Thursday, 30 June 2011

A Gem in the hand is worth cash in the bank

As I have said before (and probably will do many more times in the future), a lot of the best Gems appear just as I'm writing the previous one down. This places me in the difficult position of making a snap decision - do I stick with the one I'm jotting down and run the risk of completely losing the new Gem, or do I find a fresh clear bit of paper, hastily scribble the new arrival and hope that I can piece together the previous one from that little I managed to record?
Believe me, it's often a difficult decision and I've lost many grade-A Gems by making the wrong choice.

Today's second Gem falls into the category of 'new arrival'. I can't recall the fate of the Gem this one interrupted, but it was worth keeping for the thoughtful debate it's inspired.

Hmm. It's just possible this Gem should be tagged/labelled as a Freudian Slip, you know. After I managed to get everything written down, me and Julie started talking about the possibility of making money from her little slips. After some discussion, we agreed that the only way would be to print some of them up as one of those little books that everyone seems to get for Christmas (and then either bins or gives to a charity shop).
Alternatively, especially with the rate Julie can chuck these things out, we could have a Gem-a-day calendar...

Any ideas, folks?

Tomorrow, for Frivolous Friday, mo' money, mo' death (oops).

Retirement - not always easy.

It's difficult, sometimes, trying to come up with a snappy title for these Gems. Usually, the problem is trying to be brief or not give away the punchline. Today, I have the added difficulty of avoiding the possibility I might scare people off. The 'D'-word does that, you see.
Ah, heck with it. I'll just lay it out for you and then you can see what I'm talking about.

See what I mean? If I start posting things with the word 'death' in the title, people are going to avoid it like an over-used simile.

Oh - in case you were wondering, Julie was working things out and trying to plan for the future. That said, I'm not sure the concept of 'planning' sits well with the idea of taking the path of least resistance...

Next up today, a possible money-spinner.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Less is more, more or less

One word.
Seriously; just one word would make this Gem into something resembling actual sense.

If only Julie had added another 'more' to the end of the second sentence, the conversation could have moved along much more smoothly. Instead, we've hit a linguistic speedbump and ripped out the metaphorical chassis...
Ah well; at least it's entertaining.

Methadone in the madness

I have a nasty headache right now, so I'm going to keep this and the next post short - sorry about that; I may be able to expand on them tomorrow night.

Once again, Julie digs herself into a rapidly-deepening hole...

You know what? I think this is actually spot-on. Often, I'll wait for a few moments after Julie comes out with something, just in case there's some kind of explanation or rationalisation for what I've just heard.
This Gem doesn't need any. Job done.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Red or blue, she'll thump you two.

A little explanation first, as I'm not too sure how international the choc bar and/or its ad campaign were. Have a video.

Well, it seems that the campaign has been brought back following a 20-year hiatus. Julie, being the TV addict she is, has seen the new (slightly PC'd) version a few times, and the tune has wormed its way into her head.
Have I mentioned Julie's aptness with lyrics and altering them to humorous effect? In public, yet?
I can never hope to write her versions down generally, but this one stood out in my memory...

For those who want to meet my wife, a word of warning: try not to have a drink in your mouth for too long when she's talking, because you're going to choke on it, like as not...

Tomorrow: Explanations and insanity. TTFN!


Sometimes, Julie comes out with something that seems to have no logic at all, apparent or internal.
This is one of those times.

Like many of Julie's Gems, this one came about as a result of trying to dig herself deeper (see yesterday's posts for further proof) and failing quite admirably.

Well, I say that, except there is one possible interpretation to this Gem - as a threat. As in, "If I stay here any longer, I'm going to be saying something to your face that you might not want to hear, but I really, really feel like saying."

Thank heavens for context - that's all I'm saying.

Stick around folks, there's an ad break coming up next!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Double-up Monday (pt.2); Random acts of grammar

Every now and then, Julie will attempt to explain or justify her Gems. Naturally, this is not dissimilar to using a hammer to get rid of the bug on your toe. I mean, seriously, I'm thinking of getting JCB to sponsor this site if she digs herself in any faster.

Don't believe me? Want some evidence? That's fine - there's plenty. For now, though, have a look at this one-liner;

Good, eh?
Before you jump to Julie's defence, however, let me tell you that I did wait for a good length of time after she said that, just in case there was anything else to come along and complete it. In the end, I laughed and reached for a pen...

You know what though? Now I look at it again... it sort of makes sense.

Tomorrow: Regrets and coloured cars.

Double-up Monday (pt.1); Potty problems or just plain potty?

You know how it is - you go out for the day, or even just for a walk. All of a sudden, you're gripped by a certain need. You brave it out, knowing it's not that long before you get back home. Unfortunately, home always seems to be just that little bit further away than you remember and by the time you do get back, 'uncomfortable' doesn't even begin to describe how you're feeling.

Imagine, then, that you fumble with a suddenly sentient key and stumble through the door. You know where you need to go, and nothing had better get in your way.
Imagine, too, that your significant other helps you along with these words of wisdom;

Do you have any idea just how difficult it is to pee standing up while you're shaking with laughter? Erratic isn't the half of it.

Stick around folks, there's another post to come today, 'Random acts of grammar'.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Stop making sense, stop making sense, stop making sense, making sense aha haha!

"As we get older, we stop making sense" - according to Talking Heads, anyway. Me, I want to know when some people start making sense (he said, thinking of a colleague in particular).

Julie, on the other hand, does make sense a lot of the time, although you would never know it from today's Gem.
You know it's bad news when you try to defend your verbal slips and only wind up digging yourself into a hole so deep it looks like you got a JCB to do the job for you. We've all done it and we've all been embarrassed or even mortified by it. However, you know by the sheer fact I'm typing this here that Julie goes several orders of muck-up further than we mere mortals.
Her reaction to it? She bursts into laughter, as entertained by the whole affair as I am - and now you are.

With that, we shall bid you 'au revoir' and have a nice weekend, folks - see you next week for more vandalised verbs and nonsensical nouns!

ps - thanks to Daisy, there's a little bonus non-Julie Gem over on the Gem Facebook page.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Barking mad about cables

Well, about something, anyway. I'm not sure what, though - and neither are the two people in today's Gem.

I've lifted this wholesale from; this site, if you're unfamiliar with it, has content entirely provided from people who work in shops or are on the other end of the line in customer service positions. You see, as they know far too well, the adage "The customer is always right" does not hold true. Very frequently, the customer is a complete idiot or an abusive ass, or possibly both at the same time.
There is, of course, a third category, one that seems to be populated by people who only appear to have, at best, a nodding acquaintance with reality. Like the guy below who called the support line for a cable company.

I have no idea what the caller was taking for his ills, but I would like some please. He seemed to be happy enough in his own little world...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

She's one colour short of a roulette wheel.

It's been a while, so I thought we could treat you all to another Trivial Pursuit-inspired Gem. (for the others, check out 'Trivial Pursuit' in the labels section to the right.)
No preamble to this one, just dive right in and treat it like a cold lake. Once you're in, you won't have a problem and you'll come to enjoy it immensely.

I'll be honest, it was touch and go whether I used the 'facepalm' header for this one, considering how adamant Julie had been about her answer to my hint. However, I knew I was going to have to provide an explanation of sorts, so I ran with the T.P. one instead.
The explanation, for those of you about as familiar with the layout of a roulette wheel as my wife obviously appears to be, is that there are simply no white slots on the wheel. The colour green, however, does make an appearance - or two, if you're using an American wheel. Oh, and apologies to all those colour-blind folk out there. Green and Red? Not a good combination. Sorry.

What makes Julie's final comment a Gem is the juxtaposition of assuredness in the first part, only for it to turn into a fail at the last. Oh well.

p.s. - Remember that Gem about sausages? Well, as I said, they were pork with garden herbs and lemon. And I've just had the last of them in a sandwich with some wholegrain mustard. Rather yummy.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Bonus Tuesday: Handy instructions.

Yes, I know I don't normally post on Tuesdays (or Thursdays - so keep an eye out then too), but I wanted to share a couple of instances with you. Instances that didn't involve Julie.

Today's little bonus Gem happened when me and Julie went to a barn dance. OK, the barn was technically a beer tent in a field, but that had its own little benefits (*ahem*). We had a great time, even accounting for (or maybe including) the utter ineptness of some of us and the fact there were a few young children wandering around.
There was one other factor that helped the evening go well - or at least along in a very entertaining manner. You see, barn dances generally have someone known as a 'caller'. The Caller, usually a man, needs to have a fine set of lungs - barring that, a half-decent PA system. This is because, he is the man upon whom everything depends.
He is the man who keeps track of things.
He is the man who needs to be adaptable to the vagaries of the 'dancers' in his care.
He is the man who needs to give clear and precise instructions for said 'dancers'.

That's cleared that up, then.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Hedgehogs and their habits.

When I met Julie, I'd already had a thing about hedgehogs. I'm not sure why, but I began doodling and suddenly found myself coming up with a whole range of odd 'hoggy characters living in a forest with a tree-god and a homicidal giant snail. It was ok, but my artistic talents are very limited and I just don't have the patience to develop them any further. To prevent any further questions, here's the best of them.

Despite this, I found myself becoming fond of the original critters and began collecting various hedgehog ornaments. When Julie saw my collection, she loved it, and began adding to it herself. Thus began a shared interest bordering upon obsession. The only blight upon this is the fact that we live in a rented terraced house and therefore have pretty much absolutely no chance of a 'hoggy visitor in our back garden (pity - it'd keep the slugs and snails off my cauliflowers...).
A friend of mine, however, has had a number of hedgehogs in her garden and introduced me to Hedgehog Street, a site dedicated to halt the decline in the hedgehog population. Naturally interested, I sent off for an information pack, which arrived in today's post. After I read through it, Julie had a look and saw the little cards showing some of the annual activities of the hedgehog.

After I recovered, I had to admit it was a classic and it proved once more that we're perfectly suited to each other. In fact, if push came to shove, I think I would have to admit the fact I am just a little jealous at her free-wheeling ability to free-associate images like that.
And yes, she does generally win each game of word association.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Mental mashups

Every now and then, especially if we're trying to while away the time on a journey, Julie and myself will play alpha-categories. You probably know of it already, in some form or another. Essentially, you pick a category and then take turns in coming up with something in that category beginning with each successive letter until you reach 'Z' and - if you so wish - begin again.

We were in a cafe recently, waiting for our food to come. As it was busy, it was taking some time, so I kicked off a round of alpha-categories with the ultra-simple category of musical bands or artists. We're pretty hot on this topic, so the game rattled along quite well.. until the later stages, that is...

Don't you love the way Julie thought I was simply carrying on with the game?*

As it turned out, Julie was somehow getting mixed up with The Lambrettas and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Since the former were a mod band with a strong hint of Northern Soul running through them, we thought that The Vambrettas would be a particularly good mashup.
It's a pity, then, that I can't find one. However, have a couple of clips on me.
The first is The Lambrettas. More famous for their cover of The Coaster's hit 'Poison Ivy', here's something I actually think is better.

And for a finale, here's a true Mashup, featuring Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, mixing it good with Peter Gabriel...

*This reminds me of an incident from my college years. I believe I may have to recount it and embarrass someone...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Going beyond approximation

You know it's a good day for Gems when it's hardly worth putting the notepad and pen back in your pocket.

Case in point; We were walking along the seafront. Just in front, there was a very young lad with his mother. Being young, he wasn't too steady on his feet, and it wasn't long before the inevitable happened...
Over he went and immediately - if not before - the caterwauling began. However, I have to give full credit to the mother. Apparently an old hand at this game, she efficiently scooped him up and deposited him onto a nearby bench, whereupon there was this little exchange.

"Right - let's get those shorts legs up and have a look at the damage, shall we?"
[the kid's wailing continues]
"See? Nothing wrong; no blood."
[The wailing cuts off like it was switched off] "No blood?!?"

Both Julie and me laughed at this. There was so much indignation in the young lad's voice; it had been a terrible accident - how dare there be no blood?
This was pure Gem as far as I was concerned, so I got pad & pen out. Now, I have to admit something here, something of a failing. I'm absolutely useless at guessing ages. If I'm within five years of a person's real age, then it's something of a miracle. So, pad at the ready, I turned to Julie...

See what I mean about it being a good day for Gems? Naturally, I needed to get this down too. I lose quite a few Gems this way, through not being able to keep up with events or simply not being able to remember how something went. If you have a flick through the posts tagged with 'rambling on', you'll see what I mean. Man, I need to get some kind of dictaphone... Either that or learn shorthand.

tata fer now!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Taking a position on height issues

 A new chocolate-themed cafe opened up in town last weekend, so we thought we would drop by and have a drink and maybe a bite to eat. (before anyone says anything, I had a mozzarella and tomato sandwich, no chocolate. OK, so Julie did have a crêpe covered with melted Belgian chocolate.)
Boy, was it busy. Mind you, it may have something to do with the fact they had an opening offer of 25% off all items for sale.

>sigh< OK, OK. I bought a bar of white chocolate with poppy seeds and lemon flavouring.
Anyway. We were sat down at a table, and I made the comment that my chair appeared to be a little taller than Julie's. My wife disagreed and said it was probably just me. As she explained;

As it happens, she's spot on. I am taller than her. However, what Julie meant to say was that while I may be taller overall, I'm taller in the body than she is, so I'd be taller than her when.. we're.. sat... down.
I'm not helping, here, am I?

Friday, 10 June 2011

A war of worms and words

Last weekend, as I said in Wednesday's post, Saturday was hot, damn hot. Even bearing in mind I had some slow-cooking sausages in my backpack, we just wanted to get home, where it was cooler inside than out.
Some time later, after a refreshing wash and a drink or few, dusk had fallen and the air was beginning to cool down. Even then, it was still rather pleasant, sitting in our back garden.

When night proper had arrived, we decided to go for a brief stroll up to the sea front. There was very little wind and there was that stillness you get where every slightest noise sounds louder than it should do. That in mind, we were talking in quiet, conversational tones when we reached the prom (promenade, for those confusing the term with a school ball*).
As we reached what is known as The Splash Point, I saw torch light coming from the shoreline.
Julie's explanation for it?

(Translation: they were fishermen looking for fish bait on the freshly revealed sandy part of the beach. This may not be entirely true, as they may also have been looking for razor shells. They're rather tasty, but you don't have much time to get them between the tide retreating and the 'shells digging down to avoid predation and/or drying out.)
It also has to be said that this Gem reminds me so very much of the Spike Jones and his City Slickers 'version' of 'The man on the flying trapeze'. Fancy a listen? Of course you do. Here's the link.

That's it for this week - have a great weekend, folks!

*Although, just to confuse you even more, the term 'Prom' for a high school ball also originates from the full term 'promenade', because the bright young things were being seen to be 'stepping out'. Indeed many of the original dance styles included a promenade.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The obvious is so bright, I gotta wear shades (part 2)

(for part one, click here.)

It's been lovely weather lately, the kind of sunny days where you go out for a stroll and sit outside a café or pub, and watching the world go by as you sip at your beer, tea or latte....
...and just drift off into a contemplative haze...

Whu? Oh, so sorry - I must have slipped into a little reverie just then.
A few weekends ago, me and Julie were doing exactly this. We had been talking, but this had gradually wound to a halt as we kicked back and relaxed. It was a pretty bright day and we were both wearing sunglasses. After a while, I suddenly became aware that Julie was waving a hand at me to get my attention.

How else are you supposed to wear sunglasses? Polite, physically possible suggestions are welcome.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Cooking up an explanation - Spooner-style.

I am a great fan of the good old British sausage. I am a bit fussy though. Silly me, really, for expecting a meat sausage to contain more than 60% proper meat and not various dubious chewy bits and half a bowl of breakfast cereal to pad it out. So, the (relatively) recent arrival in town of a proper pie and sausage shop run by butchers filled me with great delight.
My wallet, on the other hand was Sh***ing bricks.
Last Saturday, we were a little late getting into town and was further delayed in crossing the town centre by the presence of my favourite Blues busker, Slim Lightfoot. Consequently, when we reached this shop, stocks were running low on their early closing day. When I was made a fairly lucrative deal on some lemon and garden herb pork bangers, my mouth and stomach managed to operate my hand and arm all by themselves. A dozen fine sausages were mine.

Unfortunately, Saturday was hot. Damn hot. Not the sort of day you want to be wandering around with twelve bangers in your backpack.* So, all in jest, I said to Julie....

Yes folks, Reverend Spooner is alive and well and currently inhabiting my wife's body.

*Is it me, or would "Twelve bangers in your backpack" be an absolutely brilliant book or rock album title?

Friday, 3 June 2011

Compatibility screening is going too far

Humans are odd folks. Thousands of years of evolution - physical and social - and we end up with people who can talk for ages without saying anything worth mentioning (shooting for a little irony there). Quite often, this will usually take place via a telephone call - especially when you've run out of real news to impart to a relative and you then spend the next quarter of an hour saying 'goodbye'.

It also happens a lot when you bump into someone you know and go through the standard phrases, such as "Oh my god, how long has it been?" and "Alright mate - how's it going?"* Me and my colleagues are guilty of taking this to a highly ridiculous degree - I work in a warehouse and we are, quite understandably, often seeing each other throughout the day. The thing is, we'll often treat each encounter like we haven't met for some time. With one workmate, I ask him "Hello there - did you have a nice weekend?" regardless of what day of the week it is.
Yes, I'm nuts.

There's one commonly-used meeting phrase I have yet to mention - for good reason. Julie and myself often engage in the 'just-met' banter when we're out and about. This time, we were in a shop, queuing to pay and then Julie initiated this exchange....

Bear in mind we were in the middle of a shop queue at this point. I'll admit to having been completely flummoxed by Julie's comeback, although I'm not sure what got me more; what she meant to say or what she actually said...

Sorry about this folks, I forgot that not everyone may know the acronyms VD or VDU
VD clinic = somewhere that treats people suffering from venereal diseases.
VDU = Visual Display Unit (ie a computer monitor)

*As Terry Pratchett once noted, all these empty phrases mean are "Hello, I'm alive and so are you"

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

This hooter's a bit of a twit-twoo

On one of our walks, me and Julie were passing through what we would call the 'posh' part of town and admiring/envying the houses and surroundings. On the wall around one house, however, there was a plastic owl. I suppose having a beautiful house in a nice area doesn't guarantee the taste of the person owning the house.

Anyway, for some bizarre reason, this owl gave Julie an idea for getting me out of bed in the morning (which is admittedly a difficult job, and one not made any easier by the fact I have this ability to turn off my alarm without even waking up. No mean feat if the clock is on the other side of the room).

Now see, my problem sometimes is that I have a very active imagination. When Julie came up with this foolproof plan, I suddenly had this mental image of an owl clocking off from his job, winging his way home and stopping off at the shop down the road for the paper and a pint of milk. As he gets back, he puts the kettle on, makes himself a cuppa and goes up to his room to kick back and relax, read the paper and listen to the radio. On his way past, Oswald gives my door a hefty kick and calls, "Come on, you lazy sod. I KNOW your alarm went of half an hour ago..."
From beneath the duvet, two fingers appear and salute the owl, "Morning to you, too, Oz ye noisy git."
And so begins another weary day...