Thursday, April 23, 2009

Drives like a handbag

It's been a good week (or so) for freeloading. a few days ago we got a five star lodge at Cameron House instead of a room and a goody bag full of cosmetics. Today in sunny Birmingham it was at Hertz's expense and it was a Mini Cooper S. Funky inside and fast outside but I rather felt like I was driving a large blue and white handbag albeit one that moved like dark material from a steel shovel.
Back to airports: I've finally realised what we need, no malls, no coffee shops, no supercar raffles and shoeshines, it's just a simple chute that carries you from check in to the door of your aircraft, a bit like the launch sequences in Thunderbirds. I'd pay Ryanair an extra fiver for this and Flybe at least a tenner.

I think it's aliens who drive white vans, how else can you explain their uncanny speed, bumper to bumper accuracy and an ability to appear in your mirror from nowhere and when the need arises, park unseen on the hard shoulder for hours

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Green Growth

A strange green growth causes concern as a twiggy tree is revealed.

Greedy burger recipe: 1 tomato, 4 bits of bacon, 2 eggs, 2 slices cheese, 2 rolls.
Method: Cook/fry everything apart from the rolls. As they are four days old they must be toasted. Eat at the end of a long day at work and then sit on the couch watching the Apprentice but not really paying attention to it.

"We sell things on the basis of a way of response".

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More brandy

She said "on a good week I blog every day, on a bad week I can't quite stay away, when the wind blows I am cold and unclear, when the frost bites it's just brandy and beer". Somebody save me.

Glencoe daily photo

I can confirm it, the rumour is true: "She's a waterfall".

Wednesday already when it's really Tuesday and a cold mist has descended into my nostrils and the raw salad palette at the back of my throat. If it was Monday I'd be fine but the money wont be in the bank until Thursday and on Friday I have to catch the cats. What a week to lose touch with the concept of time, the annoying length of my fingers and the angry, pointless rant that would usually follow. Next week at this time it will be my Christmas birthday, all my dreams may come true and a foreign country will seem like home for a few short (59 minute) hours.

I did visit Glencoe and it only cost me £15 to get out of there. It was bleak but enjoyable, a bit like Pittenweem. Next time I'll take a jacket and full membership of the National Truss for Alba before asking for political asylum. Meanwhile I regarded the waterfall, encountered many a slip and found it all rather pleasing. Some day soon I'll be seen blethering to myself on the fast lane of the M5.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I did have a hangover once

That may have been Saturday morning, what a feeling.

A blank v a blur

Chasing down the remnants of memory strands, not easy for me, the persistence of it all and the ragged edge of what I can't remember, in this case what I did with the cat's vaccination records, easy for some, tough for me.

Another hectic weekend over, much of it spent at the now (by us) highly regarded Dakota Hotel where everything ran as close to plan as any plan ever does. It was manic, frantic, relaxed and fun and a celebration to remember plus they do really good chips. Who'd have thought it?

For the last two days it's been the new salad, fruit and the marinated anchovy diet, I think that's less than four ingredients as per the latest Australian instructions. There was also a pint of Guinness on a sunny afternoon under the railway bridge just to add some pleasant toxins to the mix.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Back from the West Country

Alexandria car wash - detail.

Back from touring the West Highlands for three days, sleeping in a mixture of wigwams and five star resorts and getting the latest postings from the many bi-lingual road signs now set up north of Tyndrum. What a complete waste of money that is, twice the ugly signage and sod all for the actual roadway. My recurring thought however, based on a chance encounter at the Duck Bay Marina is "do Native American women get large tattoos of Weegie men done on their backs?" If so then the world is in perfect balance and intervention in the form of some pre-emptive nuclear strike is totally unnecessary. I certainly hope so and say let the good taste prevail whatever the outcome.

As a seasoned pothole ranter the road from Tarbert to Fort William left me wavering, shuddering and speechless. It rewards the dumb tourist with a totally awful surface and a driving experience that would rattle the pants from anyone in anything from an Ascona to a Zafira. Pity help any Homecoming 2009 victims who attempt to traverse this road disaster, a homecoming in an ambulance with a shattered spine is the likely reward. Where does the road tax money actually go and why are they filling up the holes with surplus porridge instead of something more substantial?

The West Lothian cow question has been settled, temporarily. Numerous sightings of the disappearing cows have been made by a selection of reputable people including me. I even saw some dressed up in black and white.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cow rapture

One of the most frustrating things about living in West Lothian is the tendency that the cattle seem to have to play hide and seek on a regular basis. Casually (to the outsider) but with some grim determination (to the locals), they move from field to field as if in some grand, golden bovine ballet. I'm slowly getting used to this.

One school of thought suggests that a cattle "rapture" is underway, the great beasts caught up and transported to wherever their final destination lies. I can neither confirm or deny this as the evidence is patchy or anecdotal or based on unreliable testimony smattered with the poison that is cheap alcohol. West Lothian is a tortured landscape of many mysteries that require urgent attention and fuller investigations, don't mention rustlers either.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Man Friday

I made these myself from real bunny parts.

There is clearly too much chocolate around the house today and not enough protein. Despite my best efforts the brown addictive sweet treat is in every corner and going down well with coffee and sometimes just on it's own. It's nothing to do with religion or belief, it's the power of the supermarkets and media pushing us to exercise our pin numbers to add to those squiggly lines on bits of paper that curtail all of our finances at some point. It seems I've surrendered to the power of the state and to the weakness of a sweet tooth that costs £18.99 a month to maintain on Dentalplan (Group B).

Pathetic as it seems exhuming six stone slabs from the garden this afternoon came pleasantly close to killing me. Extreme gardening can verge into some almost "snuff" related territory as your body says "stop" but your inflated vision of the finished gardening masterpiece says, "a bit more and ignore the pain and the black fingernails". Soon enough rain stops play.

South Queensferry, the bustling hub on a Spring evening.

Spent a fun night in the SQ Stag yesterday inventing subversive alternatives to Twitter - "Stutter" being my favourite. The trick is to get your message in b-b-b-b-b-before you use up all your allotted character spaces.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

more thin things

New Ted Rodgers 321 Tribute Act - from the Daily Reckless.

Searching for the paths of the thin moon is not a regular pastime round these parts where, despite the lack of light pollution we seldom stare at the heavens the way good Pagans should. The fascination for the stars does not burn brightly here at present but that may be as much to do with weather patterns (thin) at present. Actually I'm not a Pagan, nor a Vegan nor a Presbyterian or a Vulcan, thankfully I do not feel I belong within any such category. Our lazy lack of astronomical endeavour has inspired a short sound scape I've just recorded, it may never be heard but it's called "Search for the thin moon".

Easter eggs are becoming increasingly bland, strangely cheap and unattractive. The ubiquitous golden/silver bunnies are tasty but now breeding like all good bunnies should, on supermarket shelves. Nice as they are they remain no match for a fish finger sandwich, a snack I'm sure Jesus would have approved of (five loaves, three fish fingers?). Is it ever too late to start new traditions?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

thin day

Dawn of the thin atmospheric paths from the trails of the replicants that scrape the horizon.

More than anything else today has been a thin day. That's not thin in the body image or mass stakes but thin in the general lack of substance that has hung over. Thin weather, neither one type or the other, thin air, thin conversation and exchanges covering up the possibility that I am slowly becoming a ghost. A thin ghost. Perhaps it's to do with the confusing seasons of the spirit that collide in what for some is Holy Week and for others a reason to buy chocolate bunnies and spring themed cards. That devout and dimwitted thinness will have stretched to it's limit by Monday as the holiday expires and the next thin theme rotates into place.

I'm all for socks being sold in clumps of three rather than pairs of two, it's been suggested but it needs doing. On reflection is that just the same as buying three pairs and stuffing them all in the drawer in the haphazard and disrespectful way that socks are usually treated.

Missie the new cat has finally decided that I'm not an immediate threat to her health and well being. She can now stay in the same room as me for short periods and doesn't run and hide should I invade her generally generous sense of space. She's also learned how to plunge through the cat portal known as the cat flap and make a feeble "mew" sound when requiring to be fed. All very civilised and pleasant and happening now.

Views from thin windows and the typical artistic fog.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

6 days upon the road

Not 6 days but 6 hours on the M6/74 and then another 6 to get back home. In a desperate bid to avoid the brain death of airports I arrived at the other brain death of motorway travel. Not sure which is worse but the car offers a controlled and (relatively) hassle free, sterile environment filled with my own choice of music played at a suitably high volume far away from the rest of the general public and easily accessible fruit juice - better in some ways anyway.

Going south was good, sunlight, breakfast and the open road, the journey home was wet and wild and dark and a bit scary - I've done this loads of times but not learned any more lessons it seems. I did have a nice rest break in Lancaster and a huge burger and coffee and I thought a lot.

Ever dreamt about a problem at work but have it turn into some allegorical chicken pie contest in which you have to make and bake the best pie? I woke up struggling with these metaphorical and imaginary pies and the real problems of getting the pastry right. Only the right texture of pastry would win the contest and so solve that tricky work related conundrum. I do believe I just had one of my rare nightmare experiences, possibly triggered by a 16 hours day, the guilt of a large burger, loud music and serial tiredness coupled with a career high of rich and fruitful anxiety. That'll be it then, job done.
I'm going to see this dumb film because already I like the animation and the bright colours and we've not been to movies since Batboy and Joker Jim slugged it out in NYC to the delight of a whooping and cheering local audience.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Are all donkeys vegetarians?

Donkey conked out.

When driving along the road who could resist a hand painted roadside sign offering "free donkey manure". Of course it could simply be some splinter group campaigning to get some donkey manure freed from being held as a political prisoner somewhere but that's unlikely, I'll take on face value and pop in for some, one fine day. Anyway we are now in the midst of our new growing season and the little onions, asparagus, leeks and potatoes are crying out for more nourishment and we don't want to use the lion manure that Dobbies offers (oh no!). On thinking a bit more it seems wrong and risky to grow vegetables using a meat based manure, that could surely lead to mutant vegetables rising from the soil apart from other ethical issues that I can't be bothered tackling and what about the laws of physics? I think we need that cludgie of organic manure to kick start the growth and avoid another West Lothian potato famine. I'll wait with my B&Q bucket for the next horse fair nearby.

Goalpost Erection.

Another cold morning, up early and out to the blasted heath, avoiding the witches and the wolves and setting up the goal posts and nets. Then watch the game while the sun fails to offer any warmth o the living and then take them all down again. Home eventually and Ali has made a nice brunch of bacon, scrambled eggs and rolls and slow recovery sets in. Then we do more gardening (progress), then my new laptop dies in a cloud of invisible smoke and nothing else in particular - a whimper in fact, how pants is that?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The power of the blues

Never did get that ES335.

Inedible Journey

Maybe it wasn’t The Incredible journey but there was a movie with a dog voiced by some old Hollywood actor, a stupid dog voiced by Bruce Willis (always sniffing things) and a scraggy cat voiced by Debbie Reynolds. For some reason I thought there was a duck or maybe a goose that accompanied them. Not sure how that would work in practice, any bird would beat a cat or dog and inevitably make the journey across the Rocky Mountains less incredible. I also thought it was Robin Williams who provided the voice for the bird, may have been a chicken. Conversations in a car on a rainy day.

Blues saves my life

Nice couch daydream featuring me playing a three chorus solo in some mystical, smoky blues band. The first passage was surprisingly fluid and ran between the 8th and 12th fret and was a full four finger job. Then I pulled down to the 7th fret and ran up to a lick based around an A chord with a twist, I concluded by returning to the 12th and between that and the 15th let it scream a bit with a few long bends. The turnarounds were all based on “Sitting on top of the world” and when I had to vamp for the other guitarist It was back to “Crossroads” followed by “Killing Floor”. It was probably at this point that the audience walked out for a beer or a toilet break, I enjoyed it anyway and experienced the imaginary healing power of the blues.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Over use of the colon

Finding Faith on the Internet:

I’m still exploring the teaching of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a viable means of gaining eternal life, some time after the three score and ten expire here. Failing success with that it’s looking like the offer of “Eternal salvation or triple your money back (at least $90 on a $30 subscription)” from the good but disturbing people at SubGenius is hard one to beat. There is so much out there but so little time to take it all in, absorb it and generally reject it. If I choose this then it’s grappling with the dilemma of what to wear on St Bill Hicks Day on the 13Th of April. If that fails then it’s back to Discordianism once again.

Age and wisdom:

These chase one another around your body and mind like Tom and Jerry did in the inspired cartoons of the 1940s, the ones no longer shown on TV as they are not quite PC enough. Age brings pains, slower timing for blood to clot, memory loss and a strange pain that seems based on tension that arrives in the small of your back. The world of wisdom is shaped by an increase in cynicism, successive déjà vu experiences that pass themselves of as reality, mentally completing the sentences of others in conversation, fear of books and a shortened attention span. The physical will occasionally overcome the mental and visa versa, concerns rage between the two in an incessant civil war that steals sleep and pollutes daydreams. Peace breaks out after the administration of a curry, red wine in the right glass, the smile of a child or the touch of a lover. You may also start to appreciate the world of cats, a world you can never share.

Red house over yonder:

The house of Jimi Hendrix has reached the end of it‘s life. Somewhere in Seattle they want to tear down his house, a house never painted red, probably. Of course it should be torn down and the developers should win the day but all the timbers should be salvaged, sorted and sent to the great guitar builders of the world and remodelled into sunburst Stratocaster shapes and then played and displayed in a perfect guitar shaped universe.

A banana a day:

Simple as it may seem I find it difficult to reach a certain personal goal everyday - eating a banana. Based on fear, the need for potassium (why?) and as an alternative to chocolate nobody can say bananas are bad but they are dull and if you’re stuck with supermarket ones they often appear to be a number of years old and a bit tasteless. I’m now experimenting with adding them to porridge (another neutral food) thus creating the equation dull + neutral over microwave divided by a bowl too hot to handle to the power of 650 to 800 watts allowing for the text being difficult to read in daylight. It tastes ok and Gordon Brown may well breakfast on it and add the occasional waffle but I’m still struggling.

Driving an automatic car whilst wearing an itchy jumper:

It’s not an official sport but perhaps it should be though scoring might be complex. Imagine Lewis Hamilton spinning around Monza at 200mph encased in a wiry woolly jumper, struggling with a redundant left foot and worrying about what to tell the stewards once the race is over. My position isn’t quite so tricky but the business of trying to multi task when wearing distracting clothing remains a challenge and tests the metal of any ordinary person to the limit, in my scratchy view. That horrible moment when you forget you’re in an automatic and hit the brake with your left foot when you thought you’d stabbed the clutch, you crash to a halt and the jumper collides with the back of your exposed neck as you shoot forward in the seat and are throttled by the seat belt. Shocking, itchy and irritating.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ramshackle Rockers

Last night was spent at Jim Igoe's Secret CDs night in town. Top of the bill were the incredibly tight and loud Graeme Mearns Band, ramshackle rockers and excellent musicians, cheeky, dangerous and impressive in a cartoon Bohemian style. Get the CD at the link. We got the chance to perform briefly thanks to a call off - a few notable others also played: Furious, Fi, Nyk, Broken Tooth and the ever tuneful Angel Conversations, all happening as the Scotland match raged on upstairs in the congested and noisy public bar.

Bacon and eggs can be perfect sometimes, on song and lightly fried with a slice of toast and not too much brown sauce. Egg yolks running with just the right amount of viscosity, over easy and soft with a wee bit of fat on the meat and a few well chosen burned bits to add colour and depth.