Monday, 23 April 2012

Impatience bites.....

 I sit here watching a documentary trailer for a guy called Nick Jaffe; who is featured in an up and coming sailing documentary (See here for the link) - Although I am a particular sucker for such documentaries I am eagerly anticipating watching the finished article; when it is released for download, next month; ugh, I'm excited about cringe worthy digital media.....and if you have to pay for it, I won't be watching it-  although, the one aspect of the trailers that would get a 'thumbs down' from me is the soundtrack; which in my honest opinion is questionable- but then again, I am pretty funny when it comes to music. I'm a bit of a music Nazi. There was a point in one of the trailers, where Nick was quite simply overcome with raw emotion as consequence of his awe inspiring surroundings; and that is the moment that I am personally looking forward to experiencing first hand.

I can't help but be envious of what Nick has managed to achieve. Nick, like the greats who have inspired my interest in ocean crossings,  Rebell, Slocum, Motessier, Willis, etc had that compulsion within; to get in a small boat, and just sail away from it all. Letting go, casting off the shackles of society, saying "fuck you" to everyone else; and just getting out there.....alone....with the grandeur of nature; unadulterated in all it's glory- the sea- the sky- the elements.  I like to think that I have the same compulsions.  I'm 27 now; and I should have at least got in a sail boat by now; you'd think; especially having such an ardent interest in ocean crossings on small vessels; but I haven't; well, apart from when on holiday in Tenerife; but it was a pretty big yacht.  Sometimes you get caught up in one thing and another; and you end up putting things off and before you know it, life has passed you by. I think for this dream of mine to be some quixotic fad is completely not the case. I think the main reason I haven't already embarked on anything is due to financial restraints, although there was one point on that lilo in Majorca where I was pretty far offshore.  I have spent the past 4 years trying to get myself in the Merchant navy as an officer; to enable me to work, doing something I want to do; and have the working patterns of a few months on and a few months off; so I can get all this shit done.  The target is well and truly locked! Granted; I am a few years off the point where I'll have my own Yacht; the plan is, once I am qualified as a Deck Officer; and I have some funds in the bank; I intend on getting myself a Contessa 26 yacht; on which I will hone my sailing skills; and finally achieve a very long term dream. I'd hope that with my training as a deck officer; I'll be able to transfer my nautical skills into sailing, and pick up the ropes quickly. I'd like to spend my time off work cruising; not only for the prospect of saving money, but it's all experience that will assist with my ultimate goal of circumnavigating the globe; which is something I plan on doing in later life; like my hero, William Willis; although, I'm not really sure a balsa wood raft would be my method of transport.  I have no intentions of writing about it; I'm not really sure there would be that much interest anyway. One thing about watching Nick's documentary was the Camera factor; would I really want to have them personal moments captured on film, and showed to other people? I'm not sure it would be the right thing for me personally; plus; I wouldn't look good on a camera at all! I would see the camera as intrusive; and my dream doesn't involve attaining acclaim, or anyone's respect; I am doing it for me.  I quite liked  Benedict Allen's one man cam-a-thon; with the ice dogs in Siberia. You got more of a feeling of authenticity from knowing it was just him there. I have no time at all for the likes of Bear Grylls or what ever his name is. Film crews; and all the stuff behind the cameras; that you don't see; luxuries and the like! A gang of frauds!

I would like to embark on a project that I could write about; and maybe raise some money for charity in the process; and I have done quite a bit of research into the field I am interested in- Pedalling across an ocean. I was following a guy called Greg Kolo-something or other; from Canada and his "Pedal the ocean" project. I was a little critical of his boat design, and also the "sea trials" that he was doing on a lake; weren't really worthwhile; as I wouldn't of thought emulating the roaring 40's would be possible on a lake- I think I did message him on facebook; but attained no response- and in fairness, he's probably had a tonne of people tell him what they think, and who am I to be taking advice from?  - In any case; he abandoned his project; I think, due to safety concerns.  I am toying with the idea of building an ocean going vessel powered by pedal- I figured that I could combine my love of cycling distances, with my interest of crossing oceans. I managed to ride 116 miles in 6 hours 45(ish) - and while it's not exactly a world beating time; I am still carrying a lot of weight more than I should be; and I think I have a lot of potential to improve as an athlete. I've done a few monster rides; and every time, I have always got back, and thought to myself, I could carry on all day. Which is why I have always entertained these thoughts of pedalling the ocean.  I have had a word with a friend about the actual physical side of it, and also the mechanics of building a pedal system that would be able to turn a propeller- He has contacts with an engineering chap that could build me a pedal system; so what's one aspect sorted. I have not even though about a boat design yet; when I'm surrounded by the right people; I will start to ask questions; but where I am in life at the moment, there aren't really many people I can call upon for advice on things nautical related.  The guys at ocean pedal challenge seemed to have all of their bases covered, with their vessel design and is  a well sponsored project; it looked the part but not long into their second voyage; they called it off for safety concerns. I believe they will be trying again, third time lucky might be the case? I hope so.

 So what is needed, is a boat that is able to withstand massive swells, take a beating from waves and wind; and still be able to make progress; with all that in mind. Christ knows? Jason Lewis ( managed to get around the world on human power alone(not just pedaling oceans though) so suggesting a successful solo ocean crossing wouldn't be the acme of foolishness! I would like to do it quicker than Jason though; and I don't think what he has achieved would be something I would embark on emulating. What a seriously heroic feat. The media has hardly batted an eyelid for any of the projects I have previously mentioned; yet; when one of Jordan's tits slips out of her bra in some atrocious London night club; it becomes front page material! I went to my Nan's quite a few times last week; and she gets The Mirror delivered every day; and it's seriously difficult for me to put into words how remedial the people who contribute to it must think 'we' are. I wouldn't go out of my way to read a red and white tabloid, I was merely passing the time. There it was....  the continuous demise of Simon Cowell's life, throughout the week- if the old seven day adventists are to be believed; then surely the demise of Cowell in one week is possible, if God can create the world in the same amount of time?  Who cares? How does this shit sell? Then there was a shockingly terrible article about Great White sharks; it had that much of an impact on me that I have forgotten what it was about; but I remember it lacking serious scientific facts about sharks- in fact it was about some "shark whisperer" - it failed to mention tonic immobility; which the entire story was based on. So the public are left thinking that this ball bag goes around fingering Great Whites into a submissive state. You should have heard the sigh I let out.  So many reasons to want away . . . . . .

So . . . back to reality. It's raining, the dog is depressed because it's raining, and I seem to just be in constant daydream mode;  My mobile phone has completely perished; the screen no longer works; I don't really care.  I have no intentions of replacing it.  I get my dole money this Wednesday; and I'll have about £50.00 to live off for 2 weeks; oh the recurring joys of having to live off the government. I hope I can find a job to get me through the summer, until I start my cadetship.  I've today purchased Dom Jolly's Dark tourism, after being told about it by Mark; one of the guys in my cycling club. As soon as he told me that Dom visited an Iranian ski resort; it was sold to me; "right up my street" I thought; and the first chapter is now out of the way; and I'm looking forward to the rest of it.

Time to walk the dog....


Monday, 9 April 2012

I wonder, how far from here we'll fall?

I wonder, when I see those annoying "swot the fly to win an I-pod" type pop ups; are people actually that stupid? Does the Go Compare advert actually make people want to go on their website, and compare? I know I don't want to compare anything, EVER again to be honest. Do people really believe that people in Clonmel say "there's method behind the Magners" and it's not some faux dictum created in some magnolia walled, laminate floored board room in some soul-less city?  I won't even go there.

It seems, in this market based society that we live in- that everything and anything is for sale- sell sell sell. For me, on a personal level; I find it cringe worthy! I'd like to think, on a personal level, these attempts to get my custom are counter effective- in fact, I am the type of person who will not forget these "transgressions"- as I like to call them! For example- the food chain Iceland had Kerry Katona, mincing about, posing as a bona fide representation of efficient motherhood and wholesomeness; which vexed me, more than words could represent. I vowed to myself, that I would never ever shop in Iceland ever again; and I haven't- I actually e-mailed Iceland telling them, 'thanks to their forward thinking marketing department; creating the concept of depicting that horrid talentless coke head slag as something she's not' has lost them a customer for life.  A little harsh you might think, but I always remember seeing a clip of Katona on some Living TV programme, prior to her pop career- and it was painstakingly apparent then; than she was a horrible person, and probably a coke head. I made my mind up then, and after just now checking on her wiki page; I was initially pleased that it informed us she was a lap dancer; and topless model, prior to her squeaky clean pop career- yet it omitted the Living TV thing- that seemed a little Stalinist- then, after skimming her page; I noticed that Iceland had ended their contract with her in 2009, because of photographs of her snorting cocaine. How fucking great am I? I'd like to think that that person at Iceland's customer care hub, who read my e-mail back in 2002-ish was feeling a bit small back when it all came don't think so either. I doubt it was even read to be honest. The fact remains; while there are people out there who think about things; a vast majority of people are happy not to think at all; and are happy to have what they eat, wear, drink, and listen to; drilled into them by the relentless multimedia machine that is instrumental in the society we live in and it's quite scary, isn't it?  Cold calling, street salesmen, junk mail, pop ups, annoying commercials; they're all on the increase. What the fucking hell is going on? 

 I've always loved observing trends, weather it's fashion, or even music tastes. Try speaking to people about it on an individual basis though! It's a pretty sore subject- they don't want to talk about it- they see them selves as 'individuals' - Fashion is pretty hilarious at the moment; styles will be portrayed, via pop stars on music videos, or 'notable' people in magazines, this usually coincides with the swankier retailers in clothes having the stock; so that the "edgy" types, can buy into the shit first. Then, after about 6 months (although, it used to be longer than this) you'll see jarg versions of what was "edgy" being sold in Primark in mass bulk. Ahh Primark . . . where fashion goes to die.  It seems these days that fashion is sort of dissolving into one big melting pot; and there doesn't seem to be that much diversity- that, or I'm out the loop and I'm glad. I always remember getting myself a pair of Converse All-Star shoes, about 11 years ago- and I was out in Moreton cross in the big house. This was around about 2001 ish; I was under age, and I was drinking in the pub- and I had my converse on, and some fat, ginger, four eyed wank stain, who was a hanger on, of one of the "big cheeses" in the cross shouted at me "eeeeee, get on you in your gay pumps" - "Dangermouse is looking for you" I replied. The blank look on his moronic face suggested my rip had been wasted. Flash forward 8 years (yes, I usually leave it 8 years between visits to Moreton cross) and I'm in the bighouse, and the aforementioned blert; is standing at the bar, only now, the coke head indie fun boy fashion seems to have altered a little....what has Liam Gallagher been wearing? Actually, I doubt Liam Gallagher would wear all stars, but, you know what these 'oasis' fans are like these days; pretty much any band that gets a mention in the nme is cool, and the arctic monkeys are cool, and everything is fucking cool 'man'- including 'gay pumps' apparently. Mind you, I'm a little late in pointing this out; as all stars have pretty much gone full circle. . They're shit anyway; they don't last five minutes(a bit like the credibility of contemporary indie bands -arf arf arf) Practicality for me, now-  It's funny how the consensus acts towards things alien to it, collectively. I remember when red hair would be frowned upon, by the brainless herd; now (well, not exactly, RIGHT NOW, but recently) because pop stars like Rhianna have red hair....they do as well. The North End of Birkenhead is a hilarious place to observe such things. 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

This is me; shortly after a arriving in Conwy last Wednesday. ; I went with Nick who is also in my cycling club. The weather was amazing! 116 miles in total! It was like a summers day. Yes, I know; I look like I've got special needs. What else can I expect, being over weight, and wearing lycra....anyway- it all serves a purpose. It was a thoroughly enjoyable ride; there was one occasion where I jumped off my bike and called out an angry motorist that nick had called a knobhead, after he walked his dogs into the our path...and then decided to chase us in his ever so masculine Mini- he was shouting "say it to my face" and sort of driving close to us; then coming back to shout more; all the while I was getting vexed; I could see he was considering kicking off; and so was I,  so I just jumped off the bike and offered him out. I am very surprised that I haven't got into an actual fight since I began cycling. I've chased cars; and had words with people who have pissed me off. I'm worried, if I'm honest...all that adrenaline pumping; my heart rate in it's optimum zone for the fight mechanism......then some blert in Conwy was taking the piss out of us; so I told him "shut up you prick" - to which he replied "you prick" - creativity shows there.....then he called me a "fat prick" - so I called him a bald prick.  People really let themselves down don't they? Pathetic. Weightloss= free. Slaphead reversal? Not possible. 

I was still feeling tired on Sunday; so ended my club run prematurely; yet still got 65 miles in the bag- I was really really tired though. It didn't help matters that one of the lads ran over a squirrels jaw; and we had to "put it out of it's misery" - I really don't like seeing anyone or anything hurt.  This week I'm hoping to get about 200 miles in the bag. I've looked at my weight loss calendar; and I've lost 6lb, in 8 weeks. Quite disappointing really; I wanted to be in the eitghteens- but today's weigh in confirmed that I am 19 stone 3 lb! I need to adjust my diet accordingly. This is getting REALLY old now. 

I fancied going out to Liverpool on Sunday for a few beers; but after doing the maths it became apparent that I am socially handicapped. Not a bad thing really! It's only spending money that I haven't got; and in all honesty; I'm getting a big long in the tooth now to be going out all the time- has the white flag been raised? I think so, for the time being- when ever I go out; I just feel like "what the hell am I doing here, I don't have anything in common with any of these people" - I guess it's always been like that for me; only now it's younger people....people ten years younger.....I was pondering to myself yesterday that I am soon to be 30; it's big isn't it? It's like the half way point of life...although I'm sure life expectancy averages are in the 80's now, so I guess I've got another 12 years before I'm half way there...that is providing I have an average life span. I certainly hope so. I'm very morbid, aren't I?

I'm still on the edge of my seat waiting for confirmation of my Cadetship; something else that is getting old as well. I should hear something in the coming weeks; and I'll be able to relax, knowing that the past 4 years of working towards this has not been ill-spent. I watched Spielberg's Warhorse and being the nasty anti mainstream boffin that I am, was very very surprised as how impressed with the film I actually was. The layers were there for me to see; the symbolism, the foreshadowing etc; and the storyline was somewhat predictable; but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Very impressed with the production. But you'd expect that with Spielberg, wouldn't you? 

I've got the gap in the rain that I've been waiting for; or so the met officer forcast tells me. It's usually wrong- in any case- I am off out on the bike for a few hours.