Friday, January 22, 2010

The sky but not at night



Nice sky spotted overhead, even stopped a moving car to take a pic. Hardly does justice when reduced to this scale. I estimate that 14569 didn't see it at all, 6500 people saw it but only 356 looked at it, 2 took photos and 1 stuck it on an obscure blog somewhere.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


There should be a law against them but they are so strangely beautiful and tasty.

These are my silver bullets, my garrote, my sugar coated pill, my car crash or my slowly hatching fatal disease. These are my Anaphylactic friends, the closers of the throat and poisoners of my weak and feeble digestive system. They hold the slack ropes that draw the final curtain and so I must run, run from them. Run and not stop or look back, run like the wind, with the wind behind and no wind in front, in quality running shoes following an extensive training regime. Scallops. Humble, Innocent, deadly scallops from Scotland.

Meanwhile: We remain a transient fragment doomed to pass - the sun dies in 5 billion years, or so. We on earth follow on shortly after. It's a fact it seems.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It might get loud anxiety

The third day of the marvelous Shepherd's pie and vintage port diet: Good in most places but some variation needed. It comes in the form of Mrs Peek's Pies. Ah, Mrs Peek, what temptation and satisfaction your deep dish, deeply discounted, dump bin apple pies provide and the addition of the sweet microwave custard makes the perfect pudding for the working man.

Ed Balls has now launched a Guide to Fatherhood from some quango charity they've formed and spent good money on. Try as I might I cannot love Labour or their "we're doing something but it's rubbish and only a token " way of working. This pamphlet is unlikely to be read and treasured by the young hoodie, ipod dads who can't read anyway and can't get out of the benefits trap they've sprung on the girls they've impregnated against all the impotent fast food odds. Balls is no shining parental example either, he and his MP wife Yvette Hooper have flipped homes three times in as many years making a few fast bucks. Their own kids could probably use a pamphlet explaining where they live and what their smug and greedy parents are really up to. The usual Labour profile, professional academics - fully funded in the good old days, then as advisers and aides, no proper career beyond serial toadying and of course believing they were somehow born to rule. It's not even style over substance, the couple look as good as two yellow cabbages in the window of a charity shop and both have been promoted in keeping with some huge mathematical factor well beyond their abilities.

The DVD has arrived, it might get loud, it might even get played, one day soon. After months (?) of eagerly waiting I'm well stressed by the prospect of serial disappointment if the hype was all hot air and the superstar axe-docu-special fails to deliver. Released on the 18th I got it today via Amazon. It's still in the cellophane...what's a bloke to do?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti, the helicopter and a chocolate war

Whatever you think of the USA, their military power is often a lifesaver as they dwarf the rescue efforts of all other countries. I'm sure the people of Haiti wont be complaining about them...yet.

I don't know why but the takeover of Cadbury by Kraft makes me uneasy. Would the French or Germans allow such a thing? Of course we live in free market economy where dogs will eat dogs and the shareholders are getting a good price, so the pension plan owners and deep investors will be satisfied. I just hope that the almost perfect Dairy Milk chocolate recipe doesn't get altered, at all, ever and that the Brummie's jobs don't go East.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Townies in the sticks

Here's the big, almost horizontal stick, no sign of the townie however.

A day without work today which of course means a day spent and generally misappropriated on other kinds of things that can loosely be described as work. Some useful and stimulating, some however consist of things that happen at the lowly subsistence level: coal, laundry, bird feeding and garbage. In train and in partnership these things conspire to make life with all it's myriad of skin diseases, strange and foreign smells and speech impediments worthwhile for a few moments.

Back in the Obama lovin' ranch I was rediscovering the joys, pitfalls and inconsistencies of bottleneck, resonator guitar work. My steel strung and un-lubricated sonic ambitions know no bounds nor does my secret shepherd's pie recipe.

Clint the cat has been having the odd hissy-fit, mostly when confronting wild strays in the cold and dark. He's guarding us against those reprobate and idle cats we warned you about - in his own way. It's the kind of unscripted feline activity you tend to get round these remote and lawless parts.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lazy Sunday

Hauf and a hauf etc. (Is that a White Russian I see there on the left?)

I'm starting to understand and appreciate the role played by glaciers in the formation of our rolling and ancient Scottish landscape. Over the past few weeks the cold and icy weather has left a great deal of mini glacial activity all around. The evidence is everywhere, flag stones have been moved and lifted, pebbles scattered across roadways and grass, road edges have collapsed and reformed and potholes and ridges have opened up and left more of a fractured mess in the already deteriorating highways and byways.

We walked up to the pub at lunch time on these messy roads and once there imbibed some strong drink using the Queen's shilling (works for me) and read a copy of the Sunday Mail and looked at the pictures - a truly awe inspiring experience. On the roads we noted the damage and change, the molehills and the roadkill. Of course it's ridiculous to describe it using any serious terms when compared to the newscasts about Haiti. We may have a had a few weeks of dodgy weather but we'll recover and as for our economic and social problems...

Somewhere through the bushes and tree branches is a still frozen pond, a deep, dark pond kept away from strong sunlight and would be skaters,folks exercising their yappy dogs and the attention of the bewildered and bobble hatted general public. Only a few locals know it's here and we have all decided to leave it to stay frozen on it's own. The fact that it's haunted by the ghost and evil spirit of a cannibalistic serial killer from the 17th century known as the "Mad Eck MacMad: Ghoul of Gallow View" has nothing to do with it's abandonment, nor has the close proximity of a Pictish burial ground or the old witch dunking pontoon left over from the Korean and Burntisland Wars.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lego - the rules of engagement

Names we give to Lego bricks and the names they choose for themselves.

Over the years I've witnessed the rise and fall and then the rise again of Lego. Somehow in the current rise, a rise inflated by and infatuated with Star Wars and various other George Lucas franchises I see a certain dumbing down of Lego. I'm growing concerned in my areas of growing concern that the pure (dead brilliant) cult of Lego construction and design techniques may be getting diluted or worst of all lost altogether. It is a clear case of style and commercial acumen winning out over substance and actual Lego engineering skills. James May has done a bit to restore the Lego credibility gap but a lot more work and basic education needs to be done or this generation of builders and their latte supping dads may become a lost cause. As a start I'm proposing that the 10 Lego Pillars of Wisdom be republished and taught afresh to younger enthusiasts. You need to hear the truth or get bent:

1. Interlock, interlock, interlock.
2. Name the bricks but never speak those names.
3. Never substitute a round #1 for a flat #1.
4. Make sure your base is big enough.
5. Don't use your teeth to separate stubborn bricks.
6. Avoid gimmicky non-standard bricks - keep them apart.
7. Keep all your instructions in a neat folder.
8. See-through bricks are not windows.
9. Two #4 x #1s do not make an #8.
10. Dissemble, disassemble, disassemble.

There is of course more I could add (don't start me on the 10 Pillars of Mecanno Wisdom) but at this point my work(s) on earth may well be done and dusted.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Regular injections...

...and occasional wormings are not really for me but they are a requirement for most cats. The bad cat, who invades and steals from our house on a regular basis is now due a sanitary and restraining lesson. Plans are being drawn up, traps and complex strategies are unfolding and hopefully none if it will end in tears. So the bad and uncontrolled cat must be tamed, restrained and brought in and confronted with the reality of his heinous crimes. That is the plan.

Meanwhile I've been concocting currys and stirred up stir fries in pots and in large pans during my periods of reflection. Mushrooms have risen to a strange new prominence 9not enjoyed since 1974) in the kitchen and been combined with rice and beans of an exotic ans discoloured nature. Chilly (?) type sauce is added and the after and side effects are few and far between. I think that this week's cooking can be considered a success, for a change.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Life on Mars

NASA's most recent version of life on Mars, obliviously not life as we know it.

I escaped the confines of the frozen west for the mean streets of Glasgow today. Quite a pleasant experience to spend a late lunch in a city centre, I browsed and bought in FOPP, turned a few pages in Waterstones and window shopped and peered in to cafes and restaurants before settling for an apple from my bag. Funny how you fancy eating or drinking out sometimes but cant quite bring yourself to cross the threshold and partake. I wonder if there is a name for this behaviour, now and again I seem to suffer from it (being a tight arse!). The apple as it turned out was mighty fine thought not as sustaining as a steak bake or a carton of noodles.

I was in a music shop, closing down for liquidation, masses of crap gear for sale. Ex-hire leads, mixer and speakers made by obscure manufactures all for a few quid as the business was cranking down. Buyer beware but overall not a good sign for live music. Then again it may all have fallen from the back of a truck on the M8.

As I drove home a debate was raging on the radio about the great Denny pylon project scam and the 18000 objections to it. So I took the opportunity to take a brief detour round the backside of Longannet, Scotland's main coal burning power station to do some geeky pylon spotting. There are plenty in this small corner of Fife, straddling fields, bungalows, dwarfing trees, zapping innocent passers by, downing helicopters and splitting the skyline as they distribute the juice needed to keep the poor supplied with hot kebabs and chilled cola. Funny how the mighty pylons become almost invisible after a time, like mobile phone masts, white dog poo or postmen. In the Swiss Alps they are all over the place, hogging railways and crossing great glaciers, the furore over their intrusion having died down some time ago thanks to the Nazi's propaganda machine. So is the Denny/Beauly project a wise choice for Scotland? Ho hum...probably not but the Nats are strangely quiet on this one unlike the general public. I recall J Page fighting a similar project in the Great Glen many years ago when he owned Boleskin. The power eventually flowed but mostly underground and he sold up and took to heroin and rushing the recording process for Presence. Crowley would have been proud.

West Lothian's new all seasons car wash and valet service gets its first customer.

That woman's still trying to somehow break into a Bruegel snow scene...what price immortality?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The dream life isn't there

The new Beckham tattoo (as above), Jesus sitting on a cross, added to David's collection recently according to rumour and the press. He likes religious icons and artwork amongst other things. Makes you wonder if Jesus is considering getting a Beckham tattoo. The dream life isn't anywhere near here (there), however I'm dreaming of the World Cup and the brace of red cards and mishaps bound to follow.

On a more sensible level altogether this evening's tea was built around another type of icon, the fish finger sandwich. Possibly the most underrated food combination of all the underrated food combinations. The sandwich was served with a generous portion of Branston beans and Budget Brands chips - very popular with tonight's resident teenagers.

Later we hosted an impromptu cat hunt based around the premise that somewhere in the house was a cat with a smelly and dirty bum. Carefully I prepared the necessary surgical instruments:
Oven gloves, scissors, Ajax wipes and paper towels. A first aid kit was also primed ready for action.
After a few false starts and some furniture removal the troubled cat was duly apprehended and the operation performed. Once clear and stable she was released back into the wild or thereabouts. My wounds of course may never heal.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Kilimanjaros

The long road out from Fargo to the M9 junction. Two minutes in a Police Prowler and twenty five minutes stumbling along on foot. Beware of the branch shredder in the backyard. The money is in the bag (still).

Today I've been overcome by a strange desire to form a virtual band called the Kilimanjaros, I'll get over it eventually. In fact I already have. Now that the BBC has declared a worldwide thaw and the global temperatures are returning to the normal panic inducing levels our mail has finally been delivered. More than week without mail, so when it did arrive it took, despite the 4 degree temperature, the form of an avalanche. Junk mail, packages from Amazon (8 altogether!), magazines that we will never get round to read, energy saving tips, bankers letters, charity begging letters and one welcome wedding invitation. It made me think that getting a bumper delivery of mail once a week isn't so bad, could this radical change save our beleaguered postal system? Could we for once just decide to slow things down, exercise a little patience and not get things rushed to us when it's not really necessary? Answers on a postcard Jan 2011.

A primitive local attempt at a potential winter Olympic ski jumping, downhill speed skating or toboggan stock car venue.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Once in the wardrobe we found many warm and useful coats and hats we could use to shield us from the bitter winds of the Lothians.

It was the day and the year of our Great Lord Aslan XIMMX when I first stumbled into the erect but shoogley IKEA flat pack wardrobe only to discover a land full of frozen shirts, chilled socks and icy and strangely stiff pants. Then, almost at once I noticed a subtle change in the air, distant birdsong and the drip, drip, dripping outside of local, friendly icicles. The great and wise forecasters at the BBC, the MET office and the local Mosque had failed to pass the message onto me that the big chill was now almost over, only a final word from Mr Gorgon "Everything we can" Brown was needed to end the crisis. Soon all my clothing would be wearable and bearable once again and I would no longer need to survive and battle on in the snowy land of "Nah, no me". Once again I'd be able to confidently and publicly declare that Global Warming is real and that by 2030 we will be fighting the flies on the beaches and applying liberal amounts of factor 99 sunscreen just to open the front door. So thanks and good luck to all the experts everywhere, the media and the government for bombarding us once again with useless, contradictory, ill informed and down right ignorant information. Once I get my clothes thawed out it's back to the animal entrails and divine sticks methods of forecasting for me and I'm stocking up on diesel and condensed milk in preparation for the next climate-based crisis.

Aslan says that Christmas is over for good now that the White Queen has gone, so we bunged the tree and few of the dwarfs into the frozen fire pit as part of the preparations for the Easter BBQ.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Monkey Shoulder weekend

The secret of keeping warm these bitter weekends is to supplement your normal basic diet with some seasonal supplements. Today's choice of supplement is the delectable "Monkey Shoulder", a type of Scottish whisky beverage that generates heat, taste and flavour and also provides a rather comforting feeling of well-being and slight light headedness all with little or no after effects. A few two finger glasses of this golden swally, a sausage and chutney sandwich and you can easily enjoy two or three episodes of Bones and the titillation and revelation that goes with any given edition of QI. Not only are we surviving in this winter prison, we are thriving. We are also big in Japan, though there is a bit more work to do on the site.

God love the feckin' Irish, never a dull moment, non-stop hilarity and witty banter spiced up with the occasional bit of innocent controversy. The over 50s are the best the world over, as role models and examples. Meanwhile what is dear Iris doing there with her girly, lily white right hand? It all makes the current crop of Scottish politicians look a tad dull by comparison.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Of course I'm nuts... much so another sister or brother blog has grown like a strange seed gone strange from the ribs, lungs and testicles of this veteran blog. The logo above is a clue and no it is not Thundercats, Jaguar Wanker, Homage to Pussy Galore or Garfield the lovable cat. It's the sumptuously photographed and tinsel scripted Ford Cougar Diaries. The everyday stories of an elderly everyday supercar and it's pedestrian owner. What are they doing today? No idea but tomorrow they may well visit the hairdressers, buy and newspaper and argue with the owner of a Citroen Saxo. You never can tell.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

White Britain

Suffering from weather boredom, media tedium a terminally frozen bottom and Jonathan Ross apathy. It will all pass according to my recent philosophical epiphany. I came slithering home to find a poor dead robin in the bedroom, the work of a sadistic cat no doubt. A great expanse of little feathers carpeted the carpet in sad homage to the robin, one we've probably fed and observed. I marked it's sad passing with a glass of whisky, a sausage and mustard sandwich and a few well chosen words as a tribute. I am fluent in the ancient robin dialect having successfully taking an old style O Level on the subject in 1971. The guilty cat looked on, grim faced and defiant as I hoovered up the debris.

Meanwhile we are all instructed by the BBC's doomsday weather service to "brace ourselves" for another cold night. Brace yourself? Are we all about to crash into France? Are we slipping, wheels spinning madly and uncontrollably into good old Ireland? Doesn't the UK have air bags fitted? Have you you securely fastened your seat belt and put your hand baggage under the seat? What bollox.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The day we burned all the Christmas cards

Missie the cat, eyes open, dreams about a warmer world and electric sheep (the directors cut).

That scary card burning and tinsel removal day was yesterday and didn't actually happen by burning or mass destruction. Now we can move on with our lives, unafraid of the Nihilists.

A Counsel of predictable despair.

There's panic on the icy streets, there's no grit and more bad weather on the way, people are outraged etc. etc. The public call for those on community service to come out and clear away the snow, make soup and build bonfires and perform other good deeds within the community, meanwhile local authorities are quizzed as to why the paths and roadways are not in better condition - it's all too much for the common people to take in. Well no, it's January, you live in a screwed up country where you get what you vote/work for (or don't vote/work for) and pay for (or don't as the case may be). If you want your feckin' path cleared then you'll wait a long time for the Magic salt spreading Path Fairy rolling along and don't expect your bulging smelly Christmas bin to be emptied either. As for your precious items due to be recycled, place them in an enormous sack put them outside and forget about them.

It's time to take control!

Learn self sufficiency, survival techniques, squirrel trapping and ice fishing, it's going to be long winter (at least until Wednesday). If you're trembling in your soggy baffies at the prospect of a new ice age then Ray Mears is delivering one to one training sessions on Dave+1 right now and on some similarly, doom laden themed website.

Are you lame enough to admit boredom?

Splinter away the long lonely hours by building a handy and practical extension for your house, Airstream, Mazda Bongo or upright piano...just the thing for the upcoming summer season...

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it
Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Darkest Winter

The Shrine to the Queen of the New Year has been dedicated following the festival of winter lights, soup distillation and snow drifts.

More lights and logs.

The snow has stopped thankfully but the freeze continues; I made up to a nearby form of civilisation thanks to the trusty 4x4, duly picked up a few ready meals, nail clippers and wine and returned for further fireside vegetation. Who says nothing grows in the winter?

Facebook, Twitter, text messages and daft web messages are keeping us warm and in touch, for sport we've set up a bed making and sculpture project: a kind of living installation that allows various tog quotients and combinations to be explored and then discarded whilst in the background the room temperature fluctuates wildly. In a more childish diversion I'm Twittering "sausages" regularly following some instructions provided by Ross Noble - it's a complex mind game. As things are bound to deteriorate soon I'm also preparing to participate in the "knit for Victory in the Yemen" campaign that will no doubt be thrust upon us sometime in the next two weeks as daft Gordon pursues more serial head nodding and hand wringing. The western world is headed for Islamic Hell in a Humvee and there's little we can do back here other than worry a lot, knit and make more spicy soup.

They predict...

A glimpse into the future...

Porn star breakfast

Dustbin lorry in the snow.

A burger that looks more like a crab, an angry and bad tempered crab at that, one ready to strike back at anybody who gets a little too close. Not a porn star's breakfast really.

We are still snowed in but now in holiday recovery mode, slowly crawling back to the light. My main concern now is the growing mountain of rubbish and material for recycling that has started to pile up in house and garden. Since the great dustbin lorry disaster on the 23rd, West Lothian council have stayed away from the tundra hard and avalanche devastated area we inhabit. We are abandoned on a frozen mound of frozen toxic waste, some is of our own making of course but some was deposited by Mr Santa Claus - a real environmental criminal in my book and I'll have to do the clearing up.

Meanwhile I cheered myself up with some warm curried parsnip soup touched by the fair white hand of Ali whilst holding a smokey bacon roll and fried tomato creation. A healthy mid morning breakfast fit for any Italian porn star (none of whom were around or injured in the making of the soup).

People in Tokyo caught asleep. For some reason this strange voyeurism holds a strange fascination - fascinating me, changes are taking place, the pace...etc etc.

Friday, January 01, 2010

We are all suspects

Easy to spot, hard to catch and impossible to talk about without sounding like a fascist maniac yourself.

New year, same shit. Radicalised lunatics of whatever religion or political persuasion are hell bent on blowing our aeroplanes from the sky so we must stop them. To do this we'll carry out a review and then let's body scan, anally probe and x-ray everybody with the latest high tech equipment we can get whatever the cost. We'll have it operated by more bored and ignorant personnel who should be looking for the sweaty bomber stereotype but are busy rummaging in old ladies handbags and asking exhausted business travellers to remove their shoes and belts. In order to avoid this bizarre and pointless theatre you'll find me either at home or on the motorway network for most of 2010.

Avatar is a great piece of unmissable cinema but with a plodding and predictable plot, or so I thought. Having slept on it and had some cheesy pasta I'm finally deluded enough to think that I've got James Cameron's point and that is quite simply that nothing changes - a counsel of abject despair. Imperialist bully boy tactics have been with us and used for thousands of years and will continue to prevail. Time, experience and sophisticated technology don't change human behaviour one iota (the basic human plan being to kill the natives, hunt the buffalo and then strip mine everything and build a casino on the spoil) or even a fraction of an iota. What is an iota anyway?

Ok, so you're ten feet tall and cute and you won out this time but in the even more expensive sequel (AV2) don't expect to kick any more military ass - you're about to get nuked.