bookmark_borderReal life will resume shortly

Before I say anything else, a quick but very heartfelt thank you to everyone who has offered advice, support and general nice thoughtyness (either in comments or via email or Twitter) concerning my recent health news. I’m not going to go on about it, but thank you.

Elsewhere in my life, the kitchen has been fitted! The tiler arrives today (phoned last night to see if he could come early) which means I’ll be free to do the flooring at the weekend. After that, a little bit of wallpapering (I’m sub-contracting my parents for that bit, they are pretty cheap but I have to do all the high bits…), a new light, new blinds and I THINK we are done.

Just the rest of the house to return to order and to await the delivery and fitting of three replacements doors as two were slightly damaged, one was completely the wrong colour. The kitchen fitter mentioned the damaged doors to me over the phone, but as they were gone by the time we returned home I have to admit that we can’t see even a tiny scratch. Oh well.

The past day or two have been a funny mixture. Looking back it seems like I’ve dazed and floated my way through them, but with specific instances of chaos peppering my (rose-tinted) view. Between the kitchen, the doctor, “release week” at work, and the usual demands of modern society (bills and whatnot.. meh), my mind has been shotgunning all over the place. It’ll be nice to find a few quite hours on Saturday night to sit still and zone out.

In saying all that, I’ve still to draft the letter of complaint concerning the bodged survey (which lead to 4 and a bit weeks without a kitchen!) so I’m still not entirely sure how much the kitchen will cost us. I’ve been trying to calculate, in monetary terms, how much to demand they lop off the bill and whilst it’s easy for things like laundry costs, days holiday taken without need, and so on… how do you put a price on “stress” or however it’s classed (hmmm, perhaps mention of my high blood pressure too…).

If we round down to the nearest thousand, we’d be demanding a reduction of around 4.6%. We’ll see, I’d rather have a few hundred quid in my pocket than theirs!

Speaking of money I really must order some Forints…

bookmark_borderReady or not

I have made the lists.

I have checked the lists.

The lists do not lie.

I think I finally have a grip on … dammit … just remembered something else.

OK, let’s start over.

The coming few weeks will be hectic. The arrival and fitting of a new kitchen requires preparation, the erecting of a new fence in the back garden requires a little preparation too, and there is the small matter of an (overdue) website, on top of some new stuff at work which is REALLY exciting and which I’m trying not to let intrude into my ‘downtime’ (I’m failing on that count but I don’t really mind).

So I have a list of things that need to be purchased. A list of things that need to be done, ordered by when they need done by (paint the kitchen ceiling before it’s fitted, for example), and split into things that need done on the computer, and things that don’t. Fairly simple.

This is always the way of things, I no longer get (too) stressed out knowing that, in the end, things will come together and with everything safely stored NOT IN MY HEAD, then I can tackle the tasks as and when needed.

Although I’ve just thought of something else I need to do…

Right, I THINK I’m prepared now. Maybe.

Lemme just check that list one more time…

bookmark_borderToo cool for school

Where does that quote come from? Anyone, anyone? (bueller, bueller).

I don’t want to go on about this in too much length but, and I think this may be true for others, the reason there is so much noise about the current crop of social web applications (yes yes, Twitter, Facebook yadda yadda yadda), is because a lot of people still aren’t 100% sure what to make of them. It’s easy enough to dream up uses but it’s whether you can streamline them into your ‘online workflow’ that seems to be the make or break point.

And despite my best efforts I haven’t managed to do that, my tweets are random at best, and I only visit Facebook when someone interacts with me (pokes, bites, points or ‘friends’).

That said, it is possible that the backlash has started. Sure, it may all be a coincidence but I’ve noticed a few disparaging posts about said “social web”, and have also spotted mention of people deleting their accounts. This is different from the usual backlash that kicks in when anything new is mentioned, instead this is from people who have been using and involved with these websites. This is different because they actually have an idea of what they are talking about.

I’m sensitive to these things as they may, or may not, aid me in my continuing battle to gain an ounce of street cred.

All of this ties, somewhat, neatly into a conversation I had this morning. We were discussing the pop culture of TV and I happily admitted that programmes like Star Trek, Buffy and so on, all failed to impress me. What I didn’t admit was that part of me was secretly pleased that I was in the minority. After all “nothing is any good if other people like it(yeah, it’s elitist, so what?).

So is now the time to say “I hate Twitter”?

Or, in a nice twist of irony, does the fact that other people are already saying it mean I now need to take a completely new and separate stance. Ultimately, am I too cool to hate Twitter? This is getting confusing.

And yes, I admit that the very idea of me being cool (or whatever word the kids are using these days) is somewhat laughable but it’s nice to THINK I could be at least ATTEMPT to be cool.

I can still remember the first instance, the start of this battle if you will. It was back in primary school, and, as was the trend in Primary 7 that year, a bunch of us were attending a record night (essentially, a party to which everyone took their records and singles, the clue is in the name). Someone had taken along a copy of the latest Stevie Wonder track “I just called to say I love you” and it was playing when someone asked me why I wasn’t dancing.

“Because I don’t like it, it’s rubbish”

The room didn’t fall silent but it did raise a few eyebrows as I’d just expressed my disdain for the current No.1 single. This was back when that actually meant something, so to speak out against a song that held the coveted No.1 slot was fairly radical. OK, I may be dressing this up a little…

However it was the first time I had the guts to go against the crowd, and it felt good.

It was only years later, as I slowly added some of the older Stevie Wonder albums to my CD collection that I realised that I hadn’t really been that outspoken. It was, and still is, one of the worst tracks he has ever released as a single.

bookmark_borderQuestions Answered #12

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?


bookmark_borderLike, DUH

I visited a small branch of a well known high street shoe repairer this lunchtime — starts with a T, ends in “impson” — and have to admit that they employ people of such high calibre that the mind boggles.

As I approached the door I could see a small handwritten sign stuck on the inside. It stated “Gone to Post Office, back in a few minutes”. Looking past the sign I could clearly see the man behind the counter, and the two customers waiting to be served.

I walked in.

After serving the two guys in front of me, and whilst I waited for my “only take a minute I guess” job to be done, another two customers, like me, ignored the sign and formed a queue.

The guy behind the counter looked up, sighed quietly and took off his jacket.

“Guess you won’t be getting to the Post Office then…” I said lightly, in attempt at mild humour.

“Well it is our busiest time” he replied.

Lost for words, I nodded. It was either that or blurt out the sarcastic thought in my head.. “YA THINK?!!”.


bookmark_borderIn other news…

Anyone buy the Evening Times tonight? Glasgow edition that is, well if you turn to page 31 you may, or may not, recognise the person top right. Or you could just check this photo.

Yes, my lovely wife has joined me in print, and she gets a full interview too. It’s a “worklife” feature so is mainly about her job, and yes, I’m allowed to upload the photo as she “likes that one”. It’s a couple of years old mind you, and her hair isn’t THAT big anymore, nor that short come to think of it.

Ohh and whilst I’m here, does anyone want to buy a 6 in 1 card reader, or a blue light USB keyboard (which I THINK has an American layout)? It’s either here or eBay. Make me an offer!

Right, I’ve got an office to tidy up. Anyone got any bin bags?