Thursday, March 31, 2011

Absurd lists & keeping fit

People put this stuff on their ipods and then listen to them, songs about running mostly for runners, would it work for me? I am losing weight very gradually:

Long Train Runnin' - The Doobie Brothers
It Keeps You Runnin' - The Doobie Brothers
Running Down a Dream - Tom Petty
Running on Empty - Jackson Browne
Who Will You Run To - Heart
Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
Band On the Run - Paul McCartney
Take It On The Run - REO Speedwagon
Take the Money and Run - Steve Miller Band
We Run This - Missy Elliott
Run to the Hills - Iron Maiden
On the Run - Pink Floyd
We Run - Sugarland
I Run for Life - Melissa Etheridge
Run Rudolph Run - Chuck Berry
Run to You - Bryan Adams
The Long Run - Eagles
Fox On The Run - Sweet
Ready To Run - Dixie Chicks
Run-Around - Blues Traveler
Run Don't Walk - Hey Monday
Young Hearts Run Free - Kym Mazelle
You Better Run - Pat Benatar
We Could Run Away - Needtobreathe
I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock of Seagulls
Running On Sunshine - Jesus Jackson
Time is Running Out - Papa Roach
When The World Is Running Down - Police
Runaway - Bon Jovi
Runaway - Del Shannon
Runaway - Jamiroquai
Runaway - Janet Jackson
Runaway Train - Soul Asylum
2000 Miles - The Pretenders
Road To Nowhere - Talking Heads
Run Through The Jungle - Creedence Clearwater

Didn't know they were sisters

Emily Deschanel and Zooey Deschanel are sisters (OK it's not a common name), am I the only person in the world who didn't know this? You can learn a lot about life, celebrity culture, sex and swearing on Twitter it appears. The dynamic trending statistics open and flow like a form of bizarre cyber beach combing. Strange, random, unrelated facts and opinions wash ashore like strands of DNA seaweed, some stay for days, some disappear in seconds, famous, infamous and trending and then gone away, swallowed into the vanishing clicks and pulses of some sparky oblivion. When the people speak everybody listens... but not for too long.

Meanwhile in Florida a tornado gathers and broods over the Space Centre, the end of the world will most likely follow shortly but at least we have a photo to remember.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Sadly, closer to reality than you'd wish (from the Daily Reckless).

Our polling cards dropped through the letterbox today, apparently we're a part of Linlithgow, fair enough. The flimsy cards are a grim reminder that a number of currently under employed buffoons wish to avoid becoming unemployed buffoons after 5th May. We are now in for a long stretch of strained argument, tired rhetoric and the inevitable blame shifting and finger pointing that makes up modern politics. Of course what this country really needs is a sustainable energy policy, a fair system of housing and urban redevelopment to build social cohesion, a transparent tax system and a good 50p cigar.

Monday, March 28, 2011

From a balloon

Flame on

Over there is the Tay and Dundee, home of jute, jam and Bob Servant.

Close encounters with the M90 (note the balloon's distant shadow).

Yesterday, after all the football stuff we embarked on a balloon journey from Bridge of Earn to Strathmiglo (or at least a field nearby). The thing is that ballooning isn't so precise a form of travel so it's more about the journey that actually getting anywhere. We traveled at about 8mph, reached 3000 feet and then at times skiffed over fences and hedge tops. Along the way I learned a fair bit about balloons in a kind of DIY, make shift, hands on way, you see everybody has to help at both ends of the trip. Going up was good, coming down was a few degrees away from a slow mo crash landing. All in all a pretty fine and easy flying experience.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Lunchtime in the field next door.

The field next door, some drainage problems there.

So far the weekend has been dominated by the twin cultural forces of football and music. The football being Dunfermline v Partick Thistle, Bayside v Glenrothes Juniors and Brazil v Scotland. In a weekend already an hour short that's a lot of football to consume. The music part was an extended eating, drinking and jamming affair involving a select set of Edinburgh musos that took place here last night, excuse me while I entangle and then disentangle the entire area.

Quote of the day from the Census advert: "The census is so vital that you risk a £1000 fine if you fail to take part." OK, don't explain the reasoning just get a nice, straightforward threat in there early. That's the kind to talk and tactics that the people of Scotland really will understand and of course respond to on the 27th.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Compliant inner man

When I saw this sign the ultra compliant inner man in my inner man immediately had to obey. So I stopped and started taking a photograph of it in all it's red and white glory. Then, after some conflict and applied reasoning I chose to disobey the sign and moved on, starting again, or in other words failing to stay stopped. All in a days work for today's modern and uncomplicated man. Some nagging doubt remain however, can't quite put my finger on it...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Night out with added beer

Confushion - drummer out of shot.

Confushion - drummer out of shot

Invisible Helpers - drummer out of shot

Drove to the Voodoo Rooms last night for a Secret CD gig but I was driven home by Ali so I had some beer, nice. On the bill the earthy, bluesy, choppy funk and social commentary of Confushion, the downbeat melancholy of Karen Edwards, the tight band but immature and superficial content of Augustilia and the briny, brainy progressive winkle-picking of the Invisible Helpers. The end result was a neck and neck necktie between those twins forces for Edinburgh's good - the Helpers and the Confushion Brothers, both equally dazzling: 10 points each. Thanks to Jim, Fi and Dave for hosting the night.

Apologies for not photographing ace drummer Sam Barber and the two other acts. I'm lazy and it's not much of a camera.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shrine of the Sea Monkey

Every so often I get a momentary twinge of nostalgia or an itch or something for those halcyon days when, for a brief moment in time I was both keeper and shepherd to a thriving colony of Sea Monkeys. They lived a modest life on a window sill in an office I once occupied, I kept them there in a kind of guilty secret kind of way.

Now that I think about it they may have been hidden by a venetian blind. Sea monkey reflection only lasts a moment and then, thankfully passes. I know that sea monkey's have some purpose but it's exact nature escapes me. Perhaps they are a source of protein, perhaps not, perhaps they are the salty gods of their tiny world, a world we'll never quite understand or appreciate.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I heard the moon was a Supermoon on Saturday, a big special, once in a long time moon. For a while the clouds hid it and I felt a bit frustrated at not being able to see this fully formed moon. When the clouds cleared about 9.00 PM I did see it, it was a very nice moon, maybe not super though. I hate being picky about these things but...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Echline Daily Photo

Multicultural is a puzzling term. I suppose I think of it as a normalising thing like buying a portion of sushi at a BP petrol station when picking up a copy of Scotland on Sunday (avoiding the Gaelic bit), chatting to the Asian attendant and then getting held up behind a Polish truck that has broken down. It’s not really about religion, politics or skin colour. It’s interaction, tastes and smells, common experiences, making eye contact and reading the signs; then respecting them and obeying them. In order to remain as diverse as possible I ate the sushi at half time during the Celtic/Rangers game and had a Euro-Muller fruit corner at the end. A chip sandwich with brown sauce would’ve been ok but that’s so 1990.

Not what I expected: The whisky capital of the world is at No1 Fife Street, Dufftown, AB55 4AL.

Why do weekend newspapers still carry a weeks worth of TV schedules? Do people actually read these things or treasure them in the paper rack right up until next Sunday. In the future they will not exist, along with petrol stations, high street banks and the Scottish Parliament. Meanwhile Col Gaddafi promises a “long war” in Libya. He’s a despot, a tyrant (who put the rant in tyrant) and possibly a lunatic but unless somebody can take him out he’s probably quite right with his awful prediction. Meanwhile what about some intervention in Zimbabwe, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Gaza, Sudan and a dozen other places?

Today’s word - Anticipation. Often better than closure, receipt, conclusion, actualisation or delivery but you wouldn’t want to live your life always in a state of constant anticipation.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Doing it yourself

"The wind blew and the rain came down and beat upon the house, the Sky dish, the garden and the gate and the bolt on the gate did break. After about three months the bloke who lived there got a bit fed up with keeping the gate shut with a brick and actually got up from his lazy ass and fixed the broken gate." Thus spake the Lord (as agreed and verified by the Great Pumpkin). All the poor bloke really needed was an occasional reminder, a Saturday lie-in and a warm scrambled egg roll. Men are such simple creatures.

Meanwhile life with the family cats is proving troublesome. Either by being neurotic and clingy (Clint) or festooned with uncontrollable fur that has a life of it's own (Missy) or getting under your feet (Anna). Then there are the other mysterious and inexplicable behaviours they exhibit. Acting like cats mostly.

Tea can be summed up as ground breaking a scientific experiment today. The science of chutney was the branch being explored. The following formula explains all:

Local chutney + chicken + onion/peppers/misc exotic herbs and spices x 1.5 hours at 180 (2 x rice + oil + salt - time)/(30mins saved) = wholesome/useful/tasty/scientific.

Neurotic, clingy and lovable.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Get yer...

I must be going crazy.

Today's background music designed to try to cover the sometimes tedious background has been from those walnut faced rockin' embarrassments the Stones. First it was Let it Bleed, then Beggars Banquet, then Their Satanic Majesties and finally Get Yer...etc. This 40 year old soundtrack has assisted my Friday evening laundry work and relentless time wasting and contributed to brief periods of unexpected reflection. First of all I don't like the Stones (much) but they seem to hold onto that odd place inside of me where the soundtrack of life plays on in some deranged loop. I'm not sure you can ever choose this, it more or less chooses you because the keys are set in some remote and uncontrolled fashion while you are busy doing other things and I'm now, unwittingly and almost unwillingly revisiting it. It'll all make sense some day and there is no second of all either.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Over the edge

Things to seriously consider worrying about are everywhere, beware: radiation, Japan, rising fuel prices, rising food prices, pension schemes changing and devaluing, trouble in the Middle East, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, George Osborne and the rest of the cabinet, Scottish elections, interest rates, TV meltdown, slow broadband, the clocks changing, things in Africa, cold weather, filling in Ryanair forms on line, bugs and creatures, hippos fighting rhinos, strange noises, strange shadows, gangsters and drug dealers, smells that appear and disappear that seem to come from cats, toothache and old age, earwax, worn out shirts that you loved once, getting through a book, a strange pain in your side, factories, misunderstandings between people, muddy roads, the defence of the realm, airports, faces and number plates pixelated out, road signs, people who think PFI is still a good idea, football results, the Olympic Games, diet, diets, what to buy and what not to buy, dark empty stretches of time that seem to occur now and then, subtitles running behind the visual images on Sky News, planning to do things but never doing them, relearning or unlearning the guitar, frustration, daylight and dusk, fog and road conditions, potholes and broken up surfaces, keeping up, avoiding chocolate, avoiding things to avoid, religious things, political things, mystery containers in the freezer, people talking on News night, redundancy, over capacity, being busy, being quiet, keeping up with things, letting things go, wasps returning, paint flaking, losing a cherished sock, briefs and bulletins, tweets and statuses, change, forever change…whatever that really means.

I’m waiting on the news to end, the news must end, once the news ends I can escape, perhaps, perhaps I can, escape the magnet of the news; and read a book.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bristol Airport Daily Photo

Back home after an Easy Jet delay scare at Bristol. Nothing worse than your flight being called and then...stalled, for mysterious technical reasons. Eventually we left the air conditioned, bright canteen that is Bristol Airport for the dull but very welcome Edinburgh rain.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Amy Pond Life

More like lack of life as dear Amy has been commercially plasticised along with the Good Doctor. Just remember she's not a toy, she's an action figure from Ebay. Serene in this quick and precise frozen state, jumping with odd angular, hinged movements from the opening Tardis doors to the surface of some strange planet, couch or carpet, wherever the imagination takes. Possibly one near you; eternal life of sorts, orbiting or exploring the timeless universe some days, on others buried at the bottom of the toy chest. A word of caution: at times she may be sticky in places.

Tesco daily photo #4

When you consider the awful situation in Japan and the huge post earthquake problems they currently face most of the moans and gripes we have here are truly trivial, "uneven surfaces" as signed above being a good example you might say. I often wonder how we in the cosy wee UK would cope with major disaster, we are probably a lot less resilient and capable than we might think. The recent snow chaos in December (always chaos here when it snows) being a good example of our poor management of changing or difficult conditions and our low tolerance of inconvenience.

So this brings me to the Tesco sign shown above. It's a classic example of how we fail to fix problems and how we are expected to ignore and accept things here. After a while stop noticing them as they stray from our immediate vision. This sign has been in place at South Queensferry Tesco for over a year. It's purpose is to warn customers of some uneven slabs by the main entrance and that's that, so in a year all that has been done about the slabs is the placing of a hand written sign in a free standing frame. When you consider Tesco's huge profits...obviously a little bit of facilities management, a few bags of sand and some concrete must be a little beyond their means at the moment.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Planet Cookie

Maybe it's not the same as baking from scratch but you do get a decent cookie using a Betty Crocker mix (or box set if want to further legitimise the use of a box of ingredients). There's no way I'll win in today's family bake-out in honour of my granddaughter's third birthday but at least I'm in the competition albeit the actual cookie execution was done by my daughter. It looks like a little planet I think.

News and photos from Japan continues to shock and amaze, awful and incredible scenes.

A little night music, chords and compositions.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fred Goodwin isn't a banker

Nice smile from Fred, retired banker I believe.

Just in case you missed it Fred Goodwin cannot now be referred to as a banker thanks to a super injunction, so I'll certainly not be describing the great businessman who wrecked RBS and things in general as a banker. Remember, Fred Goodwin is not a banker, Fred Goodwin is not a banker etc. etc.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Help ma Boab

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix apparently - topical piece of reporting from Ali Dhabi.

It's been a long and rainy day punctuated by a predictable bowl of soup and a Tweeted, desperate* SOS to Bob Servant for some advice on the best way to deal with and ongoing domestic crisis/long running upheaval in the cat world. I'm sure that Bob, with 65 years of Dundee based wisdom and alcohol abuse to call upon will not let me down. My faith is in him...up to a point, though his quirky performance during the great cheeseburger wars does provide an unwelcome element of doubt.

*Is there any kind of SOS other than a desperate one? probably not, relaxed or laid back SOSing doesn't really happen so I've clearly wasted a word there but I think you get my meaning. Nice to add in a lengthy , extraneous and pretty pointless footnote now and again thereby making a lazy post look substantially deeper than it actually is. Proper writers, media types, politicians and Wikipedia people do this all the time. The technical term is padding.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Real Up

People liked this photo on Facebook

Oh yes they did, I posted this on Facebook and people liked it so I'm reposting it here wherever this is. It is not a picture of the (other) cat who may be freely peeing somewhere nearby even as you read this. It is Clint, our guardian of the garden on roof patrol.

I didn't intend writing anything today as my head feels full of seasonal gunge, chutney, Campbell's soup potions and reconstituted renegade chicken pieces disguised as leftovers. Added to that there is the slightly disconcerting aroma of stale cat urine here and there, mostly there. Always a hard place to be precise about. For a while I suspected that some cat had peed on my guitar, I cleaned the guitar and now I wonder what else may have been territorially claimed by some aggressive, colonially minded cat with a spare tank of piss to pass around. Then I though that it was simply my imagination and the faint odour of house plants as they pass through their indoor cycle of life. Then I thought it was the ham soup simmering on the heat in the kitchen. Then I stopped thinking.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Cats & chutney

The chutney has emerged from hibernation, yawning and irritable it has returned to the fold for it's final labeling and ultimate consumption after a spell of deep frozen neglect. Good humour, a naming ceremony and resealed freshness will be resumed as soon as possible. In my thinking the emphasis will be on a mango/fruity chutney style of usage whereby tender chicken pieces, odd fresh vegetables and stock are basted in the glorious mixture, cooked to perfection and consumed along with fluffy rice, warm and fragrant oily nan bread and a deeply fragrant dry white wine, possibly from the New World or a nearby supermarket chiller. You could also just scoff it, late at night, by TV flickering and coal fire glare, in bite sized chunks with cheeses and oatcakes using spoons and suchlike.

Meanwhile Clint (the cat) explores roofs and high places, taking in the local climatic variations and intrigues from these odd vantage points. Like most cats he ritually avoids his image being digitally captured and reused for the entertainment of the common people , most times anyway.

Loop that funky keytar

You can loop anything in theory and why not practice on a keytar? Apart from entangling the entire area and the usual hunt for reminders and helpful hints online soon full and full blooded looping was in progress and, naturally, everybody is happy.

The loop station is finished in red gloss, small, compact, bijou with completely incompressible and tiny details on the controls and settings. It also speaks back to any careless operator with a cheeky and strangely disconcerting New York accent. Timing is of course everything, you either have it or you don't and in my case...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Edinburgh daily photo

The Arab revolution comes to Edinburgh making it's point with good natured noisy drums and dancing. In the margins a rag-tag group of unrelated political organisations take the opportunity to distribute their message; "everybody else is to blame for everything", which might be right some of the time but can't be right all of the time. The hot-dog sellers are glad of the extra business so no real losers.

In St Andrew's Square various odd photographs of fish and deep sea life are on display for no obvious reason. Puzzled members of the public try to make sense of it all and ponder over the mysteries of location, context and content. The coffee counter does some extra business...etc.

The watery March sun shines down upon the righteous shoppers, buskers and homeless people who gather to worship whatever spiritual consolation they find in these stony shrines and elegant open spaces. The spotty wardens control the errant traffic as the taxis stray and disobey lanes and lights, just as it should be. The afternoon runs away from us like a shadow so Ali and I retire down to Leith Walk and enjoy a light, unpronounceable snack in Valvona & Crolla away from hustle, bustle, protest and cardboard sea creatures. Then on to watch a Rom-Com at the Vue. Nice day out.

Dancing with Dave Mackay