Friday, 29 April 2011

Watching me watching them watching me... what?

My folks came to visit last weekend. It was Easter weekend, so it was a nice long break and the weather was gorgeous. We went out and about a few times, but the evenings were almost always the same - we played a game or two of Scrabble.
Now, the thing is, we're all fairly competitive - but only in the sense that each of us wants to do the best we can with what we have on our racks. This is all well and good except when we have sets of letters that are either abysmal (all vowels/consonants etc) or very promising and the board layout is abysmal. This is when you'll find lots of heavy sighing and much shuffling of letters. In Mum's case, this is usually a warning to the rest of us as she'll more often than not put down a word that garners her a cool 30+ points.
My father, on the other hand, will 'Pffff' and say, 'Oh I'm in pickle, I am.' And then he'll put down a word that doesn't exist or is spelled incorrectly.

In the meantime, you will find exchanges like this one between Julie and Dad...

It's been a few days now, but I still have no idea whether that was a cracker of a zinger or a blank-faced fail. There's no doubting its entertainment value though. Dad, on the other hand, thought it was absolutely hilarious and went right into his 'Muttley snigger'. (it's not precisely the same. Dad doesn't wheeze so much pant between his side teeth (And if that description doesn't help, then I'm stuffed...).

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Every now and then, Julie will come out with something truly paradoxical. If you look at each word and even (sometimes) some basic elements of what has been said, they will make perfect sense. It's only when you put it all together, look at it as a whole and compare it with what you know of the situation and of Julie that it becomes a real Derailment.*

See? Everything's going tickety-boo and then along comes that final phrase and suddenly you find your brain has gone all BSOD.**

*So called because a random comment from Julie can do to your thought processes what a tree-trunk across a line can do to a speeding locomotive.
**BSOD Blue Screen Of Death - massive PC failure for non-techies and smug Apple owners.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Roundly genetic

My folks have been visiting for the Easter break. It's been a lot of fun so far, especially with the banter we generate. We're all fairly quick-witted, and there are always some in-jokes we'll refer to to speed up the conversation. In other words, we're a pretty normal family.
Today, I wanted to give another example of Julie's wit and to show that she's not always baffling. On this occasion, we were all sat around the table, having a game of Scrabble. The conversation got around to how I had inherited certain traits from my parents, notably the fact I had got the heavy bones and build from my Mum's lot. However....

Feel that burn! Nice one, love.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Trivial Pursuit Week (3 of 3); Orifices and dual-nationality playwrights

You know you've got a belter of a Gem when it qualifies on several levels...

See? Not only is it the wrong answer, but even the answer is a 'fail' in its own right. I was so busy trying to reboot my brain I nearly forgot to facepalm it...

The final Gem of the week is of a certain medical bent. No more to be said, just enjoy.

An inspired answer, but it does rather beg the question why did Julie not manage to come up with 'eyes', since they generally are found in the same part of the body as the others... Ah well.

Hope you have a nice, long Easter weekend; see you Monday!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Trivial Pursuit Week (2 of 3); Swinging wars and sexy statues

Welcome back to Julie's Gems' Trivial Pursuit week. Don't forget, in addition to the normal post here, there will be a special bonus Gem only for followers of Julie's Gems over at Facebook.

Down to business, and straight in with our first one.

Have you noticed that there are a lot of times where Julie seems to be going fine and Gem-free - but then has to go one step further. I've actually found myself literally waiting for the Gemline, and if it doesn't turn up, I feel vaguely cheated.
Our next Gem doesn't follow this pattern, but falls right across the WTF/facepalm divide.

I mean come on - who can fail to be cranially fused by that one? The reason for this was that Julie had absolutely no idea what the real answer was and decided to come up with her own, far more entertaining one. Wouldn't it be funny if the Frenchmen who'd originally made Lady Liberty as a gift to the Americans had said to each other, 
"Hey, Pascal; how high up in the air did you say this was going to end up?" 
"Some hundred feet, Jean. Why?" 
"I was just wondering who the hell was going to read what was on here. What I mean is that I could hammer in some random letters - or maybe the Karma Sutra... hehe..."
"Heh. Jean, you're insane, but if you want to do it, then go ahead. Just don't let me see what you do, right?"
"Oui, Pascal, I shall keep it hidden from them. And from you."

Hmm - I supposed it's just a small mercy Jean never had a copy of the Necromicon...

Bodily orifices and a dual nationality playwright.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Trivial Pursuit Week (1 of 3); Talking Italian & lots of wind.

On Saturday, we decided to have a night of playing Trivial Pursuit. In the normal course of things, this is always going to be a rich source of Gems. On this occasion, Julie decided to to partake of the grape. To put it another way, she drank a bottle of wine (some fizzy, cherry flavoured muck). The result? Enough Gems to gift you with a double dose each day - and a bonus Gem on Wednesday ONLY for people who follow the Gems Facebook page. (click HERE to visit the page and become a fan!)

So, without further ado, here's the first of today's little crackers.

I'll be fair to Julie here; as soon as I'd facepalmed that comment, she realised what she'd said...

Today's second Gem seems to have an interesting story itself. First, let's have Julie's take on it.

What?? Was the bugger land-surfing through a hurricane or something?
The name Webb was ringing a bell for me. I know that a certain Matthew Webb was the first person to swim the English Channel (or, if you happen to be French, La Manche), so I was wondering if Jonathan was some kind of relative and a-Googling did I go. 
The result? Distinctly unclear, if not downright opaque. I could barely find a trace of our hero and the little I did manage to find had been thoroughly trolled. It seems Jonathan had indeed been the Grandson of the swimmer Matthew, but some correspondent had obviously been having a little fun at the expense of the forum posters by indulging in a little troll science. Take a look at the relevant part HERE - but scroll down to the larger, blue-type section about half way down the page.

Slow food during war and the reason for Liberty's enigmatic expression.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Multiple personality disagreement alert.

Julie is fairly aware of what she does, but finds trouble in stopping herself from doing it. Her usual explanation is that her mouth goes faster than her brain and has to make stuff up while the next instructions come through. This is all well and good when she's with me or my family, but it does make her feel a little self-conscious when she goes off on one of her little mental trip-outs in public.

Or, as Julie herself put it....

Luckily though, Julie does enjoy the notoriety these Gems bring, so we're not going to be running short any time soon.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Reverse the review. Or is it reviewing the reverse?

Out for a walk recently, we decided to have a little variety in our lives and take a little diversion to the norm. Considering we have the sea to one side, it limits the options a little, but if you approach things in differently, it can help you to have a new outlook on where you live.
Or, as Julie put it....

When Julie comes out with her Gems these days, I tend to have one of two reactions. The first, most common one is to laugh and reach for my pen and notepad. The second is to stop dead, mouth open and tilt my head to one side while I try and re-boot my brain after a fatal systems error.
Guess which one happened this time?
Admittedly, it doesn't look so bad written down, but hearing it come out of the blue is something else entirely. I'm just glad my brain had managed to save it before the crash...

Monday, 11 April 2011

My lucky number's wrong...

(admit it, you were singing the helium squeak that follows that little pop reference...)

Playing Trivial Pursuit one time, Julie was asking me a question from the 'sport and leisure' category. Not my strongest point, it has to be said. Helpfully, Julie decided to indicate just how much of a chance I would have in guessing this one...

OK, admittedly, Julie did correct herself almost immediately, but it was of course far too late. Out came my pen...
By the way - I nearly titled this one 'Bridge over the River Wha...?'

Friday, 8 April 2011

Who's the daddy? Never mind that - who's the mummy?

I'm a selfish so-and-so. I like to sleep at night, do mostly what I want to in the evenings and at weekends, spend what little money I have in a manner of my choosing and, most of all, have Julie all to myself. Hence, I've never been what you could call a family man.
Generally, Julie does agree with me. Especially when it comes to the lack of money and sleep. There are occasions though when the sight of a little baby gurgling away, happy in the knowledge that the contents of its nappy are someone else's problem, will make Julie say, "Awwwwwwww!" and, sometimes, "I wanna baby!"
At such times, a steady quelling look from me will suffice to quash such feelings. Although it does have to be said that at our age, it's pretty much a moot point by now.

So, when Julie replies, "I'm pregnant!" to my request of  "surprise me", you will usually find me grimacing at such a time-worn rejoinder.
Not so this time...

In case you were wondering (like I was), Julie was referring to the possibility of surrogate motherhood. It's still a ropey link, but at least it's not nearly as bizarre now...

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Talking your way into the asylum

A few people have wondered about how Julie has reacted to this baring of her delightfully silly soul. On the whole, it's not a problem, but when I give a laughing sigh and dip my hand into my pocket for my pen and pad, there's a distinct 'oh no' moment. Usually, all my wife says is, "Oh no, you don't want to write that down." Occasionally, though, she'll come up with another Gem, even as I'm trying to write down the previous one...

Honestly, sometimes it's all I can do to keep up with the woman...

Monday, 4 April 2011

Eye love edible geometry

For some reason probably best forgotten, me and Julie were discussing words containing the letter 'I'. It was all going swimmingly until Julie suddenly hit 'stream-of-consciousness ramble mode'. Since there's no way of following what she says in these situations (and even less chance of stopping her, usually), I tend to sit back and enjoy the show.

This time, though, Julie was more than partway coherent and started listing words and using phrases with large amounts of 'I's, until she reached...

Um... quite.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Say you, say what??

Julie is a master of the double-take.
Hmm... let me rephrase that; Julie is a master of causing double-takes. A lot of what she says sounds perfectly fine until your brain catches up with your ears and you're suddenly left baffled and bereft of logic.

For example...

The case for the prosecution rests, m'lud. 
M'lud? Oh dear, I think we've broken another one - can we have a new judge, please? One with a flexible brain?