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If you could stop laughing long enough to read this…
**Public Service Announcement**
I know of some people who blocked me a number of years ago.  This is fine, because reasons.
However, in the last few weeks I have seen comments on mutual friends’ statuses from two people that I know had me blocked. They are each from very different circles of my life, and I’d find it unlikely that they would both unblock me, because… Well, why would they bother! Again, this is fine, because reasons.
If you have blocked someone, bear in mind they might be able to see your ‘public’ profile, and could well be able to send you a message. I haven’t tested the message thing (if someone doesn’t want to hear from me, that’s fine, I’m not going to wake a sleeping bear),
If you’re one of them, please do check that I’m still blocked if you like, or also feel free to refriend if you’d like.
Peace and love, crazy cats and kittens.

This week’s unique achievement was some DIY.

I planed a new interior door to fit the doorway, and managed to complete the task without any splinters in my testicular area, so it counts as a great success!

The Good Lady Barljo chipped in (ahah!) with excellent planing of the foot of the door, and I finished off with some sawing, before hanging to prove our work, and varnish to finish.

There was a power tool involved in drilling holes for the handle and latch (sorry Neil, I should have included a trigger warning on the post!) but that passed without incident.

I class myself as not particularly practical around the house, but the more I do, I surprise myself at what I can actually do. Things I build tend to stay built, things I put up stay up, and things I take down seem to get taken down with very little drama.

It’s a talent hidden so well, that it’s even hidden from myself- I don’t have faith in the project before I start it, and I am oft amazed when it works.

What’s a thing that you’re good at that nobody (including yourself) expects? Hit up the comments, tweet me, email me. Anything, I’m genuinely interested!

“If I had a hammer I’d hammer in the daytime. I’d hammer in the nighttime. I’d hammer all over this land.”
If I Had A Hammer – Pete Seeger

Oh-whoa, Come Take My Hand

I’m looking forward to the clocks changing this year.

Not because the days will be longer, or the evenings lighter. Purely for a silly self centred reason:- that will be the time to put away my winter bike gear, and break out the lighter coat and my open face helmet. A full helmet like I wear over the colder wetter winter feels like two things to me. 1, like I’m riding a post box and 2, like I’m in a tiny car, so what’s the point of a scooter!

I’ve only worn an open helmet for a few months after TT last year, but it felt much more like real riding.  I’m not under any illusion of being a Real biker (I’m sure my scooter has nearly 3hp!), but I don’t consider myself a real guitarist either, and I enjoy them both.

So here’s to summer. The wind in my eyes, and also the sand in my face & flies in my teeth!

“Come take my hand- we’re riding out tonight to case the promised land. Sit tight,  take hold. Thunder Road” Thunder Road, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band

I want it all

I’m not a person who craves material things very much. There’s not much more “stuff” that I’d need to be honest with you! But…

Every now and then, something comes around that I become a little obsessed with. I don’t like it – the feeling is distracting and consuming.  If it’s something I can’t quite get yet, I’m trying to work out how I can free up the cash to get it. It’s just gone past Christmas, and this particular bug hadn’t quite bitten in time this year.

I do know from experience that I don’t get into this situation lightly, and whatever the latest “must-have” item is, that when I do get it, it’ll be a carefully thought out purchase and that I’ll get as much if not more use out of it as the price deserves (cases in point are my awesome Gretsch, and my BlackBerry PlayBook, both presents and both much hankered after beforehand!)

But arrrgh, ie just won’t go out of my head. I’m trolling eBay, bottom-feeding and sniping to no avail. I’m checking Amazon, I’m establishing contacts overseas who may be able to source and supply.  I’d just like my head to be a little bit quieter about it now please. You know, so I can get on with stuff like breathing and walking in a straight line. Stupid brain!!

“I want it all, and I want it now”
Queen, I Want It All

(oops, since I wrote this, I’ve accidentally bought what I was writing about. The above still stands though!)

I’ll make my way back home

…And I’ll learn to fly

Welcome to part 2 of this week’s offering, which means I’m back on schedule!

I mentioned in part 1 that I was off-Island. I’ve been back to the magical land of Tilstock (see the sponsored parachuting page) to start learning to do this parachuting thing without being strapped to anyone on the way down.

In short the (very intense!) course went well- I made it through the day well enough that I would have been allowed to go ahead. Words that I’ve heard over previous visits now make much more sense and have context. The element that worried me most (in-air navigation) seems simpler than I thought, and I’m looking forward to getting cracking.

Unfortunately, the wind was gusting at well over 60 knots all day, so no jumps happened at all this weekend. I’m hoping to come back in a couple of weeks and hopefully the weather will be better then (this date is now “this weekend”).

I’m amazed by this place and the people I’ve met. They’re just so easily accepting of new people in the fold. Maybe it’s because the core visitors and staff are used to transiency in the group, but everyone new, newer, and more seasoned all fit together so well.

And so the weekend is over. Now, as the Foo’s song goes: I’ll make my way back home and I’ll learn to fly. (Well, ok, fall with style… but that wouldn’t have scanned quite so well!)

Barljo

… You could get here by trailway. I don’t care how you get here, just get here if you can.

As I’m writing this, the scary-future thing from last week has evaporated, which brings some stability. I’d been in the selection process for a fairly high profile UK tour gig, and my CV had carried me through to the last bit before having to go and audition. The news of audition times etc has come through, which is good news, but too late to get from the IOM to London which is less good.

Taking the positives from it, I look good on paper! It also means I can withdraw my notice from work (thanks for being flexible Zurich- it means a lot), so that should help settle things down a little as well.

I had some interesting personal news this weekend. It was inevitable of course, but that doesn’t make it any easier to hear. It’s arrival helped clear up another avenue I was thinking of exploring in any case.

So, I mentioned satnav last week (turn left, fool!). Sometimes it appears, life is an automatic satnav as two of the potential routes have been recalculated. And thus ends today’s trite, Jerry Springer style final thought. (Apologies- I was typing without thinking when I got to the end bit!)

Barljo

So, it’s October. Supposedly and statistically the most likely time that depression kicks in and alcoholics turn heavier to the bottle.

Trouble is, I don’t feel like that this week. The crisp bright mornings wake me up better, I’m nearly uninjured again so can get back to training soon, there are adventures to look forward to, and new & exciting stuff to talk about. In short, light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Only one thing really remains to sort out, but I need to stick that out for a few more months, and then take steps to resolve that too. I can afford not to worry about that right now, as there is nothing I can do about it so worrying would just be a waste of energy.

It may seem a little like Fever Pitch in that my ups and downs are following Liverpool’s football fortunes, but I know that’s not it. Honest.

I’m not saying that things don’t suck sometimes. They do. But my recent time of suckiness seems to be unsucking itself.

(I’m not overly proud of that paragraph, but writing it in proper-speak made it sound like a therapy session. Using ‘suck’ in it’s various declensions sounded easier to read).

The only plum that I need to finish off the pie (it’s all about pie!) is a bit more positive thinking from yours truly. So, let’s get at it, JB. Get stretching and exercising that ankle and get out there on 21 October. 10 miles to start do we reckon?

So, to finish off the song chorus for this blog:

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life. It’s a new world for me…

And I’m feeling good.

(If you only know the Michael Bublé version, check out any Nina Simone version on YouTube. I far prefer it!)

Barljo

Tomorrow never knows

Sometimes we manage to get involved with things, people or situations we don’t want to.

Sometimes we don’t manage to get involved with things, people or situations we do want to.

Sometimes we manage get involved with things, people, or situations we just don’t intend to.

And sometimes, that last one doesn’t work out too badly at all.

Kind of a cryptic one, but just try and apply that to your last 7 days and see if it fits! Could be your relationship, your life, could be Liverpool Football Club’s ongoing saga, could be work.

Just remember – as Ringo Starr used to say: Tomorrow never knows…

(Edited to add…) Sorry, this seems to have caused some confusion. If you think this about you, then you’d be wrong. It’s a situation I’m in right now. Sorry, no offence intended to the reader.

Barljo

A Migraine of delight

So, last weekend I had one of my ‘few-and-far-between’ migraines. Normally, the only cost is a lost weekend, but this one was more annoying as I missed a festival weekend as a result.

For the uninitiated, there are various types of migraines. On weekends like this, I get a few of them, all at the same time:- sickness, fever (hot and cold), flashing lights whether my eyes are closed or open, vision issues, the most intense pain (mine is head based), and the feeling that I’d like to take my skin off.

This time, I was spared the brain-racing delirium that sometimes sets in which looking back was a relief. (key example for one attack was reciting the days of the week as Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun and being unable to spot what was missing).

Every person who gets them has different causes, so I can’t say what brought this on- I hadn’t slept since the Tuesday night, and the attack started on Saturday afternoon, but that may be either cause or symptom. I had been Mannifest (www.mannifestlive.com) on the Friday night and just when the attack started- it may have been strobes, although I don’t think so as a) I didn’t see any that I know of and b) Event Lighting Services (www.els.com) who overuse strobes to a dangerous and non-Health&Safety compliant level quite frankly) were not involved. It could have been anything.

It’s not that I’ve just lost a weekend to being ill, that’s just a way of life for a migraine sufferer. I’m actually grateful that they only affect me every 18 months or so- some people suffer these monthly and weekly. It’s also not that I spent 50 quid on a weekend ticket and only used about a fifth of it.

The worst thing is that I’m upset that I missed so many of my friends playing (sorry especially to Clara Barker, Truman Falls, Anna Goldsmith, and Christy DeHaven) but glad that I managed to catch Chris Flood, Planes over Paris, and Grambo. I’m upset that I didn’t get to see so many cool acts from the UK and further afield, but glad that I managed to catch King Porter Stomp and others. I’m also upset that I didn’t get to spend more time and hang out with so many of my friends who were also there.

Ah well, there’s always next year…

Barljo