Sunday, September 23, 2007


Another week and only one post! What's happening is that my time is being eaten up with cooking, washing up, video gaming seeing the children off to bed, work and trying (and usually failing) to get enough sleep. I need more segmentation or separation between my interests and activities. I didn't get a chance to do much blogging this week and I didn't get a chance to do any prep for the next series of my podcast, which begins next week. I'm also up against things work-wise, so the next few days, weeks and months are going to to get busy: hence segmentation is essential. Everything has to have a fair time-slice. So goodness knows how I'm going to do that, with Halo 3 being released this week (I got my pre-order in on Saturday and I'm secretly getting excited).

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Shuffling Along

Has it really been a week since I last posted something here? It doesn't feel that long! I wonder if keeping a notebook has had a replacement effect instead of a supporting role in my blogging? I mean, perhaps I get out of me what I need to in my notebook instead of in these posts.

On Monday evening I started a guitar class. It's ok so far, I found I couldn't strum a simple pattern very well but I could form chords OK, so I could use the tuition. We learned the key of D and the key of G. A member of the group turned up a little late, a lady. She tried to enter the class in an unobtrusive way but because her guitar was strapped on her back (with the neck sticking out), when she turned to close the door she hit a chair making a loud noise. The class is in an art room, so there are papier mache models hanging up etc., and she tried to slip quietly past the tutor but turned again and hit the models hanging up. I bet she felt a right wally, I know I would have, but to her credit she got on with it and didn't play bad either.

I've got my Xbox360 online now, so I've been doing a bit of gaming with some friends, not real friends - like the kind you know on a face to face level - but internet friends: the internet is a new social paradigm isn't it?

I'm listening to a lot of music lately, partly in preparation for a new season of FWPL starting in October but partly because I bought my wife a new Ipod and have taken over using her old Ipod Shuffle. I love iTunes and the Shuffle, you can get several albums worth (as much as you can listen to on one trip) and hear the tracks in endless new ways. I love the serendipity of tracks shuffling - it's what I do when I decide the play order for my podcast. It keeps things interesting having that juxtaposition of styles and genres.

Hope everyone has had a good week, here's to another this week...cheers!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I wonder how many words are typed on the average computer keyboard? The letters were disappearing on our old keyboard we'd done so much typing on it, so as I was shopping in the supermarket yesterday I noticed them selling keyboards for 3 pounds in the bargains section. On impulse I bought one. It seems to be alright, despite being so cheap it does what I need it to. It's a wired one, I toyed with the idea of buying a wireless keyboard and mouse pack but they were about 5 times more expensive and the keyboard wire doesn't really ever get in the way, so I figured we didn't need wireless. Also, with our wireless internet and mobile phones etc. I'm not in any hurry to bring any more airwaves into the house - I know they say there's no evidence of any of that stuff doing harm but you just don't want to increase the risk, even slightly.

I woke yesterday having had a bad dream, not sure it was classified as a nightmare. I was with a colleague from work and sort of informally got this offer to be interviewed for a great job. I was kind of disorganised and it was very last minute but even so I screwed up. Instead of accepting a lift and being a little late, or even driving myself there, I decided to go by bus. The bus didn't even leave until way after the interview and the guy wasn't there any more, he'd left ages ago but my colleague who offered the lift was there to tell me how p***ed off he was. It was all so informal that I didn't even have the guy's name or number so I couldn't call to say I'd be late. I just felt so cut off and embarassed about making a bad impression on someone I'd never met. That was no way to wake up. I was in a bad mood for the rest of day.

I've started carrying a little notebook around with me wherever I go. I use it to jot down ideas for blog posts or just to capture some thought here or there. It's quite handy, don't know why I haven't done it before. One of the entries records my surprise at how long my wife and I have been doing the GI diet. We're still on it and my wife has almost lost two stones, she's looking really good and is buying clothes again. I think a lot of women feel bigger than they are, I guess that's to do with the media presenting an ideal body image that's far from the norm. It doesn't appear to strike men so hard that way.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Run for cover

Life is a big, scary thing. We make decisions based on what we know to be true at the time. But it can turn out that decisions you make, are made because you want to get out of no-mans land into a foxhole for cover. Sometimes you realise that you are stuck for years in a foxhole that you thought would provide temporary cover and you need to get out. Climbing out of the hole and running through fire to get the next foxhole can be paralysing but you do need to act. Moving from one foxhole to foxhole is no way to live. You need to get off the battleground.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bone of contention

I finished off the Blason de Bourgogne 2006 Chardonnay, which is a lovely dry white wine, tonight while watching the two remaining episodes of the first series I had to watch of the sitcom The IT Crowd. A series I've starting liking, the second series is on TV at the moment but I haven't managed to catch any of them - looks like another DVD catch-up job will be in order.

I also watched this show about two trainee hairdressers vying for a job with a top London hair salon. Reality TV strikes again, with a twist, the twist being that one candidate is 17 and the other is in their 60s. The younger having worked in a local salon for 3 years whilst the latter has been in the business over 40 years. The human side of story really focused on the man in his 60s, we learned he wanted to support his wife and that he had a good way with customers, that he enjoyed taking the reigns on a photo shoot, producing some stunning visuals interpreting the theme creatively but he was very set in his old, bad ways. The girl was sour faced, gave the impression of being stroppy and talked in a monotone voice constantly, showing no enthusiasm whatever. She bombed on the photo shoot assignment but did well in the final show as the finale of their 4 weeks in the salon. How humiliating for the guy to fail a hair washing test 5 times - not just any old hair washing because it had to be in the correct salon style. It was more a problem for him because he was tall and he had to bend to get the right angle for his hands. Whereas it was nothing for a nimble 17 year old.

Talk of washing hair reminds me that a few years ago I went into a small local barbershop I'd never been into before for a haircut. All seemed friendly enough but the shop felt a bit behind the times - a curtain across the shop window at shoulder height hid the clients from view. On the wall were lots of black and white soccer photographs. The radio was tuned to a sports talk station and it being a Saturday, there was a lot to talk about and the barbers (two of them, both male in their 40s/50s, passing comment occasionally). It was quite busy, I had to wait my turn on my foldable chair against the wall facing clients infront of the small mirrors. I had chosen to have a Wet Cut that meant having my hair washed beforehand, every time I'd had my hair washed in a salon before I was asked to lean back and the business was done with my face clear from water as my hair was washed behind. But in this barbershop, it was a different kettle of fish. I had to lean forward, water ran off my nose and I found it hard to get get my breath. I'm sure I must have struggled to get free but my head was held firmly in place - it was probably one of the most uncomfortable few minutes of my life (apart from a few times in the dentist office). Needless to say I never went back there, I didn't feel like I ever wanted to drown in a barbershop again.

Back to reality TV, no surprises that the girl beat the man to be offered the job. I think the reasoning was that the salon owners felt that they could bring out the personality in the girl and she was easier to mould into what they wanted. It must have been a terrible let down for the man though, the programme showed none of the aftermath of the judges decision which I felt was unusual - don't reality TV shows usually indulge in analysing every aspect of success and failure? It simply said in text in the end credits that the girl was still working at the salon and the man was still looking for a full time position. I felt he deserved something better out of the experience - I'm sure he learned a lot but if that doesn't translate into something material what's the point? Ah, reality TV doesn't have to have a point though, does it? I've answered my own question! Time for bed...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Thirty nine

Birthday's are strange aren't they? Thanks for my birthday shout outs people, nice to be thought of on such a day. It's near the end of my thirties and yet I don't feel anything much about that, perhaps it will be different as the year progresses. I already spent my birthday money on the Xbox360, but it was nice to get some new clothes to wear - and because I've lost weight actually fit into 32" waist jeans.

I've been thinking a lot recently about life and what matters. I'm going to start some guitar lessons in the next week or so, it's at a local art centre I used to go to pretty regularly many years ago. I think going out and interacting with people outside of work and home is essential - it's something I haven't been doing enough of since my daughter was born several years ago.

I'm listening to a lot of classical music lately. Mainly as I drive, I listen to Classic FM. I've also watched a documentary series I took out the library on The Great War. I wanted to understand more about how that war started, a lot of people only know it through the Blackadder Goes Forth TV comedy. Hope you enjoy the following clip, you'll see a younger version of Hugh Laurie from House fame (among many other things) in it.