Moving goalposts

Hello again.

I was window shopping on eBay the other day, as usual it was stuff I hadn’t even considered I wanted prior to seeing it, but immediately realised my life would be incomplete without it. For instance a red oak bo (a quarterstaff). Although since seeing "Monkey" as a kid I have always had a desire to be able to whirl a  bo like a cheerleader on speed, I have never taken a lesson, would not know where to begin, and in all reality would almost certainly never be called upon to use such a skill if I could acquire it. Still I realised upon seeing it that I really needed a red oak bo. And worse, one item invariably leads to another (a black silk Kung Fu suit from China, must have!). Then I stumbled across a Chinese supplier of ‘cheap’ (still over £200) saxophones!

Suddenly I had a flashback to when I was about 20 years old. My ambitions in life were; to become a black belt, own a Harley Davidson chop (stylised customisation) and own and be able to play a saxophone like ‘Blue Lou’ in the Blues Brothers.

I’m 42 years old and I have finally started down the road to achieving my young dreams. The black belt (s) are only a matter of time and sweat. When I get a well paid driving job I will be getting back on two wheels, and it just so happens as well as being the loveliest bikes on the road, Harley’s are about one of the slowest. A chop being slower yet, so not as much danger to life, license and livelihood. And now I’ve remembered, as soon as the money starts coming in I’m going to get a sax again, and learn how to play the damn thing.

Sad in a way that two out of my three ambitions were manufactured for me by Hollywood! Bruce Lee (who followed on from Monkey as a martial arts hero) the unbeatable fighter, and Blue Lou, a long haired geezer who’s one laudable attribute was the ability to make a sax sing. This is coolness young person, emulate!

Although the media have always banged on about Harley’s being cool, it was being given a lift home on a friends bike that sold me on them, and indeed motorcycling.

Hmm, more worldly desires. Things are looking challenging in the Buddha field.

My bracket (from which to hang the punch/kick bag) finally arrived this morning. I ordered it on the 29th of December. I was waiting patiently, as I was under the impression it was coming from Scotland, and the racial stereotype says all Scots will be drunk throughout the whole of December. It got to the 5th though and I was getting a bit miffed. Then I went back on the website and discovered it was coming from Staffordshire, and the geezer running the firm speaks English, Urdu, and Punjabi! Now that’s a whole other kettle of fish! The stereotype for Indian / Pakistani chaps is one of industrious service. I wrote an email and it arrived the next day. I suppose my order had been lost in the holiday season.

So I spent  a few hours today sorting out the garden so I could hang the bag, and wandering around B&Q wondering how in hell I was going to construct an  awning to keep the bag dry. In the end I gave up, I think I would have had to resort to woodwork, at which I am slightly better than breathing underwater.

So much ado about very little. Still the frame is up, and holds my weight, so when it stops raining I’m ready to set to kicking.

I’m off to TKD tonight, so I’m not too disappointed about not getting to kick it today.

Right, offski,


New Year, same ol’ same ol’

Here we are again. Another new year. Everything changes but stays the same. "Change is the only constant."  "Have you always thought that?" To quote from the genius of Iain M. Banks.

2009! It only seems like yesterday that Prince was anticipating the millennium and saying "tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1999."

*looks around the internet, sighs. Remembers when all of this was fields*

And,… we’re back in the room! Sorry, senior moment there.

So, first of the new year. "How did the last year rate in the grand scheme of things Bucky?" I hear you cry. Not so bad actually.

’07 was a hideous year, anus horrible-us, so to speak. Everything was poor, Wendy had all those accidents and was in and out of hospital then lost her job, I had to quit my training for CAB, leave my job and start nights, then was laid off. I was then working nights for an agency at not much more than my hourly rate at Asda, and without the security of a real job. All in all the only upside was that I gave up the beer. And stuck to the martial arts. I am not at the original club I joined, but I went straight to a different flavour of martial arts and have maintained the training.

I didn’t do so well with the meditation. The interest in Buddhism that it sparked has remained though.

Also I was taken-on full-time at work which, after the debacle of the freezer, has proved a boon. It has given me security, a wage that pays the bills, and the incentive to train to become a HGV driver. Whilst not rushing unduly I am making progress towards that goal.

The other ‘onward and upward’ theme of ’08 was Wendy’s. She has given up the beer with me, sorted out her medication (and not had a seizure all year! It  had got to be every week or so in the nadir of ’07) and has returned to the Citizens Advice Bureau. Only as a volunteer, but in a proving-herself-hale-and-hearty capacity.

So, to summarise, ’07 sucked bottom, but large. ’08 has been a slow but steady progression. We are not in the same league as we were this time last year, not even the same sport (to steal from ‘Pulp Fiction’).

As for ’09; I’ll pass my driving test (s) and get a massively well paid job, (then hopefully be able to pay off the debt accumulated in paying for the unending lessons) Wendy will be back at CAB as a paid advisor ,(which won’t harm our finances any) I will be getting another four belts at Taekwondo, at least three in Wing Chun Kung Fu and I really need to start going to the Buddhist temple in Manchester.

Right here, right now my job’s OK (I was overly sensitive last time I posted. Now the boss is back at work it’s all reasonable.) I have finally got over that tendon/ muscle issue in my shin (first days training today for about a fortnight, and I’ve not stiffened up that much. Still doing turning kicks at head height!) and now I have a 5′, 100lb punch/ kick bag! As soon as the hanging bracket gets here I will be having big kicking fun. Oh, we are back to normal at work now as well, so five days a week, which means I was off today after all.

As for new years resolutions; it’s just to keep on doing what I’m doing. (TKD, Kung Fu, training every day and trying to get my driving licenses.) The only other thing is to get to the temple in Manchester and get back to my meditating. Buddha wants me for a sunbeam.

So that’s it. Like a karmic yo-yo we’ve slammed into the very depths of badness and are bouncing right back up again. With what we’ve learned there is no ceiling to our rebound. We are approaching escape velocity (and are still too geeky!)

I wish the same for any and all who read this.

Happy 2009 to us one and all.


I owe, I owe, so off to work I go

Merry bah humbug to one and all. Well, on the bright side it’s fifty one and a half weeks to xmas. Another one out of the way.

Damn this six day working lark. OK, so I’ve not done as much as some, what with the driving test and time off sick, but it’s buggered my days off over this (not so) festive period. I should have been on my long weekend now, so it would have fallen: Thursday off for xmas Friday, Saturday, Sunday days off, then off Thursday for New Year’s day. As it is I had Thursday and Friday off, worked Saturday, off today, working Thursday and all the way through until next Tuesday or Wednesday. Big bum.

As it happens I do need the overtime, well the money, to make up for being off sick and the general impoverishment of the season. But at this time of year you can’t help but think ‘ I shouldn’t be in here grafting, I should be at home watching Wallace and Gromit, and The Great Escape’.

I’m getting cheesed off in that department already. I have to keep reminding myself I’m not in the freezer therefore I should be smiling. I have a definite feeling that I my face doesn’t fit in de-kit though. Not with the boss, so far he has been fine and dandy with me, but his lads (who think they are bosses because their dad is) are still thinking like the school bullies they so obviously recently were. If you are not a teenager who kisses their arse they don’t like you. One particularly.The other seems to try to make an effort. But they don’t get me at all, and I think they find the fact of my practising martial arts a challenge to their ego’s. Big shrug.

Anyway, it doesn’t make for a good working atmosphere. I really am thinking of looking for a driving job as soon as I get my class two license. I was going to go straight in to training for my artic license, keeping a relatively well paid and secure job, but it would not be a bad thing to get some driving experience in a rigid. We’ll see how the American biscuit crumbles. on the one hand, staying where I am I have the luxury of being able to take holidays when I need them (for further training and test -s-) and it is a safe, paying job. On the other hand, nothing would prepare me for a driving job like a driving job! And it has the potential to be better paid. See how it goes. Safer where I am, but if it’s going to become stressful…, well, time will tell. Got to pass the bloody test to have an option!

Still, I seem to be over that nasty cold, as is Wendy, we’ve got xmas out of the way and we’ve done all the socialising (not that we are anti-social. Hell, who am I trying to kid? Of course we are. But beyond that, it can be a strain when everyone around you is drinking and you’re not, and as tonight, someone you don’t really know is holding forth in the mistaken belief that they have anything to contribute to your entertainment this side of a grisly death.)

I really do need to start going to the Buddhist temple in Manchester. I find it really hard to be a nice person in the face of such provocation. That’s for my next blog: a summary of the year past, New Year resolutions, and hopes and plans for the year ahead.