Friday, March 29, 2019

How To Make £1000

I was being chatted to by my sort of mate the other day. I say 'sort of' because he's one of these fellows who falls in the cracks between 'friend' and 'chap with whom I have a professional relationship'.

I say 'being chatted to' because that's more or less how things are with him and I. He talks, I listen, with the rare and occasional interlude in which he might ask me a brief question.

I'll give him a pseudonym; I think Brian Barry will fit the bill nicely here. As David Bowie said in the demo before he came up with a more rock and roll name, Barry plays guitar. He's not the best guitar player around, but he can get by and he's keen, interested and evidently tries very hard at it.

The conversation went something like this:

Barry: Guess what, I made £1000 last week.

Moi: Oh wow, how?

Barry: Well I've got this new guitar (at this point there was a rather long and even more boring story about his new guitar, why it's so good, how it's made, where he bought it etc. I'm a drummer, so I confess I didn't listen and wasn't really interested anyhow. The salient fact is that he paid £1100 for it. I'm going to close the brackets now, if that's ok with you)

Moi: I see. (more brackets, sorry about that)

Barry: And I was playing at a jam session the other day. After I'd played this guy came up to me and started asking me about the guitar. He asked if I wanted to sell it. I said ' well I paid £1100 for it, how much are you offering?" And he offered me £2000 for it.

Moi: Wow. (For I say that a lot. Thinking that is £900, not £1000, but hey let's not let truth and accuracy get in the way of a good story)

Moi (again I know): So did you sell it to him then?

Barry: Nah. I didn't want to.

Moi: Right, I see.

I suppose, had he started the narrative with something like 'guess what? I almost made £900 last week, but didn't', then it wouldn't have had quite the same ring to it.

But still, I mean, these people.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Last Week

Voted online in the revoke article 50 thing, because if there are enough votes I believe it means it will have to be discussed in Parliament. Brexit is messing up the UK. Most people seem disillusioned, fed up and just want to know what will happen, anything. And I don't think that's a good way to look at it; that any news is good news.

The whole lot of British politicians have behaved like a shower of self serving tossers. There doesn't appear to be a single one who has put the interests of the country ahead of their own. or their party's.

Two Band Practices, two gigs, one of which I played in and one I was an audience member in.

Vintage Trouble; what a brilliant band from musicianship to showmanship.

Finally Apple announce a new Ipad Mini, which I'd struggle without, so I bought one. Now have to wait.

Wrote some blog posts. It's interesting how trying to blog a bit has already started to impact how I look at everyday things.

Finally got the new battery fitted in my car. I was scared to try it myself in case of losing all the settings. Turned out my trusted bloke didn't really have a clue either, but all was good.

Listened to the much awaited and anticipated new album from Sleeper, one of the best 80s Britpop bands. Great songs, strangely fuzzy production.

And I'm reading a book. That is written in short sentences.

Can you tell?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

A Men Only Post - On Farting and Peeing


I've noticed that the older I get the greater the likelihood is that I'll fart when I pee.

In my little experience of such matters the average ladies toilet is a place of calm, tranquility and perhaps even pleasant smells. I know, I've seen them on TV.

On the other hand the average gents convenience, especially in a good old British pub, is a shit smelling, urine riddled arse end of nowhere room that most men only visit if they're desperate.

Anything is allowed, from farting to drug taking, often at the same time and it's perfectly normal to see a chap standing peeing at the urinal whilst holding a pint in one hand and his equipment in the other hand.

If any ladies managed to slip past the warning then you should know that no man whatsoever comes remotely close to batting an eyelid on hearing another man fart whilst peeing, it's done, it's accepted and it's often encouraged.

Not so many moons ago I used to be far more sporadic in my pee farts than I am now. Regrettably I didn't actually do a full statistical analysis, with a spreadsheet or whatnot. But I reckon I used to drop one every once in a while when standing at the urinal, perhaps once every two or three visits.

These days I've noticed that I can hardly even begin to strain before I've emitted a burst of arse vapour. I confess the lack of control between the front and rear bits of me bothers me slightly. I might now be forced to do a more objective study but I fear that we're looking at a one to one ratio of farts to peeing. It's never two to one or higher though, you'll be pleased to know.

I reckon it's just yet another symptom of getting older. Are there any exercises one can do to stave it off?

It's literally a bummer. And you know I don't use that word lightly.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Good Things About Being Short

At five foot five, living in the UK, I think I fall firmly into the category of 'shortarse'.

In Sri Lanka or Singapore I feel distinctly taller and, to my surprise, last year in New York I felt a bit taller too when I'd fully expected to feel like I was in a land of giants. It's all relative, and I do blame it on my relatives, even though it's not really their fault.

Frankly, and it's something I've put quite some mindwork into, I can't think of many advantages of being short. It's harder to buy clothes that fit decently, which I suppose means that I've got quite friendly with the very nice people at my local tailor shop.

I have a vague notion that short people  make better drummers, but it's entirely anecdotal based on an unproven thought that shorter limbs means we can move around the drumkit more easily.

But really my list of pros reads as follows:

1. We can fit into Economy Class aircraft seats more eaasily.

2. We are better at Hide and Seek.


Monday, March 18, 2019

Pick Me

You know those niggling desires you have in nether regions of your mind? Those thoughts that pop up now and again until you put them to bed by doing the thing or somehow exorcising it.

Well for a while I've had one such thought and it's been about picking locks. I wouldn't say I've been fascinated by the topic, more that I've had a medium level of interest, a bit like a Madras curry to most Brits.

It's not even that I've considered shifting my career into burglary, merely a rumbling of a thought that it would be a nice and mostly useless thing to be able to do.

So of course, a few weeks ago I bought myself a "learn how to pick locks" kit online. It wasn't very expensive and the blurb promised me an extensive easy to understand written guide, two real locks made from transparent plastic to practice on as well as a sexy little tool kit with all the things an aspiring lock picker might need.

The package arrived. Somewhat ironically I found it quite hard to open, but once I dealt with that hurdle I got on with reading the guide. I'm that rare breed; a man who likes to read instructions before I start to play with the hardware.

At this point I realised that the instructions were most likely a literal translation from Chinese. Not only was the language nigh on impossible to figure out but I suspect it was running from back to front pagewise. I'm not one to be beaten easily, except when I give up, so I got on with things, trying my best to decipher the text, flick from page to page quickly and then start on the practical side.

The first half hour or so was a painful struggle. I'd translated sufficiently to figure out roughly what I needed to do with one padlock, but the instructions gave me very little idea of which actual tools to use out of the quite large number supplied. After much trial and error, mostly the latter, I got to a stage where I could open the padlock within around 30 - 50 seconds. I was quite pleased with this, even though it involved two tools and a little bit of brute force occasionally. I resolved to practice a bit every day before trying it out in a bank on my front door lock.

And so I did. For the next week or so I spent a small chunk of time every day working on my skills and I'm happy to tell you that, should the need arise, I can comfortably break open a clear plastic padlock, as long as I have the toolkit and some reading glasses with me, within about 10 seconds.

My mind evolved to the inevitable and I reckoned I was ready to try a real lock; one that isn't transparent and that has a door or similar attached to it. I had already put some thought into which specific lock would be my first real world attempt and had realised the only two options were my own front door or my neighbour's.

I suppose I'm old fashioned, or perhaps my neighbour is, but I figured he wouldn't be too impressed if he caught me practicing on his front door. There are not many ways I could think of to explain this one away and the truth seemed the worst idea. So last Thursday, whilst doing that 'working from home' thing that you kids do all the time, I went for it on my own front door.

I got the lock picking kit out, lay everything out on the floor, opened my front door fully, so to any passer by it would hopefully look like I was doing work on my door, and set to work. Confidence was oozing out of all my pores. After all if I can pick a clear teaching padlock in a few seconds every time surely half an hour, perhaps an hour for the virgin flight, would be wholly achievable.

Like fuck was it.

I tried every combination of tools. There are usually two involved; one to twist the twisting bit and the other to wiggle and move the wiggling bits, and I tried them all. Nothing, I mean sweet FA, I mean absofuckinglutely nothing, would budge even a fraction of a millimeter.

I kept at it for some time, maybe half an hour,  but nothing made any difference. As I told you earlier, I'm not one to be beaten easily, except when I give up. So I gave up. I reckon that's the end of my lockpicking career. If I'm honest the signs were there right at the beginning when I had such a struggle opening the package in the first place.

I'm just unsure if the career is fully over or whether it's a mere hiatus while I gather my thoughts, perhaps retrain. Hmmm....

Friday, March 15, 2019

Those funny People; the Fake Clowns

I reckon most people think that they have a wonderful sense of humour. A bit like most men think they're fantastic drivers.

Or is it just men? I wonder, as I write this I've had the thought that perhaps women aren't as bothered about their own sense of humour as a man is about his. Could it be that us men are just ego driven chimps who strive to be better than the next man? How ridiculous, I can hear David Blacker saying!

I digress, which is one of that things that I'm finding fascinating now that I'm trying my damndest to get my blogging mojo back.

Obviously, being a man, I consider myself pretty damn funny. I read somewhere (I think it was by Edward De Bono)  that a person who is funny has the ability to jump off the road that a conversation is travelling on, to get to a different place, then take his co conversationalist to that place too. The unexpected, combined with someone else guiding us there, is usually what makes us laugh.

I don't know, but it seemed like a very good rational explanation of a tricky yet instinctive concept. How does one analyse something that just happens to us naturally? We don’t hear something funny then assess its pros and cons with our rational mind before deciding whether to laugh. We just hear the funny and spit coffee everywhere, perhaps applying the rational mind afterwards to try to figure out what was funny.

What about those people who just try too hard to be too funny too much of the time? Do you know any? Have you observed any and do they get on your nerves like they do to me?

I have a friend, someone I'd describe as one of those fringe friends, who acts like some kind of clown. He's constantly messing around, either physically or verbally, and any conversation with him seems to consist of him trying to find something funny to say.

And he fails abysmally IMHO.

There are times when he genuinely cracks a witticism, when one slips through the cracks and makes me laugh. But generally I just think "WTF?" to myself and wonder if it's all about attention, like with Chandler and his childhood.

I'm one of three brothers and when I'm with both my siblings we put a lot of effort into making each other laugh. It's how we are and I suspect many sets of brothers are like this. But it feels natural, never forced, to us. Or that might be my inherent bias, I'm not sure. But I don't think any of us seek to do this with other people all the time, especially to the extent that it gets on their nerves.

So what on Earth is is with these fake clown types?

Are they compulsive attention seekers, probably because of childhood issues? Or are they people who genuinely are funny and it’s just you and I who don’t find them funny?

Or what?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Waiting Rooms, Bells, Bands, Cars and Chocolate.

Have you ever seen that quite famous experiment?

The one where a chap goes into a waiting room. Said chap thinks it's a genuine waiting room, perhaps for a job interview or hair transplant consultation, but in actual fact it's a fake one.

So he goes in and finds three or four people already seated and he takes a vacant chair. After a few minutes a bell rings and all three or four of the others, who are all in on this, stand up for a few seconds then sit down again. Our chap looks on with interest, wondering why they're doing this.

Then, some minutes later the bell rings again and the same thing happens; the actors stand up and sit down after a short time. You've probably guessed the next bit. After a while our chap follows suit and stands when the bell rings with the others.

Then, one by one, the people who were in the room already start filtering out as they get called to whatever it is they are there for. And new fellows have started coming in too, all of whom have joined in with the standing for the bell thing. These are new fellows who are as ignorant as our chap, but have joined in because they think it's what has to be done.

Eventually we are left with our chap and a waiting room full of new people, all of whom stand up when the bell rings and then sit down a few seconds later. Yet none of them have the foggiest why they're doing it, they've all just been copying the people who were in the room when they arrived.

I've seen it used by Derren Brown, the very famous hypno / mind manipulation bloke, as a means of identifying people who are more likely to follow the herd rather than think independently, as there are some who don't join in and stay seated looking with bewilderment at the others.

But it's an age old demonstration of how humans and animals will often follow the herd or adopt a learned behaviour without knowing for themselves exactly why.

Why are many of us instinctively scared of snakes? I don't know about you but I shit myself at the thought of snakes. I've never been attacked by one, I've only ever seen a few, but my skin is slightly crawling even as I type this. Well take it from me, it's because of that waiting room with the bell, or something along those lines.

There's a band here in the UK that I'm quite keen on called King King. I came across them a couple of years ago and they're largely a good old fashioned Blues band who, in recent times, seems to have veered towards more middle of the road rock (think Whitesnake in their prime). I'm down with the kids me.

As with most music I discover my initial attention was grabbed by their drummer; a magnificent groover by the name of Wayne Proctor. And I've sought out lots of his other music and would go so far as to say he's influenced my playing rather a lot in the last couple of years. I've been trying to nick his blues licks and triplet based grooves as much as my meagre ability will allow!

King King are a 4 piece band, led by a guy who sings and plays guitar and woud appear to be the main man. And shortly after I got into them the keyboardist left, to be replaced by someone else. I really like the first guy, a rather brilliant Hammond player, but that seemed to be that.

Then, maybe a year later, the bassist, as far as I know one of the founding members, also quit. This was just after the announcement that the band had signed a big management deal for the US, and it looked like big things were on the horizon.

The talk on the forums and Facebook fan pages etc was that the bassist had left because he had family committments and didn't want to be going off doing stateside tours with everything else in his life. Quite understandable and he was replaced by another low frequency thumper.

Lo and behold a few weeks later and very surprisingly our man Wayne announces he's left. It seemed sudden and I know not what the story is but I suspect there may have been a falling out of some sort. A new drummer has yet to be announced.

So now we're in a situation where, out of four people who were in the band when I first came across them, three of them are different. And it got me thinking. If the singer / guitarist was to leave and be replaced (which I admit is almot unthinkable), would it be the same band?

Thin Lizzy, may all time favourite band, are currently out on tour. But there is not a single one of the original members in the current line up. Admittedly Scott Gorham, their longest serving guitarist who joined in the very early stages, is in, but he wasn't in the band to start with. They go out doing gigs, playing the same old songs that they used to play but as far as I'm concerned they're not Thin Lizzy.

If Brian Downey, the original drumer was involved, I'd see then happily, though probably accept them as nearly Thin Lizzy.

I was chatting to a friend about this last week and his response was that it's like branding. These days there are very few consumer items that contain their original heritage or product DNA. Sure you can buy Cadbury's Dairy Milk or a Mini Cooper, brands that are as British as The Beatles or Colonisation.

But they're not British are they? Cadbury is owned by Mondelez International, an American F+B Company and Mini is a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW.

Minis all over the world with Union Flags covering their roof and rear lights cleverly made to look like Union flags make all of us think of the swinging 60s and the Kings Road but it takes the Germans to rescue the ailing brand and make it profitable.

We support a football club yet everything about it may well be totally different to when we first started. Different players, different manager, perhaps different ownership or stadium. The name stays, but everything else moves on.

Where do your boundaries lie with this sort of thing?

The only thing I know for certain is that there are no objective rules. Except I suppose, there must be legal limits. I'm sure Scott Gorham somehow has the legal right to tour with the Thin Lizzy name, as Mondelez International is legally entitled to use the Cadbury name.

Is it as simple as that now?

If you own the name you can use it!!? It kind of makes me sad.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Hair today, gone tomorrow - Part Two

In my quite bald head it only seems like about one, at most two years ago when I told you that I was investigating the idea of having a hair transplant here.

But no, on rereading that post I've now realised that it was over 5 years ago, which might explain a lot!

I promised to keep you posted, so finally I am, with a post.

For some months after February 2014 I did exactly what I committed to do. I made appointments with about  4 or 5 of these hair transplant places to see what the possibilities were for me.

And not a single one of them inspired any level of confidence in me. One in particular, the Private Clinic in Harley Street would you believe, gave me downright incorrect medical advice. I've put their full name here as it's all documented and was never resolved to my satisfaction.

But the gist of it was that the nurse who was giving me the consultation said that they wouldn't go ahead with a procedure as I was type 1 diabetic and the Doctor would not operate on a type 1 diabetic. She steadfastly refused to accept that I am actually type 2 diabetic even though I take insulin and got quite shitty with me when I argued the point.

"In all my twenty years of nursing I've never come across someone taking Insulin who's not type 1" she said at one point. 

The clinic refunded me the £100 or so for the consultation and, when I complained, offered me another free consultation with a different nurse, but never really dealt with the issue that a nurse had got her medical facts wrong. I'll be bolloxed if I'm going to go to a clinic that demonstrates its medical "expertise" like that, then fails to deal with it.

To be fair the other clinics did not demonstrate medical incompetence, more just an air of snake oil salesman trying to close a deal regardless of whether it would result in a happy customer.

One bloke kept calling me for some weeks afterwards reducing his price every time and trying to get me to buy that way. Another called a few times saying that they had had last minute cancellations and gaps to fill so could offer me reduced rates because of that.

Not once did I feel that I had been given decent impartial advice with my best interests at heart. Perhaps I had been naive in my expectation but that was what I wanted and felt I needed in order to make a good decision.

So, what with life getting on with itself the way it does and things being busy, as well as the fact that my Dad rather selfishly passed away a little after, I decided to put it all on the back burner as it just didn't feel right.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. For some algorithmic reason an ad popped up on my Facebook page for a clinic with what seemed to be an excellent reputation and was also local. I bunged an enquiry in and got myself another consultation and off I went.

The very nice Doctor, and it actually was the Doctor, not a nurse or salesperson, started off by asking me why I want to have a hair transplant. I immediately told him that I'm not sure if I do, but that I want some good advice on my prospects.

He took some photos of my head, did some computerish stuff, then gave me the news.

If you're bored and want to skip the details let's just say you can't polish a turd or you can't grow grass on a busy road.

He refreshingly and I assume honestly told me that I simply don't have enough hair left on the donor area to fill in the rather large empty bit and give me a full and flowing head of hair. There would be patches left on the donor area and I'd end up with a head of hair looking like it did around 5 years ago, not like it looked in my "are you Shehan Karunatilaka?" days.

One option would be to have a transplant and combine it with scalp micropigmentation, when they effectively tattoo fake grade zero hair on your head. I'd had a look at this anyhow some time ago and decided against it because you have to keep your hair at around grade zero constantly or you look like a total arse. Clippering my hair twice a week is way over my vanity boundary.

I pondered for some minutes and came to a decision. First of all I figured that there was no motive for the Doctor to be lying to me. Then I realised that his advice had made things clear; I simply am not that bothered and don't want to spend around £6k to look like I did 5 years ago. If he'd promised a full head of hair things might be different. But even then it's only a 'might'.

My feelings, for I know lots of you are interested in these feeling things, were mixed, in a surprising way.

Rather than feel massive waves of disappointment I felt about 10% disappointment. The remaining 90% was a sense of relief, of putting the whole thing to bed and getting on with life. It was good to feel that I'd finally got good quality information and made an informed decision.

Embrace the slaphead I guess!

Anyone want to buy some nearly new hair gel?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Setting Some Objections

Yes yes. I know it's objectives. It's just one of those things that wind me up; when people get the slightly wrong word.

Like when they say 'pacific' instead of 'specific'. you know the fellows. The sort who spell dictionery wrong.

Anyway. some months ago, in an attempt to inject a stronger feeling of purpose into my existence, I decided to experiment by setting myself some objectives at the start of every week.

When we are younger and surrounded by young kids and engrossed in all the day to day busyness that a young family involves we rarely have time to pause and think, let alone set objectives for ourselves.

But, as time has progressed, I detected a sense of, or rather I didn't detect, a sense of purpose in my day to day life. Overall, in terms of the bigger things, purpose was still lurking around for me, but a bit in the background and only revealing itself at random times. I've always got the Girls, C, my work and drumming, but sometimes they can be physically absent for differing lengths of time and I became aware of drifiting aimlessly through a week.

So now every Monday morning one of my first things is to set out my objectives for the week. I do this on a mindmap, because my life is largely run by mindmaps of different sorts. And I'm sorry, but I make no apolgies for this but I love mindmaps.

All the books, the self help ones, constantly extoll the virtues of goal setting. I know you've probably read them and I'm not giving you some huge nugget of wisdom or knowledge.

I've set myself targets for my blood sugar. Us diabetics have to do this sort of thing, though I suspect you didn't know I'm one, as I just realised it happened in my last blogging hiatus. Some weeks I've beaten this admirably (even if I say it myself). In other weeks my Sri Lankan genes have risen to the forefront and I've eaten more rice than a white person would consider decent. But whichever it's been I've had the target in my mind and I'm sure it's making a difference.

Every week I set a few drumming related goals; get that set of fills up to 80bpm, get myself ready for that gig on Saturday etc.

Reading, a massive part of my life, features heavily. Finish that book, get halfway through that other one.

And money. In a sort of attempt to consciously and proactively save some wedge I've been target setting. Doing it on a weekly level has been so much more impactful than just saying to myself that I'd like to save x by the end of the month.

I've noticed that when an objective is written down it really does feel more powerful. Even though they are private, the very act of writing or typing them out seems to form a kind of contract for me, one that is more binding than if it's not writtne out.

And in trying to stretch myself I've also made a very conscious effort to not be too anal about needing to achieve every single obejctive every single week. I want to fail. I want to be beaten into submission by a few targets, so I know I'm pushing my own boundaries however close they might be to other people.

So far it's been good. It's given me a nice sense of satisfaction and a definite better feeling of purpose.

I promise to keep you posted.

Monday, March 4, 2019

If you want my advice....

....ignore most people's advice.

I was browsing Facebook the other day, as most of us over 35s tend to do, and came across a FB friend wishing her Dad a happy birthday.

This friend is a muso who I know pretty well, as is the specific father in this story.

So said friend wishes the Dad, then goes on to tell people that her father gave her four valuable lessons in life as follows:

  1. Everyone is stupid unless they prove otherwise
  2. Most people that complain are fat and ugly
  3. Don't look forward to a gig coz it will be shit if you do
  4. The best gigs end in a fight.

I read this and thought 'seriously?'

Now I've met the bloke and he seems like a nice chap, but rarely have I seen a more cynical and negative set of parental tips.

For starters, assuming anyone is stupid until they prove themselves otherwise might well be your attitude. It might be the way many look at life and new people. But it's cynical as fuck and I don't want to approach newcomers to my life with that mindset.

Nor do I want to do the opposite; to assume they're NOT stupid until they prove otherwise. I just like to enjoy every new encounter with a positive and open minded mindset. Perhaps, within four nanoseconds, I will decide I think the person is stupid, but I certainly hope I give people a chance. On top of that the likelihood is that they will think I'm stupid also.

The next one; most people who complain are fat and ugly is hardly worth discussing. I just hope I have never instilled in my girls that anyone's worth or validity is based on their weight or attractiveness.

As for number 3, well we're back to cynicism and negativity. I suppose the word 'gig' can be substituted for almost anything. And it's basically saying that one should always have low, maybe zero expectations in order to avoid disappointment.

There might well be a grain of truth in this. How many times have you watched something that someone else has raved about and you've come away feeling let down? Or gone to your favourite restaurant expecting your taste buds to feel like they've, well been to your favourite restaurant, only to feel that perhaps a Big Mac might have been a better choice?

In my case I've played many a gig that I was looking forward to only for it to fail to fulfil my expectations.

But, I'd far rather approach gigs and events with a nice feeling of calm optimism. I suppose that means I may well run the risk of feeling a bit disappointed but it just feels better to me. If one does everything with the expectation that it will be a bit crap then why bother in the first place?

And the final nugget; that the best gigs end in a fight.

Yes that is very true. Particularly if it's a fight between band members.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Either / Or

Some months ago I read about the concept of using the words "either" and "or" as a tactic to get the behaviour you want from someone, or to frame a discussion or argument in order to win.

I'm sure we're all aware of people using either / or in everyday conversation and I'm equally sure we all use it ourselves.

"What are you, a man or a mouse?"

"You're either a lover or a fighter"

"Are you an optimist or a pessimist?"

"Are you pro Rajapaksa or against him / them?"

"You're either with us or against us"

Ad infinitum.

The point is that these force the unaware receiver into choosing between the two options and the smart user can choose his or her language to get a desired result. The "two types of people" statement is a powerful related method as well.

"There are two types of people; those go out and take action and those who sit around doing nothing and let crap happen to them."

I mean, faced with that sort of statement most people are going to take action just for fear of being branded as the doing nothing type.

As in life awareness is at least half the battle. Once I became aware that these sort of ultimatums can be used deliberately I have become much better at spotting them and cutting them off at the pass.

I saw a Twitter exchange between Stephen Fry and someone, in which the someone asked Stephen Fry if he was X or Y and Mr Fry responded with something like

"Gosh are those the only two choices?" which I made a mental note of to use in the future.

When I notice it being used on me I also like to just call out the person for it, saying

"'ve framed it as an either / or but actually it can be both."

This has been massive for me, as it can change the whole direction of the conversation and lead to a much more open and less aggressive type of conversation than how it might have been heading.

Just saying.

Have a good weekend out there!