Danepack Shakur Dec 2018 Update

Dear Friends,
Trump is busy firing his staff, Putin is busy sharing his power, money and control with himself and good old Teresa May is getting more grey by the day as Brexit negotiations are gripping her by the crotch and pulling her into the quicksand. Honestly it has to be the worst job in the world. Imagine every time she goes to Brussels the 27 former school mates see her as an outcast, no one wants to include her in their games, she is a goner. When she then takes the Eurostar back to the UK 16 million people (49% who voted remain) think the government has lost the plot. If she proposes another referendum the 17 million people who voted leave will go bananas – honestly that job is rough – In the meantime the dude who got us into this terrible mess is swanning about getting paid extra ordinary fees to open his Etonian small lips at large conferences – several posters sprang to my mind

 

 

 

I have often discussed ageing and its side effects. One of the common symptoms is being slightly more forgetful, having trouble to remember names of people, sometimes even just remembering certain words. One of my good German friends from University after the third pint of lager would begin to struggle with words and he would just start to name people, cars, houses, university degree, pet anything would become “Thingy”. For example it would go like this “Hallo Junge the other day I saw this girl driving her favourite “thingy” along campus, she went into the building with the big thingy on the roof and when I met her at the student bar she was wearing this thingy with fluorescent colours” In most of the times it didn’t matter to me because as a human being listening to the story I could in 9 out of 10 times figure out what was meant by thingy. Unfortunately for my children they are not quite so understanding of me when every 4th word I use is “thingy”. And even worse for kids “thingy” is often used in the playground to describe their private parts. So here dad is screaming “Come on Maya can you please pick up this “thingy” (which is some doll/toy) and she starts giggling because she thinks it refers to something else.

 

The other day I proved that human beings are still more incredible than Robots and Artificial Intelligence. Google has invested billions of dollars into AI (Artificial intelligence) and currently have 100 million servers trying to use data with robots and machine learning to figure out everything about you.  I was looking for an electrical splitter but I typed in “I need thingy to separate mains electric supply”. The robot couldn’t do diddly squat, it went blank, 100 million servers and big data went straight down the toilet. One hour later I walked into an electrical shop where the man behind the counter certainly wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer and within 1 split second he named what I needed – so the human being could figure out “thingy” but the robots couldn’t. Oh god don’t you just love humans. Now speaking of robots and AI am I the only person who ends up shouting abuse at AI when I can’t get through to a human being at a contact centre. I wanted to cancel my sky subscription but the robots just wouldn’t let me speak to anyone yet their small robot ears were incredibly bad at understanding what I said. I would spend 15 mins just to identify who I am – ffs I know who I am but for your narrow little robot mind it just isnt enough, more security checks and you are a terrible listener. Honestly, human beings for now are still Human 2-0 Robots.

 

I love GOD but did he really have to include mosquitoes and moths on Noah’s ark. For many years in our house no matter what I did to my favourite Cashmere jumpers they would get ravaged by some nasty moths, and I had the Hells Angels of Moth’s living in our house. They had no fear. It didn’t matter which cupboard I hid my jumper in the moths would use their GPS location system and send some heavy hitters into the cupboard and with their pin point accuracy attack the part most visible to human beings. I mean I am a charitable dude and would gladly have shared some cashmere from the arm-pit part of jumper, but somehow oh no that wasn’t good enough for the moth’s in our house. They would always target the stomach section of the jumper so if you did wear it everyone knew the moths had a threesome in your jumper. And the weird part was the moths would use big data and share locations of which part of jumper to attack so generation after generation they always went on holiday on the same part of every cashmere jumper……honestly those fuckers must have ruined thousands of pounds worth of jumpers in our household in the past 2 decades. But there is a happy ending to this story you see moths are posh bastards and very picky – they revel in cashmere but it has to be the expensive one so as we started buying more stuff from Primark, TK Maxx and other discount outlets the posh little bastard turned their snobbish little noses up at us. As our neighbourhood gentrified and many new home owners with new cashmere jumper’s moved in across the road the moths gave us the finger and moved out. You see the morale of the story is don’t buy expensive clothes if you want to live in peace and quiet comfort, on the contrary if you fancy a moth orgy in your house go to Harrods and get the latest cashmere jumpers.

I hope you and your loved ones are doing well.

All the breast,

Danepack Shakur

PS Separate Christmas message to follow in late Dec…….

 

Advertisements

Enjoy the Autumn of 2018

Dear Friends,

Following up on my previous meteorological observations from two decades of writing a blog I have to conclude this was just the most astonishing summer. I am afraid to say global warming is without a doubt alive and kicking and did we reap the benefits in Northern Europe this summer ‘oh yeah baby it was da’ bomb’. I do feel terribly sorry for the polar bears and the Inuit’s working along the fractured ice caps at the poles but from a purely selfish standpoint and living in London it is marvellous. It was pretty much 25-33c full sun and blue sky for 3 months non-stop and when you live in a country that is normally grey, raining and drizzly something magical happens when the sun shines down. The gorgeous girls in London wear very skimpy outfits, everyone is glowing with happiness, health and good looks, no one cares about work, you can smell BBQ’s every night and the sound of laughter across the neighbourhood and beer bottles clinking together is the sound of music to my ears. Perhaps because I don’t need to take public transport for work I reap the benefits even more with daily trips into the garden to feel those warm rays. Yes I know the heatware caused widespread droughts, hose pipe bans, crop failures, wildfires, trouble sleeping at night, increased stress, but come on folks did you forget about all the fantastic moments sitting with a cold beer enjoying the company of friends smelling that delicious food on the BBQ. Hot summer days with continuous BBQ’s are great as long as you are not a pig, chicken, cow, aubergine or courgette. I love the sun and finally I can say that my Vitamin D is overflowing and when the heatwave ended on August 7th it was actually quite nice to see grey skies, feeling the cooler weather and after a few days of rain my garden looks as green as I can ever remember it.

Photos that remind me of Heatwave in 2018

Every three years my in-laws come to Europe for some adventure and since our last convoy in 2015 where we visited 7 countries in 10 days it was time again for the Great Dane to be travelling on the road not travelled with 3 sleeping Malaysian Chinese passengers and two half-baked ones on the back seat. This time it was minus my brother in law who remained in KL with his other half and our dog Miro was watching us from doggie heaven wishing us safe travels. He was a loyal and dependable co-pilot but the girls didn’t miss his breath and smell I am of course referring to the dog and not the other passengers. There was a sense of cold case files on this trip. My in-laws had a church wedding on the 25th of August 1973 in Salzburg but this was during a time with no mobile phones, no digital photography, it was 10 years before PC’s and as a result they had lost all evidence of where this event took place. But we did have three old photographs with wild hair, bell bottoms and Asian Abba lookalikes. So our detective work began could we find the church based on those photographs?

I am quite ruthless when it comes to driving trips. The waffen SS would envy my efficiency. My father in-law is 77 years old and my mother in-law is 70 so they are not exactly spring chickens and I kept them on a tough travel regime with strict routines. I only allow each passenger a small amount of water so we don’t need to stop for regular  breaks, secondly I feed passengers plenty of animal protein so I stop their digestive system from functioning so they don’t need the restroom for 3 days for a number 2. Each stop at a gas stations looks like a McLaren F1 pit stop, I jump out of the car and fill it up as quickly as possible, rush everyone around with loud commands to ensure maximum efficiency and minimum waste of time – each passenger checks the tyre pressure on their side. I want to get to the destination as quickly as possible. In laws from Malaysia always nag about the importance of drinking lots of water so for them to get into my car takes a lot of courage and I keep telling them the human body is not a human toilet – don’t flush it too often you will lose all the good minerals.

We travelled 16-17 hours from London to Berlin, set off at 4am and 1 fresh Viking arrived with 5 emancipated Malaysian Chinese passengers at 20.30. The next three days we did between 14,000-20,000 steps daily to explore Berlin during a 35c heatwave, this was followed by 3 days in Prague with even more walking in even hotter weather. At this point it didn’t really matter how much water they drank they were dehydrated so never asked for me to stop the car – All I heard was “We love the car’s air-con, please don’t stop again, the old building looks just fine from the car”.  After those two great cities we arrived in Austria 65 km south of Salzburg where we had a beautiful chalet in the Alps.  The Austrian’s are wonderful and clever too. They managed for Hitler to become German and Beethoven Austrian….enough said. We went hiking, swimming, ate Wiener schnitzel and the fresh Alpine air was a most welcome break. On our second day in the Alps we began the detective work to locate the church in Salzburg? Was it still around? Had it been demolished? 45 years is a long time in urban planning but law and behold the Austrian’s had left Salzburg untouched since Mozart was born there and we found it on our first try along the beautiful river. By studying one of the old photographs we could recognise the two large columns on a staircase. The priest had died a long time ago but the church stood in its splendid glory looking more beautiful than ever. In that old photo you could see the hopes and dreams of a young couple just married and here we were half a century later with three generations on the same stair case – La vita e bella.

Kids are brilliant but so is school which takes them away from home. Stressed-out parents want summer to end after just 13 days, according to new research.  The pressure to entertain is great. In fact, 64 percent of parents have felt like they were letting their kid down because they wanted them to do, see, or have something one of their friends had. So what kinds of things are causing parents to be filled with guilt? It turns out that the number one reason for PSG (Parental Summer Guilt) was when their kids stayed in the house rather than getting out and about. Honestly, what’s wrong with a dark cold basement, no running water or electricity? 1 meal a day, no ipad and a regular clip behind the ear. My old man’s stories are getting a bit tiring for them……You should be thankful for above scenario……Imagine if you were a Syrian refugee with polio in both legs walking across Europe in flip-flops with a string made from barb-wife between your toes. Imagine if when you were born the brain surgeon removed part of your brain so you lack imagination and easily get bored. Only children that had that surgery at birth gets bored, unfortunately I think they are starting to understand my stories are baloney and they can see right through them. If I use granddad’s analogies then the stories are even more black and white. “Only boring people get bored”. I have to say last week the kids went back to school and we miss them, they never once said “I am bored” during the summer holiday because they know better if that word gets used around here it’s all over.

On that happy bombshell, I hope you and your loved will have a wonderful autumn.

All the best,

Danepack Shakur

 

Enjoy the Summer of 2018

Dear Friends,

Oh god I love some of the side effects of global warming.  Every morning when I wake up in London I am staring down the barrel of another heatwave. Past 6 weeks we have had really warm days often reaching 30c, and then suddenly followed by cold days of 12c. The temperature fluctuations look like Hitler’s cardio diagnostics on April 29th 1945 when the Red Army knocked on his bunker’s door and he screamed “Scheisse”.  The climate is properly unstable, it resembles the mind-set of Ray Liotta’s character in Goodfellas when he is having some proper mood swings, hot, cold, thunderstorm, hail storm, rain, amazing blue sky…..it just can’t quite decide, but generally it’s been pretty amazing. Looking into our garden gives me flashbacks from Nam’ in 69’ especially when the wife is wearing her black pyjamas in the morning. Our garden is like a jungle, this heavy rain combined with a lot of sunshine is putting every plant on some super growth path. The trees are greener, the plants are larger and I have a feeling the Gardner (me) won’t get a pay rise even though it’s twice the trimming and pruning.

I have harboured on about ageing and its effects on the mind and body. Well here are a few observations that really brought it home to me that it is really happening in front of my eyes. The other day the kids and I thought the house was on fire as mummy came screaming into the kitchen “oh my god I have missed my appointment on the 14th …..today is the 18th how stupid why did you not remember, you should have put a reminder in outlook, we are such idiots how can we miss this critical appointment.” I replied can I see the notice darling “Hey honey it says 14th of May, today is the 18th of April so you are 3 weeks ahead of schedule” My wife really looks forward, she loves the future but unfortunately in this instance she was 1 month ahead of herself. The Second reminder of ageing was in my krav maga class (Krav Maga is a military self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israel Defense Forces that derived from a combination of techniques sourced from boxing, wrestling, aikido, judo and karate, along with realistic fight training). Weekly a friend of mine and I attend this bashing session with lots of young, strong fit women and a few guys. Visions of Ralph Macchio from Karate Kid generally come up in my mind but after two body slams to the floor I realise most of the other participants think I am more like Mr Miaki without the technique. We had to do fight conditioning which involves someone holding your head down in a lock while kneeing you in the rips. After about 5 mins I saw my friend who is 50 limping off extraordinarily red in the face with a twisted neck. I laughed quite a bit and 5 mins later I looked like the dude below.

Twisted neck

Age is a hell of price to pay for wisdom as George Carlin said. We both left the class in agony and went straight home with our sore twisted necks. The only conditioning we got to improve was swallowing pain killers and applying deep-heat on the neck muscles which I guess is a good thing coming of age.  On the other end of the spectrum the innocence of youth is also deeply endearing. We went shopping in the supermarket and suddenly I heart my youngest daughter (6 years old) scream look at this dwarf daddy. She was in fact pointing at a garden gnome like the one in the picture below, unfortunately there was a real dwarf standing next to it admiring it, so I quickly ran up to her to correct her language and apologised. The garden gnome was expressionless but the dwarf wasn’t.

Garden gnome

Back in the late 90’s I started playing computer games online. Then came broadband in 2003 and the experience got a lot better. Now I would consider myself quite a seasoned gamer with 2 decades of experience. I play mainly first person shooter games that involve some element of strategy and team work. My gaming name is knightmorphed and in one game I have to play a squad leader where I have to coordinate 8 fellow soldiers to build bases, set up defences, attack and capture points. You get quite involved and passionate and quite verbal over the radio communication. Now I don’t know what it is about gamers but they often chose quite bizarre gaming names. Recently I was leading a squad with a group of players that had the following names:  Brumhilda Bavarian Bitch, Buttminster Browncrack, Slippery pickle, Lord Fluffinstein, Glitterfart, Beef_curtain, Weirdo , Whip_me_grandma. I was in the living room screaming commands to my team mates, and only afterwards did it occur to me that with kids sitting next to me watching a TV show maybe it was time to get a quiet room with some confidentiality:

This is an actual transcript from the game:
Knightmorphed: “Slippery pickle come to me now I need to put down a rally point near the enemy base. Weirdo and Slippery Pickle place your big gun at the centre of ammo hill and cover west to north-west. Buttminster Browncrack and Glitterfart cover the rear to ensure we don’t get flanked by insurgents….Don’t let them past the Eastern perimeter. Brumhilda Bavarian Bitch and whip_me_Grandma spawn as medics, Lord Fluffingstein hold out for as long as you can on the Southern perimeter, I will ask beef_curtain to come and strengthen your flank in 2 minutes”. The amount of sexual innuendos in the above transcript from my gaming session is ridiculous and as a result I was ordered by the boss to only play this game when the kids are in bed and to keep my commands down to a reasonable level. Unfortunately with a large headset on and in the middle of battle I scream like William Wallace in the battle scene of Braveheart.

Last month the large middle age and chubby torso of the honourable Danepack Shakur got to tick another box on the bucket list. A very generous friend of mine invited me to fly a jet plane. Not just any boring jet plane but a military jet from the 1960’s that saw active combat duty in the early 70’s in the Middle East (still had scars from 1 bullet hole on the tail). The pilot was Putin’s sister, her name was Tatiana and she knew a thing or two about g-forces. We had a 1 hour briefing about how to pull the ejector seat at which point your spine experiences 25G…..so in my case that would be 2500kg of pressure on my tight glutes and tailbone. It doesn’t sound too good for a middle aged man with lower back problems, somehow I don’t think my Pilates classes will help. It was a 45 mins flight over the North Sea with some aerobatics, let’s just say Tatiana knew that if she wanted to survive this flight she better go easy on the control’s or I would have given her a stiff left hook on the chin. I flew the plane for majority of the time and I have to say the controls were more sensitive than my privates, a minor flick of the control and the plane barrel rolled, we did a few loops and my breakfast almost came up, then we headed towards the sea at 700km/h and when we were 10 meters above we did a sharp turn and my underwear was more damaged than after a night out on laxatives after consuming a spicy curry. Glad to have experienced it, but even gladder Tatiana brought me back in 1 piece.

 

Well on that happy bombshell, I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful summer. May you get time to relax, unwind, and laugh in the sunshine!

All the best,

Danepack shakur

Happy Spring in 2018

Dear Friends,

We have had a turbulent start to 2018. The tragic attack on a Florida high school is the eighth shooting to have resulted in death or injury during the first seven weeks of the year in the US, and tragically many American’s believe the answer is more guns. They now want to arm the teacher’s….. sounds’ like a great solution if you are a weapon’s manufacturer or gun instructor but for everyone else I am not convinced. The beast from the East and yes we are not talking about some big Eastern European lady but a cold weather front from Siberia that completely covered us for 1-2 weeks…..it was wonderful. The White Christmas came 2 months late and the kids prayers were answered…..school shut for 3 days….it was marvellous and it was eerily quiet….no sound from traffic in London and the quality of the air was so much better. We need more car free days in the capital just like during the oil crisis of 1973 when most Western European countries adopted car free days….. a brilliant time to be in the streets on your roller skates, bicycling, or playing football, mind you with those bell bottom trousers and odd hair styles it would have been difficult doing any of the above activities in the 70’s. And finally the big news story is the Russian spy attack in Salisbury (100 miles from London) where two people were given some nerve agent and are now critically ill, apparently more than 500 people have now been told to be on high alert for this toxic. You really have to give it to Putin, not only is he the richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $200 billion but don’t piss him off…..even in some town in the English countryside he will nail you if you double cross him. Here are some images of Putin that makes you think he means business

 

That’s enough about politics and worldwide tragedies. Back to happier themes like growing old, family life, middle age and kids. Nothing fucks us harder than time and recently I started Pilatus and Krav Maga (self -defence) – In my mind I still feel like 25 but my body certainly doesn’t agree with the mind. After the first sessions I couldn’t walk home – I thought it was time to call an ambulance, I looked like Ron Jeremy had just rogered’ me behind the bikeshed. My face was like a tomato that was about to scream Ketchup…..I am stiff as a wooden board and not in all the right places …my ham strings are like the steel wires holding up the Golden Gate bridge, cold and as inflexible as the barrel of a Tiger tank. My stomach is like your favourite soft cushion in an Ikea demonstration sofa, my spine is like an aluminium baseball bat….the yoga teacher got a physical injury trying to get me into a certain pose….only a few years ago I had hair like the Jackson Five, you could wash your clothes on my stomach, I was hard in the all the right places…. And it made me think of a story I recently heard…..A friend of a friend was working with Clint Eastwood on a movie last year. Clint is 87 years old pulling in 12 hour days working like a steam train. One night they are sitting having a beer on the train from Brussels to Paris and my mate says “Hey Clint what is the secret, how come you are still so active and behave like a much younger man” Clint looked at him with his steely gaze and said in a husky voice “I never let the old man in”

On that happy bombshell, it’s time for me to wish you and your loved ones a terrific start to the new year…..I hope we get a chance to meet soon, if not this year then hopefully on some melting ice cap in the near future while I am doing some funky pilatus pose in my flurouscent yellow mankini. Keep up the faith….and pray that image never becomes a reality……

All the breast,

Danepack Shakur

Dec 2017 update

Dear Friends

It is that special time of year to raise the cholesterol, give the arteries near the heart a hard time, feel the gut expand a few inches, drink and eat excessively all the while hoping that Santa clause has been on slim fast so he can slide right down the chimney without any KY gel to lavishly spoil the kids with presents. My youngest daughter told me the other day that Santa Clause isn’t real……Jesus at 6 years old she has already figured it out…..I still remember the day I found out it was devastating news ……. I still haven’t stopped drinking my sorrow’s away.  The good news is that as I am ageing disgracefully I am beginning to look more like Santa, so there is hope if I wear my red Adidas jogging suit they might just mistake me for Santa.

We arrived in Penang last week, its 30c with 80% humidity, the fake snow in the malls and the Chinese hawker folks screaming in their local hokkien while we are all slurping away on our spicy prawn noodles looking at occasional surreal Christmas decorations just doesn’t quite inspire the same Christmassy feelings as when somewhere cold with snow cuddled up next to a fireplace in the Alps.  Call me old fashioned but being 5 degrees north of equator in a hot wet jungle just isn’t a place for Santa and his reindeers to chill out, with the blistering sun hammering down on my pale Viking face I am beginning to look a bit like Rudolph the red nose reindeer! As I am getting older my bones seem to like these hot winter breaks, there is something wonderful about being in flip flops, shorts and t-shirt on Christmas day. We are indulging ourselves with massages, reflexology sessions, vitamin and herbal remedy discussions around the dining table. There is nothing like a Chinese family discussing health related matters it just doesn’t happen in Scandinavia. I am sitting there enjoying my bowl of noodles with a healthy appetite, but somehow within 3 minutes we have had a discussion about yellow vs green mucus and phlegm – which one is more contagious, the discussion then quickly went onto how your excrements change from large, dark and hard to narrow, yellow and slim when on a plant based diets, somehow my noodle dish starting looking a bit strange. Oh god I love different cultures it’s so much fun to observe what is completely unthinkable in one vs being complete normal in another.  I embrace it with open arms, a kiss and a cuddle.

On that happy bombshell it’s time to wish you and your loves ones a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  We hope your wishes come true for 2018 and that everyone you love is in good health and ready to embrace new challenges. With North Korea, Trump, Brexit, Middle East, crazy climate changes I can’t stop thinking about Oliver Reed when he sang “Wild one” on Michael Aspen’s show – I am sure 2018 will be a “Wild one” just hopefully not too wild because I am not sure we can handle it.

All the best,
Danepack Shakur

Happy Halloween

Dear Friends,

It’s that time of year to celebrate the spirits of the dead and tonight will be the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, also known as All Saints’ Day – Happy Halloween. Unfortunately it falls on a Tuesday so my kids are well unhappy normally they get to go to bed on Halloween at 22.00 but today it will be 21.00….bummer they will really be missing out on eating all that sugar and sweets.  WoooOOooo! Witches, ghosts, spirits, zombies, vampires, big spiders, cobwebs, hollowed out pumpkins and tons of sweets for kids all my dentist friends are delighted as they can feel their wallet grow in the next quarter…their American Express Platinum is warming up for some nice expenditure in 2018…..kids listen to your parents so you will never have to hear “I told you so” in a patronising and annoying voice eat less sweets on Halloween.

Bizarrely enough when I grew up in Denmark in the 1970’s and 80’s Halloween wasn’t on the radar as we didn’t pray for evil spirits to stay away from our crop and my family hadn’t been in farming since the 18th century but now with American culture having spread like a wildfire it’s a big deal in most of the world. My kids just love it and even my friends in Scandinavia, Germany, France and Italy now celebrate Halloween with their kids. I am thinking about showing my kids 5 mins of the horror film Halloween to get them to not like Halloween but this strategy could backfire and I don’t want to run the risk of them coming to our bedroom with nightmares for the next 2 months.

In our neighbourhood Halloween really shows where the American’s live in London you don’t just have to look for who is wearing white socks and sandals. In front of a British person’s home you see the odd sorry Pumpkin and 1 or 2 decorations where the British parent felt obliged to make their kids raise an eyebrow, whereas walking past a US residents home it’s like being at Disneyworld for lights, costumes and decorations it is like comparing European defence budgets with the US……well there really isn’t any comparison as the US one is 1000% bigger and the same goes for Halloween party budgets.

You know since turning 40 a few years ago I have been battling middle age and trying to run away from it, but I am constantly reminded by my two girls and wife. Look at daddy’s round belly, see his little moon appearing and a forehead the size of Denmark but in August I finally felt the nail of realisation hit my middle aged coffin. I bought a Miami Vice lookalike speedboat to feel young, and quickly I realised only a young nutcase would buy a boat like that. When I start the beast Shell Oil prices in Nigeria go up by 2.5%, when I cruise along at 30-40 knots I might as well stop at a petrol station and take the nearest pump to a hole in the ground and leave pump running for an hour. I have calculated it does 1.5 mpg – People that drive Lamborghini are having a laugh it’s like an economical hybrid prius next to a speed boat. Towards end of summer the family and I decided to sail across from Beaulieu River (Bucklers Hard) to Cowes on Isle of Wight. My god boats are so unreliable, I am just glad they don’t fly…on our 11 outings it broke down twice. When we arrived at Cowes after a 20 min crossing some water had entered the engine and I had to quickly moor it along a Marine Engineer’s workshop. I took the family for some lovely tapas but I wanted to go back to make sure I had tied the ropes properly. When I got to within 5 meters of boat I saw two young mechanics (Marine Engineer) most likely in their 20’s looking at the boat having the following conversation and they didn’t notice me standing near them:

Marine Engineer 1:  who would own a boat like this….was it some football hooligan from Portsmouth or a slum landlord from Southampton?

Marine Engineer 2: No you wouldn’t believe it mate, it was some middle aged guy with a young Asian bird and two small kids.

Marine Engineer 1: No way, I don’t believe you mate!!!!! You got to be joking!

I stood frozen in time behind them feeling my belly flop in the wind and my thin hair blowing in the wrong direction….. they didn’t know I was the owner of the boat, I quickly faded away anonymously in the background knowing full well that was the reality of my existence. Inside I still feel 28 and somehow I still see that young person in the mirror but it is all a delusion. Since then I am hitting the badminton court hard, going on a plant based diet, seeing hair specialist, whitening my teeth, I mean if I don’t look like Wayne Newton by Christmas I will be disappointed. Such a natural healthy ageing look he doesn’t at all look worried about ageing!

Wayne Newton

So here we are in the 21st century where everything is about speed, efficiency, agile delivery everyone is in a rush to keep track of their busy lives. But is it really progress? See photo of speedometer from my wife’s city car.

2017-10-30 08.37.46

4300 miles over 375 hours gives us an average speed of 12 mph. Now in 1970 so almost half a century ago even with bell bottoms, huge hair and old cars in other words not at all aerodynamic with a fraction of the horse power of today’s vehicles people moved around London 25% faster. You could fly to New York in 2 hours and 45 mins, today it takes 7 hours. Check-in the airport was only 45 mins before a flight and you still had time for a drink and smoke in the lounge, today you will need 2 to 3 hours before departure to make it through security in time. At work I was told that people would go to each other’s desk and talk about things and resolve problems quickly. Today we need endless emails and a ton of conference calls to even get some form of agreement even though we are in the same building. Oh dear I sound like my grand dad – what is it with ageing why do we always complain about changes and the current status quo and reminisce about a past that no doubt was pretty awful. I will now take off those rose tinted spectacles and head out into the cold to enjoy trick and treat with the kids.

Have a wonderful autumn with family and friends……

Happy Halloween

Danepack Shakur

 

Summer of 2017 comes to a close

Dear Friends,

Christmas Day last year was one of the warmest on record with the mercury rising to 15C in Aberdeenshire, almost as high as the 15.6C recorded in Devon on Christmas Day in 1920. Back in June and July the UK was roasting in the hottest heatwave since 1976. Britain was officially hotter than both the Sahara Desert (32C) and the Gobi Desert (26C) as well as Cancun, Mexico, which hit a high of only 28C. Heathrow in west London recorded temperatures of 34.5C in late June, the highest for June since the 35.6C recorded in Southampton on June 28 1976. The 40-year high – which is the hottest summer solstice on record – was recorded as parts of Britain sweltered for five consecutive day’s with temperatures above 30C. Outside the school gates all the parents simply couldn’t wait for summer holiday to start for the kids……and you know what….yes you guessed it right exactly on the day kids all across the UK began their summer holiday the weather changed instantly. Temperatures dropped to 15-18c and it has rained non-stop since, its grey, cold, windy, mcfilthy mcnasty as they would say at McDonalds and I do feel sorry for the kids, but at least the British summer weather is consistently shite….if anyone mention’s global warming to me while I am sitting in my warm fleece in August freezing my backside off I will personally castrate them…..we are freezing here please give us some sunshine, heat and rising temperature….we are craving vitamin D, however it is about to change as we embark on our annual migration to warmer climates…..Italy here we come I hope my wife’s contact lenses melt when we step out of the plane, I hope the snap, crackle and pop sound is evident when I get off the toilet seat in 35c heat…..please SUN spoil us, we need you.

My spam filters on both my gmail and Hotmail accounts are pretty good at catching dodgy emails, unfortunately my work email filter is just not that effective….here are the subject lines of emails I receive regularly:

“Daily trick to fix baldness

Secret protocol to fix toenail fungus

1 food that kills high blood pressure

Desperate Russian beauties for dates

Best traded pills – save your marriage get some Viagra…Prices gone mad!

Best prices for male enlargement

Congratulations you have won $10.5 million waiting for you ….click here

She is 88 years old but looks 55…..

Protect your family from terror attacks”

The challenge I have with this marketing guru (knob-end) from the email marketing company is how conflicting their messages are, they are simply not good at customer profiling. I made the mistake of buying a b-2-b data list back in 2009 in the US and since then those bastards have been selling my email address. So according to their customer profile of me, I have loads of money apparently in some Nigerian account, my marriage is in trouble and somehow Viagra will save it, but unfortunately my privates are too small so I will need an enlargement, I am balding and have toenail fungus. I want to know how can those Russian beauties still want a date with me? I sound pretty unattractive, and more worryingly they are not selling the Russian beauties that well…..she is 88 but looks 55….ehhh gee let me think….. no thanks I will stick to my wife who is 42 but looks 28 but I wouldn’t mind some of those hand guns and techniques they are trying to sell me on how to kill terrorist but instead use the weaponry and experience to find the marketing director from the email marketing company and liquidate this person, no actually I take that back I would like to liquidate any person who responds and buys from these bastards spam emails, they do not deserve to live!

The family just returned from 2 blissful weeks of Italian sunshine, marvellous food, relaxation, and with enough vitamin D stored in my middle finger to raise it to the UK autumn grey skies. We went to celebrate a friend’s wedding in Verona and to meet up with 60-70 old and new friends. Italy what a country, food to die for, beautiful weather, fantastic infrastructure, what a quality of life, no wonder the economy is in the doldrums….who wants to work when life is so good, I totally get it.  We were sailing on Lake Garda, went to Gardaland (Italian version of Disneyland) which is a joy in the middle of August when 60 million Italians are all on holiday. I am 6 ft 4 (195cm) and with quite a girth around the waist so while standing in the queues I found 2 Italian men hiding in my shadow to get some shelter from the burning afternoon sun, you feel good about yourself when you are used as a tree or bus shelter for other people to avoid the sun, I found my purpose in life.  Then it was off for culture and history in Venice with old friends. After spoiling the kids for a week with everything they wanted it was time for some adult time so when our friends Steve and Kasia arrived for their wedding at a beautiful idyllic manor house mum and dad got a chance to party with adults for 3-4 days……we ate and drank like Louis the 14th, had a wonderful time with old friends. It was a smashing time and everyone there had an incredible time. We flew back with Ryanair this morning, we left behind 30c and arrived in Stansted airport where it was windy, grey, cold and in fact a good place to die, but unfortunately we didn’t have any robe to hang ourselves, no garage within 30 miles to gas ourselves, and no terrorist nearby to blow us up, every time we jumped out in front of a car the modern ABS brakes were very effective they always missed us…..what a bummer we were all ready for it. The holiday blues is alive and kicking, yet somehow we all love coming back home. Away is good, but home is best…school starts in 2 weeks then mummy and daddy can finally enjoy some peace and quiet.

On that happy bombshell, I hope you had a terrific summer with your loved ones and have returned energised and ready for the autumn.

All the best,
Danepack Shakur