Wednesday, May 30, 2012


The film comes out on Friday or thereabouts, quite an exciting prospect if you are like me one of the original 70's Alien film fans. I'm contemplating the potential for delight and the likelihood of disappointment.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Journey to Potato Land

This is what happens when you absent mindedly leave a pile of potatoes in a bag, in a dark place for eight months and then in a moment of clarity (not mine) bring them out into the bright sunlight. Forgetfulness isn't a sign of old age and imminent brain cell collapse it's s sign of something else...but I forget what that something is.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Not Norway

Odd sponsor.

Not Norway or anywhere else. After spending a pleasant sunny day wandering around at the local horse trials, barbecuing various bits of dead animals, eating Culross ice cream and quaffing wine and cider it soon was time to capsize onto the (now bat free) couch and endure the maschionistic pleasures of Eurovision. Set in the decidedly dodgy location of Azerbaijan it's hard to say anything new about this multicoloured spectacle of tasteless torture - my stomach started to turn and my attention span fell drastically short of the mark. Pretty girls, pretty boys, grannies and the Hump swanning about, cartwheeling, caterwauling, cooking biscuits and occasionally singing. The final result was of no real interest to me so I accepted defeat to the bigger Maytime fatigue and inspired over eating at about eleven, a while before the final points haul was calculated. It turned out that within all the political, back slapping, Euro unfriendly and block voting strategies only four nations voted for this year's Olympic Host Country and the cradle of modern democracy, black pudding and pop music, the UK. Our new allies turn out to be Estonia, Ireland, Latvia and what was possibly a grudged single point from the good folks in modern Belgium. A diplomatic eye opener, an expected face slapping and the basis for a new foreign policy or two? At least we're not Norway.

Torro Rosso. Today full Euro envy faltered a little more when the Grand Prix fizzled out in Monaco and the rain began, meanwhile the sun was frazzling us here. The result made me think, “why don't Red Bull just make sports cars instead of expensive sugary juice?”

WTF. Scottish TV Channel Alba is resolutely broadcasting the Junior Cup final between Auchinleck Talbot and Shotts Bon Accord from the stadium in Livingstone. The commentary is in Gaelic – a very popular language here in the central belt. Shotts won 2 – 1.

In other news. Seen on a beach in Fife today, three roe deer, running east then (when they saw me and I tried to take their photo) running west.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mr B outwits a bat

Bat resting up on the curtains

You know it's going to be a difficult Friday night when, just as you've had some nice wine and are about to settle down and watch some pulp TV, Graeme Norton etc, along comes a bat. This one flew out of the fireplace and orbited the room like some buzzing Messerschmidt or refugee from Gotham City for ten minutes before alighting, puffed out on the curtains. We quickly recovered from the initial shock and sat still on the couch with cushions on our heads, the bat ignored us and we ignored him. The impasse however didn't last and he started flying again and more worryingly swooping.  We retreated from the cowering couch position and opened the front door and closed various other doors. He still flew in circles showing no inclination to leave us in peace. We discussed butterfly net and trap and possible legal options to rid ourselves of this mutated flying mouse and then seeing them all as too complicated or beyond us gave up, the bat had won it seemed. Then suddenly he perked up, flew out into the hall, spiraled around exploring his new surroundings (with a few extra swoops to unnerve us) and then headed out the front door, his radar now on spiky high alert I imagine. We breathed a hearty sigh of relief and closed the front door.  Just at that Graeme Norton came on the TV babbling as usual, I wonder, what did that bat really know?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Here come the warm jets

Actual evidence that bicycles were used instead of cars.

Reflections in the canal No1.

Reflections in the canal No2.

While Scotland basks in a pre-winter heat wave, the SNP fanny about with campaigns and the Euro crisis goes on unchecked we venture out and skive about on bikes in West Lothian. Warm jets of unrecognisable weather have pushed the clouds across to Poland and so the strange twin gifts of heat and light have been bestowed upon us. Strong in the knowledge no good thing can last past the weekend we have to capitalise on the moment and visit local canals, pubs and post industrial beauty spots as is the custom.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What cats do

This poor bird flew all the from Morocco to get to our coal cellar, then these guys pounced.

The Prime Suspect.

A possible suspect but I ask you, is that likely?
Cat photos by CBQ of course - we thank you.
Even the early part of the evening today was warm, so warm that I parked my deep philosophical turmoil inducing search for the truth and the meaning of life and strolled out into the garden to fix the fence. This selfless act of self abuse accompanied by a fair degree of physical pain left me feeling bruised but smug. I deserved my ham and mustard combos and the rewarding cool drink of  7 Up Lite mixed with fresh orange, suddenly all was well in the world and the guilt I felt over the unfortunate dead swallow was forgotten. I also narrowly missed the prelims in the Eurovision Song Contest and was comforted by the shocking news that nothing interesting was happening to anyone on Facebook and Twitter was err...busy as usual,  so I wasn't missing much, then I ironed ten clean shirts. In May life is good unless you're a migrating bird.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My mini Moog memory

By Thursday we'll all have forgotten about this fine piece of work. Such is the temporary and transient nature of stuff on the web. Now where was I?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Refuge of the road

Music. I'd forgotten just how good this sprawling and panoramic song was/is. An atmospheric piece to absorb and daydream in and out of whilst driving in a car. A car of course simply being a machine for driving in. No more, no less. A CD player is a different kind of transportation altogether.

Meat. Pastrami is quite possibly the most magical of cold processed meats, a tangy sandwich filler and illicit treat that skelps the face of chocolate and bites at the bottom of fresh fruit. It's probably not that good for you at all but you can always do an 80 second plank after consumption.

Media. Doing my best to avoid examples but it creeps up and over you everywhere. There are too many screens they say. I can only take in one at a time, my limitations have their benefit.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The inconsistent gardener

Fiskars Commando approved ethnically cleansing weed tool.
Caution impending sales pitch and wild exaggeration ahead: maybe not quite all that but this strangely robust weeding device has to be one of our most satisfying acquisitions and useful gardening tools ever. Firstly it works, secondly it works every time and thirdly it pulls weeds out along with their great brown and white root systems in an almost screaming surgical fashion. If you imagine weeds, dandelions and thistles to be like unwanted tumours in your garden then this fella will send you into a squelching, thrusting, tooth-pulling operational ecstasy as it removes the little buggers in style and effortlessly (well almost). Downsides: it does hurt your hands after a while and it is strangely addictive, your brown bin will be crammed. Double downside: perhaps you have friends who like/admire weeds or have green tinged sympathy in that direction - your mental plant purging behaviour will cause them offence and they may turn their faces away from you now you've shown your true murdering colours.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chump Onions

Just back from a quick trip up to Aberdeen and footballed out with a full days worth of incomprehensible punditry across the Chump Onions League and the Scottish Cup, but it's not over. More touchline drama, wisdom and argument to come this afternoon in the sunny suburbs of Kirkcaldy aka the land that time didn't even bother to remember to forget. Shaping up for a good weekend, then it's onto the Euro fest in a few weeks. Too much fitba can damage the brain.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tipples without tribulation

Getting in the drinks at the South Queensferry Dakota.
I may have over indulged a few times this week, a combination of business, romance and pleasure, celebration, opportunity and necessity if you like. Now the weekend looms up and I might just as well carry on. First of all and last of all a few random observations gleaned from elsewhere:

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia - Fear of long words. True!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Robot week - day 7

A wise old robot once said...
A wise old man of the world and taxi driver told me an interesting fact the other day. A few years ago the centre of Edinburgh (St Andrew's Square) was a mere 10 miles away from the centre of South Queensferry as logged on any reliable taxi's odometer. Now that same journey registers 11.2 miles on an odometer. There's some green and pleasant progress for you. A decade's worth of road improvements, tramworks and general traffic shenanigans has moved Edinburgh more than an extra mile away from it's (not so) near neighbour in the 'Ferry. It makes me wonder quite where the centre of Edinburgh will be in another ten years.

Other than that it's all over now for another hectic robot week, it's been thrilling and well worth the effort to celebrate a useful robot's quiet life in photographs and words.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Robot week - day 6

Still life with robot and yogurt.
We're now getting near the end of robot week. I'm not sure there will be another. It's not done my blogging reputation any good I suspect, it's that fine line between an idea taken too far and a good idea. I can't really tell the difference, then again neither can most people. So that's how you suffer if a post a day (or every 6 days out of 7) is a KPI you become bound up with. There's a lot I could say, I'm working away (away) and I'm eating steak probably too regularly and for the moment life is good.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Robot week - day 5

OK I admit that I took a lot of daft shots of a red robot alarm clock and having no clear idea what to do with them decided to blog them in this rather silly fashion under the rather forced and unimaginative banner of robot week, probably not one of my better ideas. Anyway here's me stating the patently obvious, a robot with an apple that's slowly being eaten by the photographer. There really is no meaning to any of this juvenile drivel. I do however have a warm feeling of Karma points accumulation and a strong, gripping sense of being one with the universe (aka inner peace), I may just be last night's red wine and steak and relaxation coming back on me.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Robot week - day 4

Storm: I'm looking forward to my first storm, watching it through that window, slowly building, hugging a hot coffee as it arrives with white topped waves, spitting and angry rain, sounds of thundering and swooshing, a strained wind that tears at trees and roots, forces pushing grass aside and rattling the glass in the frames. I'm nursing the idea of being warm indoors watch the storm, staring at the clouds and learning their names.

Sea Monkeys: I'm not clear on why sea monkeys should rank so highly on search engines all year round. Perhaps it's the combination of words, lots of dry people searching for the sea, lots of monkey obsessed monkey lovers searching for monkeys, nobody actually searching for the product know as Sea Monkeys though. That's the power and the confusion and the contradictions of the Internet for you. N.B. Real monkeys and the real sea(s) are both better researched out with the constraints of the Internet.

Robot Voices: Behind us we leave a trail of words, often badly spelt, poorly pronounced, subject to grammatical error with meanings and structures stretched beyond recognition and general serial misuse and ignorance. Add to that a wakeful of slang and swearing, sentence bombs of inappropriate and lazy speech and incorrect intonation and phrase construction. People can be very cruel and abusive towards words and language failing to see and appreciate the true beauty of clear and simple verbal communication. Thankfully (if properly programmed) this is not a problem you get with robots, they always speak properly, accurately and economically, as far as their human masters actions and silly mechanical robot voices will allow. That's just another factual type of observation here from me to pad out Robot Week.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Robot week - day 3

On Sunday's we relax and dream dreams. Thoughts of robot week are frankly absent, other things taking precedence as our robot consciousness slept. Everywhere there was football as the season ended, there were open days and closed days and muddy football matches on common ground in Dunfermline, the home of disappointment.

At times my head is full of clever things that seem to get edged out by weighty and powerful stupid things. That's very frustrating but a situation I've come to expect, possibly even thrive on. Sooner or later the good stuff returns and is captured (and then sunk by an obscurity torpedo). But it's nice when you walk into the kitchen and Warren Zevron is on the radio or you can reel off parts of Steve Millar's "Recall the beginning; a journey from Eden", life makes some sense in these moments.  I console myself with thoughts of successful breakfast assembly, Jeep and Subaru dealerships visited, great swathes of Fife captured, late night meals and conversations, family employment success, building up unbuildable toys with grand kids and the inevitable headaches and digestive upsets that good food and drink might just bring and driving, driving driving. If only the weather was conducive to and supportive of cycling.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Robot week - day 2

Robot in a tricky situation along with a plastic cup.

Debased wordage: Those lovely people who use words like definitely and absolutely a lot in everyday speech worry me, I look upon that kind of language use as a red traffic light kind of warning. Where exactly do they get that degree of certainty? I've spent ages with my feet on the desk, looking out of windows, supping cheap coffee and generally putting an appearance of doing some hard and purposeful thinking trying to find that elusive certainty. All that comes out however are dull thuds, thickets and the creation of fictional weeks in which all things robotic are to be celebrated by nobody. These processes are clearly corrupt but remain mildly amusing and ever so addictive. Now then, what direction is life headed in at the moment? (Post that's nothing really to do with robots, maybe the robot theme can just be pictorial).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Let's celebrate the robot

Robots are smart.

Robots work hard.

Robots occasionally fail.

OK: It's robot week, I didn't invent it, it just happened so be prepared for a wonderful week full of all things, images, thoughts, foodstuffs, sexual positions, politics, illnesses and psychological problems to do with robots. I can't promise you anything more and I can't promise you anything less in fact I can't really promise you anything at all but it's a special week anyway and all the more special because it starts today which is a Friday and also because it probably wont last for anything like a week knowing my notorious span of attention problems.

Problems: Do you have a friend who thinks that her deep fat fryer is a robot? If so there is help available, I'm just not sure whereabouts. Don't just pick any random number, call it and expect to get well constructed, intelligent and helpful conversation. Of course that never happens. Try finding a bloke who knows a thing or two about robots.

Recreation: Robots and parachute jumping and rock climbing. What is the problem with scaredy cat robots and the simple world of dangerous sports? I've no idea. If you require an answer then look no further than someplace else, preferably a place where these type of things are fully explored in a sensible fashion. Speaking of fashion what is the top trending trend for the up to date robot? What books are they reading and where exactly are they hanging out? Asimo Knows.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Elements of a new religion

1. Be incredibly happy everyday whatever your lot in life. This might be seen as being  the burning of some pale spiritual  inner light, indeed it may well make you light headed and stupidly optimistic at times.
2. Have an authority figure poised in the background ready to keep you right with good, timely advice, call it God if you wish. Take it's advice very seriously but don't bother writing the advice down. That's asking for trouble.
3. Religions require ritual. Why not have one based around finding the image of  E.T. in French Toast  and Brown Sauce. There's a prize worthy of a lifetime's pursuit that's also nourishing.
P.S. Everything in life, philosophy and religion is pretty simple really. The trouble is people like things to look complicated because that makes them seem clever (if they can make you believe that only they understand it or can see things you cant) so that veneer of mysticism, learned progression and the acquiring of knowledge over time has to be in there for them. Of course all that is complete nonsense. Life is all about keeping your underwear clean, whistling Dixie and hollowing out pumpkins. You make the first cut and scoop out whatever goo there is inside, lay it apart and admire the space you have created, put your hand in to explore it and then take it out so that you can light up a cigar and relax, that's about all there is to it.

Actually religions are pretty useless things really and they cause a lot of trouble and commotion, best not to bother in my view. Get on with your life.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Diageo Screw Brewdog

Diageo makes a rather unfortunate error at beer awards night. The trouble is it's pretty tough avoiding the big boy's products in an organised boycott...or is it?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The truth about Iron Man

The proof
He wasn't the result of some drunken, drug fueled, creative brainstorming binge between Tony Stark, a laptop and Pepper Potts. No, Iron Man was in fact developed and worked up by the Chinese, here's an early prototype that was laid aside and abandoned by the i.Ching Dynasty. Stark reality.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Tony Stark's Black Sabbath T Shirt

We went out to see the Avengers movie last night, great fun (four stars I'd say), great product placement (Accura doesn't mean much in Scotland however) and the usual cameo bit from Stan Lee. Of course I came away wanting the "Never Say Die" T shirt that Tony Stark wears under his Iron Man suit. His character steals all the best lines in the film, has the techy edge and the flimsy brown 1978  tour T shirt survives a whole lot of action under his metal chest without a tear or wrinkle. Every red blooded shredder will want one now. Trouble is you cant quite get the brown one, there's some well researched information here. Forget Amazon UK also, they've very little to offer apart from the usual rock tat. The web is buzzing, buzz buzz buzz.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

From Jon Snow

Slow news morning,  that's just how things are this Sunday, still nice to see Jon Snow score with a valid point. Now to cook up a breakfast storm.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Ghost trees

Carrying on the ghost sighting/footsteps thing I spotted this fine example of a ghost tree over in Fife. Of course it's more of the dead shell or remnant rather than the ghost. The actual ghost is way across the fields looking out for some unsuspecting sapling, I'm not sure why. Come the next strong wind it'll be over and blocking the road.

Referring to this tree and some other examples I sensed quite a few ghost footsteps on this short trip, overcast rainy memories and long oily coats, there were two people taking a walk, inland from the coast, one was foreign, the other claimed to be a religious man but I have my doubts (as did he). They were traveling in a huge circle (a woman was also involved but I couldn't quite get the detail), 22 degrees of which were in Fife, the rest spread across a far wider area. Sometimes all the things, books, Steampunk, careers, mud and heritage all collide and inform if you just turn over a few stones. Amazing what you can pick up if you just look and listen.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

In the footsteps of ghosts

Jules Verne on tour in the Central Belt.
Ghosts are just people who live outside of a body, that's all, nothing to get too worried about. In their pale and unresearched condition it is just possible to detect them and then to follow them, on their travels. I've been doing this for a while now, mostly across Scotland but also in other places. Perhaps you should try it.

Today the swifts returned to their nests in our coal cellar. I was alerted to this when one of the cats came running out of there, looking a bit guilty. Seconds later and very much to my relief two swifts flew out at high speed and headed away across the fields. I suspect that there will soon be some deadly games taking place, a lot of watching and waiting and at the very last moment some springing into action and jumping. None of this is for me, I've learned that when you try to intervene in nature and fix things or try to improve the chances of what might be considered a favourable outcome you get an unexpected and usually worse result. Let it be.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Victoria Hospital

I visited here today, Fife's new hospital. No car parking space, joking choking smoking Fifers outside in their track suits, faces wrinkled by the stress of confusion, tobacco and benefits. Buses crush past, full of the freeloading pensioners hoping for a bun and cuppa and a visit, a day out to health care excellence. Inside the lifts work smoothly but there's no furniture, no TVs, no shaver sockets in the wards, no towels or extra bed linen. The staff are pleasant and smiling. The staff try hard to cope with a system that doesn't know quite how to communicate, left hands fail to meet up with right hands, people are confused, jaws drop open. The staff are working hard, working their asses off to keep things right but somewhere in the project a failure has occurred, oh and there's no more money to put things right either. Local MP Gordon Brown planned this, the Tories implemented it. Now the NHS reforms and the clumsy NHS 24 will morph into uncontrolled monsters and finish it, any day, any year now.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Jump start

When you inadvertently  leave the light on in your car then you drain the battery, then you need a jump start, with jump leads.  Just remember to always follow the electrical safety code: Black to black, red to red and blue to Smithereens. Works every time.