It was a(nother) dark and stormy day

We find ourselves dragged kicking-and-screaming into cyber Monday.  I’m sure that as St Andrew was tied to a rakishly-angled cross, he was dreaming that one day his sacrifice would be marked by a torrent of emails trying to flog me (and many more besides) discounted tat.

Cyber Monday does sound worryingly like a normal Monday which has had various of its biological parts replaced with technological augmentations.  It would certainly appear that resistance is futile and that our individuality is as nothing in the face of this new onslaught.  In deference to its Greek etymological roots, I insist on pronouncing ‘cyber’ with a hard C which does rather bring Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond to mind – but also hope that it will pass.

Anyway, that is more of an amuse bouche than the main meat of my thesis.  The weekend was preceded by the soi-disant Black Friday, an event imported from the US without also acquiring the associated bank holiday which gives it the ‘meaning’.  Given that the main purpose of the day appears to involve acquiring electrical goods during a riot, it seem more natural to hold the UK version of the event on a Friday in early August to commemorate the events of 2011.

It would seem that I am railing in vain against this new addition to the continued commercialisation of the calendar – despite a savagely satirical post at roughly this time last year.  I could begin to suspect that GofaDM is not having the world-changing impact I had been imagining!  I realised all was lost when the universe started taking the name seriously and delivered an almost Black Friday with oppressive cloud cover meaning that the day barely became light.

When I was a lad, there used to be a recursive story, in which each iteration of the tale began with the words “It was a dark and stormy night…”.  Of late, while the nights remain dark they seem to be relatively storm-free.  The frequent storms which have afflicted November seem to be focusing their efforts on the daytime: when I need to be out-and-about on Shank’s pony or my bike.  There has seldom been a better time to  be a vampire: near 24 hour (at least semi) darkness and excellent travel conditions in the middle of the night.  My gym, at least is open 24/7, and so I have been tempted to reorder my life to a more nocturnal pattern.  I’d be a lot less windswept and my waterproofs would see rather less service.  I could go the the theatre and/or music gigs between breakfast and lunch in my version of the morning.  All I need is a job based around the working hours of the land of Oz…

I begin to suspect that the stories of my youth may not have been climatically accurate.  Or is this another element of the malign influence of climate change?  I don’t remember the UK being so windy when I was a nipper, but I suppose I did spend rather less time on a bicycle in those days.  Maybe it is of a piece with the rather misleading advice on Iberian precipitation promulgated by the musical My Fair Lady.  Despite the insistence of one of that pieces most popular numbers, the rain in Spain falls mainly on the higher ground with the plains being rather arid.  It would seem that just because something rhymes, it doesn’t make it true.  Still, it could be worth a try: has any political party ever tried using rhyme to make its lies and half-truths a tad more palatable?

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The Cursed Mug

I have been rather neglecting G0faDM of late and so, by extension, have been denying you (dear reader) a regular fix of nonsense.  Well, I suppose that may be over-stating matters: the world seems chock full of nonsense  – often of the dangerous kind – but perhaps there does exist the odd one or two of you out there who have been missing nonsense based on my own, slightly cockeyed view of things.

Anyway, this neglect has now reached the stage where WordPress is bringing it out my attention in its automated, but somehow still passive-aggressive, way.  It has also taken the opportunity during the lull in output to redesign the interface once again.

I am minded to heed the words of Benjamin Disraeli.  Not all of them (believe he was quite a prolific producer of words), but just the enjoinder to “never complain and never explain”.  In another post, I may talk of having been taken back into the clammy embrace of the world of work – but this return to my only even mildly lucrative hobby need not detain us here.

This hiatus in the production of published material does mean that there is a whole series of ideas waiting, like a coiled springer spaniel, to be unleashed on an undeserving world.  However, these deeper and more meaningful offerings will have to wait for the current trivial incident to be given its time in the spotlight.

I have a number of mugs: six in total (oh yes, I’m living it up here on the south coast).  They do not enjoy the middle-class luxury of a tree, but must share a cupboard shelf with a variety of other vessels of vaguely similar form and broad topological equivalence.  Three of these mugs are of a ‘set’ purchased many, many years ago from a branch of (S)Habitat.  Each bears a rather poor, line drawing representing a fish: I strongly suspect that my 8 year old nephew has been capable of producing a significantly better representation of our piscine friends for some time.  To the casual observer, these mugs would appear identical in every important respect – but I have now established that one is cursed!

Sometimes, in preparation from another assault on the strongly defended citadel of sleep, I will have a mug of cocoa.  I prepare this by sticking a mug of milk into the microwave and letting it endure two minutes of all the millimetre electromagnetic radiation that Full Power can deliver.  I then added the merest hint of sugar and three relatively level teaspoons of cocoa powder and stir as vigorously as (a) I retain the energy to do and that (b) is consistent with the cocoa remaining within the confines of the mug.

Before I moved, more than two years ago now, after suffering two minutes of radiation, the handle of the mug would often become uncomfortably hot.  This issue had not occurred since moving to the south coast and so I have become quite blasé about grabbing the handle of the mug when the milk heating is done.  Last night this proved to be a mistake and I have the burnt fingers to prove it.  It would seem that one of the three mugs is not like the others and while the milk seems to reach the same basic temperature regardless of the mug chosen, one of the trinity contrives to store a significant portion of the microwave energy in its handle.  This mug had clearly been rotated to the subs bench for the last two years, but the need to keep recent visiting dignitaries topped up with tea has moved it back into active service.

What can possibly be different about this mug?  I fear it must be subject to an ancient curse – perhaps the clay which became the handle was dug from an ancient autochthon burial ground?  Or maybe it is possessed by some sort of demonic presence and retains some memory of the fires that lie beneath?  I am the possessor of many books and rather fewer candles but not a single bell (well, there is one on my bicycle, but I’m not sure if it would count).  As soon as I can rectify this current campanological lack, I shall be exorcising my entire collection of mugs.  Better safe than sorry!