Saturday, September 30, 2017

Small and interesting

Here's a small and interesting shop, gallery and studio down by the harbour in South Queensferry. Click here for more information and material than I can ever describe properly, that's the reason we have a www.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Zooming in

Here's a view of the Tay Bridge and the not so far away city of Dundee from the unusually sunny side of Fife and below we have the zoomed in  version showing three crows up a tree in detail (almost). Nothing remarkable here, I just happen to like crows,  provided that they remain at a safe and respectful distance and don't attempt to peck my dead eyes from their still warm and moist sockets and so corrupt my soul's passage on to the world of the Great Pumpkin.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mustn't Crumble

The golden glory that is apple crumble. That's apples, crumble and a few mysterious ingredients that I cannot list here for commercial, security and hygiene reasons. Here we see some examples, in foil tins, cooling ready for final packing and onward shipment to customers and end users.

Problem: Side one is side two and side two is side one. Not sure what to make of this. There is no side three.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Like a bird on a ladder

I now know how to draw a 3D ladder and I also know how to climb an ordinary ladder. At least two useful life skills there. I was up a ladder earlier today but not for the beauty of the view or the exhilaration of the fantastic climb and clean air or to see how things below looked like Matchbox cars or other toys. It was to remove a young upstart of a tree that had chosen to grow between two roof tiles on the house, the stubborn tree was duly removed from it's cheeky squat. I also lifted thick mud from the gutters and various unkempt weeds and grasses that had taken root or perhaps taken roost.

Heights never used to bother but now I'm not so sure. Quaysides and cliff edges make me feel peculiar, I'm drawn to their brittle edges, that gap between a hard surface and the empty air and the knowledge of a certain drop. It makes me dizzy and nauseous, sometimes ... sometimes excited but not to the point of giggling*. Tall buildings are OK, there's a strong illusion of safety and generally ladders are fine too, you have something to hang onto unless you're holding a paint brush and a pot of comedy paint. So as a leisure sport I guess ladders and tall monuments are fine clambering activities to pursue - but standing still by perpendicular drops set from edges are not.

*At what age is it that you lose the ability to just giggle at things? I used to find it easy but I've not giggled freely for a while. I miss the loss of this most human and attractive of (seemingly) childish gifts. Is there a drug on the market? Perhaps the giggle inducing material is no longer available, something to do with austerity?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Universally Challenged

It was an old school TV watching evening yesterday, almost. First up University Challenge, well the last ten minutes but Strathclyde won out so that was a strangely rewarding view. Then "Impossible Planet" from the C4 Phillip Dick series via Sky Planner, not quite a classic electric dream, more a mish-mashy short story but with some eerie effects and an almost satisfying story line. Sci-Fi adaptions usually disappoint for some reason but I've grown used to that and don't expect much. Like some YouTube Dark 5 piece of non-revelation with twisted fiction and lies.  Then back in real time some BBC doc about brains and stem cells and scary beating hearts in laboratory jars. The research work seemed to to be leading to some of the Impossible Planet scenario where people live too long, get too tired and yearn for a simple ending to their days. Finally as fatigue started to set in it was W1A, the Beeb laughing at itself by retelling the same joke in numerous ways, mostly via the medium of bungled meetings and a desperate need for all things PC and inclusive. A kind of comedy wallpaper that's so clever it seems stupid until you remember that it's actually realistic way beyond the BBC's own excesses. Non ironic workplace comedy is the new normal.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Just spotted the problem

Oppenheimer: The geeks shall inherit the earth, or at least what's left of it.

First rule of writing

Stunning BLT roll combo, only hours old but already eaten up.

These are of course toy mice, cat toy mice to be exact. They kind of freak out the cats, which is fun in a cruel way. They've now been given early retirement, the toy mice that is.

Note: Never confuse the first rule of writing with the first rule of spelling, or grammar or punctuation or sentence structure etc. The first rule of writing, in my book (?) is of course know your subject or topic. How well then do I know BLTs? Pretty well, I've eaten a few albeit they remain in second place behind rocket and crayfish in the league table which are hard to come by unless you visit a Pret (none round here) and the crayfish portion isn't quite enough but it still is a great combo. Anyway  Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato is a fine filling for rolls or actual bread sandwiches. It also helps if the bacon is warm or even hot, this provides a better taste and texture and overall eating experience. Mayo, a decent slurp is also required for lubrication, the tomato may be juicy but it's doubtful that it'll do the same job as mayo. There you have it. The first rule of writing applied to the BLT.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Rusty tunelessness

Thinking of going off road anytime soon? You need the tools. Ready for the snows, the next ice age and the petrol revolution? Not me either but everyday it draws closer, probably, as we happen to live off road, or at least about a mile away from any recognizable roadway, functional street lamps or up to date services and signs. The trappings of civilization are few and far between apart from the whirring of dishwashers and the instagram alert beeps, a bit like things in the Oval Office right now or in Theresa May's Beetlejuice style Cabinet, signs of intelligent life exist but they are at a low level and only functioning in part. It's the end of the road and a terminus for Western civilization, the sun sets in the west but only because it has to and that's only because of our earthbound homo sapien perspective, one we are unlikely to move on from. Restringing guitars will always seem tiresome but somebody has to do it or we'd descend into rusty tunelessness.

Pull up your socks

Nearing the time for that awkward mid-year staff performance review? Never an easy interview for those on either side of the desk. Quickly gather up a few water tight excuses, remember how your sick/holiday record looks and how well you did in training/forums/presentations and other sucky uppy things. Glad it's all a distant memory for me. I never really did pull my socks up (the most meaningless instruction ever given ) and I may have been economical with the truth at times. However I was never properly mad.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Strange effects

I could say that I was experimenting but as it happened I just took a few random pics as I was taking out the trash or some other meaningful/less task the other day. Accidental, industrial photography. It was a sunny day, unusual around here and the light nicely caked everything it touched with...more light. Even the lights were light and some of the darks were light and then here were reflections, here, there and in my mind. Such a 60s thing to say.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

This what you get

...when you mess with a wooden pallet and chop it up into the necessary kindling to crank up the log burner during the long days of winter. You also get a bit sweaty and a sore back but thankfully there were no major injuries during an hour or so of meticulous axe handling and wood splitting. I was revived later with soup, corn bread, tap water and plain dark chocolate covered with pictures of the Queen or Audrey Hepburn dressed as a cat, (hard to tell) a common meal for lumberjacks and axe murderers in these troubled times.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Well not exactly...

...though sometimes it seems like you may have just missed the point but nonetheless you are still travelling in some direction in a wide eternal and unpredictable arc. Perhaps food, water and oxygen are over rated, in the context of having actually made up into space and (briefly) being amongst the stars. 

Life isn't fair but looking up is a lot better than looking down or keeping your eyes closed. My advice to the young, confused and restless would be to invest in a bicycle, regularly eat a porridge and banana breakfast and learn a bit more about modern economics and how you can work around them to your own advantage. Oh, and sometimes to move forwards you must move sideways a little.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Best sentence ever?

There's a lot of debate out there (?) about the length of sentences here, there and mostly in the works of James Joyce. This isn't Joyce but it'll do. I'll leave you to consider who it might be all about.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Daily Spacecraft

Spacecraft of the day: Nicely understated (and of it's time of course) illustration that went along with Jules Verne's "Captain Nemo's Undersea Journey to the Centre of the Moon via Green Ray". Well worth the read(s) or alternatively they can be viewed by various cinematic and televisual interpretations.

Friday, September 15, 2017


Safety shoes doing their own form of damage. I never was a big fan of drum solos but I still have a soft spot for Cream and Ginger Baker's "Toad" performance, or was it Towed, or Toe'd, or even Toed. It matters little, these toes, clearly not at all like mine have been enjoying the delightful pleasure of breaking in not one but two pairs of working/safety shoes in the past few weeks. It seems that different toes hurt on different days and of course the ball of the foot (sounding like some attractive cut of meat there) hurts now and again too. Hard not to feel sorry for feet, they put up with a lot and get little thanks but when they hurt, they really hurt. Rest and a generous slap of Savlon is the best answer and hopefully those stubborn shoes will, like some wild and unbroken horse, come around to my way of thinking and doing and being i.e. happy and pain free. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fiends and Aliens

  A word to the wise: Fiends and aliens are taking over, (actually they always have been in charge) they are walking amongst you, hidden in plain sight. Peculiar souls hell-bent on destroying our wonderful heritage of self obsessed art, progressive music, dietary eccentricity, chain smoking and being envious of our neighbours and betters. The fabric of Scottish culture is under attack and being torn up, like some cheesy 70s carpet glued to a damp bathroom floor. They have infiltrated our great institutions; the bloody BBC, the Queensferry Crossing Traffic Planners, Sky Atlantic, various toon cooncils, ice cream vans and those who organize the annual potato and beetroot harvest in Farmlandshire. 

Once we were run by bold, noble Europeans of royal blood and the Gnomes of Zurich but those halcyon days are gone, now we are being run by butter-fingered, wet nosed, sweaty armpit, humourless Brexiteering reactionaries who cannot even pilot a simple spacecraft, even when moderately sober. These people are now telling us that previously useful diesel engine emissions are staining white handkerchiefs and that spicy foreign food is bad for us, refugees don't belong here and we're now encouraged to eat tinned whales and pickled puffins by daytime TV hosts and watch the puerile gunk on new apple phones the size of a pulp fiction novelette and woe betide anybody caught wearing T shirts or underwear from George at asda. 

It's a rum do and no mistake, a quiet and slow revolution is (probably) the only answer. It'll be easy because the real truth about our lying, badly organised and scheming politicians and controllers is that they just don't tell the truth about how little power and influence they really have (thanks to Will Self and of course the Wizard of Oz for the illustration).

They are only exercising the powers we give them...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

You can't run from what's inside of you

So the dust, ice and dragon fire has settled on Game of Thrones for the mean time, we can all sleep peacefully knowing that the Wall has been breached, the undead are on the march and that they have a big, scary dragon on their side. Times are hard in Westeros. Kind of like the rise of the alt-right in our feeble dimension but with a bit more purpose and intelligence. Of course there is no happy ever after ending headed any body's way, it's way too grim up north for any of that, it'll be tough or worse than tough and sweary. I've really no idea why I'm writing this now, I watched the final episode a while ago but every time I turn to YouTube my feed is filled with various fan theories, unseen clues and Easter eggs, GoT actors' salaries, heights, fall outs, bloopers etc. etc. This will never end, ever.

Closer to home, what kind of Game of Thrones character do you get when a cat pads along a newly painted windowsill and then zig-zags across the floor? A White Walker! (Boom, Tish!).

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wind and Wuthering

Though it doesn't look to wild in this picture it was at the time, you see the smartphone does lie and covers it all up with some kind of enhanced effect. That was all done yesterday, today's special visual effects are yet to be revealed. In the future all history will be one step further away from the reality it tries to portray (which always has been the problem with history). So what's the problem?

When a plan comes together

Monday, September 11, 2017

Recipe for Whang Dang Doodle

1. Step one (and follow the vague, deconstructed photos for ease of reference), dewang your thang and untwang the whole thang to the point of unplayability until it flops. Pull vigorously and all will be well. You may need industrial wire cutters to remove the Kinks and the Steely Dans according to overheard master plans. You can also stop to crop your toe nails but avoid the troublesome  ricochets.

2. Step two is easy, open the packets and scatter the contents on the floor. Despite their look these are not cheap donkey condoms so handle them with care. Adopt a suitably penitent position and thank the various gods and machines at Amazon, Ernie Ball's wee hoose and Rotosound. Without their tireless science and exploitation a visit to a guitar shop c/w human interaction, withering stares and minor embarrassment would have been required. Dispose of waste products thoughtfully in the next door neighbour's garden. 

3. Step three is fiddly, even on a violin. Pull the twangs through the holes and ignore the dull fudds as you wind up the mechanism to at least 11. Suitably use a suitable tool and wear some chic and fashionable eye protection in case of blow back and some tension of grinding resistance is experienced. All resistance must be crushed by stealth and cunning within this current Conservative regime.

4. Step four is cringe worthy and scary but also the cat's whiskers as you tighten up the machine toggle tuning pegs and hear the far away cry of new born notes waiting to be released from the darkness of the void. These plaintive groans and howls from the infant sounds  are usually in Db or F# and are not indicative of how it'll all work out. You will never hear their like again until the next time or unless you trip out on the magic tremolo button once too often or if you're at a football match. 

5. Step five requires stamina, swagger and extra effort as you must trail out and wander on the long lost highway of the fretboard and Whang Dang Doodle all night long. You may require wholesome sandwiches, some kind of matured Little Feat repertoire and a decent plectrum. The next day your index finger fingerprint scan at work will fail to recognize your crushed digits as will your muzo friends but you will feel elated and entitled, a bit like the kid in Kid Charlemagne or Dr Timothy Leary. This is the blues and these are the bluer's blues.

Yesterday's Apples

That's the apples, all 9 of your English Kilograms stewed and stuffed and pruned and bagged and ready to head off the North Pole where a stupendous welcome awaits them. There are no apple trees in the North Pole and shortly there will be no North Pole either but that's just the way of cruel evolution, man's inhumanity to the world, the climate and various other things. Come the day we'll add a controlled drug know as sugar to these and so create the perfect "Crumble in the Jungle" as it's often called. In any other time of name creation it would be know as pudding but that's a term used by the chattering classes and not the likes of us. We don't call it dessert either because we can't really spell it and it can be ambiguous. No, the correct term is of course "afters". Custard can be added if you like that sort of thing.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Strange Fruit

A decent apple crop from the two trees resulted in about 9kg of stewed fruit, that's almost a record if we had only kept records. That made today officially "Apple Sunday". Dancing in the street did not occur as a) there is no street here and b) we seldom dance on the Sabbath Day but that's nothing to do with religion. Once cooled the stewed fruit is frozen and retained in order to help us ride out the Zombie Apocalypse or some random hurricane or apple price hike that hits us unexpectedly. We're screwed however is the power fails and the freezer packs in. You simply cannot trust technology these days, something I've shared on a daily basis with both my personal robotic assistant and my invisible friend. None of us fear the coming storm of AI but we do fear the coming storm of lack of "I" from our human fellow travelers and colleagues employed in the food processing industry.

Unexploded vegetables: So we tried something slightly different by growing aubergines and after a long gestation period they did actually produce are their tiny, half formed and evil looking fruits. I think that may be considered a small success, perhaps an earlier planting or a better environment (indoors) might have helped. We may make use of these as cosmetic implants, ingredients for spells and potions or artist's materials, not sure what as yet, suggestions are welcome.

No it's not Friday

Speaking of memorable days...who can forget the day that SpongeBob finally became a real boy? The cartoon series never was quite the same though.

Friday was another day altogether, not particularly memorable but an alright day, a solid stab at 24 hours of time spent on various things, all across the world. A reasonable if slightly dull Friday. The kind of day you get when you just make it all the way to almost the end of the week. (Of course in some places it was not a dull day at all, things actually happened, storms, civil wars, alien abductions, fraud by fraudsters, cold blooded murder, sex of a kind, road traffic crime and general mayhem. Perhaps some important discoveries made or lied about, futile creative works embarked upon, pulp fiction books written, weird maths problems solved, faith healings, deaths by stoning and day dreams of all lurid kinds. There were unfunny  jokes made up and cracked, witty quips passed, things said and things gloriously forgotten). Well that was everybody else's Friday, well some peoples but not really mine, fair enough kind of normal day though it was. Funny thing is that in all of time's long passage from Eden in Cornwall to the Big Bang Theory and back again, there never will be another day quite like Friday past, which was only just yesterday (wrote on Saturday but posted on Sunday) and I almost missed it.

Friday, September 08, 2017

A plague of crayons

In these troubled times where posh buffoons are in charge of the most important things what this country needs is a plague of crayons somewhere, but not on our household. These are virtual images. By that I mean they have some virtues as well as not actually existing. This is modern art in as much as it was created a few days ago and some time after the actual Renaissance and in no particular order Dadaism, Cubism, Surrealism, Realism, Pop Art and various other famous schools of arty things. Today we all have the tools and technology to become brilliant, all we lack is the energy and the inspiration and the few available lucky breaks meshed with the correct algorithm.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Big Slug

Yes it's a monster, a huge mutated slug, 6" long and longer when it stretches out to move. It might be radioactive. It may even have super powers, there's no way of knowing as I was careful not to anger or insult it. In the hostile environment of a wild garden you cannot be too careful otherwise the nettles, thorns and now slugs may bite back, sting or give you a nasty itchy rash. I observed it's low, sluggish you might say, progress across the stones and then, due my indifferent attention span lost interest and I guess it progressed on into the lush and dripping vegetation for some hearty meal or other. It may have done that or come a cropper, perhaps being eaten by some passing goose or a low flying crow. You can never tell and I'll never know.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Dear Satan #2

Dear Satan,

Sorry to bother you when you're so busy with your climate chaos, North Korea, whispering in the dumb-ass Trump family ears, fixing Facebook algorithms and reducing the size of chocolate bars but just what is it with you and our socks? I know that you read this blog so don't try to ignore this issue. Can you please explain why, anywhere in this (?) world, it is impossible to get comfortable socks at present time? 

I'm a size 8, socks tend to come in batch sizes of 6 - 9 and so on. My feet are at neither end of this scale and it's obviously bad news for the 6 and 7 folks. It must be an even worse torture for these poor people. Sizing and sorting needs fixed because socks do not stay in on one place on your feet (as you might reasonably  expect from any piece of clothing or footwear) they move and ride about in all directions when on your feet. Movement = friction = heat. That is not a good thing within a sock, shoe and foot sandwich, it causes rubbing, chaffing, red skin and leads to pain. Actual pain and tiredness. I suspect you're also meddling with the materials and allowing poor quality wool and other textiles to screw with our feet and trap sweat and heat regardless of what the labels and descriptions claim.

The bad behaviour of socks is a constant source of frustration for the world, they should not have sadistic lives of their own and be the cause of so much discomfort. Please get yourself out of the sock design business and allow the better parts of science to get involved so as to improve the quality in order to allow those of us who walk around a lot to at least have some comfort and less injury as we quietly live our lives.

Thanks in anticipation,


Monday, September 04, 2017

Steely Dan don't need tribute bands

Soft underbelly of the biscuit tin on the day I heard the news...

Walter Becker's death made me wonder about when a band is still a band. Donald Fagen says that a Steely Dan band will carry on and continue to play in Walter's memory. The old hits roll on like in that 10cc song who's name escapes me. That's a nice thought I suppose but once Donald Fagen goes then that really should be over for Steely Dan. I don't like bands of ghosts carrying on, milking the back catalogue of the founder band with some tenuous link to the original, a one time bass player or a roadie or an adopted cat. Things need to die away naturally and not exist in some perpetual roundabout of attributed members joining an everlasting and lucrative club. Yeah, I don't really like actual tribute acts either (I know it can be fun bopping to the past but...), maybe it's the young wigs and the old faces and nothing to do with the music.  But regarding the sad loss of Walter Becker I always loved the eerie and sophisticated work of Steely Dan, too many clever references and wonderful chords for me to ever fully understand or copy, too painstaking and perfect with the solos sometimes, too NYC and not enough LA, too clever and not enough stupid. Great formulas, ever lasting sounds and everlasting conundrums.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Accidental Wes Anderson

Cheap blogging continues: As the lucky hordes, 50000 strong, are out there walking across the Queensferry Crossing and taking numerous smug, grinning selfies we here, left on the banks can only browse the internet and moan. Oh, wait a minute here's a site that celebrates things that are, by accident if you will, just a little Wes Anderson in their look and feel. Interesting and nothing to do with local affairs at all. At least it's a reasonably fine afternoon for the once in a lifetime trek. I'll get over my error in not applying and therefore my exclusion sooner or later.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Hell is full of recycled nothings

Dark things, dirty dark things lie together in the bin, cat food sachets, green curry containers, polystyrene pots and the awkward nozzle bits from Mr Sheen and used up hand soaps. Where will/does it all end up?

The dark recesses of recycling remain a modern mystery and a source of righteous guilt. What goes where, should it be rinsed out, what can you mix, why bother? We do our best but it's a fuzzy process and based on my discreet observations around the modern world most people don't give a modern toss (that's about 50p). No matter what you put on the packet it all goes unread and just gets piled up elsewhere. It's kind of nobody's responsibility to care, all we want is a simple, preferably coloured instruction that tells where to fling our juice/yogurt/chicken soup carton so we can reduce the guilt and feel smug. So what if it's sent to Spain or China or burned up to power essential services in hospitals in Glasgow, as long as it's done out there in the great unknown by young offenders and surly pirate types wearing donkey jackets and hi-vis then that's fine. It's too much trouble to learn and to worry where it all ends or how it returns to us as shopping bags, tins of sugary drinks,underwear and Kia Rios following a convoluted route there and back again. 

And there's the awful horror of knowing that what doesn't get used up is being compressed into squeezed up messy wee atoms and molecules and then buried at the bottom of the sea or in a secret mountain in the Far East where yellow trucks and diggers work 24 hours a day under arc lights piling up the world's waste. We need to stop buying rubbish that is only fit for recycling into more rubbish but we all need our rubbish and the perplexity of it's relationship with us for any of our lives to have meaning...said no one ever.