Everything and nothing. Read it, shrug your shoulders and move on.
Wednesday, January 31
Although many minorities have felt excluded from their Englishness and felt compelled to embrace their Britishness, understandable enough when the St Georges Cross was the banner only for skinheads, racist hooligans and the far-right, it may be no bad thing for inclusion if the UK was to break up.
Aside from the tiny far-right and the oddballs of shows like 100% English (Same thing?), I would contend that the majority of the English are not inherently racist or overly nationalistic and (As long as the major demographic changes in English populations are still taught in schools) are all too aware of their nations historically impure pedigree to adapt to and absorb a different cultures and races.
Whether the same can be stated across Britain is a different matter (Part of that issue may be that it hasn't been tested across the other home nations as it has in England for generations) and perhaps the downing of the flag of Empire would be a good symbol of our intention to forge modern England.
Awaits historical examples of English brutality...
Two pupils who drew a giant penis on a school lawn using weed killer two years ago can still admire their work from satellite photos now posted on the internet.
Despite the school re-seeding the area, the penis has turned up on satellite image search engines because a photo was taken before the new grass could conceal the appendage.
Lifted from the Guardian Unlimited site
Those lads should be legends in their former school and if they don't grow up to be the greatest artists of the 21st Century then what is the point in life eh?
Tuesday, January 30
The allowance of super-casino's has absolutely sickened me and is a disgusting indictment of a political party with the poor and dispossesed at its core. Any good work/legislation that New Labour implemented has been blown away by this simple act of bending over for pure greed. Directorships on the boards of gaming companies for the Ministers while addiction, poverty and family break-up awaits those Labour purport to represent.
Usually i'm quite tight with its worst enemies - procrastination, laziness and uninterest - but a few things recently have started to inspire me to become motivated. I would have said more motivation but that would erroneously suggest that I had some motivation to begin with.
Making a trip to our area office in Oxford yesterday and seeing how they do much of the same work, has led me to changing a few practises in the office today. Firstly, it's shown up how on some things we aren't always matching the National Standards that we should be, secondly that some of the things we do are actually very good. Thirdly, it always helps to discuss issues/problems/similarities/best practise with others doing the same job as you (Especially when you're working alone much of the time) and lastly, it's made me realise that there is opportunity within this organisation. The restructuring in the very near future should be a chance to take up those opportunities.
Since our manager is leaving next week however, and it will just be two of us running this scheme, i'm not sure how much momentum we'll make on getting closer to the Standards. I'll give it a go though, even if I am just the junior staff here.
So that's the work side of motivation aided and abetted by yesterdays visit and put into practise a bit today. Which is good, since while doing the job expected of me, I tend to spend too much time pissing around on the internet.
What's helping the motivational side of personal things is not just that thedacs as a family are bloody gorgeous and great (We're having a great time at home recently) but that we're in control financially. Don't confuse that with being in the black, although it is only a matter of months now that C has beaten her demons, confronted and taken control of her finances.
No, what's helped the motivation on the home front is the decision we made to get a second shed.
Not the most glamourous of news by any means, and possibly even confusing to you, but it opens up another world of opportunity. Namely the chance to use it solely as a studio for art, which D needs to take up again on a regular basis. It will allow thedacs to expunge their creative drive, double-up as the smoking shed and even hopefully lead to another avenue of pin money.
We shall see....
Monday, January 29
Friday, January 26
I had every intention of spending roughly £200 today, due to a £100+ gas bill, £40 to clear the credit card (Until the 2 new phones appear on it next month!) and a budget of £50 to spend at an art supplies shop in Bletchley that was closing down tomorrow. As it happened, I spent £6 under budget at the art shop, although I did pick up a nice lengthy strectched canvas and two very dear acrylic brushes that balance very weightily in the hand.
I would have been chuffed with that layout at the beginning of the day, but in the half hour spare we had after dropping A off at school and the art shop opening, C & D decided that a nice spliff was in order. So C rolls a strong one and we troop out to the shed to smoke our little minds away. We than have a choice to relax for a bit or go out and both of us realise the danger of crashing on a sofa and monging for the next two hours, so we head out into the bright, oh so bright, world of fresh air and other people. To Bletchley. Hey ho it's where the cheapo shops are and we stocked up on some other bits so it was an enjoyable experience, even if the old town of my birth is a desperately poor area from another world compared to the brash and smooth Milton Keynes.
Either way, we both spent a good few pounds and came home for a cup of tea and a joint. This was after scoffing a massive chunky Yorkie Chrimbo bar that was on sale somewhere. Then the expensive choices were acted upon to due C's encouragement and D's future finances. It was after looking in the Argos catelogue for an easel (The art shops choice started at £50) that caution was thrown to the wind on the back of a 6 Month Buy Now Pay Later offer and the easel was joined by a swish purple iron (With ceramic plate. Ooooh!) and a fucking metal shed!
That was a bruising £234 in all. Add the other £200 and my happily stoned self happily racked up a days spending of a thumping £430! Ouch! It hurt to absorb that financial pain all within a few hours, but the opportunies, joy and creativity to be unleashed by the art materials, easel and, when it finally gets delivered in over a months time, the shed-cum-studio will be more than worth the expense.
In fact, as I was stoned off my head for most of the time, it was a really fun day!
Thursday, January 25
Gamers in Japan and the US have long been able to get their grubby little mitts on the console, now it seems that the eager British gamer will have just under two months to start saving the whopping sum of £425 for the PS3.
thedacs made a decision late last year that the PS3 would be their next console of choice, however since that announcement of our own we might have changed our minds.
The Nintendo Wii appears to be a completely different way of gaming, and far more inclusively fun for all, than sitting slumped in a chair staring gormlessly at a screen for hours on end. It's a gaming method that seems to find approval from traditional non-gamers and helps to keep the gamer active while burning off those excess calories.
All the reports of broken windows, smashed televisions and black eyes though have put a bit of doubt in our minds, especially as our front room is absolutely tiny!
In all honesty thedacs probably won't buy any console until the second half of the year at the earliest. Finances are always tight after Chrimbo (In fact the gas and electricity bills have arrived today and yesterday, so that's the price of the Wii already earmarked!), we have other technology to buy first and let's be honest, we're not massive gamers anyway.
Wednesday, January 24
thedacs would probably see themselves as one of those 4.
Ten years ago I would have seen myself as British no problem. Over that decade though, it's been a steady progress to seeing myself as English. Probably due to the constant denigration of 'Britishness' rather than devolution (Which means bugger all to me really, although the West Lothian Question and it's related issues are becoming more important).
Unfortunately, for him anyway, Chancellor (Soon-to-be Prime Minister) Gordon Brown has chosen this moment to launch an assault on behalf of Britishness and British values in the wake of the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union between England & Scotland. Ironic really considering many of his supporters take great pleasure in claiming (Sneering) that Britishness doesn't exist or is irrelevant. Brown has left it far too late. The cat is out of the bag and the concept of Britain is starting to lose any allure. Brown sucking up to the English by 'supporting England' in sporting competitions will only make him look more foolish.
I have no problem with Scottish or Welsh independance. Having grown up around Celts and having a soft spot for them (Even got some Scots blood as it happens) I would wish them well in going it alone (All the way to the EU) and hope the ties we have remain pretty strong.
But i'm an Englishman, and would really rather like to go it alone ourselves now thanks.
Tuesday, January 23
Monday, January 22
Another decent week in the Fantasy Premier League for thedacs team, Bungles Bugle.
The Gameweek score of 44 points wasn't a particuarly good tally, although considering the average score over the million-plus teams in the game was a measely 31 points, it was enough to ensure that Bungles Bugle continued their recent upwards progress in the player rankings.
Indeed, as the graph above shows (Gameweek on the horizontal axis, Rank up the vertical) Bungles Bugle have broken back into the top 200,000's! In fact their precise Rank is 278,502nd. Rough calculations tell us that score is in the top 25% of players, which isn't bad considering the slow start to the campaign (Due to laziness/forgetfulness).
We're gonna push on over the remainder of the season and look for a spot next in the top 250,000 players and by the games climax, the top 10% of Fantasy Premier League players!
Credit to our score this week goes to: The Liverpool trio (Gerrard, Carragher & Finnan) for half of our points, with an excellent contribution from Hunt of Reading. Honourable mentions to Barry and Carsley for solid performances.
Cheek! We know plenty about new technology, we grew up with ever-changing technology just as she is. We also rolled our eyes at clumsy-fingered, slow-brained adults too, remember the old jokes about adults not being able to use the VCR? Now we're seen as obsolete!
So we locked her under the sink for the weekend!
Friday, January 19
These are nifty little phones with cameras and Bluetooth, priced very nicely at less than £50 a piece from the Phones4U website.
We have a couple of problems though. Firstly, we can't change the sound for the incoming message alert for some reason and secondly, we can't transfer any pictures/videos onto the PC.
The first problem might just be because we're idiots and have missed an obvious menu, but i'm not convinced of that. A is itching to get her hands on the phones (She is jealous as they're better than hers - which was previously the best phone thedacs had) and 'help' us find out how, but we're being shitty and not letting her. She's been a naughty girl recently (Sat her first detention yesterday - for which she was punished last week) and it won't do her any harm to be temporarily shut out.
The second could be because the Bluetooth adaptor for the PC no longer works, yet the L6 was recognised by it and all set up, it just wouldn't transfer the files. We've tried a mini-USB cable but the software downloaded from the Motorola site doesn't seem to work properly. The obvious answer might be something as simple as ensuring the phone is fully charged before any connections/transfers can be made.
Any answers, please let us know.
Wednesday, January 17
That's all i'm hearing at the moment as I sit in my little office. A clear, level and slightly robotic voice repeating the same three words in a rythym that probably doesn't reflect the atmosphere in Custody where the panic alarm has just been slapped by someone needing assistance. Life in a Police Station eh?
An order is in for more but we don't hold out much hope for a speedy delivery. Which is a bit of a fucker really, since we're desperately trying to hold off from smoking the fags and, although it wouldn't be recommended by your Doctor, having a spliff or two in the evening helps thedacs get through the rest of the day without sucking on a cigarette.
Tuesday, January 16
Add that to the rise in interest rates last week (Standing now at 5.25%) and it starts to look a bit gloomy on the old economic horizon for many of us.
Of course, the macro-economic figures will not be a problem and the Government will continue to blow their own trumpet using those stats, but when it comes to a personal level the future doesn't look so golden for most people.
The best way to illustrate that is with the ONS's personal inflation calculator. Even by using the Governments own spending patterns based on households included in their annual survey of family spending, the BBC has found that all but one have a personal inflation rate over and above the official figure of 3.9% RPI (That rate is now at 4.4%).
The future may still look rosy for those whose wealth is going crazy, but in unbalanced Britain, the majority at the other end of the wealth gap are finding it wise, even imperative, to cut back on all unneccessary expense. How that will play in an economy founded on debt and consumerism remains to be seen.
Monday, January 15
This was the lush cake that so stuffed thedacs bellies out!
A simple Victoria Sandwich it started its life as a cake as. Then we jazzed it up a bit.
The obligatory strawberry jam in the middle, then a layer of freshly whipped double cream to compliment the taste. Icing sugar sprinkled over the top and completed with a flourish of chunky Cadbury chocolate drops.
The most gorgeous part of this cake though, and all thanks to A, was the inclusion of the chocolate drops into the cake mix itself. Yum bloody yum!
Yesterday was a pretty constant stream of joints smoked throughout the day. Yet it wasn't spent in a comatose state, unable to move on the settee and watching crap telly. We actually managed to get loads done, including the massive job of cleaning out the shed and reorganising it.
Admittedly this came about as, due to the cold and wind, the shed has become our place to smoke and when out there during daylight we could see how cramped and messy it had become. Nevertheless it was a pretty amazing thing when D & C decided on a whim to gut the shed.
It went pretty fast considering and was even rather enjoyable, leaving us with a pleasant smoking environment and enough space left to get the lawnmower out.
The rest of yesterday was spent making cakes with A, cooking dinner, playing the boardgame Hotel, watching a dvd and generally having lots of fun and laughter while stoned off our faces.
This morning however! Eurgh, C left the house at 6.30am (God alone knows how she manages to do so, and then drive 45 minutes to work where it won't be until 13 hours later that she emerges and faces the same drive home!) and D dragged himself from the bed at around 7.20am, stumbled around in a daze getting ready and caught the bus to work with a chest that feels as if it's about to seize up at anytime.
Suppose that at least shows how our bodies have adapted to not smoking as many fags over the past few weeks - they don't usually feel this shite after a day smoking weed.
The cake we made and devoured yesterday is sitting rather heavily on the guts, and the heavy lungs you already know about, so today at work is going to be sat in the chair for as long as possible.
Saturday, January 13
With his lanky frame, skinny jeans and wild hairstyle reminiscent of a Victorian wolfman, Russell Brand is an easy target for mocking.
Unfortunately for those who want to mock him, you only have to watch him for a bit on the telly to find yourself laughing along with him.
Having watched Russell Brand for a few years now on E4, thedacs are firmly in the pro-Russell camp, find him to be very funny and intelligent, and would probably invite him around for tea. We'd have to kick the Queen out first to make room but like I said, we do like our Russ.
Friday, January 12
David Beckham is moving to the USA to play for the LA Galaxy in MLS.
In a deal worth up to $250m (£128m) over five years.
To play soccer (For any Americans reading. The proper term is of course, football.)
Anyway, old Goldenballs will be 32 by the time he arrives which, due to better diet and fitness regimes, is no longer past-it in football terms but the doubt remains after three and a half trophyless years at Real Madrid whether Becks is past the prime which brought him so much success at Man Utd.
For a while Beckham was a great player who turned it on for Utd and England (Indeed dragging them singlehandedly by the scruff of the neck to Euro2004) and deserved the admiration heaped upon him, especially considering the hatred thrown at him after WorldCup98 when he was stupidly sent off. He deserves plaudits for turning around that situation with his subsequent actions on the pitch, although how much of his popularity is down to his undoubted good looks and former pop star wife rather than his footballing ability is up for argument.
As is whether his presence in LA and MLS will inspire the Yanks to love football the way the rest of the world does. Personally, having lived in NYC for a bit and seen the general non-interest in the sport, I doubt it.
Having said that, during WorldCup02 when the US did very well interest did pick up a bit so it's a possibility that Becks arrival will inspire the younger soccer-playing generation to look at the sport as a career path (Who wouldn't considering the sums involved!).
Thursday, January 11
She always thought that a man would look after her financially and all the money she earned would be disposable income. That led into an annoyance that I was never going to earn large amounts of money and how could we afford to have kids or buy a house?
That really upset me, so I told her that if that's what she wants then she must really let me know and save me staying in a relationship that was fundamentally flawed and would founder. Then I went up to bed and lay alone for almost an hour, believing this was the beginning of the end and loathing myself for my inability to put my intelligence into use when it comes to work, and hating myself for my minds total lack of concentration, memory and ability to grasp simple concepts.
Then C came up to bed. I felt cold and broken as she slipped into bed until, after a minute, she cuddled up to my back, put an arm around me and told me that she loves me. Then she apologised as I held her tight to me and felt relief that thedacs will never be apart. We'll be together for ever and will beat back any problem that tries to separate us. We lay in bed talking for about an hour, holding each other as we laughed, cried and eventually began snoring.
The money problems haven't ended though. C has found something metal hanging out the bottom of the car. No idea what it is, but it's resting on the exhaust (And making a rattling sound that first alerted her to the problem) and is hanging by a thread. C reckons it's something protective but she's off to her mechanic today to find out for sure. And to find out how much it's going to cost us to fix!
Wednesday, January 10
Having said that, nor is it an abject failure.
Only a couple of days of the nine so far this year have been totally smoke-free, yet no more than two cigarettes have been smoked by D & A on any given day, and the usual has just been one each.
We're not over-the-moon about the fact that we've not been able to shift cigarettes from our lives, but since the New Year has brought with it some crashing depression and the need for medication, we can be pleased that we've slashed our daily cigarette intake by about 90%!
Tuesday, January 9
Whether that will stop some from crying foul and berating the US as they always do remains to be seen, although the Somali Government has already come out and supported the attack.
Monday, January 8
Well, there was something about Mr Ruth Kelly sending her son to a private school (£15,000 a year school fee's - makes you giddy just to think of that amount of money spent on schooling) as he has 'special needs'. Don't suppose that would be news unless she was a Labour MP and former Education Secretary, so the cries of 'Hypocrisy' have gone up from the usual quarters - actual proper Labour people who don't like the idea of private schooling and opportunistic rightwingers looking to score cheapo political points - but it's a storm in a teacup really.
Labour MPs (Or New Labour MPs) have a record of sending their kids to private or selective schools, so it's hardly a surprise and let's face it, principals tend to go out of the window whenever your children's welfare/future is at stake.
Saturday, January 6
Having vome home to see the house looking slightly trashed, C didn't take it too well and after a massive blow-out between us that didn't settle until Friday, we've decided that it's best for me to get back on the mentalist tablets. Citalopram if you're even remotely interested.
Didn't have to go to the Doctor's though as I had a stash which i'd not bothered to take last year. Which says a lot I guess. I'm no different from anyone when it comes to medication, so i'll take pills for a little while until I feel better and then stop.
However, that kind of defeats the point of medication, especially medication like Citalopram, which needs around 6 months to be truely effective.
I should be a good boy in future.
Thursday, January 4
I've managed to resist the urge for a fag all day, and all day yesterday, but since i've left work my emotions have been all over the place. Yesterday I was severely depressed but today i'm angry.
It probably started while waiting for the bus after work. A bus which didn't arrive at the first scheduled time so it was a half hour wait for the next one. Which didn't turn up until 15 minutes later than scheduled. Although this is a fairly regular occurance nowadays, the lack of nicotine in my system led to a loss of control and the anger got the better of me..........so I started to kick the bus shelter in.
By the time i'd got home it could only get worse. And it did.
Already pissed off that no one was in (And won't be until C gets home around 10pm) I was doubly annoyed that I had to peel vegetables for my dinner (Bangers, Mash, Brocolli, Carrots and Gravy. Yum fucking yum!) so it wasn't really a surprise when such a minor incident like the foil under the grill (To catch sausage fat) getting all crumpled up led me to use the grill to smash up the kitchen.
Mashed up vegetables flew everywhere, the mug rack was sent across the room, the cats cowered from my wrath and one of the little salt 'n pepper pots my Mum had got us (In the shape of a cat. How original) has now got a hollow stump for a tail.
The bin came off worse though. It now has a fuck off great big dent in it after I booted the bastard. The lid no longer closes.
I know i'll get bollocked by C when she gets home but I don't care. It felt good to smash shit up. Really good. Being able to vent that anger like I used to is so pleasing. I always get shushed whenever I begin to rage at the PS2 or whatever and it's really fucking me off. I always used to be quite volitile (Although not violent to those around me) and had a habit of flinging things through windows. I once threw the pullout drawer of a PC desk out of the front door and into the street after it had fucked me off.
The point is, that although the rage seems scary and violent, it's not. I'm just venting and it's the way that makes me feel good. I'm not going to burst a blood vessel, i'm enjoying the anger, the passion, the release. Fuck those people who say, 'Take a deep breath'. No! You fuck off you fuck!
Stop trying to neuter me, as it bleeds into every other aspect of my being, knocking my already fragile confidence.
Actually the point is this, i'm going up the shop to buy some fags. Don't care that it's giving in and will taste foul. I tried to do this last New Year and it didn't help the lurch into depression that I seem to be falling into with alarming regularity, so i'm going to knock completely giving up for now.
And if you don't like it, you can fuck right off!
Trouble is, I find it very hard not to be hard on myself. The only memories I can conjure up from my past all seem to be negative ones. Humiliating myself, not being good enough or taking advantage, acting like a twat and all the unpleasant things i've done. I'm pretty sure that i've not been an arsehole all my existance, but for the life of me I can't recall any memories that are positive.
Which is a real fucker when you tend toward the depressive...
Wednesday, January 3
On the other hand, leaving work means I have to walk to a bus stop in the cold and dark as the wind howls through my bones, arrive at a cold empty house until C get's in from work (A is at her Nanna's for a few days) and prepare the bloody food.
All I want is a spliff!
Tuesday, January 2
Obviously this poor sacrifice was brought in during the times when Kismet had a fascination with offering us tasty morsels first thing in the morning. Must have escaped all of us before slowly dying (Not surprising since it was stuck near a telly that up until a few weeks ago was pumping out non-stop X Factor!) although a frog is definitely a step up for Kismet from the difficulties of hunting garden worms. Bless her!
It's a cliche but so what! Tobacco (And thedacs have been using rolling tobacco for the past year) is expensive, always needs to be bought at inconvenient moments, stains our teeth, destroys our lungs and generally hampers health, makes us stink and is an awful addiction that both D & C have never been able to fully kick in smoking 'careers' that have lasted around 15 years each.
The time to quit has now come. All the baccy was hidden by D last night (He has the stronger willpower and abstained from all pleasures for forty days and nights previously. At the time when C & D were getting together actually and taking the first tentative steps to forming thedacs) so that C couldn't roll any fags for the journey to work this morning.
So far today, C has called home while driving to work and tried to convince herself and D that she needs to come home as she is ill (Denied!) while D has been stropping around the house getting irrationally irritable every hour or so and needing to vent without the aid of tobacco. Today feels like a very long day!
All smoking paraphenalia has been hidden rather than thrown because we still have weed left and intend to smoke it. We intend to save it until the weekend to get a better buzz after a few days off it. Alright so it's not quitting smoking entirely, but it's near a fucking nuff!
The graph shows the resurgence in the teams fortunes over this period after a vexing crash in form recently. More will have to be done in terms of transfers to keep the trend upwards - Saha for example has to go, he hasn't scored more than one point a game for a while and we can't afford to be carrying such expensive baggage - but i'm fairly confident that Bungles Bugle can break into the top 250,000 players soon enough (Currently positioned in 266,974th place out of 1,155,651 players) and with some luck we'll crack the top 100,000 or 10% of players by the end of the season.