Year: 2008

Hogmanay

The year is drawing to a close, the house is tidied, the bins are empty, just my grotty self to clean and polish.

As is now tradition we’ll head down to spend New Year with friends. We’ll drink, drink, eat, play games, drink, laugh, drink, and finally give up and call it a night/morning.

If we are back in our street in time we might even pop in and first foot the neighbours, as that is what hogmanay is all about, finding the next party to celebrate the coming of a new year.

All the very best to all of you, thanks for visiting throughout 2008, and here’s to a fantastic 2009.

Raise your glasses, one and all. Sláinte Mhath!

Bye bye 2008

Almost the end of the year.

I should post about all the things that have happened.

But I won’t. Can’t. Will not, regardless.

I could recap the books I’ve read.

But I won’t.

Maybe list the new bands and albums I discovered?

Nope, won’t do that either.

Or perhaps just relive the best of the posts from this very blog?

I definitely won’t do that, too narcissistic.

Instead I’ll continue as I always do, dreaming, planning and pondering. Random thoughts of random things, all loosely intertwined. I have dreams for what 2009 may hold, but then I had dreams for 2008.

Still, now is not the time for melancholy and blue. Too easy to slip into that realm, the future looming large into view with the New Year on the horizon, a dark and scary mass, tentacles and fire reaching out to terrorise my thoughts.

Instead I will focus and change to a light. A single bright beacon to which I’m drawn. One path instead of five, although even as I type I know that that will not hold true. I will hop and skip here and there, snagged on branches, tripped by potholes, for such is the path of my life. And yours. I know that all too well.

But then isn’t that all part of the fun? Bumping into everyone else as we navigate ourselves, pinballing and careering towards… something.

Perhaps it will be enough that I move forward.

And so, with that in mind, I won’t be looking back. No lists, no best ofs, no recaps and remembrance here. Instead forward, hurtling towards the what ifs, the maybes, the laughter and pain, the suffering and joy.

Raise your glasses, one and all. Here’s to life, and everything it will throw at us. I know we will get there.

I just wish I knew where there is.

Resolve

I wonder if I’ll manage to make 2009 a year of change? Takes a lot of willpower to change, but at some point I guess I need to bite the bullet and all that.

In my head I’ve already resolved to take more photographs, having got a wide angle lens for my camera I really should make the time to go out and take some decent photographs. I’ll need a new camera bag mind you, as I’ve now got two extra lenses, not to mention a set of macro filters.

I should also spend less time on the computer and use that extra time doing… well anything else really. I received some good books for Christmas so I can hopefully kick start my dormant reading worm, as well as taking a little time to do some exercise more than.. ehh… never a week.

So, yes. As I sit here and type I’m filled with hope and optimism for the coming year. A year of change I think. I hope. Perhaps.

It’s always easier to MAKE the resolutions than to keep them. So perhaps I’ll just be happy if I can develop any form of resolve for anything at all. That might just be enough.

Punchy

Boxing Day. Named because of… er… the empty boxes of … stuff.. or something.

I dunno.

I’ve eaten too much, drank… enough, and now that we are back home I’m nicely chilled out and ready for a curry and a movie. I’ve even put my new slippers on.

Christmas Day was a good one, good presents, good food and great company. Can’t ask for much more really (well, you can but that’d be greedy). We ended up with the usual Trivial Pursuit (with the ‘boys’ reigning supreme!) before firing up the Wii and playing silly games until the wee hours.

This morning I had my traditional breakfast, finishing off the trifle, and having left my parents late morning, we dropped in to see my Gran, who was very happy with her present; Violet, her new (sponsored) Orangutan. She (my Gran, not Violet the Orangutan) also had a good day, once again having a wee Drambuie to herself (from the bottle, through a straw…).

In fact one of the the only downsides came when, on the way home, the car decide it was broken so, after consulting the manual, it was a slow careful drive home and I’ll take it down to the garage tomorrow. Such is life.

Until then the curry is ordered, there is a cold beer gathering condensation as I type and it’s either Wall-E, Cars, The Shawshank Redemption, or the GodFather Trilogy.

Hope your Christmas Day was as good, and I’m sure you were all good girls and boys and got lots of fabby presents. Right?

Merry Christmas

Afrikaans: Geseënde Kersfees
Afrikander: Een Plesierige Kerfees
African/ Eritrean/ Tigrinja: Rehus-Beal-Ledeats
Albanian:Gezur Krislinjden
Arabic: Milad Majid
Argentine: Feliz Navidad
Armenian: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri: Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Bahasa Malaysia: Selamat Hari Natal
Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bengali: Shuvo Naba Barsha
Bohemian: Vesele Vanoce
Bosnian: (BOSANSKI) Cestit Bozic i Sretna Nova godina
Brazilian: Feliz Natal
Breton: Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
Bulgarian: Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Catalan: Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!
Chile: Feliz Navidad
Chinese: (Cantonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun
Chinese: (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan (Catonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun
Choctaw: Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
Columbia: Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo
Cornish: Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Corsian: Pace e salute
Crazanian: Rot Yikji Dol La Roo
Cree: Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Croatian: Sretan Bozic
Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish: Glædelig Jul
Duri: Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak
Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast
English: Merry Christmas
Eskimo: (inupik) Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!
Esperanto: Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian: Rõõmsaid Jõulupühi
Ethiopian: (Amharic) Melkin Yelidet Beaal
Faeroese: Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!
Farsi: Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Finnish: Hyvaa joulua
Flemish: Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
French: Joyeux Noel
Frisian: Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
Galician: Bo Nada
Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!
German: Fröhliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
Haiti: (Creole) Jwaye Nowel or to Jesus Edo Bri’cho o Rish D’Shato Brichto
Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew: Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Hindi: Shub Naya Baras (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaian: Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
Hungarian: Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Icelandic: Gledileg Jol
Indonesian: Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Irish: Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
Iroquois: Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.
Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Jiberish: Mithag Crithagsigathmithags
Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Lao: souksan van Christmas
Latin: Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!
Latvian: Prieci’gus Ziemsve’tkus un Laimi’gu Jauno Gadu!
Lausitzian:Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto
Lettish: Priecigus Ziemassvetkus
Lithuanian: Linksmu Kaledu
Low Saxon: Heughliche Winachten un ‘n moi Nijaar
Macedonian: Sreken Bozhik
Maltese: IL-Milied It-tajjeb
Manx: Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Maori: Meri Kirihimete
Marathi: Shub Naya Varsh (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Navajo: Merry Keshmish
Norwegian: God Jul, or Gledelig Jul
Occitan: Pulit nadal e bona annado
Papiamento: Bon Pasco
Papua New Guinea: Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu
Pennsylvania German: En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Peru: Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
Philipines: Maligayan Pasko!
Polish: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie
Portuguese:Feliz Natal
Pushto: Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha
Rapa-Nui (Easter Island): Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Rhetian: Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn
Romanche: (sursilvan dialect): Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!
Rumanian: Sarbatori vesele or Craciun fericit
Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Sardinian: Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou
Serbian: Hristos se rodi
Slovakian: Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce
Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Scots Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil huibh
Serbian: Hristos se rodi.
Singhalese: Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Slovak: Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene: Vesele Bozicne Praznike Srecno Novo Leto or Vesel Bozic in srecno Novo leto
Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Swedish: God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År
Tagalog: Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
Tamil: (Tamizh) Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Trukeese: (Micronesian) Neekiriisimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!
Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai or souksan wan Christmas
Turkish: Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian: Srozhdestvom Kristovym or Z RIZDVOM HRYSTOVYM
Urdu: Naya Saal Mubarak Ho (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Vietnamese: Chuc Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh: Nadolig Llawen
Yoruba: E ku odun, e ku iye’dun!

There's only one more sleep…

It’s Christmas Eve. It’s 8.10am. I’m drinking strawberry milk, eating cherry cake and watching The Muppets Take Manhattan.

The only thing that the previous items have in common is, somewhat obviously, me, so why am I mentioning them?

Well, I can’t really control the fact that it’s Christmas Eve but as it’s the festive period I was catching up with my best friends last night. We had a good night of beer, cocktails, curry and the usual laughter and pisstaking. I was a little tipsy but then I did have 3 pints of Staropramen, 1 Peartini, 3 Brandy Alexanders, 1 large glass of a rather nice Malbec, 1 pint Loo Toofan, a bottle of Budvar, and a vodka and fresh orange.

You know, when you write it down… sheesh.

Ohhh no Kermit just got knocked down!!

Actually, I’m not that sure where this blog post is going. In fact, I think I’m going to go back to bed.

So, whilst I remember, and in case I don’t see you, have a Merry Christmas everyone. This blog is nothing without you, dearest reader. Thanks for returning, reading and commenting.

Good company

As Christmas approaches I slowly start to get into the spirit of things, literally and figuratively, with the start of the usual round of nights out, last minute shopping, and the frantic wrapping of that present that I bought back in August but completely forgot about and only discovered when I tried to hide a second present in the same place.

Although I did consider just keeping it for myself.

Last Friday was the team lunch, held as tradition dictates, in the Fox & Hounds in Houston. Thankfully we are a quiet bunch so the other diners wouldn’t have been disturbed that much, well they wouldn’t have been if they hadn’t put those big long tiger balloon things on the tables. You know the ones, you blow them up and the fire them off round the room, hearing their whine sputter and die as they run out of air and fall limp into the only bowl of soup at the table.

It was a good afternoon, a few drinks, some stories and laughter. I work with a good bunch of people (aside from him.. ohh and him… and I won’t even mention her.. ) and before I knew it I was in a pub in Glasgow and I was being asked to finish my drink and make my way outside.

So I stoated outside, pished as a fart, had a couple of fights, pissed in an alleyway and puked in the taxi on the way home. Fuckin’ brilliant night!!

Or perhaps I simply said goodbye, phoned a taxi and wandered to George Square to get picked up, had a nice chat with the taxi driver, tipped him well, wished him a Merry Christmas and went to bed.

And by the time I awoke someone had gone into Glasgow to pick up my kilt for the official company night out on Saturday night, which, to all extents and purposes, was much the same. Good company, good food, great band (same as last year), some dancing, some drinks and another nice friendly taxi driver.

Admittedly, given that both nights ended with me getting to be at 4am and 5am respectively, I was a little tired on Sunday so spent most of the day doing NOT MUCH AT ALL. Which included a nice wee sleep just before dinner (missing the last 30 mins of the Arsenal vs Liverpool game).

Not a bad weekend that, and tomorrow I get to go out with the best company of all. My best friends.

And then, all of a sudden, it’ll be Christmas Eve.

Fat, fat, fattie

I’m overweight. I know I’m overweight, I know what I need to do to lose weight but I remain, stubbornly and without willpower, overweight. I don’t like the fact any more than you probably like thinking about it but those are the facts as they stand at the moment, laydees and gennelmenn.

I am fat.

Looking around me I see that there are other fat people too. I know I’m not alone, just as I know that whilst I may be fat, I’m actually quite happy. Sure it annoys me that the person I see in the mirror doesn’t match my mental self-image (ONE day someone with a swimmer’s body will stare back… yeah right..) but I’ve long since made my peace with how I look.

I can’t speak for others on this issue, but I know that being overweight isn’t just a matter of being too lazy to exercise and too weak to have enough self control (they are factors, don’t get me wrong). Some people genuinely do have physiological and psychological factors that affect their weight.

I don’t. I’m just fat. Like most of the other fatties out there.

So, given that there is a reasonable percentage of fat people out there (and only now, dear reader, am I finally warming to the reason behind this post) why is it so hard to buy clothes.

I just typed “so hard to big clothes…”, not quite freudian but close, no?

I’ve mentioned before that I’m picky. The phrase I tend to use is that “I know what I like” or more accurately I’d flip that around and echo what someone, who was probably famous for his wit and candour, once said “No, not that, that’s fuckin’ hideous”.

I don’t actually mind that in some shops I’m an XL, in others an XXL for, unless I’m buying a cheap shirt (for work) from Primark or Asda, I always try the clothes on in the shop first.

And so it was on Thursday night I found myself coveting a rather nice shirt in River Island. I’d already been in most of the usual high-street haunts to be confronted only with dark shirts with garish stripes (which are increasingly common and thus, increasingly against my thinking (yes I’m a snob, bite me)), or high-contrast checked ‘slim fit’ style shirts, with buttons and flaps and… ohh fuck that I’m not 17. I get the style, the fashion, don’t get me wrong. It’s just not me.

Of course River Island didn’t have the shirt in XL. I tried on the L to no avail (it buttoned but would require the abstaining from any form of seated activity whatsoever) and was a bit miffed.

Across the road (technically across the concourse I guess as we were in Silverburn shopping centre – a place with an excellent parking system which I’ll tell you about another time) to Suits You and once again I locate another shirt which I would deem worthy of a place in my wardrobe and further to hang on my manly, but fat, frame.

Guess what. The XL didn’t fit and they didn’t have any XXL in stock. Of course they didn’t.

So, having tried 7 different shops, ranging from £15 to £50 and beyond, I found two shirts which I would have bought had but they had the right size.

This is why I don’t like shopping for clothes. Two and a bit hours (not counting stopping off at a second River Island on the way home, same result) of being constantly reminded that I’m fat. It’s really not very nice.

And what I still don’t get is why there is NEVER enough stock of these sizes. If I was an L, M, S, or even (in one store) an XS, I am spoilt for choice (fashion decisions aside). But not so the XL and above.

I’m waffling now so I’ll close with another quote that was once, possibly, uttered by someone famous (possibly the Queen) after yet another day of disappointment on the polo field.

“Meh”.

A Message for Obama (pt. 2)

In early November I took a photo of myself holding a short message for the ‘soon to be President’ Barack Obama. It was as part of a Flickr group which I thought was a nice idea and which seemed to capture the mood at the time. I mentioned it here and, to be honest, thought nothing of it until I received an email from Meg who was heading up the project to compile some of the photos into a book (modesty prevents me from suggesting the chose the best photos), who asked if I’d mind if they (The Guardian) included my photo in their book.

Of course not!

I received my copy of said book yesterday and, whilst I realise it is close to Xmas, it would make an excellent stocking filler/coffee table book and you get double karma points as all the Guardian’s profits from the sale of the book will go to the Katine development project.

And don’t worry, it’s not JUST my ugly mug that adorns the pages.

Once upon a story

I’m boring myself with this blog now. Not the act of writing posts for it but the act of writing posts ABOUT it. So I’ll stop. Thanks for the thoughts and comments though. You really DID help. Yes. You.

I’ve been trawling through some draft post ideas, scribbles and ill conceived stories and figured that, as a means to an end, I’d be as well posting them here. No, I’m not sure what end this would be the means of but let’s not dwell on that.

I have quite a few rambling beginnings of stories, borne from my love of words and cadence, which will never amount to anything more than a few paragraphs. The following is one such example. Your thoughts, comments, hysterical laughter and mirth, are all welcomed.

The average man
He wanders through the streets, past the gentle glow of the houses, under dark and slanting drizzle. He has no purpose, no destination, and can barely remember where he started but this is all he knows, this is his life, his motion. He hunches forwards as another car drives past, plucking the droplets clustering on the edge of his hood and shining them like jewels.

His motion is fluid and organic as he ambles over the pavements, lightly stepping on cobbles and kerbs. He has been here before, he knows, been round this place more than once. He knows it well, too well perhaps, but like an old friend he enjoys the comfort it brings, the familiarity that makes it all too easy to slip into this place one more time.

A break in the clouds above and spears of light arrow down and smash into puddles. He pauses, splashed by scattered light, bathing in the warm glow of the rain, capturing every detail that he can. Processing them quickly in a vain hope of capture, knowing that few will remain with him but one or two will penetrate deeply enough to stick. Moments of beauty to add to the collection, fractured and precious he holds them dear. The very phrase echoes of her.

Almost as soon as they part the clouds start again to weave together, a blanket of gloom restored, drenching all beneath it.

Off he goes once more, without direction. Something that is neither required nor sought, instead he trusts he will find his own way. He has been lost before and found his way back.

The streets are quieter now and he fills his head with sound, pulling memories of pain and pleasure (never pleasure and pain) to keep him on track. Other times his head remains empty with nothing but the dull echo of his thoughts to keep him company.