Wednesday, 29 February 2012

What wotnot is wot?

Context is everything.
Seriously. This is something we should all know from reading newspapers or watching the news. You might see a headline and read nothing of the story to which it relates. From that headline, you think you know all you need to know, except you're wrong. Most likely, you aren't even close.
Even worse, you will do it to yourself. You will write yourself a little reminder to do something or to buy something. In a hurry, you will write down a key word or phrase, knowing that will be enough to remind you when you next look at that small slip of paper.
Yeah, right. Not a chance. How many times have you picked up a piece of paper that has your writing on it, only to wonder, "when the heck did I write that? Why the heck did I write it?" You'll be stood there for a good fifteen minutes, looking at the hastily-scrawled word, 'racket', until finally giving up and throwing it into the bin. Only later, when you get a clip around the ear from your beloved, will you suddenly remember that you were supposed to be making a complaint to the apartment block's supervisor about the racket that your upstairs neighbours were making until three in the morning. You'll also wonder how you managed to forget, when you also recall you got a hard look from your other half for commenting on their stamina...

In this case, it's nothing nearly so lurid - I think....
I wrote this Gem down, but neglected to jot down the circumstances in which it occurred. It's not normally a problem, but when the Gem in question involves Julie's favourite word, it turns into a fairly major problem. When my own dearly beloved is stuck for a word, she doesn't stop to try and think what it is she's trying to think of. Instead, she'll just substitute the word 'wotnot'. When we used to have a car, this often became a major problem, especially when Julie was trying to give me directions ("Mind the wotnot." "The what?" "The wotnot - we need to take that oojumaflip there.")
Sometimes, Julie seems to have lost most of the words in her own personal lexicon, especially when the word 'wotnot' appears to be taking over, as you can see here...

Like I said, I didn't write down what was going on to prompt this flood of 'wotnots', so go on, feel free to comment below and suggest what the various 'wotnot's may have been - No prizes for the best, but if there are enough people commenting with possible variants, then I'll post the best of them, in a new entry, sometime in the near future.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tuesday Bonus: On the Costa Del Geordie

Oh, my mp3 player is a little bundle of surprises. I have thousands of tracks to choose from, and going through them manually is time-consuming, so I get Windows media player to do it for me, randomly slotting this, that and the other onto the player. This means I end up with a playlist with one or two jarring moments - imagine listening to punk one minute and then dropping into a spot of Paul Robeson singing some churchy tune. It's not always like that; since I have a great fondness for Folk, Blues and Reggae & Ska, there is an accordingly proportionate amount of those genres popping up when I use the player. However, to hear this one suddenly come out of the speakers I was using at the time, it was still a case of "ye gods!"

I still like it - it's a fun tune.
Julie likes it as well, although I'm not too sure what part of Spain inspired her lyrics...

Apparently, Newcastle (UK) is now somewhere in Spain...

Monday, 27 February 2012

Snape approves: ExpelliaaAARRGGH!

I had a rough day on Saturday; each time I get a nasty cold I get a vicious little headache just as the cold is coming to an end. This means I wind up with a day of having the cold AND a near migraine experience. As it was, I wound up sleeping in an armchair that night, covered by a duvet. It was the only way I could be near comfortable.
Sunday morning, I was fine. A slight tightness of the head, but nothing I couldn't ignore.
Julie came into the lounge to see how I was, and wound up giving me a head rub. You know how cats and dogs go when they're on the throes of ecstasy? Well, that's me when Julie is giving my scalp a good massage. After that, all I ever want to do is flop down and drift off to sleep. Unfortunately, Julie was in 'Gem Mode', so I had to be (relatively) alert in order to catch as much as I can.
By the way, I used the qualifying 'relatively' just there, because I can remember the Gem itself, but not the situation that led up to it. We weren't watching Harry Potter, nor were we reading it. There's nothing visible in the room to bring it to mind, but Julie still managed to reference it in our conversation. Like I said, I had not long returned to the waking lands (plus Julie's head rub had relaxed me once more), I wasn't too coherent either. With that in mind, here's the whole Gemming conversation (barring a little coda).

We both agreed that it would have been highly entertaining and good ol' Harry just swanned up to Lord Voldemort and surprised him with a swift knee to the 'nads.

Shortly afterwards, I had stood up (so I could grab my pen and jot this Gem down). However, I still wasn't quite awake; I was stood there in a bit of a mental haze and a blank expression on my face. Julie was amused and asked me if I was alright.
You look like someone's just kicked you in the knackers.
Eh? Ye gods, no. This is the look of someone who's just been kicked in the knackers (folds up into a small, whimpering ball on the floor).
And with that, I shall bid you au revoir! See you next time!

Friday, 24 February 2012

But.. how does she know?

A few months ago, we and some friends went to see a comedian by the name of Milton Jones. He's ... odd. Odd to look at, with his unruly, gravity-defying mop of hair and natty line in Hawaiian shirts, and odd to watch. Very bloody odd. Have a look at him performing some of his finest and most surreal one-liners..

Apologies to those of you falling foul of the 'sorry, but you can't watch this in your country, nya nya nya!' syndrome. To those that watched it, you'll understand completely why Milton is one of Julie's favourite performers.

After the show, we drove home and chatted about the show and other things. Somehow, the conversation turned to sleep and sleep-walking and so forth. This reminded me of something I am apt to do quite a lot, much to the consternation of various people. Not that Julie was that impressed, as she then tried to outdo me.

There was silence for a few minutes after that one as three of us tried that one from various angles. The fourth one was still trying to start the mental engines, I think... I mean, I know you can hear things while you sleep. It's what wakes us up in the middle of the night or the morning (sometimes - see a forthcoming Gem), so we can get up for work. But, to actually listen? To make sense of what you hear?
Then again, I guess it's possible. After all, considering I can actually hold a coherent (if bizarre) conversation with someone else as I sleep, then I suppose I must be actively listening. I'm serious. You get me at the right time, and I'll freak you out completely. 
For example, when I was younger and still living at home, my mum heard me and my sister talking. Loudly. Well, we had to - we were in separate rooms. Coming up the stairs to see what the shouting was about, my mum poked her head around my door - the first one she reached.
Are you alright?
Yes, Mum. Why do you ask?
I was totally asleep (as was my sister, apparently), and to answer my mother, I turned my head to face her and replied - without even opening my eyes.
Poor Mum. She had to go and have a large rum & coke to steady her nerves...


Got a Gem story of your own? Have an acquaintance who seems to be a few words short of a sentence? Why not email us with them?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Therapeutic broccoli

(There's a notion, eh?)

As much as Julie and myself have a lot in common, there are also many things where our opinions and tastes differ. For example, there is not much overlap in our musical likes. No mean feat, considering I enjoy listening to almost anything.
Another difference of opinion stems from food. While we agree on some things (for example, the pizza we're about to eat - as we watch classic Muppets shows), there are some things that one eats that the other finds repulsive. For the record, I'm the one that likes Marmite and Julie most definitely doesn't. Something else Julie doesn't do too well with is vegetables. I have to admit a lot of it comes from her upbringing, but Julie isn't very good at eating and enjoying veg. If they're there, then she might eat them - but she'll not cook them as a matter of course.
When I say she might eat the veg on her plate, I mean it. Don't put mushrooms there, or spinach - or broccoli. Me, I LOVE broccoli.

The situation now is that I'll eat it and Julie will cook it. Not in that order, though, quite obviously. Mind you, sometimes it could do with a bit longer in the pan or steamer. And other times, I need to use a spoon to eat the stuff. It's quite odd. Julie has cooked broccoli for me quite a number of times now, but she still hasn't got the knack of the right timing. Sometimes, it'll be cooked just right, but usually, it's either tough or mushy.
Julie tried to explain the problem to me:

Well, possibly.
Well, ta-ta for now and ma-nah ma-nah to you all!

Monday, 20 February 2012

When the Protection goes bad

Poor Julie. She's not been feeling well at all lately. I won't go into too much detail, but I will say that the toilet isn't too happy right now either.
The problem is that Julie was meant to be beginning a part-time job at our district hospital today, but we had a sneaking suspicion that she wouldn't be all that welcome right now. Especially in view of the fact that the norovirus has closed three of the hospital's wards already (Handy hint, folks. Use those little bottles of alcohol gel wash - they're not there to look good, you know).
This is not to say that Julie actually HAS the norovirus, so don't worry. She has some medication and will be her normal self again in next to no time. At the time, though, we were discussing what we needed to do. Obviously, Julie needed to see a doctor, as normal binding medication hadn't changed things. Equally important, though, Julie needed to call the hospital and let them know what was going on. After all, as Julie said...

Well, at least some things don't change; Julie appears to have all her marbles. She's also not lost her sense of humour. No sooner had she come out with this particular Gem than she burst out laughing. She knew full well what it was she wanted to say, but her wiring had crossed somewhere and come up with a faulty response. Oddly enough, it appears to be one of Julie's favoured current slip-ups.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Julie's Gems presents a bicentennial win

Yes, that's right; this is our two-hundredth post. While the actual Gem count is somewhere higher or lower, I thought it was still quite a nice little achievement. One worth celebrating by celebrating the person that makes it all possible.
Since we began this blog a year ago (February 27th, to be precise - only ten days off), we have posted all manner of verbal oddities and withering put-downs, almost all of which come courtesy of my lovely wife, Julie. Time and again, she has baffled me, my family and now the world at large - but more importantly, we hope she has entertained. Many times, there will be that one time where everyone in the room has been in hysterical laughter. Just as equally, though, when you try and tell your friends, colleagues or just anyone who wasn't there at the time, you'll be convulsed with laughter while they're stood there looking at you like you just grew another head. Eventually, they will mutter something like, "I guess you had to be there," and make good their escape.

Of course, there are plenty of times where the tale does manage to survive the retelling - there are whole swathes of the internet dedicated to all walks of life, as we all know very well. However, we would like to believe that only Julie has the personal capacity to carry this off on an almost career-like basis (Heh - wouldn't it be grand to be able to earn a living just for being a Gemmer?). As I have lamented on many occasions, both here and in the outside world, there have been terrible losses, due to my inability to recall or record some of the finest rambling Gems known to man. However, the great lady shows no signs of veering toward that fusty road marked 'Normality'. Even if she did, then I'm sure the prospect of a glass of wine would tempt her to stray once more to the one, true path.

That, and I have a great wadge of hastily jotted Gems, all as yet unpublished. Don't worry, you're not going to be bored for some time yet, we hope.

For today's offering, I thought it best that we offered Julie some respect and an opportunity to express herself clearly just how she feels about her possibly unique abilities. After all, many people in her situation would feel very self-conscious about it all. Not just that they would be spouting all sorts of bizarre things, but that their loved one would be sat nearby, slavishly scribbling down everything they say.
Not Julie.

Attagirl. Bold as brass and twice as large as life.
With that, I think it only right that I leave you with a little ditty.

Monday, 13 February 2012

To be or not to be me

One night recently, Julie and myself were chatting away. Our conversation was - as ever - punctuated by Julie straying into the lands of the odd. It was late, though, and I was struggling to stay awake as it was. Trying to concentrate on what Julie was trying to say wasn't helping much either. Finally, after one particularly long rambling interlude, I had to say something.

As you can well imagine, that one just about finished me off! Boiiing! Time for bed said Zebedee!


So. Our next post will be our 200th. I shall have to do my best to ensure it's a suitably epic one.
Tata for now!

Friday, 10 February 2012

A rodent has graduated.

It's Friday and the weekend is here, a fact that I, for one, am very grateful for. It's been a heck of a week, driving most of the way up and down the country and then coming back to this ice-box of a house. At least we got to stop over at my folks' place for a night as we passed by. Of course, as we are wont to do, we will all sit around following a good meal and enjoy a good game of Scrabble. Also, as certain people are wont to do, alcohol was consumed (although I do have to admit not copious amounts) and merriment ensued. Of course, when Dad and Julie are in the same room and of similar mind, then alcohol usage seems to be something akin to overkill...
Naturally, the standard 'hmph'ing was present, along with the tossing the book of words aside ("Stupid book!"). As was Dad's predilection for making up words that shouldn't exist but have somehow managed to appear in the book (the Scrabble word list, in case you weren't sure. I did mention it in Monday's post). Sneaking in an unwanted 'v', Dad put down the word 'VOE'. Immediately, there was an outcry at the unfamiliar word, but Julie was on form and managed to answer mine and Mum's outburst with what I consider to be a better answer than the real one...

(by the way, in case you're interested, a voe is a narrow sea inlet, something like a fjord, but mainly in the far North of Scotland, particularly the Shetland Islands. How's that for obscure!)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A man of letters. The wrong ones.

Hello and welcome to Half-way day!
Once again, I return to the matter of our cheating by referring to a book of approved words - and to the world of familial in-jokes. The thing is, if we have managed to arrange the tiles on our racks so they appear to make a plausible word, we will then check the Mighty Tome to verify its existence. Sadly, our cunningly-arranged that appear to have fallen into a stunningly beautiful word often turns out to be utter gibberish. In other words, it's not in the book. On discovering this, our usual response it to mutter "Stupid book" and toss it to the side in a fit of pique.

On this particular occasion, Julie and myself were playing Scrabble, but were being put off by one of the dogs next door. You see, the owners had gone out for the day and left the poor animals on their own. While the one pooch is fairly stoical, Lulu is quite often gaga. She will bark at the slightest thing, which tends to be somewhat annoying if you happen to have wandered out into your own back garden and she then throws a fit. Left to her own devices, Lulu can't cope and takes to howling pitifully now and then (fortunately, this has only happened the once, and I think her owners realised it had happened when they returned).
Back in our house - a terraced house with thin walls, we were trying to concentrate on making up words by randomly throwing letters together - I mean, playing Scrabble. >sigh<  No, I was just randomly throwing letters together. I'll be honest, I had a f... er, pretty bad set of letters, and the state of the board wasn't helping. Nor was the occasional howl from next door.

It was only after the game ended and I looked back at what I had written, that I realised Julie had used the word 'letter'. Did I say I wasn't feeling particularly sharp that day?


ps - We are nearing our bicentennial. Yep, that's right, this is our 197th post since the blog began! Not sure how to celebrate it yet, as I have been rather tied up with a nation-wide tour for work, but I'll try to come up with something...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Almost Gems, but most definitely a put-down.

Hello, and welcome to a week of Scrabble-themed Gems, a week in which I prove that we can be both as bad as each other in so many ways. We both cheat, for example. Mind you, when I say 'cheat', what we actually do is look at the letters we have on our racks and try and come up with a possible combination. In this manner, we hope to happen upon a word that is not in our vocabularies, but is most definitely contained in the Scrabble word book.

For us - and my folks - it's the ultimate arbiter and referee. If it's in there, it stays on the board. This gives rise to a common exchange, following a placement of a bizarre word.
"Qibla?? What's that?"
"It's in the book, that's what it is."
The thing is, though, there will be times when those seven tiles on your rack give you absolutely no inspiration at all. Granted, a lot of the time, it'll be something like 'AAGHUUU' or the teeth and tongue-rending "BDDFQVX'. However, I find I can wind up with a sweet-looking set of letters - and maybe even one of the blanks - and.. and... Crud. How is it I can't make anything larger than three letters long...? Or, to put it another way...

I hope you know what I mean. Julie does, but she's hardly sympathetic. Or coherent.

I know, I know. It all makes sense, doesn't it? It's just that when you first look at it or hear it you can't process it, can it? Oh... it can. I guess it's just me then...

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Saturday Bonus - Dead in Bed

I was trying to explain the expression Julie usually manages to evoke from me. You know, it's The Look.

It's a little self-contradictory, as it's an expression without much expression. To put it in one word. 'Deadpan'. Julie, however, seems to have a little trouble with mastering The Look.

There's only one possible response to that.

Friday, 3 February 2012

A demonstrably inexplicable lack of thought

It's Friday once more, and I thought we'd lead you into the weekend with a double dose of bafflement.
There's not really much background to these Gems, especially since they could have taken place any time and anywhere. In fact, they often do. It's just they also happen when Julie is feeling especially reflective or rueful about her ability to produce Gems. Along the promenade, in a cafe or our front room, we've had similar conversations on many occasion. Mind you, on most of those occasions, I have been too confused to remember precisely what was said in order to write it down.
This time, Julie had been trying to get something across to me and it simply was not happening, possibly due to an overuse of the word 'wotnot' in place of various verbs, nouns and adjectives. As a reason for her failure, Julie offered this up;

I'll be honest here; if anyone can er.. explain this one to me, then I'll be truly grateful.
Then again, Julie did try to justify why she had said this and will continue to say more things like it.

Hear that? That's the sound of my brain reaching overload.
I think I'd better leave you to it and bid you a very good weekend - tata for now!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sick at the sight of Spike?

As you read this, I am hopefully out and about, doing my roadie bit for my company, as they try and hawk their wares to a multitude of possibly uninterested and occasionally larcenous (going by my latest experiences) hairdressers. On the way, I aim to meet a few friends, and have indeed managed to do this already, both on this tour and on the previous round. Silliness was prevalent and fun was had by... a few, at least.
By the time I post this, I should be in Coventry, and aiming to be in Manchester for the following day. On that particular day, a Thursday, I will be in a damn sweet hotel, albeit one that has changed its name (and, indeed, ownership) since I last visited, a mere few months ago. The thing is, last time I was there, there were a few problems with communication, one way or another, and one of my friends never made it to the meet-up. That was a crying shame as the lady I did meet, turned out to be just as nice and fun in real life as she is on the other side of a computer screen.
This time, there are problems once more; with timing for the previously absent friend (although he may yet make it) and with Mamacat, as I originally knew her, there is a health situation, as I explained to Julie.

Wow - nice one love; A complete sympathy fail and a crushing put-down in one sentence? Sorry, Mamacat, but I think I managed to catch the brunt of that one.
I don't know, considering my friend has contributed to this blog on more than one occasion, courtesy of her young daughters, you'd think Julie would at least extend some professional courtesy... unless she's jealous, of course...

I AM in Coventry, in a library, and glad to be out of the hotel. I woke up with a headache, which was unpleasant. I would have had a shower, but having seen that the shower patently hasn't been cleaned, I think I may limit myself to a quick wash-over with a sponge. Yes, the shower IS that bad; even worse, it's the 2nd room. When I saw the black-spot mould all over the shower in the first room, I immediately refused to use it and demanded a second room.
Sheesh. I wish I was back in Cardiff...