Saturday, November 29, 2008

Star Trekkin across the Universe

today marks my 33rd trip around our sun.

another scot trekking across the universe is not really scottish at all. Simon Pegg has come under some flack for his role of Scotty in the new star trek movie. this clip shows the old Spock:

it's hard to tell from that tiny clip if Pegg will be any good or not. he's been great in many other flicks so i'll hold back judgement til the film is out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


success. Bulbgirl has sold her flat. in this time of financial uncertainty (when you can't trust banks and financial wizards with your cash who can you trust?) she was lucky to have been offered pretty close to what she wanted for it. the deal is now done, the payment has gone through and the new owner has moved in.

apart from a text from him about how to use the oven (he's a man), he must be pretty happy with it. well we did leave it in pretty good nick, left spare lightbulbs, left a new smoke alarm (Bulbgirl thought that this would be a good idea as he has kids), and a bundle of other small details lovingly attended to.

no thanks to the estate agent though. Bulbgirl went with a local estate agent because she thought she'd get some foot-fall past their local branch, but i think most people search for a property online these days (listed on for our area). this is done by the estate agents, although they managed to cock that up too. the number on the final documents from the estate agent was back to front. this wouldn't have been too much of a problem, even on a legal document. the dodgy bit was that the number of the flat listed was also on the market at the same time, and being sold by the same estate agent! this could be attributed to a simple typo mistake, but when you are dealing with items that cost a lot (eg. houses, homes and flats) double and triple checking facts would be in order. especially when not many properties are selling, you'd think they would have plenty of time for fact checking.

i took the photos, Bulbgirl had to correct numerous errors that they forgot to put on the web, and even when it did sell they didn't put a sold notice on the gspc site. it didn't even get an under offer notice on it. after all the stress of putting it up for sale Bulbgirl wanted that most of all. well second most of all is suppose, she did get it sold.

how long do you think it will take for the housing market to pick up again?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Dance Off

this has to be seen to be believed.

obama vs mccain

post election edit: i guess Obama had better moves.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I want to kill myself

i want to kill myself. not the happiest thought in the world but there you go. can't say it hasn't popped into my head more than a few times.

why would i want to pop my own clogs? well, chronic pain gets you down. it's hard to communicate to someone who hasn't experienced it, even doctors. they just seem to want to hand out pills and that's you. they feel they have done their job, but you still have to go on hurting. it seemed sensible. i'm only 32 now and have been having various pains for 5 years, why should i go on hurting for the forseeable future? bleak maybe, but when you talk to an 83 year old and he seems fitter than you with no pain except a 'little loss of feeling in his feet due to diabetes,' i think bleakness was warranted.

having doctors look at you and say 'well you look pretty fit' doesn't help matters. the thought occurs to you that maybe it's in your head. random disparate symptoms that seem unconnected seem to attract the wonderful diagnosis of fibromyalgia. that never sat well with me, so the search went on.

fibromyalgia led to hypermobility which led to London which led to a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, an incurable connective tissue disorder. yay.

knowing is better than not knowing. having a diagnosis is a great thing, having been in limbo for half a decade with chiropractors quite willing to just keep taking my money. i'm sure there are many good ones out there, but when a patient doesn't get better and actually gets worse, you have to wonder how they sleep at night.

knowing what i have at least gives some guidelines on how to live my life better with less pain and who knows, maybe even some painkillers that will work and have no side effects. what's more is a renewed focus. not having to search for an answer to that, i can have another goal: back to uni to study a post grad.

maybe there is too much to do to bump oneself off just yet.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Know What I Am

i'm a mutant.

after years of various pains, i finally have a diagnosis: ehlers-danlos syndrome.

not entirely unexpected but still a little surprising. a rheumatologist told me that i was hypermobile last year. i eventually got an appointment down in London last week with professor Rodney Grahame of university college hospital.

the professor spent over an hour with me! Bulbgirl, who accompanied me down south, said that a couple of people in the waiting room were annoyed at the delay. as i had come down from Glasgow the prof must have spent a little extra time with me.

are you aware that there is a hypermobility clinic in Glasgow? he asked me. i'd heard rumour of a pain clinic, but one would have imagined that the rheumatologist i'd seen might have mentioned this little fact. i'm still glad we went down to London and that the leading doctor in this disorder gave me the diagnosis.

even all the experts don't agree. some call it JHS (joint hypermobility syndrome), BJHS (benign joint hypermobility syndrome), EDS, HEDS, HMS, EDS3. it gets all very confusing.

wiki ehlers-danlos sydrome. hypermobility (type 3)

Affects 1 in 10,000 to 15,000 and is caused by an autosomal dominant mechanism. Mutations in either of two separate genes (which are also involved in Vascular EDS and Tenascin-X deficiency EDS, respectively) may lead to this variant; it is the only type of EDS that cannot be diagnosed through skin / tissue samples but is rather diagnosed through use of clinical observations. Symptoms can include easy bruising, velvety-smooth skin, mildly hyperextensible skin, and loose, unstable joints. Joint dislocations and subluxations are common. Degenerative joint disease can occur; the pain associated with this condition is a serious complication. Some individuals have mitral valve prolapse, which creates an increased risk for infective endocarditis during surgery, particularly dental surgery, as well as possibly progressing to a life-threatening degree of severity of the prognosis of mitral valve prolapse.

when telling professor Grahame that my rheumatologist put me on the list for genetic testing, he said but there isn't a genetic test for your type yet. he knew his stuff far more than anyone i've met up until now. i could have talked to him all day.

i love the X-men movies. it's a little unfair that my special mutant power is chronic pain. adamantium claws, or being able to control the weather would be much more fun.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Bulbcat #4

meet Moby, our latest addition. he is nearly 17 weeks old, and we got him when he was just a 10 week old kitten. he is bulbcat #4, a little black and white cuteness exuder. it's almost a years since we lost Raku so should he be called #3 (moving up the rankings) or #4 (chronological)?.

a slight hint of bluishness in the eyes

where did we find Moby? in a supermarket. there was a notice that Bulbgirl saw on the local for sale board after we had done some shopping. the notice was selling a 9 week old black and white kitten. it didn't say what sex the cat was and it didn't show a picture or even a sketch of the kitten's markings.

Bulbgirl took the number down and phoned shortly after getting back. the kitten was still available and now 10 weeks old as the notice had been up for a week. we could have taken him that evening if we really wanted to, but it gave the family a little time to say goodbye to the wee fella. they were getting really attached they said and were on the verge of naming him and keeping him. they hadn't named him as yet, because once you do that how can you give them up?

you can't really say i want to see him/her before i decide to keep the little bundle of fur. how cold would it be to see the cat and say "nope, not quite what i'm looking for"?

a little unsteady on his feet

Moby arrived the next day (it was a tuesday) about 1pm. a little sniffing around and he seemed quite at home. at that stage when playing with a kitten, they get tired all of a sudden and just stop, instead of slowing down gradually. it's as if their batteries suddenly run out (and it's really funny to watch).

white chin. feathery toy just out of shot

we put him in a set of kitchen scales and he was 1.25kg. he then put on another 250g in the next 2 weeks. he has grown up even more since then. he could fit in the scales really easily. not now though; he has grown so fast in such a short space of time. sigh. their kittenhood goes so fast. people talk of missing their kids growing up, with kittens blink and you miss it!

i met Moby's former owners by chance in the same supermarket where he was advertised. they said that they would take him back if he wasn't settling in with Bulbcat #3. they almost had slightly watery eyes, they missed him. he is a naughty little kitten but has bags of personality.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


slogan means war cry apparently. i found this intriguing.
The word slogan is derived from slogorn which was an Anglicisation of the Scottish Gaelic sluagh-ghairm (sluagh "army", "host" + gairm "cry")

do we go into battle everyday trying to be heard, remembered, loved, feared or admired? what is your war cry? how do you project yourself. how does the world see you?

slogans are very closely linked to logos. a logo is almost a graphical slogan but more powerful. it's an image you want to be immediately associated with you, the wall you just tagged, your notebook, or your company. think of superman's S, mcdonald's golden arches, or apple's apple with a bite out of it. simple but iconic.

barrack obama's logo

pepsi's logo

obama's logo seems like it's missing something. the pepsi logo seems to be, to me at least, altogether better formed, self contained. i decided to create a logo for me. while it might not be something elemental, something terrifying like batman's logo, it's a graphic symbol that represents an idea. plus it has a letter B in it (if you tilt your head to the left).

what do you think? can you improve upon it?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Flat for Sale

capacious. that's a word you rarely hear, unless of course you happen to be interacting with an estate agent. they have their own lingo, most of which is lies. maybe not quite lies, but not exactly truthful either.
i had no idea how much you had to lie when selling your home. small things that haven't bothered you at all, ever, suddenly jump out at you. little cracks in the paintwork, right angles that aren't quite right, messy neighbours, pet hair, the list goes on, and on. is there a fine line between lying and "maximising potential?"
you obviously want to make your property seem to be worth the asking price. if you want to maximise the potential of your property, don't let the estate agent take the pictures. the lady that came to value Bulbgirl's place, had a camera at the ready, but having seen her previous clients' photos, Bulbgirl said "my partner can take the photos." take them yourself, or you could be lumbered with poor shots, that have a an awful flash, washing everything out. it's the highest value item that most people will buy and sell, so take a little time and consideration when composing the shots.

top floor flat

the competition

i took the top one, making a natural border out of the trees. it's not your usual home selling pic, but i liked it. the darkness of the tree frame the block nicely. compare it with the competition's picture. two flats pretty close to each other, but one pic instantly more appealing because it was taken in better light (and some thought to composition).

the flat is on the market has been on sale for a little while and had very little interest. it's the current climate they say. a neighbour nearby on the ground floor (see above pic) let the estate agent take their pictures, which didn't do them any favours. the neighbout moved in about at the end of last year and is wanting £5k more now 6 months later (he's put it at a fixed price). Bulbgirl was wanting to put her flat on at a fixed price when seeing this guy do it, hoping to undercut him. it can only be a good thing for her, as with fixed price you can only come down, whereas with the offers over option there is more wiggle room for negotiations. myself and a friend told her this is probably unwise, although there are lots more people doing it now.

the problem is that Bulbgirl doesn't really believe in her property. the main selling points of the flat are space and views. it doesn't have central heating, but electric heating instead. that wouldn't bother me. if i was going to buy somewhere i'd rather go for space over heating any day. you can always fit another heating system later on, but you'll never be able to buy yourself more space, in a wee ground floor flat. the storage in the loft is a boon, because it's like another house (filled with canvasses and junk of mine). my junk is like expanding foam. it seems to grow and fill the allotted space, but i digress, that's another story.

dining room

in the picture of the dining room there is light coming in from the left. there is a window there and it appears as if the dawn is breaking through. it does do that, but wasn't at the time of the picture taking. we left it late and needed to get the pics to the estate agent the next day, so we faked it. Bulbgirl stood holding a long fluorescent light, just out of shot, to mimic the daylight coming in through the big window. she also made the 3 little stripey acrylic paintings you see there.

another benefit is that you can go and see horses, sheep and 2 highland cows less than 10 minutes walk away, that i will miss if we move closer to the city centre.

have you told any lies when selling your property?

update: the flat has now passed to the new owner.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


after having an endoscopy a couple of weeks ago, i got the results. apparently there is bacteria in my stomach. i got a call from the gp confirming this and telling me to come to the health centre to pick up my medicine. the girl on the phone sounded really young then mentioned "irradiation." it must be pretty bad if i have to pick up the medication at the health centre "i thought to myself", normally one picks up a prescription.

sure enough it was a prescription and a newbie on the phone who was giving out garbled messages. at the health centre they couldn't even tell what type of bacteria in my stomach was causing too much acid, and preventing me from keeping food down. bacteria in the stomach seemed like saying "blood in the veins". what do i know about biology though?

electron scanning microscope pic of helicobacter bacteria. i think they look pretty cute.

the pharmacist told me that the medication was probably for helicobacter. pharmacists train for nearly as long as gp's and usually have a more friendly manner. my sister had the same thing a few years ago, and suffered from acid reflux too. i wonder if there is a link there? my sister studied biology at university, and heard somewhere that a lot of people in the Glasgow area have helicobacter. According to wikipedia:

The most widely known species of the genus is H. pylori which
infects up to 50% of the human population.

it also says:

Acid reflux and esophageal cancer

As the incidence of gastric cancer has
the incidences of gastroesophageal
reflux disease
and esophageal cancer have
increased dramatically. In 1996, Martin J. Blaser put
forward the theory that H.pylori might also have a beneficial effect: by regulating the acidity of the stomach contents, it lowers the impact of
regurgitation of gastric acid into the esophagus.[3]
While some favorable evidence has been accumulated, as of 2005 the theory is
not universally accepted.

i have no idea what that means, if anything, but the medicine is making me feel pretty pukey as the pharmacist said it would. i'm keeping food down better so hopefully this will work.

to get rid of the helicobacter bacteria, i have to take 8 pills a day. 4 in the morning and 4 at night. they give you a horrible 'medical' taste in your mouth all day. chocolate spread helps but the taste comes back. it's only a few more days until they are all finished though, so hopefully all will be well then.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Light Snack

yesterday i didn't eat much. i had a light snack, or a snack of light. i had to have a medical procedure at the southern general hospital: an endoscopy. that's the one where they put a camera down your throat, not the other end. they need to give me this as my stomach has i've had some trouble with keeping food down and acid reflux.

it was scheduled for 8.30am, and i last ate anything about 6.30pm the night before. the leaflet i was given told me to not eat or drink anything from midnight, but my last herbal tea was about 9pm to be on the safe side.

the hospital staff were running a little late even though i was first of the day. they were dealing with other patients who were already in there, not just visiting like myself. the nurses were very nice and explained everything to me. i imagined it to be like visiting the dentist, but it was a more 'hospitally' visit than i imagined it would be: having to wear one of those gowns that split up the back, and giving me a name tag around my wrist, then wheeling me through on gurney.

the camera with the light on it could have been damaged by my tongue piercing so they asked if it could be taken out. i wasn't allowed to watch the monitor and see my insides unfortunately, only if you were getting the tube up "the other end" could you watch i was told. they sprayed the inside of my mouth a few times with an anaesthetic spray which tasted of bananas. laying down on my left side a nurse gave me one of those plastic things with a hole in it so that i could still breathe and not bite down on the camera tube.

my left arm was laid across in front of my right arm and resting on my right hip. they put one of those things to measure pulse or whatever on my index finger and a reassuring hand was laid on top of mine. this was probably not to reassure me but to prevent me from pulling the tube out if i started to gag and my body's normal self defence measures kicked in. who knows?

the endoscopy procedure was really quick, well once i had actually swallowed the tube. this is difficult when your throat had been numbed, the swallow muscles just didn't seem to want to swallow. having a camera/light down your throat brought to mind the facehugger from Alien, but it was mercifully short and didn't implant anything in my chest. on the contrary actually, a little bit of my stomach lining was taken out to biopsy. my stomach hurt a little after that, but was given the all clear. that means the rheumatologist can start testing me like a guineau pig on different meds.

after a wee lie down getting the tongue piercing back in again was difficult the most difficult part, almost creating a new hole in the process with the metal stud, not a sharp implement. i must have ripped away the protective layer that had built up on the inside of the tongue. this is actually the second time that's happened, it will heal soon.

after going to the hospital and having a sleep, Bulbgirl woke me up with a chocolate soya drink. perfect way to wake up.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How do you like them apples?

i love this clip from good will hunting. good movie. check it out if you haven't already.

other related apple info: i've got on auction on sedo here if you want to make a bid. less than 4 hours to go.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Father's Heart

my father is in barra. he went up on saturday, 4 years to the day he had triple heart bypass surgery. his brother died today, technically yesterday, 12 hours ago.

the rest of the family will join him tomorrow, in preparation for the funeral which will probably be on thursday.

i have no uncles left now. Archie is my third uncle to pass away this year, after my mother's brother and mickey joe just over a month ago.

strangely enough, it's also 50 years to the day that another Archie died: my mother's cousin fell from a cliff when he was very young.

my father wasn't in the best of health himself just before flying up. he had suspected heart problems the weeks before travelling. having had previous heart surgery he was admitted straight into hospital. after he was released he was informed that the x-rays showed the pain near his heart was emanating from a broken wire that was holding his rib cage together.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Benjamin Button, the Curious Case of

just spotted this trailer on yt. it's for the talented david fincher's new movie: the curious case of benjamin button. it won't be out until december 19th, just in time for christmas.

the film is about a man (brad pitt) who is aged 80 and ages backwards. you may have noticed that this is the spanish version of the trailer, i don't think an english one is available yet. it looks amazing and seems to have a magical quality like the films of jeunet or guillermo del toro.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Free Joe Satriani Ticket

this isn't a pre scheduled blog post. i got back in late this evening with my ears ringing. a friend gave me a free ticket to go and see Joe Satriani at the Glasgow concert hall. it was a pretty great seat as well, up in the balcony facing the stage.

the reason why i was lucky enough to receive the ticket: i don't like football. rangers were playing a team down in Manchester for the uefa cup. it's called the beautiful game, but seeing a ball going into a net doesn't excite me. the ticket owner wanted to watch the game, so offered it to my brother (and possibly a few others) but he wanted to watch the game as well. the ticket eventually found it's way to me, and liking music more than footie, i duly accepted.

the ushers looked as though they had incandescent bulbs in their flashlights as they showed people to their seats. the light was quite warm, not as white as many led torches.

Satriani was on top form bouncing about, you wouldn't think he's 51! he played some new things unheard before by my ears, but also a good number of older crowd pleasing favourites. prior to this show, the last time i saw him live was 15 years ago at the playhouse in Edinburgh, back when he had hair.

someone's uploaded a clip to youtube already just a few hours after the concert. this is from the very end of the night when, for an encore they played a crowd chant and then summer song:

the supporting act was Paul Gilbert accompanied by a chap on bass, and a lady on keyboard (and electronic cowbell). i never knew who he was until looking him up on wiki. he is very talented but the songs he played didn't really appeal to me. Gilbert seems to be classed as a 'shredder.'

Shred guitar, a unique style of electric guitar playing that focuses on quickly executing advanced techniques to increase the speed of the playing, often being utilized in the above-mentioned neo-classical metal
i must be getting older, when faster doesn't necessary =better. playing at speed can be impressive but if it isn't surrounded by a song, i don't see the point. you can witness thousands of SRV versus malmsteen arguments on youtube. i preferred Satriani's former supporting act, Adrian Legg, whose style was quite different.

anyway i digress. apparently i'm not the only one with ringing in my ears. Gilbert, like many musicians, suffers from tinnitus, which explains the huge uncool headphones. he was also dressed quite 'unrocky.' just wearing light jeans and a t-shirt, minus the headphones and you could mistake him for someone who wandered off the street. Joe was dressed down in a black t, and jeans, but his red trainers matched his red guitar when he first came on stage.

highlight of the evening? probably a toss up between always with me, always with you and cool#9.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Too Much Light

on friday i went to the opticians to have an eye checkup. he wanted a good look inside so dilated my pupils by putting some drops in them. this stung for about 10 seconds. your natural reaction is to shut your eyes tight, but the optician said you have to blink to let the air at your eyes and the stinging soon stops. you then have that "pitch black" look.

he made me stick my face in another machine testing my visual field where i had to press a button every time a little white dot flashed. the left eye performed less well as i am partially blind due to getting whacked by a ball some years back.

he dilated the pupils to have a "good look around in there". the eye hasn't got any worse and the scar tissue has stayed put. he is going to get a camera from the NHS pretty soon, and said i can come back in 6 months time to see what the inside of my own eye looks like. pretty cool. these photos were taken by my brother after i made it home.

i say after i made it home, because getting home was difficult. if you go through the same procedure, remember to take sunglasses with you. after stepping out of the optician's there was so much light! i had to nearly close my eyes all the way home, looking through slits. once home i felt like i could see in the dark! no need for a flashlight. viewing things up close and far aways was a problem though. things were only in focus within a certain depth of Bulbgirl and i went to the cinema.

seeing some mindless colourful eye candy like street racer seemed like a good idea; blurry kaleidoscopic visuals on a large screen sounded like just the thing. outside again on our way to the cinema we met my sister. i couldn't see her but Bulbgirl could. she was waving at me and wondered why i wasn't waving back. up close she thought that the enlarged peepers were a little bit freaky, another bonus to doing this.

street racer had started by the time we got to the cinema in Glasgow, so we saw street kings starring keanu reeves instead. my vision was pretty much back to normal by the end of the movie. if you want long term night vision you could go for a surgical shine job like Riddick in pitch black, or stick with a flashlight.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Big Fat Liar

just testing the new future posting ability of blogger. the Blogger Buzz site informs us that we can now schedule posts to be published at a future date and time. this means that you can go on holiday, go to the shops, or just write up all you posts for the month in one day, then take a break from blogging.

i'm pushing the boat out here and publishing a whole 15 mins into the future. it's 9.45 pm and i'll be 15 minutes into a Hitchcock film when this is published. this means i can lie and pretend i go to bed early and post at 9am instead of going to bed late and posting at 5am or whenever the notion takes me.

does it make a difference to know that you're reading a blog in which nobody hit the publish button, when the post was published?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Eriskay Escapades

my family and I went to Eriskay for a few days. it wasn't for a holiday or a little break away. instead it was to bury my mother's brother, Ken. you may have read that he was already cremated in melbourne, Australia, but he wanted to be buried in Eriskay where he grew up. why choose between cremation and burial when you can have both! Ken wasn't the biggest of guys but even transporting a small coffin is a lot more difficult than transporting a casket of ashes. i thought his ashes were going to be scattered, but the plan was to bury them.

before setting off, to the outer hebrides, we were joking that we had better take the correct casket, as our cat Raku's ashes still haven't been scattered by my sister.

the pic above shows the cemetery in the centre of the image, which is incredibly close to the ocean. the plot where Ken was finally laid to rest, was only about 1ft x 2ft x 2ft deep. what i found very interesting was the presence of little seashells underneath the turf. there was even a larger limpet shell. the beach has really white sand, and looked very summery. the sun was shining, but the wind blowing off the atlantic made it a wee bit nippy. when i was in Oz a couple of year's back a tour guide mentioned that he'd been to Barra and being an Aussie had his bodyboard with him. he told how he'd been fooled by the sand and blue waters, joking that he almost caught hypothermia.

when travelling up, we went to Barra first ( staying overnight there also). it is a 5 hour ferry journey from Oban. my folks are from there so we saw some relatives including my uncle (father's brother) who is gravely ill with cancer. we had been visiting him when he was staying in the hospital in Glasgow, but he seems a little better on home turf, regaining some mobility instead of wasting away in a hospital bed.

it was a strange few days, a whistlewind tour of the western isles. Eriskay and Uist are connected now by a causeway. previously you had to get the boat, or ferry. don't know when i'll be going back up again, hopefully when it's a little warmer.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Hydrotherapy / Floatation Therapy

since just before christmas i have been visiting a hospital and getting hydrotherapy. before you get pictures in your head of me doing aquarobics with elderly ladies, it's actually a small pool in which a physiotherapist shows me gentle exercises. i say gentle, but actually mean "harder than one first suspects."

when i saw a physio at my local health centre she asked me to mark on a diagram where my pain was. after i gave her the diagram back, and it looked like it had been used for target practice, she didn't think acupuncture was going to do the trick so prescribed hydrotherapy instead. has it worked? not really, the pains are still there and it's tough work, but at least it got me out and about. they say it's important for hypermobile people to keep their fitness levels up, even if it hurts a little. otherwise you can end up staying in bed, and it's just a vicious circle from there.

the resistance of your limbs through the water provide a little more force than doing the same movements out of water, while the rest of your body is gently supported and feeling a little buoyant. the water in the hydrotherapy pool is slightly warmer than at the local swimming baths so it's more comfortable to be in.

after doing all they could for me, and showing me the exercises tailored to my body, they moved me on to seeing a physio on land. i've only been a couple of times but the main focus is on doing small push ups without the scapula winging. the idea is to strengthen all the small muscles around the shoulder area and stop my shoulder blades from sliding out so easily.

as well as water to exercise in, water can also be used for rest. using a floatation tank can be just what the body needs. it's at body temperature, nowhere near as warm as the hydro pool, but it is far more supportive. so much so, that it is impossible to sink, even when your asleep (i don't recommend sleeping on your front).

unfortunately my local floatation tank is out of commission for a few days. i found this out when in need of float yesterday. maybe i should get work towards getting one myself, and leading others to experience the rest it gives.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Political Darkness

politics doesn't interest me very much but i love this barrack obama video i discovered on seobook last month.

Yes we can lyrics:

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can.

It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes, we can, to justice and equality.

Yes, we can. Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. And they will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks and months to come.

We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

That the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA. We will remember that there is something happening in America: that we are not as divided as our politics suggests, that we are one people, we are one nation, and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story, with three words that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

i must have watched it 20 times or more. i find it uplifting, just that repeated mantra. even more interesting are the comments, so many people use the word "inspiring." these are cynical times and people need someone to believe in. politicians tend not to be the sort of people to believe in or even believe half the time. usually they are terribly untrustworthy bunch (only beaten by web gurus), who would swap their own grandmother for a promotion, but obama seems better than the rest. maybe his pr dept is better than the rest (the cynic in me talking), but the speech this song was taken from was one of the best i've ever heard.

maybe it's the combination of the music and the edited words, a great speech, the refreshing new concept of a politician being positive rather than being negative about their opponent. maybe the art of politics has, in this instance, become something more pure: art. i don't know, but it's good and seems to touch people deep down. i'll end with this particularly moving comment (of the 62,202 and counting) from nygrandma:

I'm a 53 yo upstate NY woman who intentionally changed my party membership from Republican to Democrat for the ONLY reason so I can vote for Obama on Super Tuesday.
Not since I remember being a child during the Kennedy years (both Jack and Bobby), have I seen and felt such a profound emotion towards a politician.
This man DESERVES our support. This man DESERVES to be our next President.

Monday, March 17, 2008

About Me(me)

Summer has tagged me and i have to give you some titbits of info about me. here goes:

What was I doing 10 years ago?
... in 1998 i was 22 and nearing the end of a 4 year degree course in fine art. it was in dundee and i specialised in oil painting

Things On My To Do list
... get a "to do list" :)
... get healthier
... see a specialist
... float more
... swim more
... spend more time being creative
... make a living by doing creative things
... buy batteries
... get my brother to move a couch

Bad Habits
... procrastination
... no definite pattern to my life
... being lackadaisical, or so i have been accused of. probably related to procrastination.

Places I have Lived
... glasgow, renfrew, erskine, paisley

Things Most People Don’t Know About Me
... i look normal (fairly) but i hurt (joints are crap)
... partially blind in left eye
... i wanted to be spider-man when i grew up. older and wiser, i realise how silly this idea was. i now want to be batman

time to tag some others: Stephanie, Tim and Lever.

Perpetual Light

i was at a funeral on saturday. another of my uncles died last week. his name was Michael. i didn't know him very well as he had separated from my aunt a long time ago. he had isolated himself from people he knew over the course of his life. by all accounts he was difficult to live with, but towards the end of his life, and his battle with cancer, in the final few weeks he made his peace with his family.

it was a strange kind of funeral, it didn't feel as sad as they usually do. strange because the priest at the funeral was my cousin, the dead man's own son. he was very professional, and there seemed to be an air of joy. i'm not sure if joy is the right word, maybe it was a general happiness that his suffering was over. it was also a time for the clan to meet up. cousins i had not seen for a while were there, some with kids that are growing up what seems incredibly fast. time passes, people are busy, and often it's only occasion like weddings and funerals that we meet up.

one side of the family are quite religious, they do have a priest after all. one of the other brothers we all thought might go into the priesthood, eventually got into politics and works behind the scenes at the scottish parliament. it was the wilder one who funnily became the priest. i wonder if it's that certainty of seeing people again in heaven that makes funerals less sad for believers. i don't have the same beliefs or the same certainty. this might be it, all there is. who knows?

but one of the prayers that my cousin said struck a chord:

eternal rest grant unto them, o lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. may they rest in peace. amen

perpetual light. aren't those two words beautiful together? being brought up a catholic, the prayer wasn't unfamiliar, but i'd never really thought about it before. that's the problem learning things by rote, repetition doesn't always get you to think about what you are saying. perpetual light would need infinite energy. i like the sound of that too. infinite energy, say it out loud, hear the words in your head. i lean more towards fuzzy reincarnation-jedi-lion-king ideas about the afterlife.

what do you think? what happens when we go. do you think there will perpetual light, or are we snuffed out like a candle?

rest in peace, Michael. wherever you are.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Mother Tongue

i'm a mummy's boy, and apparently have the perfect tongue for piercing.

mother's day, or mothering sunday was on the 2nd of march here in the uk but is on the second sunday of may (11th may in 2008) in the states. everyday is mother's day for me, but it's one of those days when we have to be extra nice to our mothers. that means not telling her you just got your tongue pierced. on her return journey from australia recently, my mamma said that she'd tried unsuccesfully to watch elizabeth, starring cate blanchett. watching and flying put her off the movie.

while shopping for an elizabethan gift (eventually the dvd and a beautifully illustrated book were chosen) i told Bulbgirl that i had to check something out. while in glasgow city centre i thought i'd do something that had been put off since last week. bulbgirl had a few guesses:
"is it art?" "no."
"is it music?" "no."
"is it food?" "no."
she soon realised what was to be checked out when we were standing outside nirvana body piercing. after enquiring about tongue piercing they took me right after someone who had made an appointment. the piercer, john, was great at laying out what he was going to do. and clean? i think it's probably cleaner than most hospitals, with the attention that john puts into washing, wearing surgical gloves, and using sterile instruments only once!

the procedure was a doddle in john's capable hands. a slight sharp pain and the bar was inserted. i was handed mouthwash (maybe dental bleach?) and given a run through of after care procedures. john said that my tongue would swell up probably by tuesday, and then be fine in 7-10 days. he also added that i'd probably regret having it done for a day or so. it's now the wee small hours of thursday morning, and it's been no bother so far.

i couldn't even feel the pain of the tongue that first night. my regular body pains outdid any piercing pain. is even a short walk in glasgow too much for me these days? pacing myself is something i've tried but some days my stamina just seems to evaporate.

a cool trick that i learned from house m.d is to use pain as a distraction. bulbgirl and i have been making our way through the first 2 series of house. in one episode, hugh laurie damages his hand on purpose, creating pain there, which also lessens the chronic pain in his leg. something to do with pain pathways, or the like. i don't know exactly how it works but tried it the next night. when experiencing joint/body pains i pushed the tongue piercing against my teeth to make it hurt more. it hurt a little, but seemed to take the edge off the rest of the body pains momentarily. is the answer to pain medication more pain (or just a different type of pain)?

anyway, john the piercer gave bulbgirl and myself a lift home. i was his last customer of the day and he asked me where i live and said it was on his way. we got talking, how long had he run his business, mothers day, what did his wife do, and other stuff. bizarrely enough, we found out he had met my mother at a parents evening! his kid was being taught be my own mother. "didn't her brother die recently?" john asked. his kid was quite upset that they had lost their teacher for a month.

obviously him sticking a needle through my tongue was meant to be. in a city of over a million people, how spooky is that? the rest of the night i tried to avoid speaking with a slightly closed mouth so not to show a glinting stud, and eating soup really slowly so the chink of spoon on metal in my mouth didn't give me away. it's not a big deal, but after the shock my mother got when told of my previous tongue bifurcation attempt, understandably i didn't want to her through that again. well, not just yet.

she really like the mother's day gifts, but would still give me a tongue lashing for the piercing. not a word to her if you know her please.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Death Down Under

my mother just returned from oz . she hadn't planned the 3 week visit down under: at the end of january she received a sad call from her eldest sister to say that her brother, Ken, had died. he was 72, the eldest of her siblings.

the neighbours hadn't seem him for a while so the police broke in to his house where he was found in his bed. it's unclear how long he was there for, it could have been up to a couple of weeks. his sister, living in melbourne, thought that it was funny she hadn't heard from him on her birthday, on the 25th january. this was a little weird, but not out of the ordinary, he had been forgetting a few birthdays over the last year.

Kenny was my siblings' favourite uncle when we were children. as a merchant seaman, and a lifelong bachelor, he always gave us more money than we were used to getting as pocket money. he would play silly games folding paper, guessing games and tricks with the prize being cash. he was very generous but more often than not he was plastered. drinking too much does seem to be an affliction that many sailors from the western isles seem to have, but Ken had a few more reasons to drink.

when he was younger he suffered an accident on a building site which left him in a lot of pain. in his mid 50s he had another accident. Kenny was in the cabin of a boat that was being lowered into the water when the cables holding the boat snapped on one side. the men that were on deck fell into the water, but my uncle was thrown around this cabin putting him in hospital once again. he needed metal rods inserted into his arm to rebuild his shattered elbow. drinking for him probably killed the pain to some extent, but also made him a little childlike himself. on the whole he was a likeable drunk, but in his later years, alcohol probably got the better of him.

most people liked Ken. in australia they mostly likely thought he was a crazy scotsman, while on his visits back home, many thought he was a crazy australian. he 'emigrated' to australia many years ago, well that's not quite true. he jumped ship in australia, and hid out in new zealand for a while until the coast was clear. he told me that you probably wouldn't be able to pull the same stunt nowadays, but he got away with it.

my mother, along with another sister, flew out to melbourne, to see to Ken's funeral, put his affairs in order, and clean out his house. so there were 3 of his 5 sisters at the funeral. he was cremated and his ashes have been brought back to be scattered in the western isles. at the cremation ceremony my mother, and her sisters, were wondering about the identity of 3 young girls. could they be long family, a hebridean connection? quite possible as Ken knew a few scottish families out there. actually, no. they turned out to be barmaids from his local watering hole. kudos. my uncle must have been a good tipper. i'm sure he would have appreciated that.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Dramatic Lemur

just because.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Balls to Christmas

so the 12 days of christmas came and went, and so did the feast of the epiphany (and i didn't have a good idea that day). it was time to take down the christmas tree.

last year we didn't put up a tree. in it's place, or so we thought, we placed a wicker-type reindeer, christened, of course, "robbie." we did have a tree this year, but the our little wicker friend also made a reappearance. Bulbgirl had a swedish friend staying over for a week (she was the one who gave us 24 series 6), who informed us that our reindeer was in fact a billy goat. robbie's name quickly changed to billy, although we have in the past called him goldenballs due to the baubles we gave him. bulbcat #3, likes him though she was a little wary at first. she thought he was encroaching on her territory, but eventually got used to going up and giving him a good sniff.

for christmas 2007 we had a small fibreoptic tree. simple but effective, and very hypnotic at night. we didn't have a fairy to stick on the top of it, so i used a figure that i got from ebay, a masters of the universe villain called trapjaw. bat wings were planned but time ran out to make them. not the prettiest of fairies but he did the job.

christmas popped into my head again today after coming across the merry xmas everybody vid by slade. it's strange how it doesn't have the same effect on people after christmas. i suppose that's why they call it seasonal. out with the old and in with the new, looking ahead to valentine's day and easter and all that jazz. i just feel a little cheated as we haven't really had a proper snowfall yet.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Day 1 half way through Day 6

happy new year all!

what did you do on the first day of the year? Bulbgirl and i got half way through day 6. before you have any ideas that we have perfected time travel, or, more likely, are having a nervous breakdown, i'm talking 24.

if you are a fan of 24 starring keifer sutherland you probably call it day 6, non-fans tend to call it series 6. as the powerbook screen is still out of action, we watched it on my parents tv screen. not owning a tv is great but to watch a dvd series our backup portable dvd player doesn't really cut the mustard.

after series 5 ended i couldn't have imagined that the series creators could come up with premise to keep the show running, but they have, and damn good it is too. well, so far anyway. i won't spoil it for you buy giving away any details, but if you haven't checked it out yet, i heartily recommend it. we first got into it a couple of years back, when we were both loaded with the flu at new year time and did nothing but watch the first 3 series of 24. instead of thinking should i watch another episode?, it is so compulsive you start thinking should i watch another disc?

ok i will give away a spoiler: keifer sutherland, a man who knows his way around a good flashlight, and he still hasn't picked one up twelve hours into day 6! :o

have i spoiled it for you now?

Jack Bauer and co: