Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year End

Edinburgh from the big wheel.

Cold blue fields in the morning.

West Lothian and the lights of Fife.

Stuck in snow and mud.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pimp my Sleigh

Having had my Santa license for almost 31 years (oldest son's birthday is in a few days) I was keen to see these long awaited developments currently happening in the Christmas transport department, this sledge concept is by Landrover, there are a few others here. I want one. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The path to enlightenment... covered in a little drop of snow and ice at the moment so please take care as you explore. Meanwhile the dustbin lorry got stuck and blocked the road, the Sky signal failed and there are miles of hard and frozen ground stretching between us and civilisation.

Thankfully the lack of TV is saving me from those ultra irritating Windows 7 commercials: "We're flying Jack from Berlin to California so he can listen to some music on a shiny black laptop while grinning actors pretending to be Microsoft developers can applaud some bloody silly request he never actually made." Wouldn't it have been better if they'd just made Vista work properly in the first place? Ugh.

Somebody made it out of here - but where are they now?

Monday, December 21, 2009


Carefully chosen seasonal lighting effects hang in each window, orifice and portal.

Tis the season to moan about the weather, something that you'd think we'd have learned to put up with by now but no, it still makes the headlines. It was so cold this morning I had to scrape the car three times, first to find it, then to clear it and then to clear it again - as the ice and snow had re-formed in geological type layers inches deep across the frozen metal. Apart from the fact that I was wearing my "all year round, never mind the weather" regular clothing ensemble I felt like some nutty Polar explorer about to head out onto the glacier to search for his lost colleagues. As it happened I was over the Forth Bridge by the time the windscreen had fully cleared, at least that's where I think I was. The Baltic weather continues which makes me wonder what the weather is like in those often cursed Baltic States.

Another tedious but cute cat picture illustrating one way that cats keep warm, mainly by following a 23 hour sleeping regime.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holocaust Food

A portion of mashed potato as seen from the Robot Base on the Moon.

"It may be humble mashed potatoes but it is also now a member of the newly formed Holocaust Food Group. These are the foods that we will live on in the long nuclear winter caused by the heavy bombing from the east or possibly the west - the aftermath of Obama & Brown. Then our robot lords and masters will subject us to severe dietary restraint and we will have no choice other than to live on petrol station rations and foragings. This means logs, Pringles and jars of petite pois and carrots will form up as our staple human diet - all across the great European Plains. On a good day we'll get a can of Irn-Bru, a Snickers and a well aged, oak ham and cheese sandwich to enjoy around the bonfire. On a bad day we will eat our horses. Hopefully the evil robots will pick none of this behaviour up on their CCTV, from their helicopter view points or with their mind reading rays." Nostradamus 1661, 1961 or thereabouts.

As you can see an afternoon of furious present wrapping and sorting has left me addled and ready for a long hoped for shepherd's pie themed drinking session. Those mashed potatoes were calling me from deep inside the fridge, now they are deep inside the oven hovering over a rich seam of oniony mince. If only Christmas would come upon us all, destroy us, have it's terrible way and then rescue us from this seasonal happy madness - and it's only the 20th.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Catsnake v Chic Murray v reality

A furry snake with (hidden) legs.

A big thanks to the Scotsman for remembering the great late Chic Murray. A much missed surrealist genius who died about 25 earth years ago. Sadly missed.

"I knocked and the woman answered the door in her night dress - a strange place to have a door."

Like many comics of the monochrome generation most of his material hasn't survived or remains a little too un-PC, slow and abstract for today's complicated and messed up media circus. There are of course quite a few other funny people still doing the rounds, some even younger than 25.

I artificially narrowly avoided artificially buying an artificial upside down artificial Christmas artificial tree yesterday...keeping it real with a real (dead) one, correctly orientated and suitably decorated. Phew.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The top window on the right was the window of my first bedroom, circa 1955 in Cellardyke, Fife. Everything then was of course set in black and white (425 lines) and mono, today we live in a far more colourful but also more confusing world. Many things have changed since those days, I certainly don't recognise the washing in the foreground.

I thought that the bacon that I had in the George Formby was sizzling nicely, then I realised that it was the cats spitting and hissing at one another. I've decided to rename them for the festive season: Silly, Goody, Oldy and Baddy. Strictly speaking Baddy is not our cat, he is a stray who sneaks in through the cat flap in the wee small hours and eats up all the remaining cat food in a feeding frenzy, a bit like Goldilocks except she was a fictional girl and not a cat. Baddy also has the other cats terrified because of his stealth, his trickery and his sophisticated psychological ploys and plots, like eating all their food.

Cellardyke photo courtesy Ali Graham Photo Torpedoes PLC.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Avatar and the Princess

Ready for another stunning visual experience.

I’m quite looking forward to seeing Avatar in 3D, or 4D or E-motion or Supermarionation or whatever. As someone who still thinks stereo is pretty cool, in particular simple pot-pan ping pong panning, then anything beyond that is far out science fiction. The only problem I have is that the blue people all look a bit like that guy who played George of the Jungle and the rip-off Indiana Jones in Egypt. Something in the lizard eyes and pin point pupils that strikes a distinct chord. If it all turns out to be some Vietnam or Afghanistan guilt trip allegory then I’ve already decided not to make the connection, that’s half the trouble with Hollywood, intellectual credibility has to be built in like the keel on a ship so the project stays upright. Quite unnecessary.

When its minus 3, foggy and gloomy it’s hard to mount a convincing argument for global warming far less start a good riot in Copenhagen to try to make your point. The people who feel guilty about picking up a plastic bag in a supermarket will casually board a jet to Birmingham or Bali without a single thought, I should know I’m one of them. Sobering then to think that one decent volcanic blast pumps more CO2 and resultant earth excrement into the atmosphere than any Ford Zetec or BMW V8 could do running up the fast lane of the M6 at 95 for a year. Why don’t we just dump the rusting fridge mountain into some hyper-active crater somewhere and so neutralise and short circuit the whole process.

And so another Princess Diana moment comes along. That golden time when you realise you are out of step with popular opinion and interest, you are out there, on a limb, aware but uncaring as the awful mess of mediocrity that is the current X-Factor washes over the nation like a cocaine and morphine syrup.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sensible Shoes

It's hard to stay on the side of sensible when nonsense reigns supreme in most walks of life. I'm currently watching the X-Factor (in the TV background) and reading today's blogs on the Daily Telegraph. Neither position can be correct, the pushy despair and likely truth of the Telegraph's wry opinions and the grinning and smug optimism in X-Factor's all possible but not likely world of recycled pap. The British public's voice must be heard, we just can't quite understand what they are saying and we can't really credit them with thinking because that's slowly being educated out of them - but they will posses a number of useful skills suitable for a long career in the service sector.

2009 has been the year when the collapse of good sense has left us all sitting on tinsel couches angry and disaffected by the puzzling images on our old-style TVs, feeling guilty about sipping one too many unit of wine and refusing to phone the latest telly-vote number. The good news is that you can still lounge back at the end of the working week and laugh at the pompous madness that passes for government and authority and plan to vote for the Monster Raving Loony Party in the new year. Hopefully there will be such a candidate running in West Lothian, the only place in the UK where 2 miles of dual carriageway by-pass costs £200m compared to £12m anywhere else it seems. I'm referring to the HGV beleaguered village of Newton, 8 miles away from the Scottish Parliament but seeing only six buses a day and without a footpath or cycle path to connect it to the apparent but remote civilisation of BP M&S and Burger King, shame on you Alex.

Earlier I watched Tony Blair grin and (virtually) defend everything he ever did in one soundbite, believing his conscience to be salved by revisiting the tattered mess he allowed poor Gordon Brown to pick up and then make worse. No memory, no responsibility, everybody must be right all the time because we can't quite bring ourselves to push the red "no" button. Perhaps Simon Cowell should run the country after all and I'll vote for the vacuous but talented Stacy Solomon and her sensible shoes.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nantucket Sleighride

In the great gloom, frost and the fog I have discovered that you can listen to the track NS continuously (not the album pictured) all the way from Fife, through Kinross and Angus all the way to Aberdeenshire in a motor vehicle. I achieved this amazing feat whilst eating four Scotch Eggs, one at a time of course and not using a mobile phone but my hands were not free. Should the Labour Party who I believe are having a good go at governing our nation these days find out about it they will naturally make it illegal. The blunt instrument and tired rhetoric school of government applies in all departments. The control freaks have taken over the asylum.

Eventually I made it home and then proceeded to set fire to some sticks and fossil fuel but still the fog prevails, roll on you longest day you.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I'd be a mess without my...

...Chinese Wish Balloon. Yes they fly and of course your wishes do come true eventually. All low tech and pretty simple and primitive but hugely satisfying. Simply light the blue touch-paper, struggle for a few moments and then let it go, and it does fly and you get a rush, particularly so when it floats into a commercial flight path, ("but we are five miles away!"). Somewhere in the distance I swear I could hear Simon Dupree and the Big Sound.

Thankfully no cats, passing rodents, teenagers or concerned adults were injured or overly upset during this historic event. I want to do it again.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Reading is bad for you

It's official, even Scottish rodents don't do reading very well these days.

It's not been a good day for Scottish education, 20% of school leavers have serious literacy problems it seems. Once again Scotland is set in the lower performing scholastic leagues, our once proud systems breaking down like a nine year old Nissan. The modernising views, the well meant but ill conceived initiatives and the lack of governmental backbone has denied a generation basic levels of schooling - we've failed. Thank you Mr Salmond and all your incompetent colleagues and also those that governed before. As if to prove a point I returned home to find a poor mouse dead on the bookshelf, obviously overcome after an afternoon of studying Japanese, poor timorous beastie, (yes and it was on the third shelf).

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Homecoming and the RBS not where i'll be stuffing my great wads of cash.

At the most basic level we all want to be proud of our country and feel good about our homeland and the mark we make on the world. How does Scotland look, what are we all about? Sadly the institutions and the events we'd want to succeed and be identified with let us down again and again. The Homecoming wasn't a bad idea but it was hijacked to score political points, as a result it was misunderstood and shunned by most "normal" Scots - we failed to engage. Then to underline the negatives the main event ends up in debt and recriminations but no one is to blame and no one rises up to take responsibility and square the losses. The problem is that the politicians can't see the disconnect, their world, their homecoming and sadly their values and aspirations don't match with ours.

RBS directors want the right to pay bonuses or the toys will be thrown out. Of course they are right to want to be able to compete with the other banks who pay big bucks for high risk but how big and credible are they now? I cringe at every soft focus highland home commercial they run on TV and their blatant blanket sponsorship of international sport with their ubiquitous logo sitting sun kissed miles away from the driech centre of Gogar. It's time the plug was pulled and the teeth of reality allowed to bite. Honour the contracts if you must but just for once take a good look and see how others see you and reconcile yourself with public opinion. Banks actually need punters and positive spin more than they seem to realise. Meanwhile Gordon and Alistair will be doing everything they can...except putting the boot in.

A typical West Lothian street scene.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Whilst rummaging in my backpack at the airport yesterday I found a banana in one of the pockets. It had been there a while but it's not there anymore. Messy and mushy and a little smelly, other than that an uneventful flight and onwards journey.

We drivers cannot be trusted, we are evil and uncaring and do not obey signage and speed limits. So roadways and car parks are populated by friendly bumps and obstacles, to slow us down from our mad pace and keep us in our place. A big thank you also to those Islamic extremists who have forced the splendid redesign of our airport approaches, nicely concreted and inhuman in the extreme. You have won, your designs have brought us to our knees and so we admire your god and your godlessness but that is about it. In the grey winter the concrete barriers compliment the fine, ignorant and stupid anger you choose to force upon us.

Two nice poached eggs to start the day. Simple things.