Timeless TV

If I am being honest I do watch a lot of TV. What I particularly like is inane comedies that have no particular desire to be anything more than they are. A great example of this is Scrubs – it is a TV show about people working in a hospital. they don’t try to dress it up to be more than it is – although the show is funny, the actual hospital situation is quite dull.

My favourite TV show of all time is Red Dwarf… if you are from outwith the UK it is possible that you have never heard of it – and that is such a shame. The show is about a guy called Dave who is the last man ever living. He has a hologramatic ‘buddy’ called Arnold and a companion who has evolved from a pet cat. They are later joined by an android called Kryton. The best series are the earlier ones when the budgets were low – it was obvious that they recycled sets, and between seasons the ship interior changed dramaticly. nobody bothered because this wasn’t what the show was about. It was about relationships and the situations the cast found themselves in. Here is a perfect example:

I mentioned earlier in my blog that I am not having the best time of it of late. the funny thing is that Red Dwarf has helped lighten my mood and get me through some tough experiences. I don’t think that TV is the worst thing, indeed I do think that it can have a hugely beneficial effect on peoples moods when they are feeling down. I do also strongly believe that the writing of a sit-com is so much more important than anything else. A strong script = good TV.

Here is a ‘Top 10’ complied by a Youtube user. They are not my top 10, but they are good!

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Big, black, gold teeth and a do-rag.

I like to travel – I always have. Going places is so much better than ‘being somewhere’ in my opinion. I have worked overseas a number of times and have countless anecdotes to share about the places where I have worked and been. The great thing about a blog is that I get to recount my memories for the world (or the two people who visit!).

Back in the summer of 2004 I was working as a supervisor at Paramount’s Kings Dominion (now, just Kings Dominion). I was in charge of the Shanandoha (sp?) Log Flume and the Antique Cars rides. It was generally dull, repetitive work but we made our own fun when we could.

Due to the nature of the job and the low pay, staff turnover was quite high. One day I was sent a new start – T (not his real name). He was huge in every direction (not fat, just BIG), he was black with a gold tooth and spoke infrequently with a very gruff voice. As a very white Scotsman I was slightly intimidated… he really was huge. I started training him of the worst (yet easiest) ride position – unload. He was quiet, and still huge.

The next day I come in and shortly after he arrives. As he can only work the one position I send him to do that and I trot off to the control tower. These are the positions we would keep until break time (3 sodding hours in heat and humidity). Break time comes, and being in-charge of rotas I send myself on break & it works out that T also has a break. He was still huge by the way.

I sat with him at break and, being slightly nervous (I’m a softy as it is, and he was huge, black with gold teeth and now wearing a do-rag) I am not flowing with conversation. After a few minutes we do get talking and he opens up as do I. T turned out to be a thoughtful, kind guy! We went on to become one of my most important staff members and a good friend.

You learn things in life. Never judge a book by its cover. Never think ill of anybody and always remember that black skin, gold teeth and being huge don’t mean that the person is a thug!

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Argentina, the UK and the Falklands

Why has Argentina become so aggressive all of a sudden? I am not only talking about their self-assertion regarding the Falkland Islands, but also their attitude to Spanish oil producers.

Earlier in the week, two British cruise ships were denied permission to dock in Argentina. This action was supported by Argentine president Cristina Kirchner. This was the latest action ‘against’ Britain in the wrangle over ownership of the Falkland Islands. You do have to wonder who really looses out over such action… is it the few thousand [multi-national] tourists onboard these ships, or is it perhaps the inhabitants of the ports who have recently lost out on several thousand pounds worth of tourist spending? Yes, Kirchner has made headlines with this action, but it is her people who have lost out.

The Falklands are an interesting topic. In Britain we are taught one version of their history, in Argentina they are taught another. What is clear, and understood is that there are a few thousand people living on the islands that believe that they are British. In 1982, when the Argentines invaded (or in their view, attempted to liberate) the islands they honestly believed that the islanders would have welcomed their liberation. Perhaps this was an occasion of the Argentines believing what they wanted.

So what is the big deal about the Falklands now? Well, I believe that it is two fold. 1. Argentina is struggling financially and Cristina Kirchner’s political standing is improved by renewing these assertions. Secondly: oil. It is probable that there are oil reserves in the territorial waters around the Falklands. An explanation of the benefits of such reserves is not needed.

A few months ago the Royal Navy sent HMS Dauntless to the area. Dauntless is a destroyer and one of the most powerful ships on the ocean. You can understand why Argentina’s disliked this move, equally, you can understand why Britain made this move. Kirchner went on to say that Britain was militarising the area… Britain denied it… but of course we did! If a country makes threats against our people, our land or our sovereignty of course you are going to make efforts to protect them.

The way Dauntless works (on a very basic level) is that it shoots anything hostile out of the air before it can get anywhere near it. The only reason Argentina would dislike this, you could hypothesise, is that they planned to move closer to the islands.

I like Argentina. For a long time it has been a place I have wished to visit. I have Argentine friends, and get on very well with them. Such assertions by Kirchner has not impacted friendships, but has demotivated my urge to visit.

So, what is the future? I don’t think their will be an attempted invasion. This would be too expensive for both countries, and British defence equipment is now substantially more advanced than Argentina’s. The economic impact, mainly to Argentina, of war would be disastrous. Last year, Britain gave Argentina £27m in aid, and the IMF contributed £450m. If an unprovoked conflict were to break out, this would pretty much end. The UK is also a major export market for Argentina.

I believe that Argentina will continue to flex what muscles they have in the hope of getting as much out of the situation as they can. Today, they have ‘demanded’ that flights to the Falklands be operated by their flag carrier. I would expect such demands to continue – I would also expect the British government to negotiate a supply link (or similar) and tensions will ease for another 20 years or so.

It is all very sad in my opinion. You wonder why we can’t all just get along?Image

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Have you ever hear of Ronnie Coyle?

Most people haven’t, but he is a man who can teach you a thing or two,

Ronnie was a footballer (or Soccer Player for you yanks) who started his career at Glasgow Celtic 1984 and left in in 1987 having played only played two games for the club. He then traveled south to play for Midlesbourough and Rochdale. He eventually joined my favorite team – Raith Rovers – playing in 253 games between 1988 and 1996.

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Ronnie was a good player, never truly ‘brilliant’, but he always performed. In every game in which Ronnie played you knew we would have a chance as he always put in a full shift. He was part of the team that got Rovers promoted and subsequently won the Coca-Cola cup. It was a tragedy that he didn’t play in the final (due to injury) as he would have been one of the select few that you would say should have been guaranteed a starting spot due to his commitment alone.

Well, when we won the Coca-Cola cup we got into the Uefa Cup… which was a bit ludicrous, a wee team like us playing the cream of European talent. Ronnie played in the two most amazing games in our history – against Byern Munich. It was not until recently we found out that Ronnie blamed himself for a Jugen Klinsman goal – something that played on his mind for years afterwards. of course, all of us thousands of fans thought this was ridiculous.

I spoke to Ronnie a number of times. He didn’t have a clue who I was, but he always gave me 100% of his attention (no matter the drivel I spoke). He was a true gent.

Time came, and Ronnie left Rovers and went on to play for a few other clubs. But when Rovers had a major financial problems, he was back joining in a copious number of fundraisers. He proudly (along with his son and daughter) pulled on the blue shirt to aid in our fight for financial survival.

Sadly, in the 1990’s Ronnie was diagnosed with Leukemia – a battle which we all thought that he had won. Unfortunately, it came back. It was worse. He continued to attend games with his son when he could, even addressing fans on occasion.

In 2011, a benefit match was arranged for Ronnie – to aid his family in the financial nightmare this must have been. Now, if you don’t understand how special this guy was, the match was arranged against Celtic – the team that were deeply embarrassed in the Coca-Cola cup final – their players signed up with little hesitance. This was such a dark spell in Celtic’s history – a time they wanted to forget and they turned up for Ronnie! John McStay even flew from Australia for the match! Take a look at http://www.raithroversfc.com/cgi-bin/features.cgi?id=206 for match details.

Sadly, Ronnie died 16 days after this match. It was so sad, but fitting that he died after we all had a chance to let him know how much he was appreciated.

At his funeral a silly number of great players attended – including Ally McCoist (a Rangers legend…). http://www.thesun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/3536418/Legends-in-farewell-to-Ronnie-Coyle.html

His kids and wife still attend games at Starks Park at times, and are always very warmly welcomed.

I have rambled somewhat in this post & have become quite emotional at times. The message here is simple – you don’t have to be a super-star to be loved and appreciated. Be honest, decent and caring and your legacy will out-live anything you can imagine.

Thanks for the memories Ronnie.

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“I’m depressed” is a common phrase often used incorrectly. people may be a little sad, upset or unhappy but they are often not depressed. I am depressed and I can tell you it is absolutely awful.

My depression is caused by a traumatic event that I am currently going through (I won’t give the web the details as it is personal). The funny thing is – I am not depressed all the time. I can’t explain why, but I am often fine and normal and then spiral into a feeling of hopelessness. My depression can get quite serious. I have thought about killing myself, but as my depression lifts those thoughts begin to disgust me.
I am dealing with this. I have tried medication, however, the pills caused more problems than they solved. I went to see a ‘head doctor’, who offered some good advice. The best medicine I have found is a blog. I have a blog about my problems online. It is anonymous and as such I won’t link to it. I blog everything and anything – it is an outlet for my thoughts, despair and problems. I suppose that it is a modern form of a journal. It works well for me and I would recommend it for those in a similar position…. just don’t let it enter your ‘normal’ life.
Depression is serious. It is a problem and that must be remembered. Unfortunately, it can not be cured with a pill or a surgery. If you are struggling, there is help – make sure you use it.

“I’m depresse…

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Slave labour and the mouse

My rather dull [current] life is in great contrast to, what seems like, my previous life. I have been very fortunate to have traveled greatly and worked overseas on a number of occasions. One of my most interesting adventures was working for Disney Cruise Line.

It sounds exciting, right? Working on a cruise ship for what is arguably the world’s most famous entertainment companies. It was to a certain extent, however, there is so much about life onboard that isn’t glamorous, exciting and could even be deemed as depressing.

I worked onboard the Disney Wonder as a Youth Activities Petty Officer (AKA Kids club counselor). She was a great ship to be a part of. She was beautiful and the crew were so friendly. I remember the first time I boarded I could sense the excitement and (forgive the cheese) wonder of the place

Disney Wonder

I always found it quite amusing when guests (both young & old) seemed to be surprised that the crew actually lived onboard. When they heard that we did the immediately thought we stayed in the same luxury that they did…. that was not the case. My current bathroom is bigger than my cabin (including the bathroom) onboard the ship…. and that was shared with another crew member. The crew cabins were situated on decks A and B (under the water line), and the crew mess served boiled rice and boiled chicken daily. Food was edible, but certainly not good and it was very, very dull.

We worked hard. 10 hours per day, 7 days per week for stints of 5 months straight – and that was a ‘good’ contract. It wasn’t exactly hard work entertaining kids, but it was very, very repetitive and quite stressful. Spew, snot and pee were daily challenges, and no thanks was generally received from parents. Not that they should thank us, I suppose – the cruises were ridiculously expensive.

One of the kids clubs

The route I worked on went from Florida- Nassau – Castaway Cay. It was a nice route, but did get dull quickly. Castaway Cay is the most amazing place to visit. White sand beaches, clear water and awesome food. I didn’t like working on the island. Sand in your ship regulation sand shoes, heat, screaming dehydrated kids and a window of 30 minutes at the end of your Island Shift to get on the ship, shower, change and start back in the kids clubs.

Castaway Cay

What made my life on the ship, and indeed made me return for a second stint were the people with whom I worked with, lived with, and had fun with. Parties were awesome, and you truly make friends for life. I miss everybody I met, and think about them daily.

You will notice that beer and booze plays a big part in crew life...

Alcohol plays a big part of crew life. The crew bar is really the only place to relax and everybody (and I mean everybody) drinks. No matter what time you finished your shift, be it 7pm or 2am you would normally head to the crew mess and then the bar. The prices in the bar were strange and would fluctuate greatly depending on whether or not you knew the bar man. A vodka and Coke (normally a tripple) would start at about $1.50 and could dip to as low as $0.50. A Coke could cost up-to $3. It was all rather strange. Sadly, there were people who were reliant on alcohol – which wasn’t surprising as it played such a large part of crew life.

I had a great time during my two contract stint on the Wonder and would recommend a life on the waves to anybody. What I would say, however, is that it is difficult to make a career on a ship, well a Disney one at least. You also need to remember that you live and work in very cramped spaces – which isn’t great if you dislike someone. It is a good place to meet new people and have some fun!

I have many stories & hundreds of photos of my ‘adventures’ on the Mickey Boat which I may share in the future… if I can be bothered

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Bible quote of the day

Exodus 35:1-3 (New International Version)

Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things the LORD has commanded you to do: For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”

 

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London and on and on and on

I am just back from an enjoyable weekend in London. I went down with my parents to visit my sister who has lived and worked down there for quite some time. I do enjoy visiting London on the whole, however, as a city it isn’t a patch on Edinburgh in my opinion. The problem is that journeys take so long when in the city as so much is spread out – not the case in Edinburgh. Again, that is just my opinion and I am very slightly bias.

I always find it amusing that very few people working in London are actually from London. If you have a think about it, it actually makes sense. The majority of those employed in tourism, or retail are on minimum wage… and you can’t live in London for any length of time on minimum wage. Many of the low wage workers are younger people on student visas. The government are looking to crack down on such visas which does make you think what will happen with much of the tourism and hospitality industries in  places like London. I assume it will simply mean prices will rise as businesses will need to pay their staff more.

Anyway, I digress (which if you have read other posts you will know is a common problem). London is a great city, with one of my favorite attractions being the Natural History Museum. It is a free attraction, and is highly informative and very entertaining. Being a 29 year-old kid my favorite part was the Dinosaur gallery. It isn’t huge, but it does contain some fantastic interpretation and specimens. It also has some very realistic animatronic  dinosaurs including a juvenile T-rex. The only problem with this gallery is the number of people visiting. You can wait for a couple of hours to see it on a busy day… it could be controlled much better.

There are number of excellent other galleries. the Darwin Center ‘Cocoon’ was absolutely fascinating and much quieter than the rest of the building. The Cocoon is much more like a trail than a gallery. You can use a bar code card to ‘collect’ information to review at home. it is a great idea and looks like it is being rolled out across the NHM.

Anyway, I could go on and on about the NHM or my trip – but you don’t want to read too much about that I am sure. So I will sign off in a second. Before I do I have two things I need to get of my chest…
1. East Coast trains are very good, but, the coffee is awful!
2. A quiet coach should be quiet. Sit down and shut up. Needless to say, being polite Brits the coach simply tutted, and complained behind the selfish woman’s back.

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The days of interesting clothes and decor

I’ve not been feeling too great of late so I had a bit of a look through old photo albums in the hope that it would cheer me up… and they did. So many memories that were near-forgotten. Friends that have been lost

So this is me a baby. I think that I am enjoying a ride-on thing, well, to be honest it looks more like I have spotted something shiny

You can see here this is me enjoying the local beach. Even although it is summer, it still looks bloody freezing! We use to go to the bech quite a lot when I was a kid – I loved it.

This is me with my sister. I was a Beaver and she was a Brownie. I take it that this is when I hit my growth spurt – It does look a bot like I am wearing a belly top! You have got to love my dad’s attempts to be stylish with the broken slab edging around our patio!

We were always very fortunate as kids. My mum & dad worked so hard to give us so much. Every year we went abroad on holiday. We went to Corfu a few times – this is where this picture is taken.

I love this photo! I clearly look grumpy about something. If I remember correctly it was because I was getting fed-up having my pictures taken!

This is another of my favorites… can you spot me? I’m a clown. I love the Gpllywog on te float – don’t think that would be allowed nowadays.

These were taken at my aunties wedding. Strangely, I can remember most of the day…. I can remember being told off for sliding across the dance floor on my knees and bum.

Remember when TV’s were this size? We only had one too! Geez…. I’m old!

I love looking at old school pictures. They remind me of good old days, simple times and a life without worry.

I’ll sign-off with this picture. It just echo’s fun times for me. I can’t remember where or when it was taken, but it makes me smile.

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You gotta laugh! Westboro Baptist Church

I am a proud Scot, and recently I stumbled across a video on their website about the inclusion of Gay and Lesbian ministers in the Church of Scotland. It is worth a watch for sheer comic value alone.

The Mr. Fred Phelps makes so many errors in the video – errors that would be corrected by a customary glance at any legitamate news-site or statistical document.

1. The video is called “Scotland considers gay preachers”. Preachers…. hmm. Yeah, the name of the video discredits it before it even starts!

2. His grammar is absolutely atrocious throughout.

3. “Not a single preacher in Scotland will speak-up in any meaningful way.” By this, he means that no church minister will speak-up against inclusion of LGBT (AKA ‘fags’) in the church.

4. So, the only place to hear the truth about god is from the Westrbro Baptist Church…  yeah, that is why almost every other church IN THE WORLD believes you to be wrong.

5. “Your perverted government wants to ban us.” Substantiate ‘perverted’. Our government has laws against hate crimes, that is why they wish to ban you.

6. “Pretending to debate.” No pretend about it. The dabate is happening.

7. “Get the death penalty for parading their filth down Main Street.” Huge cultural faux-pa. We don’t have ‘Main Street” in the way you imply.

8. “put away your fornication”?????

9. “They try to ban us, your only friends” In the past you have stated categorically that you are the friends of nobody.

10. England…. they state-
Streets overflowing with violence
Police AWOL
London is burning
All wrong! Especially when compared to the USA

Yeah, there is more. You should go and have a watch of their videos, they are truly enlightening. You do wonder how or even why.

I would love WBC to come to Scotland. We are an open minded society that may be enlightening to them. I could even take them to the church where the King James Bible (the one they follow word-for-word as they believe it to be ‘the word of god’) was interpreted and agreed upon!

As stated previously, I think religion is hokum, however, I can respect those who follow a religion for good. That isn’t these people.

I have a few favorite videos regarding religion – this is one of them.

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