... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Friday, December 31, 2010

161: the Love of a Man for his Laptop

When is my laptop not my laptop?  When my fiancée has commandeered it to look at wedding venues, guest lists and house prices.  It’s like a paralysed limb; I can see it but no matter how much I twitch, wiggle and will I cannot get any functionality from it.  It is over there on the other side of the room happily being browsed as I am reduced to using my parent’s old desktop with the clunky keys and the weird square screen.  Everything is wrong.  This edition of Word doesn’t have the word count where my eyes keep looking for it, the browser is Firefox not Chrome and the desktop is a hideous mess of files without folders and redundant shortcuts.

When did my laptop become our laptop?  Has it inadvertently become her laptop in her confused mind?  Well it’s time I laid down the law, took a stand and claimed back my laptop… I’ll wait until she’s fallen asleep then sneakily retrieve it under cover of darkness.  Yes, that’s the plan.  In the meantime I’ll just have to get used to this bizarre old box that my parents call a computer.  It stands on the floor beside the desk and the speakers make an unholy humming from a loose connection.  

My dad is computer illiterate and needs to keep everything he ever might use sitting on the desktop where he can see it.  Nothing is ever deleted and useless install .exe files sit on the desktop assumed to be massively important.  Whatever you do don’t delete install_flash_player.exe; it’s a support file, and deleting it would cause the whole computer to collapse inward and break and crash.  And I don’t want to accidentally delete the internet.  And how do I record to Spotify and magnify SopCast and put FamilyTreeMaker on?  Tsch, parents eh!  What are they like?  Confused wrinkly luddites slipping into the habits of the elderly, that’s what. 

A couple of hours have passed and, glory be, I have my laptop back.  It was a happy reunion featuring ecstatic rousing music and a slow motion run towards one another across a sandy white beach.  We clasped each other tightly and swore never to be separated until the day we die, or at least until I get a better one.  We share a dirty little secret; shhh while I tell you about it.  I’ve just downloaded the first of the new Telltale episodic adventure game: Back to the Future.  That’s the first of five monthly episodes from the makers of three amazing series of Sam n Max games and one of Monkey Island.  And I’ll say it again; it’s Back to the Future.

So, lights out, earphones on and it’s time to get my geek on with some serious point n click adventure gaming, Telltale style. Oh yeah!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

160: The inevitable conclusion here >

My invisible brain slug has again eaten the juices from the portion of my head usually charged with remembering to write the blog, so I best just wing it and hope I can get to the end on the last dregs of fuel.  Along the route I will leave a trail of mixed metaphors, broken promises, empty McDonald’s boxes and ugly chunky overlong sentences that seem to have completely changed the topic of discussion at some point between the beginning and the end.  Whatever happens, don’t you worry your pretty little head; I’m wearing goggles (for gogging), rubberised booties and a big purple helmet.  I’m fully protected against any danger or accidental indiscretion.

And now we begin a gentle roll over the crest of the hill before gathering speed, hitting bumps, wobbling slightly before losing our balance and disgracefully arse over tit over ankle over elbow, crashing and falling down and down and down.  Eventually we come to a rest, broken battered and bruised, but where we want to be at the bottom of the hill.  We try to stand but the loose wobbly and crunchy sacks that used to be our legs are no longer viable as transport.  All we can do is curl into a ball and hope the breakages heal before infection or starvation claims us for the Grim Reaper.

But on the bright side, it might all turn out jolly.  I or we might finish this blog without tragedy or idiocy or offensive jabbering nonsense, and then we can all just get along with our lives splashing and flapping in a happy stream of peace.  Wouldn’t it be lovely?  Aye, t’would that, t’would that.  You’re not wrong there.

Sometimes exhaustion and that desperate need for sleep cannot be fought any longer.  My shitty fucking day job has one of these employee handbooks full of the tedious and the bleeding obvious.  One of the rules forbids falling asleep at work.  It warrants immediate dismissal.  I’ve never fallen asleep at work before, but I expect it would be a sign of something going wrong in my life, physically or psychologically.  I’m not at work now, and can barely string a thought together.  In fact I can barely lift my head above keyboard-level and my eyelids above pupil-level.

In summation today’s blog started off pretending not to be about being tired, but hiding the fact poorly.  Continued with a oddly depressing little story about falling down a hill and injuring oneself, made even more confusing by the first-person plural pronoun.  Then there was another bit, and then it sort of dragged on until the inevitable conclusion here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

159: Measuring micro-twitches and lurking in darkness

My public list of blogspot followers shows I have ten acolytes, yet the back end mysteriously states the number at eleven.  This extra follower remains unknown and invisible.  When following a blogspot blog using google you can choose to follow privately, but why would you?  Who is this creepy spy; who are you and what do you want from me!?  A while back I had a wee bit of a laugh at those twats in the Scientology department of the planet Earth’s wide range of oddness.  Those litigious yobbos have a habit of lurking online and bullying the weakest critics and satirists they can find, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they have aimed their weird pseudo-religious intelligence-gathering laser beams through my window and onto my keyboard in order that they may collect my offline keystrokes.  They’ll be watching me through reflective surfaces and decoding my thoughts by measuring micro-twitches in my irises and eyelids.

No, of course not; what childishly silly paranoia!  Day dreams and night terrors, that’s all that is.  My clandestine observer is not that petty international cabal of crappy sci-fi writers and loopy Hollywood wackos.  The Pioneer plaque was a beautifully designed illustration of man, woman, our solar system and its place in the galaxy and some basic information about binary and hydrogen atoms.  It was launched into the depths of space in 1972 and again in ’73.  Its wishful purpose was to communicate some basic information about the nature of humanity and, should it ever be discovered by intelligent advanced extraterrestrial life, perhaps facilitate communication between our species.  It seems more than plausible to me that we are in the process of contact being made, and our advanced alien counterparts have chosen a more contemporary method of harvesting information.

I am among those chosen, as a sample of Earth life, to be monitored in secret.  They may come in peace or they may come to lay waste to our beautiful planet, but either way I am happy to help with one proviso.  I know you are reading this, E.T., and I just want a sign to indicate your answer to this simple question: Has your great alien species come up with anything as inane, vicious and tawdry as the ‘Church of Scientology‘?  If you want my help your answer to that question must be ‘No, of course not; we’re not stupid, you know’.  If that is the case, Vulcan brethren, come down and say hi.  Follow my blog publically and proudly, instead of lurking in darkness of private following.  Bring your advanced logic to cure our species of war, racism, bullying, hate, religion, famine, injustice and Scientology.  Ironically use your Vulcan example to bring humanity to the human species.  And stop watching me in secret, it feels so dirty.

the Pioneer plaque

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

158: drooling, impulsive and bump on the head

Thank the little baby Jesus fucking Christ I don’t have Sky at home.  I’ve been happily engaged to be married to my true love for a little over two days, and already I’m choked to the eyeballs on wedding television.  There are actually entire channels (yes plural) devoted to programmes about two people saying ‘I do’ in endlessly slight variations of the same event.  Everyone thinks their wedding is unique and special, and to them it is, but to anyone looking at the sky they are all the same.  It’s like the so-called races of humanity: all have minor superficial differences, but remember to focus on more important things and under the surface the genetic differences are amazingly insignificant.

Seemingly, as with weddings.  Some people get married in a building, some in a slightly different kind of building, others not in a building but near a building or in a temporary structure.  Some people exchange small rings of precious metal which they wear as ornamentation on their left hand; actually they all do that.  Some women wear a long white dress; some wear a slightly shorter ivory coloured dress.  For some entirely inexplicable reason, possibly to do with a childhood bump on the head, some people choose to have their wedding filmed for a low budget TV show, and have arbitrary restrictions put on the planning of their special day. 

Filling my soon-to-be in-laws Sky+ box is a programme called Don’t Tell The Bride in which the bride is kept alone and isolated for the month before her wedding and the groom is given £12,000 and told to sort the whole fucking lot out by himself.  Mostly they give it a good shot but inevitably, being the drooling impulsive cock-lead button-pushing obsessive tit-watchers that we all are, they have at least one fit of mania.  Like trying to design the dress by themselves, or moving the best man into the house and imbibing nothing but beer and Dominos for a month, or gambling most of the money away, or buying expensive plane tickets to Las Vegas and using the last bag of pennies to pay for the rest of the wedding.  Some of these ideas are not so disastrous, but others can and do fry the brains of their poor wing-clipped brides.

Now I am engaged I am duty bound to sit still and shut up while women I barely know attempt to enforce random traditions that they can only explain with the words ‘that’s the way it always is’.  Apparently wedding invitations are supposed to be sent out by and from the bride’s parents, not actually saying the names of the wedding couple on them.  Well not on my watch.  This clearly makes no sense and simple tradition cannot be used to justify or explain something that clumsy and unnecessary.  In many parts of the world it’s tradition to mutilate the genitals of baby girls, but somehow tradition cannot adequately justify this abomination.  The point I just failed to make there, with that ugly, unnecessary and imbalanced image was just that tradition is not a good enough reason to do something.  If a tradition is harmless and fun it might be nice to do it, but if you can think of a better way to do it, do it your own way.  Other times traditions might be actively annoying, stupid or harmful in which case it might be a good idea to give it a miss.

And we haven’t even started with the debacle of explaining our secular wedding to my fiancée’s elderly Irish Catholic relatives yet...

Monday, December 27, 2010

157: a brief bit of personal exposition

I really need a lengthy, lucid, insightful and original post to bring the standards back up, but unfortunately exhaustedly stuffing myself with more booze and delicious food, followed by a stressful surreal game of Trivial Pursuit and my girlfriend-who-is-now-my-fiancée’s mum and sisters’ unintelligible group screaming and giggling, is not great preparation for a session of clear thinking.  In a brief bit of personal exposition, yes I said fiancée; I am now engaged.  In a fit of cheese I proposed on Christmas day, so my fiancée could be amongst her family to celebrate.  So, congratulations to us both, and beware future blog posts may included soppiness, but are most likely to be petty complaining about bridal magazines piling up all around the flat.

I’m tempted to write a list of all my presents received but realise that would be tedious for the reader, self-indulgent and bordering on obsessive compulsive.  All considered I can’t see any reasons not to except for the fact that it would mean crossing half the room to retrieve the bags or exercising my short term memory.  I’m not prepared to do either of these things, so no list today.  I did however get the DVD of Frank Sidebottom’s Fantastic Shed Show which I can’t wait to watch, Isaac Asimov’s complete collection of Robot stories, two cartoon books by Matt Groening, and another volume of H.P. Lovecraft shorts.  Brilliant; I’m in book heaven.

Years back from now confused biographers (writing about their favourite subject: me) will look back on today’s blog post and wonder what the fuck I am doing writing about the books and DVDs I got after skimming so quickly over the revelation of my engagement.  A couple of days ago I quoted Stewart Lee who, when talking about comedy, said the last taboo was trying to do something sincerely and well.  Well, for me perhaps the last taboo is revealing deep personal emotions and feelings to the uncaring world via this outlet.  In rare moments I might drunkenly through an arm over a friend and declare my feelings, but expressions of love have not found their way into this blog as of yet.  (Unless you count my love for Monster’s Inc, Tabasco sauce, 90’s metal, of various comedians...)  The taboo will surely be broken soon, but not today.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

156: ...and a happy new year

What am I supposed to put now... it’s pushing 3am, I was rudely awaken at 7am, plied with presents and booze for many many hours, stuffed with ham, turkey, sprouts and stuffing, involved in board games and bored games, and displayed to the neighbours in silly hats and jumpers.  Now I’m pissed as a sprouty fart, sodden in Bacardi, champagne and (weak, flavourless) American beer, more interested in snuggling and reading one of my many new books and collapsing into a sudden sleep.  I’ve recently been mocked for my English accent by my girlfriend’s pissed wee brother, whose indefinable Belfast trawl suddenly became a startlingly accurate Lancashire/Manchester accent.  Suddenly I could understand him; only 18 and he’s learning to speak properly.  He’s got one up on most of his country-folk.

Anyway, friendly racism aside, what the blinking fuck am I doing writing a blog on (way passed) Christmas day?  I’ve got personal and private, yet extremely exciting, news to reveal but the blog is not the place.  If you are important enough to find out, you will before I start referring to it casually.  Family have been told, and some friends know.  But enough about that... whatever it is.  Facebook status’ will soon be changed.

I’ve got sputum to cough and pages of Charlie Brooker ranting about ten-year old TV to read and really cannot be feckin’ ersed wit thes wee shite...  Christmas and drunken exhaustion: need I give any more explanation as to why I am about to caffle and abruptly end this blog in the middle of a    

Friday, December 24, 2010

155: The last taboo of comedy is...?

Obsessive blog writing over Christmas whilst staying in someone else’s house is shaping up to prove harder than I expected.  I’ve spent the eight or so hours helping prepare tomorrow’s dinner and tonight’s party food, as I consume more incessant Christmas music than I have ever heard in my life.  And as far as days go it really couldn’t have been more comfortable; beer, cheeky mouthfuls of mozzarella, chorizo and bruschetta; watching a gigantic turkey having its skin baggyfied then forcibly stuffed with pounds of pork and spice.  Good stuff.

Now I must force this blog out as quickly as possible and at the same time take the opportunity to listen to a brief slab of sane-maintaining non-Christmas music.  Nick Cave’s Grinderman and the infinitely incredible (I don’t want you to) Set Me Free should do the trick; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the simple but wildly expressive guitar solos on this track cannot be matched by anyone.  I originally only had it on a downloaded pre-release copy which I listened to for years before hearing the post-release on spotify.  The pre~ had none of the amazing lead guitar parts, and all these years (like, one and a bit) I had being missing out on the complete tracks.  Doh, what a dolt.

So what to write about... tum tee tum, do do diddly diddly do doooh...  Maybe I’ll just put up links to previously well written posts and hope the essence of good bit seeps through into today.  What’s the html for that?  Err, where was I?  Lost in amongst any amount of ideas that can be prefixed with the word self- no doubt.  So let’s try and look outside as opposed to constant inward and shoe-ward gazing.  There is snow everywhere, and today the sky flirted with dropping a bit more.  Very cheeky, don’t you think?

Who can be bothered blogging when there is music to be heard, food to be gorged and other things to do, see, hear, observe, absorb, engorge, excrete and fall over?  Less importantly I recommend to anyone still reading that there are certainly better ways to spend your Christmas Eve.  Close the tab, and do something festive like watch Tim Minchin’s Christmas song White Wine in the Sun or something fun like watch Tim Minchin Prejudice.

This really may be the most honest beautiful Christmas song of all time; celebrating the true meaning of Xmas - the warmth and safety that only family can provide:

In If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask for One Stewart Lee states that the last taboo of comedy is someone trying to do something sincerely and well.  He then goes on to break that taboo by playing a cover of Galway Girl.  Tim and Stewart are at the forefront of creative and innovative comedy, it's true, it's true.  I would repost the Stewart Lee song, but it comes at the end of an extremely long context building routine that needs to be seen to really help the song release its power.

154: Stupid computer and weird free crap merchants

Enough of the endless struggle with inadequate computer ware.  It’s taken me half an hour to turn the laptop on, fighting unnecessary start-up programs and unexpected grinding halts, only to be punched to the ground by the blue screen of death, not once, but indeed yes twice.  Oh Lord, what is a man to do?  Christ, why hast thou forsaken me and my two year old Windows Vista HP set-up?  The blogging momentum has long gone after this computer strife bollocks.  I was all excited about Christmas and Xmas and all that, ready to tap out a jolly nice ode to tradition and extended family and honest to goodness good times, but now thanks to inexplicable hardware headaches and software stress all I am able to provide is a bilious bulge of bullshit (and some bad alliteration).

I’m in Belfast where the snow is ankle deep and the roads are an indefinable stretch of grey sludge.  We are her for Christmas, not for troubleshooting.  There was too Christians (presumably they were Christians; they were all but labelled as such) standing in the town centre by a small table sparsely displaying books and pamphlets.  White A4 paper was printed with the words “Bibles gospels free”.  Usually the word free brings people flocking.  I was massively tempted to get a free book and copies of the weird illustrated Christian tracts they couldn’t give away.  What stopped me from going up and receiving my freebies was the terrifying sight of the two people giving them away.  A lazy way of describing them (which is all I can muster) would be ‘like something out of the Addams Family’.  Not like any of the main family members who enjoy the occasional evil (or even lustful) smile, but like Lurch or any other silent unsmiling background lurker.

These two women stood bolt upright, uncommunicating (with uncharacteristic good humour spellchecker has just tried to turn uncommunicating into excommunicating), unsmiling, entirely un festive, not a hint of the joyous or a jot of the triumphant... These peddlers of free gospels were terrifying devils incarnate.  I wanted my free stuff (to add to my collection of religious ephemera), but these were easily the most unapproachable people I have ever had the misfortune to be glared at by.  I felt as though if I had tried to speak or reach for my free book, clawed hands would have shot out from the folds of their heavy coats, tearing my veins from my wrists and using them as rope to draw me into the pits of hell.  All in all, I judged it not worth the risk. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

153: Ulster Bank versus Bank of England

Feeling festive and tired... both of those words are obvious euphemisms for drunk.  A particular kind of warm and appealing drunk; Guinness at the airport, whiskey on the plane (served from a sachet like tomato ketchup), and too many large glasses of red wine at the in-laws (can I call them in-laws yet?  Not sure, but can’t think of a single word meaning ‘girlfriend’s family’).  Over in the land where Sterling is issued by the Bank of Ulster, and other such imaginary institutions. 

I’m looking at an Ulster Bank £20 note (what will they think of next!), and it really is the most boring design of ‘paper’ currency I have ever seen.  The recto is passable with its trinity of views (Giant’s Causeway, and two other places... please tell me what they are so I don’t remain ignorant), but the verso (anyone appreciate my pretentious use of obscure printing and art terminology?)  is almost a blank piece of paper.  It’s mostly un-printed, has no layering, background or foreground; it’s laughable in its simplicity.  It’s a cliché but it really does look like Monopoly money.  For reference to what money should look like see the Bank of England £10 note and its noble portrait of great Briton Charles Darwin.  Has Northern Ireland produced no great minds or achievers of that calibre?  George Best doesn’t count (see Ulster Bank fiver).

A quick look at wikipedia’s page on Pound sterling shows Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man can issue decent quality, fairly well designed, proper-looking banknotes.  So why has Ulster failed so massively with this weird looking ugly minimalist monster?  Surely the six Ulster counties comprising Northern Ireland can muster the historical and cultural importance to fill both sides of a pocket-sized piece of paper.  Anyway what gives me the right to be so snotty about such an insignificant thing?  Am I arrogantly perching on Darwin’s shoulder, like a stuffed finch, and pretending to cultural superiority based on one man’s greatness and my wonderful sub-countries steadfast foresight in championing him?  A google search for an image of the Ulster £20 I am holding turns up nothing.  There seems to be a million different styles and designs of note issued in Ulster by various banks.  It seems like anyone who fancies a go can issue currency in Northern Ireland.

Last time I was here there were amazing plastic see-through fivers.  I have no idea if they are still doing the rounds, nor do I know what the point of them was/is.  Surely it can’t be a water-proofing thing since ‘paper‘ money already is water-proof, being made as they are mostly out of cotton.  Was it just a brave if misguided attempt at seeming more futuristic than the rest of Britain (and by that I mean of course England)?

So I arrive in Northern Ireland, have a nice relaxing evening, drinking eating and chatting, and what is the first thing I think of doing?  Slagging of the place in a public forum... what is wrong with me?

Best note ever.  You are allowed to disagree, if you want to be wrong.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

152: Absolute zero

Shivering on the electric blanket; every time a piece of flesh peaks out from beneath the covers, the frosty teeth in the air bite away chunks.  My fingers are worn down to raw nubs, like half eaten Mini Milks.  The drain for the kitchen sink seems to have frozen and is causing a leak from the washing machine outlet.  Droplets of liquid nitrogen hang in the air, feeling like burning coals as the freeze my skin.  The radiators can barely muster the effort to gasp out one degree centigrade, and my toes snap and drop off one by one.

I awoke from a dream world of a snowball Earth where frozen seas create a new icy supercontinent.  Snowmen had colonised all the frozen land and sea with vast sprawling megacities, and all vestiges of humanity lay forgotten under ten kilometres of ice and snow.  Sentient snowmanity dominates and past present and future shows no sign of things ever being different.  Measurements such as centigrade and Fahrenheit are long forgotten and would be impractical, focused as they are around unbearably hot temperatures; 0°c is equal to the fatally hot 273 Kelvin, the point where snowmanity and all snowman civilisation turns into lifeless liquid water.

my street as viewed from the window
The concept of Absolute Zero is worshipped as a god-like ideal in the same way the Borg revere the Omega particle.  Pure bars of the noble metal Rhodium sit on altars, contained within a field and cooled to less than 1 K.  Snowman scientists reach out to the Boomerang Nebula as the coldest naturally occurring place in the currently observable universe, and faithful snowmen bow their heads to the ground and weep joyful tears as they contemplate eternal life in the Nebula.  Religious texts speak of a singularity of Absolute Zero located in its centre.  Absolute Zero is said to grant wishes, cause natural disasters, occupy our thoughts and judge us after death.

I thought it a fleeting dream until I felt the encroaching cold and looked out of the window to see my ‘dream’ was a terribly accurate premonition.  Car bumpers are bearded with icicles and the pavement edges deeper down as the ice piles higher.  My insignificant and broken street has never seen a highway gritter, and soon it will be too late.

Blah blah cold, blah blah made up stuff about blah blah cold.  It’s about time I got up, put some hot water down the sink, sorted out the blockage, do the fucking dishes, tidy the flat, do some packing for tomorrow (fingers crossed for the flight), visited my friends and newly crawling godson, had a Christmas themed drink and all the other stuff.  Right; blog done for the day.  One chore down, a million more to complete.

151: in the year 2525 if man is still alive

Blah blah blibbidy-blibbety blahdi-etcetera

Why do I do it to myself; this blogging enterprise?  Must I do it every day, or can I just do one or two every month or five?  What will happen to my dedication when I am on holiday or if I ever end up seriously ill in a hospital bed after a tragic accident with a rhubarb and a bucket of chicken?  Will I still be sitting up in bed, early in the morning or late at night, churning out words by the paragraph-load with a saline drip in one hand and a martini shaken not stirred in the other?

If I can’t concentrate on form and content because my kidneys are failing after my legs have been crushed beyond recognisable shape by aeroplanes falling in the 2012 apocalypse, will I still have the requisite concentration to spew two or three words, rearrange them into one of the limited themes I write on, and then click ‘post’?  Will I know what is going on, who I am and what I going on about?  War; what is it good for?  Poetry, art, population control, science, technology, economics, history, film, computer games.

If WWIII kicks off (ignoring the fact that we have certainly had other World Wars of various descriptions since 1945, just not on Western European soil so they don’t count) and I am conscripted to the frontline, will I still be blogging away on a daily basis?  Revealing little clues about our secret missions; crawling through the muddy trenches as the world comes down around me, writing up post number 2525 if man is still alive?  In the year 2525, if I am still alive, if my downloaded computer mind can contrive to compose its own byline; my brain inside a jar, surviving so far into the future – will I still be excreting written words, shaping language into turds, and blahing blahing blah blah?

Blahdy-bla di-Blah Blah Blah.  Here hare here:

Monday, December 20, 2010

150: Ticky Tacky

Just one more day at work, stretching out further ahead than I care to contemplate, and then I’m away for Christmas.  Two long weeks of alcoholic inactivity, festivity and holly and ivy, and stuff.  It feels like weeks since I last wrote a blog post but it’s actually just one long day stretching behind me further than I can remember.  I can barely remember how to write; the basics of sentence structure, syntax, punctuation...  I’ve heard those words before, I think, but what do they mean?  Critical error, restart, sleep.  Can’t think cos I just have the refrain from Little Boxes going around and around in my head.  It’s a super smashing great old folk song I loved as a kid.  I never paid any attention to the words back then, but hearing it now the words are fantastic.

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky...
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All go to the university,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
And there's doctors and there's lawyers
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf-course,
And drink their Martini dry,
And they all have pretty children,
And the children go to school.
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
And they all get put in boxes
And they all come out the same.

And the boys go into business,
And marry, and raise a family,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.

I wasn’t going to print that all, but decided I might as well stick it in.  It has a hint of cloying cuteness, but it coyly masks a face twisted with rage against mediocrity.  Listen to the original (with spotify) by Malvina Reynolds here, and the fantastic cover by Devendra Banhart here.  PS Spotify Open is available again for free users; if you don’t have it get it here.  I think this song has leapt back into my mind, from the depths of my childhood, in response to the waves of identical over-privileged families that make up my customers... but enough about that...

So anyway what can I say that isn’t about work, the customers, my lack of brain activity, or sleep?  Shouldn’t talk about Christmas too much otherwise what would I write about on Christmas day?  I’ll just line up the American classics of folk and country on spotify and let my imagination take me to a time and place I know nothing about.   If I get to far away with my imagination there are always the adverts for Barclaycard and Wilkinson’s to remind me where I am and who I am.

Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos), Committed to Parkview, American Remains, Born and Raised in Black and White, Angels Love Bad Men, Desperados Waiting for a Train, Highwayman.  I don’t care what idiotic negative preconceptions you have about Country and Western; if you don’t love these songs your opinion on everything, from politics to food to your own family, is worthless.  I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard people say ‘I love all kinds of music, except Country and Western’.  Yeah, and I love all kinds of people, except you.  Country isn’t some bland uniform blob that can be entirely tarnished with the same crap.  It is massive, complicated, brilliant, rubbish, simplistic, varied and evolving.  If you say ‘I don’t like Country,’ what I hear is ‘I am entirely unable to make differentiations between good and bad in a genre I am unfamiliar with, and as a result must make a sweeping negative stereotype in an quivering cowering attempt to push my own inadequacies away from myself’.  Word for word; that is what I hear.  Word?

What was I talking about before that digression in defence of Country?  Oh yeah, nothing much.  Anyway, Country doesn’t need defending.  It can stand up for itself.  It’s not one of those weak house-of-card concepts that need defending by rabid fanatics terrified of dissidents and critics.  You know like religion or god.  Night.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

149: How to steal a car, and how to miss an open goal.

A young man: he thinks he is grown up but his perception of reality is hopelessly out of sorts.   He walks down the street, sauntering in his oversized beanie hat, big black puffer jacket with tiny burnt bomber holes in the sleeves and breast, and gray tracksuit pants tucked inexplicably into his socks.  The neighbourhood street is mildly bustling; Kevin is leaving his flat and heading into town to do some Christmas shopping, young mums bring their kids back from school, and a car sits unminded ambling to keep it ticking after a week of inactivity.  A car?  Keys in the ignition?  Engine running?  I could ignore it; I could take comfort in the fact a neighbour feels safe enough to pop inside and leave his car running an unattended; I could continue happily about my life without being a pathetic little petty criminal shitbag.  But I would but were it not for the fact that I am that afore mentioned sauntering shitbag.  An untended running car – it must be mine!

So what do I do?  Well obviously I jump in the seat, reverse halfway down the street smashing it into a parked car, before being torn out of the seat by the angry owner then running away like a wet kitten.  It’s not my fucking fault is it, the engine was already running; what the fuck do you expect me to do?  It’s like fucking entrapment or something innit, ya prick.  If you don’t want your fucking car nicked don’t leave it running outside your own house, in your own street, for a mere matter of fucking minutes.  I’m like fucking Al de Niro or John Capone or some shit.  I’ll fuck you up and that.  I don’t know; that might be how these broken brain criminal types think.

So I saw someone try and steal a neighbour’s car from outside my flat.  Despite the little scrota running down the street right at me I’m really struggling to remember the description.  I have to get on top of it because I am a witness and had to give my details to the police officer.  If I had thought I could have taken a photo of his face; he ran directly at me staring at me, and then pelted passed and into the depths of the estate.  Even my shitty old phone could have taken a half decent picture and I might have had some value as a witness.  Ignorant twats like that need to be taught a lesson – jumping into a random car that does not belong to you is not the way real people behave.  I blame the parents, etc. Hanging’s not good enough; it’s too kind, etc.

Such bafflingly inconsiderate behaviour is enough to push me past Hitler rightwing, past bin Laden rightwing, even beyond Richard Littlejohn rightwing, and into the realms of your dad rightwing.  Burn the lot of them, chemically castrate the poor, send the sub-workers back down into the hellish catacombs from whence they came, feed the poor ignorant wretches their own swill mixed with oats and saw dust, punish them for their inevitable crimes against decency before they are even past the age of criminal accountability.  Throw them in the pit.  That’ll learn ‘em.

Friday, December 17, 2010

148: First General Secretary of the WikiLeaks Party

Enemies of the free world:  Osama bin Laden, Islamic fascist and aspiring totalitarian.  Kim jong-Il, communist dictator and the living embodiment of Orwell’s Big Brother.  Robert Mugabe, insane money grabber, raping his country’s economy and impoverishing his people while making vast personal wealth.  They have many things in common.  They need complete control of their governments and their people.  They are monarchs, dictators and despots.  They stamp out free press, free speech, freedom of thought, of religion, of economy, and the freedom to live safely and unmolested.  But now the free world has a new enemy; one who seems to stand firmly and staunchly in favour of freedom of expression: Julian Assange, as the public face of WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks is good for the world.  Knowledge is power and the main reason governments would have for withholding knowledge is withholding power; to maintain the current social order, the status quo.  Allowing classified documents to surface publically may cause problems in the short term as exposed wrong-doers and liars desperately claw to maintain their privileged positions, but eventually this could lead to a utopia of real democracy and global transparency.  I’m seeing a sort of virtual democracy where every individual gets a say in the political process, as opposed to the current structure where democracy ends as soon as the ballots close.  I can see a united humanity created from happy equals, a moneyless society, pure egalitarianism; all we need to do now is create a warp drive, and wait for the Vulcans to make first contact.

WikiLeaks is not about Assange, and people calling for his freedom need to get their priorities right.  If he is suspected of rape, he needs to face the due process of law.  Don’t automatically assume that he is innocent and the victim of an international conspiracy to bring down WikiLeaks.  He is just one man; a man who has risen to fame and power incredibly quickly, and that can do weird and terrible things to a person’s sense of right and wrong.  If you defend him you intrinsically link him to WikiLeaks and increase the risk of his shame bringing down WikiLeaks.  Forget about him, don’t let a cult of celebrity form around WikiLeaks or he becomes just another dictator controlling the flow of information and manipulating the public and the power structure.

WikiLeaks is for the benefit of all of us, and is not personal private army of Julian Assange.  Why does it even need a public figurehead, director or spokesperson?  Can it be that it is a brand new, power-forming technique, and is merely a way of building a global tyranny ruled by First General Secretary of the WikiLeaks Party Assange?  Are those blindly leaping to his defence against the rape allegations just trying to protect themselves against the first wave of Great Purges?  It won’t be the first time that a popular movement by the people for the people fighting tyranny, has quickly turned into a personality cult controlling the masses for the personal benefit of the few.

Globalisation and mass communication brings many benefits, but among the negatives it brings new and as-yet unknown opportunities for tyranny and control.  Who knows: WikiLeaks may bring down the governments of the world, only to replace them with a single all-powerful celebrity cult – Julian Assange, Eternal First Citizen of the Planet WikiLeaks.  Let this be a warning: this terrible vision of the future will definitely happen.  As whistleblowers feel the need to throw sensitive information at him, he gets more and more powerful.  Someone from google gives him everyone’s internet history; elsewhere he acquires your bank details, ISP info, passport and identification, access to your medical records.  He is watching you.

In summation: WikiLeaks, probably good.  Blind support of Julian Assange, probably bad.  Don’t forget to think; question and mistrust those on the left, as well as the right.  And thus I end my preachy rant.


Support WikiLeaks if you fancy by donating here, but remember "every organisation rests upon a mountain of secrets".

147: Comedy, what's with that?

Then wot happened?  After the taiko drumming and the basketball and all other adventures I went Christmas shopping, then in a fit of sadomasochistic lust decided to watch Frankie Boyle’s If I Could Reach out Through Your TV and Strangle You, I Would.  What the fuck am I doing watching this shit when Tim Minchin is playing with an orchestra at the MEN Arena tomorrow night and I don’t have a ticket? 

I’ve not outright decided that I hate this Frankie Boyle show; the problem I have with it is (I think) the grinning braying whooping whistling hooting hollering morons that seem to comprise his audience.  As he reveals material about Jade Goody’s vagina getting tighter as she died of cervical cancer the audience wolf whistle and cheer as though he is just saying what we are all thinking.  For comedy that extreme surely the point is that nobody in their right mind would think like that, let alone approve of it en masse

It has an air of the rally about it; scary, dark, unwelcoming for the outsider, yet warm and cosy for the initiated and the brainwashed.  There is of course something appealing in saying the unsay-able, but the audience here don’t seem to perceive it that way.  There is no division and no dissenting voice, just fields of unquestioning mindless grazing.  I no longer know if Frankie Boyle speaks ‘ironically’, or if he is just a fascistic mean cunt bullying the weak, the defenceless and the easiest targets, or if he is playing a character that has got out of hand.

He is playing to his audience of one-dimensional, sub-literate wankers and possibly is one of them.  Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by genuinely funny comedy like Tim Vine, genuinely clever and articulate comedy like Tim Minchin, and genuinely artistic and thoughtful comedy like Stuart Lee, but Frankie Boyle just doesn’t seem to cut it.  A lot of his jokes are pretty funny, but without any sort of context they just become rude words, bullying, hate rallies and racism.

Is he trying to say something with his comedy; trying to make us think about the way we perceive the world?  Or is he just saying retards, spastics, pakis, mingers, dying bastards, abused children – aren’t the different and the unfortunate hilarious!?  Has he adopted the posturing and the pretences of the post-modern to disguise the fact that he is the new Bernard Manning, the new Chubby Brown?  Well, I don’t fucking know, do I?

If you want genuinely funny and intelligent comedy exploring the boundaries of taste go for Stuart Lee’s 90’s Comedian or Richard Herring’s Hitler Moustache.  The 'filth' or 'bad language' is part of a narrative exploring themes within the context of the overall show, and not just repetitive abuse.  For impassioned venting and potent attempts to be the change he wants to see I can’t beat Mark Thomas’s Dambusters.  And for hilarious, intelligent, brave and very funny pure comedy, you can’t beat a bit of Tim Vine:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kevin Bradshaw: my wikipedia page

Kevin Bradshaw

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kevin Bradshaw (born February 13, 1965 in Gainesville, Florida) is a retired American professional basketball player and current collegiate basketball coach. He is best known as theNCAA record-holder for most points in a single game against a Division I opponent.



[edit]College career

Kevin Bradshaw, a 6'6 guard, played high school basketball at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Florida. Playing alongside future NBA player Vernon Maxwell, Bradshaw averaged 30.6 points per game as a senior in 1983 and was named first team All-State[1].
Bradshaw turned down his hometown Florida Gators, instead opting to play for the smaller Bethune-Cookman University. After his sophomore season, he left the school and joined the Navy. After being stationed on a submarine tender near San Diego, Bradshaw began playing with the All-Navy team. He would go on to travel the country playing with the Navy All Stars and later the All-Armed Forces team, alongside future NBA star David Robinson. After getting permission from the Navy to once again pursue his education, Bradshaw was recruited by Gary Zarecky, head coach of the Gulls of U.S. International University, who saw a great fit for his team's fast-paced style of play[2]. It was the perfect match of player and system, as Kevin Bradshaw went on to lead the NCAA in scoring as a senior in 1990-91 at 37.6 points per game.
On January 5, 1991, Bradshaw made NCAA history as he scored 72 points in a 186-140 loss to Loyola Marymount University - a meeting of two teams specializing in that fast-break style of play. This performance broke Pete Maravich's NCAA record for most points scored against a Division I opponent. The previous record had been 69 points, set by Maravich in a 1970 game against Alabama[3].
Bradshaw ended his college career with 2,804 points - currently #15 on the All-time NCAA career scoring list.

[edit]College statistics

Season Averages
1983-84Bethune-Cookman Wildcats2836112.92.81.3--.435-.686
1984-85Bethune-Cookman Wildcats2751419.04.41.6--.430-.698
1989-90US International Gulls2887531.
1990-91US International Gulls28105437.


After failing to catch on with the NBA, Kevin Bradshaw played professionally in Israel for eleven years. He set numerous offensive records there, including once scoring 101 points in a game. After his playing career was over he became the first African-American coach in Israeli professional basketball history, guiding Hapoel Elat to a 58-39 record in three years with the team. In 2008 he returned to the US and spent two years as an assistant coach at NAIA school Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. He currently teaches and coaches at an inner-city high school in San Diego while running "Be the Best" basketball camps, which tours nationwide and internationally in Israel, providing instruction for children of all ages.