Tuesday, 25 March 2008

An asthray is not a bin

For all the copy editors and grammarians – stick to the cause and if anyone calls you picky, remember that some people out there, whether indirectly or not, appreciate what you do.

Some people don't think about what they write anymore and the email has made writing almost as easy as talking. The following things annoyed me:

Bonjour M. Knight, or should I say bonsoir, I am writing to[...]

Yes you should say bonsoir, so go back, delete “bonjour”, replace it with “bonsoir” and continue writing. This isn't dialogue; you have the chance to correct your mistake, use it.

Oi, [Werner]. How the hell are you?

This is all she wrote. It left me with no return of serve - she gave me no information about herself and asked for no specific news about me. She could have sent the same thing to anyone, or I could have popped into her train of thought briefly, so she banged this out and got on with her day. “How are you?” is a conversation opener but far from a complete contribution in written form. I'm left with the annoying task of thinking of something to say – I have to make all the effort for something I didn't start.

Am not back in Baerlin until the 2nd but if you need any help with carrying shit then let me know!

Hugs, A

It's not necessary for Andy to use the exclamation mark; he must have had time to do a quick spell check; and either he can't be arsed to write his own name out fully, or thinks he's worthy of abbreviation status like FDR, JS Bach, AA Milne or OJ Simpson.

Don't read books

For Markus, who introduced me to The Economist and cowboy coffee, and for my brother, who struggles to read an entire play without having to tolerate my bewilderment.

If it takes roughly two to four weeks to read a book then you could read 26-52 books a year. If you start reading between the age of eight and 12 and live to about 60-85, that's roughly 1,250-4,000 books in a lifetime. Therefore, don't read books. In the same amount of time you could probably see a shit-load of films and listen to a massive earful of albums. Both forms of art are better, shorter, don't make you go blind and require less effort.

After finishing a book, actual feelings of relief and self-satisfaction are mistaken for a sense of enlightenment or increased knowledgeability, an easy mistake to make for something which takes so long to complete.

You only need books to understand the occasional clever reference in conversation, so just make sure you know these for when people refer to them, but don't make the smart-arse comments yourself or you may get caught out. And if you don't know the book being referred to then be honest and save face. You can't read all the good books out there.

Still, however, read something, such as the football section of The Guardian and The Economist because it's brilliant.

February shout-outs: rules proposed by friends

No rule is final, there's nearly always an exception. In the case of this blog's title it's bottle caps and the occasional tea bag.

Paul reminds me of this one: don't drink coffee each and every morning. Ask yourself if you're tired because you've had too little sleep (drink the stuff) or if you're tired because you've woken up in the last hour or two (don't drink).

Markus's father told him something in German along the lines of "do what your body tells you". Brilliant - I, like so many, should pay more attention to my body's needs and desires. More often than not my pathetic-excuse-for-a-man torso is literally and metaphorically "on its arse".

Irish Stu says, "it's ok to steal something you know hasn't been used for 12 months". In his case it was some iPod accessory or other; and I'm not even sure he really waited a year but what the hey, it felt right and so my friend from the Emerald Isle played his 'exception card'.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Child management

For Rico, my youngest friend.

Raising a child must be difficult, but there are simple ways to be a child's friend.

Treat children as equal, but be an authority on right and wrong. Smile and laugh a lot. Be the same, uninhibited person you were when you were a child; chillax. But don't prance around like some over-excited tit if it feels contrived.

Children don't understand sarcasm so you shouldn't use it. But do be ironic, if only to entertain the other adults around you – this is used in films such as Bee Movie and The Incredibles.

Encourage them to eat fruit - nature's candy. The banana is a wonderful thing, which, as well as being tasty and nutritious, can be made to look like a phone; a bananaphone if you like.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Amateur snooker

For Small Boy and Jay-D - two of the game's best characters.

Snooker, like golf, is difficult. But unlike golf, where attempting difficult shots can heighten the enjoyment, snooker should be played conservatively to prevent the game from becoming frustrating and to improve your chances of success.

Don't be overly ambitious. This applies to all aspects of the game - choose a safety or a shot-to-nothing over a difficult pot; don't twat the cue ball; sacrifice position on the next shot if it makes your current pot substantially more difficult; and avoid the use of side-spin on anything more than a simple tap-in.

Essentially, play to your limits and don't try to emulate the professionals you see on the telly.

Some other rules:

Don't celebrate a fluke; do apologise
Don't play the foul-and-a-miss rule, just be honest and gentlemanly
Always re-spot the colour for your opponent so he can maintain concentration
Never share either chalk or a cue - both are essential pieces of a player's attire which need to be held at all times, they are an extension of the body
Don't answer your phone or go to the toilet during a frame
Don't talk or move during your opponent's shot, standing in your opponent's eye-line is ok, but don't do it deliberately
Pot the reds and screw back, for the yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black