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I climbed on the back of a giant albatross... and ended up somewhere in Scotland

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Jul. 18th, 2015

I'm obsessing a bit about what my teaching timetable will be in September.  This past term has just ended so I now have the end of July and the month of August to prepare for the next term...  I sort of want it settled as to what classes I'll be doing, so I know what to prepare for... but there's too many unknowns at this point (numbers of students, how many groups, etc etc) so I've been using excel to plan out all the different scenarios...  which I enjoy doing, sort of like a puzzle, but like I said...  it's getting to be a bit of an obsession.  A bit of a time-waster.

I feel like I waste my time a lot.  Not least by my little 30 year long hobby of keeping a journal.  I obsessively (that word again) snip things out of news magazines that I think are interesting and then I tape them into my journal...  I'm on volume 99 right now.  Sometimes wonder what's the point?  And I stress a bit about not having time for this little obsession or that little obsession.  Not as much free time nowadays.


For the Song Hall of Fame... "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath

I like to attach videos to my song things here, but I just spent too much time trying to find one I liked... one that adds something to what we already know. Couldn't.

So, we know the song. No need for a video I suppose. I like songs about mental illness, tho... so aside from the catchy tune, there's that side of it as well.

Winter 1996/1997

A look back at life in the winter of '96/'97, via excerpts from my (not very interesting) journal...

December 30, 1996, Salem: ... "Peter's getting big now. He's a little over 1 year old now... in fact, we celebrated his 1st birthday with a party at Brian + Debbie's a few weeks ago... Peter's walking around and has a pretty placid yet inquisitive demeanor. Whereas Michael (although very good at Christmas) tends to sometimes be a bit rowdy and occasionally cranky when he doesn't get his way..."

January 17, 1997, Salem: "The Patriots made it to the Super Bowl this year. They'll be playing the Green Bay Packers next week. We'll be going over to Brian + Debbie's to watch the game and to celebrate my birthday... I've been sending out resumes lately. I'm ready for a new job. I'm still a test supervisor at Teradyne on 2nd shift. Lately, I've been wanting to get on 1st shift but it isn't working out like that. There's still a possibility but I'm looking elsewhere too. My job has become pretty boring... I need a change."

January 19, 1997, Newton: "F and I have come to Boston College today. She had some stuff to do for her social work thesis, so we're here at the Thomas P. O'Neil, Jr. Library at BC." ... "Paul Tsongas died yesterday after a long bout with cancer... I liked him... When he ran for president in '92, I voted for him in the primary... F did too..." ... "Clinton will be re-inaugurated on Monday (tomorrow). Four more years of that sorry excuse for a human being... Oh well." ... "There's been a lot of cruddy things going on in my life lately... but I don't particularly want to write about them in here. I guess it boils down to just boredom and disillusionment. Working is a drag... I need to do something else..." ...

February 23, 1997, Salem: "Kevin and Kim came over for a visit yesterday. It's the first time they'd been to our new condo... F made a nice lasagne dinner, we had a few drinks, and walked down to Derby St. and had a few drinks at a bar not too far away... It was a nice night..."

February 25, 1997, Salem: "I'm staying home sick from work today. Suckers... Besides, I got a call from MKS Instruments in Andover. They offered me a job as a manufacturing engineer. Cool. I think I'll take it..."

Autumn 1996

In September 1996, from my journal:

- Sept 1: "F and I moved into our new home in Salem after the closing on Friday. We bought a condo at 35 Essex St. in Salem... We're a few blocks from the House of Seven Gables, a few blocks from Salem Common."

- Business is slower than it's been, and my employer Teradyne has dramatically curtailed use of subcontractors and temps... and then laid off 300 (but not me).

- Our cat Geronimo died (was staying with my parents). Not sure what happened but he was found dead in the back yard.

October 1996

- Went to a family reunion in New Hope, PA. "I wasn't too into it, tho, and F had a little tantrum and left early. I rode back with my parents."

- "F and I haven't been getting along too well over the past few weeks" ... "it's related to my contacting RB this summer. F and I are getting along better now, tho..."

- Irving the cat is back living with us.

- Oct 30: "I'm voting for Perot again. We need an insane non-politician in the White House."

- We host a Halloween party in our new Salem condo. I am a wizard and F is a witch.

November 1996

- Nov 5: "Today's election day and I just voted... For president, I decided to vote for a 3rd party candidate... I was either going to vote for the Libertarian, Natural Law candidate, or Ross Perot (Reform Party)... n I don't think any of them have a chance of actually winning, but Perot has the best chance so I voted for him..."

- Clinton wins with 50% of the vote and 31 states. Bob Dole got 41% and 19 states. Perot got 9% and no states.

- F turns 30 and we have a party at her mother's.

- F and I consider getting an Old English Sheepdog and we take a look at one called Rambo. We don't.

- We go on a 7 day Caribbean cruise with F's mother, grandmother and my mother. San Juan, PR to Barbados to Saint Lucia to St. Barts to Tortola to St. Thomas to San Juan again.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

For inclusion in my Song Hall Of Fame... "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd...

A long song, in several parts... one of those songs that would be played in a darkened Umass dorm room... atmospheric... it's about Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd, and his descent into drug-induced madness.

I Believe in You

For my Song HoF... "I Believe in You" by Neil Young

I like a lot of the songs off the After the Goldrush album... one of my favourite albums... and this one is a nice little tune.

"Now that you've found yourself losing your mind, are you here again?" always appealed to me.

That is All

For the Song Hall of Fame... "That is All" by George Harrison

This is the final song from Harrison's 1973 album Living in the Material World. It's a pretty important song for me, actually, from when I was younger.

It's a love song, a really miserable love song, but a beautiful love song. It's probably about God (Krishna) for George Harrison... but for me, it was about young, obsessive, unrequited love for a girl... and how to communicate it.

Here's the song on YouTube and here are the lyrics:

That is all I want to say
Our love could save the day
That is all I'm waiting for
To try to love you more -

- and that is all I want to do
To get right next to you
That is all I'm living for,
Your love and nothing more
And that is all

Times I find it hard to say
With useless words getting in my way
Silence often says much more
Than trying to say what's been
said before.

That is all I want from you
A smile when I feel blue

That is all I'm waiting for
Your love and nothing more

And that is all

Silence often says much more
Than trying to say what's been
said before.
But that is all I want to do
To give my love to you
That is all I'm living for,
Please let me love you more - and
that is all

You've Really Got a Hold on Me

Right.... I've got a bit of a backlog of songs to enshrine into the Song Hall of Fame, so here's the next one...  "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" by the Beatles.

This is of course the Beatles' version of the Miracles song... It's about infatuation, obsessive love... the uncontrollable feeling that you just can't get rid of or maybe you don't want to get rid of.... unrequited love. That old chestnut.

I don't like you but I love you. Seems like I'm always thinking of you....


Entering my personal Song Hall of Fame today is.... "Jamie" by Weezer.

Play this song loud. The start of it is sort of mesmerizing, I find... and it's got that grunge buzz thing going. The song introduced me to Weezer, which became one of my favourite groups. I had it on a compilation album of alternative music at the time...

I used to play this song a lot in the mid '90's, in my car mostly, right around the time that my life was going thru a weird period... just a bit before my marriage break-up and my obsessions with this and that at the time... the frappuccino era, we'll call it.

This song would often be started over again right after it ended... because I love the beginning so much... and the entire song as well. It just had a mood that I related to, played loud, while having an iced coffee beverage. There's a little more to it, but I'm being purposely vague... The Man who Sold the World cover by Nirvana has the same sort of feel or me...

This video, I found, has the song on it and some interesting images. Fits pretty well.


Another addition to my Song Hall of Fame.... "Vega-Tables" by the Beach Boys.

Ahhh, another song from SMiLE.  This is about healthy living.  Done at a time when, pehaps, Brian Wilson's health was on a downward slide, mentally as well as physically.  The song almost wills a turnaround... as if the song would become reality, but ultimately it didn't...  In subsequent years, he'd gain a lot of weight and live pretty unhealthily, until Dr. Landy helped him in the '70's and '80's.

That's how I look at the song, anyway.  A song about health... with a good dose of humour (ie the SMiLE bit).

Here's a nice little video someone made, which is entertaining while listening to the song...

November 2005

What happened about 5 years ago in November 2005 ?  In the continuing chronicle of my life, here's what happened:

 - Cleared out Aunt Irene's house.  She died in late Ocober 2005.

 - I start using entry tags in my Livejournal blog.

 - Linda and I decide to dislike Jamie Oliver because he killed a lamb on TV.  Well, she does.  I just dislike him because he's annoying.

 - Rose, the guinea pig, is murdered by our other guinea pigs.

- I go to coffee places a lot after work in Glasgow.

November 17th, 2005 in a Glasgow coffee place:

"So, I'm having a coffee and reading this newspaper article about coffee.

Coffee is very good for you, it says here. Yeah, it helps to protect against dementia, blocks a neurotransmitter that does something to cause Alzheimer's. It helps concentration... we knew that. Cures headaches. Helps with asthma symptoms. Prevents baldness (if you drink 60 to 80 cups a day, which I do). If you rub coffee on your thighs, it gets rid of cellulite. Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Coffee is a very good birth control method. Protects against gallstones, kidney stones, and lots of other stones as well. Protects against liver disease. Helps your bones (lattes only).... and lots, lots more.

So drink up."

Sexy Sadie

Another Beatles song to be inducted into my personal Song Hall of fame... "Sexy Sadie" from the white album

I love the white album, and there are lots of other songs from it that maybe I like better, and some that are already in the "Hall of Fame"... but Sexy Sadie gets the edge a little bit because it was originally about the Maharishi and because of the version that appears in the Beatles Anthology.

The Anthology version is slower and has a certain louder clunkier rawness than the finished white album version, which I like. And because it's about the Maharishi, it brings to mind transcendental meditation, which I used to do for a period back in the '80's.... Of course, tho, it's a negative portrayal of the Maharishi, in this case... Maharishi, what have you done? You made a fool of everyone.... with Lennon changing the name Maharishi to Sexy Sadie.

I often think I would benefit if I set aside 20 minutes twice a day to meditate... I just don't seem to have the discipline to stick with it. Maybe I should start making it a part of my day... might help me cope with the stress I'm probably going to have doing this master's degree I'm starting.

Bad Dog

I'm having alternate days where one day I accomplish something and then the next day I don't.  Today is an off day... 

I took Tess for a walk but forgot to take the leash... she decided to play up when it was time to get back in the car, and ran off instead, not wanting to get back into her cage in the back of my car... and she had gotten very dirty on the walk as she jumped into a muddy burn...  so I wasn't very happy with the whole episode.   Had to give her a bath when we got home.


You may have heard the news of a mass murder shooting spree in Cumbria yesterday, which is not a million miles from where we live in southern Scotland.  It's especially shocking because Cumbria is such a lovely and quiet place.  We were in Whitehaven just last year for a little visit, and were right near where they say the shooting started.  This guy must have really flipped out...  he shot 12 people dead and another dozen or so were injured.  He drove down the county firing at bystanders out his car window...

Feb. 3rd, 2010

I don't have a heck of a lot to say lately...   I've started sending my CV out, looking for jobs...  and I'm starting to remember what a drag it is to have to do that sort of thing.  It potentially eats up a lot of time which is all for naught in most cases.  Maybe I'm being a little pessimistic, but I think it might take a while to find something appropriate.  Still might change direction and become a teacher, but in the meantime, I'll see if there's anything out there.

A bit down lately.  But could be worse, a lot worse actually.  Just a bit of a hassle to not be settled in a job anymore.  Unsettling.

January 2005... 5 years ago

January 2005 happenings:

 - We're very emotionally affected by the recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean, as the death toll surpasses 120,000...  and we donate money.

 - Jenny turns 20.  She goes with Andy on a trip to Dublin.  Gets her handbag stolen.

 - George W. Bush getting inaugurated again, and me turning 40, both make me very depressed.

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