Here is where I had lunch on Tuesday, and froze half to death texting this picture to everyone...
Here is my significant other...
And here, by popular demand, is your author, in the first public pose for some years
Showing off your pics isn't as intuitive as it was in the olden days of black paper photo albums and gummed corners. A fraction of the travail is in the post below. It's not been easy, but - as I say there - you're worth it.
Or rather, it would be if I could only get it to you.
Yes, that's right. I've decided that what this blog lacks is pictures. We used to do a load, but of late there've been quite nada.
Pictures on Naked Blog have quite a history. In the olden days, we would browse around the place, typically on the BBC site, right-click one of their pics and then Save, thus breaking every copyright law invented, but so quick and convenient with Microsoft. Then there would follow a laborious process called FTP, which needed an FTP client, and was really all a bit scary. You renamed the photo, which was now called a file, and uploaded it to your blog host.
Then you had to learn enough HTML to "call" the photo onto your page, with instructions beginning "img src = " etc. You would stipulate things like size and border, and when you'd finished all that, just had to open your wallet and pay the enormous excess traffic charges your ISP demanded. These were typically 30 quid a month, which I'm still paying to this day. Oh yes, never underestimate my love and care for you.
This all comes about, by the way, because I went on a spiffing walk in the Pentlands yesterday, and took some rather nice photos (how I hate the word IMAGES) photos you might enjoy seeing. You might also enjoy reading about the walk, and the troubles and travails, and the fascinating people I chatted to, and all the usual stuff. You might enjoy those, but you're not getting to, as I've more pressing tech stuff to bore you with first.
Yes, all the above changed in a moment, once I discovered Flickr. This (initially free, but then the usual) service stores your pics for you and even gives you a user-friendly FTP client called Flickr Uploadr. Drag and drop. Uploading is free! Calling down onto your blog is free! No more ripoffs to ISPs! And the Lord saw that it was good. Until today, when surprise, surprise I tried to do all that and found I'd not got a scooby what my Yahoo login was. (Flickr is now owned by Yahoo, in an analogous way to Blogger being owned by Google. There's simply no escape.)
Oh, I can't go on with this.... I'm losing the will to live and it's a nice sunny day but I have to work. More very soon, of a non-tech nature. Because you're worth it.
(Blogger are discontinuing their FTP service this month, which might mean the end of Naked Blog, incidentally. Apparently it's no longer business-efficient to provide the facility.)
Slept badly last night, and feeling guite rough now. Slept badly last night because of electronic pollution, namely a bur-loop (omg it's just happened again) sound. Bur-loop Not loud, not threatening, but more than enough to wake me.
It's the new iPhone, I thought, it's reached 100 percent charge. But no. Still a mere 86 percent. More awake than ever now, so reluctantly back to kip. Three times I think it happened overall. Phone charge creeping higher but still not there.
Maybe it's the landline, I thought then, as it has a persistent warning which has caught me out on several overnighters. But no. It was languishing in its cradle, unused as ever, but seeming charged. (No-one phones you much when you're over sixty. You get used to it. Even come to like it. A phone which rings only every couple of months is a threatening item indeed.)
Then another brainwave. Maybe it's the walkie-talkie set I bought some months back from Lidl, so that Stewart and I might not get lost on mountains with no signal. Unsignalled mountains. Yes, that's it. Due to complete lack of use they're running down. But no. When I remembered how to switch them on, they too were on full battery.
Strange. I'll report back to you. So sleepy. A man could go mad with occasional bleeps.
Caught a few minutes of the Federer-Murray tennis match yesterday morning by accident. (My views on watching other people do sport are well documented and bear no repetition.) But I was struck by how gaunt Murray looked, almost to the point of illness. They're really just animated sandwich boards, these people... Murray punting Adidas, Highland Spring and Royal Bank of Scotland on his shirt. Yet when he sat (omg I've just had the bur-loop again, and it's not any phone or walkie talkie as I've moved them to another part of the room for elimination. What am I going to do?) when he sat I noticed he was clearly demonstrating the Evian label on his bottled water. It's just a marketplace, sport.
Anyway, I got to thinking of some quotes I read from Andre Agassi's book, how his joints are ruined by the years of "stopping on a dime". And I recalled reading how footballer David Beckham sometimes can't get out of bed without first taking painkillers. So I resolved to extend my mantra of Doctors make you worse to include now Sport makes you worse.
Some day I might be able to write here: sitting on the couch smoking cigarettes makes you better. Who knows? Health advice changes as fast as hemlines.
In November, when I wasn't blogging, my washing machine broke. Or rather, the door did. Broke to the extent that it would no longer open, thus invalidating its raison d'etre. I have a feeling there should be one of those silly hat things on one of those letters, but the French lingo quite eludes me. And I have no time for accented alphabets. Either use letters as we Brits do, or pictures as do the newly un-Googled Chinese. No halfway houses please. It's just not British.
Well there I was with an inaccessible washing machine and clothes getting dirtier by the day. I had to buy one, and quickly. If you work you gotta wash. People who play Warcraft all day have the choice, but not employees, by and large.
There seemed little point in trudging round stores looking at bank after bank of identical white boxes with glass doors, when I could do all that and more on this new-fangled internet. Choose a price, choose a washer at random from that range, and press Add To Cart. (Stretching the metaphor somewhat.)
Comet Online was my shop of choice, the bricks and mortar version at Newhaven having recently been demolished to make room for Luxury Housing. Times I wonder if there's a square inch of Edinburgh left which isn't covered either in Luxury Housing or Tramlines. I really do wonder. Where do all the people come from who can afford these ticky tacky stacked boxes?
So Comet Online it was, and it took barely a moment to purchase the Best Buy flashed on Page One. Bosch it said. And it was the day after Remembrance Day. I felt sad, a little bit, that my ancestors fought and died so that in 2009 I might add a German Waschmaschine ins meine Karte. A shocking case of unpatriotic behaviour that would make my US readers quite choke on their Freedom Fries. But still I did it. Quality is thicker than nostalgia.
But I'm getting way off the point. Because I wasn't blogging back in November, you were spared the usual angst over letting a tradesman into my home. The procrastination of cleaning which meant it didn't get done at all. I'll be honest with you... this time I shared my domestic horror with the guild. Laughs all round. And in real time. Fickle bitch.
Now the previous washer lasted fifteen years roughly. Maybe more. I remember I still had a sex life then, as a paramour helped me plumb it in. Must have been more than fifteen I guess.
So I gazed at the German washer, sipping Australian wine while a bunch of Chinese clothes went round in it. And I thought: I wonder if this one will last fifteen years. And then the horror struck: I wonder if I will last fifteen years.
Old people must get this all the time. But it was the first one for me. And hopefully not the last. Comes to all of us. Nothing else for it, as my bingo ladies say.
It's a very great joy to sit down with you in this the middle of January, and spend a little time. Chillax. (Here I must confess to being just that tiny bit Brahms and Liszt.) Blotto, rather than Lotto, which is how I earn my pittance.
Oh, that's enough of that! Let's get on to some content. Because Content is King, as they used to say in the early days of the internet. (Shit - this isn't going well. All my keenness to write to you seems to have evaporated.) But pressing on... a faint heart never won a fair warrior.
Sorry - can't do it. I'll leave this post, so there's some comment box presence, and now it's really on to freewheeling.
Techno! Techno! Techno!
Shazam, a bingo man told me last week. Shazam you just point your phone at the loudspeaker and it tells you what tune is playing. And it is effing awesome. It FTW, as we say in Warcraft. It OWNS as we also say in Azeroth which is part of Warcraft.
So there I was in the Regent Bar just this afternoon (time and place), gobbling the remains of a tasty ham salad. The Regent is the only even slightly gay bar which gets my pink pound. The rest in Edinburgh are such trash. Unbelievable. Noticing the Hellmans mayonnaise sachet had squirted sideways making a disgusting porn shot on the condiment pot, when suddenly I became captivated by a tune. Shades of Bryan Adams, yet not.
Shazam! I thought, remembering what a bingo man had said to me last week. (Repetition.) So I dragged out the iPhone (possibly the finest machine since machines were invented, btw) dragged out the iPhone and tapped on App Store and then on Search and typed in Shazam.
Free! Or paid for! Pick the free version to try it!
And the Lord saw that it was good. Shazam sent details of the song, including album artwork, and then... most startling of all... something I would sacrifice a limb for if my long dead Grandad could have seen it... Buy This Song... 99 pence. So I did, and now I'm the proud owner of We Weren't Born to Follow, by Bon Jovi.
"We weren't born to follow Come on and get up off your knees. Well life is a bitter pill to swallow You gotta hold on to what you believe.
Close to Dylan. And there's more. "This one goes out to the sinner and the cynical..."
Got to stop. Got to talk to my Warcraft guild. It's time, almost time, to stop. I'm a writer not a fighter. But I must protect and preserve all we've made over the nine months... give it to a safe pair of hands. So fucking emotional to relinquish. Don't know whether to hold an election, or just be the Supreme Leader and pick my own successor.
You have no idea. You truly don't. Nor should you.
You could have knocked me down with a feather boa when Darling Zed told me this blog is a Bloggie finalist. Again. Personally I blame her lol.
And The Nominations Are...
It's actually our third nomination, although of course we don't make a fuss about these things. Self-promotion is so tacky and tasteless... I mean look at David Cameron with all that moisturiser. Give me the man with honest wrinkles any day.
Nine years of Bloggies (this weblog has known), and three of those as finalist. Must be doing something right I guess, but heaven knows what. We've not even been around for half of last year, another victim of World of Warcraft. But I'm getting sick of that game. Seriously I am. There must be less demanding online communities.
And GLBT this time! Yet we're not even slightly L, B or T. Sounds like a sandwich if you ask me. I'm way too nervous to look though. Last time I was pitted against Dooced and her zillion or two fans in the Lifetime section. Bombed.
Talking of Lifetime Achievement though... what should we see there but My Boyfriend Is A Twat! (I know because Darling Zed told me in my comment box.) So you must, absolutely must, vote for her, because she's a national treasure, and has been so good to me over this last mad decade of blog. As have so many. I love you all. I have to thank each and every one of you for this wonderful award....
The Bloggie Awards, 2010. Vote Zoe McCarthy in Lifetime Achievement.
Oh, and if anyone else I know is listed, please let me know and I'll promote you here. And even oh-er, there will be no press releases or interviews. Nada. What you see is what you get. I know Scaryduck made it into the Metro for a Bloggie once, but me I'll just have to manage without.
Isn't Stephen Baldwin being awfully gay in Celebrity Big Brother? He would probably blame Satan for those thoughts, but frankly I think they owe more to Sodom. So I see his future descending to gay porn if he isn't careful. Or ascending, depending on your POV.
Bizarre dream a couple of hours ago, in which I was a contestant in the current Celebrity Big Brother. Looking at the calendar I realised to my consternation that Wednesdays I have to work at the bingo, and there was NO GETTING OUT OF IT. Pleased though that the other contestants got to see my work clothes, which are much nicer than my slopping about the house clothes. I was especially trying to impress Lady Sovereign, for some reason, and hoped that she wouldn't think of me as quite so ridiculous. Dreams, eh?
Yesterday Stewart and I went for our first walk of the decade, up Arthur's Seat. Get back to where you once belonged. We started off in the Regent with a couple of pints, Stewart having fallen off the wagon thank God, and then upward and onward we set. It was quite an expedition for the housebound (me), and strange to feel icy wind on my face after a perma-temp of seventy for so long. I could almost get to like it! Stewart has a frozen right shoulder, so had his arm immobilised in his jacket. Me, I've got dodgy knees from sitting down so much, so we both had to watch things like a hawk. I guess we looked every day of our hundred and twenty-six years.
Afterwards, in the Abbey Buffet in Southside, Stewart told me that he does walk with other people. And he has them round for dinner parties with wild salmon. I pretended not to be hurt, and resolved to be more interesting from now on.
I'm warming slightly to the iPhone. So much so that I'm writing this post on it. OK the performance of BBC iPlayer might be erratic, but when that does work it's quite beautiful. Rather than stressing what the new phone doesn't do, we should maybe think more of what it does.
Today is sunny and blue. I should be out, but there is Warcraft. And laziness.
Big Brother has suddenly got a touch more interesting, which is a huge step up from zero.
Let's post this now and see what happens. More soon x
The iPhone is a heap of crap, I've correctly decided.
(Ten years ago, that sentence would have impacted on their business. I'm resigned to the notion that today it will have zero effect.)
Nine hours of my life from yesterday I'll never, ever get back, and still I hate it.
Typing is a joke. Days of my life I've spent in becoming an accurate touch typist, writing this to you for example - yet now I'm expected to go back to one finger? A finger which as often as not hits the wrong key? And my fingers aren't especially large... heaven help a man who earns his crust with pick or shovel. So texting is out the window. And yet my three remaining friends will tell you that writing is the only medium I've even a shred of confidence in. Bye bye three friends then, if we keep this fandango.
Oh and on that topic, the derisory leaflet it comes with utterly fails to explain how to send a text. I was beginning to feel that might not even be possible. So you're expected to consult web tutorials. But even they take an age to load, as if screaming, "I am an Apple page... how I hate slumming it on this Windows PC!"
Give me an "I"
It's things beginning with "i" that are the problem. Take BBC iPlayer... the main reason I coughed up more than half a grand on this fol-de-rol. Doesnt' work. Just won't. Even standing right next to the wireless router. "This video will not play." Or sometimes, "File format not supported." You come to actually hate the people responsible.
Yes, I know some of you swear by your iPhones. Some in the guild do too. But I tentatively suggest that part of the enthusiasm might be that you haven't tried the competition. You don't know any other. And yes, there are some things that no doubt work. Clumsily, counter-intuitively, but do work after a fashion. OK, it'd be nice to have the phone on loudspeaker, but heck... it's only 600 quid. Can't expect miracles. Shame that your ear operates the touch screen while you phone, but you can always cut it off, Vincent-stylee. Yes, it'd be nice to know which damn key you were typing, but heck... it was God made our hands so big, so blame him. Swish and the text scrolls up the screen, but it usually goes too far, so you have to swish it back down a bit. And so on and so forth. I want my N95. I want my money back.
Oh the hairnet! That one-time fashion staple, along with the headscarf and the plastic curler. No amount of Pantene Pro-V with Elle McPherson will ever replace them. Changed days.
How y'all doing in the Big Freeze? Still in one piece? Well, I am too, just. But like millions of other pensioners, one is trapped in the house unable to risk life and limb by stepping out onto the ice rink pavements. Pavements the council are delighted to leave untreated.
Let them break legs! Let them break hips! Then let them catch a hospital-borne infection and die! We don't care... we've got inflation-proofed salaries and index-linked pensions! Words are too good for them. Bring back the guillotine.
Celebrity Big Brother
Wow! Stephen Baldwin is proving a right twat, isn't he? Seems the guy negotiated an hour a day of private bible-reading time, which is one thing. But to sit in the shared lounge and read aloud from that damn book for over forty-five minutes is something quite different. Someone should have told him that in Britain the bible is regarded by many as quite offensive. Conflict, conflict. That's what it's all about.
And in this insta-global age, his "worst bits" will be straight on to YouTube and might in all likelihood impact negatively on his career. I used to be a fan myself, but no longer. No, my favourite housemate by a long way is Sov, the tiny singer or whatever it is she does. Down to earth. No BS.
Oh and someone should also tell these Hollywood luvvies that they won't get wrinkles from indoor lighting. Wrap-around shades just expose them for the idiots they have become.
Oh I love this show!! Cinema makes mortals look like Gods, whereas here we see them in awful reality, and the cracks get wider as the confinement continues.
You have to wonder at the sanity of Hewitt and Hoon for staging a leadership debate just months before an election. The words "taken leave of their senses" spring to mind. Hell hath no fury like a scorned cabinet minister, and Stephen Baldwin could no doubt give a lecture on Hell.
Back To Where You Once Belonged
Yesterday afternoon I reprised January 1 by skulking into Wetherspoons Foot O' The Walk once more. Stewart and Old Nick were again the main act, this time with a different support. Woolly Dave came in, wearing two woolly hats, leading inexorably to today's blog title. He hasn't had a drink for three years, which is marvellous. Wetherspoons were doing Ruddles Ale at 99p a pint. Minimum pricing?
I also learned that we over-sixties have had two cold weather payments at twenty-five pounds a kick. Long may the freeze continue, we laughed, quaffing our cut-price Ruddles and cackling with over-sixty lungs.