Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Slice of Time

T-M's granny, or Omi as we say here in deepest Bavaria, is the kind of person who gets moaned at for messing about taking photos and recording things on tape... but who then, a few years later, can glow in smug, self-righteous satisfaction and guilt-driven praise when everyone looks at the photos and listens to the tapes she made and is reminded of wonderful things.

She was glowing again on Monday. We went round to see her and T-M asked her about a cassette she had made some years ago of William when he was 2. She had it of course and after a little reminder of how we had complained when she was making it and getting us to agree that she had been right to make it after all, she played it to us.

You wonder how you can forget these things and yet you do...and yet somehow you don't!

Suddenly, there was the William of 1997 with his googly little voice looking down from Omi's front window at the traffic lights across the square and saying, "Tlaffic light led! Tlaffic light gleen! Tlaffic light led again!" and all the other expressions he used to come out with then.

A little 90 minute slice of time from the past.

And you realise that you had forgotten it and yet instantly remember it. And I also wondered, "when did he stop doing that?" There must have been a last time he said it; just like there was a last time I could throw him up and catch him and a last time he would hold my hand as we walked to kindergarten; and just as there was a last time I did all those kind of things with Nicky, Biddy and Jimmy...

And even though it almost hurts to listen to these tapes or watch the videos and realise that this time is over, I also think, "I wish we had more..."

Well done Omi.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Blog Directory No Less...and MUSIC....!

I have just added a link to a blog directory from BlogExplosion...just on the right there under the picture. It's dead good - takes you to all sorts of new bloggy regions...!

And while we are on the subject of links - here's one to my 'home made' recordings page:

Home Made Sounds

Friday, March 24, 2006

Happy Birthday to Neutron News!

Cor blimey, it is exactly one year since my first post on this, my first blog.

Let me just blow out the e-candles on the e-cake.

Erm...and now? Well, how about "to boldly blog where no-one has blogged before..."?

And regarding that, I have been - perhaps justifiably - moaned at recently because allegedly all I have talked about in my recent posts has been food and beer - and the consumption thereof.

My only justification, assuming this is true, is that they are very nice things to write about! AND it has always been a source of wonder to me that we are able to enjoy food and drink.

I mean, we need to eat and drink to survive...just like breathing but you don't get people saying, "Goodness me, I had a really good breath last night...lots of oxygen and just the right amount of nitrogen plus a few noble gasses. You'll have to come round one night and have a breathe of our air..."

With food and drink though, despite the fact that they are also absolute necessities, we really can enjoy them. This is a gift from the blind watchmaker and should not be spurned.

Think of the other necessities of life: getting up, working, paying tax, getting old...

Nah, give me food and drink any day.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

It's Lent...

Blame Henry VIII for it. He may have done some good things in his time...can't think of anything off-hand mind you but the one BIG mistake he made was closing down the monasteries all over England...well, he didn't just 'close them down', it was more like razing them to the ground and confiscating all their wealth.
Even that is, perhaps, not a bad thing you could argue...but ridding us of the monks and the kind of know-how they had...that is a different matter.

Look at Germany...or to be more local, Munich. It is Lent right now which means that your standard Christian should be avoiding all sorts of nice nibblies...and the eponymous monks in Munich were no exception.

However, they were as ready as the next heathen to bend the rules...

"Ok...", they argued no doubt, "...we can't eat eggs, we can't eat beef, we can't eat pork...we can't even drink wine...hmm... but there is nothing about beer right?"

So they issued forth and brewed a beer, a special beer; a beer to fill those days of abstinence between Ash Wednesday and Easter. And since Lent was a time when the rules had to be strongly adhered to, they brewed a strong beer - Starkbier - and I am just on my second and it is in the process of blowing the top of my head off!
It seems an innocuous brew...tastes great and begins by warming you around the chest and then goes to your head and begins to press ever so gently on the inside of your brain casing...and it makes you feel...just fine!

The very thing to escape from snowy cold wintry March blues...

And that Tudor burk Henry the bloody VIII...he would have loved it!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Arrgghhhh! This PC is driving me CRAZY!!!!

So I treated myself to...

...BEANS!! I made them yesterday and today they are!!

I put them in that little bowl so I didn't seem to be eating that much but I...erm...refilled the bowl 4 times.

There is just nothing like them...big beans in a tomato sauce...just like I used to eat in my favourite restaurant the Ivi in Ioannina when I lived in Greece..well, nearly...ah, Greece...

Meanwhile back to this *&%$§ PC and it's bloody W2K which will not &%$§* repair itself....

Monday, March 20, 2006

Vitamin PC

First my blog is down all weekend and then yesterday my PC suddenly decides that it wants to get caught in an 'unexpected kernel mode trap' expects a Kernel Mode Trap...ho I have been pissing around with it on and off - mostly off - all day to chivvy it back into action. I don't want to speak too soon but I think I may have it now.

I still don't know what happened or what a Kernel Mode Trap is...apart from unexpected which it certainly is but I might just risk trying a restart from the safe mode in a! Listen to me!! Sounds as if I know what I am doing, huh?

Well, I don't! This is how I always fix things...mess about with them for long enough and they give up and start working again just for some peace and quiet!

I am just going to see why my virus program doesn't want to start and then I will flip the switch and press the key to try and restart the machine...ah, which reminds of the very-bad-joke which this headline is the punchline of:

"What do you give your computer if it has a virus?"
"Vitamin PC!!"

No? Please yourselves!

It is also coming up to a year since I started blogging...ha! A year!!

I must check and see when our anniversary is (my blog and me)...

No, the virus prog doesn't want to know so I will go ahead and restart....this could be goodbye (of course it won't be because I am posting this from Lappy). I want to restart? YES!!!

As the Scouse Red Indian prompter in the theatre said: YERONINAMO!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sweet Baby James

Spent an evening with a few Starkbiers, T-M - who didn't cook - and watched a James "the-bastard-who-always-makes-me-cry" Taylor DVD.

In the obligatory added-on interview he made two points that I have also been making for years. One is that you write a song and afterwards you can talk about it as if you didn't really write it but you just "heard it first". My image for that has always been fishing in the ocean of songs and if you wait long enough you catch yourself one.

John Fowles made the same point about writing; he said it is as if you are discovering something which has already been written...

Maybe you only understand it if you have done it?

James' other point was that you have to love music and performing it so much that you just couldn't do without it.

For me that means playing with people who put the music first and not themselves. Isn't that the unselfishness of love?

And a good song James? Well, he didn't say it but I bet he would agree with me that it is a distilled bit of love.

Wow, getting pretty silophophical after all this ilcahol...time for a cognac..."and rockabye sweet baby James...kadang-adang."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Happy Day After Paddy's Day

I'm a bit slow off the mark today - I was playing till late last night at a Paddy's Day let me take stock...

Firstly apologies to anyone who tried to log on yesterday...for some reason the site was down apparently due to "maintenance". Don't know who was doing it...certainly not me!

Secondly I have a song to listen to now (recorded on my BOSS home studio) here and there will be another half-finished piece turning up there soon.

Thirdly the sun is shining!!!! Time to get up and have breakfast!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bad News, Good News

It is 18 years today since my dad died...

It is 12 years today since T-M and I started our relationship.

I think my dad would be happy for me...

Monday, March 13, 2006

I Drink, Therefore I Am...

Regular readers (both of you) will recall this:

Well, on Sunday we had a belated family birthday party for Biddy - she was busy with her friends on Saturday as well she should - and decided to crack open the 3 litre bottle to wash down the tremendous Mexican food Tanja-Maria rustled up.

The only good thing about the sub-Arctic temperatures we have been having over the last days is that I could cool the beer by sticking it outside in my bus! The bottle was far too big for the fridge.

Well, the cork broke off as I was trying to open it so we had to get the corkscrew out...

But in the end it worke out fine and we all got a goodly lot of the wonderful golden brew!

I drink, therefore I am...


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Happy Birthday Biddy!!

Posted by Picasa
" I just have to find the sea.."

My beautiful little Bid is 19 today. How can this be?

13.06 on Friday 11th March 1987 she finally emerged after having a little break for a few minutes when she was half way out. Typical Biddy somehow!

There's a picture somewhere (I will have to dig it out and scan it in later) of Nicky (Bid's big sister) and her best friend Katie leaning over Biddy on the changing table just after we'd brought her home from the, about 6 days old. The next day it turned out that Katie had developed chicken pox and had been totally infectious the day before! And then we learned it was really dangerous for a baby to come down with chicken pox between the ages of five and ten days!!!

So, emergency dash to the Schwabinger Hospital where they had to give the poor little new-born Bid an infusion of special blood plasma...

WARNING: !!!Faint-hearted readers should now look away!!!

...the only vein they can use for little babies apparently is in the there was Little Bid lying in a cot with a drip needle and tube stuck into her forehead screaming her head me the shivers even now...

It all turned out ok though...and suddenly in the twinkle of an eye she is 19 and will be graduating from Art School this summer...and here is a self-portrait..

Peanut Shock Horror Revelation

Talk about "learn something new every day"!

I was dozing in front of Gallileo round about 7 this evening...Gallileo the TV program supposed to be about knowledge and science but usually about dead bodies and how they make bottle-openers, not Gallileo the Italian leaning-tower-of-Pisa-climbing, cannonball-throwing-offer...
I often nod off between 6 and 7.30 in the evening which means I either miss the end of the first Simpsons episode at 6 or the start of the second at 6.30...or I get through them only to snooze my way through the aforementioned Gallileo at 7.

I don't know about you but I have about three of these dozy, snoozy off periods during the day. The first around 10.30 in the morning, then one in the afternoon around 2 and then this early evening desire for forty winks.
The one in the afternoon is especially bad if you have a lecture on, say, Aristotles' Ethics as we used to at University on a Monday afternoon.
It was normally even more especially bad because we used to make sure we had a couple of pints of Mitchells&Butlers inside us knowing that the lecture would bore the behinds off us. That meant the hour between 2 and 3 saw a titanic struggle take place between two very visceral urges; one to visit the land of nod and the other, a very urgent urge, to visit the bathroom.

This sleepiness in the day thing has often made me think that I live in the wrong time zone cos at night I can't sleep at all! I probably should live on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. That might just be the cure for my nocturnal insomnia!

However, what, you may ask, has this to do with my learning something new every day and the Peanut Shock Horror Revelation. And the answer is "not very much, actually" except that I was so amazed by what Gallileo (the programme) had to say that I didn't nod off...

It turns out that a peanut is NOT A NUT!!!! This little red-coated imposter, this treacherous denizen of the Snickers Bar belongs not to the nut family of walnuts, hazelnuts and brazil nuts but to the legume family, lentils and peas and beans and all that lot!

This has thrown my world into disarray; I am epistemologically challenged; I have never been so shocked!! Shell shocked...nutshell shocked...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Snow Joke..

...and still it snows... Posted by Picasa

At the risk of seeming to have become fixated with the is still bloody snowing - about 9 or 10 inches have fallen today.

I was so impressed by this scene that I went in to get my camera after coming back from the pub (where a goodly amount of Starkbier was quaffed) and then went out braving the elements again just so you could see what is happening here!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Finger Lickin' Good... we went to see Chicken Little - through the deep deep snow and the icy cutting wind - and the film really was dead good.

Just like eating a real chicken you have to dispose of some giblets...the mawkish tin-pot psychology which no Disney film can do this case a disturbed father-son relationship...but the rest is just great hen-tertainment; enhanced in this case by the 3D stuff.
It is the first 3D feature film I have ever seen and all those things you hear about were there...objects hanging in the middle of the cinema, a real sense of depth as alien spaceships fill the sky, recoiling in our seats as an alien hand seemed to reach out almost to grab us.

We kept the 3D glasses on on the way home and got some funny looks - they are quite big Timmy Mallet glasses and the frames are bright green - but this is Munich where people might glance but they won't gawp and they certainly will not smile!

Anyway, for someone whose first job after graduating was in a chicken factory which stunned, killed, plucked and deep-froze any feelings I might have had for the little egg-laying critters, this film went some way to thawing out my emotions for poultry...ah, those chickens, well...they're kind of cute and it's nice to go to a film where there is no fowl language...

Third of the Third

To celebrate 3.3 - a date which European and American calendars agree on* - my younger son William and I will be going out into the snow - yes, it's still snowing in beautiful, downtown Munich - to go and see 'Chicken Little' in 3D no less!

I know nothing about this film so I don't know whether to look forward to it or not! However, in a few hours I should be in a position to offer my views...

*if you are wondering what the **** I am talking about, in Europe 3.3 means the third of March in that order - i.e. day first then month; in America 3.3 means March the third - i.e. month first then day...this can lead to all kinds of confusion on other days, for example 9.11 for a European is 9th November!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Munich, 1st of Bleedin' March

Spring is obviously coming... Posted by Picasa

Where is the nearest beer-garden?