About Me

Barcode Battler

Two things made me stop dead in the street at lunchtime.

The first was walking past a mobile phone shop. My contract is nearly up for renewal, and I am going to attempt to talk my current provider into giving me a new phone and a better deal, by threatening to switch to a different network.

As I walked past this shop, I stopped quite abruptly. My sidekick kept walking, but turned around just in time to see some guy narrowly avoid walking into me. Needless to say, the sugar in our veins, coupled with the elation that arises from being out of the office, raised this simple event to the status of “funniest thing that has ever happened.”

The second thing that made me stop was a sudden recollection, of a toy I had when I was a kid. Does anybody remember these:

Barcode Battler

This was the Barcode Battler. It was fantastically bad.

The concept was that you would scan in a barcode and it would be converted into some mystical character or powerup or something. Some were provided with the set, but the real beauty came from scanning in your chocolate bar wrappers, upon which point you’d realise that you had, in your possession, the weakest and crappest warrior that ever existed.

The graphics were on a par with half a dozen digital clocks. Who am I kidding, there were no graphics. It was all just a bunch of numbers. All the trouble that the manufacturers went to when making up these characters was sadly wasted, as when it came to battle, all that mattered was the transitive nature of the field of integers.

It was a dreadful toy, and I probably only played on it for a couple of hours before chucking it to one side.

As a final note of interest, Barcode Battler was a lot more popular in Japan, where it led to Barcode World, which actually spawned Pokemon. So now we know who is to blame.

About Me Meander


For some reason, my dad liked Tam. Tam wasn’t exactly a friend. Friend is the wrong word. We were never really friends, in that we didn’t actually talk an awful lot. But we used to stay over at the other’s place for a night, and play computer games.

This was back when I was about 12, I guess. I had an Amiga 500, and he had a Sega MegaDrive.

And for years after me and Tam stopped playing computer games together, my dad would sometimes ask “How’s Tam?”, and I’d reply “Haven’t spoken to him for years, dad.”

This morning, an envelope arrived on my mat, the address written on in my dad’s handwriting. I peeled it open.

Inside was just a scrap of newspaper, cut out of the local newspaper. No letter inside, nothing.

I haven’t spoken to Tam for about three years, maybe more. I think the last time we spoke was when we worked in a bar together for a short while. At the time he had been going out with this really nice girl for about a year. She wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous, but she was pretty, and she smiled all the time, but not in a stupid way. In a nice way. And they made a good couple.

The scrap of newspaper showed a quarter of an advert for a fireplace showroom. “Interesting,” I thought, “but I don’t have a chimney.” I realised my idiocy and turned it over.

I saw two familiar faces. A recognisable nice smile, and the ever-so-slightly buck teeth that could only be Tam. She was wearing a white dress and holding a bouquet, and he was in a black tux.

I’m very happy for both of them, naturally, and I also think that they are both very lucky that they met eachother when they were so young.

For the rest of us? Maybe we’ll never meet the right person. But that doesn’t matter, because even if you end up unmarried forever, there will always be somebody else in the same situation to keep you company. The thing that you have to understand about life is that it has the advantage. Life makes the rules, and life breaks the rules. Sometimes you just have to be flexible.

Dear Donkey

Dear Donkey – the brain map

> Dear Donkey,

> The new(ish) swearing function has finally destroyed my already fragile ego, thus sending me into a tragic spiral of self-loathing despair.

> While I’m lost in the depths of my own neurosis, do you have a map of the mind’s nether regions that I can borrow?

DonkeyDonkey says:

You can borrow my brain map, if you like:

the brain map

Now, at first it might look a bit complicated, but allow me to walk you through it.

Section 1 is called the Frontal Lobe. That’s used for thinking about womens’ breasts. It’s pretty big, as you can see. And, as Ms. Brook is demonstrating over there on the right hand side, it varies in size during the course of the day.

Section 2 is called the Temporal Lobe. That’s used for getting angry. Like, if some guy in a bar is hitting on your girlfriend, then BOOM! Your temporal lobe kicks in, and you lay the smack down on him.

Section 3 is called the Parietal Lobe. You use that for thinking about how attractive your friends’ parents are.

Section 4 is the Occipital Lobe. That’s the bit that the surgeons squeeze when they need to knock you unconscious for any reason. That’s how the Vulcan Death Grip works.

Section 5 is the Cerebellum. The cerebellum does everything that the other bits don’t do. For example, thinking about pies and watching films.

thinking about pie

I hope that this answers your questions, you fucking idiot. I mean, you’re lovely and cute and great and we all love you.


The Obligatory War Post

(punctuated by pictures of a pretty lady, to make it more manageable)

I was wondering the other night what my contribution to the war effort is going to be.

I don’t think I’m going to be the shouting general in the room with the guys with headsets. That’s a thankless job really, and I don’t think I could see me in a moustache. And besides, they all suffer from hormone imbalances and want to nuke everything, until the geeky bespectacled scientist in the white coat suggests a far more constructive and pacifistic course of action. And then the general has to eat humble pie. And I prefer chicken.

I don’t want to be the cannon fodder on the front line either. I’m useless with a bayonet, and I’ve never liked the look of dismembered corpses. That said, one of my ambitions before I die is to have sex with a prostitute, so I imagine that there will be plenty of opportunity for that out abroad. Long time, five dollar?

I don’t think I could be a spy either. I think I’d just fall over too often. And I haven’t got the right sort of verbal delivery either. When the bad guy is interrogating me, I think I would be less likely to say “Do you exchpect me to talk, Goldfinger?” and more likely to say “Wanker.” Mind you, the women would be throwing yourself (whoops, I meant, themselves) at my feet. It’s not the same if you aren’t paying for it though.

Working in intelligence probably wouldn’t be wise either. I don’t really have the anticipative mentality when it comes to foreigners. The less said about this, the better.

I could do a George Bailey, and stay at home and organise rubber drives and such like. Be a bit of a local hero, just do odd jobs around the community and be a good guy. However, that would require me to take some sort of initiative, which would probably mean that I would lose my job, as that kind of thing is not allowed around here.

I think I’ll be a pilot. I’ll be like Tom Cruise in Top Gun, and I’ll get to utter the immortal line: “He’s too close for missiles – I’m switching to guns.”

Nothing would give me greater joy.

Apart from not having to go to war, of course.


Some snow

A snowy scene

I haven’t yet posted any photos of the snow from the last couple of days, so here’s one of the view from my French doors at 8am this morning.

Dear Donkey TITGIG

Dear Donkey – the one with the townie’s shirt

> Dear Donkey,

> How can I cope when one of the blogs I read has “a background like a townie’s shirt”?! Someone else’s words, but they reflect my sentiments…

DonkeyDonkey says:

You call that a problem? If that is really the issue that is vexing you the most in your life at this particular moment in time, then I am most impressed with how incredibly “together” your ensemble de vie seems to be.

If you really need tips to cope with this eyesore of mammoth proportions (which, strangely, everyone except you seems to like) then resize your browser to about 800 pixels wide.

And besides, it isn’t a townie’s shirt. It’s a picnic blanket. Sounds to me like someone has some unresolved issues relating to townies. Were you abused by townies as a child? Did you once walk in on a townie having sex with the family cat? This is the kind of stuff that “Dear Donkey” wants to hear about.


One wintry night

I don’t consider myself to be worldly-wise.

I haven’t seen the world. Yet.

I haven’t travelled all over, and experienced the diversity that only a true ramblin’ man could.

But I think I’ve had first hand experience of some quite varied environments within the United Kingdom. I’ve lived in cities, and I’ve lived in villages, and a spectrum in between.

Tonight, 2:05am, I walked home from the train station amidst the sodium lights and the shrill birdsong, both of which are still filtering in through my open balcony doors. And I felt this feeling of unity, like the minor details of my life so far had been distilled and mixed into a small basin, and were being fed to me there and then.

I realise now that I have achieved so much more in 2002 than I dreamed possible. I am in a fantastic situation right now, and this is a great place to be attacking the remainder of my life from. Let’s hope that I don’t fuck it up.

Some rewinding may be in order.

I didn’t steal the broken headrest from the train tonight.


I was sat on the return train tonight, amidst pissheads and lager louts who were staggering up the aisles and laughing the most despicable laughs imaginable. A broken headrest was opposite me, laid on the seat, inviting me to use it as a weapon, so that I may destroy the form of this twat in a beanie hat who was laughing like a bad comedian.


The Gods were smiling on me tonight. After wandering the streets of Wimbledon for 45 minutes, I was sure that I was doomed to spend the next six hours trapsing the highways and byways, waiting for the public transport to restart in the morning so that I may be on my merry way. I had missed the train that I was aiming for, by a long shot. It was long gone, and I couldn’t see a resolution.

I continued to walk. After all, what else is there? I would walk all night, if necessary. It would be a learning experience, that would build me as a man. I’ve walked all night before, and if necessary I would walk all night again.

However, I broke the crest of a hill and was warmed by the glow of Wimbledon station. The grail. The target. If only I had happened upon it earlier.

I wandered inside, more out of curiosity than any belief that it would be fulfilling. I sauntered to my regular platform. Hark, what did I see? A train. But not just any train.

A train that could take me home.


I left the party on foot at about half past midnight. I had a train to catch. As long as things went according to plan, I could be home in an hour. 1:30am. A quite respectable time.

The party was very enjoyable actually. It was attended by a dozen rather likeable people, with only a small number being too drunk to appreciate it. The wine was plentiful, the music was variable, and the conversation was of a fine calibre. I was having a good night, amongst like-minded individuals.

Dare I say it, probably the best New Years’ Eve on record.

And now, to my readership. I’d like to wish a lot of love to you all. Over this coming year there will be moments of greatness, and moments of not-so-greatness. It’s inevitable. But I’ll look after you in any way that I can.

Adieu. Speak to you tomorrow.