Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Sucks

This band is Porn Orchard & The Opal Foxx Quartet. This tune has being doing the rounds of the 'Net for a few years, often mislabeled as being by Tom Waits and Peter Murphy, which is a sort of tribute to the accuracy of the impersonations. Enjoy...

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Houseful

I find myself in the very odd position of sharing a house with one very lovely woman, three mentally challenged  dogs, one 20-year-old who is barely ever here and three boisterous boys. This is by choice, you understand - I have moved in with my girlfriend Laura and her brood. Now, I have fathered children of my own, and the challenges of parenting never change, but the challenge of what is essentially step-parenting is a new one to me. In an environment where one is "the new boy", getting accepted is one thing, but getting listened to is quite another. I generally have no trouble with the 20-year-old Amy who is hardly ever here because she spends a lot of time with her significant other, and Josh, the 15-year-old who generally is off in his own little world of Line Rider, Fallout New Vegas and Xbox-related activities. The 10-year-old Matt with his trademark cheeky grin is usually OK with things I say or do, but occasionally has yelled at me, and 9-year-old Ewan is also quite sweet most of the time, unless one or other or both of his brothers says or does something he disagrees with, or dislikes, or vaguely construes as some kind of a dis. It is when the boys decide to fight with each other about something seemingly trivial that I have to grit my teeth and either let their mum sort it out or let them fight to the death, because I have found out to my chagrin that I am still too much of a noob to be taken seriously or even listened to most of the time.

It's weird, being in the position of being able to offer parenting advice (having been a parent and worked as a daycare provider for 6 years), yet not being able to apply any of my knowledge because it will get ignored when utilised, by three boys who still regard me with some suspicion. I have been told on a few occasions by one or other of the anklebiters to be quiet (well, they didn't put it so politely) or that they "don't care", simply because I am the "new" one of the group. I then have to somewhat bite my tongue. (It should be said here that two of the boys have learning difficulties. It should also be said that I do find them all charming and endearing in their own ways. Josh and Matt have great senses of humour and even Ewan has come out with some priceless corkers. They are all quite sweet, and it is important that this be understood, and that I am in no way criticising them, or their mum.) Whatever happens, though, it's certainly not dull.

The dogs are all a bit special, it must be said. Speaking as one who has lived with cats for most of his life, I've always regarded dogs as being a bit, well... dim. I think it is the independent streak in cats that I find most endearing, that kind of "I don't really need you, but I choose to stay here" attitude that sort of commands respect from us dullard humans that I like. Dogs, however, are the opposite. Always looking at you like, "Ooh, whatcha got? Whatcha doin'? Ooh, entertain me!". However, living with these dogs is interesting.

There's Tigger. He's the top dog. He is in charge, and gets upset with the other two if they fight. He loves people, especially if they are wearing black pants which he can smother with his ginger hairs. Especially my sister, for some reason. He's not allowed on the furniture, except when my sister arrives and then he thinks it's OK to sit on the sofa next to her and will not be budged. He's like, "This is my woman and I am not leaving her side." He has one of those plaintive faces that just melts your heart.

Then there is Sally a.k.a. Bear. She's a little barrel-shaped Border/Lakeland mix with a quizzical expression on her face who gets excited at the mention of her name and pats her front paws in a kind of quick pat-a-pat motion coupled with little leaps. She can actually jump surprisingly high for a dog of her stature.

She and Charlie both have this habit of doing what I call the "Chicken-Leg", dragging their back legs around the carpet in an attempt to get noticed.

And then there's Charlie. He's... well, he's a special dog. You've heard the expression 'wag the dog' - well, when his tail wags, his entire spine does too, giving rise to his nickname 'Charlie Sideways' among others. It's especially funny when he tries to walk and wag, and funnier still when he tries to walk downstairs and wag. He's also prone to peeing when over-excited. Poor Charlie.

So, here I am in probably the most boisterous, noisy, busy house I've ever lived in. But there isn't anywhere else I'd rather be. Right now I can hear the boys talking and playing in their room, Amy's esconced in her bedroom, Laura's sitting in her computer chair, and I'm on the bed blogging. The dogs are downstairs in their beds, and we are all looking forward to a nice crisp day tomorrow, hopefully with a bit of snow. All is right with the world.

Christmas Dreaming - Christmas Through the Years

The very wonderful Dick Haymes croons one of my favourite Yuletide tunes. Get your festive on.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Countdown Starts Now!

Best. Christmas. Song. Ever.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Writer's Block

I have a serious case of writer's block.

"But Jeff..."

Lemme just stop you right there, dear reader. I know what you're going to say. I'm way ahead of you. You're going to say something smart-alecky about how I'm writing this, so how could I possibly have writer's block, huh? Aren't you?

I'm lounging on the bed in a cat-like pose, resting on my elbows which is terrible for my dry old-fogey elbow skin, thinking hard of something to try to entertain you people with. It's not easy, you know. People think it's easy writing this drivel day in day out. Except it hasn't been every day... it's been a while. Last time I actually wrote something that wasn't an instalment of 100 Records That Shook The World or a chapter of my novel was on the 10th, the 10th!! 13 days ago! So what to write about?

It is Tuesday November 23rd. Yesterday was my daughter Emily's birthday. She is now 11 years old. She's growing quite tall, now matching her mother in height - and her mother is no shrimp. Today is the birthday of both my friend Nick, and my father Alan. Happy Birthday to you both. It is my birthday on Thursday. It will be Thanksgiving also.

It is hard to believe sometimes, but at this time last year I was living in a homeless shelter in Gainesville, Georgia. I won't go into the circumstances surrounding how I got there, because that might once again force me into having to take down this post, for reasons I cannot fully explain, nor completely understand. It just does my head in. My question to the world in general is this though - what is the statute of limitations on this? When am I going to be allowed to say what I want to say about my ex-family in a public forum? When they're all dead?

I digress.

When I was released from jail, where I had been for six days, I spent the night hanging around a shopping center, mainly at a Wal-Mart, until I could (a) get a hold of some belongings from my spouse, and (b) wait for a shelter to open. When I finally got into the Salvation Army shelter on Dorsey Street in Gainesville, GA, it was like a homecoming compared to what I had just endured. OK, you say, six days in jail doesn't sound like much, but to me, who has had very little legal trouble in the grand scheme of things, six days away from my home and family and familiar surroundings, spent in the company of some very unsavoury types, is a whole helluva lot.

That first night was great. The shelter had just receiver a large donation of food from Red Lobster - the very one where I had been a waiter (sorry, server) in 2006. So that night the food was amazing.

The place was full of characters, probably still is.

It was run a by a big jolly Hispanic man named Jorge, who was kind and understanding but didn't take no mess from anyone. If you screwed up by coming in late or under the influence, you were gone. Jorge's son and wife would help out.
Then there was Jay, a black guy from New Orleans, who did most of the cooking. He would rustle up wonderful Cajun-influenced grub from almost nothing. Sweetest guy, troubled by poor vision, seemed to do most of his cooking by touch and sound rather than anything else.
Then there was big, burly Steve, who cooked breakfast most of the time, and would come wake us up at 6 am with a loud, gruff, "Bre' fust!!" as he knocked on the door of the dorm and opened it. The sort of guy who could talk your ear off about almost anything, and sometimes nothing.
The people I shared the dorm with, those I remember, were interesting characters too.
Joe was a tall lanky guy who worked in construction, with a love of Southern Rock and a tremendous appreciation of Jay's food, and a liking for the comedy of Ralphie May. We were allowed to stay up till 10pm watching TV, and oftentimes it would be me and Joe and maybe one other person in there watching Comedy Central.
Ernie was like an older smaller version of Joe but with a coarser sense of humour. Always enjoyed watching things like Operation Repo and stuff on the Discovery Channel.
There was a funny black guy named Kirk who was there with his wife Jennifer. Kirk slept in the bed opposite me, and Jennifer of course had to sleep in the women's dorm. I snore quite loudly, and while most other people complained about it, Kirk went the other way. "You gon' sing me to sleep tonight, Bubba?" he'd say, as he settled down for a rest. Lovely guy.
There was Jose (or as Ernie called him, Jose-can-you-see) who slept in the far corner and liked to play his selection of ringtones for us every night. Oftentimes the bed would shake me awake, and I'd roll over, rub my eyes and see the shadowy figure of Jose shuffling back towards his bed, and I'd know he'd jolted the end of the bed to stop me snoring.
There was Willie, the taxi driver, who spoke with a kind of hurried sniffy stutter, and was completely into WWE wrestling, reading the autobiographies of people like Batista and Ric Flair.
And there was Louis, a Jewish guy from Noo Yawk, who loved English humour and wanted me to find him some more 'Essex girl' jokes for him to tell some other English folks he knew (In case you don't know, 'Essex girl' jokes are somewhat similar to Blonde jokes, but a bit cruder).

This year, even though I live in a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving, I give thanks to the wonderful people at the Salvation Army shelter on Dorsey Street. Everyone with a roof over their head should be thankful for that fact. I never had to sleep on the street, but that freezing night at the Wal-Mart in my shorts and T-shirt was pretty damn close.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

100 Records That Shook The World, # 56

Cold Sweat

James Brown

"Cold Sweat" is a watershed event in the evolution of funk music. Written by Brown and his bandleader Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis, with some subliminal inspiration coming from Miles Davis' "So What", and recorded in one 7-minute take with no overdubs, this was the first song in which Brown calls for a drum solo ('give the drummer some') which began the tradition of putting rhythmic breaks in dance tunes that continues to this day. It was released in July of 1967 edited into two parts, one on the 'A' side and the other on the flip. The entire 7-minute track can be found on the LP of the same name (pictured above). Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

100 Records That Shook The World, # 57

The Velvet Underground & Nico (LP)
Early copies of this Andy Warhol-designed sleeve invited the new owner to "peel slowly and see". Peeling the plastic yellow skin revealed a flesh-coloured banana underneath.
'The Velvet Underground & Nico' was The Velvet Underground and vocal collaborator Nico's debut album, originally released in March 1967 on the Verve label. It was recorded in 1966 during Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia event tour, and it gained notoriety for its experimentalist performance sensibilities, as well as its focus on controversial subject matter expressed in many of their songs.

Although it was largely ignored upon release, the record has since become one of the most influential and critically acclaimed rock albums in history, appearing at number thirteen on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time as well as being added to the 2006 National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chapter Three

You may recall that I restarted my novel in July, and posted Chapters One and Two during the summer. Since then my life has been a bit of a rush, what with a new relationship blossoming and moving and jobs beginning and ending and such. So Chapter Three has been a long time coming, but I finished it tonight. Anyone wanna read it? Of course you do.

The book's title has changed too. As with all works in progress things are apt to change from time to time. The book was originally called Don's Tiny World, which I was never really happy with, so I have decided to change it to a simpler, more immediate title that more accurately reflects the path of the book... Atomic.

Chapter 3

Camden market, for the uninitiated, is a very cool place. The stalls are arranged in a fashion perfect for just wandering and 'happening upon' things. You are just as likely to find a flower stall as you are to find someone selling an ancient soundboard that was used at a '72 Roxy Music gig. It is situated next to Camden Lock, and within spitting distance of various watering holes, mostly run by Irishmen who know how to look after their Guinness. Don liked Camden market and the Lock for the good beer, the atmosphere, the great selection of eateries, and the record stalls. This was his primary reason for going there, which he did once every two or three months. His flat was sparsely furnished, yet he possessed a collection of vinyl, tape and CDs that was probably worth more than the flat itself.

For some reason Perry had wandered off on his own. He often did this, and Don was used to just going home by himself. Perry had invariably shown up the next day with a story about bumping into an old mate, a woman, or some D-list celeb that had invited him to a party. How much of it was true, Don neither knew or really cared. As long as he got to wander round his beloved Camden a few times a year and enlarge his record collection, that was fine. Perry could do what he wanted. Either way, Don was on his own, riffling through the records under 'B'. Barrington Levy? Sure. Bardo? Not so much. Blondie?.... ah, Blondie.

He suddenly stopped and reminisced as the copy of Eat To The Beat that had met his fingers stared back at him poutily. Yes, that was the LP with that fateful song on it, Atomic. The one that always reminded him of Stephanie, her hair, her eyes, her party, that first real kiss. He lingered for a few moments before moving on to Buddy Guy. Why did this guy file things under people's first names?

His next stop after the records was a bookstall. As well as music, Don was a passionate reader. He didn't really have a preference for a particular style, just as long as it was good, well written and interesting. Sometimes he would just buy a book because it looked like it might be interesting or had a cool looking cover. In some cases the cover art was way more exciting than the contents turned out to be. Still, no matter. He was browsing through a rack of newer hardbacks when a slim volume caught his eye. It was curiously entitled Home Of The Spider, and he picked it up and had a quick peruse. It seemed to him that it was a fairly standard thriller and he was about to put it back in the rack when he froze, agog at the blurb on the back. More accurately, the picture accompanying the blurb, depicting the author, one Louisa M. Hall, artily photographed in black-and-white, standing next to a rubber plant. That face... those eyes... that Theda Bara bob. There was no mistaking it was Stephanie, his Stephanie. She was a thriller writer, a pulp novelist... wow. Just wow. He quickly regained his composure just enough to be able to buy the book. After that he was too stunned to continue shopping. Best go find a place to sit down. Maybe a drink would help calm him. After all, he'd just had a shock – a fairly pleasant one, but a shock all the same. His heart was seemingly trying to eject itself alternately out of his chest or his throat, and sometimes both at once. He tottered unsteadily to the nearest pub, bought a pint, sat down at an outside table and began to read.

It was clearly Stephanie's writing style, he thought to himself. He could imagine her voice intoning the words as he read. It wasn't the greatest book in the world, but that did not matter to Don. He had found something that brought her back to life in his mind, and that was all he cared about for the moment.

After two or three more drinks he was about halfway through the book and was hit with the sudden realisation that time was actually going by at its usual speed. Two whole hours had passed and Don had been in a dream state. If he didn't pick up the pace he was going to miss his train back home. He quickly gathered his stuff and made to go back to the market for one last browse. As he moved off, head down, bustling along, his elbow nudged a woman he was passing and sent the bags he was carrying and the papers in the woman's arms flying in fifteen different directions. Shit. That was all he needed. He quickly dropped to his knees and started scrabbling for all the pieces of paper and the contents of his bags, trying to rearrange them as neatly as he possibly could as he did so, and placing the papers into the waiting hands of the woman with the bob haircut. The bob hairc...



He tried speaking but found his lips to be non-functional. He dumbly nodded as if his neck muscles had been replaced with jelly.

“How the hell are you? What's it been, twenty-odd years?”

Alright. Try to speak.

“Mm. Mm.”

“Are you okay, Don? You don't look too well. Here,” she motioned to the chair he had just vacated. “sit down.”

Eventually he regained the use of his mouth and they spent the entire rest of the day catching up on old times. She had left uni and wandered from highly-paid job to highly-paid job, never feeling completely satisfied in any of them, before finally jacking it in and focusing on something she had always harboured a desire to do – writing. She had adopted the pseudonym because she thought her name sounded too boring. He told her how wrong she was, how he loved her name. He was like a giddy schoolboy. He completely forgot about the train, the market, or Perry. She offered to let him crash at her place for the night, and really, how could this silly infatuated man-boy refuse? Now that he'd found her again, he didn't want to let her out of his sight.

Somehow he knew her stylish Hampstead flat would be decorated this way – an eclectic mix of old and new, a bit of IKEA here, a Chesterfield there, some Art Deco, Monet's “The Artist's Garden At Vetheuil” on the wall next to a Roy Lichtenstein, a Bauhaus-influenced armchair, a weaver's loom in the corner of the hall, some African sculptures and primitive American folk art in the bathroom. It was the way he would decorate if he cared about decorating and could afford to. None of it matched, yet it all seemed to fit together so well.

They sat up all night just talking until their eyelids would not cooperate and they were forced to rest. She toddled off to her room, leaving Don on the Chesterfield. It was probably only the second time in his life he'd ever sat on a Chesterfield and certainly the only time he had used one as a bed. He slept soundly despite the extremely uncomfortable angle at which his neck was propped, due to abject exhaustion and too much excitement. He was roused by Stephanie's gently shaking his shoulder at about 11 a.m. and presented with a mug of strong coffee and a glass of OJ.


Wow, this was a level of hospitality he was most unaccustomed to. He had to think for a minute to get his bearings somewhat and remember where he actually was.

“Um, sure.”

From the kitchen he could hear the satisfying sounds of sizzling, pans and plates clinking and clanking, and water boiling, along with the dizzying aromas of eggs and bacon and toast and more coffee. This was better service than any hotel.

After breakfast, eaten at the table (at the table! How long had it been since he'd eaten at a table? How long since he'd even had a table?), Stephanie looked him directly in the eye and said, “How about a shower?” in that sort of semi-whisper much favoured by female actresses in American soap operas.

He nearly choked on his last mouthful of coffee. “Wh-whaat?” he spluttered.

“You probably need one, Don. You did sleep in your clothes, after all.”

He was both relieved and disappointed at the same time, as the realization that she was suggesting he showered solo hit his cerebral cortex.

“Oh, yeah. Right. Sure, sure.”

The hot steamy water enveloped him like an old friend, running down the front of his face and chest, onto his belly and covering his naughty bits with a warm wet cloak of soap-enhanced goodness. He stayed in that shower for a good 15 minutes, revisiting in his mind every detail of the previous evening's happenings, all the sights, sounds, smells, conversations and wonderful memories it evoked. He could scarcely believe how fate seemed to have smiled upon him for once. As he stood lost in his reverie the shower door slid open and there stood Stephanie, towel in hand.
His first instinct, like most men would, was to cover his manhood with his hand. He was slightly alarmed that Stephanie's response was to let out a small giggle.

“Oh, come on, Don. I'm not a girl anymore. I've seen one before.” Her tone was a tad schoolmarmish, which he found mildly arousing.

“Yeah, but you've not seen mine before, I mean, a little prior warning would have been nice.”

“I just wanted to see the look on your face.”

After a moment he could not help himself. He stepped out of the shower, made to grab the towel, but moved close to her, his damp chest rubbing against her blouse and the next thing they knew they were entwined, lips locked, heading towards her room, a moving pink mass of arms, legs and hair, tripping and fumbling until they fell onto her bed.
It was there that they stayed until about 5 p.m., until they finally decided that they were both hungry and it was time to eat.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


A teacher says she had to give up teaching because she developed nodules on her vocal cords, caused, she says, by constantly having to raise her voice. She has been awarded over £150,000 in compensation. People are idiots.

A survey of 17 large towns found that the stupidest town in Britain was Swindon, in Wiltshire. Participants were asked a variety of fairly straightforward questions such as how many legs an octopus has, and according to the man in charge of the survey, "You wouldn't believe the answers we got. How many animals have 13 legs?" People are idiots.

Apparently Michael Jackson has a new single out, made from vocal tracks that were left in the care of producer Teddy Riley. Trouble is, several family members say it's not Michael's voice on the record. I say - who cares?! People are idiots.

A five-year old boy, who has little or no concept of gender roles and sexuality, wanted to dress up as Daphne from 'Scooby-Doo'. What's the problem with that? He wanted to dress like that for his school's Halloween Parade. So he went to school dressed like that. Again, what's the problem? Nothing, except for the attitudes of other children, and adults, who jeered him and made negative comments. And then his stupid mom went and blogged about it. I don't know where I stand on this one. By all means let your kids dress up and express themselves, but have the good sense to realise that not everyone in this society is an enlightened peace-loving individual, and in fact some are outright assholes. But it is a double standard, isn't it? If a 24-year-old man went to a Halloween party dressed as a woman, that'd be fine, in fact we'd all be laughing our socks off at the funny man, wouldn't we? But a 5-year old boy, oooh, nonononooo. Grr. People are idiots.

Apparently 43 percent of British local councils are considering cutting back on street lighting to cut back on costs. Opponents say that this could bring about a rise in crime. Duh. If crime rises, then of course more public money will be wasted on police and corrections. People are idiots.

Some plonker found a piece of promo footage for a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film that contains a sequence of a woman walking across the screen with her hand to her ear as if talking on a cellphone. Now all these other dimwits are suggesting that this person is some sort of 'time-traveller' or even an alien. Look, even if someone could travel backwards through time to 1928, would they be able to use a cellphone? And who would they call even if they could? I know people are thick, but this takes the biscuit. No cellphone networks in 1928, no cellphones, ergo, no way. People are idiots.

A 63-year old man from Boulder, CO shot himself in the leg with a 9mm bullet while sleepwalking. Apparently he regrets keeping a gun by his bed. Well, duh. People are idiots.

George Dubya Bush went on telly Monday night in the States in an hour long interview with that boob Matt Lauer. He is as delusional as ever. He is convinced he did everything right and does not own up to any mistakes. He thinks that picking Dick Cheney as a running mate in 2000 was "a very good" decision, and refusing Donald Rumsfeld's resignation in the spring of 2004 "was the right decision." Waterboarding wasn't torture "because the lawyers said it was legal" (and because "I'm not a lawyer"), he "really didn't" have any doubts about the pre-war intelligence on Iraq and WMD, and "we just didn't have any solid intelligence" warning that 9/11 was possible. Oh, and the idea that his administration could have done something between 2001 and 2008 to prevent the Wall Street meltdown? "I frankly don't think this was a crisis of a lack of regulation." Some people are idiots, and then there's Dubya.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Musical Youth

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just jealous that a 10-year old has a record in the charts and I don't, but I am afraid that I just cannot stand Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair", a pre-pubescent paean to the joys of spinning your head around really fast (which, if I tried it, let's face it, would probably put me in the ER in minutes) and letting your long locks whip around like some hairy helicopter blade.

While this may be, in young Ms. Smith's mind, a worthwhile topic to discuss with others of her peer group, I feel that it should be a topic best discussed in the schoolyard as opposed to the Top 40 charts. Don't get me wrong, I am sure she is a pleasant enough young lady, and her parents are both fine individuals, as is her brother, but I really cannot see that she would have made the charts if her dad wasn't Will Smith.

Let's just take a gander at some of the, ahem, lyrics, shall we?

Don't let haters keep me off my grind What does that mean?
Keep my head up and I know i'll be fine
Keep fighting until I (yea)
Am down and I feel like giving up

I whip my hair back and forth
I whip my hair back and forth (just whip it)
I whip my hair back and forth
I whip my hair back and forth (whip it real good)
I whip my hair back and forth
I whip my hair back and forth (just whip it)
I whip my hair back and forth
I whip my hair back and forth (whip it real good)
I whip my hair back and forth
I whip my hair back and forth (just whip it)
I whip my hair back and forth
I whip my hair back and forth (whip it real good)

I really despair sometimes. Let's just hope that if any more, er, tracks are forthcoming from Ms. Smith, she has the good sense to employ songwriters who do not have "songwriter for Barney the Dinosaur" on their resume. She's not going to be 10 forever, so a little imagination and maturity in her lyrics might be an idea. Still, as ridiculous a song as it appears to be, it's insanely catchy... unfortunately I don't seem to be able to find the video on YouTube as I'm in the UK, and for some reason Willow's channel is not available to us Brits, even though we buy her records and watch the video on TV. Here's a TV performance from the Ellen Show, and I guarantee you will either be pulling out your hair afterwards or singing it all day tomorrow.

Earlier, while skipping from channel to channel in the company of 17-year-old Jack, I was subjected to something that to me is quite odd - British rap. Yes, rap is big in this country, but when you see a video that looks like it could be any other rap/hip-hop joint and the black dude opens his mouth and starts sounding like Snoop Dogg meets Dick Van Dyke, it's a bit jarring. I'm still not used to it. Let me show you what I mean...

In fact, ever since Corinne Bailey Rae's big hit of a few years ago, Put Your Records On, it seems to have been in vogue not to disguise your English accent when you sing, and in fact to exaggerate it so that you sahnd like ya come from the East End of Ol' Lunnon Tarn, innit, blud? So we now have all these singers like Eliza Doolittle, Lily Allen  and Kate Nash going for that cute-English-girl-next-door-with-attitude sound. It's a bit bizarre.

Used to be the only singer anyone could think of that didn't adopt a North American inflection when he sang was Morrissey, or perhaps John Lydon. Now the place is crawling with 'em.

Anyhoo, that's about all I have to say today. Sorted, mate. Back of the net.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Be My Guest

Well, I was gonna write something today, but I can't think of anything. So why don't you head on over to my friend Clark's blog and check out today's guest blogger... it's you-know-who...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Life, etc.

I am sitting here on the bed, well, I say sitting but I am in fact lounging. Feet on the pillow and resting on my elbows, laptop balanced on the far left corner. Got that picture in your mind? Good. I'm not sure what to write about, but as we've seen in the past, some of my best posts start out in just such a fashion. A lot of stuff has been going on recently and maybe I'll just start out cataloguing them and see where that takes me. OK?

The thing I need to talk about first and foremost is my girlfriend. As avid readers of this blog will no doubt remember, I am in love with my lovely Laura, who funnily enough was my girlfriend back in 1987/88.
Adorable, no?
After I arrived back on these shores in January (has it really been that long?) I embarked on a quest to rekindle friendships and have a few beers with old friends, which I did. One day I received a message from Laura's daughter Amy on Facebook, and soon I was visiting Laura and family. After several visits and many long talks on the computer, Laura and I realised we were still in love with each other after all these years. We have been dating steadily for a couple of months and I am now at the point where I am due to move in with her. 

Jobwise I just finished my stint at Smallhythe Place when it closed for the season on October 31st. So now I am seeking gainful employment. I cannot remember the name of the person that said it, but there is a well-known quote that is quite apropos: "I used to think I wanted a career. Now I realise I just want a paycheck." That about sums up my attitude toward work in general. I think I'd probably be bored out of my skull if I had the same job year in year out. I'd rather do lots of different things and create good relationships and memories than be tired of the same faces day after day.

My dear daughters are growing big and strong and beautiful and I hear from them and their mother frequently, all is well within their camp and I am happy for them.
Charlie is studying in college and getting more handsome, like his dad, every day. He's a talented musician, too, and he just turned the ripe old age of 20. He lives with his grandparents who are still adventuring the world.

It is now the best season of all, Autumn. A very busy time for me traditionally, lots of birthdays and holidays.
It all kicked off in October with my son Charlie's birthday (see previous paragraph), then my Uncle Steve (who lives in Oz) on the 20th, then my friend Kev for whom I baked a decadently gooey chocolate cake, then Halloween, which is also my daughter Sue's birthday. Then we have a busy time at the end of November - my daughter Emily will be 11 on the 22nd, my dad's birthday is the 23rd, my friend Nick on the 24th, and me on the 25th. This will be the first November in 19 years that I have not celebrated Thanksgiving too, so it'll be weird. But I'll manage, I suppose. I always roll with it. 

That's the key to life, I think, to roll with it and not sweat the small stuff. Oh, and by the way, I tried reading the book Don't Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, and it was OK, I mean, most of what he said seemed like common sense, but then about halfway through he had to go and bring God into it, and that is when I just switched off. It's OK.... the book was getting to be a bit 'up itself', you know? So even if he hadn't mentioned the G-word, I was getting fed up with it anyway. I just had a hard time believing this guy was as nice and calm as he was making out. I was longing for him to talk about getting really angry, just once, just enough to let you know the guy was actually human. Instead every difficulty was met with a placidness usually associated with a statue of an iceberg. My advice, if you haven't read it, is... don't waste your money (unless it's a gift, in which case, take it back to the store and buy something cool for yourself instead, like a nice teapot and some teabags, then go home and make a nice brew).

If you want a better book, try Charlie Brooker's Dawn Of The Dumb or Benjamin Hoff's The Tao Of Pooh. Both thumping good reads.

Anyway, that's my little update on things, a nice random read, and I think it turned out pretty well, don't you?
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