Cats and Zombies

2AM. Saturday morning.

I have only a few hours until I have to get up for work, but I’m wide awake. And sleep isn’t going to come easily.

Why aren’t I asleep?

Because I’ve just had a nightmare.

Yes, like a little kid, a bad dream has jolted me awake and now I’m lying in the dark, every noise transformed into something ominous by fear.

The dream started off well enough, with me as a cowboy. There was a shoot out between James Stewart and Audie Murphy, which left both dead. And then undead Audie got to his feet. Yes, Walking Dead style, it didn’t take a bite, but I blame George A. Romero as I’d been thinking about his movies a lot in the last week and eager to watch Dawn of the Dead again. Perhaps this was my subconscious’ tribute to the director?

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I managed to cuff Jimmy before he revived, but Audie bit another person. Having dropped the most decorated zombie in Hollywood, I saw the other zombie pursuing my cat, Midnight. Out of bullets (isn’t that always the way?), I hastily ran and shoved the zombie into a side room and grabbed Midnight.

Unfortunately the living dead opened the door and seized me from behind. It went to bite my neck.

At this point I awoke, but still gripped by the fading terror of the nightmare, I actually awoke in the process of throwing my elbow in defence.

Luckily the biter had come from the right and I was elbowing thin air. On the left and I would have clocked MWF in the face and probably sporting a shiner. And I suspect that her coworkers would have heard “my boyfriend elbowed me in the face while asleep because of a nightmare” and assumed it was a flimsy excuse, a slightly more inventive version of “I walked into a door”.

Luckily, Pumpkin, who in the dream was sensible enough to avoid the walkers, jumped into the bed and huddled in by my arm. Stroking him calmed me down and eventually I fell back asleep. And this time, without any nightmares.

Thank the gods for cats.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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Would You Rather? Part 8: Pride, Power and Fearing St Patrick’s

…the general public think you are a horrible person but your family are proud of you or your family think you’re a horrible person but the public is very proud of you?

I’d find it a lot easier living with the public hating me than my family doing so. I deal with my loved ones more often and I think knowing that they were proud of me would mean a lot more to me than the feelings of complete strangers.

I mean, if you’re not invited to family events because they think you’re a bellend, it doesn’t really matter that the man in the street is proud of you.

….everything you eat is too salty or not salty enough regardless of how much salt you add?

Not salty enough. I’m not a fan of really salty things, and surely that would be annoying anyway?

…have political power but be relatively poor or ridiculously wealthy with no political power?

This is a tough one. While power would be pretty cool, and you wouldn’t need much cash if you were top of the pile, I can definitely see the perks of wealth without power. First of all, you’d be minted, but more importantly you wouldn’t feel shackled by responsibility or anything.

Yup, so definitely cash without power for me.

…compelled to high five everyone you meet or compelled to wedgy everyone you meet who’s wearing a green shirt?

High five everyone. You’d look like a weirdo, but at least not a mean one. And I wouldn’t want to get my head kicked on because I had to wedgie the entire Irish rugby team.

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…talk to land animals, animals that fly or animals that live underwater?

Land animals. You encounter them more and it’d be quite cool to have a chat with elephants and stuff. I can’t imagine whales are that interesting, and birds are probably too flighty. BOOM BOOM!

…have a bottomless box of Lego or a bottomless tank of gas?

At the moment I don’t drive, so Lego. But when I learn to drive, obviously petrol.

…everyone have to wear identical silver jump suits or if two people wear the same thing they have to fight to the death?

I like the retro futuristic vibe of the jump suits and it seems a lot fairer than making people die for matching.

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Any thoughts? You know what to do.


Would You Rather? Part 7: Art, Space and Tacos

…would you rather live in the wilderness far from civilization or live on the streets of a big city as a homeless person?

Homeless in a big city. I think in a city I could get by a bit better, I’m not really built for wilderness survival, whereas in a city I could probably scavenge food and get by.

Also, the loneliness living in the wilderness would get to me after a while. At least as a homeless person there’s some interaction with other people.

…be the first person to explore a new planet or be the person to find the cure for a deadly disease?

As cool as it would to boldly go where no man has gone before, finding a cure would probably be far more important and help more people.

…unlimited sushi or unlimited tacos for life?

Tacos would be more filling, surely? And I think it would take longer to get sick of them than it would of sushi.

….live in a world where all conspiracy theories are true or a world where none of the leaders know what they’re doing?

This is quite a tough one. Most conspiracy theories reveal a dark, callous secret force at work and that would suck.

But at the same time, wouldn’t a world of utterly incompetent rulers be worse? Their mistakes would probably leave us at greater risk.

…not be able to see any colours or have mild but constant tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?

If the tinnitus was really mild that would have to be preferable. I mean, aside from the inconvenience can you imagine going through life never seeing the colours in great art works, or films? Sod that, if I get to keep colours I’d put up with the ringing.

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…all dogs try and attack you when they see you or all birds attack you when they see you?

Dogs. I think there are more birds about and they seem to be everywhere. Also it has to be easier fighting off a dog than a dive bombing bird.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Would You Rather? Part 5: Nightcrawler > Professor Xavier

Would you rather be famous when you’re alive and forgotten when you die or unknown when alive but famous after death?

I think I’d actually prefer to have a legacy that lived on after me than be famous. I don’t think I’d be well suited for fame.

Like most people I’ve daydreamed about being famous and rubbing shoulders with celebrities, but I think the reality would be far less fun. You’d probably find out people you admire are idiots, and get fed up with being bothered. I also don’t think I’d play the game well and wind up putting my foot in it a fair few times, which would be embarrassing.

…die if you don’t slap a new person on the butt every 12 hours or die if you didn’t kill somebody every year?

Crikey. That’s a tough one.

Obviously I don’t want to murder anyone, but the alternative is slapping a stranger every twelve hours. While you might be able to arrange some of them to be consensual, you’d probably struggle to find a new person for every time, and then you’re entering the realms of what could be seen as sexual harassment.

So, one murder every year could actually hurt less people.

And I mean, I could pick my victims? Mercy killings? Would that justify it? Is killing anyone ever justified?

…have an unlimited international first class ticket or never have to pay for food in a restaurant again? 

Right, the restaurant one sounds like the better deal. You eat out more often than you travel aboard, so in the long run you’d actually save more cash.

But the thing is, I can already go to restaurants, but my travel options are more limited.

Travel is a lot of cash in one go, whereas restaurants are smaller expenses but more often. So, I’d pick the first class ticket and go to places that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to.

…eat rice with every meal or eat bread with every meal?

Umm, bread I guess. It goes with more stuff, you can use it to mop up sauces and probably wouldn’t get boring as quickly as rice.

…be hired for a well paid job you lied to get and have no idea what to do or be about to give the most important presentation of your life and forget all the material you had prepared?

The presentation, I reckon I could blag that for a short time as opposed to spending ages at the job pretending to know what I’m doing. That just seems exhausting, so I’d opt for the brief humiliation over the long term faff.

…be an amazing artist but not be able to see the art you produce or a great musician who can never hear what they’ve played?

Man, this one is kinda complicated, as both would suck.

On balance I’d go for the artist option, because once the painting is done I wouldn’t need to look at it again, whereas as a musician I think there’s probably some satisfaction in hearing your own stuff and witnessing people enjoying it.

…every shirt you wear be itchy or only be able to use 1 ply toilet paper?

The itchy shirt would be more annoying and impractical, and you’d look like you had fleas or something.

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And with the toilet paper you could always fold it over. Simple.

…teleport anywhere or be able to read minds?

I’ve never seen the appeal of telepathy, which is always portrayed as this great power to have. But I imagine it would cause more problems, as you’d be bound to hear some stuff you didn’t want to know.

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But teleportation? That would be pretty sweet, mainly because I could sleep later and still make it to work on time, and also for generally getting about. And let’s face it, you’d rather be Nightcrawler than Professor X, wouldn’t you?

Agree with my choices or think I’m completely wrong? Let me know in the comments. 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.

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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.


Would You Rather? Part 3: Singing, Solitude and Snooping

Would you rather find your true love or a suitcase with £5m inside?

Well, as I’ve already met my true love I’m set for that, so the £5m would be a lot more useful.

Would you rather be completely invisible for one day or be able to fly for one day?

If this was a long term thing I would pick flight because I just think that would be cooler, and I think being invisible would be more annoying than people think.

But for one day it might be quite fun to sneak around and see what goes on behind closed doors, and I don’t mean that in a creepy “go into the girls’ showers” way. I think it would be interesting to go snooping in the corridors of power or just see what celebrities do in their own homes.

Basically I’m a nosy bugger.

Would you rather have to read aloud every word you read or sing everything you say out loud?

It has to be the singing, doesn’t it?

As embarrassing as that would be, imagine having to read out every text message you received, or every private letter or email? Not only would you look a bit of a numpty but you’d also potentially embarrass others and create all kinds of dramas.

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So, on this one I’d rather walk around singing everything like a tone deaf Phantom.

Would you rather live a comfortable and peaceful life in a small cabin in the woods or life full of conflict in a mansion in the city? 

Small cabin in the woods. Who wants conflict all the time? Easy one, that.

Would you rather your shirts always be two sizes too big or one size too small?

As an insecure fat man, I would obviously go for the two sizes too big. I hate clothes that cling to me, as they seem to accentuate my belly and other wobbly bits.

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That being said, I was once told by a girl in a club that I’d look better in less baggy clothes. It was a while back after I’d lost some weight and the shirt was hanging off me, but it was an odd backhanded compliment to receive from a stranger.

Would you rather have edible spaghetti hair that regrows every night or sweat maple syrup?

Sweating syrup sounds utterly revolting. You’d be sticky all the time when it got hot, have to change your sheets every day and get chased by bees all the damn time.

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Edible spaghetti hair for me, I think.

Would you rather be lost in a bad part of town or lost in the woods?

Neither seems ideal, but at least a bad part of town has streets and signposts so that I could work my way out. I’d rather that than blindly stumbling through the woods, running into who knows what.

Also, call me soft but even in “bad parts” of town most people are basically alright and if you asked for directions they’d help you out.

In the woods I’d have to try and remember things like what side of the tree moss grows on, or pray to find someone out in the woods.

Disagree? You know what to do. BETEO.


One Man’s Treasure

I worked in a pawn shop for a couple of months. It was grim. My boss was an utter wanker, the days were long and tedious, and there was a constant stream of depressed looking “customers”.

The boss would buy stuff off people who were in desperate need of some cash, and if they didn’t buy it back within a month he would sell it on, making a profit.

We took a lot of stuff and most was generic stuff that nobody could form sentimental attachments with- TVs, kitchen appliances and so on. 

Others were a bit more personal and therefore more depressing. It’s hard not to be moved by the fact someone had to pawn their kid’s bike or their engagement ring just for some quick cash.

I found musical instruments fitted into this category. An untouched, unplayed guitar or keyboard has a forlorn air about them. They hint at potential unrealised or a dreams abandoned. Someone bought that guitar with aspirations and ambition, but those were abandoned because they were short on rent or needed to buy food. 

The guitars didn’t get plucked. Nobody shredded a mind blowing solo on them. They didn’t even gently weep. They just stood there, silent and untouched until the boss nagged at us to clean them.

Of course, they would get sold on. There was always some new dreamer who’d stroll in and rescue them, giving them another chance at musical glory.

But I saw one recently that I doubt will shift. I’d strolled into a shop in Barry for a new old game to replace FIFA as my obsession. About to leave I looked at a wall of guitars.

One stood out. It was unique to say the least.

Good sticker positioning.

It was so different and individual, and delightfully tacky.

MWF disagrees, seeing it as awful whereas I think that it’s one of those occasions where some thing’s badness is the charm. 

I quickly formed an image of the previous owner. I imagined that they were into ’80s and ’70s rock in a big way. This had probably played a Scorpions song or two, or some Van Halen riffs.

I was surprised that the store had bought it, unless they thought the guy (99% sure it would be a guy) would come back for it. They can’t have expected to sell it on.

I mean, it’s so different that the chance of finding someone else who will pick this one is slim. Tastes differ and I imagine this wouldn’t be to everyone’s.

A kid wanting to be the new Ed Sheeran won’t want something like that. A guy who plays in a wedding band will pass it over. No, this is an instrument which will only appeal to a select few. 

I went back in a short while later, and it’s still there. Part of me wants to keep going in to check on it. I imagine it will be there for a while until another hair metal fan wanders in and spots it.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO. 


I don’t shave for Sherlock Holmes. Or anyone else.

“Are you going to shave for the wedding?”

This is something I’ve been asked quite a lot recently. Sometimes repeatedly by the same person, which is a little annoying. One of my friends is not a fan of the face fuzz and clearly feels that I would look better clean shaven on the big day. This is fine, but as I’ve stated that my opinion opposes this the matter should be laid to rest now, right?

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Me in the classic “look at my ring” pose

This is the first time I’ve really grown a beard properly. Prior to this I just used to occasionally let it grow for a while because I was too lazy to shave regularly. I am terrible at shaving, and would emerge smooth faced and bleeding like a character in an ’80s slasher movie.

As a student nurse I had to keep myself tidy while on placement, mainly because of the constant whining of my mentor. However, since I decided nursing wasn’t for me, I’ve not shaved in about a year and a half.

I’m not sure I should share that as it highlights just how patchy and crap my facial hair growth is. Seriously, look at the above photo. There’s enough hair there for me to rock a decent moustache and chin beard, but it’s all spread out across my face, meaning that my beard isn’t the best. I wish it was like one of those old magnet and iron filings things where I could just move the hairs around my face until I had a decent full beard.

I’d love to boast a full on Grizzly Adams beard, but alas, my hair grows in a stupid pattern. At least it now looks like an intentional beard, for a while it just looked like laziness.

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Brian Blessed- Beard goals.

This is a downside of having a beard at the moment. I get the sense that people see it as me following the current trend for hirsute men. This isn’t true, it’s just a coincidence that beards are “in” while I’ve grown mine.

The reasons for my beard? Simple really;

  1. My hatred of shaving
  2. Laziness. It’s one less thing to do during my early morning zombie state.
  3. MWF likes the hairy look, so making her happy is an additional perk.
  4. The last time I did shave, for a job interview, I looked really young. And stupid. So, I’ll stick with mature and stupid for the foreseeable future.

I’ll give the beard a trim before the wedding, so that I look a little smarter than normal, but I don’t think shaving it off would do much.

Besides, it doesn’t matter how tidy I look at the start of the day, sooner or later I’ll spill food or drink down myself and shatter the illusion of being a smartly dressed grown up.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Chrises on Infinite Earths 

“What if…?”

Those two words can drag you right down the rabbit hole. You think about how things might have played out differently, chances missed and roads not taken. 

Of course, it’s all pointless. Any science fiction fan knows that one slight change can create a whole parallel world. 

Given a time machine and the chance to do things over would I, knowing it risked what I have now?

My life isn’t perfect, and there are things I’d change but for the most part I’m happy. I’m marrying a fantastic woman later this year and am relatively healthy. Who knows what altering something I did might do?

Let’s say I went back and worked harder in uni the first time, actively pursued a writing career and became a writer for real. Read by thousands, not just whatever schmucks stumble across my blog. In some alternate world I might be their version of Hunter S. Thompson or Norman Mailer.

But without the winding, unplanned path I’ve taken the past decade I wouldn’t have wound up trying to be a nurse. I wouldn’t have met MWF and wouldn’t be sat in our house, our cat dozing on my lap, writing this. I might be sat lonely in some flash flat, or dating someone I don’t love. I could be divorced. I could be dead.

That’s the scary thing about the whole alternate reality thing. Sure, there are infinite possibilities of where your life has taken you but there are millions of universes where your story already finished. Or never even began. 

Worlds where your mum and dad never met because some minor event went a different way earlier on. And the whole thing just expands to mind bending proportions. The fact that it’s you reading this is a result of thousands of years of things going a certain way, and that one tiny bump might have meant it didn’t happen.

Hell, a chromosome either way and you’d be a different gender.

It’s the kind of thing that starts to mess you up when you think about it. When you realise just how close you’ve come to having a different life. The whole thing is an exercise in wishful thinking, you wonder about how you could have done stuff right and been better off, but the fact is at a certain point you’d have stopped being you. 

Our experiences are what shapes us, I am who I am because of the mistakes and failures along the way as much as my wins. I’ve learnt and grown because of things which have hurt me or been difficult, and if I had a smoother road I might have developed in a different way. And the fact is, while I know there are parts I could improve, for the most part, I like who I am today.

I may not have the job I want, but in the world where I played for Wales or became a superhero I might have lost out on the stuff I do have.

So why torture myself with what if questions? I should just appreciate the good that I have in my life, and work to change the parts I don’t like. 

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Scribbles

I need a new winter coat. I have been saying this for some time and yet every month I find better ways to spend my money. But every time I wait for a bus or shiver on a walk to the shop I remind myself that I need a new coat. Of course, once back in the warm this is forgotten.

While shivering at the bus and unable to work out how long the next bus would be (Cardiff Bus don’t have a board up and their website isn’t the best) I looked for a way to distract myself.

Twitter was all innuendo about the next US President and Facebook had already been exhausted before leaving the house. I needed something to distract from the fact that the cold 

Thank the gods for the slack work of Barry Council. The bus stop down the road is used by a lot of school kids and as a result the lamppost there is like a time capsule of teenage expression through Tippex and marker pens.

I love stuff like this. I love that Beth’s scrawl from 2000 is still there, over sixteen years later. 

But don’t condemn Barry too much, in the late ’00s a wall in Briton Ferry was still calling for Thatcher to be removed. Perhaps it’s deliberate? A way of preserving history, and not idleness. Either way, I like this glimpse into who lived there and what was going on with them.

 I love the nostalgia of seeing phrases I scrawled myself again- Y2K and the other years similarly abbreviated, the deliberately poorly spelled “woz ‘ere” and the acronyms under the declarations of love. 

I haven’t seen it or thought about it in years but I instantly remembered that IDT meant “if destroyed true”, a sort of insurance policy should your vandalism be vandalised. Otherwise your love would die as soon as someone came along with a compass or their own Tippex.

I read the lamppost, the insults and slander, the marking of territories and the announcement of relationships. I always wonder what happened to these couples. Are any still together or have these all fallen by the wayside, living on only as faint memories and scruffy graffiti?

Michelle and Flowers saw fit to declare their love twice, were they more serious than the others? Or more insecure? Does either even pass the lampost and feel a tinge of regret, or the soft glow of nostalgia?

I know there’s graffiti carved on the walls of Pompeii and the Tower of London. This need to leave a mark on the places we go seems to run deep, and it makes you wonder if in a few centuries time whether “Buck Rogers woz ‘ere 24K19” will be scratched into some distant moon.

Personally I think keeping old graffiti up is quite interesting and a good thing, and not just because it distracted me from the fact my nipples were threatening to pierce my t-shirt.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.