Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Obelix and Co. : Latin Jokes Explained

A bigger, better version of this article now appears on my new Asterix site - click the white link just above this article. The one that says 'Everything Asterix'.

I understand it's annoying to be directed here and have to go there, but I promise it's worth it.

The new site is extremely beautiful, by the way. It's probably going to win an award and be preserved by UNESCO.

The difference between this cramped, stuffy blog and that luxury site is the same as when you sell your one-bedroom flat in London and buy a six-bedroom villa anywhere else in the country. The furniture is better, the air is clearer, and you can stroll around your garden smelling flowers and sighing contentedly.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Apple to Live Off Interest

Releasing first quarter results two weeks early, Apple Inc (AAPL:US) has surprised investors with the announcement it will cease production of its entire range of popular consumer gadgets, wind down its retail network, and lay off almost all staff.

Really, why bother?

"We've just got piles of cash," said a source very close to CEO Tim Cook. "Seriously, it's blocking the corridors. It's a fire hazard; we've had to buy snowmobiles to get to meetings. I know making more money is supposed to be at the heart of corporate activity... but you know how when you masturbate too often you kind of get bored of it? That's where we're at. Also, Tim is tired of people complaining he's 'not innovative enough' while the company makes $40 Billion a year in profit.

"So we're going to live off the interest, pretend to read Kierkegaard, and try not jerk off too much."

"This is shit, I want our old coffee table back"

A soon-to-be-laid-off engineer said, "We just got bored of the whole incremental improvements wheeze. We feel like we wrote The Great American Novel with the iPhone and the iPad was our Godfather Part Two. Am I upset that I won't have to make everything skeuomorphic and pretend to like iTunes? Dude! I'm off to Thailand to find true love."

Shareholders received the news positively. "It's all good," said mardy billionaire David Unicorn. "This way I still get my dividends, but I won't have nightmares where I'm working in Foxconn desperately trying to conceive the means of my suicide."

CEO Tim Cook has stated that he wants to buy a remote island, and is said to have made a bid for New Zealand.

Bye everyone! Thanks for all the money!

Additional reportage by Nick Butcher

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dryathlon 2014: Day Eleven

Nick Butcher, yesterday

Nick Butcher - a future billionaire playboy philanthropist whose death in the year 2057 will be mourned by billions and the remains of whose corpse will be encased in solid gold - recently said he'd donate 3 pounds for every 'non-trivial' blog I wrote about Dryathlon. Asked what 'non-trivial' meant, he said: "Anything personal, meaningful, hilarious, inspiring, touching, and - most importantly - that I feel like springing 3 quid for."

Cancer research needs that three pounds. So:


Why do I drink? Social drinking makes me hilarious and silly, but my main worry when I started Dryathlon was how much I drank in my flat. Lugging two bags of empties to the bottle bank every fortnight was a prelude to literally minutes of regret and self-flagellation. 

Near the start of the dryathlon I asked myself: Why do I drink at home? Most of the possibilities seemed pretty dark: addiction; an excuse to fail; trying to filter out the noise of the universe; self-destruction; habit.

Proooooobably better to cut it out, then.


I racked my brains to think of the most meaningful thing I know. Settled on this:

Meaning. Tick. Next.


I kept getting emails from Cancer Research UK written by their spokesperson Will Power. Living outside the UK, I don't get to know all the new B and C list celebrities. I thought he might be a medal winner from the Olympics or someone with a fitness show. It took five emails for the lightbulb to go off.

Bonus lol: I showed the first draft of this post to Jen. She said, "It's okay, but who is Will Power?"


Quitting drinking hasn't turned me into Stakhanov overnight, but I have been a lot more productive so far this month. I've written every day and every night and hit my exercise targets. It's simple, really: there are more useful hours in my day. 

If I open a bottle of wine at 9pm that's me done for the night - I can maybe edit but not create, and exercise is a non-starter. After drinking, I don't sleep well, am tired the next day, and try to unwind with a beer the next night. Repeat endlessly.

So yeah. Quit drinking. Get more done.


Nick probably meant for me to write something about how cancer is a grim spectre that haunts my family, killing us off one by one like a sniper with a gun and a grudge.

I tried to remember all the people I know who have died, and turned the data into a pie chart:

But that got way too depressing, so instead of thinking about that, I'll list things I like to touch and how I like to do it:

- My bellybutton (slap with thumb)
- My belly (with palm of hand, esp. after exercise)
- The cold shell of my new Macbook air (erotically, as in a porno)
- Jen's lips (pressing my finger onto them to shush her up)

Worth 3 Quid

Calculating the time it took to write and rewrite this post versus my hourly income from teaching and it's 'worth' about 120 pounds. Of course, no-one pays me to write. So this post is either worth 120 pounds or zero pounds. The banker in Deal or no Deal would definitely stump up 3 pounds given the same situation.

My logic is inescapable, Butcher. The donate button is this way->


Thursday, January 02, 2014

Dryathon 2014: Day Two

--- DAY TWO ---

As per my previous post, I'm not drinking alcohol in January in support of Cancer Research UK. I don't plan to write about it every day - not even close. GTA 5 isn't going to play itself. But I'll write updates from time to time. Like... now.

My Dryathlon so far:

1. It's helpful to have a supportive girlfriend (I would imagine)

After encouraging me to quit drinking, agreeing to take part herself, and struggling through the clunky signup process, Jen was fully onboard to support me through what could be some tricky times.

"At least there's one person in the world utterly rooting for me to succeed," I said to myself. "One person I can count on." My phone went beep beep! It was Jen getting ready to come and stay the night.

apologies for the punctuation

Srs Q is German for 'serious question'.

In case the meaning isn't totally clear, she's offering to bring an open bottle of wine to my flat. For what? To test a stain-remover? Get thee behind me, thou temptress!

2. I probably drink too much in general

Last night I didn't get to sleep for hours, as normal, and when I did sleep I dreamt I was walking down the street with a glass of ice-cold cider. God, it tasted so good. In the dream I was plotting how to lie to people about failing the challenge on day one.

I told this to Jen, and she told me that lying about drinking is a classic sign of an alcoholic. Like I said, supportive.

It's been pointed out that I should probably say how much I normally drink so that readers can get an idea of how hard this challenge will be. Well, there's a calculator on the Dryathlon website that shows how much money you spend on booze, and how many calories you're consuming. It said I drink 25,000 calories a month. "That's an insane amount. That can't be right," I said, and closed the tab. "Sounds about right to me," said you-know-who.

3. I didn't lose weight.

After a whole day of not drinking! Boo!

4. Donations are flooding in

Is one donation a flood? Sure, whatever. My good friend and former blog muse Cecile slapped 30 pounds onto Cancer Research UK's table, so in addition to the pound from when my mum tested the SMS code, that's 31 pounds. I'm going to double whatever comes in, so that's 62 pounds raised already.

If you want to chip in, here's the link:



Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Dryathlon 2014: Day One

Long-time readers might remember the time I tried to go 30 days alcohol-free, and failed because of the machinations of a German woman.

Now it's time to try again. Now it's time to succeed! And raise some money for Cancer Research UK while I'm doing it.

I saw some adverts for the Dryathlon project - the aim is to go through January without drinking, and either saving or donating the money you would have spent on booze. "Raising funds by not raising glasses." Sounds good, no? 

Quitting alcohol will also help me lose the extras kilos I've piled on, help me get fit for a football tournament, and make it easier to get some proper sleep.

Right! Let's do it! Roar!

--- DAY ONE ---

After railroading my girlfriend into joining the project, I set up my page on the Dryathlon website and made a team ('The Bellyfluffs' - feel free to join).

One fun bit was setting up my own SMS code like a real charity. I chose the code HUNK77 for obvious reasons, and bullied my mum into testing it. It works. Behold the future!

Then there's an automated thank-you note that gets sent to anyone who donates through my page. It said to make the text personal, because 'the more personal you make the experience, the more likely people are to donate again.'

Anyone donating to my page will see this:

The omnipresent super-brain known as Andrew Girardin knows of your donation to Cancer Research UK and is PLEASED. Andrew Girardin wishes you to receive his thanks.
So let it be written, so let it be done!
Thank you for your donation

I assume that's personal enough?

After setting up the pages and writing this blog, that's all I can do for today. I suppose the next step is to not drink alcohol tonight. Which will be childishly easy.

--- Links ---

Want to join The Bellyfluffs? Do it here:

Found some cash down the sofa? Go here: