Hello everyone, thanks for coming! This is my blog, it's where I largely write about things that maybe 3 people read, but I do it anyway because they matter. Have a flick through, read ones with interesting titles, and check by every once in a while and see if there's any more. You can also follow me on twitter at @MikePasquale or you can visit my website which has got all my illustration on it: www.smash-rockets-to-mars.co.uk

Anyway, thanks again, and hope you enjoy your reading!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Blog 149: Crystal Meth

I love the TV channel called Challenge. It's literally brilliant.
The main reason I love it is that it will sometimes show an old TV show called Crystal Maze and it's hilarious.

And it's hilarious a little bit because all the people on there are from a while ago and all the fashion was a bit different then so they all look a little bit...well...

...just a little bit different from people nowadays. And I think that's funny.

But the main reason is the presenter. I'm told there was another guy before him, but the one I saw was  a man named Ed Tutor-Pole. Ed briefly replaced Jonny Rotten in the Sex Pistols and then started his own band called TudorTen or something, so you might know of him.

Just to be clear, I am not saying this next bit is true, I am merely saying that in my opinion, the impression is given that the presenter acts in a way you might expect of someone who is taking class A drugs. Again, I am NOT saying that Ed Tudor-Pole is actually addicted to cocaine, I am just saying that if someone was addicted to cocaine, you might expect them to act in a similar way to how he acts while presenting that particular show. In fact, I'm going to retract all of that in case I get in trouble, and just leave you with a picture and let you think what you want to think.

Whatever you just thought in your head is your own thoughts and I am not responsible for them. So if you want to complain, address it to your own brain.

Here's a clip, actually, if you want to watch him sidling up behind people and yelling nonsensical things at people like a creepy drunk Victorian Dr Who. But I should warn you that as you watch this, it will be a bit like watching a nightmare, except you can't just wake up and escape.

If I was locked in that room I'd rather just be left there, Captain.

Anyway, it's so brilliant because it's a bit like a kids' show I used to watch called Jungle Run, but it's got adults on it instead of kids. Yet Ed still makes them peg it around this giant studio, holding them by their hand, and they still get well excited about finding all the crystals.

One of my favourite bits of Crystal Maze is when people get trapped in the rooms, and they can't escape because they failed that particular test. They always look so alone and dejected, like their thoughts have finally caught up and they realise they're running around following a...let's say an eccentric man - who you can tell is constantly straining so much it hurts to try and think of something to say and keeps saying things that aren't very funny, like a Dad on Christmas. So they're running around after him and they're trying to find crystals. All of a sudden they realise the haunting truth of where they are and what they're doing.

"I've let my family down..."

One more thing, one of the other shows I watched was called 'Finders Keepers' and had Neil Buchanan, the guy from Art Attack. Just wanted to share the bit when a boy named Alex, who called himself 'the Ginger Ninja', came on and introduced himself. "I'm the boss in my house," he said, "I'm always beating up my brothers. One is FOUR AND THE OTHER ONE IS ONE AND A HALF?!?!"

This boy is a danger to society.

And then Neil went absolutely mental.

I could genuinely write about the things you see on this channel forever, you should definitely watch it. Anyway, well done for being situated on a planet that's completed one whole orbit of a star, thanks for reading, and have a Happy New Year. You deserve it.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Blog 148: Absolutely Fable-ous

It's always good to try and share wisdom and advice with our fellow people, helping them to live their lives as best they can. But sometimes people will try and teach you rubbish and disguise it up all nice as a harmless tale. People like Aesop. Sure, his fables are nice little fables with animals that can talk, and everyone loves animals that can talk. That's why you'll feel sad inside if I mention 'Babe' and 'bacon' in the same sentence. But surprise surprise, the animals in these fables often say stupid things, because they're stupid animals! Humans are meant to be cleverer than animals so I'm not sure listening to wisdom demonstrated by talking animals is a good idea.

By the way, does anyone even know who this Aesop guy is? And how does he know so much about the animal kingdom anyway? Far as I know they didn't have David Attenborough documentaries when he was around fabling.

Anyway, let's see if we can learn something.

Number 1: The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse...

Once upon a time a Town Mouse went to visit his cousin Country Mouse in the countryside. Country Mouse was rough and ready, but he loved his cousin and made him a nice meal to welcome him. They ate beans and bacon, cheese and bread - it was all he had but he let the Town Mouse have as much as he liked.

Town Mouse was a right little snob so he lifted up his long mouse nose at the food. "I don't get how you can put up with all this yob's food. Beans? BEANS? How can you eat this stuff everyday? I suppose you can't get anything better than this in the country. Tell you what, come with me, stay in town for a bit and I'll show you what you're missing. Then you'll never know how you could have put up with this grim country living." I imagine he said this in a cockney accent.

So they set off and went to Town Mouse's house. They were hungry, so Town Mouse took him into the dining room and there was a huge feast set out for them, with lots of cake and ale. They ate loads and it was all nice food. Suddenly they heard a terrifying noise, growling and barking from outside.

Country Mouse leapt out of his skin. "What on earth is that?" he yelled, in a West Country accent.
"Ah dan't warry 'bou' that mate, it's only the dogs o' the 'ouse" said Town Mouse.
"ONLY the dogs? ONLY the terrifying massive dogs? Pfft. I don't like that kinda music at my dinner."
Just then the door flung open and two huge dogs came bounding in. The mice scamper off and hide.
"See you later, cuz," said the Country Mouse.
"Where are you going?" said the Town Mouse.
"Home," said the country mouse. "Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear".

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? When is that advice useful? When? When's the last time you had a choice of eating nice food but being terrified the whole time or eating rubbish food? Say I take a girl for dinner (you were happy to accept mice can talk so I'm sure you can stretch your imagination here) imagine I'm taking a girl for dinner this weekend and I'm deciding where to go. I want to impress her, obviously, so I want to choose somewhere nice. That's not an actual choice I face. I don't go through various menus and say well, there's this wonderful 5 star restaurant with a gourmet superstar chef and fine wines, BUT you do have to play Russian Roulette as you eat so you're constantly being shouted at in foreign languages while being forced to hold a revolver to your head and shoot it at your temple. OR there's Maccy D's. Not the finest food, but at least it's safe. Well, better to eat Maccy D's in peace than fine 5 star food with a man holding a revolver to your face! When's that ever been an issue?

You should these Calamari dear, they're just divine!

Also, I'm not a mouse, I'm a massive human being. I'm not scared of dogs. Secondly, there's dogs in the country side too? And also foxes and badgers? And birds of prey, horses, cows, pigs, sheep, crows. It's literally a horrifying, terrifying place to be a mouse. Also, bacon is the best food ever, it definitely beats cake. Also, mice can't open a can of beans even if there's a ring pull, and they can't cook bacon. If you're trying to teach me some wisdom, Aesop, then at least do the research. You're embarrassing yourself.

And don't you roll your eyes at me.

So there's some wisdom for you from good ol' mister Aesop. Hope it helps you live your life. I'll probably do some more of these in the future. The moral of this story is, make sure you don't fall into the trap of being on your own with your computer too often, because you'll waste your time reading fables and writing blog posts about them.

If any single ladies are reading this and want to go for dinner this weekend, let me know. I know this lovely little place where the profiteroles are just to die for.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Blog 147: Need That Like A Hole In The Floor

Some of you in the UK might have read about a sink hole that just appeared in the city of St Albans recently, and it's hit me quite close to home. Literally, because I live down the road from St Albans.

It's mad - there's a street in St Albans where one day, for whatever sciencey reason, a ginormous hole just appeared in the floor. It's terrifying!

It only just missed someone's house as well. A little bit to the left and it could've swallowed up their living room. And it made me realise that NOBODY IS SAFE!

We're constantly worrying about our safety and just to add to it, now we know it's possible, in southern England, for giant holes to open up and swallow us into the floor. What if one appears under my house? Then what?

What if one just appears under my car when I'm driving? Huh? What'll happen then, huh? What if it appears under the England Rugby team on their way to the World Cup Final, then what, huh? We forfeit and the Welsh win? Again? The horror.

Even in the hard times, I'll always be there for my guys.

What if just as I ask out a woman, and by the way she's beautiful; big, shining eyes like a tiger's, hair that floats in the wind like a lava lamp, skin as soft as Andrex 'Quilts'. As I ask her to dinner, she bats her eyes and she says something like 'Michael, I've been waiting all my life for a man like you to ask me a question like that,' and she purses her soft, pink lips and leans in, and as I step closer the wind picks up like a scene from Pocahontas, the world around us blurs and darkens because this is it, this is really happening...AND THEN THE FLOOR OPENS UP AND A SINK HOLE SWALLOWS UP MY NEW GIRLFRIEND? WHAT THEN?!

And in the hard times, they're always there for me.

Something has to be done. There's lots of political talk at the moment with rumours flying around about David Cameron and a...a porcine ex of his (I'm sure it's not true but I bet when that story came out he wished the ground would open and swallow him up)...Jeremy Corbyn delivering speeches to hen parties on trains, and obviously a lot of controversy about immigration that really shouldn't be brought up on silly and ill researched blogs like mine...but I want to know, what's going to be done about these bloody sinkholes that swallowed up my girlfriend?! By the way ladies, I'm single.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Blog 146: Nicolas UnCaged

Everybody writes about Nicolas Cage, I know, but I read this and I just had to. I just had to.
I read this article on a website called Movie Pilot... you can read the full thing here if you want.

The headline reads:

Nicolas Cage Slept in Dracula's Castle to 'Channel the Energy', So Sayeth Idris Elba

Idris Elba, for those that don't know, is another actor. He's in the adverts for watching box sets on Sky and he plays Heimdall in Thor and Thor 2 - the guy with the big golden helmet who sees everything.
And he was also in Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance ...a film that was just...awful. Actually, to be fair, the special effects were incredible, and the Ghost Rider looked amazing in it, but everything else was really bad. Anyway, Idris said this about Nic.

"Yeah - Nic Cage came back one day on set, and he came down to set and he looked a little bit tired, a little bit - kind of like he'd been up all night. 

So I was like, "Hey Nic man, how you doing man" and he said "I'm alright" and I said "You seem a little spooked out"...

...and he said, "Yeah man, I went up to Dracula's castle...the ruins up in the mountains, and I stayed the night" and I said, "What?! Why?" and he said "I just had to channel the energy, and it was pretty spooky up there." We were shooting in Romania, Transylvania, and he just went up there to spend the night, as you do. And then he walked away."

When I read that I just thought it'd be incredible to watch how this played out in the film. So here it is, Nic Cage channeling the energy of Dracula himself... enjoy!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Blog 145: An NHSsity?

So I've been speaking to some friends, and found out a fair few of them haven't been to the dentist in, well, years. Like, literally years. And I completely get it. I'm tempted to just stop going myself.

I'll tell you why! I've never been to the dentist and been told anything other than "your teeth are fine, keep up the good work". Ok, once, a dentist told me I should get braces. I didn't need them though, they just stick braces on any kid growing up in the UK like they've got a quota to fill, and that quota specifies "one to every kid". My teeth have basically gone back to how they were because there was no way I was wearing that retainer at night. And it's fine, I can still chew. Trust me, I have no trouble eating.

The only other time I got told something different was "your wisdom teeth are coming through... go to this address to see this other dentist". So I went to this 'dentist' but it was just a guy's house, and then he told me "yeah, your wisdom teeth are coming through at a right angle to what they should be. But unless it hurts, we'll just leave them. We like to just leave wisdom teeth these days". So when I don't need braces, I'm held down and have bits of metal glued to my skull, but when my wisdom teeth come out at a right angle, betraying their molar friends, nobody bats an eyelid. And they never did hurt, so I didn't need to do anything. So basically, they could have summarised it as "your teeth are fine, keep up the good work". Thanks guys.

And doctors... Now, don't get me wrong, doctors are brilliant if you need one. If I need to have an operation for some reason and anyone other than a doctor is in charge, like, a builder or a lawyer, I'd be cross. But I always forget that some doctors are just like some people, and they have absolutely no common sense.

I hate going to the doctor now, because I've had a recurring problem with my back, and it's got to the point once before where for 5 weeks I couldn't lie down, and I couldn't sleep for more than 2 half hours every night. And I had to go to the doctor a few times with that, and every time I went back, the woman who saw me made me feel like an idiot and a burden.

I'm just going to take this opportunity to say to any doctors reading (and I know there aren't any, but still):

I am not a doctor.

In fact, you can put that in your records. Type my name in, pull my records up and just make a note at the top there. You can quote me on it: "This patient is NOT a doctor and has very little knowledge of biology and medicine, so will visit when something isn't functioning properly on his body".

So if a doctor tells me it's a trapped nerve, and will go in 2 weeks, and if after 5 weeks it's still there and I go back, and if after a year when I feel the same spot twinging like it's gonna go again any minute, and if in my uneducated un-doctor brain I, for some reason, think all of this means it could be more than a trapped nerve, then yes, I might come back to the doctor.

And if you are a doctor, then maybe just realise that the majority of people who are going to come to you will, in fact, not be doctors. They will be ordinary people, with no medical expertise or training, and some of them are probably coming to you because they have a genuine concern for their health, and they made the simple mistake of thinking that doctors were there for exactly that purpose. Your job is to help diagnose people and help treat them. That's your job. So people who are ill will come to you and ask you for your expertise, because that is your job. You best get used to it.

So I don't like to go to the doctor, and after my recent visit, which prompted all this typing, I do wonder if we could do with testing them all and just getting rid of the naff ones, and just use google. We all do it, and to be honest, google is usually more right than the doctor. Most of my doctor's appointments go like this: Doctor gets it wrong, I google it and realise they're wrong, I keep googling and find out the right answer, I go back and say 'I think it might be this', doctor agrees.

Fairly recently, I had shingles. Just so you know, shingles is like a rash - it's chicken pox that lives under your skin for years and years and then just comes up along one nerve randomly when you're an adult (by the way, don't google it. It's grim. It looks like you're turning into a red crocodile, one nerve at a time). I didn't know what it was at the time. He told me "it's not shingles, it can't be, because it hasn't scabbed over yet. It's herpes. Take some of this stuff".

I didn't know much about herpes. I knew it was an STI from school, but I knew that thrush was too, and I also knew from my time working at a nursery that you can catch thrush from drooling babies, so it's not exclusively transmitted through...well, the S part of STI. So I googled it at home to see what it said about herpes. Again, I don't recommend googling.

Anyway, I discovered that it was exclusively passed on through skin on skin contact, and that it was something you only get around your mouth and your genitals. But my rash was on my rib, and I am a Christian, so I'm trying hard as you like to stay celibate until I hopefully get married.

One day my princess will come...

So I think it's fair to say, there's sufficient reason for me to think the doctor might have made a mistake.

Which made me a bit annoyed... maybe I'm being unfair, but if a doctor has that computer in front of them and reads that 'herpes is something you get on your mouth or on your dingle' while looking at a rash on your rib, you might just be prompted to ask a couple more questions. I'd expect a doctor, as he tries to ascertain whether I've got herpes or not, to at least ask, "Mike, have you erm...done it recently?" Because a very simple question like that could lead to a very simple answer, "no, doctor", which in turn will lead to the doctor not being wrong. I thought doctors have tests in communication so they are able to work out what's wrong, I didn't realise they just have to randomly suggest a disease and wait for you to google it and come back with the real answer. I thought we'd moved on from that.

Anyway, I spoke to a mate who had shingles a few weeks before I did, (shingles brothers!!) and he saw the rash and said it was definitely shingles. So I went back, and this time, a different doctor, as soon as I lifted up my shirt, said, STRAIGHT AWAY, "yeah, that's definitely shingles". She explained how shingles is also known as "herpes zoster", so that's probably where the confusion came from. I didn't tell her that her colleague had said "it's definitely not shingles because it hasn't scabbed over". I mean, what do I know? I'm not a doctor.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Blog 144: Tortilla Sky

Another one of my dreams, which I more or less remember,  features myself, my friend Iain, his girlfriend (who just became his fiance, so CONGRATULATIONS) but who will remain nameless because I don't know if they want me blabbing all over the internet, and my girlfriend who will remain nameless because she doesn't exist in real life and I genuinely can't remember the face or name she had in the dream. Sorry.

Anyway, we all went on a little holiday to Barcelona, which according to my subconscious looks a lot like my secondary school but a lot more autumnal because all the trees were well orange.

While we were there, we thought we'd travel on the famous cable car system which weaves it's way through Barcelona's heart. I've never been to Barcelona, so I have no idea if it has cable cars going through it or not, so that might be a stupid dream invention or it might be just completely normal.

Upon entering the cable car, which was about the size of the bus, you had a choice of normal, bus like seats, or like, a bag thing, that hung underneath the cable car. Like a scrotum.

Which isn't so odd when you observe the 
rest of the architecture in Barcelona.

Of course, the choice of normal seats only became apparent once I'd already climbed into the scrote bit and got myself all comfortable in the little hanging pouch, so I decided to ride it out despite the extremely rude American girls behind me who kept saying how weird it was for me to choose those seats. I lied to them and said it was traditional. Hopefully they climbed into one later on in an effort to experience the 'real Barcelona', the fools.

As the cable car meandered over the streets below, I began to realise that it was more like a roller coaster than a cable car. We were swinging all over the shop, my bundled up legs narrowly avoiding rooftops and trees and those wires that hang all over the place in cities. It was a bit scary at first but quickly became really fun.

And at the end of the ride, the cable car hit a slope down towards the floor, where it would then leave the cables that held it up and park itself on the floor. It was a huge downward slope, and was lots of fun, like a giant slide. But Iain got scared and rushed to the front going 'what's happening?'. He was all worried because he didn't realise the cable car ended with a slope and thought we were falling. Silly boy, everyone knows the cable cars in Barcelona slope to the floor and park themselves! That's when I woke up, but it's too early. So I wrote this, and hopefully I'll dream a bit more now as I wander back into my sleep.

Just like a baby.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Blog 143: Elm Street Smarts

I don't really have dreams very often, but I do enjoy having them because they're so weird, and I was told that keeping a dream journal helps you to remember them when you wake up. But what's the point in keeping a dream journal if nobody reads it, I hear you ask. Well, the same reason I keep a blog even though nobody reads it. Because what else am I supposed to do now that the internet has grinded away at my life until all that was left was twitter and sometimes this blog.

So here's the first of, if this theory of dream journaling works, a few blogs about what happened in my dream last night. I'll skip out all the ones where I'm on dates with Jennifer Lawrence because for the sake of this activity, it should be assumed about 3 of those happen per night, and occasionally in lectures or when I'm driving to work.

So last night I had two that I can remember, the first being mega exciting. I was on a weekend away with my old church, but with some people from my new church too, and my friends and I decided we'd go out on a motorbike. Our weekend away wasn't in the usual location of somewhere near Milton Keynes but was, instead, in the middle of a desert wasteland somewhere. Eventually, I suppose, you run out of things to do if you always go to the same place, even Milton Keynes.

Ok. Especially Milton Keynes.

Anyway, one thing that apparently happens in the desert, according to my night-brain, is that it gets dark really quickly, and you can't drive back in the dark. So we had to run back. The problem being is that the bike got left in the desert, and the desert at night is full of massive spiders.

How would our brave protagonist get through this quagmire of a problem? By now the audience would have been hooked, as I'm sure you are. 

We returned to the place we were staying, and told my friend and colleague/sort of boss the situation. A lady overheard and suggested we borrowed her truck to go pick it up. It was a sensible idea, but dream brains don't really 'get' sensible. So we ignored it.

Everyone tried to persuade me just to go and getting, but I hate spiders and was too terrified so I didn't. (Remember, this is a dream. I'm sure in real life I would have heroically fought back the arachnid aberrations and rescued that bike, along with a random hot piece of damsel).

In the end, My friend/colleague/kinda boss decided to go. Off she went, into the darkness, armed with nothing but her intellect and her tiny hands...

And that's when I woke up. I'll never know if she came back alive, with or without the bike, or if she ended up paralysed, entrapped in a web cocoon like Frodo, under the slavering jaws of a thousand prickly beasts. If you'd like to finish the story, fell free to use the comments box, if there is one.

The second dream was a bit more family friendly, except for the beginning. It started with a boy at youth group writing something extremely rude on a bit of paper. I can't really remember what but, oh, it was awful. So, as the leader, I asked the culprit to own up, and he did, so I told him off. But as I was telling him off, his mum came to pick him up and she got cross that I was telling him off. So we argued, with me pointing out that he'd owned up and it was REALLY rude, but we went back and forth and in the end, the only way to settle it was for me to race the boy on some weird virtual floating Tron version of Scalextrics. I was winning the whole way, but flew off the track at the last minute (stupid Scalextrics). So the kid won, and that meant his mum had won the argument. But then I said "I won", and she said "you can't do that!" To which I said "Well if he can be bad, I can be bad," and left the room.

That's what happens when you mess with church youth group leaders.

 And everyone cheered. What a great dream.