Wednesday, November 30, 2016

More pictures of the sky

Ten things that successful people sometimes do:

1. Take the headlights off the car, fiddle, fix and change a bulb. Top up the oil in another car.
2. Eat two bananas one at a time.
3. Split some logs just for fun.
4. Check out the woods and invasive ivy (still pretty much there but under control).
5. Exercise apprentice drum machine operator antics, coordination C+, concentration C-.
6. Observe one fire engine, one Coast Guard pickup, one ambulance, one police car passed the door.
7. Walk out to see what the fuss was all about...fuss far away. Lifeboat in the water but headed East. All appliances stood down shortly thereafter (except for household ones).
8. Sort cardboard and recycling materials.
9. Check the "Build a Bear" website.
10.Take a few pictures of the sky, keep some and discard the rest.

That was yesterday but only up to a vague point in time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

As if I could

Well that was yesterday, irritating and stubborn clouds hanging around blocking bits of sunlight and keeping the entire area dull ... but I needed a rest anyway. So things are so much different now. The weekend required some recovery; driving, football, theatre, hot, cold, steak pies and new places. I find that the best therapy is simply to sit down and take the tumble drier to bits. Give it a good clean, extricate all that stubborn belly button type fluff, hose down the filters and major components, reassemble methodically using a carefully chosen Chinese screwdriver and fire her up for a quick spin. Summed up: as exhilarating as a burn out in a sports car. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Long live Fidel?

Castro in 1951, a truly timeless photo.
Now that Fidel Castro is dead the process of reevaluating his life has begun; revolutionary, leader, torturer, killer, oppressor, man of the people, obsessed with getting the better of the USA and not caring about Cuba enough? The man the CIA failed to kill, smoker of cigars and friend of Che, he outlived most of his rivals and died peacefully (?). I don't know what to think. When I was first reading Guevara's writings as a teenager, (me being a revolutionary without a cause), their work was fascinating and seemed simple and righteous. It was all set in black and white 1950's jungles, government troops were the enemy and capitalist influences were everywhere corrupting the good, plain, simple people (who could do no wrong). Now I'm not so sure. 

None of it every happened in Scotland, it was all irrelevant really and an almost romantic distraction whilst we were failing to build a better post-industrial society, sitting around smoking dope, listening to downer rock and talking rubbish. A wistful reading, fashion and fantasy exercise and no more than that. Combat jackets, jeans and a blank stare into space because the Tories never were smashed and Socialism, with it's petty antics simply gave itself a bad name. As we grew up we only built New Labour and it drove itself over a cliff. Now that troubled but impotent generation has passed and really there is no clear direction, which is just the way that things actually are and maybe always were.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Surf Beast

Strange Surf Beast: Some guitar projects work out better than others, this one has been a struggle, resisting construction and refusing to line up properly in all the main places. It's a (cheap but cheerful considering it's injuries) Blackie Strat type body with obvious added in road worn features. It's been hard-tailed via rough surgery and has gone through intensive renovation to receive a neck transplant and a pair of lip-stick single coil tube pickups on a custom scratch plate. You could say it's unusual. Almost Danelectro in look and in feel (the body) and not as playable as I'd hoped but it still is...interesting. As it's a surf beast there's heavier strings (possibly part of the problem) and tight action. The thing is it sounds pretty good; twangy, pingy, crystalline even (well in places). I'm viewing this as work in progress, changes may be made. Time and my powers of endurance will tell.

This may be some kind of emerging  "view from the office" photo series. I don't know, I just make this up as I go along. Obviously. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wheels falling off

Not often that punctures occurs these days. Though this was more of a disagreement between the wheel and the tyre where one decided they'd had enough of the other. There followed some loss of pressure and a dull thud and a reminder that cars need four equally sized wheels to remain happy and stable when on the road. It was a case of limping to anywhere suitable  for carrying out a repair. The limping was perhaps not the best idea but by then the tyre was pretty much shot. The man said that major structural damage had occurred so whilst a replacement was sought the natty red space saver had a rare outing. I followed the instructions and remained calm at no more than 49mph, some extra lessons in limping. That is the rule.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sorry... probably can't read this either. Try Vision Express for vision success.

Alt-Right now

Hopefully we'll have all the best draughtsmen and artists on our side come the day, though no matter how well you think you know people you can never really tell.
Baby it's Alt-Right now. When exactly did the term Alt-Right become part of common parlance? These guys and gals appear to be on the march, released it seems by some evil force now that we've all become bored with regular corrupted politics. So Alt-Right sneaked up and now it's mushroomed out into an appropriate descriptor for New Fascism available everywhere. Maybe New Labour used to be called Alt-Left and I missed that too. That's the thing with political labels, they're are coined presumably by some young and cunning spin doctor and then adopted by all and sundry as the correct new way to describe some old regurgitated political idea as if it was new and sexy. New and sexy is just about simple enough to get foot soldiers and camp followers signing up in droves. That's what people do it seems. The evil absurdity of it all is awful and it's as powerful as a runaway bushfire. 2016's getting a reputation for being one of the worst years on record (well that's what my biased and carefully manicured and cultivated Facebook and Twitter feeds tell me) but I suspect that we've seen nothing yet. Certainly nobody's laughing on my side (?) except for cackling idiots like Farage, Johnstone and Trump.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Older school

A pot of vegetable curry and a pot of vegetable soup fly in close formation upon the red hot and sacred top of the sacrificial log burner. Some of the vegetables involved found themselves in both pots, others did not.  Good choice of cooking and kitchen warming medium on a cold and foggy day filled with strange distant noises and the deafening clatter of the falling leaves over there in the woodland. Regards cook outs,  I'm quite serious in trying to have more of a mixed but balanced diet. These hot and splodgy meals kind of help (as far as my own roving and free flowing imagination is concerned) to maintain a balance.

In other news, a wise man once sang: "When they said repent, I wondered what they meant." I wonder what it means?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Towers of Babel

I suppose if we knew why we were here it might be OK to ask the question why aliens might  also be here. A bit of sightseeing, kill time after a long space flight, hoover up a little culture and then invade? We do make a lot of assumptions about our rights to things and of course when it comes to this planet nobody else has a say (except for the absent gods of Islam and Christianity and they are obviously really bothered about things here right now). Territorially speaking we'll never give up on earth.

The film ARRIVAL is a sci-fi offering that offers the obvious premise that, thanks to that whole Tower of Babel incident 6000 Biblical and fictional years ago we all opted for our own strange and conflicting languages and so plunged ourselves into years of warfare and misunderstanding. This situation was in fact created by the ever reliable Hebrew god for a bit of fun, presumably one wet afternoon when mankind may have been on the verge of actually getting on. If he really did consider the consequences of his actions then he's even worse than I thought - but if you still choose to follow him then good luck to you.

Meanwhile many years later somebody made this interesting film about how our different languages continue to keep us apart and how, no matter what guise they come in, we'll never be able to welcome aliens into our world. As the military tend to manage all the clumsy negotiations in some primary coloured language, you know the script already and we're doomed. You also can understand why any sensible alien just avoids this place altogether, interventions don't play well these days. Probably for the best, concepts like non-linear time, working together and circular, inclusive writing would not catch on with those dumb fucks determined to make America, the UK and the Soviet Union "great" again. Yeah, like back in the real old days, when they first put up the Tower of Babel and people were still fighting over pastures and flocks of sheep.

Below: this means something...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Poor choice of font?

Out of your box

Spotted yesterday, somewhere out in the Scottish wilderness, where no mobile phone signal dares to go so still a good place to break down; that is if you have the correct key to phone for rescue (they once were standard issue to all AA members). 

Note: nervous, existential, financial or communication breakdowns are/were not covered by this offer. Terms and conditions therefore apply to the full extent that the current law allows.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

20/20 blindness

A paragraph from Richard Rorty written in 1998. Whilst part of me thinks that if you checked enough recent pieces of philosophical work you'll always find some theory proven to be correct and lining up with current events in any given set of circumstances; there's also the more worrying reality that most human behaviour is cyclical and repeated over some sort of time period, be it short or long. So while we refuse to learn from experience and the evil in the past we're stuck in this loop. The fact that we continue to congratulate ourselves on how far we've come since the last disaster (or whatever behavioural dip we suffered) simply prevents us from seeing that we haven't really moved on and confirms our static state with 20/20 blindness.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Holiday Home

The recently refurbished cat hotel/holiday home received it's first visitor yesterday. Only a few hours after opening for business the neighbourhood Top Cat aka Tigger crept in to test the luxurious facilities without making any prior booking. In fairness the weather had turned pretty awful I can hardly blame the cat for taking shelter. As might be expected he left a little later without actually bothering to settle his bill.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Steps across the water

Food thoughts beside the edge: Back to standing on the brink, staring into the distant space and wondering what to have along with my reformatted Fife Diet pot of beef and vegetable soup. Food is a vital daily ritual round here. Bread or bread rolls and various kinds of aloof and posh cheeses top the list presently but frankly, it's a tough decision. No beetroot, neither baby or sliced has been considered either. As the waves crash, the wake of now far away ships passes across and massages the shore whilst the wind howls; I decide upon olive bread with some low fat cheese and a slow dipping, hand made regime. Then I'll nip back and empty the dishwasher and may even go on to tackle the tumble drier with all it's high liquid content, heat and mysterious black fluff. The water and it's restless energy and sooting sounds caught in these wide open spaces generates such profound thinking.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Obscured by cloud

I caught an early morning, blurry glimpse of the fabled super moon. An unexpected smattering of blue grey sky came over from Australia and freed us from cloudy normality. My pin hole camera however failed to do justice to the celestial spectacle. At least I've seen it so now I won't feel left out in imaginary pub conversations or if I happen to engage with any Lycra clad triathlon trainee who's skipping past the front door. I have seen the moon in full iMax perfection but without the costly apparatus.

Still on the subject of space we caught up on "Mars" a kind of docu-drama on the History Channel. It's a watchable, well made piece of SpaceX sales propaganda that flits between 2016 (round about now) and 2033, when a launch to Mars is a real event. Lots of heavy talking heads provide the big pitch in well telegraphed segments. 

Anyway having recently returned from Cape Canaveral and spied out the various locations shown it's a nice reminder of our balmy summer time tourist encounters. The casting however looks a bit clunky to me, as usual they've put a Captain Kirk type in as flight commander. I've already written him out in my version but I suspect that he'll somehow make it through despite quickly becoming a heroic dead weight on the mission. 

I wonder what the new Commander in Chief Mr Trump makes of this? Has he any taste for science fiction and is he even aware that there is such a thing as science? He talks a lot of fiction. I'm not sure I've ever heard him wax lyrically about space travel either. But if you really want to make America great...

Monday, November 14, 2016


You can always trust our trusty supermarkets to promote possibly poisonous items as bait to the unprepared or unthinking shoppers, just to mess with their heads a little. These odd juice cocktails being a prime example but one which works (for me anyway) and they operate under the guise of appearing to be healthy in some way. Why these aisle end items appeal to me is not clear. I'm drawn by some magnetic force to buy and try these beverage based social experiments and so far I'm living to tell the tale. I've already downed a bottle of pea green asparagus and apple so why should apple, beetroot and blackcurrant phase me. It's actually quite a delightful flavour and as for carrot and orange, well that's been a soup for many years so why not a drink? So far no side effects other than that odd sense of well being you get when consuming something labeled around fruit and veg as opposed to junk. Image is everything and cost is another.

The start of something neither big nor small, just mildly interesting.

Step into the occult

For no particular reason some strangely doodled on and corrupted stolen images. A brush with the world of the strange you might say (or the normal if you're a bit strange).

The beer is neither weird nor strange, just good, dark and strong. At a staggering 17% it's not a tipple to knock back quickly. Best savoured slowly and a little cautiously etc.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Set the controls

Set the controls for the heart of the sun (where it's bound to get a little warmer). Above: One well and truly fried thermometer that sadly expired when exposed to plus 300 degrees in the log fired oven. Little did we know it had such limitations, strangely and despite being off the scale for a few hours it still seems to be working. 

Below: On the recurring theme of my appetite for destruction and recording it's unexpected consequences here are some altered and pseudo artistic images illustrating the destructive processes undertaken to destroy some obsolete materials. They're now safely binned. Pretty much business as usual around here on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Living the dream (as usual)

Having been living the dream for some time now it is possible that I could be getting too used to it, becoming complacent etc. Well that can't be allowed to happen so I decided to up the authenticity game today by firing up the kitchen stove (primarily to check for dead birds etc.) and cook breakfast on it. This was deemed to be a success so we decided, log by log, to keep it going and eventually cook dinner on it (yet to be trialled). This welcome return to down home values I'm sure fit's in with some fashionable and awkward bastard's ideology somewhere but that's hardly important as we don't care much for fitting in anyway.  In another flurry of activity I varnished the rabbit hutch/cat house and glued odd bits of wood together. I feel in some way connected now with nature and the spirits of the divine and various lost generations and family members. It would be great and so reassuring if only I believed  - but there's little chance of that.

Last night's football: I'm stupid enough to be patriotic (pretty uncool in these troubled times) but those pink Scotland strips are a humiliating joke and I can see why Scotland can't play well in them as I've no doubt each player decked out in them feels, deep down inside, like a bit of a fanny (to use the common parlance). So whilst I'm living a general kind of vague dream in my main stream life the old World Cup dream has effectively sunk without trace for another four years or so.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A flock

"Drummer's view at a Flock of Seagulls gig'" courtesy RamAlbumClub, thank you very much.

Hello world

Staying quiet today and just getting on with the business.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

All tomorrow's parties

Jury's out on this as yet incomplete Raven II. Hopefully the guitar will turn out to be a decent player. It's not been an easy build mainly falling foul of the measure twice cut/drill once thinking. This has led to lengthy spells of lengthy rework, well it takes me ages sometimes just to solder a bit or drill a few holes accurately. Maybe it'll be done tomorrow or maybe not.

Here's a strange figure down by the shore, possibly me in another recent life trying to work up an appetite. Can't tell for sure. For the record today's food consumption looks a lot like this:

1 x cuppa tea, 3 x cuppa coffee, 1 x cereal bar, 2 x big Sainsburys cookies, 1 x pot of yogurt, 1 x Actimal, 1 x bowl of homemade chicken and veg soup, 1 x cheese, tomato, beetroot and salmon salad, 3 x slices of three cheese bread. That'll do.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Cauliflower Cheese

Trump won because, despite his hypocrisy, lies, bullying, lack of experience and generally terrible behaviour he represented to the American voters an alternative to the political elite who, despite numerous opportunities and a wealth of resources have failed time after time to deliver the changes and demonstrable levels of fairness and justice  that people naturally desire. He will be a disastrous and dangerous president no doubt but his election (like the UK Brexit outcome) can only be useful if it serves as a clear warning to the "liberal political elite" that they must revolutionise their own approach to their stale, self serving and corrupt career driven politics if they want to return to power. 

Party politics, constant bickering and the inability to ever credit opponents even with the germ of a good idea is no foundation for government and for directing the fate of millions of people and the running of healthy and prosperous economies. Trump has achieved the unthinkable and the cost to us all will be enormous but we need to learn from this disaster and across all of the political spectrum actively work to change the very nature of our failed systems. In the mean time I propose to fortify myself with a portion of hot cauliflower cheese whilst I ponder my next set of actions for 2016.

Original image and credit:

Photo of Phobos

This isn't one of the many dull photos I take with my phone as I'm pottering about Fife, as you may have thought. It was taken by the Mars Express apparently. Not sure if that is a newspaper, a train or some form of interplanetary craft that happened to get close to the Martian moon Phobos, you can never really tell these days. Anyway Mars still remains a pretty sexy planet as far as most folks on earth are concerned. From H G Wells, Matt Damon, the ancients and the new series about to start up on the History Channel, Mars is the place. Yes we all love Mars and it seems and quite right that we should, it will be our refuge and home (well for those with enough influence and cash) one day when the earth has been finally strangled and asphyxiated by this septic generation's plastic and junk.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Tuesday stuff

Abandoned cottage up near Bridge of Orchy. 
Ugly: Taking an old and beat up  strat body and filling in the bridge and trem cavity to hardtail it. Basically stuffing it with wood and filler to make it dense and strong once again. It doesn't look pretty but once finished it should work and hopefully will be completed and finished with an interesting  road worn look.  
This is for the front of course. An unusual two pickup scratch plate I put together fitted with single coil lipstick pickups. No idea what it'll sound like.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Drinking aspargus

Reflections on a kind of bullying and not growing up: Secondary School in the sixties was a bully's haven, there were so many fine opportunities designed into the school system that allowed it to flourish as some second line of pupil discipline working behind the tawse and daily classroom humiliations to maintain a solid state of fear amongst the kids. One example was the jungle like atmosphere in the dinner hall. This was before the days of actual choice or cafeteria type systems. This was dog eat dog and possibly included dog on the menu, you couldn't be sure. 

We were seated at tables of eight, three on each side and a "monitor" at each end. The job of the monitor was to collect the food on warm trays, bring to the table and then dish it up to the hungry young would be recipients. Simple arithmetic said that each serving should be one eighth of the contents of the tray but that seldom happened. Generally the monitors were the most aggressive, worst off, toughest kids on the block (or in the housing scheme). They all had big brothers and a tale to tell and they ruled the table as well as the playground and distributed the food according to their own warped whims. 

We (the bullied, as it now turns out now thanks to my enlightenment) knew them as "starvers". A really bad starver would feed himself and any of his tribe or followers present and leave the rest with a few chips or a sausage or sometimes next to nothing. Funnily this system was accepted and understood, few complained. They knew fine well that if they did then after lunch there would be an ambush and they'd get a good kicking so we silently went along with this and learned more of life's bitter lessons on a daily basis. Often the water jug doubled as a makeshift spittoon to add to the glamour of the occasion of this fine dining. The fact that we'd paid for this princely meal at sixpence a day seemed unconnected to our treatment. It was just a part of the general misery of the grey Presbyterian Scottish education back then. Of course teachers would hover around but they remained indifferent and aloof and seldom intervened to bring justice. A misheard complaint could be seen as cheek and that would result in a good but undeserved belting.
I guess a couple of years of this haphazard diet explains in someway why I'm on the short side. A long day a school with whatever I could scrape up as a main meal and then potatoes and butter (?) for tea when I got home after my double bus journey.  Growing up was tough. Still they were reckoned to be the happiest days of my life although and now I can relax, look at fine art and sip asparagus and lime juice whilst munching on fresh French bread and Marmite. Never had it so good I suppose.