Friday, September 30, 2022

Aldi Trekking


"Not in those shoes you're not!"

Aldi Broxburn - Base Camp Diary: I'm on a trek thanks to my new trekkers, they're for trekking. Rain, wind snow, sleet, shopping bargains, I won't be beaten by the elephants. The poor weather didn't stop me, I'm in the brand new aisles of the local Aldi. A spacious tin cathedral for the cost conscious shopper, sparking clean and open to the general public and the great unwashed. It's the traditional treasure hunting experience and I'm fueled by a Greggs roll in sausage, a latte and a grim sense of purpose. In the end I left with coffee and biscuits and some yogurts. The trekking shoes were something of an after thought but now I have them I'm headed for the hills, weather permitting.

Thursday, September 29, 2022


Observations by other means: The use of special "fantasy sensitive" glasses or lenses gives Toadstool Town Two a slightly different look. It does appear to be something like a showstopper entry on Bake Off but perhaps that's simply the powers of suggestion and illusion along with the general magic of the mushrooms. It all runs in the background here and on into other parallel worlds.

Post sponsored by IKEA. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Toadstool Town Two


The great grey tendrils of fungi brain reach across the garden. The signal traffic can be quite intense. The instructions, garbled electricity to dull human ears ring crystal clear in the darkness of the damp soil. "Toadstool Town must be rebuilt at all costs." And so it was. It is futile to resist the gentle commands of the fungal consciousness, it's complex network silently running the world of Terra Firma as we idly pass by above, oblivious and unaware of it's power and intent. As the destroyer of Toadstool Town One I have to confess to a deep sense of guilt. I'll not be making that mistake again. I'll sleep better tonight knowing that TTT remains intact. I'm not sure what they are planning for the next stage of the project. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Wingnut Collection


A few completed DIY projects have left me with a surplus of useful wingnuts. I've never used the term "wingnut" as an insult and don't intend to but people do. Anyway here are some handy definitions:

Ideological extremist from either side of the political spectrum who unquestioningly repeats any and all propaganda and/or conspiracy theories propagated by their side of the political spectrum, no matter how unlikely.

An eccentric driven by religious fervor to take on unusual or irrational social or political opinions without care that other members of society consider them off balance. The extremism of these people's faith is proof to them that they are right.

Some crazy dickhead.

A shaped metal (threaded) nut that can be easily turned with the fingers and used to anchor bolts into wood or other material.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Aberfeldy Daily Nonsense


Ducks in a duck pond. No ducks and it's just a pond.

Black Watch Memorial: Once I did belong to them as a junior, more than fifty years ago. That's a long time by any reckoning. The memorial is a lot older.

Strange cake flavours: Blueberry and Lemon, Courgette and Lime. Turns out that too much cake and coffee is not a good thing. They can give you meat sweats and vivid dreams that you can't quite recall in the morning.

I've no idea what the purpose of this is.

The toppermost top of an old staircase looking down.

Aberfeldy might be a Blue Zone town. There are signs and wonders. I'm wondering right now about the signs. Healthy hipster shops and a sense of "community". Anyway it's OK but I suspect a big Blue Zone tick of approval would play well on property prices and so on. Then you can build a wall around it to keep the scabby out, it's about the metrics. Maybe it's more of a light blue. I spotted a few unhealthy looking folks who seem to have slipped trough the net.

I'm not sure if I consider the Blue Zone movement(?) to be good or to be sinister but that's just my natural cynicism. What's wrong with promoting areas of the world where people are happier, live longer, are more environmentally aware, eat healthier, live healthier and so on?

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Wild Tales


The builders are back this week knocking lumps out of the back garden. It'll be fine by spring. Our cats are therefore housebound, they don't mix well with heavy machinery and mud. I'm trying to keep them calm by playing Tales from Topographic Oceans at a reasonably low volume. Music soothes the savage beastie etc. I've not heard this in a while and I last saw Yes live on the 10th December 1973. That's a long time ago, long before they all fell out. They were touring this album. Sigh. It's not effective on managing cat behaviour either.

The longer this blog goes on the more it becomes some sort of disorganized historical record of life's snippets, those being mostly  inconsequential and trivial things remembered but not in any great detail. Perhaps they'll be from yesterday or from 1969. One seems as close as the other. I'm an analogue man.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Nothing to do with Jackson Pollock

These are not copies or originals, not even close. Some might call them tributes. Cheap tributes, easily done in a digital world. They are both meaningless and important and for the purposes of nothing in particular a tribute is:

1. A gift, payment, declaration, or other acknowledgment of gratitude, respect, or admiration.
2. Evidence attesting to some praiseworthy quality or characteristic.
3. A payment in money or other valuables made by one ruler or nation to another in acknowledgment of submission or as the price of protection or security.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Edinburgh Daily Covid Vaccine Update


Edinburgh, the city with a masochistic appetite for self destruction under the guise of development. The development and flagellation never ends either so the pain is continuously sweet for the planners and iPad holders. Every second street is a construction battlefield of tram works or gas and water repairs. Next comes the fibre optic broadband cable, thereafter who knows? Never getting it right first or second time, the continuous spiral runs amok in the perpetual motion of men, materials and machinery. A generation of kids wouldn't recognise central Edinburgh without the temporary lights, barriers or Heras fencing. We're all just fed up with it.

So yesterday found me in the "convenient" location of Ocean Terminal to get my flu and Covid vaccine. I'm not complaining about that either, the staff were first class and very helpful, so despite the peculiar location and a longish journey from my gaff, all went well. Thank you NHS.

Ocean Terminal is however a sorry sight (and site) these days. A battle scarred mall, under siege by ever present tram-works. A great hall of shopping that once gleamed and buzzed, it's been hollowed out by cultural change and closures to the point that it's more a Leith community hub than a shopping or entertainment attraction. Maybe there's nothing wrong with that but it was a shock to see it, having not been there for about ten years. Me and all the other oldies wondering around, killing time before our needle's appointment were in the majority. Bussed in custom. A grey mass of disinterest and slight confusion.

It needs investment but it wont get it and it will collapse in on itself. The once shiny new flats and surrounding properties also have that washed out look that marks the early stages of city district's structural decay. We're focusing on the wrong things I think. A lot of mistakes have been made and there's a pile of new ones on the way.

I did have a lovely little lunch in a Turkish Cafe halfway down Leith Walk though, on the sunny side of course. Mustn't grumble.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Norman Rockwell: The Connoisseur

This is great art in numerous ways but it was only constructed as a magazine cover, Rockwell's regular line of work. He was seen as an illustrator and not an artist. 

As for the expression on the connoisseur's hidden face? I think he's really enjoying the piece. The "Jackson Pollockesque" art work was done by Rockwell himself as you probably knew. Maybe that's why it's being enjoyed by the figure. Of course opinions vary widely on this, which is fair enough. 

It is a painting within a painting. It also reminds me how little time I actually spend looking, despite all those inner voices of whispered advice that I encounter. Concentrate on concentration.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Royal Family Theme Park


Now that the royal family and the deep state seem to have mastered the concept of queue management it only seems right that they should move into the realm of theme park ownership. In theme parks the queue (also for some how to avoid or usurp it) is king (an unfortunate title I know). Think of the potential; great queues made up of baffled members of the general public waiting for hours to view nothing in particular for a few brief seconds, what a business opportunity and potential revenue stream ... and we now know it works. You'll also get a union jack souvenir wrist band.

Shuffle towards the promise of thrilling rides but without any thrill, just a vague sense of pointlessness and the smell of polished wood. Those dullards will happily form an orderly line for any crap or potential piece of titillation and it's such a British thing to take part in. They'll pay for it too, all that's needed is some vague or suggested royal bit of patronage, perhaps some cheap slabs of memorabilia on display and you're away. 

Possible sites are; somewhere not too close to Windsor (but still on the M4 corridor) or maybe in Norfolk or the West Country. Forget Scotland, the North(?) or Wales, they're too remote and filled with ignorant, beer swilling cretins mostly. No, we'll keep it in England where it can flourish thanks to generous Russian slush money and lumps of untraceable charity funding. A royal commission will explore the options and ultimately run it under some royal charter or other so we can screw over the staff and patrons easily. 

The word "royal" has almost magical properties in the UK as far as the common people and tourist types are concerned and should be used whenever possible, it tends to shut up and out any criticism or negative observation. It also ensures a massive buy in from TV and the press in general. Proof that they'll swallow any nonsense and serial gas-lighting and gladly pass their approval and vacuous comments onto the public. It's a sure fire winner and thanks to some obscure Act of Parliament pretty much tax free for our royal masters.

Fun for all the family at Windsor Land where mundane reality quickly transforms into an expensive and warped fairy tale of family feuds, greed, privilege and non stop posturing. You won't want to miss it.


Monday, September 19, 2022

Cat of the Day

Monday the 19th. Nothing much happening today, a few shops closed, people milling about, occasional buses grumbling by. The weather is decent enough so I can't complain. Might do a spot of gardening. I wonder if there's anything worth watching on TV?

Sunday, September 18, 2022

News Maggots

The problem with news is there is a lot of it and that it has to be edited. This is understandable of course, we can only absorb so many facts and diverse situations and as there is so much news out there somebody needs to manage it. It's no different from writing history, which is actually the same thing as news. It's also liable to be distorted, exaggerated or hidden. Anyway I'm full up of news now, full to the brim. I have no spare capacity for new news or indeed new history at the moment. I'd therefore be grateful if people would just stop doing possibly newsworthy things for a while and also if media editors could prune any emerging news down into small truthful and relevant chunks that the average person might digest easily. 

In a leap of pure imagination I have coined the term "news maggots". I'm unclear who the news maggots are or who they work for but I think they probably do exist. They also may think that they are doing a decent job; if supporting failing royalist regimes, dangerous business practices and toxic governments is a decent job. In conclusion not everybody in the news or the media is a news maggot, that would be ridiculous but clearly there are some in there. I suppose there are also media maggots, entertainment maggots, war maggots and industry and economic maggots too. It just goes on. Oh, I just remembered that news maggots have little brothers: badly informed opinion maggots.

How artificial intelligence sees the UK media's finest.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Anstruther Daily Photo


A sunny morning, the world is stirring but this spot seems far away from the stresses and strains and lies and platitudes circling in other places. They lurk, watching and waiting for more carrion to chew up or spit out.  Here there is empty space. Hold it steady. The tide is moving out at the back-sea-sands in Anstruther Wester. The sand dries itself as no one watches. Seaweed clogs up the beach and strangles the rock. A still but not unpleasant breeze is blowing. Nobody is about, nobody else on the beach. No window faces or chatter. I'm walking in slow circles. Thoughts take flight and settle wherever.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Grave Concerns


Artist's  impression only.

Today would have been my mum's 100th birthday had she lived, so I took it on myself to go on a reflective gravestone cleaning mission down in the East Neuk of Fife. There lie most of my forebears, many of the two families being buried not very far apart in the same cemetery. I parked in the nearby car park and shuffled into the cemetery carrying an orange B&Q bucket, some water and cleaning materials. I'm self aware enough to know I must've looked a bit odd, like some professional grave stone cleaner or perhaps a weird ghoul who likes things spik and span. I'm neither, I just have dose of seasonally acquired central Scotland guilt that needs exorcising every now and then. I did my bit and left feeling I'd done a nice thing. I'm not so bad a person perhaps. 

I then pondered using the remaining cleaning materials on grimy and neglected road signs on the way home. I quickly realised that this was a bad idea. I know people do that kind of thing; sign vigilantes. Also people go out and  correct grammatical errors on signs and company hoardings. While I share the urge to do these things from time to time, I've still some self control left. My grave concerns are not quite grave enough and my hi-vis jacket was in the other car.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Simulated Bumble

In surveys (YouGov etc.) some people reportedly have expressed the wish to be reincarnated as a worker bee (though not to me personally) or some other industrious insect. They think the busy and seemingly worthwhile life of a bee might suit them following on from their brief spell in human form leading dull lives in retail and web design. I don't think it's so simple. Bees generally get a raw deal in this world so be careful what you wish for, unless you're a bee bot. In theory a bee bot can live forever so reincarnation isn't relevant. Also don't assume that a cat life might be a good alternative, there's a lot of stress and anxiety in their world and some dirty, unsocial lifestyle activity. Before choosing why not try things out via an expensive and lurid simulation?

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Rule of Thumb


Ever have the feeling that you're being silently observed? Looking around expecting to catch somebody and stare back at them but there's nothing to see, only you and you feel like you're being seen. These watchers seem to come and go. A strong sense of them and a shudder of panic and then it's over.
Some stranger in the distance, walking away from you now , or so you imagine. It can't be police or security either, they haven't the time or the interest. You're not a criminal anyway.  Well maybe in your thoughts and you know your own boundaries there.
You're guilty of nothing. Nothing apart from a sense of a ripple in your Karma that's unpleasant. Perhaps you're not as real as you thought, more a mixture of wraith or fleshy spirit. What are you anyway? It could be you morph, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly as you live your life. In and out of phase you go, along with reality. Who is at the controls anyway?

Queens lie dead in cathedrals. Meanwhile a courtier places a peculiar hat and garland on an ugly beast who's behaviour may be unpredictable. One of the courtier's hands has already been bitten off. Crowds gather to stare but they don't know what they are looking at and they'll remember little of it tomorrow. There will be a new pauper's banquet laid out for them, more visual than physical however so the good people remain hungry but satisfied that for a brief moment they were given some attention. Banner headlines shout in telling whispers as they search for themselves in banks of images, it's the rule of thumb.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Toadstool Town


Almost overnight Toadstool Town appeared in the garden. A new development. I should also say with any consultation or planning permission. We love our rules and red tape here so swift action was required. I noted that the builders or occupants appeared to have fled and, like any good, greedy landowner had the site quickly cleared. I know this action is of course futile, they'll be back soon enough, but for a fleeting moment I felt like some parasite king wielding newly given powers though unable to understand the consequences of his actions. All completely normal in the world we live in.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Pittenweem Daily Photo


At large in Pittenweem in order to avoid the crowds and to fill the vacuum left by the ridiculous stopping of football fixtures and so on. We're not all sombre and incapacitated with grief and self delusion as it turns out. Here we have a fish and chips lunch served on a fish shaped plate. A nice touch. One of the highlights of a sunny day wandering around by the waterfront in an empty headed fashion.

And along comes the sea, unruly and disrespectful as ever towards the land and the curious people huddled together on it.

Friday, September 09, 2022

A Plague of Media Sycophants

In the pub last as we started on our first round and raised our glasses I jokingly said, "God save the King". I accidentally sounded like some serf from the middle ages holding up a flagon of dirty ale and downing it in one. On days like these it seems like we've hardly moved on, we know our place. Ridiculous royal families, archbishops submitting pointless prayers, fussy courtiers, stuffed up royal protocol and the swarm of odious media sycophants. It'll be a long, dreary September.

Every family has it's grief and tragedy and it's right to celebrate the long life of a loved one but ... I'm already tired of it. Also, nobody is going to find it easy to sing "God save the King" ever, it just sounds even more wrong than it ever sounded. It's a shit tune and a shit set of words. It never did sound right to me in any shape or form, now it's just some crazy thing we can't escape.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Too Tired


Some things are broken up. 
Some things are broken down.
 Some things are broken in the middle.
Everything is fragile it seems.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Otto Dix Said

I bet the artist Otto Dix once said, "War is a natural event." I'd also add: like rain or a sandstorm, extinction, a meteor strike, drought or migration. War will always be happening somewhere in some measure. Also not helped when people are forever disagreeable and just can't leave things be.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Screenshot 2022

Screenshot 20220831 along with approximate location.
This isn't art.

Monday, September 05, 2022

Sylvanian Family Car Crash


Like most days it started out well enough for the family. Not too much juice or cereal spilled at breakfast time. All teeth cleaned without any drama or overworked performance. Clothes on in some sort of organised fashion along with the correct shoes for today's outdoor activities. All youngsters accounted for on the back seat. Then calamity struck early on in the journey. A serious collision with a badly parked couch and an abandoned coffee mug left the Sylvania's red SUV somewhat wrecked but the occupants relatively unharmed. Being made of tough plastic is a great advantage in an RTA, unless the vehicle is on fire of course.

In other news: I always accept all of the cookies. I'm hard wired to do so. It's a Fife thing I guess. Home baked Sylvanian Family cookies are particularly welcome.

Sunday, September 04, 2022

South Queensferry Daily Photo


Nearby to SQ we have the Dundas Estate, where sky, land and water meet. This also happens in other places from time to time, you may also have noticed it. Anyway it made for a very pleasant walk as the swans hissed peacefully into our ears and the ducklings scattered across the surface of the water. It never rains when you're strolling beneath the greenest  and widest of trees. It doesn't even pour. It just hangs in some kind of inexplicable suspension of vapour, space and time. Science doesn't know everything and it hasn't explored all of the possibilities either. I'll leave it there.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

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Art v Intelligence

I like playing around with the various free bits of low level AI art creation that are available for home use. You can modify your own images or start from scratch using words, descriptions, prompts etc. to inspire the cogs and wheels somewhere out there in cyber-space. The results are of course variable, often surprising and insightful, sometimes just weird and wide of whatever the mark might have been. It's a free tool but a bit of a blunt instrument in most ways. Real artists must hate these programs I guess but for me it's like noodling with bits of Lego. Anyway I decided to use as prompts the names of some artists, just to see how AI might recognize or render them and of course for fun, here's the results.

This is what you get using the name of the 50s/60s artist Cy Twombly. I was expecting some crazy scribbles and fierce brush strokes, not what looks like cotton plants in a dark room. I'm not familiar with all that is in his back catalogue so it may be on point.

This is Norman Rockwell, pretty obviously despite the sinister undertones. A little distorted and freaky but still true to twentieth century Americana and strangely quaint (almost). Just try not to focus on the fingers.

So this is using Roy Lichtenstein as a prompt, all style but no actual content. Maybe this AI isn't so dumb. Is there a critical and observed piece of machine code in there that likes to comment in it's own wry and subtle way? Pop art but not as we know it. 

Next there's Leonardo da Vinci morphing into a facial mash up that strangely has no background. I expected more, at the very least some sketch work, scrawled writings or a few purple hills in the distance. The hair and the beard are a bit much. Leonardo also has a fierce bum chin.

I thought I'd end on a kind of high by trying Caravaggio, a name that should challenge the sparks and pixels. I got this familiar looking, peculiar but dramatic piece. I doubt that it would ever fool anybody. It does contain a cutting implement of some sort so the normal brooding and violent content is suggested or is it just a medieval cocktail mixer he's holding? The composition isn't bad but the overall execution is as clunky as you'd expect.

Friday, September 02, 2022

Virginia Plain Creeper


We don't watch much cooncil TV, we're very selective in our brainwashing options and generally have better things to do (though we don't often do them). The out of control Virginia Creeper seems to have cottoned on to all that and is in the process of carrying out what is known in the electrical trade as the "supportive slow strangulation manoeuvre" of the fine old, rusty but trusty satellite dish. There may be trouble ahead but then there will also be the winter weather pruning event.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Lyrical Thoughts

"The slow exodus by distorted pony from Tumbledown Mountain."

I often think I have a lot of interesting and lyrical thoughts there in the superstructure of my head that I need to share. Then when I reach the point of saying them out loud I realise that they are not quiet what I thought they might be so I just stop myself. Eventually those thoughts just float away, it's a pleasant enough experience. Awareness of self is a useful  property but it can also restrict your range of self expression if you let it. That's not a bad thing.