Year: <span>2006</span>

Blimey, where HAS this year gone? More specifically, what the hell happened to December? And more specifically still, why am I so busy over the next couple of weeks considering I finish work tomorrow!

A brief pause then whilst I consider what I need to get done… and what I should’ve done already.

First up the obvious stuff, Xmas wise, cards have been posted, presents are all bought and wrapped, cupboards are reasonably stocked with alcohol (to take to places and drink), biscuits and ‘stuff’ to have when people come to visit, and the Sky+ is programmed with.. well not much. It’s usually all dross at this time of year and I’d happily spend most of the coming weeks with the TV OFF. Or at the very least, watching nothing but old movies. And yes, It’s a Wonderful Life still makes me cry..

Once we get the festivities of the season out of the way I’ve got an old site to finish off, a new site to start, and this place is due for a spruce up as well. I’ve still got some questions to answer but they’re written up and ready to post and will be done by the end of the year, I promise. And, of course, there will be books and gadgets and stuff to play with as well.

Ohh and I’m trying to keep the running going too, with rumours of an early evening run on Christmas Eve and quite probably a few extra ones jammed into my days off. I doubt I’ll get much chance during the first couple of weeks in January though, but we’ll see how it goes.

Did you know that George (Asda clothing department) is selling suits for £50? I’m sorely tempted as my current suit, which wasn’t a cheap one, is now kinda hanging off me. A stop gap suit to get me through the next couple of months is all I need, and as it’ll not get more than a couple of outings I’m loathed to spend too much. I’d better get my finger out though, I need it for tomorrow night… more on that tomorrow.

I’m still considering posting my “Best of 2006” lists but, frankly, I’m not sure I can be bothered. We’ll see, it might end up being a “highlights of 2006” list instead… or it might not happen at all.

Right, stuff to do, people to see, etc etc.

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podz tagged me with this, trickier than it sounds:

  1. I don’t like it when plans change.
  2. I have snogged a man.
  3. I once lost a pair of boxers on a night out.
  4. I spend far too much time imagining how certain situations MIGHT pan out.
  5. I have an alter ego.

Right, who’s next? Lemme see.. how about.. ohh you know what? Feel free to grab this one, I just don’t have the energy to try and pick people who might do it, as opposed to those who won’t. Too many of the latter, too few of the former!

Remember people, blogging is supposed to be fun. Irreverent, silly, fun! Meme on!

Blogging

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In a desperate effort to gain some weird form of validation, I stole an idea for a blog post and begged my readers to ask me a question. And they did. The buggers. Now I have to answer them.

My mum sneaks in with a family favourite question of “To beard or not to beard”. Now, before I even start this one I’ll just make sure that everyone knows that I, Gordon McLean, blogger ordinaire, sport, a rather too ginger-esque, goatee. My Dad has, for as long as I can remember (bar a few disturbing moments during my childhood) sported a full beard. Once black, his is now ‘turning distinguished’ (going grey to you and I). So, why beard?

Why beard?
The obvious answer is because I can’t be arsed shaving. However it’s not THAT obvious because I have a… well I call it a goatee but I’ve heard it referred to as many different things, from “soul patch” through to “ginger bum fluff”. Basically the middle part of my chin.. ohh for goodness sake, there are plenty of photos of me kicking around, I don’t need to describe it.

Based on that, I can’t really claim that it’s because I can’t be bothered shaving, as I still have to shave every day or so… or three…

So why did I grow it in the first place? To be honest it was just for a change… I was between jobs, for a couple of weeks and took advantage of not HAVING to shave and, one night, I had a shower, thought I’d better have a shave and for some reason thought I’d see what I looked like with a goatee. The exact reason is lost in the murky depths of my memory but I THINK it was probably influenced by… well.. someone on TV or something (ok ok, it’s was probably, but not definitely, when Chandler appeared in Friends with a goatee).

Of course that’s not the only reason I grew it, and I think I still have my goatee for the reason my Dad has his beard. The McLean gene includes a fairly small chin, and so the beard helps balance the face by making the chin appear longer than it really is.. honest.

I guess the real question is why do I still have it?

That’s a tad trickier to explain, largely because I don’t fully understand the reasons myself. But, in no particular order, here are some factors:

  • Part of me thinks it is slightly ‘unconventional’, making me stand out from the norm, possibly a little bit ‘rock’. I know it’s not but something in my head keeps coming back to that.
  • It saves on the cost of razors.
  • It reminds me of my Dad, especially as I now share his beard stroking habit – fellow bearders will know what I mean – of flattening the hairs whilst pondering something. It’s nice to have an absentminded habit, especially the same one as my Dad.
  • I honestly do think I look better with it. Honestly.

Of course there are downsides:

  • Sometimes you don’t realise you’ve, say, dribbled milk into it whilst having your morning cereal.
  • It’s ginger ferchrissakes. Such is the downside of being a natural blonde.
  • It’s going grey.

OK, I guess it’s obvious by now that I can’t really explain WHY I “beard”. Just as I can’t explain why I still “beard” after.. what.. 8 or 9 years. Right now I can’t imagine NOT having it, so it ain’t going anywhere… unless.

You see, I took the opportunity whilst between jobs to grow it. It was during the switch back to Scotland that the moustache was lost, so maybe the new job in January will see me bare chinned again?

Nah.

*sniff*

First of all I’d like to say what an honour it has been to be a part of this, what an incredible privilege that has been bestowed on me, one which I will treasure and keep with me at all times. I certainly never expected to receive anything like this and I’m both surprised and thrilled that is has been awarded.

Of course I need to thank some people. My parents, without whom I wouldn’t be standing here today, my family for keeping me grounded and never letting me forget my roots, and last but never ever least my darling wife. She completes me and without her this award would be meaningless.

Thank you again to everyone else involved, we are ALL wonderful people and richly deserve this honour. I feel decidedly under-equipped to receive this award on behalf of you, but I shoulder the burden as best I can.

We ARE the people. YOU are the winners.

Thank you Time magazine, thank you.

Blogging News

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Well I’ve just about got all my sponsor money in, a few stragglers to catch up with (if you are one, don’t worry, still plenty of time!), but it looks like between us, we’ll hit almost £400!

Originally I said we were raising funds for the Parkinson’s Appeal, which furthers research into finding a cure for this horrible, debilitating disease. Well, that close friend of my parents (my ‘Uncle’ Dave) left a comment which contained some great news!

I have suggested that you make the donation to the Parkinson’s Support Group which meets at the Southern General…. And great news! We are very hopeful that the Halifax Bank of Scotland will match your donation. ~ Dave & Issy

Ohh I should mention that ‘Aunt’ Issy used to work for said bank, I don’t think the offer is open to anyone.

So there, what better incentive do you need to cough up some spare change for a worthy cause! (do you feel guilty yet? DO YOU???).

Hmmm, I think there is a future blog post in this…

Life

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In a desperate effort to gain some weird form of validation, I stole an idea for a blog post and begged my readers to ask me a question. And they did. The buggers. Now I have to answer them.

Adrian asks “Why I’m glad I’m not single”. I’ll presume he’s wanting ME to explain why I’M glad I’m not single, not point out all his flaws and weird mannerisms that make girls run screaming the second he enters a room.. I’m guessing..

Why I’m glad I’m not single
OK, buckets at the ready. This is gonna be kinda love-dovey. Look, I’ve even coloured it all romantic like. Awwwww.

OK, maybe that’s enough of the pink…

So to answer the question I think I need to start with some kind of definition of what it’s like to be head over heels, still gazing adoringly, ‘she lights up the room when she enters’ in love. And the trouble with trying to do that, is that it’s simply impossible to put into words.

Let’s try an action instead.

Take your index finger and your thumb (they should be attached to your hand already, hence the phrase ‘handy’), pinch them together. Tighter. TIGHTER. And relax. Bonus points if you actually did it…

That gap is how much Louise and I love each other. Hmmm, that doesn’t make much sense… let me try to explain.

The premise behind this action is that, instead of competing with the “spread your arms wide and hold out your hands ‘I love you this much!!!’ ” gesture — you know, like you would if you’d just caught a fish, “it was THIS big” — we quickly escalated things beyond what we could reach with our arms and, pretty soon, we realised our love for each other stretches all the way around the world and back to the start. For a reason which now escapes me, we pinch our fingers together to show this…

We really must get out more.

Anyway, falling in love is great, being with the one person you can’t imagine NOT being with is wonderful, and I certainly don’t think I’d choose to go back to being single. I enjoy having someone to come home to, someone to snuggle with whilst watching crap movies on a Saturday afternoon, or just someone who knows when to listen and when to open the alcohol.

Of course you don’t have to be in love to live with someone, but I’d imagine the early days of any kind of co-habiting relationship are similar.

At first, everything is new and you are both a little on edge, being careful what you do and say, checking and double-checking that it’s OK to leave the mugs to dry on the draining board, rather than hanging them up on that nifty mug rack you got as a moving in present (does anyone still use one of those?).

Soon you learn each other habits, and over time you adapt or adjust your views accordingly. You know that when he gets up he always, ALWAYS farts, and that she always, ALWAYS leaves her jacket and bag in a different place when she comes home at night. The list is endless and unique.

How this develops depends largely on the relationship the two people build (or don’t build). If you remain “just flatmates”, the cautious note remains, always tempering your desire to just bloody well LEAVE the glass on the table without a coaster. If you are “friends that are flatmates” things are generally more relaxed, you are more comfortable with each other and you don’t object too much when she asks you to clean the toilet as she’s got friends coming round. OK, bad example. You know what I mean.

But when partners live together it’s different. Completely. As you share a unique bond, a closeness that, from your viewpoint, few others can match, you start to develop a love/hate relationship with each others habits and foibles (ahh what a great word, foibles.. say it with New Jersey accent, foyybulllsss.. wonderful).

For example, she may always almost choke when brushing her teeth. It’s loud and annoying yet at the same time it’s weirdly endearing that she hasn’t yet figured out how to brush her teeth without jamming the brush halfway down her throat. Weird but it belongs to the partnership (until one of them blurts it out on the internet, but who the hell would do that?).

Or perhaps he never EVER puts his dirty washing in the basket. It’s hugely annoying, but also has a familiarity that is welcoming and… what was that dear? Ohhh right. Apparently there is no upside to this one. Right you are.

This list goes on and on and ariston. But I’m beginning to ramble (imagine that dear reader) and, most importantly, I’ve not really offered you much of an answer.

To summarise, and attempt to draw this nonsense to an end (yeah yeah, I know, why couldn’t I have done that 8 paragraphs ago!), quite simply I’m glad I’m not single because I almost lost her once, and since then every day with her is another day of happiness.

See, I TOLD you to get the buckets ready…

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It’s been raining a little today. All day. Since I got up at 7.15 until now, some 13 hours later. There are puddles in the garden that are defying the laws of nature and we have a new drip in the house. Joy.

I’m pretty sure it has come about during the installation of the new front door, as it seems the seal between the side wall of the house and the porch (which was added onto the house before we bought it) has been damaged. It’s not a flood but that’s not the point. They also damaged the lintel (sp?) under the rear window when fitting the back door so tomorrow I’ll be phoning Mr. Ali and asking him to stop by the house sometime.

Well I’M not paying to have it fixed.

Was working at home today, the last time I’ll be doing that for a while, and every time the wind lashed the rain at the window I thought ahead 6pm when I’d be out in it. It wasn’t THAT bad a run, and my iPod survived the puddle that formed in my hi-vis vest pocket, but damn it was W. E. T.

I had planned to visit my Gran tonight but the roads are in chaos with floods, breakdowns and accidents all over the place. So that leaves me with a free night.

Unfortunately I’ve been demoted upstairs onto the computer as Louise has friends over for dinner, including one who is with bump (who is also called Louise, the lady, not the bump.. unless the bump turns out to be a girl and they call her after her mother). She has that lovely ‘with bump’ glow and is positively radiant. Sure she thinks she’s fat, keeps having to pee, it suffering from bad cramps and.. really… the last thing she needs is for guys to keep telling her how “radiant” she’s looking!!!!

I’m paraphrasing. She didn’t say that. She just kinda rolled her eyes a little and changed the topic of conversation.

But I bet that’s what she was THINKING.

Life

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Or is I front?

Looks like a small blip on the server this morning, so if you were rendered aghast at the rather unsightly WordPress error page you received this morning (must do something about that), fear not. I is still here.

Prostitutes are in the news, and for all the wrong reasons. In saying that I’m not sure there are any good reasons that said ‘ladies of the night’ should be in the news but I’ll pause on that thought, lest I pay any disrespect to those who have lost loved ones. Life takes everyone down different paths, and no-one deserves a violent death.

Speaking of which, the “news” not the prostitutes, Peter is headed back into the limelight (he’ll deny it but he LOVES it) with his Serenata flowers thing. Apparently the Guardian are interested. The power of blogs in action, so to everyone who linked to Peter, pat yourself on the back, or have a Kit-Kat or something.

Louise and I watched a report this morning that stated that women still do the bulk of the shopping and housework. Apparently this is what counts as news these days, slotting in beside the facts that Cadbury stand to lose an extra &10million from the salmonella scare early this year (or was it late last?) and that today it’ll be raining a lot. The report basically pointed out that men are too stupid to buy groceries – “I try and buy healthy food” said voxpop lady, “he’d just buy pizza, cakes and chocolate”. Voxpop man responded with “if she wants to do all the DIY around the house then yeah, I’d cook more often”.

Now, I’ll happily admit that the research holds true in our house, with Louise doing the bulk of washing and cleaning, most of the shopping, and the majority of cooking. Louise doesn’t have a problem with this though, and it bemuses her why some women are so up in arms about those ‘lazy’ men. In my defense I do more tidying up – but that’s just my nature, Louise takes more of a “dump it for now” approach – DIY and dealing with bills, paperwork and so on. That plus the fact that, according to my darling wife, I don’t do the housework PROPERLY, well we’re a match made in heaven. Or maybe it’s just horses for courses. Hey, it works for us.

What else? Ohh yes. I started looking at some old code last night, for a website that never quite saw the light of day. It’s an odd thing, going back to something you’ve not looked at for months, trying to figure out why you did X instead of Y, or what on earth you were thinking about when you chose Z. Fun though, and one of the problems I had with the site may now be solved. Hoping to get it finished (finally!) within the next week or so and move onto the next project (two in pipeline, but one has just snuck to the head of the queue).

Ohhh yes, I’ve still got some questions to be answered. They’ll be appearing soon, I haven’t forgotten.

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