Thursday, 26 May 2016

How you can rewire your own brain to be happy - fave stuff on the web

Came across this -- adding it to my list of fave stuff on the web (link at bottom).

It ties in with hearing Tom Rath talk about "Eat Move Sleep" on this podcast here - all about how 'how you think' ripples out and has a bigger effect than you think.

But this - woah this - here's some Ctrl-C and V highlights:

The Science of Happiness: Why complaining is literally killing you.

"...rational reasons for optimism and for removing from my life the people who liked to complain:

1. “Synapses that fire together wire together.”
Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross... The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it... more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence... easier for the thought to trigger. Therefore, your first mystical scientific evidence: your thoughts reshape your brain

2. Shortest Path Wins the Race.
...even more exciting is the fact that the synapses you’ve most strongly bonded together (by thinking about more frequently) come to represent your default personality...
Through repetition of thought, you’ve brought the pair of synapses that represent your proclivities closer and closer together, and when the moment arises for you to form a thought ( and thus throw our metaphorical ball of electric energy), the thought that wins is the one that has less distance to travel

3. Acceptance vs Regret, Drift vs Desire, Love Vs Fear.
(Your) two choices were simple, regardless of the flavor you put on them: Love or Fear; Acceptance or Regret; Drift or Desire; Optimism or Pessimism.

5. Stress will kill you.
...the thing about all this negativity, of regretting, of attachment to desires, of pointless complaining about impermanent things that will always continue to pass in an existence where time moves forward—the thing is: it all causes stress.

But regardless of what it brings your way, your choice is simple: Love or Fear."

And the full article here:

Saw the link after just seeing this by chance on youtube...

George Carlin on God, the planet, and "the freak show"

"I'm divorced from it now - George, you don't have an emotional stake in this, so just watch it, have fun... some of us get to sit there with notebooks"

All my other fave links on the web are here...

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Stalking another man when youre only helping a mate #BritishDadStuff

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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Stalking another man when youre only helping a mate #BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when your only night out ends in total embarrasssment.

I went to an animation industry shindig a few months ago.
I find them difficult because, you know, that whole introvert thing

...and this is even among a bunch of already introverted animation types - who feel comfortable creating worlds, that they control, page by page, frame by frame, with their heads.

But my friend was there who I'd worked with years ago at Disney, so it was great - nice drink, nice chat - I wasn't going to die.

We weren't sure who the organiser was - it felt rude to not at least say hi - but neither of us wanted to make an arse of ourselves, no knowing who'd set up this night.

I was pretty sure I knew the guy and pointed him out.

My friend wasn't so sure, and I can't remember who said "we should look him up."

A quick Google showed we'd got the right guy - look, those pictures are definitely him.

Fast forward an hour - and a few drinks - and even more awkward conversations later - this is why cartoons take so long to make - this is fun. And some Director introduces me to the Organiser.

Without trying, we're having a great chat about stuff that isn't even shop-talk.

I hate pulling out my phone in the middle of a chat: It's a crutch and it's a form of hiding. Like the talking isn't enough.

But there was a clip that he really wanted to see, and it would take seconds to show.

I fired up my phone and there it was.

A screen full of pictures of him.

A little electronic LED backlit shrine to every image of him on the Internet.

(it was sort of like this picture, but all about him).

It felt rude to swipe it off, which sort of made it weirder.

His involuntary flinch launched an awkward pause.
A really long one, as we stared at this screen.
Full of his face.
My awkwardness and the booze doubled it.

Deadpan he broke the tension with something like "ooh, there I am".
Or something.

I can't remember.
I don't want to remember.

The next few minutes rushed past my eyes as squashed as the credits of the cartoons we all work on.

Funny how I can explain now how helping a mate avoid being awkward set me up for cyberstalking the guy to his face.
That takes some effort and a lot of thought.

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is coming together here

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Rubber bands rechargeable batteries and socks. Its all I need. #BritishDadStuff

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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Rubber bands rechargeable batteries and socks. Its all I need. #BritishDadStuff

You know you're a Great British Dad...
...when you've only got 3 things to do the job.

Turns out I can't be a Dad without these 3 things.
Rubber bands, rechargeable batteries and socks.

Rubber Bands
Our postman is so thoughtless. He doesn't dump his rubber bands on our doorstep, path or street.

So we've got to buy them, from the Pound Shop, like a chump.

Before we bought a big bag of bands - our barren band times - life was chaos.

We wrap so much food in elastic bands, that we'll need bigger ones for our stomachs.

Rechargeable Batteries

This is my battery charger.
The technical make of it is that it's a big-ass one.

I found it in the loft and it changed my life.
Because it means I don't get lumbered with the "Dead Battery Jar".

I need a Dead Battery Jar, because before the Dead Battery Jar our dead batteries were evenly distributed around the house.

My life is spent charging up stuff.

Which is the time I spend between filling up the water in the water filter jug.

Laptops, phones, toothbrushes (toothbrushes?), and my spare battery charger.

At night, my room looks like Sniper Alley.

Or the Blue Peter Totaliser round November.

It's like that way that vegetarians really feel about our meat-eating.

They never say it, but I know how they really feel about my eating meat:
that, that right there, is how I feel about everyone who uses normal batteries.
Is that conceited?
Anyone who doesn't recharge batteries is a monster.
I look down on you.


In my house, socks are used like slippers.

And hiking boots and gardening wellies.

And unlike the rule for pants:
"If the junk is showing, it's time for throwing"

the rule is the slightly less snappy:
"If you can push through more than one toe, maybe it's now time to throw"

Please, do, share with me your thing that gets you through your day though.

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is coming together here

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Do you share your passwords with your wife? #BritishDadStuff

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Monday, 23 May 2016

Do you share your passwords with your wife? #BritishDadStuff

You know you are a Great British Dad...
...when you keep at least one password from your other half.

I don't know my wife's passwords and she doesn't know mine.
And we're both really comfortable with that.
It's not a boundary that either wants to go over.

We're at that stage where we've done so much over all sorts of bathroom boundaries - this is probably one final last bit of space for each other.

But then if something happened to me - suddenly - what would happen to all those electronic places?
Maybe they should die with me - never logged into again.

Can you put passwords in a will?

Or pass on the keys to your electronic junk?

We've got a joint password to keep the kids out of stuff.

It's on the tablet, several computers and the Freeview box.

But like the cereal packets, TV, fridge and my phone... our kids will crack it one day.

One day we'll slip - a moment of weakness - they'll see the digits and crack out all the electronicness we've kept from them.

There should be a ceremony for it - like a Bar Mitzvah.

I'm clearing out the computer and found this - wrote it 10 years ago - what if married couples handed over their passwords as part of their ceremony. (For "It's That Jo Caulfield Again" on Radio 4...)

I thought all the references in it would now be broken and dated, but weirdly looks like more puns than I thought might've survived.

I doubt I will ever get this many puns into one minute ever again.



Dearly beloved, we are gathered gathered here today, in the sight of God, to witness the passing of the password from Stuart to Josephine.

If anyone knows of any legal impediment to Josephine accessing the internet... please email now, or forever hold your I.S.P's.
Who is to give this password to his wife?

That's me. I do.

Stuart - will you take "Crazylegs3" as your password?
To download, Google... and E-bay.
To send and receive, in sickness and in health.
For as long as you are both online?



And Josephine, you are now entering an unsecured site.
Do you wish to continue?

I, Josephine Immaculata Caulfield, do take "Crazylegs3" to be my password.
To have and to... sometimes forget.
From this day forward, to bookmark and to add to favourites... for as long as we both login.

Could I now Ask Jeeves to bring forward the mouse please.

Stuart and Josephine - In the sight of the webmaster, and the furry gonk that personalises the top of the monitor, I now pronounce you LAN and Wi-fi client.
You may now exchange viruses.

From It's That Jo Caulfield Again, Radio 4, 2006
(also featuring Simon Greenall as the priest, and produced by Chris Neill)

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is coming together here

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My second biggest fear of writing comedy... #Scriptchat

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Sunday, 22 May 2016

My second biggest fear of writing comedy... #Scriptchat

I want to use a husband wanting a wife's password as a story idea for a sitcom.

But it feels so good - that there's something in there with loads to explore - that I don't even want to mention it, in case it gets mentioned or worse used and done better somewhere else.
(if it hasn't already).

What it other art forms did that?

"I'm not going to paint that picture because someone might nick the idea and paint the same thing."
"I've got an idea for some glass I'm going to blow. But I'll hold back or just tell some close friends about it, in case it gets blown the same way by someone else - or worse - get lifted by some massive glass manufacturing company."

When David Croft had the idea for 'Allo 'Allo in his hands, that I'm sure I read in his dark autobiography "You Have Been Watching" that he thought it was so brilliant and likely to happen somewhere else, that he urged the Head of Comedy to make it as quickly as possible before ITV came up with the something similar.

I love that sense of urgency, because it's batshit insane.

Even before the negative checking that you're not doing it yourself.

The other funny thing with comedy writing is that despite having your antennae up for nickers - you know the obvious deep down - that best stuff is always the stuff that only you can tell.

God forbid that you and only you came up with those two things to put together, or that reversal, or exaggeration or sarcasm that absolutely no-one else has thunk up (or tweeted or status updated) before.

Because there's no way that anyone could've ever actually gone along the exact same train of thought before in the history of human thought.

Is what you think.

Even though you know there's the stuff that only you can tell, or have a context that only you can set up.

It's untellable-by-someone-else-to-have-the-same-impact.
It's not nickable.
It's unnickable.
That's the good stuff.

And maybe that's the only stuff worth going for, and the irony - nature's cruelty - is that you need to put as much of that kind of stuff out as freely as possible to get to come up with more of it.

On the upside, my glass blowing is a bunch of arse.

Five more ways to bust writers block & procrastination, and other stories

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More things said by writers for my big list of thing that writers writ #amwriting #amwritingaboutwriting #thatdoesntcountreally

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Friday, 20 May 2016

More things said by writers for my big list of thing that writers writ #amwriting #amwritingaboutwriting #thatdoesntcountreally

Time to type up some more quotes from the ones I've scrawled in the back of my notebook, with a photo of a double-rainbow from out the back window to make it look all inspirational.

"What have we got?
Let's look at what we've already got"
-- third hand from Marta Kauffman, she might not have even said these actual words but it helps

"That's what an artist does, channel that revelation,
create something out of it, capture that moment."
-- Bob Lefsetz

"Because that's how an artist goes on, by creating.
Doing it whether anybody pays attention or not."
-- Bob Lefsetz

"If I had known how fast it goes
I would have shown you every day."
-- Wendy Waldman

"How do I know what I think,
until I see what I say?"
-- E.M. Forster

Added them to my How to write stuff page here

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Why Feed Your Family is For A Fiver #BritishDadStuff

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Thursday, 19 May 2016

Why Feed Your Family is For A Fiver #BritishDadStuff

You know you're a Great British Dad...
...when you think a little too hard about what a pound is worth.

Something really nice happened the other day.
So nice that I could see clear as day something not nice happening before my very eyes and I'm glad I didn't call it out.

I left my headphones on the train. I'm glued to these - years on my ears.
But they're so precious to me - so much a part of my day... that I left them on the train.
Like it's my sofa.

And you know how that feels - through the seven stages of losing your stuff: feeling dumb, anger at yourself, denial, bit of panic, and then acceptance.

It didn't feel good window shopping online for another pair - because it'll be exactly the same make and same colour teal.

Just at the very moment I'm about to hit "Buy now" - I get the email - the one that makes you want to kiss the screen - they've found my headphones and they're ready for collection, from the Lost Property Office.

I'm on a high.

Because I'm getting my stuff back - but also the chain of nice behind this email: someone got the item to a member of staff, who handed it to someone else who sent it all the way from wherever it was to the Lost Property Office in London, where it was indexed and filed and matched with the details I'd sent in online, and finally the time taken to get in touch with me.

And I'm on this high not even thinking through that chain of kindness in this grotty room, under the arches, that smells like bins - because that's where all the waste from this major station is put out.

It's a sign from the Universe that it still wants me in this game.

And I'm waiting behind a woman getting her thing back, and I'm noticing this dance where the items are handed back by an arm reaching round and holding it out of a door to the side.

The grateful woman takes it and tries to make small talk and [CLUNK!]
The door just slams shut.
And the room is empty again.

I'm thinking this place is really secure.

It's got a counter, with those security glass windows that you got in the 1970's.

So I ring the bell to let someone know I'm here.

I'm still on a high - giddy that I might get my nice headphones back.

I try making small talk with the guy who appears behind the glass - I'm curious - if I write my name or contact details on the thing - would they get in touch with me without me filling in a form? Or shouldn't I bother?

It's a dumb question - but I'm interested in how this guy's day works.

He shuts it down with a few words, and then I start to feel like a berk in a nice coat with a nice bag who's left his nice headphones lying around for everyone else to pick up.

And there's still no eye contact.

"Two quid"
I push through a £5 note.
He pushes back a 1970's clipboard where I sign on the form for the £2.
I push that back under the gap in the glass,
and he pushes back the change:

Just two pound coins.

And I'm looking at the coins [CLUNK!] and the arm is there stretched round the door holding my precious headphones. With the cord all skilfully coiled up.

I've been short-changed and there's the disembodied hand with my stuff waiting for me to take it and go. What are you going to do?

I took the headphones [CLUNK!]

The office was empty again.

I got my stuff back!
What happened there.
I'm in awe - it was such a beautiful dance, drilled, honed, practised and perfected over years.

All that effort.

For just a quid.

And without looking me in the eye, he helped me tip him for his diligent, thankless, kind work, round by the bins.

So why am I thinking about this pound and the dance?
What is that lizard thing in my brain that says "not good".

Did I just get disrespected?
So what.

Did I just lose a quid?
I just got my headphones back.

I'll spend 3 of them on a coffee.

By the way - why is overpriced coffee the way we measure things now?

Like "Feed Your Family For A Fiver".

How come "a Fiver" became the rock bottom standard for how well you're providing for your family?

Because some dead-eyed meeting got some ad agency some money by telling us that blowing more money in the supermarket is good for us.

I mean, I love my family - so why is that used against me?

That a Fiver - a Fiver - must be spent to keep them alive.

(By the way, it sticks in our brains because "Feeding your family" is Sacred, and "a Fiver" is Profane - it's Sacred and Profane).

I think I felt sad and guilty that the guy had to do that to get through the day.

He's just doing what maybe some companies do on a grander scale.
Getting an extra quid or two out of a situation.

And why not.
I'm good.
I've got my nice jacket, my nice bag, and my really nice headphones.

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad will come together here

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Men don't take my wife's secret superpower seriously, because it's a secret. #BritishDadStuff

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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Men don't take my wife's secret superpower seriously, because it's a secret. #BritishDadStuff

You know you are a Great British Dad...
...when the world completely ignores the Mum's life before when she was a Mum.

This is great when it comes up randomly.

My wife has a secret superpower.

And it's so secret that Men in the world don't realise how awesome it is.

Men don't realise, when they are talking to her about bathrooms, and even more specifically showers, that she is a total expert on how they work.

She is one of the few people who worked at one of the biggest shower companies in the world, on the technical helpline for fitters and plumbers.

And what's weirder is - it turns out bathrooms come up much more in conversations than you'd think.
Really often.
And it's always men, holding court on water pressures and sealant, with no idea whatsoever that my Wife is really really quiet about knowing her stuff.

It's really funny seeing them never be curious when she asks a really technical followup question.

...and completely fail to pick up on her expertise.

They just bang on some more about their bathroom problem and totally ignore the solution... that she's just said to them... out loud. And I'm thinking, Duuude. Take the hint. There is a clue in there - for your benefit - that it's very probably worn bearings in the pump. That you've just been told about. Twice.

I now realise this is a story that's less about how brilliant my Wife is and probably a little bit more about how dumb men are.


My free guide to Understanding Your British Dad is here

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What if I weren't a Dad. I'd make a terrible cult leader. #BritishDadStuff

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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

What if I weren't a Dad. I'd make a terrible cult leader. #BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you think about what you would be doing instead, if you weren't a Dad.

What if I weren't a Dad?

I'd make a terrible cult leader.

I'd give it a go though.

Sure, the orgies and berry gathering would go great.

Gathering berries and orgies.

They'd be covered.

That's a given.

I could even probably find somehow a way of combining the two.

But after that - I don't think I'd have much beyond the orgies and the gathering berries.

They'd be all whiny after, like, a week.

They'd moan: "I've got a sore bum!"

From their limited diet of all those berries.

My almost complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is here

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The closing theme from MONKEY cant get it out of my head - its #35 in my top 100 FAVE TV MOMENTS

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Monday, 16 May 2016

The closing theme from MONKEY cant get it out of my head - its #35 in my top 100 FAVE TV MOMENTS

It's another one of my top 100 fave TV moments- but again it's about some music that jammed in my head.

For years I've been humming this tune and couldn't place where it was from.

Like the closing theme from Crown Court - you don't get it because it's tucked away in the closing credits.

(back when credits lasted a minute and a half...)

Then I remembered...

It's the closing theme from MONKEY - that weird show that was on BBC2 around tea-time in the late seventies, and just before "Maggie" - the dour BBC Scotland drama with it's own earworm title music. (won't link to it now - I'll do a proper post for it...)

Everyone who saw it remembers the opening titles to Monkey.


But that closing music - it just lodged in my brain.

I guarantee you'll be sick of it by the end of this post.

Not me.

Here's how the closing titles looked and sounded like originally on TV in Japan.


I've played it so many times, my 5 year old girl now knows it word for word.

And in the years to come, it'll almost certainly bug her where it came from...

What's beautiful about looking this up on YouTube, is seeing the band slowly age as they play it over the decades...

Here they are all funky and bright in the 1970's when the song was born... (maybe)

Here they are in the 1980's...

And the 1990's (1994, I think)...

And finally 2013...

I think my favourite version is this one (in English, with a harp) from 2006...

There's something cathartic about seeing a band age while they play the same song over 40 years.

Somehow it feels right for this tune too...

Sing along now...!

A long time ago when men were all babes,
There was a land of the free

Fantasy and dreams, were its untouched wealth,
And goodness and love were real.

Each man desires to reach Gandhara, his very own utopia,
In the striving, in the seeking soul,
Man can see Gandhara...

In Gandhara, Gandhara, They say it was in India
Gandhara, Gandhara, The place of light Gandhara

Though long ago and far, Beyond the winding road,
Always beyond every bend,

A beautiful land still waits for the few,
Who make it to the very end.

Each man desires to reach Gandhara, his very own utopia,
In the striving, in the seeking soul,
Man can see Gandhara

In Gandhara, Gandhara, They say it was in India
Gandhara, Gandhara, The place of light Gandhara

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"You're missing the point!" and the laziest comment on the Internet

My full Top 100 TV list is coming together here...

And here are the last few...

#26 Late Night with David Letterman

#27 Chopper Squad

#28 CHiPs

#29 The BBC Grandstand Fight

#30 Rainbow

#31 The Theme From Juliet Bravo

#32 Any and every James Hunt documentary...

#33 Foreign language sketch shows

#34 How to empty your house of stuff in 3 months and 2 minutes - NBC Today Marie Kondo package

In Gandara, Gandara, Get these posts daily by email. Gandara, Gandara, thanks for subscribing, helps me keep this going...

Sunday, 15 May 2016

"You're missing the point!" and the laziest comment on the Internet

There's something I see all the time on the Internet, and it's so dumb - so lazy - that I want to do something every time I read it.

But I know that reaction right there means I've already lost.
So why bother.

But I'm going to try and do it now.
Because I don't know what I am trying to win.
And I don't know why I am spending time on this.
But here I am.
So here goes.
Wish me luck!

"You're missing the point."


"You're completely missing the point."

No... No, I'm pretty much done.

"But he misses the point entirely..."

No, really, I got down what I wanted to put, but thanks.

"It's a crucial point missed."

Okay - this is important... You're telling us that not only have we written something incorrectly...
But that we did it so badly that we didn't even mention that thing that you - a complete stranger - wanted us to write?

I don't get it. I feel terrible, obviously.
But I don't get it.

Whenever "missing the point" comes up - it's pretty much always on something that someone put out into the world.

It's out there.
And it hurts no-one.
And maybe it's just a thought on a subject that they thought was worth writing about, or exploring or something they're just sharing.

But they "missed the point."

And you're so incensed about this - that you've finally had to speak up.

And put them right on not writing that thing that you didn't write.

In a way that's so lazy that you're going flip a 4 word shorthand to nail that image of you, with your arms folded, pronouncing judgement, on the thing that we didn't type for you.

But I don't think that's what really winds me up about "you're missing the point".

Because I get that "you're missing the point" is to wind us up with a deliberate tic.

It's like "chillax."

The beauty of chillax though is that it's cheekily obnoxious - because it's ordering you to lighten up - with a word that would wind anyone up. So in a weird way it's about bringing you together, because it deliberately back-handedly acknowledges your wound up state.

"You're missing the point" though is about saying "you're over there, and I'm here, and you've failed - because you're not doing what I can't even be bothered to do myself."

Well, there's a really easy fix for that.

And that's to say thank you.

Maybe I'll remember now to stop looking for bones to pick - that took about the same amount of time to think through as type this sentence.

You're right.
I missed the point.

I'm now going to try and spend some more time, and focus some more energy, on missing some more points.

And who knows.
Perhaps I'll find the courage to do that, instead of being here in the comments.

(see also: "baffled")

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad that's work-in-progress

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Sid Caesar on writing comedy at the dawn of Television #scriptchat

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Friday, 13 May 2016

Sid Caesar on writing comedy at the dawn of Television #scriptchat

Adding this to my big tipper dump of 'fave things on the web'...

Can't look away from the parallels between digital and online experiments and the buzz of trying out new stuff, and what it must have been like working in TV in the 1950's...

The not really knowing what truly works...

Relying on legacy media techniques and practices to draw upon (which back then were radio, stage and film)...

Anyway, here's Sid Caesar talking about creating content in the 1950's.

Sid Caesar on losing his temper - EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG

Loved this section at 5:15 - about writing and creating TV
You don't pick at little things.
When it's all over, then you take a look at the rehearsal.
Then you say this is what I don't like. But you don't pick.

When somebody's creating something, you don't pick at it.
You let it develop first.
Any way it goes.
While we were writing, we'll write more, we'll cut later.
Because then you keep the flow going.
When you keep the flow going, you keep the creative juices going.
Because when you're on a roll, it's very difficult to get on a roll.
When you do get on a roll, you've got to keep it going.
Don't pick pick pick. You learn that.

here's the whole damn thing:

Sid Caesar Interview Part 1 of 6 - EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG" - EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG

Put all my fave things on the web here...

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Costa asks me the same questions every time Im in there. And I worry about giving the same answer. #BritishDadStuff

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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Costa asks me the same questions every time Im in there. And I worry about giving the same answer. #BritishDadStuff

You know you're a Great British Dad...
...when you feel reassuringly taken for granted.

Costa has been asking me at the till if I would "like to try their new blend of coffee" for more money for over a year.

We always do this same exact dance, every time:

- I ask for a coffee.

- They ask if I would like to try their new blend.

- I always politely decline.
(Sometimes I ask if it costs more - not by being arsey, but just because I've been asked so many times, I forget the answer.
It does.)

- They ask if I'd like any pastries or cakes today.
Worded weirdly exactly the same way each time.

- I always politely decline.
(Though sometimes I do that lame joke where I pat my stomach and say no, I'm big enough as I am.
Which isn't even funny.
But they're not changing their material...
How have I got so jaded that I'm not trying out new stuff though?

"I've already had my five-per-day, thanks."
"Can we do some kind of deal for them for no money."
"An inch on the lips is a lifetime on the hips, no, wait that's not right."
"I would. But their profanity is an offence to the eyes of Our Lord."

I've got nothing.

And it's even more weird, because I know we're doing this dance because the poor till girl would probably get yelled at by her Manager, but her Manager is really nice so maybe they're under the kosh of some secret shopper and internal review thing.

But I've been doing this dance now for nearly a year now, so when I'm asked if I want to try the New Blend, does that mean it's still a new blend?

I've been turning it down for so long, am I now missing out on something.

But that's what they want me to think.

I don't know what I am doing any more.

I can't even order a cup of coffee right.

I changed my order to a herbal tea.

Turns out it's less money.

I'll be okay.

So long as there's not a new blend of tea.

Would you like to try my New Blend of Guide to Understanding Your British Dad. When it's complete.

Would you like to try my New Blend of previous post?
I try and listen to my wife. But she has nail varnish eyeballs. #BritishDadStuff

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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

I try and listen to my wife. But she has nail varnish eyeballs. #BritishDadStuff

You that know you are a Great British Dad...
...when you realise that you have the attention span of a crack baby.

My wife was trying to have a conversation with me.

Which - I know - is difficult at the best of times.

I know that I'm meant to concentrate, and listen.

Without thinking "why is she telling me this?"

Or "but how can I fix that?"

And I was there - I swear to God - I was there.

Concentrating. And listening.

And I'm not doing it because it's a really important conversation about our kids' education - I'm totally there, doing it for the hell of it.

Anyway, we weren't having a row but there was a difficult bit in the chat - and she starts pushing her fingers into her eyelids to release her frustration.

Here's me, explaining my reconstruction in video form...

But she's got blue nail varnish on her fingernails.

So now it looks like she's got these mad eyeballs.

And they're being magnified by the glasses.

And she's still talking.
About something really important.

And she's still moving them around - all wonky and all over the place.

At this vital moment - just when I've got to concentrate and listen the hardest - she's there, throwing her googly eyes around like some mental Japanese Nintendo villain.
Or something goofy off an app.

She does not realise how hilarious she is looking right now, and I can't tell her, and then there's that pause.

"So what do you think? About what I just said?"

Aww, balls.

I'm trying.

Yep, I'm trying.

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is here

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Stealing material from my family for my scripts. Or selling Bum World to Cbeebies. #BritishDadStuff

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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Stealing material from my family for my scripts. Or selling Bum World to Cbeebies. #BritishDadStuff

You know that you are a Great British Dad...
...when you try to use your family to make money.

I often steal material for my scripts from my family.

I obviously don't tell them that, and lie that it's through deep observation and careful capture.

But that's because I haven't got round to going through all my cameraphone videos to see if I can get any of them onto You've Been Framed, and steal from them directly.

Ahh, parent-assigned photographic consent.

where baby powder goes

By the way, that one literally just got rejected by You've Been Framed.

ITV didn't want it.

Anyway, I'm stealing this instead:

Look at this lovely thing my daughter built.

She brought it to me.

Thank God she explained it to me.

"It's Daddy. In London."

I love how she's just taken Emma (not Olivia) from the Lego Friends™ to make me by taking off her hair.

There I am, staring at the Monolithic City, with its token bit of greenery.
Not knowing where to start.

My son builds these too.

But this is what I am stealing:
Look at this lovely thing my son made.


Always thinking ahead, like his Dad - he's worked these up like a format.

That's POO LAND™.


Featuring the wee chute and nappy window.

(Those SATS will bang those typos for six.
Thanks Department for Education.)

I don't yet know how I can make money from this.

Perhaps there isn't a way, and that's what defines it as Art.

Though funny that I spend all day writing scripts for this age group, meanwhile kids entertain themselves with things which are completely unbroadcastable.

I'll still see if I can somehow work it into a pitch for Cbeebies.

All my British Dad Stuff is here

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On being an Introvert - and I only just realised it.

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Monday, 9 May 2016

On being an Introvert - and I only just realised it.

Back in 2000, everything seemed so clear.
And I'm embarrassed to say I think I probably was on a wrong course.

It took me to hit 44 to realise that I am an Introvert.

And that that's okay.

My struggle was trying to keep up with Extroverts.

Or worse, trying to be one myself.

But they're idiots.
Lovely, loud, impressive, entertaining, act-now-think-later, loveable idiots.

And though they'd never say it.
They need Introverts to do the deep thinking, in solitude, or on one-on-one, for them.

Which is what I do best.
So brilliantly that I'm embarrassed to say it.

Now I show up, by thinking of stuff, and writing it down.

I have no idea where it is all going, but I'm happy.
And that scares me.
It's easier fitting in and doing a job that doesn't involve that.

But I fear I've constructively dismissed myself from being employed like that ever again. So I just keep thinking up stuff and writing it down.

Last week I crossed the road with Dad outside his flat.
He lead the way, and then 20 metres along we passed the brand new zebra crossing put there. He snorted at himself, turned to me and said "Dunno why I don't use that. I don't like to! And I don't know why..."

I know exactly why.

Like me, he's an Introvert.

And he doesn't want to inconvenience other people so much, that it is easier for him to not cause someone to have to stop to allow him to cross the road.
Because it means he's not impinging on someone else's drive, trip or day.

We're big dumb loveable idiots too.

There are different flavours of Introversion, but I think this is how we operate in the world.

Anyway, all of that, happily, has come from seeing this, and reading her book, "Quiet" (amazon link here - As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.).

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

Society looks like it's skewed towards the Extroverts - the emphasis placed on the importance of group activity in school... offices made open-plan as the norm... the hundreds and hundreds of TV shows about 'performing', solely to please a judge or gatekeeper...

(By the way,
what happened to the TV shows that were about expressing yourself?
On your own terms?
Not to impress a judge?
Because that's who you are?
Curiously, these are the storytelling basics of Disney-Pixar, and our audience response probably shows they make for much much more compelling stories).

But it's not surprising, because Extroverts naturally make more noise about it being the 'right thing to do'.

Nature created a perverse balance... because Extroverts need someone to perform to or boss around (boss around... not lead)...

And maybe, just maybe that's another reason why we have Introverts.

If you're an Extrovert, don't be scared of us.

I know it's weird that we don't engage with your public displays of Alpha behaviour.

And that you don't trust us, because we're not making as much noise as you are.

But maybe we're thinking up something even better - as well as the right time to put it into the world.

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is here

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I can feel pylon power cables in my head. What a rubbish super-power to have. #BritishDadStuff

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Sunday, 8 May 2016

I can feel pylon power cables in my head. What a rubbish super-power to have. #BritishDadStuff

You know you are a Great British Dad...
...when you realise that you have a super-specific super-power.

I went on a school sponsored walk yesterday, and it was round a village on some country lanes.

The route criss-crossed a couple of times under some National Grid pylons.

Here's the thing - there's no easy way of writing this.

I can feel the power in my head when I go under power cables.

No-one else says they can, and so I think I'm a little nuts for saying it.

When we're driving on the A3 - I can feel every power cable we drive under - like it's something stroking my head.

It's so messed up that I reckon I can even feel when the cables aren't fully energised (which you'd think would be the very way to prove that I can't feel it at all).

But I'm going to say it again - I can feel electricity in my head when I am under pylon cables.

I would make it sound less crazy by saying maybe it's my shaved head.
Some kind of static charge on my super-short hairs.

But no.
I can feel that power as a throb inside my head.
And other people say they can't.

What a rubbish super-power to have.

I can detect power cables that are on 170 metre high pylons.

And... I can detect - with my head - whether there is 400,00 volts flowing through those cables, or less.

I will write to the National Grid and see if my natural gift can help them in any way.

See - already - I'm looking to use my power powers for profit.

This isn't going to end well.


I will add this to the Alpha Male chapter of my book, Understanding Your Great British Dad. Here.

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Vulnerability for writers... like Louis CK... #Scriptchat

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Friday, 6 May 2016

Vulnerability for writers... like Louis CK... #Scriptchat

It's always difficult putting a post out on a Friday.

Nobody reads blogs during Friday daytime or nights.

But here we are.

So thought I'd add a few links to my writers' page of links on vulnerability.

The first is one of my favourite Louis CK videos - where he's speaking in tribute about another standup legend, George Carlin.

I'm not really up on his work - apart from being the time ship guy in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (and thinking, wrongly, that he was the original teacher in that sitcom, Head of The Class...)

But to hear about what drives Louis CK, and what he feels his turnaround was is pretty special.

Louis CK honors George Carlin

"I was doing the same hour of comedy for 15 years..."
"He just kept putting specials out every year... how do you do that?
I just chuck out the material and start again."

The other one I was put onto by a brilliant director mate - literally about vulnerability.
I first watched these videos the other way round, Brene Brown talks about what happened after the second video - it's the next link down, you'll get it...

Brené Brown: Listening to shame

The Power of Vulnerability | Brene Brown

Adding them to my How to write scripts and comedy page of everything useful

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The coffee shop grift... Couple working over a barista...

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Thursday, 5 May 2016

The coffee shop grift... Working over a barista...


NICK waits with a crowd of people at the end of the counter waiting for his coffee.

"Nick" calls the Barista.

A woman swoops the latte away.

A coffee is put down and taken away.
More cups put down and handed away.

The Barista double-takes.

"Sorry, what drinks are you waiting on?"
"A latte?"

It's not there. The Barista apologises again and hands over a new drink.

Outside the shop, Nick walks out with the latte and joins the woman who took the first coffee.

They chink cups, and walk on happily.

ROXXIE (O.S.): "It's stealing."


NICK and ROXXIE on their sofa with mugs of tea.

"The only thing they care about is giving good service.
That's what costs them actual money. That's all they care about."

ROXXIE is unmoved: "It's still stealing though."

"But it's not my fault if someone else took my drink!"

ROXXIE's decision is final.
"Nope. Doesn't count. Disqualified."

"But I'm the victim, and they get the win from making me - the customer - happy."
NICK's on thin ice.

"You're only happy because you're not the thief in the plan. I am!"

"But you've long gone. And whose to say you didn't make an honest mistake?"

ROXXIE (AD LIB) "You fail! Login not recognised. Try again... Come up with another plan."

A moment.

"Oooh ooh, I know" NICK lightbulbs:"Scooping up receipts from a self-service till... going round gathering all the products on them and walking out the supermarket... with the receipts for everything..."

Longer pause.


My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is here

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Holding my son's hand - our days are numbered... #BritishDadStuff

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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Holding my son's hand - our days are numbered... #BritishDadStuff

(source: us in 2012...)

You know you're a Great British Dad...
...when you know deep down that your hand-holding days are numbered.

I love holding my 7 year old son's hand.

Because I know that it is going to end very very soon.

I can still lift him onto my shoulders.

Only just.

So I know that it is going to end very very soon.

But it's the holding hands that I am going to miss.

He does it so unselfconsciously.

And it's for safety.

Soon he won't need that.

And he'll be away in the world.

But for now, I can still hold his hand.

And put him on my head.

He says I should workout more, and eat less chocolate - so that I can still hoist him up.

I don't know which will come first - my inability to lift him up, or him not needing to go on my shoulders.

But it's the holding hands that I think I'm going to miss the most.

My complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is here, and is still work-in-progress

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Why are we testing 6 year olds again? #BritishDadStuff #StopStealingDreams

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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Why are we testing 6 year olds again? #BritishDadStuff #StopStealingDreams

Our kids are in school today - on the day of mass UK protest against exams in Year 2.

Tests for 6 year olds.

Except it seems the tests are for everyone but the 6 year olds.

It's to measure schools against congruence to a curve.

Because this means more productivity that can be squeezed, improved and increased.

But what is this for?

Our kids are at school today because our school is brilliant.

They didn't skew the entire class day towards gaming a daft system

(to get better at the test
rather than be motivated scholars,
or fulfill their potential
or be happy)...

and they didn't waste the entire school year cramming for the "SPaG" test that was cancelled 2 weeks ago.

We are beyond lucky that our school actually devotes time to
and curiosity.

Which, sadly, doesn't seem to be measured by the state.

Which bizarrely gets happy kids who are more inclined to fulfil their potential

(rather than a system that says
"You failed.
You must be processed again.
To judge whether the staff processed you correctly").

I'm not a Commie - I'm all for the state running a system to create a compliant workforce and future employees that fit in and active consumers to buy goods and services from other companies.

But now - more than ever - don't you think we're at a crossroads?

Thanks to the Internet and the Great Disruption, the world's economy doesn't place a value on the cheapest,
or the most "normal"...

but what it does skew us all to look out for...
(and pay for, and vote for, and talk about, and care about...) new. art. 'will it touch us?' 'is it valuable?'

And yet we pay for a billion pound system, and judge our congruence to the statistics, and ourselves as students, and ourselves as parents in a system of mass testing which doesn't encourage a single one of these qualities.

This video asks - WHAT IS SCHOOL FOR? - far better than I can.

And if you're curious, here's a link to a very very simple question:
What is school for? (#StopStealingDreams)

Should we pay for a system where the question is:
"Will this be on the test?"

Because I'm not convinced it will make my kids happy or fulfill their life's potential.

"You've got to learn the basics, in order to excel."

Is the best way to learn the basics...
by rote...
to an arbitrary schedule...
(already skewed wrongly if you're born in either August or June)...
spending a fortune on teachers...
who merely tick boxes to prove whether they are processing those boxes correctly?

I'm not so sure.

And to my kids - if you're reading this in the future (by the way, please go and do something more important than reading this: create your own art - with less fear than me...).

But I promise I won't judge you by your grades.

Because you'll achieve greatness by following your passion - and exploring language or mathematics or science or the techniques of art - under your own steam.

And, as you know, you have the tools to do that right now - in front of you on this computer or smartphone or that LCD tattoo on your arm.

I wish our Education system had the foresight to encourage you to explore your passions and your strengths, rather than spending my money and your time processing mass standardised tests.

But it doesn't.

So you are on your own (with our support and love and backing).

Which is a good thing.

Politicians can't spout off or interfere with that.

And you will profit from it, far more than the companies who are legally obliged to exploit you for profit.

Forget the profit.
You'll be happy.

My almost complete guide to Understanding Your British Dad is here (work-in-progress)

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The mysterious knickers jammed down the back of my single man's radiator

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