Sunday, July 29, 2007

Virtually cut off.

After a week in "the sticks", I finally get to spend an evening at home. I have satellite television, internet, no milk, and a barbecue and disco rattling the windows from the bowling club at the back.

Three whole days without internet is more than I can bear.

It's 1am. At Pole Moor, I would be tucked up in bed. In Outlane, I am playing Pogo, and listening to the voices of the smokers that now have to stand outside the club, huddled around the edges of the bowling green. "Do you know lad, I was born in 1940......", and I begin to lose interest.

I have finished Harry Potter..... I am now reading a strange book about an autistic prostitute. If ever there was a conversation stopper......

Well, the disco sounds to be winding down a little, and I've managed to leave a small footprint to say I was here and relishing the fact that there is a wire inbetween myself and your good selves again....

Night night all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cut off.

Stranded at Pole Moor. I have no internet access and it's driving me mad. I know it shouldn't, but it does. I sit and watch the lights on the ADSL modem flashing, trying desperately to connect with the outside world, but alas, their efforts are in vain. There is nobody out there.

I want to believe!!

It's a sunny morning (for a change). Dappled light filters into the lounge through the overgrown jungle just beyond. Honeysuckle and clematis shadows shimmer up the walls. From the rear window I can see big clouds in an even bigger sky. The seed heads of grass waving above a stone wall.

Sunrise, Yorkshire style.

I had to laugh at some of the recent comments that have been left for me (during my uncontrollable absence). There's nothing wrong with reading Harry Potter!! It's the book (or at least series of books) that made kids start to read again. The biggest mistake in my mind, is that they turned them into films.

I DO remember one period when I was working away from home that the Potter books helped me to remain reasonably sane. Although in retrospect, the people involved in that project may well not agree with that last statement. I recall spending a lot of time at my desk with my sunglasses on, clutching a plastic cup in my mouth (which was stuffed with pink paper)........

Blip......

Two whole hours later, and the internet connection that was so rudely interrupted, manages to get a word in edgewise again.

You'll never know about the pink paper and plastic cup, and you can blame Pole Moor for that!!

I chase a chicken from the kitchen, and the sun goes in. Oh to be in Yorkshire, now that summer is here.

I doff my respectful cap in Yorkshire Pudding's direction with regards to his predicted North VS South news eligibility challenge with regards to the recent flooding. He saw it coming and although I believed him, I have still been shocked at the difference.

This is Arctic Fox reporting for AFBC News, signing off before the ....blip!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Now....

I wouldn't say my farts are really smelly....... They are, but I wouldn't say it, and certainly not in mixed company!! As long as there were pets on hand, on which to blame the offensive stench, then I would never have to say it anyway.

So why is it......

My sister, brother-in-law, and two nephews have buggered off to Australia to live.

My mum and Fred have naffed off to Scotland for an undisclosed period of time to stay with my Aunty and Uncle.

Dawn and the kids are beggaring off to Wales for a week.

I find myself on housewatch. Confined to "bleak house" at Pole Moor - About which I have actually blogged before. I will spare you a repeat performance. Suffice to say it's foggy and pissing down with moor grime and rain.

Bugger it, I've just farted again.

I have, in my sweaty palms, a copy of the new (and final) Harry Potter book..... I have a week of solitude in which to indulge in all things Hogwarty. I seem to remember that someone posted the punchline to the previous book in my comments before I'd finished it!! Rotten buggers!!

Right, it's bloody late. This house is spooky. Five channels of television are not enough to stop me from going to bed. Note to self: Bring freeview USB thing along tomorrow!!

Expeliarmus!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Oh dear.

Well, the day has come, and almost gone, in which my mum's heart has been broken by the departure of my sister, brother-in-law, and her two grandsons, all bound for the sunnier climes of Australia, mate!!

By Saturday morning they'll be starting a new adventure, and I wish them all luck.

The weather (oh god, it's turning into another weather blog, do I NEVER have anything interesting to discuss??) has been really nice today. It's been the first day in (what feels like) weeks that we haven't had intermittent monsoonesque squalls.

A perfect day for a perfect bike ride you might think?

Man flu over the cuckoo's nest!!

Piss...... I've got the sniffliest of snot laden dripping nostrils. A tickly sore throat. Toothache. A sort of mildly spaced out type feeling.

I am of course dying!! No human has endured this level of flu before, and everyone must stop what they are doing and bring me paracetamol laced citrus flavoured beverages. Immediately.

I'm going to get in the bath, pull up the drawbridge, make myself a sandwich and sweat this virus out of me.

aaaaa......chooooo

Eisteddfod said... What's carrot juice in Welsh?
Carrot juice in Welsh is, as everyone knows:
Sudd moron!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Respondez......

Just a quick update inbetween thunderstorms........

I bought a "freeview" USB thing for my computer, so I now get a range of "free-to-air" satellite channels, which display beautifully on my (previously mentioned) nineteen inch Sony LCD monitor. It only cost me fifteen quid, and it's money well spent. I can now blog, play Pogo and watch Big Brother (live streaming) without leaving the comfort of my desk. Luxury, and a damn sight cheaper than buying the secondary television I had promised myself.

If anyone is interested in one of these nifty gadgets to watch TV on your computer, then give me a shout and I can give you a few pointers.

My desk now looks like some crazy command centre with little screens, volume controls, remote controls, USB hubs, dongles, and cables everywhere. There is no need for central heating any more. The heat generated by all this 24/7 equipment is phenomenal. I am probably quite responsible for the recent rain.

Positive feedback time - We all know how easy it is to complain about bad customer service. We all now how rare it is to receive good customer service. Well this is one story that I thought was going to end badly, that actually ended up being great:

My shredder (Swordfish 700DC) stopped working. No worries.... two years warranty. I contact the supplier, and they say to contact the manufacturer. I contact the manufacturer, and of course they say to contact the supplier. This is the point where I would start to explode........

Step forward customer service representative of the month, who not only agrees to simply send me a replacement shredder, but manages to raise a smile and a joke (via email of course) out of me. I say to the company in question: Snopake - You are lucky to have Kath Douglas working there. Well done!!

I rarely get round to responding to comments. I am very bad at it. Just to prove a point, here's my response to recent things.......

Various - The feeling of being "boxed in" and the desire to blog anonymously has now passed. Rol was right of course, if they can't take a blog then eff 'em, but in practice I can't go through with it. There's plenty to blog about without resorting to pure negatives.

Yorkshire Pud and Sophia - The issue of paragraphs and ellipses has now been covered in some detail. As far as I am concerned, a web page can never compete with or rival a book, and as such, the standard rules of punctuation and grammar and spelling can only be loosely adhered to. I am very unhappy with the length of some of my paragraphs today, and I guarantee that nobody has even been bothered to read this far!!

Maxxo and Grilled Pizza - Welcome to you..... pull up a pew, sit back and enjoy the ride. Can I get you a coffee?

Doh Doh - Gazebo schmazebo!!

Yorkshire Pud - "...collapse onto the bed for half an hour" - There's no reading between the lines here mister..... It does what it says on the tin. Big bed.... Sunshine...... Tired fox....... Luxurious afternoon snoozing.

Everyone - The "Love Hearts" were, of course, not actually Love Hearts at all. Those sweets are called "Whatevers" and you can get them from Asda. Soph, you can read all about chavs here!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Stair rods.

Yesterday was a farewell party for my sister, brother-in-law and two nephews, who later this week set sail for a life down under.

I was drunk (of course).

It was raining (of course).

It was cold (of course).

It is July after all.... what else would you expect?

And so, this morning, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, it's bright and warm.

I spend the day reassembling the debris that I used to call my house. This exercise culminates in the clearing out of my wardrobe.... a great deal of "trying on" of clothes..... bagging up my scrap.... letting go all those "sentimental", scruffy, misshapen, discoloured rags. Really, I just say yes or no, as Dawn does all the hard work.

Tidied and wardrobed, we both collapse onto the bed for half an hour... A well earned rest, in a warm, sunny bedroom.

Out at the back there's a funeral wake at the bowling club.... some poor beggar's bowled his last jack.

A friend calls me to go for a bike ride. I agree to go. I hang up the phone, and of course it starts to rain. He comes round, and we set off for the ride, wrapped in waterproofs. A couple of miles up the road, and I am sweating under a bright blue sky. The waterproofs come off. A mix of road, and moorland, and maybe twelve miles later..... I'm happy and coated in mud and sand.

Half an hour later, I've been in the shower, I've a cup of coffee in front of me, and the rain is coming down with vengeance. Lightning isn't far behind. I thank my lucky stars for the hour and a half of perfect weather, where the salt stung my forehead, and sweat dripped off my nose.

Let the detox commence!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It's official.

I don't have a drink or drugs problem.

The worst thing that happens when I take drugs is that I want to come home and drink coffee.

The worst thing that happens when I get drunk is that I talk to eight year old girls about what sort of dog they own and train on the Nintendo DS Nintendogs game.

I consider myself to be fairly innocuous.

I can relate to adults (that wish to be tickled by fine Oliver Reedesque tales of debauchery) and children (who love playing computer games) alike.

Take for instance.... I am wearing a Super Mario Tshirt.... a guy that I haven't seen for about ten years comes up to me and says I haven't changed a bit - he didn't even need to speak to me!!

Such is life.

Believe me when I tell you I have "caned it" this weekend!!

I now have a season pass to "the priory".

So far, I've discussed stopping smoking with bouncers; talked Nintendog strategy with young girls; I've played golf in the spare bedroom; I've danced with my brother-in-law's brother on the bowling green; Tried to commission new windows for my house; potentially landed two weeks work as a labourer; enabled freeview on my computer; pissed off dozens of friends, relatives and strangers... and it's only just gone Sunday evening.

Not a bad weekend. You have to admit, that's good going for any idiot!!

Here's a random collection of pissed up photos!!


Rob "blissed out"!


Lenny "Having it large style"


The Len and the Westy - Brothers in booze!!


Leesy; Westy; Lenny; Wimpsy; Orey!!


Rob n Paul - I got you bro!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Consider yourself...

... well and truly bollocked.

Yesterday, I received a grammatical bollocking in the shape of a Yorkshire pudding!! I use too many paragraphs, and the paragraph pigs are on to me!! It's something I do, like the superfluous, and over zealous use of commas..... and full stops..... just like that!!

My writing is not structured according to the English language as much as the thoughts in my head. It's a jumbled mess in there, and mostly I type as I think..... Those full stops right there, are where my brain comes up for breath, or I consider whether I am going in the right direction momentarily.

One thing I DO know, and this is where my incorrect usage of paragraphs comes from, is that the attention span of your average web page reader (not dissimilar to my own) resembles the amount of time it takes for the Bullseye dartboard to rotate!! long paragraphs of text are a turnoff. I can read books..... even when they have small words on the pages and no pictures.... but a book is a tactile experience.... web pages aren't!!

And so.... It comes to pass, that I will continue to breach the rules of paragraphing and commaing. It will not be something I am proud of. I will always appreciate constructive criticism on the subject. I am always open to personal development.

The day that my favourite sweets received an ASBO!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Amazing.

A random music robbing spree.......

I love to get music for free..... it's not something everyone agrees with.

On a quest to find an album for my "ladyfriend" this evening......

I start to download this album - it's a double - forty tracks!!!

I think it's just rude to take forty tracks from someone and not even say hello.

We chat a while and swap some music ideas.... likes and dislikes.... that sort of thing......

Then he tells me about this!!!

Erik Mongrain - Playing guitar in a style called "airtapping".

I like it, and that's a positive to stealing music!!

(Don't forget to stop my media player over there on the right hand side before playing this video otherwise you'll be MC'ing a whole heap of noise!!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Raaaaaaaarrrrrr!!

Just effing raaaarrrrr!!!

I feel boxed in.... pacing the confines of my blog, unable to escape the enclosure.

Unable to express myself in case one of the lollygagging spectators might take offence.

Sometimes, and increasingly with time, I wish I blogged anonymously.

Long gone are the days when I didn't care who or what happened upon my random scribblings. The opportunity to jot cathartic etchings that purged my soul of its woes and worries have disappeared into the ether.

I'm just effing...... RAAAAAARRRR!!!!!

They say that one hundred pennies makes a pound.... and nobody can deny it.

I am of the controversial opinion that one hundred molehills do make a frikking big mountain.

Niggly things, monkeys on my back, gripes, bellyaches..... Just RAAAAARRRRR!!!!!

Sometimes I want to pull up the drawbridge...... Draw the curtains....... Park the car around the corner from my house (giving the impression that I am out).......... Turn off the phone.......

RAAAAARRRRR!!!!

Do NOT feed the animals!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mangle!

I don't get it. For some strange reason, today, I feel emotional.

It's very unlike me.

I'm not often one to pay much heed to my emotions. They come and they go, and I know that they are as fleeting as thoughts.

I feel the need to immerse myself in something which will bury my emotional head in the sand. I begin to wonder how long I have already been immersed, and whether I have been hiding from it for any length of time already?

I am not even sure what it is that is making me emotional. I think sometimes we all like an outburst. I am not sure if "like" is the correct descriptor, but in the confines of a short blog entry, it will have to suffice.

I'm starting to feel a bit dangerous. I imagine waking on a metaphorical "morning after the night before" with an emotional hangover, wondering what the hell I have done, who I managed to offend, and who I sent all those drunken texts to. A bit out of sorts. Out of control and out of sorts. Yes, dangerous.

I put it down to the endorphin drain from starting to ride my bike again. Coupled with the fact that I am having a musical renaissance - listening to lots and lots of new music and really loving it. Perhaps my soul is being stirred..... although, with a saddle like that, I would have to say....

Shaken, not stirred!!

So, now I have a belly full of shredded wheat, coffee and granola bars. What to do? The sun's shining, but the prospect of a milky bile incinerating my guts as I propel my bike upwards, is not one which I can immediately stomach.

Big Brother is always there for me.

Pogo is down, and so am I.

Update: Ten miles of bike riding later... Pogo is back up..... I am rehydrated..... I've had some creatine..... A few really nice comments on me blog.... the world looks much better through my salt stained sunglasses.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Same again....

.... please landlord!!

My old bike ride - I used to cycle five miles in one direction (mostly uphill), turn around, and cycle back.

I used to do it for fun.

The first time I did it when I got my mountain bike, it probably took me a couple of hours. At peak, it probably used to take forty minutes.

It's a relentless slog, all the way out there to that car park on top of the moors.

It's not a steep hill.... but it's a five mile long hill!!

This morning, the sun was so bright and hot, I thought I would take the challenge.

I've only been back on my bike for a week (after a gap of about a year), and the weather keeps putting me off, so you have to build back up slowly right.

Sun beating down on my head......

Three miles in, and the heavens open. Flimsy t-shirt.... shorts..... soaked. Sunglasses, rendered positively dangerous.

I reach the car park. I stop and look out across the valley, gulp down some water, turn around and head back.

The sun comes out, and in the 10 minutes it takes me to get home, I am dry. Literally spun dry.



It would have looked like that in the sunshine!!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Gibb-on!!

I've got a right old gibb-on.

For those that don't know the Doncaster dialect, that means I am sweating a bit.

Actually I don't think it has anything to do with Doncaster, or indeed anywhere else for that matter. It was a term used by an old friend of mine, and one which stuck with those of us that retained the work ethic of our simian cousins.

Pay 'em peanuts, and you'll get monkeys.

Pay 'em lots, and you'll get expensive monkeys.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a unnaturally sweaty person, nor have I been working too hard. I have just returned from a few miles on the old bike. Feeling great.... my quads are starting to firm up again, and that's fantastic.

My breathing's actually pretty good. I was puffing and blowing for a while today, but it's been quite warm and I did a couple of hill climbs, so it's only to be expected I guess. It feels great to open my lungs up again.

That's what you get when you are a non-smoker I guess!!

I didn't really want to mention yesterday, it somehow seemed too poignant..... I think I dare mention today, that yesterday would have been my cousin Dan's birthday. God bless him. I was thinking about my cousins and my aunty and uncle, but somehow I didn't want to jangle anyone's emotions by letting them know how I felt. I love them all very much!!

Anyhoo.....

Got to go get myself something to eat, and get my act together.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

What do you get.....

If you cross a monkey with a pig?

Well, not literally, but it's a good opener right?

Do you know the story of Monkey?

Well, I used to watch the series "Monkey" when I was a kid. A really oddly dubbed Chinese adventure about a cannibal, a pig, a monkey and a genderless disciple of Buddha, crossing India to find the holy scriptures.

Obviously, as a kid, none of that bothered me too much. The cool thing was all the great fighting action, and of course the monkey could fly about on a cloud!!

Honestly, I wasn't on drugs during that period of my life!!

So last night I went to Manchester to see: Monkey - Journey to the West.

It's a crazy "circus opera", whatever that means!!

A mix of martial arts, acrobatics, animation, music and singing, and cool costumes and sets. Three very cool people collaborated to bring us this show as part of the Manchester International Festival; Damon Albarn (Blur and Gorillaz), Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl and Gorillaz), and Chen Shi-Zheng (Director).

Of course, I could rattle on about it all day, but maybe that's already been done more comprehensibly and more eloquently than I could ever manage:

Here

and

Here

All I will say, is that if you get a chance to go and see it as it sets sail around the world, then you'd be mad not to. It's unlike anything you will have seen before.

In other news.....

I have fallen so far into the Big Brother existence, that I now do my grocery shopping online, with a corresponding luxury or rationed shopping budget, and have it delivered at a synchronised time to that of our dear housemates. I am permanently pissed on cider, and live in a caravan.

My friend Emma is going away tomorrow. Boo hoo. She is going "Darn Sarf" for about six months to learn something about how to tell the difference between a healthy dog and a manky one. She will be missed, and the gutters of Huddersfield will be very empty without her drunken antics!! The mobile phone shops in Huddersfield are already going out of business!!

I am getting through lots of smoked mackerel. It's a poor substitute for cigarettes, and they are much harder to light, but they contain so much less tar!!

Smoking tally - Haven't updated for a while so don't even know the figures myself.....

Let's see:

Days smoke free: 109 (nearly four months!!)
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 4360!!!!
Money NOT spent: 1145 GBP (2302 USD; 2415 CAD; 283858 JPY)

That makes me feel a bit better, and it makes the cost of going to see monkey last evening..... completely free!! Woohoo!!!!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy....

Happy birthday Ma! (Said in a Nick Cottonesque cockney sparrow accent).

Happy Birthday Ameri-ca!! (See it rhymes).

I am not so sure that us Brits should really wish the Americans a happy independence day, so let's just say, it was a pretty rubbish film, and leave it at that, ok?

I have been a neglectful blogger again.

I have no excuses. I can get pretty busy doing not very much. In fact, it's an action packed week with one thing and another.

I wish the rain would stop, and the wind. I want to be able to get on my bike with some conviction instead of gingerly riding ten minutes up the road and back inbetween deluges. It's quite frustrating, and hardly worth filling a water bottle or breaking open a "Cyclone Bar" for.

Today I am taking the folks across to Holmfirth (That's "Last of the Summer Wine" land to you outsiders!!) to a local art exhibition thing, where my mum's got a couple of pictures up for display/sale. I think she's hoping for some birthday luck to rub off on them and for there to be a "red sticker" on them both.

Spent last evening gift wrapping a veritable cornucopia of small gifts. I often prefer to buy lots of smaller gifts than to present somebody with a disappointing ornament. Ornaments are just shit!! Sorry, got carried away, but they are.... come on..... you should never give someone an ornament as a gift.

Admittedly, I have a few inanimate objects in my house, some of which might even be considered ornaments. I do honestly believe that nobody knows me well enough to presume that they know my taste in ornaments though.

I have inadvertently rubbed tin foil across the filling that relates to ornaments now.......

Can't........ stop............. denouncing................ ornaments.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sticking twos up!

Two good things have happened.

Well, I say two good things have happened.... In fairness, probably a great many more than two good things have happened, but for the most part they do not concern me. Well, they do concern me, and of course I love all the good things that happen...... Bloody hell, I am never gonna sort this mess out.

OK.... Disregard the above.

Two good things have happened to me that I would like to share with you through the power of blog.

Firstly, it was the most fantastical full moon last night. The moon has been really great for the last few nights in fact. Very golden, and moody, shrouded with wispy clouds. I love the full moon.

Secondly, it is officially the first day of July. This means that the country is now a designated no-smoking zone. In my wildest dreams, until very recently, I think I would have considered this an outrageous infringement of my civil liberties. As a non-smoker, it now delights me.

Big Brother is still bobbing along at a fair old pace.

I haven't watched last night's episode of Jekyll yet, so please don't spoiler it for me.

I am still loco for Pogo.

I put some vintage Big Brother adverts on youtube. They are from Big Brother 6 which was the one with Citizen Science and Kemal and Derek..... well, you get the picture. Feel free to watch them.