Thursday, 30 July 2009

‘Help, I’m a zombie!’ or ‘It’s not me, it’s my nondominant temporoparietal cortex…’

Vampires have porphyria disease, werewolves have rabies and now it seems that zombies now have a certified syndrome to excuse their antisocial behaviour…

Cotard’s Syndrome or Walking Corpse Syndrome is a mental disorder in which the patient suffers from delusions that he or she has lost vital body organs, limbs, blood, or even their living soul. There are a number of psychiatric reports and news items on the internet that describe the Cotard’s Syndrome patient’s decent into the world of the undead, some of which are highly reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.

In extreme cases, individuals believe that they have died and claim that they can smell their own rotting flesh and feel worms crawling under their skin. Sufferers can feel immortal and may test their own mortality by attempting suicide.

Unfortunately, to my disappointment, I discovered that symptoms do not include groaning, stiff and straight arms, rolling eyeballs, a staggered walk and a desire to eat brains. Have these psychiatrists ever seen a George A. Romero flick?! Bah.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Let them eat sprinkles

Tomorrow I turn one year older! Adult birthdays are a mixed blessing; it’s great to be able to pop a bottle of celebratory wine and get steadily sloshed over the course of the day, but part of me still misses the good old cake, jelly and ice-cream sugar-fests from my childhood. Fortunately, a number of my friends and family have quite a sweet tooth too and so a birthday cake is always on the cards.

There are some amazing cake creations on the Internet; ranging from the most beautiful sugarcraft designs to the downright bizarre. But my favourites are the ‘mistake cakes’, the unintentional balls-ups that are sent-out by dozy bakers who mishear orders or have a momentary brain lapse when holding the piping bag. So, to celebrate my step nearer to senility, here are three of my favourites…

The first cake was ordered online and the printing process was automated. Here’s what happens if you don’t double check your order before hitting the ‘submit’ button...

When this office group ordered a cake for their manager’s birthday, they handed over a USB drive containing a photograph of their boss playing golf that was to feature on the top of the cake. Unfortunately when they came to collect it…

This cake was ordered over the phone from a Walmart store in the US. The instructions were simple: write: "Best Wishes Suzanne" and underneath that write "We Will Miss You"…

And you’ve got to admire good old-fashioned honesty…

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Acceptable in the 80s?

I took my saxophone out of its case this morning for the first time in years and discovered a shocking amount of mould growing on the reed. I swear there is enough bacteria on the mouthpiece to keep our biochemists in business for the next twenty years. It’s certainly not going anywhere near my mouth. So I spent the last hour trawling though the net looking for saxophone reed stockists and, as usual, got distracted…this time by a very amusing site called The 80s Sax Solo Grading System.

For fans of 80s music, this wonderful cheese-fest of a website is a must-see. The author has taken a number of well-known 80s saxophone solos, sorted them into categories such as ‘mood breaker’, ‘blaring’, ‘too long’ etc and graded them on their overall quality. He describes his system as follows:

‘I realized about 5 years ago that at some point in the 80s, lots of the popular music started incorporating saxophone solos into their songs. Some of them are fine, but most of them are ridiculous to have in the songs…I have attempted to separate the quality and appropriateness of the solos from what I think of the song as a whole (I still really like most of these songs, even the ones with low grades).’

Sounds like a serious analysis of 80s music, right? But take a look, it’s very funny and how many other grading systems have ‘spaz’ as a classification? Now I’m inspired to buy a new reed for my sax, dig out those dusty 80s compilation albums and take the neighbours on a journey back in time…Baker Street, here I come!

(Ok, ok, Baker Street was released in 1978, don’t write in!)

Friday, 3 July 2009

A 20p coin-undrum

A dozy/senior moment at the Royal Mint has led to a number of 20p pieces being produced without a date stamp. One batch of between 50,000 and 200,000 coins has been produced with a new, jazzy back but an old front, which means that there is no date on the coin whatsoever.

And guess who just found one a brand new, shiny one in her purse?

Normal dated coin on left, undated rare coin on right

Now here’s my dilemma. These coins are going on Ebay from anywhere between £300 - £5000, so I could a) put it on Ebay and make a quick buck, or b) keep the coin somewhere safe for a few years and then sell it when these coins are rarer (i.e. when a few numpties have dropped theirs down a drain/spent it accidentally/swallowed it/shoved it up their nose when drunk).

What would you do?

(Bear in mind that my coin comes with a faint air of Chanel and a sheer layer of perfumed dusting powder…which makes it MUCH more desirable *giggles*…)