On the Road to Nowhere

So, I have a 1040 appointment for my first follow-on with my surgeon. Since the hospital where I had my two surgeries performed is miles away I got up early to miss the traffic snarl that is a permanent fixture of the road network where I live.

This was going to be a long drive – the longest since my heart attack and subsequent surgeries – so my daughter Meg was coming along to help with the unfamiliar and long drive. Unfamiliar, because both times I made the journey, I had not driven.

The first time to the hospital I was strapped into a gurney in the back of a speeding ambulance and was a bit preoccupied with the pain of the heart attack to notice where we were going. I even found out later that we drove through one helluva thunderstorm that I was completely unaware of.

The second time was my somewhat inglorious departure from the hospital. A very good friend had picked me up so I could leave in the evening. Without any hesitation he got one of his mates to ‘cover’ the start of his night shift so he could drive the long distance to get me home. I did not pay a lot of attention as I was still so ‘drugged’ up that we could have been driving on the moon.

So this morning, despite neither of us sleeping well (me because my sinuses decided to reflect the middle of the night weather change and Meg because the same weather change caused her bedroom temperature to skyrocket), we both got up extra early.

Amazingly we both got ready to leave on time (0900) for the Sat Nav‘s over optimistic estimate of a one hour and fifteen minute drive to the hospital. The second we hit the main road that leads to the dual carriageway (aka highway)  traffic was backed up and moving at a crawl.

I did not react as I normally do. I did not curse and smack the steering wheel. I did make a few obligatory remarks about the driving skills of my fellow motorists and put the radio on for the travel news.

A side note about travel news. I listen to a station that caters to (how to delicately put this) older listeners. Folks who really do know how to Jitterbug and do the Lindy. You know, folks who actually had a chance to meet Glen Miller. I will point out that I do not particularly like this station. They like talking to the older listeners more than playing music. I applaud their attentiveness to their fans, but… Any way they usually give travel updates every 15 minutes.

Not this morning.

I kept listening to the station for travel updates that are advertised as being “every 15 minutes” but after a half hour of driving they still had not given anyone a clue about the state of the roads or why everybody and their brother was on the road this morning.

It was not until  after we were trapped in a mile long traffic jam that the travel news came on and helpfully informed us of the multi-vehicle crash that had caused it. Just for the record? It was a whole lot later than 15 minutes Mr Radio Announcer.

Annoying (but as Meg pointed out not as annoying as it must have been for the poor folks that actually had the accident)although not insurmountable. Except for the fact that the accident occurred on the Orwell Bridge and said bridge is the main artery into and out of the area. One carefully placed (or not so carefully placed) accident can cause a gridlock in the county that can last for hours.

Traffic Congestion
Traffic Congestion (Photo credit: freefotouk)

A few years ago one such accident occurred and a 30 minute journey to work became a three and a half hour tortuous slog down back roads that got smaller and less navigable the closer I got to work. Luckily for me, today I only had to ring the hospital and tell them that I was caught in a gridlock and could not make the appointment.

One very short mobile (cell) phone call later and whatever stress that was looming in the back of my mind because of the traffic jam, dissipated. Poof. Just like that.

The one thing I noticed about the whole situation this morning is that not once during the most stressful part of my short abortive journey did I long for a cigarette. There was no urge, no involuntary ‘reaching for a packet’ or patting of shirt pockets hunting for packs of smokes.

Considering that not too long ago, I would have irritably and angrily puffed my way through at least a half pack of cigarettes, this was quite an accomplishment.  I mean, I wasn’t even chewing gum.

So my first follow on appointment was rearranged and we got caught for well over an hour in a traffic jam and I was in a situation that historically would have had me smoking like a forest fire. Not only that, but I would have been well on my way to some ‘righteous-road-rage.’

I guess I am really trying to change my outlook on life and my reaction to it.

Shame it took a heart attack and a close call with death to bring it about. Still, better late than never.

So long mate.

Cameras in Your Home, Could You?

My daughter and I were talking about the reality television show The Family. I have never seen the program…Nor do I want to. If you look it up on IMDb, it states that this is the program  that started the reality TV invasion. Well, IMDb didn’t say it was an invasion, that word was mine. I actively despise reality TV. And to think that the first iteration of this ‘reality’ show began originally in the ’70’s. But I digress.

What we were talking about was the idea of having cameras in your house. Not just a few, but as many cameras that can be placed without intruding (if that is possible) on your lifestyle. When The Family was re-done in 2008, the family themselves acted differently when they first started “living” in front of the cameras. Then as they became more accustomed to having them there, they relaxed and began to act more naturally. According to my daughter Meg, it was interesting to see.

We then started speculating about what we would do and how we would act if cameras were put in our home. The first thing we decided was that it would be a comedy. My daughter and I have a brilliant repartee. A lot of good natured piss-taking and a lot of amusing idiosyncrasies. We don’t clash very  often, if we do we apologise and just get on with it. We laugh quite often and row very little, in essence we are very good at sharing our house, our space and our opinions.

But in reality (no pun intended) I would not like to live my private life in front of a load of cameras. Cameras that would be letting the world see me and my family going about our daily business of living. Both my daughter and I are very private people. We only let people ‘past the wall’ when we get to know and trust them. I can not imagine ever getting used to having the things in the house and I’ve worked in front of them.

Working in front of the camera is very different from living your private life in front of one. Working entails being someone else, playing a part; not being you but a different part of you. I even have trouble relaxing and just being me when I do my YouTube videos. I am getting better at relaxing and enjoying myself rather than feeling that I am working. But, again, I am choosing which part of my ‘private’ life I want to show while in front of the camera.

I would not want the world to see me at my worst. I have a cornucopia of bad habits, bad attitudes and other foibles that I am aware of and accept as part of my personality. That is not to say that I would be comfortable with the whole world knowing about them. In private when I act like an idiot and lose my temper or swear like a twenty-year sailor (no offence intended to those Naval folks out there) the only other person who observes this behaviour is my daughter. She knows who I am and generally laughs at such improper actions or tells me off. I may or may not listen. But, if I have been an ass, I usually apologise and then we can both have a laugh.

When I was in the USAF one of my jobs was to watch other people work. Not as easy or as much fun as it sounds, believe me. When I first entered the work centre everyone was very busy. There was not a lazy or unproductive person to be found. After I had been there for a while and the folks I was watching got used to me. It was a different story. All those lazy, unproductive  folks came out of hiding and the people I was watching started relaxing and acting like they normally did. The old story of familiarity breeding contempt is true. And that is why I would never want anyone to film my private family home life.

I don’t want to discover any bad parts of my personality that I am not already aware of.

I’m Doing this Right Now…..Not

 

Cover of "Bring on the Empty Horses"
Cover of Bring on the Empty Horses

I am writing a book! Well…I’m trying to write a book. It should be really easy, but… The problem is with me, amazing how much that sounds like the classic break-up line, “No really! It’s not you, it’s me.” I love writing; always have. But I’m suffering from the ‘David Niven‘ syndrome.

David Niven (1910 – 1983) was a wonderful actor. He won an Acadamy Award for his role as the faux military man in Seperate Tables. Niven was an extremely articulate and intelligent individual. I have always admired the man, even when he worked in some of the most execrable films ever made. He had that certain something that set him apart from the other folks in the film.

Niven was a brilliant story teller. He was at his best when regaling people with amusing stories of people he had met, or worked with, or knew. It was these stories that he finally, after much prodding from friends, wrote down and they became – The Moons a Balloon and Bring on the Empty Horses. Faintly auto-bigraphical in nature and wonderfully funny and sad, these two books stayed on the bestseller list for ages.

It has been argured that David cribbed a lot of the stories in his books. It has also been said that he embellished the tales to make them more interesting or funnier. How tiresome. I really, and I don’t think any other fans of the book do either, care. What he was good at was both telling stories and then (later) writing about them.

I am sure he embellished a lot, if not all, of his of his “cocktail party” stories. I remember reading in another book on Niven’s life. Someone famous (don’t ask me who, please don’t, because I’m damned if I can remember) listened to Niven recount an amusing episode at a cocktail party. At the end of the story, he scratched his head and said, “I was there! And I don’t remember it being that funny!”

The point is, as I said earlier, that Niven was good at the telling of and later the writing  of these wonderful stories. *Yes, I know that I’ve called the stories wonderful several times now*  But, where the stories were easy to tell, they were much harder to write about. He liked writing in the garden, but this favourite spot was filled with diversions. Niven himself mentions in one of the books that: “I can always find something else to do. ‘Oh look at that bird.’ ‘Oh what a lovely butterfly.’ Even the sight of an aeroplane passing overhead can take up huge portions of my time.”[sic]

Now I am not saying the book I am writing is going to be anywhere near as good, or amusing, or popular as Mr Niven’s. I do suffer, though, from the same problem. If I listen to music for “inspiration” whilst writing, I have to be careful to not really listen or I will get caught up in the music and stop writing. I also suffer the same problems in the garden; not secluded by any means, but it can offer a lot of quiet. It also offers – birds, bees, wasps, butterflies (although not many), planes, or helicopters flying overhead. All good for allowing my grasshopper mind to wander. It seems that my brain cannot wait for the chance to stop thinking about the things I really want to write.

I have two books going on at the same time, I like to write the same way I like to read, one short story and one book with a collection of short stories. Not a problem. But…But… I also have three blogs. don’t get too excited, I usually write the same item and copy and paste it to the other two sites. I also follow a few blogs and I have to comment on the ones I’ve read and liked. Oops, my coffee cup is empty, must go and refill the kettle and make another one. Oh look how filthy that television cabinet is looking, I’ll just go sort that out. Oh look, someone else has subscribed to my small channels on YouTube, I must thank them. Ah! Someone has commented on: my channel, my facebook page, my Twitter, my…Well you can get the idea, I am sure.

My daughter (Meg) is a great Dad cheerleader though. She keeps reminding me that I am supposed be working on the book(s) and not mucking about with all these other things. It helps. And I figure if David Niven could combat the distractions, so can I. I seriously doubt that anything I write would even be published, but I will have the satisfaction of finishing it and having at least one person love it as much as I do.

But first I just have to post this blog and then copy it…

YouTube. You’ve got how many…

 Preface: I know I said this was going to be blogs about films, but…So I lied. Okay??

I know I’ve written about YouTube before, but I have to admit it does fascinate me. I will also admit I’m a little bit addicted to it. I have two channels. One that I started actively using about a year ago, and a new one that I share with my daughter. I don’t do anything special, I just ramble on about films I like, on the old channel; my daughter and I both ramble on about films on the new channel. It’s fun.
My daughter started her channel about two(?) years ago, I think. She talks about computer games. The reason she started? She had just finished playing Heavy Rain (a very “outside the box” video game) and she loved it. She couldn’t wait to tell everyone about how great this game was. Unfortunatley, no one in her uni course had a PS3. She had about forty some odd classmates and after substancial amount kept asking her about the game, she said, “Wait a minute. Instead of telling the same thing forty some odd times, I’ll do a video on YouTube and talk about it once.”
The next thing she knew, she was getting a load of subscribers and she now has a hobby that takes up a lot of time. But she loves doing the videos, even the ones that are a bitch kitty to edit(re-edit).I’ll also mention very briefly that the name – Kawaiiprincess01, was made up when she started the channel at the age of 16. At that time she was fascinated by all things oriental, especially Japan. She did amend it a few times and now calls it Meg’s channel, but it still shows as Kawaiiprincess01. Kind of like my channel. When I opened an account in 2006, it was mainly so I could sub to channels I liked. It was supposed to be DADDII0 aka daddy-o, but somehow I screwed that up and it became daddii2. But that is part of the fun of YouTube, the names folks give their channels. Some funny, some ecletic and some downright weird.

I eventually started uploading videos to my first channel because I like to talk about films. My daughter kind of nagged me into it. I also game so some of the YouTube gaming community sort of adopted my little channel. I started the second channel because my daughter and I have pretty much the same taste in films(with the obvious exception of Moulin Rouge, which I cannot stand). I say little channel because that is what it is and will always remain so. Why?

Well, as much as I enjoy doing my vids I don’t have the patience to keep editing and re-editing the videos because of the crappy capability of the Windows Move Maker software for one. Secondly I am a little long in the tooth to become wildly popular and thirdly I don’t feel I bring too much to the table. Like I said, I talk about films I like. I am not the next Ebert or Siskel.

Don’t get me wrong, I love doing my videos for my little channels. I get excited every time I get a new subscriber and another video view. I also shake my head and wonder who on earth enjoys my ramblings?

But I do love YouTube, even with all the irritating things it does (especially now that Google has control of it). I am always amazed at the amount of views that my daughter gets on her channel and the amount of subscribers. I’m not saying that she doesn’t earn these, she does, but I look at other channels and I scratch my head (metaphorically scratch my metaphorical head) There are a load of channels out there that have millions of views and millions of subscribers. I sub and watch them as well. But looking at those numbers I always think the same thing. Where do all these folks come from and why do they sub who they do.

The answer is obvious of course. The channels that get that kind of response are good (for the most part) although there are some that I am still mystified as to why they are so big. But we’ll forget about those, I just want to talk about some of the good ones.

The Community Channel, RayWilliamJohnson, Nigahiga, KevJumba, ShaneDawson; well the list can go on and on  These talented folks work hard for their views and “subs” and it shows. My daughters channel, Kawaiiprincess01 is growing steadily(also quickly, I might add) and she works hard on her channel as well. But the whole thing has an unrealistic feel to it. I still look at her channel and the amount of subs and views she gets and always say the same thing. You’ve got how many?

I wrote in a previous blog that I felt that YouTube was turning into the new television. I still believe that to a degree, but I think it is in danger of getting boycotted by a lot of folks who just aren’t very happy with how Google is dicking around with the ‘Tube. They always say, “Don’t mess with success, If it ain’t broke don’t fix it…” You see where I’m heading with this, don’t you? Google wants to make money off their purchase (take-over) of YouTube, but they are screwing around with the subscriber counts and view counts on channels. It has now gotten to the point where I look at YouTube channels I am subbed to and think. “You’ve lost how many??

Still I am sure that once Google stop dicking everyone about, the growing pains and transition period will calm down and things will get back to normal. Until then I think I am going to have to do more vids so my “inactive” channel doesn’t get closed.

YouTube. You’ve got how many…

 Preface: I know I said this was going to be blogs about films, but…So I lied. Okay??

I know I’ve written about YouTube before, but I have to admit it does fascinate me. I will also admit I’m a little bit addicted to it. I have two channels. One that I started actively using about a year ago, and a new one that I share with my daughter. I don’t do anything special, I just ramble on about films I like, on the old channel; my daughter and I both ramble on about films on the new channel. It’s fun.
My daughter started her channel about two(?) years ago, I think. She talks about computer games. The reason she started? She had just finished playing Heavy Rain (a very “outside the box” video game) and she loved it. She couldn’t wait to tell everyone about how great this game was. Unfortunatley, no one in her uni course had a PS3. She had about forty some odd classmates and after substancial amount kept asking her about the game, she said, “Wait a minute. Instead of telling the same thing forty some odd times, I’ll do a video on YouTube and talk about it once.”
The next thing she knew, she was getting a load of subscribers and she now has a hobby that takes up a lot of time. But she loves doing the videos, even the ones that are a bitch kitty to edit(re-edit).I’ll also mention very briefly that the name – Kawaiiprincess01, was made up when she started the channel at the age of 16. At that time she was fascinated by all things oriental, especially Japan. She did amend it a few times and now calls it Meg’s channel, but it still shows as Kawaiiprincess01. Kind of like my channel. When I opened an account in 2006, it was mainly so I could sub to channels I liked. It was supposed to be DADDII0 aka daddy-o, but somehow I screwed that up and it became daddii2. But that is part of the fun of YouTube, the names folks give their channels. Some funny, some ecletic and some downright weird.

I eventually started uploading videos to my first channel because I like to talk about films. My daughter kind of nagged me into it. I also game so some of the YouTube gaming community sort of adopted my little channel. I started the second channel because my daughter and I have pretty much the same taste in films(with the obvious exception of Moulin Rouge, which I cannot stand). I say little channel because that is what it is and will always remain so. Why?

Well, as much as I enjoy doing my vids I don’t have the patience to keep editing and re-editing the videos because of the crappy capability of the Windows Move Maker software for one. Secondly I am a little long in the tooth to become wildly popular and thirdly I don’t feel I bring too much to the table. Like I said, I talk about films I like. I am not the next Ebert or Siskel.

Don’t get me wrong, I love doing my videos for my little channels. I get excited every time I get a new subscriber and another video view. I also shake my head and wonder who on earth enjoys my ramblings?

But I do love YouTube, even with all the irritating things it does (especially now that Google has control of it). I am always amazed at the amount of views that my daughter gets on her channel and the amount of subscribers. I’m not saying that she doesn’t earn these, she does, but I look at other channels and I scratch my head (metaphorically scratch my metaphorical head) There are a load of channels out there that have millions of views and millions of subscribers. I sub and watch them as well. But looking at those numbers I always think the same thing. Where do all these folks come from and why do they sub who they do.

The answer is obvious of course. The channels that get that kind of response are good (for the most part) although there are some that I am still mystified as to why they are so big. But we’ll forget about those, I just want to talk about some of the good ones.

The Community Channel, RayWilliamJohnson, Nigahiga, KevJumba, ShaneDawson; well the list can go on and on  These talented folks work hard for their views and “subs” and it shows. My daughters channel, Kawaiiprincess01 is growing steadily(also quickly, I might add) and she works hard on her channel as well. But the whole thing has an unrealistic feel to it. I still look at her channel and the amount of subs and views she gets and always say the same thing. You’ve got how many?

I wrote in a previous blog that I felt that YouTube was turning into the new television. I still believe that to a degree, but I think it is in danger of getting boycotted by a lot of folks who just aren’t very happy with how Google is dicking around with the ‘Tube. They always say, “Don’t mess with success, If it ain’t broke don’t fix it…” You see where I’m heading with this, don’t you? Google wants to make money off their purchase (take-over) of YouTube, but they are screwing around with the subscriber counts and view counts on channels. It has now gotten to the point where I look at YouTube channels I am subbed to and think. “You’ve lost how many??

Still I am sure that once Google stop dicking everyone about, the growing pains and transition period will calm down and things will get back to normal. Until then I think I am going to have to do more vids so my “inactive” channel doesn’t get closed.