The Story So Far...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

This is what happens when I learn how to upload photographs. Taken form one of the hundreds of displays I can see from Dullatur across through Kilsyth, Kirkintilloch and towards Glasgow. Busy evening! And so ears are ringing. I'm sure a few of these have hit the roof. And as for the cats...poor things, don't think they know what to do.

Children roasting on an open fire...

'tis not the season to be jolly, in terms of Yuletide, but more of the season to burn human effigies and give thanks that Guy Fawkes failed in his attempt four hundred years ago to blow up the House of Lords in London.

S'funny, 'cos the older I get I can't help but wonder what kind of positive difference it might have made?! Don't get me wrong, I'm not an advocate of terrorism or anything like that. In fact, I'm a staunch opponent of terrorists who allege that they are engaged in a 'war' with the establishment.

Anyways...back to the issue. Fireworks, that's the thing. I just don't understand what all the fuss is about. Why should these things be sold to members of the public who are, in the main, inept in the operation of the same? They are wholly dangerous and should be retained for public fireworks displays only. There, 'nuff said. Boy, am I getting right wing in my old age.

Mind you, as I write this I can hear the jolly crackle and bang of fireworks resounding across the neighbourhood and it does sound nice. Comforting in a funny sort of way.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

Sunday, January 16, 2005

TV or not TV? That is the question...

Saw an interesting comment on this embryonic little blog which made me curious...

Firstly, that someone kindly took the trouble to read these mutterings of mine and secondly, that their comment seemed centred on the fact that I watch television. I should say that I'm indebted on the first part - glad to know someone's reading this(!) - but am bemused by the TV part. Most of us around the planet have televisions in our homes, sometimes whether we like it or not, and these can often become the focal point of our 'at home' existence if we're not careful.

I have long been an advocate of "why not switch of your tv set and go and do something altogether better instead?" (with thanks to BBC TV's 'Why Don't You?) philosophy. Having said all of that, I have found myself being drawn to it, especially when I and/or my wife are at home, the chores are done and the babies are asleep in bed. I can see why it can become addictive, lol. In Scotland, we have dreary wet and cold winters and, if I'm honest, wet summers usually. So the choice of other pursuits can be limited due to this. In the absence of babysitters, good weather and, occasionally, cash then it makes for a reasonable alternative.

Does it matter where you watch tv? Absolutely! I'd far prefer to be watching tv (albeit briefly) somewhere exotic in the world as opposed to here. If anyone would like to come and watch our glorious UK programming here in the bleak mid-winter then do get in touch.

off to watch some tv (...not)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A photo to make me happy

my first attempt at posting a pic...

didn't work....oh well. This is a learning curve after all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A storm is brewing

Indeed it fact, if you look out my window (which, of course, you can't) then you would see that it's actually here already. In more ways than one, of course. As the literal stormy wind and rain blasta all around my house this evening, the metaphorical storm about Lestat's untimely sacking and the bizarre behaviour of Waterstone's in Edinburgh is whipping up unto a bit of a frenzy.

Not only have the Times online picked up on the story but a whole host of others - see the link for a list of some... - but Lestat will be in the Guardian and The Scotsman newspapers tomorrow. Apparently he was being photographed outside his former workplace on Princes Street this afternoon, much to the amusement of former colleagues. I'm delighted that the overwhelming majority of people who have responded to this incident have been supportive of Lestat. I simply fail to see how you could be anything else.

Foolish to call you workplace Bastardstone's? Or is this satire at work? For example recall, if you will, the many and varied comedians on the BBC who have taken, and continue to take, the total mickey out of the corporation on screen by uttering bawdy insults in the name of humour. Are they fired for this? Of course not. It's a pity Waterstone's didn't assume the moral highground, lust like Auntie and view the Woolamaloo rantings as a bit of harmless fun. After all, I certainly didn't see anythign in the blog before that would've made me not shop at Waterstone's...until now. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

And so, as the winds grow ever stronger around Scotland this evening, I can but imagine the storm that is engulfing the alleged "Evil Boss" (surely alleged no more? - Ed.) and his colleagues who must be surely wondering what's going on?

Have they simply thought that Lestat doesn't have any friends and acquaintances who know him for his work and for his humour and that he would simply walk quietly away into the night?? Oh dear, I think they actually did....

Goodnight, boys and girls.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Where do you buy your books??

Happy New Year.... is that a command or an express wish? Who can say. Either way, I hope you had a good festive period.

For some, it was not a very festive season. Many thousands lost in the Asiatic region... Today, like many others, I took time at 12pm to pay respects.

Closer to home there was more bad news. In my last posting I alluded to a disturbing situation, which may have implications for bloggers everywhere. Well now I can reveal some of the facts.

An old school friend of mine, whose online alter-ego is Lestat, has been operating a weblog for many, many years now called the Woolamaloo Gazette ( Clearly and legally described as a satirical and personal look at the world around him, he has been busily typing away for years, entertaining many around the globe on his views about life. Occasionally, this has strayed into episodes about his workplace, Waterstones (a large UK bookseller). Much of this has been about such everyday characters (who many of us would agree to having from time to time) such as the alleged "Evil Boss" who, for example, refuses a request for a day off to celebrate a birthday or whatever....

The occasional mentions of the workplace, which I can now reveal as Waterstone's Edinburgh East End Branch, 13-14 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AN (Tel: 0131 556 3034/5) Email: , are run-of-the-mill rantings about working late shifts, unusual customers and having to work in the first great crime there. Nobody was mentioned by name and the location was largely unknown unless you happened to live in Edinburgh and, even then, there are s number of Waterstone's book shops in the city.

In Lestat's case, alleged and satirically-named "Evil Boss" (-es? Ed.) has taken a dim view of these altogether harmless musings and dismissed him from the employment of Waterstone's as of this afternoon.

He must've been asking for it, you say? Well, pray read the weblog - go back a few years (search for the word Waterstone's in the text to make it easier) and you will see that dismissal on the grounds that he has brought the organisation into disrepute and is a breach of clear employment policies is incredibly petty and wrong. It may interest you to know that (as of this date) Waterstone's do not actually have a written policy that covers 'blogging' (I checked with someone at their HR department who was very helpful). As such Waterstone's have read more into their rules than they should have. This has been pointed out by a number of leading technology law specialists and may very well cost the company dearly. Still, they can afford it...Lestat, like so many of us, has bills to pay in order to keep a roof over his head and is now unemployed. It is somewhat surprising that a book seller whose reputation was built upon supporting freedom of speech has behaved in such a way. Waterstone's have deliberately made someone unemployed for expressing a personal and private point of view. I wonder ehy they couldn't have dealth with this in a more appropriate fashion, e.g. informal discussion, verbal warning, etc, etc? Moving to instant dismissal rather than any level of warning smacks of knee-jerk reaction.

As a regular customer of Waterstone's, I am deeply disturbed by the dismissal of an employee who has given 11 years of loyal service and appeared on radio and in the press on behalf of the company on a number of occasions. He has organised a great many book events, all of which were highly successful. He is also well-regarded by a number of customers and some very famous authors. Perhaps some of these people will have some concerns about this, I wonder?

So, when someone asks me in the future where I buy my books? It certainly won't be Waterstones...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Lost in France

What? Well, no actually more like Lost in Spain. After an extended absence I am back again. Have been away lots on work and then for three weeks (count 'em!) in Spain in a villa in the mountains. Ahh, bliss.

And now it's yule speed ahead towards Christmas. But there are dark forces at work this yuletide season. Who said Scrooge is an imaginary character? Well, a cautionary tale awaits the eager listener.

What am I talking about, you may be asking yourself? Well, last week some rather shocking news reached me, concerning a long-standing friend of mine and a corporate institution of what would appear to be stupendous arrogance.

Suffice to say you can't be told yet... but the implications of the tale for the casual reader and for bloggers are profound. The people involved know who they are and all I can say at this stage is "Take Care - we are thinking of you".

Confused? Intrigued?.... Then watch this space.....................................

Mr Angry

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Accentuate the positive...

Isn't the internet a fascinating construction of modern time? Just when your addled brain think it can't remember the theme tune to some bizarre 1970's cartoon you used to watch, a quick search on one of the many search engines will allow you to transport yourself back in time to the halcyon days of youth. And sweets. And "pizza pies" (I cringe when I recall my mother presenting the family with the congealed circular, flat object from the oven and proudly announcing the arrival of the pizza pie. "Topping? What topping?!! That's how the Italians eat them, you know. Now get eating!". Ah, happy days).

Anyway, where was I? Ahh, yes. Going back in time. This evening I have discovered bizarre clips form Star Trek, old Bing Crosby Christmas songs and the wonderful Peter Sellers singing 'A Hard Day's Night' in the style of Richard III / Laurance Olivier. Oh yes, and 'Zip a de doo dah'. I shall retire to bed a happy man.

The children, principally Matthew, adores it. So far the tutelage of my eldest son has gone according to plan. As an aficionado of Doctor Who (I know, sorry, I did undergo medical intervention but it didn't work) I have successfully engendered a knowledge of the series from 1963 to the present day into my small person's brain with surprising efficiency and speed.

How surreal that he can now correct his father, mother and, indeed, anyone else who would care to be told when they get the name or number of whichever incarnation of the Doctor is currently on screen. His fascination with the series is almost obsessive and, frankly, goes way beyond my intended teachings. I've created a monster...What have I done. One day he will be the third Doctoer, all white hair and driving an imaginary yellow roadster (this role now latterly appointed to Gran who does, allegedly, have hair like the third doctor, according to Matthew) the next, he is the fifth doctor. He has his own walking stick (at his request, I kid you not) so he can be the first doctor and also an umbrella to be the seventh... The other boys and girls in the nursery are most confused, especially when the wendy house is commandeered as his Tardis.

Well, they may be confused now but imagine how impressed they'll be this next year when the new series of Doctor Who is showing and Matthew will be able to point out that he is the ninth doctor and...blah..blah...blah... You get the picture. Oh how proud am I.

One of my oldest friends (in all ways, hehe) has kindly sent me information on how to get my own web address. I'm going to investigate how I might move this blog to a more appropriate web site. I'm truly grateful to him; it means that there's even more to this blogging thing to consider.... Hmm, I've just noticed that the use of the word "blogging" in the last sentence sounded like a pseudo-swear word. Interesting. Very blogging interesting.

And so to bed. Don't mess with Mr In-between.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Bob the Builder

I write this to the strains of one of the children's alleged favourite videos blaring on our tv/video combi in my nearby bedroom... Ooh, I can't wait for them to grow into some decent programes hehe... Maybe then we can all enjoy a good episode of Newsnight or Question Time.

So, today. Well, it happened. Am delighted it's over and I'm back home. Work was busy - meetings in and out of the office. Needless to say I slept in. Deliberately. Then I ambled around various meetings feigning interest in some and, to my surprise, having interest in others. Bought lunch; as it was so cold outside I actually made time for lunch and bought myself some hot sustenance (lentil soup and macaroni cheese) which I later ate cold as I got caught up in a chat with people about something or other in the office. I'm not 'fully engaged' at work at the moment, which is a shame as it's so incredibly busy.

I'm permanently distracted by things and suffering from extreme paranioa and insecurity. I'm sure of that, I think.

Came home to a family filled with the dreaded lurgy. Oh dear, fractious little boys, full o f green gloop. Poor things. And now? Dinner, if we can ever decide what to cook. No wine tonight. Had too much last night, began to imagine that I was Keith Floyd (or at least sharing his liver).

And so to our next course...

Sunday, October 17, 2004

In the beginning

There was me. And here I am. What are these blog things anyway? My god, you'd think after all these years I would have a) known what a blog is and b) realised that I didn't need to have one in order to feel fulfilled as a human being. And yet.... here I am. This is the beginning.

It's a dreary Sunday (aren't all Sundays, by definition, dreary?) and I'm viewing, with no small sense of despondency, the prospect of the week ahead. Oh yes, I forgot you don't know anything about me yet. Well, I'm married with two beautiful sons (I know, all parents say that their children are beautiful but in this case, of course, it's true) and I live in Scotland*.

*Invaluable lesson for those not from Europe - Scotland is one of the four countries that comprise the United Kingdom. It is not independent from the other three countries but it does have its own laws and Parliament. This parliament was restored in 1999 following almost 300 years of being governed centrally by the Westminster Parliament in London, England. Never presume that Scotland is a part of England.

I work an inordinate amount of time, for reasonable financial reward, undertaking lots of travelling, pointless meetings and engaging in conversations about things which neither party has any particular interest in but it does rather pass the time of day. Beyond work, I involve myself in far too much messing about on the internet, drinking either a) lots of alcohol or b) lots of water, somehow missing out on time with my family even though I'm in the same house as them and watching television (It's addictive, I'm convinced. Something to do with radiation...). The drinking lots of a) or b) is also addictive. However, it's cause is completely associated with guilt - in term of a) the guilt is about not doing enough at work and/or at home. In terms of b) it's about having undertaken option a) a lot.

Well, there you are, I'm a thirty-something (now that would be telling!) Scottish male with a penchant for the ridiculous turn of phrase and, oh yes, a really, really nice family. More on this later. Welcome to the story so far...