Thursday, 30 December 2010

Man was in the forest.

Now I don't usually start out these posts in a bad mood but today is a special occasion.

F*** the snow.

Actually that's a bit unfair. Snow is great. No really it is. It's fun to walk in, you can build stuff like snowmen, and if you have a stick and nothing better to do you can write rude words in it. Snow's brilliant really.

But f*** the compacted snow on the pavements that turns in to ice and makes every sodding journey out of my house a hazardous trial.

You see, I'm a big guy. I'm 6'5'' and I weigh somewhere around 260lbs, most of that distributed firmly around my waistline (Gee Note: It's amazing my career as a male model never took off when you think about it). I'm also pretty rubbish when it comes to things most people take for granted. Like maintaining one's balance. Seriously I suck at that. I've never been able to ride a bike, Or rollerskate. And as far as surfing goes, forget about it. You might as well try getting a space hopper to ride the waves. Damn thing's got a better chance of staying on a board than I have.

So it's safe to say that I'm no good when it comes to mounds of ice on the roads. "But just how pathetic are you?" I hear you cry. Well you know that bit in Bambi where Thumper's on the frozen lake and is all "Hey Bam-bizzle! Why don't you get your deer ass out here and give us a triple axel homie?" (Gee Note: You'll be amazed to know I don't have a copy of "Bambi" to hand and so I'm quoting from memory here. I know. I'm like a mind wizard or something). And then Bambi heads out on the lake and ends up spread eagled, face down in some frozen water. Well that's me. I'm like a big, bearded, Bambi. Except I only have two legs. And I don't have a tail. And I'm not best friends with a hyperactive rabbit and a creepy skunk that will most likely grow up to be a sex offender. So not really like Bambi at all when you think about it.

What makes it worse is that I'm the only one who seems to struggle with this. Today alone I've seen many a teenager (Gee Note: Or as I like to call them, "Bastards") skidding along and laughing without a care in the world, showing off to impress their peers. Now if it was just them I would write it off as the follies of youth, and console myself with the knowledge that at some point one of them will fall over and break their jaw.

But it's not just them. Everybody, and I mean everybody, is managing to walk over this bloody death-trap apart from me. The elderly folks down at the Salvation Army Centre across the way are practically dancing a jig on it (Gee Note: Possibly proving that God really is on their side). Hell even The Future Ex-Mrs. Davies is doing fine. The. Future. Ex. Mrs. Davies. A woman who is, at the time of writing, 8 months pregnant (Gee Note: It should be noted that she looks amazing. And I am in no way saying that because her hormones are going bezerk at the moment, and I'm afraid that one day I'm going to wake up to find that all my shoes have been cut in to little bits). Yet despite that she's practically skipping around like a child.

Even now as I'm typing this I can see an old woman shuffle past our window uphill. I swear she's mocking me.

So it goes without saying that for the past three days I've been cooped up inside my house. And, I'll be honest with you, it's slowly driving me crazy (Gee Note: No outside and all day time television make Gareth a very miserable boy). It's not that I'm the most outdoorsy fellow around. In fact give me a choice between sitting down with a sandwich or climbing a hill to get a spectacular view, I'll inevitably choose the sandwich (Gee Note: Unless of course the view is of the finalists of the "Miss Bikini-A-Thon 2011" contest. And even then it depends on what’s in the sandwich. For example, if it's a watercress sandwich then I'm-a gonna climb that hill. On the other hand if it's bacon then a rocket ship wouldn't get me up there. Bacon always wins). And what's bothering me isn't the fact that I'm consigned to my sofa for the foreseeable future. Because, let's face it, that's probably what I'd be doing anyway. It's the uneasy sense that I can't go out even if I wanted to. I don't know why but it doesn't sit well with me.

So seeing that, as that great philosopher of our times Sammy Cahn once put it, "the weather outside is frightful", I've been trying to come up with things to occupy my time (Gee Note: Sammy Cahn was the guy who wrote "Let it snow" if you're curious. By the way Sammy had to change his name twice to avoid confusion with other people. First with comic Sammy Cohen and later with lyricist Gus Kahn. Which must have been annoying. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if he felt like this

Yes the entire paragraph was just an excuse to post that video. Merry Christmas)

Thankfully the Devil's Playground that is the World Wide Web has come to the rescue. You see over the past few weeks the information super-highway has been dominated by one subject. And strangely enough it has nothing to with a fat jolly man and his sweat shop of midgets.

Yes siree, the internetz have gone positively batty about aliens recently. It's to be expected I guess. Much like the summer months, the end of the year tends to be a wee bit slow as far as "proper" news goes and, unless someone goes mental and decides to hold the entire cast of Glee hostage at gunpoint until they promise to never again do what ever the Hell it is they do (Gee Note: I'm not condoning such an act you understand. Just saying it's an option), then we usually end up with an honest to goodness mini silly season.

As such media outlets try and find "alternative" stories to fill space with. Even the BBC has got in on the act, producing a remarkably open minded piece about extra terrestrial life and why we haven't made contact yet (Gee Note: Even more remarkable when you consider that four months ago they allowed Dragons Den presenter, and the walking embodiment of "Oh where do I know him from?",  Evan Davis publish an article online about how he doesn't believe in UFOs and how he got reeeaaaalllly bored looking in the woods for some once). Basically it presented the age old question of "Where the clucking ducks is everyone else?" and concluded the following.

Either A) We are in fact alone in the universe. Which is highly unlikely as, you know, space is a pretty big place. Or B) We are not alone in the universe, it's just Johnny Klingon isn't using radio waves as a form of communication. Or C) We aren't actually living creatures, instead we are a computer generated collection of conscious bots developed and run by our descendants for research purposes. In the simulation, of course, we are the subject and so therefore aliens do not exist in the programme (Gee Note: No really. That's a theory put forward by Nick Bostrom, a professor of philosophy at Oxford University. Which just goes to prove my theory correct that you can be as mad as toast, but as long as you have a couple of degrees to back you up then people will listen to whatever you say. If, on the other hand, you're a manual labourer from Dudley with no teeth then the chances are everyone will ignore you. Which is why I've decided to go back to school and complete a PhD in, oh I don't know, knitting or something. That way when I tell people that I've taught a whale to play Bob Dylan songs on the banjo folks will listen. Shit, I'll be a millionaire by the time they work out it's not true).

Following this we had the release of New Zealand's UFO files. Now New Zealand is a beautiful country filled with crazy people, and has an air force that is the equivalent of me pretending to fly toy planes in the bath (Gee Note: What? All the cool people do that. I've heard Samuel L. Jackson has a little plastic submarine as well. Which he calls "Lil' Muthaf***a". Maybe. I don't know. Shut up.). So it's no surprise that they don't use their limited resources to investigate reports of flying saucers. Still they do make a record when ever someone calls them to complain that some people from the stars have landed their spaceship in their back garden, and as such the document weighs in at some 2000 pages. The contents of which range from the mundane (Gee Note: Lights far away. Could have been aliens. Could also have been a tractor on a hill) to the amazingly balmy (Gee Note: Giant extra terrestrials who spout wisdom such as telling us what happens to us when we die. Apparently upon snuffing it our souls ascend as hydrogen atoms. "You will remain in hydrogen form for 150 years", says Biggy McSpaceman "Then it will change to sodium". Then add some chlorine and, hey presto, you can be used as seasoning for someone's chicken dinner. That's science kids.) making sure that aliens were in the headlines for another day.

Proving that this seasonal Martian frenzy could also be topical, message boards and blogs almost exploded when WikiLeaks founder and professional government baiter Julian Assange was arrested in the UK after his… er… own Wiki leaked (Gee Note: Ba Boom Cha). It all started when, after the latest batch of classified cable communications were released, Assange was quoted as saying "It is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the cablegate archive there are indeed references to UFOs". Now the fact that these "references" are more than likely going to be along the lines of "Dear Jim. I looked up in to the sky last night and thought I saw a UFO. But then I realised it was actually your mum. Because she's so fat. Your pal Mikhail" than anything else, it didn't stop believers going in to overdrive on their keyboards.  And before you could say "Wait. What?" the following story appeared online.

A new report circulating in the Kremlin today prepared for President Medvedev by Russian Space Forces (VKS) 45th Division of Space Control says that an upcoming WikiLeaks release of secret US cables details that the Americans have been “engaged” since 2004 in a “war” against UFO’s based on or near the Continent of Antarctica, particularly the Southern Ocean. According to this report, the United States went to its highest alert level on June 10, 2004 after a massive fleet of UFO’s “suddenly emerged” from the Southern Ocean and approached Guadalajara, Mexico barely 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) from the American border. Prior to reaching the US border, however, this massive UFO fleet is said in this report to have “dimensionally returned” to their Southern Ocean “home base”.

The article was published by the relatively unknown EU Times, who claim to use reliable sources. But then I claim to be an astronaut who was thrown out of NASA for being too handsome when I'm in a bar I know I'll never go back to so, you know.

Another rumour doing the rounds was one about "Three Giant UFOs Heading Towards Earth" (Gee Note: Dun dun dun duuuuuuunnnnnnnn). The amazing thing about this is that it's actually a couple of months old. It first came to light in September, when copy and paste merchants the world over posted this on their web-ma-thingys.

Recent light has been shed on the reason that the SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project has been cancelled by the government. It seems that something was starting to happen. According to my sources the government black project boys have taken over some of the antennas and are now processing signals for the exclusive use of the United States Navy. The government seems to be highly upset that more than one very large object is fast approaching Earth.

Of course eagle eyed readers will notice that the SETI project wasn't cancelled by the government, largely because the government doesn't actually fund SETI in the first place. In fact you have to go all the way back to 1992 to find the last meaningful contribution the US made to SETI in an official capacity. The blurb goes on to explain that at the current rate these "large objects" will arrive here sometime in the middle of December 2012 and, adding all that together, what we have is an obvious attempt to hoodwink folks in to thinking all those Mayan Prophecy Doomsdayers might actually know what they are talking about. As opposed to just being a bunch of smelly hippies who should really know better at their age.

Somehow though the same piece of fluff managed to rear its ugly head again in late December, thanks to some clever engineering on the scribes part. Gone was the blatantly false information about SETI, replaced with… blatantly false information about SETI. Hoorah. Here's version two taken from The Examiner online.

E.T. does not need to phone home anymore, someone, or something is on it’s way to earth.

SETI Astrophysicist Craig Kasnov ( not to be confused with Craig Kasnoff ) has announced the approach to the Earth of 3 very large, very fast moving objects. The length of the “flying saucers” is in the range of tens of kilometers. Landing, according to calculations of scientists, should be in mid-December 2012. Date coincides with the end of the Mayan calendar.

Craig Kasnoff is not an astrophysicist, and is no longer associated with SETI, but at least he actually exists. Craig Kasnov, on the other hand, doesn't. At all. In any shape or form. Oh sure, there may be a couple of dudes here and there with the name "Craig Kasnov". But are any of them a top astrophysicist dedicating themselves to finding little green men? No. No they aren't. Honestly, you might as well have started the story with "Elusive super spy James Bond believes the Earth is pretty much boned because Harry Stamper told him he saw, like, 5 gazillion spaceships armed with death rays and dressed up to look like big sharks or something". I mean really if you are going to make stuff up, at least try and be responsible enough to use the tried and tested "a source close to SETI claims". Say what you will about the Jennifer Anniston Weekly The National Enquirer but they avoid getting sued on a weekly basis because of that very reason.

Speaking of Doomsday, Bugarach is the place to be when the four horseman come riding over the horizon. Or not if you believe Mayor Jean-Pierre Delord. You see Mr. Delord is a bit panicky at the thought of December 21st 2012. Not because he thinks that Armageddon will hit us like Hugh Jackman trying to make a dramatic stage entrance. But because a lot of New Agers are convinced that should the heavens open and rain down a monsoon of fire, then Bugarach is going to be just tickety boo.

The reason? Well according to the Daily Telegraph:

Bugarach, population 189, is a peaceful farming village in the Aude region, southwestern France and sits at the foot of the Pic de Bugarach, the highest mountain in the Corbières wine-growing area. But in the past few months, the quiet village has been inundated by groups of esoteric outsiders who believe the peak is an "alien garage". According to them, extraterrestrials are quietly waiting in a massive cavity beneath the rock for the world to end, at which point they will leave, taking, it is hoped, a lucky few humans with them.

Hence ol' Jean-Pierre is a wee bit concerned that should a throng of people holding signs saying “Take me with you. But leave the missus. She never really understood me anyway.” decide to descend upon Bugarach en masse then chaos would ensue. Although it's a bit difficult to nail down exactly why the Pic de Bugarach should generate so much interest in alien loving circles. There are, of course, rumours that the Nazis and Mossad have both conducted digs at the site. That and President François Mitterrand was once flown by helicopter to the summit of the mountain for reasons that were never disclosed. Oh and a chap who once lived there claimed to have heard a spacecraft humming from under the surface of the rock. But outside of those slim pickings there's not much more than conjecture and heresay.

Still this hasn't calmed Delord any. “This is no laughing matter,” he's quoted as saying. "If tomorrow 10,000 people turn up, as a village of 200 people we will not be able to cope. I have informed the regional authorities of our concerns and want the army to be at hand if necessary come December 2012."

Mind, maybe he'll get lucky and the army won't be needed to keep the David Icke wannabes away.

After all on December 21st 2012, there's a chance it might snow.

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