Friday, 26 December 2008

Jingle Bells, Batman smells...

So, Christmas has come and gone once more. Frankly, I'm glad. Now before I sound like a humbug, I don't really object to Christmas as such. I'm just glad when it's out of the way. I've spent most of the festive season drinking Caucasians and watching films. All three Jurassic Parks, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Scorpion King, E.T., Home Alone, and Supertroopers, to name a few. I've also eaten a lot of turkey, of course.

Other than that it's been pretty quiet. Went to my sister's house on Christmas Day for dinner, and spent most of my time there playing with my nephew's radio control helicopter. It actually flies! You can't control it at all, and it's clearly going to end up taking someone's eye out - but it's a lot of fun.

Present-wise I did pretty well. Got the Dark Knight and Batman Begins on DVD, a live album from Joe Bonamassa, who I mentioned on here recently, a slow cooker for my kitchen, and a new hoody, to keep me nice and warm. My favourite present though has to go to my new t-shirt, which looks very much like this:

Ain't it a beauty?

In other news, I tried to trim my beard the other day, had a little accident, and ended up having to get rid of the whole thing. Never mind, hair grows, as Sabrina the Teenage Witch's annoying mate once kept repeating.

Anyway, hope all of you had a lovely Christmas, and enjoy your New Year celebrations. Until 2009 (unless I think of something else to say), I'm out.

Friday, 19 December 2008

On God, Sin, and Morality

Yeah, I know, I haven't posted here in ages. Whatever, I do what I want!

Anyway, I was stirred out of my non-blogging funk the other day, when someone presented me with the pressing need to have a good old-fashioned rant. So here it is:

I was accosted by a person the other day, who completely unprovoked and with no knowledge of my life, thoughts, or deeds, declared me to be a sinner, an immoral person, and told me I was bound for Hell.

Normally, this kind of thing washes over my head. If someone thinks I'm going to Hell, fine. Personally, I don't believe in Hell, and in fact, archaeologists (and my old priest, Father David) say that when the Bible says that after you die you go to a place full of fire and brimstone, it means it literally - there was a place outside Jerusalem where "unclean" bodies were burned, to prevent the spread of disease. Personally, I'm fully behind the idea that so long as it doesn't harm anyone else, people should be able to believe and do whatever they like. I have friends who are Christian, Hindu, Sikh, and Jehovah's Witnesses; and I've never had a problem with any of them or their beliefs.

What got me on this occasion however, was the assertion that if I don't follow the Bible and its teachings, I am therefore an "immoral" person. Immoral, as in not in conformity with accepted principles of right and wrong behaviour. Excuse my language here, but what the fuck does that have to do with believing in God? The implication here is that even if I live a life of complete morality, because I don't believe in the Christian God, I get an eternity of torture?! That seems a bit much, and I'm pretty sure that's not really the view that most Christians have.

I thought about suggesting that maybe being moral because you were afraid of the consequences in the afterlife is in fact not so much morality as selfishness. I thought about pointing out that arriving at your own set of morals and sticking to them, not because you believe a higher power told you to, but because you believe that people deserve (on the whole) to be treated fairly and with respect, makes you more moral, if anything. I even, for a moment, thought about pointing out that judging me as immoral based on what I do or don't believe rather than how I act is downright prejudiced and goes against (again) what most Christians believe.

But I didn't, I bit my tongue. I understand that Christians are told to "spread the word of God". My mother is a Christian, and I'm confirmed, not because I believe in God, but because when I was baptised my mother promised God that she would ensure that I got confirmed. While to me that's a promise to nobody, to my mother it means a lot, and I respect that, and went through with the process. I still occasionally attend church with my mother, at Christmas time usually. I don't do the proclamation of faith ("I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth, who for us men and for our salvation, came down.." - see, I paid attention in Sunday School), because that would be disrespectful and patronising, but I'm there. So I understand why this person felt the need to try to convince me that the Christian life is the way forward. However, I don't see why he would feel the need to be so fucking rude about it.

I've read a lot of the Bible, I've read some of the Koran, and a bit of the Talmud. I've flicked through copies of the Watchtower, read Richard Dawkins, and studied Taoism and Buddhism. I don't believe that there is a God, but I would describe myself as a non-theist, rather than an atheist - someone with the convictions of an atheist, but the evidence-based approach of an agnostic. None of this makes me a good or bad person. I'd like to think I do alright. I hold the door open for people, buy drinks for girls even if I don't want to sleep with them, smile at old people on the streets, and rarely kill babies.

This guy however, judges someone as worthy of an eternity of torture based on one single question: "Are you a Christian?" Try replacing the word Christian with "white person", or "heterosexual", and see how far you get with that argument. I'm a decent person, as I'm sure you'll agree. That guy, however, was a prick.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

In A Word..

Apparently I've been "tagged with a meme". This caused much panic initially, as I'm not really down with this fancy Interslice lingo, and imagined that I may have contracted some kind of illness. Fortunately, it just means that I have to answer some questions using only one word. Sounds easy. But then, so did Blockbusters. And no, I don't know where question 10 went either.

Here goes..

1. Where is your cell phone? Pocket
2. Where is your significant other? Non-existent
3. Your hair color? Dark
4. Your mother? Short
5. Your father? Hero
6. Your favorite thing? Rude
7. Your dream last night? Harrowing
8. Your dream/goal? Batman
9. The room you’re in? Office
11. Your fear? Spiders
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Throne
13. Where were you last night? Bed
14. What you’re not? Serious
15. One of your wish-list items? Watchmen
16. Where you grew up? Llanrumney
17. The last thing you did? Answer
18. What are you wearing? Shirt
19. Your TV? Unwieldy
20. Your pet? Gary
21. Your computer? Rebellious
22. Your mood? Empty
23. Missing someone? Iolo
24. Your car? Small
25. Something you’re not wearing? Pink
26. Favorite store? Comics
27. Your summer? Cold
28. Love someone? Unrequitedly
29. Your favorite color? Colour
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? July

There you go. And yes, "non-existent" is one word. Now I have to pass it on to five other people apparently. Only trouble is, only three people read this blog, and two of them are already infected. That leaves only Gav. I shall hasten to inform him.

Oh yeah, I've got photos of Gary coming up. Actually I've had them for a week, but I'm a lazy man. Anyway, I'll stick 'em on tonight, I promise.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The I Wish I Could Play Guitar Like That Blues

Saw Joe Bonamassa live last night in Bristol. Fair play, the man can play. I'm about as jealous as a man can be. He started playing guitar at age 4 (he's 32 in May 2009) and opened for B.B. King aged 12, after being mentored by Danny Gatton. That's a hell of a pedigree. Anyway, don't just take my word for it, have a look at this:

He also sang this song, which I hadn't heard before. It's called Asking Around For You, and is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. Makes me wish I believed in an afterlife:

He was supported by a lady called Imelda May, who I'd not heard of before. She's got a fantastic voice, and is well worth checking out, rockabilly fans.

I think I'm getting a chest infection. No need.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Gary "The Nipper" McSlitherson

Gary has arrived! And he's beautiful.

Went to Newport last night to pick him up, and got to choose from six snakes. The father has a beautiful pattern of blotches on him, and the mother is orange, so Gary has the best of both worlds - the same pattern as Daddy, but with orange patches rather than brown. Pictures will be along shortly.

He's a feisty little blighter, hence his nickname (the breeder I got him from was calling him Nipper). He's still a little shell-shocked from the move, but he fed last night and seemed pretty satisfied with his new surroundings. He had a bit of a strike at me this morning, but as he gets used to being handled he'll be better able to differentiate my hands from food. At the moment he's about a foot long, and really skinny, but apparently they can grow up to an inch every week! Eventually he'll be between four and six foot, and might even live into his early twenties. A snake, it would seem, is for life, and not just for Christmas.

Watching him feed is amazing. At the moment he'll eat twice a week, but a fully grown corn snake only needs to eat once every two weeks. Imagine eating two weeks worth of food in one go, and swallowing it whole to boot! That's a lot of Wispas. No wonder they need to chill out for a couple of days after that!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Stereotypes, snakes, and Whitesnake.

Latest news on my new snake, the plan of action is to get him tonight. I've spoken to the breeder and she's got six for me to choose from, and is going to let me play with the adults for a bit too. Joy. The vivarium's all set up and raring to go, and I have some little baby mice in the freezer (aw). I've chosen a name for him, and that name is Gary. I say him - they haven't been sexed yet, but I figure Gary's just as good a name for a girl, right?

However, as exciting as my new acquisition is, it's raised a few issues. Being a fan of heavy metal, recently getting heavily into Guitar Hero (I'm well stuck on Welcome To The Jungle on Expert - any tips?), enjoying the odd smoke, living in a loft, having a pet snake: am I becoming a tired "rocker" stereotype? I certainly hope not, but if you throw in my love of 80s cartoons and Batman comics, it looks more and more likely. Should I embrace my stereotypical existence, knowing that it is at least my existence, and that I just happen to have turned out like this, or should I take up knitting to buck the trend?

Speaking of 80s cartoons mind, last night I watched Transformers: The Movie for the first time since 1990. I didn't realise back then, but it's essentially an hour and a half of 80s power-metal ballad-backed fighting. Awesome! And Lion's theme tune is fantastic. Apparently the guitarist is one Doug Aldrich, who for the last five years has been lead guitarist for Whitesnake. Filling Steve Vai's shoes - now that's a tall order.

Here is the erstwhile Mr Aldrich:

At least I'm not the only stereotype, eh?

Friday, 7 November 2008

The blind leading the blind?

A point was raised last night that I'd love someone to clarify. How do guide dogs know where they're going? I mean, it's not like you can say, "come on Rover, let's go to Tesco." is it? What if you want to go to the pub, but the dog takes you to the grocer's instead?

Two possibilities arise: guide dogs are super-intelligent and are hiding it, possibly in order that they may one day ambush us and rule the world; or blind people can actually see, and it's all a scam.

This is the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night.

On the subject of pets, I may well be getting a myself a snake this weekend. I've always wanted one, and I'm getting pretty excited!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Shape Of Things To Come

Right, first post is it?

Well, an introduction first. My name's Dan, but you can call me.. well, pretty much anything really. I'm a firm believer in free speech you see. So long as it's properly punctuated anyway.

I started this blog as a journal of my thoughts and experiences, in the hope that maybe people would draw inspiration from it, and go on to better their lives. Not really though, I'm just bored at work, and have a friend who suggested it. So I thought, why the hell not?

Incidentally, her name is Anna and her blog is at It would seem rude not to plug it.

So, anyway, I'm a 24 year old guy; born, bred, and currently abiding in Cardiff, South Wales. I'm generally a bit of a lazy stoner bum, so I wouldn't expect any tales of derring-do or excitement here. Rather, I imagine I'll be blathering on about football, Lost and comic books; alternately bemoaning and praising my social life; laughing (or rofling, if you're one of those internet-type people) at largely inappropriate subjects; and over-using semicolons, because they're lovely.

Christ, I'm babbling already. This doesn't look good. I'd better say something serious, so as not to be immediately dismissed as a fool. Well, since it's the hot topic at the moment - good news on the American Election front. Well done Obama. I'm not sure if anyone's noticed, but he's actually the first black President. You'd have thought the papers might have picked up on that. Anyway, luckily we're not sat here now with a gun-toting Creationist with one hand on the wheel of power, eh? Good on you Americans.

Also, a quick congratulations to Ryan Giggs, for rescuing my beloved United last night. Greatest Welshman ever? Aneurin Bevan might have been a decent chap, but he never won two Champions' Leagues, did he?