Category: Lists and Nonsense

Uncomfortable Stories About Blood

Uncomfortable Stories About Blood

Blood.

There’s a cool opening sentence, right?

Giving blood is important.

I’m not here to preach about how you should seek your nearest donor and find out if you’re eligible as soon as possible. Even if you’re a rare blood-type or if your particular blood type is in low supply like these ones here, I am not here to insist that you wander off out and give blood. You should, but that’s not why I’m here. That’s not what this little slice of your Friday is about. Perish the thought!

I’m here to tell you that, across my fifteen donations, I’ve had some uncomfortable experiences giving blood. That’s what this slice of your Friday is about – uncomfortable stories.

Giving blood is a really, really straight-forward method of charity. It costs nothing, you’re helping people, and they load you up with biscuits and tea afterwards. It’s one of the easiest good-deeds you can perform with an hour of your time. But, of course, you know what they say about good deeds and punishment…

Here are three times giving blood was an uncomfortable experience that was detrimental to my health.

When I Decided to Drink Afterwards

In hindsight, of course I’m gonna find it easier to get drunk when I’m missing a pint of plasma. I don’t know why I ever thought I wouldn’t.

It was an early donation, maybe my fourth or fifth. I popped in, emptied my delightful O-positive into the bag (which they would not let me hold for a selfie, no matter how hard I asked)(selfies weren’t a thing back then – they likely wouldn’t let me hold it because they detected my status as “a dropper,” and this woman’s day was already long enough without some chubby ginger twit water-ballooning a bag of blood all over her floor), and then I wandered over to the little snacks counter and helped myself to – I dunno – like seven teacakes before I vanished off to the pub.

It took three pints of lager.

We’ve all been there: careening towards becoming an utter wreck, there sometimes occurs a period of time where I’m hyper-aware of how drunk I am. I take stock of every movement my body makes, of every word that tumbles from my mouth, of my tongue’s aching thirst to have some more booze splashed in to push me clear over the edge.

At that point, depending on what kind of night I’m having, I might decide to cut my losses and go home. This sensation usually hits me reasonably late in the evening, but not with a pint of blood missing!

I identified how floored I was about to become, and about half an hour later I was in bed, talking shite to my dog, spooning a kebab and watching early episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The next day I was so hungover I wanted to stick my hand in the toaster. I no longer drink after giving blood.

When I’m Fairly Certain They Took Too Much

Call me paranoid, I get it. I’m accustomed to the feeling of giving blood now. I also know how I should feel after giving blood and how long it takes to make me feel correct again.

Don’t talk to me in the first half hour after a donation; I’m more-or-less gone. I’ll eat my weight in carbs then go to sleep early. By the next day, I’m usually golden.

But on this occasion, I don’t know man. Something wasn’t right.

The room in which I gave blood was absolutely freezing on this day, and as a result, the process took longer. That’s probably right, right? (What? I know stuff about science.) I was sitting on the wee table getting drained for what felt like an hour and all I had to show for it was the same-sized bag of blood I usually produce? I call bullshit. They took a double dose and switched the bags halfway through.

I know this because after I had – I dunno, whatever – like eight teacakes and left the building, I wasn’t right at all. I couldn’t focus on anything. I fell asleep at my desk. I kept getting words jumbled up, and my mouth dropped open in the middle of a gulp of water.

I just wasn’t right. I didn’t feel good for a couple of days, and I’m confident it’s because they took too much blood.

Why would they do this to me? Seems obvious, doesn’t it? They kept half for the needy and gave the other half to the underground vampire syndicate that was keeping them running.

Duh.

When I Thought I Would Switch to Platelets

Flattery talked me into giving platelets. On one occasion where I gave blood, another nurse approached me and asked if I was interested. They measured my count and assured me I’m walking around swinging a massive lady killer dick of extra platelets that I do not need. She asked if I could spare them, instead of whole blood?

Of course!

The process takes much longer, and they would expect to see me once every three weeks or so, but I’m cool with it. People need my platelets, and apparently I’m a PLATELET BEAST.

A dull sidenote…

Right, just a boring bit about the process of donating platelets that’s totally necessary for the rest of the story, so here’s a photo from Megan Fox’s Instagram to make it sexy.

When you answer the door for the delivery like… @fredericks_hollywood #momlife

A post shared by Megan Fox (@the_native_tiger) on

Platelets need to be separated from the blood. To do this, the wholeblood is taken from me, mixed with a chemical and run through a machine that forces the separation to happen, sending the platelets off to a little bag that looks like it’s filled with snotters and the rest back into me.

Still here? Here’s more Megan Fox.


Now, see that chemical that gets mixed through the blood to assist with the separation? That shit is poisonous as fuck, but the body is technically supposed to be able to break it down once it gets into you. Technically.

Okay, we’re back:

So the nurse was kinda poisoning me

All this nonsense was explained to me without the delightful photographs. The nurse talked to me about how it will wreck my heart if I don’t break it down faster than they’re pumping it into me.

The key symptoms I needed to be aware of were tingling lips and a metallic taste in my mouth. If I felt like this, I needed to let them know RIGHT AWAY. They made it entirely clear that they were trying to scare me.

But was I worried? Me and my ten inches of solid, rock-hard, platelet-giving cock? No sir. I am the platelet master. I can handle some semi-poisonous gunk swimming about in me.

Nope!

As soon as that first batch of blood tumbled back into my veins, I knew all about it. I felt like someone had poured a piggy-bank of old coppers and alka-seltzer into my mouth.

So, thoroughly full of the fear, I let the nurse know. She paused the machine for a bit. Give my innards the chance to catch up, y’know? Ten minutes later I was asking her to turn it off again.

This repeated for seventy minutes as I just sat there, casually terrified I was about to die.

I came away pale, sickly and a bit shaky. I only managed – I dunno, no big deal – like five teacakes that day. All good shit for a good deed, right?

I went back to try again. They said I could give it another go as long as I filled up on calcium beforehand. Sadly, the process repeated and they informed me I might not be cut out for platelet donations.

Obviously, with a mouth full of metal sick, I agreed.

Have you ever given blood?

Any horror stories to go along with it? Let me know! Here’s Twitter, here’s Facebook and the comments live down yonder.

Also, if you missed last week’s October round-up, here it is: https://www.itsgavinwriting.com/2017/11/03/the-october-round-up/

And as always, here’s a book you should be reading: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072R5VWNP

It’s written by this sexual dynamo (…me), and it will make you giggle.

Enjoy your weekend!

It’s Gavin

The Pot Noodle Fiasco

The Pot Noodle Fiasco

I just wanted to check in today and quickly tell you something that happened to me at the weekend.

I won’t take much of your time.

I want to talk about a very silly thing I did on Friday night. I was soundly defeated in a game of poker and proceeded to get blootered on cider and honey Jack Daniels. Not in one container, but I always had two drinks going. The Jack was straight.

My night took a violent turn somewhere. I became aware that I wasn’t fit to be outside anymore. I went home, staggering into my local newsagents (who were trying to shut shop) for a chicken and mushroom Pot Noodle on the way.

I got home and wanted a bit of hot sauce in my Pot Noodle. Now, dear reader, if you’ve been around for a while you might already be familiar with my substantial hot sauce collection. The smart thing to do here, since I was only after a little kick, would be to use one of the lighter ones.

No sir. Not me. The second hottest sauce in the run. The sauce that gave Jamie a wee panic attack upon testing.

And, of course, since I was too drunk to feel feelings anymore, let alone navigate a single drop of fairly-runny hot sauce from a nearly-full bottle, I managed to empty a full teaspoon of the stuff into my noodles.

I thought I could handle it.

Lord almighty, I could not handle it.

An account:

My nose immediately starts to run – first bite. I dip bread in to soak up the juice, nope, that bread is now fire. Three forkfuls in, I can feel the blood pulsing in my ears and am able to trace every noodle’s journey to my stomach by following the searing footprints they leave as they tumble down my guts. I’m not saying, ‘oh deary me, that’s spicy’ it’s actually painful. I feel like I’m breathing needles; the hot sauce has turned the air into needles. The inside of my cheeks buzz with electricity. My tongue swells to double its size. My eyes leak acid. It’s late. Don’t scream. A cushion, discarded to my floor, retrieved in a second, shoved into my face to muffle the cries, tempted (however briefly) to hold it there and end my pitiful existence.

The next morning, my pee burned. It burned so much I yelped in fright.

I put a pile of eggs and bagels inside me and they rolled around my raw innards. The ache lasted about an hour and I felt sick for every second of it.

Oh, and then I went to defecate and that was a whole different party. Here’s a tweet from that moment in time:

So, look, if there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s a straight-forward one. It’s like a tragic, tame version of those drink responsibly adverts where the guy thinks he’s Superman and climbs a scaffolding tower to retrieve something for a girl and then falls to his death. I should be in one of those adverts now, perched – sweaty and nude – over a toilet, grunting through the pain, passionately tweeting about my misery as I struggled to remember a time when there wasn’t magma pouring from my arsehole.

Yeah, that advert is me, now.

Don’t be a hero, drink responsibly. Put the hot sauce away.

Enjoy your week,

It’s Gavin

A Week in the Life of a Genuine Adult

A Week in the Life of a Genuine Adult

I have been such a grown-up this week, I honestly blow myself away. Are you ready for this?

Here are seven ways I was an adult this week, and seven ways you can be one too.

Like me.

Ready?

On Saturday I Stopped Drinking and Went to Bed

You heard me. My friends stayed up until six am while I was super-responsible and called it a night at half-three. I mean, think about all the chaotic banter I missed out on by doing that. Three hours of material, gone. Because I’m a damn grown-up. I mean, I was very sleepy. Grown-ups get sleepy.

Adult points: 1

On Sunday I Made it to my midday plans

Commitment to plans is essential to adults like me, and I committed myself to a three-hour session of musical instruments. And y’know what? I was definitely there. For some reason, I was severely hungover, which doesn’t feel fair when I went to bed so early, but I made it there… and I was definitely okay as a band member.

Adult points: 2

On Monday I cancelled my appointment to give blood

Y’see, I like giving blood. I do it often. Giving blood, as well as potentially saving a life somewhere, means I can get super drunk on three pints of lager. Like, get a kebab and go home to pish in the bread-bin drunk. Giving blood cheapens my whole night. However, on Monday, I woke up and sneezed. Can’t give blood if I’m not well! AW NAW. Sadly, it was the grown-up thing to do. I’d be a terrible adult if I went to give blood when my plasma’s all full of germs. I was really upset about it as I looked out into the rain. I nearly cried into my delicious cereal.

Adult points: 3

On Tuesday I Went to the Doctor

That’s right. I went to a doctor. Is there anything more grown-up than arranging an appointment with your physician? No. It was my first appointment with this physician because I refused to change from my old one in the area I haven’t lived in the past five years. Let me tell you something, straight from experience, when you go to a doctor that’s understaffed and overcrowded in an out-of-the-way spot like Alexandria and tell them that you travelled ninety minutes for an appointment, they do not like it. At all. I don’t understand why; I thought loyalty was important. Apparently, I’m using up appointments that people who ‘actually live in the area’ (or whatever) could have. Pft. Fuck them. I have a new doctor anyway. They gave me a lovely leaflet about ear wax and believed me when I said I was a moderate drinker.

Adult points: 4

On Wednesday I had a Milkshake

Healthy eating is important to an adult. I make sure to keep my diet balanced. So, as an aside to my twenty-box of chicken nuggets (for the protein), I also had a large vanilla milkshake.

Milkshakes are healthy. Why do you think all the boys were brought to the yard because of them? These virile young men were looking for the latest fad to keep them in shape and impress impressionable young dames. How do you think they got to the yard? They probably ran. Running is healthy.

I had a milkshake on Wednesday.

Adult points: 5

On Thursday I Went to the Gym

Yes, you heard me. I went to the gym. Maintaining a healthy fitness routine is crucial for adulting. As an adult, I make sure to go to the gym three times per week. Is it fun? Rarely. Sometimes I forget things like towels and need to dry myself with my bottoms. No big. It’s not like I enjoy lifting something onto my shoulders that’s ultimately too heavy to lift off. I mean. It’s okay to just stand there in the middle of the gym with a weight on my shoulders, unsure if I’ll ever be able to return to a time where my shoulders were light and lovely. It’s okay, though. I’m an adult. And adults definitely do not openly cry in the showers. Or occasionally feel a broad sense of penis envy at some of the old gentlemen swinging it around the locker rooms.

I’m an adult.

Adult points: 6

Tonight I’m going to a poker night

Losing money in the pursuit of money is basically the definition of being an adult.

Adult points: 7

How adult were you this week?

Let me know on Twitter, Facebook or the comments below. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and also the comments below. Also, if you have anything else to say, say it on Twitter, Facebook and also the comments below.

Here’s last week’s blog where I try to be helpful – a stark contrast to my week, I know.

And, in a very cool development, a book I wrote call Grim is currently FREE on Amazon. It’s so FREE that I actually hit NUMBER ONE on the top 100 dark comedy titles on Amazon. You need to get in on this, here’s the link: CLICK ME TO ACCESS A FREE BESTSELLER.

‘til next week!

It’s Gavin

 

Jamie versus The Mammoth Burger Challenge

Jamie versus The Mammoth Burger Challenge

It’s purely a coincidence that this little Friday article has staggered across a second food-related challenge in the space of a month.

Last time, a few of my friends and I went for The Hot Ones Challenge to moderate success, though Goldie’s eyes might tell you a different story.

This time wasn’t so much an effort of self-destruction, but a way to treat/torture the group’s birthday boy as we sat around drinking cocktails. Why wouldn’t we, right?

And so, what will hopefully become an annual tradition was born.

We really should stop this.

The Challenge

The idea was to find a food challenge and mimic it at home. We didn’t want to actually have to leave the house and spend money and deal with all the competitive pressure. The cocktails in the bars are expensive, and we can load them with triple the booze they’re due if we do it at home.

The food challenges of Glasgow are popular conversation fodder in our group chat; we just had to pick our favourite. The one we picked was Glasgow’s Steak Cattle and Roll Mammoth Burger Challenge. A challenge so deadly they actually retired it after 300 people had taken a run at it and only three people had ever done it. Jamie was determined to become the fourth.

Here’s how it racks up:

 

Now, we didn’t have access to a few of these ingredients. For example, they don’t tend to sell burger patties quite so massive in Asda, so we improvised with ten quarter-pounders forced into one absolute BEAST (as it shall henceforth be known) of a burger. Additionally, we went for a rib-eye instead of sirloin (diner’s choice) and since there was no way – aside from actually baking one ourselves – we could get our hands on a brioche bun that could handle the BEAST, we just used a tiger loaf instead. A full tiger loaf.

The Champion

So, here’s Jamie with his ingredients:

Meat on meat.

Look how happy, no, borderline cocky he is. He has no fucking idea.

For fun, we asked (forced) him to lie on the ground and lay the food upon him.

Paint me like one of your… wait, what?

The cooking took time. No shocks there I suppose. We floated around and enjoyed our cocktails in the meantime. I love how we called them cocktails like we weren’t just mixing whatever spirits, wine and mix came to hand with little regard as to how it affected us.

Here’s the patty. That’s a full-size salt shaker for comparison.

And cooked:

On goes the bacon:

Steak:

And more bread makes the BEAST:

The Challenger

A side-note about Jamie – because what’s a Pop-Tarts I’m In Love blog without a side-note about Jamie? Look, I love the guy, I do. But I won’t even bother trying to share food with him. Not a fault on his character, but sharing so much as a pizza with him these days is a tense experience. Sometimes he finishes his food and just uncomfortably stares at the nearest plate to him until the owner of said plate offers him a piece or (lord forbid!) finishes it. TL;DR the guy likes his grub. He had good odds for finishing the BEAST.

Round 1

He started strong. He took a bite first, just for show. Afterwards, he got down to business. First, he took the steak from the summit and made quick work of it. He noted that it tasted lovely, like we cared. ‘JUST GET IT IN YE!’ such cries were thrown.

The steak vanished. He cut the rest of the BEAST in half, putting one half aside for now. He worked quickly, just fifteen minutes in when he started to feel it hit him. When he said this, we told him to slow up. Take a break. He has a full hour to get it done, after all. In smaller chunks, he worked at the meat of the burger, plying each piece with hot sauce and throwing in the odd piece of bacon to shake up the flavour.

The problem, he cites, wasn’t so much the volume of food, but the taste. He referred to it as “meat fatigue.” This might already be a thing, I’d never heard it before. He wasn’t full, but the whole experience was getting too rich and making him sick as a result.

I empathised with the idea. Over the course of a year, I think I visited an all-you-can-eat ribs place like three times and by the third visit my stomach rejected even the first rack out of pure muscle memory.

Jamie bowed out, with over half the beast left. We handed him his cocktail, and he took a seat, beaten.

Round 2. New Contender(s)

But… so much food would be wasted. We just couldn’t have that. It wouldn’t do at all. And, well… I hadn’t had my dinner.

I tagged in. I felt confident. I was wrong to feel confident. Looking at photos of the BEAST is one thing. Seeing it in real life is another. But it’s a whole different game to be sat down in front of the fucker with the expectation of putting it inside you.

I went in smiling. The smile quickly faded to a frown. The frown fell to sadness. Sadness beat me. I got out of the seat, full, done-in and having consumed less than Jamie had. I finished off the half Jamie started.

Goldie – the guy who touches his eyes – tagged in. Goldie was ravenous. He wondered what the rest of us were expected to do for dinner, and jumped at the chance to take a swing at the monster. He did very well, polishing off the bacon and a hefty chunk of the burger. It was during his shot that the time expired. We didn’t manage it. Three of us couldn’t take the fucker down in an hour. Worse still, Goldie fell to it shortly after.

John Mercer had been out for a full curry experience before he got there, so his bravery can’t be faulted when he tried his luck. Not only did he try his luck, but he also plunged his fork into what remained of the patty and jammed the whole fistful into his mouth, obliterating it. It was awful. Parts of the patty collapsed from his lips to the board, but they didn’t sit there long. The burger was freezing by this point, note, and still John Mercer went after it with all the determination of the bear after Leo in The Revenant. He piled every grain of that nasty patty into his curry-filled guts leaving only some bread, cheese and a few slices of tomato.

Scott, citing it the most horrible sandwich he’d ever eaten, carried us home.

*EDIT* Thanks for reading, and I do hope you enjoyed it, but here’s a fifteen-minute supercut of the event with some positively stylish editing by John Mercer himself!

Jesus Christ it’s fucking horrible.

It took five of us.

Jamie really didn’t stand a chance. I commend his efforts and all that, but in hindsight, I don’t really know what the fuck we thought we were playing at.

I mean… Ten quarter pounders, sixteen bits of bacon, a steak, ten slices of cheese, three tomatoes, some salad on a full fucking tiger loaf.

Jesus… BUT NEXT YEAR LET’S DO THIS.

That’s me for this week, enjoy your dinner tonight, whatever it is.

Get me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and I’ll catch you next week!

It’s Gavin

No, I’m not playing The Evil Within sequel because the first one was too fucking difficult. Okay!?

No, I’m not playing The Evil Within sequel because the first one was too fucking difficult. Okay!?

I’m not much of a gamer. I came to this upsetting realisation years back when I skipped a whole generation of console without batting an eyelid. I mean, I did have an Xbox 360, but it collected dust in a big way. I regret nothing.

I’ve slipped back into it, to an extent. I now use it as a way to relax as opposed to a hobby. I’m comfortable with it. There’s a time-travelling twelve-year-old who can’t quite believe I’ve become one of those “filthy casuals.” Of course, that twelve-year-old can’t fathom the idea that a twenty-nine-year-old version of himself even exists, never mind one who is an author (humblebragging ends when you buy my book) who still collects toys. I’m a casual gamer, I’m proud of it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get sore when I just died for the seventh time at the same bit.

I’d like to know when gaming stops being fun because The Evil Within sequel is on the way and people seem to be excited about it. I want to know what kind of sick bastard enjoyed that game and – importantly – why I didn’t.

Aw God, everything about The Evil Within makes me deeply angry.

The Evil With Hard Mode

Before I delve into my Evil Within Woes (evil wothin? Evil withwoes? Woes within?), here’s a precursor.

I lived with a guy called Danny for a bit – this guy – and he firmly believed you get a little more money for your game when you play on hard mode, right off the bat. A ridiculous idea! I wouldn’t have such lunacy, but he persisted with it while I shrugged my way through the same games he played.

I just didn’t think I would enjoy playing a game determined to kick my head in. I mean, since my relapse, I’m not that good at games anymore. Hard mode is for nutters.

It took me some time, but I was bored one day and decided to flick The Last of Us onto hard mode and lordy was it glorious. I knew the game back to front, to be fair, but it still enhanced my experience ten-fold.

So the next game I picked up, I put it on hard. Yes, it nearly killed me, but soon I just kind of forgot it was even on hard mode and when I struggled – which I did – it just made the game last a tad longer. I play on hard mode now, cool.

But then Danny and I chipped in for The Evil Within. Oh, for fuck’s sake, The Evil Within.

The Evil With John Mercer

Before I bought it, I went round to my friend John Mercer’s house for an evening of gaming. He put on The Evil Within. He had it on for a couple of hours, and it was a horrible experience. It was tense, but not in a scary way. Just in a way that stripped away any chance of beating the scary things and forced you into a small space with them.

Example: He had literally no bullets left for any of his weapons, so he had to run around in a circle while the AI that followed him picked them off with all the accuracy of a drunk stormtrooper.

Example: A scary bitch made of blood and fire wouldn’t leave him alone. He climbed a ladder – from a pit of flames at the bottom of which said bitch was supposed to be – to find she had teleported to the top of the ladder. John Mercer thought it best to turn on his heel and leap into the flames.

From this experience, I thought it would be cool to pick the game up. I mean it was tense and uncomfortable, but it seemed solid and well-built.

Side note: You know how when a relative comes around with kids, and you get to spend a couple of hours with them when they’re in a good mood, but then you get to hand them back and go home?

The Evil Within Nearly Ruined My Gaming Life

Danny and I picked up The Evil Within and put it on hard mode. We quickly regretted this decision. The first half of the game is a maze of things designed to incinerate or mutilate you, without providing the means to defend yourself properly.

We didn’t get any better at the game – funnily enough – when we started to drink. We thought it would at least soften the blow. It didn’t. Instead, it brought out the angry drunk that lives in all of us. Stella drunk. The type of drunk that makes you hate things and throw controllers.

We submitted… we gave up and put the game on normal mode. We just weren’t enjoying it, and we really did want to enjoy it. We had to believe that beneath all the tension and sphincter-shrinking screaming bloody horror wenches that there was a game worth playing. AND THERE FUCKING WASN’T. The game was still murder. Still uncomfortable and still harder than most pubs in the East-End of Glasgow.

And look – yes you. You there, already typing the words ‘git gud’ into the comments. I see you, fucker. Leave it. This isn’t about the game being tough and me sucking at it. This is about a game actively working against me to purposely make my experience miserable. This is about the game pulling me down to the level of the protagonist who obviously isn’t enjoying himself, so neither should I.

What I didn’t understand, more than anything, was people were actively enjoying the game. IGN gave it an 8.7/10! That’s a terrific score! What game were they playing that we weren’t? It’s bloody awful!

Anyway, we completed it and threw it out the window. That’s the most we enjoyed the game. Jesus.

The Evil With a BLOODY SEQUEL

I need to know the line at which I’m supposed to stop enjoying games, because I refuse to put myself through that again. I half-heartedly joked with Danny that we should pick up the sequel on its release and he stopped talking to me for days. I don’t blame him.

I suppose what I’m trying to say here is don’t but The Evil Within 2. Please. They’ll make another one if you do. I’m not buying it, and everything you just read is why.

And scene.

What do you think? What game level do you play on? Have you encountered any games that are just too much? Have you played The Evil Within? Did you like it? Who hurt you?

Catch me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to let me know, or comment down yonder.

Additionally, check out last week’s blog about It and how I didn’t like that either. I mean I did like it, I just… I need some positive content here, don’t I?

I’ve got some stuff to review, so I’ll be back with a round-up early next week. Foo Fighters released a new album, I’ve read a book, been to see a film and went on a bit of a winning streak. That’s positive stuff.

It’s Gavin

 

It Don’t Scare Me Much!

It Don’t Scare Me Much!

Four of us sit at a table in a nice bar on a Friday night in Glasgow. There’s John Mercer at the top left, Michael next to him, Scott on my left and then me, bottom right. Michael gets up to get a round in, good lad. The three of us left have a bit of banter. We’re such lads. Then, from the table over, slinking into Michael’s empty seat, was a rogue female. She was in her forties, appeared to be on her third glass of wine, wore a parka and carried a beat-up looking backpack. She looks like she’d had a hard life, to put it delicately. She looks stood-on, to be much less delicate about it.

‘Excuse me, are you here for food?’ she asks.

We are, but we’re waiting on our table freeing up and catching a drink while we wait. We tell the rogue as such.

‘Oh, okay – I was going to ask if I could join you,’ she slurs.

We laugh it off and carry on our conversation, and then she full-on moves into Michael’s seat and starts asking what we do with an unnecessary amount of hair-flicking and what she assumes to be charming laughter when John Mercer tells her Scott is a fireman (Scott is not a fireman).

The conversation turns to her. She tells us she’s had a lot of important meetings that day and she was just out for a couple of drinks to wind down.

Whatever. It’s awkward.

Michael comes back and she shuffles up into her own seat, lets Michael sit and then shoogles in close to us again. We are uncomfortable.

We ask where she’s from – no, John fucking Mercer asks where she’s from – and she tells us (after a fair amount of hesitation to suggest that she was a bloody liar) she was born in a private hospital. After that, she was raised in a household where her Dad abused her and her Mum and-

‘Oh!’ She interrupts herself. ‘You boys don’t want to hear that on your Friday night, do you? Let’s just say I was born and nothing bad happened!’ she cries. ‘Nothing bad happened. Nothing… Nothing bad happened.’

We nod politely.

‘Nothing bad happened.’

Uh-huh.

‘Nothing bad happened!’

Yep.

‘Nothing bad happened!’

This goes on for a while.

Jamie meets us somewhere amongst all this and can’t decipher what the fuck is happening. But nothing bad happened! We welcome Jamie and ask about his struggle to get into town as the rogue gets in Michael’s ear and proceeds to explain to him in sultry tones that bad things did in fact happen.

Half a minute later, we decide to ask if our table was ready early.

Why tell this story? Well because it was scarier than our screening of It shortly after.

It is such an easy keyword

It just isn’t scary

This isn’t a review, I’m more just trying to process why I didn’t find the film scary. I get scared by movies. I have done since forever. The first half of Insidious still affects me to this day. I’m not a yelper or a screamer, nor am I one of those smart marks that will laugh at a horror flick in the cinema. I’m just the appropriate amount affected by horror flicks. I’m the bar at which a good horror film is measured.

It is a good film, it’s just not scary. I loved the characters in It. And It is definitely a well-acted and pretty film. It is not scary.

It is a funny film when it’s trying to be funny. It has some bombshell one-liners from these little bastards. It is not scary.

It is a freaky film. Ah. Now there’s something worth thinking about. Freaky. The way Pennywise moved and talked was freaky. Some of the fears he summoned to terrify the kids (yes, bitch from the painting, I’m looking at you. Who would ever hang such a horrific picture in the first place?) were freaky.

Pennywise himself was brilliant. Bravo Mr Skarsgard, but sadly I like a horror villain to be too terrifying to respect (or even care about) who was behind the mask. Leatherface, Mike Myers, those guys. Bill Skarsgard you did well – you were freaky, but not scary.

The slow build of tension and showdown moments between characters and Pennywise was freaky but never scary. Never did it get much past a few hairs raised on my arm.

The true way to tell that this film wasn’t scary is that Jamie managed to get through it with minimal commentary (that wee bastert better huv a heed, for example). The reason the five of us were there to see It in the first place was that we enjoy torturing Jamie. Jamie gets scared by things. I’ve seen Jamie look up IMDB in the middle of horror flicks to find out how much of its runtime is left because if it’s more than half an hour, he will leave. But Jamie made it through and came out the other end with his grey pants still suitably grey.

It is borderline lovely, though

It is a good film… but yeah it’s just not scary. It’s a terrific kids adventure flick. Think The Goonies or Stand By Me or, of course – and you’ve heard it before – Stranger Things. I just don’t think the genres mesh well at all. I know Stephen King wrote this while the actors were still swinging about in their Da’s baws, but the horror of the book didn’t transfer here. The tone was too light in the kid’s parts to transfer correctly into the horror when Pennywise showed up.

The end result is… well it’s actually quite a fun little coming-of-age flick about friendship. Genuinely. It ends on the cusp of manhood and all that crap (only without the gangbang Stephen King uses to punctuate it in the book). It’s heartfelt. It made me want to hug my pals. I went to bed with a smile on my face. Life is good!

It’s a shame because I firmly believe if they’d taken their foot off the coming-of-age pedal and put a little extra weight on the horror one, then this could’ve been CHANGE MY PANTS FOR ME BECAUSE I SWALLOWED MY HANDS terrifying, but as it stands, nah.

Try again in twenty-seven years, I guess!

Oh, and we never saw the rogue again. We think she might have been a prostitute. Visit Glasgow!

It begs your thoughts

Your thoughts on It? Comment down there if you’re game. Here’s my Twitter handle – go check out a recent mobile-phone-induced breakdown I had. Otherwise, here’s the Insta.

Additionally, last week’s blog did some pretty decent numbers. Given it was about an awful Hot Wing challenge, I can only assume you’re all sadists. Go take a look!

Annnnd finally – my little book is TWO MONTHS OLD. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if the duties of the Grim Reaper were a council job (and why wouldn’t you?) then this book is right up your street. It got a mention in Erin’s August round-up over on her addictive Youtube channel too!

See you next week, enjoy your weekend!

It’s Gavin.

 

Oh deary me…The Hot Ones Night

Oh deary me…The Hot Ones Night

For those of you who don’t know, there’s a whole YouTube show dedicated to interviews with celebrities over deadly hot wings. It’s called Hot Ones. This series is absolutely great. You need to spend some time doing this. Here’s Seth Rogen and Dominic Cooper, here’s Liam Payne, here’s Coolio, here’s Cara Delevingne, Steve-o, Adam Richman – they’re on their fourth season. Get involved.

Spend some time – watch even one of them. I’ll wait.

Done? Good. No? Fair enough; I’ll explain. The idea is that each celebrity has a line of ten wings in front of them, weak to hot. They start at the bottom and work their way up while the interviewer – a strangely charismatic man named Sean Evans – conducts a thorough interview with them. Sean has wings too, but he’s more or less a cyborg after four seasons of this.

Jamie and I spent one very hungover morning with this show and when it ended it was obvious what we had to do. We had to host a Hot Ones night.

We're actually quite intelligent. Hot Ones is a challenge of smarts.

The Hot Ones Line-Up

We did it properly. We were determined we were not going to half-arse this evening. We were going to source the hot sauces they used, and line them up correctly. We knew we’d have to spend some money, so we did. No big deal. If the sauces were available in the country, that’s where we got them from. Sadly, a couple of the favourites and the ‘mid-range’ sauces weren’t available without import. And import is expensive.

Here’s the line-up we landed on:

Hot Ones sauces cost a lot of money, in case you were wondering.

Not a bad effort, right? In order of consumption, that’s Sriracha, Valentina Black Label (not pictured), Crystal, Habanero Sauce, Bomb Laden (yes, the bottle has a turban), Pain 100%, Da Bomb Beyond Insanity, Mad Dog 357, Blair’s Mega Death Hot Sauce with Liquid Rage and Spank My Ass and Call Me Sally.

So we’re clear, that’s a stretch from nippy ketchup to a sauce that’s about 230 times hotter than the average jalapeno pepper consumed entirely and raw. We were not fucking about.

The Contenders

We had a tight unit of four gentlemen playing. First up, Gavin. I love spicy food. I probably have the best tongue for it. I tried not to go in cocky though, given that I’m not a fucking moron and even chilli enthusiasts don’t go gubbing 700’000 Scoville hot sauces for a laugh.

Jamie, much like myself, likes spicy food, but he also wants his food to taste nice.

My friend Scott, when I invited him, explained a few times that he didn’t see the point in spicy food. He didn’t know why we were doing this to ourselves and we’re all fucking idiots. But then he happily joined in for the banter.

The last of us was Goldie. Goldie once took a drip of Scotch Bonnet off a burger of mine and it caused fluid to spew from his nose unstoppably. He wouldn’t be up for a hot wings challenge, so we didn’t tell him he was doing it until he got there.

The Event

It was tense at the start. Goldie played along – though I half expected him to take his carry-out, turn around and get right back into his car. He’s a good sport.

I explained the rules as detailed above. We were going to run the rack. You didn’t necessarily have to finish each piece of chicken, but we wanted a mouthful. Everybody had a drink and a nice big pint of milk to help them out. And then I explained, more than once, that in no uncertain terms were you ever to touch your face. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Everybody agreed it was best not to touch face, but if you were to touch face, one should definitely not rub one’s eyes. That would be very silly, wouldn’t it Goldie? Goldie had his hands on his lap as he agreed with me.

The first three wings were delightful. We don’t think we put enough of the sauce on the low-level ones. They tasted great, but not spicy. We didn’t struggle, but none of us wanted to get confident. Goldie’s fluids were still very much in him, and he had his hands on his lap.

The Habanero sauce made us all make an ‘oooooh’ sound. The tactfully named ‘Bomb Laden’ was cheeky, but since they’re both habanero-chilli-based we didn’t notice too much of a jump.

Goldie’s hands were still away from his face.

The Hard Ones

And then, Pain 100%. Oh, Pain 100% wasn’t for the light-hearted. That’s when we felt it. People started to cough. Pain 100% is the gateway. Everything up until that point is dinner, everything after Pain 100% is pain. Pain 100% felt like someone holding a lighter to the underside of my tongue, but it was okay. Our poker faces held still… ish. I started sweating. Jamie developed a vein in his jaw. Scott started giving his food looks to suggest he wasn’t best pleased.

Goldie rubbed his eyes… Miraculously, however, he seemed to get away with it.

Then came DA BOMB. Oh, Da Bomb. All the other flavours want to taste of something beneath all of the heat. Not Da Bomb. Da Bomb just wants to hurt you. And motherfucker did it hurt me. It felt like chewing on jaggy nettles on fire. It felt like being electrocuted on fire. It felt like tongue-fucking a box of exploding fireworks on fire. It wasn’t good.

Goldie rubbed his eyes again.

He didn’t get away with it this time. He… well let’s just let this clip do the talking shall we? Goldie is second from the left.

So that was Goldie.

Scott decided he was done. Scott – again – was there for a good time and I think he very quickly identified he had stopped having one.

My eyelids started to sweat.

We still had three sauces to go. The next one was Mad Dog 357.

An aside about Mad Dog 357

Before the event, Jamie and I tested the sauces just to make sure they were in the correct order of heat. Jamie tried Mad Dog 357. We sorted its place into the order, and then he started to feel a bit weird. And then he stood up. And then he sat down. And then he thought he was going to be sick and broke out in sweats. He went to the toilet. He came back. He took his belt off. He sat down. He stood up. He went back to the toilet and came back pouring of sweat. Mad Dog 357 did this to him. It has a bullet key chain on it.

So the next one was Mad Dog 357

Jamie went quiet for a bit. The vein in his jaw started to throb. He masticated delicately. Through my own agony – another box of fireworks in the mix – I kept an eye on him. I was genuinely worried about his little attack previously, and it was downright irresponsible of us to play on when this happened to him. He slammed the table – but ultimately he was okay.

Thankfully, I suppose, all the wings actually eased up after that. I don’t really know why. We put a touch less of the really hot sauces onto the last few wings, so we think maybe we wimped out a bit and they didn’t quite reach the heights of Da Bomb. Of course, there’s always the possibility that we’d just melted our tongues and couldn’t comprehend spice anymore. It could go either way.

The Aftermath

When we’d finished, Scott decided he was back in the mix and ran the rack in quick succession. He quickly regretted that. We all had a bit of an odd… cramp feeling happening in our guts, and drinking became a problem. A couple of us took our little tummies full of poo to the toilet and let the sauce do it work. After that, we opened a bottle of whisky and all was relatively well.

Hot Ones ruined us.

The problem I’m now left with is I have half a dozen hot sauces that are too hot for casual use. I mean, I like hot sauce, but I’m not mental. I’ll just have to run a few more of these events to use it up. Shame.

Thanks for reading guys! As always, if you have something to say, catch me in the comments down yonder. Otherwise, follow me on Twitter and Instagram for general bollocks.

Here’s this week’s comic review: Batman Volume 3, I am Bane.

Also, there was a sort-of blog yesterday, just to keep my unbeaten Friday streak on the go. I mean… don’t expect much.

Take it easy all!

It’s Gavin

Trailers, I’m so done with trailers

Trailers, I’m so done with trailers

Do you remember the first film trailer you ever saw? Not a question that pops up too often, I hope. There’s a valid argument that it’s barely worth the conversation. I mean, who cares, right? Well, these days, a lot of people. Trailers are everywhere now. They’re an unstoppable force ruining films whether you like it or not. And man, I’m tired of it.

Trailers are big deal, you'd best answer me. Rude not to.

Trailers back then

The very first trailer I remember seeing was for Power Rangers The Movie. I nearly wet myself with glee at the time. I don’t remember being excited for a film before its release, at that age I never knew films were actually coming out, so much as I just knew that they came out and I went to see them. Seeing a trailer for a film that I actually wanted to see was mindblowing. Suddenly, all I could talk about was Power Rangers The Movie. I assume my parents were done hearing it pretty early on, but I just didn’t understand why the film wasn’t OUT RIGHT NOW. Similarly, after I’d been to see it in the pictures, I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t OUT ON VIDEO RIGHT NOW. I was never a patient child.

Back in a time when trailers were seen mainly at cinemas, they weren’t nearly as big a deal. If I were to ask my Mum and Dad if they saw the trailer for the new Thor film, they would still have to pause and realise I meant on the internet. Trailers were just things that happened, you might fancy that film on your next trip to the cinema, if you remember, but it was an entirely different time where you couldn’t just fill yourself with previews, reviews, clips and featurettes before making an educated decision on whether or not you wanted to go see a film.

But then came the internet

The internet brought this information. It brought us almost into the process of making the film itself. These days it’s possible to track a film from concept to release with only a Google search in the way. And with people following their favourite franchise or actors and actresses, it’s nice to give us something pretty to look at when there’s something pretty to look at available. Right?

So… more trailers. Trailers everywhere. First, there’s the teaser, then there’s the first trailer, then there’s the international trailer, then there’s the second trailer, then there’s the second international trailer. That’s not including the posters (mainly of each of the film’s characters looking a touch moody) and – of course – trailers advertising the release of a trailer. Can’t forget that.

It’s just all a bit much!

It’s 2017. I feel like I’ve come out the other side. Growing up like with the internet like the good little millennial I am, I was around at its birth and saw it swell, growing with it. I watched films when trailers weren’t a big deal – when information had to be dug for if you wanted it. I saw it through the period where we were able to use the internet to paw around for it and watched the internet hand it to me in increasingly sickening courses, and now I’m here – officially complaining about trailers.

But it’s not the number of trailers I’m moaning about, it’s the content.

I went to see Spider-man earlier this year – remember? – I was very excited by it. I leapt at the release of every trailer like the desperate Marvel fanboy I’ve proven to be in the past, and I absorbed each of them and collapsed in glee at the end. Spider-man thrilled me, but there was a problem: I’d seen most of it.

It ruined the experience a bit. The issue is – when you’ve seen all the trailers – you’re always waiting on that bit from the trailer. I knew that Spider-man was going to surf a fucking jet at some point in the film, and I knew he’d be doing it in his pre-Tony Stark, street-level outfit. So as long as he was still wearing his Stark suit, I wasn’t going to get to see him surf a jet. I wasn’t going to see a film, so much as I was going to see a collection of clips I’d already seen – assembled in chronological order and expanded upon – and there are videos on Youtube that actually do this!

I quit… I tried to quit

I decided I was done with trailers. I tried to be done with trailers. I decided I was done with any more than ONE TRAILER per film. I was confident I could stick to it. I was strong.

And then Comic-con weekend came round and I folded like McGregor in the tenth round (SPORTS) (did he even fold? Is that a thing? It’s not, is it?).

I heard there was a new Justice League trailer, and I was able to resist. You won’t get me again, DC comics! You fooled me with Batman V Superman and then Suicide Squad, but I won’t be fooled again! Then I heard there was also a new Thor trailer and, yeah. Folding. I’m weak. I’m so weak. Worse still, because I’d already jumped off the wagon, I went around absorbing all of the trailers I managed to resist before! AND JUSTICE LEAGUE LOOKS PRETTY GOOD, OKAY!?

The problem persists, though. I feel like I’ve seen most of Thor, now. Going by the three (?) trailers, I can put the plot together. It’s a bummer.

One of these days, I’d like to see a trailer that uses entirely different footage. The ultimate red-herring. A trailer that shows nothing that’s in the film – a totally different plot!* I know that’s missing the point of trailers, but the comic flicks could easily get away with it. Marvel and DC aren’t selling a story anymore, they’re just selling the characters at this stage. People aren’t going to be pissed-off by a brand new plot they never saw coming, so long as everyone they were expecting to be in it, is in it.

Maybe one day, eh?

What do you think?

Too many trailers these days? Not enough? Let me know!

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, or you could just comment down there. No hard feelings.

I’m back on Monday with a review of the stellar Tom King’s Batman, Vol 3: I am Bane. I don’t expect to be disappointed.

And next week’s Friday blog is gonna be special, I can’t say anything about it, but it’s going to be special. I should put together a few trailers for it.

It’s Gavin

*On a second read through, I’ve realised how fucking ridiculous this idea is, but I refuse to remove it. I’m not strong enough to resist trailers, and then I moan about getting too much info – so the people making the films need to lie to me so I can enjoy myself. That’s what I’m saying here. That’s the depths of unreasonable bullshit I’m sinking to. Jesus.

Four Reasons I Hate Sleep

Four Reasons I Hate Sleep

Hear me out. I know I’m talking to the internet here, and I know that alongside pizza, bacon and cat videos, sleep is one of the best things going.

But please just… hear me out.

Sleep pin, featuring a photo of my actual table. Mental, I know.

There’s a recurring theme on Twitter when it comes to writers. It’s almost a stereotype, actually. I can’t scroll too far without seeing some meme, graphic or GIF supporting it. It probably occurs (almost) as much as any mention of a certain Mr Trump – but let’s not wander that path.

In a nutshell, writers on the internet are caffeine-addicted voluntary insomniacs. I can’t go two tweets without some mention of a late-night writing session into the wee hours of the morning, only to be up for a day-job or kids just a couple of hours later. Truly, hats off to these people because fuck that.

I’m jealous of you people and your healthy relationship with this beast we call sleep. You and sleep have an understanding that appears to be mutually beneficial. I hate you, but well done.

I wish I could be one of those people, but sadly I need sleep. Who I am as a person requires at least eight hours of kip to keep up this persona as a gesticulatory mess of beard and coffee breath.

I need sleep so much, and I absolutely hate it.

Here’s why.

Sleep is a dirty timesuck

Let’s start with the obvious. Sleep drains time. As I said, I need my eight hours. That’s eight hours sleep in a twenty-four hour day. I forced myself to become a morning person because of this. I got my broken ass out of bed to write for an hour every morning and really got into coffee as a result. When I got home from work (another timesuck) I’d usually review the morning’s words. So I wrote/reviewed/edited for two hours a day, and it took me two years to release a book (what book? Well this book ya silly goose!). Imagine I had another eight hours a day. If I use two of them writing, I’ve got a book out in a year!

TIMESUCK.

This time could be spent doing all sorts of things. THINK ABOUT NETFLIX IN A WORLD WHERE WE DIDN’T NEED TO SLEEP, GUYS. Don’t get me wrong, this world makes an allowance for employers still only asking us to work eight hours a day, but I’m going to sweep that under the rug because this is my fantasy world where our nights are only spent writing, binge-watching TV and probably eating.

Sleep is a Needy Spouse that Doesn’t like to be Ignored

In the above example, I chose to say I would spend an extra two hours writing where I could be sleeping. You might think, well… why not? Six hours, to a lot of people, is plenty. There are loads of new parents out there that would kill for six hours, right?

Listen, I’ve tried it.

Everybody’s sleep is a different type of needy spouse, but mine is particularly clingy. Mine takes the huff like nobody’s business if I skip out on two hours two days in a row. If I don’t get my sleep right, fatigue gives me the usual symptoms – grumpiness and eery, ominous and uncharacteristic silence in sudden bursts.

But it doesn’t stop there.

As though my body wants to replace sleep with energy from outside sources, it makes me seriously council-dinner hungry. Feed me a full bag of chicken dippers and get to fuck. Turkey jetters and hot sauce, please. Seven hash browns. Mini kievs with the garlic squeezed out so I can dip my Fries-2-go into them. ‘Of course I want half a bag of Haribo!’ I scream at a work colleague. ‘WHAT, ARE YOU A FUCKING IDIOT!?’

So yeah, I’m saying it. Sleep makes me fat.

Sleep Wants Me When I really do have things to do

Without fail, every single time I have company coming up to the flat and I have to clean it to make it presentable for said company, I will fall asleep somewhere uncomfortable and wake up in bed without my trousers on, and I wish I were kidding.

It’s a problem.

My pal Jamie is growing accustomed to showing up at my flat to find me in a sparkling flat but unshowered and undressed or looking great but in a manky flat.

Wanna talk about the wrestle when it comes to sleeping in for work? As I said, I’ve trained myself to become a morning person. If I hadn’t, the book wouldn’t be written (yep, there’s that book again! Here’s a link to another blog about why you should go read it!). Since the book’s been written, though… I’ve had trouble.

I need to force reason on myself to get me out of bed every morning. Pop-Tarts on a Friday, eggs on a Tuesday, wrestling on a Thursday, whisky on a Wednesday, you get the idea.

Sleep doesn’t care that I have things to do, and it gets pissy if I ignore it (see above).

Sleep Brings Dreams

I’ve had a problem with dreams since I was a little, fat, ginger, left-handed kid in glasses that was bad at sports (school was hard, guys).

Yep, we’ve all had good dreams. Magnificent dreams. Dreams of castles made of pizza, dreams of Anna Kendrick showing up at my door to watch Game of Thrones and sing with me. But DREAMS END. Dreams end and sleep LAUGHS at me. It takes the piss out of me like it only projected those ideas of perfect harmonies with Anna Kendrick to my head (in this dream I sing, too) just to snatch me back to my job as a headset jockey.

Or the nightmares! Oh, the nightmares! Nightmares where Anna Kendrick pulls off her mask to reveal Chris Martin singing every song he’s ever written apart from Fix You. You’d think for all the times sleep drew me into its embrace, it wouldn’t be quite so keen to scare the fuck out of me. I wake in pools of urine (yes) demanding to know what I’ve done wrong to deserve such horror.

Sleep laughs.

So, in conclusion, that’s why I hate sleep. That’s my dirty secret. My unpopular opinion. Have at me.

What do you guys think of sleep?

You love it, don’t you?

Let me know on Twitter, Facebook, Insta, Pinterest or comment down yonder.

I’ll answer when I’m back from my nap.

It’s Gavin.