Monday, 19 November 2012

What would you do?

Hello hello!

Man has this year been a fast one! It's actually November, people are actually saying the C word and I realise that I may actually need to start thinking about it sooner rather than later :S

Not that I'm complaining, it is definitely my favourite time of year. Maybe it's just the hype but doesn't everyone seem a little bit happier in December? Unless of course you're that one parent that hasn't picked up a Buzz Lightyear (or whatever the flavour of the year is), you do not look happy! But in general, people smile more :)

I'll be honest I tend to over do it at Christmas. I spend more money than is sensible on gifts, I play the Crimbo albums on repeat and I definitely make merry with the merriment on Christmas Eve :P . And I love every minute of it! Make memories not money, the first one will make you smile when the other one is gone and spent.

Now before we get to the "What would you do?" in the heading, let's talk about some changes since my last update.

1) I am actively looking for another job (as opposed to half-hearttedly going to work hoping something will land in my lap) The current job is fine, it's just...different since being back at it post-op. It seems like the work load is 100x more and the money hasn't upped with the expectations. And apart from that, I'm just not happy there anymore.

If I'm going to spend the bulk of my life in a job then you can be sure I'm going to make sure it's something I enjoy doing. I get that we all have bills to pay and having a job is pretty much a necessity - but if you're not happy there then I personally guarantee you, you could be doing something else, getting paid the same and be a WHOLE lot happier. It's never too late to make a change.

2) My writing has been side-swiped by NaNoWriMo.

For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for 'National Novel Writing Month' and it runs in November every year. The aim is to write one complete and finished 50k manuscript in the month of November - take it from me. This. Is. Not. Easy.

I wasn't going to bother this year round but woke up after an obscure dream (as oft happens) and couldn't shake the idea I had for a novel.

The screenplay and the other projects are officially on hold until December!

3) I have *cough* joined a dating site...there "I said it!"

Not entirely sure what I'm expecting from it but I met a couple when I was at the PTQ in Dundee (which you can read about on who were awesome together. I got talking to them and it turned out they met on and armed with that success story I opted to give it a go.

I like the way the site is setup so you can filter out the people looking for 'casual encounters' and the nutters as I'd like to stay away from the 'naughty pond'. That place seems like it'd be full of bad memories and I really don't need to add to my already impressive collection of *cringe* moments.

I'm in two minds about what I think about the whole 'dating site' concept. Anyone who knows me will testify to the fact that I am A) One heck of a talker + B) A flirt.

That being said I just don't think I'll meet the type of girl I'm looking for in a nightclub or pub. No harm in giving this site a go!


On to the serious stuff! "What would you do?"

I know this isn't in the usual "funny/self-humiliating" style of my blog - but something happened on Friday night I can't not talk about.

I was playing MtG in Queen's Park at  the shop as I often do. I step outside for a bit of fresh air and get talking to a girl at the bus stop (she is presumably, waiting on a bus). Blethering away quite the thing about nothing inparticulair and a car screeches to a halt in front of us and out jump four guys shouting in some foreign language at the confused and somewhat terrified looking girl.

Now for all I am a confident individual - and consider myself pretty well prepared for most situations, this one threw me. I stepped in front of the girl (who at this point is talking back a bit sheepishly in this other language) and then both she and one of the guys point at me. Do I run? Stay?

Before the flight or fight response kicked in the guy says to me in perfect English (kids, cover your ears)

"Fuck off! She belongs to the family, she doesn't talk to non-muslims so beat it boy!"

Now apart from the fact this guy was ages with me and I really have an issue with anyone who isn't 60+ calling me boy - does anyone else see a problem with the above statement?

I certainly did.

At this point the girl is being not quite pulled, but certainly encouraged towards the car. I still have no idea what's going on so I kick off and do a bit of shouting myself, attracting the attention of some of the guys  nearby.

The guy that called me 'boy' stops and turns around a little bit calmer noe he's got an audience.

"Look mate it's nothing personal - this is my sister, she's not allowed to speak to non-muslims, just let it go."

Sorry. Not sold on that tune mate.

So I ask the girl if this is her brother and does she want to get in the car with him. At this point she looks a lot less scared and a lot more embarassed than she did originally and I kind of see the family resemblance BUT, and this is the thing that really gets me...

She looks at her brother first before answering the question, and he nods. The girl then tells me that this is her brother and that the other guys are her cousins. It turns out she is waiting on a lift from him and pretty much re-iterates his words.

"It's nothing personal - it's just our culture..."

(kids, cover your ears!)

Bullshit. It's not culture. It's sexism verging on slavery.

Now please don't get the wrong idea. I am not criticising Muslim culture - I judge every single person I meet on their own merits and I will never have a go at someone because of their creed, colour or race. But I cannot accept that a man can have a daughter and treat her like property to be traded. I've served on ships with multi-cultural crews coming from all walks of life and all types of religion, I like being exposed to new cultures and new ideas - it makes me a smarter man, but Friday night...

It just doesn't add up, at least to me. When did we regress to the stone ages?

So back to the question : "What would you do?" - What lengths do you go to for the sake of a stranger?

The girl got in the car with her brother, her cousins walked away and I went back in to finish my game of cards. But the whole thing has been bugging me all weekend.

To whomever finds themselves reading this, these next words are aimed directly at YOU!

You are an individual. Your own person with your own thoughts, feelings and desires. You are not  defined by the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the music you party to or the house you pray in. Don't let anyone pressure you into making choices you don't want to make or do things you don't believe in.

If you want to sing into your hairbrush in front of the mirror, rock on! If you want to dance like no one's watching while your waiting on a train, awesome! I saulte you! And if you want to go against the grain of everything you've been brought up to believe, then you are one of the most incredible people on the earth, and you have my utmost respect. I didn't say being you was going to be easy - but being a 100%, pure gold, star-spangled first rate version of yourself is much better than being a two bit carbon copy of what someone else thinks you should be.

Don't conform to their norm, what is normality anyway?

Being preachy isn't my style, but neither is being a bystander when I see something I don't agree with. I hope I got my point across.

Anyways, my rant is now officially over! Stay tuned for more updates! Hopefully there aren't too many 'dating site' related embarassing bits!

Dare to Dream folks,

Live your life!

Comment below.


Sunday, 4 November 2012


Don't panic. I'm not going to start talking about 'Wake me up before you go go' (Although now ive mentioned it I am going to look it up on YouTube, what a song!)

You know how I can tell something major is going to happen on any given day? It starts like every other one. Every morning I wake up and think about the day to day routine, cause that's what it is, a routine. Monday to Friday is the worst.

Wake up
Make coffee
Get in car
Go to work
Finish work
Get in car
Go home
Have dinner

My weekday in nine easy to follow steps, how boring! Well after last Friday you can give me that boring list ANY day of the week!

Friday started off like any other day, right up until the "Go to work" bit. There we were, just passing the aquaduct at the airport, idly chatting, listening to Chris Evans and 'The Candyman' for what must be the millionth time. The traffic in front stopped, we stopped...the car behind didn't.


Now I can only imagine, and certainly hope, that most of you don't know what it's like to get hit by another car travelling at speed. Well let me tell you, the coffee goes EVERYWHERE! Some people say the sound is like a gun going off, well, that's an understatement. It sounded like a cannon was fired a metre and a half behind me!

The force threw us (and the coffee) forward and the recoil tossed us back. There was a moment of silence as the contents of my flask dripped down the windshield before my head started pounding.

A moment or two, or maybe ten minutes later. Im not sure. Either way we found ourselves pulled in in the left hand lane staring at the offending Audi that had hit the Ka, no prizes for guessing who came off worst.

There I was trying to decide whether I was going to be angry or relieved when this tall, blonde, Drop. Dead. Gorgeous, women steps out of the car. I like to think it was because of the adrenaline I was speechless, in honesty though I think it was the green tights and light blue dress. The woman could easily have been going to audition as one of Santa's little helpers (despite being over 6ft tall). Details were exchanged, liability decided, and off we went.

Surprisingly, we laughed our asses off the rest of the ten minute drive in to work. Seriously, hysterical laughter resounded around the car. It's funny what adrenaline does to you.

The day dragged on and the headache came back, along with a really sore neck and shoulder. The car has been/will be written off as the entire base beneath the boot has been warped and a trip to the hospital confirmed that both driver and me sustained whiplash. Why do I ask for excitement? Why did I want to break away from the norm? Give me a bog standard boring working day!

Phew. So anyway, that's the drama out of the way.

It has made me think about things over the weekend. I don't want to sound melodramatic, we are both absolutely fine (except the sore necks, which should pass). But thinking about how things could have been makes me queasy.

Firstly, If I hadn't been wearing a seatbelt I know for a fact my face would have went through the dashboard. And as nice a dashboard as it is, I have no desire to make it's acquaintance on a permanent basis. Seatbelts save lives. You know when your younger and your mother insists she wont drive until you buckle up? Dont be a dick. Buckle up!

Secondly, what if she had damaged the petrol tank? Now most explosions (at least in the movies) happen in frontal collisions, but surely taking a 'dunt' in the petrol tank cant be clever? It's been a while since I was in school but im sure the fire triangle is still the same. Oxygen *sniff* check! Fuel, in a petrol tank? Ignition, metal on metal, chance of sparks? We could have blown up in the middle of the motorway! Thankfully most of the damage was to the rear left side of the car, and the fuel tank is on the rear right, but it could have been very different.

Thirdly, what if my bloody coffee had been hot? I'd have looked a right prat! I can see the headlines now "Man sustains third degree burns in non-burning vehicle!"

Thankfully none of the three happened, but it could have, which is scary. It could also have messed up the whole operation (which for those who dont know, was quite a big deal!). I dont think it has at this stage, but my shoulder is still pretty delicate and thats where the muscle came from. We can only see. all still breathing though so thats a good thing!

I am getting back into the swing of things in the office. Despite the monotony my days are quite productive. I have been doing a lot more writing, working on old projects and scribbling down new.

Ive also started looking into how I can turn Magic The Gathering into a profitable arrangement. Ive set up shop on Ebay, contacted distributors to enquire about prices for wholesale and am seriously considering diving into this as a business.

In other MtG news, Im playing in the Dundee PTQ next weekend (which is a big deal, take my word for it!) so for those who are interested, keep an eye on for the article that will follow (hopefully talking about how I won, if not it will be talking about how I 'almost won' and the injustice of life :P)

Peace out,

Dare to Dream,

Wear your bloomin' seatbelt!