Sebastian and Rain read three books and kind of like them

Sebastian and Rain won’t let me write an introduction. They insist on getting straight into talking about the books they read.

Rain: You talked so much last time, this time I should get to start.

Sebastian peels a grape and slips it into his mouth.

Rain: We read Divergent by Veronica Roth. Did you know that right now it has 44,555 reviews on Amazon? That’s so freaking many!

Sebastian: And I’m not really sure why. The whole book was rather silly and juvenile.

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Confusion according to Pixabay

Here’s what confusion means to Pixabay, and what this can tell us about how we ought to live our lives. (Okay, not really.)

Pixabay is my favourite stock image website, possibly because it’s the only one whose name I can remember.

I use a lot of stock images, and some of them are brilliant. Most of the ones with people, however, are not.

“Yes, I am an actor being paid to pretend to type on this laptop/stare dreamily into space/look appropriately horrified at the size of that hamburger.”

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Dastardly schemes that upset your week

Some people are evil. I share the dastardly schemes of three such people in the areas of iron design, soy milk packaging, and pizza toppings.

I believe that on the whole people are good. They’re trying to protect you from killer pigeons, not steal your ice cream, teach you about the world, not make themselves big by making you feel small.

They feed wheat to mice and mice to kittens, and never get up when the cat is sleeping on their lap.

On the other hand, some people are bastards.

They deliberately speed through the puddle beside you just to splash you with dirty water, and take the last muffin that you were eyeing up solely to stop you getting it. And they weren’t even hungry.

These are the stories of three such people.

Iron man

I might have mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of ironing. I avoid buying myself clothes that need to be ironed (except by mistake), but hubby wear business shirts Monday to Thursday, so four mornings a week I get out the iron and do the deed.

Yes, it would probably be more efficient to iron them all in one go on the weekend, which would also give me more time in the mornings.

However, I’ve discovered through experimentation that one shirt is the maximum amount of ironing I can get through in one go without seriously contemplating turning the iron on myself.

So one shirt each morning it is.

My iron has two settings: not hot enough to get rid of the wrinkles, and so hot it partially melts the material and leaves strange pale lines in the colour.

There is no middle ground.

I quickly discovered the only way to have a chance at getting a flat shirt with more shape than a smear on the ironing board was to use a great deal of steam.

My iron dislikes this idea.

It demonstrates its unhappiness in several ways.

First is when I try to fill it up with water. The iron has a little hole on the top where you’re supposed to pour the water in. I’ve requisitioned a measuring jug for the purpose because we never cook anything that requires measuring and the jug creates a narrow stream of water that has a chance of going in the hole.

Unfortunately, the chance is never big enough.

Whichever clever bastard designed the iron came up with the dastardly plan of making a hole you can’t actually pour water into.

Oh, it starts out seeming fine, but after the first trickle a bubble or backwash always forms in the entrance and the water comes pouring out of the iron and goes everywhere.

I know irons are run by electricity, and water plus electricity equals much unhappiness, so I find this reverse water decidedly alarming.

Eventually I get enough water into the iron to attack the shirt. I turn the steam on full blast, put the iron face-down… and nothing.

No steam, no hiss. The iron refuses to play.

It might be pumping out enough heat to turn a royal blue shirt pasty, but no steam means no wrinkle-fighting power.

Maybe I haven’t said the right prayers to the Great Cat.

Eventually, and entirely randomly, the iron decides to steam.

Quick! Use the flattening power while it lasts!

I iron like a madman, but eventually I have to leave the iron sitting up on its butt.

The steam continues to flow.

In great clouds it belches forth like dragon breath, hissing and fogging up the windows. I swear it would run until it ran out of water, given half a chance.

At times the iron is steaming when down and stopping when up, and then, inevitably on a white shirt, it resorts to its most evil trick of all.

It gobs lumps of brown goo across the shirt.

And before you get all upset and tell me this is my fault for not using distilled water in the iron let me say this. I know using tap water causes a bulid-up of minerals inside the iron that have to go somewhere.

(I’m really hoping this is what the goo is, and not some alien infestation.)

But for freak’s sake, it’s an iron. Like you shouldn’t coddle kids, you shouldn’t coddle irons. Do it and soon they’ll be refusing to work unless you feed them the $80-a-bottle tequila.

No matter what I feed it, that’s no excuse for gobbing swamp water on hubby’s shirts.

So the first prize in jerkiness goes to the person who designed my iron.

Soy milk carton guy

I take my coffee with soy milk.

It comes in a cartony box kind of thing with a plastic screw top and it makes my coffee taste a bit like custard.

I like custard. It makes coffee feel homey.

The carton of soy milk is well equipped with helpful instructions. Twist to open, refrigerate after opening, and all that.

And there’s this one: shake well before use.

I see the logic behind this instruction. Soy milk separates when it sits for too long. (At least, I assume this is the reason. It could be that the soy milk company thinks we all need more exercise, and shaking cartons is the way to get it.)

Before I open the carton for the first time I give it a good shake, and when I pour creamy goodness streams out.

But I come back the next day, set the jug boiling, put instant coffee in my cup, and get the soy milk from the fridge.

Shake well before use.

I shake the carton.

Soy milk splashes everywhere.

If you’re going to insist I shake the soy milk every time you should darn well put it in a carton with a lid that doesn’t leak.

Soy milk guy is jerk number two.

Pizza guy

Anchovies on pizza are the devil. They taste like excrement, and you can’t even pull them off and eat the pizza because they leave their horrible taste behind.

Hubby, on the other hand, thinks anchovies enhance a pizza. Years ago, we agreed to disagree. (We also disagree on how to cook bacon.)

Fortunately, pizza places have come up with the wonderful concept of putting different toppings on the two halves of one pizza.

Usually this works. We can have half a pizza with gross things like pineapple, olives (which can plausibly be removed from pizza) and anchovies, and half a pizza with real food toppings only.

Until recently when the pizza guy turned dastardly. Sure, he gave us the toppings we asked for and anchovies on half the pizza only.

Under the cheese.

In case you’re wondering, you can’t identify anchovies under a slathering of cheese. You can’t tell which half of the pizza is safe and which might yield a mouthful of excrement.

No way except to bite and hope you don’t get a mouthful of salty fish.

Jerk number three: the dastardly pizza guy who hides the anchovies under the cheese.

Dastardly schemes involving anchovies
No dead fish on my pizza, thank you very much.

What dastardly schemes have people pulled on you?

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Sebastian and Rain read more mega-popular books

My writer half and my reader half ganged up and read Maze Runner recently. The verdict was… less than rosy.

Over the past few days Sebastian and Rain read Divergent and Maze Runner. There were good reasons, I promise.

If you haven’t met Sebastian and Rain before, you can read this post. It probably won’t clear anything up.

Sebastian: I have to talk about The Maze Runner first. You made me stay up late last night finishing it, so I should darn well get to explain why I hated it so much.

Rain: Like anyone could stop you.

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Exercise according to Boris the Fitbit

To optimise recorded steps for my future exertions, I performed certain exercises and recorded how many steps Boris the Fitbit counted. Turns out Boris has trouble with numbers.

I recently acquired a personal trainer called Boris the Fitbit. Boris has shown me that I don’t pace enough while sitting at my desk, and I rarely get enough sleep.

I suspect I could have figured these out for myself.

One of Boris’ main goals is to get me to walk 10k steps every day, and he usually fails abysmally. However, casual observation suggests that he and I disagree on what constitutes a step.

The scientific side of me has decided to get serious about this and document exactly what Boris counts as a step so if I don’t game the system I can at least figure out why I’m losing so badly.

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