Blog-A-Day

WriteMare Before Xmas: No More

It’s over!
Your email boxes or strained eyes are safe for now. You will receive less from me in the future. Hopefully once or twice a week, so lots less for you to delete.

Strangely the month has been extremely busy and stressful blog aside so it’s been a break for me to write everyday and let off some steam. I hope you dear reader have enjoyed some of the pieces, not all because that is greedy and looking back even I don’t like everything!!

Big props to my Bro Resident Weeble... Oops sorry forgot I was white and middle class for a minute there… think Waitrose… Waitrose and Assam Tea. I’ve enjoyed writing in partnership with the Resident Weeble and reading his pieces for the month, I think we bring out the best in each other creatively and I hope to work on further projects (we even have a play to finish) I encourage you to check out his blog and subscribe if you haven’t yet to fill your email box with some genuinely original fictional pieces, well thought out opinion and information on his on going quest to find the ultimate movie.

Thanks also goes to the owners of Chili and Ziggy and the Piece of Pandemonium who have been supportive friends and readers throughout. That is of course not forgetting my “followers” new and old and indeed anyone who has even read a single word that I’ve written. Means a lot.

Until December.. Geronimo.. enjoy something unrelated but cool… The John Lewis Christmas Ad… embrace the middle classness like never before.

 

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(WMB4X) Happy Australia Day

Hello Aussie followers, I know it’s not Australia Day, I hope you have a good one whenever it is. In America today it is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving whereupon there are crazy sales, turkey hangovers and virgin sacrifices. (Maybe)

Black Friday has it’s origins in the US fiscal system, some say it refers to a stock market crash, others say the term originated in it’s current meaning in Philadelphia describing the mixed traffic queues of sports fans and shoppers in the early 60’s. Black Friday didn’t spread across America until the early 90’s but now it’s here and widespread to the UK largely thanks to US based retailers Amazon, Apple and Asda (Walmart) to name but a few.

Black Friday has precisely the square route of fuck all to do with British culture or consumerism, being as it is ‘as American as apple pie’. Don’t get me wrong I love a deal and I have no problems with crazzzyeee discounts but to call it Black Friday makes no sense. Why not call it a ‘Sale’ or a “Christmas Sale” or “Happy Shop and Masturbate over the low prices Friday” all these names make more sense.

I received this email today.

Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 22.38.43

I ordered something from BHS once in 2007. Anyone know what BHS stands for? British Home Stores. British Home Stores are having a Black Friday sale. Why? If you enquire about the colour of a jumper in said sale would you have to ask thusly “Hi, What color does the sweater come in?”

I know it’s all a gimmick, to give businesses a boost in the run up to Christmas and to make shoppers think they are getting a good deal when actually, hysteria aside it probably isn’t. We seem to be careering towards becoming the 51st state very quickly, Trick or Treat, Monday Night Football, Fox and now Black Friday. I have nothing against folks from across the pond, one of the things I like the most is the differences between us which amuse me greatly. These differences seem to be ebbing away.

Black Friday, as relevant to Britain as Australia Day or Nelson Mandela day. If we are gonna have it can we at least have the time off work and the deep fried Turkey feast the day before. And if we are sharing traditions, on Black Friday Americans can ditch the pancakes for Breakfast in favour of a Full English with Black pudding or at least learn what “Bollocks” are.


Please visit the Resident Weeble who has a national holiday in his honour in July

(WMB4X) The Dangers of Writing

I have successfully tossed out some old piece of something which you, dear reader, have been kind enough to read for the past few weeks. Don’t worry the month is nearly up! But blogging/writing is a dangerous business. Here’s why!

  1. On odd occasion I like to go old school and write. Actually write with pen and paper. It makes me feel more alive, more inspired, more pretentious. So two paper related dangers to begin. Paper cuts and poking yourself in the eye with either paper or pen. Writing happily then the paper cut. Hurts more than writing a bad sentence. On rare occasions it may even bleed making those murder mysteries more authentic. The poke in the eye can also occur, often when pondering a stories climax. At your most concentrated then, blinded.
  2. Alcohol. You are a writer. Everyone expects you to be pissed. There is however huge temptation to drink in order to to find inspiration. Whilst there are exceptions (Stephen King has books he can’t even remember as he was so drunk) almost always everything drunken you writes will be shit, leading to re-writes in the sober light of day. Often nursing the wonder excuse for not writing, the hangover.
  3. Boring others. You write, big whoop. Generally unless you are JK Rowling no-one gives a shit. However in the world in which you live, your project, your blog, your novel is your world. It fills your life. However your nearest and dearest could well be bored shitless by the plight of your protagonist. Something to bear in mind whilst down the pub.
  4. Technical issues. The creative wind is blowing in your sails, you have the idea of a lifetime. It is now that your pen runs dry or your computer crashes losing your idea forever. Thanks a bunch. You will care not a jot that Word has encountered a unexpected error.
  5. Distractions. Unless you are old schooling it up armed with your eye removing biro, you probably write on something that has access to your twitter feed or porn or LOL Cats. The distraction is very dangerous because it stops your flow and makes what you write when you return make no sense. Armadillos…
  6. Disappearing up your own arse. You are a writer, an artist, a visionary, a moulder of hearts and minds. With your pen or trusty laptop you can change the world forever. At least you could if you weren’t in your pants at 11:30am having not written anything and only just worked out how to get the lid off the marmalade. Yet you may fall into the trap of loving yourself, no not like that. You write, you are king. The postman is beneath you, as are your friends. You are a god in your own pants. You will never write any believable characters.
  7. Writing advice lists. You will write on the dangers of being a writer, ending with the last danger being writing lists, thinking how wonderfully droll you are being. You will end the list with a undeserved sense of wellbeing almost stopping mid.


Go and visit a man with a thirst for danger the Resident Weeble

(WMB4X) Fiction: The Speech

Debconf5 lecture

It’s a mad world, there are no rules for success despite the multitude of handbooks. One wrong move and you are toast. Invest in the wrong areas or get the wrong people involved and you may as well pack up and go home. It’s hard work, but worthwhile.

It’s all about investing in the future, that is everything. The same in this and any other aspect of life I suppose. Thats not to say if you invest correctly the future will play out the way you planned chances are it won’t, also don’t do this and expect to get any thanks. Not verbally anyway. I’ve been doing this some time now and things have got to the point where everything is expected. Thats progress, moving forward like the sands of time.

In the infancy it was different, but things can’t stay that way forever. It wouldn’t be good for anyone concerned. Besides as time passes you get opportunities to explore new things, more ways to fall flat on your face half the time. You will make mistakes, of that there is no doubt. These mistakes will feel like no mistake you ever made before. You will impact the lives of others outside of your group, sometimes for better, often for the worse. At the end of the day you will just hope no-one dies… And you fools think I say that in jest. You wait.

The man you see before you now wasn’t always alone. In the beginning I had a partner. We made the choices together, united and strong. Investing passionately in our mutual concern, however by year three we couldn’t see eye to eye. So we split in the hope that what we created together could remain strong. It’s touch and go at times as I now find myself observing from afar. We still go to market these days, but not with the strong unit we once had.

They don’t tell you at school how to do this. Not adequately anyway. This work will consume you, often without you being aware of it. You will lose a part of yourself to it, but gain so very much. You learn so many lessons from the very beginning and you never ever stop. Although I’m talking at you today, don’t pay too much attention to others. What’s right for me maybe wrong for you. Invest that time wisely, especially at the beginning. Don’t let your baby try to face that mad world alone.

I am not a success. Despite standing tall before you today. I lurch from one failure to the next in the hope that things don’t meltdown. I attempt to do everything with love and respect but sometimes fail at both. I’m an investor of many things, yet I am no business leader.

I am a parent.


Visit the Resident Weeble…. He’s the daddy

(WMB4X) Poem in the Key of Arrgh

Where oh where are my damn keys,
I really need them see,
Have they fallen under the fridge again.
Where can those bastards be?

How can they go astray,
They are less mobile than me,
It’s not like they have gone rock climbing,
Where can those bastards be?

The door is locked I can’t get out,
They have made a prisoner of me,
Am I here whilst they are partying,
Where can those bastards be?

I’ve turned my house upside down,
I have a door but I can’t unlock it,
Now it looks like I’ve been robbed,
Oh, the fuckers are in my pocket.

R101CrewKeys


Find the Key to the universe at the Resident Weebles blog

(WMB4X) The Day of the Doctor

50 years of The Doctor. How the hell do you begin to write anything about that? For once I’m pleased I’m not Steven Moffat. Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt and Billie Piper amongst others a stellar cast. I loved it, absolutely. I’m going to try not to spoil it for anyone who didn’t see it. (Like my blog will be the only place that mentions this) I will mention a few things though.

So many times do you wait for something that has a great fanfare beforehand only to find it doesn’t live up to it? This wasn’t one of those times. This was the TV event of the year if not the century. Surprises at every turn, humour and even rewards for the oldest fans of the show. Also the beauty of a time travel show means you can travel back and “put right what once went wrong” but enough about Quantum Leap.

One of the things I hated about Russell T Davies last ever episode with David Tennant is that Tennants Doctor says “I don’t want to go.” just before he regenerates. This is been a huge annoyance of mine because the Doctors regeneration is not him ‘going’ anywhere. Steven Moffat obviously was annoyed by this too. So he only bloody well went and fixed it. This alone would have made my night but wait there is plenty more.

Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) was criticised on her return to the show in 2010 after a two year absence as Rose’s voice had dramatically changed. Billie said that she had forgotten how Rose was supposed to sound. Cosmetic dental work aside of course. The vocal change did distract somewhat. So I have to admit I was worried about Rose Tylers return. Moffat brilliantly fixed this too.

I have spoken before about Matt Smith’s great ability to play a character much older and more world weary than himself. John Hurt managed to play a younger Doctor superbly, as you knew he would. Brilliantly acted, brilliantly casted.

I’d be a rubbish TV critic. This is a bit of non piece for which I make no apologies. I just didn’t think this would be quite so damn good.

So fifty years for the Doctor. 200 blog pieces for me. Not quite as impressive but a very fortuitous bit of timey wimey.

Dr Who (316350537)


Visit the Resident Weeble. He’s on his fifth regeneration.

(WMB4X) Nightmare is Xmas

There were so many things I could have written about for today’s WriteMare Before Xmas (WMB4X) piece. Kennedy, the fact that it’s International Disabled Persons day to name but two. But as I sit here now, not in the greatest of moods. I figured I’d use my melancholy.

I am aware lots of people hate Christmas. Lots of folks really love it too.

Guess which camp I fall in. Yep no surprises. So why am I writing this piece in November, well if shops can have Christmas stock in place by September I can write about Christmas whenever I damn well choose. The shops is a good enough place to start too. I am a single guy, I do my own shopping. Sometimes all I pop in for is a pint of milk, in early September I have to turn into some tinsel hoping, mince pie dodging hurdler just to get a pint of the white stuff. Why? Christmas point of sale displays popping up more often than the penis of an average teenager who is thinking.. about anything.

I wouldn’t mind if it was good stuff either. It’s all tat, overpriced overdraft inducing tat that everyone is guilt tripped into buying.

My house is a Christmas free zone. At least it is until I turn on my TV. Specials from Christmas past, present and future. I know it’s Christmas, I’m trying to avoid it thanks, additionally I know you filmed this in 25 degree heat in the summer in the Kent Countryside, so fuck off, get off my TV and stick your fake snow up your arse. Only safe haven is On-demand.

Work. I hate my job, I hate it at Christmas, pressured into parties with people you want to kill because “it’s Christmas” Also there is the actual work too. No-one does anything, which I have no problem with. However I have to report on people doing nothing by producing stats which people don’t read usually let alone near Christmas. So I have to cover people on leave and produce my normal level of work. Hardly comfort and joy.

Beer. I like a nice pint of real ale in a nice country pub. However around Christmas any pub that is any good is packed to the rafters. Full of occasional drinkers on “house white” or “do you do mulled wine?” again because it’s Christmas. Result being nowhere to sit, meaning no beer for me.

Family. I love my family and extended family which includes my friends. But, no family is perfect, so any fuck ups you have made in the last 20 years, which can be managed or swept under the carpet always rears it’s head at Christmas. Even if it’s nothing serious for you (lucky) there will probably be some git who doesn’t like their present. You spend december walking on egg shells probably for something you can’t even remember. You can’t tell them to fuck off either. Because it’s Christmas.

Christmas blog articles. People with no original ideas writing about Christmas like it’s something special even as early as November….

Jacktapeta


Visit the blog of the Resident Weeble. Send him a Christmas card. I won’t be.

(WMB4X) Tea for Two (am)

It’s the Ashes (again) in Australia. So heres to weeks of disrupted sleep whilst I watch eleven of my compatriots retain (hopefully) professional sports smallest trophy. The first test match is in Brisbane and play starts (for day two) at midnight UK time tonight.

The Ashes

For me it’s actually quite nice. Nicer than when the test matches are on in England. Nowhere to go, no-one who’s gonna call. The wind and rain going on outside whilst I can at least see the sunshine in full HD. I only wish I didn’t have to go to work the next day. Cricket is a sport that many people don’t understand the appeal of, I get that. The naming conventions for the field placings don’t help. Leg slips and Silly Mid-offs are too much for some. Again maybe that is part of the appeal for me.

Test matches last five days (and you thought baseball was a long game) but during that time the upper hand in the game can change several times. A marathon rather than a sprint but with tactical elements a plenty, and especially in the case of the Ashes a great deal of human emotion and passion.

Stuart Broad England fast bowler, has been made a panto villain in the Aussie press for “refusing to walk”. Which basically means, he was out in a previous match, but the umpire didn’t give it so he stayed put. A bit like a footballer doing a bad foul then staying on the pitch because the Ref didn’t give him a red card. There have been front pages encouraging all Aussies to blank Broad wherever he goes. Broad fought back in the best way possible by taking 5 of the 8 Australian wickets to fall yesterday.

When you are up watching this kind of theatre. It is important you stay refreshed, and whilst I did succumb to a wee shot of Jack, by 2am I was ready for bed. Which brings me to the title of this ramble. There is nothing, no drink on earth, I would rather have by my side in the early hours than tea. It warms the mind and soul. So if you like me are watching the cricket or maybe some other more fitting event to your personal preference. Askew the coffee, say good-bye to gin. Go and make a brew. You won’t regret it.


Go and visit the Resident Weeble. He might show you his googly.

(WMB4X) 90’s Geek vs Geek of the Millennium

1980. Year of the birth of Austin Mini Metro and me. By the mid 90’s I was a spotty mullet topped computer geek. Much has changed, I’m not spotty anymore and the computer that sits in front of me of is more powerful than I could even have imagined.

My PC then was a Pentium 166mhz, with 16mb of RAM. I had a massive hard drive where I could store up to 2gb of data. When I first got the machine I didn’t have access to the internet of any kind, so I spent my time playing Championship Manager 2, in-between homework composed using MS Works. Then the internet came along, in the shape of a beige box with some red flashing lights on it. I was lucky, the blistering 56.6 modem. My friend had a Pentium 75 and 14.4 connection. How I took the piss.

Then came mIRC a text based chat system which I spent far too much time on. My parents let me stay online long enough (hogging the phone line) to make good acquaintance with most of Ohio, America (so it seemed). FiveOhTwo one of the Ohio clan introduced me and my real life friends to MP3. We each then spent hours trying to download Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” via Napster.

The browser of choice back then was Netscape, which had to be searched for via Yahoo on Internet Explorer 4.0. That is if it you could keep it from crashing for long enough for the download to complete. Windows ’95, then Windows ’98 which pre-service pack was as stable as me on ice.

The geek of the Millennium. Has it easy.

Geek-chic now is all around us. It’s fashionable to be geeky, nerdy and know what TARDIS stands for. Geeks today live connected. No waiting for your Mum to get off the phone to download that latest blockbuster movie. Yes movie. It would have taken months to download full length HD movies via a 90’s dial up connection.

Although mIRC still exists, the rooms now are largely populated with people who used them first time around. It’s now all Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The 90’s geek was all about identity security and low profile. The millennium counterpart is more “out” than a Pride Parade.

Napster has now long gone legit after spats with Lars Ulrich and others. So geeks now have Pirate Bay to be a freeloader. If your ISP allows. If not there is iTunes, which began life as a humble music player. The music player of choice in the 90’s was Winamp. It was superb, you could download skins for it to change the way it looked, add-ins to change the sound, stream online radio using SHOUTcast and some skins even included reel-to-reel tape Skeuomorphics that would have made Scott Forstall cream his pants.

Winamp was best when it was simple. As time passed by it tried to compete with iTunes and Windows Media Player, becoming bloated and seemingly unaware of the world where people were taking their music out and about as opposed to being sat in chat rooms.

I have just learnt that Winamp is to be shut down forever on the 20th December. Whatever will whip the llamas ass with now.


Please visit the king of geek chic the Resident Weeble

(WMB4X) Fiction: Kali

The steam filled the room bringing with it more than just a hint of lavender. The room was illuminated by five or maybe six faltering candles, gasping for air and suffering from a shortage of wax. The sound of dripping water echoed around, bouncing off all four walls. As I walked deeper into the steam I stumbled and found myself hurtling head first towards a familiar face beneath the surface of some bubbly water. I reached out, just stopping myself in-time.

The curvy body attached to that face jumped, as the face came up for air. The face and indeed the body, because they were a package really, belonged to my wife of ten years, Kali.

“Jesus Christ Tim.” she said. “Can’t a girl have a bath in peace. I thought you were out, could have given me a heart attack.”
“Sorry.” I said. “Just got back in, very cold out. Unlike here, blimey it’s like the Amazon jungle.”

As my eyes grew more accustomed to the flickering candle light I could see that Kali had put the best part of a bottle of creme bubble bath into the water, the bubbles were annoyingly placed in PG13 movie positions, so I couldn’t see any ‘good bits’. After ten years of marriage I am happily surprised that misplaced bubbles can still disappoint me.
“So then,” Kali said. “Oh great ruiner of baths. What is so important that you couldn’t wait twenty minutes to tell me.”
“Well.” I began.
“Oh wait right there mister, if you want a crap you are just gonna have to wait. Stick a cork up there or something.” Kali smiled.
“No it’s not that. Not today anyway.”
“Pleased to hear it.” she said as she sat up in the bath. Pulling her legs up and cuddling them into her chest. “Go on.”
“Well.” I began again perching on the edge of the tub. “I popped out to get the list of stuff you asked for.”
“The list on the fridge?”
“Yep and well anyway.. there were police outside the Morrisons’ house. They took Jen away.
“Oh Well.” she shrugged. “I guess we’ll never get that baking dish back now will we.”
“Baking dish? I thought you two were mates.”
“Friends close, enemies closer. You really don’t know anything about women do you.”
She had me there. They had always mystified me, maybe thats what I loved so much.
“Hand me that towel will ya.” she continued. “The waters gone cold.”
I handed her a big fluffy towel from the rail and watched as she rose from the water and let the towel embrace her. Flicking her long red hair out from under it.
“God you are as bad as that Jason from next door.” she said, noticing me looking.
“Do you let him watch you bathe?” I smiled knowing that teenage Jason wouldn’t know where to look let alone what to do.
“Yes, there’s him, his Dad Mike, the Milkman and even Jen.” she smiled again. “Mind you if she’s going to prison now it’s showers she’ll be watching.”
I turned on the light as she blew out the candles and stepped over the edge of the bath. Beginning to rub herself dry she said. “So did you get all the things on that list?”
“Not quite.” I said, handing her another towel for her hair. “They didn’t have any of those tablets you wanted.”

The life seemed to drain from Kali’s face. I don’t know if it was the change in lighting but she seemed to age ten years in about ten seconds. She fumbled for the lid of the toilet, placed it down, sat and slumped back against the cistern.
“Whats wrong?” I asked surprised to see such a reaction, I mean the chemist was all out, I did look. Surely she must know that.
“What’s wrong?” she said solemnly. “You have known me for 13 years. In that time I have always got my own medication. I ask you to do it just once. Once in thirteen years Tim”
“It’s ok, surely. I’ll go back tomorrow and get them. It will be fine.”
“It won’t.” she had stopped drying herself and drips on her face one-by-one lost their fight with gravity falling onto the towel never to be seen again. “I took my last pill yesterday. Thats why I asked you to go for me today. If I don’t have a tablet soon, well.”
“Well what?” I asked. This was really strange now, I knew my wife took various pills and potions. I mean it’s not unusual these days. Creams for this, tablets for that, the bathroom cabinet chock full.
“Those tablets kept me under control.” she said.
“How long have you been feeling depressed?”
“Depressed?” she looked at me through quizzical green eyes.
“Thats the medication right? There’s no need to hide it, lots of people these days..”
“No.” she interrupted my babble. “I’m not depressed. In fact I wish I was, Citalopram is easier to swallow.” She smiled a half smile.
“What is it then?” I asked, my knowledge of medication all but exhausted.
“The tablets prevent me from changing.”
“Oh, early menopause?”
“For Petes sake, stop trying to be Dr House Tim. Next you’ll suggest Lupus.” She snapped.
I wouldn’t have, it was never Lupus.
“Listen to me.” She continued, now barely dripping. “It’s started already.”
She held up her hand. At first I thought it was wrinkled from being in the bath too long, but then as it moved closer I noticed it was redder than usual and what I thought were wrinkles had a scale like quality.
“Oh, so what lots of people have skin issues.” I said. Denying what my eyes had seen.
“It’s not that.” her voice deeper than usual. Face reddening by the second. “No time to explain, you must go. Go now.”
“I’m not leaving you Kali, surely I can help.”
By now my wife’s metamorphosis was well underway. Her towel had fallen away to reveal a lizard-like body complete with three toed feet with big thick red nails.
Her eyes told me to run.
My heart told me to stay.
So I did.

Bubble - കുമിള 06


Please visit the page of the Resident Weeble. He has marvellous medicine