The ************* Joys of Writing

frustration

I manufactured for myself a full morning of writing and it started so well. Blah blah blah blah blah blah – full stop – new paragraph – capital letter – blah blah blah blah ….. Then from nowhere … BANG. Complete stop.

Temporary blip – check emails, twitter … go back ………

Where was I? oh yes blah blah blah blah ….. nothing…..

Another temporary blip.. watch end of rugby … go back..

Where was I? oh yes blah blah blah blah ….. nothing…..

Perhaps that’s all I’ve got? Maybe I can make what I’ve got into a short story. Sure why not that’s a great idea.

Research short story – free entry of course – lots – get a spreadsheet and list them all in closing date order – with links and everything. Done that – stop – that’s not going to work – it’s a terrible idea – delete spreadsheet.

Where was I? oh yes blah blah blah blah ….. nothing…..

Oh I know what I’ll think about choosing a cover for the book – that’ll be a great use of my time…. Look at images for a time – pretty – interesting – sardonic – choose one. Done that – stop – that’s not going to work – it’s a total waste of time – delete image.

Where was I? oh yes blah blah blah blah ….. nothing…..

Oh I know .. I’ll write a blog…….

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School Reunion – I’m sorry I can’t be with you tonight…

reunion

….. but I’m afraid I’ve still got the teeniest, tiniest part of self-esteem and self-respect left. I’ve also realised, albeit belatedly, that I have limited time left on this planet. No, no I’m not terminally ill or anything – just getting older, practically by the minute.

But a reunion – really? I know that, for some people, it’s fun to see what’s happened to people they knew forty years ago. Some people love to listen to the heartaches and the tears, the joy of children brought into the world and sadly those who didn’t make it. They love to compare where you go on holiday, why you left your last job, how you ended up in Guantanamo Bay on a misunderstanding. But honestly – it’s not for me. I’m fifty-nine years old now and if there’s one thing life has taught me in those fifty-nine years is that I do not want to be stranded like some Robinson Crusoe / Victor Meldrew character on an island for several hours (which seems like several lifetimes) with people I have chosen, yes chosen, not to contact for a very, very good reason, for two thirds of my life. I really, really don’t need to be shown photos or videos of holidays, wives, husbands, cleaners, gardeners, children, homes, second homes, holiday homes, ‘the nice yurt we spent three months in when we ‘found ourselves’ in Turkmenistan’, cars, caravans, mid-life crisis motor bikes, pot-bellied pigs, cats or dogs – on the latest ipad, iphone 7 or Huawei P9 (Max).

I’m too old and too stubborn to willingly submit to that “hello, you haven’t changed at all” handshake. The thought of staring at someone trying desperately to think of an answer to an interrogation on the values of your life that begins with questions such as “So, what do you do now?”, “Are you married?”, “How did you find the food in prison?”,”Didn’t you used to be Byron Kalies?” or “Shit, what happened to your hair?” feels me with fifty shades of dismay.

I would like to say I’m too busy. I would like to say that I’m busy that evening on a bender with Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jack Nicholson and Woody Allen drinking, doing drugs and chasing women in a downtown bar in Port Talbot. I would like to say that, but that couldn’t possibly be true – I’m not allowed back in Port Talbot after the incident involving Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in the summer of 1986.

No, I’ll be at home – watching Coronation Street with the best company I could ever imagine – myself. Yes, you were right all along – “He was an egotistical, self-centred bastard forty years ago and he’s an egotistical self-centred bastard today.”

To be completely honest I do have one regret. I would have happily turned up if I could be assured that you are all fatter, more miserable, unluckier and poorer than me. If it could be guaranteed that at least half of you have only been released from prison for the day, and the rest of you have had to borrow the money for bus fare from your current probation officer. Alas, I know that it would be practically impossible for any of you to be on a lower social standing than myself.  My dream was to be a writer. I am a prolific writer who last book sold fewer copies than Linda Wright’s ‘Toilet Paper Origami’ and Brugemmeier, Cioc and Zeller’s seminal work ,’How Green Were the Nazi’s’ combined.

I’m sure I have some hilarious stories and happy memories of school somewhere. There is a place deep, deep in my subconscious where  memories exist of midnight feasts, Defence against the Dark Arts lessons, Olly asking for ‘more’ and jolly pranks throwing first years off the roof. However, I’m struggling desperately to remember the difference between Pontllanfraith Grammar Technical School, Greyfriars and Hogwarts. I do remember all the boys at school being taller than me, more handsome than me and having better haircuts than me. I also remember every one of the girls scaring the shit out of me. I assume none of that has changed. I certainly haven’t.

So it is with great reluctance that I really, truly, deeply, honestly, genuinely and sincerely can’t be arsed to travel the three and a quarter miles from my house to the pub to wallow in glorious memories of dorm raids, tuck shops, six of the best, quidditch and picking up the ball, running with it and inventing the game of rugby. Honestly, I remember practically nothing of my time at school. I remember vaguely there being teachers, walls, windows, bells ringing, floors, shoes, people with heads, chairs, unhappiness and frustration. Nowadays at the best of times I have a memory like a … oh you know, what do you call it. I barely remember my cat’s name now so the thought of trying to guess, give up, ask and then remember the names of people from four fifths of a century ago just seems like too much bloody hard work. I don’t do hard work anymore.

All the best and I do hope you have fantastic evening on this very important n (insert number here) th year of some memorable event. I won’t be able to make it this year, and probably next year, and quite possibly the year after, and so on and so on. However, please feel free to contact me for the oak anniversary.

Grumpily yours

Byron

A Hamster Doesn’t Walk Into a Vet’s (apparently)

hamstercry

I phoned the vet.

“Good afternoon. Could I bring my pet in to see the vet please?”

“Of course. Can I take your details sir please?”

I supplied my details.

“And the name of your pet?”

“Rex.”

“What type of a dog is he?”

“A hamster.”

“I’ve never heard of that breed before.” (with no trace of irony)

“It’s a hamster.”

“Ah.”

“Ah?”

“I’m sorry but we don’t treat hamsters.”

“I‘m sorry. I’ve got the right number have I?.This is the vet isn’t it? It’s not the cake shop?”

“It is the vet, but we don’t treat small animals.”

“Really. You don’t treat small animals? You have a size discrimination policy?”

“You could say that.”

“Is this policy only for small animals? Or do you have an upper level?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Like elephants. Do you treat elephants? Or giraffes?”

“Probably not. We don’t get much call for giraffes in Cwm (no sense of irony here either). We mostly deal with cats or dogs.”

“Isn’t that a bit …… speciesish?”

“?”

“Look. It’s a hamster. I have money. You don’t charge on the height of an animal do you? I could perhaps understand if you didn’t treat baby ants as the stethoscope would be really, really difficult to hold, but a hamster, really?”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s quite a large hamster. It has had a bit of a growth spurt recently. Does that make a difference?”

“Now you’re being stupid.”

“Just following your lead. So, what do I do with my hamster?”

“I’m sorry sir but that’s not our business.ir.”

I wait.

She concludes with, “Is there anything else I could help you with today?”

“…………” (swear words omitted).

 

Breakfast Tweets

breakfast-in-bed-funny-quotes

Ate 5 cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Don’t care.

Ate breakfast out of a red Solo cup this morning #YesImThatClassy

I don’t know how I ever ate cereal for breakfast, cereal is a snack

Lol I haven’t ate breakfast, lunch, or dinner today. All I’ve had were some fuckin crackers

I jus ate my breakfast for tomorrow

All i ate today was breakfast and cookies bro I’m hungry

3 good things today: kept my food in my stomach, properly ate breakfast, ran for the bus

I ate Pizza for breakfast once, I have no regrets and I’m pretty happy bout it

I ate breakfast at 3:30 and now dinner is ready so…what to do? What to do?

Kenzie and I ate pizza for breakfast and somehow convinced ourselves it was a salad

It’s 1:35 and I haven’t ate breakfast… Now would be a good time to get drunk

I ate breakfast outside today and half the people who walked by said to me “aren’t you cold?”

I just ate breakfast and my dad is already eating lunch wtf lol

update: accidentally ate spam and waffles for breakfast

I ate so many Oreos for breakfast and now I have late onset shame

I was gonna take a picture of my breakfast but i got too excited and ate it all and forgot about the picture

Just ate six cookies for breakfast. The last six cookies. My family hates me

My 11 year old sister got herself up at half six this morning for school, ate her breakfast and then remembered it’s the Xmas hols. Hahahaha

a man on the plane brought 2 sandwiches, one for breakfast and lunch. he ate them both. the flight was 50 minutes. 2 meals in ONE HOUR.

I once ate breakfast twenty feet from Pierce Brosnan.

Emma and Becky keep calling me mom/mum. I slept until 1pm today and ate crisps for “breakfast“. What kinda mother am I???

I can’t tell if I have a heavy heart due to recent life events or the fact I ate like 7 crumpets for breakfast today. Probably the latter.

I’m scared to answer my mother when she asks me what I ate for breakfast

I have to go meet w lawyers all afternoon and im so upset that I just ate a second breakfast

i ate breakfast with an old man and he was eating frosted flakes

I ate breakfast and lunch 10 minutes apart. Never again.

“The Germans Wore Gray, you wore blue.”

casablancaHow do you get to be a genius and write lines like these? –

Rick: “Not an easy day to forget. I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.”

Ilsa: “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By’. “

Rick: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

There’s a fair amount of dispute about who actually wrote what for Casablanca. It seems that Julius J Epstein, Philip G Epstein, Howard Koch and Casey Robinson were all involved. Even Humphrey Bogart is given the credit for  “Here’s looking at you, kid”. But how do you produce these genius perfect lines? I could never do it in a month of Sundays. Possibly because I use phrases like ‘a month of Sundays’.

How do you produce similes like –

“By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp.” Cormac McCarthy

“I was as hollow and empty as the spaces between stars.” Raymond Chandler

What about this one, by me – “He was tiny. As small as an underdeveloped baby dwarf ant who had been off his food for a week.”

Maybe not.

It’s context as well. Casablanca is set in …. well Casablanca. Transfer this to Risca and –

Ilsa says, “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By'” would change to –

Blodwen says, “Play it, Dai. Play ‘Guns Don’t Kill People Rappers Do'”.

Local Welsh similes and idioms are often quite harsh or simply baffling –

“She had a face like a robber’s horse.”

“He was as angry as ten bears.”

And some of the idioms are particularly strange –

“It’s raining old ladies and sticks.” (“Mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn”)

“Don’t lift a petticoat after peeing.” (“Paid â chodi pais ar ôl piso” )

The English equivalent of “Don’t lift a petticoat…” is ” Don’t cry over spilt milk.” It does seem to lack the Welsh charm, though. Don’t you think?

 

  

The Apprentice – “Which Of You Shall We Say Doth Love Us Most?”

sir-alan-sugar-pic

I detest the sycophantic series of the Apprentice. Yet I watched every episode. This is how I remember the final…..

 Joseph and Vana both sit opposite Lord Sugar and I’m reminded of the scene in King Lear, In the production I saw the 3 sisters sit opposite the rather vain old King and his trusted advisors as he has summoned them to be his business partner / heir to the kingdom. The winner being the one that can flatter the old fart best.

But pray thee hush… the King, he speaketh –

“Which of you shall we say doth love us most

That we our largest bounty may extend

Where nature doth with merit challenge?—Vana,

Our eldest born, speak first.”

 And Vana speaketh wisely and bounteous in his praise for her beloved Lord. It pleaseth the Lord for he nods sagely and looketh upon her with great kindness and murmurs ‘technology’. There is a murmour then the Lord looketh up and again he speaketh for the twiceth time –

“But now, our joy,

Although our last and least, to whose young love

The vines of Yaxley and milk of Peterborough

Strive to be interessed. What can you say to draw

A third more opulent than your sister? Speak.”

And the lovely Joseph speaketh – Oh no, he speaketh not  of ‘nothing’ as one may have expected – O, no, that way madness lies. He speaketh of the King. His hero. His paladin. His advocate. His eidolon. His Father figure. Of how his great words hath inspireth him –

Joseph speaketheth thus –

“I read a book once and it made by a better person. I was lost and now I’m found. I was blind but now I see. The name of the book was…(dramatic pause ) ‘What you See is what you Get’. It was penned by your fair hand m’lord. “

The King was pleasethed muchly and awardeth he him the keyseth of his almighty kingdom..eth.

And the people were pleased.

Three Things About Rats

happyrat

I’m trying to write … so I’m getting distracted – here are the results of my latest distraction.

  • They laugh when they are tickled.
  • Group theory research shows that rats perform better, measured by running faster,  when they are watched by others – humans or rats.
  • Rats will help their other cage-mates if they are trapped even when there is no reward for doing so. ( http://www.livescience.com/17378-rats-show-empathy.html)

trapped-lab-rats