Apr 15

Me and my wife have certain clearly defined areas of responsibility. As she is a passionate and committed maths-phobe, I handle bills and stuff that involves any number crunching. As I am a fat, lazy, work-shy bastard with about as much creativity as a paperclip, she gets to plan and look after the garden. Right now it’s just grass but she wants to make it something nicer. I’ll do the heavy lifting and dig as required, but as in so many areas of our lives, she’s the brains of the operation.

So with that in mind, when my missus asked to go to a garden centre at the weekend I happily obliged (driving? that’s under my name on the list too) and off we went. Inspiration was sought, ideas were had and we even managed to grab a cream cake too (otherwise I would end up a skinny, lazy, work-shy bastard, which just wouldn’t be right). We were just about to leave when we spotted this beauty for sale:

Perennialis Mortis: commonly known as the zombie flower

And just in case you want to, you can click on the image above to see a larger version. You know, just to really get the whole feel of the thing. So we had a bit of a laugh, wondered who would buy such a thing, took a picture to show friends and post online and prepared to be on our way. It was all going well, right up to the point where a woman from the garden centre staff walked past us, picked it up, looked past us and said “Right sir, I’ll just leave it at the cash desk for you.” to the man who had been standing right behind us the whole time.

OK, so we got our comeuppance for maybe being a bit snobby and had to make a bit of a sharp exit, with appropriately reddened cheeks*. That said, what sort of garden theme does that guy have in mind? “Well Phoebe, I know you just wanted somewhere nice to relax, but I thought it would be nicer to blend pastoral with the terror of the zombie apocalypse.” Or perhaps, “Oh that, Vicar? Quite a piece, isn’t it? Makes you think about that whole rapture thing, what what?”. I think the thought process runs a bit like this:

Zombie venn diagram wants braaaaains

We didn’t get a chance to see if there was a switch that made the eyes light up like the Hood from Thunderbirds, but if something like that hasn’t been included then it’s a missed opportunity. Maybe some speakers to allow the keen gardener / weaver of nightmares for a generation of children on the street to record their own moans of the undead? A hose in the mouth to spray viscous green fluid, Exorcist-style, over any cat or dog trying to piss on the herbaceous border? You know, now I think about it, it has possibilities. I wonder if I can get the missus to swap and develop a new appreciation for numbers…

* Make of that what you will. I do not judge. Well, except if you buy a fucking zombie for your garden, obviously.

Apr 13

Right, how many modern TV shows adhere to the format below? How much of the output from how many stations starts at step 1 before plodding the weary, well-trodden path to the end? And how many of us, just looking to relax after a hard day at work, are caught in the gradient of inevitability that surrounds such televisual masterpieces? Ten points and shiny prize* if you can identify some yourself.

Modern TV flowchart

So, how many did you get? With some slight variations in format, I can pick up the following just off the top of my head:

Parenting: Supernanny

Makeup / dressing: Snog, Marry, Avoid

Cleaning: How Clean Is Your House?

Cooking: Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

Work: The Business Inspector

Hotel: The Hotel Inspector

Surviving: Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum

It’s late, I’m tired and am about to go to bed, but those just flew off the top of my head. I’m a massive Star Trek fan so am no stranger to formulaic TV that elevates “variations on a theme” to an artform (Enterprise visits planet, encounters threat, Kirk kicks the crap out of alien man / pumps** alien woman, Enterprise flies off with bridge crew enjoying hearty laugh) but this assembly-line TV is just insulting. And boring. Boring boring boring boring boring***.

* Prize may not be shiny. Terms and conditions apply once I make them up.

** Yes, pumps. I could have said “shags” or something else, but I went for pumps. Blame Irvine Welsh, my recent re-reading of “Glue” and “Porno” has obviously warped my innocent mind.

*** Boring. Booooooring. And I don’t mean entertainingly boring, like Last Of The Summer Wine for the last billion series. I mean Nick Clegg boring.