We don’t need no stiiiiinnkiiiing badges…
No I’m not have a meltdown – I’m going to Cuba. And in preparation for my epic trip I’m attempting to pick up a few palabras in Spanish.
I’m not feeling hopeful. In a few weeks of study (CD + spanish lessons at the local college) I have not progressed beyond saying my name, where I’m from and ordering beer…and I suspect that I might need a little more than this in order to get by.
Worryingly I also don’t seem to be able to say anything in Spanish without adopting a comedy ‘hey gringo’ Mexican accent. It’s not intentional – it’s just the way my brain makes spanish words come out of my mouth. I sound like the Mexican bandit from Blazing Saddles.
So, with less than a month before I depart, please please please if anyone has any advice on how to get some ‘proper’ Spanish into my thick noggin I’d love to hear it.
Otherwise, I fear that I run the risk of spending two weeks sounding like a racist simpleton with a booze problem.
I am an avocate of frugal living it’s true. I am a bargain shopper. I sniff out ‘deals’ like pigs seeking truffles. I like to eat healthily and not buy what I term as ‘crap’ from supermarkets (crisps, cereal bars etc).
So far, so smug – I’m sure you’ll agree.
But while I pat myself on the back for being such a canny shopper, the fact is that if I wanted to have a blow out on an expensive resturant meal, or gorge on cakes and sweets I could. I am lucky that I have the means to spend more than I do on food and drink.
However millions of people around the world don’t have that luxury, and face days of hunger, malnourishment and extreme poverty. Can you imagine what it would be like to face the daily struggle to feed yourself and your family? To have to make the choice between eating or buying clothes? To try and get by on a little amount of money – say £1 – a day?
Well imagine no more, and take part in Live Below the Line – a new campaign which encourages people around the UK to live off just £1 a day for food and drink for a week, to get a better understanding of the challenges faced by people living in extreme poverty.
In the UK many of us are used to being able to buy what we like, when we like. In fact we often buy so much, that 8.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away by households every year.
The Live Below the Line challenge (which takes place from 2-6 May 2011) is a great way to highlight not only the daily challenges of people trapped in extreme poverty, but maybe also just how much we buy but don’t actually need. You can also use the challenge as an opportunity to raise funds for the fight against extreme poverty.
So sure, I consider myself a frugal shopper, but I don’t know what it’s like to walk a mile in the shoes of someone who has no choice. I’m going to join the campaign on 2 – 6 May, and I hope many others will join me!
A while back, when I was a regular(ish) blogger, I blogged about the reasons why I don’t watch much TV. This is mainly because a) there isn’t that much on that I feel is worth watching and b) the constant streams of unachievable stereotypes and advertising quite frankly insult my intelligence.
However, my interest was piqued recently by news of a new TV programme, hosted by Charlie Brooker, which explores exactly why life doesn’t measure up to the expectations constantly rammed down your throat via the medium of TV and film.
Yes, the irony that ‘How TV ruined your life‘ is still a TV show hasn’t escaped me, but anything with Charlie Brooker is definitely worth watching anyway, and at least on BBC2 I won’t have to watch any adverts either.
Crikey blimey indeed. As it really been since August that I put finger to keyboard and poured forth inane drivel from my cluttered brain onto this little corner of the internet?
This will be rectified…
Hold the front page! British workforce productivity surges as bored office workers all over the UK are forced into actually doing some work. Sadly, this isn’t the first signal of the end of the recession – this is the news that Facebook is down…causing panic and confusion for many people who insist on living the majority of their lives virtually.
If you are one of those social media addicts who cannot help but log onto their Facebook account every 10 minutes to update the rest of your friends list with your latest banal thought, or the ‘cute thing’ that your dog/cat/child/boyfriend just did…then I beg you…please please please try not to think too hard about all of those little lost Farmville sheep going unattended, the missed poker games and those holiday snaps of your ex girlfriend which are going unstalked.
You’ll only drive yourself insane and they will probably still be there when they eventually sort the server problem out (unless they’ve deleted your whole virtual kingdom by accident of course…<insert evil laugh here>)
UPDATE: Facebook came back on…
My sister is crazy and mad, and is throwing herself out of a plane in the name of char-i-dee (Little Haven’s Hospice to be exact)
As I am no-where near brave enough to join her, I’ve agreed to help her spread the word instead:
Click on the button below to read more:
However, my sister watches and enjoys a huge amount of banal TV trash – much of which I’m subjected to while eating my tea of an evening. The worst examples of the eye ball offenders are:
- Pineapple Dance Studios (gyrating craziness fronted by gay-guy-about-town and screaming, annoying twat Louis Spence. Like the Trocodero Centre – wrong on so many levels )
- Dating in the Dark (it’s a dating show – so I hate it already. And the ‘hook’ is that its…er…in the dark)
- America’s Next Top Model (public hate-fest where a model called Tara Somebodyorother seems to really believe that a) she is God and b) that anything she says actually matters)
All a load of guff, but the one show that has really got my goat of late, is the horror of a TV programme called ‘Fat Families’.
Fat Families is a show hosted by ex-lardy Steve Somebodyorother (not related to Tara), who is contacted by families of salad-dodgers to help them shift a few pounds of podgy fat. (see picture).
Steve gives them a healthy eating plan, replaces their extra large sofas with treadmills so there’s no excuse not to exercise and monitors how they get on. There are usually a few tears and tantrums as the fatsos realise that salad leaves don’t taste like chocolate, but all in all they end up losing a bit of weight by the time it gets to the ‘final weigh in’. Cue smiles and back slapping all round (no pun intended).
So far, so boring.
However, it’s the follow up show that really makes my teeth itch.
After a few months, Steve then invites the slightly less wobbly families back to see how they’ve got on – if they’ve managed to take on board his healthy eating plans for the long term, and if they’ve managed to lose any further weight.
The family are put up overnight in a hotel, but what isn’t communicated is that cheeky little imp Steve has set ‘traps’ around the hotel (bowls of sweets at reception, a free buffet full of fattening foods in the dining area), and has installed secret cameras to spy on them to see if they slip up at any point (i.e. help themselves to a choccie, or choose the unhealthier option at the buffet).
Now, perhaps I’m a little over sensitive, but isn’t this just a modern type of bear baiting?
It just seems needlessly cruel to me to set up such fiendish traps. After all, this is a bunch of people who obviously have an unhealthy relationship with food. You wouldn’t tempt recovering heroin addicts with bowls full of skag lying around the place, or entice a recovering alcoholic with a free bar would you?
Also, I know what I am like when I stay at hotel – I tend load up. It’s free food. I’m going to eat more than I should. Come on…live a little!
Anyway, after setting these traps and monitoring the actions of the family of podges, Steve then jumps out on them in the restaurant just as they are about to tuck into their second helping of double-chocolate-extra-cream-big-boy-cheese-cake, shaming them into (very often) tears, and patronising them blatantly in public.
Cue more tears, scenes of the fat families doing a bit more exercise, another final weigh in that shows that they’ve shifted a bit more weight, and bit of self congratulatory back slapping for Steve.
All in all, I’m left with a feeling a despair for the human race, bafflement at what passes as ‘entertainment’ to some people, and with an overpowering urge to put Steve in a sack full of other things I don’t like (like poo and sild) and punt it into the sea.
This is why I do not watch much TV