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Showing posts from March, 2009

Monetise your blog

Is "monetise" a word? It seems another one of these stupid buzz words that will become defacto in the lingua franca through over use ... :-) Anyway - I saw this link and clicked on it. What people will pay to put an ad on my blog... WTF! I don't even keep counters on who comes here as I ought to simply blog for my own stuff - this is like an open diary where I share what is happening in my life and going on in my head. The first is no doubt boring as I'm simply a regular Joe who gets up goes to work, is married with two kids blah blah blah... The second is a dangerous place and only to be entered with an accompanying responsible adult :-) Okay seriously though... This blog will not contain any ads of any kind. I might post a recommendation or two but I guarantee that if I ever have any financial interest in something I'll disclose that. One of the reasons I've gone this route is that it is important that I talk about Alcoholics Anonymous on here, it's th

F1 season starts

The new F1 season kicked off over the weekend down under in Australia. The Good Bits. Coverage is back on the BBC so that bit where they cut to an ad break just as you see someone overtaking, heading for the pits, spinning off, etc. isn't going to happen any more. And of course that excellent choice of theme tune from Fleetwood Mac's The Chain is back again. Proper slick tyres - why F1 was the only formula including all the junior ones for years to not be on these lost me. It just looks right for one thing. Cleaner looking cars. The new aero rules do mean they haven't all that nonsense sticking up everywhere. The racing - there did seem to be more overtaking, how much is due to the aero changes or the KERS (Kinetic Energy something System) or the difference in grip between the two types of tyre compound they are compelled to run I don't know and perhaps we need to reserve judgement until after a few more weekends. A brand new team (well I know it isn't but...) win

Favourite tracks

I was listening to 30 years of Deep Purple yesterday. My brother was the Purple fan, and Sabbath fan. So hence my collection never really featured these bands as he'd dash out and buy the albums and I'd get to listen to them so never needed to buy them. I was the Led Zep and Rush fan so I suppose it was quid pro quo. Years on I've bought both Sabbath and Purple collections to fill in some of the hole that was there due to that, although I've now bought Zep collections as well as all the vinyl gets very little outing these days. I was pondering though that my favourite tracks from bands like these often bucks the general trend. Ask someone about Sabbath, Zep and Purple and the instant tracks would probably be Paranoid, Stairway to Heaven and Smoke on the Water. All great tracks but if I had to pick my favourites they'd probably be as follows.... Purple - Child in Time (with Gillan), Burn (with Coverdale) - I almost consider Purple two different bands due to the l

More swimming success

Daughter-of-Furtheron was in the Ladies 100m freestyle at the club champs last night, she was in the second to last heat, given it was done on official times previously that means she is just under the top 10 in the club. Well she won the heat and set a new personal best by 3 seconds. Hoorah! So she might be in the elite group next time! A couple of her school friends came to watch her. "WOW! she is so fast!" was one great quote and they cheered like made in the last length as she continued to hold her lead from the turn all the way to the end despite a close finish with three others. Great fun. BTW - I'm swimming the Swimathon again this year. If anyone out there would like to sponsor me email me at furtheron@hotmail.co.uk (Link on my profile) and I'll send you the link to my sponsorship page. It is for Marie Curie Cancer Care - a worthy charity I think you'll agree.

Is it that time already?

Or rather - Am I that age already? :-) I go swimming normally 2 or 3 times a week first thing in the morning. Have done for years, the pool I go to has an early riser discount deal and is good as it has a large 25m fitness pool with at least two lanes available for lane swimming. There is a slow and a fast lane. I've always been in the fast lane. Today there were about 5 of us in there, a reasonably busy day which is typical for a Friday but okay. However I soon noticed as I chugged my way through my mile all breaststroke that everyone else was faster than me and I was regularly being overtaken. That is the first time I can remember that ever happening, I'm not always the fastest in the lane but I can't rememeber ever being the slowest. Oh dear am I to be consigned to the slow lane? Is this just an inevitable outcome of my age?

Footy puzzler

Here goes for any footy fans - a little brain teaser. Name the 3 teams that have played in all four divisions (Prem, Championship, League One and League Two, as now named) this century... i.e. since 2000. I surpassed myself and got all three in less than 10 mins.

Heart-warming stuff

Yesterday I was privileged to give one of our occasional school talks. The normal pattern of these is that we get the students for about an hour, we play a 15min DVD which is actually available to view here . Then one of us will briefly talk a little about their experience in alcoholism trying to relate it to the students. Often if we’re dealing with 16 years and over I can honestly relate I was already drinking abnormally by then, I was different from my mates cramming drinks in, the one always throwing up some point in the night etc. Then we open it up to Q&A which can be the best bit. Yesterdays talk followed a similar pattern. I was on my own largely as it was only a single talk, sometimes we are there all day seeing about 7 or 8 groups in the day and then having a bunch of us to stave off our boredom and to deflate our egos probably more importantly. The one major difference was that yesterday was a talk to a group of 16 year plus teenagers all of whom have some form

John Martyn at the BBC

Over the past few days the BBC has shown a couple of tributes to the late great John Martyn. Firstly they reshowed the great documentary made in 2003/4 when John was recording what came to be the last album he released – On The Cobbles. Incidentally I think it a really great album reaching back to John’s acoustic roots within the group setting of his later work. If you are a John fan of any era I’d recommend you check it out if you haven’t done so. Also the BBC reshowed an Old Grey Whistle Test solo set recorded in 1973 which was brilliant. The final programme in this set was John Martyn at the BBC which was a selection of songs John had played live in some context for the BBC between the early 1970s up to his last appearance on Later with Jools Holland in 2004. If you wanted a snapshot of this stunning songwriter and performer and to see his immense capacity to perform this had it. In an hour you are taken from solo performances for the Old Grey Whistle Test of May You Never, S

Guilt

I don’t think about any changes that I’d make to the text of Alcoholics Anonymous (aka The Big Book) very often, the basic text of the fellowship. However last night I was thinking about some stuff. At the bottom of page 83 within the passage widely known as the promises it says “…We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” Guilt. Guilt is a strong and very negative emotion, but it is one I feel a lot with respect to my past. The way I treated my family, especially my kids. I stole time from them. Money indirectly by wasting so much on booze. I never gave them love in the way I should have, largely because I couldn’t do love as I had no concept of it and it meant giving a part of me. Giving anything of me to anyone was a major issue as I didn’t get the quid pro quo that goes with that. I could go on. No doubt many ex-drinkers like me look back with similar horror, remorse and guilt. I don’t know if we are any different generally from the rest of the worl

Mothering Sunday

Yesterday was Mothering Sunday in the UK - I know the USA readers will be scratching their heads, this is our version of Mother's Day but a different date for some reason. Anyway - I got up and made the tea, and breakfast, and did most of the washing up. I prepared and cooked all the roast dinner. Daughter-of-Furtheron made a stunning Lemon Meringue pie. Mrs F invited her Mum up for lunch. I did the washing up - although moaning about the cheap liquid we've bought, the bubbles don't last. Son-of-Furtheron excelled himself having already ensured a bunch of flowers had been delivered and sent a lovely card. He then also phoned to wish her a Happy Day before setting out on some mammoth walk with the university photo club. I even managed to mow the grass and do some weeding as well in the sunshine, accompanied by next doors cat who insists on catching bees. Idiot!

DIY and other helpful stuff and John Martyn remembered

I don't know what's come over me... I've drilled/sawed a hole in the back of a cabinet so my daughter could move her stereo to create a "make up desk", then Mrs F suggested I paint the kitchen ceiling which has been an outstanding job for ages and I've got that done. Couple that with me cooking a curry last night and obviously having to cook dinner tomorrow for Mother's Day I'm not sure what is going on, most unlike me :-) The French are stuffing the Italians at the moment and I'm awaiting the start of the England game. I watched the BBC tribute to John Martyn last night, a great documentary made in 2003 as he was having his leg removed and finishing of the Off The Cobbles album. Then an Old Grey Whistle Test gig from 1978. I would have been 15/16 when that was aired, I still remembered it as probably the first time I was introduced to Mr Martyn. Just him, his Martin acoustic with pickup gaffa taped on, a Fender Twin, bunch of effects inclu

Book Review – The Judas Strain, James Rollins

I bought this on a “buy one get one half price” deal in WH Smiths I think. I wanted Attila the Judgement and got this due to the deal really. Not a bad thriller if you like unbelievable James Bond like adventures. Actually a lot of the story line is based on some facts that Mr Rollins points out at the end of the book. Some of these include… On Marco Polo’s return journey from the Far East the majority of the ships in the fleet and the men were lost. Marco had possession of a jewelled head band of the Princess he’d accompanied to Southern Iran on the first part of the journey. If you study all of our DNA, including that which modern Biologist claim to be purely “junk”, you find a discernable pattern which reflects very similarly to the pattern most human languages take in their written/spoken form. The modern day part of the story revolves around an outbreak of a horrendous plague in a remote island. Quickly members of Sigma, a crack USA secret agent team, are involved in more

Let's talk plectrums...

... or should that be plectra I'm no good at that kind of English... to boldly go and all that. (If you are not a guitarist here is a health warning about this post, it may lead to you attempting to chew off a limb to retain conscious or keep your sanity...) My history of plectrum use is... Bloody huge triangular Gibson ones, heavy, I used to wear them out so they ended up pretty much circular in a matter of days/weeks. Odd at that time I had a Strat copy and used Gibson Strings and Gibson picks - I even went for Gibson strings with a wound third at one point after reading heavier strings gave a better tone... yes but you can't play the damn thing and could never get the intonation sorted out after an older mentor showed me what that nonsense was all about. For a long time there after I used Fender medium the hard once, often in tortoiseshell as I thought that classy for some bizarre reason. "Hello darling look at my tortoiseshell picks." I never had many girlfri

Snow Patrol Gig Review

Brilliant! I like Snow Patrol a lot. I discovered them through the breakthrough single Run some years back bought the album Final Straw which I thought was pretty good. Then their follow up to that Eyes Open was frankly one of my favourite albums of a couple of years ago – I think it won album of the year in my review then … sadly lost on my old blog now. So this was the “Take Back the Cities” tour which showcased material from their latest album A Hundred Millions Suns. The O2 I’ve said before has become a favoured venue of mine, I like it a lot. It is modern, clean, very accessible for me coming from Kent, reasonable catering although again an initial blank stare back as I asked for a coffee at the bar. I know I’m odd pal but I’m a recovering alcoholic and I drink coffee. There is a machine behind you all you need to do is find an appropriate vessel (not a glass that will crack with the temperature – oh dear… try again!!!) and press a single button, it’ll gurgle and spit then

Courses and Interviews

I went on this Career Continuation Workshop paid for by my company and run by an outplacement consultancy in London. Very good. Quite intensive two days looking at CVs, Interview skills, networking, etc. etc. I did get a lot from it, often stuff you should know but either forget or don't perhaps place the importance on it that you should. Also the group on the course was a great group to meet. People from different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. I really enjoyed meeting them all and I wish them all the very best in their career transitions. They were all further down that road than I and already unemployed, some for some period of time. It was a salient reminder as well that it is tough out there in the job market. I have had the first of two interviews today for the one job I have applied for at my current company. I think it went pretty well from the feedback, however there are many elements of the new role that are similar to my old role that has been eliminated an

Rugby!

One thing I didn't mention I was going to post on but only briefly was the rugby. What the hell happened?! To be fair the French fell to pieces didn't they apart from that bit in the second half where they did show up, but the first 50 mins they weren't on the park. You have to say how did the Welsh lose to them? It was like two different teams thier performance, mind you England was the same but in the opposite direction if you get my meaning. I thought England played with more purpose this time and at least alowed the backs to run with the ball at times. The try in the first 70 seconds from a back move probably helped there. Frustrating though given if we'd had had better discipline in the other games, esp against Ireland we'd have been much better off in the championship. Still hopefully now we can make that performance what we regularly turn in not a rarity. Swing low sweet Chariot.. etc. etc. :-)

To be posted to this blog soon...

Firstly a Snow Patrol gig review from Sunday, it was great by the way but I'll do a more informative post later. Secondly the career continuation workshop I'm right in the middle of is very good so far. Lastly the interview has been moved to later in the week relieving that congestion in the diary which is good.

Another moment that shows you what life should be about...

Having had one proud parent post this week it is only right we assure balance and post another one. Daughter-of-Furtheron got into the 100m breastroke final in the district gala last night. She has never made a final at that level before and whilst not on the top of the rostrum she got a medal!!! She also beat one her old school rivals in her heat which really pleased her. As dedicated parents we suitably embarrased her when she came out with the medal party cheering and doing a "go girl" dance. :-)

Clashes and confusion

I'm supposed to be on this career continuation course in London Mon/Tues... Now I have an interview for this job at my current place on Tuesday pm... Darn! Plus the last week I've really moved more to looking outside and talking to agencies etc. Hell I hate making decisions, can someone else make one for me and then I can blame you when it goes all wrong. :-)

State of Play

So things move on – slowly… I’m still only “at risk” still at the moment, and my application for the one opportunity within my company has been accepted and acknowledged even if I’ve not yet heard anything back more about an interview or anything. Anyway I’ve done all I can on that front now and in the past I’ve been assured by others that I’d be an ideal candidate for something and not even got an interview so I know the best thing is to put it out of my mind and focus elsewhere until I hear anything. I’ve been busy sending my CV to all the agencies I met at the career fair on Wednesday. As ever they are all very positive but then I suppose that is their job to keep you happy and engaged regardless of what is the reality since your CV on their books is what really matters to them no doubt. We have a busy weekend ahead of us with a swimming gala and Mrs F and I off to the O2 to see Snow Patrol, which should be really good. Then Monday and Tuesday I’m at a “Career Continuation Wor

The Boy is a genius I tell you...

What Facebook is for

This is so funny... and a bit too close to the truth for comfort potentially... I still don't really get or do Facebook at all.

It's your birthday!

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My brother was 50 yesterday, the old git! Ha ha! Actually there is a bit of a running family gag here which I perpetuated in the card I sent him about running out of time since all our direct male antecedents have died before they were 60. So he is "into the last ten" as I keep telling him. So this is what I bought him as a present. Useful, practical, witty, amusing, talking point and just the wrong side of the political correctness of the early 21st century. My sister ticked me off about it when I told her but true to form he had it all set up already last night when I called him and thought it very good. Now here is a thing. His birthday is 10th March or 10/3 if you use the UK shorthand (3/10 for my US readers). My birthday is 3rd October or 3/10 (again 10/3 for US folks). Isn't that odd that we have the reverse birthday of each other, how did our Mum organise that one?

Karpman Drama Triangle

I was reminded today about a neat little model that is helpful in life. The Karpman Drama Triangle comes from some Transactional Analysis work. I'll explain I hope... There are three parties in this little drama. A persecutor A victim A rescuer So the Victim points out how the persecutor is harming them in some way to the rescuer. The rescuer then becomes the persecutor of the original persecutor by attacking them for the original action the original victim reported. So now the the rescuer is the persecutor and the original persecutor is now a new victim. Guess what happens - the new victim goes to the original victim and says "Hey get this person off my back who you have set on me, I don't deserve that". So now the original victim is their rescuer and instantly sets up becoming the persecutor of their original rescuer and so the cycle goes on... By example - this is hypothetical by the way but is for demonstration My wife says to my daughter "You can'

CD Review – U2, No Line on the Horizon. Are U2 the best band on the planet?

After hearing the live BBC gig at which granted only two new songs off this were played I happened to be in Tescos on Saturday getting the ingredients for one of my legendary Chinese banquets (Well they are legendary in the family :-)) and I passed the CD rack and saw the new U2 and thought I’d get it. Now I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Bono, Edge and the other two guys over the years. I thought War was a brilliant album and was the first U2 I bought, Sunday Bloody Sunday is just brilliant off that album. Whilst others had highlights like Pride (In the Name of Love) off Unforgivable Fire they weren’t that memorable as entire collections. Then came The Joshua Tree which is for me one of the best albums of the 80s and a stunning piece of work, there are so many great great tunes on that one. Rattle & Hum… oh dear, too long not enough good stuff. Then the whole Achtung Baby and following albums all left me cold, I just didn’t get it and I thought U2 and I wou

Writing about myself…

… I hate it! What I mean is that I’ve been struggling with updating my CV. Over the years my CV has just sort of grown and grown. Largely I’ve only used it for internal job postings within my company where a lot of the time I’m already known to the recruiting manager anyway so there is less need for a snappy, attention grabing, sexy CV. Now there is a need. On Wednesday a job fair is being set up for those of us at my work who are at risk of redundancy. Largely I think the focus will be on people with scientific skills not numpties like me. However therefore all the more important I have a snappy, sexy, etc. etc. CV as most likely it’ll be a case of “I’ll pass this on to see if anyone back at base is interested”. So I’ve done battle with the CV and now asked a couple of colleagues/friends to give me their opinions. I’ve managed to get it pretty much onto two pages, if you ignore the list of education and publications/speaking engagements on the last page. Given I joined Liz’

Whatever next

Mrs F has created a facebook page!! She's been on the thing all weekend uploading photos, finding friends, chatting with our son and other of the younger members of the family. Whoever thought this IT course she is doing was a good idea... :-) I'm becoming a facebook widower :-(

A life on the open road

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My Dad made this caravan when I was a kid, my sister passed it on to me after cleaning out our cousins home. Whenever I look at it I'm reminded of Wind in the Willows and Toad setting off on his travels in the caravan before becoming infatuated with the motor car. My Dad was brilliant with his hands he could make anything, not a talent I have sadly! Problem is I don't have anywhere really available to put it on show and I don't think my son will appreciate it taking up room in his bedroom as it is at the moment! Mrs F has suggested a new shelf in my music room but that requires removal of two others etc. I'll have to look into it, it's too nice to stick up in the loft forgotten.

Choices

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Son-of-Furtheron is clearly developing as a guitarist. He is having a protracted conversation, mostly with himself but including me at times, about what should be his next guitar purchase. He truly is my son ;-) Last year he bought his LTD EC1000 vintage black - very nice, very black, very Metallica, EMG pickups, fast slim U shaped neck... Now he feels that whilst this is great guitar its predominantly scooped sound via the EMGs isn't as versatile as he'd like given he is branching out in his playing... chords have appeared!!! :-) So he is pinning for something like my PRS or Gordon Smith, both of which he regularly borrows when back at the family homestead. So here are his current two choices... Dean Soltero - which is an obvious L** P*** look alike. Or the more PRS like and with a possible vibrato option the Dean Hardtail. I've played a Jap Hardtail briefly once and my memory was it was a nice guitar with a C shaped neck. Reviews say the Soltero has a V shaped neck

Life goes on.

So the sun is shining – what a difference that can make to your mood. Yesterday I did some gardening. That is a dangerous thing as I don’t really have an ability to differentiate between weeds and plants and can at times be very over zealous in my pruning methods. But Mrs F approved of the trimming back that I’d done. Son-of-Furtheron is very happy at the moment. He got his first results back at the end of last week. Let’s just say he has nothing to worry about lots of 90% plus results! I think his lowest was still about 70% so his choice of uni and course look to have been spot on. We went on a shopping expedition on Saturday to the dreaded Bluewater. Bad news! The music shop has shut down! I thought is looked like it was headed that way a few weeks back as the stock was low and a 33% off many items sale. With Zavvi now resembling a boot fair most of the time, they didn’t even have CDs in the charts in stock?! I’m a bit stuck for shops to visit whilst awaiting the girls re