Thursday, July 31, 2014

10 things I quite like about you

Generally I find that I have little in common with mainstream Papal thinking, or any other religious twaddle that's pushed out to calm the hysterical masses and while this is all a bit cheesy there's none of it I could easily disagree with. Well that's my mood for today, it may change but here are Pope Francis’s 10 secrets to happiness. Not a big black book in sight either.

1. “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”

2. “Be giving of yourself to others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”

3. “Proceed calmly” in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra — looks back on how he lived his life.

4. A healthy sense of leisure. The Pope said “consumerism has brought us anxiety”, and told parents to set aside time to play with their children and turn of the TV when they sit down to eat.

5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said.

6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.

7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we're not asking ourselves is: 'Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'”

8. Stop being negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, 'I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”

9. Don't proselytize; respect others' beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you,' No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing,” the Pope said.

10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.

The Pope and Jesus

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Aye, right!

Just back from Wickerman 2014, three days of music, peace, noise, drones, sinful behaviour, dancing, eating cheesy chips, fruit, nuts,  sun, cigars, rain, weather, pyrotechnics, wine, beer, sleep, cold showers, chat, wind ups, guitar boogie, rap, poetry, nonsense, log dancing, fog, pasties, hat decorating, hat wearing, sunburn, blethering, flags, singing at the top of your voice, removing litter, silly drunks, wandering around, punk and ska, T shirt engineering, slipping and sliding and eventually getting home via Biggar (which should be twinned with Smolla, someplace in a mythical Sweden). More thoughts later on...

Monday, July 21, 2014

More flag

I couldn't be in more pain unless I'd urinated on a nettle. Well that wasn't what I did, nor was I stung by a wasp or a disguised bee or scratched by some jumping cat. I did pull a thorn from a drain and that did hurt a bit but then I completely failed to drop any of the sixteen breeze blocks and four bricks I moved across the garden onto my naked toes. I didn't for once bash my head on the low lintel on the garage door, on the boxed in plumbing nor on the awkward bit under the stairs where everything is at the wrong height. No thumbs were hit by claw hammers or finger tips removed by spinning electric machinery (drill, saw or lawn mower) and my wrist was not burned by the oven door nor scalded by a kettle spillage plus I cant remember the last time I cut myself shaving or (other than two weeks ago) had an irritable spot up my nose cavity. So what is this pain? No other words than...summer fatigue and the requirement for a holiday. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Still Life v DIY Flag

Still life with roses, wood and water.
Flag testing has been underway all day. Glad to say there have been no incidents or accidents so far other than unrelated head banging moments,  as per usual.
If for some reason you're lost, can't quite get your bearings, blundering about in the dark or generally overcome with a serious disorientation problem then the simple answer is, where ever you may be or think you may be...follow the flag.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Shorty McHumbucker

#lessnegativeposting Here's the unrecognised star of this year's Wickerman Festival; Shorty McHumbucker no less. Funny how as part of the comprehensive suite of presentational works and logistical planning the bathroom has to get a fresh lick of paint. Here's to better weather and the one size hats fitting all.

A fun place 2

When I said previously "a place not run by Tory slimers and snake bellied goons" I should have added "a place not run my these cheesy and untrustworthy examples of  a poor apology for the leadership of the Labour Party". In any kind of sane world they would actually be working for the people instead of living out their own warped fantasies of having a glorious political career, one devoid of any grasp of socialist ideals and the representation of our needs in ordinary daily life. Ugh! A clear out is required.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A fun place

Kirkcaldy: a divided place.

Voting for a brave new Scotland?

A place where rights and freedoms are supported and respected.
A place where voices are heard and listened to.
A place with good health care is coupled with the promotion of good health education.
A place where social services have a light but positive touch.
A place where politics is positive and not fearful and negative.
A place where housing is decent and affordable and is supported as being a basic right.
A place where we can get a proper education.
A place where people give back in proportion to what they take.
A place where we can make money ethically.
A place that makes things, sells things and, if it can, gives things away.
A place where we understand things are not perfect but we work, a bit at a time to make them better.
A place where we tolerate and support diversity, eccentricity and creativity in others.
A place where crime is dealt with quickly and effectively.
A place where superstores and retail parks don’t dominate our town and lives.
A place where nature is in it’s right place and respected.
A place that people will want to visit, holiday in and work in.
A place that knows its roots, its history and its traditions.
A place that has a respected voice in the world.
A place that doesn’t shout me, me, me all the time.
A place where fingers don’t point and tongues don’t wag.
A safe place we can call home.
A place not run by Tory slime balls.
A clean place.
A fun place.

This all becomes a bit too pious and predicable after a while, too worthy and possibly stupid. A box ticking exercise. It’s hard not to include indicative and desirable things like having clean public toilets, no potholes in the road, a four day week, nonstop erotic cabaret, banning religion, no snappy dogs, cheap petrol, no bingo and having a Yellow Brick Road we can all just skip along on whilst whistling a happy tune. Well maybe some day.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Seasonal Variations

Webs of extremism, the death of blogging and barefoot bowls. 

Rumour has it that summer's here and so are the sporting events and regular vapid weather speculation conversations. The World Cup being the most gripping and enjoyable bit so far. I took a lot of it in, avoided the pundits and the back stories and concentrated on the basics, the matches and the beer and cutting the grass. I wasn't disappointed but it was gone in a blur, like Alan Hansen. The tennis at Wimbledon passed me by as if it was some ghostly event populated by unrecognisable players and blonde clones – once Murray was bumped anyway. Now the spotlight is on the mean city of Glasgow, an unbridled opportunity for Scotland to look...seriously and determinedly Scottish. I already have a strong sense of trepidation over these over hyped games as they are duly hijacked by the clumsy efforts of the less subtle factions in both the Yes and No camps and the ever hysterical BBC. This will be a defining moment that, like most so called defining moments fails to define anything meaningful, yet everybody will be on the look out for one to cherish, grasping their own personal bit of belonging to whatever unpleasant nonsense the Commonwealth represents and what the UK and Scotia might mean. Scotland will most likely sink without a trace in the blue chip events and we'll, as usual assume the position of polite loser and genial but badly spoken host. In the heat of the moment our grammar, dress sense and  deodorant choices will let us down but eventually some bright young hero will arise and thanks to relentless over exposure inspire the masses only then to have his or her medals stolen by some dumb ass who thinks they really are gold. It'll be fun, I can hardly wait and I've already got all the tickets I need...for Wickerman.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cat Wars

Weapon of mass confusion.
There's a bit of an undeclared cat war going on around here. It started with a few meows and twitches but it's turned into a full scale, cat-flap battering, pissing and staring contest between cats that most likely have no balls but are desperately trying at act as if they do. Peace seems a long way from breaking out as the nightly skirmishes and tactical batterings run on. We're not sure but there may be up to six guerrilla felines involved, two of them being ours. One is in the secret service and a bit of a Mata-Hari character, the other, a bemused, reluctant and unhappy combatant just makes a lot of noise and wets his pants at the sound of gunfire. The other players are the local bad boy cutie, a stray lady with peculiar white paws, an old gentleman like Captain Mainwaring and a tiny boy/girl soldier of unknown origins. Anyway it's time for the humans strike back, anytime, anywhere and mostly in our pyjamas. Some time in the wee, small hours peace will surely come.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Pre-retirement and the ghost of Hilda

Saving the pier at Culross from old age etc.
Spent today on a pre-retirement course in Glasgow, a city where, despite all the positive messages and health initiatives a high percentage of those on the street don't really look right or well. It's a curious mixture of tattoos, obesity, strange clothing trapped and moulded onto posturing body shapes topped of with a whining, chiming vocal din shouted into the battered microphone of a mobile phone. That does it I'm afraid and it's on every street corner. All acted out whilst smoking roll ups and drinking ginger, oblivious and lacking any self awareness as bemused tourists look on as they alight their coach bound for freedom. We breed our stereotypes so well, so consistently.

The course was like some precursor for coffee time in Hell or a shopping channel audience audition. Mature, wrinkled people like me, moaning, bald and swollen and wanting out of whatever they were in. I felt like I was trapped in an old people's home but one that, alas and alack, I fitted into perfectly. We were for a brief time a club. Our common purpose apparently being to get some cash, milk some pension funds, have some long and short term investments and then do what we like and "be happy but careful". It all sounds tricky to me but many have ambled down this care worn path before me and lived to be at least 64. There is hope it seems. The best part was the rather confused and well over 60 trainer who used the words "logistics" and "catalyst" to describe major lifetime events when she really meant "arrangements" and "epiphany". I just giggled as I communed with the ghost of Hilda Baker, prostitute on the floor.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Park and Tram

The Edinburgh tram riding experience isn't so bad, just forget the cost and the incompetence. For a few quid you can pleasantly slide for squeaky miles  across the industrial hog weed infested wasteland that eventually brings you the streets of the capital, abruptly. You pass beige offices, Aston Martin dealerships, the Krispy Kreme outlet, ruins and would-be slums, puzzled shoppers and students and scattered palatial dwellings. From the tram you see the backside of everything, raw, abandoned and cocky with graffiti. Edinburgh is a curious mix. When the sun shines and the grass turns brown, the wasps pretend to be bees and the family gathers there probably is no better place to be.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Worse than blowing up flats?

I'm actually quite taken by the Scottish Team's outfit for the Commonsense Games, unlikely I'll every wear one however (no, wait a minute, I don't like it much at all). The thing is, viewed with some detachment, the whole kilt, trews, bunnets, shawls and bagpipes things doesn't really add up to a great look. It's all pretty odd and I can say that as a kilt owner and occasional wearer. There can't be anybody who truly wants to wear this stuff, it's just...expected of us and we play up and live up to those expectations. That's what the Scots do best. All that will change post Sept 18 when Wee Eck's new Caledonian Hipster look and lifestyle is launched officially.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Things flying about

Today the washed out and broody skies were crowded with various flying machines. All of them (obviously) quite hard to photograph. They move too fast and high. I presume that there is a special technique for this sort of thing. Clearly I know nothing about it and I only own a £40 camera.

Meanwhile the big, cataclysmic voting day in September rolls inexorably towards us like a jam donut wobbling down the Royal Mile whilst chased by a hungry poodle. So now we find Wee Eck and Diddy Cameron getting politely booed by shipbuilders and the Queen's procession of minders close every road in West Fife, it may be the end of all reason and the demise of the M&S eat for two for a tenner offer forever. So as world peace gets no kind of chance the standards of media reporting and honest discussion seem on the brink of total collapse, here's a good piece about the Scottish situation and the tiresome and often inappropriate use of the term bully. Good on you Robert.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Seems like everyone is on holiday

Sandy, dry, warm tones and new ceramic surfaces, gleaming white and pristine, still unfinished but all there in the void that was. Cold and clean, dripping and gurgling and ready. Bright reflections and quirky space, hidden features and openings and the whizzing of fans and air and cold water turning hot. Unmarked and easy, strong, bold and compact outside of daylight. Picked out and slotted in, proportional and perfect in places and wabi sabi in others. Lazy and busy and hidden behind the anonymity of a closed door that you can peek around, squint and stare in but no key hole or latch as we await the compliant lock design. One hot and bothered question remains...who will the brave soldier and righteous warrior be, the chosen one who Christens and launches this spectacular and spiritual space?

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Feckless Eejit

Here I am, a distant figure in my own head, captured by GG.
You (a person in the general sense) cannot help but see yourself in certain ways, some honest, some complimentary, sometimes self effacing and sometimes slightly romanticised to the point of being for a while a complete and utter nonsensical type of person. The key is not to be too delusional, pretentious or over extravagant. Just admit to yourself that from time to time you will behave like a feckless eejit and everything will eventually work out fine. Honesty is almost the best policy. Honest.