Walt Disney World: It’s A Small World

Having a pint of Guiness in Dublin. Placing a bet in Vegas. Taking a photo so it looks like you’re holding the Tower of Pisa up.

There are somethings that you pretty much have to do in certain places.

A trip to Walt Disney World wouldn’t be complete without a go on one of their most famous rides. The slow boat ride through various settings showing small animatronic children representing various nations. They are accompanied by the eponymous song, a cheery, upbeat number about peace and brotherhood. (The song written by the Sherman brothers who wrote the songs for Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book)

The ride is often dismissed as cheesy and a little naff. Even Disney themselves have poked fun at it.

These criticisms are fair enough, although the quaint, optimistic tone has a certain charm. But for me the major problem is that it is creepy as hell.

I should clarify that I have a minor case of pediophobia. This is the fear of dolls, and dummies. Ventriloquist dummies, old china dolls, they freak me the hell out. After clowns they are my major phobia. Clown dolls are literally the worst thing I can encounter.

WOM had warned me it might creep me out, but I put on a brave face and climbed aboard. Right off the bat there was a problem, the bench was painfully low and so my knees were up by my chin, not the most comfortable ride.

Made worse by the fact that the dolls stare at you with their dead eyes. And there are seemingly thousands of the buggers.

I tried to enjoy the ride but it’s hard to when you’re trying to keep your eye on every single doll just in case one moves from it’s cycle. Had one of them done so there would have been a Chris shaped hole in the wall and I wouldn’t have stopped running until I was out of the state. 

I was glad when the ride was over, and having unfolded my legs got off quickly, and now done I never have to do it again.

Kinda bummed they don’t actually sell the badge below as I earned it.

The dolls have slipped into my subconscious now, to haunt future dreams, while the impossibly catchy song is bound to make an appearance on the Random Mental Jukebox, so it might be that of all the things I saw and did at Disney this will be the one that stays with me the longest.

 Any thoughts? You know what to. BETEO.


Would You Rather? Part 4: Caves, Clowns and Climbing Trees

Would you rather be the best in the world at climbing trees or the best in the world at jumping rope?

I think I would go for the trees, because that’s probably something I’d enjoy more. I could be a nature photographer or something, climbing up to get pictures of the critters and whatnot.

Being able to jump rope well wouldn’t help as I’m not a Victorian schoolgirl or a boxer.

Would you rather live in a cave or a tree house?

Tree house. Aside from people terrified of the slightest height, who would pick the cave? Especially as some tree houses are pretty awesome.


Would you rather have everything on your phone (browser history, pictures etc.) accessible to anyone who Googles you or never use a cell phone again?

The inconvenience of not having a phone would be pretty annoying, especially as I like using my phone as a distraction. But at the same time, would I rather lose that and have my personal stuff shared?

I guess I’d have to sacrifice my phone. Because while it’s highly unlikely people would be Googling me, I’d rather not run the risk of some random getting my emails and text messages.

Would you rather be accidentally responsible for the death of a child or accidentally responsible for the deaths of three adults?

If I’m picking one or the other surely the “accidental” part is out the window? Because you’re choosing one of the options to happen?

This is a really tough one, because like most normal people killing a child is utterly beyond the pale, but it’s rather hard to condemn three over one. Logically you should pick the kid, but there’s that emotional aspect that just messes with you.

This is a rough one. I guess I’d pick the kid, because I think the loss of three adults would have a much wider impact on the world, and the guilt over three lives is bound to be more intense, surely?

Would you rather all plants scream when they are cut/picked or animals beg for their lives when killed?

I imagine that animals make a lot of noise anyway, but as I’m not responsible for killing my own food I don’t have to face that. On the other hand, with plants I do cut the grass occasionally and pick blackberries so the screams would impact my life more.

So, I’d rather animals beg for their lives, simply because I don’t have to hear them.

I wonder if we did have to kill our own food more of us would be veggies?

Would you rather lose your best friend or all of your friends except your best friend?

I don’t really have a best friend, more like a circle of friends who are at the same level. So, I’d probably pick to keep that little group at the cost of everyone else than the other way round as I’ve been mates with them for years, and can probably do without the more distant friends and acquaintances better.

Would you rather have the police hunting you for a murder you didn’t commit or a psychopathic clown hunting you?

I hate clowns.

At least the cops would have to abide by certain rules and hopefully could be convinced of my innocence. But a psycho clown? Probably not open to reason.

And I’d be freaked out the whole time. So, I’d take the police option. Unless I thought there was a chance I could take the clown.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Inspired by a Daily Post prompt.

And I should warn you right here, this is a bit of a grim blog. So consider yourself warned.

I’m not a very brave guy. I have a lot of fears. Off the top of my head- clowns, spiders, zombies, heights and that I’m actually allergic to nuts but have been brainwashed into forgetting this and am one Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup away from death.

But high on the list? 

Being buried alive.

A few years ago I went and saw Ryan Reynolds in Buried and left the cinema shaking, and I can’t think of a film that has left me so shaken. if you haven’t seen it, it’s a cracking thriller from what I remember.

Shout out to the “groundbreaking” pun

I can’t remember when I first heard about people being buried alive, I think it came from being told people used to get bricked into walls back in medieval times or something. But it chilled me then.

I’m claustrophobic and as a kid had problems with the dark, so it makes sense that this would mess with me, but unlike a lot of fears this one gets worse the older you get. 

And knowledge is not power here.

As a kid I thought it would suck. As an adult I realised that was a massive understatement.

Not just the enclosed space but the just knowing it was all over. That would be the worst part. If you have a terminal illness you can say goodbye to your loved ones, but just knowing you were trapped?

Forget Kill Bill in the real world you ain’t getting out. And that’s what terrifies me. You hear those “they thought they were dead” stories and they usually have a happy ending, I mean the person was alive after all, and probably headed for a big pay out from the doctor who dropped the ball.

But I can’t be alone in thinking what about the folks who woke up after the burial? How many coffins have scratch marks on the inside?

This has to be the most morbid entry I’ve ever written. Blame bingeing on The Walking Dead and being tired, I guess. Although I suppose it is kinda reassuring that if there ever are zombies a lot of them will be trapped six feet under.

I am painfully aware that should I ever become a masked crime fighter I have just told my enemies how to get rid of me in the worst way.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

How to not be afraid of spiders anymore*

*Or more accurately, how to be slightly less scared of spiders.**

**As long as they don’t touch you and aren’t too big.

I have always been afraid of spiders. They are definitely in my top three fears, alongside clowns and ventriloquist dummies.

When I was a kid I was pretty bad and would freak out if I saw one of the eight legged hell spawn. Things would be thrown, there would be screaming and all sorts of rather embarrassing behaviour.

Now if I see a spider I can remain calm and catch it. Or kill it quickly. I kill too many, but I can’t always get to a glass and card without losing sight if the spider. And I’m more afraid of the spiders I can’t see. Those are the ones that can crawl on me later, and the shock sees a reversion to the freaking out response.


Tried to find a non-creepy spider picture. Failed. So have Spidey by Chris Giarrusso

But it’s still an improvement.

I still fear getting bit by some horrifically venomous arachnid that has stowed away among some bananas, but for the most part I operate a “don’t bother me, and there won’t be any trouble” policy for spiders. And it all started a few years ago.

The spiders that used to bother me the most were the corner lurkers. They were in awkward places, out of the reach of a well aimed newspaper. I’d lie in my bed knowing that up above me they were lurking.

Around this time I read the “fact” that you swallow something like seven spiders a year/lifetime (I’ve seen both versions of this fact). This meant that every day I woke up and checked that all my little web spinners were with me.

And then I heard a tip to stop you being afraid of stuff.

You name them.

It’s a wonderfully simple idea.

If you give something a name, it stops being an anonymous terror and you see it as something else, something with a bit of personality. Not just a mindless beast out to get you.

So, I named every spider in my room. And I was less afraid of them after that. I’d climb into bed, check that all were present and go to sleep.

Of course, for this to work you need to give them decent names. Ideally ones that are not in the least bit threatening. The plan falls apart if you name them things like Crippler, Deathstrike or Stormageddon, Destroyer of Worlds.

I opted for things like Boris, and after that I didn’t fear them. I actually got oddly attached to them. I still checked on them, but partly because I wanted to make sure they were okay. Boris lived the longest and became a fixture until he croaked and it was kinda weird not having him dangling up there.

So, that is how you become slightly less afraid of spiders. As long as they don’t get on you.

Hope that helps.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

Mind the Gap

Prompt: Write about a childhood fear you got over.

When I was a young boy, my father took me into the city of London. I vaguely remember seeing the sights but my major memory is of catching the tube.

I remember because I got freaked out.

Not by the tube, or being underground, or by the sheer number of people. I liked those things, I loved all the different people and I thought the tube was ace. I still do, as public transport goes it’s quick and well designed.



No, what freaked me out were the escalators.

I must have seen and been on escalators before, and I might have been freaked out by them too, but I don’t remember being so.

I do remember seriously freaking out in London. I’m not sure why, and I think I didn’t imagine getting mangled in the machinery. I was a kid, so I probably imagined getting squished.


Going down was bad, but going up was worse. Going up you could see the join, see the steps disappearing. See that thin, menacing slit that threatened to suck you in.

To avoid potential squishing I developed a habit of bracing as I neared and then leaping for safety. I must have looked a proper moron, and been thoroughly embarrassing to be with.

Luckily my dad is a patient man and doesn’t embarrass easily so he probably just shook his head as his son dived like he was avoiding lava.

Of the entire trip it’s the thing I remember most. That and my cousin’s Iron Maiden calendar which I had to turn around as Eddie was freaking me out.

I was such a wimpy kid.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

I hate clowns

There are two types of people in this world. People who hate clowns…and clowns– D.J. McHale

Maybe it was the Joker, maybe it was the night shifts I spent reading Stephen King’s It. Whatever it was in recent years I’ve rediscovered my fear of clowns.

Seriously, they are one of the creepiest things in the world, after the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who, ventriloquist dummies and little girl ghosts, clowns are right up there with the creepiest.

Which is why I’m glad I don’t live in Northampton, where apparently a random dude has started roaming the streets in full clown gear.


He hasn’t done anything, other than just loitering around and creeping the hell out of people. I’m not sure what I’d do if stumbling home one night I bumped into this fella, but I suspect it would involve screaming like a girl and/or punching him right in the red nose.

No reason for the guy’s appearance have been given, which in a way just makes it even more creepy and disturbing. Is it a publicity stunt? Performance art? A nutter? Will this end well or horribly? I don’t know, but I’m staying out of Northampton until it’s all resolved.


Sorry if this wasn’t a great post. but I’m rather wasted at the moment.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

Mixed Bag: Future stories, fears and foreign lands

Topics courtesy of Plinky and The Daily Post.

It is written

If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover. 

The short answer is “No”.

The longer answer is “Hell no!”.

See, River Song's book would just screw with you.

See, River Song’s book would just screw with you.

I’m not sure I’d like to read any of it, but all of it would be even worse. I quite like surprises and don’t buy into that whole fate idea, so I think if somebody gave me the book I’d deliberately second guess myself which would probably make things even worse, as at least the first time round I’d be acting true to myself, whereas afterwards I’d just be going against myself trying to get a better result without any proof that I’d be making the right choice.

That being said, it might be quite nice to flick through the book a little see if I ever get married or have kids or whatever, and I’d also be curious to see how I go out in the end. But knowing all the twists and turns? Maybe find out about future sporting results so I could make some wagers.

But the other stuff would just be a massive mindf**k, like knowing that your friends and family might suffer and being unable to intervene would be a living nightmare.

So, yeah, on balance I don’t want to know what the future holds.


If you were asked to spend a year living in another location, where would you choose and why?

New York city.

Countless movies and TV shows have meant I have a fairly romantic vision of the Big Apple, but by all accounts it lives up to it’s rep as a vibrant, interesting city and if money was no object I’d quite like to spend a year there. It has the advantage of not having to learn a new language and I’ve always wanted to live in a big city and enjoy all the treats and activities within.

Also, it’d be cool to visit all the film locations and do things like go see an NBA match.


Room 101

You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.

You can’t really say what your greatest fear is, but I’d imagine that my personal Room 101 would include at least some of the following:

  • Spiders
  • Clowns
  • Ventriloquist dummies
  • Stripping in front of a crowd of women
  • The weeping angels from Doctor Who.
  • Tight spaces

Dream Job

Describe your ideal job- where would you work? What would you do?

I’d love to be a travel writer, or actually just a writer. Basically my dream job would be getting paid to write a column or a blog like this one, as long as I had enough cash to feed myself and go out that’d be awesome. Also, it would awesome to have a sort of expense account- a bit of extra money for me to go and try new things, maybe even do some travelling.

Basically I’d love to get funded to just write, go around doing crazy things and not having any real responsibilities other than getting my pieces done in time, basically living out my dream of being a far less talented version of Hunter S Thompson.

One of great heroes- Hunter S Thompson, fond of a drink, wonder what he'd think of the straight edge stuff.

That’d be pretty sweet. But highly unlikely to be offered. Damn it, this question is just nasty as it’s now made me imagine a much better life that I can’t have.

Curse you hypothetical imaginings!

No Questions, Please!

What is one question you hate to be asked? Explain.

Anything about my love life. It’s just awkward, hammers home how dead it is and makes me feel uncomfortable. If I was seeing anybody I’d let people I wanted to know, and if I didn’t tell them it’s because they’re not someone I share stuff with.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Yeah, that won’t come back to bite us in the ass…

Being a nerd, I’ve grown up watching and reading stories about mankind being pursued and persecuted by cold, ruthless machines that have turned against their creators.


And I can’t deny that all this has had a bit of a negative effect on me. I might use my computer a lot (too much?) but I still have a bit of a distrust in technology. I’m still not entirely convinced that Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube haven’t been created to keep us distracted and passive as the machines gather their strength.

"This Gangnam Style parody is making me ROFL!"

“This Gangnam Style parody is making me ROFL!”

I especially don’t like the folks out there who seem to actively be helping the machines on their road to world domination, which is something I’ve discussed before.

So when I read about some scientist teaching robots how to lie I just thought, “Oi, eggheads, no!”, seriously, logic and truthfulness are like the things that give us an edge over the machines and you’re teaching them how to play those games?! You idiots.

This is what happens when you teach machines to lie, they screw you over.

This is what happens when you teach machines to lie, they screw you over.

Georgia Tech have teamed up with the US Navy to make these little robots which can lay false trails to deceive their pursuers and while its still early days, it creeps me out a little. Although looking at the robots in question you could probably take them out with a broom.

Yeah, its not that scary. But its what it represents.

Yeah, its not that scary. But its what it represents.

Full story here.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear.- Lucas, Empire Records.

Love this flick.

Its weird how your mind works and the little journeys your mind goes on.

The other day I was watching TV and one of the actresses’ on the show reminded me of someone I know, and have a tiny crush on.

So I was thinking about this girl when the phone rang, and it was the same girl. Its one of those weird little coincidences that life is full of, but for a split-second it really threw me.

Now, what I’d been thinking about the girl wasn’t horrible or anything, but well, it wasn’t exactly pre-watershed stuff.

I had a brief flash of worry that she’d somehow gained psychic powers and wasn’t happy with what she’d heard.

This is why I’m glad psychics remain within the realm of fiction, because it would simply cause a ton of problems, and not just when I’m being slightly pervy, but there are other opportunities for embarrassment and awkwardness. For example, I have little daydreams where I’m a world class athlete, a hero or even a

Its something that they never address in stories that feature psychics, I mean, Emma Frost would be constantly overhearing people thinking extremely dirty thoughts about her.

Or in Star Trek: The Next Generation, could they not have had a moment where Deanna Troi got asked what an alien was thinking and she just blushed or something, or slapped them, or turned to Picard and saying “I told you this uniform was too tight!”

I mean, it would come up at some point.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO