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Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

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Me and the guys I work with would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

What The F**k Are You Looking At?!

It's just after 8 am at the moment and I've just woken from a particularly troubling dream which saw me looking after The Demon's 4 year old nephew only for him to go missing "on my watch".

Every parents worst nightmare, I know, but I think I know the reason for this particular nightmare scenario.
If you've read my blog before or even glanced at my profile pic you'll know that I eat, sleep and breathe mountain bikes. As usual, Sunday saw myself and my friends at Britain's premier mountain biking venue, Glentress forest just outside Peebles. After a wet but enjoyable day which saw me fly over the handlebars just the once, we returned to the car park for a shower, a change of clothes and some of the now famous millionaires shortbread.
As I made my way back from the changing rooms I happened to glance over at a man who was packing his car and getting ready to leave.
"I'm sure I know that guys face" I found myself thinking, but it was only when I saw his wife and realised that I also knew her face too that the penny dropped.
Kate and Gerry McCann enjoying a day out, cycling in the countryside.
I immediately looked away, but then found myself staring, something that I noticed every single person in the car park who passed them also do.
I cannot think of anything worse, to be stared at and spoken about in hushed tones wherever you go. It must be like being a celebrity but for all the wrong reasons.
Whatever you're opinion of the McCanns, and I know that they have their critics, you just cannot help but feel sorry for them. Yes they courted the media in the wake of their daughters abduction, yes there is a case to be argued that they should never have left her alone, but without a doubt Madeleine McCann is easily the most well known, if that's the right term, missing child on the planet right now, proving that their choice to use the media was arguably the correct one.
Anyway, they packed away their kit, started up their little silver Honda, and left.
That's when all four of us turned to each other and said "Was that who I think it was?"

As I said, nightmare.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

3 2 Go

Nearly there now, we're on the home straight.

My company gratiously gifts its employees a whole two days holiday at Christmas, yes that's right, two whole days holiday, followed by another two days off for New Year! Are they mental?!
This leads to machiavelian plotting by me and my fellow colleagues to see who can take the days between Christmas and New Year off using the allocation of annual holidays that we can all elect to take. The company policy is that no more than two people may be off at any one time and this year I'm one of them. The problem has been that I elected to take those three days as holidays way back in January of this year but I used up the rest of my annual allocation at the end of August. This has meant that I have had to drag my sorry arse through the last four months without a day off, focusing solely on the upcoming eleven day Christmas holiday without my 80 mile daily commute to Glasgow, without the 4:30am alarm, without the doom & gloom of the UK manufacturing industry, without Simon Mayo on Radio 5Live and Bryan Burnett on Radio Scotland, without the bio hazzard yellow chicken curry from the staff canteen and without the £60 of diesel that I'd need to enjoy all these little pleasures.

Instead I shall eat enough food to feed a small township in Botswana, I shall drink more alcohol than Jaggy goes through in an average week, I shall, I'm sure, be required to play various games with a couple of small children that I know, I shall endure much dancing and singing and I'll enjoy every second of it.

Three more days to go, three more days to go, three more days to go, three more . . . . . . .

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Come And Have A Go If You Think You're Talented Enough

I don't watch X Factor, never have. I think it's car-crash television that perpetuates the "get rich quick" culture so prevalent in todays youth, but I have been reliably informed that it's been won this year by a highly emotional young lady named Alexandra.

I'm happy for her, but I'm sure she'll be no more than a memory in 18 months or so.

But . . .

. . . for her first single she, or rather her management, has decided to cover Leonard Cohen's 1984 masterpiece "Hallelujah".
Now having a crack at one of the greatest songs of all time shows either bravery or sheer folly on the part of her and her management team, after all such talents like Allison Crowe, Willie Nelson, John Cale, K.D. Lang, Rufus Wainwright, the late Jeff Buckley, Bon Jovi and even Aled Jones have all had a go, to varying degrees of success.

For me though it's the Jeff Buckley version that is the definitive cover, it's as near to perfection as any song can be, that's why it's at number one in my list of 'Top Ten Cover Versions That Improve On The Original'.

1. Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley
2. Redemption Song by Chris Cornell
3. I Fought The Law by The Clash
4. Sweet Jane by Cowboy Junkies
5. Common People by William Shatner
6. Tainted Love by Soft Cell
7. Suspicious Minds by Fine Young Cannibals
8. All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix
9. Lost In Music by The Fall
10. Hounds Of Love by The Futureheads

That's right bitches, the Shatner is in there at number 5. Bask in his magnificence.

Actually, I'm not entirely convinced about number 4.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Weather Forecast For Tonight: Dark

Is it just me?
Am I alone?
Am I the only one who thinks that the weather forecasts of, say, the last five years are completely and utterly unreliable?

For example, over the last three days Central Scotland has been gripped in fear of the dreaded "blizzard". Now the name blizzard conjures up images of the Antarctic, polar bears tearing seals asunder, snowdrifts the height of your house.

"Blizzard warning! Blizzard warning!"

Today I awoke to some light drizzle.
Apparently it's chaos theory at work, the overnight temperature being half a degree too warm for the killer snow to form. Small consolation to the people who made and adjusted their plans to account for the mountains of icy precipitation that we were almost certainly guaranteed to have.

Predicting the weather, pah!
Jeremy Paxman was right!

Monday, December 01, 2008

St Andrew's Day

St Andrew.
Patron saint of Scotland, Apostle, brother of Saint Peter, whatever, he's the reason that I decided to make 'tablet' yesterday.
Now for those of you that are new to the world of Scottish confectionary, tablet is basically sugar, more sugar, condensed milk, butter and sweetened with sugar.

Ironically I ended up following an American recipie as the Scottish ones I could find on t'internet went along the lines of "throw all your ingredients in a pan, boil it, that's it done".

The problem seems to be that only old grannies know the timings involved in making this most calorie controlled diet unfriendly of sweets. Pour the mixture too soon and it won't set right, boil it too long and it turns into a substance rivalled only by carbon fibre in it's strength to weight ratio.

Mine ended up SO hard that I could cut diamonds with it.
Tastes nice though, just dont expect to swallow any of it.