Wednesday, August 31, 2005


... are bloody ignorant apes"

I say that all the time (mostly because it's just so true, but also because it's always good to quote Beckett) just now it's being prompted by the news that three quarters of UK motorists don't understand how numberplates work.


Am I the only one who's amazed by their stupidity?

Friday, August 26, 2005

growing up? growing old? (II)

Other things than next door's potential future ASBO have set me musing about my age and where I am recently... hardly surprising when you stop and think. In three weeks I'll turn 28, I'm unemployed (albeit by choice), single, dogless and almost directionless... of course all that could just be put down to a delayed mid-youth crisis* if I believed in such guff. Instead I'm prompted to look for goals, examine where I am in relation to where I want to be, and think about how I want to go about continuing being a grown-up.

I'm starting to feel like I could do without some of the grown-up trappings I've accumulated. The car springs to mind. Summer is money-haemorrhaging season for my car (MOT, Tax, Insurance) and while I love it to bits, I'm really missing the freedom of not owning one. The house is another area of rethink: I'm still undecided on exactly what should happen next beyond wanting very much to live in the city again... renting seems like a possibility though, and a year ago I'd have dismissed that out of hand having 'moved on' to ownership.

Relationships are another thing altogether: in some ways I've yet to manage being a grown-up there. I have great friends and a wonderful family, in both areas very adult and grown-up relationships on the whole but romantic relationships have never yet worked for me. Maybe having to figure out a non-standard sexuality's slowed me down there? I don't mean in terms of identity: I'm very comfortable with who I am, and have been for a long time. Thinking about it though I missed out on all that 'figuring out' time my straight peers got in school and at college. I didn't date, instyead having (mostly secret and hidden) trysts. That might have been a lot of fun but it's useless as experience for fathoming how to be with someone... and yet to a degree it's set the tone: The other night I was out clubbing with some friends, chatting up a friendly and very attractive Canadian tourist** I was getting on really well with him, but when he went to the bar and I had the obligatory "so, how's it going?" conversation with my friends... and the answer was nowhere which is OK but makes you wonder a bit the day after.

Looking at it this way my mid twenties have been a late adolesence for my romantic development... maybe not but either way I feel ready for something a bit more grown up in that department.

Which brings us to work. I had a steady 9-5 job for four years but I've not yet had anything you could call a career... do we have careers these days? or is that line of reasoning just a cop-out for being directionless? No I'm not directionless, I'm just having some trouble finding a good route for my direction, there's progress there too though.

*The term is just one I heard used on TV a while back, I used it 'cus it seemed kind of funny, but that so many people have bothered to define it is almost worrying. As far as I'm concerned life by nature is full of change, uncertainty and (all too often) a vague sense of disatisfaction, (which seems like what's being described there) I've always just thought that's what drove us to grow and change. Perhaps the difference is that I do a lot of navel gazing am more prone than most to reflection, and so I'm aware of it all the time rather than just at decimally convenient chronological mile stones?

** I have no idea whty, but Canadians keep appearing in my world, more often than not completely independently of each other, do you think the universe is trying to tell me something? Or are

Thursday, August 25, 2005

growing up? growing old? (I)

No news, just a 'thinking out loud' post, just so you know.

Next door is finally inhabited - the warehouse conversion that was moving so slowly it almost cost me my mortgage (and burned the phrase "derelict commercial property adjacent" in my memory) three years ago, is now a split level two bedroom flat for the son of the neighbour who fitted my carpet... I get on fine with my neighbours but a few times over the past fortnight one of the big downsides to having a teenager next door has been grating on my nerves.

I can sum it up in two words: Bass Beat. The adjoining wall between 60 (me) and 58a (him) is two feet thick, more than thick enough under normal circumstances. I've always said that noise wouldn't be a problem, that it'd take some really serious decibel levels to get through... trouble is that the kid next door is of the Max Power generation, so of course he's got a stupidly over amped stereo and likes playing it loud. Fair enough: The walls are so think that all you get is that distant "thud thud" of the bass line and really it's no more than a minor irratation during the day. Twice now though I've had to go over after 11 to ask 'em to turn it down. That bothers me. What bothers me more though is the fact that both times this kid has sent his mates to the door to deal with my (very calm and reasonable) complaint pretending he's not in... The way I see it, if you're living in your own place, you grow the f*ck up and take responsiblity for your actions. I'll be more measured about it when I get to talk to him but words need to be had.

Meanwhile all this sets me thinking, am I getting old? One of the reasons I first started looking for my own place was when we got new nieghbours in the rented flat back in Ecdinburgh. Ironically enough they started complaining about the noise! Believe me I'm being 100% objective when I say that the noise levels they complained about were piddling compared to these (my stereo's just a stereo not a concert sound stage - it just doesn't make that much noise) and never as unreasonably late (the fact that we eventually agreed that after 8pm I'd avoid music with any strong bass component should give you an idea how much of a different leage we're talking here) but that said the age difference was probably the same...

Of course then there's the fact that while I like him well enough, I just don't get this kid - I can't imagine needing five sets of alloy wheels for my car (especially if the car in question is a knackered old Mk3 Golf that's probably worth less than any two of said sets of wheels) Or wanting to blast my music that loud ... OK so I'm still young enough to do that now and then, even if I'm also old enough to know you don't do it at 1:30am.

Maybe it's not an age thing, maybe it's a personality thing... maybe I've just been spoiled by three years of blissful silence after 11pm... passing trains notwithstanding. Did I mention I'm putting the house on the market in the Spring?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I'm being rubbish at updating lately aren't I?

OK so what's new? I seem to have the beginnings of a career as a freelance webdesigner going: one contract's almost completed (just some niggling bugs to work out and a bit of coding to tackle this afternoon,) and another pending (will know better if/how that's going after a meeting on Thursday.) It's not exactly how I want to be earning my crust in the long run but it certainly feels like a step in the right direction. Better still it should see some money coming in, as well as preventing my CV from atrophying. Got some other work irons in the fire too but I'll keep quiet about those for now on here at least.

Away from work life is still great, I spent the weekend away walking with Justin and his friend Toby who was up visiting. Playing it by ear according to the weather reports we set out towards Oban on Saturday. We fetched up at a servicable (and very cheap!) campsite at Bridge of Awe in time to get pitched before puttering down to the jetties at Taynuilt. From there we watched the sun setting over Loch Etive, lighting up the most startlingly brilliant rainbow I think I've ever seen on its way down. Retiring to a nearby bar in the failing light we pored over the OS Explorer* sheet to plan Sunday. We discarded a tentative plan to climb Ben Starav (far too long a walk up Glen Etive from where we were,) in favour of an extended ridge walk around and above Cruachan Reservoir.

Sunday morning we woke at the sea level campsite to see Saturday's clouds burning rapidly away. Climbing through almost unbroken sunshine and astonishingly clear visibility we took a route anticlockwise round Cruachan, over Stob Diamh (998m) and then Ben Cruachan (1126m) before descending back to the reservoir (which sits at about 400m,) through the Bond film-esque landscape of the underground hydro station's tunnel entrances and vaulted dam. Last but by no means least we took a detour over the lower slopes under the dam to a disused military road. That took us most of the way back to the car before it petered out in the middle of dense woodland, leaving us to track a small stream down, under a railway bridge and back onto the main road. Brilliant! My legs ached all day Monday from keeping up with Toby and Justin, both of whom are considerably fitter than I, but I still loved every minute of it and can't wait for the next such adventure...

Almost as a social counterpoint to all that outdoorsey excercise and wild scenery, Friday was spent in the civilised and stylish surroundings of Hamish, Geoff and Dave's new flat. Picture one of those impossibly large and swank urban pads you see in sitcoms: the ones with acres of window looking out over unbelievably gorgeous urban landscapes of parks and handsome but comfortably distant neighbouring buildings. Yep, that's the place. Ten of us met there for a liesurely dinner, which disolved into hours of easily invigorating conversation - I'm very happy for my friends for finding the place, especially since they seem happy to have us hang out there from time to time!

So that's the balance of my life at the moment. Work is steadily taking shape while my social life stands as a solid pillar around which to build. I get to divide my time between a vibrant and gorgeous city filled with engaging sharp witted people whom I love, while occasionally escaping into the nearby wilderness for a couple of days' adventuring. Life is good.

*Over the course of the weekend I found myself repeatedly contemplating just how lucky I am to live in a part of the world that's as meticulously well mapped as the UK is... probably one of the many old occupational hangovers, musing on the quality of available information resources when one's halfway up a breathtaking mountain, but living in a country where even the most overgrown and forgotten of disused tracks appears on the map certainly has its advantages when it comes to walking through it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

silly but fun

This has nothing to with anything really but I love it all the same. 's a game where you're driving a little yellow car (kinda looks like a Renault 5 to me) and you have to run away! from a sinister black van and some evil white 4x4s before they squash you!


OK back to looking for work...