Monday, January 31, 2011

Cute Dinosaur

Dinosaur doodle.

Thought collections

THE LARGE THE SET IN UPPERCASE IS NOT IMPORTANT. "These fish are very, very sad. The sad fish send their beams of concentration towards the target. Loud ZAP! ZAP! noises are emitted, they echo across the room stunning members of the public and unrelated animals. Any casual observer might well think that these fish are playing a game of darts, well... what do you think? It's easy to misunderstand the ways of scribbled fish, particularly around here."

Any similarity between these fish and the silver ones on a slab in a fish shop is purely coincidental as these fish were hand crafted on paper and brought to life by crayon and pencil by various incredibly talented people when in the Owlers last week.

Danelectro 12 string on which you can play many more chords than the normal 4. Depending on your talent and dexterity it may be very difficult to play if you only have 6 fingers on your left hand and even more so when you only have the regular 5 digits (that also includes thumbs and things) but don't be discouraged by apparent limitations such as these. Stretch the boundaries.

Well that's my thoughts collected.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


It's not often that an impromptu celebratory pyrotechnic display comes perilously close to wiping out your entire family and laying waste to a large part of a Scottish city centre. Yesterday we came squarely up against that point and thankfully all walked away. Some of the wiser and more aware spectators ran away at great speed. I presume that the ASBO is by now in the post. What'll happen the next time we get together?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Starting the revolution

Up early awaiting a delivery from John Lewis, due sometime between 0500 and midnight. It's also my second son's 30th birthday today, a time for reflection, family gathering, meals, drinking and if possible some revolutionary activity. The card above is a reminder of such possibilities, an analogy (the fuller exploits of Mr Ernesto) I wouldn't want to take too far but even now, after all these painful years I refuse to give up on my heroes and my world wide and wonky ideology.

Laptop still working though the battery has now completely given up the ghost and is sending feeble, occasional, blinking messages asking for help or urgent replacement. I think not.

On a rare musical note (did this blog start out as a music blog?) Mr Gibson/Baldwin Les Paul Jr long term restoration project is undergoing a neck transplant. One delinquent neck has now been surgically removed and a replacement is eagerly awaited. Like Mr G/B I have also lost a little weight, something like 2lbs this week simply by avoiding the twin evils of chocolate and more chocolate.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Forget the sledgehammer

Above following on from the KoL picture below.

After a whole day of running utilities like Algerian diarrhoea the laptop has risen, Lazarus like back to a working state of some sort. praise the digital gods etc. and abandon the sledgehammer for the mean time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


It appears that Gary Tank Commander (right) has joined the Kings of Leon. Good then.

The laptop saga carries on, unfortunately taking a downward slump with what appears to be a collapsing battery and relentless set of disk/disc/dusk/dosk/operating errors that try to correct themselves but never get better. The question is, disk doctor or sledgehammer. Enough to drive a man to drink smoothies and eat toast and double thick, organic marmalade.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Soup and Dolphin Bagel

Losing weight by the religious avoidance of chocolate and normal massive amounts of fried food is not as easy as it sounds. It may be the greatest test of endurance I have ever experienced as I struggle on uphill to get back downhill. The revised but punishing soup strategy however may be the answer. Yesterday I made a large pot of bubbling vegetables and pulses allowing it to settle and metamorphose (?) overnight, today I am eating it along with pickled dolphin from 1953, lightly spread across as toasted bagel. I can feel the pounds and the guilt and years of care falling away like snow in the sun sliding from a country dyke. Soon a new and lighter spring day will dawn as I use up less gravity and space within this rarefied and slimmer atmosphere. Thank you soup. Also nice to drive home in what is an acceptable attempt at daylight.

Anther view of Narnia World, so turn left at Mordor, take Junction 9 to Hogwarts and then straight down the rabbit hole and you're almost there. Alternatively stare at this picture and wait for the mysterious swoosh.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ned ned rose

Burns night: I always feel a little guilty on Burns night, whilst I appreciate his huge body of work and worldwide status I've never really enjoyed his material. I could blame my mean and dull upbringing or my schooling or my thick and prejudiced head but what's the point. I'm a traitor to my homeland and national bard, as bad as an Andy Gray, a Nazi sympathiser, somebody who doesn't respect Islam or dislikes Heinz Beans and doesn't go "whooo" when they see a shooting star. Mr Burns I apologise for my serial ignorance, all I can say is that your namesake's got some pretty good lines in the Simpsons - most episodes anyway.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Narnia Theme Park

Nice to see that the estate of C S Lewis have sanctioned the building of the world's first Narnia Theme Park in Penrith. The only slight problem is the perpetual winter weather and the unscripted outbreak of distant traffic cones. The rides are mainly walks but as entry was free I didn't expect too much, that's a good business model for anything outdoors in the UK. Meanwhile upstairs in the coal fired restaurant the soup was excellent, unfortunately they'd run out of Turkish Delight by the time it came around for dessert so we were able to get back to the real world before any time had elapsed at all. On reflection it was a pretty narrow escape and we were soon able to rejoin the familiar width that is the long running saga of the parallel M6 Theme Park in a twinkling (whatever that is).

Aslan and a gay friend guard the entrance to nowhere in particular.

This experience was called "The troubled thoughts of Vince Cable and other misconceptions".

Buddha likes to hang out in the bushes, he still manages to see everything through closed eyes but understands very little.

Kylie Minogue set in stone and thankfully neither dancing nor gyrating. Needs to lose the headgear I reckon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Whaley B Daily Photo

Err, not quite Whaley B, this was lunch, upstairs in Narnia, just outside Penrith. It's a salmon sandwich with couscous and salad. Frozen Dr Who related pictures to follow.


A snip at 89 Grand, one careful owner, full service history, modest MPG however and only available in black. Get your summer 'Vette right here, right now.

Friday, January 21, 2011


The Madcap Laughs

I now realise one of the great problems facing my generation. Memory. Ghosts and black and white footage from a guilty and misunderstood past. I’m old enough and just about lucid enough to recall the recent old world order. The last days of Empire, the fabled, pink tinged and toned Mercator Projection classroom map of the world, made of some kind of glossy cloth. Perhaps that is why I am in this perpetual state on unease, shifting my weight from foot to foot, side to side, twitching occasionally, waiting on the Royal Procession to pass and hoping for permission to carry on and put three spoonfuls of sugar in my tea. It all comes flooding back when I go to a school parents night and talk to those young and dysfunctional teachers: I get the jitters, perhaps it was that chav lady language teacher with bad teeth and complete schemey accent from Lochgelly that did it.

Three minutes thirty seconds is too long for the contents of a small tin of soup to spend in a powerful microwave.

Labour on the rampage. What a bunch of complete tossers make up the shadow cabinet now, I cannot, anywhere inside me find a kind word or thought for any of them. It’s a chronic source of disappointment to see how we (one time socialists) are represented: Milliband Vanilli, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Douglas Alexander and the rest. Absolutely awful, at least it’ll be 4 years before they get a hold of anything they can properly screw up. Of course that means the others, the bloodsucking Tory vampires (not the good kind) with their toady LibDems will prevail. Oh to be in Bermuda, in a triangle, just sitting tight, to avoid the scandal.

Dundee cash machine (in a Scotmid no less) pays out double amounts of notes. A living dream in the septic city of jute, jam, pies and thirty year old grannies. Marvellous, worthy of a folk song. The bookies, drug dealers and off-licences will be rejoicing. The cash machine company director said “If people using the ATM see it as a bit of fun, so be it” and they can all keep the money. The ATM was shutdown shortly after the company were alerted. I’d love to think it was all part of an ongoing conspiracy or anarchist plot.

I don’t have any mouth ulcers at the moment but if I did I’d apply some Bonjela to those little, painful and unwelcome oral volcanoes. Oysters give you ulcers, not many people know that.

Still life with Bonjela.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Google Hook

It never occurred to me that old drums, like old guitars could be really valuable. Obvious I suppose, anything old eventually takes on some extra value…but drums kits get battered and guitars and piano just usually get played so that makes no sense. Keith Moon’s kit (or one of them that survived) is only valued at half a million dollars. I’ve never really trashed a guitar. or played one to the limit or attacked it like a drum kit, I’ve always been respectful and restrained, most times, not a naturally exuberant player. I wish I was. There’s a mental block thing that takes over that slows down thinking, playing and finding those elusive notes. They fail to connect, run together and then stray into the unfamiliar, beautiful territory that is a unique place of creation. The unique place of creation, another place I cannot find. Guarded and protected by an angel with a flashing fiery sword and an expensive guitar. In the background a sullen looking pasty faced angel taps on an old drum kit.

I don’t care about the news today. About bankers bonuses, excessive profits, huge losses, floods and disasters, what politicians are going to say in their leaked speeches, the opinions of other reporters, finance and foreign correspondents, human interest stories and what the weather was like today in the Channel Islands, Wales and the Home Counties, I’m not bothered about the price of petrol either. Sadly there is less and less on the shining flat box that we still describe as TV that engages me. Somewhere in the remote, dark blue corners there are programmes that make me laugh. Programmes hidden in the deep pools. I shall seek them out. TV needs to make people laugh more, they could show some reruns of Lady Warsi‘s speeches.

World's most expensive guitar.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

West Lothian Daily Doodle

Elaborate boot doodle (detail) that clearly was not done by me as a) I don't have the time and b) generally I don't doodle and c) is signed by somebody else. Recent life changing events have however conspired against me and made me consider taking it up; but more as an indoor sport than an art form.

Food is important to people but it has to be the right kind. This processed and expensive mock-Italian excuse for bread, eggs and ham doesn't really work for me. I did eat it though, I was hungry. That's the power that rubbish food has over us and generally we are too weak to resist. I may form a focus group - myself.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Irritable Tuesday Daily Photo

The view from Edinburgh Airport, Gate 18, 0820 and thankfully things seem to be moving in the distance and unexpectedly all is well in the world.

Late Lunch: Pret ex-crayfish and rocket sandwich. Possibly the greatest sandwich ever conceived and build by the divine sandwich planners. Somewhat over priced however.

T2 at Birmingham Airport. An airport so shabby, dull and amenity free that it makes Edinburgh look good. 3 hours lost here thanks to rearranged winter schedules, National Car Hire and various twists of fickle fate.

The definitive list of Tuesday consumed food (should be plus one coffee) at 1955. The relentless discipline continues and I have avoided Mars, Snickers, Caramels and Dairy Milk for 10 of your earth days. I feed good in a strange, smug way. I do not need chocolate to live and be happy.

Top notes to write up:

Fashion (the meaning of)
Sandwiches (the fillings of)
Top 5 Neil Young songs (the best of)
Citroen C3 (the crap fuel consumption of)
Food obsessions (the understanding of).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blue Monday Diary

Back end of a VW Passat (or Pasta according to spell checker) that rolled into me at traffic lights in Dunfermline. The driver was oblivious of the whole thing, even when I honked my horn, then he did it again. Eventually I managed to confront him, suggesting that he may wish to consider improving his driving skills and overall observation of the road. Photo taken by passenger.

A version of Spidey, drawn by my daughter whilst dodging homework and eating fish fingers.

Trees planted according to the explicit orders of Winston Churchill and local legend, it's a long, complicated story. I may tell it one day, once I can clear my head of maths, physics and the exploration and explanation of reality.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Missy's diary: Day 417

"Another frustrating and humiliating day; as usual I return from rodent patrol hungry and have to gain the attention of the two regular humans in my house so that they might address my plight. All I want is a simple portion of Tesco mutated chicken but do you think they get it? The softly spoken one who smells nice, pats me and talks to me, wasting precious time. I rub against her legs and feet and purr a bit but she just calls me "princess" or some other soppy name, not much bloody use when you are hungry! Sometimes I have to sit right on top of the plastic screen thing that she tip taps on before she pays any attention at all and then she just looks at the tuggy fur on my bum or claws at under my chin."

"The other human, who doesn't smell so nice and tends to make loud, unexpected noises is easier. For one thing he's always near to the large white box where the meat is hidden. If I make a kind of pathetic squeak he usually responds but I have to wait until he's fed himself first, greedy bastard. Then he talks to me but it's sing-song gibberish and the tone is irritating, like a dog fart echo in a subway. He's not really suited to house sharing with the more sophisticated life forms and higher mammals. Did I say that he's all fingers and thumbs with the food packets? What an Oscar winning performance he makes of getting into any sealed package and if I'm not careful Anna the other cat (the old weird one who once had a part in the Simpsons I think) hovers near the food dishes in that stupid geriatric way that old folks do. Has she no self awareness at all? She's only got one gawky, black tooth, proper puts me off my meal sometimes and she's continually whining on about the past and her chronic bowel problems. Who wants to hear her coffin dodging medical history? Good God it can be tough around here and don't even get me started on the totally soporific, one brain-celled Clint, where did they get that ginger dumb-ass from?"

"Oh yeah, this guy's a local dosser and free-loader, he comes in a few times a night and eats the left-overs. What a dead beat! The human that smells nice and listens to Quincy Jones and Simply Red (ugh!) thinks he's the bees knees but basically he's just at it and the humans don't get it. Note the evil-eye glint in the photo, that pretty much sums him up. Anyway I'm headed out of the back door portal, they've been out feeding the birds in the garden, how thick are these people?"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Untitled 2

There are a few things going on inside my head. This isn't one of them.

The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand ever invented. Banking was conceived in Iniquity and born in sin. Bankers own the Earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of a pen they will make enough money to buy it back again... Take this great power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for then this world would be a better and happier world to live in. But if you want to continue to be slaves of the banks and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit." ~Sir Josiah Stamp, Director - Bank of England 1928-1941, (The 2nd richest man in England at the time)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Body Mass Index Angst

After a number of years of self image struggle, footwear problems and expanding trousers I have now been reduced and summarised into a cruel set of numbers, none of which I understand. My total gross weight has fairly ballooned since I was last weighed in 1955, I appear to have rocketed from 9lbs or so to an astonishing 12st 7lbs, where those other 11st 12lb came from I'll never know, though I suspect that the never ending Christmas Chilly pot and my slow new-age metabolism may have something to do with it.

I also now have a newly realised Body Mass Index (or BMI as those in the know put it), this scores me at 27.6 and, a bit like our well respected banks, places me effectively into something known as the red zone. I'm not sure if I should be proud, scared or indifferent. Thankfully my BMI is a little less than a black hole ~105–109 M Sun.

Body fat comes in an impressive 3.7 standard pounds, which sounds more like a figure skating score based on some artistic tumbles and a crash into the advertising boards. Body Fat Percentage is a respectable 27.6, much of this most dangerous of materials is or course contained in my head and based on years of prejudice, good humoured bigotry and listening to rubbish music whilst eating Mars Bars and drinking Irn-Bru. There is little hope of a healing taking place, liposuction between the ears seems the only workable solution followed by a course of political correction therapy from the Jack Straw Institute .

Finally we have Body Water Percentage; 52.6. I thought that, based on the Charles Darwin, Mark Twain and the Incredible Hulk School of Meta-Psychics that I was pretty much 99% water anyway, the rest being cocoa butter, olive oil and unsaturated fat plus a few Spanish related E numbers. Wrong again, but I must stop this persistent urination and involuntary twitching.

Thankfully then modern science and the bathroom scales department at John Lewis have given me more to worry about than I ever dreamed possible as my body (unlike my unsound mind) expands at a rate approximately twice that of the rest of the universe. Soon like some bloated cloud of toxic MacDonald's garbage I shall overcome and absorb much of Central Scotland, then Europe and eventually the red might that is China itself. Sound like a neat plan.

How it all may end unless portions are reduced and I eat from plates made in Lilliput, the overall full head of hair effect would actually be ok.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

International oven symbol

Old man rests in new case.

The older I get the more frustrated I get about the lack of an easily recognisably, internationally and religiously recognised symbol for the humble electric oven in the domestic kitchen environment. It’s what the world needs right now. Our bridies and in extreme cases pasties are crying out for a simple indicator to be established.

Today is the birthday of Elvis Presley but unfortunately he is far too dead to enjoy it.

Meanwhile I spent a few hours or was it nano-seconds restringing a guitar, fiddling with tiny allen keys and cross head screws, removing unfriendly buzzes and glitches and winding machine heads, stretching the strings and surprisingly improving the overall action. For a short while I felt like some wise old successful watchmaker bring the cold metal to life, adjusting and tuning and (I think) improving. The problem is that new strings and a degreased fret board don’t make your fingers any more agile or upgrade basic and rutted skills to those of a virtuoso, not so far anyway.

The snow has returned to fill the 3” vacuum that the previous dump left when it was salted away by the delayed but eventually enthusiastic clearance by the authorities. They, like those nebulous creatures “the general public” none of whom I have ever met except at the odd bus stop or funeral, hate the slippy white stuff. Anyway the powers that be abhor the snow, unless it is viewed through glass in the Alps or figures in the backgrounds of the Heroes of Telemark and so are hell bent on stamping it out provided the budget and the prime contractors allow. Meanwhile the be-wigged Transport Minister keeps one eye on the weather but remains preoccupied with providing the Forth Bridge painters with high protein breakfasts; rightly so in my view. Once winter is over, sometime in May, we’ll have a full and robust wash up, look at lessons learned and enjoy a feast of seasonal smoked salmon and free range scrambled eggs.

The turbulent weather, the jet stream and my chronic misunderstanding of the concept of time meant that I missed the window of opportunity to get to the dump. My car is now full of rubbish, still steaming in the boot and back seats 24 hours later. Tomorrow, regardless of weather or potential personal injury I will seek out an open dump and once I find it, dump.

Friday, January 07, 2011


Why is it that computers, despite years of development still cause so much irritation and swear word production to the likes of dullards like me? Appliances (like laptops) should just work as a car or dishwasher does when you press a button. "Programme not responding" is my trusty laptop's favourite catchphrase, the other variations being "Windows Explorer not responding" and "Google Chrome not responding", utterly useless and frustrating. So despite numerous clear-outs, reboots, updates, scans and various other events it still persists in stopping, shutting down or just going as slow as a drunken slug in a drunken slug race.

If I didn't know better I'd suspect that it was built and programmed during the heyday of the mighty British Leyland but no it's some Chinese piece of HP sourced mass produced black plastic gunge purchased by me from a local Currys emporium when I was it seems at my most uniformed and naive. Roll on the next day and the bright new morning of the golden eagle's easy cash machine deposit when I will seriously think about proper corrective action and then not bother to take it.

Stop press: late Christmas present arrival, 1500hrs today. Snazzy Les Paul case, I feel the need to book a flight to somewhere and do a spot of impromptu electric busking on arrival. Life, despite the devilish and regular laptop torture is good.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Bad cat

This is how we treat bad (IKEA) cats who get down and get dirty in our house.

Sam Barber and the Outcasts at the Voodoo rooms Edinburgh, 05/01/11.
A good time was had by all.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Back to work Wednesday

No chocolate, no fried breakfast, no lie in, no hoovering, no hovering either. Back at work and, strangely while I was there some ex-Amazon material arrived at home, which thanks to the time it took to get here must have been dispatched from the dark heart of the Amazon Basin itself - but there are still more items out there, somewhere.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

What we did today

Ali and I did a spot of clothes shopping in the toon with a brief interlude for tea and toast in a fine eating establishment at the concrete and concrete Ocean Terminal. The only ocean terminal I know of that does not in fact have an ocean of any type nearby. Ali got a nice hat with feathers and a refitted fur collar, I got my new bowler polished and a ream of buff paper flyers to hold.

There was a good movie on at the Vue Cinema so we watched it and ate ice cream, some people say it may win an award or two, you never can tell (the movie not the ice cream).

Missy was accidentally uploaded onto Facebook but doesn't seem to mind and is none the worse. Sadly nobody likes her so far and of course I'm now on the Fife Facebook Diet.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Downstairs daily photo

Youngest daughter's classy piece of doodling (detail) on a scrap of card. Retrieved from the dining room table earlier this morning.

Grandson No2's recent monster sketch, fixed by fridge magnet (Obama photo or egg timer) to the fridge door (lower), obviously in the kitchen.

Discovered item (in piano stool) in the living room. Alternate career path and income stream pursued by the seven dwarfs prior to their one big hit of 1937 or whenever.

Downstairs lobby, on the basket thing top where stuff awaits mostly categorisation, collection or abandonment. Instruction booklet for the new and very capable hoover, which is in fact a Vax.

Other random things accomplished:

Rogue and unloved Christmas tree surgically removed from living room via front door, now naked and prostrate in front garden.

Glitter and tinsel boxed and placed in 360 day storage system.

Major laundry and bed sorting works undertaken.

Pasta masterpiece created from found items in the bottom of the refrigerator.

Two Christmas specials retrieved from Sky Plus and consumed (score, three out of five for both).

Christmas officially over.