The best ‘shell with shoes on’

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A few years ago I was introduced to a friendly character. His name was Marcel.

He may not look like your average shell, after all he’s got an eye and is wearing some shoes, but that adds to his appeal. He’s a friendly guy and would like to share some of his thoughts with you. If you haven’t seen this Youtube video (and let’s be honest, even if you have) then you definitely need to watch it:

This is the first outing of Marcel, giving us some of his vital views on his world.

But he’s more than just a one-video wonder, here he is again in 2011 spreading his joy once more:

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is the stop-motion baby of director Dean Fleischer-Camp and actor Jenny Slate, who both wrote the short. The original, and the first video I posted was made in 2010 and has over 23.6 million views on Youtube. It’s a bit of a big deal. No wonder, it’s flippin’ hilarious.

So why am I only bringing this up now? It’s a bit of old news to be telling you about something which happened in 2010.

Well, they’ve only just gone and put out a whole new video of Marcel!

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for for 3 years. I was getting severe withdrawal symptoms and my nightmares were filled with people telling me that Marcel was never coming back. How wrong those imaginary people were.

Here he is in all his glory:

These videos are delightfully weird and bizarrely funny. I wholeheartedly recommend them to you.

I never knew that about shrimps either…

The best way to admit that you are, and always will be, weak

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This doesn’t look like a best thing

Whenever I think about making a statement, my first idea is always to write it on a t-shirt. Like if I’m hungry, sleepy or angry I would ideally have a t-shirt that said so.

So if you want to get a t-shirt that says “I am and always will be weak” on it… I’m not going to stop you. I’m just asking that you listen to my alternative suggestion first and then decide.

Because this Japanese engineer called Minoru Kurata has invented a trash can that moves to catch the trash you throw at it.


moving trash can

Here it is in action

I think this is just the perfect way to admit not just that you aren’t good enough right now, but also that you never will be.

Instead of learning to aim better, why not spend lots of money on a robotic bin?

A sensor on the wall detects the paper while it’s in the air. The computer works out where it’s going to land and sends that information to the bin – which then rushes to catch your trash. Perfect.

I actually think this is pretty fun though.

I like the way it moves – like a dog playing fetch. I also like how setting up this device is actually way harder than just walking to your bin and dropping the rubbish into it. That all adds to the joy.

But I’ve spoken before about my passion for throwing stuff at other stuff and in light of that, I can’t help but see it as a sign of weakness.

Sometimes though, I just get worn out by the day. Maybe I get some bad feedback, maybe Steve beats me at some sporting contest, or maybe some giant bird poops on my car… like an ostrich or something. At these times it would be nice to just admit defeat and say…

Hey little bin, will you run around and catch the trash I throw at you for a while? I just need a quick win and I thought maybe you wouldn’t mind…

It sure is a super fun way to admit that you are weak – and everybody needs that once in a while.

Here’s the full video of the smart trash can. At about 1.15 the bin actually drops the trash and goes a bit mental for a while.


P.S. Guest blogger Hazel follows us through our facebook page and she plays this excellent game where she tries to work out what the post is about purely from the title and the header image… Would you have guessed it today?

Yesterday, she thought it was ‘Guard cat’ which is an excellent idea. Unfortunately, that concept only really exists as a side note in the 9th paragraph of this weird news article… not quite a best thing.


The best security method

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laser security

This is actually an incredibly misleading picture for this blog but it looks way cooler than a key…

This may sound stupid but have you ever thought about keys?

It’s a question you should probably consider because it’s kind of interesting. What would you do without them? How could you own a house or a car?

The only two solutions I have for keeping your home safe without keys are: 1) make sure someone is always home or 2) assume you are stronger than everyone else and roll a really big stone in front of your doorway.

I suppose another option would be to create a series of elaborate traps which only you and your nearest know how to avoid or disarm. Apart from those sensible ideas, I’m absolutely stumped.


A trap! For all those tiny robbers

So what do keys do? They mean that everything we own is safe (mostly) because they’re behind doors which are difficult to open unless you own a tiny piece of sculpted metal.

Think about how small and inconsequential a key is and how useless an unknown key is. In my life I’ve come across plenty of keys whose primary purpose is never uncovered, they just collect dust because we assume they may unlock the doors to our deepest desires one day.

We know that keys are important, that’s why we create such a fuss when we lose them, but we often take them for granted. Our solution to security and privacy is small enough to be swallowed by a cat. That’s pretty cool.


“Nanananana, I just ate your keeeeeeeeeeeeeys!”

I’m not sure what I really expect you to do with these key reflections. I don’t want you to create a key shrine or to look admirably at your keys with a new found love, but maybe, next time you open your front door, whisper a quiet “thank-you” to your small metal friend.

As the saying goes “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”, or, in my case, “you don’t know what you’ve got until you’re already late for a job interview and you’re rushing around the house like crazy, asking everyone if they know where your keys are and they eventually turn up down the side of the sofa along with that pound coin you lost and a half eaten chocolate bar so you have to wash your keys off before you can lock your door on the way out.”

Cherish your keys.

The best skyline


City skylines are pretty cool. They look good at night and during the day. They’re instantly recognisable.

I’m a big fan of the London skyline and all of the skyscrapers which are going up. They’re all localised and haven’t overcrowded the city too much, so you still have lovely views of St. Paul’s, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.


Paris is also cool but largely involves one big tower and one big arch. They’re iconic but it’s not much of a skyline. Paris

Fun fact about Paris: along the same road as the Eiffel Tower and the Arch de Triomphe is the Arch de Defense which is a massive hollowed out cube. My family and I saw it on a postcard once and made it our business to get there. It was good.

Arch de defense

Then New York. New York is just tall tall tall with a bit more tall involved. If you build anything below 20 stories in New York you’re basically laughed out of the city. There’s a big statue out a bit from the city as well.

New york

But the best is the Tokyo skyline.

Tokyo 2

Why is it great? Well, the skyscrapers are plentiful and interesting, but the real gem is the whopping great mountain in the background.

Did you miss it?

Tokyo 3


Here’s a photo taken during the day to hammer it home:


You’ve got all these busy city types busying themselves in a busy city being looked down on by nature. It’s as if the mountain is saying: “you think that’s good, get a load of this!” You can be a big shot but still pale into insignificance when struck by the sheer size of Mt. Fuji.

No matter how hard we try, we can’t make a Mountain.

The best thing to do if you’re as bad at stuff as this dog is at catching a ball



Look at this.



dog misses ball


Look at it again.


dog misses ball


Does it seem familiar?

Things start off so well – full of promise. You spring off the ground with all the vigour of youth. But you quickly realise that you’ve been too eager. You’re going to miss the target.

You crash down to the earth, welcomed by the familiar thud of failure.

You suck at life, friend.


I think the best thing about dogs is that they are relentlessly enthusiastic. They love stuff so much. If you give them a biscuit, you just know that you’ve made their wildest dreams come true.

You can’t even say the word walk around them. You have to spell it out, otherwise they do this:

walk the dog

This is a dog that is comfortable showing his emotions.

And when a dog makes a mistake, like maybe he runs into a wall or drools on somebody’s tax forms, he doesn’t get upset about it. He just keeps on charging around like an idiot, causing problems and cheering people up in equal measure.

I think one of the worst things about making mistakes is how we act after doing it. Because most of the time we’ve not hurt anybody else – we’ve just damaged our pride.

Like when we turn the wrong way out of a shop and just keep walking for a bit so as to not look crazy.

Or we forget to correct someone when they learn our name wrong and are forever known as Don.

Or we trip over when there is literally nothing we could have tripped on.

I do all these things.

And actually, these sort of mistakes happen all the time. They only hurt when we hold onto some level of dignity that we never really had anyway.

Best to be comfortable being a bit of an idiot… probably.

dog misses ball

Oh sweet idiocy, how beautiful you are to me.

The best questions to ask yourself today



I recently saw an interview where Taylor Swift was debating whether or not to get another cat. She already owned one cat and was worried that acquiring a second cat would start to look like “cats” – a symptom of early on-set singleness. Eventually she decided that she wanted a second cat so she got one.

She does ask a very important question though: how many cats can I have before I start to look crazy?

For me, I think two per person is OK, going beyond that gets a bit ropey. If you can’t high-five all your cats at once then you definitely have too many cats. Three is a crowd after all.

too many cats

Too many cats. Too many cats.

But this question got me thinking about a whole load of other questions which are important for examining our lives. I’ve put a few of these questions below followed by the textbook answer.

I’m speaking to a friend, how loud is too loud?

Are people behind you grimacing? Are they covering their ears? Does your friend have earplugs in? If the answer to any of these is yes then you’re probably not loud enough, you need a high volume to get through those earplugs.

How many times can I watch The Notebook before it gets ridiculous?

Once. And only out of morbid curiosity. Anything more and you’re just willing to be bored.

Is it OK to sing badly to Let It Go?


She looks so smug. Just because she can make ice doesn’t mean you have to be arrogant about it.

Yes. Let It Go was actually written to be sung badly, Idina Menzel ruined it.

I just ate another meal of pasta and tomato sauce, how much more can I eat before I am malnourished?

Luckily for you pasta is full of all five of the main food groups! However, if you are still worried then let me tell you a tale. I once heard of someone who only ever ate Monster Munch. Nothing else. Just Monster Munch.

As cells in our bodies are constantly reproducing, largely using the nutrients from our food and drink, then this means our Monster Munch Maestro was significantly made up of Monster Munch! Whaaat?!

I have 28 guinea pigs, is that too many?

Guinea pigs

A guinea pig city for all those rogue guinea pigs

Nope. Amelia Lily once did and now she’s got a number 2 single in the UK. It can work out even for the weirdest.

I’m sick and tired of my job, should I quit?

Maybe. This is a tough one. Does your job provide you with some satisfaction, pay well, is the best job you would be able to get, and you get a corporate discount at a gym? You probably shouldn’t quit.

If, however, your boss calls you “iguana chops” and you’re paid in sweetcorn then you probably should quit.

I’m not licensed to deal with any other situation.

Am I too short?

too tall or short

I wonder how often this question comes up in interviews with Shaq…


No. There’s no such thing as too short, just a world which is too tall.

Am I too tall?

Yes! You’re giving all the short people a complex! You terrible person!

Is there anything cooler than a mug which changes colour when you put hot water in it?

I’ll leave you to decide this one for yourself although a hint would be that the correct answer has 3 letters, rhymes with Jess and is often accompanied by a nod.

Happy life examining!

The best surname to marry into


Is it enough of a blog post to tell you that yesterday I met a man with the surname Booty?

Like Bootylicious, booty-shaking… That sort of Booty.

Harry Booty was his full name and, ladies, you should totally marry into that. Just do it.

You’ll be like Beyonce by default with that name.

Would it be ok if I just left you with the knowledge that this most wonderful surname exists?

Like on a genuine, quite serious man who lives in london.

Would you be convinced that it is most definitely a best thing?

…I sure hope so.

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