Monthly Archives: September 2013

DBTG who… says “next weekend”

For the first time in this blog’s long and chequered history, I am writing about something completely serious that affects me personally.  If I had the opportunity to change one thing about the world, I would choose this (assuming that all the important stuff like wars and hunger and AIDS and that have already been fixed, which obviously they won’t have been).  It is something with the potential to have a devastating effect on people – it’s ruined whole days of my life, and frankly that needs to stop.

The problem, if you haven’t read the title of this blog (fair enough), is that the whole world apart from me (apparently), is unable to use the word “next” correctly when referring to dates.

Let us try a quick thought experiment:

If I say that we are currently at 6, and ask you what the NEXT even number is (assume numbers are increasing), what is the answer?:

a)    8

b)     Absolutely anything else

 

If you answered “b)” then you are an idiot, or more likely a contrary dickhead who thinks it’s clever to not give a straight answer to something.  Ok, I get it.  Sometimes it’s good sport to take the opposite side of an argument, sometimes it’s even necessary to properly understand an issue.  But this issue is totally black and white (because this is my blog and I say it is), so your smug little attempt at being better than me was always doomed to failure.

I was once asked a similar question amongst a group of students (pah!).  We were given the terms “always/often/sometimes/rarely/never”, and asked to give each one a percentage to represent the frequency of an event happening.  Ie: if I “sometimes” brush my teeth after breakfast, what percentage of days do I brush my teeth?  One girl, whose name I forgot, answered “always” as 80%, and “never” as 20%.  When it turned out that (obviously) everyone else had gone for the sensible answers to these, she got all proud of herself for standing out of the crowd and began trying to argue her case.  The instructor told her to be quiet, and that she was wrong, and that was the end of the exercise.  I am glad I don’t remember anything else about her.

Anyway, the point is that the word “next” is clearly defined.  It’s almost impossible for me to explain it without using the word itself (and I’m fucked if I can be bothered looking up a proper definition) – that’s how well-defined it is.  And yet, it sometimes seems as though the entire world got together and agreed (presumably while I was on holiday or something) that they would all accept and propagate the improper use of the word just to piss me off.  Though experiment number 2:

Today is Monday 2nd September. According to the calendar, when is the next Thursday?

a)    Thursday 5th September

b)    You’re wrong, and I’m forgetting your name

 

So how come, when I agree to meet someone in the pub “next Thursday”, do you all seem to think that means Thursday 12th?  That’s in 10 days’ time, and there is another Thursday in between then and now!

WHAT?!

What the fuck is wrong with everyone?!  This genuinely upsets me (not like cancer, but still, genuine anguish), because I seriously can’t adapt to it.  I know how everyone else uses the word, but my brain won’t accept the override because the logic is so utterly plain to see that, I don’t know, it just feels like I’m pranking myself.  It all serves to remind me that I will never properly fit in with the rest of the world, and that will forever be, metaphorically speaking, sitting in the pub alone, a week earlier than everyone else.

This has actually happened to me, by the way.  I now insist on expressing the date of the meeting, or how many days there are between then and now to remove the confusion in the situation.  People think I’m being “that guy”, I know, but I genuinely have to do it.  Not because I love being a contrarian wanker, simply because my brain doesn’t seem to work like everyone else’s.  I am actually really envious of all the people out there, who can say something that, objectively, makes no sense, and yet everyone else has some tacit understanding of what you meant, and can communicate with one another without making a fuss about it.

Well done you.  Can we please have another meeting and change it back?

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DBTG who… goes to the cinema

First up: an apology.  It appears that the Blog War of 2013 has been well and truly won… by me.  The hype around the much-feted Steve sBlog has died down considerably and I’m left only needing to update sporadically to ensure that my output is more relevant and interesting than that of my arch-blog-nemesis (and real life best chum).  However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I should have been resting on my laurels quite so casually.  I apologise to the handful of faithful readers who (I assume) are waiting with baited breath for an update on my miserable outlook on the world around me. I’m sorry I’ve kept you waiting (and now delivered this load of tosh).  This post probably isn’t very good.  I feel like I’m offering you some chocolate, only to later tell you that I left it in the car and it melted and then resolidified in the fridge.  We all know it’s fine, but it won’t taste quite right.

The truth is I’ve had a bit more work to do than usual in the past couple of months (or maybe I had less work to do than usual in the first few months).  I’m not promising that I will be able to reverse this trend any time soon, but rest assured that I have at least noticed it, which counts for something, no? (No.)

Now for the matter at hand.  I haven’t always hated the cinema – I can actually pinpoint a month in my life when I may have gone to the cinema so frequently that I ran out of films to watch.  I say “pinpoint”, what I mean is “refer to in vague terms”.  It was sometime in my first term at university (or maybe second), when a huge 16 cinema AMC opened up in Central Manchester.  In order to generate hype, the cinema offered a month where you could get free tickets if you printed off a voucher from their website.  Frankly, this was the sort of thing that students dream of, even better than the free beer being offered by bible society (nope! Not worth it), and given the cinema was actually nicer than the local (craptacular) odeon, we didn’t need much of an excuse to make the trip, frequently.  Blessed with a sense of entitlement only seen in university students, we also used to sneak into a second movie after watching our legally free one, on the basis that the cinema outrageously limited its customers to one free voucher per day.  Those were good times. 

Since then, the times have become progressively less good.  I still went to the AMC when tickets were £2.50 and the parking was free (makes sense), and I still went when the prices went up to £3.00 and £1 for parking.  Then I moved back to London and realised the horror of the cinema in the city.  Here’s the problem I face today: if my wife and I wanted to go to our local cinema tonight and watch the Alan Partridge film (for instance), it would cost us £22 just for the tickets.  Add on to that maybe £3 for the cost of bus fare or parking (I could walk, but pregnant people apparently don’t enjoy that) and I’m well into the cost territory that is liable to annoy me.  It may be cheap compared to, say, going paintballing, but when you consider the more appropriate alternatives, it’s a fair amount of cash.

The reason it annoys me as much as it does is that I am paying for something that I don’t really want.  I don’t like spending time sitting in silence with my wife listening to other people drown out a movie with their chat and mobile phone sounds.  The floor is sticky, the seats aren’t really comfortable and most importantly the pause button doesn’t work.  If I need to get up, I miss part of the film.  If I fall asleep (which has started happening every time I try watching a film in a dark room), I miss the rest of the movie, and have no opportunity to go back and try and watch it with my eyes open.  I can’t start it when I want, and when it finishes, I have to wait for a bus with a load of drunks. 

I realise this makes me a cheapskate, and a miserable one at that.  I actually generally try to make the case for ignoring logic when it is inconvenient to me having fun, but the problem here is that I don’t actually find the cinema fun at all.  I’m happy to spend money doing something memorably or otherwise enjoyable, but I can’t help but rationalise that in 3 months’ time, the films on at the cinema will be available on bluray DVD.  I can buy the disc, cheaper than the cost of a single cinema showing, so it arrives on release date if I’m really keen.  If I’m prepared to wait a bit longer, it will ultimately be shown on TV (albeit with bits cut out to fit around advert breaks), but then I figure that if I can wait 2 years to watch it, I’m probably not too fussed about the film anyway.  Other people will probably just download the film when it is first released, but I’d rather not get into that.  I have previously enjoyed pirated media, but I’m not poor and I don’t consider this an appropriate path for me to take any more.

When I was a kid, going to the cinema was a popular activity, both with friends or on a date.  Apart from the fact that we were sometimes too young to watch good films (like that mattered), it was a really cheap way to spend time out of sight of my parents, not stuck in the house with them.  I could be confident that (unlike our other hangout, McDonalds) we wouldn’t get thrown out for not eating enough food, and unlike the spot outside the train station, it stayed dry when it was raining.  And unlike the pubs, being a child didn’t seem to matter.  But now, I am not a child, in fact I own a house, and am a lot more like the parents I was trying to avoid.  I’d much rather sit in my house (which conveniently separates me from the rest of the world which I am so reluctant to engage with), and enjoy the fairly comfortable life I have built for myself (we have built for ourselves).  I like my house, and my nice television (plus the DVD player complete with pause button).  I currently have something like 80 hours of films recorded, ready to watch, and no desire to go to the cinema.