Tuesday 6 December 2011


How Much Toilet Paper?
The Telegraph has a story that schools in Catalonia, Spain, are trying to keep their operating costs down, by seeking to reduce wasteage and over-consumption.
"The northeastern region has been ordered to rein in its deficit and has embarked on a series of stringent austerity cuts.
The latest edict issued by the region’s ministry of education instructs state schools to cut “excessive consumption” of toilet roll among pupils and limit the quota to a maximum of 25 metres per child per month."  ( 1 metre is approx 39 inches -3ft 3inches)
Wow! Austerity! or is it? Well, assuming children are at school on average for 23 days per month, then that works out as........ 1.08metres, or about three and a half feet of toilet paper per day.
And the school day lasts what? six hours?
Now,  I ask  you, for six hours, do you need three and a half feet of toilet paper? you can't go at home before you leave for school?

It strikes me as not really the shock/horror story the Telegraph would like to pretend.
Spain is, as a nation, in financial difficulty. Not so bad as Greece, but in a tough place and working to keep from getting deeper in debt. If your kid's using three and a half feet of toilet paper, in a six hour school-day, then maybe the kid should learn to use it more efficiently, or maybe, just maybe,if your kids can't learn, then they should take their own emergency supply with them.

In part of my life, I'm a plumber. Most toilet blockages are caused by people trying to flush too much toilet paper.
Dammit, you don't need half a roll every time you go.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Yesterday, at lunchtime, I made a quick foray into the supermarket, directed shopping, vector in toward target... acquired, basket, check-out. No unnecessary aisles, in and out, like a commando raid behind enemy lines.
Or so it was meant to be, but as usual, most of the checkouts were not in use, and those that were, had huge backlogs.... So, I went along to the rapid self-checkout tills. And blocking access to those were two women, with loaded trolleys*, and kids, gabbing about whatever... 
"Excuse me?" I murmur, politely, pointing to the vacant, unused till ahead of them. They ignore me, continuing to talk, kids busy tearing open packs of colourful* sweets* from the reachable shelves.
I'm in a hurry. There's a truck on its way, and I promised I'd meet it at gate one, and show him where to crane-off the load. So, supermarket to buy lunch.
"Harrr-hum!" I cough. "Ladies?"
They ignore me.
So I do the only thing I can think of. I push a trolley aside, and go scan my goods. All of a sudden, behind me is a very loud silence.... You know that one in the movies? where the very bad scary thing is rising up out of the darkness and the hero's back is turned, oblivious?
I tap in my pin number, pick up the bag, and one of the lane blockers says, in an outraged voice, "Just who do you think you are?"
I think they've only just noticed me, I'm just a tiny irritation to them. 
I shrug and walk away, in time to hear one saying to an assistant "That man pushed in front of us!". They're probably dreaming of claiming damages from the store for hurt feelings.

"Who do you think you are?"
That's a deep one. Because, until it was questioned like that, I'd have answered "I'm me."
But now I'm not sure. The very question evinces doubt. I slept on it, troubled, probably muttering, and grinding my teeth.
And in the morning, I perused myself carefully  in the bathroom mirror. All looked normal. Or almost normal. I looked really closely. If that's an impostor, all I can say is, it's a great job, very convincing. Even got all my flaws just right.
On the way to work, I noted that "I" seemed to know the way, without prompting.
And, if asked, I can recite my grandmother's maiden name, and the name of my first school-teacher. Or so I think.

I'll be watching myself carefully for the next few days to see if I'm genuine.

*uk Trolley =  u.s. 'cart'.
*uk Colourful = u.s. 'colorful'
*uk Sweets = us 'candies'

The Perils of Cybercloning.

Via Miss Cellania

Hate Poem

Hate Poem
By Julie Sheehan
I hate you truly. Truly I do.
Everything about me hates everything about you.
The flick of my wrist hates you.
The way I hold my pencil hates you.
The sound made by my tiniest bones were they trapped in the
   jaws of a moray eel hates you.
Each corpuscle singing in its capillary hates you.
Look out! Fore! I hate you.
The blue-green speck of sock lint I’m trying to dig from
   under my third toenail, left foot, hates you.
The history of this keychain hates you.
My sigh in the background as you pick out the cashews hates you.
The goldfish of my genius hates you.
My aorta hates you. Also my ancestors.
A closed window is both a closed window and an obvious
   symbol of how I hate you.
My voice curt as a hairshirt: hate.
My hesitation when you invite me for a drive: hate.
My pleasant “good morning”: hate.
You know how when I’m sleepy I nuzzle my head under your
   arm? Hate.
The whites of my target-eyes articulate hate. My wit practices it.
My breasts relaxing in their holster from morning to night hate you.
Layers of hate, a parfait.
Hours after our latest row, brandishing the sharp glee of hate,
I dissect you cell by cell, so that I might hate each one
   individually and at leisure.
My lungs, duplicitous twins, expand with the utter validity of
   my hate, which can never have enough of you,
Breathlessly, like two idealists in a broken submarine.