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Posted on February 22, 2008 in Junk Mail by Jay3 Comments »

Red Rose ThongI had a piece of junk mail land on my doormat this morning. It was a roughly A4 sheet of paper, glossily printed, folded into three and sealed with a sticky strip.

On the outside, in the top left hand corner was printed this ‘important notice’ -

“This envelope contains an offer of an erotic nature. If you are offended by eroticism or are under 18 years of age kindly discard this envelope unopened”

Naturally, I opened it. Not only am I way past eighteen years old, sadly, but I am entirely unoffended by eroticism. Or erotica, come to that.

I AM, however, offended. I was promised an offer of an erotic nature! What did I get? Pictures of lithe young women in tacky lingerie! Call me picky, but I don’t find bland and pouty young ladies in a variety of tasteless underwear composed of lace, gauze, bows – and in one particularly horrible example, what appears to be the Macgregor tartan painted by a creatively minded ten year old – in the slightest bit erotic. What’s more, having checked with my Other Half, neither does he. Or so he says.

Also on the page is an ‘enticing’ offer which suggests that if I order something from the catalogue (which they will be overjoyed to send me on request) I will get two free gifts. One is a thong made from black see-through nylon with a bright red fabric rose holding it together. I may be a ‘moody old broad’ as one of my dear American Depp buddies called me recently (and I’ll get you later for that, Darlene), and I may be overweight, but that garment, if I may be permitted to stretch the description thus far, does nothing for me but make me irritable and inclined to snap – as I’m sure those insubstantial looking threads of fabric holding it together would, should I be so foolish as to attempt to wear said garment. I’m guessing they’d probably give way round about the time I tried to ease them over my backside.

And I’m also guessing that if I did, by some enormous stroke of luck, actually fit into the thing, I would 1) find it extremely uncomfortable, and 2) be sporting tramlines across my hips for a week. No visible panty-line? Ha! I think I’d need liposuction to get rid of that one.

The other free offer is a game which is based, probably rather loosely, on the Kama Sutra. The illustration on the lid is the only thing I could possible find in the slightest bit erotic on the whole damn leaflet, but is rather spoiled by the fact that the young lady straddling the poor guy has legs of such disproportionate length that even though she is kneeling with her legs at an acute angle, her crotch is nearly at the level of his jaw. Hmm. Well, maybe that is a little bit erotic … although I think he’d break his neck if he tried anything.

But passing hastily over that one, come on – seriously now, Leaflet People! Do you really think that in this day and age ANYONE, whether under the age of eighteen or not, is going to be the slightest bit interested in ogling lingerie-clad teenaged girls who are not
displaying so much as the merest hint of a nipple? You can see more just walking down the local High Street on a good day. Or even a bad day.

On the one hand, this not-very-literary effort does promise me a catalogue bursting with seduction and fun accessories, but on the other it says no-one will ever know about me exploring my passions, which suggests I’ll be flying solo.

I think I’m probably supposed to be intrigued, but sadly I just feel old, crabby and jaded. And just a little bit annoyed about the waste of a perfectly good bit of paper.

Posted on February 10, 2008 in Johnny Depp by Jay46 Comments »

Johnny DeppA number of people will be wondering why the name of this blog is ‘The Depp effect’ when it clearly isn’t a straightforward dribble-stained fan site. Well, I’ll tell you, if you promise not to laugh.

About four years ago, my dearly beloved husband was away from home and I was keeping a motherly eye on our second son, who was about nineteen at the time and ‘between jobs’. He didn’t need much looking after, but I tried to make sure that minimal amounts of the content of his room leaked out into the rest of the house, while at the same time trying to prevent too much of our crockery and cutlery disappearing INTO the Black Hole. Anyway, one day he said he fancied renting a movie and I let him choose.

He said he wanted to watch Pirates of the Caribbean, and my heart sank. I didn’t know much about the movie, but what I did know wasn’t encouraging: it was Disney (strike one) it involved pirates (strike two) and a ship with a skeleton crew (strike three). But Son No. 2 insisted that he’d seen it at the cinema and it was a great movie and it occurred to me that it would mean a welcome break from the constant battle against the Cartoon Network, video gaming and the dreaded drum kit, so I agreed and sent him up to the video store to fetch it.

Five minutes after Captain Jack hove into view my chin dropped to my chest and stayed there, and my eyes became mysteriously superglued to the screen.

There really is something about that character that hooks deep into the imagination of a very large cross-section of the population. People from five to seventy-five have had the same experience as me, in fact I’ve heard it said that you’d have to be dead to avoid it altogether, although I think, on balance, that’s probably an exaggeration.

Anyway, after reluctantly returning The Curse of the Black Pearl, I began to work my way through Johnny Depp’s back catalogue, discovering such gems as Chocolat, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and Benny & Joon. I began to make a point of renting a movie for the weekend, when my Other Half would be home, so I could share with him my latest find. Luckily for me, he quickly came to appreciate Mr Depp’s phenomenal gifts – though not, it has to be said, in quite the same way that I did.

He began to look up Depp movies on IMDB, and requested Ed Wood. I found that I loved it. I picked up Don Juan de Marco, which he looked askance at, but we both loved that one too. For a long time I would not watch Once Upon a Time in Mexico because I’d heard what happens to Agent Sands, but .. well, I began to run out of movies and my friends assured me it was actually pretty funny, so I did watch it. Much to my surprised, yep, I laughed. I flatly refused to consider From Hell because I don’t ‘do’ slasher movies, but, well .. eventually I rented that one too, which caused raised eyebrows at Blockbuster Video, but guess what? It’s now my favourite Depp movie.

So, OK, this is a pretty run-of-the-mill story so far. One woman and (to a somewhat lesser degree) her husband become Johnny Depp fans. So what? And that still doesn’t explain the term ‘The Depp Effect’, does it?

I’ll try to put this as briefly as possible. At the time, I was a fat, middle aged woman with two grown sons and a multitude of health problems. My husband of more than 25 years was also going through a health crisis. I’d become tired, jaded and over-anxious, and reluctant to do anything very much.

Now, much as I had begun to love him, I did not want to know anything about Johnny Depp’s private life, his character or his personality, or his shoe size. I had learned from bitter experience that most idols have feet of clay and I tend to lose interest in people who prove themselves by word or deed to be bastards, and I was so enjoying being a fan of his that I wanted to keep right on being a fan. But you know how it is, when people discover that you have an interest (alright, call it an obsession if you must), they start to give you things. They mark it down for birthday and Christmas gifts and random stuff appears in the mail – and before you know it, despite your intentions, you begin to learn more about said ‘interest’ that you ever wanted.

What did I learn about Johnny Depp? Why, nothing at all to his discredit. He appears to be a Jolly Nice Chap. He seems to be not only hugely talented, but intelligent, witty, warm and funny, a true family man and just plain nice. And best of all, he is inspirational. His life’s motto seems to be, well … ‘Fuck it!’. As a role model for an insecure stuck-in-the-mud housewife, he couldn’t have been better.

And so, when I was invited to go and stay with a bunch of fellow fans I met on the internet and who happened to live in the US, instead of saying ‘Oh, that would be too risky and I’d have to fly across The Pond and I’m not sure my health would allow it and I might not like them and .. and .. and … ‘ I said ‘Fuck it – I will!’ and I had a GREAT time and made some new, real-life, honest to goodness friends. However, I still occasionally refer to my very best US friend as ‘the Axe Murderer’ in recognition that she could have turned out to be some great hairy homicidal maniac called Dave instead of the lovely lady that she is.

Since then, I’ve said ‘Fuck it – I’m tired of being fat and ugly, I’m gonna do something about it’ and ‘Fuck it – I’m gonna dye my hair’ and ‘Fuck it, I might be a tad late, but I’m gonna get my ears pierced’ and quite a lot of other ‘Fuck its’ and I’ve made friends, travelled a lot, and done many things I thought were for ‘other people’, including manning the barriers for eight hours on the hottest day of the year to take the picture above at the premiere for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and exchange a few words with the man himself.

My husband is delighted with the new me, too. However, I do worry about him. I think he may possibly be suffering from the teeniest smidgeon of jealousy.

I found this on the side of the fridge the other day -

StraightnessAnd … oh no! Look! It’s Not Straight!!!

Do you think he’ll notice?

Posted on February 9, 2008 in Hounds by JayComments Off

This dog is a floozy, no two ways about it. I think she needs her own Playdog of the Month calendar

Miss February

I don’t normally dress my dogs, but greyhounds have very thin skin, fine hair and not very much subcutaneous fat. And it was a cold day, OK? Anyway The Princess doesn’t seem to object, does she?

Posted on February 8, 2008 in Food and Drink by Jay4 Comments »

Starbucks TapeI’ve been meaning to start writing a weblog – or ‘blog’ as I suppose I must call it – for some time now, but being a fundamentally lazy person, it’s been one of those things which have been pushed onto the back burner. There has always been something more important to do. But I wanted to improve my writing skills and a blog can be pretty good for instant feedback (if you can get anyone to read it) so I thought I’d try it … and time went on, and no blogging was done. None. Zip, zilch, nada.

So what has moved me to begin writing?

Starbucks.

Yep, that ubiquitous and bland taker-over of local banks – Starbucks. Now, I actually rather like Starbucks’ coffee, possibly because I am really not a coffee drinker. I like my coffee warm, milky and weak, therefore Starbucks’ latte or cappuccino suits me just fine. So, while out shopping in Cambridge recently with my Other Half, we popped into one for a little R & R and a mug of warm liquid.

While waiting to be served, I was subjected to the sight of a glass cabinet full of various edibles. Cakes, pastries, salads, wraps and cookies to name but a few… and there, nestling among them was a tray of chocolate chip scones, and lo! I coveted one of those huge, triangular confections. Oh, I knew they were hard on the outside and chewy on the inside, just as a scone ought not to be, but they looked so damned NICE! And I’ve had one before, so I knew they WERE damned nice. They go so well with a latte – even a skinny latte – and we were an hour’s drive from home … and I knew dinner would be late AND that I’d have to cook it if I wanted any. And so I informed my Other Half of my desire. And he said ‘Do you want one?’

I said ‘No.’

Why, you ask, did I say no? Well, I’ll tell you.

For the last three or four years, I have been keeping an eye on my weight. Let’s face it, nearly fifteen stone was a little too much for a woman who has to stretch somewhat to make five foot four and a half, and a recent photo of me with my elderly mother had shaken me to the core. Suffice it to say that I’ve succeeded in shedding about three and a half stone but I am stuck a long way from my goal and parts of me Still Wobble.

I knew that scone would make me feel slightly unwell, because I’m no longer used to eating quantities of sugar and carbs, with or without a dollop of pure fat, aka butter. But neither that nor the calories alone was enough to give me the strength to refuse. Not even the almost entire lack of worthwhile nutritional content would have swayed me. I could have split it with Other Half, no? They are, after all, far too big for one person, even a big person. And their hard-shelled, chewy centred goodness is never *quite* as nice as I remember it … but that’s not the reason either.

So .. what WAS the real resaon? Was it willpower? Sadly no. One Starbucks’ scone here or there probably isn’t going to make a huge difference (yes, yes, I can see you all shaking your heads, sit down at the back there) but the thing is, I knew that if I ate that thing I’d have to report it to SparkPeople.

For those who haven’t come across Spark People, this is a weight loss/nutrition/exercise website which aims to encourage you to stick to your goals by various means, one of which is the Daily Nutritional Report. Fact is, I simply couldn’t face entering ’1 large Starbucks’ chocolate chip scone’ into the ‘Add a food’ box. Or even ‘Half of one large Starbucks’ chocolate chip scone’.

Actually, SparkPeople don’t list a chocolate chip scone under the Starbucks comestibles, but they do have a Starbucks’ Cranberry and Orange Scone, and I’ve had one of those, too. I don’t think the calorie count would be too dissimilar and at 510 calories each, plus a hefty 480mg of sodium, it would take a brave woman to admit to eating one and still go nose to nose with the figures on the bottom line.

So there you are. I have been cowed by an internet weight loss and fitness site, but on the other hand, I’ve been kick-started into writing a blog.

And pounding a keyboard surely must use up *some* calories, don’t you think?