Monday, November 20, 2017

The energy of the lost emails

Dear Satan,

Can you please clarify the situation regards the numerous cold sales, junk and random business emails shoved into my inbox everyday?  You see I continue to receive unwanted emails and prompts long after buying, checking or researching something on line and after I've unfollowed or unsubscribed myself from that site whatever it may be. I am concerned that a large amount of the earth's energy (and the internet's finite resources) is being wasted on all of these emails as they clog up vital cables, links and processes like some huge data gorging fat-berg under London. Where will this ever end? 

It seems to me that  there must be a  horrible spammy mass of petrified bits and bots of data waiting to burst and destroy all of our carefully constructed and engineered on line world...well maybe not so carefully constructed, at any given moment. There's also the problem of internet "overheat", when cables and components will succumb to the overload and melt their little hearts out and die away like sad tiny, faraway stars.

Is it the Russians, North Koreans or the Trumps or some other diabolical (your word) 5th column plotter of destabilization and chaos who is hell bent of wasting everybody's time and capacity that is to blame? Blame is always important, that along with shame, the two go together I understand and they really screw things up, you should know.

Plus, when people die, what happens to their email accounts, do they just grow and run on, packing more and more crap into dead and lost in boxes in a zombie like yucky state? Ugh! Grateful for a quick response, though I appreciate your reply, as I'm unsure of your precise contact details,  may go straight to spam and further compound my problems.

Best regards

JB

P.S. Any chance that you could twiddle a bit with the Facebook algorithms and turn them down a few notches while you're at it? Cheers.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Logged



That time of year when the chilly North wind blows and we shall have snow etc. and everybody will get a little hysterical about possible bad weather scenarios...so we need to stock up on logs. There are two simplistic issues here, financial and logistical. The finance one is relatively easy, simple shopping around and hard cash, the logistics are trickier; delivery and final storage takes more effort. Turns out the very muddy wood yard people were good as gold and dropped a ton of logs in the right place outside the house (inside the house would've been bad). Full marks.

The other useful thing with logs is that there's actually no need to set fire to them to keep yourself warm, just laboriously move them from A to B and put them down in some kind of sensible order and bingo, you're toasty.
Granted it's not a lot of fun doing this if you're trying to watch a movie or relax with a cup of tea.

Man killed by a falling salmon


It was never the way I intended to go, bludgeoned to death by a full grown salmon falling from a clear blue sky. Except of course it wasn't a clear sky and the salmon was already dead, unlike me. Every so often I get these thoughts, in receive mode as it were when the signals are strong and clear. Good atmospherics and word balloons. Premonitions in a haze. Voices and visions, unexpected situations with unintended consequences. Turns out that a freezing, falling fish exerts a fierce physical force.

So it was that when I fell flat post the salmon strike, there came a long moment of silence and icy stillness, like a bright Arctic morning witnessed by nobody. For me time stopped as it had already done for the poor fish, those around froze and gasped. Unhappy witnesses. His fish fate was already sealed, mine was more of a chance happening. Uncovered by the current crop of risk assessments and safety equipment, I was alone and exposed and the fish had hit me fair and square. Then I hit the hard floor.

 A black hole opened up and swallowed me and the rest is unreported history despite this actual (vague) report. The coroner was philosophical and calm, the local press hysterical in a parochial way that added no value, social media remained indifferent, it seems my name and demise counted for little; "how could this sort of thing have happened?" they whispered. Maybe some money changed hands. Don't ask me I'm a dead man killed by a dead fish and I'm no F Scott Fitzgerald either. File under "unexplained industrial accidents in the Scottish seafood business sector".

Friday, November 17, 2017

Product placement


An allegedly reformed character and some product placement: Photo by Scarlet Page.

Monkeys are recurring theme these days, there was Planet of the Apes, the Monkey Brain book, Gas Monkey, other things here and there. The monkey brain illustration is good but worrying but I've only skimmed the book so far. I've not read Russell Brand's book(s) and am unlikely to but he has monkeyish face in the photo. It's just a set of loose connections, a bit like the monkey (aka chimp) part of the human brain and the human part of the human brain (but the monkey still gets the blame). It seems that in order to take control you must first of all take control of things that are hard to control. No shortcuts then.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Stress at the car wash



Using a car wash is a bit like taking a shower in the public baths or at a pool, privacy is not the number one thing. It can be stressful if you're slow or incompetent and get the hose tangled. So today, as I was out and about I chose the local Tesco self operated jet wash system. I'm usually ready to buy tokens and risk the code input but this one was a coin op, feed it with £1 coins and it'll lead you through the process allowing five choices of wondrous squirts, brushes and something that kills bugs or at least moves them elsewhere. I was doing fine, three quarters through the project to clean up poor Jimny Cricket when I realized my time and money was running out rapidly...more £1 coins were needed to beat the clock. I chugged through my pockets and found a mere 90p in change, how could it have come to this? Prior to getting into the wash I'd kind of queue jumped a Landy Disco that was parked in a territorial pissing manner by the entrance. As it turns out the driver was a gent and gave me the huge sum of 10p needed to finish that final, showroom inspired rinse when he saw my plight. Better than driving away in a soap mobile.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Imagined and real




Imagined food from some of Hayao Miyazaki's films; Ponyo, Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away re imagined as real food. There's a fine line between the works of Studio Ghibli and reality and the food portrayed in all the movies always looks great and very wholesome (unless it's cursed and  happens to turn you into a pig). Images stolen from the pages of Dangerous Minds. Real food re imagined may be next big cosplay thing, go along dressed as your favourite character and then scoff some of the cartoon food they ate in the movie from the themed stall in the food court. Then watch as all your bright pixels slowly fade away to nothing...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mostly trial


Most activities, artistic and otherwise, are a combination of trial and error. The largest part of the activity is generating errors it seems and the delete button gets a lot of attention. Of course the good side of creating errors is that they can sometimes bring about unexpected results and lo and behold you're suddenly on a different road to...somewhere. Today has been a trial and error day. I also ordered a ton of logs for the winter fueling business. No doubt the ton of logs will arrive at the worst possible time and be deposited in the least useful place requiring the biggest amount of work to get them all stored away. More error, more trial; I predict.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Walking in the cold sunshine


The long road home from the local garden centre where I had a fried egg and haggis roll for breakfast. It was strangely devoid of old people and people in general, there must be some other bigger garden centre they all gather at on Sunday's, I'm new to the game and it shows. The cold wind was stinging my ears on the way there but on our return it had gone thankfully. My ears remained in place also, just. New winter woolly beanie on order via the minions at Amazon (I was one once, I may be again if times get tough).



Meanwhile in a ditch by the A985 (road). Lost party girls.



The same image, upside down, filtered and adjusted but in black and white obviously. A bit more arty but I refuse to share it via instagram as it's doctored. My only rule in life (except for the others).



Sunday, November 12, 2017

The great man speaks out


Grizzly Man


Too cold to explore the the outside world so it was a log fire and fish supper evening (yesterday). We couched it lazily watching Werner Herzog's docu/film "Grizzly Man", based around the footage shot by Timothy Treadwell, an fairly unhinged individual who against all odds managed to camp out with bears in Alaska  for a few years until he and his girlfriend were devoured by one  in 2003. As a Herzog fan I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this but it turned out to be an intriguing and truly disturbing glimpse into a world of strange fascination and warped loyalty used to somehow justify cohabiting with very wild and very unpredictable creatures. 

Herzog curated  Treadwell's shaky footage, insect infested images and ranting soundtrack sensitively and added in some bizarre interview segments from friends and witnesses, most of whom seemed pretty crazy themselves, particularly the Alaskan coroner. It was never going to end well for Treadwell and as the story unfolded, like a car crash, Herzog remained solidly unsympathetic to Treadwell's erratic manner and dumb attitude. Still, he allowed it to be a tragic but compelling tribute to a man who remained truly deluded right up until the last five terrifying minutes of his life.

Friday, November 10, 2017

M50 Toll


It's a fair cop guvnor! Somehow I managed to sneak through a toll booth on the Irish M50 near Dublin and not pay. That was back in August so I've no clear memory of the event. Well, a criminal like me can only enjoy peace and freedom for so long, now they've caught up with me and it only took till November. I'm done for, to the reasonably priced tune of a fiver or so. They don't even want Euros for some reason, nice people and too easy on fraudsters and dodgers like me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Outer space


Something very far away takes a photograph of something even further away...sometime soon or perhaps it's already happened but I can't be sure; that's because it's a big file to send and download from deep space.

When I was a child there was space and there was outer space. Still not sure what the difference is/was. Then deep space happened...then inner space...

Analogue Days


We all get older, some time we all die. We develop an ugly kind of beauty, skin thins down and stretches, new shapes emerge, expressions are exaggerated and those nose and eyebrow hairs turn into barbed wire like material (for blokes mostly). Less stupid but little wiser, more pain and more draining away of precious energy and a strange desire to add experiences but nothing too dangerous that might hurt your back. Life is not an easy business to be in but few actually want to leave. 

I had to reach a certain age (?) before Leonard Cohen's lyrics really made sense, at the same time all the raucous rock and blues lyrics faded away and their senseless youthfulness ceased to resonate around in my head. Unless I was in the shower and weak willed. A divide had opened up. Dylan's words still illuminated like an acid trip, Joni Mitchell became the queen of eloquence and mood and Neil Young just sounded as grumpy as I could be on a Monday morning before the first cup of tea or if my shoes were too tight due to a poor choice of socks. 

Somewhere in the distance the aircraft drone of Pink Floyd and Dave Gilmour's angst ridden groans broke another wall of silence. The long night of the soul is upon us and Steely Dan's fine chords and shuffle beats can't light the dull way as clearly as I'd like. Prog Rock sounds like a gloriously silly revolution, punk is just a wrinkled mess, everyone else now worships the 80s and machines rule. The past and the 80s remains a blur to me but Netflix has clarified them into a pure, memorable alcohol that new, unwired generation can sup up. I don't care what's popular right now, it's not me anyway. Everything is just the stringing together of random words and jerky sentences and then applying the right rate of beats and heavy compression, I'm not fooled.

Cars, jobs and faces and travel and meals all melt into some pot of lost relationships and possessions that I can no longer order about, they float freely, like stolen used fivers and tenners on a windy day. We're all headed over the rainbow, on a bed in that flimsy cottage, all headed for Maggie's farm or some sweet spacial oblivion. Days pass by like forest timber down a waterfall, heavy and out of control, slipping and a sliding. Here, there and far away from this analogue person.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

FT News


Women are taking greater control of wealth – what does this mean for financial services?
Well it all sounds pretty good to me, more power to them.

What does this all mean?


The one you love is unwell? The one you love is depraved? The one you love is great (sick = slang/vernacular sick)? The one you love has vomited? The one you love is sick...fed up? The one you love is sick... of you? The One - God? You Love  - because you can? IS sick - Islamic State is a medieval horror show?  The one you love is sick could also be a personal message to a large  woman with tummy ache, or an old fashioned phone or some kind of dark Muppet or cave dwelling toad. If that is you take account of the rest of the image and in that case the building may well have "sick building syndrome" but the owner just doesn't realize it yet. Signed, a well wisher.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Eggs Benedict



Today's bus to Glasgow was pretty full and, in an unexpected move, a person actually sat beside me invading my precious space. He was a large young man, clearly over weight and struggling to move through the bus before sitting next to me in the first available free seat. I was truly worried that he wouldn't be able to easily get up and off once we reached the bus terminus. He did however after a brief struggle to extricate himself from the obvious  tightness of the seat. In my head I was judging him and I suppose making "tut tut" noises to myself. Once I left the bus and the bus station I thought no more about him. Then, strangely as I waited at a pedestrian crossing near Buchanan Galleries the same over weight chap came sailing across the road riding one of the city's bikes. Off into the distance he sped as I looked on, probably open mouthed and dumbstruck. He's still a fat guy but at least he's trying. I'm too quick to judge sometimes. Of course he may have been heading off to MacDonalds to take advantage of the breakfast menu before it changes at eleven. I'll never know.


I also had breakfast on my mind also but not at Macdonalds, it was an exotic helping of Eggs Benedict at a trendy cafe called Singl-End recommended by my beautiful daughter. End off.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

View from...



In the ongoing series of views from places, because everything is a view from somewhere, here's today's early morning offering shared late. Not the view from the office or any office, more of a just out of bed on the way to making a cup to tea kind of a view.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Best to keep quiet


I often think I'm right but then discover I'm not right. I discover that I'm wrong or I've missed  the point. On these occasions, if I've managed not to speak up or share it's a rather nice (if empty) feeling that I get. I was wrong but look, I was hesitant or patient enough to hold back rather than go in with both feet. Phew! Today's example was about the colouring code used on safety signs. I had it wrong but didn't blab, what a relief. My so called expertise and wobbly reputation would have been dented, ever so slightly. Growing old and keeping your cool when others may not be is a useful skill, like counting to ten.

Above and below are two pictures I took during the week and they are quite irrelevant to my text and my current line of thought, as are most pics on this blog.


Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Too much music on too small a planet

A slight epiphany: Me sitting around playing the blues poorly is no different from other white people rapping (or whatever genre they might call it). All the blue notes in jazz and rock are misappropriated as are most rock bass lines. More and more I just think "mediocre", because sometimes all modern music just seems tired out, maybe we need some law that prevents new music from being published (you can write and record it but no releases) for a year or two. The same might well apply to films, comedy sit-coms and box sets. We could do with a few more new ready meals however, I'm not in a complete rut in my thinking.

Ahem! Nothing really new here other than the thought that British Progressive rock, as developed in the 70s and beyond owes the least to the American roots of the major rock genres. That would be King Crimson, Yes, Gentle Giant and so on. So as far as musical structure and lyrical content goes it's almost out on it's own, almost original, as far as anything can be. Of course it was always on a course of self destruction which it eventually managed to achieve and music moved on in various directions but, looking back, they were glorious if self indulgent  times and they are unlikely to ever be repeated. David Hepworth's book "1971" may be right on the money.

When I look at what followed over time, apart from the obvious key mega acts it has been a kind of dull 40 years on. Or is it just me? The end. Wait a minute though, what about Krautrock? Too much music on too small a planet (and no new ready meals ready in store).



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

31.10.17


Happy 31st October? Just another normal day around here and I'll be fast asleep by midnight. Just ignore any strange lights or noises...

Heavy metal


Nothing to see here, just a man looking like he may have his pants on fire...but they aren't. Just a little bit of innocent industrial grinding going on as the old well cover is removed before being replaced with a newly designed and fabricated cover in Gothic wrought iron.


The finished well cover, painted and fixed in place. Very satisfying for the viewer and looking just a little like some kind of  Steam Punk flying saucer or anti-gravity device that's just landed having stunned the crowds at the Great Exhibition of 1899 as well as killing a couple of sea monsters en-route.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Turning back the clocks


The clocks have changed, a few times in various directions, some changed via a dribble of AI but we are no better for it. It still got dark and then eventually light returned so the process seems rather futile. Perhaps this wont always be the case. Here's some sunny snaps from a German garden and my grandson's well drafted version.



It takes all sorts of gardens to make and keep the world an interesting place. Real and imagined are both fine. Not sure if there is any other kind out there.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Stairways Stare


Porsche Plaza Part Two.

This bright stairway begins with a narrow bottom and ends with a far wider top. The top opening up as you enter the exhibition space and adjust your eyes to all that bright metal and shiny engineering. Designer's tricks are everywhere like corporate propaganda or fake news. Outside it's dull, where you  emerge back into the city's oxygen free atmosphere and there are more shiny metal things moving or for sale. Technology is celebrated in all the spaces, up, down and inside as the metal resonates and drowns your happy wee soul. Then reflect for a moment on the meaning of it all and move on down the autobahn into the crush of traffic that contradicts the dream of an open road.



Saturday, October 28, 2017

On Porsche Plaza



It seems that nobody loves Stuttgart, a cold grey, misty city, choked by traffic suffocating road systems, pedestrian madness and no obvious centre. No warmth, no sausages or beer, just chill of the rain and beep beep of blue lighted emergency vehicles threading past the bendy buses. In the middle of the alleged mess is Porsche Plaza, home of Porsche development and build and a gathering place for fan boys, tourists, the lost souls of motoring and anxious wannabe drivers, some even wear the logo (a sure sign of sickness). 

Moving around in the engineered space is quick and easy, almost awe inspiring in a bright and artificial religious way. Design is god, function is the mantra and speed is the ultimate destination. Nothing is fake, this is the real deal. In these situations I tend to become more of an observer and critic than a round eyed disciple so I was happily conflicted. The cafe was too busy and shop was closed for stocktaking, the cars all shiny as religious artifacts or nuclear weapons, buses ferried in more faithful and confused participants as I soaked up the history and worried about my memory and powers of retention. Once your car is three generations old it becomes a classic, the car and I have a whole lot in common now.



The 996 escapes the tyranny of the penciled lines and finds it's true shape.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Daily Planet


Daily Planet, Daily Pallet. Whatever. Somewhere in Southern Germany at a coffee stop. I love logistics (almost), even after all these years.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Future future


Glasgow prepares for the future.

If I'm honest (which I rarely am) I never thought I'd live to see the day that is 22 October 2017. I say that because I never did think of it, not this specific day nor any other really. Maybe I think wistfully about Christmas or some other up and coming event but not much more. Future dates are too abstract, they don't actually exist, like Brexit or a cup final or your 100th Birthday c/w with a telegram from the monarch. This makes science fiction actual fiction set in place that's uninhabitable, the future. So few Sci-fi things exist, we just like the idea that they might. That brings me to Bladerunner 2049 (a year that doesn't exist either). First take the many escalators that lead to the theater, find your seat, get comfortable, take in full experience and refuse to squirm in your seat. No eating or drinking either. A dry mouth helps. Proceed. Bladerunner 2049 is:


A stylish film you probably should see in the cinema.
Not a good film in the conventional sense.
A good film but with a poor script and premise.
Disturbing.
Loud and jarring.
Not nearly as effective and affecting as the first film but ... (three dots are required).
Should be viewed as an audio visual experience rather than a movie.
Bleak - but bleakness seems to play and sell well as this is how we best view the future "future", that way we avoid thinking about it too much. It is something to switch off to.


The future (actual footage).


Last Friday (actual footage).


Friday, October 20, 2017

Birthday Portrait


That's it. 62 years and all's well apart from my ears growing a little too much during this year and a strange banana hovering over my head in a rather annoying fashion.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Water melon man



Up & Go Brekkie? OK, cheating on time, eating water melon in October, part of my so many a day plan and encouraged by my eldest daughter's eclectic purchasing power. Today's been two bananas, an apple, a quarter of a water melon and various snacks, some not so wonderful. That melon hit the spot, chilled to within an inch of it's life red fruity flesh, sliced but not diced and so refreshing even when you don't think you need it. As the rain beats down the central heating cuts in, here comes Channel 4 News, there go the adverts, the melon is gone, nothing changes. The skin stuck into the compost, the rest into me. Tomorrow a birthday comes along with the usual dull regularity, time just cycles by and annoys the psyche and the constitution but I'm for feeling none of that. My lubricated interior springs back like it's ready to deal with at least three figures for an age, I'm just not sure what they are yet.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Unnatural lifestyles


Romania


There's probably a lot of negative things said about Romania and Romanians but today I had a marvelous chat with a young Romanian man at work. He told about his plan to return there once he'd saved up money, how he would work on his family's (small) farm, fix up the house and how he planned to set up a recycling business. Also how to roast a pig for Christmas, useful knowledge. He 's only twenty but full of energy and ambition. Maybe that comes from being born Romanian where it's criminally tough. 

He's a sharp contrast to most of the Scottish youngsters I've recently met (at the same work). They argue about how to stay on the edge of debt, how they might crack the benefits system (?) and seem to have no idea about handling money, saving or actually getting any further education or developing themselves. They're stuck in a rut by their early twenties and whilst I know times are awkward it's sad to hear our young talk as if it's all over for them. They seem to lack any self awareness, life is  a joke and despite all the technology at their fingertips they've no clue as to how to really use it. No business or creative dreams, no idea of using spreadsheets, Word, coding or planning tools, things that might allow them to progress. 

It's a long dark tunnel of life for working class kids in Scotland, a post industrial mess of nothing in particular and no urgency about fixing it. Of course they laugh at me when I suggest trying  different things, getting qualifications or moving on. Something has failed and continues to fail in education and providing aspiration and vision for our kids. Maybe Romania has it's  serious problems but we're not so smart back here.