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Inconsiderate Travellers #20: The Slightly Injured Anniversary Edition

20 already! It's amazing isn't it, 20 instances of someone acting in a selfish, thoughtless or annoying way on public transportation. Most people would just forget about it or bitch about it later to their friends/family/pet snakes but that's not for me.

I'd rather expose the selfishness of others in a useful and meaningful way, I'm a crusader for truth and justice, a hero for all mankind. Either that or I'm a passive aggressive arsehole who really should be using his skills in a more productive way.

That's what my therapist said anyway. But what the hell does he know, he has his own problems. I always hear him crying before and after each of my five and a half hour sessions, that dude is crazy!

Anyway back to this edition and look! Poor old Floating Head of Henry Kissinger lady has hurt herself. She's got those blister inducing crutches and a whole bag full of shopping. Obviously that can go on the table in front of her, but what about that rucksack? Well, given that she's hurt herself, that can clearly go on the seat next to her right? WRONG!

I don't care if she broke both her legs fighting off an army of ninjas intent on killing a kitten, that seat is meant for someone else lady, not your bag.

What if someone even more injured than her came along like a one legged urchin or a piano player with two broken arms, would she give the seat up then?

Hell no, the only way she's giving that seat up is if the conductor threatens to charge her for taking up an extra space. That's highly unlikely to happen though because this is an Arriva train, they have enough trouble running an efficient service without having to worry about little things like checking peoples tickets.


Inconsiderate Travellers #19: Corporate Edition

Hello folks, sorry for being away for so long but, as expected, my access to a work based computer was negated by my absolute exhaustion from walking all around Northumberland (pictures will be uploaded tomorrow).

It also wasn't helped by my mothers insistence on using my laptop to look at other hotels for 2 hours, only to extend our stay in the one the family were all already staying in.

Getting back to Inconsiderate Travellers, this edition will not feature The Floating Head Of Henry Kissinger because the culprits this time aren't a selfish person blocking a seat with a bag/coat/luggage, they're Virgin Trains and whichever bastard controls the weather.

Unless you haven't read the news in the last 48 hours (which you really should do you bloody philistine) you'll know that it's rained a lot. And by a lot I mean we've had a months worth of rainfall in 2 days, which will please ducks, divers and people making films about Noah and the Ark, but will piss off just about everyone else.

When I started my journey I was told the only real problems were around Shrewsbury and Birmingham which wouldn't be a problem since I was avoiding those areas completely. Sadly it didn't work out like that as the rain water did what water usually does and, dun dun duuhhhh...moved.

Apparently none of the Virgin staff on our train realised that as they were convinced we would easily get from Chester to Crewe with no problems. They even assured the previously stranded extra passengers who hopped on that this train would definitely make it to Crewe. Definitely. Definitely. Definitely...not

After an hour of slow, stop start travelling (and only 2 announcements from the crew) we turned back because the line in front was completely flooded. Amazingly it took 40 minutes to get the train to go backwards, by which time the track behind us was under 6 inches of water. Scary really doesn't do the reverse journey justice; people were transfixed by the lack of a track and the potential for derailment. It was like something out of a good M Night Shyamalan film (not one of the shit ones).

That photograph was taken to demonstrate something you rarely see on train journeys these days; the feeling of terror you get when you're stuck in the middle of nowhere and water is literally rising around you. In the 2 hours it took to get from Chester, half way to Crewe and back to Chester again the water level on the track rose from nothing to 12 inches deep. You normally only see stuff like that happening on the National Geographic Channel.

Fortunately I got to my destination before midnight, after taking a coach to Crewe and yet another train from there. A journey that should have taken 5 hours took 8. The lesson here is to avoid trains at all costs when the weather turns bad and to not listen to smart arse Virgin staff when they promise you things. I've filled out a compensation form to reclaim the cost of my journey, unfortunately that probably won't happen because they'll claim the "Act of God" get out clause. Was the Virgin staff's poor judgement an act of God? That's really only for theologians and the ombudsman to decide.


Born under a wandering star

Just like George W Bush when he was President I've worked 4 solid weeks without taking a prolonged break, and you know what that means! Holiday time!

The usual rules apply for next Monday (September the 24th) and Thursday (27th) in that I won't be updating due to the train journey, but before then I'm going away on a family holiday to Northumberland.

Given that the region is still rebuilding after a Viking attack about 1000 years ago there may or may not be Wifi where I'm staying, so if I don't update the website until this Friday (the 21st) that's why.

Sorry, that was all very confusing wasn't it, it needed to be done though. Phew! So anyway, how are you?


The Master, Scientology and the IMDB Timelords

So The Master has finally been released in the States and the incredibly eager nerds at IMDB have already given it 8.4/10 even though it's only been out there a matter of hours.

While the 900 people who voted for it on IMDB seemed to enjoy it (although I suspect at least half of those haven't actually seen the film yet, as is the norm on that site) the Scientology cultists community certainly haven't.

Scientologists in Hollywood tried to derail a movie inspired by the religion's founder, its studio claims.

Unnamed Scientologists applied "lots of pressure" to stop The Master being made and have it changed once filming began, studio head Harvey Weinstein said.

The film's director Paul Thomas Anderson has stated that The Master was partly based on L Ron Hubbard, who founded Scientology in the 1950s.

The Church of Scientology has denied trying to block the film.

Weinstein told BBC News: "We've had pressure and we've resisted pressure. Originally people said to me 'don't make it'. Lots of pressure.

"And then, as we were making it, we had pressure to change it. Paul's not doing that and I didn't think he chose me [to work with] because I was going to acquiesce either."

Yeah, no shit Harvey. I don't care how scary some of those Scientology stalkers are, that's Harvey Weinstein. This is the man who was responsible for the ban on campaigning for your film at Oscar time because he got a little to umm...intense for the Academy's liking. Harvey also put a New York Observer reporter in a headlock while throwing him out of a party. He even threatened to kill Ricky Gervais after his infamous 2010 Golden Globe schenanigans.

If the scientologists want to intimidate someone they picked the wrong guy. Harvey might just lose it and give us a live action version of Die Hard where he takes out the Scientologists (who have invaded Hollywood and are holding people hostage until they get a shit load of money) one at a time. Now that's a Harvey Weinstein film I'd definitely pay to see.

Source: BBC


Kim Kardashian is frustrating

Not content with annoying the entire population of the States chaste, feminist icon Kim Kardashian is now desperate to raise her profile in our part of the world.

The first stage of her UK invasion came in the form of in-depth interviews with those world renowned twin pillars of journalistic integrity: The Guardian and Nuts Magazine.

The Nuts interview didn't offer much in the way of surprises. She spouted the usual bollocks about regretting making a sex tape with her ex (even though it's earned her somewhere in the region of £50 million) and mentioned that she thought Cheryl Cole was hot. Well duh! We've heard this all before Kim, give us something new!

Maybe The Guardian interview will give us a unique insight into the life of one of the most prominent women of the 21st Century. At least The Guardian will be smart enough to edit her down to soundbites that make her sound vaguely intelligent. Surely they won't publish anything that will make her look more stupid than she already does will they?! And we cut to reveal...

"We had done filming our season at that point, so we decided to film for the wedding. And that was a decision that he and I made together. But I think that, with any decisions in life, like, I spoke to a girl today who had cancer and we were talking about how this is such a hard thing for her, but it taught her a big lesson on who her friends are and so much about life. She's 18. And I was like, that's how I feel."

You moron. An 18-year-old girl tells you she had cancer, and your only thought was how that related to you? Can we ban this woman from the country please?

Source: The Guardian


That's going to be extra on your bill sir

Having worked in a pretty good hotel before I can tell you that sometimes when people go on holiday they leave their manners at home.

I've been tipped 50p for a weeks worth of constant assistance, referred to as 'The Boy' by a woman who wanted her bags carrying and I've even been asked by a pervy guest for one of my female coworkers phone number.

While those were either insulting, rude or just plain gross they certainly don't match the level of insanity of some of these requests.

Ferrets and fake tan removers are among the more bizarre requests made by hotel guests.

A place at breakfast for a religious statue and a demand for a ghost to be sent to a room are also among the strange demands received by staff at Best Western hotels.

The request for ferrets came from a guest who was attending a nearby small animals show and did not want to go unaccompanied.

"You want me to get you a what? Sir, wouldn't you been happier with a goldfish or stick insect? Or do you want this ferret for...another reason?!" Now fake tan remover is one thing you'd never get staff from a standard hotel running out to buy for you, the only time that would happen is if you were staying in a high priced 5 star resort.

On the other hand if someone called down and asked me to buy them a ferret I'd go out and get one. I'd do that because I know I could use it as a story for the local paper and get the hotel some free publicity. I'm kind of amazing like that.

However, if someone called down and asked me to send a ghost up to their room, or came down for breakfast with a massive religious artifact that had its own place setting then you bet your arse I'd be calling the police and local mental hospital first. Right after that I'd be calling the same local paper as before and telling them there was a loon about to be dragged out of the hotel in a straight jacket. I'm kind of a bastard like that.

Source: MSN


Jerry Lawler suffers a heart attack live on air

Wrestling icon, talented artist, master manipulator of the media and nice guy Jerry 'The King' Lawler suffered a heart attack live on Raw last night in front of a live crowd of thousands in Montreal, Canada, and a televised audience somewhere in the region of 25 million people worldwide.

In scenes that will probably haunt the poor sods in the front row forever Lawler could be heard wheezing and breathing heavily on commentary before collapsing to the floor.

The arena crowd became aware of the situation almost immediately, causing the tag team match involving The Prime Time Players and Kane & the usually massively over Daniel Bryan to play out before near silence.

Play-by-play man Michael Cole (whose voice cracked with emotion almost immediately) tried in vain to continue commentating while aiding in the efforts to revive lawler.

Referee Charles Robinson informed the participants of the match what was going on as staff gave Lawler CPR at ringside before picking him up and rushing him to the production area at the side of the arena not far from the hard camera. Shortly after attempting more CPR they rushed Lawler out of the arena to a waiting ambulance.

As I write this unconfirmed reports are saying that Lawler is stable and having surgery to fit 3 stents in the area where the heart attack is believed to have originated. Hopefully this will lead to a swift recovery, but when it comes heart problems recovery can often be a long process. Last week Lawler wrestled CM Punk (a man half his age) in a cage match main event and also participated in a tag team match only 20 minutes before his heart attack.

This might sound like I'm stating the bleedin' obvious, but a man who's 62 years old (no matter how fit and talented he is) should not be participating in regular bouts of extremely strenuous and potentially dangerous physical activity. Wrestlers are notorious for coming out of retirement or refusing to hang up the tights long after their heyday has disappeared, maybe a serious injury to one of the most respected and beloved icons of the industry will change that habit. Or maybe not. It's more likely that some of the more arrogant and pig headed ones will continue doing a Randy 'The Ram' Robinson until they literally drop dead in the ring.


The revolution will be Tweeted

A lot of amazing and world changing events have happened as a result of the invention social networks. For one thing it's now possible for any nerd with a good understanding of code and a poor understanding of copyright law to become a billionaire overnight.

It's also made it very easy to find obscure bands with no talent, out of work actors with crappy showreels and shiftless layabouts with really basic websites who think they're really funny.

All of those things are truly amazing, but one thing that has never happened as a result of a social network is a revolution, and that's not a revolution in the "techy guy exaggerating the impact of a new piece of equipment" way, oh no. I mean revolution as in the AK47, manifesto and crazy hat type of revolution.

Venezuela's National Assembly president said he has recovered control of his Twitter account after it was taken over in a purported online attack that unleashed a series of bogus messages saying a coup was under way.

Diosdado Cabello said on state television that his account has been blocked to prevent more false messages.

He blames political opponents of President Hugo Chavez.

Yeah nice one arsehole, blame the angry disassociated opponents of someone who's dominated the political spectrum in that country for 14 years...actually that theory does make sense when you think about it. The term "recover control" is a strange choice of words for someone associated with a hardline regime, maybe they need to start using phrases like "eliminated the problem" or "dealt with the issue in a swift and lethal way" instead of "recover control". Those two alternatives sound much less intimidating.

Also, if a genuine South American coup was underway, Twitter would be a far more entertaining place to watch something like that than the usually ill informed rolling news channels. Can you imagine the hashtags that would crop up during a modern day South American coup? #SimonBolivarWasTotallyHot #CheGuevaraIsAStyleIcon and #OneDirectionAreSexy because apparently that's a universal thing.

Source: pa.press.net


Where did you get that from?!

"Freddie Starr ate my hamster", "Tiger Woods plays with own balls", "Volunteers search for old Civil War planes", "Meeting on open meetings is closed", "Caskets found as workers demolish mausoleum", "Ten Commandments: Supreme Court says some OK some not", "Puerto Rican teen named Mistress of the Universe" all of those messed up headlines have nothing on this story,

Brad Pitt has laughed off reports he bought his future wife Angelina Jolie a shooting range as a gift. 

'That’s hilarious! No I didn’t,' he told Metro at the screening of his new film Killing Them Softly at the May Fair Hotel in London on Thursday night. 

'She’s a really good shot by the way', adding that he was even better. 

The 48-year-old also revealed he may soon be reunited on the big screen with his Oscar-winning wife, 37, after they met on the set of Mr and Mrs Smith. 

'We keep talking about it, we want to, it makes no sense not to,' he said, also saying he was getting lots of grief from his kids to set a wedding date.

What the fuck is Angelina Jolie, a UN goodwill ambassador who visits war torn countries and orphans of wars doing planning on buying a gun range? Isn't that kind of hypocritical? So what, you can only use guns if you're rich enough to afford your own gun range now? Madness.

There might be a bigger issue here other than the gun range craziness: when your 17 million children start telling you to get married it's time to throw in the marijuana smelling towel and just do it. Get married already! You'd better do it before she realises you're just Robert Redford's clone and dumps you!

Source: Metro


Bane after Batman

Batman has been an easy target for comedians ever since Fredric Wertham published Seduction of the Innocent in 1954 and claimed that Batman stories were "psychologically homosexual".

From that day on (and largely thanks to the massive increase in popularity of the character) the Batman universe has been rife for parody.

Whether it's comedy sketch shows, Only Fools and Horses episodes, short scenes in Kevin Smith films or the camp Batman TV series itself, the comedic value of the Batman world has been covered pretty thoroughly many times before.

As a result of this proliferation originality and humour in the parodies became rare and the sketches themselves seemed to have all but disappeared...that was until the ultra serious Christopher Nolan films arrived.

As the quality and success of the Nolan films increased so did the number of people attempting to poke fun at them. The only problem with that is the films were so good the parodies themselves found it hard to come up with material that was actually funny as opposed to just lazy and obvious.

While various parodies of Bane have appeared recently and in the past (thanks to the terrible Batman and Robin film) none of them are as good as this one made by SNL Alumni Chris Kattan for the sometimes funny people at Funny or Die. Bane singing along to Katie Perry's Teenage Dream is one of the funniest and scariest things I've ever witnessed in my entire life.



I give up

Don't let anyone tell you that computer games are some sort of base level of entertainment, they aren't.

As well as being excellent forms of escapism they're actually quite useful tools. For example, playing 10 minutes of Tetris will do far more for your growth, development and problem solving skills than watching 10 hours worth of Mastermind episodes.

Also the standards of creativity in gaming keep growing year on year. So much so that the industry employs many thousands of people worldwide and is infiltrating every level and facet of modern life. We really are living in the golden age of video games right now.

Which brings me neatly to the whole focus of this article: Skyrim. Look at it, it's so damn beautiful. More than being beautiful it's also completely addictive.

Like its predecessor (Oblivion) Skyrim appeared to be the perfect open world game; multiple characters, potential narrative directions, outcomes, implications, all completely unique. In short Skyrim, at it's best, is nothing less than a work of art. Notice how that I used the qualifying term 'at it's best' there? That's because it's not at it's best very often.

I've written about the well known glitches of this game (and had a bitch about the industry) before, but at the time I hadn't experienced any problems myself and continued to enjoy Skyrim on my Xbox 360 for many hours as my character approached level 40 and looked rather dashing in his all Orc armor.

Then the first Downloadable Content arrived in the form of Dawnguard and, like a proper sucker, I downloaded it without reading any reviews or looking to see if any glitches had been reported. Cue the first freeze I'd suffered in nearly 60 hours of gameplay. It got worse, as I entered the Soul Cairn portion of the DLC the game began to freeze so often it became completely unplayable.

I tried every little hint random gamers provided: I cleared my console's cache, I installed the game on to the hard drive, I lowered the volume of the sound effects, I turned off the auto-save function, I deleted all my old saves, I sacrificed a goat to Ba'al, nothing worked! The game was still at the stage where I could play two minutes of Soul Cairn weirdness before oh! The screen freezes. Short of saving the game every 30 seconds there is basically no way I can play it until a patch is released which fixes this massive problem.

It's shocking to think that an industry that makes billions of pounds every year can still exist in a state where there is no official watchdog. No quality control beyond a bunch of beta testers who can't be expected to play such a massive game in its entirety. As a result of this lack of regulation and proper testing we get companies releasing unfinished/faulty products on to the market place. They then take months to correct issues using patches that only seem to introduce more faults into the games themselves.

Bethesda, the people behind Skyrim, are notorious for these kind of problems and sadly they only seem to be getting worse. Fallout: New Vegas was full of annoying little bugs, but at least you could play the damn thing through to its conclusion. Until a patch is released which once and for all fixes the major bugs with the game (one hasn't been announced and doesn't seem to be on the horizon) Skyrim is going to sit on my shelf gathering dust. Behold, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim! The greatest broken thing since The Leaning Tower of Pisa.


Miley Cyrus likes contradictions

I don't think this needs a lot of explanation really, other than to say Miley Cyrus seems to have started a crusade to prove that she's as dumb as some people have been saying she is for years.

Firstly she's completely contradicted herself in the most childish way possible. Using the 'what you have doesn't matter' quote as your selected daily mantra is fine and very admirable, but if you then start sending out boastful Tweets about how many redneck Dollars you have you've pretty much just turned yourself into the very definition of stupidity.

Secondly the quote she attributes to Buddha is actually a 'Zig' Ziglar quote via author Dale Carnegie. That's an easy mistake to make if you're a normal person with little time to research something fully, but if you're the type of person who has enough money to start your own bank then maybe you should look into employing a smart person to act as your brain and send out Tweets for you.

Hopefully old Miley does start using someone with more talent and time on their hands to think for her in future. There are loads of candidates, I hear her weird looking brother could use the work.

Update: The dumbass has done it again.

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