Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The path

Sometimes the ground under your feet just crumbles away, sometimes the road disappears and for a moment you are lost. But that's only how it seems at that time and time is nothing more than moments, connected and joined by indistinct blurs and passing thoughts. When the next moment comes along perhaps a new path will appear and a new way forward will become your obvious route, just ahead and not too far. The broken stones that were under your feet and that hurt you are behind you, they can't be forgotten but this sweet and magical journey will continue...wherever it takes you.

For G.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lego: Game of Thrones

Everything has it's mirror image in the Lego universe, whether real or unreal or unwritten.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guilty burger

Dining in Burger King is a guilty and over indulgent pleasure, too large, too filling, too much onion and over priced. Their tills and price list don't quite match up, after any order you always pay a fiver more than you expect, unlike MacDonalds here you end up paying less than you think for inferior concoctions. Angus burgers are tasty though, big, hearty and you just want to gobble them down which is exactly what I did. Salt is of course an optional extra and only used by the over 50s in a desperate bid to pep up the fries, they seem to have slimmed their fries down recently for reasons of economy not customer satisfaction. The shake was too small and too cold, so much so that I had three brain freeze moments in my first three sucks, I suppose that's my own fault. Overall verdict; the right thing at the right time, Angus has all the beef you need, nothing else really matters much – 7/10.

The school holidays bring in the yummy mums with their hungry broods. A few weeks into the break and already they look worn out. A handful of years ago they were bright students, head girls and prefects with clear skin and bouncy hair. Then they discovered the joy of sex, home ownership, fitted kitchens and the inevitable parenthood trap, their other halves planning separate futures from some traffic queue on the M80. Now the hair is pinned back, kids called Jack, Hamish and Sophie emerge from complex car seats and attempt to eat chicken nuggets, always one eye on the Jungle Jim, the other on the sachets of ketchup. Meanwhile procession of drug dealers and petty criminals crawl past the window on the way to the drive-thru, you have to do something to pass the time in the middle of the day. Then the tattooed bikers and truckers come in for a snack and unless I'm mistaken it's that fat couple from Falkirk who just won £161m on the lottery. Everybody gets hungry sometimes and sometimes only a burger will do.

Monster Munch

Monster Munch, you can have them for lunch.

I was trying to write something profound and clever about David Cameron, News International, the Apprentice, Twitter, popular music and Top Gear but it's too early in the morning -no brain juice.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Airstream dream

I've always (?) dreamed of owning an Airstream caravan, the only kind of caravan or moving/sleeping utility object I'd consider tolerable in any form. Anyway I stumbled on my ideal mobile home sitting in an oddly juxtaposed way on the ancient cobbles of Market Street St Andrews acting as a clothes shop. Eh? The poor thing has been emasculated a bit, unless you consider caravans to be sexless. This commercial usage seems a bit of a waste however it does look marvelous, check the condition of it and the shine. If I did have a few extra quid to spare there is no doubt in my mind that on our extended driveway there would be a Delorean and an Airstream parked and ready to roll most days. How predictable and juvenile is that as an idea? Not sure a Delorean coupled up to an Airstream would work as a towing combination, might need to check that out with the Caravan Club in order to preserve the full integrity of this fantasy - may be not a wise thought. It's always tough when technical problems undermine or cripple daydreams.

Nice restored milestone set about a mile away from St Andrews as you'd imagine.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's close to being a mystery

The now infamous bad cat crossed a line early this morning, he entered the house without express permission and ate a packet of oat and raisin cookies from the worktop, for some inexplicable reason forgoing the obvious greater pleasure of a pack of white chocolate cookies. I have serious doubts about his taste. Having said that much of the evidence is circumstantial and other potential culprits lurk on the periphery, they are:

A mouse trapped halfway up the kitchen curtain (close to the cookies) at about 2200hrs Friday night. The exact whereabouts of the mouse are unknown, it was last seen being eyed up by a cat.

A sleek and hungry looking badger spotted in the lane running West at approx 2400hrs. (Heading away from the crime scene).

A small black frog on the kitchen floor this morning - unlikely to posses the wherewithal to open and consume a pack of cookies.

A large toad out on the back path at 0900. No crumbs or evidence to suggest any involvement.

The other cats, none of which have shown a penchant for biscuits of any kind in the past.

A few suspicious adults and teenagers were also in the vicinity and may have taken the early morning opportunity to scran the cookies. Anytime from 0130 to 0730.

The truth is out there, as are the cookies.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Reach out and touch

To BT or not BT: Today the BT man came to repair the BT phone which blew out unspectacularly in a (non BT) thunderstorm over the weekend. I waited patiently and the jovial repairman duly arrived an hour late and set about his task. I'd already performed all the mandatory tests and I'd had two texts warning me that if it wasn't equipment failure a charge of £150 would come our way, nice start BT. Of course there was a fault which he fixed but a complete fix was not possible because our BT router which runs on the same line had a fault. A simple question followed, “Ok, can you replace the BT router Mr BT repairman?”

Of course that was a stupid question, his apologetic reply was, “Sorry though I'm BT I can't replace your router, that's actual BT, I'm BT Openreach.” I looked out of the window and pointed to his van, “It says BT on your van.” “Yes but that's not the BT you need, I can only fix Openreach routers, Sky routers, Talk Talk and so on, in fact I can fix every kind of router except a BT router.” (I can feel the scream building up inside but then a still, small, far away voice says, “be calm, this is the UK, in a new and vibrant Europe, we were once capable and competent, in our own heads anyway, but those days are gone, it is was a brave old world and all that new world thing was just hype, so let it go, let it go, walk on and be at peace and without a working router). Next step, reach for the repaired phone, dial some 0800 number, listen to the options, listen to a robot, then listen to somebody talk to me like I'm five years old then...wait a long time for a postman to bring a BT router. (Three working days according to the nice young man.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Anatomy of a song


Anatomy of a song: Have as many hooks as you can, strong hooks, sharp hooks, fish hooks, wild, original but familiar and splendid lyrics, guitar passages that run like horses fresh and fed from the stables, a deep bass that stuns and groans and grunts and drives like a taxi on speed. Drums that crash as waves on far away beaches, booming and bombing, tinkling and signalling some crisis or triumph while cymbals ring with deliberate collisions. Somewhere a voice rises above all this, screwed down, turned up, going in any and every way, telling stories and jokes, pictures and soundscapes, great escape, lovers and ghosts and a long way down and no way back in the well of souls and lost love. Drama and theatre, squeezed in some digital box, shiny disks blown through the wires and cables, unstable but able to consume, command and make you obsessed, make you guess, unwind or rewind in the stress.

You need to learn each word and know each chord, to imagine and fantasise on tricks and techniques, picture the moment and hold if for yourself your own time, spent in the cans, some strange and private land, only you go there, following the footsteps of a million other listeners and trailblazing for a million more to come, because this song cycle never stops, we echo every step, in reality, memory and lives soundtracked. In music and song there is and can be no turning back – but I still miss the times I spent studying the gatefold sleeve and scribbling doodles on the inner liner.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome to the news

I think I've bought my last Times and Sunday Times, not that I was a regular reader but I would buy them if I had time sit and read a paper properly or as a kind of treat. I was also thinking about taking a sledgehammer to the Sky box, that would be costly and a bit to extreme, that's the trouble with having (or getting without much warning) principles, then I'd have to explain my actions to someone in a call centre. I love newscasts, media, debate and all the rest of it and the press badly needs to fight for it's freedom but not this way. News International is an unprincipled, unethical bully of an organisation. It needs to be put out of it's misery. Sadly we've a crop of idiots and toadies running things, though I'm sure in some parallel universe Dennis Skinner is the Leader of the Opposition and Boris Johnson is Prime Minister and I'm an ice cream vendor.

So we have many talking boxes, talking all the time, their gathered and cleverly constructed messages are still getting through to you. This happens whether you like it or not, your mind repeats, thinks foreign thoughts, ones unspecified by you, ones that lead you to somewhere you may well wish not to go. When you get there, let me know. Meanwhile there is always the thought that someone else is listening in to this crackling conversation, a divine being perhaps, far reaching all seeing CCTV systems, aliens, an Apple Surveillance Ap of which you know nothing, the FBI or a hack journalist in a cream cotton suit with a loose neck tie. The good news is that, thanks to all of this we are never alone.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dont fear the slowly fried egg

Cat out in the sun shock.

It's in the early morning that the brain works best. All the connections are fresh, their hungry apertures wide open, sparking pieces of protein are readily available to go to work and connect. In this blissful state of clear protein connection a higher level of thought process can be achieved. It was in just this elevated state that Chaos Theory, String Theory, the electric light, chewing gum and the internal combustion engine were all first conceived. KFC's secret recipe (including the various Southern herbs and spices) was concocted, the Space Shuttle's wiring looms were designed (if they ever were to be unraveled they would reach from here up into space apparently), a device for threading needles for blind or one handed people, the home computer and the first five chapters of the Bible were written onto the inside of a cereal pack; all of these came to be just as the sun was peeking up towards the floating clouds, across some misty far away horizon with Stonehenge shrouded in the distance. With that great panoply of invention and achievement behind me and only my addled imagination before me I rose today at 0550 to take in the cosmic lentil broth and draw deeply of the inspirational ozone to seek what I might write, invent or break through on.

After a few moments finding my bearings (remembering my name, my mantra and what household appliances might not be working properly and therefore should be avoided) I ate a banana, looked out of the window, took a shower and cleaned my teeth...slowly a picture emerged...yellow, white and bubbling like that primal, life giving soup from which ugly, slimy creatures once emerged duly blinking in the wonder of that forgotten evolutionary moment, still full of all the essentials oils (and herbs and spices) and encapsulating all the vital and precious elements necessary for human life as we know and perceive it to be. Oh yes, the secret of the universe is what I always thought it might be, the humble fried egg.

The power and majesty of the eternal forces of thunder and lightening have ravaged the local countryside over the last couple of days. Sheep and cattle have been worried, toads have been absent and cats have been seriously perturbed to the point of distraction and emitting strange mewing sounds. Worst of all has been the cynical and clinical fork of lightning that has somehow severed our phone line, dead, dead as a dumb dummy. Strangely the inter-twerp has survived and is operating at full power (at a snail's pace in a race between two very tired snails). Faced with little choice I retired to another friendly number and phoned for help, not a good experience. BT provide a barrage of messages designed with the commonest of men /woman/people in mind, there is no escape, you have to listen to every word and of course obey. Step by step you follow but nothing happens, then the messages end leaving a handy customer vacuum. I phoned back again eventually getting placed in contact with a fellow human who spoke bad English. We exchanged pleasantries, the story of the storm and explored the possibility of other local problems. It was however all too difficult to fathom by phone and now an engineer must attend. We shall meet this great man on Wednesday it transpires, in the meantime the phone will not ring unless some of the white man's magic prevails. Surely a little piece of God's revenge on us all.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Another screen shot post

The lazy bloggers easy guide to simple ways of easing the pressure and moving the strain and blame elsewhere whilst doing very little other than harbouring idle thoughts when sitting on a couch with your feet up. The shot is from red bubble, I don't know much about it but these sites that stick your profile picture on the front page work for me for a few short hours anyway. Nothing much to see here then move along, move along.

I've never much liked that lizard David Cameron, head like a used up condom, spineless and only capable of regurgitating sound bites that might well have been gleaned from the waste basket of Stephen Hawking's voice box, he is that bad - but he is the leader of this great country. How I wish that NOTWGate would turn into a Watergate type of expose and finally sort out the toady generation of politicians (Blair to Cameron) that have sucked any good and honour out of the profession and poisoned it with their self seeking and ignorant strategies. There, I've said that and truthfully I don't feel any better for it, maybe by 2015 the electorate will see sense, the Labour Party will have grown up, global warming will be making a pleasant difference to our climate and the EEC will have sunk without trace (and a winning lottery ticket will be handed to me along with my bus pass).

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Carnival Of Dysfunctionality

So the News of the Screws time is up, sacrificed to save Brooks and the rest of the dysfunctional, criminal and greedy evil empire that attempts to rule the media by any means. Big deal, I just feel sorry for anyone who feels that no Sunday is complete without it, their lives will remain vacant, desolate places until the launch of the Sunday Sun. Yuchhh!

On a lighter note...I'm very tired today, I missed most of the rain, the blueberries are there to be eaten, I may have a stream of good ideas or none at all and tomorrow I'll get a haircut if I can summon up the cash and courage.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Blogger RIP

Google will axe two popular brand names,Mashable has reported.

Blogger and Picasa will be renamed as part of a branding push following the release of Google+, the company's new social network. Blogger will be called Google Blogs and Picasa will become Google Photos.

"Picasa and Blogger were also Google acquisitions, although both companies have been part of the Google empire for far longer. Picasa was acquired in 2004 and Blogger (co-founded by Evan Williams of Twitter) was acquired in 2003 and is one of the top 10 most visited websites in the world. Although the rebranding could upset some existing customers, it also gives Google the ability to completely integrate both services into Google+."

Ho hum, it was pretty good for 9 years or so...

Dog day afternoon

The puppy arrived, ate some food, squirted on the grass, played, tumbled, licked and departed. Some bonding and affection transfer may have also taken place. Time will tell. I'm busy working on the complex inter-county kennel transfer task.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Signs and wonders

As the brightness that was today fades into more familiar grey tones I ponder the mixed merits of a pasta and liquorice diet. A diet forced upon me by the usual strange circumstances of poor shopping decision making processes, uncalulated family food consumption rates and desperation. None of these things either singly or together lead to a decent meal or healthy lifestyle. Read the signs if you will.

On a more sobering and consistent note it's taken me about two months and umpteen hours to "get" the mouse pad on this here new fangled AppleMcMuffinMac. This weekend I had an epiphany but wisely kept it to myself, the usual Chinese reasons apply. I could draw a graph that shows the relationship between age and the grasping of (not really new) different technology. Ali and I realised this fully as we struggled to switch on the oven yesterday, unable to read the dials without glasses and unable to understand the complex symbols that refer to things like ovens and fans. Eventually a meal was produced but at what cost?

Now I'm on the edge of my seat (painful and bad for the posture) awaiting the arrival of a puppy. Not fresh from a dog's bottom but as a reluctant passenger in a car, driven all the way from down there, to somewhere up here (but only here for a rest). Any minute now.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

South Queensferry on a warm day

These railings compliment the old lady of the bridge rather well. At least they've finished painting them.

The harbour.

Edinburgh Road manages to dodge the sunlight, the traffic is almost calm and the pedestrians have gone elsewhere for a siesta. Further up the street a wedding is in progress, guest spill out and smoke in the street, families struggle by with pushchairs and puzzled tourist look out between the buildings for a new view of the bridges.

These pics were taken a few days ago, today we mostly stayed in the garden, built bonfires, ate and drank, were lazy then busy then lazy again and had a few ideas.

Bee day

Nice to see the return of the bees, caught in the act of lavender robbery this morning whilst breakfast cooked itself, somewhere away in the distance. July is having a mostly sunny start and insect life is booming around here. Meanwhile up above the low flying, cheeky chappie swifts make the garden complete, in every moment another aerial ballet is played out to a chirpy soundtrack. Glad to see them back again and nesting in the splintery rafters of our coal cellar.

Update: Weather back to normal gloomy setting but we did manage a bike ride to Blackness Castle and back, it was so close to being a summer's day.