twitter haiku four

Chops stained with rainbow
Of zealous health. Stomach full
Of gummy delights.

Twitter Haiku III

And thus the world ends:
Not with a bang, nor in flames.
Just Oopsie Daisy.


Twitter Haiku #2

Creaking branches and
Sticky ribs on mossy ground.
Beware of the woods.


Twitter Haiku

A real bargain, a
steal. Complete your Christmas tree:
Sight, smell, and now sound.

Bland Stuff

Fantastic Inventions

Lately I’ve caught myself replacing smart comments with cynicism in an effort to seem cool. As everyone who’s actually cool knows, that is annoying and toxic – not to mention transparent – so I’ve decided to cut that out by consciously making an effort to appreciate stuff that’s fantastic.

And, credit where credit is due, humans have thought up some cool stuff. Today, let’s think about words like ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit as we go through my TOP FIVE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN INVENTED.

Those white pens you can use instead of chalk on chalkboards

I don’t know if they have a specific name; when I was looking for the accompanying image, I googled chalk pens and was pleased with the results. Google did suggest I might also mean liquid chalk, but surely that refers to the stuff that fills the pen, not the actual pen itself. And, if I’m honest, I’m uninspired by the chalk ink on its own – surely that’s just tipex? The invention that knocks my socks off is the pen as a whole.

Friends, I have a dream. One day, in the far, far future, surrounded by animatronic great-grandchildren, I will settle down with a nostalgic coming-of-age classic set in a primary school of my youth. The protagonist, a scrawny, nerdy girl that resonates with me for reasons we don’t need to go into, will be summoned to the board to complete an impossible sum. 

Blushing and flicking an unfortunate fringe out of her face, our heroine will be frozen by the blackboard, chalk being ground into dust by her nervous fingers. When, under pressure from the watching pupils and authoritarian educator, she finally scrawls a hasty 19 in the empty part of the equation, the chalk will give way, snapping halfway through the tail of the 9 and scattering the board with an uneasy constellation of white spots. 

My grandchildren will turn to me, nonplussed. “What the shit was that?” they will ask.

I will smile, settle back into my automated rocking chair. Despite my grandchildren’s liberal use of four letter words, I am content. My life’s dream is complete: my descendants live in a world where chalk, that notorious bastard, has been rendered obsolete and blasted from the face of history. Truely, a happy day.


Because, and I mean this sincerely, I can’t think of a better way to close my jacket.

Also, zips are the forerunners of ziplocks, without which none of us would be able to take miniature bottles of shampoo on holiday.

This isn’t related, but I don’t understand why mini toothpastes are a thing. Like, normal sized toothpastes are well within the 100ml limit. The mini ones just increase your stress levels when you realise you’ve packed two brushes worth of toothpaste for an eighteen brush trip. But I digress.

Table hooks

like this, but permanently affixed to the table eg with a screw

really don’t know what these guys are actually called: table hooks is my best guess. The reason I’ve got no clue how to name them is because I’ve only ever encountered these little heroes On The Continent – that is, not on my native island of Britain.

Say what you like about Europe, but they do have bag storage down.

Table hooks are, and this might shock you, hooks attached to tables. From these hooks a sodden traveller can dangle, for example, a handbag or anorak to prevent the item from acting as a mop on a wet pub or cafe floor. Truly, an invention for the ages.

The system whereby the post office texts you to tell you about your parcel’s delivery status

Perhaps it’s overkill to call this an invention, but I’m a fan of it nonetheless. Instead of waiting for a physical leaflet that is vulnerable to all kinds of foul play (rain, jealous neighbour, angry dog), just wait for a cheeky text from your postie letting you know your boxset of NCIS is ready to be picked up. Every time this happens, I sit phone in hand, revelling in the majesty of the automated text message.

Reusable sunglasses

Honestly, those disposable ones were just wasteful.

how to tell if

How to tell if your barista is an unlicensed tattoo artist

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if there are two things that don’t mix well, it’s artisan coffee and tattoo ink. Seriously, no matter how much your friends try and convince you it’s the next best thing, don’t try it. It has a horrible aftertaste and your dentist will tell you off in front of the entire waiting room for getting residual ink all over her favourite dentistry tools.

That’s right! The dentist in that story was a woman.

Unfortunately, as has been proven time and time again, not everyone is as enlightened as I am. Tattoistry and coffeistry are two of the hippest istries in today’s society – perhaps it’s no wonder, then, that many baristas are branching out from one acrid black liquid to another. Thanks to the astronomical prices of tattoo licences (sometimes upwards of £8/annum) some erstwhile baristas are practicing their craft illicitly, carrying out undocumented tattooisms in unregistered studios, e.g. in the small room behind the counter marked STAFF ONLY, next to the paninis, under bridges etc.

Well, but how can you tell if your barista is plying the blue needle between espressos? Luckily for you, I have compiled the following handy guide. If the answer to most of the following questions is Yes, I urge you to contact your local council or similar authority. Indeed, if the answer is Maybe, why not contact them anyway? Local councilors are famously charismatic and you may just make a friend for life. #yourewelcome

Have they ever

served suspiciously blue coffee?

Nay, even bluer than this coffee.

Even the most careful of barista-cum-tattoo-artists is sure to slip up at some point and froth a latte with a recently used needle instead of the traditional milk wand. The results, whilst aesthetically charming, are shocking.

By the way, if you do see a barista making coffee with a used needle, I’d advise against drinking it. For one thing, you don’t get nearly as frothy a cup, and, for another, transmittable diseases and that.

And, just like that, I’ve done more for AIDS prevention than my high school sex education teacher, who had us put condoms on bananas, but never told us why.

worn no socks to work?


Just as tattoistry is the edgiest of the barely subcultural arts, so too is no socks the edgiest kind of sock.

Maybe it’s the association with Count Olaf, or maybe it’s just the thought of human skin coming in contact with that much vegan leather, but there’s something deeply unsettling about an unsocked adult. In one’s own home, sure, go barefoot. But – and you might call me a conservative, a prescriptionist, a footwear fascist – you dress your feet properly: shoes and socks. 

Semi-naked feet is as sure a sign of underground tattoistry as I can think of, and (as you can see) I have thought of many.

asked you if you knew anything about fraud, tattoo-related fraud specifically?

“Your brother is a lawyer, isn’t he? Does he know anything about tattoo licences? Like, does he know anything about what would happen if someone had been secretly tattooing people on the counter next to the sandwich press and putting it through the till as ‘hot drink – unspecified’? Do you think he would know anything about that?”

Maybe I’m jaded, but there was something about his tone that made me suspicious, and the box of needles next to the George Foreman struck me as fishy.

accidentally left their MacBook open and you saw it was full of pictures of tattoos and of them tattooing people next to the panini press?

“Does this also work if it was a PC?”

Fuck off, what barista owns a PC?

how to tell if

How to tell if your best friend is secretly a trade unionist

You’ve had your suspicions for while: sure, you’ve known Jeff since you were both impoverished former miners’ sons in a comprehensive northern pre-school, but recently he’s become radicalised. He’s started spending a lot of money on placards and you thought you saw a leaflet about The Worker under a throw pillow at his bedsit.

Sure, you might not think it’s important to know whether Jeff is into supporting workers’ rights, but, as I always say, it’s better to be sure about these things. 

Live in doubt no longer, friends. Here is the ultimate guide to figuring out if your BFF is secretly well into workers’ rights.

Do they…

love the colour red?

The angle symbolises the subjugation of the working classes; also, I will take literally any opportunity to post this picture.

…because, if so, it’s a bad sign. Red is the universal colour of the left wing (except in America, where it’s the universal colour of caring more about gun rights than women’s rights #politics).

If Jeff has spurned his emerald blazer in favour of a claret harrington, that could be a sign that he’s started leaning to the left, as it were.

constantly talk about overthrowing the mill owners?

…it’s a subtle one, but expressing an unending, edging desire to hoist the local landowner by his own petard may imply a corollary desire to unionise. There’s a saying in my line of work: if Jeff goes on and on about taking back power from his employer, he might be into unions. It’s not a very catchy phrase, but it has served me well.

insist on sitting on the big shared table whenever you go to the local roastery?

‘Roastery’, as I understand it, means ‘cafe with a particularly strong coffee smell’. Wishing to share space with one’s fellow man is as sure a sign as any of unionist tendencies. (I mean unionist as in trade unionist, not as in believing in a united Ireland. Jeff, like all English people, is completely ignorant about the whole Irish situation and does not feel qualified to comment. That said, this is also a sign of being that kind of unionist, too.)

always want to watch Billie Elliot?

Bonus points if they openly weep when the miners are all forced into the service industry. There’s a deleted scene from the movie where Billie Elliot’s dad starts working in a Hungry Horse and, honestly, it’s deeply, deeply moving.

wear obnoxious socks?

This one is a bit less obvious, but my extensive research has uncovered an undeniable link between wearing expensive, geometrical socks and supporting trade unions. The facts don’t lie, friends. They don’t know how. I think it’s because that style of sock originated in Sweden, AKA the country with the most aggressive labour unions in Europe. Sure, Jeff might not explicitly draw your attention to his footgloves, but he’s wearing cropped jeans for a reason, and it’s not so all the ladies can appreciate the curve of his ankle.

advice · Bland Stuff

How many people can fit in stuff?

A post for your entertainment and education.

Sometimes, you really need to know exactly how many people will fit in a washing machine. This blog is for those times.

How many people can fit in the Sun (centre of our solar system)?
33,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 people
Source: https://www.quora.com/How-many-humans-could-fit-inside-a-sphere-the-size-of-our-sun
How many people can fit in the gap between the train and the platform edge?Untold thousands of people.
How many people can fit in the largest stadium in Wales?74,500 people
Source: Principality Stadium promotional material
How many people can fit in the entire Harry Potter canon?772 people
Source: reddit
How many people can fit in the mouth of a blue whale?100 people
Source: I asked Siri
How many people can fit in an Uber XL?6 people
Source: Google search
How many people can fit in a washing machine?1 small person
Source: personal experience
How many people can fit in the Sun (tabloid newspaper)?<1 person
Source: estimation by Ro
How many people can fit in this picture of me outside St Basil’s?

The more you know.


Bland Stuff


I generally try and avoid infecting my blog with my pretentious and derivative taste in poetry – I prefer to keep bland-blog.com pure satire-cum-thoughtsaboutpigeons – but I’ve had this in my head for a few days now, and I think it’s lovely.

Ocean. Ocean, 
get up. The most beautiful part of your body 
is where it’s headed. & remember, 
loneliness is still time spent 
with the world. Here’s 
the room with everyone in it. 
Your dead friends passing 
through you like wind 
through a wind chime. 

Ocean Vuong

Bland Stuff

A Debate

Reasons to knitReasons to knot
– Creative hobbies are good for the soul
– Being in touch with wool (& synthetic substitutes) is character building
– Fluff
– Repetitive action is calming
– The capacity to make socks
will make you an invaluable member of any tribe should the apocalypse come  
– The courage to take pointy things on aeroplanes is enviable
– Good excuse to watch TV a lot
– Finally a hobby that doesn’t involve letters*
– You probably come from a long line of knitters
– You are bad at it
– Family and friends do not always appreciate being given itchy accessories
– Fluff
– Wool (& synthetic substitutes) are surprisingly spenny
– Outcome can be terrifying**
– Effectively a waste of time and sheep resources
– Bamboo or metal needles????
– Not a big fan of silent ‘k’s

*My other hobbies are blogging, learning languages, and competitive Scrabble.

**This idea is based on the true story of when I knitted my niece a teddy and was forbidden from giving it to her because it was so nightmarish