Saturday, August 31, 2019

Toyota Spoons

Toyota Spoons: Spoons by Toyota, the engineering and production giants of Japan, the inventors of terms and practices such as continuous improvement, just in time, make one sell on, one set of numbers, Kambans and so on. In many ways they are my industrial heroes but in my life I've only ever owned one Toyota car and the cylinder head gasket blew on it shortly before it was written off in a rear ending kind of smash. In many ways it was a great car, in many other ways it wasn't. Anyway I like their spoons.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Plumbers fixing leaks more likely to cause floods

There should be some text here, possibly a picture or two. At the moment there isn't. This blog is currently under maintenance due to (yet another) reasonably priced existential crisis taking place in my noggin as a result of performing a simple action, that action being indulging in the rather careless act of actually bothering to listen to/read some news bulletins today only to discover that a) there is a serious level of news distortion going on b) stories are clearly not fully understood by the reporters* and c) politicians are spouting incredibly high levels of complete rubbish. In other news the rain is now getting into my tinfoil hat and that is causing a certain level of discomfort.

*Actually they are understood, they are simply spun in perverse and damaging ways.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Duck and cover

Random ducks of Scotland: For you delectation a selection of random ducks parading around a local farmyard the other day making some kind of ultimately unsuccessful group effort to pursue me for reasons I can't quite fathom. Much easier on the eye than this week's news bulletins or headlines I think you'll agree.

If 6 was 9

Confused by recent events? Bamboozled by political chicanery and deceit? For many of us the threat of both real and existential crises looms large. The world (our small and unreasonably stable world) is turning itself upside down and what if 6 really is 9 after all? Does that really matter or is it just yet another dumb, open ended meaningless question? This very exercise is pretty pointless really, being confused and indulging in the perverse joy and mystery of confusion doesn't help, it's not real. But then what is real? Civil unrest, civil war, economic collapse, new orders rising, old orders falling, uncertainty rules and in any weak moment 6 may well turn out to be 9 or the other way round. It feels as if stuff is on fire, somewhere out of reach and beyond treatment. That's what new and unfamiliar words do when they salt up your life with a spicy piece of rhetoric ...prorogue. Suddenly a new term has been released on an unsuspecting public and the "old order" is challenged by the reptilian elite. A tactic, a smoke screen, a coup? Fuck this shit.

Monday, August 26, 2019

X Ray Specs

As I'm waiting for the chimney sweep's arrival and some cement work to dry I decided to X Ray my head during a lull in activities. It's all looking OK this afternoon, no obvious signs of damage or disease. The teeth look fine too, the £21 a month dental plan is worth every penny.

My old school

Fire from a safe distance: A great photo from JB junior with EB as a spectator.
God moves in mysterious ways: My old school (Woodmill High) burned down last night. I left there in 1969 but it was never a happy place for me (not that I ever wished for it to be burned down). The 60's were educationally speaking (?) a bad place; rampant corporal punishment, feeble teachers, a curriculum that was dull, unchecked bullying etc. etc. But I made it out alive as did numerous others all with healthy chips on our shoulders and a degree of bedded in trauma and anxiety. We were ill prepared for the outside world and it showed, the 70's were a proper mess of a thing as we explored that Brave New World. For kids there was quite simply a lack of preparation and mentoring, no warning or guidance as to what was to come our way via the injustices and vagaries of life, now we know better. Maybe we don't do much better though. The passes and failures are hardly hot currency, just dim relics on faded documents that are rendered meaningless by the passing of time and the growing up of spirit. It was grim but all we knew, such was a working class Scottish education and the then brutal and unfocused world of primitive academic ideals and targets.

Live the best

Live your best life, nothing else will do. Find somebody who looks at you the way Melania looks at Justin. There's also an interesting film script here if someone cares to write it.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Slow world

Slow internet. Slow world. Slow motion car crashes. Slow motion relationships. I've returned to the slow world. Been out in the regular world all weekend, jamming, eating, drinking, chatting, laughing with friends. Another world. Now I'm in the slow, tired world of internet stubbornness. Unknown squirrels eating at unseen cables, failures in the system; chug, chug it goes or rather doesn't. Perhaps it's atmospheric conditions, a neighbour's habits and consumption, magnetism and other unseen and unheard appliances causing undue interference. I've heard all the engineering excuses, black magic and poor design, low on the list of priorities, somebody else deserves it more because there are less of you down in that green rabbit hole. Oh well then...

Here's some weekend pictures to remind of some tiny details I might otherwise overlook or fail to recall.

These are not my beautiful shoes.

In the middle of these skis no one stands, sits or does anything. They are not a pair.

In life you will find that there are many test situations and many opportunities to fail.

You (person not named Martin or the formerly employed and trusted Davie) just can't go around altering things you know.
An empty box that once contained six wine bottles.

Three wise switches.

Tea and apple juice.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Too much meat

Too much meat and not enough pumpkin. Breakfast this morning was a "Down the Hatch" skillet special. Basically a hot frying pan for one filled with sausages, square sausage, hash brown, potato scone, haggis, black pudding, tomato, a fried egg and beans. Then there's toast etc. It's a round pan of a square meal. It brings on uncomfortable meat sweats and a degree of bloatedness, it's not really green or healthy and not what I'd want to eat everyday but if you're hungry ... it's a proper blast. I ate this lot at about 0930 today, now it's 1636 and I'm not even hungry at all. It's a cruel meat based world and that's set to change and I'm part of the problem that needs to be fixed and I suspect a more plant based diet is around the corner. I write this and so confess to being a conflicted hypocrite, just like the rest of you.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

I did not write this

On #NationalBurgerDay, remember that the way a person eats a burger can really tell you a lot about them. For example, if they eat a burger using a knife and fork then they’re quite obviously a psychopath. From "The Poke".

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Up to a point

Karl Marx, father of Groucho, Harpo, Chico etc, founder of Marx and Sparx, inventor of skid marx and some disruptive political ideas that only work up to a point.

It's official, the internet is bankrupt and broken, befouled by Trump, too cute cats and puppys, ludicrous algorithms, selfies, dumb opinions and REPETITION. That's right repetition (I had to repeat that), same old stories and ideas. Mish mash and trivia and blog posts that make no actual sense (?). Everything is ancient now. There is no modern, no novelty (other than in novelty shops and possibly in novels). I'm bored, I'm bored with Iggy and the Stooges, up to a point that is.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

To sum up

I'm not really familiar with the work of Jenni Russell (she's a journalist you know) but her statement above (presumably pretty recent) nicely sums up how I see things at the moment. It's not complicated nor is it big and clever, it's a reasonable summary of how this country (?) is positioned at the moment. Sadly those that believe otherwise and at the moment appear to be pulling the strings are either a) delusional in a dangerous way or b) know this fine well but have other more sinister agendas. Oh, and they might also just be blinkered, stupid and unable to learn anything from history.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Rare events

In what can only be described as a rare and unexpected event three Dunfermline Athletic players feature in the BT Team of the Week. This despite actually losing  2 - 1 (AET) to Celtic in their  Banana Skin Cup of Scotchland cup tie match at Parkhead. I guess the moon is some pale shade of blue this week, must remember to check.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Boil on the boy

Green steps leading to a blue door in a photo quite unrelated to anything else.

As I slept a strange and not very wonderful thing occurred. I can't speak about it but I can type. An unwanted swelling on the back of my neck, possibly a member of the boil family (not Boyle) decided to expire. It did this without any encouragement but I remain grateful if bemused. It was all as painless as a chocolate fright in a faraway garden. As is usual in these cases clean water and Savlon was applied and so the fever passed into the night, into the darkness and of into and across the universe. And that my friends is how you deal with those odd medical and physical occurrences that happen from time to time unless you are completely sensible and go to the doctor's surgery. We shall not grow old, we'll just slow down a bit and log the changes as the batteries run down and steadfastly refuse to recharge as quickly as they used to.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Making a spectacle

Well I did visit Specsavers and despite having reasonably healthy eyes (two) the guilt of it all got the better of me and I invested in a new pair of glasses to add to my collection. As you can see from the results above these frames have more than enhanced my current appearance. The only draw back being that once the glasses are removed things quickly revert back to some kind of normal. Still it's been a worthwhile experience and by the time the NHS has made a contribution to the overall cost pretty good value for money. I certainly look a little more intelligent and not at all in a remotely sexist way.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Water flowing underground

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again, after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground.

Those odd people at "Talking Heads".

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Alternate image

I picked this up on/from Twitter (I think), an old Czechoslovakian album cover for CSNY's Deja Vu. As sold I presume in that country at the time. Not sure how easy that might have been. OK it's an oddity, not really a thing of beauty, not better than the original but it's quite interesting. I guess it's nearly fifty years old. Time flies. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Things turned...

Things turned ugly and shitty sure enough. We drove home in the tail end of the storm. Got stuck in a sneaky flood, did a huge amount of damage to the car and both got pretty scared and covered in various kinds of shit. In the car and coolly up to our chilly middles in water was no picnic but we were quickly rescued by local youths on a quad bike. Young people can be fun believe me,  despite their menacing headlights and good intentions. By the time we emerged from the muddy waters it was midnight and more disasters were to come. These can be summed up by using the general term "natural disasters" and words like "flood" "mud" "torrent" "collapse" "danger" "debris" "water" "electricity" "landslip" and so on. I got home at 2 a.m. and we were back out on patrol and awaiting rescue at 7 a.m. It was that kind of day. The road remains closed for good reasons. Now we're having a nap.

Festival day out

There's a bit of  festival on in Edinburgh, our local big city, hub of employment, capital for government and cultural magnet of sorts. I'd allowed myself a brief outing in the non-gay sense. Day's out in Edinburgh usually revolve around a free bus trip, looking excitedly out of the bus windows and alighting in the West End and coming to terms with the ruthless city traffic. 

We had lunch at some trendy burger joint, we ate in the sunny street at the least wobbly table No.26. We chose chicken so we appeared greener than the red meat people surrounding us all covered in red meat. The sun shone and the "large" wines were served in a tumbler. I ate chips and mayo and knew I'd now had enough food for the rest of the day. It's that easy in Edinburgh.

Then we attended a writer's course where we (about a dozen wheeze) learned how to write all over again. My utterances were few, my writings fewer but I had some quiet, internal fun and a beetroot and chocolate brownie. I decided that I might be boring at times despite my best efforts not to be.

Then it was Taiko drum theatre time. The Beat Girls danced and pranced and thumped the skins. The performance was solid but the audio was thin and weedy due to the tented location. Now I have a certificate in clearly hearing clearer I can say that sort of thing. Back to bricks and mortar next year please.

More wondering, bumping into people, watching people, avoiding people and admiring fast food from a safe distance. Looking for a seat. Finding a seat. Realizing the seat wasn't really as good or useful as you hoped. Into the book festival's rainy and sodden inner sanctum. Celebs abound, they're signing piles of books and chatting and smiling. Writing can be hard work when it's not being rewarding and esoteric. Then the storm broke upon us all and we fizzled into a hushed submission, no power, no hope. I learned power cuts are new to the book people, they were bereft of plans and solutions so we remained in the dark. Eventually some things happened. Soon we were on a rainy bus home and a mild sense of panic arose within me on that crowded vehicle filled with ex-festival revellers. At the time I couldn't explain and didn't try. Things looked to be to be turning ugly and shitty for us and I wasn't wrong, they quickly did. 

Friday, August 09, 2019


A day out in Specsavers: It's like some mysterious fantasy location where tunnels lurk beyond the high street entrance, like an escape room or laser quest setting, stairs, doors, tiny rooms, people peering in, people peering out, people peering into devices. Here in Specsavers there's a lot of peering. I'd not been back for over two years, I'd ignored emails and letters, the pleasant if irritating reminders that your time's up, you're an old git and you need some fresh testing and they need fresh money. I decided to make a return visit after I realized that I'd left a pair of specs in a cafe in Dundee and couldn't be arsed to go back and get them, my laziness led to my submission and maybe my salvation. 

I'm not excited about glasses at all so I have to work on looking a) interested and b) not wholly stupid. The friendly and mostly female staff jostle around like Oopa-Loompas, prompted and controlled by i.Pads that seem to know everything. It's not clear how it all works and who's a doctor, a nurse or a techy but they all get on with it and chat constantly. Were I a conspiracy theorist I might be worried about the amount of cleavage the female opticians show but I'll leave it there. I was quickly checked, photographed, temporarily blinded, puffed by tiny jets of air, followed those damn peripheral dots, read along the lines of wobbly text and, by exception had my hearing tested also. I got good results, despite staring at the sun for long periods and squinting into phones and laptops my sight has not really deteriorated, just my mind. My hearing was OK too, quite a surprise. I may well return to my once brilliant career in music.

 As a reward I was rewarded a handsome discount on any glasses over £69 (no discount on the cheaper ones, you can always go to Poundland you miserable bastard), once I'd picked a pair, the first pair I saw incidentally, the discount kicked in, I got them for £34. I don't understand this either. So now the Oompa-Loompas are busy grinding the glass and topping up the chocolate river to complete my order. Now when Tuesday comes I'll be fitted out with the £34 glasses as if they were a morning suit, a robotic arm or a coffin. I'm excited already. 

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Abbey Road @50

It was 50 years ago today that the infamous Beatles album cover shot was taken outside Abbey Road studios on the zebra crossing. People are gathering by the crossing today for numerous strange, understandable and personal reasons.  It's only just past 10am. Every other person using the crossing is being photographed by a friend or one of numerous camera crews on the scene. I've never visited Abbey Road but it must be tough to use the crossing and somehow not try to walk like Paul McCartney in some suddenly self conscious way.


Recommended by the kings of Scottish Hip Hop, TV chefs and knowledgeable family members; Greek yogurt, blueberry, honey, milk and oats breakfasting creations that you make yourself and then eat yourself. Cooled and matured in the fridge and ready for any eventuality. A snack that brings peace to a troubled world and calms those inner unnamed demons that stalk the dark places of early morning hunger (assuming you fall fowl of this sort of thing). Edgy in some ways, ancient and traditional in others and better for you than haggis and fried egg on a morning roll. That's it.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

From California to Cardenden

Immigration: A touchy subject for people who are touchy about touchy stuff but strangely some people actually want to live here and they are not all crazy. They're not trying to colonize us, convert us to some Jesus thing, exploit our natural (?) assets or undermine our culture, they're not trying to find some European roots or family history, not all need to be rescued either. They just like it here. We do friendly things, we have parks, bowling clubs and swimming pools, houses are affordable, there's public transport and some reasonable places to eat, the NHS. The weather may be odd but it's not extreme. Plain, unpretentious towns are OK, tourists don't really stray into these parts, there's a sort of peace even if you have to turn a blind eye now and then. You can go to California but you can also come back.

Monday, August 05, 2019


Various interesting cat portrait poses demonstrating the versatility of a cat and cats in general. 

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Hawkwind visit SQ

This one is a bit too weird.

A version of something

A peculiar and unfaithful rendering of South Queensferry discovered (and reflected) in an antique barn near to Dundee. It is a poor representation of this bizarre and slightly challenging piece. To be honest I don't know what to make of it but that would of course apply to about any artwork I might stumble upon. A final verdict may well reveal itself via my tortured alien subconscious some time in what you time-locked humans describe as "the future".

Friday, August 02, 2019

Dear Purveyors

Somewhere over those troubled waters there is a convenient and well rendered bridge.

Dear Purveyors of technology,

Firstly thank you for your hard work, imagination and resolve. Much of what you do makes the world a far better place: health, food supply, hygiene, medicine, communications, transport, convenience  etc. Above is a simple example of how a hand painted  artwork image can be saved and shared; wonderful stuff and it works thanks to your efforts. BUT!

Of course there has to be a but, a niggle, a bug bear, unintended consequences, impacts and trouble. The thing is that things (?) seem to always need upgrades and updates and well that's when all the wobbles begin. 

"It was all working fine until I had to install the updates. Now it's working BUT it's not the same, now I can't do ________ , there's no longer the option to _______ , the screen freezes when I ________ , the resolution has changed to _______ , I've lost the ability to ________, the upgrade can't be done on my older operating system so I'll have to ________ , it's broken now but it was fine yesterday before the _________."

Thanks to an upgrade my (otherwise fine) laptop has to be exchanged, three days work has been affected, a new one has to be couriered up from London, I've to stay home for the delivery, I'll have to reconfigure it over the phone via the help-desk, the old laptop will be binned. I'll never get those three days back. Hmm. Most progress is good, some not so good. 

As you are the smart guys and I'm just a humble user, please fix this.

Best regards

A well wisher.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Plant based

Plant based, plant baste, plant boast, plant bias, planet based, pant based, paint bias, plane based, place base, plant beige, plan based, place bias, plant bland, planet beige, plant placed coffee. It tastes OK, it's cool in a cold way, almonds are hard to detect, coffee flavour is bland, it's sold in supermarkets. Not sure who buys it. People like me I guess but do they do it regularly? Does anybody every say "I could murder a nice, cool, plant based, almond, vegan coffee?"

Isn't all coffee plant based or am I missing something (like cow's milk)?