Sunday 30 January 2011

Things I Dislike But Feel I Ought To Like: QI

I have to confess, I don't really like Stephen Fry. Not on a personal level; I'm sure he's charming. I mean on TV. And I don't really 'get' QI, though I feel I ought to love it. Someone once said that Stephen Fry is the kind of person that stupid people think smart people should be like, and I rather agree with that. I'm sure he's very clever and all, and he did a very interesting podcast some time back about Oscar Wilde, which I enjoyed, but the fact remains that I always feel I should find QI a lot more entertaining, amusing and stimulating than I do, and I wish I liked it more.

Saturday 29 January 2011

On What You Would Hear If You Hacked My Phone

So apparently phone hacking is all the rage now.  In a spirit of public-mindedness, I decided to save you all the effort, and publish details of all the people who've phoned me this week.

I don't remember much before Tuesday, so we'll start there.

Tuesday, at around 2pm
For reasons I now forget, Alex ended up answering this one.  Apparently it was an Indian bloke, who wanted to sell me laptop insurance or something.  They seemed to speak for quite some time, but the conversation terminated with Alex saying "It's ok, I'm a software developer".

Wednesday, at around 1.45pm
The daughter of the elderly lady across the road, to say her mother had called her because she'd got her tv stuck on the menu again, and could I go over and put it on ITV?  And also, did I have a boyfriend yet?

Thursday, at about 2.30pm
My mother.  My mother has a better idea of my schedule than I do, so if she phones during the day, I know I'm supposed to be Out Someplace in the evening.  She called to see what I was doing, which was working, mostly.

And that's been it, so far.  If anything else happens, I'll let you know.

Monday 24 January 2011

The WhyNotSmile Guide To The Offside Rule

There was a whole big thing at the weekend there about how men think that women do not understand the offside rule in football.  Thankfully, WhyNotSmile has done her research, and can now reveal how it works.

Apparently the thing is best understood if you imagine three women in a shop.  Woman 1 sees shoes behind the counter, and would like to buy them, but there is someone (Woman 2) in front of her in the queue who also wants to buy them.  She cannot push in front of Woman 1, because that would be rude, and anyway, for reasons we cannot begin to imagine, neither of them has any money, but has joined the queue regardless.  So woman 3 is at the back of the shop and throws her purse to woman 1, who can now bunk in front of Woman 2 and buy the shoes.  But they are all offside, because they should be on the football pitch and not in a shop.

And this is how the offside rule works.

On It Being Blue Monday Again

So according to The Guardian, today is Blue Monday.  Now I know we all thought it was last week, but that was according to the Daily Mail, and my friend Claire, and Virtual Methodist.  But this week it is according to both The Guardian and Wikipedia.

This raises an interesting source of distress, as I had not previously considered the possibility that Claire could ever be wrong about things, so I'm trying to adjust my worldview to encompass that, and, frankly, it disturbs me.  It's like finding out they lied about atoms.

Anyway, WhyNotSmile is not one to pass up another opportunity for misery, of course, but I haven't worked myself into quite the same frenzy as last week, so today is passing in a sort of melancholy.  I'm all alone, as The Sister is at Mommy and Daddy Smile's, since she's teaching Down That Way this week, so it's just me all alone for a few days.  Which is sad.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

On The Rights And Wrongs Of School Assemblies

So The Atheists want school assemblies to be made illegal (warning: link to Daily Mail.  WhyNotSmile accepts no responsibility for anything that might happen while you're there, but advises you not to start reading the comments), on the basis that they infringe children's human rights.  It is hard to know what to think about this, so I have compiled a Helpful List of pros and cons:

Reasons to Ban School Assemblies
1) If you were to design something guaranteed to turn a child away from all things religious, you could do little better than your average school assembly.  School assemblies are generally run by either the teachers (in which case you often have the ridiculous sight of atheists ssshushing small children so they can hear other atheists talking about God), or the local vicar (generally consisting of over-stretched stories with "that's just like Jesus!" shoe-horned onto the end); you get the odd quite good one where someone with both social skills and an enthusiasm for spreading The Word is put in charge, and of course you get some excellent ones, but in my experience these are few and far between.

Reasons to Keep School Assemblies
1) It is always wise to disagree with anything the National Secular Society says, just on principle.  Anything which annoys Richard Dawkins is also a good bet.

2) It is useful to ensure that children are accustomed to being bored, as it will prepare them well for a life in the office.  I am firmly of the opinion that everyone's lives would be a lot easier if children were better at entertaining themselves quietly; school assemblies are good places to practice this.

3) The world would be poorer if no one knew the words and tunes to 'Morning Has Broken', 'One More Step Around The World I Go' and 'Fight The Good Fight'.  Actually, no.

So with 2 votes to 1, we see that school assemblies should be kept.

Monday 17 January 2011

The WhyNotSmile Guide To Blue Monday, And Other Depressing Times

Good Afternoon, and Happy New Year.  Sorry for not posting, been busy and so on and so forth.

So today may or may not be Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year (currently the score stands at 3 for (This Morning, Virtual Methodist and my friend Claire; it is possible that these sources are connected), 1 against (Wikipedia)).  This is the day on which we all feel very miserable, due to having bankrupted ourselves at Christmas, not being paid for a few weeks yet, it's Monday, we're all getting divorced, and it's dark outside.

I have no idea whether it's Blue Monday or not, but I do know that I feel feck miserable today.  It is unlikely that this is due to my impending divorce, and more probable that it has a connection with my doctor thinking that 2 weeks ago was 'a good time' to reduce my anti-depressants.  I'm not entirely clear that I follow her logic, but she's very nice, so I went along with it, and hey, I can always go back and get them upped again. Once all the people with swine flu get out of the surgery, of course, cos I don't want to catch that.  And also I like to get a bit of attention at the doctor's, and she might not have so much time if she has 300 whining people who woke up this morning and sneezed twice to deal with.

So anyway.  Virtual Methodist is feeling good, and we're happy about that.  Also, on Facebook the concensus seems to be that we're all enjoying the blue skies and sunshine.

Historically, the week of Blue Monday has not been a good one for WhyNotSmile.  Three years ago this week was the big Thing With The Boss That Led To 5 Weeks Off With Stress.  Two years ago was the Broken Arm.  Last year passed uneventfully, as far as I remember, so this either means the effect is wearing off, or I'm Due.  Hard to say.

But it's not like I need a special day on which to be miserable, for WhyNotSmile can be depressed on any day of the year, for no particular reason, and in great force.

So here are my tips for coping with depression:

1) Enjoy the little things.  Like your new Christmas jammies, which have been through their first wash by now, and therefore can be worn with confidence that this is the size they'll stay, and they can be washed again without losing all their colour, so it's ok to wear them as much as you want.  I hate that initial 'new jammies' thing, where you're enjoying them, but you have the worry that Something Bad will happen in the wash, so you don't want to wear them too much because then you'll have to wash them, and then you might never be able to wear them again.

2) Do little things.  There is no point in attempting to restructure your entire life in January.  The initial enthusiasm will fall away, and you'll be back to square one, but with less energy, and shattered dreams.  Save the big things for an indeterminate day in the future.  Instead, concentrate on the little things.  People always need hugs.  Give hugs.

3) Exercise.  They always say you should exercise when you feel miserable.  I'm sure it's great.  Give it a go, and let me know what happens, kk?

4) Remember that sad is deep people's version of happy.  Anyone can be happy.  But it takes a great intelligence to see the misery in everything.

5) Likewise, valleys.  We can all enjoy being on the mountaintop, much beloved by Christian musicians through the eras.  But coping with valleys is something else.  Sometimes we can even learn things from God when we're not in the middle of another hyper praise song, waving arms in the air, and yelling 'Amen'.  At least, I think that's true.  I read it on the internet, so it must be.