Is this a world's first? I think we should be told.
There we were yesterday, our intrepid bloggers planning the route and chewing the fat in the WiFi-enabled Regent Bar. From left are Alan Sharp, Will Howells, and of course no show without Punch. We talked about him, and her, but especially him.He too was a big topic. "But what's Andre really like?" "He really likes stovies," I replied.
Here we're stopping for a breather for the youngsters, about half way up. This old boy could have just kept going and going, clearly - without even one bead of sweat. All those Pentlands.
And this is it!! The volcanic rocks at the summit can clearly be seen. Alan had had the foresight to bring a digital voice recorder, so our blogmeet, with genuine wind effect, can be yours to enjoy if we ever get it up, as it were.
All in all, a lot of fun. Just a shame I had to leave to call the bingo in the evening, but at least that kept me on the right side of ridiculous. I left Alan and Will at the top.
More pics, including some rather good (if I say it myself) portraits of the protagonists are here on flickr.
You can hear our summit meeting (don't panic - it's less than two minutes!) from Alan's site here.
Watched my first Film4 movie, in its new arrangements, last night. Wolf Creek, a slasher (and how) from the land of Oz. Think of TexasCSM meets Walkabout, with dashes of Blair Witch* and Duel. Oh - and just about everything, to be honest.
It's horrifying. Turn the lights out. Critics are split down the middle, like some of the victims. Me, I'd give it a cautious thumbs-up, but only because the villain is safely beyond parody or imitation.
Thanks to Saltation, the finder of stuff, for this one. Just had to have it here on NB. It's arguably the most important video you will see this year. Just bask, Just rejoice. My personal fave was Very Large Array, New Mexico. But then I always did have an inner Geek.
(It's an Australian guy dancing all over the world.) Matt Harding.
*For some reason my fingers autotyped "Blue Witch", instead of "Blair Witch", which is pretty hilarious if some of you but knew.
Errors and Omissions
Turns out that Matt Harding is "a deadbeat from Connecticut", not Australia as quoted. The Australian part is that he quit a job in Brisbane, Australia, to do his travelling. Still a great movie though.
I had a friend once called Chris Nicol. Worked in advertising. Gay as a coot. His camp name (a form of affectionate nickname gay men are wont to give each other, often worn as a badge of some pride) his camp name being Gladys.
"Glad the Ad", he called himself. His motto: "It pays to gladvertise."
Now look on my Google ad, ye mighty and despair. (That we are sunk to this.)
And yet, and yet...
I've thought long and hard on these matters recently, and here are some fruits of deliberation...
On a typical weekday, between a thousand and eleven hundred people will see this page, and their eyes will light on the ad above. That thousand splits neatly into two and only two groups: the majority coming from search engines, seeking prurient content; and the minority, whom I could call the discerning reader.
Hello, to both groups.
Now, research shows that search engine callers are more likely to click on ads than are regulars. So in that case, strangely, I'm laughing. To be honest... all Google has to do is line up a couple of tasteful ads for naughty babes, and I'll be in my first Beemer before December. (This domain name quite quickly led to totally unexpected results!)
And the second group, that is you dear reader, can simply ignore the whole shebang, should you wish. Or make a donation to me by clicking on an ad, even if you've no intention of buying the thing. (I don't seriously expect Google to supply naughty babe ads. But someone else surely will!) Google will probably serve up lawn mowers or George Foreman grills. Fat lot of good they'll be to anyone!
So there we go. Twenty short minutes ago I buried a lifetime of principles. Dead, deader, deader than dead. Now I am nothing better than a cheap painted whore. And do you know, I find that idea quite exciting! (Well, I've been everything else.)
Will you still talk to me when I'm rich? When I'm sixty four?
Behind the scenes I've been brainstorming some commercial blog ideas for a revenue stream. New blogs. But Naked Blog is different. Naked Blog is me. And I'm quietly a bit proud of it, to be honest. Not gonna fuck it over for cash.
So I promise you now that whatever (very few) ads might appear in the peripheries and borders, my own content will never ever lie to you. Will never take payment for recommendations. Will continue to be my outlet and voice, come sun and come cloud.
We've melded together a bit, me and Naked Blog. And you.
Friday morning I responded to an email purporting to come from the PayPal company. It was the final one of several which had arrived roughly weekly, counting down to today. After that, my account would become "limited". This would mean I'd be unable to accept or pay money, but would still be able to withdraw any balance.
Here's the email.
Dear [Full Name],
You now have seven days to accept the policies. If your account is limited, you will be unable to send or receive money, but will be able to withdraw any remaining balances.
PayPal values you as a customer and does not want you to lose the valuable benefits of your account. Please visit the PayPal website to accept the policy updates. To do this, copy and paste the following URL into your browser: https://www.paypal.com/uk/. Next, log in to your account and click the New Policy Update link on your Account Overview page.
---------------------------------------------------------------- PayPal (Europe) Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom as an electronic money institution.
PayPal Email ID PP 879
-- Virus scanned by Lumison.
Points to note:
They use my full name, correctly spelled, as is the entire email.
Unlike normal bank-phish, they don't ask you to click a link, but rather to copy and paste. When you do that, you get to http://www.paypal.co.uk/uk. (Google PageRank of 8) OK - that's not secure, so I guess that's where it all goes pear-shaped.
However, now click there on Login and what do you get but https://www.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_login-run. Back to correct again.
Suckered? I think not. Very skilfully deceived? You betcha.
Crime Scene Investigation
Anyway. Thanks to alarm bells in my comment box from Will and Saltation, I contacted PayPal customer service fraud alert, and this was their reply:
Dear [Full Name],
Thank you for contacting PayPal about a fraudulent (spoof) email or Web site. We appreciate you bringing this suspicious email to our attention.
We can confirm that the email you received was not sent by PayPal. Any website which may be linked to this email is not authorized or used by PayPal.
Our fraud prevention team is working to disable any website linked to this email. In the meantime, please do not enter any information into this website. If you have already done so, you should immediately log into your PayPal account and change your password, as well as your security questions and answers. We also recommend that you contact your bank and credit card company immediately.
So don't let it happen to you. This is a quantum leap away from yer regular rubbishy phish. (And it defeated my premium ISP's SpamAssassin too.)
There are more questions than answers. You saw this one here first.
There I was walking along the Shore, after just having my head buzzed by the Tiny Turk in Great Junction Street (we're that cosmopolitan these days), when who should I see holding court outside the Malt and Hops than Stewart my former walking companion and sometime radio co-presenter.
Stew was determined to be friends, after our recent somewhat shaky relations. You can see his poorly leg in this picture. Gay male readers, and there are a couple, might find their eyes drifting more to the extras in the background.
And the way to befriend, or rather, re-befriend a queen is of course to tell him how wonderful he looks. With his tan, and hair and so slim under that shirt. And snatch the camera and insist on taking five fabby pics. So there.
Stewart asked me what I was doing in the festival. Edinburgh Festival. I said nothing - I can't abide festivals, so temporary, all my life I've sought out permanence you see.
He said he's doing Edinburgh Fringe Podcasts. He'll be getting between 100k and 150k downloads. He's getting a press pass on Tuesday, and - crucially - a pass to the performers' bars. As he rightly says, there's no point in doing boring stuff like going to shows and reporting on them, when you can get the much more interesting goss on who's shoving what up whose nose. And arse.
I said he was doing exactly what I had hoped to do myself some day. He invited me to guest on his show. I declined with as little bitterness as I could pretend.
I PUKE ON YOUR CARPET
Yes, that's what poor zoe did this morning. First time ever. Silly thing had ignored the heat and gobbled her entire breakfast in practically one mouthful. It was Felix pouch with Salmon and Trout, with a side of Felix crisps.
Thing is - she normally eats in dainty, ladylike amounts. Nibble and go. Return and nibble. Except when a couple of days ago, as a weight control measure, I removed the part she didn't finish. Her distress was palpable - a cry from the heart. Never was miaow uttered with such sorrow. "It's for your own good, darling," I cried, sternly. "You're turning into a ship's back end."
So it must have clicked in her catty brain this morning that the best way is to scoff it all up in a onner. Blaaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!
I've given her a fresh portion of Science Diet pellets now, which she always likes and traditionally eats in portions. She's lying through in the living room, a few inches from the pukey part. (I shovelled the vomitus into a Co-op Half Fat Cottage Cheese pot.) Rubber gloves on. Just call me Nurse Peter. (Veterinary.) Looking a bit poorly, the wee thing. Hardly responded when I stroked her. Tail too weak to wag much.
She'll have to keep well, because she's about to become a foster mother!
Has anybody else been getting emails from Paypal asking them to agree to some new conditions? I kept ignoring them, as it looked so much like phishing, but today I weakened and filled in the details. It really did look like a genuine site. Both https://www.paypal.com/uk/ and https://www.paypal.co.uk came to the same requests. I signed in, which obviously supplied the password, and also had to enter two security questions.
There's a place you forward suspicious emails for investigation, email@example.com but of course that could be a spoof also.
Many thanks to the seven, yes seven readers who've subscribed to my feed. On the first day. (You know I'd never lie to you.) Many thanks also to the nearly 300 who link to Naked Blog already. I was checking technorati. We're number seven thousand and something in the known universe. But seeing as seven thousand of those will be business blogs, hate blogs and NRA nutters, then I think we can safely say we're in the top hundred or so of personal weblogs. Personal weblogs by queens. By queens over 55 at least. Oh yes - we're definitely a Top Blog. Stewart can shove his press pass and mike where the sun don't shine. (Just kidding. I'll of course be publicising his Fringe Podcasts bigtime for you to adore. Unless we fall out again.)
(I never used to do blatant self-promotion like the above. Can you see a pattern emerging?)
ARM THAT CHAIR!
Continuing the armchair meme I started yesterday, here for your delight are the armchairs in the Village pub. Sweet.
By popular request, here is my submission to last Tuesday's writers' group.
In the Regent Bar are two armchairs, at right angles to each other. Perpendicular, the pedant might pronounce. And above them is a lovely chiming clock, beating out the quarter hours, and intimidating no-one but the occasional over-stayed queen. In all, it's a charming vignette, something out of the Victorian past. Something Hynge and Brackett might find useful as a stage prop, should anyone at all ever hire their tired old formula again.
But me - I was unaware of the niceties, the leatherette duality these fine chairs presented. (And more of presentation later, in good time, no need to rush, we've got all night.) Me, I was just knackered from my jaunt up Arthur's Seat, which at that time I confess I felt was as (almost as) brave and boldly-going as any Sherpa-led trawl up to Mount Saint Everest. Real men do it themselves. Then collapse into the Regent for sustenance. In an armchair, if available.
But it wasn't always so. Because the Regent, you see, like any time-honoured bar, has got its "in-end" and its "out-end" construction. Its A-list and Z-list punters. And I, the beginner, the very ingenue himself, had as always to serve my time in the no-zone by the coffee machine. It's always by the coffee machine.
I remember it well.
"We don't serve rent-boys," the young man said on my first visit, but not unfriendly. "Do I look like a rent boy?" was on my lips, but I didn't want to start a row on - as I say - my first jaunt into the joint. "It's OK, I only want a drink," I replied, but my gentle sarcasm was wasted. "Are you holiday?" he asked then. "No." "Been shopping?" he asked. "No."
It was a strange feeling, sitting in a bar where no-one at all knew me. Am I that famous? Infamous more like!
One of the armchairs is kinda mustard-coloured, and it faces the outdoors and the sun. Outward looking, like me sometimes. And it's the one I've always chosen from the off. Brilliant views, the only downside being the wonky cushions which tip all your money into the chair body.
Allan the very bearded owner once cleared up my partial denture, which I'd placed on the table, concealed in a serviette while I ate. I got it back.
So that was the first time of what has turned into so many! Annabel my friend lives nearby in Croft an Righ, so its her local. She's known Allan for ages. She knows so many people. It's with being in catering. They all get tae ken each other eventually.
The other armchair of the pair is sort of olive, and it faces inwards. Inwards to the staff, chatting in the corner, and to the A-list customers. Even now I wouldn't feel comfortable in the olive armchair. Plus you miss the sunny windows, and can really only see the quiz machine in the corner. Which I've never seen even one person playing. Maybe it's a sleeping policeman.
There are more, many more armchairs I could write about... the huge over-stuffed horsehair creations of my grandparents, ripe with bummy-smell of the aeons, so strong and intriguing in the infant nose. You could climb on the back of them, for a real adventure! So high. Higher and higher. Didn't seem to need Arthur's Seat in those days.
Some day I'll tell you about my Nana's treadle sewing machine.
The end. July 2006
That new orange thing at the top of the sidebar is the standard symbol for subscribing to feeds. Allegedly. Why not subscribe to my feed? Gwan, gwan, gwan.
(I must confess I've not the slightest notion what a feed actually is.) I tried a thing called Bloglines once, but in no time at all it was accusing me of being 373 posts behind on this one, and 278 behind on that one. So demanding. Do people have nothing else to do all day?
Talking of which, I've been dipping my toe into the alternative universe of Problogging. A universe where content is nothing, and ad clicks are everything. Some people are such whores they even put little pop-up ads on individual words in their text. Others write a tissue of lies about products and services they "recommend".
To date I've studiously avoided all blogs which contain adverts. But yet I don't. Because if they're not in the main text, then they're in the commercial comment boxes so many of you use. And the Guardian site (but not BBCi), is replete with the wee fuckers.
Mike asks if it's maybe time to ditch (or at least reconsider) the "blog-purity" we have up to now espoused. (Readers of a sensitive nature should look away now.) Would you still visit here if there were three Adsense ads on the sidebar? I stress I've no immediate plans for doing this - just testing the water. My hosting charges are keeping me in the poor house.
Writers' group last night, which manners prevent me from elaborating on. The topic was "Something about armchairs", and for that I wrote a specially-commissioned piece. It took twenty minutes. I even did three revisions. But still I sense my co-groupees were somewhat underwhelmed.
Next week: "silhouette".
We shall see. I've discovered I can't write anything that doesn't strongly resemble a blog post.
Why does The Grauny G2 supplement insist on shoving the coupons (faces) of its columnists all over their work? Is this to reinforce that not only are they much more successful than you, but they're young enough to be your child also?
Rock on, grandad! Try Saga magazine instead for the best deals on incontinence holidays!
Shoes: anything with a good grip. Soft hiking boots probably ideal, even cheap ones.
Rules: Everyone must prepare one sentence about blogging, and keep it for the summit. This will make our gathering the world's first ever blogmeet in a volcano.
And finally: this hill has potentially lethal cliffs. Someone fell to their death less than a fortnight ago. I'll be keeping well clear of the dangerous parts, but you ascend at your own etc.
More lazy, hazy sunny weather today. Glad I got my marathon (for me) walk in yesterday, when the morning at least was not oppressive. (Post below.) Today I'm thinking of remaining sober, and preparing my homework for tonight's writers' group. It's something about armchairs.
"There's something about armchairs," John said, apropos of not very much...
"I think of them as thrones, but softer." HM the Queen
Today I achieved my goal of seven - yes seven Pentland hills.
And that is more than one kilometre of ascent. Pause to ponder that: hauling my fat carcass - plus a backpack starting off at almost a stone - dragging all that one kilometre vertically into the sky. And then back down again, to my adoring public.
Well, I'm being modest. Erring on the safe side. I've checked my Ordnance Survey map with a magnifying glass, and what it actually was was 1134 metres. Which height would represents climbing one of Scotland's famous Munro mountains - FROM SEA LEVEL. More than that, in fact. Much more. But I must leave something to cling on to for those of you with puny legs and salon tans.
To the victor the spoils. (I can hardly move though!) Am just eating my way through the fridge while watching Catherine Tate repeats. The woman is a genius. (This is easily done so long as the new, commercial FilmFour puts on movies as ancient - and some would say rubbish - as The Fifth Element.)
But what will ma wee knees be like tomorrow? Watch this space and be the first to find out! "Nobody ever got strong knees by sitting on the sofa." Me
(No new pics today, due to concentration, but here's a Pentland set I prepared a couple of weeks ago. Some are fucking A.)
*Mile High Club? Wasn't that about having sex in aeroplanes?
Sex is so over-rated, so very nineties, my chickadees - as soon you will find out.
In my continuing quest to combine illumination with fiscal prudence, I yesterday chanced into B and Q to try out another brand of low energy light bulb. (Readers still interested in my minutiae might recall the first purchase of one of those a week ago - and subsequent disappointment at its "warm white" frank yellowness.)
Yellow will not do. Blue is the colour of my true light's hair.
So yesterday's bulb de jour was by GEC USA, but conveniently manufactured much closer in Hungary. Twenty Watts delivering 100 Watts! Lasts 15 years!
(That last claim is amazing, by the way. Are they seriously suggesting they've actually had one on for fifteen years before they start selling the damn things? Of course not. It's think of a number the punters will fall for.)
Not for timers. Not for sensors. Not for dimmer switches. Well, that last point is wrong - it works just fine with the dimmer. And I'm pretty sure this bulb is whiter than the previous example from the Osram company. So I'll save up my six pounds and buy another one soon. (Seems years since I copped a 25 pence bulb from Woolies.) Years.
To get to the B and Q store you have to walk about half the length of a street called Easter Road - familiar to telly football pundits as containing the home ground of Hibernian Football Club. They'd just finished a match, clearly, as the street was heaving with footie fans all going in the opposite direction from yours truly. To get to the shop, and then the Regent Bar to recover, meant fighting my way right through the masses.
Now, my usual reaction to football crowds is to run back home again and hide till the threat is over. But not this time Jose. No - this time I'd walk tall, like a man, a man with brown arms, face and head. Yes really. (Gay men call that "mincing butch".)
So I minced as butch as fuck, and attracted not one hostile remark. Not one, despite taking my very life in my hands. And they were standing outside the pubs in their tens and twenties. (Not for the evening sun, per se, but because that's the only place you can smoke.)
B and Q. Regent Bar. Nothing to it. Was just getting started chatting to David the writer when I switched my phone on and got a lovely text from Chav Gav. Hours earlier he'd sent it - inviting me to that very game I'd just fought through the aftermath of. Testosterone city, he said, and it'd be something great to blog about.
Sorry Gav. Just like me. Miss my own funeral. Maybe another time, but probably I couldn't stand the terror. Football is one of the most horrifying things for gay men, you see. Like hammers and nails and screwdrivers and cars. Things our big scary dads did, but we were forbidden.
Saying that, I did once go to a Celtic match in Glasgow with this guy I'd just picked up. Tres butch. (But that was decades ago when I was still a babe.)
No re-tuning needed for Vanessa's literary meme. (I'm chickening out, me. Functionally illiterate.) It's about half way down the page.
Next Saturday I'm off the the Queen's Hall with Meg the Lesbian Sandwich Lady. It's Vivaldi, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Meg is a music lover too, but don't ask her to sit through Wagner or stuff like that. Shostakovich. I said I couldn't agree more, and that we should probably draw a line after Beethoven. We both love organ music though.
Daniel Pearl, deputy editor of Newsnight, writes interestingly about the new wave of interactivity sweeping the BBC - with especial reference to blogs.
Some good comments too, if you can get beyond the tedious, "what is a blog?". (Ed: shurely one of those would suffice, eh?)
My own comment, should it not be aired, was this:
Blogging is tremendous. For the first time in history, the ordinary person has the platform to express his or her opinions - rather than this being the exclusive right of the press and broadcast barons.
Whereas certain organisations (I can't name the main one, or my comment won't see daylight) aimed to control everything, they will in a comparatively short time find that they then control nothing.
It's called the mass amateurisation of everything. It's also called the mass democratisation of opinion. You can hit back really quite hard, yet remain within the law. More power to (good) bloggers' elbows!
Hi. Today is the last day of my holiday, in that tomorrow I have to work three and a half hours in the evening, and then have two more days off.
It's a hard life. Sometimes I wonder how I cope, I really do.
Today you can't even see the bloody Pentlands for cloud and mist. So I sense my climbing won't get much further than the Regent and Arthur's Seat, which have nicely occupied the last two days.
But I've done not bad. One Pentland day and two Arthurs in just five days.
Since my world record lightness a few days ago I've put on four and a half pounds.
What goes down, you might say. But it still worked out the best weekly average ever.
David the part-time barman has asked me to point out that the Evening News Mary Moriarty story featured here yesterday was in fact first noticed by him.
Here's a picture of Ingrid the barmaid painting the walls of the Regent Bar. I said she looked foxy in her painting gear. She said she didn't believe it. You choose.
There's also a man, but I don't know who he is.
Yesterday when I climbed Mount Saint Arthur a foreign woman was writing on the white triangulation pillar at the summit. I asked her if she was enjoying vandalising our country. She just shrugged. Probably the answer was yes. Or else she didn't understand me.
There are so many Polish people now that you only rarely hear English being spoken. I fear there might be a backlash.
Porny Boy Curtis has written some nice book reviews, and he's not afraid to buck the trends! Nip over and see what he thinks of your favourites. Other fab stuff too. But of course he's had a whole year to think them up.
Reset Brad the new computer to shortly after I got him. Needed to do that to get rid of the networking fuckups I'd created. Then had to reinstall McAfee - which found zero viruses. Ad-aware found 26 tracking cookies, and Spybot Search and Destroy (luvvit!) found three red things, including two registry changes.
McAfee Firewall keeps granting permissions all over the place, without even asking. Do I want AOL Connectivity Service to access the internet? Do I fuck. I would rather eat tripe every day for a week than allow that. But McAfee firewall thinks it's a fab idea.
With Brad being so new and untried in the ways of the wicked world, what badness there is stands out more. Watch out on your own addled machines for
Project1 services.exe alg.exe
...and of course the previously mentioned Software Distribution Service 2.0
It's a jungle out there. Wish I knew how to figure the router to stop evilness before it gets any further.
I can't stop eating mini Cornish pasties. Lusting after one right now.
Thoughts please to Brett in Florida, who has given freely of his comments here on many an occasion. His beloved cat, Mr Henry, has died in the dentist's chair. He was 12, which is about my age in human years. Now he'll never get his pensioner bus pass.
Yes, that's right. We're all going to be famous. The South Bank Show is coming to Leith, and doing a number on Irvine Welsh.
Here's the Evening News's visualisation of what it might look like, with sparks flying between Mary the Landlady and Lord Bragg. It's electrifying!
Mary will be beside herself, and why not? From Observer Magazine to South Bank Show in just quarter of a short century. And do you know something, cheri? You've hardly changed one iota.
The News goes on to suggest some more contributors to the show, but if I wanted to waste the time I could list the final cast of carpetbaggers and hangers-on here for you with near one hundred percent certainty.
It should definitely make good viewing for Naked Blog readers though - seeing all your favourite characters come to life on the TV screen. Wonder if Little Alex and Big Straight Al will make the cut? To be broadcast in the Autumn.
Much fun and games in and around The Village pub, concerning a "society" wedding reception.
(I've decided to pull this story, to protect my source and avoid unintentional offence. One man's laugh is another man's libel suit. Going soft in my old age :)
That poseurs' palace opposite the Leith Police called The Compass is sold. Hopefully Gordon the rude barman will be given his P45, and then one can start going in again. Not that there's much to recommend it, unless you're on your way home and it starts to rain.
And that completes our round-up of local news and views for today. Not much happening, and not quite Trainspotting, but we're getting there.
Mary and Melvyn. The idea. David Mamet was in the Port once, you know.
Yep. Petite Anglaise joins the ranks of the "dismissed because of blog" bloggers.
And so far she's doing pretty damn good out of it, thank you. Radio, television, every British paper, every internet news page - and, crucially - not one but two book deals.
(Here I have to confess to not having read Mme Anglaise. Got little enough time to keep up with the tiny handful already on me sidebar. And that's why it's tiny.) And that's partly why PA got the boot, she says, for blogging at work.
Well, at least there's no chance of me getting accused of that. On a stage, no-one can see you blog. Plus my bosses all enjoy it already. Got over that little hurdle when I took the "top job".
So - her comment box is bulging with congratulations on the publicity, comiserations over the job loss, and a tiny few more critical appraisals included for balance.
Blog readers always go ape over non-blog success. By which I mean old media.
Here I'm gonna pull some (chronological) seniority, and say something else. Something which is happening now to PA, but which has happened to many other blogs, including this one. And that is that until we stop judging ourselves in terms of these other media, then blogging will continue to be a "poor relation".
We should seek to rise above what print and broadcast have to think about our work, and concentrate our minds rather on our own Brave New World. (Stealing woefully from print!)
But then I've an agenda of course. The destruction of the Murdoch dictatorship.
If you want to get ahead get a pussy! Far be it from me to be misogynist, ladies, (some of my best friends are blessed with the slippery beef, as well you know). But if you were to name three famous bloggers, they would probably be Mrs Armstrong, Ms de Jour, and now Mme Anglaise.
Mrs Armstrong (dooced) was by no means the first blogger to get fired for it - just the most successful. About prostitutes I care not to speak much. Loads of them in Leith. And now an Englishwoman secretary in Paris gets the boot. Good luck and god speed, Catherine Sanderson. I've a feeling you'll clean up, bigtime.
Well, I wasn't wrong about that big, bad ol' interweb broadband. Brad's already harbouring a thing called Software Distribution Service 2.0 It's so new, even Microsoft don't seem to know about it. Comes on board with updates.
I knew no good would come of this damn broadband wire.
Spent all yesterday trying to make a network and shared printer with Brad and Priscilla, but no joy whatever. Priscilla just refuses to get drawn in to all this modernity. So my forty quid router was a total waste of money then. I should have just stuck to plugging and unplugging the leads.
Plus I've had to enable file and printer sharing on both machines, which is horrendously dangerous. Always was. Even I knew that, and I'm almost sixty. So then I had to disable them again. Priscilla started to copy ancient files from a 98CD that wasn't even in, while Brad now keeps telling me to enable my guest account.
Like fuck will I enable a guest account. That's like holding your door wide open and screaming "Help yourself, boys." Internet, schwimternet. I detest it.
No, I detest what the cyberthugs have done to it. Bastards. At least with Murdoch you know what you're getting.
Whole day yesterday sitting at computers. Sick of it. Brad is defiled now, not handsome any more. I want to restore him to previous.
Lost The Plot
Lost is so awful, even the actors look embarrassed these days. Josh Holloway's poor eyes must be totally aching, the number of times he has to roll them upwards and try to look (silently) evil. Silent because they couldn't be bothered writing any lines for him. Yesterday Hurley ate a frog. In this fab spoof he eats Claire's baby. Recommended. (Doncha just hate Miss Goody-Goody Claire and her damn baby?)
Climb Every Mountain
Very foggy yesterday and today, although I sense today's might lift. Getting a bit sick of the same old routes time after time, to be honest. But leading to...
A new world record today at 12 stones 10.5 pounds. (178.5 pounds, 81kg) Petite Ecosse.
Mouse wheel. Just discovered you can press it and then do things. Google bar. Google calculator and converter. ABC spellcheck. Standby mode. Big screen.
Horizontal scroll on Notepad. Lack of networking between two comps and printer. Google Page Rank, and especially NB having sunk to 5 whilst most of you are 6. This weblog used to be innfluential. Got to pimp my skinny ass a bit, folks, so watch out.
Try the slide show. In which Stewart and I ascend from the Ben Lawers visitor centre to the foot of Meall Corranaich. Then I fail to climb the last part, while Stewart does it. Then we return to the car, which had earlier exploded. I walk to a dam. Then the car gets fixed in Killin. Then the exhaust falls off on the road between Killin and Edinburgh. You couldn't make it up. Then there's local stuff, including the killer hill, and it ends with some tasteful pussy. Pity the Flickr slide show is so small, because a couple of these pics blow your mind at 19 inches.
Enjoy. Cost me around 800 quid to get those to you. It's the rich wot gets the pleasure... :)
Feeling really quite butch today, having installed a Cisco router yesterday evening. "It's the modern equivalent of putting in a new window," I mused to David at the writers' group.
So Brad the new computer is online now. Lost his brief virginity already to the dancing data of delight. It's nice, very nice not to have to suffer Priscilla's interminable delays over every last thing. Plus my first ever PC was on this table, in the kitchen period, more than a decade and several lifetimes ago.
Just what will happen here from this new vantage is anyone's guess. That's what makes life so sparkly - not knowing what is round the corner.
I'm currently protecting what's left of Brad's innocence with McAfee Antivirus and McAfee Personal Firewall. Which firewall has already recorded nearly 200 "Inbound Events" and that's in less than 24 hours. (Majority of them from 192.168.1.250) Should I be using Windows firewall instead? I'm sure someone mentioned that here. And what about ZoneAlarm? Is it as yesterday as Rod Stewart?
More questions than answers.
And why do you have to spend 40 quid on a router? What's wrong with just getting a USB splitter? Like a phoneline splitter? Ah dinnae ken.
Anyway - it was a nice feeling, shoving in all those leads and following the simple instructions. Windows has a Wizard. The router came with a CD wizard. But the only wizard in the workshop was moi.
So damn simple. Switch everything off. Plug everything in. Switch everything back on again, and type in http://192.168.1.1 Fill in a supplied password in a dialogue. Choose Obtain an IP Automatically. click Save Entries and you're done. I'm sure people charge good money for installing routers. Piece o' piss.
Read All About It
Writer's group last night in the Regent was interesting. Four present... Karina, David, Robert and little me. We decided, at my suggestion and Karina's seconding, that there should be a project for next week. Robert said that's a bit like homework, but I said well if it's a writers' group then probably we should write.
I said I didn't want to be any more pushy than that, and that Karina should choose the topic. So the topic is "something about armchairs".
Would you like to write something about armchairs? I couldn't stop you, of course. And maybe the others would be pleased to read it. Yesterday we had a poem by Karina.
Four Thousand Holes In Blackburn, Lancashire
What's going on in the world? What's this Israel and Lebanon thing? Why do Jews and Arabs hate each other? There's no reason for Jews and Arabs to hate each other. It's like Scotland and England.
How can I control my addressbar pulldown menu in MSIE? It's bonkers.
Those who, like me, are getting sicker and sicker of LOST's losing the plot might enjoy this spoof. Think of it as an animated fusion of Lost and South Park. Via Andy Ramblings.
Fight That Flab
It was one year ago today that I introduced you to Salty, the new digital scale by Salter. Since then Salty and I have been in daily contact, and I've written down my weight every single day. Call me obsessive all you want, because it's WORKED!
Oh yes - a stone a year is the way to go. (Fourteen pounds.) Today, sitting naked because of the intense indoor heat, I could easily see the entire family cruet - without even "pulling in".
One year ago today, a mirror was required for that simple task. In these small ways.
Thanks are due to various hills, and to an awful lot of fruit. No thanks to Tennents or Guinness, my main obstacles en route 66.
Hi world! This is Brad speaking to you from Peter's kitchen. And not before time.
Silly man went all the way up town to buy a router today. Cisco - oh nothing but the best. Just call him the Cisco kid. He'd kinda like that.
So me and that old girl Priscilla can kinda communicate now. Share files. Mebbe even a printer, once Peter gets the hang of the router proper. Still got two more holes, as it were.
And what was it like - getting that broadband up me jacksie after all this time?
Well - a kinda full feeling all of a sudden. Loads of data streaming in. Some of you will know what I mean. Others will just have to die wondering.
Now - the nitty gritty. Naked Blog looks total shite in nineteen inches. All shoved over to the left. Just like this Blogger screen, if you think about it. Whereas other Top Blogs have got themselves nice and centred, with broad margins both sides.
Do I just do a div and center? Is that all there is?
Brad in the kitchen.
(Real men know what's good for them... haha.)
Our Sunday tale about the closure of Arthur's Seat had a tragic ending, just announced in today's Edinburgh Evening News. It was 12 year-old Yi-Chi Chen, on a school trip from Taiwan. Fell seventy feet off a cliff, and splat.
Just doing what boys do. Exploring. Laughing and happy.
Finito now for Yi-Chi Chen, but never ever for his parents.
Because young death can be the nicest of all - for the dier. Over before the bad times come. The Lord giveth.
Today is day two of my holiday. It's 6am, because when you live with a cat the words "lie" and "in" just never appear in that order any more. It's 6am and if I'm to do any writing it should be now while the temperature's only 79 degrees.
Tonight I'm going to a writers' group, you see, and I'm not sure what to write. I've a sneaky feeling it shouldn't be about me. I've heard that real writers make things up. It's called fiction. But it's not quite made up, because it's all about them really, and the people they've met, just with different names.
It would be a fun thing to write about me, zoe, Brad and Priscilla - but without letting on that me is me, zoe is a cat, and Brad and Priscilla are computers.
Zoe paced the floor angrily, unable to express in words the feelings she'd secretly harboured since breakfast. Brad, however, was feeling brand new... with that "just out of the box" attitude Priscilla envied so much... she now so far past her sell-by it was becoming a joke in the house.
Get the idea? It would have to be logically and intellectually honest, but the reader would have to think they were all people.
No, I don't think little gay puzzles are what writers' groups are all about.
Yesterday on my walk I was about to start a descent when I saw two women near the summit coming up towards me. (It's a strange 3D world in the hills, quite different from Flatland where you live.) And I was most impressed they each had a pair of hiking poles.
"You should leave the path and walk on the grass," I called down to them. "Much easier underfoot. Less slippy." For some reason, all paths get covered in slippy stony stuff, which is guaranteed to make people avoid it and walk on one side. Quite crazy.
"Did you used to be a teacher?" the younger one tentatively asked me. Here we go, I thought, being not unused to this question. Just not usually on a mountain top. But she was so embarrassed now. "No, I'm not being funny," she repeated. "It's all right," I cut her off. "Why yes, of course. Ridgemount High." Her relief was palpable.
"But I probably won't be able to remember your name I'm sorry," I said, as she got closer now. So she told me. Tracy. She's doing hairdressing and complementary therapies, which she prefers. "Reiki?" I asked. "Yes, and Indian Head Massage." Tracy's friend had possible the most gorgeous bust I can ever recall. Brown, firm globes under a low-cut white top. And - here's the fun bit - dripping with glistening sweat. Trickling. Salty.
I couldn't prevent myself being complimentary, even though I know ladies often take offence when you say nice things. All in all it was a very nice meeting.
Baked In A Pie
Earlier, in the first half hour, I came across a dead or dying black bird beside the path. Probably a crow, as it had a black beak. These names are so pointless anyway. It was quite still, unmoving at my presence. Black feathers fluttering in the hot stiff breeze. I stared - never normally this close to a wild bird, except on the telly. Was it dead or what? Death is fascinating, always, as it's the one thing we've never done.
Its beak moved a fraction more closed. The head was in a normal position, not lying limp and dead. But it showed no awareness of my closeness. I naturally thought of the deadly H5N1 strain, and recalled that after the famous "Fife Swan" we were supposed to report any dead or dying birds. But report to whom? Somehow I just couldn't imagine the cops thanking me for a 999 about a bird beside a path. So I took a photo, which you might see later today, if all goes to plan with Brad.
I was saddened by this... more than you'd maybe think. I've become much more "creature-aware" since taking in zoe the wondercat. Spending much time imagining animal consciousness, rather than human, which by now I more or less understand. So I hoped my dead or dying bird had had a nice birdy life. Eaten nice worms. Made nice lurve. Laid lots of eggs, or the other thing.
Kinda wished I had the talent of Burns or Shelley, who would have dashed off a sonnet right there on the spot. "Ode To A Crow" or "Bye Bye Blackbird". That would have been great for my writers' group.
Edited highlights of the bird story first appeared yesterday in anna's comment box, who is also writing about birds at the moment.
Had to cut short my seven hill ambitions today, and settle for the more traditional five. (Post below.) Reason was that the minute I descended from the ridge top and stepped into the wind shelter south of Turnhouse Hill, under a microwave sun - I refuse to write "baking sun" - in a cloudless sky, it was sheer cremation. Sheer.
A young man way below was ascending towards me. Higher and higher, closer and closer. "Hot," I said, redundantly when we crossed. "Yes - isn't it great!" he chirped, his face as wet with sweat as any I've ever seen - except for cyclists when they suddenly stop - his face nearly as wet as that.
"No, it's not great," I cautioned. "You should turn back. Have you got plenty of water?" My inner schoolmistress.
"Yes, loads," he said, indicating a blue plastic tube forming some sort of still-suit contraption. So that was that. I had taken the climber to the water.
At the bottom at last, in the valley, I found some trees for shade and even a nice park-type seat to sit on - finish my own precious aqua, washing down the last of the mini Scotch eggs.
Then home to the Regent, and some lager and iced water, washing down a delicious ham salad straight from the fridge. Ayur Veda teaches us not to eat or drink straight from the fridge, as the coldness causes bad stuff in the stomach. Decay. But seeing as fridges weren't invented when Ayur Veda was, and me being as hot as a whore's knickers, I gave the Ancient Wisdom the finger. Had cold lager, iced water, and a fridge salad!
Ayur Veda makes you better: it's doctors make you worse. But that's a whole other ball game. Just like yoga and meditation. And the last thing I ever want to do is tell you how to live your life.
"Doctory" people are for ever taking their pets to the vet - have you noticed? Most of my bingo ladies are on tablets. Doctors gotta eat, after all.
Tomorrow evening I'm going to a writers' group. This will test the ethics of blogging bigtime. I better write something. Try and write something not about me.
Yes, that's right. There I was yesterday, in a mini-blogmeet of just one, trolling up my beloved Arthur's Seat when I heard this ultra-butch shouting from the summit. It was a cop. "The hill is closed for at least three hours. Would you please tell that to anyone coming up. And if anybody's got any water, I'd be very grateful."
"Me, me...!" I thought, mentally handing him water I didn't have. He looked that hot, but horrifically handsome in his black outfit. Oh, there's something about a man in uniform, isn't there girls?
Doubtless more in today's Evening News, but you saw it here first!
State of Grace
People are asking about Brad the new computer. (He's waving to you from the kitchen, two rooms away.) But do you know? I'm enjoying having him all to myself. Not connected. I'm just so certain that the moment I shove the Broadband up his jacksie he'll start on the inexorable slide that leads eventually to Priscilla. Who this morning took 25 - I kid you not - 25 minutes from re-boot to first webpage.
That is what lies ahead of Brad in the kitchen, should I hook him up. Even the words "hook him" sound evil.
I've discovered Microsoft Cleartype, which makes Brad's writing that much more rounded and lovely. Still having fun with photos, experimenting with Corel Photo Album. The green, green grass of home is fading already - it shows more on photo than to the eye. Soon it'll be autumn and sere. There's not a drop forecast for days ahead. And here's me on holiday. Ah well. somebody's got to do it.
Right. I got to leave you now, and get ready for the bus to Nine Mile Burn. Today I'm climbing seven hills. Yes seven. Got to get that kilometre ascent. Last time was a wussy 697m, which probably even you could do.
So, what's happening in blogland? I'm becoming a bit of a blog-recluse again... too much living, not enough writing about it.
Same with the news. I hear Lord Levy was arrested for fund-raising. Next it'll be Tony. After that who knows? Her Majesty? "Off with his head!"
Brad the new computer and I are slowly but surely getting acquainted. When you click on Help, you don't just get writing, you get a radio drama, starring this guy and this chick. Neither of them are Brad though. Not sexy enough. Don't cut the mustard. Brad's saving himself especially for moi, I just know it.
Today I learned "hibernation". Already knew "standby".
I sense young zoe has been checking out Brad too, as I found one of her calling cards between A and S on the keyboard. (Nothing too dramatic - just a variegated hair.) She's got two types of hair... amorphous brown stuff underneath, and harder, shinier, patterned hairs on top. Tip of her tail is going whiteish now though... comes to all of us.
Love the way Microsoft constantly bring out new Operating Systems which do exactly what the old ones did. Just to keep people shelling out. I've decided I maybe am a bit of a Wndows 3.1 purist. Oh, you knew where you were with DOS boot discs. Config.sys! Autoexec.bat! Still got my early DOS games.. bet they'll never play though... even with one thousand times the computing power, and the wonders of Microsoft's latest offerings. Full Throttle... "I'm not putting my lips on that..." Memories...
OK then - here's the deal. I got two more days of bingo hell, then off for another week. The last holiday almost put me in hospital because of radio station horrors. This time I'm getting my house in order and then persuading Brad to come on line and meet you all. He's ever so cute. Nineteen inches.
Sorry I've been a bit tardy, as they say in Spain and Nottingham, about responding to comments. Must try harder.
Climb Every Mountain
Yes, that's right. In response to Will's request, there will be a bloggers' ascent of Arthur's Seat this Sunday. Sorry the notice is short, but it all just happened this week. Plus I never ever plan things more than two days ahead. Brings bad luck.
One pm in the Regent Bar, unless there's some appalling football on at Easter Road which forces them to close. Happens from time to time. I'll be wearing clothes, and I won't be the least bit worried if no-one turns up. Probably go up myself anyway, although it is a bit "entry level" these days. Get almost as much exercise lifting a few pints to my thirsty lips.
Seeing as no-one seems able to come this Sunday, I think we should postpone. Me, I'll probably be there anyway, as it's such a lovely place to be. But only probably.
You know you're a real outdoorsman when you're taking a piss and a fly lands on your dick.
Oh yes, today.
In my sixtieth year.
But you know that already.
Today was the Pentland Hills. Monday all over again - but in the opposite direction. Nine Mile Burn to Flotterstone. And yes - I did go in to the Flotterstone Inn and have a pint. Two. And no - jobsworth wasn't there. I'm sure they've got rid of him. Upsetting too many valued customers. Later in the Regent, David - not the off-duty barman - another David - invited me to their writers' meeting on Tuesday at 7.
I said how can I turn up and say, "I'm a blogstar and you're not"?
But we will see what we will see.
Why don't we? Yes... why don't we - have a blogmeet and Arthur's Seat day on Sunday? Regent 1pm. I'll be there anyway. I'm thinking Will and Alan, if nobody else.
Today's photos are once again orgasmic - but until I get Brad hooked up you're just gonna have to wait.
I torture you daily, we know that. But you love it; we surely both know that.
I'm getting a bit hay-fevered these last few days. Yesterday was really a bit oddish. Sneezing, mild fever even, but then the day before had been my most active since the Ben Ledi and Meall Corranaich days.
Oh - I got the pics now, from this story - the day Stew's car broke down and I failed to complete a steep slope. They're rather goodish. Made a big-up fuck-off slide show on Brad's new 19 inch screen.
(This is still Priscilla speaking, by the way. Brad isn't hooked up yet. I only got one cable modem.)
*Bursts into Quantanamera...*
"One cable modem! I only got one cable modem! One cable moooooodem... I got just one cable mooooodem!"
Forgive me. Medication time.
What a Dump!
Monday's mega-walk was good, and I chatted to lots of people. Oh, there's nothing like a ridge walk for spotting where you are in the scheme of things. Two dears (female) of my own age got off the bus at Flotterstone also. Said they were gonna do the big five... Turnhouse Hill, Carnethy, Scald Law, East Kip, West Kip.
I said me too!
They asked if I'd done that before. I said I'd done all five, but not in one day. Strange thing was, I never saw them again. And on ridge walks you can see half an hour behind and ahead of you. Didn't think I was that scary. Even offered to buy them a drink in the Allan Ramsay when we'd all completed - encourage them, kinda thing.
Saw a guy later chatting on his mobile, half way up Turnhouse, the first one. Had a US flag t-shirt on, but he was local. By the time I'd reached the Turnhouse/Carnethy bealach (col or valley), a dump inside me was becoming more insistent. Had to do a Paula, but where? Found a sidepath off the main drag. Must check it out some day. Found a scooped out hollow then, and was just relaxing into the moment of no return when who should I see but US shirt striding over the summit down towards me. Fifteen minutes away, but the view was 20 - 20.
No return. Had to do it. I think the heather afforded some privacy of detail, but not of intention. Marlboro Country. Real men don't use Portaloos. When a man's gotta go... [Ed: that's enough with the dump talk. Get on with it.]
So I washed, sparingly, with some precious drinking water. Only had one litre of Nescafe Gold Blend and one and a half of tapwater. Water is heavy. Lunched in the bealach on steak and gravy pie (see "Real Men" just above), and by then the guy was well ahead of me. I was that embarrassed. A hill or two later, I overtook him and was gonna laughingly apologise, but noticed he was eating his own lunch then, so I just said Hi again. Butchly.
Top of Scald Law this dad and two kids turned up. Aged about ten. The kids, not the dad. He said there should be a sign telling you where you were. I said the point of the thing is that there wasn't. But I generously shared my increasing knowledge of the joint. Scald Law, I said. Highest point of the Pentlands at 579 metres. Most impressed. His kids climbed on the Trig pillar, as you do.
Oh that's enough hill stuff. Was a brill day, and the light rain held off exactly till I was at the bus stop home at Nine Mile Burn.
Compute This, Sucka!
Yes, true to the arrangement, Brad the sleek and stylish new computer arrived yesterday. Seems fine. (Pentium 4 2.80 GHz. 512Mb. 250Gb.) So far I've used the resident Corel Photo Demo (60 day trial), but it seems to have corrupted a bit already. Installed the software that came with the camera, and that is awesome man. Stewart looks so real at 19 inches.
Screen is fine. Was on the wrong resolution at first, which made the writing a bit "blocky" but on max res it's good. Not as clear as CRT, of course, but then what is? Myst 4 runs just fine, and I might play that some day. Quake 4 I almost certainly won't. You know you've bought a blooper when the opening scene drops you straight into a battle on a foreign planet. So that one's destined for the pre-owned shelf. I can see why it was only seven pounds fifty. GTA 3 I've not tried yet.
You switch it off either into "standby", which makes a pale green light slowly flash, or into hibernate which I haven't tried yet.
There's no Windows XP disc, which I think is a bit of a swizz. And no manual to speak of, just a thin green thing about getting service and stuff. A total novice might be a bit confused by everything, but one isn't a novice. Brad is number four. Five if you count the ZX 81. Maybe I should have called him West Kip.
Oh, and so far I've not allowed him on to the internet, as it can be dangerous. All those chatrooms.
The drunken and neurotic tale below is a sad reflection on a doomed and wasted life. Too much health is not a good thing. The spelling mistakes are nearly all transpositions, where Priscilla can't keep up with my flying fingers. Transpositoins, in a word. Read it and weep.
Brad the new computer arrived today, for that is his name.
EVen Littel Alex said Brad was so sexy in his white outfir in something or other. And of course fight Culb
Streweard turend up in the port. talked for a bit. gave me back half o the money he owed me. then a hasbeen actor and magazine owner turend up , sot stweart was all over them.
he's got a gig doing festival radio in the festival. the real festival, that is edinburgh festival not the local shite. imvgot a hack with me he said. i dont want to know i said. why not be the next jimmy younmg.
stweart sucke dthe dicsk of the hasbeen acotr and the magaxine owner. i think they call it networking. he didn't introduce me i would have to have said what i thought. the magazine takes money form property developers/environmental rapiest.
carpetbagers the lot of them but then you know what i htink.
eat something then mebbe take out some of the cardboard. i got boxes form the 80s. i got the home theater surround sound box. it got the huge crt telly box. i got the first ever cd palyer from 19canteen box. i got so much other rubbish boexs its' unbelievable and thats without todays brad input.
windows xp is exactoy the same as windows 98.
so far i notice not differences or advantes whatsover. for this moeny i should have a cd but there sin't one.
Felt I should buy a couple of games this evening, ready for [Unnamed New Computer] when he arrives tomorrow. The latest titles all need video cards more expensive than I invested in, but there was a fair spread of stuff I hope will play. So I got Myst 4, Quake 4, and GTA 3.
But that's not what this tale is about. Oh no.
Ahead of me in the queue were four people. The first two, couple in their twenties, seemed to be taking up loads of time and paperwork with the assistant. So the boss, who hithertofore had been chatting to his pal, jumped in to serve the next two customers... a woman with boy of about eight.
"Have you got such and such?" she asked the bossman. (I couldn't hear what game it was.)
He checked his lists.
"No," he said.
And then, just then, we all saw the little boy silently turn his tear-filled eyes into his mother's skirt. She hugged his head.
Tomorrow, Monday, I'm planning to tackle the five major hills of the Pentlands in one stride. This will be a first for yours truly, in my sixtieth year, of course. Much food, drink and - sadly - clothing will have to be carried, as summit temps are down to seven degrees and the wind is forecast to reach 32 mph, which is gale force. Ah well. Some of us were put on earth to suffer, I keep telling you that.
Today I tried for 10 mins at 120 pulse on the exercise bike, but had to stop after about four. Totally knackered. Must be a different kind of fitness from hillwalking, where 135 makes barely a dent.
Tuesday morning the nice new Dell is arriving, and of course I'm very excited. That's why Monday has to be what it is - to compensate for who knows how many days of inactivity to come.
Wednesday you'll be able to see all the latest photos, which at present exist only on the xD card of the new Olympus 6 Megapixel. It really is a peach. Oh - and there's a couple of videos too.
Talking of fruit, my cup runneth over with juicy ripeness these days. The trick of course is to eat them before they go off, and start turning into that foul alcohol - incidentally none of which has touched my lips since I said cheerio to andre on Thursday. I've got pears from South Africa, Italian nectarines, and apples all the way from Brazil.
But what a fucking travesty of diet that is, you know. Not only is the planet ruined with all the transport, but it's just not good to eat from outside your immediate environment. (City dwellers shut up, please. I'm one too.) For your maximum consciousness, you should eat food which is locally-grown, fresh, and cooked by a happy chef. Stovies, in a word.
Anyway - don't blame me: blame Co-op. I thought they were meant to be a bit more enlightened than the big three supermarkets. Apples from Brazil - the very idea. Nuts.
Save The Planet
Naked Blog is now brought to you increasing ly by Energy Saver light bulbs. Osram Duluxstar. These are incrementally replacing the German craft-lights you get from B and Q, which were recommended by Lyle for my SAD. And Lyle was right - they do cheer you up bigtime, but only till the electricity bill comes in. Thing is, because of the blue glass, you have to burn about twice as many to get lit up enough.
However - all is not yet peaches and cream. The problem with the Duluxstar is that it's called "warm white", which is exacly what SAD people don't want. They need cool white, icy white, white with lots of blue in it. Something like Aspen or Klosters in the sunshine. So the warm white looks decidedly yellow beside the blue daylight bulbs. But at a mere 14 Watts, I can learn to love them, I'm sure. My kitchen is already optimised for SADness - with pale blue and white decor lit by standard (ie green) fluorescent tubes. Cheers me up rotten. Not a hint of autumn to be seen, except for zoe the wondercat.
Anyway - this weblog has gone way off the point, as usual. I'm sure there was something else... but it's away with the fairies. Auld age disnae come itsel, as my bingo ladies say. One of my (gay) bingo men introduced me to his mother yesterday. She's called Hettie. Not one you could easily forget, in the circumstances.
Anyone Who Had A Heart
Priscilla is behaving exemplarily this last week, sensing that she's soon for the rubbish dump. I know people say you shouldn't get attached, but I think it would be a very clinical person who didn't invest some reciprocal feelings into a computer. Vividly I recall the shock the first time I opened my Amstrad PC 25MHz/4Mb, to find it contained only electrical circuits. Looked just like an amplifier, in fact. Somehow, don't ask me how, the preceding two years of high level communication had prepared me for something else, but for the life of me I don't know what.
But then I was always an imaginative child. Had to be, just to survive.
FilmFour goes free on July 23rd. With ads. How sad.
"Yes sir. That andre. Tell us about him. What's he really like?"
"So you don't want to hear about National Kissing Day, and how Big Straight Al gave me a good licking on my cheek, but it was so salty due to my having climbed in the Pentlands for three hours in the baking hot sun that he had to spit it out on the bar floor, which led to Pam shouting at him for twenty minutes? So you don't want to hear about that?"
"No sir, please... we want andre... "
"And I'm very excited about my new Dell computer I ordered yesterday, which I was chatting about with Big Straight Al, after Pam calmed down and stopped shouting at him. He thought I was a Windows 98 purist, but I said if I was any sort of purist at all it would be Windows 3.1 and DOS 6. I told him I'd been computing since he was at school wanking in the back of the class over Jean with the enormous tits."
The class laugh at this inappropriate language, but they know sir is such a card. There are rumblings which sound a little like andre, andre...
"After I got my kiss from Big Straight Al in the Port, Craigette the barman came over and plonked one on sir's elderly cheek too. How kind. But he spoiled it by saying that's as far as it's going to go. So I said I wasn't getting a hard on. Not from him, at least, deferring to Big Straight Al beside me that close. You have to keep these youngsters in their place, you know. Respect."
The class are completely ignoring sir now, and sit at their desks chatting animatedly about andre.
"OK then - today's topic is andre!"
Are you sitting comfortably? Then this is how it happened...
The first inkling was early yesterday evening when the mobile went off in my back pocket. "Hi Peter this is Andy from the Port," Pam's bf said, sounding almost unbearably butch. That's what cigarettes do to a man. Some men. "There's a guy here says he knows you." "What's his name?" I ask never dreaming, from the kitchen where I'm unloading the messages into the fridge and freezer. (Groceries.) "Sez his name's andre..." "Has he got kinda long hair and a London accent?" I ask, excitement rising. "Tell him I'll be ten minutes!"
I leave the tinned goods right there on the floor, spray on some FCUK, lightly, as I know andre writes about smells, and head off to meet my old/new friend!
Nowadays people hook up with folk from the net with gay abandon. But it wasn't always thus. "Never give out your phone number on the internet! Never give your home address! Never meet anybody in the flesh without an armed response unit at the next table!"
You'll remember the days.
So my first ever "meetee" was Sarah from Not You, The Other One. Bravely, very bravely, she wandered in to the Port that sunny afternoon, and we chatted, after I'd fought off half a dozen lecherous old geezers.
Later, in The Village, came Caitlin.
And then nothing, nada till that very brave day when I trolled up to the Jolly Judge for my first ever "proper" blogmeet - ie with random, everyone-welcome, strangers. Oh, I was older than all the rest of them! Put together! But somehow we coped, and all got on. Alcohol has its uses.
No - I tell a lie! The first one ever was with Gee, from New York, and his gf Hobiscuit, shortly after nine eleven. Yes - we go that far back!
*Considers re-writing the segment, but declines, due to lack of fee.*
Face To Face!
And there he was! We shook hands, even hugged a little, if I recall. The resident barflies were baffled and nosy in equal measures. I introduced him to some of the cast. Mary the Landlady, who remembered Gee from new York. Stewart my climbing companion and former radio colleague, Stevie Sticks, Pam the Barmaid. And that was about it. No Babs. No Sandra. No Little Alex. No Big Straight Al.
We chatted and chatted. Me I was drinking Tennents, but andre was on orange juice, due to driving. He was quite pissed off at the modest car they'd given him. Fiesta or Punto or something. They all look the same to me. He'd been snapping men on construction sites. I said he should siphon them off to Him International. We laughed.
Thing about andre is we've seen the videos and heard the talk. But nothing prepares you yet for the reality. The actualite. So it took quite some time for me to adjust to his English accent. (With voices you have to concentrate on what's being said, and ignore where it's being said from.) But this is my fault entirely, being not well travelled, and generally mixing with just four people and a bunch of silent hills.
(Stevie Sticks was telling me there's a re-make of The Hills Have Eyes come out. Some people were camping on the top of Capelaw, when I climbed it yesterday. I didn't think camping was allowed in the Regional Park. Pretty dangerous on top of hilltops I would have thought, because of lightning, which was spectacular the day before yesterday.)
Andre's mum phoned, and we chatted for a mo. Sorry I can't remember the lady's name in the confusion, but hi mum anyway! (Andre's mum is a keen Naked Blog fan too.)
Puts Hairs On Yer Chest
We left the Port, and headed to the Regent for grub. Andre wanted Passion Fruit J2O, but settled for Tropical Orange. Me, I was trying not to get too drunk, what with him being sober for driving the Punto.
I introduced him to Alan the owner, and we browsed the menu blackboard. "What's stovies?" he asked, and I told him chunky potato mixed with corned beef. So we had that. "What are those?" he asked when it came, pointing to some round biscuits. "Oatcakes," I said. "Keep you regular. This meal is one hundred percent Scottish." Andre seemed happy at that, and polished off the lot, after his hard day behind the lens.
Oh how we chatted! We chatted about Vaughan, and zed, and anna and JonnyB and mike. It was like the creme de la creme at one remove. Andre can maybe be my intro to the world of Top Bloggers! He said he discards a lot of material. I said for this money it all goes in. We chatted about books and newspapers.
In the Regent we also met David and Karina, and I punted andre's blog to them. Robert the off-duty barman heard that it was National Kissing Day, and did some heavy tonguing on me right in front of andre and his stovies. Straight men can find the close proximity of homosexualism a bit off-putting, but andre seemed to cope. He said people think he's gay anyway, so he's kinda used to it. (But he isn't. Gay. Ladies.)
"And that, class, was my couple of hours with andre. Assignment is one thousand words on how you would spend two hours with a Top Blogger."
The class breaks into rapturous applause, and shuffles out into the watery Friday sun wondering where they can score some drugs for the weekend.
Thanks to this week's perma-mist, the hills are still quite inaccessible. I can feel my legs turning from steel to jelly even as I sit here, impotently typing. What good impotent typing will do for my waistline I'm not sure.
Welcome back Porny Boy Curtis, picking up after a one year layoff as if nothing had happened. Well, maybe it didn't. There was a time he would have dropped a courtesy comment on here. Must have lost my touch.
Lost The Plot
Does anybody still watch Lost? What a load of old rope it's turned in to. Last night we were treated (I use the word sarcastically) to more snogging than a typical episode of a cheap soap. I don't wish to see people kissing on my television, and can generally avoid the programmes where this is likely to happen. Where's the supernatural these days? I want to see Jack saving the islanders from spooky peril, not having a marriage breakup. How fucking mundane.
And don't get me started on Charlie - boring little Manchester squirt. I like my leading men to look like men, honey - with Yankee Doodle accents - not refugees from Big Brother. Take a lesson from Joaquim or Brad, and then come up and see me some time. For the finishing touches. (He's on Jonathan Ross this weekend, btw.)
Chop Suey, Kung Fooey. Does anybody still watch Doctor Who? (Same for Tennant as for Charlie above. Kids in greasepaint.) Does anybody still watch BBC Breakfast? Lost the plot totally, that one. I've even stopped texting in my complaints, and that will really fucking scare them.
Here's a comment I dropped on Alan's site, in answer to "Why do people adore their pets?"
You know you've become a "cat person" when you ooh and aah at your friend's phone pix of her cat, and completely ignore the grandchildren shots. Fortunately my friend just laughed.
Why are cats better than children?
They stay small. Stay cheap to look after. Never answer back. Never judge what you do. Don't demand presents. You can have sex in front of them. They love your attention, grooming and getting stroked. And you can't fake a purr.
You know you've become a cat person when you pick her up saying, "How's daddy's little baby?" It's scary, but nice scary. Me, I'm still a novice. (Less than one year.)
Any more ideas?
(A moth has just turned up, and she's chasing it. Zoe loves her moths. Just a damn shame the mice are too chicken to show.) Interesting cat fact: a cat's eye is two thirds the size of a human one - even though the creature itself is only one tenth the size.
...shouted the ex-prisoner, as he stood outside the jail gates.
"That's nothing pal - I'm FOUR!" declared a nearby child.
Ed: Where is this leading? Are you totally fucking nuts today?
Me: Haha. No way Jose.
(Readers who pay very close attention indeed will be all too aware that this is a special day.)
An Attentive Reader from Illinois: I got it! Independence day!
Me: Hi Danny, but no, much more special than that.
Allen Carr (Stop-smoking Guru): Could it be that the seven pounds ninety-nine you spent on my book led to you smoking your last cigarette three years ago today, and thus getting free from your near half-century of nicotine addiction? And saving over seven thousand pounds? And gaining better health than you can ever remember? Could it be that?
Me: Why thank you Allen for dropping by. And yes, of course.
Easy Way To Stop Smoking, by Allen Carr. It could literally save your life. There is no praise too high, or gratitude too profound. I thank you, sir.
Winners and Losers
Bumped into Stewart my former walking companion and radio co-presenter yesterday. He was in the Port. He was wearing some medical boot thing for his broken ankle, which showed his toes off to perfection. Not bad, for over sixty. The toes, that is. Unlike my bingo ladies, most of whose toes are twisted and gnarled wrecks from years of high-heeled shoes.
Which proves something or other - probably too obvious to point out. Bin those stillies quick, girls.
So when I say I bumped into Stewart, that is taking linguistic licence. Clearly I merely sat down beside him, after tickling his toes a little. He said he wouldn't be walking hills again this year. He said I should join a group. He said he'd been made vice-chairman of Leith FM. He asked what I thought of the podcasts. I said I'd only listened to five minutes and they were shit.
But it's good that something positive should emerge from that atrocious fortnight, even though my own broadcasting career is in ruins darlings. Winners and losers. It's always the gay guy gets it in the neck.
Someone else you won't be reading about here again is Babs. I told her yesterday that in order to protect our friendship, which is very important, it would be for the best if I omitted her from me little blog from now on.
Blogging about real people is fraught with hazard, you know. Fraught. But we've started now, so there's no going back, with Naked Blog at least. I thanked Babs for all the great stories over the many years, and we laughed. Yes, I think this is for the best.
Anybody else feel they'd like to leave? Audition for another soap?
*Hides from stampede of angry Constitution Streeters*
Someone from another soap who might be straying onto the set of this one today or this week is the fragrant andre. I'm very excited, as I think andre is a very nice man indeed. And I know how very talented he is. I'll probably be awestruck, even though he says he's just ordinary.
Almost half a century ago, a smaller kid called me mister for the first time ever. That felt great.
Yesterday, for the first time ever, a young woman offered me her seat on the bus. I still haven't decided how that felt.
I've decided to purchase a new computer sooner rather than later. That way I'll spend whole days playing with it, and quickly recoup the cost from alcohol not purchased, and meals out not eaten. Real life can go on the back burner for a while, whilst I play DOOM 3, and pretend it's 1992 again.
So - to set the ball rolling, I popped into Currys Digital (the shop formerly known as Dixon's) and pretty sure the one I looked at was this or something similar.
What else do you recommend? (Please nothing remotely requiring building.) It has to have a LAN card for cable modem. 17 inches preferred.
Glancing back over my extensive organ, I noticed this passage from February 2005...
I'd estimate over the decades I probably only ever owned one third of my wages. One third. The rest went to banks and credit companies. Over and over again. And you wonder why I hate them. (And yes - before you comment - of course I know nobody made me live like that.) But it's so damn easy. Even now I get a constant stream of letters saying get this loan and that one. Straight in the bin.
Well, it's taken somewhat longer than usual for old media to jump on my bandwagon, but I was impressed by last night's Panorama on just that very topic - the sleazy techniques the high street banks employ to get their customers hooked on debt.
Vividly I remember in the seventies, chatting to a friend who worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland, one of last night's last night's featured banks. "The purpose of the bank is to help you," he said, oleaginously even off-duty. "No it's not!" I snapped. "The purpose of the bank is to lend me as much money as they think they're going to get back."
He was quite speechless at that.
Usurers, the lot of them, and I'd find difficulty choosing words adequately to describe my hatred. They make prostitutes and drug-dealers look like Mother Theresa herself in comparison.
Cradle To The Grave
So much grip have they got, that you can't even get paid nowadays without them getting their paws on your money. Except it's not yours for very long, by the time they've "generously offered" an overdraft to match your monthly salary. And then, why of course you're for ever indebted, and they can charge you whatever they want.
Let's have a mortgage! Let's have a Platinum Card! Let's have a consolidated loan! Let's re-mortgage the house, for that retirement you've always dreamed of! (Then as well as all your money, we get your house as well!)
I totally hate them, and if I don't stop now, I'll get in a state. Sorry.
Me, I was at the bingo with Lynda from the buffet. Waiting on number 12 for 275 quid. Between us. Never came.
In these small ways...
(But now we really do have to upgrade our ranking of Andy Murray.) Sport is a cruel master. Whilst rockstars can get wasted every moment of the day and night - and of course they do - sportspeople have to take it easy. Screw the nut for their bodies. This is something he'll discover as his celebrity increases, and the temptations follow suit.
Nevertheless, the sole purpose of sport - any sport - is to make money. It has no redeeming features whatsoever. Much like what happens in Leith.
Naked Blog has always, and always will, support and promote genuine talent. The only thing we despise is "famous for being famous".
Much fun and games in the meeja about juvenile tennis starlet Andy Murray - him of the square mouth and perma-grimace. Young Andy has jumped on the anti-English football bandwagon brought to recent prominence by Scotland's First Minister, Jack (Brylcreem never truly went out of fashion) McConnell.
However, the differences between McConnell and Murray are (a) McConnell lives and works exclusively in Scotland, therefore needn't worry what others think about him, and (b) Murray depends for a livelihood on sponsorship, so has to do well at Wimbledon, which is about as English as it's possible to be.
I hear Murray has now retracted his remark, ("I'll support whoever's playing against England") but this will be seen just as the commercial ploy it undoubtedly is. Why anyone should be bothered what a 19 y/o youth thinks about anything at all is beyond me, but that's how the world seems to work these days.