Monday, April 30, 2007
We travelled to Dundee to collect the rug we had ordered for the sitting room at Dungroanin', and I was sidetracked for an hour by a CD and record fair. I can never walk past an opportunity to bolster my collection of music at low prices, and was quite happy to spend an hour digging through boxes of CDs.
I managed to add a few choice tunes to my library, inluding two Black Crowes albums, The Rolling Stones' Emotional Rescue, Yield by Pearl Jam and The Beastie Boys' Licensed To Ill, all for two pounds apiece.
So, in a cheery frame of mind, Mrs Wife headed to the cinema. As we are members with unlimited passes, we never worry too much about what is on, and just tend to go with whatever is available.
Unfortunately, on this occasion that meant going to see The Bridge To Terabithia, a kid's film. It was advertised as having been made by the same team behind The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and the short description in the cinema made it sound like a similar premise.
Before I start complaining about the film, I do know that it is targeted at kids. But it was lame. There was little in the way of plot and the special effects left a lot to be desired. In fact, the only bright spots were the gorgeous Zooey Deschanel appearing as a guitar-toting music teacher and a cherubic performance from Bailee Madison.
But, one aspect of the experience WAS very enjoyable - kids' films get all the best trailers. There were no dull previews of the latest period drama or Nicholas Cage snooze-fest. The trailers we saw were for The Fantastic Four, Pirates of The Caribbean, Shrek and Harry Potter.
That really sums my cinema tastes up: the films I'm most eagerly awaiting this year are Spiderman 3, Transformers, Pirates of The Caribbean and Shrek The Third.
So what? I'm a big kid and I'm proud of it. And I'm still convinced that someday I'll grow up to be Han Solo.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Mrs Wife and I originally intended that yesterday evening would involve nothing more than an evening on the sofa watching a Spiderman double bill on DVD.
But instead, Baby Brother paid a visit and we ended up heading out in Montrose for a tour of the pubs and an impromptu house party in town.
This was followed by a viewing of American History X that ended for me at 4am this morning.
Rising at noon today was perfect timing for settling down to watch Everton v Man Utd on Sky Sports, when our original plan had been to go shopping in Dundee.
I'm all for this free-flowing life, where each day is tackled on its own merits and where we go where we please and do what we want.
If only it could continue indefinitely.
Friday, April 27, 2007
A male stripogram is to be charged for dressing as a police officer for his routine.
I realise that impersonating a police officer is a criminal offence, but it's not as if the guy was planning on arresting anyone or issuing speeding tickets. One big giveaway is that instead of saying 'Police' on his back, it says 'Stripper'.
In fact, the uniform he was wearing wasn't even going to stay on terribly long - such a short space of time that the real police officers were happy to watch the show.
What a complete waste of time, public money and police resources.
Unlike in India, where a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Richard Gere.
That sounds like a far better cause for the law enforcement agencies to pursue. While they're at it, the Indian authorities can also take steps to punish Gere's frequent crimes against humanity such as An Officer and A Gentleman, Pretty Woman and Unfaithful. And having him in court will give everyone another opportunity to have a little chuckle at the gerbilling story/urban legend.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Quite a few people are surprised by the distance I drive to and from work each morning - around 40 miles.
But the commute to work gives me a chance to wake up - it may not seem the best place to wake up, sat at the wheel of a car rattling along the dual carriageway at 70mph, but I don't mean it literally. It just gives me the opportunity to prepare myself for the day ahead.
The one thing that really annoys me about the drive into work is any point where I'm not moving. The feeling of frustration when I'm sitting in stationary traffic is unsufferable.
Last night, it took me 20 minutes to drive a mile to the place where I play football after work. Obviously, it would have been quicker to walk, but the football pitches are closer to home than my office, and I didn't fancy walking a mile after my second hour of football that afternoon.
But Aberdeen can be a hair-tearing place to drive. Plans are afoot for a new bypass around the city, but that won't really affect the areas that I pass through each morning and evening. What it will mean is lots of roadworks and detours.
Which means lots of sitting in traffic....thankfully Jim, the all-seeing individual in charge of the universe, has invented in-car CD players and the Arctic Monkeys, so all is not lost.
Whosoever points their browser in this direction at the right time will win a
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Cooper Temple Clause, otherwise known as The Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band On The Planet, are no more.
A statement from Dan Fisher, the band's guitarist and chief songwriter, was posted on their website today to confirm that the mighty Clause are no more.
Hopefully, all those involved will continue to write and record in their own inimitable style, as there's was a sound unlike any other.
On a happier note, the rain has stopped and I'm off to play football in ten minutes' time. And there's football on TV tonight as well.
Still, a minute's silence for the demise of the Clause is most definitely in order. No, scratch that - a minute's NOISE for the demise of the Clause is most definitely in order.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Bizarrely, despite living thousands of miles apart and having never met, they both picked exactly the same CD as their answer to question three.
Well, there's no accounting for taste....
Monday, April 23, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Basically, it takes the form of an interview, with the last person on the chain picking five questions. So, here are Ole Blue's questions and my answers:
1. If you could control your destiny, what would your destiny be? To live a long(ish) life in good health with my family and good friends and that, when the end comes, that it be quick and painless.
2. What is it about your life that you love? Living happily with my wife in our wonderful house and knowing how lucky I am to live where I do and in the style that I do.
3. What experience made you most humble? Travelling around South East Asia made me realise just how well off we are in the west. In Vietnam, we met children and made their day by stopping to talk to them and play football with them. In Thailand, we spent a few days trekking through the jungle north of Chiang Mai, where girls are expected to be pregnant with their second child by the time they are 17. It made me realise that, in comparison, we were just spoilt rich kids unwilling to grow up, having a great time touring countries far less wealthy than our own.
4. Where do you wish you could be right now? I'm tempted to say in bed, as it's only 8.15am and I'm in the office and still feeling the strain after playing football last night. But in the grander scheme of things, the one place I've visited that I love most is New York City, and more specifically Central Park. If I could pick somewhere I haven't been, I'd be tempted to say Tokyo.
5. If you were a child again what would you want to do the most? Enjoy the freedom of the summer holidays - a seemingly unfillable seven-week period that can be devoted almost entirely to playing football.
If anyone would like to be interviwed, here's how to keep the meme going:
Leave me a comment saying "Interview me." I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions. You will update your weblog with the answers to the questions, and let me know that you answered. If you don't have a blog, but would still like to play, I can send you the questions, and you can answer them in the comments. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
As the sun was beating down last Wednesday and Mrs Wife's parents were visiting Dungroanin' for the first time, it seemed like a good idea to take a walk up Glenesk to the Queen's Well.
It was a wonderful drive up the Glen, where my family lived for five of my teenage years, with the unseasonably warm sunshine allowing the scenery to look its best.
Upon arrival at Invermark, at the top of Glenesk, we decided to head straight for the Queen's Well, which is roughly 2.5 miles from the car park.
The only problem was that I was a tad hazy on the direction to take, as I hadn't visited the well since I was at primary school, and that wasn't yesterday.
So, our little party, accompanied by the in-laws' Scotty dog Islay, set out past Invermark Castle. Which, after five minutes of walking, I was fairly sure was the wrong path. Nevertheless, we kept on going, eventually arriving at the head of Loch Lee with its now dilapidated cemetery.
Having caught our breath and taken in the view, we returned to Invermark, having taken around an hour for the round trip.
Then, having found the correct path towards the Queen's Well, we set off again.
They say that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun - well, we're all Scottish, but we certainly felt the heat as we continued ever onwards towards the Queen's Well - never quite sure that we were on the right road this second time around, as you can't see the well until you are less than half a mile from it.
But eventually, hot and weary, we reached our goal. The Queen's Well was built to commemorate a visit by Queen Victoria in 1861, the year of Prince Albert's death. Apparently the Queen stopped at the well for a drink, which she reportedly found "most refreshing", and a 6m high stone crown was erected in her honour.
So, after spending about 10 minutes taking photos of the well, we headed back to the car, having hiked 7 miles in the baking heat.
Which I think more than compensates for the fact that I didn't play football at all last week.
As you can see from the photograph on the right, neither me nor Mrs Wife died during the lengthy walk - in fact, I would say that we look quite perky for having undertaken such a lengthy walk in the sun.
Islay struggled a bit more though - it must be tough being a foot high and having a thick black coat in that heat.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I heard a story a few years back about a train full of passengers travelling through a London suburb.
Apparently the train normally went rattling through this suburb really fast, but delays on the line meant that it was barely moving one day. All of the passengers on one side of the train who happened to look out the window were "treated" to the sight of a man, trousers and boxers around his ankles, enjoying the company of his pet goat on his allotment.
It seems that local police received around 20 calls from disturbed passengers reporting the man's activity.
I don't know, you head down to your allotment for a bit of peace and quiet and a quick fumble with your goat, and a trainload of strangers report you to the police. What's the world coming to?
As I mentioned in the previous post, I've been on holiday since Good Friday, a week that coincided with an early summer in Montrose.
The weather has been gorgeous, and Mrs Wife, her parents and I took the opportunity to take a walk up Glenesk in the glorious sunshine.
And then Mrs Wife and I headed to Liverpool for a weekend that included attending the Grand National and Everton's clash with Charlton Athletic.
I'll post properly on all of these activities as soon as I get a chance, but at the moment I'm back at work and staring at an inbox of 250 emails.
Hey, it's good to be back....
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Mrs Wife and I have been on holiday since Good Friday, and the sun has been beating down ever since.
Ideally, this would mean spending a whole week relaxing in my new hammock in my new garden, but things don't always work out in an ideal fashion.
Firstly, I HAVE a garden, which has vast lawns at front and rear. And this means that I have an atomic shedload of grass to cut.
So, at the helm of a bright orange device that looks more like a floor buffer than a blade-spinning destroyer of weeds and Mrs Wife's flowers, I began battle with the grounds of Dungroanin' first thing this morning.
And it's pretty hard going. But although I expected to resent the activity and the drain on my precious holiday hours, it was actually almost enjoyable. There's something almost therapeutic about going head-to-head with nature in the glorious spring sunshine.
Of course, I looked cool whilst engaged in this tidying up of the ranch - the Magic Tune Box pumped the sexy soul of Amy Winehouse into my lugs as I worked, and my new wraparound shades protected my peepers from the sunshine and the flying dandelion heads.
And now Dungroanin' is ready for a visit from the Inlaws. Luckily, Mrs Wife's parents will get their first look at Chateau Jock in glorious sunshine and with the garden looking as good as is ever likely.
But, if future battles of the lawn are to be tackled in the appropriate fashion, I'm going to need to invest in some serious military hardware. So I think I'll take some advice from Eric.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Not that I'm complaining, just saying.....
Friday, April 06, 2007
Not once have I demanded a penny for my thoughts - all of the views, opinions, rubbish jokes and moaning on this humble webpage have been donated free of charge.
So now, if you'd like to show your appreciation, I've found the present I want.
KITT is for sale
So, if you could organise some form of online collective and raise the 149,995 dollars that Kassabian Motors is looking for, it would be very well received.
(Thanks to Yes But No But Yes for brightening my Friday afternoon with the news that David Hasselhoff's greatest-ever co-star is up for grabs.)
But to others, Easter is about commemorating the day that a magician was nailed to a cross about 2,000 years ago. (It's not my way of thinking, but I'm happy for those who believe in it. In the words of God himself: "Whatever gets you through the night, 'salright, 'salright".)
And as regular readers know, this blog is all about spiritual enlightenment and improving ourselves through learning (as well as crass jokes about Mute Tourette's Syndrome and rants about how stupendously rubbish Rangers are at the moment).
So, in what is probably a misguided effort at helping you strange people get some edjookayshun, here's a link to Wikipedia's entry on Easter.
My favourite part, once we're done with all the heavy stuff about Saints and the lunar calendar, is this:
"According to the children's stories, the eggs were hidden overnight and other treats delivered by the Easter Bunny in an Easter basket which children find waiting for them when they wake up. The Easter Bunny's motives for doing this are seldom clarified."
Now come on, does the Easter Bunny really need a motive for his annual gift-giving? If an imaginary rabbit wants to spend his Bank Holiday weekend delivering chocolate to my garden, why can't we just leave him in peace?
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Less than a fortnight after the city was swamped by horizontal blizzards, Aberdeen is now sweltering in a very early summer.
Since returning to the supposedly cold North East, Wednesday has become my day of exercise. I play football with colleagues at lunch time and then pull on the boots again after work for a second match.
This second match is played outdoors on astroturf, and yesterday's clash was unusual - the weather was too hot for football.
I never thought I'd say that, especially when talking about Aberdeen, but it was far too hot to be running about playing five-a-side. Never before in all my days of playing have I seen grown men queuing up to play in goal - but that's what happened last night, as the goal that my team was defending was in the shade - and you don't have to run around when you're the keeper.
Hopefully this early summer will continue through the real summer. I'll be happy if it even continues through the next week. Sunday is my birthday, Mrs Wife and I are on holiday all next week and we're going to the Grand National next weekend.
And my new garden is big enough for a game of football with Baby Brother as well.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
1: This Never Happened Before by Paul McCartney (from the album Chaos and Creation In The Back Yard): One of the stand-out tracks from Macca's most recent album. Has a melancholy feel to it and sounds as though it could have appeared on Abbey Road, with Harrison-esque guitar, a typically melodic bass line and strings.
2: Tommy's Disease by The Paddingtons (from the compilation album Bring Your Own Poison: The Rhythm Factory Sessions): Live version of a full-throttle track from the shambolic punks. Bears a close similarity to early Libertines, although without the urgency of Doherty and Barat's work.
3: Theme From Come September by Bobby Darin and His Orchestra (from the compilation album More Music To Watch Girls By): Easy listening instrumental theme tune from the Rock Hudson/Gina Lollobrigida romantic comedy filmed in 1961.
4: Alone by Terrorvision (from the album Good To Go): Terrorvision knew what they were good at and stuck at it throughout their career; a quirky British take on metal. Alone, from their final studio album, could have fitted in with any of their previous records. Enjoyable enough, but hardly memorable.
5: 2:1 by Elastica (from the album Elastica): Cracking song from one of the great Britpop albums. Everything about the song clicks, from the jarring guitar line to Justine Frischmann's vocals. The band would never scale such heights again, taking five years to follow up their debut record. This track featured on the Trainspotting soundtrack.
6: Evening Sun by The Strokes (from the album First Impressions of Earth): I didn't like The Strokes until the release of Juicebox - something about them just never appealed to me. But I quite enjoyed their third album, although I still don't think they deserve the praise they've had since emerging back in 2000. Evening Sun just sounds like a typical Strokes song.
7: The World Outside by Palo Alto (from the album Heroes and Villains): Comparisons between Palo Alto and Radiohead are perhaps inevitable, but whilst Thom Yorke and Co. have branched out into jazz rock and almost deliberately obtuse takes on their music, Palo Alto concentrate on the dynamics of songwriting, in a similar vein to Radiohead during the mid 1990s. The World Outside, the opening track from their debut album, is a great song, setting the tone for the rest of the record.
8: You Know I Hate Stupid Phones by Liars (from the album They Were Wrong, So We Drowned): Spiky new-wave track from the Brooklyn band. Echoes Gang of Four and The Slits. Well worth checking out.
9: Bankrobber by Audioweb (from the album Audioweb): A cover version of the classic Clash song, playing up to the original's reggae rhythms. Singer Sugar launches into his own lyrics promoting marijuana after the second verse. One of the better Clash covers I've heard, and a great live experience.
10: God In The Numbers by Richard Ashcroft (from the album Human Conditions): Richard Ashcroft has never hit the same heights he did as leader of The Verve, but his solo albums have hinted at a middle-aged satisfaction with his lot, and that his days as the angry young man in the Bittersweet Symphony video are long gone. God In The Numbers is typical of his solo work, an acoustic track adorned with synths and psychedelic guitar. Very easy listening.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Mrs Wife and I may be surrounded by boxes, and we may be unable to find anything we need, but we are now safely holed up in Dungroanin'.
The next few months are likely to be spent unpacking the boxes and trying to find new homes for all of the vitally-important objects we have acquired in our first 27 years wandering the Earth.
But the important bases have already been covered - the phone and digital TV are connected, the surround sound system is wired up and broadband will be installed later this week.
And I've tested the hammock just to make sure that it meets my approval.