April 2008


I’ve been a very patient boy. The countdown started at something like 200 sleeps, which was forever, but it managed to get down to about 50 sleeps before the man who controls the number of sleeps decided to up it back to around 180. Much swearing was done at that point. Much swearing at the man who controls the number of sleeps and much more swearing directed towards the stupid PS3 as it was the PS3 that made the man increase the count in the first place, on account of it being rubbish.

But now, after another eternity has passed — or 179 sleeps to be exact — and GTA IV will finally be released. In fact, some souls who can stay awake beyond the witching hour have no more sleeps to go and will, at this moment, be deciding whether they should go to the 24 hour Tesco or Asda.

Personally, I’m waiting until tomorrow morning, but I’ve the day off work and I plan to do absolutely … nothing … other than play GTA IV until either my eyes melt, an epileptic fit is enduced or I have to nip downstairs for a roll and square sausage. Probably the latter.

So, Reading Several, don’t expect too much in the way of posts over the next few days, unless the game is shite in which case, set your sleep count to one. Until the morrow, I’ll just need to make do with reviews, like this one:

Now, where did I put my Night Nurse?

Victoria Derbyshire’s morning show on Radio Five Live is usually excellent and the only downside about it is I very seldom get a chance to catch it, thanks to work and being a lazy sod when I’m on holiday. This morning, however, I’m sitting in waiting on Super Mario to come and fix my leaky bath so I got a chance to hear her and her guest, the honorable member for Blackburn, Jack Straw.

Jack Straw, this morning, represents everything that’s wrong with the modern politician and that is that the modern politician is exactly the same as his 1950s counterpart. He was condescending, he insinuated that callers were liars and he churns out the same old rhetoric regardless of the question and just talks louder when someone tries to pull him to task for this.

Caller after caller tried to tell him that inflation is much, much higher than 2.1% and doesn’t represent the tightness in the pocket of Joe Q Public. No, it’s not, he said. And even if it was, it’s still much better than it would’ve been if the Tories had been in power.

YOU’VE BEEN IN POWER FOR ELEVEN FREAKIN’ YEARS! IT’S NOT THE TORIES FAULT ANYMORE!

I’m not voting for Labour ever again, says another caller. I’ve heard that one before, chirps Straw, and the other day when a guy told me that, his wife said that he’d never voted Labour in his life before!

Sand? Check. Head in it? Check.

I understand, says Straw as he moves in for the kill, that some people are a little grumpy with us just now.

Grumpy? GRUMPY? I was in a pretty good mood this morning, Jacko, but now I’m fucking livid. How DARE he describe genuine concerns and doubts as grumpiness on behalf of the electorate. How dare he be so dismissive. We’re not the bloody Seven Dwarves, Jack. We’re not children.

Unemployment is down, he reminds us. Unable to resist it JUST ONE TIME, he goes on to say it’s much lower than it was under the Tories.

He’s right on that, though. Unemployment is down, but I’d love to see it increased by one.

I suspect that the contents of this blog thus far haven’t really convinced anyone who doesn’t (or does, for that matter) know me of the rather cool customer that I am. What I got up to this weekend isn’t likely to change this opinion.

You see, I love windmills. Not just the fancy dancy Windy Miller affairs — in fact, those don’t impressa me much if I’m honest — and the ones that feature in wind farms give my boat more buoyancy. Luckily for a wind farm aficionado such as myself, there are plenty nearby. Within an hour of Alloa, there are examples at Braes of Doune, Fintry and … [insert half hearted drum roll] … the pick of the bunch at Black Law near Lanark, which I discovered by accident last weekend on my jaunt to Stobo.

Now, the grandeur of this spectacle has been somewhat lost through the lens of a 2 megapixel iPhone, but the sight of 50 odd massive — absolutely massive — structures all silently rotating at the same speed for as far as you can see is … well … it’s actually pretty sinister.

You can’t get particularly close to the windmills at Doune or Fintry, but the kind people of South Lanarkshire Coucil have forseen that maybe they have a EuroDisney on their hands here and there are arseholes like me who enjoy being slightly spooked by their eco-friendly alien invaders, so they actually provide a car park. And best of all, mine wasn’t the only car there. There was also a man and a woman with a car each and I got the sense I’d interrupted something. Truth be told, I half expected to find Stan Collymore and Phil Mitchell from EastEnders hiding behind a nervous sheep.

But it’s not just me and those lacking a moral compass who appreciate a well placed windmill and in the past, they’ve contributed to my mate, Dave, having a realisation of where he stood when compared to the intelligence of his son.

There’s a red kite nesting thing near the wind farm at Doune and … well … wouldn’t you know it, but the birds keep on flying into the turbines and the local press, who aren’t windmill fans, get all Bill Oddie about this. Dave, sensibly in my opinion, remarked that he’d’ve thought that if a bird doesn’t have the common sense to avoid a big fuck off windmill then maybe it deserves to be splatted.

Seven-year-old Dave Jnr pointed out at this point that the tips of the blades of the windmill can rotate at speeds of 200 mph and didn’t reckon much on the chances of his old man with his big old human brain dodging that gauntlet.

Dave told me this story and half an hour later after digging out equations we’ve had no cause to use for the last twenty years we came to a simple conclusion. Goddammit, but the kid was right.

Kids say the funniest things. About windmills. And red kites. And pi.

I get quite obsessed about music when something catches my ear. Channel-surfing last night, I ended up on Later during a performance by Brandi Carlile, who up to that point, I would have said sounded like a relaxing drink in the north of England. Or a porn star.

I couldn’t have been more wrong and after the goosebumps had settled down when she finished her song, The Story, I went scouring around the internet for info. The YouTube video below isn’t the best in terms of sound quality — there are plenty other versions where it’s much much clearer — but there’s something about the power in this one that blows me away.

Have a looky — and a listeny — and, em, preparey to hear a lot more about Ms Carlile in 2008.

BBC Three are premiering the new season of Family Guy — starting off with Blue Harvest — on May 4th. Kudos to their planners’ sense of humour and May the 4th be with us all. Except you.

I’ve been doing this blog thang for a month or so and thus far, I’ve talked about Alloa Athletic and Eggheads. I don’t want anyone happening on these pages to think that I’m a mere two trick pony, so to speak. I also love Apple products, so that makes me a three trick pony at the very least.

I got an iPhone recently. Then my 30Gb finally burst at the seams and I had to upgrade to an 80Gb version (please allow me latitude on use of the words “had” and “to”) and I’d also got an iTouch for Christmas. I’m typing this on a MacBook. So I like my Apple stuff.

Anyway, all this left me with a 30Gb iPod that I had no further use for. Yesterday, I got in a IM discussion with my good friend Stoobs and the long and short of it is, he has an iPod socket on his new car, but no iPod to plug into it.

“You can have my old one,” I said.

“I couldn’t,” he replied.

“Yes you can.”

“No. I’d feel guilty and have to buy you something.”

“You don’t have to buy me anything. I’d be throwing it out. You’re doing me — and the environment — a great favour.”

And so it went on until eventually he agreed. The iPod in question is a little battered and scratched, but if it was for car use … well, it’s better than a slap in the baws. So this morning, I gave him the iPod and a USB connector and brief instructions on reformatting and setting it up for Windows instead of Mac.

This afternoon, he presented me with a bottle of Tobermory.

“I didn’t want that,” I said.

“I didn’t want a fecking iPod,” he replied.

So just now, I got a text from him saying the iPod won’t format on his PC, it’s bringing down his internet connection and is probably making him infertile.

I’m looking at that bottle of Tobermory and wondering if he’d notice if I filled it back up with tea …

Seems I’m a four trick pony after all.

How about this for a nice wee educational diversion. The site is Sporcle and it has tonnes of memory jogging games. My favourite is the Name All 50 US States In 10 Minutes which I’ve been trying for the last hour, reaching a total of 47 on three occasions and forgetting about a different 3 each time. Nebraska, goddamn you!

There’s one for Jimmy Bond fans too, which caused the missus to repeatedly scream at me, “Which one did Sheena Easton sing?”

For the record, it’s For Your Eyes Only.

Happy guessing.

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