Blogathon 24/17: It’s the weekend!

There was a day this week when I woke up and was hit by an overwhelming feeling that it was a Ferris Bueller kind of bunking off sort of day.

But I didn’t.

Even though the feeling had an almost irresistible force, I stayed away from the dark side.

There was a time though…

Anyway, that’s not the point of this post.

Yesterday evening four of my colleagues and I had a scratch band practice after work.

Two acoustic guitars, two vocalists, and me, trailing along, hashing things about with my G&L plugged in to a small amp.

My own acoustic is out on loan.

In a mildly disorganised way we ran through some familiar numbers, and later on they worked through two songs I am unfamiliar with.

I got a round of applause for my lead vocals on Lindisfarne’s Meet Me On The Corner, but that was probably a sign for me to shut up.

For a couple of hours we had a good time, but it made me realise how out of practice I am.

We’ll see how many turn up next week (how many I’ve scared away).

 

 

Blogathon 23/17: Doris

Storm Doris

    Storm Doris

Storm Doris has been hanging around in these parts.

There have been the usual social media gags

Southerners have been advised by the BBC to stay indoors and travel only if absolutely necessary

Northerners have been advised to take a coat

And the usual crazy storm photos:

Storm Doris

Storm Doris

Storm Doris

Storm Doris

And there have been real incidents, which are less mirthsome.

Speaking personally, I’d follow this advice:

Keep Calm and tray what?

Keep calm and try what?

Blogathon 22/17: Tidy house, tidy mind

There is an old saying that somehow ties together the tidy house/tidy mind as a joined up package of thought.

I can’t quite remember what it is, but I’m sure it’ll come to me at 3am and, inevitably, lead to my next bout of near night-long insomnia.

Anyway, there are other quotes.

I suppose I could have gone with A place for everything and everything in its place, but that lacks the punch of the forthcoming photograph.

But before we get there.

I do like, it must be said, a certain degree of order.

I do approve of neatness and tidyness, but on my terms.

But sometimes, it is possible to take these things a little too far.

Looking at the back of the servers in this rack, is this that ‘too far’ point?

Neat server cabling

Neat server cabling!

Blogathon 21/17: Raining cats (not dogs)

No, not this:

Cats

Cats

I mean these:

Cat

Stop pooing and feeeeeed me

The house is occupied by two girl cats, two boy cattens, three human girls, and me.

You can feel my pain now, right?

Anyway.

Introducing two kittens was, in hindsight, a risky move.

But after the first handful of months, things seem to have settled down.

Settled down means it’s still like living in a Tom and Jerry cartoon, but overall there is less kitten wee to mop up.

Oddly, the two older cats have become more kittenish.

And at the same time the two kittens have shown remarkable maturity wait, no, strike that from the record.

The two kittens have shown no maturity at all.

They hoon around every room in the house, at all hours of the day and night, chasing/being chased by things both real and things not real.

They scamper up things (furniture, curtains) and people (me, anyone else who happens to be not in motion at that moment), then scamper down the other side.

Claws out.

It is sometimes a painful experience.

They crash in and out of the cat flap as if they are being pursued by…

Childcatcher

Then, after much hooning around, they fall asleep for hours on end.

Surprisingly there has been an affect on the human occupants.

Living with the four felines has changed the dynamics slightly.

The house just feels more ‘homely’.

I have no idea how it does, but it just does.

I’m convinced that all of the cats have collective names for the humans.

‘Food opener’, ‘bathrobe wearer’, ‘small noisy one’, ‘even smaller noisier one’, etc.

Ripley thinks her name is Hello Rippers.

Dandy thinks his name is Hello little boy.

I have no idea what Raven thinks her name is, but she just doesn’t care anyway, she just wants some food and wants it now.

And Beano thinks his name is Get Down!

Getting in to the house after a day in the office can sometimes be a challenge.

Small fury quadrupeds all over the hall floor as you come in through the front door.

All demanding food.

And all demanding it right now!

Even though one must negotiate the swirling forest of (four) felines in order to get to the kitchen.

But they are lovely to have around.

And yes, they have made the house in to more of a home.

But I still wish I had a…

Dog

Dog

Blogathon 20/17: The Insomnia Paradox

Stay in bed, or get up?

And if stay in bed, then for how long before getting up?

And if stay in bed, but putting on a light to read is out of the question, then read the phone?

And if reading the phone disturbs her, what?

Lie awake fidgety, while unsuccessfully getting back to sleep?

And if, in getting up, she is disturbed and asks where I’m going?

Or if, in getting up, she is disturbed and asks if she was snoring, then say what?

Or if I successfully make it downstairs and read for an hour, but then she comes down (at 4am) and asks why I’m awake, say what?

 

Blogathon 19/17: TW3

That was the week(end) that was…

[insert gratuitous photo here]

TW3

TW3

Like last week, I seem to have spent much of this weekend feeling worn right out.

In amongst periods of slothfulness we are ‘doing things’.

We have had a first run at quite a lot of my stuff that I have in storage.

The aim is to close things to a graceful consolidation and then get rid of whatever we both have left over.

It’s painful for me; I’ve had some of those things for years.

But at least we now have a cunning plan that revolves around getting the house finished.

I picked up Sam’s Superdream yesterday, having had its new speedo fitted.

It is a neat little bike, and handled surprisingly well.

I took the ZX10-R out afterwards, but some of the country lanes I chose were full of mud and cowdung.

In the evening we watched Jack Reacher 2 which was alright.

This morning Sam and I went swimming; by 08.00 we were ploughing lengths like turbocharged seals.

Or maybe she was, I was mostly sitting on the side basking, as seals do.

Later in the morning I went out with Sam (no, another one) for what I thought was going to be a gentle bimble through the lanes of Nottinghamshire.

Just short of a hundred miles later, I was back home, having covered roadmiles from Nottingham to Matlockin Derbyshire, then heavily across country to Clay Cross for a cup of hot chocolate, and then back down to home.

And some of those roadmiles were covered at a fairly rapid rate, because Sam doesn’t take prisoners on tarmac.

This evening Sam (no, the usual one) and I have watched most of The Woman In Black.

Then she trimmed and oiled my beard.

There was an illicit Chinese takeaway in there somewhere too.

So I haven’t done much, really, this weekend.

Yet I haven’t shed the feeling of ‘worn out-ness’ of last week.

Maybe I need to change things around?

Make some new arrangements in my life?

Maybe?

Blogathon 18/17: Wise and foolish virgins

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

You know that ‘wise and foolish virgins’ parable?

Mathew 25, verses 1-13?

Well this post isn’t about that.

Although, here’s a bit of wisdom to be going on with.

Do you have any premium bonds?

I have a fistful of them.

Some were bought for me as a Christening present, and I’ve added to them when I felt wealthy.

And yet I’ve never won a bean on any of then.

Have you on yours?

I saw a statistic a couple of weeks ago, that broke down the earning potential of premium bonds in to an easily understandable fact.

The overwhelming odds are that if you bought £50,000 of premium bonds at the completion of the Stonehenge circle, by now you would have won a £10,000 jackpot.

Once.

Makes you think, huh?

Right.

Back to those wise and foolish virgins.

1974 was a year in which the musical tectonic plates of the planet shifted, broke up, drew apart and, amidst the cataclysmic breakup, brought a new and wonderous thing.

The breakup was of possibly the finest prog rock band ever to come out of the UK.

And the new and wonderous thing was the last studio album which that band gave us, on the eve of their breakup.

Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.

Which contains the following phrase that my mind keeps wandering back to, at odd periods of time, in a track called Carpet Crawlers:

Mild mannered supermen are held in kryptonite
And the wise and foolish virgins giggle with their bodies glowing bright

(If you would like to read another person break that album down in to a summary format, you could try this link)

And straight away people will say that Genesis didn’t break up in 1974, and that the band went on to continue receiving critical and sales success with other albums and stadium performances for many years.

And those people will be wrong.

Genesis died the day that Peter Gabriel left.

They went on to become an AOR band, then a pop band, and then a dad band.

I’m not sneering.

There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, and nothing wrong with Genesis being any/all of them.

It’s just that while Genesis changed course, and became those things, they stopped being the prog rock band that Genesis used to be.

I often wonder where Genesis would have gone if the band had kept the faith with their original drummer, the very amiable Chris Stewart, and not allowed Jonathan King to bring in Phil Collins.

Anyway, back to those wise and foolish virgins.

Sortov.

Later this year Sam and I will be going to see Elbow.

They acknowledge that the early Genesis played a significant part in influencing the way Elbow developed their art.

So like a wise (not foolish) virgin, I am being calm about the long-awaited visit to Elbowland.

And keeping my lamp trimmed.

Managing my own expectations.

But still looking forward to the gig.

Meanwhile, here’s some Elbow:

Blogathon 16/17: LinkedOut

I have a really big blogpost in me about breaking the culture that holds an organisation in stasis, thereby blocking it from adapting to change and answering to challenge.

Maybe I’ll save it up and dump it on LinkedIn.

But speaking of LinkedIn, how the flipping flip do you turn off notifications on specific posts?

I commented on one post (about a handy-looking programme reporting plug-in) and now I get thirty-five million notifications relating to the original post, every single day.

Absolutely no exaggeration there at all.

Thirty five million.

Every single day.

There’s nowhere obvious to switch them off.

I’m not terribly sure that I’m a fan of the new LinkedIn.

It’s all a bit too Facebookish.

But without the finesse.

Not that Facebook actually has much finesse, but the new LinkedIn has even less.

Oh dear.

This seems to have turned in to a LinkedIn rant.

How fascinating.

*changes subject*

I watched the first ever episode of The Thick Of It earlier.

Best line:

About as much use as a marzipan dildo.

Blogathon 15/17: Voting

Voting

Voting?

Sometimes it seems that we have become obsessed with ‘having our say’.

‘It is my opinion and I’m going to bloody well give it to you’, is right up there along with ‘It is my human right that my entirely ignorant opinion carries as much weight as your very knowledgeable and well-informed argument’.

These are the people we, here in the UK, have become.

We thrust forward our opinion on things through every means imaginable.

Text voting, phone-poll voting, Twitter polls, consumer polls…

The list seems to go on.

I blame Simon Cowell.

And yes, we use all of these opinion-based tools (and more) because we love to give our opinion.

And that’s how the complete dogs breakfast that Brexit has come about.

And not just Brexit

Adult

American Idiot

And yet organisations, both public and private, fall over themselves to canvass our opinions on everything that could possibly exist (whether it matters or not).

From action required to safeguard the preservation of the humble bee to the determination of whether the village idiot of the USA should be given a state visit or not.

And by the way, USA, please keep your village idiot, we have one of our own.

Idiot

Idiot

And on that point, by the way, more people voted against Trump being given a state visit than was the winning margin for Brexit.

But I guess some opinions are easier to ignore if they are inconvenient?

Anyway.

Opinions and giving them.

And now on to voting in general.

I still vote, at every election, but it’s a waste of time really, because no matter who I vote for, the Government always gets in.

And as a result of that things, inevitably, get worse.

I’m still not sure how we are the highest taxed nation in Europe and yet our roads disintegrate through lack of maintenance if you look at them too hard.

But there is one poll that I love.

One vote that I follow closely, and partake in whenever a new poll is put in to the field.

It is the APL.

Haven’t heard of the APl?

Here is the current APL table of standings:

APL

APL