Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Short Intermission

I don't intend to blog for a few days. Be good and don't break the furniture.

Songs Of Summer No9: REM - Gardening At Night

Filth: The Plot Thickens

A note to the binmen and my neighbours: WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT THE FUCKING BIN SHELTER GATE AFTER YOU!!!!! Thankyou.
Well, it looks like a new face has entered the fray with regard to the disgusting shitehole that is my back court. I thought I'd pretty much sussed out the problem with the rubbish build up and the crap strewn bin shelters. I assumed it was to do with lazy tennants, poor quality bin bags, badly desigend bins and opportunistic wildlife. Enter the newest gladiator to the fray, our very own bin men. Yes, the chaps whose wages I fucking pay to lift my refuse. I may well be putting two and two together and getting five, but it does seem like a bit of a coincidence that the garden path was clear of garbage on Tuesday night, yet this morning I was awoken by a bin lorry, and only an hour later looked out my window to see a variety of product wrapping and other detritus strewn across the back path again (see photo)
You really don't want to see the nick of the shelter itself. Not sure what to do other than get obsessive, camouflage up and hide in the communal garden, waiting for the true culprits to present themselves. I have a feeling it's not that simple, and it is indeed an unholy alliance of bad design, tennant negligence, slapdash binmen and scabby pigeons and magpies. I don't know, maybe I'm being too picky. Maybe that's how most people live, happy to ditch their crap any old place, as long as they don't have to look at or enter the 'midgies' for fear of catching something unpleasant. I dread the day I find the first bin bags to be left at the back door of the close. I don't intend to let it get that far...............................
I'm getting on to the GCC and insisting on bigger, covered bins. If this is a problem for them, then all I can say is they have a cheek claiming what they do off me in council tax. Songs of Summer No 8: JC - Sonic Youth

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hot City Symphony Part 2

That's always the problem with good weather. Yes, it's warm, bright, great to be outside in, but the downside is if you've decided to have a day indoors through lack of funds and general lethargy.................God, It feels like you need to take a bath every couple of hours.......... So, as we all open our windows, draw our blinds shut and consider walking about 'nekkid' (I do apologise for any unpleasant images that might throw up), let us raise a glass to British summertime finally getting it's arse in gear and making us all feel icky and uncomfortable........... Anyway, in keeping with Saturday nights 'hot under the collar' ranting, I'd like to move onto the subject of theft. Now, I'm no copyright law obsessive, all my music, movie clips and photographs are free of copyright. Why? Well, they're not consistently good enough to be worth it. I also make no money off my 'work' and wouldn't expect to. If someone uses one of my better photos for illustrative purposes, I don't mind. It would be nice if they had the manners to name me as the creator of the image, but I'm not gonna get all moist downstairs about it. In most cases, it'll be a case of 'what I don't know won't hurt me'. The problems arise, of course, when some oaf claims your image as their own. This is where I ought to be a little more careful, but beyond defacing what I put up with 'watermarkings', I don't really see what other options are available. Now, I haven't had any problems personally, but an acquaintance through the speedway has found herself in a bit of a pickle. She takes photographs at Ashfield from the terracing, and damn fine they are too. So good in fact that some spotty little herberts with Bebo sites have lifted her photos and put them up on their pages. This wouldn't be a huge problem, but said delinquents seem to have gone to Bebo and complained that it is they who hold copyright on the images, even though it's patently obvious they didn't take a single one of them. The upshot of this is that the photo hosting site this woman uses has blocked her out while it 'investigates' the possibility of copyright violation. It's obvious to a blind man running for a bus who the real offenders are, but seemingly Bebo haven't the wit or intelligence to realise that a couple of their members have been telling porkies. My belief that 75% of those on Faceache or Bebo are total arseholes hasn't been changed by this particular incident. The sheer brass neck of it is shocking. Taking and using someones pictures is one thing, implicitly claiming them as your own another, but complaining to a site host that the person who took the photos has had the nerve to claim copyright on them? It's like something out of Kafka or 1984. I suspect there may be a vendetta at work here. It's something that defies logic and can only conceivably be driven by arrogance and spite. I wish the lady in question well, and can only hope that she enjoys her revenge. Songs of the Summer No 7: Wouldn't It Be Nice - Oldham Brothers

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hot City Symphony (Sweating Like A Kraft Cheese Slice Left Out On A Formica Worktop Remix)

I hope you can forgive the 'hot and bothered' tone of this post, but that's just what I am right now. I can barely move without working up a sweat. It's cooled off as little now that night has fallen, but the haze that has enveloped Glasgow in the past few days seems to be sealing all the heat in. It feels like it anyway.................... I hear ice cream vans in some parts of England are being forced to curtail their 'jolly jingles' to blasts of no more than four seconds at a time. "What a travesty!" I hear the reactionary press holler, hastily reaching for their well thumbed book of heart warming 'This isn't our country anymore' clichés. They seem to be under the impression that these guys tootle about dispensing joy to all and sundry. Sorry folks, this isn't the 'Good Humor' man we're talking about here. Have you ever been served by one of the surly fuckers? Oh, and their jingles aren't 'quaint', they're a fucking earsore! Do I have to hear the fucking bastards at all? Can they not get something done about the coronary inducing volume they play their jingles at? See when some prick in a big yellow van parks outside my front door and lets rip? I'm not thinking of buying ice cream, cheap fags or pirated dvd's off him. No, I'm thinking of gouging out the fat cunts eyeballs with his ice-cream scoop and having them with my spaghetti hoops! Then theres the bins. Like Clairwil, I seem to have utter cunts for neighbours. The bin shelters in my back court are less than ideal, it has to be said. They're open, the bins are too small and have no lids, but how does that prevent anyone from performing simple tasks like putting refuse in the bins and closing the shelter gate behind them? It doesn't, but it seems many human beings are more than happy to inflict their filth on others. One last thing, I know in these days of watching the pennies and cutting ones cloth to fit, that sacrifices need to be made. It's an Aldi microwave curry instead of classy M&S ready meals, it's a packet of gristly looking 'Tesco Value' mince instead of a pound of the butchers finest.............What it doesn't mean is buying 'so thin they're transparent' bin liners. Bin liners are dirt fucking cheap anyway, even good quality ones. If you see a roll of 200 going for about 50p, take it as read that if they don't split half way to the bins, they'll get ripped to shreds by the local wildlife in seconds flat, thus decorating the back gardens, both communal and private, with your unattractive personal detritus. You thick cunt! Anyway, I bought a sunflower plant today, so I have no real right to be so grouchy.
A quick guide to seedbombing and a wee link to the Guerrilla Gardening site., then............ Songs Of The Summer No6: Teardrops Falling by The Versatiles (what a name!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Seals2

video

Feeding Time!

Seals1

video

Mr Seal waits for his brunch. The lazy so and so............

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

God Bless East Lothian!

Poppy and insect, East Fortune Airfield Three days of bliss. Nice weather, good food, fine ales and wines, and a full-to-bursting memory card in my camera. Should I live long enough and rack up enough Tiger Tokens, I fully intend to find somewhere to retire to out that way. Yeah, nice dream........... Anyway, heres a rough guide to three days in God's country. Friday - Pick up caravan from officially the most depressing place on earth. The guy's an ex haulage contractor and his wife keeps Alsatians. The yard the caravan is kept in can best be described as an accidental scrap yard. People park their caravans and forget to pick them up again, cars rust away amongst the weeds and thirty years worth of accumulated lorry parts lie corroding, open to the elements. Meanwhile, the dogs go mental in their caged 'runs' and you begin to realise that at least the caravan will never get stolen or vandalised. Arrive at East Fortune Farm, say hello to the hens, the goose, the donkey and the horse. We're in the overflow from the main site. No bad thing as it turned out. Watching hens running around is one of life's simple joys. It's also damn funny. Saturday - Go to the bike racing, but it wan't really enjoyed. My dad used to run the racing side of the meetings there until a few years ago. When my mum got sick, he packed it in, but you can just tell he doesn't approve of the way other people do things. Two minutes into the sidecar race and he'd had enough. A bit of bad judgement by an official and a fuck witted rider almost caused an almighty accident, after which he decided to take a stroll round the paddock and talk to some old aquaintances. I spent the rest of the afternoon dodging rain showers and practising my 'action photography' with varying degrees of success.

St Abbs Harbour & mini Tsunami

Sunday - Off down the coast to St Abbs, via some of the less well known coastal roads and farm tracks of the area. Popped into Eyemouth and for the 2nd time I failed to be impressed. It's just not a place I like very much. There were seals in the harbour again and someone had set up selling fish heads to be attached to poles and fed to the waiting animals. Last time I was there, the seals were a bit more energetic and playful, this time they just floated about and waited on someone to serve up their tidbits. Slightly depressing really. St Abbs on the other hand was a joy. It was damn busy, what with divers and daytrippers and so on. There was a fair old wind kicking up and waves were battering the outer harbour, sending up sheets of water some thirty foot in height. I could easily have spent the day watching the breakers rolling in. Monday turned out to be a stunning day. A short run out to a local motor museum, then an Iron Age hill fort was about all we managed. The six quid entry to the museum seemed a tad steep, it wasn't really all that big, but it was just about worth the entry as there was plenty crammed into the space available. North Berwick was jumping, mainly with OAP's and families down for the day to make the most of the weather. A slightly indulgent lunch was enjoyed in a rather dinky wee tea room (Hot pancakes with fudge sauce, maple syrup and ice cream!), then it was back to the caravan to hitch up, say goodbye to the beasts of the field and skulk back to Glasgow and the rain.

Sunset at East Fortune Farm.

Songs of Summer No5 - Ramsay Midwood: Mohawk River

Friday, July 18, 2008

May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door

Once again, Jason Evans has thrown me a bait I couldn't resist. He runs a short fiction competition on his blog Clarity of Night, and I, along with a legion of others, have submitted my effort to be poked, prodded, praised or pilloried................
My entry can be read here.
Last time around, I got all dark and twisted with a tale about suicide and emotional frigidity. This time I went for a straight setup and a daft punchline.
Right, that's me away for the weekend. A wee farm owned CL caravan site awaits me somewhere in deepest, darkest East Lothian and I'm going to make the most of it. Fuck this city!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

They Told Me It Was All A Dream.........

I'm taking a big stick to work with me tomorrow, so I can shove it between the spokes of any passing cyclists................. Some definitions for the mentally challenged. Road - For Uni-cycles, Bi-cycles, auto-cycles and auto-mobiles. And motorcycle sidecar combinations. Sinclair C5's are something of a grey area. Pavement - For pedestrians, pedestrians and possibly some more pedestrians. And maybe those electric shopping buggies OAP's use (David Duff was telling me he's got some 'Go Faster Stripes' and a little flag on the back of his. I was dead jealous...) I'm also preparing myself to witness my first ever pedestrian road accident. They've just recently altered the lights at Charing Cross, but it still hasn't deterred some idiots from playing chicken with whatever traffic is coming round that blind bend into Woodlands Road. Maybe I should take a shovel with me too...............

Saturday, July 12, 2008

?Syntax Error

Apologies for my absence folks. I could make up some sort of plausable excuse regarding work, but anyone who read my 'Life & How Not To Live It' post a while back wouldn't be fooled for a moment. I could also give the usual 'family commitments' BS. No, instead I shall tell you the truth of the matter. I have been consumed by the desire to download as many old Commodore 64 computer games as possible. While my Playstation siezes up with rust and dust through lack of use, I'm merrily bashing away at games that were made between 15 and 25 years ago for a now obselete system. Early mid-life crisis? Possibly, but fuck it! I'm having fun............ A few things I've observed;
  1. The music!! It's amazing............It's something I never really thought about as a spotty young Herbert, but considering what they were operating with, the soundtracks for some games are astounding. All hail SID
  2. The one hassle with downloading these old games is that they've had 'intro's' tacked onto the front of them by various gangs of 'code crackers'. Boring!
  3. You have to re-think how you relate to the games. Some of them wouldn't look out of place today, but others have dated very badly and whilst still fun to play, you can't help but sneer at their quaintness. Racing games are worst for this. The cars sound like dying wasps and often the sense of movement is dreadful, like driving a tractor on the M8.
  4. My suspicions have been confirmed. The Spectrum really was a hopeless pile of shite! Monochrome hell and laughable attribute clash. You'd have more fun with a pencil and a piece of paper.
  5. I don't miss tape multi-loads. Can you imagine that nowadays? Load a game, then load the first level, play it, get killed, then have to rewind the tape, re-load the intro screen, then start the whole fandango again. All told, about half an hour of 'fun'. I used to do it, usually through gritted teeth, mainly because I'd just shelled out a tenner for the bloody game. I was gonna get my money's worth, even if it meant I had to play all night to get as far as level 2.

I have heard that Nintendo intend to allow emulation of old C64 games on the Wii. Mind you, they're charging about £4 quid per download, which is more than many old Commodore games ever sold for in the first place. Theres money to be made from old rope, don't you know..........

Songs of the summer No4: Say Yes - Elliot Smith

Monday, July 07, 2008

Marc Chagall

Not often I say a word of thanks to Google, but in this instance, I offer my gratitude to them for reminding me that today (7th of July) was Marc Chagall's birthday. He would have been 121 years old.
A Gallery of his paintings can be found here
I don't think I need to go into too much detail about what it is about Chagall's work that I love. I could stare at his paintings all day. For me, he's the ultimate expressionist painter, a man who crammed his work with symbolism and emotion and humour.
Double Portrait With Wineglass by Marc Chagall

Culross

Cockerel in the Conservatory. Not often you sit down in a coffee shop with one of these bad boys in the background. Culross Main Street. Level crossing leading to............Firth of Forth. Not a passenger route unfortunately. More Culross architectural finery Next stop Longannet power station.

KDMC Beveridge Park 60th Anniversary

F3 racing car of the late 50's TZ 750 Yamaha Unidentified. Seen better days........... Immaculately restored 1960's 250cc Honda Believe it or not, this parkland path was used as a race track as recently as 1988. It can only be about 15ft wide, and the cambers make it's effective width about half that. It's like holding a motorcycle race in the Botanic Gardens or Queens Park..............

Cowcaddens & Woodside

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sports News

Mugabe Tipped To Land Hearts Job; Street parties In Gorgie Murray Fist Pumping Craze Grips Over 75's Tennis Tourney In Kelvingrove; 13 Dead. Ecclestone Declares Braehead Shopping Centre Carpark As Venue For 2015 British F1 Grand Prix. Ronaldo Signs For 'Real Madrid Boys Club', Gateshead; Fergie Denies All Knowledge Tour de France Organisers Unable To Guarantee 'Juicy Drug Scandals' Shock! Olympics: Team GB Mobile Brothel Detained At Chinese Border. Zimbabwe 20/20 Cricket Ban Last Straw For 'Mad Bob'; Free Elections Declared. Calzaghe Admits Inventing 'BOBFOC' Boxing Belt For A Laugh. Speedway Finally Declared A 'Circus Sport'. You Know, A Bit Like Trapeze and Wall Of Death......but far more dangerous Gymnastics Officially Denied Sporting Status; Dirty Old Men Take To The Street In Protest.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Spatchcock!

In what circumstances might one find a grown man appearing to kick a pigeon across a busy main road? What would your reaction be to such a sight? Would you intervene?
It's certainly behaviour consistent with a mental patient on day release.
Unfortunately, this was the pickle I found myself in at about half past five today. As you know, pigeons are everywhere in cities. Some are lovely looking creatures, like the chap pictured in the post below. Others are scabby beyond belief, defying nature itself to somehow exist as dishevelled, flea bitten mono-pods. The pigeon in question certainly had the look of one who had been through the wars. It wandered about around the pavement in front of me, before following me to the edge of the kerb as I crossed a side street. On closer inspection, I decided I couldn't tell if it was a juvenile or just malnourished. Not that I know what a juvenile pigeon looks like right enough........ As I walked on, I turned back to see it amble aimlessly into St Georges Road, attempting to use it's wings, but unable to get off the ground. A row of cars came out of the Charing Cross junction and I hoped one of them would catch it with a wheel, finish the job, nice and quick.............
Instead, the unfortunate creature just went under the chassis, between the axles of the car. The gust of air as the car passed blew it over, and for a second I thought it had been caught, maybe by the exhaust pipe or something, but it seemed to right itself and got into a huddled position, waiting for it's next brush with death. A few more cars went over the beast without hitting it. One driver even had the reflexes to swerve and avoid it..................
I had made my mind up. An ad-hoc rescue attempt would be made, just as long as I didn't have to pick the pitiful specemin up.
..............and so, this was why, at half past five on a Tuesday evening, I could be found, so it appeared to any onlookers, to be kicking a recalcitrant pigeon across St Georges Road.
I sort of shoo-ed it across into the gutter of the pavement at the other side of the road, and there it lay, as if exhausted by it's experience, and looking to be in no mood to go anywhere.
I have no illusions, it'll be dead by now. Either through starvation, fatigue or as the title of this post suggests, flattened to fuck after attempting to re-cross the road. I just couldn't, for reasons of utter feeble minded sentimentality, leave it hanging there, maybe getting clipped and bounced around the road for half an hour before something came along and struck it a final, fatal blow.
A rational re-evaluation tells me I should have left it to it's own devices. Nature gave this particular creature the middle finger, theres no reason to believe that it would have found many more favours once I'd walked away. That said, theres nothing wrong with being a silly sod once in a while....................