Saturday, March 31, 2007

Now, the end is near;

This week's poetry challenge,
Finishes today.

The sun has come out,
To bid farewell to haiku;
Have you enjoyed it?

It's been fun for me,
But it's been difficult too;
Syllable madness.

Limericks next week?
Are you trying to kill me?
I just want to write.

I don't want constraint;
Bound by literary laws,
Expression hampered.

And so, fare thee well,
My Japanese nemesis;
Week to remember.

Five, seven, and five;
Syllables are all counted,
Weighed, and found wanting.

A sorry attempt;
Yorkshire oik, with no finesse,
Kills haiku stone dead!

Friday, March 30, 2007

I can't help it now;

I even dream in Haiku,
Only two days left.

I will give you this,
A day free from my poems.
Pictures speak louder.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The rainy day blues;

Following days full of spring,
Rain dampens the mood.

Grey, foggy, and wet,
Leaves me feeling slightly flat;
The birds seem happy.

Nine whole days have passed,
Since my final cigarette;
My resolve still holds.

I wish I could stop,
Eating, and eating non-stop;
Non-smoking bloater!!

I promise myself;
Tomorrow for paperwork,
And some housework too.

The next sunny day,
I will fix my mountain bike;
Get back into shape.

I will be glad when,
This week of haiku concludes;
It's wearing thin now!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Five things you don't know,

That I have never revealed;
But done in Haiku.

Naughty Yorkshire Pud,
Has forced reciprocation;
How can I refuse?

Jethro Tull concert,
Milton Keynes Bowl eighty-six,
I slept through it all.

First time I ever,
Saw someone take heroin;
Hawkwind - Leeds Uni.

For eight years of life,
I was an awkward vegan;
Life's easier now.

I once loved a girl,
Who worked in the same office;
I never told her.

Sometimes I am scared,
To try something different;
Afraid of Failure.

And so there it is,
Five completely random things;
Never seen before.

In true "tag" fashion,
I am bound to call upon,
Others to follow.

Spice-The-Cat is one,
Polgara is my Second,
Rol can be my third.

Sophia sorry,
You are the fourth poor beggar,
I am requesting.

One more soul to go,
I say sorry in advance;
Kristiine, would you please?

To explain the rules,
In Haiku is difficult;
Please see Yorks Pudding.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The world holds its breath,

For the results of Tom's test;
Maths teacher has failed.

Tests remain unmarked,
I give the teacher grade F;
See me after class!

A foggy morning,
Similar to yesterday;
Brighter afternoon.

Bloody shopping trip,
With mother and my auntie;
Leaves my feet burning.

Tom agreed to go,
To the extra science class;
I am very pleased.

A grand finale,
Fuji Hiro's noodle bar,
Gyoza and soba.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Which bit don't you get?

Simple Japanese poems,
Rather than essays.

It's Monday morning.
Bright, but foggy and chilly;
Sunshine to follow.

Blog readers puzzled?
About the Fox's concept?
To haiku my week?

Five and a half days,
Since I smoked a cigarette;
A long way to go.

So far, I have NOT,
Smoked two hundred and twenty,
Which saved sixty quid.

Tom refuses help,
Will not attend extra class;
To help with science.

Paperwork O.D;
Must tackle bills and accounts,
Before bailiffs come.

Nicotine lozenge,
And a quick tidy around;
Before Dawn arrives.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hai-Pew!!!

This week's story told,
through japanese poetry;
seven days unfold.

Eating lots of food,
walking with my camera,
spring finally sprung.

Grumpy arctic fox;
bad habit is hard to beat,
watch out food: hunger.

Flatulence extreme,
lozenges must be to blame;
visitors beware.

Good luck to young Tom;
tomorrow is results day,
fail, and I may fart!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Toast.

See me? I frikking love the toast. White bread, brown bread, poppy seed, bloomer, oven bottom, muffins, crumpets, bagels, cheap loaf, fruit loaf, hot cross buns.... I don't care. Toast 'em, butter em, and scoff 'em down.

I rarely add toppings to my toast. I am fond of a bagel with sliced apple and peanut butter. In fact I love the peanut butter too. Marmite, it's delicious. Cheese on toast. Scrambled eggs and cheese in pitta pockets. Mostly, it's just buttered though.

Recently, I had the urge to find a nice jam or something. Something sweet, that wasn't your standard raspberry or strawberry fare. I stood, in the supermarket, amongst the jams, the curds, the honeys, and the spreads.... for what felt like an age. Looking at the jars, hoping, praying that something would wave its sugary paw at me, and say "Eat me!".

Eventually I made my selection. Plum jam... straight, cheap, no nonsense, supermarket own-brand, plum jam. Then, just as I was chasing the shopping trolley, which all blokes know, when driven by a woman, will have dematerialised during the process of product selection, and is usually to be found in Ikea or somewhere else.

At the end of the aisle, tucked away, almost out of sight, something grabbed my eye. Ginger preserve. I haven't had any for a long time. It's like dark matter, gelatinous, with chopped crystalised stem ginger in it, and it's gorgeous. I grabbed the jar and headed off, looking for the nearest Ikea.

Back at home, shopping stowed away. Perhaps a little ginger preserve on some toasted wholemeal muffins? I lift the jar from the shelf. Round about this time, perhaps through nicotine withdrawal, as the jar reached countertop level, it positively flipped out of my fingers, in an upwards and spinning fashion.

Matrix like bullet time...... spinning jar, hot grill, sideboard completely covered with washing up, vinyl floor covering, socks, all become a bit blurred. Perhaps my reactions are slowed through not smoking, but normally when I drop something, I have this stupid reaction to stick out my foot, and cushion the blow of whatever it is, as it falls to the floor. I hope I never drop a running chainsaw, as I am all too familiar with the damage that large knives can do. I have saved many a favourite mug in this fashion though.

So, of course, in this instance.... nothing. I just casually observe spinning jar, in slow motion, fall to the floor, with a sickening flop. I imagine a similar ending to someone jumping off a roof. The jar didn't bounce, nor fly into a million pieces everywhere. It just kind of splatted, and the unctuous gingery glop held all the shards together.

I looked down at the lump for a few seconds, and thoughts of salvaging it sprung to my mind. Foolish overreaction, I know. Slivers of glass in ginger jelly on toast has never been a speciality of mine, and it wasn't something I was about to start now.

I picked up the homogeneous lump of carnage. Slipped it quietly into a carrier bag, and disposed of it sensibly in the bin.

It's a bloody good job I like butter on my toast!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Depressing reading.....

I have, for a while now, been trying to expand my blogging horizons.

I have, for a while now, been trying to find a way to start a board game club in Huddersfield.

Sadly, on both counts, I have drawn a big, fat blank.

British blogging is something that I particularly wanted to find out more about. Seems the average British blog is one that hasn't been updated for three years, or indeed it's updated daily, but with mindless regurgitation of news items and political analysis. If I want to read news, then I will go to reuters or Aunty Beeb's websites, and if I am really desperate, I might give the Examiner the once over.

Seems that British people with a spark of creativity, are doing other things than blogging.

I am sick of reading about what's bad in life. I am sick of writing about what's bad in life. I don't need an news index, because the stories I might be interested in are usually indexed on their respective sites already.

Where are all the good things?

How many people can honestly, hand on heart, hold their heads up high, and say that they have written a glowing report about somebody or something recently?

Have you been to a good restaurant? Have you had exceptionally good customer service experiences? Read a good book? Watched a good film? Have you even enjoyed a new bubble bath or toothpaste?

It's something I am constantly berating my folks for. I stand there, and manage to stomach about ten minutes of regurgitated Daily Mailesque articles, before I have to ask: "Is there anything you are happy about?".

It would appear that we only ever tell each other about things that piss us off.

Now, me, I like feeding the birds, I like walking in the countryside. The enjoyment of having taken a reasonable photograph is enough to sustain me for some time. I like writing, even reading. I am constantly wondering whether I could be fitting in an episode of "Black Books", or whether there is still a DVD in my collection that has been bought, but remains unviewed and unloved.

Temujin (the mongolian barbeque) in Milnsbridge, was a reasonable dining experience, and I enjoyed introducing Dawn to this type of cuisine. Laughing Gravy in Hebden Bridge, was one of the most unexpected and splendid meals I have eaten in the past year.

Seeing Tom being excited about getting back his maths test results (which he won't get back until next week because the teacher had some homework to mark......!?) has been rather enjoyable. I think both Tom and I have been amused by the difference in his attitude to actually wanting test results back.

Lapwings circling over my head. Their erratic flight paths. Hares springing up and running ahead of me. Squirrels rattling the branches. Isolated snow pockets, that run through depressions and ditches in the fields. Sunshine, spring.

Bill Bailey, George Formby, recording Skins for Kirsty. Trumpton, Camberwick Green, and recording them for Freddie. Pogo, Sniper Elite, Age of Empires. Magazines, books, comics. Moss, lichen, millstone grit, and heather. Stiles, footpaths, drystone walling, and bridleways. Sun, snow, wind and rain. Eyes, ears, nose and mouth.

We've got so bloody much going for us.

This is my blog. There are many like it but this one is mine. My blog is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my blog is useless. Without my blog I am useless. I must write my blog true. I must write straighter than my enemy, who is trying to permalink me. I must thrill him before he thrills me. I will. Before God I swear this creed: my blog and myself are defenders of my country, we are the masters of my enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.

Cheer up!!



Post update update: 3 days have now elapsed since I quit smoking. That amounts to 120 cigs that I haven't smoked, and approximately thirty two quid I haven't spent!! Woohoo!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lord, give me a sign.....






Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tempting fate.

I know I shouldn't mention this.... I know I should keep my mouth shut.....

It is officially twenty hours, since I smoked a cigarette.

This might not sound like a brilliant achievement, and I am certainly NOT looking for reassurance, or support, or encouragement. I haven't even made a conscious decision to stop smoking. I bought some nicotine lozenges, with the aim of cutting down.

It seems quite apt, that on today of all days, the budget day, when cigarettes have just gone up by a further eleven pence per pack (of twenty), that I should be kicking it into touch.

As a positive measure, this is my story.

Recently I have been smoking two packs a day. That's forty cigarettes every twenty four hours. The old price of my habit, was approximately ten pounds and twenty pence per day. The new inflated price would be ten pounds and forty two pence per day. In the last forty eight hours, I've smoked just nine cigarettes, and eaten about three tons of food!!!

I'm gonna be able to breathe again, but too fat to get out of the house.

Bugger.

Hurray, it's the first day of spring.

To celebrate this gloriously sunny day, I've been out walking. Admittedly, I took a rucksack of food with me, but I have been out walking.

I also managed to take a few pictures.... nothing amazing, but they're on Flickr of course!!

There were quite a few things I wanted to write about today.... my mind's all over the place.....

Normal service will (hopefully) be resumed as soon as possible.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Desert Island Discs.

Well, I have finally managed to get around to it.

For a couple of days, every spare moment I have, has been given over to the deepest soul searching for this piece. I desperately wanted to avoid simply picking records that I like, and tried to pick ones that I would actually need to live, and that mean something extra.

And so, I give to you, my desert island discs.

The concept, if you have been under a rock for the last sixty five years, is quite simple. You have to imagine you are a castaway on a desert island, of course!! You are permitted eight pieces of music. You may also take one book (you are automatically assigned a copy of the Bible, and the Complete Works of William Shakespeare). You are also allowed one luxury item.

Thus:

The first piece I have selected, is a piece of techno. The tune’s called “Plastic Dreams” and it’s by "JayDee". It’s a great rumbling tune, and it so reminds me of better times, and better places. Those heady, carefree days of reckless abandon, at the Ark in Leeds, at the Orbit in Morley. Listening to this and dancing round my desert island would give me the memories I would need to survive.

The second piece I have chosen is a classical romp. I’m a little surprised at myself for picking this, but it’s a tune I love and it dances like sunbeams whenever I hear it. Rossini’s Overture to La Gazza Ladra (The thieving magpie) - Maestoso marziale. Oh the snare drums!!

My third piece is more dance music, and I’ve chosen this track simply because it represents so many other tracks that I could have chosen. It’s a track called "Swords" and it comes from the mighty "Leftfield". I couldn’t live without something as positively sublime as this track. It never fails to raise my serotonin levels.

My fourth track would undoubtedly have to be "The Beloved", with their witty little ditty "Hello". A host of name checks, and clever rhymes, with some great early synth sounds…. How could I possibly leave this at home?

And on to my fifth. I hark right back to my good old metal days. Surely I have room for a metal track? But which one…. Oh Christ, there are so many. It’s gotta be Black Sabbath surely? A soft one? A hard one? Oh, I am in a pickle now!! Ok, stick a pin in the map, and it comes out – "Black Sabbath", and the fuzziest, thrashingest tune from the Never Say Die album…. I bring to you….. "Shock Wave". I couldn’t live on an island, knowing that I would never hear those tortured guitars, and Ozzy’s fantastic vocals again.

Lord, that was a hard choice. I guess it’s getting a little bit more difficult now.

Sixth choice – Well, this one’s easy, how could I go there without the "Beastie Boys" to back me up? I’m gonna take their lovely bubbling track "Alive"…. But in true Fox style, I’m gonna kill two birds with one egg, and take the Moby remix!! Perfect beach music.

Seventh tune. This record was given to me by a friend of my mum’s. He knew I was getting into "Jimi Hendrix" when I was younger, and made a generous donation. He presented me with an original seven inch pressing of “All along the Watchtower” from the very year that I was born. He also introduced me to Humble Pie and Montrose, but I just don’t think I have room for them.

And finally (drum roll please) The piece that would hold my emotional state together more than anything. Inspiration to ambient artists, and dance music alike, "Terry Riley" gives me "A Rainbow In Curved Air". Minimalist, vivid, colourful, and beautiful. Buried treasure for my island.

Well, that was quite emotionally draining. I am happy with all the tracks that I am taking with me, but it breaks my heart to leave so many behind. No room for Saxon, Iron Maiden, The Clash, The Dead Kennedys, and too many other things to mention.

The book – It hasn’t taken me more than a minute to decide on this. It’s a book I once started to read, but found it too time consuming to finish. I would love the opportunity to not only finish, but reread – Bill Bryson’s "A Short History of Nearly Everything".

My luxury…. I guess a blowup doll would be unacceptable as a luxury, mainly because it could be used as a flotation device, and hence would be viewed as something which could aid my escape. I do know they allowed someone to take unlimited champagne though, but I don’t really want alcohol. The geek in me is saying “Swiss Army knife, you idiot” and I don’t think I should disagree.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Snow joke!!

Well, in line with Rol Hirst's Sunset over Slawit, I am discussing the weather. Like Rol Hirst's daffodils, my crocuses (crocii? croci?) and daffs have been royally rogered by Snegurochka.

We had (yesterday) a day of alternate bouts of sunshine, and hailstones.

By nine o' clock last night, we had about four or five inches of snow.

The traffic wasn't moving, the roads were covered, people were having to push their cars around my "local" village of Outlane.

Today, the trickling of meltwater, and the soft flopping of snow falling from the perches it found last night, accompanied by blindingly bright sunshine.

I could not resist the temptation to take a few photos.

Despite a trapped nerve in my shoulder, which is rendering me in "dead arm" mode, I managed a few shots, but didn't walk quite as far as I should have, or would have wanted to.

Check out my "Snow Day" Flickr set.

You can of course see all my sets here!!

Tom's got a maths test today, and I have been coaching him, and trying to teach him how to revise. I don't think he has done revision before, and we've done bite size pieces, and worked forwards and backwards through the required knowledge set.

I hope Tom does well.... Mainly, his teachers need to know that he is trying to knuckle down, so they take him seriously when he asks questions. Currently, they don't believe he is interested and dismiss his attempts to query the items he hasn't understood - This is purely a symptom of the fact that he arses about too much in lessons.

Another reason Tom needs to do well, is so that he stops believing he is "dumb". He isn't dumb, but he doesn't apply himself, and is too quick to "turn off" when he has to think too hard.

Another reason I am rooting for a good result, is that it will teach Tom the value of revision. What you can achieve, and that it doesn't have to be too difficult or intense. That revision pays off, and can't simply be done the night before a test.

As for my Desert Island Discs..... I still haven't worked them out, and of course, this will have to wait for another day.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mutha's day!

Happy mothering Sunday to all you muthas.

Happy post Saint Patrick's day hangover to all the children.

Managed a few pints of the black stuff last night. Enough to earn me this year's Guinness hat and a clutch of badges.

Two noticeable changes to previous years' hats, are: This one proudly states that Guinness is brewed in Dublin, where before, the stout was in fact brewed all over the place. I guess this is a step forward in terms of consistency at least. The second thing, is that this year's hats carry the year marked on them. This surely means you can sneer down your nose at those poor scrotters who wheel out last year's hat in a vain attempt to make you think they've drunk a lot of Guinness already.

The badges also carry the year on them...

Four pints for a hat and a few badges... not a bad haul.

Then, on to Vox, for copious amounts of "Pirates of the Caribbean" pinball, and some long island iced tea. Slurp.

Home again, home again, jiggety jig, poached eggs on toast, and a mug of coffee, and a healthy slice of the fantastic Harry Hill's TV Burp.

I love Harry Hill. He is a very funny chap. His enthusiasm for mundane televisual experiences is charismatically infectious. I could cut out all the television in the week, and watch a lot more of Mr. Hill's dissection.

This morning rudely arrived, complete with heat induced dehydration, and cigarette induced hangover. Not a great start to the day, but then again, when was a day after Guinness a good one?

Surveyed the carnage that used to be my house.

Wrapped a few gifts for my mum, and took them round. The folks had their hands full with my two nephews. They both look tired and need a bloody break!!

Came home and did some washing up whilst listening to Jo Brand's Desert Island discs. It got me to wondering... what would my discs be? You get eight discs, the Bible, and the complete works of Shakespeare, one book you can choose yourself, and a luxury item.... I am still amazed that nobody has picked a speedboat as their luxury item!!

I think my choice will have to be another blog, another day.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

So what?

So what is my blog worth?

Well according to "Pingoat", as of today, my blog is merely worth $28.06.

However, according to Technorati, it's worth a whopping $5080.86.

Now, I don't really believe these values, and wouldn't expect anyone else to either. They're simply a bit of fun. I presume there's some spanky algorithm back there, that ranks you based on outgoing and incoming links and your update frequency. Not really rocket science, and probably a little too black-and-white to be of any real accuracy.

So what's my blog really worth?

I'll tell you....

As a vehicle, a tool for expressing myself, for getting all the thought-mush out of my head and onto a digital notepad, it's bloody priceless.

As a commercial venture, for the purpose of raising advertising revenue, completely worthless.

For its potential to turn into a best-selling book (or "blook" if you're swept away with such nonsensical mumbo-jumbo), such as Girl With a One Track Mind, or Shaggy Blog Stories, my potential is less than nought.

As a domain name, that might tread on some multi-millionaire's toes, forcing them to buy it off me, the chances are slim. Someone already beat me to arctic-fox.blogspot.com, and they haven't updated it in two years!!

As a resource for people to come and go as they feel fit, and to plunder my head for anything useless...... maybe, a penny for my thoughts?

Letting my family know I am still alive, and although I am now a cave dwelling hermit with a beard down to my knees, that has taken the oath of silence, am still kicking, maybe another few pence. They could always text me if they wanted to know whether anyone was inheriting my DVD collection yet?

So, in summary, my blogs worth two thirds of sweet Fanny Adams.

The only person who gains anything from it at all, is me.

Let's face it, who the hell would want to buy a blog, and what the bloody hell would they do with it when they got it?


My blog is worth $5,080.86.
How much is your blog worth?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hold the front page....

... Stop the press.... hold your horses.... wait just a cotton picking minute.....

It's official.... I am now an artist.

Remember some time back, I mentioned that the Musee De L'Elysee were doing an exhibition called "All Photographers Now"?

Well, I submitted some photos, and they've been shown in the art gallery.

I am over-the-moon!!

I do of course realise, that they probably show just about everything that gets submitted, but I never actually thought it would happen.

"Oh, yes, my work has been exhibited in the Musee De L'Elysee" is such a good one liner.




You can (of course) view the original pictures (shameless plug) in my Flickr sets.

Well done to everyone who tried to make sense of yesterday's literary conundrum - I had a very good chuckle at them. I will give everyone a few more days to go through yesterday, in case anyone else wishes to have a go, and decide on an eventual winner.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Crazy...

.... like a fox.

The world continues to astound me.

Oftentimes, I am reminded that I am simply an insignificant, taciturn cog, in some bloody screwball machinery. Today is no exception.

I've made reference in the past, to wondering whether my parents picked up the wrong baby when they left the hospital.... Sometimes, this feeling of being a misplaced entity, extends beyond family. Sometimes, I wonder whether I am actually of this world.

You only have to switch on the news, or read a paper, to get a taste of the madness.

Let's take this morning's news as a brief example...

Sandwiched together, and in no particular order, were the following "news" items.

Vicar, stabbed to death, died in his wife's arms.

Young girl hatched two ducklings from duck eggs!!

Olympics 2012 budget has quadrupled since the initial projection to 9.3 billion pounds (for the American friends, that's about 18 billion dollars).

After ten years research and development, a New York pizza chef has proudly unveiled a thousand dollar pizza. (for the English friends, that's about 516 pounds).

A 12 year old boy was arrested, after 17 pupils were shot with a ball-bearing gun, in a school playground.

Apart from anything else, I feel strangely disconnected from all of these worlds.

The presentation of these items does make me smile though. I always like to see a few fluffy animals mixed in with the death, murders, and political pontifications.

Perhaps Walt Disney was right about one thing, at least?

A spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down. I always find a handful of antacids, and a good dose of daytime TV help keep it down too!!!

At least we can rest assured now, that, as of the 15th March 2007, the following words are locked safely into the Oxford English Dictionary:

technopreneur,n.
scooby,n.
fuck-off,n.
pig-pile,v.
shit-eater,n.
Tae-Bo,n.
tighty-whities,n.

I don't even think I need to comment! In fact I think, without too much effort, I could make a fairly good sentence out of that little lot. In fact, there's a prize for any comment that can fit them all in!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Shopping.

Since I began my life of unemployability....

I have to first explain, that what began as a period of chosen unemployment, has now led to me being so feral, that I am positively unemployable.

.... I have noticed one thing.

Daytime TV is predominantly made up of programmes about buying things.

Everyone on daytime TV is buying and selling things. It's like vicariously shopping by proxy for the people with no money.

Depressing really, especially considering the cast of third rate entities that seem to flock to the casting couches for each of these trading travesties.

I'm fading into obscurity..... Obsessive about web stats, about photographing Scrabble letters, about drinking coffee, about watching movies, and generally being unproductive.

Incredibly, I have even pondered the concept of making some sort of animation. Perhaps it could be the New Adventures of the Tenacious D?

Either that, or with the help of daytime television, I'll become an antiques dealer, or a property tycoon? More likely a drug dealer!!

Now, is it more Royal Doulton elephants? Or another movie? Oh, the choices I have to make!!

Thank the lord for Pogo badges, that come out this afternoon!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Missing - Presumed dead!

On a more serious note than usual, I must share my plea with the world.

On 12th March 2007, at approximately 2pm (GMT) - Huddersfield police received a report of a missing person.

The person in question, known only to his friends as family as "Tenacious D", has not been seen since March of last year.

He is described as being, white, with no hair, about 14 years old, and is 20mm tall.

Have you seen him? Do you know where he is hiding?

Any information can be passed anonymously to the police, via the Arctic Fox's blog.

Police issued the following photofit.



He was last seen wearing absolutely nothing, in the Arctic Fox's lounge, and had recently scored 2 points.

All information will be treated with the utmost contempt, and a reward may be offered for the safe return of this individual.

Police have warned the public, that if they see the "Tenacious D", they should not approach him, as he may be arme_ an_ _angerous!!

You may also wish to make use of my "Paypal Donation" button - over there on the right hand side of this page - as I now need to find at least three hundred pounds bail for the charge of wasting police time, breach of the peace, and assaulting a perfectly good blog entry.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Nosedive.

What can I say......

My health and mental wellbeing are under extreme duress.

The remnants of my teeth are all aching. Abscesses that once grew in my jawbone, and have been previously treated have flared and gone again. My lungs are like toast. My head feels like it's full of emmental. Patches of dry skin are erupting with consummate ferocity, faster than I can apply any ointment or cream, and often in places that I could only reach with the aid of a rag on a stick!!

I'm fit for the knackers yard!!

And so, what is the plan.... How do I shake off this funk?

1) I hereby declare, that this week, will be the official relaunching of my mountain biking season. I need to do a little bit of work on the bike, and then I am going to get back into doing at least ten miles a day again.

2) Vitamins - Berocca are my friend. Since finishing work, I have been decidedly lax in my vitamin intake. It used to be a regular thing when I arrived at work that I would take one of these foamy, soluble sidekicks. I have some cheaper, less frothy alternatives, and I am about to start a serious dosing up.

3) Paperwork - It's part of a staple mindfrik of mine. When there's too much paper to logically know where to begin, I panic, and hide it all under an Age of Empires box. It's a big box. Even with the paperwork hidden, it still weighs heavily on my mind, and there's no real reason to allow this to encumber me any more.

4) Food - I need to get myself some food. I have been living on a really bad diet lately. I am slipping into "dole mode", and this includes - Not going out of doors during daylight; Eating only the remnants of previously looted cupboard stock; Playing too many games; Watching too many films during the day. - I need fruit and vegetables.

5) Smoking - I really need to cut down on my smoking. Sure, we all know it's bad for us, and the taxes, undoubtedly, prop up some vital services in this country. I just smoke too damn much. Since finishing my job at the end of November, my daily cigarette intake has actually doubled to about forty a day.... Now, if that isn't going to produce some nasty side effects, then I don't know what will.

Unfortunately for me, my common complaint is that I tend to spend far too much time examining my funk, than I do trying to get the hell out of it. I need to invest my time and energy more productively.

Right..... enough..... I'm off to take some vitamins, and to make a start on that paperwork. The next time I blog, I expect to be in much better spirits.

Positive mental attitude!!

Just as I have published my entry, and am about to walk away from the computer to sort my life out.... Evil Fox rears his ugly head.

I light another cigarette, and begin procrastination level 10.

If you've never seen the British classic "Peep Show" then you should go and check it out here - Sophia... I am looking in your direction here!!

There are lots of things to watch on the above website, and the list is here, although a lot of the content is regularly removed.... You never know, you might actually find something you like.

The other thing, which I haven't mentioned, is something I picked up from Yorkshire Pudding's blog - It's called "Britblog" - It looks like it could do great things in the near future, so if you are remotely interested in British blogging, either at home or abroad, then go check it out. The more observant of you may have already noticed, that a) I now proudly display their banner, somewhere over there on the right hand side, and b) If you aren't interested in British blogging, then how the bloody hell did you manage to make it so far into my British blog??

As a final act of anal loitering (It sounds worse than it is) - I manage to italicise two whole words, finish my cig, and republish my blog.

Oh, yes.... You don't get rid of me so easily..... Just for those that might wish.... John Shuttleworth's Europigeon video!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Standardly.

Sunday..... A day of rest.... sort of!!

Went out for a Mongolian barbeque last night.... Pretty good, but I couldn't eat a full one.

Ate too much, and spent the remainder of the evening in Arctic Fox's patented "poorly dog" mode. For those that don't know about this, it's like when a dog has eaten too much and is to be found rolling around on the floor with its legs in the air, whimpering.

Woke up early(ish) this morning, with a mouth like a Mongolian monkey's armpit, and a Cambodian rice belly. Not a pretty sight!!

Chilled for a while, playing Age of Empires.

Dawn came round, with Stevie the wonderdog, and after a boiled egg and soldiers, we went for a brief constitutional. Didn't walk too far, but managed to take a few photos, which of course (excuse the plug) you can find on my lovely Flickr album. Today's set is called "Outlane Walk" and there's a quite nice panoramic shot, which includes the view over the top of my house and into Halifax.

This afternoon was spent "Mother's Day" shopping, for the impending Mothering Sunday next weekend. Probably the first time in my life, that I have managed to get this thing all done, with a week to spare.

Ok, enough of my "standardly" Sunday, already.

I simply wanted to pass on a little information, to anyone who might be interested. There's this thing, right? It's an art exhibition I guess, that runs at the Musee D'Elysee - It's called "All Photographers Now".......

Far be it from me to try to explain..... but I will summarise, and you can go there and find out more if you are so inclined.

Basically, you submit your photograph(s), and they may or may not decide to exhibit them, via projecting them onto the wall of this exhibition. If they do choose to do so, they email you back a picture of your picture on their walls. Simple. They will also pick a few photos, to print them out and add them to the museum's archives.

And so, if you have ever taken a picture, you ought to at least have a shot at it.... I'd love to hear from anyone that succeeds, and of course I'd love to have a copy of and pictures that get emailed back from the museum.

Go on, it's free, and you could make some art.

The thing I love about this concept, is that it's truly modern art.... made by the people, for the people..... there are no boundaries, no borders, just pure, unadulterated, collaborative global art. Should be right up every Flickr user, and every bloggers pipe!! Digital art at its very very finest.

Adieu the noo!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Humbled.

Seems there doesn't a week go by lately, where I don't have some cause to eat a large slice of that bitter bastard of a pie, known only by it's humble name.

I know it shouldn't taste so bitter, but generally, it's force fed to me, and usually rammed up both my nostrils at the same time!!

Blogging, for me, started out merely as an "organic" method of maintaining some sort of website, where I could gather: Thoughts, links, pictures, files, and anything else. That a blog could be easily maintained without wading through pages of html code, just to make a small change. I maintained a few websites before I discovered the relative calm and simplicity of blogging.

Even now, although my intentions are good towards blogging, it sometimes feels like a chore and a mandatory daily exercise, to find words that can actually say something. I know that nobody likes to read about me lazing about all day pretending to be a sniper, without actually getting dressed, or taking my slippers off (although the slippers do make for extremely quiet walking, and I can run to the paper shop in them with unfathomable haste when I run out of milk or bread or something equally staple).

Yesterday, was my attempt to "unclutter" my head. To get some troubling issues out onto a page, to simply free up a bit of headspace. It worked, and today, I feel, not only better for this cathartic experience, but positively uplifted and a bit overwhelmed by the responses it derived.

I also went out of my way to find a few new blogs. I used to make a weekly effort to do this, to branch out, to explore other people's thoughts and ideas. The blog fish pond can be very insular at times, and it seems, as more of my regular haunts fall by the wayside, I now rarely find the time or energy to change the water, in whatever is left of this fishbowl of life.

If anyone else feels the need to check out some new blogs, then might I point you in the direction of these two local gents?

Yorkshire Pudding

Walls come tumbling down

And so, on to the pie....

A big thanks to everyone for their continual support.... It's frikking great to know that so many people stop by and take time to look into my fishbowl. It's all too easy sometimes to forget that bloggers are just real people, writing whatever happens to float through their heads at the time they happen to be near a computer!! (Perhaps it's more like, during the time when they are not away from their computer!!). I got a big warm hug from everyone yesterday, and it made me feel great.

In other news....

You still have time to sponsor my cousin's efforts for MS.

Ferny - You signed my guestbook, but there was no link to track back to your blog.... If you've got one, share it with us please.

Dawn - I love you!

Sophia, and Spice - Thanks for your good advice, and hopefully I will be visiting in the near future.

Kenny - Thanks for the donation.

You can still see the "Mad Peakers" inaugural gig here!

My Flickr album of high quality images is still here.

Oh, and I almost forgot, if anyone wishes to see what I looked like in those heady days of my youth, when I used to pretend to play a saxamaphone... look no further!! Those elasticated bow ties really did chafe somewhat.

I'd like to thank my mum, and my dad..... and anyone else who knows me...... yadda yadda.

Please, next time, would someone remember to bring the custard?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Quandary.

In life, there are decisions to make.

In fact, in life, we make millions of decisions each day that require no effort or thought at all.

Which sock to put on first? Subconsciously, I imagine every day I put the same sock on first every day. It's not something I think about.... except for now.

And what of the causality of putting on the same sock every day?

Would life take an alternate path if I made a conscious decision at the last minute and put down the sock, picked up the other one and put that on instead? Would those micro-seconds of adjustment mean that I get run over by a bus later this week? Unlikely, but probably just as likely as it is unlikely to be honest.

These are not the decisions that are currently troubling me though.

My current situation is thus:

I am unemployed (through choice, honestly) and am not looking for work.

Both Dawn and I have our own houses, we both have mortgages, we both probably have to spend more each month to keep our heads above water, than is healthy.

I have a lifelong desire - It's not an ambition, it's something I feel like the pulling of a tide - to move to Canada.

I currently have enough money in the bank that I don't actually NEED to work, but the longer I don't work, the less useful and large this ever decreasing sum of money becomes.

I have a business, through which I work contracts. As I am not looking for work, the business running costs are eating into the bank balance.

There is a rat living in my garden. As much as I love all things of nature, a rat running up my trouser leg is not a prospect I relish. Nor for that matter, is the prospect of said rat finding a suitable life partner, and establishing its very own rat utopia 'neath my bird feeding stations.

So....

What should I do?

I could wind up my company and take all the money for myself, but I need to put this money to good use, and not (as in all previous situations where money has landed on my doorstep) become a drug dealer, a drug abuser, or indeed piss any of it up against the wall.

I could get some sort of job, but in my current state of mid-life crisis, I am completely unsatisfied with my career options. I don't actually know what I want to be when I grow up.

I could move in with Dawn, or vice versa, and our combined efforts could actually wipe out 99% of the money troubles we both experience. I've had troublesome house-sharing experiences in the past, and this naturally makes me shy away from this option. The longer our situations go on though, the less money there will be available to achieve these ends. Coupled with the fact that there are Dawn's kids, and I have no parenting skills whatsoever, or indeed any parenting rights, this doesn't seem like an easy option.

I could just sell up, lock-stock-and-a-whole-barrel-of-fish, take my leave and move to Canada, and buy a house for cash money dollars, and stack some supermarket shelves or something.

Both Dawn and myself could sell up, and move to Canada. We could afford a house, and still have a fair amount of cash in the bank left over. Dawn's kids, added to this equation, their schooling, their dad, etc etc, create a myriad of problems, which seemingly make this task impossible.

I could poison the rat.... against my zen-like attitude towards nature..... Hope that the little birds don't get into the container of rat poison, and that the larger birds don't eat a poisoned dead rat.

So what do I do?

What would causality make of any of this?

......

I pull on my left sock, and fill a peanut butter jar with warfarin, lie down in the road with a cold compress on my aching brow, and wait for the 539 bus to Hebden Bridge to pass clumsily across my broken bones! (Note to self - must update my will, and benficiaries)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Space.

Space is ace, unless it's an MSN space of course!!

I am trying to make a concerted effort to catch up with my blogging buddies, but MSN spaces are so bloody effing slow, that I just can't do it.

Go on MSN users, take the plunge and get yourself a proper blog!!

I have a stack of paperwork and housework to do, but I am so much more content to be sitting in a pigsty, impersonating an elite sniper on my playstation. Woe is me.

Maybe I will get round to it tomorrow? Whaddya reckon the chances of that are?

I can already hear a raft of prerecorded sky+ programming that I have carefully selected. Those Pogo badges are not going to complete themselves. Those bloody Germans will still be running their ammunition dumps, and dammit, those trees, fish, and gold mines, just won't manage on their own.

I'm a slave to the game.

I am an imp in the very dungeon of my own creation, suffering a tirade of self flagellation. The prize? My very own dried up coffee cup ridden pigsty, complete with overflowing ashtrays.

It's true, life's a bloody game.... just not sure what type it is yet, or where I can buy the strategy guide. One thing's for sure though, I am preordering the sodding expansion pack!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Idiot.

Ok, so it's taken me a while to realise, and I doubt very much that anyone even cares. Since "converting" across to the new Blogger format, I lost, what I would normally consider to be a very important part of my blog. It's back now, and I will sleep much better tonight.

Sign my guestbook!

I am such an aboservant badger sometimes, it's scary!!

Irony!

Doing homework with Tom, and he is getting more and more stressed out, trying to come up with ideas for "Tom's little book of calm". All the while, playing with a stress-ball in the shape of a little pink pig, and not realising the irony of it all.

My, how we laughed!!

Touching.

Connor's gift of a double chocolate cookie, for the things I do for him, and the cakes and buns we bake. I can only assume, in Connor-world, he is envisaging that this is a down payment on a tray of chocolate cornflake crispy buns!!

Brilliant.

As pointed out by fellow blogger, Worcester Dan, there are some great photos on Flickr of the lunar eclipse. Go, seek, and find!! Here are some to get you started:

PlasticSnow's composite image

Distractable Savant's composite image

Ok, so it's a cheap blog already, lots of words, plagiarism, and nothing much to say....

Relaxing.

Spent most of yesterday, in the company of the lovely Dawn. Chilling and relaxing, or more succinctly, as the urban yoof might say.... chillaxing!

Worthy.

It's definitely worth a mention, and it would mean a lot to me if you could pay some attention to this. As you may or may not know, I recently lost my stupendous cousin Dan. Dan lost out to multiple sclerosis. One of my cousins in Canada is doing a sponsored walk for the MS charity. If ANYONE can spare as little as a single dollar for this worthy effort and cause, then please..... sponsor Sophia in her 10km walk.... it's karma in the bag dudes and dudettes!!

Sponsor Sophia please.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Teaching Tom.

Tom got his school report, and it's not brilliant. The good news, is that there are some easy aspects that can be improved - namely, concentration and attention problems, and the fact that he sulks!!

I know Tom is capable of achieving good results, but, in the main, I have to question the teaching methods on offer.

As an example, last night was a lunar eclipse. I am no astronomer, but I do love the moon phases, and incidents such as this.

I drew a quick, rough and ready diagram to explain it to Tom. Armed with information about the umbra, the penumbra, and the atmosphere bending the light waves around the earth, we settled back and watched the shadow creeping across the moon, until engulfed, finally it glowed red.

We looked at a few stars, and discussed a few well known constellations.

I can tell that Tom loves taking in this information. He understands it, and he is genuinely interested in it. The only difference that I can see between this and his schoolwork, is that I actively try to explain things in a way that makes them interesting and fun. Even the small bits of homework I do with Tom are always done with some energy.

And so, I have one more small piece of information to pass on to this fine young student.

Syzygy: It's a lovely word, and it's mainly used in astronomy or astrology. When three celestial bodies align themselves. Take the eclipse, for example..... The moon, the earth, and the sun are all directly in a straight line. That, right there, is syzygy my friend!!

Ok, enough of me lecturing the poor lad..... Concentrate, stop pissing about in class, stop being distracted, stop distracting others, stop sulking, start reading more, start writing more!!!

And so, onto my pictures..... it was very difficult with my limited experience and equipment to make any good pictures of last night's eclipse...... but here are the ones that I did manage to take!!





Here are two great websites for Tom.

All about stars!

More Stars.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Washout.

I am decidedly downtrodden today.

We went out last night. It was a kind of colleague reunion thing, and we went for drinks in Huddersfield.

A good night, up until the group got split up and we made a decidedly premature exit from a club in town, where my bloody fave DJ was working his cheesy house stuff.

I never really got a chance to have a good dance and get it all out of my system. Disappointing.

Came home and cooked omelets and made cups of tea instead!!

Managed maybe three or four hours sleep, and am paying the price for it now.

This morning I called round to see Riv, Jemma and baby Caitlyn.... Pleased to say they are all doing well. I even managed to have a little hold of Caitlyn while Riv was making some drinks - I do not normally do baby stuff because they scare me!! They're too small and I don't understand them, but she seemed pleased enough to be wandering round the room and looking out of the window.

Tried to watch a bit of telly this aft, but I couldn't keep my eyes open.... Nor could I properly focus my attention, and more importantly my fingers, on Guitar Hero.

Am just pondering what the options for this evening might be. Lunar eclipse tonight, and I don't want to miss it.

So, in summary, I am well washed out, and need some "r" and "r" time.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bollocks!

Enough of me ranting and wailing in my own personal life of hell....

Oh, go on then, you've twisted me arm!! Just one more!!

Dishwashers..... bloody great, they are!!

Until they're not.

For some reason my dishwasher has decided to play mind games with me.

It will quite happily fill up with water, but then refuses to dispose of it.

The annoyance factor of this, is obviously, each time I think I may have cleaned or changed or unkinked something, it takes thirty minutes or so to prove that I am of course wrong. Then, to add extra insult to my injury, I have to manually empty the water, and try everything again.

In this consumer age, I am now thinking it would be easier to buy a new dishwasher than to call someone out to either clean, or replace the bloody pump - which I am assuming is royally rogered.

The prospect of washing the dishes by hand is just TOO much!!

In other news.... my pizza episode has finally been resolved, and I received a cheque from the offending company, for the princely sum of five British pounds!! Wahey for complaining. If I keep this up, maybe I could retire?

Now, where's the bloody Indesit website??