Thursday, 12 September 2019

I don't think I'm overly fussy but...

Firstly, I'm coming right out of the closet and admitting - I love Android.

    There, I've said it, and I'm proud.

    I bought the very first Android, appropriately named Android 1. It was full of bugs and barely worked but showed promise. Google must have thought so because they didn't even bother with Android 2 and a year or so later out popped version 3, and I've stuck with it since.

    That's where my problems began, and continue.

    The other day I popped into a phone shop to ask a simple question. When I say "a" shop, that's just a representative number for the thirty or so shops I've visited, with simple questions, or so I thought.

    The only problem is, that if you ask any of the so-called assistance for, well assistance, you get nothing. Here's a sample question:

    "When is Android Q coming out? I've looked on the net and called your customer support but they don't know."

    There, simple. Oh, didn't I tell you that if you mention that each Android platform has a name as well as a number then the look of furious puzzlement turns into a loud clanking in their heads, followed by a wisp of smoke issuing from their ears.

    When I asked in yet another shop if the next Nokia after mine was also going to be Octo-core I thought the women was about to suffer apoplexy. Good job I didn't ask something really complicated like: what day is it, or What did you have for breakfast?

  When I requested one of them to describe the (missing) phone specs of a new machine in yet another shop, brain-dead assistant's response was: "Well, it's black."

    Even when I get to the bank the situation's hardly any better.

    T'other day I ventured into my own branch, supposedly staffed with people with at least double figure IQ. I found someone milling aimlessly around behind the counter and after smiling nicely told him that my banking App was very good, but I happened to know that it wasn't going to work with Android Q, and did he know when the bank was going to upgrade the App, since my phone was going to upgrade me from Pi to Q automatically. After a terrified glance at the guard, the young man started fingering the panic button.

    Am I being picky? All I want is for the people who are selling me high-tech computer wizardry, to know at the very least how to switch it on, or the people guarding my meagre savings  to understand how to work all the computers and screens surrounding them.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

It's been almost a year, so I've got a new idea.

It's been nearly a year since I published my last book - one of my best in my own opinion.

    However, since I told nobody about it, I haven't sold a single copy.

    That's alright, I just love writing, although not apparently enough to actually do any more since.

    That's going to change.

    I've decided to write a new novel, in a completely different style from all that have passed before it. And I'm also going to write in under a pen name.

    Unfortunately, that's where my newest brainwave begins to fall apart, since I haven't the foggiest idea what it's going to be about; not even the genre.

    I'll plug in what passes for my brain and wait for something to hit me. It usually does if I let if percolate for a few days, or weeks.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Time for a change

I don't have time or, frankly, the energy to re-edit my books again, so I thought I'd make another change.

    This is the cover I've always used for my first three Hoodies books. I quite like it.

    I once painted another but never used it, and as my sales aren't exactly stellar at the moment I thought I'd give the other one a shot.

    Whether it's any better is for others to decide. Maybe they'll vote with their wallets and either buy a million, or, more likely, none.

    But I live in hope.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Never let it be said...

I live in England, which is pretty well obvious with all my moaning.

    Last week, after selling my soul to the gods of Aprillia, I managed to replace the scooter I had to sell for next to nothing when our Bloo...beloved mayor decided that anything built before 2007 was a belching behemoth exuding enough CO2 a day to slaughter the population of greater London, and subsequently taxed them out of existence for everyone but the ultra rich.

    Imagine my joy as I drove to work on a moderately new machine capable of an impressive turn of speed. 

    Zooming along at legal-ish rate I almost managed to ignore the ferocious heat of the hottest day in the UK since that asteroid blew all those prehistoric creatures to their graves.

   Until, halfway there the temperature light came on, whilst I was doing about forty mph. I absolutely couldn't believe it. I finally get what I want and mother nature comes along and blows it for me.

       And to top it off, after waiting almost half an hour for it to cool down, when I finally got to work it was to a raised left eyebrow from my boss (a sure sign of irritation) as it looked like I'd just taken a shower in my freshly cleaned suit.

     There was no coolant leak and apart from the kind of dry arid wind one might expect from the Atacama desert, all was well. But it was truly hot: 37.5 degrees C, or 99.5 F in old money. I know that's not really much for people in desert climes, but in England it seldom struggles above above zero degrees.

    Far be it from me to shun the sun but I wish our extremely transient summer would sod off. I like it cold.

Sunday, 21 July 2019


Just before I chucked my dinner in the microwave the other night (who said haute cuisine was dead?) I checked the timing for said wonderous machine.

    On the back in large letters was a warning.

    Oh no, I thought, what could it mean?

Warning, it repeated, this product may contain raw fish.

    I should hope so. It was a fish pie.

Monday, 8 July 2019

A conversation with my cats

Obviously I don't speak cat, but I've had them so long I can just about tell everything they're thinking.

    First off was the big one. She's called sassy (AKA the Anti-Cat). She doesn't like me very much, and I can honestly say that I feel the same way. From the night my daughter brought her home, dumped the feline monster on my lap, and laughed as she almost tore off that which I hold most dear, we've never really got on together.

    "Why do you keep trying to tear off Harley's face?"
    She bristled, or that might just have been the fleas jumping about.

    "Can I just remind you that I'm seventeen years old. And he just comes into my house uninvited, eats my food, sits in my chair and, and just generally annoys me. And," she stuttered, as always furious at even the mention of his name, "he gets the run of the house while you leave me in the kitchen when you all go out."

    That's not actually all of what she said. There were a lot of expletives that I cut out.
    "It's actually my house, "I remind her. "I pay the bills, and that's not yours or her seat. It's mine and you both leave it covered in hair. You also boost his food when he's not looking. And he gets the house because he doesn't leave messes in front of the cat litter, to the left and the right but not actually in it? What do you actually eat on the rare occasion you go out? You do know that cats are supposed to kill things for fun but not eat them when they've already been dead for a fortnight." She shrugged, clearly not interested. "Well, if it happens again, you'll be leaving this house forever, by way of the recycling bin." She wandered off, pausing only to hiss at Harley who'd just come home - without a rat for a change.

    "Oh, Harls." Sassy's nemesis paused, looked at me quizzically and sat down to clean some of his most intimate areas in a position that would probably have dislocated my neck had I tried it.
    I should tell you that although a beautiful cat, Harly is probably stupidest living thing on this planet with an IQ slightly less than that of an egg sandwich. This has always been a bit of a problem for him, because as a Bengal he likes to sit in very high places. So every time there's an almighty thud outside followed by a muffled howl, it's usually him falling off the roof or getting stuck inside one of the awnings again. Even when he comes over for a stroke he usually slips off the arm of the sofa in a tangle of fluff and feline obscenity as he thrashes about in the litter bin.

    "What have you been upto today? Meet any girl cats?" Not that it would make any difference if he had. We had him fixed; a heinous act for which he's never really forgiven us.

    "Uuuum." His furry face crumpled a little as he used every singe neuron in his brain to remember; even freezing mid-lick because he can't do two things at once - like breathe and walk.
"Er, I found a furry thing to eat because what-er-name ate my breakfast."

    "No that was last week," I reminded him. He shrugged, the movement cascading to his legs forcing him to fall onto his backside with a strangled squawk.
    "Well, try not to get into anymore fights with sassy. You know it just upsets my wife.' He looked at me with benign curiosity before realising that the table leg he'd begun to lick was not part of his own anatomy. "And another thing." But it was too late; he'd fallen asleep sitting upright again, as usual snoring with the congested death rattle of an emphysemic rhino. He's done that before and it always ends in tears. Especially when his head hit the floor or he falls from the top of the staircase with all the elegance of a drunken elephant. 

Saturday, 22 June 2019

My cat came home with a new friend.

Harley returned home last night after a couple of days away doing tomcat stuff.
 I was alerted to his arrival by the scream of my wife. Bounding downstairs with a much zeal as a man who'd just spent 16 hours at work could muster, it was to see my daughter's cat sitting patiently at the patio door waiting to come in.

    At the same moment my beloved hurtled past admonishing me to slaughter the wretched cat with a carving knife. I think the epithet was wretched, but might just have begun with the letter "F" - I wasn't really taking much notice because of my astonishment.

    Harley isn't the biggest cat in the world, but clasped between his jaws was the biggest rat I've ever seen. The ex rodent I wasn't wriggling so I assumed it must have met its end courtesy of my daughter's moggy.

    'Sorry, pal. You're on your own," I advised him having been the recipient of several similar threats by She-who-must-not-be annoyed.

    Clearly realising that he was not going to be admitted. Harley dropped the animal and began to eat it.

    Five minutes later my wife called down demanding to know if it was gone. By  "it" I assumed her to mean both of them.

    "Nearly," I answered, intrigued as to how such a small cat could consume so much meat, and everything else as well. Maybe his stomach is a feline TARDIS. A muffled retching sound was my only answer.

   Ten minutes later the rat was gone, completely gone, and Harley mewed politely to come in.

    Just how he managed such a feat will always be a mystery but Harls is a real cool cat, and my favorite of the two my daughter brought unannounced to the house one day, and left behind when she relocated with her partner. The other has just set the new Olympic record for sleeping - it's about two weeks now I think. The closest she''s ever come to a rat is running away from one.