Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Random Access

Photos from around London, posted in Glasgow. Just me keeping my hand in and touching the virtual world over a coffee and a donut. One day all of life will be like this or at least feel like this. The cold of November and the warm remembering of a clunky internet connection shrouded in white noise. So if I haven't got time for this them what have I time for? The only answer is a foolish one, close down all systems, bide time and stare into the horizon. Soon it'll be April 1st (well not soon but soonish) and another braver, newer world will open up. Of course it may be that I'm simply dreaming all of this...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Awkward Silence

It's highly likely that an awkward but maybe useful and therapeutic silence will now prevail from my little corner of the blogging world. No phone, no broadband at home. It's like having an unplanned and unexpected holiday from on line action and serial time wasting. I may find that beyond the screen and keys I have more of a life than I thought...and if I need wifi there's always free stuff here and there. All I need to do is go out.

Early morning walk

Trees blown almost bare by a week of strong winds and driving rain.
The path is clear here but further along the water running from the fields has flooded it. Everywhere is the gurgling sound of  dirty, smoky water trying to escape.
A fresh torrent bursts across the path and down onto the beach where it splits into numerous streams all searching for the quickest route to the river.
Low cloud, mist and drizzle obscure the view, shielding the power station and the lagoons and hiding the geese and sea birds out on the mud.

Wild unpicked apples rot on the wrong side of a tree guarded by thickets and thorns. Only birds manage to feast on the fruit.
For some reason the gate is too big for the gap.
The ditch on the left is busy clearing the water from the hill but it also keeps the path clear. The old ruined church at the top of the hill stands quiet, the defiant grave stones slowly turn onto  their faces and lie at odd angles and the moss sucks up the water. The souls buried below long ago can hardly care what goes on.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Slippery pavement

No it's not any kind of suggested prog rock band name, the "Slippery Pavements" it's a fact and phenomenon that exists in Glasgow but is denied by the city fathers and most of the western world. I have experienced this in both pain and humiliation. So there's no mean city thing here, no city of culture, miles better or city of smiles and hawkers; none of that. I would simply christen Glasgow as the supreme, one and only "City of Slippery Pavements". Other over 60 Hush Puppy shufflers, am I wrong on this? Glasgow City Council please get this sorted ASAP by the application of neutralising chemicals or a revised slab purchasing policy of some sort.

In other news, these cruel Islamic State bastards need to seen in proper perspective:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Simple time travel

This evening has mostly been spent driving back from Dundee through the rain and singing along to the Grateful Dead's version of Me and Bobby McGee. Obviously not the definitive version of that arguable ruined and overkilled song but worthy enough in it's own right. In the end listening to this kind of music regularly represents a primitive form of time travel where you travel without any of the physical problems of travelling. Apart from the rain.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Culture will eat itself

Memo to self: must get an upgrade to a new smarter smart phone that will fill my life with connections and meaning. Once fully charged I can simply concentrate hard and stare into the black abyss known as the soul of technology. Then I can talk about it and message from it using a series of exaggerations  and wondrously wonderful made up adjectives. After than I'm getting an Audi.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Autism Test

There are quite a few tests out there nowadays if you're inclined to self diagnose. Some say that the ability to predict the collapse of a once healthy tree is a good indicator (either of autism or witchy powers) but I doubt it. Telekinesis is another possible side effect, you either have that or you don't. No, the most reliable test is listening to Adele's Hello and checking on your own private reaction to the lyric when it rises just at "hello from the other side ". If you can avoid a tear in the corner of your eye or the hair rising on the back of your neck at this point, good news (bad news?), you're well high on the spectrum.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

From the relative comfort of the couch

Occasionally challenged, seldom beaten. Oh there's a book as well written by some Scottish bloke.
Somewhere between the soul and the soft machine, between the braised salmon and the apple crumble, the clear water and the red wine and Wheeler Dealers and Fast n' Loud we find Dr Jekyll and Mr (overacting) Hyde. This is in it's self somewhere before the baffling but addictive Homeland. It's so bad I almost reached for Dr Who on iPlayer but that also felt like a step too far. These quiet, pleasant, high value low action Sundays require discipline and control and the TV can ruin the moment. They may even require some reassessment of taste and discernment. Any way this Dr Jekyll is so bad that apart from the insurance company sponsoring the ad breaks there's nothing else in between. It's unloved and it shows. Proof that good actors, decent production values and homages to literature, steampunk and the Great British Empire are no guarantee of a decent programme. Currently my assessment would be about 1 out of 10. 

Doing nothing

Everything is windy, wet, blustery today. Makes me lazy, careless and reluctant to step out into the seasonal damp. Time to mentally hibernate, batten down the hatches and stare into the near space. I know there are other spaces out there, wider, greater and ripe for exploration but today is not that kind of day. So I'm taking low level control, slipping into doing close to nothing and just listening to the wind moving around in those trees.

Last of the autumn apples

Saturday, November 07, 2015

50 years

So you see I have come to doubt,
All that I once held as true,
I stand alone without belief,
The only truth I know is you.

Strange how this Paul Simon lyric from 1965 has sat in the back of my mind like some progressive time/cluster bomb that issues tiny explosions of emotions and questions. It marks a long slice of a life time. It went off again when the song popped up on early Saturday morning radio, there in a mediocre procession of other tunes and warbling, stuck in the middle of nowhere, then along comes this emotional blast from a different, unexplained past. There's no reason for the combinations that arise in strange radio programming mixes. No explanation, random and scattered and all full of effect for so few just once in a while. Or so I imagine.

Late for the sky

American Sniper: As ever behind the popular curve, playing catch up, understanding the world by degrees and at that only a few degrees at a time. I like to watch films but in no particular order and generally not when they are white hot with the plastic and tat of Oscars and parades and hype. So I was conflicted about this film, mainly due to it's reputation and of course the strong subject matter. I tried to watch with an open mind. Turn's out it's a powerful anti-war statement after all but not everyone might see it that way. There's glorification of sorts, flags wave all across a vista crowded out with raw and pointless violence, the pain of conflict and the questionable reasons for western intervention in...everything. War makes nobody happy and seldom make things better in a justifiable way (though there have been just wars) and that's all down to the lowest level mechanics of war. Some things are just cruel and miserable and we made it that way. No gods, no devils or demons to blame, only stupid us. Down in the dirt and up in the sky and on the place in between where we, with all our septic, putrid differences and where those petty beliefs exist and prevail.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Birdman revisited

Fashionably late for the movie premier, late catching up, late catching on. Everything is quite disturbing and unfortunately surreal, a handful of gongs and a fistful of Oscars later. The story of imagined failure, not appreciating what you're appreciated for because how can that ever be good enough? Well that was disturbing. Just enough.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Aldi log splitter

Still life with log splitter. 

Few people know that for most of my life it's been an ambition of mine to own my own golden log splitter. As of today that ambition has been realised and I can die a happy, log splitting man. All of this has been made possible thanks to some shrewd purchasing from the well know discount supermarket, Aldi. All for less than a fiver. Of course there has been some sweat and a little pain but I don't care, any opportunity to clobber logs with a sledge hammer has to be taken; taken very seriously. Prospective buyers please note, damp logs do require a little extra effort.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Healthy Eating

Our newly acquired recipe books.
Modern life is confusing. Time was bacon, sausages and fruit juice were seen as wholesome and good for various bodily and nourishment reasons. Now it's all poison. It's black as coal and rancid as Colombian butter. The great and the green and pretty much every kind of food that you might like, particularly guilty pleasures (hot dogs etc.) will now need a detail graphic depicting the grim reaper, entrails of cats and a flaccid penis on the wrapping. It kills you, quickly. Added to that will be a detailed counter showing how many years have been lost as a result of hastily eating a moderate portion of whatever newly categorised piece of junk food you've just consumed via the drive-thru. Life is complicated, diet much more so. So let's all start the day with shot of extra virgin olive oil and some cannabis and prune porridge topped with a poached free range egg, nice.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Big Trees

We may have accidentally discovered some of the biggest trees in Scotland. So big that they can't be photographed by humans with tiny phones. At least not in one single shot. Meanwhile in the distance a stag that has been turned to stone by the White Queen of Iceland, Aldi and Narnia meditates and awaits the first rays of spring. Then just a few hundred yards away by foot and by stealth we sneak up and find that out on the water a giant swan is pretending to be a boat just for the day.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Stop and consider

Click-bait is everywhere, so beware the obvious traps (some strangely worthwhile), but I liked this little series found via this link. So as it's a busy Saturday I'm close to stopping at that. The wind and the stormy weather have died back, the fallen tree in the garden has been removed, the huge stockpile of peony seeds have either been planted or sorted and along the way a big breakfast was enjoyed. Now we're up for another mission.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Free Bridie Friday

Food: Last Friday a man walked into this shop and asked for 21 steak bridies, 6 mince bridies, 6 shell pies, 6 steak and haggis pies, 3 bean and potato pies and 3 macaroni pies. He left shortly thereafter having paid up in full and was gifted a large amount of "Free Bridie Friday" scratch cards. He was suddenly happy at the chance of winning a pastry prize but he composed himself and stoically got on with the rest of his work for the day (mostly involving driving, donuts and acquiring alcohol). So, busy with other things, birthdays, weekends etc. he promptly forgot about the haul of tickets and got on with life. One week passed.

I found a brace (20 odd scratch cards) in the top pocket of my F&F authentic combat jacket. I scratched for some time, then I started on the cards. Would you believe I scored highly with 2 clear winners? There was spontaneous dancing in the streets. So I headed to a nearby town and despite failing to find a quiet barbers (eventually got a good deal in a Turkish one) I cashed in my chips for 2 normal sized but completely free bridies. Truly it was X X Friday. I also lashed out and purchased 2 fruit scones, just for the hell of it.

Music: This is probably something to do with recent events in the modern music industry, there's some new product(s) available shortly that we should all be interested in apparently:

Love: (of a kind)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Rate my toast

I'm really not sure why I decided to submit a photo of a sardines on toast sandwich to @ratemytoast on Twitter.  It seemed like a good idea at the time and of course based on the user name I should at some point benefit from some kind of toastal rating and constructive criticism. I'd imagine that the score when it comes will not be good. As you can see it's hardly the most photogenic of food creations. I don't care, it tasted fine to me at the time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

In the great outdoors

So now I've made it past grizzly sixty what's next? Here on the other side of oblivion life is...just the same really. There's no finish line or flag, no result, just other slender days accompanied by a greater feeling of distance between you and the past. Mountains and life events are far away and remote. You still see things you can't climb towards and you understand why you can't be bothered trying and there are always other things to do that are both closer and easier. The world remains an irritating place. Full of powerful, two faced people repeatedly and blatantly doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. Facts present themselves as facts but they are lies, truth is confused with opinion and opinion is forever distorted by your capacity to see the multiple sides of things. There are a lot of people shouting loudly, leaking their speeches and hogging the limelight with their dull wit at all levels of life. We, the reasonable people, tolerate it as if was wrong to mock the politically afflicted and the philosophically certain.That's just the way it is.

So at the weekend and a party of eager townies rose up and set upon finding the country. Sure enough it was there, just outside of town and filled with parallel language signage, buzzing motorcyclists and threatening insects. The views however made us all speechless and kept us set in a poignant sense of scale. One where nature is truly big and beautiful, raw and all too clever for us. We are roaming misfits here, OK for a day or two of chewing the rocks but then our weak flesh and thin shoes and clothing finds us out as we scuttle backwards into the concrete.  We are spirits in a granite and volcanic world where trade, petty wars and economics have clouded our judgement and messed with values and ambition. There is space to think but most of it is not in our own heads or on a screen (however well developed). It's in the tiny silences and huge spaces, that void between the land and that sky that young children always draw. Then they grow out of that when some distorted sense of adult gravity and proportion comes in. We need to explore it a bit more before it's lost, or just get back to the future.