Archive for the 'General ranting' Category

Leave the chocolate alone!

I see that the manufacturers have been at it again. They’ve been messing about with the chocolate.

I bought some Galaxy chocolate today, feeling in the need of a reward (which was a bit unnecessary as just by being awake I feel that I deserve some chocolate!). I noticed that on the wrapper was the announcement that they had improved the recipe and it had a new shape.

Oh, shit. I hate it when they do this.

Luckily, it’s ok this time. It tastes the same and they haven’t done too much. They’ve just changed the shape to a slightly wavy one. It’s quite pretty really.

But it got me thinking about how often the manufacturers see fit to go and mess about with the things we know and love, even if it’s just the name. There never seems to be a good reason to do this, I’m sure it’s just to confuse us and make us think that they’ve released a new product.

I mean, take Snickers. They always used to be called Marathon. Now, that name made sense. What sort of name is Snickers?! Marathon always implied that the chocolately, peanutty goodness would help you keep going. But Snickers? What does that mean?

And Starburst. They were always Opal Fruits (well, they still are in my head – just because they change the name, doesn’t mean that I have to agree with it!). Everything else is the same, they just changed the name. Is there a point to it that I’m missing?

The other thing that annoys me is when they just take products out of action. Does anyone remember the Peanut Butter Lions? They were great and saw me through many hangovers in college. Now they’ve disappeared and I can’t find them anywhere!

I don’t mind them adding new things though! Just stop messing about with the ones I like.

Take one chef, add a dash of TV…

There are so many cookery shows on TV. Ready, Steady Cook, Saturday Kitchen, Master Chef, you can’t seem to change channels without coming across one.

As much as I don’t cook (unless you can call heating things in the microwave cooking), I have occasionally watched these shows and I’ve noticed a couple of things that irritate me.

Firstly, one of the themes that seems to come up a lot is the ‘let’s use your store cupboard basics’. I never have these things in my cupboard. In fact, I only know two people who have things such as risotto rice, garlic salt and different types of mushrooms in there. Now, if they could show me what to do with a tin of beans, some instant coffee and a bit of slightly mouldy cheddar then they may be on to something!

And the chefs never wash their hands! All they seem to do is give them a quick rinse under the tap and then carry on. So what are they saying? Is E-coli a new type of seasoning now?

Oh, and I want to know where to get one of those magic ovens. For those that like to cook, imagine how much time could be saved. These are very special ovens where you can put raw food in, open it again two minutes later and, hey presto, your food is ready and piping hot!

Then we come to the final act of tasting the delights that TV Chef has just produced. Apparently, TV Chefs never make anything that doesn’t taste divine, delicious or like little angels waltzing across your tongue (Yes I did make that last bit up, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it one day!). I would love to hear someone say it tasted bloody awful, rather than practically have an orgasm over a plate of pasta with a side of listeria.

Unfortunately, all that generally happens when I watch these programmes is that I sit there wishing my pizza would be delivered faster…

I’m sorry, but size does matter.

I have tried to kid myself that size doesn’t matter for a while now. I thought I’d be satisfied with something smaller but I’m not. I thought a taste would be enough, it’s not.

Manufacturers should not be allowed to make the mini versions of their products whether its ice creams or chocolate bars. This is a terrible thing and puts me in a position where I think I will be satisfied with one portion, when I know realistically I won’t be.

I will have one of these unsatisfying things and at first I will feel all virtuous. I sit there thinking “Look at my self control. I am a living example of restraint and will power.”. Ten minutes later I am normally surrounded by more wrappers, having given in to the feeling that I have not had enough and as they are so small anyway, that one more (ok, three more) wouldn’t hurt.

I know that by then I have consumed far more than any reasonable person should, but I refuse to feel guilty. I know that I have just eaten more than a standard size portion, but I refuse to take responsibility. I blame this solely on the fool that thought this concept up. They were obviously some sadistic person who enjoys thinking of ways to attempt to torture other people as well as instil guilt. Well, I refuse to play their game any more. From now on, I will only choose the biggest version of chocolately goodness (even if it does make me feel a little bit sick!).

Supermarket hell

One thing that I really hate and only do when completely necessary is supermarket shopping. I know some people love supermarkets and treat them as places to worship the Gods of Consumerism and Gluttony but, to me, they are a circle of hell, depicted by strip lighting, crowded aisles and tinny music.

For a start they are never laid out well. Why on earth are the things such as fruit and veg at the beginning, where they will only be squashed by the heavy stuff you put in your trolley later on? This just makes no sense to me. I know all about the psychology behind supermarkets, the way they change the layout, pump in the smell of freshly baked bread and put the BOGOF offers on things you don’t really need, but oh god, I end up so confused and frustrated!

Is it also by design that each and every trolley is wonky or has a stuck wheel? Or is it that we were all supposed to go on trolley driving lessons when we were younger, but none of us got the memo? I always feel that I need L plates and the aid of mirrors and indicator lights when I’m trying to control one of these things. I often end up in the position of experiencing trolley rage, usually when yet another person had bashed me in the ankle and not apologised.

In my local supermarket they also seem to recruit highly trained, specific cashiers. They seem to have two specialities – the surly ‘what are you doing at my till? Can’t you see I’m trying to have a chat to my mate’ sort, or the over enthusiastic ‘let me tell you my life story and you can tell me yours’ type. I will chat to most people but when I’m trying to escape unharmed from the warehouse of horror, the most I want to deal with is basic, idle British chit chat about the weather.

It will be a while until I venture in again; I’m still traumatised from my last experience. The shopping part had gone well but as I was loading up the conveyor belt, I dropped a six pack of beer. I then had to deal with the fizzing bottles, spraying beer all over the floor, me and anyone who happened to be near, whilst I was watched by the entire world. Thinking it was over, I started on my escape, as I went through the front doors, the alarms went off. I stood frozen, though my instincts were screaming at me to run (even though I hadn’t taken anything – habits die hard!), as the security guards came over to inspect me. It turned out that a bottle of amaretto hadn’t been swiped properly, so it wasn’t even my fault.

So, no, it will be a while before I go back. Long live the corner shop!

Two things a girl should love?

When will I learn not to subject myself to the shopping centre on a Saturday? Each time I say I will not go back on a Saturday, but then I do! After work today I went up to get Mr Playmate’s birthday present. Though there were the same things to annoy me as last time I found new things to get irate about, and I didn’t even have a hangover! Other people, they drive me mad. Now, I know that many people like to wander around a shopping centre on the weekend, window shopping, meeting friends and generally enjoying themselves, but, oh my god!, why they hell can’t they get out of the way!

There I was, trying to end the hideous experience as quickly as possible but kept being thwarted by groups of people taking their own sweet time. What’s really selfish is that a large group will spread out across the whole of the walkway, you can’t get past them! Is this some new form of torture? Are they paid by someone to do this, maybe by a large retailer, forcing people to slow down and look at their shops? Surely that many people cannot be so unaware of others, they must hear the sighs and pleas from the people trapped behind them, and yet they do not move. I really think that shopping centres should install a dual carriageway system, just like on the roads. That way, you could have the slow lane for people who want to amble around, as if they were at a gallery experiencing great works of art, the Sunday Drivers of the shopping world so to speak. That would leave the fast lane for the formula one shopper’s, who know what they want and where to get it and are not going to tolerate being inched around some never ending system of tinny music and bad lighting. I wonder who I need to propose that to?

In other news, Poetry Man has sent me the biggest bouquet of flowers I have ever seen, they fill two vases! He says that they are a thank you for supporting him over the last few weeks. The problem is that they are just too over the top. He is lonely and has had an emotional crisis (unrequited love, never easy!) that he has been talking to me about. He never mentions friends, so I think I might be his only one. Poetry Man is a sensitive soul, goes for long walks, writes poetry and generally tortures his soul with life angst. It also appears that he’s into over the top gestures! A thank you to a friend (especially not a close friend) is not an expensive bunch of flowers. Stupidly I told Mr Playmate about this, who is taking great delight in taking the piss out of me constantly. What makes this worse is that this is the first bouquet anyone has ever sent to me. Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful and look lovely in my lounge, but my first bouquet is from Poetry Man, not the way I wanted it to be!

In these shoes?

Crocs. What is about these shoes? Everywhere I look I see someone with a pair of these moulded rubber things on their feet, obviously very happy with them and feeling ‘trendy’. A walk down your local high street will show you the amount and range of people that are wearing them, I’ve even seen entire families (kids included) sporting these monstrosities.

Originally made as a boat shoe (I’m not going to go into the history, look here or here if you’re really that interested) they gained popularity through word of mouth. As the famous people began wearing them, they became the ‘in’ shoe to be wearing. There are also numerous websites devoted to them, whether you love or hate them. I also see that the company behind crocs are now cashing in and selling other products such as ponchos and T shirts.

Now, I can see that they must be comfortable. And I accept they are hygienic (wipe clean and all that!) and are recommended by podiatrists. But…they are so ugly. Why would you willingly wear a lump of plastic in ‘fun’ colours, just to look ‘cool’? These lumps are never flattering. If you’re on the larger side they do nothing to reduce your size and if you’re smaller you just look like you have freaky, giant feet! And why so many holes? I understand this allows sweat out and so reduces ‘stinky feet’ syndrome, but there is the cynical side of me that says this really must reduce manufacturing costs!

I know there have been cases of employers refusing to allow their employees to wear them to work because of health and safety reasons, as they have no backs. When I first heard this, I thought that there were at least some people with common sense. However, I have since found out that there are many different styles of crocs, including closed in ones, which most people can now wear to work.

I really hope this is a passing phase and people will finally realize that they have, yet again, been conned into a trend by the famous people and the media. I do not have a pair and have no intention of buying them. I can’t get away from the idea that someone has glamorized the orthopaedic shoe!

Socially accepted anti-social behaviour.

At the moment the whole of England is currently obsessed by the smoking ban. You either love it or hate it, it’s either making you feel virtuous and righteous or, like me and the rest of us on the dark side, making you rebel and smoke more. I’m not going to go in to my thoughts about this as it will just turn into a soap box rant about Big Brother, human rights and governmental control. However, I will point out that if this to be taken in the way the government want us to, i.e. “We are protecting your and other people’s health”, then I am looking forward to the day they ban the consumption of high fat foods in public places!

I would like to talk about another way of being inflicted with other people’s bad habits and antisocial practices. I would like to talk about other people’s children! Now, parents will tell you that it is their right to breed and that their little darling is just learning to express his emotions when he is screaming in a supermarket at a decibel level that would rival a pneumatic drill, and Darling Jane is exploring her creative side when she sprays some lurid coloured drink all over someone’s sofa!

Just like non-smokers, I do not see why I should be subjected to other people’s choices when all I am trying to do is finish my shopping. Yesterday, for example, I went to the shopping centre, just needing a few bits. The place, being a Saturday, was over run with small people believing this was their own private playground, whilst the parents looked on adoringly. I headed for the sanctuary of M and S’s food hall, only to be confronted with more of the same – shouldn’t there be some kind of minimum age limit in these places?!? Yes, I know I had a hangover, but in any state of mind I do not want to be stood in a queue for 10 minutes whilst the little cherub behind me alternates between kicking the backs of my legs and leaving me wishing I had industrial strength earplugs, whilst he makes his negative feelings towards vegetables very clear!

Don’t get me wrong…as a rule I do not like children and certainly don’t want any of my own, however, I love my niece’s and some of my friend’s children are pretty cool, though only in small doses. I just don’t get why all parent’s feel that it’s only fair and, in some cases expected, that everyone else will recognize little Fred or Mary as the obvious genius they are and indulgently allow them to “express themselves” as they see fit. If the government launched a campaign for designated adult only areas in all public places they would have a very loyal supporter in me, I may even consider forgiving them for the smoking ban!