AUTHOR GUY PORTMAN'S BLOG

PORTMAN'S PONDERINGS, PROCRASTINATIONS, PREAMBLES, PROGNOSES & PARODIES.

1
Tokyo Dentist
2
Tokyo
3
Traditional Sushi Dining Experience
4
Garbage Pail Kids
5
Twitter Viruses (Part 2)
6
Twitter Viruses
7
Reincarnation News
8
Charles Middleworth
9
Crabs
10
EuroMillions

Tokyo Dentist

Today is my last day in Tokyo.  Having toured the city, visited temples and eaten at exclusive sushi restaurants, there is only one more place to visit; the dentist.

My last visit to a dentist had been some months previous in London.  On entering the premises that day my suspicions had immediately been aroused by the casually dressed receptionist, who despite having never met me before had greeted me by my first name, a habit I deplore.  Moments later an Eastern European hygienist was ushering me towards an archaic looking dental chair.  My efforts at small talk proved unsuccessful, which only added to the sense of impending doom.

Her methods could best be described as agricultural; from the crude probing, to the ghastly sound of the scraping of the hooks against my teeth and the incessant bleeding.  As I squirmed uncomfortably, she would utter, ‘this is not pain,’ repeatedly.

‘I’ll be the judge of that…,’ I had replied on the fifth or sixth occurrence, as I sat up spitting blood into the dentist basin, before rising and departing the room haughtily.  From his position behind the desk, the receptionist enquired as to what was wrong, ignoring him I continued through the lobby.  He reminded me about the outstanding bill.

‘Sue me,’ I shouted, an arc of blood spraying across the desk.

Back in the present these thoughts couldn’t be further from my mind as I recline in the top of the range dental chair.  The array of dental accessories so dexterously employed on my teeth as to give a soothing sensation.  On completion I hold a small hand mirror aloft and view with delight the sight of my Hollywood white teeth, before uttering a torrent of Japanese superlatives to signify my approval.  As I leave the premises, clasping Omiron’s latest innovation in dental care in one hand, the entire staff of the dental practice line up before me and bow deeply in unison, before thanking me for my custom in the most honorific of forms.

Minutes later I am sitting on the train attempting with great difficulty to decipher each of my new Omiron Mediclean HT-B470 electric toothbrush’s features.  I read each one aloud, almost silently.

  • ‘230 mm Length.
  • 120cm power cord.’

Looking up I notice two teenage girls sitting opposite me, whispering animatedly to each other.  I grin widely at them, exposing my ivory white teeth.  One emits a shriek as they both rise in unison and flee down the carriage.  I return my attentions to the Omiron HT-B470’s features once more.

  • ‘48g Weight
  • 25,500 Sound Wave Oscillating’

Thank you to everyone who bought my book, Charles Middleworth.  If you would like to read the first two chapters, click on the link below.

CharlesMiddleworth(ch 1-2)

Click here to read a previous blog post about a Boots home brand toothbrush.

Tokyo

I am travelling on the Tokyo subway.  The carriage despite being half full is silent and this along with the warmth and the constant motion is having a soporific effect.  My eyelids flicker briefly and momentarily I lose consciousness.  When I open them again, I am surprised to see a peculiar man in cross dress sitting opposite me (see picture 1).  Even in Tokyo, a city that quite possibly embraces a wider range of attire than any other place in the world, this is an odd sight and he draws some concerned looks from my fellow train passengers.  I subtly take a photograph with my iPhone, making sure not to draw any unwelcome attention from the subject.

Minutes later and I am at my stop.  I leave the train hastily and head above ground.  Waiting for the lights to change at the zebra crossing in front of me is a multi-coloured individual with bizarrely patterned apparel and hair that is blue on one side and pink on the other, inspired perhaps by a circus clown (see picture 2).  I quickly take a photograph whilst he has his back to me and hurry across the road.

A short while later I am wandering around the fashionable Ginza area when I come across this famous Lottery booth (see picture 3).  Note that the mostly elderly hopefuls are all queuing at booth 1, whilst no one is waiting at the other two booths.  The reason for this is that booth 1 is apparently one of Japan’s luckiest lottery ticket locations.  People travel here from afar in the hope of getting the lucky ticket.  I buy my ticket from booth 2.

It is now evening and I am still in the Ginza vicinity doing nothing in particular other than observing the surroundings, when I stumble across this restaurant under a railway line (see picture 3).  The waitresses are all wearing bizarre uniforms, which appear to me at least have an Alice in Wonderland theme.  Resisting the temptation to rest my weary legs I continue onwards.

Sometime later I notice a rather quaint and incredibly narrow bar (see picture 3).  Quite possibly the world’s narrowest drinking establishment I conclude on entering the premises and ordering a double Suntory whisky on the rocks.

My book, Charles Middleworth, is a humorous tale of the unexpected, available from Amazon in paperback and on Kindle (£1.96/$3.14).

Click on the link below to read the first two chapters for free:

CharlesMiddleworth(ch 1-2)

Traditional Sushi Dining Experience

I have been to numerous sushi restaurants in Japan, but none quite like the one in which I am now sitting, ideally located many hundreds of miles south of the leaking Fukushima nuclear plant.  This particular restaurant is so popular that to avoid disappointment, bookings should be made at least a month in advance.  On entering the premises, there is surprise that the dining area consists of a single counter with six seats and I wonder how the establishment could possibly turn a profit from so few seats.  I bid the chef and my fellow diners Kombanwa (Good evening), then sit down and order a beer.  I am informed that I will be not be drinking beer but rather green tea, as it does not interfere with the taste of the sushi.  With some assistance, I inform the waitress that I will take my chances with the beer.  This proves to no avail.  Apparently traditional sushi restaurants only serve green tea.

Admonishing myself for my ignorance, I inspect the ornate dining utensils in front of me, see Picture 1.  The dripping water visible behind the counter is to wash ones hands after each serving.  Picture 2 is of the sushi counter, if you were wondering what the white substance is, it is salt.

The meal consists of eighteen separate servings.  Not only is each sushi exquisitely presented, but they are perfection, quite superior in fact to any I have previously encountered.

My particular favourites are the tuna, which literally melts in the mouth and the sea eel which is soft, succulent and served warm.  There is even poisonous puffer fish sushi (see image ); a local speciality.  The waitress constantly replaces our cups of green tea, so as to keep the liquid at the perfect temperature to cleanse the pallet after each serving.

Having finished the meal, I continue sipping green tea, contemplating on how this has been the best sushi experience of my life. Sometime later a diner to my left remarks in broken English that I am looking a little green and suggests it might be a result of the poisonous puffer fish.  The chef casts a nervous glance in my direction.  They need not be concerned; my complexion is merely the result of the contents of the bill.  It is now abundantly clear how the restaurant is able to operate with so few seats.

My book, Charles Middleworth, is a humorous tale of the unexpected.  It is available from Amazon in paperback and on Kindle (£1.96/$3.14).

Click on the link below to read the first two chapters for free:

CharlesMiddleworth(ch 1-2)

Garbage Pail Kids

Last Tuesday – My childhood home is in the process of being sold and this was to be my last visit to the property.  I made my way upstairs to my old bedroom to take a final look around.  My attentions fell on the large bookcase at the far end of the room, covered in Garbage Pail Kid cards (see picture below of top of book case).  For those who are too young to remember their eighties heyday, Garbage Pail Kids were cards that could be peeled at the back to become stickers.  Each card depicted a character with its name below.  The cards came in packs of two to four, along with a stick of chewing gum.  Deciding to remove some of the stickers for nostalgic value, I attempted to peel them off the bookcase.  This proved impossible, as the aged stickers came off in strips.  As I continued with this futile activity my mind wandered back to a Garbage Pail Kids related memory from school when I was about nine years old.

Garbage Pail Kids frenzy spread through schools faster than the nits and mine was no exception.  My classmates and I spent most of our waking hours swapping, inspecting, discussing and lusting after the Garbage Pail Kids we did not yet possess; our young capitalist hearts yearning for material gain.  We had become the yuppies our glorious leader Thatcher demanded us to be.

Our only prospect of salvation was to acquire the whole Garbage Pail Kids collection.  The problem however was that some cards were so rare, as to be almost extinct. The most rare being Adam Bomb (see picture).  A card so in demand that today examples have been priced as high as $4,250 on eBay.

Several of my classmates had the whole collection minus Adam Bomb, but only one of us had the complete set; in fact he had two sets.  His name was Abu-Ghazaleh, a Kuwaiti, who in the first year at the school had wielded a particularly meagre collection of an earlier series of Garbage Pail Kids.  The discovery of new oil fields in his homeland some months earlier however had led to a meteoric rise.

Every day, after lunch, Abu-Ghazaleh would unlock a security box in his desk and take out Adam Bomb, before parading him around the class room as if the card were a religious artefact.  Consumed by a combination of awe and greed we would stare wide eyed at the card and even reach and touch the object of our desires.

One of our classmates, a diminutive boy by the name of Edgar craved this card even more than the rest of us and his piteous pining would continue throughout every day, as he followed Abu-Ghazaleh continuously, as if he were a hound.

Several months had passed when Abu-Ghazaleh finally relented and agreed to part with his spare Adam Bomb.  But there was one condition.  Edgar would be required to re-enact the poses of four Garbage Pail Kids of Abu-Ghazaleh’s choice and this was to take place in the busy central London street outside the school, one afternoon.

Several days later – we assembled outside in a large circle on the pavement, Edgar waiting apprehensively in the middle. Abu-Ghazaleh strode imperiously into the centre holding a Garbage Pail Kid card aloft.  It was Amazin Grace (see picture).

Without further ado Edgar removed his clothes down to his underpants, scrambled up to the roof of a parked car and did the required body builder pose.  Passersby stopped and stared at the spectacle.  Some seconds later Abu-Ghazaleh, wiping tears of mirth from his cheeks ordered Edgar down, before reaching into his pocket and holding a second card aloft. It was Low Life Lola (see below).

Edgar immediately took a prone position on the edge of the curb, his tongue lolling out onto the pavement.  Abu-Ghazaleh was laughing so hysterically that he was quite unable to display the remaining two cards.

Looking around I saw the head teacher pushing his way through the crowd of onlookers and grabbing the partially clothed Edgar by the neck and dragging him away.  Edgar did not appear again for several days, as his concerned parents had sent him away to be evaluated by mental health services.

The following Monday in a ceremony after lunch Abu-Ghazaleh true to his word presented Edgar with Adam Bomb, tears welling in his eyes, as the class applauded.

Below is a selection of particularly unpleasant Garbage Pail Kids:

Thank you to all those who bought my book, Charles Middleworth.  Click on the link below to read the first two chapters for free:

CharlesMiddleworth(ch 1-2)

Twitter Viruses (Part 2)

Last week’s post was dedicated to my experiences with Twitter viruses, which come in the form of DMs’ (Direct Messages).  If you read it, you might remember that two of these messages had caused me to react in a wholly irrational manner.  The messages were: lol ur famous now (link). And You even see them taping u (link) that’s nasty Over the course of the last week I have received yet more of these malignant messages. In addition to the aforementioned examples, I have received instances of: Rumour about you (link) And Somebody is posting nasty updates on their twitter about you (link) Towards the end of last week, I had become familiar with these messages and in an effort to assist my Twitter friends; I was contacting them to warn them that their accounts had been hacked.  These efforts were met with appreciation, which encouraged me to continue with this course of action. Saturday morning – A beeping signifies the arrival of a Twitter message.  Leaning forward in my chair I pick up the iPhone.  The message is a DM from a Twitter follower; I have never previously had the pleasure of communicating with.  The message reads: I know I can count on u, my lovely Twitter friend to review my new book with 5 ★s on Amazon  (book name) +(link)

Assuming that no one would have the audacity to ask someone they have never even communicated with, to review a book that they have never even heard of, let alone read, I assume it is a virus and fire off a quick tweet warning this unfortunate that their account has been hacked.  Moments later a response arrives:

His response:  Hey Guy,  I’M not a VIRUS. (Link)  LOL

My response:  I disagree! I then promptly block the person and report them as spam.  Reclining back in the chair once more, I am disappointed that I am still failing to recognise DM viruses and also somewhat shocked by the request.  A request that if granted could potentially result in the book in question getting an improved rank on Amazon, in addition to innocent prospective buyers being provided with false information. If this peculiar Twitter etiquette were mirrored in everyday life, it might be the equivalent of nodding to acknowledge a stranger and then taking this as an invitation to ask them to hide contraband for you, or provide a false alibi to the police. The first two chapters of my book, Charles Middleworth, a humorous tale of the unexpected are available for free.  Click on the link below to view: CharlesMiddleworth(ch 1-2)

Twitter Viruses

Waking early one morning, I looked across at my iPhone, as is generally my habit, to read any messages received over the course of the night.  On opening my Echofon Twitter account I was greeted by a DM (direct message).  The familiar radiant smile of one of my American Twitter friends beamed up at me from the screen.  The accompanying message read.

lol ur famous now (link).

Assuming that this instant fame could only be the result of a sudden surge in sales of my book, Charles Middleworth, I dropped the iPhone and ran jubilantly downstairs to check the sales figures on my Amazon.kdp account.  The report stated there had been zero sales over night.  Coming to the realisation that I had been somewhat gullible in my assumption; I typed the message I had received into the Google search engine and discovered that it was a virus masquerading as a tantalising message, tempting one to click on the link.  Had I clicked on the link it is likely my account would have been hacked.  I trudged back upstairs disconsolately, though with a modicum of relief that I hadn’t clicked it.

Over the forthcoming days there were further sporadic suspicious DM’s.  Including:

Rumour about you (with a link)

And

Somebody is posting nasty updates on their Twitter about you.

These were evidently attempts to hack my account and I ignored them, adamant that I would never be deceived by a malignant DM again.  Several days later I awoke abruptly shortly after dawn, my breathing harried and brow damp with sweat.  The night had been punctuated with unexplainable nightmares that left me confused and alarmed.  Some moments later I reached for the iPhone.  There was a DM in my Twitter account from a childhood friend.  The message said something to the affect of:

You even see them taping u (link) that’s nasty

I stare transfixed in horror at the screen, convinced that the nightmares were a premonition of this devastating news.  The horrendous video had come back yet again to haunt me.  A horrible debacle I thought I had left behind me years before.  Momentarily I wondered why I had spent all that money on lawyer fees.  I then hastily phoned the friend from which the message had come.  After several rings a sleepy voice answered the phone.  Immediately I demanded to know who had sent him the video and who else had been sent it, the words coming out as a torrent, devoid of any pauses.  The friend now fully awake, denied all knowledge of sending me the link and insisted it must be a virus.  I terminated the conversation abruptly just as he begun to make enquiries about what video I was referring to.  Overwhelmed with relief that it was merely paranoia on my part, I returned upstairs, relieved that I had not clicked on the link.  Within minutes I had been engulfed by a contented lethargy.

The first two chapters of my book, Charles Middleworth, a humorous tale of the unexpected are available for free. Click on the link below to read.

CharlesMiddleworth.pdf

Reincarnation News

Over the course of this week, I have come across three very different ‘Reincarnation’ related news items.

Monday Afternoon – I was killing some time perusing the internet when I stumbled upon the headline ‘Snoop Dogg reincarnated as Snoop Lion.’ Having clicked on the link, I was somewhat disappointed to discover that the world famous rapper has not been reborn as an animal with a higher position in the food chain.  In fact Snoop Dogg has not been reincarnated at all, merely renamed by a Rastafarian priest on a recent trip to Jamaica. The ‘reborn’ Snoop Lion is abandoning the gangsta rapp that made him famous and will instead embrace reggae. His new eagerly anticipated album Reincarnated will be out later this autumn.

Wednesday Morning – I am reading an interesting reincarnation related article about how Tibetan Buddhists believe that the Dalai Lama can consciously influence how he is reborn. This is the method by which the Dalai Lama chooses the successor that he will literally be reincarnated within. However the Chinese authorities, seemingly not content with interfering with the internet (remember GoogleMail last year) are continuing to insist that there are to be no reincarnations without prior approval from the authorities and these are only to occur within a pre-selected location within China. One might conclude that submitting application forms for approval by the state rather takes the mystique out of the whole natural reincarnation process. Not surprisingly Tibetan Buddhists are unwilling to accept this meddling in their religious traditions.

(Courtesy of www.iphone5craft.com)

On another subject Steve Jobs (Apple Founder) has been reincarnated.  That’s according to the Dhammakaya group, an obscure sect, whose teachings have been denounced by mainstream Buddhist groups. Apparently Jobs is residing in a ‘mid-sized celestial castle’ above Apple’s California headquarters. The world eagerly awaits Jobs announcing a launch date for the iPhone 5.  There has even been a claim by a man named Snakehealer that if you take a bite out of an apple and place it on an iPad screen showing a picture of Steve Jobs, the image pulsates with cosmic energy (see video).  One wonders what sequence of events led to Snakehealer discovering this ‘fact’.

Reincarnation is also a theme in my book, Charles Middleworth, which is available from Amazon in paperback and on Kindle (£1.96/$3.11).  Click on the link below to read the first two chapters for free.

PDFCharlesMiddleworth.pdf

Charles Middleworth

This week I am giving all visitors to my blog the opportunity to read the first two chapters of my book, Charles Middleworth for free.  Charles Middleworth could best be described as contemporary literary fiction. The book was released at the end of June and to date it has been very well received.

Charles Middleworth is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both paperback and on the Kindle.

The following is the blurb for Charles Middleworth:

What happens when Adrian, an actuary, has his banal and predictable existence turned upside down by sinister forces that he can neither understand nor control?  How will he react to a revelation that leaves his life in turmoil?  Will he surrender or strive for redemption in an altered world, where rationality, scientific logic and algorithms no longer provide the answers?

See what reviewers are saying about Charles Middleworth:

‘An insightful and humorous tale of the unexpected’

‘A sardonic delight.  If Thackeray had lived in the 21st century, then he might have written Charles Middleworth.’

‘Charles Middleworth is a literary masterpiece with a carefully woven plot.’

Click on one of the links below and read the first two chapters of Charles Middleworth for Free:

PDFCharlesMiddleworth.pdf

Crabs

Tuesday evening – The restaurant’s website had boasted of a culinary tour of the American South and included a multitude of superlatives, such as ‘wonderful’ and ‘truly amazing’.  I eagerly inspect the menu.  There is plethora of extravagances, including oysters, lobster, crab and shrimp, in addition to a mouth watering selection of steak and pork dishes.  Some minutes the decision has been made to go with the She crab soup with sweet roe and grilled corn succotash, followed by the 12oz Ribeye steak with hollandaise and a crown of green beans.

In my famished state the minutes pass like an eternity.  Taking occasional sips from my Budweiser I close my eyes and imagine the forthcoming dish in all its glory.  A fresh red She crab, one powerful claw raised upwards, lying serenely in a rich buttery sauce, surrounded by a dizzying array of succulent vegetables (see picture 1).

The waiter approaches, deposits the starters on the table and then retreats hastily in the direction of the kitchen.  Looking down I stare despairingly into a bowl of partially submerged black crustaceans, in a pool of murky liquid, becoming increasingly convinced that they are not in fact crabs, but rather some variety of mud dwelling shelled arachnid, plucked from the fetid banks of the polluted inner city river just metres away (see picture 2).  There is no visible evidence of the promised sweet roe and grilled corn succotash and I can only assume that they have sunk to the depths.

Foolishly in a decision I was to later deeply regret, I consumed a number of these loathsome creatures, biting through the sharp shells, before forcing down the vile gooey interior with the aid of gulps of Budweiser.  Moments later I had pushed the offending bowl away and was waiting with trepidation for the arrival of the steak. It was evident however from the expressions of disgust and the greenish hue on the visages of my dining companions that the dinner had come to an end.  We cancelled our main courses and departed haughtily.

EuroMillions

Last Friday – I was watching The Bank Job (starring Jason Statham) on television.  Remembering I had a ticket for the x14 rolled over EuroMillions lottery draw, which had taken place earlier that evening, I turned over to check the numbers.

68.8 Miles away in Haverhill, Suffolk – Adrian Bayford was lying beached on his sofa.  He too reached for the remote and turned over from The Bank Job to check his numbers.  That’s where the similarities ended. For whilst I won £2.90, Mr Bayford was coming to the realisation that he had bagged the jackpot of £148,656,000, beating odds of 1 in 76,275,360.

Tuesday August 14th – Early afternoon – I am walking along the street eating a Toblerone, bought with the profits from my Lottery windfall cashed in moments earlier at a Waitrose supermarket.  On a big screen in the window of the estate agent beside me, I caught sight of a rotund and jovial couple spraying champagne, before holding a giant cheque in front of them in characteristic Camelot pose (see picture).  The couple are the Bayfords.                                                   

I stand and watch the proceedings, unable to comprehend why it is that the Bayfords of their own free will are walking up to the Camelot gallows and willingly placing their heads in the hangman’s noose.  For by waving their right to anonymity they are surely leaving themselves and their progeny open to a deluge of begging letters, con men and the prospect of being overcharged in shops and harangued in the street.  And this is to say nothing of the ever present threat of robbery, burglary and kidnap.  Then there’s the plethora of other potential problems such as extortion and the unpredictable nature of peoples’ jealousy and greed.  Imagine walking along the street with people throwing themselves to the ground in front of you, before claiming you tripped them over and commencing legal proceedings.

I close my eyes and picture the Bayfords, alienated and alone in their new mock Tudor monstrosity of a home, as they peer through a gap in the Chanel curtains at a hostile world where they are now the prey.  Imprisoned within this tomb to their decadence, they are too afraid to drag their corpulent carcasses outdoors to the swimming pool complex, for fear of the mass of tabloid journalists swarming overhead in helicopters like angry wasps.

The Toblerone is now finished.  I throw the empty packet in the bin and continue along the street, basking in glorious anonymity as the rays of a resplendent sun shine down upon me.

Incidentally the main protagonist in my book is called Adrian though he is a rather different Adrian to the Adrian of the moment,  Adrian Bayford.

I am very grateful to the kind readers who left positive reviews for Charles Middleworth on Amazon this week.

Copyright © 2015. Guyportman's Blog

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