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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Woof

My wee dog had to get put to sleep today.
She'd been unwell for some time now and had her spleen, and the tumour that was attached to it, removed a couple of months ago, but the decline in her health was pretty rapid.

Tara was always a bit of a daft wee dog and she used to drive me crazy sometimes with her fascination for eating t shirts, usually cool expensive t shirts belonging to me!

People who don't 'get' dogs might find it strange that a grown man is reduced to a bubbling wreck, but a bubbling wreck I am. These people will never understand the bond that builds up between man and animal. She was a part of my family and I'm really going to miss her . . . although my wardrobe wont.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me!

October 18th.
Moby Dick was first published, Bob Beamon set an Olympic long jump record that stood for 23 years, the U.S. took possession of Alaska from Russia, Thomas Edison died, the shuttle Atlantis took off to deploy the Galileo space probe, the Jimi Hendrix Experience played its debut concert in Paris, East German leader Erich Honecker resigns, Jenson Button becomes world Formula 1 champion, Texas Instruments announces the worlds first transistor radio and in 1970 yours truly was born.

Yes, it's my 39th birthday today. An age that sounds old yet I still feel like a 20-something, in mind if not in body.

Other people born today include:
Chuck Berry
George C. Scott
Lee Harvey Oswald
Martina Navratilova
Tommy "Hitman" Hearns
Jean-Claude Van Damage
Michael Stich
Evelyn Waugh
Zac Efron
Freida Pinto


...although I must admit that I don't know who the last two are. Thank you Wikipedia.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Public Enemy #1

Well the time has come to say goodbye, folks.
Unfortunately I'm having to go on the run from the FBI. I don't know what I've done or how much time I have, but they are clearly onto me because I received this email today.
I've copied it out below, including all the same spelling and grammar. I'd also like to point out that it came with the subject line: FBI OFFICE. GET BACK TO US IMMEDIATELY IF YOU DONT WANT US TO ARREST YOU FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

ANTI-TERRORIST AND MONETARY CRIMES DIVISION
FBI HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
935 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON,
D.C. 20535-0001
Attention Fund Beneficiary,
RE: FBI NOTICE WARNING TO FUND BENEFICIARY
This is an official advise from the FBI CRIME DEPARTMENT. It has come to our notice that the International Monetary Fund (IMF),Central Bank of Nigeria/world bank has released 10,5M US dollars into Federal Reserve Bank USA in your name as the beneficiary being for overdue Inheritant,Lottory,contract payment.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF),Central Bank of Nigeria/world bank knowing fully well that they do not have enough facilities to effect this payment to your account, so they used what is known as secret Diplomatic transit payment (S.T.D.P) to pay this fund through wire transfer in order to complete this payment.
They are still waiting for confirmation from you on the available Transferred funds which were made in direct transfer so that they can do final crediting to your account. Records which we have with this method of payment in the past has always been related to terrorist acts, we do not want you to get into trouble as soon as these funds reflect in your account in any part of the world. So it is our duty as a worldwide commission to correct this little problem before this fund will be credited into your personal account. Due to the increased difficulty and unnecessary security by the American authorities when funds come from Europe and the Middle East, the FBI bank commission stopped the transfer on its way to deliver
We have decided to contact you directly to acquire the proper Verifications and proof from you to show that you are the rightful person to receive this fund, because of the amount involve. Note that the fund is in your name with Federal Reserve Bank USA, but we ask them not to credit the fund to you yet, because we need a solid proof and Verifications from you before releasing the funds. In this regards, you are to re-assure and proof to us that the funds you are about to receive is a clean money by sending to us Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer (DIST) to satisfy the FBI that the money you are about to receive is legitimate.
You are advised to forward the DIST document to us immediately if you have it in your possession, if you don't then let us know so that we will direct and inform you where to obtain the DIST document and send it to us in order the Federal Reserve Bank USA to go ahead and release the money to you without any further delay. These Document is to be issued to you from our Authorized office.So get back to us immediately if you don’t have the DIST document so that we will inform you the particular place to obtain the DIST document, because we have come to realize that the fund was Authorized by (H.S.B.C) Bank in London.
An FBI Identification Record and Diplomatic Immunity Seal of Transfer (DIST) often referred to as a Criminal History. Record or Rap Sheet is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, naturalization, or military service. These Condition Is Valid until 30th OCTOBER, 2009 After that, we shall take actions on Canceling the payment and then charge you for illegal funds transfer from Nigerian government.
GUARANTEE: funds will be released on confirmation of the document.
1. Credit payment instruction: irrevocable credit guarantee.
2. Beneficiary has full power when validation is cleared.
3. Beneficiaries bank in U.S.A., can only release funds.
4. Upon confirmation from the world bank / united nations.
5. Bearers must clear bank protocol and validation request.
NOTE: We have asked for the above documents to make available the most complete and up-to date records possible for the enhancement of public safety, welfare and security of Society while recognizing the importance of individual privacy rights. If you fail to provide the Documents to us, we will charge you with the FBI and take our proper action against you for not proofing to us the legitimate of the fund you are about to receive. The United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 establishes rules and regulations for the subject of an FBI Identification Record to obtain a copy of his or her own Record for review. The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division processes these requests to check illegal activities in U.S.A
We wait for your prompt response
Best Regards,
Robert Mueller, III
FBI Director

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Emperor's New Clothes

Yes, it's that time of year again, time for the 2009 Turner prize!

Yay

This year we shall be treated to such artistic masterpieces like a chair with a letter under it, a sperm whale's skull, a big pile of dust and some paper mache weebles.
Can't say I'm particularly moved by any of the "works" I've mentioned above, indeed I can't imagine why a chair with a letter lying on the floor under it could be construed as art in the first place.
In fact, I'll go further.
Anything that happens randomly in households up and down the country negates any artistic value that a work of art has in my opinion. I throw my mail on a little table inside my front door, yet the artistic genius that I clearly have has so far escaped anyone and everyone who's been in my house, including myself.

I can just imagine The Demon's face if I told her that the muddy pile of mountain bike clothing currently residing in front of the washing machine wasn't actually for washing, but instead was a poignant comment on 21st century society.

I do believe she'd say "pish".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Edited Highlights

I've been a fan of Editors since I first heard their amazing d├ębut album The Back Room back in 2005, and the follow up An End Has A Start in 2007 just confirmed my belief that they are one of the most innovative bands around at the moment. So it was with some excitement that myself and The Demon headed off to the HMV Picturehouse in Edinburgh to see them last night.
Now it was always going to be a bit of a tricky gig given that the band's new album, In This Light and On This Evening, was released yesterday morning and the majority of the audience probably wouldn't have had time to hear it and also because it's such a radical departure from the kind of music that they've released before.

I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of bands getting all experimental, as by and large they then stop playing the kind of music that attracted you to them in the first place, but experimental it is. I hope it's just a phase they're going through.

The gig itself was great, as the other three Editors gigs I've been to have been, and the appreciative Edinburgh crowd went suitably bonkers for the bouncy classics like Bullets, Munich and The Racing Rats, and gave quiet, if tentative, approval to the new synth-based tracks like Papillon and the catchy titled Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool.

A top night out, despite experiencing the worlds worst kebab on the way home.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bring It On, Ahmadinejad!

It's fast approaching Halloween again, party season is upon us.
This year it's the turn of Young Frap and Sarah Biscuits to host the evening's festivities, with the theme being the rather vague and enigmatic 'Dead Decade'.
Almost anything can be considered applicable to this theme, that's probably why they picked it I suppose, so I chose the 70's, or more specifically, I shall be going as 'The Cold War'.

Now before all you smarty pants history graduates pipe up with "Technically Inchy, the Cold War lasted for over 40 years", I've specifically chosen the 70's era because its when I was born, the world had the coolest military aircraft and spy films of the time always had crazy Russians as the bad guys.

As you can see from the above photo my outfit is complete, now that my genuine Finnish Army-surplus gas mask has arrived, complete with two BNIB charcoal filters. I think that it matches well with my British Army NBC suit that I found on ebay a few years ago (don't ask).
For those who are unfamiliar with the term NBC, it stands for Nuclear Biological Chemical.
Basically, these are Army combat fatigues made from reinforced nylon that are lined with charcoal impregnated felt and are designed to be quickly donned over regular combat fatigues prior to an attack utilising one or more of the above agents. They also have a radiation counter in one of the pockets, so should Kim Jong-il wake up one morning with a right arsehole of a hangover, I can rest easy knowing that I'm prepared for the worst.

Game on.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Keep Walking

I'm not the worlds greatest fan of whisky, but I'll be the first to admit that it most definitely has it's place. It's one of the handful of things in this world that will for evermore be inextricably linked with Scotland, and none more so than Johnnie Walker.

It is therefore a touch ironic that this fantastic 2009 advert for the brand comes as the Kilmarnock plant, home of Johnnie Walker whisky from day one, closes due to the traditional "business needs".

If you listen close, you can hear Mr Walker turning in his grave.

PS - Better quality version here.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Bubble Wrap

Great stuff bubble wrap.

It's in equal measure, a source of entertainment and a means to protect something from harm.

Something like a child for example.
You can laugh, but it would seem that this is the direction that society is heading as we reach the end of the first decade of the 21st century.
The recent case of the nursery worker who abused and took sexually explicit photos on her phone of children at the nursery where she worked has disgusted the nation, myself included, as pretty much any case of sexual assault involving children does, but there has been a knee-jerk reaction of epic proportions in the media.
"Should people who care for children be banned from using mobile phones?"

Oh yes, great idea.
How many children's lives do you think have been saved after a carer/teacher/group leader has called the emergency services when an accident has taken place for example?

Hang on, that nursery worker made contact with her other paedo chums via Facebook, so maybe we should stop carers from having access to the internet as well?
Hmmm, restricted communications and no access to the web? Sounds like we'd be treating them exactly the same as a convicted sex offender.

Yes this is a troubling story, but by all accounts she was well liked and trusted in the community and had passed a criminal background check, yet still the popular media and panic-monger websites like mumsnet.com continue to push for tighter and tighter restrictions on the rest of society, even though the overwhelming majority of children are entirely safe at their nurseries or primary schools. They continue to push their 'paedophile on every street corner' propaganda and claim that "yes, it's all worth it if we protect just one child".
So where do we stop? How far do we go to protect our kids? (speaking as someone who doesn't and never will have kids, I'm using the Royal 'our').
Ban cameras?
Ban pencils and sketch pads?
Random raids on childminders 'just in case'?
Only employ blind computer-illiterate mutes?

Also let me ask you this, dear reader.
If you've visited my little oasis of cyber tranquillity before then there's a good chance you have some idea of the kind of person I am. If I tell you that I too have recently passed a criminal background check in the last few weeks, would you then allow me to look after YOUR children?

I assume that your natural reaction is to say no, for one or more of possibly three reasons.
1. You don't know me, but did you know the person who minds your kids when you're at work?
2. I'm a man. When I was a kid I was looked after by lots of people. My gran, my cousins Liz & Ann, Charlie the old man next door. The problem now is that 21st century society has convinced you that a man, any man, cannot be trusted with children. Paedos on every corner, remember?
3. You're a regular visitor to my blog and the thought of your kids being looked after by me scares you more than a paranoid schizophrenic at a showing of The Blair Witch Project.

As you walk down your high street tomorrow, wear ear defenders. The noise from the rotor blades of all the helicopter parents is deafening.