Random Thoughts #1
The end of Summer
--- 9th - Sept - 2001 - (Sunday) ---
So, that's summer done for another year. Did it ever really start though? I swear, over the past 4 months I think there was 7 solid days of constant sunshine. The rest was either dull, grey overcast or outright raining. Which is pretty piss poor in my book.
To my mind (what little I have left), summer consists of 4 months. May, June, July and August. These are the months that I'm glad i'm on the planet. The mornings are bright, it doesn't really get dark at nights, everybodys happy, everybodys willing to smile that little bit quicker than before. Yeah, summers great. But it's gone now. Now we enter into that tricky Autumn/Winter stage.
A lot of people make decisions during summer. It's a time of change, a chance to stop, take stock and work out if you're going in the right direction. Of course, the question isn't how do find if you're heading on the right path. It's knowing which path is the right one for you. Maybe you've taken a different set of classes in school. Maybe you changed jobs. Maybe you changed countries. The point is you've changed your course, you're on a better path for better or worse. But you won't find out if you've picked the right path until a good couple of months down the line. But hey, that's what the end of summer is all about. Making new choices. I've made mine. Have you?
God, I feel a bit hungover. But I want to get this written the now (2.51 pm on a Sunday if you're interested). So, how has the writing gone this week? Not great, not bad. I managed to make some money from getting a couple of letters printed in newspapers, which was really good. I also got a couple more pages written in my ongoing novel, "The Weekender". (That reminds me, I was going to put a link on the site and put the first 20 pages up on a page...ah, i'll do it later). But. No articles written. I sent out 2 that had been rejected to different newspapers. But I haven't actually written anything new this week. I dunno, it's hard work. I've got a couple of ideas, but I wonder if there is really a market for them. Maybe I should concentrate more on the magazine side of things, like scifi stuff, y'know? Things i'm really interested in. We'll see. Also, no fanfic written either. In my defence, it was quite a busy week, so I never really got a chance, but I seriously need to get my arse in gear.
Alright here's the diary bit. Not sure if this will be of interest to anyone, but I'd like to get it written down. Monday was my most creative day. Wrote lots of letters, some more of the book and some reviews for the site. My pal David came up later on and we just chilled and watched television. Tuesday was my first day back at work after my holiday. Hurrah, I don't think. On Wednesday work again. Also went out with some of the guys (Craig, Chris and Stephen) down to the pub and watched the football game, Scotland v Belgium (I think). Very boring, and we (Scotland) ended up getting beat 2-0. On the plus side, we started drinking a new beer called Tiger. Sounds really bad, but it's actually quite good. And expensive. Thursday was quite a long day at work, but I cheered myself up by buying the new Empire mag (possible article ideas in there!) and the soundtrack to Reservoir Dogs. Yeah, the songs have had the balls kicked out of them they've been played so often, but they're still good and it's a good (if short) soundtrack. (Christ, I just realised that Reservoir Dogs came out in 1992, nearly a decade ago! I was...14!! Time flies indeed.) Went out later with Chris and Craig to the pub and nightclub and got very drunk. Hungover bigtime on Friday and didn't do anything. Just chilled and watched some TV. Actually, I watched "Apt Pupil". Not bad, but not great. The Novella (from "Different Seasons") by Stephen King is much better and I think the film makers chickened out on the ending. ***Spoiler warning here, by the way for the story*** In the book, the kid (sorry, forgot his name) (Wait, just remembered - Tod Bowman. I remember reading King saying that Tod or Bowman stands for death in German. The thing is he didn't even know and it was sheer coincidence. Spooky, eh?) goes crazy and starts mowing down people with a gun. Plus the old nazi has a much more fitting ending and gives the reader more satisfaction of the old man being punished. Saturday went out and got drunk with the boys. Starting to get fed up with the Tiger Beer. £2.20 a bottle (Dunno what that is in Dollars - $3 or $4?) is pretty pricey. Plus I think it's giving me huge hangovers. And that brings us up to Sunday. Just writing this, official relaunch of the website, chilling. Probably do some writing later on. Strangely, writing this has removed my hangover. Cool!
Right, that's your lot for this week. Come back next week for more.
Random Thoughts #2
--- 14th - Sept - 2001 - (Friday) ---
I was in work when it happened. Doing my filing, thinking of little stories in my head to pass the time and so I won't go insane with boredom. I don't remember the exact time Stevie told me. I'd heard the Television go on in the kitchen area, but I figured it was a corporate video some supervisors were watching.
"Did you hear about the World Trade Center?" he said.
"What about it?" I replied in a distracted voice, trying to find a missing folder.
"It's gone," he said.
I looked at him for a few seconds, trying to gauge him, to determine what the hell he was talking about. Gone? Out of business?
"It's on the TV"
I looked at him sceptically, but wandered round to the television. People were talking amongst themselves animatedly and not about work either. I quickened my pace and turned the corner. And I saw.
The WTC, one tower down, the other a smoking inferno. I couldn't believe it. I still can't. We ended up being shepherded back to work, but I caught the whole story when I got home. It wasn't hard. Every station was pumping out the same pictures. Except both towers had fallen. What I had seen was delayed footage. The Twin Towers. Gone.
I say I want to be a writer, yet I struggle to come up with words that fully illustrate the emotions, the enormity of this event. They seem small, cheap words to describe such a traumatic act. But I'll try. Disbelief I think is the first thing. Internally, I'm fighting the images on screen. The first plane crashing into the tower, followed not long after by the second. And then, destruction on a scale unimaginable outside the movies. That is something that I have heard a lot of people say. "It's like something Hollywood dreamed up". And that is my first reaction too. A daft action flick with big explosions. But it wasn't. And the moment reality finally sunk in was when the cameras picked up the people still in the building, practically hanging out of the windows to signal help or get away from the inferno behind them. The people jumping out of the building, falling to certain death, but more preferable than the nightmare situations inside the Towers. That was when the perspective finally reasserted itself on me. From a distance, you can be stunned at the ferocity of the explosions, the violence of the crashes. But up close, you see why it's a travesty. Not because two buildings have collapsed. But because of the people inside and the lives that are lost, that are going to be lost.
When I relaunched this site last week, I started a picture of the week. My first picture was New York, the Manhattan skyline. I thought these buildings would outlive me, would last for all time. I would never have dreamed in a million years that 2 days later they would be gone.
I love New York. It's my adopted City. I know more about it than Glasgow and I've never even set a foot in it. I still love it. And I hope that the WTC is rebuilt, however long it takes. Because like the Statue of Liberty, certain constructions are symbols. Powerful symbols. The Twin Towers were as much guardians and a landmark to America as Liberty is. And they should be put back up. As a symbol of freedom and peace. And how those values can never be destroyed.
Not much to report on the writing front I'm afraid. Sent of some more letters. Got a nice rejection letter (I'm starting to take a perverse pleasure in receiving these now). Wrote more of the book (one page again! - I've really gotta start writing more or I'll be 80 when I'm finished), but the tragic events in America have totally dominated this week of my life. Will definitely have more to report on next week.
Random Thoughts #3
--- 22nd - Sept - 2001 - (Saturday) ---
On Tuesday I went to my friends house to watch a football game, Celtic v. Juventus. It finished with Celtic being beaten 3 - 2. Afterwards I went home.
Sounds very boring, very stark. Yet that is what happened. But it doesn't begin to describe what I felt. The atmosphere in the living room, where 12 of us where crammed in, watching every kick of the ball, every decision by the referee, shouting furiously at the television, sweating with the intense heat in the room, sounds coming through the window from other people watching the game, either cheering or jeering for Celtic…It was intense.
I'm not a huge football fan. For whatever reasons when I was young, I never bothered to learn the game. I liked running around and games like tag, but football never interested me. In fact, if I had been watching the game in my house I wouldn't have felt as passionate about. Sure, I'd want Celtic to win, but I wouldn't have the same insane desire for my team to win.
But in that house on Tuesday…man alive, the feeling was infectious. It was impossible not to get caught up in it. When the person sitting next too you is screaming at the television, when the relief washes over the person on the floor that a goal hasn't been scored against your team. It's not just that person that is feeling it. It's everybody in the room. Like an infection, it spreads from one person to another. You can't help but get caught up in it.
I'm not sure if it's good or bad. It's powerful, that's for sure. And you begin to see how easy folk can get caught up in mobs or cults. It's a sense of everyone around you suddenly has the same desire, the same objective. Trying to fight it is impossible, like emptying the river with a bucket. And when it's finished, you go back to being an individual, still wired, but more yourself, more in control.
On that night, everyone in the room felt the same. It was a likeminded community, one mind, one intense desire to see Celtic win the game. It was scary. It was exciting. And it certainly wasn't boring. I can't wait for the next game. And that's something I never thought I would say.
Shockingly low work done on the novel. Not a single page written! What the hell is going on here?! I'm writing 24 pages a week in June, and now I'm struggling on one page a week. Very dissapointed in myself. No letters being written as everything is being centred on N.Y. and I don't want to write about it to try and make money. Once other news stories start to filter in I'll start up again.
The old diary part again: Monday I was incredibly lazy. Got Championship manager off Chris and played it all day. My team, Celtic, got humped 3 times and I think I could be facing the sack. It's unbelievable. Also got the new Terry Pratchett book from the library "Thief of Time". I've only read 10 pages so far to be honest though. On Tuesday I was back at work. My jobs slightly unstable at the moment but should be safe 'til March 2002 at least. More importantly though Celtic played their first ever game in the new format Champions League against Juventus! Quite a large crowd went round to Tams and we watched Celtic get robbed of a result by a Referee who quite frankly cheated us out of a result. He gave a penalty and Celtic lost 3 - 2. It was a stunning blow, but if we play that good again against the other teams in the group we'll do fine.Wednesday I did nowt. Very tired and I ended up falling asleep during the Liverpool game. Went down to the local pub on Thursday with Craig & Chris. It was a really warm night so we sat out in the Beer garden. Probably the last warm day of summer. Had a few Tiger beers again. Total vegathon on Friday. Watched all the programmes that I had taped including 5 Stargate Sg-1's, Andromeda and 2 British shows, 'Orrible & Coupling. My eyes had dried out by the end. Went down the pub later and two of my pals, Steve & Chris who have been living in Edinburgh and London respectively were back in town so it was a good laugh. For today (Saturday) Craigs supposed to be coming up with some beers and we'll watch the Rangers game (can't remember who they're playing), maybe the pub later.
And that's a wrap.
Random Thoughts #4
--- 29th - Sept - 2001 - (Saturday) ---
The following essay will almost certainly contain bad language which may offend.
That's my first thought with the current f--k up with my website! If you are reading this then congratulations. Not only for visiting my fair site, but for actually managing to get through.
You see, I had a cool domain name, www.waystation.77th.com . I was very chuffed with it, being almost a domain name you could be proud of having and not having to pay a dime. So I submitted my site to various search engines and link sites for Buffy, using this URL all the time.
Then, this morning I check it out and lo and f--king behold, the URL isn't working! At first I thought it might have been a glitch, but no, after countless tries, it simply isn't working. I check out the main website, www.77th.com, and hey! Their URL isn't working. Which leaves me in a mess.
I don't know how many 'engines my site is listed on under this URL. Not every engine, but at least 90%. And the link sites, like Buffyguide & Buffysearch has this URL as well. But I don't have my ID or passwords to change the info on them, having foolishly deleted them thinking that I would never have to change them. I am an idiot.
Of course, it could be just a short fault. Perhaps a main server went down and the URL will be working again. I hope so. It would save me a hell of a lot of work. I'll give it a week anyway. But I really don't think it will be.
To come full circle where I started…ARGGHHH!!
Again, shockingly no work done on the Novel. There's still tomorrow though (famous last words from many a potential author I'm sure) and with the US Grand Prix being on later, I should have time during the day. No letters as the news is still on NY.
Can't be bothered with the Diary this week. I will say on Tuesday I went to Fabios house with the boys and we watched Celtic win 1- 0 against Porto! Hurrah! I had a terrible cold mind you, but that didn't stop me enjoying the game. I'm sure I said it elsewhere, but just to reiterate: The picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar in the fake Celtic top is from Henriks Tongue. It will stay up for as long as Celtic are in the Champions League or the UEFA Cup. On Friday I headed out and drank cider as I felt nostalgic. Never ever again. Ever. Ever.
I'm outta here.
Random Thoughts #5
--- 8th - Oct - 2001 - (Monday) ---
Well here we are in October. When the hell did that happen? One minute, September is the biggest game in town, the last remains of summer are still hanging around, a couple of days of Indian Sunshine, the leaves turning brown, but not quite falling off…
And now? Dark at 7.00 with the sun struggling to stay in the sky for any length of time. I really hate these long dark nights. In Scotland, in deepest winter, we're lucky if there's 6 hours of daylight. It's no right.
How cool would it have been if millennia ago, when the world was young and the landmasses were still molten and malleable, if the UK had decided to drift down into the equator. How hard would that be, eh?
I dunno who was steering this country, but they made a bad decision when they turned for north.
"Oh yeah" the captain of Oldie Britain would say, "There will be plenty of sunshine and warmth up near the Antarctic. Those suckers onboard The good islands Ibiza and Greece are guaranteed constant winters."
And so they steered our country north, laughing away and putting on sunblock. Which just goes to show nobody should be allowed to steer small countries without a license.
Anyway, I've bought so much stuff this week. Which is very unusual for someone like me on a budget. But hey, the stuff was all on sale and I'm a bargain hunter so no worries.
The best thing I bought was 3 U2 CDs; "The Joshua Tree", "Rattle & Hum" and "All that you can't leave behind". The first two are excellent, especially "Rattle & Hum", but I found "All that…" quite disappointing really. Sometimes, you really need to listen to an album a good few times before it really sinks in, so I'll reserve judgement.
Also bought a lot of comics, the main ones being from Grant Morrison, a frankly brilliant writer who is currently the brains behind New X-Men. I'm thinking of starting up a review section for comics, but I'll wait and see just now.
Still playing Gran Turismo 3. Hard as hell, and at first I really hated it, but now I see it not as an obstacle to avoid, but a challenge to overcome. (Nicked that from some obscure Next Gen episode.)
And of course I drank a lot of booze. Redbull & Vodka. I must have drank about 13 of these bad boys. The thing is, I was WIDE awake from 4.00am until 9.00am. I was absolutely wired to the moon. If only I could feel that way on a rainy workday morning.
Just found out that we're at war. This is what happens when you play the Playstation for too long. Still can't believe that I didn't know.
Actually did some writing this week! 3 pages of the book, which isn't Lord of the Rings type length, but every little adds up. Also wrote the start of some fan fiction, so the creative juices are starting to flow again. Finally.
Didn't do much that week, so no real diary, but on Saturday I watched Scotland win their football game, but not qualify for the World Cup in one of the most boring games ever. We definitely need a rethink of the national team.
Random Thoughts #6
--- 19th - Oct - 2001 - (Friday) ---
For anyone paying attention, this column is quite late. A very hectic weekend left me utterly knackered and unable to summon any enthusiasm to write anything. I'm also skint after my large spending spree over the past few weeks. So this is quiet reflection time.
This is total random thoughts time as I can't think of anyone subject to yatter on about, but I can at least guarantee that there will be no spelling mistakes as I'm going to use Words spellchecker. I don't like using it as it makes me lazy and not double-check anything I'm writing, but hey, it's my call so what the hell.
First up, the U2 album is starting to grow on me (All that you can't leave behind). The best two songs are still the singles Beautiful Day & Elevation, but the rest is starting to grow on me.
Also reading the Stephen King book The Girl who loved Tom Gordon. Total change of pace from the big man and I'm not entirely sure I like it. It reads like a fable, something you could read with your son or probably daughter would be better, but I'll finish it off. The only King book I ever really struggled with was Bag of Bones ( or Bag of Shite as one friend calls it). I dunno, you read these great reviews of it and I think that I simply missed something or I'm not brainy enough to get the themes or something. Whatever, it wasn't great, but I'll reread it one day to see if I've changed my point of view.
Truly sorry this is so short and is basically not much more than a review column, but it'll be better next week. Promise.
No book update as there isn't any but expect a link to my fiction soon.
Random Thoughts #7
--- 1st - Dec - 2001 - (Monday) ---
I was watching the news earlier on. The usual stories about Afghanistan (which are getting noticeably shorter. Guess the loss of human life only has so much media appeal) and at the end, they run the entertainment pieces (which were noticeably longer than the Afghanistan stories, proving that the public have their priorities right). The usual fluff: famous people releasing songs, famous people getting married, famous people getting divorced, famous people falling over…but the last item caught my attention. Or at least my imagination. Because it was about the release of the new film "Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone".
A sea of young expectant faces was at the premiere, their pokemon stuff in a cupboard and collecting dust. For tonight and the foreseeable future it was all about Harry Potter. They waved the book and their caps as the stars walked past them, looking slightly shell shocked and bemused by the adults doing the same thing. Because lets not make any mistake here. The hardback books, the Harry Potter caps with the logo emblazoned on it, the plastic toys of every conceivable marketable character or place from the books, will be bought and paid for by adults.
The Item ended with the stars going up the red carpet and into the foyer of the Cinema. The crowd stood outside expectantly, perhaps waiting for a late actor to turn up or see a glimpse of somebody, anybody. It was a fever pitch to be sure. Then the next news item came on (somebody famous had fallen over drunk at her 3rd wedding but that's beside the point) and I turned the idiot box off.
But I found myself thinking about that crowd. They dispersed eventually, to go home and talk excitedly about whom they had seen and who had looked right-at-them-oh-my-God-I-thought-I-was-going-to-faint. A restless sense of excitement, of frustration. They know what they want of course. More Harry. But they've read the Books umpteen times now. The Harry pyjamas are losing their newness (along with the lightshade, pillows, blanket, curtains). Mum and dad have long forgotten to feel self-conscious pouring over the catalogue and ordering broomsticks and spell books. But there's nothing else to buy. No more Harry Potter merchandises to own. If only there was SOMETHING new, they would buy it. But what?
And here, after my roundabout rambling, I come to the point. Quite simply, would someone please produce some Harry fucking Potter comics! I mean, Jesus, this is the biggest event that could get people, actual normal working people to enter a comic shop years and buy Harry Potter comics. And they would be bringing Kids! Genuine bonafide children! Sweet mother of god, the ones that Ultimate Marvel has been aiming at all along. It's all just waiting there. This could be the biggest influx of custom since Batman in the 80's. And the beauty part is, there's 6 (count em' - you can't even do it on one hand!) more movies coming out over the next decade! These customers will keep coming back. If they don't get hooked on comics the first time, they'll still come back for Harry comics. And perhaps if they keep coming back, they'll try other comics. And even if a comic shop fluffs it the first time, they will have six more times to get it right. To get the shop cleaned up, to get the promotion just right. It's the event we've all been waiting for, what everyone has been preaching for years. We need new blood. We need kids collecting comics again.
Except…there is no Harry Potter comic. There were rumours of J K Rowling having talks with Joe Queseda which is good, but there still isn't any comics on the shelf RIGHT now.
Just imagine the scene. A mother sees the ad for the 1st issue of the new Harry Potter comic in her newspaper. It can't be found at the newsagents, but it says on the advert it will be in something called a comic shop. She looks in her yellow pages or phones Directory Enquiries. She gets the address of her most local shop and takes her children (one boy, one girl) to the shop. She walks to the window and sees a host of comics and sci-fi stuff. But there, pride of place, is a large Harry Potter cut-out. She enters the shop and is slightly overwhelmed by the large percentage of Superhero comics, but the stand with the Harry Potter comics are clearly displayed and she has no bother finding them. The kids look at some other comics, but all they want is Harry, so they buy their purchases and leave. And, then, fingers crossed, they come back again for issue 2. And this time they might have a look at some other comics. And maybe this time they brought their friends since Mum had other things to do. And they buy comics. And they tell their friends. And once again we have healthy comic book stores.
Marvel or DC (or hell, the pair of them together if the rights are too expensive) have to get Harry Potter comics on the shelves. It literally could be the boost to get this industry back on its feet.
And if we don't don't, if we fail to take advantage of this…well then, we're just a bunch of muggles.
The above is clearly a comic themed essay. Check out the links page for the best comic sites.
Random Thoughts #8
--- 28th - Dec - 2001 - (Friday) ---
A weekly column? S'heah, right.
This really has become random in the amount of updates this section of the site has had, though the Buffy reviews have been (almost) clockwork in their appearance, but I've definitely been neglecting this column. And it ain't going to be changing in the future.
With the imminent arrival of Enterprise to these shores, I've decided to start reviewing it as well in my own unique style so there will be even less time to write daft ramblings.
I will however still be musing on odd things as they occur in the year and this is as good a place as any to rant or rave about them.
I also plan to tidy up the site slightly. The Links section is starting to look very unwieldy these days and I'm not even sure if all the sites are still active, so I'll be rearranging those and maybe combining the webrings into one page as well.
I'm also thinking of maybe starting a picture gallery, since the main pic (SMG in a Celtic top) is definitely staying and won't be getting changed. But I'm not sure, sounds like it might involve too much hard work.
So that's 2001 done. I hope it was a good year for you. Me? Largely indifferent I think. The writing has increased in leaps and bounds and I made some money so that was nice. But I really need to get the head down and focus in 2002, what I'm calling my make or break year. Hopefully I can make enough cash to quit work (ah, what a dream!). That's the goal anyway. Might not achieve it, but it's gotta be the target.
But yeah, nothing really major happened. I started this site, discovered Buffy, Celtic and Manchester United won their respective leagues. But no real curve balls. Which could be a good thing I guess. What's that Chinese warning; "May you live in interesting times" Sometimes it's good to have a period of boredom.
On the downside, this years weather has been really shocking. Practically no sunshine at all. That's my main wish next year (apart from the writing). Getting a really good summer.
Well that's a wrap. I'll finish up by putting the prologue of my book "The
Weekender" up at the top o' the site. Anyhow, have a
great Hogmany and lets hope 2002 is a wee cracker.