Vegan Sandwich Ideas

Lads, not eating meat is really hard. Like, really hard. Not a day goes by when I don’t have to ask myself whether I really consider chickens animals, or whether they’re not, technically speaking, some kind of mushroom. Unfortunately, my dietary choices are non-negotiable: without them, I’d not be able to get on my high horse nearly as much.

I spend hours in the supermarket, pocket dictionary in hand, translating every ingredient on the back of packets of biscuits, just to make sure no one’s sneaked a cheeky flank steak into these custard creams. And I wouldn’t be surprised: as well as consuming an ungodly amount of beer, Czechs are serious meat eaters. Prague street corners aren’t complete without a whole roast pig in a weird glass tank/barbecue mashup.

It might be hyperbole when, desperate for bacon, I complain that “vegetarianism has ruined my entire goddamn life why do I even bother”, but it has definitely ruined my lunch. Because lunch, somehow, definitely is the hardest meal to render meatless.

By now, reader, you’re familiar with my charitable, giving nature. I live to enrich your experiences. With that in mind, I’ve compiled this short list of vegan sandwich fillings. May your picnics be cruelty free!


food healthy dry pattern

Peanut butter and banana

Everyone (except my friend Jim who would die if she ate peanuts) loves peanut butter. It combines everyone’s two favourite things: paste and tree nuts. Until scientists prove beyond any doubt that peanuts are sentient, I’ll keep eating an actual tonne of them every day. Add a banana to the equation, and you’ve got a sarnie fit for a king.


bird meal animal squirrel

Peanut butter and apple

Everyone (except my friend Jim who comes out in hives if she sees a Snickers advert) loves peanut butter. It combines everyone’s two favourite things: misnomers (it’s not actually butter) and a high sodium content. Slap a sliced apple in there, and you’ve got a butty fit for an emperor.

[Note: the squirrel is pictured for illustration only. Don’t start thinking squirrels are a legitimate vegan alternative, because (I checked) they aren’t.]

brown peanuts

Peanut butter and pear

Everyone (except my friend Jim whose throat closes up if people talk about nuts too loudly around her) loves peanut butter. It combines everyone’s two favourite things: the perfect golden brown colour and the choice between smooth and crunchy. Stick some pear in there, and you’ve got a roll you’d be proud to present to a non-gender specific ruler.


food healthy red sweet

Strawberries and black pepper

Unless you’re five years old, you probably agree that berries, broadly speaking, are an inappropriate sandwich filling. However, if you sprinkle strawberries with crushed black pepper, you can convince yourself they’re basically savoury and chow down on some vitamin C rich delights come midday.

Genuinely, this isn’t actually as bad as it sounds.


Hummus and rust

Ah, the humble chickpea. Such a staple of my diet these days. Of course, you’d be crazy if you thought that a hummus sandwich, with no garnish, was an acceptable lunchtime snack. For one thing, hummus and bread are too close in colour to make a satisfactory meal.

Adding finely crushed rust will give your sandwich the pop it needs! Plus, if you’ve not eaten meat for a while, you’ll really need the iron – and what better source than actual oxidised metal? Bon appetit. If it’s not grinding your teeth down, you’ve not added enough rust.


vegetables market basket carrots

One carrot (grated)

Pro tip: squeeze the carrot shavings in your fist before you stick them between slices. This will remove any excess water from the carrot, and it’s also extremely cathartic. Taking out your anger on vegetables is, I think, a wise and sensible course of action generally.


Coriander and sliced limes

For a zingy and refreshing lunchtime roll, why not put citrus fruit and herbs between bread? At the very least, it should help keep the scurvy at bay.

[I know the plant pictured isn’t coriander. Don’t tweet me.]

addiction chemistry close up colors

Saccharine tablets

Say what you will about artificial sweeteners, but they are (presumably) vegan. Crushing them up and putting them inside bread will give your lunch a delightfully chemical flavour. In the future, when everyone’s a vegan and no one cares about cancer or taste, this will be the sandwich filling of choice, trust me. My pro tip? Spread marg on your bread first so the crushed pills stick to the slices. You’re welcome.


appetizing beef black background breakfast

Imaginary Ham©

It’s the bane of my life that ham, and, indeed, most pork products, contain high levels of pig flesh. I know, who’d have thought it?

Luckily, there’s Imaginary Ham©, a brand new product from the Nestle group. When lack of ham is getting you down, Imaginary Ham© is there for you. Simply slip a slice of it between bread and you’ll hardly know the difference. Available from all major supermarkets; RRP £7.59 for a 200g pack.

Imaginary Ham©: It’s like ham, but it’s imaginary.

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New Laws

I’m not sure exactly why (I sense Brexit has something to do with it) but the British government has just finishing codifying some interesting new laws. The police officer in the featured image may be smiling, but she’s ready to bop you on the head with her truncheon should you infringe any of them in front of her.

Not sure if “to codify laws” is a phrase, but it sounds about right.

You might be scratching your head, wondering what on earth I could be talking about. “But, Ro,” you might be saying, “I am a British citizen. I think I’d know if we had a spate of new laws coming in. I think I’d have seen it on Twitter.”

Yeah, you’d think. The sneaky, sneaky government has purposefully made sure no one knows about this new legislation by posting it exclusively to Google+. And why don’t they want anyone to know about these laws? Because their infringement incurs a hefty fine – money which goes straight into Johnny Westminster’s pockets.

Luckily for you, Google+ is the only social medium I use. I prefer it because I can post sarcastic comments about my loved ones without them ever finding out. Also I can slag off Love Island without anyone thinking I’m just doing it for the attention.

For that reason, I’m abreast of the upcoming laws, and I’m more than happy to share them with you. Be careful: you don’t want to get caught out!


person pouring seasonings on raw meatsNo fish on Tuesdays.

This one’s as simple as it sounds: from October 2018, absolutely no fish are allowed in the United Kingdom on Tuesdays. Persons found to be infringing this law will be subject to immediate arrest and a fine of up to £200. Fish found to be infringing this law will be eaten by the local constable.

That picture is actually a little misleading, so let me clarify: it’s not that you’re not allowed to eat fish on Tuesdays, but rather that fish generally are not allowed. It’s expected that police officers will be SCUBA trained as standard in order to enforce this. If you have a pet fish, make sure to hide both it and any paraphanalia (eg fish tank, model castle etc) related to it on Tuesdays.


person holding drafting paper

All drivers must wear high-viz.

If you’re getting behind the wheel after the 1st of March 2019, please, please make sure you’re wearing a high-visibility jacket that conforms to government standards. If you don’t, you’re liable to pay an on-the-spot fine of up to £70, and, if what you’re wearing is particularly subdued, your licence may be revoked.


black and white business chart computer

No more saying, “I rate it.”

I know what you’re thinking: “It’s the bloody thought police!” No, it’s not. It’s the speech police, so reign in your disapproval, George Orwell. Jesus.

Anyway, the police are cracking down on increasing numbers of people saying, “I rate it,” to express approval. After December this year, those heard saying this will be put under house arrest.


light golden retriever puppy close up photography

Pick up after your dog.

You might say, “But, Rodge! Leaving dog poos around is already a crime.” Yes, true. But this law goes one step further: in an effort to combat declining standards of tidiness in the canine community, dog owners will have to pick up any and all toys the dog carries around the house and place them in a designated dog box.

If a homeowner is seen to be remiss in this duty, whether because toys are outside of the dog box, or because the dog box is incorrectly labelled, they will be sent to prison for a maximum of 35 days, during which the dog will be cared for either by the police constable (if it’s a cute one) or a nominated relative (if it’s gross).


document id uk driving license driving licence

All citizens must carry ID cards.

I don’t know if you remember, but there was actually a move to introduce a similar law not so long ago.

However, under this legislation, set to come into effect from November 2019, citizens must carry the ID card belonging to the last person they shared a pizza with. Those carrying their own ID cards will be subject to serious scrutiny, since they’ve either never shared a pizza with anyone, or shared pizza with a chain of people until their own ID card ended up back in their pocket.

Those with missing or irregular documents will be forced to either pay a £17 fine or present the local police constable with £15 worth of pizza. It’s not clear whether this act will constitute giving or sharing a pizza, so no one yet knows whether the buyer of the pizza will have to swap ID cards with the police constable. I’ll let you know more when I do.


Mrs Brown’s Boys is outlawed.

I can’t argue with this. It’s for the good of the nation.

I can’t even bring myself to find a relevant picture.


The more you know.

Insultial Czech

This title combines the words “essential” and “insulting.”

You don’t have to tell me; I know I’m a wordsmith.

Amongst pedagogues, there’s a school of thought that suggests students learn languages better when they’re not constantly forced to repeat boring phrases. You know the kind of thing:

Teacher: Hello.

Student: Hello.

Teacher: How are you?

Student: I’m well, thank you. How are you?

Teacher: I’m fine.

That’s the kind of shit that rots your brain after a few repetitions, and students quickly lose interest – especially children and teenagers whose concentration span is low at the best of times, and non-existent when they’re being forced to say the same boring stuff again and again and again and aga-

animal bear big blur
bored

Anyway, some thinkers believe that students are kept motivated and interested by being exposed to more colourful language – in effect, by being allowed to repeat crazy stuff like this:

Teacher: Howdy.

Student: Y’a’right.

Teacher: How’s it going?

Student: I’m sick of the sight of you. What’s going on with you?

Teacher: Teaching cretins like you makes my blood fizz.

For some reason, this approach isn’t favoured at the language school I work at, so I’m forced to stick to the conventional “Hello, how are you” greetings.

That might sound ridiculous, but the idea behind it is that students will remember grammatical structures and vocab much better if there’s something interesting about them. Sure, students taught in this way might not be able to speak to anyone without insulting them, but they’ll turn up to each class with joy in their hearts and dazzling language engraved in their brains.

acrylic acrylic paint art artistic
Colourful language!

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a nice sample dialogue for you to enjoy. It takes place between two friends; friend B wants to go for a coffee and friend A is a bit of a vůl. It’s short; it’s snappy; it gets right to the point. Never say I don’t put enough effort into lesson planning.

Kamarádka: Ježišmarjá, ty jsi tady.

Kamarád: Kečáš. Chceš na kávičku?

Kamarádka: Kéž bych mohla, ale vlastně nechci.

Here’s the translation.

Friend A: Jesus, it’s you.

Friend B: Stop chatting shit. Do you wanna grab a coffee?

Friend A: I wish I could, but I really don’t want to.

Anyway, the theory is that you’re way more likely to remember the na + acc. structure for events if you’ve been exposed to this kind of example. Of course, this doesn’t work if no one’s bothered to explain what that structure is and I absolutely will, right this minute!

So the thing you have to know about Czech is –

Oh, shit, that’s my bus! Sorry, gotta run.

Love,

Rodge

(I’m not good at swearing in Czech so here are my sources:)
https://news.expats.cz/czech-language/czech-swear-words-and-put-downs/
https://www.czech-stuff.com/czech-swear-words/

 

A Solemn Oath

I like to think, in the realm of blogging as in the rest of my life, I’ve got good integrity. For example, I always let passengers disembark before alighting and I leave the bathroom door slightly ajar as I leave it so it’s obvious it’s unoccupied. That’s just the kind of stand up guy I am.

Everyone has a moral code, whether they’ve consciously developed one or not.

Unfortunately, the world of blogging is quite different from normal life. My alighting/disembarking rule just isn’t relevant on the Internet, for one thing.

As such, when I started this blog, I sat myself down in a quiet room with a mug of horlicks, and developed the following set of rules. More than anything, I wanted to make sure the power associated with writing a blog didn’t go to my head. My priority, from the start, has been keeping you, my readers, safe from my own excesses.

Rodge and the Blog:

keeping yourself reigned in.

  • I will never ask my readers to “like and follow”.

This one’s easy to keep because, and, believe me, I’ve looked at the data, no one reads this blog unless they follow it anyway.

  • I will never ask my readers to “share this”.

I’ll just strongly imply they should by saying things like, hey, don’t you have any friends who might appreciate exactly this brand of off-beat, sometimes funny humour?

  • I will never ask my readers to “comment with your thoughts”.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I just consider that the sort of thing a prick might do.

  • I will not sell my readers’ data for personal gain, be it financial or spiritual etc.

Again, this one has been super easy to keep because 1. I don’t have access to any of your data and 2. no one would want it anyway (no offense).

  • I will regularly post links to my blog on Twitter.

This is so my thirteen Twitter followers can also have the chance to enjoy my updates. They’re people too, I think.

  • I will rarely use my blog as a forum to moan about stuff no one cares about.

Yeah, alright, I’ve broken this one a bunch.

  • I will never post anything unless I think it is, as a minimum, slightly more than not funny at all.

It’s called standards.

  • I will not use my significant power as blogger to sell my readers inferior products.

There’s just something fishy about the kind of person that’d use their platform to sell ad space to the highest bidder. But not as fishy as Wilson’s New Fish Sauce© (RRP £5.99). Wilson’s New Fish Sauce©, now with actual fish! The fish sauce that’ll make you say, “Wow, that sure is fishy!” For sale in all good supermarkets. Not suitable for vegetarians, those with heart conditions, pregnant or nursing women, or the elderly.


It might seem trivial to you, reader, but rules like these are what ensure the high-quality blogs you’ve come to expect here at blandhyphenblogdotcom.

Things you didn’t know contained meat

I stopped eating meat recently, and it’s been harder than I thought. Not because I’ve been craving steak (although, I’ll be honest, I have been thinking about pork belly since day one); but simply because loads of stuff I’d assumed was vegetarian just isn’t.

(Also, I’m living in Prague and sometimes I’ve ordered meat dishes because my Czech is awful. Eg I was pretty sure šunka meant something like artichoke, but it turned out it was ham. I was left feeling doubly bad because 1. I ate pork and 2. I was faced with the reality of how badly I speak Czech.)

In an act of charity and friendship, I’ve compiled the following short list of things you might not know contain meat:

food ingredients recipe cook

  • many hard cheeses (such as parmesan);

Hard cheeses quite often contain, and this is a technical term so I hope I spell it right, gunk from cows’ tummies. I don’t really know what this adds to the cheese – I read that it’s sought after because it’s an enzyme, but the only thing I remember from secondary school biology lessons is how to put a condom on a banana (although, crucially, I have forgotten why).woman putting lipstick

  • chapstick;

May contain crushed up bugs. If they’re not included in production, they will be after you’ve ridden your bike really fast down a big hill.

clear glass beer mug filled with beer

  • Guinness;

This time two months ago, my greatest joys in life were pies and pints. Now both have been cruelly ripped away from me.

I don’t wanna talk about it, OK?

appetizer bowl bread breakfast

  • many soups;

OK, obviously chicken soup contains chicken, but some tinned vegetable soups are made with meat stock. And why? Because animals are so much tastier than fucking carrots.

God, I miss meat.

So yeah, be careful in restaurants and when buying premade soup, and, remember, if you’re surprised by how much you enjoyed that leek and potato, it’s probably because someone slipped some chicken in there.

food salad healthy dinner

  • scallops;

This is possibly the most shocking of the entire bunch. OK, now I think about it, I guess it makes sense that scallops are creatures, but it never occurred to me. If someone had asked me how we get scallops, I would’ve said they were a kind of fungus or, possibly, a substance no one knows the providence of, like unicorn tears or tofu.

(By the way, I found that picture by Googling scallops, but for all I know they could be cat eggs. I’m still not 100% on what they look like.)

So yeah, it turns out scallops are seafood. Avoid.

orange red yellow green gummie bears

  • gummy bears;

I’m not sure about this but I reckon they contain actual bears. How else could they look so realistic?

spinach chicken pomegranate salad

  • and salad dressing.

In an admirable attempt to make salads less miserable, some food producers will enhance their sauces with bacon. Caesar dressing, specifically, is often made with those miniature fish that manage to contain the flavour of an entire aquarium in their tiny bodies.

Essential Check

I study Czech, Russian and Polish at university, and most people’s response to that is, “Why, though?”

The honest answer, that I don’t know – it just seemed interesting, never seems to satisfy anyone. And, reader, if you know anything about me, you know that I live to please: an unsatisfactory conversation is a weight on my very soul. I’ve started brainstorming better answers:

  • “I love beer.”
  • “I really like chess and I thought it’d be related.”
  • “My grandfather/uncle/childhood friend/goldfish was a Slav.”
  • “I love vodka.”
  • “I want to work as a spy. Wait, I shouldn’t have said that. I mean, I want to work in banking.”
  • “War and Peace changed my life. No, I’ve not read it. I mean the TV show.”
  • “I’m just super into pickles.”
  • “I’m an aspiring nesting doll.”
  • “Solidarity, innit.”
  • “Why do you think?”

This last one is particularly interesting – the ideas people come up with are always way better than anything I can dream up. One suggestion sticks out – someone asked if I’d chosen Czech, Russian and Polish because of the potential for puns.

It’s true: of all the ~6,500 languages spoken on Earth, the three I’ve devoted my education to are amongst the most pun-rich. Puns, of course, rarely translate into foreign languages, which is one of the hardest facts I’ve ever had to come to terms with.

For our own education and enjoyment, though, I’ve decided to translate all the homophones of “Czech” I could think of into Czech. Enjoy this meaningless list of vocab.

  • Czech (adj.)

český

  • Czech (noun; language)

čeština

  • Czech (noun; Czech person)

Čech / Češka

  • Cheque (noun)

šek

  • Check (noun; situation in chess)

šach

  • Check (noun; inspection)

zkouška

  • Check (noun; control)

kontrola

  • Check (noun; a mark, usually a tick)

křížek

  • Check (noun; a lengthwise separation of the rings in wood)
I didn’t manage to find a translation for this; that might be for the best.
  • Check (verb; to inspect)

prověřit

  • Check (verb; to mark with a checkmark)

zaškrtnout

  • Check (verb; to control or limit)

kontrolovat

  • Check (verb; to compare)

kontrolovat

 

Isn’t learning fun?

20180125_142251
This is an unrelated picture of a bear I saw in the zoo in Brno last year.

Cursed Objects

Do you ever wonder what kind of a person would be spiteful enough to make those cursed objects you see in films? To litter their tomb with mean tricks designed to catch out any future adventurers/grave robbers/curious teenagers stupid enough to disturb their final resting place, just on the off chance one of them happens to pick up the tantalising diamond necklace you left draped over the door handle? Who that you know would derive any kind of joy from the thought that they’re messing up the lives of generations of meddling kids to come?

Me; I’m that kind of person.

20180608_191453
Who’s got great taste in shades and a wrathful nature? This guy.

When I die, should my family, as I expect, baulk at the idea of cremating me in a sack of potatoes, I’d like to be interred in a fancy-ass tomb. I’m talking statues and frescos – that’s the level of luxury I want my corpse to experience. I’ll instruct my second-youngest niece to go into my grave just before it’s sealed and strategically place cursed objects there; I’ll make sure to give her these objects, along with a cryptic warning about handling them with gloves, just before I die.

The rest of my niblings will be charged with the task of creating a mythology around my resting place – eg pretending they saw my ghost there, boasting about my fabulous collection of diamond saucepans I insisted on being buried with, drawing enigmatically unfinished maps. That kind of thing. I want the whole local community to be abuzz with rumours about what my grave might contain.

Assuming my descendents do a good enough job, the local people’s interest will be piqued and their imagination’ll be running away with them. Within a couple of generations, the masses’ trepidation will have evaporated and a rag-tag group of friends, possibly needing the money for child support or gambling debts, will be cracking open my tomb with crowbars.

grey skulls piled on ground
semi-related spooky imagery

Obviously, this takes a lot of planning, so let me tell you what I’ve got in mind so far.

When our heroes, such as they are, break into my tomb, they’ll be met with a message etched into the wall. I haven’t got the wording down quite yet, but it’ll be something along the lines of

Hey, thanks for breaking into my tomb, you tosser. Very rude.

There’s a special prize on my coffin but don’t touch anything else or I’ll curse you forever.

Best of luck,

Ro Daniels.

(1996-2087)

You know, something like that. Anyway, just as the intruders finish reading the message, the doors’ll rumble shut behind them and they’ll realise they’re trapped. Torches along the walls will burst into flames as they take a tentative step forwards, and, in the very distance, they’ll be able to make out the shape of my sarcophagus.

Between them and their prize, however, will be the following tempting objets:

  • my dog-eared copy of “Death and the Penguin”;

(I’ll leave it bookmarked at one of the bits where the penguin is splish splashin’ about in the tub. People who take it will be cursed with the not insignificant fate of no one ever taking your book recommendations seriously (possibly because they have stupid names like ‘Death and the Penguin’).)

  • a bent fork;

(If you touch this, you’ll never be able to eat gracefully again. Goes double if you’re on an important dinner date (eg with the love of your life, with a local radio DJ toying with the idea of interviewing you etc).)

  • a glass duck;

(The glass duck, as a clearly inferior imitation of its rubber counterpart, will bestow its new owner with the unenviable quality of always being outshone by brighter, plastickier equivalents.)

  • a model of St Isaac’s Cathedral in Petersburg;

(St Isaac’s Cathedral is the fourth largest cathedral in the world, when size of cathedral is measured as volume under the cupola. The architect, having calculated volume including the cupola, therefore considered the building robbed of the title of world’s largest cathedral. With mathematical simplicity, then, all exploits undertaken by anyone who steals this model will be one quarter as successful as they’d hoped.)

  • an empty beer glass;

(This curse is inspired by my incredible ability to spill every drink I’m handed. Now you can see how it feels, thief.)

  • £19.90 in loose change;

(If you’re anything like me, you put your silver coins in a jar in the corner of your room and save them for a special treat. When the day to spend your booty finally comes, you carefully count out exactly twenty quid – in other words, the price of a pie and four pints at my local – and head off into town. After stealing this pile of coins, though, you’ll be cursed with the inability to count properly, leaving you floundering, a pie and three pints in.)

  • dusty tin containing two (2) plasters and a 10p piece;

(You think you hoard shit now? Just wait until I hit you with this curse. Every time you go to throw away a normal household item (eg plastic fork, used floss stick, empty tub of butter etc) a weird emotional attachment will strike you and you’ll ask yourself how you could even think of chucking away something that’s been with you through so much. Tenderly you’ll place the rescued item on a shelf and you’ll cast it loving glances every hour or so for the next few days.)

  • and about forty intriguing pebbles.

(Every time you’re in a serious situation (eg job interview, close friend’s pet’s funeral etc) you’ll remember that story about the labrador that ate loads of pebbles on the beach and when he walked his owners could hear the pebbles clacking about in his stomach. Even if you manage not to beam, those close to you will be sure to pick up on the joyful glint in your eye. Plus, this one will be particularly hard to sidestep because there are some pebbles, we can all agree, which are just crying out to be grabbed.)


If those pesky grave robbers manage to get through all of that without giving in to the temptation of nicking something, they’ll find a humble envelope propped against my coffin. In it they’ll find

  • a congratulatory note;

(It’s important to recognise achievement.)

  • three spiders;

(This is in case, as I suspect, spiders will have been wiped out by the time of my death. Absolute travesty, I must say. If, by some miracle, these spiders manage to survive until they’re freed, they’ll run out into the world and repopulate the Earth with their disgusting eight-legged babies.)

  • a £5 WHSmith gift card.

(My successes at school were always rewarded in this manner; hopefully those who have proved themselves worthy will be able to buy themselves a treat from Smiths (eg some nice highlighters, this month’s National Geographic, a calendar to give to their aunt etc).)

Interview Tips

businesswomen businesswoman interview meeting

Thanks to my recent post, your CV is as fine-tuned as a good-looking fish. By this time, no doubt, you’ll be practically wading through interview offers; employers, seeing your paperless/pictorial/well-fonted resume will have been falling over themselves to get hold of you and invite you for a coffee and a chat.

Incidentally, conceptualising interviews as nothing more than a chill cup of tea and conversation with your mates is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you. See below for details.

I don’t care who you are or how great your interpersonal skills are: interviews are emotionally draining for everyone. And since it’s because of me and my great advice that you’re faced with the prospect of so many interviews, I thought it’d be wrong of me to let you go into that situation without a few handy tips.


Wear clothes

img-20170417-wa0013

Originally, I wrote, “Dress for the job you want,” but that advice is so open to abuse (e.g. turning up to an interview for an HR position dressed as a fireman) that I decided to simplify it.

Friends, you absolutely must wear clothes when you go to interview. Very, very few employers look kindly upon naked candidates. (Classic exceptions include when applying to work as a topless model, lifeguard at a nude beach, or accountant in a large multi-national.)

What kind of clothes you should wear does, of course, depend on the position in question. Hope this helps.


Chill out

Just calm down!! Like, seriously, if you can’t keep your nerves under control, there’s no way you’ll get this job. You’ll have to move out of your flat and live under a pile of newspapers on the corner of the street. You’ll have to sell your plasma. So, you must relax. I can’t stress that enough. Hope this helps.

img-20151103-wa0000

One thing that always chills me out is the thought that, even if I don’t get the job, at least I’ll have a free cup of instant coffee and excuse to talk about myself for a couple of hours. Free substandard coffee and Rosie-centric chat are amongst my favourite things. “I guess it all started when I was eight…”

I think it’s a good idea, to sedate the butterflies in your stomach, to imagine that you’re heading to a mediocre, somewhat sterile business-themed caf to have a chat with a friend of yours. Don’t think about it as a job interview: think about it as a conversation with a mate who always insists you wear suits whenever you meet.

Sure, this falls down because very few friends are quite that interested in your employment history, and you probably shouldn’t swear quite that much at a potential boss, but it will give you a certain joviality and cheeriness. Those are qualities, as we all know, which are valued extremely highly by businesses.


Prepare answers for predictable questions

No two interviews are exactly alike, but most employers are bound to ask similar sort of things – why do you want this job, what experience do you have, why have you brought a wasp nest to a business park. That kind of thing. It’s worth scripting answers for some of the more common questions so you can reel them off fluently. Here are a couple of examples; feel free to use them, although I fear they’re not as universal as I’d like so you may have to adapt them.

Tell me about yourself.

Here’s something I really should’ve been prepared for. In the heat of the moment, I think I described myself as “rather reliable and quite hardworking,” but I wish I’d had this to say:

Switch out “Louella” for “Rodge” and “thirty-seven years of age” for “a legal adult, I can show you ID”. Apart from that, this is spot on.

The important bit runs from 00:08 to 00:37; I included the whole clip partly because it’s a banger and partly because I dunno how to crop videos.

What makes you want to work as a breakfast waitress?

This question genuinely did stump me for a couple of seconds because the honest answer was that I really didn’t. I managed to cobble together the following, though:

We have a phrase in English: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I completely agree with that. I think there’s something really special about how that first coffee of the morning can change your mood: it’s almost magical seeing how a person changes after drinking a coffee.

Of course, my Czech isn’t that good. Here’s what I actually said. (Imagine it with lots of pauses and flamboyant hand gestures.)

In English at home we have a certain expression: breakfast – it’s the most important food in the daytime. I agree, yes. To me I’d say there’s something very unusual about when you drink coffee for the first time. You feel better. It’s nearly bewitched when you watch a man drink his coffee.

What are your biggest flaws?

It’s a classic. I started off bullshitting, talking about how I’m too much of a perfectionist and other lies, but I’ve changed my perspective. I reckon honesty is the best policy.

For a start, I’m pretty underqualified for this position and I really don’t have any relevant experience. I’d always much rather be writing my blog than stocktaking and I’ll never value efficiency over having a nice sit down. My sense of humour is pretty childish – I’ll struggle not to laugh if a customer falls over in front of me. I don’t know how to iron shirts so my blouses are always creased, and, anyway, I think spending a long time ironing clothes you’re gonna put on is pointless. My time management skills are appalling; I’m often late for things because I get distracted on the metro and miss my spot. I don’t proofread very well and stuff I write often has anagrams of the words I meant to say. I’ll definitely steal toilet paper from the office; you might as well factor it into my pay.

Workplace flaws aside, I’d rather listen to the same album a million times than branch out and try something new. I’m uncomfortable at sea. I dislike my own first name. I take wasps wherever I go; I don’t know why. Sometimes even I don’t know if I’m joking.

Do you have any questions for us?

This might seem like a simple concession to your lack of knowledge about the workplace, but don’t be fooled. It’s actually a key part of the interview process, and you will be graded on your response.

What’s your policy on pets at the office?

How’s things? Really, though. How are you?

What’s your policy on employees crying in the stationery cabinet?


No wasps

This is a piece of advice quite often left out, but I do find it crucial. Absolutely do not take wasps into the office with you – it really is frowned on.

gravid yellow jacket wasp close up photography
Just leave him at home for the afternoon.

I know what you’re saying, “No wasps at all?”

None. No wasps.

Hope this helps.


Leave the interviewer wanting more

As in, literally take some of their stuff.

Kind-Hearted People Told Me More Stuff

For more advice – from both myself and the general public – click  h e r e.

Don’t bother buying a ticket if you’re traveling between Sheffield and Macclesfield.

train rails photography

…Because neither station have ticket barriers and the train’s always too full for the inspector to sidle down.

However, this advice doesn’t account for Sod’s Law AKA my bad luck; I know, with 100% certainty, that the day I chance it and jump on the train without a valid ticket will be the day Sheffield invest in automated ticket gates and a shark tank for those trying to sneak into Yorkshire without proper documentation.

It may be ridiculous to have to pay £14 for a 38 mile journey, but whenever I start to get grouchy about the cost of riding the rails, I comfort myself by imagining that the alternative is getting devoured by hungry fish when I set foot in Sheff. It really does make the ticket feel worth it.

Don’t split infinitives.

Also, don’t end sentences with prepositions.

This is a tricky one, because when I’m writing I consider rigid grammar conventions stuffy and unnecessary; but when I’m reading and I spot even a slight stylistic whoopsie, I’m scandalised.

One rule for me, one for everyone else, I reckon.

Nonessential Czech

They say there’s no such thing as irrelevant language study, but even I’m struggling to imagine how you’re gonna fit this one into your regular Czech needs.

etareta.jpeg

Because I have low impulse control and not enough hobbies, I recently acquired a used camera from the 1940s. I have absolutely no idea if it actually works, partially because I don’t understand cameras at all, and partially because it was only ever sold in Czechoslovakia and so all the instructions I can find are in antiquated, jargon-heavy Czech.

Luckily antiquated, jargon-heavy Czech is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Let’s explore the mysteries of my camera together.

This is a diagram of the camera I bought. I thought I’d go through and translate the different elements, although, if I’m honest with myself, I don’t think I’ll understand the English translations much better than the Czech.

You might think this is a giant waste of time, and I might be inclined to agree – but, hey, at least it keeps me occupied and off the streets. If I weren’t doing this I’d probably be committing acts of vandalism or stealing sweets from the corner shop, so.

etareta navod.jpg

1. Navíjecí točítko k posunu filmu (po snímku) o políčko dále.

Coiling spinner for moving the film along a frame after taking a picture.

Coiling spinner is one of those pieces of vocab I’ll remember for the rest of my life and never, ever use.

2. Odjišťovací knoflík blokovacího mechanismu navíjecího točítka.

Release switch for the locking mechanism of the coiling spinner.

Wow, it turns out coiling spinner just keeps coming up! Totally worth the ten minutes I spent googling navíjecí.

3. Optický hledáček.

Optical viewfinder.

This question might just betray my ignorance, but what other kind of viewfinder could there be? Auditory viewfinders still haven’t entered mass production.

4. Počítadlo provedených snímků.

Used film display.

Display might be a melodramatic description of a little spinny thing that tells you how many more shots you’ve got left.

5. Točítko k převinutí filmu zpět do kazety.

Spinner to rewind film back into the cassette.

Two spinners seems like a lot.

6. Zámek víka komory s uvolňovacím knoflíkem.

Lock to the lid of the chamber with a release catch.

Interestingly, the word zámek can mean both lock and castle; so it’s reasonable to imagine that this camera could contain either a lock or a fortified building with a moat and that.

7. Spouštěcí páčka závěrky.

Startup shutter lever.

Alternative translations: “startup closing financial statement lever” and the rather intriguing “startup diaphragm lever.” Isn’t language magical.

8. Páčka k natahování závěrky.

Lever to wind the shutter.

Again, I’m assuming from the context that zavěrka means shutter in this case, and not closing financial statement or diaphragm, neither of which are traditionally used in camera manufacture or, indeed, wound.

9. Zaostřovací kroužek se stupnicí vzdáleností v metrech.

Focusing ring with degrees of distance in metres.

Here’s an example of where I’m let down by my photographic ignorance. I’m sure there’s a proper way to say that without sounding so stilted – I just have no idea what that might be.

10. Časovací kroužek.

Timing ring.

What’s the most important part of comedy timing

#realjokes

11. Stupnice clon a stupnice času.

Aperture and time scales.

12. Clonová páčka k nastavení žádané clony.

Aperture lever for setting up the desired aperture.

I wish I could think of something funny to say about this but I’m too embarrassed about not knowing what aperture is. I reckon it has to do with some kind of opening, but I hesitate to speculate further.


Whether or not that was a giant waste of time, whether or not we’ve learnt anything today, at least we all had fun reading about coiling spinners.