A is actually red? That the darker square is actually square C which is situated under the giant green cylinder? That square A is in fact darker and optical illusions are just getting lazier.


I scroll down and find (surprise surprise), both these squares are the same shade. This was quite clearly not true. I have looked at this picture for quite some time and I can assure you that that alphabetically first square is in fact a darn sight darker than the alphabetically second. Some mistake has been made here surely?

So I did a little digging. I copied the picture onto paint, sampled the colour of one and then painted a line from square B down to square A. Here is the result:

Right! So it would seem that somehow the colours match. But I still wasn't comfortable. If you look closely, it seems that the bridge from A to B seems to lighten in shade as it makes its way to the lighter grey. Maybe there's some kind of programme that won't allow it to maintain the same level of greyness. Maybe it took the wizarding software of Microsoft Paint into account when it was being designed. Probably not. But the colours still looked different to me. So I cut them out of the picture altogether:

Ah now that's clever. It was the same colour the whole time but with the fine art of Visual Trickery I was made to think that square B was distinctly lighter than square A. However, now that I have disected it and learnt how it works and discovered that they are in fact the same colour, I will now be able to see as much in the original piece right?

Wha...? But it's... STOP MESSING WITH MY HEAD!!!!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

And they call ME a liar!

Ok - serious question:

How can we expect people to believe in absolute truth when everyone preaching absolute truth and insisiting they know the absolute truth disagrees on what absolute truth is?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wide Roads, Swedish Flags and Urine: 25 Hours in Edinburgh

This morning I got back from Edinburgh after a fairly uncomfortable overnight coach journey. I was there for an interview for a PGDE at Edinburgh University (a PGDE is a diploma as opposed to a PGCE which is a certificate in education. Other than that, what the actual difference is between the two is something I have yet to discover. Scotland is just further alphabetically advanced than the rest of Britain I guess).

I arrived at about 9:00 on Monday evening after an exciting and fun packed 10 and a half hours on a National Express coach (I finally finished Roy Hattersley's Blood and Fire. Nuff said.) and I think the first thing I really noticed about Edinburgh was how monumentally wide the roads were. They're huge! I had to hail a taxi just to cross one. I discovered that you can't trust traffic lights when you're crossing an Edinburgh road because they'll have completed a whole cycle by the time you get to the other side. Seriously - roads in Edinburgh? - big!

One thing that I felt quite self conscious about as I was hiking the wide and winding roads of Edinburgh is that I was English. Now this may sound stupid but hear me out. I've only been to Scotland once before and that was years ago with a large gathering of people. Since then, I've seen Braveheart. They hate us!! I was half expecting to be greeted by a band of burly looking men with blue and white face paint, kilts and large pointy sticks: "Ach the neugh" the leader would greet me "coom t' steal aah teachin' jobs 'ave ye". The rest was kind of a blur in my imagination but it certainly didn't end well for me. But once I got there to find more jeans than kilts, not very much face paint at all and a distinct lack of pointy sticks I managed to convince myself that this whole England/Scotland rivalry had been completely blown out of proportion and that actually, I'm sure they're all very friendly and welcoming of the English. I'd probably even be able to walk into a pub the next day and find that they're all cheering for England against Sweden and would take one look at me with my lovable English swagger and fish & chip stains down my front and they would hoist me onto their shoulders singing God Save the Queen and we'd all join hands as a symbol of unity and brotherhood. Well something like that anyway. Imagine my horror then when I get to the travel lodge where I was staying to find the whole place kitted out with Swedish paraphernalia. They had Swedish flags on the wall, yellow and blue balloons hanging from the ceiling, yellow and blue footballs dotted around the place, photo montages of Freddie Ljungberg. It was like I had stepped into the Swedish embassy for all things Swedish. Except it was so much worse. I wouldn't have minded so much being in Sweden for the match yesterday. Of course I'd be the odd one out but they would be cheering and supporting Sweden because of a love for their country. Scotland, on the other hand, was cheering and supporting Sweden because of a hatred for England. One of the bar staff was even wearing a full Swedish football kit. Who buys a whole football kit just because they have such strong feelings against that country's opposing team for 90 minutes? Did he also have full Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago football kits laying at the bottom of his wardrobe? Is he now rushing out to purchase the Ecuador strip for Sunday? Or does he, perhaps, already own the 31 football kits of every team in the world cup finals with the exception of England, just in the eventuality that any of them play the foul, hideous nation that he has the misfortune to be neighbour to? It just seems ridiculous that anyone should spend so much money and go to so much effort out of sheer spite. I should probably clarify, at this point, that most of the Scots that I came into contact with were very friendly and not in the least attempting to skewer my head onto a spike as an example for all Englishmen who dare to think about entering their land. Which was nice. In fact, there were a surprising amount of English people living and working there, feeling very at home indeed. But the rivalry between nations seems very strong there nevertheless.

But it was about to get worse. Much worse.

After having got into my room at the travel lodge and then gone to find something to eat and then returned I was pretty ready for bed. I put on the tv as I cleaned my teeth and undressed and did all the other stuff that you do to get ready for bed. BBC1 were showing what can only be described as the worst film ever made. It was called Woo and starred Jada Pinkett Smith and seriously - avoid it. After having cleaned my teeth and got undressed and watched the worst film ever made, I turned the lights out, pulled the duvet back and got into bed. The weird thing was, the sheets seemed damp. No, not damp - wet. Now I'm not the tidiest person in the world and will often leave damp towels and dressing gowns on my bed. As such, the sensation of damp sheets when going to bed isn't something I'm completely unfamiliar with. So it took me a while to realise that something wasn't quite right. But slowly but surely, three things began to occur to me:

1) I haven't had a shower or anything that would make the bed damp. And even if I had, the duvet hadn't been pulled back till now. If it were something I had brought in (was it raining outside? - no, don't think so) the duvet would have to be wet enough to make the sheets damp. The duvet seemed quite dry to me.

2) This wasn't general dampness that would be the result of a wet towel being flung on the bed or a wet pair of jeans (are you sure it wasn't raining outside? - yeah pretty sure) laying down. This was a very specific dampness situated around the area of my upper right leg. This was very definitely, a patch of dampness.

3) This wasn't damp. This was wet.

I pulled the duvet back and turned the lights on to see that my leg had been resting in what was quite clearly a distinct patch of wetness about the size of a large watermelon. Two questions were immediately raised. First of all: what was this? Second of all: was it mine? A quick revision of two of the above three revelations answered the second question for me. This wasn't a product of something I've done since I've been here. The only conclusion one can reach, therefore, was that this wet patch was caused by a previous inhabitant. Which brought me screamingly to my first question. What in blue blazes was this? Now I'm sure by now, as difficult as you're finding it to believe, you've pretty much worked it out. And at this point I had a fair idea. But I had to be sure. I had to know for sure. And there was only one way to check.

I was going to have to sniff it.

I sat there for a few minutes beside this patch of wetness, trying to bring myself to do what I knew had to be done. Eventually, I bent down, bringing my nose as close as I could to the offending wet patch and sniffed. At first, nothing. But then, the unmistakable aroma of...

OH MY GOOD GRAVY IT WAS!!! I had just been lying in somebody else's urine.

I sat there for ages, stunned, just staring at the incontinence of the previous guest of room 306. I was sitting in a bed with someone else's wee. I had just been lying in someone else's wee. I had just bent over and inhaled the urine of a complete stranger. I was disgusted. I was horrified. But right at that moment, two tremendous character flaws almost caused me to do one of the most ridiculous and disgusting acts that has ever entered, albeit ever so briefly, my brain. These two character flaws are as follows:

1) I am incredibly lazy. It was 2:00 in the morning and I was shattered.

2) I am terrified of confrontation. As such, I hardly ever complain and will pretty much roll over for anyone.

With these two flaws I was momentarily reluctant to do anything about it. And this was the solution that my brain, in its tired, lazy and confrontationally challenged state suggested:

Well it's late and I'm tired and do I really want to go through the hassle of complaining about this? I could always just try sleeping on this side of the bed.

My brain was going to let me sleep in the pee!!! Needless to say this tiny part of my brain was instantly beaten to a pulp by the rest of my mind (that responsible for common sense and not sleeping in someone else's urine). But for the briefest of moments, it just seemed like too much hassle to do anything else. Of course this was promptly followed by the strong desire to get downstairs and ask reception at what point they thought £65 a night wasn't quite enough to ensure dry and pee-free sheets. So I quickly got up, dried the damp hair on the back of my leg, got dressed and went down to reception.

Roughly 10-15 minutes later, a man knocked on the door with fresh sheets, a duvet cover and a couple of extra pillows. He came in and looked at the damning evidence before him. He looked at the patch. He looked at me. "It wasn't you was it?"

"No it wasn't flippin' me!!!"

"Alright alright. Well let's get these sheets changed then"

And at this point he drops the crisp, new, clean bedsheets onto the bed - RIGHT ON TOP OF THE PEE-PATCH!!! I couldn't believe my eyes. I mean what is the point?! Why bother? Maybe that tiny section of my brain was right after all. There really is no point in getting someone up to change the sheets. He'll only smother the new one in urine beforehand anyway. Realising his mistake (and perhaps seeing the shocked and bewildered gaze taking over my face), he quickly whipped the clean sheet away and put it on the side. He then proceeded to take the soiled sheet off the bed at which point we saw that it had soaked through to the mattress.

"Oh dear" he said "we'll have to flip that"

As he lifted the mattress up, however, he noticed that the underside was covered in pretty massive stains. So he put the mattress back pee-side up.

What on earth was he doing!?!! I don't care about your stinking stains mate - flip that bad boy.

My actual response was a tad more mellow - "actually, could we flip that? I think I'd rather take my chances with the old dried stains rather than the fresh wet ones"

In response, clearly not wanting to display the stains that had been discovered on the other side, he took a long, hard look at the wet patch on the mattress. After a while, he bent down and started prodding and stroking it. He looked at me hopefully - "well it's almost dry".

Oh well in that case, forget the sheets altogether. Let me just jump in right now and roll about if it's almost dry - that's absolutely fine.

Eventually I convinced him to flip the mattress and together we changed the sheets and duvet cover. I even managed to muster up the courage to demand a refund (who would have thought that sleeping in a bed of wee would be my breaking point?).

So all in all it worked out ok. I got a free room for the night and after plenty of scrubbing (shower gel, flannel, scouring brush, brillo pad, sandpaper, a plane...) I think I got most of the human waste out of my leg hair.

The next day went alright. I told Matt W about my ordeal who was convinced I'd confused the travel lodge with the crack den across the road. I assured him that "across the road" in Edinburgh accounts for about half a mile so it was less of an easy mistake to make.

I had my interview from 1:00 till 5:00 in the afternoon which seemed to go ok. They'll let me know in 7-10 days (I'll keep you all posted).

I managed to find a bar that was pretty much 50/50 in terms of England/Sweden supporters and it turned out to be a pretty awesome match. I was worried it was going to kick off at one point when some England fans started chanting "Stand up if you qualified" to the tune of Go West but other than that it was all pretty harmless.

And then my coach left at 10:00 in the evening to get back home at 8:00 this morning.

So all in all a pretty eventful 25 hours. On the whole (soiled bedding aside) it was a pretty positive experience but I'm glad to be back. I'm absolutely shattered and I can't wait to get into my own bed where the sheets are damp but pee-free.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Shatner does Rocketman!

On its own this is good. But for those of you who watch Family Guy and wander where Stewie got his Rocketman routine from this is sheer brilliance.

Check it out!

P.S. Yes it would seem that Blogger has deemed it appropriate for me to upload pictures again now.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Reasons for not having posted in a while...

#1 I have an interview on Tuesday in Edinburgh and there's loads to prepare (and if I'm honest I'm panicing ever so slightly - still lots to do)

#2 The computer's never free.

#3 And this is the big one. My blog has suddenly stopped allowing me to upload pictures into my post. It tells me it's letting me. The box comes up, I select my picture, I press Upload, it does the whole "wait while your picture uploads" type thing, it then says "Done", I click on "Done", I wait for the picture to appear on my draft - nothing. I have typed out several extensive and detailed blogs that have relied on picture illustrations and then had to cancel the whole thing because those picture illustrations are completely invisible. It wouldn't be so bad if a Blogger window popped up and apologised and said that "due to error45B.1X1, we are unable to upload your picture. Please try taking your computer harddrive apart and piecing it together again with wood glue". Heck I wouldn't even need an apology. I'd be perfectly happy with a window which said "We could upload your picture. We just don't want to. And you know what? We're not even sorry. You just come onto our website with your stupid trivial ramblings with absolutely no appreciation of all the work that goes on back here so that you can share your nonsense with the world - and quite frankly buddy we've had enough. So there - you are experiencing error i8u.4uranimbecile which is why your pictures are not uploading. Try strapping a pinecone to your face and see if that helps. Moron". Because at least then I'd have some sense of something not being quite right. And if something isn't right then it can be fixed. But no! It tells me everything's fine and uploading perfectly and "oh, there's your picture isn't it lovely" EXCEPT THERE IS NO STINKING PICTURE!!!!!

And those are my reasons for not having posted in a while.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like a Jedi when they walk through automatic doors?

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I was walking along Tottenham Court Road yesterday (on my way back to work from Virgin Megastore - it's the little details that make a great story) and I saw something which made me very happy indeed. I saw this:

It was a Banksy. Banksy is a graffiti artist who leaves stuff like this all around London (and not just London. He's been all over the place. He's done some amazing stuff on the Segregation Wall in Palestine).

I've been a big fan since Amy introduced me to his work a few months back. We met up one evening and went for a walk around London. She was telling me about this graffiti artist who goes around leaving political messages and stuff all over the place. It sounded mildly interesting. We were passing the London Eye when Amy suddenly spotted a splurge of white paint on the ground that trailed off into the distance. Amy insisted that this was a treasure trail leading to a Banksy masterpiece and excitedly ran off after it dragging me with her. I would have shared a smidgeon of her enthusiasm if the trail wasn't quite clearly the result of an idiot with a leaking pot of paint. But still we followed this trail for about 5-10 minutes along the Thames until the idiots paint pot ran out of paint and the trail faded away to nothing (I imagined the idiot feeling quite pleased with himself at this point as everything was feeling much lighter which could only mean that he was getting stronger). With a smug look on my face I said something along the lines of "Oh surprise surprise. It's led us nowhere. Can we please get back to wandering aimlessly around London? We've already lost valuable time"

"No!" insisted Amy "it has to be around here somewhere". I was starting to think Amy might be the idiot with the paint (or at least intellectually related with him in some way). I started to walk off with a kind of patronising saunter that I've perfected over the years. Suddenly, I hear Amy shout from behind me and I turned round to see her crouched down in front of a painting on the wall of two rats with one strapping a mortar onto the back of the other. Above it was the artist's signature "BANKSY". I know it doesn't sound all that much but I thought it was awesome.

And I've been hooked ever since. You should check it out. He's got a book of his work called Banksy: Wall and Piece and if you want to see more of his stuff then you can check it out here.

(Actually I've just logged onto his website and found that the above piece is on the home page - although I think my photo is better)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A message for Will!

Dear Will,

I don't know how else to get in touch with you so I live in the hope that you log back into my blog and read this message.

I only read your comment (on my May 19th post) about a week ago (I'm not sure when you wrote it) and I just wanted you to know that it re-ignited my commitment to the challenge. Your story filled me with so much joy and encouragement. I'm a big fan of your website ( and try to visit it everyday. However, at the moment I'm only getting a mostly blank page with a box inviting me to log in without the option of actually registering. Still, I think it's brilliant and if I ever do find a way of logging in, I'll be there. In the mean time, I will continue to visit your site regularly to check out what's new.

If you ever want to contact me, you can email me on It'd be great to hear from you.

Thank you for everything you've done,


P.S. I don't know if you were serious about paying that much money for the web address but if so, I'm really really sorry.