Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

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Taking stock

In Friends,Lessons,Life,Work on August 21, 2014 by kiltforhire Tagged: , ,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. Terribly sorry. I didn’t really feel like I had too much to say as life whizzed by and over took me.

I guess I missed the words which has brought me back here.

However, normally when I come here I come to rant or slam something or to talk about something personal. Today? Nah. Too much has happened in the past year for me to even put down on digital ink and commit to cyberspace.

Today though. Today is about the future. It’s about the lessons learned from the past in work, in relationships and in life.

It’s about the years of journalism experience that has fueled my core and allowed me to dive into the world of public relations and social media. That skill set has stood me in good stead as I furthered my career by cutting my teeth in digital and marketing. Taking the time to move career and focus on new areas has allowed me to retain my core skills but build around them so I can work across the majority of promotional aspects for any business.

I was really lucky to have worked for over two years at NBN Co driving digital communications for them and building the brand from something small to the company it is today. I like to think I made a difference to how people saw the company which is no bad thing.

Confidence is important in a workplace and I realised that I’d lost some of my confidence while working on a start-up. It’s a different beast and it doesn’t allow you to use your main abilities but instead teaches you a whole new skill set but sometimes that comes at the detriment to your older skills.

I also realised that my connection with my homeland felt further away than ever. A recent visit back home changed that. Seeing my friends and family from Scotland reminded me how far I’ve come and how my life has changed in the past ten years.

Seeing my dad also made me realise the abilities he passed down to me and how they have kept me going. His constant socialising, joking and ability to woo a crowd with anecdotes and joy never failed to amaze me and I feel privileged to have been given 10% of his skills. He is the single most charismatic man I’ve met in my life and a damned skilled footballer – sadly a skill set I didn’t get.

I also realised how lucky I am to have a wonderful group of friends across the globe. Friends who are always there for me and who offer unconditional support no matter what is happening in my life.

Sometimes you have to take stock of your life and as I creep ever closer to forty I guess now is that time. So here I am taking stock. Feeling incredibly lucky to have my health, my family, my friends while living in a beautiful city.

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My Cinema Rules

In Friends,Lessons,Life,Movies on February 9, 2013 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , , , ,

I love this cinema. I love sitting down in a big cinema packed with people all enjoying the same flick. When I was a young lad my dad used to take me to the local ‘flea pit’ cinema in Dennistoun just outside of Glasgow city centre. The floor was sticky with the residue of sweet popcorn and the gloop of spilled Cola.

As I got older myself and my mates would go to the cinema every single Saturday morning and see two movies. We had a special P days.

Pictures, pool, pizza, pissed. I miss the P days.

But we always had our rules for the cinema. So here to continue my long, dull list of life rules are my cinema rules.

1. Stay away from the aisles, stay as close to the centre as is possible and keep the hell away from the first three rows – only people with extreme short sightedness should go there.

2. Food should be silent. Tacos? out! Crisps? out! (well unless you open the pack, silently retrieve one and then place it on your tongue to melt. Soft drinks are fine but never slurp that last little bit. The slurping is bad. This will take people out of the movie and into the bottom of your cup.

3. I tend to always book my tickets well in advance. Too many times in my life have I turned up at the cinema only to see that SOLD OUT flashing on the screen.

4. When I’m choosing my cinema I try to stay away from the beaten track and head on nights where I believe it will be quiet. Mondays, Wednesday and Sundays are my favourite nights. Friday is couple night and canoodling is rife and Saturday is date night where new relationships are formed by talking…in the cinema.

5. Which is where the next rule comes in. Talking. Shush. I believe you can talk during trailers and adverts. Hell talk as much as you want during the adverts mainly to sit there and go ‘I miss the Bacardi ad’ (the Scottish version but couldn’t find it). But as soon as that movie begins then its shush time. But I believe when that film starts I always shut up and enjoy.

6. Phones are similar to talking. I have no problems with checking Facebook or Twitter before the movie starts during trailers and ads but again don’t check it till the movie finishes. I hate seeing that flash of light when someone takes their phone out during the film.

7. Arrive on time – especially if it is pre-booked seating with allocated numbers. Look I get that people can be late but I always get there on time and get seated before the movie starts. I hate it when people stamp all over you to get to their seat after the film has started.

8. If I’m meeting my friends at the cinema and they have been kind enough to book tickets then I always get there with plenty of time. It’s pretty rude to turn up one minute to the movie starting leaving all your friends waiting on you and not in their seats. It’s even worse if the tickets don’t have allocated seating.

8. I always hit the gents before the movie and empty the old (and getting older) bladder. That way I don’t miss any of the movie and I also don’t annoy people by stepping over people.

9. I hate it when people kick the chair in front of them. It’s not nice on a plane and it’s not nice in the cinema. So don’t. Seriously. Just don’t do it.

Well there you have it My Cinema Rules for a pleasant, enjoyable night at the movies without irritating or annoying anyone around you and if we all follow these rules then everyone will have a very pleasant time at the pics.

The End

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The story of Jack

In Friends,Lessons,Life on June 3, 2012 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , ,

I guess this is a simple blog post about love. Love of family and love of a pet.

You see my cat Jack died yesterday. He was at my parents house back in Scotland and my mum phoned to tell me and I’ve been a bit of a mess this weekend because of it.

Never mind me though let me tell you his story…

24 years ago when I was in my teens my mum came home with her green cardigan in her hands.

It turned out my mum spotted something moving in the snow when she was out for a walk one day. A tiny little black and white ball of fluff. It was meowing quietly and lying next to his dead mother. She had been hit by a car and there he was lying next to her.

My mum took off her green cardigan and wrapped the little guy up in it.

She named him Jack after Jack Frost cause he was found in the snow.

We took great care in feeding and caring for him because he was so small. The vet gave us special stuff to give him to help him grow.
Our Springer Spaniel Cara was a loving dog and looked after the wee guy. She was incredibly gentle with him even when he was clawing and biting her.

Jack grew up into a chilled out, pretty lazy cat. He ate, he wandered and he slept. In his youth he would wander but never too far. Sometimes we’d see him a few streets away and occasionally in the field across the main road but he was a survivor. He was never hurt. He never cried and he always came home.

He was smart and gentle and nice to the other neighbour’s cats. Even the nasty ones. Two of the neighbour’s cats would sometimes come in and eat his food. He didn’t care. He didn’t complain. He just lay against the radiator cosy in the heat letting the world go by.

But the thing that made him the happiest was the green cardigan. He would walk around the house with the cardigan in his teeth dragging the rest of it between his legs. He went everywhere with it. He slept on it every night. Carried it around during the day. Ate his food with it in his eyesight.

He loved that green cardigan.

We always felt that he thought it was his mum. It was always with him and I guess it loved him unconditionally. That love plus the way we looked after him probably helped him reach the right old age of 24!

However, a blood clot on his spine meant a visit to the vet to be put down. The vet said the blood clot could happen at any age and apart from that he was in great health. He could have kept going if it wasn’t for that clot.

Poor wee old guy.

I’ll miss him.

Here he is getting his tummy rubbed by my big sister:

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Uncle Kenny

In Friends,Lessons,Life on July 24, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Life just took hold of me and thanks to work and moving apartments and a whole bunch of other stuff I have been sadly missing from this blog.

Today though I felt like I really need to put some words down on screen.

I want to talk about my Uncle Kenny McLachlan. Along with my parents he is the person who has inspired me the most to be who I am.

He died a number of years ago not long after his wife. He died of a broken heart. Every time I saw him look at my Auntie Isabel it was as if he was seeing her for the first time. The pair of them were amazing and I know how much it hurt him when she got Alzheimer’s – seeing the brightest spark dull is something no one should ever see.

Add on top of that the death of his son, my cousin, Kenny from cancer, and you have a lot of heartache. He treated me like a second son always telling me stories, making me laugh and being simply awesome.

He helped instill a lot of values inside me. He taught me to be good to others and to always do the right thing. He taught me to stand up and fight for what you believe and to ‘never let them get you’.

He told me a million and one wonderful stories from his time in World War 2 as a paratrooper to his battle with the Unions against the tyranny of Margaret Thatcher in 80s Britain.

He beat cancer when his wife was still alive but when she passed away he had no one left to fight for and died. There were over 500 people at his funeral. Family, friends, comrades.

I read a poem at his funeral about how we never lose people as long as we remember them.

He went one better and wrote a book before his death. I have it and I want to share it with you so over the next few weeks I’m going to post the whole thing.

Oh and one last thing. He was a communist. Not an Animal Farm style communist but a real one. He believe that everyone was equal and that people should be good to each other, look out for one another and all work towards the common goal of a better planet.

It’s called One Great Vision: Memoirs of a Glasgow Worker

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LA Noire

In Digital,Friends,Video Games on May 31, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Disclaimer: My friend Craig worked on this game and I know some people at Rockstar Games.

Disclaimer two: I love the bite sized mission chunks in this game.

Disclaimer three: As much as I love my XBox I suggest you play this on the PS3 because it uses a blu-ray disc rather than 3 DVDs.

If we travel back, way back, to the time of my youth there was a game that fascinated me. This was pre-world-wide-web and completing a game meant that you had to use every part of your brain and if that failed you may have to wait months for a magazine to come out that would help you out with the bit you were stuck at.

I was stuck at a section in Police Quest (made by Sierra who also made the amazing Kings Quest and Space Quest) for months. I’ll never forget the game for as long as I live.

I was a rookie cop trying to make my way in the police world and I was involved in an incident with a perp and I had to arrest him. Police Quest was a text based game where you moved the character around with a mouse. Point and click adventures we called them back in our day.

“Arrest him” – didn’t work

“Cuff him” – didn’t work.

Months went by until a friend told me he had cracked it by hearing from a friend about something called the Miranda Rights. You know the old ‘you have the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney etc etc’. But I was young and not from the US. I’d never heard of these Miranda Rights.

“Use Miranda Rights” – worked. The game moved on.I finally completed it a lot later and also the follow-up games.

LA Noire makes me think of Police Quest but with some CSI and GTA thrown in for good measure. You play as a detective in a world not too dis-similar to LA Confidential. You start as a street cop and have to work your way through different cases solving crimes…fraud cases, robbery all the way to vice and homicide.

What makes this game different though is the character modeling has been done using an amazing new technique. The technology is so good that this is the first game that my deaf friend Jono has been able to actually really the lips of the game characters. You have to question characters and watch their expressions, try to read their body launguage and aim to trip them up in your questioning.

This is the next evolution in gaming in my eyes.

It has sub-missions you can do as you drive around the city. You can ask for help through using intuition points and although the main character is a tad bi-polar it’s a great game that you can drop in and out of when you feel like taxing your brain.

It’s not a first-person shooter. That’s a game where you switch your brain off. It’s a thinking game that will have you watching people’s expressions and trying to suss out whodunnit.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I’ll take this one with two sugars and a dash of milk please!

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A good friend is hard to find

In Friends,Lessons,Life on May 16, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , ,

When I left Scotland I left behind a whole bunch of amazing people. I left behind a group of guys who I would gladly give my life so any one of them could live. The last time I was in Scotland (about three years ago) I dropped in on my mate Stew and although we hadn’t seen each other in three years we had a beer, sat on the sofa and spoke and laughed and ripped the piss out of each other as if we had only been hanging about the day before.

Frienship is a very rare gift. They are the people who are there for you when you are down and who make you smile and laugh. They give you advice. They help you through your life and without them your life is not near as full as it should be.

There are times in life when I have pissed off or upset my friends. There are times when I have probably driven them to tearing their hair out. And there are times when I have been on the verge of losing friends.

I feel like right now that is happening.

There is one friend out there who I hold in an incredibly high-regard.

He is incredibly intelligent and great fun to talk to but on the flip side he a worrier and sometimes far too deadly serious for his own good. He is a lovely person and has helped me through a lot while living in Australia and I like to think that if we had met in another country we would still be friends.

I have, I’m afraid to say, been sadly missing as a friend lately and I’m gonna change that. I’ve already emailed him to say that I’ve been a crap friend lately and that I intend to change that.

Hopefully he understands and accepts the olive branch/white flag/big bit of haggis I’m putting out there.

The richest person in the world is the person who is surrounded by good friends…

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Scotland

In Friends,Life on May 6, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , ,

I can’t have a blog called Kilt For Hire and not mention Scotland.

Although I now live in Australia I will always call Scotland my home. It is my country of birth and where I lived till I was 29.

But it is much more than just a country. It is much more than just a small piece of land filled with heather and hills and grumpy people sick of the rain.

It is a part of who I am. It defines my spirit, my passion and my fire.

It blessed me with an accent (which I don’t think I have) and one that people (for some bizarre reason) enjoy listening to. I’m one of the rare Scots I know who are quite open with their feelings – past generations of Scots would simply grunt or nod rather than say ‘I love you’ but since my uncle was murdered in Scotland and I was in Australia I vowed to always tell my parents, my sisters and my friends that I love them and how much they mean to me.

I am also blessed with a history as rich and as deep as Loch Ness (yes I do believe in Nessie and Haggis are real) and much of that history has bled into who we are as a nation.

Scotland is a wet country. It rains all the bloody time. It’s also a hard culture. You don’t grow up in a wet and miserable land being constantly attacked without ending up with a chip on your shoulder. So the Scots have grown into an angry race they will defend its own but to combat the anger they also developed what I can only describe the best sense of humour in the world.

We spend a lot of time in pubs drinking hard and when you drink through the dark winter months with others you learn to have a fast wit. You learn to riposte barbs and insults with speed and learn to make people joke and smile. Some are better than others and if you’ve read my blog post about my dad you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I’m currently reading/listening to the audiobook of Craig Ferguson’s story called “American On Purpose”. It’s remarkable story about his life and rise to fame as a chat show host in the US. My book would be called “Australian By Accident” if I ever get round to writing it! I never realised it before but he and I have a few things in common including being born in Stobhill Hospital where both my mum and gran were nurses.

Every few days I speak to my mum and dad and listening to @craigyferg (yes he is on Twitter) lately has made me miss the old country a lot. I miss it’s rolling hills, I miss the cold mornings, the dark winters where the sun sets at what seems like 2pm and the light summers where at 11pm it’s still so bright. I miss the heather and the brachen. I miss the smell. The taste of real water out of the tap.

I miss my friends.

I miss my family.

I miss home and one day I’ll return … maybe for good.

If you haven’t heard of or listened to Craig Ferguson before I suggest you do – here’s a very unusual piece of television from him, especially as it was on US TV.

At the end he says: “”The relationship I have with my father is not unlike the relationship I have with the old country, you know with Scotland, I grumble about it, I complain about it, I can even be mean about it, but I love it beyond reason it’s where I’m from, it’s what I am.” Never a truer thing has been said.

Which makes me think about one last thing that we Scots are and that’s honest and straight to the point.

Awrabest!