Archive for December 2006

A Quik Bite of the Fat Stuff

December 31, 2006

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Yesterday, thinking it would be a good idea to involve ourselves with the post-Christmas sales, Mrs H and I set out for an unforgettable trip to Ocean Terminal. For those who are yet to frequent the OT, it is a veritable shopping Mecca for those in the North East of Edinburgh, as well as to the handful of keen beans willing to travel a little further.

During our expedition, we happened across a number of establishments that form the basis of today’s monologue. And so it is that we turn our attention to the ubiquitous surfwear shop.

In one such shop, once Mrs H retired to the changing room with a fistful of garments, I had the opportunity have a little pace around the rustic, splintery interior. Amongst all the earth-coloured chunky-knits and the skimpy pastels (all of which are sold ready-tatty to save you the time) were clutches of pallid shoppers, none of whom appeared to be on the way to the beach. I’d be interested to find out the proportion of clothing sold in such an outlet that will ever be involved in water- or skateboard-related activity, although I’m not sure how one would gather the data.

Another thing: the posters in these shops always fall into one of two categories. A poster in the first category will depict an ethnically diverse group of twenty-somethings laughing heartily in the vicinity of a clapped-out Volkswagen. The second will portray a lithe individual in the throes of an extreme sport, and will be emblazoned with a bit of philosophy such as ‘don’t let your fears stand in the way of your dreams’, or (my personal favourite) ‘a bad day on the water is better than a good day in the office’.

It appears that clothing is not the only thing for sale here. You are subscribing to an imagined lifestyle in which you can drop out of the rat race and sit on a beach all day long, pausing only to back-comb your boisterous locks and undergo rigorous cosmetic dentistry.

I am left with one nagging question: if we eschew our offices altogether, how on earth will we afford all these over-priced clothes?

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Are You Doug Hutchison?

December 30, 2006

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I recently had reason to recall the book Are You Dave Gorman? For those who haven’t read it, it is a delightful true story of a chap (the eponymous Dave) who travels the world in order to track down as many people as possible who share his name.

Over the past few days, I’ve been wondering how easy it would be for interested parties to find this blog via a search engine. As it turns out, very. However, a search for the bare terms ‘Doug’ and ‘Hutchison’ will send you into a maelstrom of publicity for my famous namesake.

The Other Mr H first came to my attention during the closing credits of The Green Mile. As an aside, this is a thoroughly recommendable film, which at first glance plays a little like a poor man’s Shawshank (both were Stephen King / Frank Darabont collaborations, if I remember correctly) but over time I am almost persuaded that Mile is the more interesting, atmospheric film.

Anyway, imagine my consternation to realise that the odious Percy Wetmore was played by none other than Mr Doug Hutchison. Subsequent investigation (courtesy of the IMDB) revealed that The Other Mr H has played a whole raft of TV and film roles, including (what I consider) rather a good one in the otherwise so-so I am Sam. And to go back a little, who remembers that guy Eugene Tooms in the X-Files? He was the one who could squeeze through letterboxes, and such like. The Other Mr H again.

So. There are at least two people who can answer Yes to that eternal question – ‘Are You Doug Hutchison?’ The next order of business is to harangue The Other Mr H into acknowledging my existence. I’ll let you know how I get on.

I’m So Pretty

December 29, 2006

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Of late, I have found myself trawling the internet rather more than usual, in order to gather suitable blog-fodder. Reaching into the dim and distant past, I recalled a website that might be worth a re-visit: www.hotornot.com.

For those who aren’t hip, this is a forum for folks to post pictures of themselves, which the internet community will then rate on a 10-point scale. After you have garnered enough ratings, you can view your average score.

In theory, this score will reflect how good-looking you are, and will not be influenced by any narcissistic or self-depreciating biases, nor by the polite diplomacy of your friends. And, from a statistical point of view, the bigger the N, the closer you get to the elusive ‘true’ score. All this is very exciting.

In the name of science, your humble author plucked a suitable photo from his back-catalogue, complete with windswept hair and chipper grin, and threw it into the mix. Some time later, I received an email from the site’s creators, providing me with a score, an interesting statisical breakdown of ratings (there was a clear bimodal distribution, sports fans) and (get this) a Hot or Not badge that I could email to my friends “to prove that [I’m] hot ;-)”.

OK, so the idea is that I would be in a conversation with my chums, the subject of my looks would arise, there would be a debate, and I would think “Aha! There’s only one way to settle this”. Whilst touted as a bit of fun, there is an undercurrent of utter vanity about all of this. It is clear that these ratings are very important for some.

Some words from the Bible:

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Oh, and by the way, your humble author bagged an 8.7. After an initial flurry of rater enthusiasm which propelled the score to a frankly ridiculous 9.1, the inevitable regression toward the mean set in.

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Still, bring it on.

.Gif Me a Cup of Tea

December 28, 2006

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I had the company of an old university friend today. Rachel originally hails from Edinburgh, and finds herself up here on an approximately annual basis, at which times we try to quaff tea together. She is working down in Sheffield for The King’s Foundation, and it all seems to be going well.

She quite understood my compulsion to document her visit photo- and blog-wise. Sadly, she managed to close her eyes in both photos, so whether she will be as understanding of my subsequent corrective steps is another question.

As an aside, I spent a portion of yesterday learning how to make animated .gif files. This may not sound like a whole hill of beans to you, but it’s the beginning of a glorious new era for me.

I’ll try to pop back tomorrow; there will be much to discuss.

A Visit To MacDonalds Makes Your Day

December 27, 2006

The signs of Christmas are vanishing as quickly as they arrived. Very soon it will be business as usual around here.

I had the pleasure of popping through to Glasgow yesterday, to visit my uncle, aunt and cousins (pictured). It was a very pleasant day, all told.

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Not much to add, really. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. I’ll be back just as soon as my cognitive processes (as well as my digestive system) are prepared to be a little more forthcoming.

Why We Have Boxing Day

December 26, 2006

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Last night, my estimable father-in-law and I thought we’d get the jump on the rest of the do-gooders by heading on down to Tesco to dispose of the roomful of detritus that Christmas had somehow generated. The paper, cardboard, plastic and glass had been dutifully sorted into their respective bags, so we bundled them into the car and hit the road. During the next half-an-hour, there was opportunity to ruminate upon the act of recycling.

Firstly, it seems like there is only finite goodwill when it comes to this sort of thing. It was great to see that others had taken the time to bring their bits and pieces to the recycling bins, but somewhat disappointing that they hadn’t managed to deposit them in said bins. Clearly, would-be recyclers had found themselves bereft of the moral strength to squash their boxes and post ’em through. Ironically, of course, I don’t imagine that boxes outside the designated bin will ever see the recycling process, so it would have been altogether more efficient to dump them in the nearest convenient country lane.

It seems that attempts to recycle, no matter how cack-handed, are sufficient to absolve the recycler of any other social responsibility. How often I am agitated by people parking in the middle of the road, with their open boot exactly adjacent to the appropriate recycling hatch, in order that not one unit of unecessary effort is expended. Honestly guys – park in a space. A little walk won’t kill you. And, despite the exhaustion incurred by your noble act, feel free to put all your carrier bags in the bin when you’re done.

Better still, recycle them.

Christmas

December 25, 2006

To those concerned that the monologues will be left untended on this hallowed day, fear not. Having had a very pleasant day, eaten plentifully, and seen everyone to their beds, there’s just time to lay down a good ol’ Christmas ‘logue.

We were in Edinburgh for Christmas, and had a handful of our respective families to aid us in our merrymaking. Here’s a photo, taken on the cusp of departure for those Dundee-bound.

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Anti-clockwise from top right: Mr Clark Snr, Mr C Jnr, Mrs C Jnr, Dr Hutchison, Your Humble Author, Mrs H Jnr, Grandpa, Mrs C Snr, Mrs H Snr.

I hope you all had a great Christmas Day, and enjoy its remaining moments.