Monday, May 30, 2005
Hamish McShanks Service Announcement
Guess What? ......... No? ....... want a clue? ..... ok ok
'What do you get if you add huge amounts of alcohol to many hours of sleep deprivation, sprinkle on a few hours of exercise add a smidgen of pissing cold weather and a dash of arseholes singing till 6am?
Perth Volleyball tournament! (oh and no diary)
If you then add the small task or organising a stag weekend for a bunch of retarded chimps who couldnt find their backside with both hands then time is suddenly at a premium.
The final skidmark on the underpants is a pressing work commitment which will require many hours of your authors talentless coding efforts.
As a result this weeks diary will be late, possibly quite late, lets not mince words it might not arrive at all (is that cheering I hear)
I would like to apologise for the woeful service but I'm quite tetchy just now and looking for a rumble, anyone wants a square go I'll be out in the carpark stripped to the waist (that's from the waist up) shouting 'cmon ye baasstrrrds one at a time or aw the gether' as I guzzle buckfast and slowly keel over into the bushes
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 43
Hamish McShanks Secret Diary – w/e 22nd May 2005
Bang bang bang!, thump thump thump bang thump ‘Ach’ saw saw saw, thump thump ‘feck’. Two hours of noisy industry, half an hour of foul mouthed swearing, forty-five minutes of sobbing tears and my aquarium stand was finally finished. I looked from the picture on the box to the completed article and back again ‘Hmmm’ there weren’t a great deal of similarities ‘Ach it’ll be fine, it’s probably supposed to lean like that’
The aquarium itself required no assembly, which was just as well. I fitted the filter and heater without incident. Now I just had to fill it with water. This was when I realised the largest jug I had held 300ml and my aquarium needed 36 litres of water ‘Oh marvellous, bloody marvellous’. One hundred and twenty journeys later my ‘Bio-Orb’ was full. ‘Right, just need to add these water treatment chemicals and Robert is your mothers brother’ I tipped the sachet into the orb and went to put the kettle on.
When I returned my aquarium looked like it had just popped a couple of alka-seltzer. There was a definite plink, plink, fecking fizz going on. Large sticky bubbles were fizzing about madly inside, threatening to push the lid off. ‘Oh feck’ I grabbed the packet and feverishly read the instructions my eyes flashing left to right as I struggled to speed read. The more intelligent of you would be correct in suggesting that it might have been prudent to read the user instructions beforehand. To you I would simply say ‘feck off’ and ‘life is an adventure!’, ‘now if you’ll excuse me I have to fix this mains electrical appliance while I have a bath’
As it turned out this effervescence was a perfectly normal reaction and there was no need for me to soil my underwear (now they tell me) Now all I had to do was wait another 24hrs and then ‘add fish’.
I’d elected to set up a ‘tropical’ aquarium. I’d like to say it’s because tropical fish are smaller and more colourful. They are also more challenging to care for and therefore provide a greater sense of reward and satisfaction when reared successfully. Thus providing the owner with a feeling of inner peace and tranquillity Or I may just have seen them as I strolled through the garden centre looking for a bag of compost. My attention may have been drawn by the sight of shiny colourful things. I may have dropped my compost and run across the store like a sugar rushed five year old and pressed my nose against the tank shouting ‘cooooool’ before impulsively buying three on the spot. But the reasons aren’t important now.
Apparently (I’m an expert now of course) the maximum ‘fish capacity’ of your aquarium is all to do with your bacteria. Well not your bacteria obviously but the bacteria in your water. Ye see ye need these wee beasties in the water to break doon all the fish jobbies! The more keech you have the more bacteria are required to break it down. A good way to think of it is like the difference between a man and a woman using the toilet.
Coldwater fish are bigger and produce huge big steaming logs just like yer dad does. They spend a good half hour squeezing one out in a quiet corner of your aquarium. Then mumble ‘I’d leave that five minutes if I were you’ before blaming the shrimps for the smell and swimming off in another direction.
Tropical fish however are a bit like girls. They are smaller and therefore produce much less waste. Tropicals are the model of brevity; drop knickers, deposit waste, flush toilet, clean toilet from top to bottom, wash hands and leave! All in less time than it takes a man to unfold his newspaper. Hence the reason I plumped for the fragrant and delightful tropicals
The instructions for releasing my fish were written in large bold print on the side of the bag. a) First leave bag in water for 20 minutes for temperatures to equal ‘ya de ya ya’ b) Then hold bag open with clothes peg and gently mix with some tank water ‘blah blah blah’ c) To avoid stress introduce fish gently and on no account introduce you’re your fish directly into your aquarium ‘Hmmmm’.
I folded up the bag and stuffed it in the bin then headed off for a quick look at the three fish I’d just tipped directly into my tank. ‘Ach they are deein fine’ Ok so they seemed a bit lethargic and were floating quite close to the surface but I could see their fins gently convulsing. They seemed to perk up after I switched the heater and air pump on.
My all in one aquarium pack also came with a complimentary packet of fish food. I knew that nutrition was important so this time I read the instructions before I continued. ‘Hinorasaki floating fish food, hmmm’, ‘Feed your fish 2-3 times daily blah blah blah as much as they can eat blah blah’ that seemed enough information. ‘Okey dokey’ I cut the packet open and gently sprinkled some pellets into the water. My hungry little tetras gobbled up the pellets so I added a few more, and then a little more…..
A couple of days later I couldn’t help but notice that the water in my aquarium had taken on a green tinge. I say tinge but tinge would suggest at some form of transparency. Visibility was about 3mm ‘Hmmm’ I consulted the manual that came with my bio-orb ….. ‘Aaaah’ ….. ‘Oh dear’ …. ‘bugger’. Turns out the advice in the manual disagreed somewhat with the marketing blurb on my packet of fish food.
‘Over feeding is the most common cause of aquarium failure’ I looked at the green sludge that was masquerading as water. Closer examination revealed the smallest of my tetras floating belly up on the surface. Mouth to mouth was not overly successful as my lungs are a tad bigger than that of a ‘Neon Tetra’. After my failed first aid I placed what fragments of fish that were left in the bin. Whistling the ‘last post’ as the lid of the bin snapped closed ‘I wont forget you …. eeer blinky!’.
I managed to fish out most of the ‘floating pellets’ which clearly didn’t float nearly as well as the packet would suggest having formed a thick submarine compost. The fish might even have recovered if I hadn’t elected to administer an emergency ‘dram’ to the remaining two. Wasn’t quite the pick me up I had hoped for…..
‘At the going down of the sun …..’ it was all rather tearful and the noise of the flip top bin clack clacking slowly shut will haunt me for a long time …. sniff …. sniff ..
Monday, May 16, 2005
Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 42
Hamish McShanks Secret Diary w/e 15th May 2005
I raised a hand to shield my eyes from the blazing sun, my face pulled into a grimace as I squinted to make out a distant object on the horizon. My feet dragged over the rough ground. It was baked hard as clay cutting into my bare feet as I shuffled closer. I blinked and looked again as a familiar shape came into view. Could it really be? A tearful smile broke out across my face causing my parched and blistered lips to crack painfully ‘Oh thank god’ I mumbled ‘it’s a miracle’
A few more steps and I stumbled into my saviours arms ‘Thankyou….thankyou thankyou..’, ‘Gerroff ye big nancy’ I was pushed roughly away ‘for pities sake min, ah’ve only been gone ten minutes!’ He was clutching a six pack of beer ‘and I told ye to put sun cream on ye divvy’ He tossed a can in my direction ‘yer a tube!’ and with that he stomped off into the house as I hungrily guzzled my can of beer (just what ye need when yer dehydrated, alcohol)
The sun. A rather large star located at the centre of our solar system. A whopping great spinning ball of hot gas and nuclear reactions. A yellow star 93 million miles away that our teeny little planet orbits once a day. The light produced from this hydrogen bomb allowing life on earth to survive and also keeping us toastie and warm. Ok so we don’t actually see the sun very often in bonny Scotland but when we do it’s still the same one that we spend lots of dough chasing in Spain, Barbados, Rio and the like.
So why oh why are we always caught out when the sun does make it’s biannual visit to Scotland? We always get sunburnt. Or as in the case of my next door neighbour ‘vestburn’. He’s an elderly chap in this sixties and he must have been out soaking up some sun whilst wearing this natty undergarment. The milk bottle white silhouette was a dead give away. Undeterred by his lobster coloured arms, neck and face our avid sunbather was now going bare chested, thereby able to reap the full benefit of the suns cancer inducing rays. At least he had covered his crimson heid. Although I fear the knotted hanky was a day too late.
I wasn’t in a position to mock having been caught out myself, although in my defence I don’t have the ideal skin type for a tan. Not much of a defence I’ll admit seeing as it’s the same skin I’ve always had so maybe Alheizemers would be a better defence. Anyway I didn’t actually realise but there is an official scale for skin types (when it comes to sun tolerance) The scale runs from one to six. One being freckly green eyed ginger folk with milky white skin through to six for those of an ebony hue. Given my heat tolerance I think I’m probably about minus ten and transparent.
I was feeling particularly light headed after wolfing down my can of super strength Spar lager and I tottered back towards the house. My Bruv was sat on the sofa cracking open a tinny and watching the telly. He glanced up as I entered, a picture of crimson pain ‘Oh Christ I’d have bought some marshmallows if I’d known’, ‘Ha ha yer nae funny’, ‘Stand back a bit will you yer warming up ma beer’, ‘shut it’, ‘Can we plug ye into the national grid?’ he sniggered. I proffered a sunburnt middle finger before stomping up the stairs his laughter ringing in my ears.
I managed to locate an ancient bottle of after sun in the medicine cabinet, it was four years out of date but beggars can’t be choosers. After an exceptionally enjoyable ice cold shower I applied liberal quantities on my crispy aromatic arms and face. The cream didn’t seem to be getting absorbed into my skin. Despite claims on the bottle that ‘This rich, soothing cream moisturizes and regenerates simultaneously’, ‘Oh aye’ and ‘Instant Repair After Sun Cream will have skin supple and calm in no time. Leaving you free to spend time in the sun, having fun and remaining beautiful and guilt-free (Active Ingredients: witch hazel, vitamin E, gingko biloba)’ I don’t know what the hell gingko biloba is but they obviously forgot the magic beans and stardust.
I finished reading the lies on the side of the container and glanced in the mirror ‘oh great’ I looked like a negative of Al Jolson. My entire face was the brilliant white apart from a pair of crispy eyelids and my bloody cracked lips ‘Marvellous, ah better get a cloak, learn to play the organ and hide in the fecking basement then’
I stared at the mirror for another few minutes but it was no use it just wasn’t being ‘absorbed invisibly’ into my skin. Despite my efforts to ‘will’ the cream into my skin by the power of my mind it remained stubbornly visible and if anything looked like it was forming a thick crust. ‘Bastards’ I sighed and trudged down the stairs.
A large pizza box and a number of empty cans were strewn across the coffee table. My brother had his head buried inside the box, obviously ferreting about for the slice with most pepperoni ‘Oh I ordered a pizz-‘ it was at this point he looked up ‘Wooohooo ha ha! Gonnay give us a moonwalk then Jacko?’, ‘you still here then’ I replied ‘No no no I tell a lie it’s Franken-N- Furter! Where’s yer sussys? Ha Ha haaaa’ I ignored his snorting laughter and picked up a slice of pizza ‘You know ye can feck off anytime ye like’
He was laughing so much his own face was going crimson, in fact his eyes were bulging out of his head as his hands scrabbled at his throat ‘mmm…c.c.hok..ing’, ‘Hmm what’s that’ He was wheezing quite badly now ‘ppp..hkkk.i.zzagg’, ‘bit of pizza go down the wrong way did it son?’ He was making a funny burbling noise as he slid off the sofa ‘Oh c’mon I wasn’t born yesterday’, ‘Aggk.k.k…astard’ I glanced down and his face was purple
‘Oh Shiiiiiit’ I heaved him into an upright position and wrapped my arms under his ribcage pulling hard. A piece of partially digested pepperoni shot out of his swollen purple puss. It ricocheted off the fireplace and landed on the carpet picking up a nice coating of dog hair on the way. I dropped him on the floor and he lay on his side sucking in huge lungfuls of air. I sat back and munched on a slice of pizza as I watched his face gradually turn a more normal pinkish colour ‘Fecking hell that was scary’ he wheezed before retrieving the piece of pepperoni and washing it down with a mouthful of beer.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Hamish McShanks Secret Diary - Part 41
Hamish McShanks Secret Dairy w/e 8th May 2005
Sunday is a day for chilling. A day for relaxing with the Sunday papers. A day for drinking lots of cups of strong black coffee, scoffing mountains of bacon butties and generally slobbing about scratching your backside. With this schedule in mind I’d popped down the corner shop for the broadsheets a couple of pounds of smoked back and a dozen white rolls.
The first packet of bacon was sizzling away in the pan as I glanced at the front pages. Given the recent election and all it’s saturation coverage I couldn’t stomach the main guts of the paper. The sports section was dominated by football of which I’m not a great fan and the business pages are a non-starter. Things were looking grim I was going to have to read the colour supplement.
I picked it up flicking idly through it’s glossy pages, barely glancing at the glitzy photography all the while wondering why in this day and age they felt that ‘colour’ was an outstanding selling point. Colour is a gimmie, a fairly basic requirement I would have thought. You wouldn’t advertise anything else like that. Can you see Mercedes buffing up a shimmering silver CLK Coupe giving it pride of place on the forecourt and then slapping a sticker on the window that says ‘Complete with Wheels!’,’ AND a spare in the boot!’ I think not.
I decanted five or six rashers of bacon on to a thickly buttered roll and topped up the frying pan ‘Mmmflippinmm rubbishmm’ I mumbled through a mouthful of crispy bacon. I ploughed onwards. The supplement was split into the usual sections, Arts, Theatre, Dance (why?), Homes, and Holidays. Oh the ‘Homes’ section is usually good for a laugh. The usual dross on how to ‘simply’ transform your plain two bed roomed semi into a palatial suburban boudoir. I’ll agree it’s perfectly ‘simple’ if you happen to have Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen mincing about designing it for you and don’t mind going forty grand over your original budget of £500!
Your sitting with your head in your hands sobbing as the dandy highwayman raves about the iconic nature of his creation. You’re in the midst of repossession proceedings as he ‘Oooh’s and ‘Aaah’s over the contrast of light and shade and the vibrant dynamism that he’s brought to the property. Your bank manager has already frozen your account and is declaring you bankrupt. The local moneylender you resorted to whilst funding the ‘essential’ fourth crystal chandelier is aggrieved at your inability to meet his ‘competitive’ interest rates. He’s currently sending his two of his larger ‘representatives’ round to present you with some easy repayment ‘options’ i.e. you pay up and they’ll go easy on you. Fail to cough up and they will provide you with complimentary orthopaedic surgery courtesy of a sturdy length of two by four.
I’ll stick to my woodchip wallpaper magnolia paint and fully functioning knee joints thanks ye curly locked fop!
The second batch of rashers was flipped into an open roll and I turned the magazine over and started from the back. Surprisingly enough a plethora of adverts for chairlifts and outdoor sunscreens did little to improve my humour. ‘Who mmbuys this feckin mmkeechmm’ I wondered as I squirted a big dollop of HP sauce into the centre of my butty. I bypassed the stair lifts reckoning I could get up the stairs quicker using nothing but my teeth. As for the sun awning, the thick storm clouds gathering outside were providing an effective and very cheap screen as it was. That and the golf ball sized hailstones that were currently turning my veranda into crazy paving. They would have made short work of both the sun awning and Ex-Superintendent John Stalker! Oh and if anyone can tell me how a distinguished career in law enforcement qualifies you to sell garden accessories do please tell.
Having exhausted both the bacon and all readable parts of the paper I decided to pop into town for a wee bit of retail therapy. I needed to get some new shirts for work anyway.
The company I work for has a ‘business casual’ dress policy which means we can get away with wearing polo shirts rather than a formal shirt-tie combo. A bonus indeed as a tie serves no purpose other than to be a magnet for food stains (only foods of opposing colours of course) It also means I can shop at the ‘Sports Stores’ ……
I perused the myriad of shirts and selected four to try on. I couldn’t see any changing signs so I stopped to ask a sales assistant ‘Excuse me Miss are there any changing rooms?’ She gave me a blank look ‘Changing rooms?’, ‘Uuuh’, ‘Rooms for changing in?’, ‘Uuuhh’ It was at this point I noticed the ‘trainee’ badge and the rabbit in the headlights look of terror ‘aaah’m new ken’, ‘It’s ok I’ll ask-‘, ‘Ahh just price stuff ken’, ‘That’s ok-‘ She dropped her pricing gun and ran for the exit ‘Riiiiight I’ll eer just walk over here then’
I wandered through the golf section before finally spotting a changing room ‘about time’ I strode towards the front door and was just about to enter when I felt something jab me in the back propelling me forwards and flattening my face against the wall ‘ooommppff’, ‘You just hold on there boy’, ‘What the-‘, ‘What you got on the hangers boy’, ‘I jusht want to try on shome shirts-‘, ‘What’s that sign say boy’ I strained to read the sign my face was pressed into ‘it shays Maxshimum three garmentsh’ I spluttered through my mangled lips ‘Cant you count boy?’, ‘I didntooommppff’
A four iron smacked into the ribs carries quite a punch. The redneck assistant took three of the shirts off their hangers and handed them back to me ‘We get a lot of thieves in here boy’, ‘I resent thaooompppff’, ‘You got two minutes boy then ah’m coming to get you’ He took out his keys and unlocked the changing room. I hobbled in and shut the door behind me ’90 seconds boy’ I tried the shirts on in record time and was buttoning my shirt back up when the door burst open ‘times up boy’, ‘Yes I think I’ll take thesooompppff’
I understand that shoplifting can be a problem but I do feel that their security measures were somewhat severe. The cavity search was the straw that broke the camels back and I’m afraid I lost the rag and stormed out (or more accurately hobbled)
I shall be shopping at Marks and Spencer’s from now on, at least there they wear a rubber glove.