Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Easy To Ignore

"The leaders of the free world are just little boys throwing stones
And it's easy to ignore until they're knocking on the door of your home"
Leaders of the Free World, Elbow

Watching this video of the Baker underwater nuclear test in 1946, which I discovered courtesy of Videosift, should be enough to prove to anyone that nuclear weapons really aren't all that great an invention.

Yeah, sure, man now has the ability to wipe out all traces of its own species at the push of a button. But maybe that's not such a fantastic power for people like George Bush, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-il to have.

Chillingly beautiful? Yes it is. Although I'd imagine that if you were on one of the 90 vessels sitting around the blast zone to find out what would happen, you'd probably not be all that excited by the beauty, and just a tad concerned at the massive mushroom cloud enveloping everything in its path.

I'm no pinko lefty peacenik - if Iran has nuclear weapons, it's probably better that we do as well, if only to act as a discouragement. But maybe it'd just be better if all the little boys put their toys back in the cupboard, or - even better - dismantled them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Back To School

Tish over at The Kat House tagged me for the Blue Tea Meme. Here are the rules:

“Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take. Tag five.”

Here’s my course schedule:

Car Maintenance - I'll join Tish and her tagger Andrew in the Car Maintenance course. Like Tish, the extent of my mechanical knowledge extends as far as testing levels, changing bulbs, replacing tyres and washing. And I don't do any of those as often as I should. So a course in maintaining my own car would save me a lot of money that I'd otherwise spend in garages.

Guitar - I can play guitar, but very badly. I'm very jealous of those people who can pick up an instrument and rattle off half a dozen tunes flawlessly without having to think too much about it. But maybe the fact that I already think I can play guitar would make me too much of an awkward student.

Singing - If I'm going to take the time to learn to play guitar properly, I should really refine my singing voice so that it is actually a voice worth hearing. Again, my deluded belief that I can actually already sing might be an insurmountable hurdle.

English Literature - When I applied to university aged 18, the two options that most appealed were Journalism and English Literature. Although I chose Journalism back then, and have no regrets about having done so, I'd still like to study English Literature at some point in my life. There are too many great books I haven't read yet, and studying them might give me the impetus to start.

French - I studied German at High School and can still hold a basic conversation. But I'd like to be able to speak another language, so I'll go with French - it would make popping across the Channel a bit less taxing.

I'm supposed to tag five people for this meme, but instead of going down that route, how about I just throw it open to anyone who fancies shot. Just remember to link back here if you do decide to go back to school.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hitting The Mark

A while back, Tish over at The Kat House presented me with the Blogging That Hits The Mark award.

Unfortunately, I've been so busy and short of blogging time that I'd almost forgotten to thank Tish on this humble outpost of the worldwide interweb. And I feel I've been neglecting the site as well, so maybe my blogging ISN'T hitting the mark any more.

Anyway, as well as presenting me with the award, Tish has also reviewed this blog over at her other site, BlogsWeLuv. Besides her very kind review, Tish also thoughtfully posted a terrible photograph of me posing with a statue of John Lennon outside the Cavern Club in Liverpool - thanks Tish!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Of Mice and Morlocks

I think I've found my ideal job.

I want to be an Evolutionary Theorist.

News on the BBC's website today tells us that Oliver Curry, who fills that role at the London School of Economics, predicts that in 1,000 years' time, mankind will have evolved into a 7ft-tall, muscular master race with symetrical faces, big penises (or penii) and pert breasts (note: most of the master race won't have both a big penis and pert breasts).

But, 100,000 years down the line, mankind will have grown so over-reliant on technology that the species will split into two distinct factions - just as HG Wells predicted more than 100 years ago in The Time Machine.

I'm not sure how much an Evolutionary Theorist gets paid for working at the London School of Economics, but I'm willing to bet it's a pretty penny. And it sounds like money for old rope - sit around reading 100-year-old science fiction, rename the two tribes, add a little bit of impossible-to-prove-or-disprove "theorising" and pass the whole caboodle off as an exciting prediction of the future of our species.

By the time we reach the year 3,000, Curry will be long dead and won't care whether his theories were right or wrong.

And by the year 100,000, we'll all just be floating brains that plug into the universal mainframe each night to listen to Elvis and The Beatles, whilst the dolphins do all the menial tasks like emptying bins and delivering the mail.

That's my theory. When do I start my new job?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Horror....

Possibly the worst Google search to have brought someone to this site happened yesterday.

At 2.22:22pm, someone from Teterow, Germany, dropped in after searching for "shitting wifes".

Whatever floats your boat you strange German freak.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Five Things

The atomic fuckload of work I was landed with several weeks ago hasn't diminished much, so instead of a 'proper' post, I'll take part in the Five Things meme that I spotted over at Misssy's site. Feel free to play along too.

What were you doing ten years ago?
1) Getting to grips with studying for five highers - English, Maths, Physics, Computing and Modern Studies. Ended up with an A, two Bs, a C and a D. I shouldn't have done Maths.
2) Working part-time for a computer company in Brechin. Which is where I met Eric, better known to you strange folk of the worldwide interweb as the Straight White Guy.
3) Willing Rangers towards a tenth consecutive league title. Unfortunately, it just wasn't to be.
4) Listening to Radiohead's OK Computer, Oasis' Be Here Now, The Seahorses' Do It Yourself, Ian Brown's Unfinished Monkey Business, Supergrass' In It For The Money, The Charlatans' Tellin' Stories, The Verve's Urban Hymns and Ocean Colour Scene's Marchin' Already. 1997 was a great year for music, the best in my music-loving lifetime.
5) Playing too much Championship Manager 2.

What were you doing one year ago?
1) Working for a local newspaper in Argyll. It's easy now to forget that my time in that job meant working every second weekend, which I hated. I'm glad I made the change.
2) Enjoying married life - Mrs Wife and I tied the knot in May 2006.
3) Immersing myself in Lost - which I then thought was the greatest TV show EVER.
4) Training with Lochgilphead Red Star Amatuer Football Club. My poor fitness levels let me down - I'd give a much better account of myself now.
5) Playing too much Football Manager 2007.

Five songs you know the lyrics to
1) Happy Birthday - probably the first song everyone learns, isn't it?
2) Bohemian Rhapsody - Mither listened to A LOT of Queen when I was a wee laddie. I'm sure I know the whole of their Greatest Hits by heart.
3) Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier - the first song my band, Merge, ever played live, back in 1997. I was lead singer and practically petrified with fear.
4) Here It Comes - the Doves song is one of three I want played at my funeral.
5) I Am The Walrus - it may be John Lennon at his nonsensical best, but I can faultlessly sing along with this psychedelic magnus opus.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire
1) Quit my job immediately. There's be no four weeks' notice either. I'd be gone.
2) Pay off my mortgage, student loan and credit card bill. There's no point in having unneccesary debt.
3) Buy a new car, but probably nothing too flash. A nice BMW, Audi or Volkswagen would be just fine.
4) Go back to New York for a few weeks and stay in a hotel rather than the backpacking hostel we stayed in on our previous visit.
5) Buy a state-of-the-art home cinema system and a Rangers season ticket. If I'm a millionaire, I'm going to enjoy life.

Five bad habits
1) Swearing. I know I should stop, but I can't. Anyway, swearing makes you look clever, hard and cool.
2) Playing Football Manager. Maybe it is slightly excessive, but it's my favourite way to relax.
3) Being lazy. Spending your whole time rushing around just means you're more tired at the end of the day.....
4) Driving in excess of the speed limit. You'd think speeding fines on two continents would stop me, wouldn't you?
5) Abusing my work-based internet access. Ahem.

Five things you like to do
1) Eat chocolate. Well, it tastes better than celery.
2) Listen to music. I don't spend enough time doing this any more.
3) Play football. I'm quite happy just having a kick-about with friends - the prospect of getting up early on a Sunday morning to get kicked around a wet field in the pishing rain doesn't appeal much nowadays.
4) Lie in and get up when I'm ready. Instead of having to leap out of bed in darkness when my alarm goes off at 6.15am.
5) Play Football Manager 2008. Surely you were expecting that one?

Five things you will never wear again
1) Make-up. That's a different story for a different day.
2) A silver mini-skirt. See above
3) Thong sandals. Anything that goes BETWEEN my toes is a no-no.
4) White socks with ANYTHING other than sportswear.
5) A vest. I hereby promise NEVER to wear a vest.

Five favourite toys
1) My laptop
2) Sky TV
3) My MP3 player
4) My hard disk TV recorder
5) My Acergy stress ball that I chuck around at work

Five things you hate to do
1) Get up at 6.15am and go to work
2) Mow the lawn
3) Clean the oven
4) Work in the evening or at the weekend
5) Miss an episode of Lost or Heroes

Monday, October 22, 2007


Rangers' 3-0 win over the Mhanky Mhob on Saturday was more convincing than I think most people would have predicted beforehand.

The Ibrox side's domestic form has been patchy this season, having included defeats to both Edinburgh sides even at this early stage. But it was the Gers' impressive European form that was most apparent in the first Old Firm encounter of the season, with Rangers looking by far the more dangerous team when attacking.

Alan Hutton's form this season has been nothing short of magnificent, and his game has improved immeasurably since the last campaign. It is now inconceivable to imagine a full-strength Scotland squad without Hutton bombing down the wing, a feature of his game that has emerged most dramatically in Rangers' Champions League ties against Lyon and Stuttgart.

Alongside Barry Ferguson, Carlos Cuellar and Nacho Novo, Hutton dominated against Celtic, making the champions look very ordinary in the process.

Perhaps the biggest talking point in the days to come will be the lack of grace shown by the away side in defeat. Scott MacDonald was lucky still to be on the pitch even as early as half-time, as his lashing out at Alan McGregor in the first five minutes could have warranted a straight red card. Similarly, Scott Brown, Gary Caldwell and Artur Boruc failed to cover themselves in glory, as did Rangers' McGregor in a late melee.

Celtic should be most concerned by Boruc's conduct, not least because he has previous form in this fixture and in others. Notwithstanding his infantile conduct in Old Firm matches, his performances on the pitch are notoriously erratic, and could cost Celtic valuable points over the course of the season.

Which, from my point of view, sounds just fine.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dressed To Impress

In the course of my day-to-day work, I frequently have to look at websites relating to international oil and gas developments.

Doing a bit of research into a project in Angola, I found the wonderful photograph above, taken at a "blessing ceremony" for the project.

If this photograph is supposed to encourage investment in Angola, I'm pretty sure it sails fairly wide of the mark.

Between the five cheery wee souls seen here, not one of them could be arsed to crack a smile. Maybe that's unfair - we've all been caught out by the photographer pressing the button at the wrong time, making us look like we've struggling with a troublesome case of constipation when, in fact, we're merely "between smiles".

But even if these guys were caught unawares, their dress sense is astonishing. Before anyone points it out, I know downtown Luanda isn't exactly Paris, New York or London.
But none of these guys is dressed like any of the others.

Take the guy on the left - blue boiler suit, and pencil tucked into his breast pocket. So he's probably an engineer, and dressed in an appropriate fashion.

But the next guy along obviously thinks he's a gangster. Unfortunately, his look is let down bu the fact that he's wearing plastic sunglasses and an un-ironed shirt.

Next to him, we have Patrick Trueman from Eastenders. Times have obviously been hard in the Trueman household since he was robbed and left for dead, but he's determined to keep going, even with a battered hat, ill-matching shirt and tie combo and trousers pulled up to his nipples.

Then we've got former Leeds United defender Michael Duberry. He may have been an England international at one point, but now he's slumming it in Angola, wearing a shirt fashioned out of a pair of curtains. THAT's how far Leeds have fallen.

But the award for best dressed nutter at the blessing ceremony goes to the attractive gentleman on the far right of the shot. Given that this is a blessing ceremony, I'm guessing he's some kind of witch doctor or holy man. Back in the glory days of his profession, he'd have been wearing a loin cloth fashioned from rhino hide, a necklace of peacock feathers and a hat made from a human skull.

However, in these more modern and civil times, he's reduced to wearing a charity shop polo shirt, a hideous blue tablecloth and a fake Man Utd tammy, worn in an inventive "Wee Willy Winky" style.

It's rare that I can consider myself well-dressed, but I think a visit to Angola would probably just about swing it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Rose By Any Other Name

As seen over at Ramblings From A Blue Dot - what would my name be in different circumstances?

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) Pepi Clio. Sounds more French house or gay disco than rock'n'roll, doesn't it?

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) Toffee Raspberry-White Chocolate. Doesn't that make me sound REALLY hard?

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name) M-RAE. Maybe G-JOC sounds better.

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Blue Dog. Not really up there with Poirot, Marple or Clouseau, is it?

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) I don't have a middle name.... Surname would be Dundee though. So let's go with Mick Dundee. You can call me Crocodile.

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) Rae Ma. That's Darth Ma to you.

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink) The Black Cointreau. Could be worse I suppose, although I'd be named after an orange liqeur.

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) George David. I've no idea what a NASCAR name would be used for (presumably something to do with NASCAR racing), but it sounds fine.

9. STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy) Joop Lindor. Yeah, that'll bring in the punters.

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) Atkin William. Or William Atkin. The second way is probably better for anonymity's sake.

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter) Guthrie Grenoble. I don't know why I thought of Grenoble before Glasgow, but I'm glad I did. "This is the Channel 5 weather with Guthrie Grenoble". I like the sound of that.

12. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower) Summer Snowdrop. That makes me sound like a My Little Pony.

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + "ie" or "y") Strawberry Shirty. Sounds like a pretty crap cartoon.

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree) Cereal Chestnut. That's not great, man.

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”) The Football Manager Lightning Tour. I'd get sued by Sega for that one.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What Next?

Some days, I can't think of anything to write here at this humble and far-flung outpost of the worldwide interweb.

Then there are some days, like today, when I could write about any number of things, but none of them grabs me by the goolies (metaphorically and literally speaking).

Today, I could write about how Scotland are still top of the Group of Death, ahead of both World Cup finalists and fresh from a 3-1 mauling of Ukraine at Fortress Hampden. How a team that five years ago was a pitiful laughing stock has somehow risen to become one of the best in Europe, on recent form and group standings at least.

Or I could write about how Dungroanin' was invaded by three of Mrs Wife's friends at the weekend, so that the rooms became a flutter of hair straighteners, outfit changes and gallons of wine.

I could write about how I've just downloaded Radiohead's new album from the internet and how it represents a brave new world in music - allowing the consumer to set their own price for the music they purchase. I've paid a fiver for the album, and I'll be interested to see how it compares to some of their recent patchy efforts.

But instead, I'll leave you with Darth Vader's hidden talent, courtesy of Neatorama:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gaunnae Get Me Sumthin Good Fur Ma Burthday?

A touch of retail genius from Scotland's west coast, in the Haddows branch on Copland Road, Ibrox, Glasgow (home of the Famous Glasgow Rangers).

Yes folks, it's the Buckfast, 20 Mayfair and packet of Rizla "gift pack", for the ned who wants to say "I love you" in that unique, carcinogenic and liver-rotting way that flowers and chocolates just can't muster.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What's Wally Wearing?

This morning, shortly after 4.30am, someone from Australia arrived at this website having searched on Google for "What colour socks does Where's Wally wear?".
Aside from being a semi-tongue twister, it's a good question - why don't we know what colour socks the world's best hide-and-seek player wears? Red and white tammy, Hamilton Accies jersey, blue drainpipes, brown shoes, bulging backpack and walking stick - but what of Wally's underwear situation?
I demand answers....

Monday, October 08, 2007

To The Highest Bidder

Today, to pass a few idle web-based minutes, I dropped in on Ebay, the world's online car boot sale.

Ignoring my usual haunts of the CD, DVD, computers and sportwear sections, I threw caution to the wind and ventured into the uncharted territories of the "Other" section.

Considering that almost everything you can imagine fits neatly into one of Ebay's thousands of existing categories, for something to slip between the cracks is quite impressive. Or so you would have thought.

But there are hundreds of pages of miscellaneous rubbish being touted by the strange denizens of the worldwide interweb.

Amongst the tempting items on offer when I looked today were a bag of reindeer food (which, having read the listing, includes glitter - that must be what makes reindeer fly and shit silver stuff).

One inventive chap simply offered to sell you something worth the same amount of money you send him. Send him one single penny, and you get something worth a penny. Send him 30,000 pounds, you supposedly get something worth 30,000 pounds.

And another web-based emporium sold bondage ropes in a variety of colours and lengths, obviously intended for the more discerning pervert.

Unfortunately, I didn't come across anyone trying to sell their virginity, their wife or themselves. I say unfortunately, but to be honest, I'm not looking to acquire a virginity (I had a hard enough time shifting the first one I owned), a wife (the one I already have is costing quite enough on her own without an assistant) or another human being (unless they want to clean the bathroom and cut the grass).

But it's got me thinking - what could I sell to make some money? I reckon that I could sell the rights for any football team in the world to sign my first son. Admittedly, the complete lack of Jocklings means that I wouldn't be able to deliver my side of the bargain for a long time yet. But surely having first option on an UNBORN superstar would be worth a million or so to Barcelona, Manchester United or AC Milan?

I will discuss the idea with Mrs Wife and report back.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Walt Disnae Like That

How to get a life ban from Disney World in one easy step (or two easy steps anyway):

Lyrics Revealed

Answers to the sixth and final Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge are now in the comments on that post.

A Question

Is an orange called an orange because it is orange?

Or is the colour orange named orange because it is the colour of an orange?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Don and Dusted

Rangers have seen off the French and German champion, Celtic have beaten the European Champions (and one of their "fans" has taken a girly swing at the goalkeeper) and our national side is riding high above the World and European Champions.

Yep, Scottish football has forgotten it's supposed to be pish. Obviously a 3-0 away win against Kings of Lyon is more impressive than a last-gasp home win over lowly AC Milan, but I'll eschew any gloating - it's been a good month to be a Scottish football fan.

So can the dandy Dons complete a hat-trick tonight? In footballing terms, an away win over Dnipro would be great. But I hope they don't - I've got money on the Ukrainians, as it's a great way to wind up the hordes of Dons fans in my office.

At the time I place the bet, it seemed like an easy way to win money. Just wish I'd had the balls to bet on Rangers to beat Lyon in France....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

On The List

Today, to pass a slow afternoon at work, two colleagues and I engaged in a lively debate on Top Five Hottest Female Soap Stars of All Time. (This discourse was similar in structure to our semi-regular debates on the All-Time Best Football XI.)

Anyway, as an overview of the general standard of the discussion, my decision to leave Kylie Minogue and Kimberley Davies out of my list raised some eyebrows, and we stepped off on a lengthy tangent as we debated whether Baywatch was a soap opera or not.

Having exhausted our mental lists of soap actresses, we threw the game wide open and changed it into The Ten Hottest Women In The World Today.

I'll spare you the gory details of the inner mental workings of three bored men in their mid 20s, other than to say that Eva Longoria is one man's pocket-sized Latina sex goddess and another man's irritating midget clothes horse.

But eventually, we reached the defining question of our debate - Britney Spears: Yay or Nay?

Do you shut your eyes and remember the Slave For U years? Or are you mentally scarred at the prospect of making Buckasaurus (the mythical grunting beast with two backs) with a drink and drug-addled, tattooed skinhead thug who's recently had their children taken away?

If I remember the discussion correctly, Mrs Federline received a unanimous thumbs down from the panel. Which, considering she's 26 and should therefore still be at her peak, is a depressing indication of how far she's fallen from grace in the past five years.

And the whole "remember the glory years" debate truly reached its nadir shortly afterwards when, returning to the soap stars theme, one member of the party (who shall remain nameless) uttered the words (electronically at least) Barbara. Windsor. - basing his justification on Carry on Camping.

That, dear readers, is why you should never allow young men to get bored.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hollywood Schmollywood

A while back, I added a post that linked to Ten Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do.

And that got me thinking: what other barely believable crap do we put up with in our movies?

So I started drawing up a little list, which I like to think (in my own muddle-headed, delirious and dream-like fashion) will build up into a substantial compendium of nonsense peddled by directors over in LALA Land.

Here are a few for starters:

1) It is possible to have a high speed car chase during daylight hours in any city on Earth.
I've never driven in London, LA or New York, but I have driven in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Edinburgh and Glasgow (not to mention on roads in Thailand - but that's a scarier post for another day). It is not possible, in the centre of any of those cities, to drive at anything above 20mph. In most of them, most of the time you're barely moving at all. So how is it therefore possible to drive at speeds in excess of 60mph in any of the world's major Metropolises? (Should that be Metropolii?) If you drove that fast in any city on Earth during the day, you and countless other people would be dead very quickly. And your car would be extremely dead as well.

2) It is possible to knock someone out with one punch. OK, this may actually be possible. But, having worked in some pretty boisterous pubs on two continents and as a security guard at football matches, I've still never seen it happen. And, from what I've seen of movies, it mostly happens to minor villains, the type of muscled goons that Big Bosses use to man doors and guard prisoners. Now, it strikes me that if your sole job requirement is to be hard and menacing, ending up out cold after one punch would be a major hinderance to your long-term career plans.

3) Simultaneous orgasms happen every time a couple has sex. Let's just leave that one be....

4) 28-year-old women who look like Denise Richards are Nuclear Physicists. I'm not saying breasted humans can't be nuclear physicists. Or that scientists can't be good looking. Just that I would imagine that if you're a nuclear physicist experienced enough to be dismantling warheads in Kazakhstan, you're probably not 28.Or female. Or good-looking. Or called Christmas Jones. You're a 45-year-old man with a beard. Called Neil. (The 45-year-old man that is, not his beard.)

5) Sarah Jessica Parker is attractive. Need I say more?

Feel free to add to this list of Hollywood absurdities - there are plenty more to choose from....

Monday, October 01, 2007

Return of The Mark

I'm back. Not only back, but holidayed out. I swear, I'm more tired now that I'm back at work than I was before I headed off on holiday.

Anyway, what did I get up to? Played football a couple of times, including featuring in my company's debut in the Aberdeen Oil and Gas League at the local five-a-side centre. We've joined at the end of the season to replace a side that dropped out. That is the first excuse for our 22-0 defeat. Others include the fact that we've never played together as a team before, the team we played are about to be crowned champions for the fifth time in six years, our goalkeeper was missing and we played an injured non-goalkeeper in goals. The fact of the matter is that we were "only" 3-0 down at half-time, which in five-a-side terms is a pretty slender margin. And we conceded what felt like an atomic fuckload of goals in the last five minutes as we desperately chased a strike of our own. But yeah, 22-0 is a pretty horrific debut.

Prior to that, Mrs Wife and I visited the central belt to catch up with some friends, visit Stirling Castle and venture down to the Falkirk Wheel for the first time. The wheel is pretty special, another triumph of Scottish engineering, designed to lift boats from one level of a canal to another. The sun shone and we enjoyed an hour-long boat ride, so a good day was had by all.

We entertained Mrs Wife's parents in the latter part of the week, allowing them to sample the hospitality at Dungroanin' for the first time.

And on Friday night we attended a comedy night in Montrose, where we were thoroughly entertained by Patrick Rollink, Des McLean, Joe Heenan and Des Clarke, all stars of the Scottish comedy circuit. A slight over-indulgence on alcoholic beverages during the performance left me in a fragile condition come Saturday, so I've spent the time since then recuperating and preparing for a return to work.

Apologies to my fellow inhabitants of the blogosphere, as I've not been able to keep up with your sites as well as I would like. Whilst I was away, Ian over at Or So I Thought kindly presented me with the Awesome Dude Blogger award, which is given out to those of us who can tick the boxes beside "Blogger", "Awesome" and "Y Chromosome".

I'm extremely grateful to have received the award, especially from Ian, whose blog is one of the best I've encountered - an incredibly informative and entertaining site written with a great deal of skill and knowledge.

In this spirit of dudeness, I should really pass the award on, so I'll pick out three awesome dudes from my own blogroll: Eric (the Straight White Guy who is also my blogfather); Elisson and The Tomahawk Kid. May you venture forwards and enjoy their sites.