Month: November 2015

Saturday Night TV

I remember a time when Saturday night television was something to stay at home for.  The channels used to fight to get you to watch their evenings entertainment.  These days it would seem that any old crap is put on.

I looked through the schedule and nothing on that inspired me to sit down and watch.  I checked the movies, lots of them, but nothing worth watching, and the ones worth a watch I have already seen many times.

I checked the music channels and the documentary ones too, and alas, rubbish.  History channel showing things that are not history which really takes the biscuit.

Saturday night TV was once an art form, now it is a gaping maw filled with third-rate stars like Cheryl Cole, Ant and Dec, and other monstrosities dragged out, made up and put on in the aid of cheap entertainment.

No wonder I read so much.

Greed Friday — A Take

Here we go again for the 3rd year in the UK, Black Friday has arrived and consumerism and greed take over in abundance.

Do not get me wrong, I love a bargain, I enjoy shopping and buying lovely things, but I will not be taken in by a superfluous event that is driven to make you purchase things you do not need.

Some of the shops have decided, most wisely that they are not joining in with the madness due to last year’s debacle which proved that people are vicious animals driven by greed, nothing more, nothing less. We were shown on mass media what people were doing to other human beings, hitting children, stampeding over people, fighting, and most appalling was a person tipping a person out of a wheelchair to get to something to sate their greed. Shop doors were destroyed and people injured. Is this really how a so called civilised being should act? No, in fact, I would say that we should never act like this. Injuring people and destroying property is abhorrent, and also illegal.

Web sites are more civilised places to shop, but I find the a lot of the “deals” are nothing to get excited over. Argos has been having amazing sales for the last six or so months and is making money head over heals, which goes to show selective sales throughout the year is more profitable than a one day sale that may destroy the shop. Amazon has some odd sales items which I know people will buy just for the sake of a “bargain”. Their Kindle book deals for Black Friday seem no different to any other day, 99p books are there all the time, and the selection they have, again is nothing to get your knickers wagging.

I did, however, make one purchase which was marked on my receipt as “Black Friday Deal” in M&S. I wanted Christmas Crackers and saw a pack for £10 and thought ‘that will do’. At the till they came up as £6.66, which I did not notice until I saw on the receipt. Unwittingly joining with the madness in rather an empty shop.

When opening Amazon this morning they had a £3.99 digital album sale. The picture of an ELO album as the tempter, however, this album was not in the sale, which strikes me as a rather odd “invitation to treat”.

Year three, and Greed Friday has not managed to pull me in, tempt me in the slightest, or indeed made me part with money in the name of this rather offputting day.

Who Are You?

I came out the side entrance of my house to put the garden bin out.

You are parked there, with your engine running and side lights on. This is private land, and no thoroughfare, so why?

I give a quizzical look.  I put the bin at the kerb and walk back and your full lights come one. I am watching and have a curious look on my face. It may be mistaken for anger, but that cannot be helped, I always look like that.

I walk towards you and you drive away, leaving my land and over my drop-kerb.

I know you are female, and trespassing. But, why, and more importantly, who are you?

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Local Library

My local library decided to put books on display for reading with a huge banner saying “Black History Month”. It was October, and they thought it would only be right to focus on their history and struggle. However, the book stand had a measly 7 books, and that is the total of their stock throughout the whole of the county, covering 6 libraries, which was originally 12 libraries at the beginning of the year.

The list of the books are as follows:

  • A long way from paradise: surviving the Rwandan genocide by Leah Chishugi
  • Collected poems: her blue body everything we know earthling poems, 1965–1990 by Alice Walker
  • Jesse Owens: a biography by Jacqueline Edmondson
  • Maya Angelou: the complete poetry
  • Paradise Lost: Haiti’s tumultuous journey from Pearl of the Caribbean to Third World hot spot by Philippe R. Girard
  • The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth Huxley
  • Windrush songs by James Berry

Nothing about Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandella, or even Martin Luther King Jr. I decided to challenge them about their tiny collection and asked for The Colour Purple, this was not to be seen, Neither was Maya Angelou’s biography, which in itself is 7 books alone. I thought I would challenge them a bit more and asked for Rosa’s Bus and was met with blank faces, I tried for Civil Rights next, and shock of shocks they had 5 books which were all out of stock apart from one, which in all honesty was piss poor. The one in stock was “1 December 1955: Rosa Parks And Her Protest For Civil Rights”, a whopping 31-page book in the kid’s section. I looked at the poor clerk, shook my head, pointed at the sign, and said before leaving the library with my books “You need to increase your reading material, this is a very important part of history, and to pass off 7 books as a ‘History’ is drastically shameful. I suggest for next year researching it fully. This is an institute for learning and not a place to gloss over the struggle of the Black people of the world. Embrace it and show more respect for those who have struggled to be accepted like you and me.

Needless to say, he did not reply, just hung his head in shame.

Writing

I started writing many years ago on a platform a little like this. The platform was easy, clear, and a community that was there to offer help and comments. I had always wanted to be a writer and reflected on my writings when I was a kid, doing a project in the summer holidays that usually caused me to use three or four writing books, which were full to the brim of my findings and thoughts.

The platform was the latest thing, and blogging was a word that had just seen the early light of day. I would read others writings and get enjoyment from them, especially a lady called JoJo (sounds familiar?) who was rather helpful, and gave some good advice on writing. Whilst there I was able to read her writing, she wanted to be a writer too but unlike me she had a million stories to tell and wrote with increasing volume. Some of her captive audience would get to read chapters of new stories, I too was one of those lucky readers. She persisted on her writing and is a very successful writer.

I found the platform at the time was restrictive and I wanted to branch out not just on writing, but adding other things to my blog, so bought server space and installed Typepad. This was okay, but again I felt restricted, so installed WordPress which did all that I needed. I was ready to write.
I posted at first once every few days, but then I started to get the bug for it and was writing several times a day. When I was at work I would think of something and either make notes or log into my site and write.

8 years passed, and I was still writing each day, and had a massive audience, and was not just writing for me, but for them too. In September 2008, I had a spat with a family member on what I had published on my site. Needless to say, it was not in any way offensive to anyone, but they decided that I could not celebrate getting married to my partner and publish the photos as it may cause a problem to them as my siblings were not there. So my wedding day memory was marred by this crass comment. Not only was it selfish of him to mention such a thing, but demanded that I remove the photos. Rage ran through me like hot lava, and anyone who knows me, knows I have no fuse, I just go from calm to explosion in a fraction of a second. As such, and obeying my temper, I deleted not only the “offending” article but my whole site. Then closed my account with the server providers so I could not resurrect it ever again.

Since 2009, I have thought about writing again, but with a heavy heart sitting in plain view of my thoughts I got as far as one or two posts then deleted them too.

My partner was always, and still is supportive of my writing urges. I went out and bought Scrivener so that I could write my novel, which is developing in the background. I got the bug again, but things do tend to get in the way of a writing session, be it life in general or just lack of imagination, some things do take time. I took up challenges to get my creative juice flowing again, and it worked, but I ended up wanting to write a completely different story to the one I was on.

I realised last month what was missing. I needed to write other things and talk about things. My mind could not stay in the same place too long, as like me it grows bored of the same routine and the same outcome, it and I needed a place to just go with the flow and create something that was organic and could change as and when it was needed.
My little part of the internet needed to be a secret shared amongst strangers, a place where no known eyes would peruse. I wanted something that would not identify me and in turn ensure I would write. A name generator would give me an indentity and a name to write under. Augustine Chain sounded like a name I could live with. It gave a thought of past times in history for me, so here it is, my new identity. Utopia is something we all want, and I identify with monkeys. An ape would be more fitting due to evolution, but I needed to be one step out. Therefore, Utopian Monkey was born along with Augustine.

It is not a dirty little secret that I write, but I like the idea that it could be, almost like a “bit on the side”, but this mistress will not cause my partner to divorce me, give me an STD/STI, drunk text me in the middle of the night, or turn up at my door screaming its love or lust for me. It is what it is, a place to write and think, a place to read, and a place to fall in love with words again.

Books

I love books. I love to read, and my ideal day would be to sit quietly with a book and a pot of coffee, when the coffee had gone, then maybe a pot of tea. But all in all quiet, and sustenance both of the mind on the body.

I set myself a challenge each year to read so many books. In 2013, I decided 20 books would be good enough, and managed to read 28, that’s 140% on the challenge. Last year I thought I could do better, and went for 40, and managed to read 64, so that’s 160%. This year I thought I would stick to the 40 books, and with close t0 40 days left of the year I have read 34 books to date. I am one behind schedule, so need to get a move on.

Today I finished reading Yeon-Mi Park, “In Order To Live”. Wow really does not do it justice. What this girl endured through her life at the age of 13 and beyond really was hard to read, including rape and people trafficking to escape the tyranny of North Korea. She opened my eyes to what really goes on in that country, things the mass media do not show due to the country being completely closed to the rest of the world.

I enjoy biographies as you get to see life from another person’s perspective. I will not read the biographies of people who are non-entities in the world, for example, Katie Price, who cares if she got her tits out and made money, she really is a third rate personality, a Z-lister in my eyes. I do not care for the likes of her and other people who really have nothing to say apart from the fact that they made money. Who cares.

I have just started reading “Proud” by Gareth Thomas. A great rugby player and someone who has something interesting to say about his life and dealing with the fact that he is gay. I remember seeing him in Chester many years ago with his partner, and boy is he tall, 6′ 3″ is massive compared to my 5′ 7″ stature.

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Minus 2

Minus 2 6:15 am and I’m out walking the dogs.
Minus 2 and I’m not wearing a coat.
Minus 2 but the dogs are happy to be out in the open.
Minus 2 and they are jumping in the mounds of leaves piled up on the pavement.
Minus 2 and they are happy, jolly and having fun.
Minus 2 and I’m shivering and trying to walk fast but the dogs are not interested, the leaves are too much fun.
Minus 2 my hands start hurting as my poor cracked hands crack and split more.
Minus 2 I need warmth.
Minus 2 finally heading home.
Minus 2 and I finally part company. I’d say it was fun, but that would be a lie.
Minus 2 goodbye.

A little of what you fancy?

They say, “You can’t have/do that, it’s bad for you.” “That carcinogenic, don’t eat that.” and much, much more.

I agree on some things, like heroin, smoking, and eating glass. However, on the measure of food, I consider it all hokum. Yes, radical thinking I know, especially in the age of 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, sugar-free, low calory, light, non-GM rubbish.

My grandmother was born in 1883 and died of old age in 1979 at the age of 95 (just before her 96th). She believed in eating what you liked, and would eat the fat off meats, dip bread in beef dripping, smother food with salt and only every use proper butter, no spreads or margarine in her store cupboard that’s for sure.

I know people who have an amazingly healthy lifestyle, no rubbish in their diets, no trans fats, salts, carbs and other fads, yet they are the most unhealthy people I know. One was rushed into hospital after a stroke. This person was fit, did marathons (not the chocolate bars) and worked out at the gym all the time, but no matter what, he ended up with problems. His wife, the same, but again she became ill.

I take pride in eating what I want. Although, I do not eat Gluten as I have coeliacs and just cannot tolerate it, or at least my stomach and bowels cannot tolerate it, but, as for bad foods, bring them on. I am not a chocolate lover, but savory is the fastest way to my heart. I am healthy and happy to smother my jacket potato with a pound of butter (from grass fed cows), drink coffee all the time (freshly ground by me) with two sugars and full-fat milk, eat chops with the biggest rind of fat you can find, and yes, I will suck the bone clean of meat, fat and marrow. I love bacon rind, raw, oh my god is he crazy? yes maybe I am but rind mmmm. I love cabbage cooked then thrown into the bacon fat in the frying pan to give it an extra taste. Coke is a staple along with peanut butter (Whole Earth as it isn’t sweet) which I eat by the spoonful. Ice cream is another staple, especially Ben & Jerry’s.

I had my DNA tested to see if I had to worry about anything in the future, and it would seem that I am going to live forever, unless I get hit by a car, fall off a really high building or bridge, or am shot in the head or heart. My DNA showed I have no markers for anything.

I drink alcohol rarely, but it’s because I am out driving every day, so just don’t want to risk losing my license .
With all that in mind, I believe in having a little of what I fancy, covered in peanut butter with a large side order of fried chop rind/fat. Anyone care to join me?

American Horror Story: Hotel

I am totally hooked on #AHSHotel, and some of the Hotel characters really stand out for me. The obvious one is Lady Gaga as Countess Elizabeth, who knew Gaga could be so good, perfect role and she gets 10 out of 10 from me.

I like most of the characters so far, but my favorite has to be Kathy Bates as Iris. There is nothing I have seen her in that I have not liked. She is a fine actress and deserves to be noted for this part too. At the time of writing this, we are only on episode 5 “Room Service” here in the UK. So far we don’t really know where it is going, but it keeps you watching and wanting more, like a blood lust, it gets in your veins. Liz is next on my list of greats, and it was nice to see why she is at the hotel and her back story. Sally, I find creepy, but so very necessary to story and plot line, especially as Iris murdered her back in 1994.

After watching Hotel, I will now have to find all the other AHS past series to watch, and who could resist.

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Number 372

The voice in his head
never stopped for breath,
it spoke of danger,
it warned of death.
It shouted, “Hurry,
pack up and flee!”
And all before his morning pee.

The Bing Bang Theory has at the end of each episode a piece of writing by Chuck Lorre, the above is number 372, which I thought was inspiring, and had to share.

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