- I have been listening to a MOS Chill out compilation; some band called Synaesthesia (or something like that) who weren't at all what I expected. Some Doors, some Blur and some other stuff that's slipped from my mind.
- I expect to finish A Stink of Swabs 1 by the end of the weekend.
- I have been watching The Inbetweeners and accepted that I should have watched it the first time around (although, would I have watched it? Or to be more precise, would I have watched it through my fingers like something mega-embarrassing is always watched?). I have also watched A Touch of Cloth which is a bit of a lot of things and is actually really funny (not all of the time, but it does have the ability to make you suddenly wonder what you're laughing at before falling into whoops of laughter again).
- Today's blog has been sponsored by ()
- Mantle peace.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Saturday, August 25, 2012
- I have listened to: Colour Haze, Kid Loco, Hybrid, Florence, Bon Iver, North Atlantic Oscillation, Kasabian and Jonsi. Not bad going as I have avoided listening to much apart from the radio for the last week or so.
- We're taking the dogs to Heacham on Tuesday for sun, sea and microbreweries.
- I finally managed to move the greenhouse. Once I got the screws out it went quite easily - there's nothing like a bit of screwing in the garden. Its new home is snug and sheltered, yet is in a far sunnier aspect; plus it has freed up so much room down the garden that we're going to move the rhubarb! The shed roof is still going to be a mare.
- I dug up most of the remaining spuds. Fuck me, what an almost pointless exercise that was; I was happy because I found a couple of unexpected plants growing which seemed to produce far more spuds than the authorised ones. I think the weather fucked them up serious.
- Something happened to my PC the other day and as a result things don't appear to be working the way they should be; I've lost information that I can't lose (but I have). I don't have a virus; there's no bugs in it. It all was down to new versions of Google Chrome and Firefox. I tried to contact Google, to explain to them what happened and ask if why it has happened rather than how to fix it. Would it surprise you to know they didn't know what I was talking about?
- Apparently, my old employer is returning to comics and publishing. It appears he's launching a couple of new comics. Good luck with that. I wonder if he's seen what's happening to The Dandy and the fact that The Beano sells about 30,000 a week, compared to 2million back in 1970. Comics publishing = a fool and his money are soon parted.
- Binary Cheese
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Summer Garden Bollocks
I should have known that the two ‘jobs’ I assigned myself this summer would prove to be much more tricky than I expected them to be; the big problem is both need to be done and I’m a bit stymied as to how that is going to be achieved.
The first job, which really should have been done by now, was moving the greenhouse from Point A to Point B – about 40 feet away from where it is at the moment. I have done well, the area it needs to go is prepared, even if the rest of the garden is looking like a municipal tip as a result. The wife was sure that my dad had drilled holes into the paving slab base and then screwed the (rather flimsy) greenhouse onto battening and then screwed these into the base. Well, if he did I don’t know how he did it, but that’s not unusual, my dad was a bit of a bodger at times. When I finally cleared the greenhouse out of all the last 12 years of detritus, I couldn’t see anything anchoring the greenhouse to the floor, except… 12 years worth of detritus.
That’s not a good thing. If you look at the shed from its front, the duck shed sits to its left; a hazel tree, two conifers and about a foot of loam are on the right. The back is up against the fence and there’s 6 inches of loam holding that into place. The greenhouse is fixed more solidly than it would have been had my dad fixed it there with super glue, 6 inch nails and concrete. It won’t move and my fear is that if it does move it won’t be … right. It won’t move the way I want it to. Now, dismantling it isn’t an option. It took my dad and the wife three days to assemble it; the instructions were all in Cyrillic and there were various other problems they faced. I fear this is not going to end well.
The other job was the re-felting of the shed roof and replacing the two areas that have started to rot away. I really don’t want to tell the wife this, but I think this is a job even more difficult than moving the greenhouse. Putting felt on it and re-battening it won’t be a massive job; the fact that the two parts that have rotted away are much bigger and I’d say that 60% of the roof is no longer safe. Now, you might be wondering what the problem is here; it’s just a shed. No; it is not just a shed. When we moved into this house all those years ago, the shed was worth more than the house. The shed is double-glazed and according to our old neighbour, before Fishwife, it was one hell of a massive job, requiring help from various neighbours with access to and through their gardens.
When we bought the house, the estate agent said the shed was in better nick than the house and he wasn’t wrong. The shed has housed rabbits, guinea pigs, tools, wood, stuff and nonsense. It has been, at times, like an extra room. It is the size of an average garage; it cost nearly £700 in 1994 when it was put there. It is coming up to 20 years since it’s been up and I think the only way forward is to find out how much it would cost to have the entire roof replaced. The problem with that is, off the top of my head, the roof is going to be something like 12’ x 30’. Maybe a helicopter airlifting one in would be the best bet, but if I’m going to do that I might as well see what a new shed is going to cost (probably in excess of a grand I’d guess).
(I just went upstairs and checked on line – something like the one we have would cost £1,499, but they would fit it for you! I can't find anywhere that sells just the roofs.)
So, with both these jobs looking somewhere between almost impossible and beyond my abilities, that means that my writing has to be the one achievement for this summer’s holiday. Um, maybe not… Yes, I’m still working on my new, sprawling, idea, but I doubt it will be written in the 6 weeks I’ve written other finished manuscripts and there won’t be much to show by the beginning of September. I suppose reading two and a bit George RR Martin fantasy novels could be construed as something of an achievement…
Crazy Like a Fool
During the watching of The Avengers, the new superhero team all boarded SHIELD’s floating (in more ways than one) fortress where most of their operations are based or start. Obviously it was one of the set pieces, having this aircraft carrier on the sea turn into a massive floating in the sky aircraft carrier – it was always one of the crazier things in the SHIELD comics – then they did something that made me groan and shout at the TV. It turned invisible.
Have I ever had my invisibility rant on here?
There is one massive flaw about being invisible – you’re INVISIBLE. It is far more dangerous than it is practical. Why? Because no one can see you!
I always thought that Wonder Woman’s invisible plane was a really stupid idea. Why? Because you can’t see it! That means you can crash into it without your knowledge.
How about an invisible car? Just how fucking stupid is an invisible car? Why? Because you can’t see it. Other drivers in other cars CAN’T SEE IT!
Being invisible might sound like a good idea; imagine sneaking into the girls’ shower room? But you’d have to be careful because you’d need to be more aware of everything around you than be able to stand there and get a hard on.
Being invisible is great apart from the fact that people can’t see you, so you have to be really aware of this or they will bump into you, run you over, throw things at you (or rather the place where you are standing, but they can’t see you, so it isn’t personal). In fact, because no one can see you, you have to be more aware of what everyone else is doing unless you want someone or thing to accidentally knock into you.
Being invisible is dangerous, not cool!
Here Comes Lorraine Again
If something else was going to stop me from doing the impossible jobs in the garden it was going to be the weather. I’d actually managed to sit outside, do some clearing up, write a lot of this and start reading the 3rd Game of Thrones book and most of it was done in hazy sunshine. By the time I got back from walking the dogs, it had started raining and I had just about enough leeway to get the stuff from the greenhouse under some semblance of cover before the spots turned into something more closely resembling proper rain.
The reason I mention this is because the weather forecast this morning said that showers would die out as the day went on and the simulation of the following few hours suggested that it should already have been raining on me. The forecast even went as far as suggesting that by 1600 hours this part of the country should be bathed in glorious sunshine and experiencing 22 degrees of warmth. I’ve often said that weather forecasting starts to get a touch dodgy whenever low pressure dominates a chart; essentially the Met Office are good with high pressure and that’s about it.
Strangely Offensive People I Know That Aren't Me
I stopped being nasty to people quite a while back now, so whenever I see it in other people I'm rather (and curiously) offended by it, even if at first I'm slightly impressed by the initial chutzpah. Someone I vaguely know, who was the partner of someone else I worked with, wrote something spiteful and basically quite maliciously bitchy about someone else, who I also vaguely know, for no apparent reason whatsoever.
Sometimes people do things that have no rhyme or reason, but suggesting someone is talentless and has a big nose (something that has often been levelled at me) is just rude and offensive. I personally think the person who was insulted is very talented and I find her big nose quite attractive.
Absolute Inaccurate Gits
I’ve taken to listening to Absolute 80s at the moment because I figure there’s a good chance I will hear something that’s quite good (and a really goiod chance I'll hear something vomit-inducing and cheesy). This radio station prides itself on the fact that you will never hear the same record twice in one day – well, they have 10 years worth of records to ensure that – however this boast obviously doesn’t include Nik Kershaw as I have heard Wouldn’t it be Good twice already today and I’ve only been sitting here since midday.
- I have just started reading A Stroke of Swedes 1; I am, I suppose, entering into new territory; however, as the second book was largely completely different from the TV series that’s already happened.
- Frankel won again today. Henry Cecil has been one of my proper heroes for about 35 years or so; he’s got cancer; he comes across as a rich twot and probably has nothing in common with me apart from a love of his horses; but I do hope he has a long remission and that Frankel remains the best racehorse ever because that would be a fitting epitaph for the trainer.
- Today I have contemplated trying to make cider (there must be something we can do with all the very bland but plentiful amount of apples on our tree); paneer koftas and more pizzas.
- Piebald soup
Monday, August 20, 2012
- Finally done some more writing; 2500 words of actual story to go with the (now) 8,300 words of notes and history. It's a slow process, but I'm not getting bored with it; I've just prioritised both the sun and my reading around it. I know what a failure I am at some things and I don't want to monopolise the rest of my holiday with something that I'll look back on and think poorly of.
- Got lots of beer dates planned for the next 8 days.
- Woke up this morning with a really sore chest; as bad as it's been since my paramedic adventure back in July. This was, like Fuckwit and the radio, a real puzzle for reasons we will get to.
- Today I listened to the bonus CD on the first North Atlantic Oscillation album Special Edition (on Spotify) variant and am glad that I wasn't tempted to buy it for all those extra tracks. The fact I haven't been able to find somewhere I can download that specific version from either has also not bothered me in the slightest.
- Falling Skies is utter utter garbage; how and why is it popular enough to warrant being renewed? Like Haven, I gave it two series and that's too many 40 minutes of my life I'm never going to see again.
- Stopped smoking last Wednesday; a variation on cold turkey and so far I'm doing 100% excellently, which is why I'm concerned about my chest, because since Friday I've been breathing much more easily (again and at last) and today I have this horrible feeling I'm going for chest infection #3 of 2012 and that wouldn't be good as I have so much planned for the next two weeks.
- Banana squirrel
Sunday, August 19, 2012
- There's probably loads of stuff, but I either can't remember it or can't be arsed.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Neighbours, Everybody Needs
good Dead Neighbours
The hearses and sombre clothing are out in force over the road, as the Old Man prepares to make his last ever journey. I believe that I have just discovered that he was possibly a carpenter before he retired and I was happy for him that a lot of people seem to have turned out. It is just one of the ceremonies we put ourselves through in a lifetime.
Speaking of ceremonies, I seemed to have woken up in a strange world on Monday when I read and heard all the positive things said about the Olympic closing doodah. Now, I’m not exactly in the majority about not really liking Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony very much, so imagine how I felt when I sat through (on fast forward for a lot of it, having watched a film before and being about 40 minutes behind) something that felt like a Summertime Special from the BBC circa 1978. It was awful and to my utter disgust most of the performers were miming – what better way of emphasising the cheapness of something?
I’m also of the opinion that the line-up could have been better; that Ray Davies, like Macca, 17 days beforehand, cannot hit a note any longer. Shame, but true. Also, I'm puzzled as to why the soundtrack just got put on a loop? While the athletes flooded into the stadium the same five or six tracks were played over and over again - did they not have the money to play anything else or were certain record companies sponsors of this event?
As for the miming; I’ve read that the performers all had to record their tracks – ala Top of the Pops – and yet some performers actually seemed like they were live, while others were so obviously lip-synched it was painful. I also couldn’t understand why some ‘artistes’ got more air time than others; but if I had had my way and been in charge of the closing ceremony I would have had North Atlantic Oscillation (Scottish), Porcupine Tree (English, Australian), The Prodigy (Mad), The Chemical Brothers (nerds), Gorki’s Zygotic Monkey (Welsh), Stiff Little Fingers (Norn Irish), Fuck Buttons (English) and a host of other bands and artists from all four home nation countries (not Snow Patrol, Wet Wet Wet, The Manic Street Preachers or any generic English RnB artist though, because we want to keep a shred of credibility) and I would have burned (Stephen) Morrissey on the Olympic Flame – just a bit of him every night ending with a long and painful death throughout the closing ceremony. I also would have invited the likes of David Bowie, Kate Bush and the Rolling Stones (who just happen to be celebrating their 50th birthday this year too), rather than having some fucking ridiculous Pan’s People like dance sequence tribute, while Seb Coe's Olympic DJ spun toons and made shapes in da hood.
Filthy Shed Tales
Anyhow, moving on… Both of my neighbours have been a source of ‘amusement’ this week.
Fuckwit has always had this thing for sheds; he has three small sheds in his garden, all locked up tighter than Alcatraz, and it has been a constant puzzle for me to try and work out what he has that he could possibly need so many sheds for and need them defended like Fort Knox. This week that question was not answered, it just got more confusing as a couple of people turned up at his house and began to construct yet another shed in his garden; this time made of metal. There he was standing halfway down his garden supervising this man and woman, not much younger than him, putting up a tin shed from what looked like MFI instructions. I was standing in my garden watching this going on when Fishwife caught me unawares…
Now, I don’t call him Fishwife because its balances well with Fuckwit and this day he was on form, whinging about this and gossiping about that and I sort of dropped into autopilot, nodding and agreeing at the right times but having no idea what he was actually talking about. All I knew was that I was not having any success getting away from him, especially when he started to tell me about some frigging go-kart track they’re all going to when they’re away. He then launched into a story about people I don’t know, doing things I have no interest in, in a country I have no desire to visit. I really wanted to say, “I find you so dull I could kill myself right now if I had some petrol and a lighter,” but the wife would like us to continue having a good relationship with at least one of our neighbours. I’m hoping that whoever buys the Old Man’s house is worthy of my attention…
The (Pointless) TV & Film Dump Thing
As it was obvious that a lot of the TV I watch no one else watches or is so far behind me that reading anything about it is littered with spoilers, I kind of decided that I was essentially wasting a lot of my time, especially when I had little or nothing positive to say. The problem is, it acted as a sort of catharsis for me – getting all that contempt out in the open and all that. Now, most of what I got angry about has either finished or I have managed to wean myself off (Haven). Now, interestingly enough, a show I’ve been highly critical of – True Blood – is currently having its best season, possibly ever. It still reminds me of Fame with horror and several Carry On films, but it seems to have dispensed with bollocks and concentrated on an actual story.
The TV show receiving most of my ire at the moment is Falling Skies, which I have to admit has become my new guilty pleasure after cutting Haven out of my life. FS is fucking shit; it has bad ideas, awful scripting, dreadful acting and a reliance on kind of copying The Walking Dead. I often used to suggest that Haven was written by a 13 year old and the same applies to FS. The second season has been ‘better’ than the first, but it’s still woeful and has dialogue in it that people just wouldn’t say. It is also full of clichés, it has borrowed heavily from other TV shows and books and the penultimate episode of the series left me scratching my head and wondering just what goes on in the heads of most Americans.
In a nutshell, the freedom fighters of the 2nd Mass. have found a settlement in Charlestown and it is run by a fledgling new US government that essentially believes in hiding from the enemy and establishing a new country hidden away from the aliens. This sits badly with Noah Wyley and his band of crap actors, so eventually they instigate a kind of military coups, as a direct result of them being on the receiving end of some distinctly Nazi-like behaviour from the new ‘President’ and his private army (for those of you who watch The Walking Dead, the same premise will play out, but through most of season 3 with the introduction of The Governor). Now, this seems to be fine until the group’s bad boy happens to mention they have just overthrown the government and all of them stand around looking horrified at themselves. Five minutes earlier, they were being held captive with the promise of not being released until ‘they think the way the rest of New America does’. It seems that even in a world that no longer has any values, you can’t possibly overthrow the government; it’s just not on.
If the moral ambiguity sat wrong with me after watching that; imagine how I felt after watching The Hunger Games, quite possibly one of the most offensive films I have watched – ever! Not only are these books (and films) essentially a long drawn out version of Stephen King’s masterful novella The Long Walk, but they also have a feel of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka. I found this faux USA with its colourful media personalities really annoying and I know this is a kids thing, but frankly, this planet reveres children so much, no country in the world, whenever this is set, would ever allow its children to fight each other to the death in front of TV cameras – it just wouldn’t happen; and if it did happen, the morally superior countries would actually act on it. Trust me, USA will ignore everything North Korea does, every day of every week; but if it was proven that the North Koreans killed and barbecued children or babies; then you’d get retaliation.
I just found The Hunger Games really boring; I couldn’t understand a) why it was such a huge summer blockbuster and b) why people thought this was a good film; it’s rubbish, full of stereotypical constructs from every Mad Max or dystopian film or book ever made. Plus any movie that purports to try and show the future and reverts to comedy deserves to be burned and all the people responsible for it also burned, but their faces should be burned first.
Slip Sliding Away
I wish half terms would whiz past as fast as summer holidays. Being a man who worries about the passage of time far too much, my biggest fear was that the 6 weeks would fly and I would have little or nothing to show for it. That hasn’t strictly been what has happened; I have written a fair bit, albeit nothing that I can look back on and be really happy about; I’ve had a great holiday, done a lot of work in the garden that needed it and there have been a couple of other things; yet I still feel that with just over two weeks of holiday to go that it has flown by and there just isn’t enough left and if some of my colleagues get bored during these 6 weeks, then tough – give me some of your holidays. I do need to find myself a job that gives me more control over my life, even if I lose 8 weeks holiday (I would expect to earn more money).
- I seem to be in an anti-music state at the moment; have been sort of enjoying listening to Absolute 80s and a bit of Mark Radcliffe on Radio 6.
- I can understand why fans of A Song of Ice & Fire were so annoyed about the things HBO missed out of the second book (makes you wonder how they'll deal with omissions when they need addressing).
- My Mayan Gold potatoes were an unmitigated disaster - less than a bucket full from 2½ rows of seed spuds; shocking. The only thing that seems to have thrived this year has been the raspberries; everything else is either stunted or missing. My beetroots are as healthy as an Olympic athlete, but under the surface - fuck all; slug attacked, tiny roots and a slightly more earthy flavour than you would want.
- I have cleared the area for the moving of the greenhouse. How I move the greenhouse without major surgery, much lifting of concrete and the matching up of holes is going to be a slightly bigger problem.
- Your rat.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
- My potatoes have been murdered by slugs.
- I haven't been listening to anything, all week, it has been an almost music free week, with just a bit of Classic FM and Radio 3.
- I am on the last couple of chapters of Gams of Threeps and I can't quite understand why aficionados of the books were disappointed with the, it seems, very few changes. If anything, the biggest change was the build-up to Ned's end; the politics in the series were essentially the same, but more emphasis was placed on other things and you also get the impression from the book that Ned's sudden fall was actually down to his daughter, which I don't recall happening in the TV series. Next is A Clutch of Clunge or whatever it's called and I shall read that straight away (I want to see what happens after I've caught up with the series).
- My summer writing project stalled, but then got inspired by the Scottish countryside. I've ditched my other ideas (probably to writing limbo forever) and am working on something else entirely. I've written best part of 5,000 words and it's all notes.
- We watched Battleship last night; complete and utter hokum from start to finish, but, you know, it was fun in an all-out action kind of way; but it amazes me how films with such awful scripts and acting ever get made let alone given the obvious mammoth budget this had. Tonight, I think I'll try and persuade the wife to watch the Closing Ceremony.
- I heard a couple of comments over the last couple of weeks about the 'fitness' of many of the female athletes. I was watching the women's 4x400 final last night and was transfixed by the six pack on the last leg runner for winner's the USA. Jesus Bing Crosby Christ, there was absolutely nothing attractive about it (mind you the US athletes all looked a bit like ugly donkeys, but that's just me being sexist, even if it is accurate).
- Cave farting.