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I don’t like Halloween

(Tell me why! I don’t like… ohh, wrong song)

I’m not quite sure why but I’ve never really enjoyed Halloween, and I still don’t. It may be because it seems like such a sham these days with strange kids disguised as unruly teenagers turning up at your door and demanding their goods.

Occasionally you still get a witch or a ghost, or a domino (c’mon, everyone was a domino once, right?) and they even make an effort to do a turn (translation: sing a song, do a dance, tell a joke). When they do you politely laugh, or nod and smile, then present them with a tangerine and usher their bemused faces out the door, ignoring their pleas for sugar-based goods.

Actually, that last bit is a lie. On Halloween I sit upstairs, reading a book or surfing the interweb, whilst my darling wife liberally coats every waif and stray with candy skulls, sugar coated coffins, and jelly spiders. Did I mention that I don’t like Halloween?

I wonder if it can be traced back to my childhood (ohh go on, indulge me), being dressed up and taken round the neighbours to be patronised… I mean to entertain them purely for the reward of their applause. OK, a lot of the time it was just for the sweets. Although when I grew up it was mainly monkeynuts.

I hate monkeynuts.

Well that’s not strictly true, I quite enjoy opening them but that flaky skin that gets stuck to the roof of your mouth? ICK.

I now indulge (a little too often) in the adult version, pistachios. Only I no longer have to dress up and sing a silly song to get my hands on them. The joys of adulthood, eh.

God I sound like some old curmudgeon. And no, I’m not thinking of anyone in particular, honest Lyl… er… honest.

I’m not completely averse to dressing up, but it has to be for the right reasons. The last time I dressed up was to attend a medieval banquet as a wizard, at the behest of a co-worker who was celebrating her birthday. The fact that she was rather cute, curvy and had shown me a photo of the wench outfit she was hiring was, I admit, a factor. Which reminds me, I think I still have those photos in the loft… I HAVE been meaning to start scanning them all in…

I guess it’s fair to say that I don’t really hate Halloween as much as I dislike the forced nature of it. But then I dislike any form of organised fun. You know the type I mean, it’s usually led by some cheery-faced idiot who can’t begin to fathom that, rather than repeatedly ducking your head into a basin of cold water in the vague hope of being able to retrieve an apple (why do they always buy the biggest apples they can find?) you’d much rather just hold them under the water until that smirk was removed from their face.

You know, this is why I like writing this blog. It brings some issues of my personality to the fore, don’t you think. Yes, it seems I harbour a deep-seated suspicion of those with a permanently cheery disposition and, you know what, I’m not going to deny it. In fact, to my eternal shame (and I’m being serious now) I once pushed over a kid at school because he had the gall, the audacity, to smile at me and wish me good morning whilst I was in a bad mood. Sorry about that James! (er… MacDonald I think..??)

Maybe it’s jealously, or maybe these cheery nutters just bring my psychotic tendencies to the fore. Thankfully my bad moods are far less frequent these days, and don’t ever stretch much beyond a glare. Either that or I’ll just completely ignore you, you leering, smirking twat. Ahem.

If you are dressing up tonight then please enjoy yourself, have fun, go wild! Just, whatever you do, don’t mind me and please don’t try and involve me.

Ohh and definitely, DEFINITELY, no monkeynuts.




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Music for the masses

I’m still ripping CD after CD after CD into MP3 format. I’m stashing all the CDs in boxes and lugging them up into the loft alongwith the CD towers (which might go out later but for now can live up there out of the road… yes yes, we’ll declutter the loft as well).

I have… sorry… we have… no, actually, bugger that. Louise has maybe 30 CDs out of 600 or so and I’m the one doing all the work here… so..

I have another 3 CD towers to go (Benno from IKEA if you must know, 6ft tall, about 12 CDs wide), and going by the previous 2, I reckon that each tower has about 20 or so CDs that I’ve not ripped to MP3. It’s still time-consuming to check them all but it’s not as bad as actually having to rip every single one.

Thing is, I reckon by the time I finish I’ll have over 100GB of music (currently at 94GB and rising). That is, even for a music lover like me, patently ridiculous.

I may start deleting some tracks.

Now, that previous sentence may look quite short, the construction is simple and grammatically speaking it isn’t the most challenging to consider. So let me make sure you fully understand me here, and that you are paying attention because that was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write here.

And not only is it not easy to write but it’s not that easy to do either. There is a lot of classical stuff in there and that tends to take up a lot of space, not to mention all the Xmas tracks which are only dragged out in the month of December. I am very much an album kinda guy as well so deleting individual tracks really just isn’t on. I guess it’s just as well that hard-disks are so cheap these days, and it does mean that my iTunes memes should be more entertaining in the future.

Speaking of which, when was the last time anyone helped propagate a meme? Have they died out? Another passing fad gone the way of the Hampsterdance? I might just have to do something about that.
(more…)




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Decisions

My life has been littered with decisions over the past week or so. None particularly major but each crucial in a small way.

The decision with the biggest impact is definitely whether I should pay the electricity bill, or purchase the Mac OSX upgrade. OK, not really a decision… (yes I’ll pay the bill… meh).

Overall, most of the decisions have been small and in the large scheme of things, inconsequential. They centre around the myriad of items I’ve been throwing away as I continue to declutter. Trips to the skip, trips to various DIY places to purchase storage, trips to charidee shops, all have been preceded by a quandary.

Louise and I are pretty good at getting rid of stuff we don’t need or use. Moving house several times in the first few years we were together, including down to England and back, meant that it was pretty easy to know what we had (pack your entire house 4 times in 3 years and you’ll know what I mean) and what we didn’t actually use.

However, we’ve been in this house for over 6 years now and as we are not likely to move for at least another 6, then it’s understandable that we’ve slowly been accumulating ‘stuff’. Personally my minimalist tendencies make it very easy for me to justify the removal of items from any room, but I am conscious that can leave things a little ‘cold’ and of course I’m not the only person who lives there. We are pretty good at compromising though, and it’s safe to say we both now tend to agree on what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Decluttering the house will take some time and, as I’ve mentioned, means that some hard decisions need taken. It’s easy to decide that I don’t really need 4 spare USB cables, or that having 2 spare keyboards is a necessity, so out they go. Similarly there are a lot of things which have slowly been added to various drawers and cubbyholes, none of which have much value other than pleasant curiosity (a champagne cork with a G initialed on it, for example). However there are some items which hold real value, and so I now have a small ‘sentiments’ box.

There isn’t that much in it at the moment, the nameplate from my Grans old house and a knocker from her old, huge, sideboard, alongside a pencil top Chewbacca from my childhood and a small plate with an Osprey on it which… well it came from my parents but not sure where they got it from.

And so, with bin bags filled, and memories safely stored away, I can now move onto the next room. Well I would if I had the space. There are now two large boxes full of CDs, ready to go into the loft. Alas, the loft is starting to reach the point that we consider it “full” (the point at which you can no longer navigate round the boxes and piles of … stuff).

Guess which area of the house we should’ve decluttered first…




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