Oct 24

Back at work today after a week off and I have to say, this bites serious monkey ass. This time last week I was in a hotel with my fiance, we had champagne to drink, nice places to go and were deciding where to host our wedding reception. Now, I’m stuck in an office, it’s pissing with rain outside, in my absence people in my office seem to have just decided to go on a personal rampage around my desk, someone has moved my bin to god alone knows where, things I asked to be done a week ago still haven’t been done and I have a gazillion messages, emails and notes to work through just to catch up, by which time of course another gazillion will have come in. And there’s no damn champagne.

Oct 22

Like many of you out there in the wider world, I have more than one email address. Some get used for junk email, some don’t get used at all, some are for work, some are for friends. As such, I get a lot of emails in each inbox and sometimes when I check them, what is waiting for me there just makes me smile because sometimes, it’s all you can do.

For one thing, I got one in my hotmail inbox today, and it asked me an important question: “Can pornography ever be erotic art?” Now I gotta tell you, I’ve almost gone 27 years on this planet and I can’t believe I never addressed this one. I’ve read philosophy, history, social studies and various other subjects and damn if they never covered that one. Can it ever be erotic art? I suppose so. There are enough films on TV that basically amount to porn as far as I can see, but when I call up the programme information on my digital TV box it lists it as “Erotic drama” so why not “erotic art” too?

Perhaps on a related note, my hotmail inbox also yielded several emails offering me access to cheap medications – or, to use the spelling currently in vogue, Med1Cati O ns – to correct what must be a staggering case of erectile dysfunction on my part. I say that because these people seem to think I need enough drugs to kickstart an inactive volcano to get my engine room running at full speed again. Okay okay, I’m not trying to paint myself as any sort of casanova but let me just say this – you need that amount of drugs to increase your bloodflow, you’re pretty much dead already. Oh, and I want points for avoiding “stiff” jokes there.

Then we have the “Re:[1]” messages and ones like it from Cornelius Q. Underwriter and Gerhart S. Romanovich and the like. Emails that were meant to make me look at them and think “Why, I haven’t heard from old Cornelius, or Gerhard for a while now, I must check that!”

Finally, we have the wonderful emails that have subject lines like “Do you satisfy your women?” (which I would like to answer with a series of questions like “Do I have more than one?” and “Do I really get to refer to them as “my” women?”) , “Do you know where your woman is?” (my answer would probably be “At the other end of the room saying “Don’t call me your woman you prick.”) and “Where is your mom tonight?” (the mind boggles but I’m gonna guess that she might be at home, since I saw her there a few hours ago, but then again she has a car and you never know).

All this and I still get the occasional ones from the daughters/wives/disowned mistresses of African/Middle Eastern/South American dictators who have 10 million dollars to transfer out of their personal accounts, and all they need is one damn account in the west to do it. Hang on, I have an account and I live in the west……hmmmm……

Some people seem to regard this sort of spam as evil and while I think it’s annoying, it does make me smile from time to time. My mum regularly complains to me that she gets more penis enlargement emails in her hotmail inbox than several of her male colleagues. I always like to point out in return that while they might want to make hers larger, they seem convinced that mine isn’t working at all (and then I point out to her that I’m getting worried, because if enough of them sit in the one place and believe it all at the same time, it might hit me like some libido version of El Nino).

Sure, it’s a pest but in the grand scheme of things there are far more serious and far less amusing pests to deal with, so spam is pretty far down my list. For a really amusing online misunderstanding, remind me one day to tell you the story of the time my mother, who works in psychiatric healthcare, went online looking for information on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Turns out CBT can mean many many different things on the wide wonderful web and some of them have very little to do with making you feel more stable and sane. Research at your own peril.

Oct 20

A couple of days ago we made our first ever wedding purchase (well, our first joint one, I already made one purchase on my own and my better half seems to like it on her finger) by forking out for some sealing wax and a little stamp. The idea is that we’ll put cute little wax seals on the envelopes for the wedding invites, to give the whole thing an old fashioned feel. It’s actually cooler than it comes across in my description, and it will look good come the time we have to actually roll the things out for real, but my first attempts have been…well…interesting.

First off, I should point out in my defence that this sort of thing isn’t easy. You have to hold a lighter to a stick of wax, melt a few drops onto the paper, then hold the stamp on it for a few seconds. This gives the seal an image (in this case, a pair of entwined hearts) and makes it something artful instead of something that just happened to drip onto some paper. For those of you keeping count, that is three things that need to be held in this operation, and unless I’ve been looking at things the wrong way round, we only have two limbs with holding doohickeys attached. So there has to be a little shuffle midway through – spark the lighter, melt the wax, drip the wax, drop the wax, pick up the stamp, stamp the wax before it becomes this hard blob on the paper, pull the stamp off before it sticks to the paper and then take a bow, you’ve just done the napalm shuffle.

So first attempts set the paper on fire, or resulted in a torrent of scalding hot wax dripping onto my fingers, or the lighter, or the table, pen, paper, unlucky cat…pretty much anything. And don’t let that Madonna movie fool you – dripping wax isn’t remotely erotic, it’s fucking hot and it fucking hurts. Then further attempts set the paper on fire which again, isn’t remotely erotic. All through it though, all through the burns, the panic and the borderline pyromania, I stuck with it, and I can now seal a letter with wax as well as any member of the middle ages royalty ever could. Hell yeah, I’d own every damn one of them in the wax stakes. However, last night I was practising a little more and realised that when the wax stick is down to a centimetre or so long, it’s really not a good idea to hold it over a lighter and try to melt it, because all you’re really doing there is trying to set your fingers on fire. Damn near succeeded, too.

So I’m off now to commit more crimes before the fingerprints on my left hand manage to come back in. When Churchill spoke to the British people about the war that was coming their way, he was honest and told them that all he had to offer was “blood, sweat, toil and tears” which is fine for a war, but I never thought I would have to start thinking about a wedding in those terms. Then again, I never thought I would be stupid enough to try to set fire to my left hand using a lighter held in my right one, so obviously there are a whole heap of developmental steps happening to me right now and I shouldn’t take anything for granted.

Still wouldn’t swap this for the world though.

Oct 18

Got this link from Kottke.org, which outlines the top 10 design mistakes people make with their blogs. So how many are you guilty of? Are you a blog design angel, or do you take demonic delight in confusing links and clashing colour schemes? And if you are, are you even sorry? Hell, I’m guilty of one of them in this very entry and I can’t say the sky has fallen down on me yet. Now if you’ll forgive me I am off to twirl my moustache, tie a girl to some railway lines and find some websites to terrorise. Mwahahaha.

Oct 15

“I thought we always planned to just elope?”

“We did, but then you proposed, and suddenly I wanted to have a wedding day.”

“Any explanation for that one?”

“I dunno…must be some kind of genetic switch that happens to women when they come into contact with diamonds.”

“Oh.”

Oct 12

Over the past few days, two big milestones have been passed. The first was on Saturday when I created a new folder on my laptop titled “Wedding stuff”. The second was today, when my better half revealed she had bought a binder and a notepad. The planning for the wedding has begun, and I am now looking at the people who had to plan D-Day with a lot more sympathy.

While it might sound as if I’m moaning, I’m really not. We’re still in the earliest of early stages and aren’t really so much planning as we are checking out what we like and taking notes, but it is fun. We’re both amused because pre-engagement we always said that we would just elope and come back married…only to find ourselves with wedding magazines already cluttering up the couch.

At the weekend my friend Lorraine (who recently got married – the photo of me in a kilt over at FlickrDoo was taken at her wedding) passed us a bag of magazines she had picked up over the months she worked on the planning of her big day. The bag is so heavy that the straps have snapped and the damn thing almost gave me a hernia carrying it in. In total there must be tens of thousands of pages in there. Millions of photographs. And how many articles have we found so far that relate to the groom? How many words have been devoted to the schmuck in the suit at the front?

One.

Yes, count it. Between zero and two. One single article that listed the duties of the groom on the day. I’m trying not to take it personally.

So we have started planning, and it’s scary and fun at the same time. It feels like the training wheels are off, and we’re thinking of ways to stamp our personality on the day because with all the services on offer now you could end up with a pretty generic wedding if you’re not careful (pre-printed invites, table settings, the works), and all I can do is look at her, sitting there beside me, and glance at the diamond ring on her finger. Then my heart pounds, but only in a good way.

I’m going to get married. To my best friend. I might have lost the “number of articles” competition, but I pretty much won the star prize already so I don’t mind. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s an article on cakes I really must read.

P.S. I promise I’ll stop being sickening soon. I still want to talk about the actual proposal (I have to explain the Stargate somehow) and some other stuff, but I promise that you won’t need huge doses of insulin to survive the sugar levels here for too much longer.

Oct 03

Pick one from the following statements:

Today I…

a) Took some time off work
b) Found a monument that looks eerily like a Stargate
c) Fed swans
d) Got scared by swans
e) Ran away from swans
f) Proposed
g) Had my proposal accepted
h) Got engaged
i) Kept a close eye on those damn swans
j) All of the above

Answers on a postcard, please. No conferring, and I must accept your first answer.

Oct 03

It’s 4.45 am as I type this, and as you might have worked out already, I can’t sleep. I have a big day tomorrow…well, today now. Possibly one of the biggest of my life, and the pre-game nerves have thrown my sleep pattern all out of whack. Try as I might, count as many sheep as I might, slug down as much milk as I might take, sleep eludes me. All I can do is go through my prep for tomorrow (I keep saying that – I should say later today). Did I get everything right? Have I thought of everything? Is it all in place? Then I fight down the impulse to go check everything for the zillionth time. And yes, I also have to fight down a moment’s panic because I suddenly think I should be rested and ready tomorrow, but I think the adrenaline will counter all of that.

I can almost hear you now. “What the hell is this guy talking about?” and believe me, I apologise for the frustration. One of the saving graces of my attempts at blogging has been that while I am never all that interesting, I at least strive for clarity in my expression. I assure you this turn to the cryptic is not part of some big Ulysses homage, in which the boiled egg becomes a verbal sudoku puzzle. This is just nerves rattling me. Hell, you think this is bad? This is me with the benefit of a spellchecker and a moment or two to reread things before I commit them to print. Imagine how I am in person.

Well, I promise all will become clear in the next day or so one way or the other. Normal service, however mediocre, will be resumed.