Month: April 2005

Stuffed

Note to self: DO NOT go shopping on a payday Friday, particularly after a five week month. Standing in a queue for 25 minutes isn’t fun and doesn’t help your blood pressure.

Our local Asda is 24 hour, except for the booze of course and as the prime reason for going shopping was to pick up beer for tomorrow’s barbeque we had no choice but brave the hordes. I think the last time I saw Asda that busy was at Christmas. Mental, pure mental.

I wonder what they made of our conversation though, a deep and highly intellectual discussion we had, pondering on the physiology and psychology of both “chicks with dicks” and “dudes with boobs”. Fascinating stuff I’m sure you’ll agree. We neatly segued into packing strategies, before finally departing with a car full of shopping.

The same car will be full on Sunday as well. We’ve just finished going through our wares for the day, some 100 odd videos, and various bits and bobs and we’re all set. Of course I’m discounting the fact that the car boot sale starts at 9am on Sunday morning, a time I rarely see on a quiet weekend let alone the day after a notorious barbeque.

So, it’ll be quiet here for most of the weekend, although be sure to come back on Sunday evening for tales from our entrepreneural debut. Our first million may be some way off but every journey begins with a hungover morning spent in a damp and windy car park somewhere in Hamilton. If you don’t believe me, just ask Confucius.

Shoes

Fashion or necessity function?

Materials

We have a lot of stuff in our house. A lot of stuff we don’t need, don’t use and if we are honest, we never needed in the first place.

When we lived down south my salary took a large hike, and despite losing my job at Dr. Solomon’s I managed to receive a nice large cheque thanks to a last minute, Christmas Eve, phone call to inform me that our shares had just flipped over to a sellable price (before they were withdrawn from the market to be converted to McAfee, or something, I forget). We were young, enjoying life and now had a large cash fund. So we put it away safely in a bank account and invested it wisely, well that’s what we SHOULD have done.

Instead we burned our way through it, buying all sorts of stuff. Looking back it was probably more symptomatic of the fact that I was losing touch a little, but regardless we had a whale of a time. And yes, we’re still paying for it now, 6 years later, but that’s not what I want to talk about.

Towards the end of our time in Aylesbury and the subsequent move back to Scotland we stacked up a few house moves to rented accomodation. To minimise the hassle, everytime we moved we went through the boxes and boxes of our stuff and ditched what we really didn’t use. Frequently, however, we would be able to find a reason to keep various bits and bobs, things which still clutter our house to this day. We did throw a lot of stuff out (via Oxfam or similar usually) but we also kept a lot of things for the wrong reasons.

So, in a first step towards a complete de-clutter, we are attending a car boot sale on Sunday. We’ve already looked out a lot of odds and sods, and tomorrow night we will be going through our video library. I shudder to think how much money we spent on them, even if most were bought as part of 3 for £ 10 offer. We have an entire bookcase stacked, double depth, with videos. I reckon we’ll take 100 or so with us on Sunday and see how it goes.

Of course, if I’m honest, that list of stuff does include things we’ve received as presents, things that have been gathering dust atop bookshelves, or that have a permanent residence in the loft. None of it holds any sentimental value, and all of was appreciated at the time but tastes and fashions change, leaving these items stuck outside of our “sphere of desirability”. To that end I’ll put out a short plea: Can all family and friends please STAY AWAY from Hamilton on Sunday. You know, just in case… (we have left a window of several years from the date we received a gift so rest assured it’s nothing recent… that doesn’t help though, does it…)

Ohh and the main reason for attending the car boot sale is more to do with a new venture I’ve hinted at here, but more on that later (next week probably).

Happy, content

To borrow a phrase from a recent post of Tom’s (a very interesting post it is as well) I guess that the tagline for this site should really ALWAYS be “it’s like thinking in public”.

I’ve been blogging for years, had a “homepage” before that and could bore you silly whilst trying to score silly points because I’ve been “on the web” longer than you. The early posts to my site were usually longer pieces, similar to the kind of thing I post these days, along came Blogger and this de-generated into a two line diary of a very boring man. To the 24 people who used to visit me each week, thanks for doing so (although I’m pretty sure most of them will have disappeared to greener pastures).

Since then I’ve improved, as do most things with practise, but I don’t really see myself as a “popular” blogger. Whether you use stats, incoming links or general awareness, I think it’s fair to say I’m a pretty well kept secret. I quite enjoy that, but part of me would like a little more attention, fame if you will, a hint of the shadow of limelight to fall on this site now and then. And it has, now and then.

But this is a hobby and it should be painfully obvious that I’m making this up as I go along. I don’t have a plan, I rarely know what I’m going to post about the next time I sit down at the computer, let alone in a day or a week from now. I’m shoddy at keeping archives, I don’t email people when they comment here and, on the whole, it still surprises me that I can garner 39 comments on a simple post about leaving home.
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Focus

I’ve been making a conscious effort, over the past month or two, to improve the quality of what I post here both to challenge myself and in keeping with that whole “personal improvement” thing I’m always told I should strive for (I say “you can’t improve on perfection”, they say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder ya ugly muppet”). Of course I’m not trying to improve my body here, just my mind.

My body is becoming increasingly resigned to it’s fat(e).

One thing I won’t be doing is focussing on a particular topic, mainly because I’m painfully aware of my shortcomings, and I actually prefer to be a “jack of all trades” blogger. My personal interests don’t really lend themselves to a focussed blog anyway so I’d just end up fighting against my natural curiosity.

Now I seem to have attracted several new visitors recently, most of which have come back (they’ll see through me soon I’m sure) and it’s been interesting and refreshing to hear new points of view. So refreshing that, when I heard that the 9rules network was opening for new members I zipped across and signed up.

What does this mean to you, dear reader? Not a thing really. The increasing focus on longer pieces will remain (although I reserve the right to post silly/short/gross stuff from time to time – apologies to those who were effected by my scab story), and you’ll notice a few tweaks to the design here and there, possibly including the addition of adverts.

I still can’t fully make up my mind on that one, it does seem like “selling out” slightly as I always maintain that this site is a hobby, but then a large number of sites that I visit have adverts on them and they don’t bother me. Currently, I’m leaning towards including them and monitoring the stats. Yes, I think that’s the way to go, an experiment, if you will.

If I get the time (unlikely) I MAY make the initial tweaks for the May 1st CSS Reboot.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re bored of me whittering on about this site, so I’ll stop.

Odecohol

Back to work today, even the weather has come out in sympathy. I know it’s only Wednesday and I’m trying NOT to focus on the weekend already, honest, but sometimes you get a sign and wonder why you bother fighting it.

On Saturday we’re at our first BBQ of the year. This is becoming somewhat of a ritual (same hosts) and usually ends up at silly o’clock in the morning when the margarita mix is finished. So, with that in mind, I give you the contents of a recent email. You may have seen this already.

~

Dear Alcohol,

First and foremost, let me tell you that I’m a huge fan of yours. As my friend, you always seem to be there when needed. The perfect post-work cocktail, a beer at the game, and you’re even around in the holidays, hidden inside chocolates as you warm us when we’re stuck in the midst of endless family gatherings. However, lately I’ve been wondering about your intentions. While I want to believe that you have my best interests at heart, I feel that your influence has led to some unwise consequences:

1. Phone calls
While I agree with you that communication is important, I question the suggestion that any conversation of substance or necessity takes place after 2 a.m. Why would you make me call those ex-boyfriends/girlfriends when I know for a fact they do not want to hear from me during the day, let alone all hours of the night?

2. Eating
Now, you know I love a good meal, but why do you suggest that I eat a kebab, a butter chicken curry along with a sausage with cheese, onion and mustard (washed down with WINE and topped off with a Kit Kat after a few sweet chilli and sour cream red rock chips)? I’m an eclectic eater, but I think you went too far this time.

3. Clumsiness
Unless you’re subtly trying to tell me that I need to do more yoga to improve my balance, I see NO need to hammer the issue home by causing me to fall down. It’s completely unnecessary, and the black and blue marks that appear on my body mysteriously the next day are beyond me. Similarly, it should never take me more than 45 seconds to get the front door key into the lock.

4. Next day
The hangovers have GOT to stop. This is getting ridiculous. I know a little penance for our previous evening’s debauchery may be in order, but the 3pm hangover immobility is completely unacceptable. My entire day is shot. I ask that, if the proper precautions are taken (water, vitamin B, bread products, aspirin) prior to going to sleep/passing out face down onthe kitchen floor with a bag of popcorn, the hangover should be minimal and in no way interfere with my daily activities.

Alcohol, I have enjoyed our friendship for some years now and would like to ensure that we remain on good terms. You’ve been the invoker of great stories, the provocation for much laughter, and the needed companion when I just don’t know what to do with the extra money in my pockets.

In order to continue this friendship, I ask that you carefully review my grievances above and address them immediately. I will look for an answer no later than Thursday 5pm (pre-happy hour) on your possible solutions and hopefully we can continue this fruitful partnership.

Thank you,

Your biggest fan

~

Remember kids, alcohol poisoning isn’t clever and should be left to those who’ve a lifetime of practis.. trying.

More later once I clear out my inbox. Now, where’s that delete key?

Refocus

Oh dear, I can see that “Getting Things Done” is going to be the focus of my attention for a while. Already I’m thinking of little bits and bobs I can do, least of all better processing of my email.

The 43 Folders site is going to an excellent resource for me as I work through this book, but here’s a quick tech tip (well, more a sales pitch?) for anyone using Windows. Get Outlook 2003. You can easily flag emails (one click) and assigned different colours. Outlook then displays a “to be actioned” folder automatically, containing any that are flagged, perfect for those, to be done at some point emails.

Mind you, the only downside to reading this book is that it’s.. er.. stopping me getting things done as I’m racing through it. Quid pro quo, I guess.

TodoToday

Being on holiday has it’s advantages. I can get up at 8.30 am, watch the penultimate episode of Huff, then ponder what to do with the rest of my day. Outside it’s murky grey and a sheen of drizzle is coating everything.

So I’ll be writing up a list of “recorded” DVDs (did I mention that I’ve now got a DVD recorder? It’s great, can record movies on Sky+ then dump them to DVD), cracking on with the HaloScan Wiki as there is a bit of a stooshy going on in the forums there (partly because I lost my rage a bit at continued sarcastic comments… yeah I know.. me getting annoyed at SOMEONE ELSE being sarcastic, who’da thunk it?), and I guess I’d better push on with the design for that other site for that new venture that I’m deliberately being cagey about to make it seem mysterious when really it isn’t.

Or I might read a book.

Or .. ?? Hmmm dunno.

In other personal news – this IS a fascinating post, isn’t it – having split open the wound on my back after I got my mole removed, the wound scabbed over. It’s been there for weeks, until this morning. It’s gone. The scab that is, not the wound. The scab was about the size of my thumbnail and quite thick, but I can’t find hide nor hair of it…

But then I did dream that I was eating sultanas last night…

Weekender

Saturday I had a lie-in. Lounged around all day, watched football, X-Men 2 and pretty much did nothing. The most challenging aspect of Saturday was deciding when to go to the toilet. It was a much needed lazy lazy day after the last couple of weeks at work. That and I’d had a tickle at the back of my throat for a couple of days and figured I was fighting a small bug.

Sunday and with the blue skies calling us we headed out into the garden. I dug over a small area at the front of the house, ready to replant some Montbretia. However that was about it for me, I pottered around a little, then we stopped for lunch after which I fell asleep on the sofa for two hours. My darling wife left me sleeping and cut the grass!

My parents came over for dinner and I decided to take a couple of days off work.

Today I’ve been out in the garden, a little weeding, splitting and moving the Montbretia and more pottering about. Very pleasant.

I stopped at about 4pm and wandered to the bookcase as I’m currently without book. What do I spy there? Getting Things Done, the very book I mentioned on Friday. So I’ve started that AND The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, as I’ll need a literary distraction as well as a productivity “bible”.

Not entirely sure what I’ll do tomorrow, depends on the weather although the forecast isn’t good. I’ve a few things to tackle but I’ll make a decision tomorrow, once I see what kind of mood I’m in.