Y is for Yearbook

I am not a fan of the stereotype I’ve seen in many an American TV show that people who work on the Yearbook are nerds or somehow uncool (examples include Joyce Summers and Lisa Simpson). This might have more than a little to do with the fact that I just so happened to be on my year’s yearbook committee.

Working on the yearbook is a relatively thankless task (not entirely thankless mind, for each committee, one commendation medal was given apart from yearbook for which two were issued. I received neither of them. I’m not bitter) but you do it for the love of the process. Scratch that, you do it because if you turn out a sub standard yearbook, people will grumble and we can’t have that now can we? Because I know that you are all deeply fascinated in how a yearbook comes together, I shall grant you all the pleasure of a sneaky peek behind the curtain.

Unsurprisingly, there’s rather a lot of soul crushing admin, most of which is chasing up people to pay their money and to fill in their frigging profiles (I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no left over frustration, you’re crazy). There was also the regular battle of trying to get all of the committee members to attend the meetings, I think we were all in the same room approximately once. To take the photo of us as a committee.

My particular job was to assemble the photo spreads. I’m pretty sure that this is what pushed me over the edge and headfirst into insanity. That’s what sorting through thousands (it was definitely about three thousand. Including duplicates. Please share my pain) of photos and vainly attempting to cobble them into some sort of arrangement by theme. Too many times (maybe twice) I’d think I was finished and then I’d check someone else’s page and I’d find a photo I’d used and would have to go back and redo mine (the photo spreads were not high up the priority list, I feel valued). You know, or club them to death with the prototype.

X is for X-ray

Alright so sue me I’ve gone for the obvious, check back in for the next alphabetical cycle when I do xylophone and the one after that when I do xenophobia, once I’ve got through those I may well be ever so slightly stumped. Hmm, watch this space.

So I’ve had two x-rays in my life as far as I know. I say as far as I know because I don’t actually remember the first one; we’ll get onto that story in a bit. The latest x-ray I’ve had was following my one and only sporting injury (well, I smacked my knee while ice skating which resulted in a very impressive bruise, my badge of honour, but that doesn’t really feel as if it counts in any particularly meaningful way). You’d be surprised how dangerous self defence can be, especially if you’re not paying a huge amount of attention as you fall backwards. I stuck out a hand behind me and bent the fingers back. Moderately gruesome as that might sound, what I ended up with was the babiest fracture ever – a greenstick fracture of one of the bones in my left ring finger (it’s a really good thing I’m not superstitious isn’t it or I might have taken that as some kind of omen).

As for the other x-ray, it’s a well worn family tale of mischief. When I was six months old or so, my elder brother chose to use my head for target practice as he lobbed a jar of marmalade at my fragile baby skull. Cue crying, a dash to A&E and baby’s first x-ray. My brother and I have become closer since this episode. And the first question they asked at the hospital really ought to go down as some kind of modern philosophy; was the jar empty or full?

W is for Wimbledon

If there’s anyone out there reading this who doesn’t have occasional access to a television for any reason (and to be honest, I can’t really think of one, especially if you’ve got the internet access required to read this blog), they might not know that we as a nation are currently mired in Wimbledon fortnight. For those unfamiliar with this national spectacle, here’s my brief apathetic guide to the whole affair.

Wimbledon is held yearly here in merry old England, there’s compulsory strawberries and cream for everyone who’s turned up to watch, it always rains so that we have something to complain about once our player’s been knocked out (Andy Murray’s really screwing with that system, we’re just not used to it) and the Queen is always in attendance, don’t be fooled if she’s not readily apparent – it’s a particularly niche version of Where’s Wally.

That’s a few choice facts about Wimbledon but it doesn’t really make much headway towards telling you what it actually is (just in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s pretty much my specialty. Wimbledon is a tennis tournament, tennis is one of the ones where you have to hit a ball across the net and do your utmost not to let said ball bounce too often or too far away from some lines painted on the floor. It’s mostly about balls really and there are plenty of people present at a game (or is it match, set? I don’t pay a huge amount of attention to this sport – I do know for almost sure that they don’t play to twenty one or however many points. That’s badminton right? Or it could be squash I’m thinking of. Oh great, now I’m thirsty) who are paid to keep their eyes on the ball. Ball boys, ball girls, umpires and what have you.

So at Wimbledon, all the nice people from all over the world have fun hitting balls over the net in the middle of the court (quite a few of theses go on at once but most people only watch one at a time) and then at the end someone gets a big plate. And then the Wombles throw a parade.

V is for Va Va Voom

Va va voom is something indefinable, or at least it is if you’re prepared to ignore the various definitions on sites such as Urban dictionary (where you can find a transcript of the car adverts with Thierry Henry) which run along the lines of being interesting, exciting or sexually appealing.

So how does one go about increasing their own level of va va voom? Is it something you have to be born with (honestly, it would probably be deeply odd if it was as if we were to start considering the sexuality of an infant we’d definitely be stepping into a region that is at the very least grey)? I’m fairly sure it isn’t (read the brackets, if you skip over the brackets in this blog and in life in general then you truly are missing out, get your life together. Of course if you do miss out the brackets then you probably aren’t reading this well, that means I can say whatever I want about you behind your back – brilliant). Therefore, your innate va va voomyness is probably linked to your confidence along with other outward facing qualities of yours.

Now that I’ve skipped over giving you any idea over how to actually get more or at any rate some va va voom in your life, we can swiftly move on to the thorny issue of how to harness your already obtained va va voomitude. Should you use your powers for good, working towards the benefit of mankind or for your own selfish self gratification (I think we all know the correct answer to that question. Go and have some fun)? Va va voom is about vivacity and vitality, virility and joie de vive, vigour and very difficult as it may be to believe I’ve got this far into this list with absolutely no idea of another word beginning with v that would be remotely appropriate in this context even though I’m leaning towards the word voyeurism which I really do know isn’t quite right.

U is for Umbrella

Umbrellas as an idea are pure and simple undiluted genius (you can tell that there’s a but coming up later, any sentence that starts off this complimentary has clearly got to be trying to soften the blow of an oncoming but) however (ha ha, I fooled you by delivering an altogether fancier but than you were expecting. I might need to aim for some slightly more impressive victories) in reality they are devilish contraptions that will surely bring about the end of human civilisation as we know it. It’s possible that I’m being ever so slightly influenced by the sheer volume of post apocalyptic films being released at the moment.

The concept of having a handy collapsible shelter from the elements is a good one, something small enough to carry but big enough to huddle under. It’s not the biggest ask in the world. However, once armed with an umbrella, it’s all too easy to become a bit of a knob. There’s a certain glee involved in staying marginally more dry than those around you, especially when there’s an opportunity to accidentally on purpose poke someone’s eye out with the spokes of your umbrella. Also, those super handy umbrellas that fold away into an easily stowable nubbin of sopping material that will soak everything else in your bag do absolutely nothing to keep your legs dry. Another evil of umbrellas is that if you’re hoping to use them in any level of wind (man made or weather wise) then you’re out of luck as they have this irritating tendency to blow inside out.

It’s obviously time that umbrellas were revamped and improved, that someone had a go at examining the basic concepts at the heart of the product – The Apprentice is on later and I’m entering the spirit of the show – I’m certainly not saying that this person is me, I’m really far better at criticising stuff than suggesting how to make it better. Just get rid of the eye stabby bits and you could be on to a winner (unlike the contestants on the earlier mentioned show).

T is for Ti, Tee and Tea

Have you ever played Homonym, the fictional television game show from the final season of 30 Rock that drives contestants insane because no matter which definition of the word they suggest it’s always the other one? Of course you haven’t, it isn’t real. Even so, today’s subjects would be really good for that show. Look how many words I got out of just the one syllable, I can totally get through this alphabet thing. I’ve managed to get through this many words without even beginning to examine the day’s subject matter, this is definitely doable.

It’s probably the case that at the mention of the word ti, most people would think of the Sound of Music (provided they know which ti we’re talking about). For a long time, this film was one of the holes (of which there are many but let’s not expose them now) in my cultural knowledge. In fact, I performed in a version (in the chorus of a twenty minute production at school before you go thinking I’m all talented and glamorous) before I’d seen the film. It makes rather a lot more sense now.

Moving on to tee, that’s probably got to be golf related now hasn’t it? I hate golf. No, hate’s too strong a word for it, golf is unworthy of such depth of feeling. I nothing golf, the one saving grace it possesses is that it is the occupation of Bobby Cobb from Cougar Town (yet another fabulous show, I really do have excellent taste).

And finally we get to tea. I have previously (in the former incarnation of my blog, please do go and look at it ) waxed lyrical about tea despite the fact that I’m really very boring in my tea habits. All I drink is regular English Breakfast tea – I’ve never even tried green tea. It’s at this point that I realise that if I’m going to talk about three such disparate things, I should probably have a go at neatly tying them all together. So let’s skip the golf because duh and settle down in front of the Sound of Music (until we get bored, it’s not the best) with a decent cuppa.

S is for Stat Checking is Not Good For the Ego

It’s definitely a good thing I’m not doing this for recognition or glory because I’ve been doing this long enough to know that kind of thing really isn’t going to be happening any time soon. The notion of building up a readership who’ll hang lovingly on my every word is a misguided one I know so I have tried my very best to avoid it. It’s definitely beneficial to me as a writer and all that, especially as I have this new open ended format as more of a challenge (I really am trying to do more than just complain about how much more difficult it is than the last blog format. It would help if my life was remotely interesting).

But it’s a very rare thing that I can resist the call of the stats page. It’s taunting me right now, it and I both know full well that I haven’t had any views today and yet I still want to check it. Maybe if I say it one more time that this whole effort really isn’t a vanity project it might actually be true. Of course I’m seeking some kind of validation, what creative person isn’t? Look at Van Gogh, he was pretty miserable and that’s got to be at least a little bit down to the fact that nobody at the time thought much of his paintings. On the flip side though, it’s highly possible that someday after my death someone will unearth my blogatory canon and deem it the best thing since sliced bread to the world’s creative acclaim (it could happen, though hopefully they’ll choose to omit the bits where I complain a lot).

What I’m trying to say (badly) is that you should do creative things because you want to and try not to mind what response you get. And if you have a stats page or similar don’t check it unless you think you’ll like what you see or you’re totally above such things (I am neither of these things so I shall continue to resist).