But Where Would We Put The Baby Seat?

I bit my tongue again yesterday, for the second time this year. Differences:

* When I did it [in January][], I drew blood. Whereas:
* When I did it yesterday, it was to the accompaniment of a sickening crunching noise which made me feel a little uncomfortable for quite some time. I was worried that I’d caused significant internal damage to this delicate organ.
* When I did it in January, I was sat at my desk in the office. Whereas:
* When I did it yesterday, I was sat at [Nick][]’s dining table eating sausages.
* When I did in January, I had driven to work in my car. Whereas:
* Yesterday I was a van ((Short-wheelbase Ford Transit, 30k miles)) driver. Vans are awesome. I want a van.
* When I did it in January, I endured three-and-a-half days of pain. Whereas:
* Physically speaking, I’ve pretty much recovered from yesterday’s incident already. It still feels a little conspicuous, a little uncomfortable, but not in an ow way. However, that crunching noise still haunts me through the night. Crunchety crunchety crunch. Slightly gritty, slightly gristley, not at all nice.

But hey, vans are ace. Hop on the motorway in one, and suddenly you’re in this elite club of van drivers. The cameraderi amongst the brethren is astoundsome. The lights, the indicators, a whole language. Belong.

It’s also a very valuable lesson. Not until you’ve driven a van on the motorway do you appreciate quite how large the blind spot is. Convex mirrors help greatly, but they also distort distances. Repeatedly, I found myself silently cursing the guys who drove on sidelights when dipped beam was more appropriate, especially the ones who would drive alongside and match my speed, instead of passing me properly. In a normal car, you can glance over your right shoulder and follow them through the rear driverside window, but in a van they are reduced to a small, barely visible item in your convex mirror. It is common for people to hold a view of white van drivers as being unpredictable and dangerous, so it surprises me that they pull off these moves that depend so heavily upon the driver’s continued vigilance. If you’re going to be prejudiced, at least be consistent. Insert sound of my mind boggling.

*If you like reading about Illnesses And Maladies (Oh Woe Is Me!), [click here][] for more!*

[in january]:
[click here]:


Blood, Sweat and Toilet

The neighbourhood cats are using my vegetable gardens as toilets.

A few weeks ago I dug Karen a beautiful little onion patch. Perfect square, with bricks around the edges to stop them from crumbling inwards. The following day, I visited it to inspect my handiwork, and discovered a suspicious circular wet patch in the middle.

Today, I’ve been in the garden mowing, strimming and weeding ((I neglected to clear up the sycamore seeds over the winter, so I’ve had to pull up hundreds of small sycamore trees so far, and there are still a few yet to go.)) However, as I approached my small pea section, I noticed a familiar odour.

I can’t see it, but I can definitely smell it.

One of the neighbourhood cats is using my pea patch as a pee patch.


What Became of Cojones

*See [earlier post][] for background*

[earlier post]:

On the scale of successful to not, this evening probably ranked pretty low. I’ll dispel your initial worries by informing you that my performance wasn’t tragically poor, but the subplot that unfolded over the course of the evening was unexpected and amusing in a very carcrash kind of way.

I walked in with my bass bag on my back and approached the bar for immediate lubricant. The time was about 9:10pm.

*Are you here for the acoustic night?* asked the Tuesday Night Bar Lady

No, no, this is my hockey stick, I joked.

She believed me, and so there then followed a painful exchange, where I had to explain to her that I was joking, and the hockey stick reference was a joke, and all of this required excruciating clarification to set straight.

I supped my pint and enjoyed the entertainment for a little while. Soon enough I found myself approached by a begoateedImagine, if you will, someone who is trying to look just like Frank Zappa. There you go. fella who introduced himself (eventually, after much encouragement) as Dave. *Sorry, I’m a bit stoned* he warned. Oh dear.

Over the course of the next half hour or so, Dave fell in love with me. I hadn’t even picked up my instrument yet, but the simple fact that I was a bassist who had been playing for 9 years was enough to convince him that I was the bassist with 9 years experience whom he sook to complete the lineup of his current project. I did my best to curb his enthusiasm, stating in no uncertain terms that my 9 years of recreational playing was not comparable to his 9 years of 6-hours-per-day dedicated practice. But he was stoned, and fame beckoned to him, and he was deaf to my protestations. He waxed lyrical on improvisation, and how important it is to have a groove etc.

Eventually, at about 10:15pm or so, the two of us sat down to play a little. He was clearly a highly accomplished musician, and the time that he had invested in practicing had not been wasted. Ironically though, he seemed to be most comfortable with the specific songs that he had worked on a lot – I wondered what exactly his concept of “improvisation” was.

I departed at 11pm. As I had anticipated, there was no feverish *Oh man, you’re so awesome, you have to be in my band!* just a *Maybe see you next week, yeah?*

That suits me fine. I don’t really want to be in his band. He’s all image and no substance. He thinks that wearing leather, smoking 60 a day, having no money and widdling on a fretboardThis is an acknowledged term, and has nothing to do with urination. In fact, it has more to do with masturbation. is the lifestyle, and he subscribes to that lifestyle. To me, music has never been about fitting in to the music stereotype, but making the music fit into the Pete stereotype. I don’t see the logic in spending £15 on cigarettes each day, which would be better spent on owning a car so that I can offer music tuition at peoples’ houses. For this reason, his business model of making money from music is doomed to fail.

One of the most memorable blog posts of all time, for me, is Hugh MacLeod’s [sex & cash theory][]. I strongly recommend that you read it. In Goatee Dave’s case, he needs to earn cash from the music tuition to be able to fund his dream. He doesn’t have to approach the whole thing in a more businesslike fashion – just the music tuition. He has to draw the line.

[sex & cash theory]:

Myself? Even if Goatee Dave did decide that I was good enough for his band, I don’t think that I’d be willing to invest the time in it. I’m not the guy that he’s looking for. I don’t have his dedication, his focus on a single (though hopelessly ill-defined) point, his cliches.

My journey continues, I suppose. I know not yet who I wish to become, but I have a better idea of who I don’t want to be.

**ADDENDUM:** There’s something that I’m struggling to reconcile in my mind. On the one hand, Goatee Dave claims to have 9 years of experience pursuing music and music only, but then on the other hand he made the schoolboy error of making assumptions about the quality of a person’s playing (ie my own) before he’d actually heard them (ie me) play. Does not compute. Perhaps it was just the skunk controlling his brain.


With Cojones and Dark Glasses

This evening I face something of a dilemma.

A pub in the town has a weekly acoustic night, where all and sundry are invited to bring along an instrument and play. Last week I went along on a reccy, propped up the bar, supped a few jars of Guinness, and basically inspectigated proceedings using various senses.

My findings were not entirely conclusive, though neither were they of no help whatsoever. The number of active participants last week was small, though thanks to overheard conversations, I believe it to be likely that it will be greater this week.

The presence of a PA system reassures me that if I turn up with Pablo (who is one of [these][]) then I will be able to plug in and play. In an ideal world, I’d like to be able to play at a volume where the only person who can hear me is myself. Admittedly, this would be a very pessimistic approach to adopt, though perhaps wise given the circumstances. Alternatively, I could go into the city on Saturday afternoon, buy a [Godin][] (which I’ve had my eye on for a while now), and wait until next week to make my debut.

Or should I just accept that my performance will be less-than-stellar, gather my nerve, and march in with cojones and dark glasses?



Phns Rngng Dde.

The following requires prior knowledge of a certain Coen Brothers film and a certain (asinine) Internet meme. Ah, memes, let me count the ways that I love you.

The lack of continuity is intentional.


First Letter To The Unborn Son

Dear Boy,

Farting isn’t cool. I know that sometimes when I fart, we both find it really hilarious, but the official policy on farting is that it isn’t cool. You should know this. It’s antisocial and a very very bad habit to get into. As of now, I’m going to make an effort to stop doing it, and I expect you to do the same.

Oh, okay, maybe just one more. Parp. Heheheheheh.



*P.S. Parp. Heheheheh.*


A Weekend Indoors

*Looking for a guide or walkthrough for Tomb Raider Legend? Try [here][walkthrough] for text-based or here for video-based*


This weekend, I have been playing [Tomb Raider Legend][]. It all began on Saturday morning, on the way to the pub for a hearty traditional English breakfast in a pub. I was weighing up the options, trying to decide whether I wanted to spend £30 of my hard-earned cash on this game, when Karen came up with the frankly rather splendid idea of seeing if Blockbuster had it available for rental.

[tomb raider legend]:

Dragons Meander

Jakob… Wilhelm…

I had a great ideaStay tuned to find out what.

*”I’ve got an idea,”* said Nick. My idea would have to wait.

We were showing an awful performance in the pub quiz. Any chance of victory was long since gone, and we were now fighting to avoid last place. The number of questions to which we had absolutely no idea was too high for comfort, and we were doing our best to fill in these blanks with witty responses, hoping for a sympathy point or two from the quizmaster.

*”What’s a suitable name for a lion?”* said Nick.

This particular round was entitled *Mythical Beasts*, and we were struggling to remember the name of the beast with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the arse-end of a dragonFixed – thanks Karen.

*”Leo,”* somebody offered. Nick wrote this down on the answer sheet.

*”What’s a suitable name for a goat?”* he then asked. It was, by now, obvious where this was going to end up.

Billy and Nanny were both suggested. Nick appended the word *billy* to the answer.

*”What’s a…”*

*”PUFF!”* I interrupted, to make sure that nobody could cut me off with an inferior answer.

*Leobillypuff* soon stared back up at us from the page. I think that it was at this point that Karen began to collapse in uncontrollable laughter. Due to her special pregnant-woman emotional powers, this manifested itself not as tears of joy, but as tears of abject misery.

Murmurs crashed with hearty chortles and swung round the table – *”Not Nordic enough. Not mythical enough”*. A couple of deft strokes of the pen and the name became Leøbillypufför. Perfect. We all laughed so hard that we didn’t care about our appearance anymore, our faces screwed up into forms that would be ugly, were it not for the fact that genuinely happy people are unquestionably beautiful.

You’re probably wondering what happened to that great idea that I had before this whole debacle began. As it happened, it really was a truly great idea. I don’t know much about mythical beasts, but one thing that I do know for certain is that more than one [TVR][] model has been named after a mythical beast. Had I pursued this line of thought, it would only have been a matter of time until I’d been led to [the correct answer][] via the TVR Chimaera.

Ah well. So it goes.

[the correct answer]:


Not Aquamarine

For many years now, periodically I’ve had a very annoying earworm. It’s an [808 State][] song featuring James Dean Bradfieldwho, incidentally, has my least favourite voice in the world singing *”Aquamarine, everything vanishes,”* something something something. A song called *Aquamarine*, obviously.

As you are probably aware, there are two ways to rid yourself of an earworm. The first is to replace it with something even more infectious. This is often counterproductive, as you end up with *Show Me Love* by Robyn S in your head. The second, and usually less stressful way, is to listen to the actual original recording of the earworm itself, and this will usually magickally purge it from your system. It’s a kind of closure.

As a result, the number of times I’ve typed stuff like intitle:"index of" mp3 aquamarine "808 state" into Google is, by now, phenomenal.

Today, while furtling with [Rhythmbox][], I discovered that I had another song by 808 State featuring James Dean Bradfield. *”Well,”* I thought, *”he must have done two songs with them. Aquamarine and this one, Lopez. Wonder what Lopez sounds like.”*

Well, spank my nose and pack me in bubblewrap, you’ll never guess what happened.

Go on. Guess.

[808 state]: