Hobo gonna pay…

Are you cold? Hungry? No-where to go?
Well, I hope panhandling has reaped huge rewards today because the Tories are probably going to fine you.

Yup, this is the latest cattle crap spewing forth from the government and councils of this country:

Westminster Council want to introduce a new bye-law which will make it an offense, punishable by fine, to “sleep or lie down”, “deposit materials used as bedding” or “give out, or permit another to give out, food for free”.

Right, I can picture the scene:

COP: “You, you there!”


COP: “Yeah you. You gonna eat that?”

MAN WITH BURGER: “Yeah. That’s…that’s OK right?”

COP: “Oh sure, sure, it’s just…awful lot of homeless around these parts”

MAN WITH BURGER: “Riiiiight”

COP: “Better not see you handing that burger over to one of those cold, wet, hungry, homeless guys”

MAN WITH BURGER: “Noooooo, not me, I would…CATCH HOBO!”


I may have exaggerated the issue slightly but, let’s face it, the ridiculousness of my scenario is nothing compared to the idiocy of the bye-law proposition.

Pret A Manger have been distributing their unsold food to London’s homeless for years, but with this law in place they will be forced to throw this good food away.

It’s unsold, it’s not going to be sold, it’s going to the bins, why shouldn’t someone benefit from it?

As for making it an offense to “deposit materials used as bedding”, what does that even mean?

I can’t lay out a blanket for a picnic? Drop an armful of straw?
What if i’m carrying a mattress and…look, the point here is that making homelessness illegal is ridiculous.

There is no logic to this proposition, none whatsoever.

Grab yourselves a sleeping bag or an armful of sandwiches and let the revolution begin.

Hey there, MonkeyScrotum…

What the hell is with the wierdness of pet names?

“Thanks for the cuppa, sweetheart”

Yeah that seems fair

“Mmm, tea was delicious babe”

Hmm, ok I can allow that

“You look hot tonight sugartits”

Right, right. No. Hang on. Sugartits?

“Hey there pop tart”

She’s a toasted breakfast treat? What the…

“Awwwwww hunnybun”

NO! None of this hunnybunning, babycaking, sexybumming bullpizzle!

Facebook especially is riddled with this imbecilic, simpering awfulness.

Look, you love her, she loves you, wondrous.

But you were given names for a reason, use them!

Or, if you must pick a pet name, why not opt for something that doesn’t sound like a rejected Care Bear.

Also, no more of this “IT AM OUR SIX WEEK ANNIVERSARY OMG!” crap.

The word literally means Returning Yearly. YEARLY!

You want to celebrate a milestone? Congratulate yourself on not being dead yet, because I. Will. Find. You.

Of course there’s also the flipside of the “OOOOH I WUV YOU CHUFFKITTEN” debacle, which is the “SOOOO TIRED OF BEING ALONE WHY CANT I FIND A MAN/WOMAN/AGREEABLE FARMYARD ANIMAL OMG FML FML” crud which is cluttering up my News Feed.

Here’s a newsflash for you, you can’t find a viable partner because you are the last of your freakish, mutant kind and are genetically incompatible with normal folk.

Sort it out, people!

P.S – Poppet. You can have THAT pet name. Because it’s quirky

(Thanks go to @zanPHEE for bringing to my attention the irksome nature of pet names and sparking this whole ranty wossname)

Get points, trade points, wait…

My host body is a big fan of Coca-Cola and, for once, he and I are in full agreement.

Coke is a tasty beverage with plenty of caffeinated goodness to get you through the crap-awful day.

So imagine our delight when they launched the CokeZone reward scheme.

You enter the numbers from the bottles onto a website, save up your points and then you can exchange them for fantabulous rewards!

Well, that’s not quite how it works…

What actually happens is, you save up the points, select a reward, CokeZone take the aforementioned points away and then proceed to pack and post a big box of shiny sod all.

On the 14th of December 2010, having amassed a large amount of CokeZone points (due to the constant lack of any reward worth claiming) I decided what the hell and ordered a Coca-Cola branded, 2GB USB Memory Stick.

I have USB Memory Sticks, I don’t need another one, but this one has the Coca-Cola logo on it and could come in handy for backing up all those viagra e-mails and offers of Nigerian wealth so I figure, why the hell not?

I redeem 150 points for this USB stick, enter my address details, wait a day or two for the clunking, creaking website to process the information and then receive confirmation.

My USB Stick is on it’s way!

The question is, on it’s way to where?

By the end of December i’ve not received it but in a move which is entirely out of character, I give them a little longer due to the Christmas post and I say nothing.

January arrives, January goes, nothing.

February 1st and i’ve decided enough is most assuredly enough.

I enter a query on the CokeZone webform which says, simply enough:

I ordered a 2gb USB stick on the 14th of December 2010 and am yet to
receive it.

Please advise?


I also drop them a gentle nudge via Twitter and await response.

The @cokezone Twitterites get back to me fairly sharpish and assure me that I shall have a response by Friday 11th, if I don’t, i’m to let them know.

So I wait, I play a little X-Box, I join some hashtaggery on Twitter, I groan in dismay as the country collapses in on itself like a poorly built house of cards…

Friday 11th arrives and sure enough, there’s an e-mail from CokeZone

Wondering which far flung hellhole they’ve mistakenly shipped my USB Stick to, I open the e-mail and see this…

I’m sorry you didn’t receive your reward. We want to help, and will look into this further. We will get back to you within 5-7 business days.

So i’ve waited for this response which has in turn asked me to wait?

No deal.

I reply to the e-mail, tell them i’m most disgruntled or discombobulated or whatever other dis applies to the situation and await further response.

I wait until today, 16th February 2011.

They’ve had the 5 from their 5-7 day response estimate and I have had it up to…my hand is pointing to my forehead, ok?…up to here.

So, I reply once again:


I am still awaiting any news on this reward.

I think the time you have taken is absolutely ridiculous

Please reply promptly

Short, to the point and for me, remarkably restrained.

The day rolls on and then, as I enjoy yet another “Connection Interrupted” break from Black Ops, a hearty bing bong from my laptop announces the arrival of e-mail.

Eager to read news of my surely, soon to arrive USB stick, I open Outlook hurriedly and…ah.

Dear James,

Thanks for contacting Coke Zone. We’re glad you took the time to email us.

Most items are dispatched within 7-10 days. However, sometimes it can take 28 days for delivery. You can check the status of your order on ‘My Account’ page. We are researching the reward and will let you know our findings as soon as possible and will share your comments with the team and appropriate departments. Thank you for your feedback.

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us again.



This will not do.

I sent the reply you are about to read and i’m looking forward to hearing back from them…

Dear Deborah

Perhaps, before sending out the bog standard auto response, you might take two minutes to ACTUALLY READ the history attached to this ticket number?

Some items might take 28 days? This particular item is at 60+ days and counting.

I could understand the delay if, for example, I lived at an Arctic science station, at the heart of the Amazon rainforest or in space.
In actual fact, I live in a fairly easy to locate village in the United Kingdom, hell, I gave you the address.

Have you ever seen a map? They’re amazing, you look at them and you can work out where stuff is.

I suggest you grab my USB stick and post it, send it by courier, strap it to a trained pigeon or fire it out of a catapult in the general direction of my home, whatever it takes to get it, along with the massive pile of free goodies which you’re sending to make up for the awful service, to my house as soon as possible.

Yours in eager anticipation,

UPDATE : 24th February 2011

Well, well, well…

Over the past couple of days I have resent my address (at the request of the @cokezone Twitterers, because the helpdesk guys struggle with e-mail and are still trying to work out how to open the big, monitor shaped envelope in which their mail has apparently been delivered…

I received this e-mail today, and I have changed Francis’ name to Frank, to protect the….ah crap, Francis it is then.

Dear James,

I wanted to let you know that the USB Stick and vouchers will be going out to you today or tomorrow. Please keep an eye out as they should be with you shortly.

We’re truly appreciative of your patience. Thanks for being a member of Coke Zone.

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us again.



My reply is as follows:

Dear Francis

I will keep an eye out and, with luck, a following wind and the grace of a non-specific deity, soon I shall clutch to my bosom that most cherished of items, a Coca-Cola branded USB stick.

I have a blue USB stick now which I have been using, but it is as nought compared to the radiant beauty of your Coca-Cola sticks.

I have yet to tell Bluey (I call the blue stick Bluey) that he is being replaced, I hope he won’t take it too hard.

Perhaps it would be best if I took him out back and put a bullet in him, “Old Yeller” style.

Old Yeller was the name of my old Yellow USB stick.

Yours sincerely


UPDATED – 08th March 2011

I must, grudgingly, admit that Coca-Cola have sent me a fully functioning, 2gb USB stick and 2 x £5 HMV vouchers, at last.

So, I guess CokeZone and I are on good terms now right? Not quite.

Just a quibble, CokeZone, but get your ROGOF vouchers sorted, you’re screwing up my weekends…

Damn it Mabel!

I’ve never agreed with people who suggest that, past a certain age, people should automatically be disqualified from driving.

What should happen is re-testing and, if they can’t manage an automatic car wash, they should have their license and breathing privileges revoked.

Today, I witnessed the truly stupid in all it’s monumentally asstardish glory.

An elderly woman, we shall call her Mabel, for ease of reference, attempted to use the automatic car wash at the local petrol station.

What follows is Mabel’s Guide to the Auto Carwash:

1 ) Drive forwards toward the carwash

2 ) Reverse a few feet

3 ) Drive forwards again, into the same spot you previously occupied

4 ) Reverse a few feet

5 ) Drive forward, aligning your wheels with a metal rail which has nothing whatsoever to do with the direction you are meant to be headed in

6 ) Smash into a barrier, removing your driver side wing mirror

7 ) Reverse a few feet

8 ) Exit the vehicle, retrieve your mirror, laugh nervously and re-enter the vehicle

9 ) Reverse a few feet

10 ) Smash into the car behind because you’d forgotten that you had ALREADY reversed a few feet

11 ) Exit the vehicle, apologise for the dint, laugh nervously and re-enter the vehicle

12 ) Appear oblivious to angry driver behind who would still like your insurance details, thank you so very bloody much

13 ) Drive forward, correctly aligning yourself to enter the car wash

14 ) Insert token

15 ) Mash buttons with palm, whilst mumbling about “newfangled this” and “back in the day that”

16 ) Exit the vehicle, enter the station and demand help

17 ) Return to the carwash, attendant in tow, complaining that a bucket of water and an old cloth “were always good enough when I were younger”

18 ) Listen as it is explained to you that entering the token then attempting to select every available wash cycle at once will, not surprisingly, fail to result in the quality car wash that you were hoping for.

19 ) Apologise, laugh nervously, re-enter the vehicle

20 ) Watch as attendant inserts token for you and presses button for “Wash ‘N’ Wax”

21 ) Drive forwards into car wash, wondering why attendant and everyone in massive queue which has formed behind you are shaking their heads and yelling

22 ) Scream in terror as the car fills with water, due to the open window which you NOW realise that everyone was trying to warn you about

23 ) Drown

24 ) Corpse wax

We gave our statements and left as they were loading
Mabel’s shiny cadaver into the meat wagon.

Game for a laugh

Palms slick with sweat, heart racing, I gently squeeze the trigger.
My target has no idea that he is just moments away from a grizzly end.
Just a little more pressure and…the batteries die in my controller.
I manage to get a replacement pack slotted in just in time to see four members of the opposing squad rhythmically squatting over my fresh corpse.

Welcome to the world of online gaming.

I have always loved online multiplayer, from the epic RPG world of Ultima to the blood soaked battlefields of Halo and C.O.D.

But despite by great love of these games, there is much about the online gaming world which is truly irksome:

1) Chatter:

I am an X-Box 360 gamer and I have an official 360 Headset.
With this I can talk to friends and teammates when playing online, whether that be inane babble about day to day life or focused team chat and strategies to overcome the obstacles presented to us by the game in hand.

Thanks to this headset, I can also hear every American gamer who feels the burning need to ask me if I am related to Harry Potter, or whether I am currently eating crumpets.

I can, thank the lord, hear the blaring, distorted music of all who choose to sit one inch from their sound system when settling in for an evening with their console.


2) Camping:

For those not in the know, camping is simply defined as staying in one place to gain a tactical advantage.
Sounds fair, I suppose, I mean, you’re in the game to win, right?

Wrong. Winning is tremendous, it’s a treat, it really is.
But surely the purpose of online gaming is to have fun?

My question is, what fun is to be had from sitting in a small room, staring at a door, hoping to kill whoever might come to said door?
The answer, none, it’s tedious as all hell.

I’ve tried it, sure I racked up a fair few kills but then I slipped into a boredom induced coma and woke up to find the game over and my shirt soaked in what I can only hope was MY drool.

Campers, pack up the tents, grow a pair and get in the game.

3) Lag

Lag is the delay between a player’s action and the games re-action.#
Simply put, if I pull the trigger and it takes a few seconds before the bullet drops out the end of my rifle, i’m going to have a bad night.

I cannot begin to describe the gut-wrenching, soul-destroying feeling of squeezing off a beatifully lined up sniper round, only to stare in bemusement as the slug slams into a wall which was, just seconds before, an opponents smug grin.

Said opponent had, of course, left hours ago but due to the lag, you’re still seeing him in his previous position.

Generally that means his CURRENT position is directly behind you with a knife in his hand and a smile on his face.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I wonder why the hell I play these games.
Sod it, anyone for chess?