Just been out on my bike solo for the first time in forever. I had no more excuses. I’ve purchased every gadget and items of apparel that prevented me from getting out for the past two years. Oh I can’t go out this weekend cuz I haven’t got a set of lights and it’s Winter and it might suddenly go dark – Amazon checkout – Oh yeh, still need to get me a bright green reflective jacket cuz I need one before I can ride – Amazon checkout – If only I had a water bottle that fitted in the back of my new reflective jacket THEN I’d go out – Amazon checkout…Woke up this morning feeling pretty energised, without a tall tale of a bad night’s sleep thanks to kids, a back back (see kids), lack of equipment (see my book of excuses above) and to be fair a pretty massive feeling in the back of my mind that I really should do something at least slightly related to not dying before the summer.
You see this year marks one of those milestone Birthdays and I didn’t think it would ever affect me but it really has got under my skin over the last few months. I would have never imagined I would have made it this far when I was in my late teens – I simply didn’t have a care about my health or well being and took some ill advised decisions that I’m pretty sure are kicking me in the ass right now. A life style of beer, cigarettes, kebabs, an impressive VHS and music collection, 4 hours sleep a night and a total lack of exercise pretty much summed up 1993 – 2002. I gave up smoking before the birth of Thing1 and have been caffeine free for a large part of that time off and on but have supplemented those cravings with alcohol and chocolate . To the point where I don’t think my older kids could take another night of Daddy being melancholic reading bedtime stories having smashed a bottle with dinner and snoozing lightly with Harry Potter still in my hands. So I had the grand idea of giving up all alcohol for a year – ‘a year off the beer’ was how the marketing department in my head made sense of it. It was also supposed to coincide with the last anniversary of my birth but got delayed until after the end of summer, cuz you know, summer and booze. And endless excuses. Fast forward and I’ve been sober for many months now and I can tell you it’s getting easier to reconcile the health advantages over the hangover and upsetting people. I’ve been 100% free of even the smallest drop and I work for a flipping brewery so it hasn’t been easy. But as I rode my bike earlier, it struck me that I should be feeling better about my wonderful life and that it’s just a day that doesn’t have any real cosmic significance except in my head – which of course is correct. My wife has to put up a lot from me and I can’t tell you how awesome she is dealing with the bag of broken glass that is my personality. To help out with some of these sharp edges, we’ve made some other changes. I’m trying to claw back a little of what made me me before children – I used to write and play music – ha, remember that – so I now try and have a night (2-3 hours) a week to myself where I can try and muster enough creative juice to make something appear. Which is hard to say GO and expect genius to appear in a frazzled brain and fingers that can’t remember what to do. But it is really helping to separate stress into smaller boxes and some sprinkles of gold have been found among the bits that don’t sparkle which is cool. I hope that these changes will make me a little less angular and less sharp around others.
I suppose the point of this rant is a) it’s nice to use the blog that I pay for but rarely have time to sit down and compose anything of worth on b) I’ve just ridden 15 K and basically wrote this and needed to get it out and finally c) my poor wife is sick of hearing me belly ache about my thoughts so you lot can read it instead. Now if you will excuse me I have to get back to the ginormous bowl of Easter goodies that are calling me from the kitchen…No!!!!! Resist!!!! LMAO….
So today I decided that enough was enough and it’s time for a new job. I’m not going to rant about the detail but suffice to say that I believe that I am going to be useful to another organisation in the very near future. I can’t live with the threat of not being paid hanging over me or those around me who have to suffer my tension and to be fair it’s probably time anyway. I’ve been in a great work place for years but I feel like I’ve stagnated technically. I need new challenges and to feel like the work I put my heart and soul into is actually worth it. So what next? If I move away from Bridgnorth then it will mean changes with lifestyle changes, particularly with the school run. I stayed last time for that reason but I can’t help but find work wherever I can. And that sucks. It’s been so brilliant to be able to drop off and pick up moo over the past 4 years from school. Ah well, bring on the new and let’s see what I can do….
A pheasant just flew into our kitchen window, snapped its own neck and left a greasy pheasant shape on the window. I kid you not. My next-next door neighbour has a taste for that kind of thing and has taken the fresh bird away. All this in the last 5 minutes. Earlier today I picked up Moo from her holiday and on the way home we stopped off at the Ranch and we rocked with her on the mic and me on the drums then we would swap, Man or a Muppet never sounded so sweet. Sign of things to come. Olivia continues her development and has not only progressed to food and water but said Mama for the first time. These are wonderful days. Earlier this week we three rocked out and I think I may have found my perfect bass sound, Ravine never sounded so sweet. So all in all, a great week!
Last night my Hotmail was hacked by a bot/user/site in Thailand. I’ve seen in my social group several similar emails in my inbox. I have thought that people are careless and don’t take precautions when they get hacked but it’s my job to be careful and understand the attack vectors and yet, I still got hacked. My password for the account was very, very complex. I didn’t login from anywhere else apart from my one clean work computer and that was at least 4 months ago. So what could have happened? My head tells me that I can’t trust Hotmail any more and frankly the amount of ways in which the account can be used in the Microsoft empire, I don’t want to be part of that gang. Which is a bit sad as I was a big supporter in the early days. So goodbye Hotmail, I am trying to close you. But wait, what new hell is this?….I now can’t close the account because of I have paid services? WHAT?…If nothing else, trying for 10 minutes to navigate this abortion of a website has put a nail in the coffin, then several screws, and then a few hundred rivets. **** you Hotmail.
EDIT: Here is a link that will close your Hotmail
Favourite thing: Taking Mills into School and her doing the New Zealand Haka in the car, not favourite thing working 12 hours again and then waking up this morning at 6…my body hates me at the moment…We are in the final processes of splitting the companies – just about a terrabyte of data to decide whose is whose and split up – its like breaking up with a girlfriend, we’ve got to the DVD collection. And I’ve got two weeks off in 5 days so life at work is ‘interesting’ but will eventually be satisfying…There will only be about 8 people left from the old company by the end of the month (over 400 when I started). Sad, very sad. The machines that once produced millions of metres of the worlds best foil products are either gone leaving empty buildings or are slated for removal over the next 6 months – destination India. Can’t help feeling that I took the right decision to stay on with the new company as by all reports Europe is in turmoil and I don’t think I would have been employed for very long. But otherwise, I’m enjoying being site IT superhero/villain and the plans are coming off albeit it a little bit intensely as we go through the final push…now if I can just get the cloning machine working…
So, we bought a new car because Chippy needs to be able to drive. No problems there, came out with a great deal on an automatic and we love it. The driving lessons have had to go on hold until after Xmas as cash is tight, again no problems there. So I figured I’d get the insurance to allow her as a named driver and as she has been driving for 7 years on a full US licence didn’t think it would be a problem – even as just a provisional driver. Now it turns out, I have to cancel my existing policy, take out a new one, get effed in the ay and smile while they take away lots of cash – over double my last policy. Bloody insurance companies, bunch of …well, I’d like to say something abusive so let’s settle on cunning stunts….And it turns out that I lost my ability to drive other cars 3rd party. Now, before you say it, I *could* call other insurance companies and dive into phone musaq hell, but I only had a window of 1 hour to do it and it really needs a full day of graft to do it. Rest assured, that day will arrive before the next policy is up….
Has to be said that I felt the loss of Frank Sidebottom more than Micheal Jackson..
This last week I’ve been quite tired and have been working hard at work and at home. The candle is well and truely burnt at both ends. Plus Mills has been unwell and generally it’s been a bit of a poor week in this house. Today, after I had finished doing more work and visiting family, I felt a surge of inspiration and picked up my trusty acoustic guitar and within a few minutes a new verse and bridge had appeared out of thin air. I love those creative bursts and only wish they would be available all the time. The most wonderful piece of technology I own is my smartphone – I can record an idea or a sentance instantly and then piece together ideas from months of these flashes of inspiration. After about 6 hours of being totally immersed in creating a full 70 seconds worth of a song, I have retired to bed pretty exhausted but elated. I cannot describe the joy it gives me to beaver away at a song, writing and rewriting parts and listening over and over, then having a idea, then deleting it because this one is way better, then realising that the original idea was actually far better and wishing you hadn’t deleted it, then remembering that with this software nothing is really deleted and finding out that your mind played back a different version and you should really record that one as it’s way better quickly before it goes, etc. etc. To the listener who would sit in on the process it must be very repetative and boring (I know the dog gets up and leaves before even play a note on my drums) but all I know is that this is what defines me. This is what I do. I write and record 1 minute songs that no-one ever hears, and you know what, I loves it. I don’t care if anyone ever hears them, they are my release and are worth thousands of pounds to me as let’s face it, money can’t buy you happiness. But doing something you love can make you happy regardless of cost.
My energy supplier graciously let me give them a scandalous amount of money a month to cover the spiraling costs of gas and electricity and I agreed as there is no easy alternative. But I just noticed this month that the ‘temporary’ increase was then a ‘permanent monthly figure’ – combined bill of over £260. Now hold on here a fucking minute there EDF, I agreed to pay back what I owed given that I was dumb enough not to opt for the price cap a year ago but this just takes the biscuit. After a phone call all is well and the balance is on it’s way back into my bank account pending a ‘review’ in the new year. My point being, how many people don’t check their bank balance (oh I enjoy life on the edge) and just accept these theiving shysters taking vast sums of money from you and earning interest on it until you do. My Granddad regulary gets me to call them to get his money back as they don’t believe that his fuel direct debit is too high depite it being like a saving account from them where you don’t earn any interest. It makes me quite mad. But the interesting part of the conversation is that I (or we) have used LESS electricity this quarter and so my DD is now (after a few curt words from me) less than it was when I started it. Ay? Come again? I know we’ve tightened our belts and made sure lights are turned off and doors closed etc. like everyone must be doing this winter to keep costs down but how could we have used less? I think it must have been the dog with her Small Hadron Collider experiments this summer…
That, is the sound of the fanfare that announces the arrival of that oft requested but until today refused thing that is…the turning on of the central heating system! It’s official. It is now no longer appropriate to wear shorts. It is now the other English season – colder….