Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Why After 40, Love Often Lies Bleeding

"...and now I'm going to make your silver pants blue..."  Movie: Forty Year Old Virgin, painting toy soldiers sequence.

Perhaps we are nothing but our biology and once the time for breeding has come and gone, so too our need for strong pair-bonds diminishes, until it is caught on the wind and lost forever—like youth and taut skin. Perhaps.

But—and some would same its a big one—I would not only suggest that for some of us 40-plus singles, not only does our love lie bleeding but also that rotting smell is a result of love's jugular being so cleanly severed, that it crawled off somewhere nearby to bleed out and die; and having found a safe haven underneath our battered egos, finally collapsed and stopped breathing.

Sure the majority of those with school age kids, who still need the safe warmth of our breeding farms - the suburbs - won't be out of relationships for long if they can wrangle it. That's fine, we will not detract from their unconscious drives to maintain a decent environment for their offspring.

But what about the rest of us?

Well there's Tinder for a start.

For some of my friends this has been the real revolution, freedom and NSA sex with multiple partners at the swipe of a finger. For others it has been a totally demoralising experience dealing with people who are not what they say they are and who are often carrying a few more pounds or wrinkles than their pictures suggest.

To be fair, swinging websites have been around since the turn of the century and used to be the bees knees for casual hook-ups with NSA, but nowadays are infested with people 'just looking' or looking 'for the one'. Wait. Hold it. You're looking for 'the one' on a swinging site? Are you sure you're on the right site? I don't think so - and for those Tinder members who swear blind your casual hook-ups aren't classed as swinging - yes, yes they are, and for those that insist Tinder is a dating site - LOL!

So then there's the actual dating sites which came in with a bang, then seemed to peter out, then had a bizarre staying power until they've almost became the norm. But my own personal experience has not been good - there's a lesson here for everyone. Don't give your address out until you are certain that the person receiving it is not a psycho-hose-beast. There was wine, I was drunk, it was late. Won't do it again. Enough said.

But I was surprised when talking to a mate the other day, only to find that, like me, he was taking advantage of the spare time his long term singleness was affording him, not rushing headlong back into a relationship, and that we were both seemingly content yet turning into very grumpy old men.

For instance we agreed we're not on Tinder or dating sites for one reason: we just couldn't muster the kind of energy and enthusiasm required to pretend to care about what a prospective partner is talking about...

...Wow, really, three kids? Great. Uh huh, you unconsciously want to pair-bond again, with me as the provider, so they get a family environment again? Completely understandable. No, sorry, I don't follow insertsporthere but its impressive how you've adopted a pseudo-fondness for the game to make you seem more like one of the guys. Ah no, unfortunately I don't like dancing, going out to clubs, or having to see your dumbarse ex at weekends and holiday time. Yes, that's right, I don't get out much, aha, aha, ahahahahahaha. Why no, thank you for asking, but surprisingly I never wanted to have kids. Not once, ever. No, no real reason, perhaps I just didn't want my offspring to have to play with yours...

Hmmmm, OK, that was maybe a little harsh... but after we've sat through the riveting run down of how it was all their ex's fault and banged our knees on the recently reestablished virginal pedestals—wanna get to Tinsel town? Better start prepping for Dante's journey my friend—my mate and I would still feel the need to buy dinner, not because we're chauvinist, but because it really is still the expected norm by all genders - and we're broke.

So biological drivers aside I guess the other reason we pair up is for companionship, but this is perhaps more insidious than it first may seem.

What we're hoping for is that someone with a low enough self-esteem will stick around and put up with our shit long enough to become our interdependent mirror. Relying on someone who will become a familiar reference point for us to cling to during the storms and gales that blow through our lives across time. Then the game becomes who lives the shortest and leaves the other poor sucker behind to deal with their own life-sized broken mirror.

This does not strike me as something to look forward to particularly.

More so, at my age I've recognised and can appreciate that certain pair-bonded quality that only time can provide - an intimately common and shared experience across decades. Its a facet of this kind of relationship that is often overlooked, yet is deeply vitalising and stabilising.

But as grim as it may sound, I have to face the fact that I've got 15 - 20 years left max. So I'll be dead before I achieve those lengths of time in another relationship - so I ask what is the point and am I really turning into a terminally miserable bastard?

I guess what we're seeing here is a failure to find the right motivation and approach back into a pair-bonded relationship and someone who is - finally - over casual sex and the messes that are friends with benefits - really, you want me to stick what, where? No I don't want to sleep with you and your friend. No, thanks for asking but I don't want to sleep with you and your ex either; and please, please stop making sounds like an American porn star! Isn't there something on telly you want to watch? No? Can I drop you somewhere?

"Oooh bae-bee, oooh bae-bee, oooh bae-bee..."


I know, lets break it down and do the math. Science!

There are 3.6 billion women on the earth and roughly 909 million of them are in the age range I would consider for establishing a long term relationship.

Of those women only 10% would have the same or more earning potential as me, so that’s 90.9 million.

Because of the salary discrepancy between men and women, something I’ve never understood—us men really seem to be an insecure bunch of dunderheads, who can identify only with their profession, car, latest house extension or power tool—at a discrepancy of around 21% less in total dollars earned, its more probable that only around 60 million of those women would earn the same or more than me (that’s not a harsh criterion, just fair).

Now of those 60 million only 25% would be single and straight/bi, so that’s 15 million.

Of those 15 million an astounding 35% would be interested in horses; take it from one who has, in the past, acted like a complete and total arse because of this, with horses the commitment level creates a situation ripe for resentment.

So that leaves 5.25 million women in the world that are potentially available for yours truly, oh yea giggady!

Of those lucky ladies only 47.6% would not have children, leaving a veritable smorgasbord of roughly 2.5 million women on the planet, which still fit into my rather loose and flexible potential partner criteria.

Now I reckon on the attractiveness scale I rate as 'not completely hideous' and understandably this is why you gals have made it perfectly clear over the years that at least 99.999% of you clearly aren’t fxxxxxx interested... leaving me with approximately 25,000 women who might be, remotely, interested.

Apportion that across the countries I can feasibly live in then, to allow for the possibility of actually meeting these special women, at 0.88% of the world’s population, that’s 220 hoes of hope.

But subtracting from that the number of those women that would be voted most likely to boil a bunny, leaves only 22—and I hasten to add that I would expect the same proportion of men to come up psycho trumps if the entire equation was inverted.

Then subtract from that those women that wouldn't put up with my shit for more than a week and we’re left with 6.

Subtract from that the women I’d lose respect for after a month or two, for putting up with my shit for more than a week in a manner that compromised their integrity, and we’re left with maybe 2 or 3.

And this doesn't even take into account my preferred criteria: educated, professional, at least one semi-professional art or craft, and a deep fascination about the universe.

Which just leaves snoring, fingers crossed!

But I'm sure you'll agree it's become clear that biology, psychology and population distribution, not to mention the very fabric of space-time, are the mountains which prevent the fluid achievement of meaningful relationships post 40 - which I guess is good to know because I thought it was something to do with my sunny personality...

PS If you indeed are that special lady and don’t snore or mind someone who occasionally does, then please apply PO Box 555, Sunnyvale Mental Care Institution, Sunnyvale, Canterbury.

PPS in the deep of the night not five days ago, I was awakened by a fearsome sound. I really thought something or someone had broken into my house. I was scared, it was such an unusually fear-instilling sound that had urged me from my slumber that my whole body had tensed. I even thought about grabbing my phone in preparation for calling the police. But after straining to hear what had made the sound in my half awake state and on hearing nothing more, I was soon drifting back into sleep. No sooner had I relaxed however, then was I again awakened by that deep, resounding, and terrifying noise - it was me, snoring.

So I remain yours, single, destined to die alone, eaten by cats 😀

Sunday, 18 December 2016

A Novel Way to Publish: Close But No Cigar

"... you didn't miss by far, you know you came so close." T. Dolby

During the long dark of winter and the early cold haze of spring I did something that is rare for me. I finished writing a novel.

This was surprising on two counts because I already had two other novels on the go, a gothic horror nearly finished and a crime novel about two thirds of the way through. But no I had to go and start another novel. Its a wonder I get anything finished.

Then I thought "well I'm broke, so lets stick it up online for free as a blog and see what happens."

The Serene Giant: a pulp science fiction novel completed in the dark of winter 2016

Then I started reading a novel I'd written in 2007 and found the grammar, paragraph structure, and general writing were just awful! But I still liked the story so a complete revamp occurred using the skills and experience I'd gained in the nearly ten years that preceded its original creation.

So I stuck that up online as well as a blog and thought 'well, we'll see what happens.'

The Sol Dichotomy: a ripping Earth Invasion novel

Well nothing happened, due to the mix of the wrong media, no marketing or advertising (I can't do everything!), and a simple lack of interest.

Day after day the stats for the blogs sat at zero, no one was reading them, although there's a slim possibility that someone in France is reading a chapter of the Serene Giant every week - but I think this is in reality a netbot.

So after crying those hot tears of disappointment my arrogance knew no bounds and I decided to supply the manuscripts as unsolicited entries to Double Dragon.

After another serious round of editing to adhere to the submission formatting guidelines - where I re-learnt what polishing a novel really means, off went the Serene Giant. Answer - thanks but no thanks.

Then I fired off the Sol Dichotomy and waited. I waited a while. This was odd, what could it mean? They had a lot of submissions? They were actually reading the book?

Then the answer, we would have published your book but won't be because its already up online - but the story is 'seemingly good'.


After the sobbing and floods of tears had stopped, and the heart-wrenching dissappointment subsided, a little voice inside my head whispered soothingly, it said 'don't give up, they thought your book was seemingly good, seemingly enough to have published it if it hadn't been online... they would have published it... it was seemingly good...'

Talk about clutching at straws.

I then remembered about Stephen King and his words from his non-fiction book 'On Writing' - in summary 'just keep going'. He had a notice board above his typewriter covered in rejection letters before Carrie was published.

But - and some would say its a big one - to be fair, and after the first round of rejection in 2007 from New Zealand publishers because "it wasn't about New Zealand" - what? Its a science fiction novel you twats!- with this level of rejection statistics it surely won't be too long before someone publishes me and I did get so very close after only seven abject rejections.

You see I'm an old traditionalist. I will not accept that I'm a 'real author' until a publisher actually publishes one of my novels. Harsh but fair - as I am to others so unto myself. I've been through the 'vanity release' stuff with the music videos and singles, that's the bar I've set.

So there you have it, I would have been a published novelist by now if it wasn't for the blogs, close but no cigar - just fucking typical.

But should you want some seemingly good and free reading over your break:
- try the Serene Giant if you're looking for a hard science fiction epic with quantum and temporal weirdness that will blow your mind, and that is full of AIs, swearing and black comedic cynicism.
- try the Sol Dichotomy if you're into strong female leads, characters with real feelings, facing the tough and grim fact that the world as they knew it has ended.

If you prefer to read on your reader, just message me or leave a comment here, and I'll produce a PDF for you. 

Otherwise its OK, I understand, you're busy.

And to those intrepid pioneers that have consumed my novels in varying states of edit - Chris, Brendan, Spiro, Natty-J, to name a few - I thank you for your time and feedback.

I suppose I better get back to banging my head against the wall and finish those other novels... of them ties in with that album I've been demoing... 

...I need an agent/manager...


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Xmas 2026

Xmas 2026: View from the south-west across the Canterbury Plains towards the foothills of Banks Peninsular

My nephew has just returned with the water rations, manhandling the huge containers full of this world's most precious liquid, up the steep slopes, using the yoke my brother made for the job.

I'm not really surprised at this action, its just that ten years ago it wouldn't have taken me two days to travel the thirty kilometers to my brother's house to spend xmas with him, and water came out of a tap. For me, a bit slow to assimilate new stuff, it all still seems a bit weird.

My nephew grins at me watching him, 'Keeps me fit Uncle.' he says with a wry smile, wresting the yoke from his back as my brother rushes to steady one of the containers.

He's still single at twenty-six, having spent a good portion of those last ten years fighting in the middle-east, before the oil reserves ran out and we nuked the place... and realised that it wasn't oil that was the world's most precious liquid after all.

Funny how things turn out.

But I'm still concerned and have been for some years about my brother and his family.

'I still reckon you should move out to the country, to the Alps.' I say to him, we have a good mode of sorting through life's problems with easy rhetoric, shooting all manner of troubled breezes in an almost breathy air of non-commitment,  'No one rations the aquifers for domestic use, not yet anyway.'

Xmas 2026: Some of the last remaining natural greenery, on the last remaining, usable, tar-sealed road, heading into the Southern Alps.

'Yea, maybe.' he responds, 'Just gotta wait till the rains come and we'll be back on supply, and we'll get next month's petrol ration after xmas.'

But I know he's not keen to leave the house that's been his home for the last twenty years, rebuilt after the 2011 earthquake, as much as we all know the rains won't come for months, and that when they do they'll be torrential; further destabilising the hills around Banks Peninsular.

'Yea I guess, its just seems easier than waiting on the Council to manage the supply.'

'You've turned into a fricking hippie.' he replies, jibing me at the village life where my wife and I live in a small collective community, where I now help run the communications infrastructure for the local region, nestled in the foothills of the Southern Alps.

'Haha, reckon, who'd a thought?' I say helping my nephew with the second container.

'You're a hippie-dippie Uncle Dave, power's on Dad.' says my niece, coming down to see what we're doing and to let my brother know that the promised power over the xmas period seems to have enventuated.

I turn and see her smiling, proud at the woman she has grown into and the fact that she and her husband have travelled for over a week to get to my brother's for xmas.

'Yea, that's me, a fricking hippie.' I say returning her smile, 'Still, at least we can generate our own power.'

I see my my brother flash one of his grimaces as we all head back upstairs, letting me know he doesn't agree with me, but I can't shake the feeling that his days next to the crumbling ruins of Christchurch are numbered. 

Xmas 2026: Christchurch sunrise from the old estuary, can just see the sea in the distance.

It only took ten years for the world to go to pot, for the cities to fail, for the droughts and floods to hit so hard they took out eighty percent of our infrastructure and caused massive loss of life, something even the earthquakes failed to do for the years they were active.

Despite predictions from most environmental modelling of the first few decades of the 21st century and everyone's expectations, the sea level actually dropped. There were no giant tsunamis, no giant power waves wreaking destruction on coastal areas, just the gradual receding shoreline, unending droughts, and rain filled weather bombs.

Combined with the gradual change in overall weather patterns and fiercer and fiercer extremes of weather events, the dearth of water quickly caused once arable land to sour and become arid. Most of us think these changes started way back in the early naughties, but apparently the remaining scientists - when we hear from them - say the changes were occurring even before that.

But apparently the sea level is still due to rise, so at least that's something to look forward to.

Xmas 2026: Lake Lyndon, a water reserve of the Otira Region settlement. In the distance the desert conditions, which seem to creep forward a few meters each year and each year the lake levels drop a few more inches.


Back upstairs in the living room, my brother hands me a class of crystal clear and cool water, which I take gratefully and then plonk down on his sofa as he heads back into the kitchen. Its like receiving a glass of wine, something to be savoured, as I don't really need it.

I stare out across the haze at the panoramic view of the Canterbury Plains that my brother's living room affords. I must be a little depressed or down - it is Xmas after all - as I cannot but try and fathom the changes, as I take in the desert landscape before me and the memories come flooding back.

There was a point where I watched the stream of refugees from Chirstchurch head West to the Army run camps set up in the foothills of the Alps, during the exodus back in 2021, and had thought I'd never see any of my family members again.

It's not as though the city collapsed overnight or anything remotely as dramatic, but there was just a point where the city's infrastructure could not sustain the population and a slow evacuation had begun. A point where the fighting over food and water, looting, depleting water supply and general unrest became too much for anyone to bear. 

A gradual trickle became a flood as sevety percent of Christchurch's population made their way away from their homes and streamed across the blistering plains on foot to get to the camps, driven by the need for water.

Xmas 2026: Lake Hawdon, slow progress in decreasing the Ph and associated toxin levels, but local scientist says it'll be a usable water source by 2028. 

The dramatic part if any, is that none of them were ever seen again. No one really knows what happened to them, although the rumours suggested massive riots and an associated death-toll, the official line from the government at the time was that they had been evacuated to the North Island.

But having already relocated deep into the foothills of the Alps years before with my wife, I can distinctly remember watching the shuffling hordes day after day, in the hope that if my brother and his family were among them, we'd catch sight of them through the huge clouds of dust and haul them back to our place. I remember my lovely wife had tears streaming down her grimy face almost every day, christ I had tears streaming down my ugly mug almost every day. It was a bad scene.

My brother and nephew come and sit next to me.

'The girls say dinner will be soon.' says my brother budging up next to me to make room form my nephew.

'Cool, did those lettuces travel well?'

'Yep, really appreciate you bringing extra, we haven't had any since last year.'

Xmas 2026: Rain clouds at sunset over the central Alps, now a localised phenomena and in stark contrast to the plains only kilometers away.

'No problems, we planted extra for you guys.' I reply and again my concerns come to the fore, 'Why don't you guys come out and have another look round Otira after xmas? Just to, you know, look around. again, and feel actual rain, it'd be like a holiday... you guys look like you could use a break.'

'Yea, I suppose it wouldn't hurt and we have been talking about it.' says my brother in a resigned breath out.

'That wasn't so hard now?' I say and nudge him playfully and catch my nephew's eye as he nods almost imperceptibly.

'We could definitely use your guy's skills, we have a drone programme starting up. The Aerials are almost complete but they're having problems with the tech.'

This is unfair of me and my nephew, a set up, both of us knowing that my brother is a whiz with and passionate about anything that flies; both of us know that the ever decreasing number of people living around my brother and sister-in-law on the hill, means he doesn't have the 'just staying coz our friends are here' reason to wheel out this year; and I catch my brother's wistful yet unfocused stare.

'Cool, my stuff hasn't been working for ages...'

'Cool, sorted, you can come out in January, we can play wargames.' I say to cement the deflection away from the setup.

'Great.' he replies sarcastically.

Again my nephew nods and gets up to head back into the kitchen, leaving my brother and I sitting staring out at the desert.

Xmas 2026: West Melton on the way to my brothers, can't believe I used to live here! Where are all the houses?!

'It's still crazy.' I venture.

'Yea I know, seems like only last year we moved up here.'

'Yea, who'd thought we'd fuck it up so badly?'

My brother laughs, 'Reckon, been thinking about it. There was so much we needed to be doing, not just the eco, green bullshit stuff.'

'Yea, I know what you mean, we kinda needed to get our shit together in so many ways.'

My brother nods.

We are referring to what's commonly known as a HAONPU or a hindsight application of no practical use.

In the years leading up to the relevant ecological tipping points we should have been working on replacing money with an alternative form of exchange, and supporting the rise of enlightened self interest. We should have been replacing cities with the reestablishment of smaller self-sustaining, technologically interconnected social communities.

We even should have been supporting and legislating the fall of bigotry and actual rise of equality, while arranging the fall of the world's remaining despots and supporting next evolution of democracy.

Even developing the exchange of organised religion as our primary 'moral' compass with the establishment of scientifically based and legislatively defined personal and interpersonal standards.

Xmas 2026: Only one dust storm for the entire trip to my brother's house, bonus!

All of these things were needed to prevent the endless cycles of consumerism and the rape of the planet, and none of which were directly related to ecology.

But this would have entailed some discomfort and a real change in our consumer cycles - like ensuring a focus on equal resource distribution around the world, eradicating greed, and ultimately developing a programme to control our breeding habits - without reverting to totalitarianism.

So we didn't change a thing, even in 2016 when we realised we'd wiped out 40% of the world's species in just over ten years, we still did nothing.

As I stared across the now arid countryside of the Canterbury Plains, infrastructure stripped for use elsewhere - even the roads - trees long since gone, I relaised that we probably couldn't have made the social and cultural changes in any case, not without a real impetus, and that hindsight really was a useless bitch.

And later that night, as I listened and joined in with the 'Here's to xmas 2026, cheers!' resounding around the sparsely provided xmas table, I wondered what we were all actually going to do next.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

One Day I'm Going to Eat You - The Serial Killers in Your House

"Creepy, she just sat there staring. I know she wants to eat me..." 

Now you could say that I watch too much horror and science fiction, several hours a night when I have the time for such things... lets face it, at the moment that's most nights, my social calander is not exactly full... and that it is this which has got me feeling uneasy.

You could also say that I'm anthropomorphising just a little and projecting most probably the latest splatter outcome from what I've been watching, on to my ikle, wikle, fuffy, wuffy, kittenywittenees.

But - and some would say its a big one - sometimes my cats freak me out.

I'm reminded that I live with two crepuscular predators, domesticated perhaps, bordering on vespertine, but predators nonetheless; and like most predators they are prone to the odd opportunistic meal, which technically labels them as scavengers as well. A kill's a kill after all... nom, nom, nom, it seems a shame to let it go to waste.

Don't get me wrong, I love that my cats are predators and seemingly understand the difference between protected species and vermin.

Only last year did they cull so many mice (and one rat!) over the three month period heading into winter, that I stopped counting at 68.

68 cold, hard, mice corpses, several to clean up each morning  - somebody had obviously left a bag of horse feed open somewhere nearby and seeded a population explosion, idiots; and not once BTW did the killer kitties turn their attention to the local Waxeye population, so you greenies can suck my ba...

Binky, a domesticated house cat, well camouflaged in amongst the manchester common to many households, her fluffy exterior belies the cold, hard, truth - she is a vicious killer and will eat me, given the chance.

Anyway and however, after recently cracking the 'most likely to be found eaten by their cats' joke to a good friend who is also police officer, I was a little shocked by the 'don't joke about that, I've seen it... several times...' response.

This got me thinking, my cats are actually predators and do predator things, ultimately should circumstance and tragedy combine and befall, they would actually eat me.

This has given me a new found respect for all our animal friends, especially the domesticated ones, their behaviors, and the artificial environments we set up in symbiotic symphony with them.

I mean I dig when we're all laying out on the couch and furniture together, like a little pride in the branches of some comfy baobab, fed, happy, and replete, with each other as company (what's the opposite of anthropomorphism... ah that's right, sad old git, no wait, its zoomorphism).

So don't tell me all cat species aren't social or territorial, that's just nonsense. Apart from the obvious - lions - the Bolivian Jungle Lynx is known for its complex social hierarchy and interactions, and penchant to throw just the best informal soirees.

Rex, brother to Binky, true to crepuscular form, asleep during daylight hours - and dreaming of the feast that awaits him when I kark it.

Sure cats can be solitary, morose little goths in fur suits, which makes me love them all the more, but when we all hang out together, we rest well.

Only now I've been reminded that its the continued conditioning of routine and food that keeps these little furballs on an even keel.

And to all those that insist in calling their cats 'furkids' or the like, and like me have felt that strange, creepy feeling of being watched - only to find one of the little domesticated and opportunistic serial killers in fur outfits staring at them - I say, good luck with that, nom, nom, nom, you're most probably next - they're just working out the best time to strike.

PS the real horror reported by my police friend was not the cats, it was - are you ready for this? - rabbits. And you thought they were herbivores! Cold-hearted killers every one of the little fluffy monsters!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Stuff I'm Grateful For - 2016

Now hold on, don't break the tissues out just yet, this isn't going to be a fricking 'gather round the fire and sing Kumbaya' moment.

Nah, I just thought that, given how, um, "challenging" this year has been, and just a little bit grim to boot, it might pay for me to be mindful of the good things in my life, and share them with you knuckleheads :)... before I drink myself to death, to be found naked, bloated, and alone, leaving something for the cats to feast on...

So first up, really, I am so grateful that my mum is now safe, happy, and as well as can be, with 24 hour care in Cunliffe House.

I'm also grateful to all those wonderful, caring government (yes, I said government) and medical professionals that helped me get mum sorted; to the Canterbury District Health Board, thank you so much for actually giving a shit and quickly assessing the situation mum was actually in. To Dr Paul at the Papanui Medical Centre, thank you for looking after my mum for so long and for getting that scan done so fast, and to Alzheimers Canterbury, thanking you for laying it out straight and helping me to understand what's coming.

Grim, just fucking grim, and despite the strain and pressure of having to place my career pretty much on hold, the move back to Canterbury has been worth seeing my savings disappear quicker than the polar ice caps, just to see the smile on mum's face when we go for coffee, and the total and positive change in her demeanor now she is looked after so well.

And speaking of career, I am grateful to Assurity Consulting and Grant Thornton, who threw me enough work to see me through the year, and Crystal Consulting who enabled me to achieve a career milestone in any case, becoming certified as a P3M3 Assessor.

I am grateful for my friends, wherever you may be, who listened, emailed, or played 'stoopid wargames' with me, and for the jams with the experimental band; much appreciated considering I have been the worst company for the last 12 months.

Which brings me to fluffy and furry things with four legs.

I am grateful to Andrea for providing two awesome horses to ride, and to James for putting me on to Andrea in the first place.
Ricco - super star extraordinaire.
I have no idea why I can't stop this stupid, expensive sport and having such wonderful horses to just turn up to and ride, has been the highlight of my year -second only to mum not walking into traffic without looking... again, now she is being looked after.

Felix, he may be 19 and retired, but he can truly negotiate a beautiful contact.
Speaking of knuckleheads, I'm grateful for these muffins.

One of the reasons I remain relatively sane! I have conditioned them so well that I can now truly suspend my belief and pretend that they really do look after me... and aren't just waiting for me to kark it... anyone one for another slice of Dave? No I couldn't possibly, meow.

There are so many things I am grateful for really, my health, family, hobbies and the ability to do them, time to write those novels... that no one has read, so many things...

So I just wanted to say GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!!!!!

I've been a good son and caring family member all year, all fucking year, really and I've not listed or whined about the sheer plethora and magnitude of complete shit that I have had to deal with for the last few years.

And I haven't been laid for 12 months. 12 fucking months! 12 long, cold, dark, lonely months and I'm not even that old and ugly! I want my mojo back before there's no lead in my pencil!

I even found myself walking around the house this morning singing 'I'm so bored' to the original theme tune from Hawaii 5 0! Please, please, please, please, please, someone get me the fuck out of this weird arse place my life has traveled to (rhetorical BTW).

Sigh... am better now... just needed to get that off my chest... I am seriously grateful for the things I have mentioned here and know that I'll flow into some cool consulting or something soon, I always do.

And to be fair I did achieve a personal goal in amongst the maelstrom of 2016. Two years single... sounds like the kinda thing an alcoholic would say... but I set the goal for a change of modus operandi and stuck with it.

Now, roll on 2017 FFS.