Monday, October 31, 2005

Wow... Thanks City Pages!

I just discovered that I'm the Minnesota Blog of the Day on the City Pages - Blotter.

Thanks City Pages!
MN Blog Directory at the City Pages

Tee hee...

Mobile Phones (or Cell phones, if you're a Yank)


I've been reading about mobile phones and plans on my friend N8's page.

He's just finally "bitten the bullet" a few weeks ago, and I actually appreciated reading about his tribulations regarding picking a good service provider.

It's funny... I was a bit concerned about the whole affair.

Now, I used to be with T-Mobile when I was previously living here in the States. I had originally joined a service called "Voice Stream" but they were bought out by T-mobile in the second year of my two year contract. Now... They didn't do anything "wrong," as the service I had signed up for, was continued through T-Mobile. No arguments. However, I wasn't about to go through them again. Why? Because I had finished my contract by almost an entire year... And when I moved to Britain, I cancelled my account. My phone wouldn't have worked in England, so... I thought, shit, I'll get a phone in England, and not keep a $50.00 bill for no reason.

It took eight months, and a lawyer to get T-Mobile to STOP CHARGING ME! (Funny enough, I was on a Pay-as-You-Go T-Mobile plan in Britain. It's a fine company in Europe... Just not the American-affiliate.)


So... I knew that when I came back... I'd never repeat that nightmare.

Anyhoo... I was down to just a few choices, then really. Sprint... Which I remember from five years ago as being a bit dodgy with the whole "coverage" of the Twin Cities. Not to mention that they're joining with Nextel (a walkie-talkie cell phone company, don't really get it myself), so Sprint was out.

Verizon is the biggest and most complete coverage-area sort of company in the United States. Their "coverage map" is DAMNED impressive... The whole country is red. (Which I think is a political comment by the company... Saying that the whole of the US is a Republican country. Just kidding... Well, only sort of kidding.) I was pretty happy with that amount of coverage. They have a "family plan" which meant that I could get a phone for both myself and my wife... And I was really pleased with that. But... When I brought up tri-band phones, and international calling... You should have seen the guy's face! It was priceless. He finally swallowed a rather large lump, and said that I would probably be served better elsewhere. I looked at him, and said, "why?" He answered basically, that Verizon has the best coverage in the US and that it's wonderful for most Americans, but if I'm going to be calling/going/using a phone anywhere outside of the States, Verizon wouldn't be able to cover it.

Typical Yank company.

So... Finally... I go down to the Cingular Wireless kiosk. I talk to the guy... Family Plan: Check. Long-distance in the US: Check. European coverage: Check. Tri-band phone: Check. $69.00 a month for two lines and all the bells and whistles: Check.

So... Yeah... Went through them. Got two camera-flip-phones for $80.00 TOTAL, after rebates too!

A bit of advice for any American companies out there... I realise that American's have the fewest passports issued to citizens in the free-world.

That doesn't mean that some of us don't actually get the FUCK OUT OF HERE OCCASIONALLY! 'K?


Yay for fun times. Now... Just have to find a friggin car. Saturn here I come.


Sunday, October 30, 2005


Nothing really to report.

'Cause Mick is doing it... I thought, what the hell, I will too.

Mick's Nanowrimo Novel

My (Tuckmac's) Nanowrimo Novel

If you haven't clicked, and are wondering what the hell Nanowrimo is: Click here now.

I'll be back doing the "news" that cheeses me off tomorrow!

Have a good Sunday.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Dude... I got nothing.

I went through all of them...

NY Times
Star and Sickle
BBC News
City Pages

NO-thing. Nada, zip, zero, bubbkis!

What a deal. I mean... Look, there's stuff about good ol' Scooter Libby being indicted... But... Really... Everyone's going to be writing and blogging about that story. I'm not interested. Rove is NOT indicted but he's "still under investigation." Right... That just means that they really couldn't get him for anything, so they've basically given up.


So... I'll just talk a bit about Tuckmac's life.

Went out with Mick last night to Kieran's Irish Pub. It was fun. Although most of the staff that we used to know has left, or is in the process of leaving... We were still able to see a few old friends... Nancy and Aisling(on right in photo) for a few examples. And it was pretty fun. Mick was a good boy, and drove whilst I got pretty well pissed (Brit "pissed" not Yank "pissed") and did the whole "I'm going to hate myself tomorrow, but I don't care" thing.

Good times though.

Yes... I did hate myself this morning. The hangovers just seem to get worse with every year. Gah. But, I'm almost recovered now.

Also... Due to Mick and others... I've joined up in the Nanowrimo thing... Should be interesting attempting to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Gah. Och weel... It's worth a shot, right?

Spoke with My Lady today... Since we've discovered the fact that she CAN actually be in the States with a tourist visa, whilst waiting for the other "types" of visas to come through... We've talked about just when she's going to be coming over.

It looks as though it may be by the end of November! YAY!

So... Stay tuned for further updates about our fun-time visa woes!

I'm off... Slànte!

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Friday, and I'm a Yank sans Car.

It's strange... I didn't actually have a car whilst living in Britain. I really didn't need one. I had friends with cars, and the occasional "house moving" or "studio trip" from the house to my Uni. Studio were covered by asking them for a lift.

Beyond that, I didn't have to even think about using a car. Why? I could walk from my house to KIAD, I could then walk to the grocery store, and then walk home. Meandering down to the pub in the evening was simple, and much safer than getting into a Renault Clio and attempting to drive home after 10 pints of Guinness. It was very freeing, this status of non-driver.

However, I'm back in the US. The land of few sidewalks (pavement to my Brit friends) and enormous S.U.V.'s battering at you with their "jet-wash" of air passing the lone pedestrian at 60 mph in complete disregard of safety, or gas consumption but, I digress...

I kicked a car two days ago. I was walking in down-town Bloomington. (Okay, I'm being a bit silly) Anyhoo... The main-drag of 98th Street and Lyndale Ave. (It's the place where we have the free-standing Bloomington Clock Tower which is a piece of horrific architectural drivel, but again, I digress.) I was crossing the street, attempting to get from one huge spralling shopping centre to another, and I waited... And waited... And waited for the "walk light" to illuminate... It finally did... I began walking, and the old lady in her giant Caddy turning right (against the light) almost plowed into me... Well, I jumped back, and waited until the lady turned... Again, I attempt to cross the street... Only to narrowly miss being splattered by a big lorry. Finally... Third try is the charm, right? I attempt the crossing (that again is meant to be MY RIGHT OF WAY) and a boy-racer in his souped up piece of shite Beretta turns into me...

By that point I was angry enough to throw my personal safety out the window and stand my ground. He kept coming so I turned... Jumped and kicked the front of his car.

Brakes screeching... Finger gestures flying... And I then (standing on the fucker's bumper) jumped down and resumed crossing the street... (now against the light, as I had taken 3 minutes to attempt to cross the road).


I hate being a pedestrian in America. The arse-holes.


Sorry about that.

First: A good lesson in Sarcasm from a Brit's standpoint. Yanks, take notice.

Secondly... A wonderful article where the editorial staff of my local "Star and Sickle" get a bit arsey with the Pres over his nomination of Harriet Miers. "Editorial: Harriet Miers' failure is president's too: The court and public deserve a more serious nomination."

And a last link that actually surprised me: Et tu SULU? Good for you mate! Good on you!

My friend Mick is thinking of doing this "Writing Thing" and I have to admit... I'm rather enthusiastic about it too... Think I should join in? Let me know, readers... Let me know. Do you think that Tuckmac should attempt his first novel? Well do you?

Slànte - T

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Quick one today

Don't have a bunch of time.


(Stop reading if you're looking for a rant, as I'm too giddy to rant)


My wife is going to come and visit in mid-December.

That's right... My Lady is coming to Minnesota!!!

I've spoken to an immigration lawyer, and the paperwork is now getting started.

There's lot's to do, but whilst all the stuff is being processed, there's no reason for My Lady to not come over on a tourist visa.

She'll have to leave... And come back... And leave... And come back again (as the visa's only last for 90 days) but...

It's better than waiting for over a YEAR for the Green-card to come through.

I'm just giddy.

Party time?

Oh Yeah....



Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mmmm... Coffee.

I've been enjoying the coffee machine. It's a "Mr. Coffee" and it is so nice to have SEVERAL cups of coffee every morning, rather than one or two out of a bloody café tiérre. Damn thing...


I was going to write about the "milestone" our government has reached.... But Mick beat me to it. And, may I say, did a much better job of commenting on it than I would've done.

Then I was going to write about all the stuff that I've had to do... And all the things that I've had to try to accomplish, but... My Lady is dealing with quite a bit more than I back in Scotland, so it didn't seem like a good plan to kvetch.

And So... I was at a loss as of what to actually put in my blog today...

Thank all the gods for my friend ROB! That's right... He's sent me a wonderful/funny/rude/amazing flash-link through e-mail.

I'm not sure where you GET this stuff, Rob... But you consistently give me a chuckle! Cheers to YOU Rob, and...

For all of you... Do NOT click on this link if you're at work. Or if you have kids sitting in the room. It's very vulgar and rude... There is swearing... There is a LOT of swearing... And it's a "song" with a flash animation... So even if you're wearing head-phones... The words on the screen may get you into trouble in several Bible-belt US States... Or the republic of Conga.

So... Click if you dare:
London Underground.

More tomorrow. Cheers readers!


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tuesday, it's a feeling.

Hello readers.

Okay, I talked about this way back in June, and put up a link to a great "bollocking" of Normy Coleman by the Scottish MP George Galloway, during a Senate Hearing. (June Entry).

Mr. Galloway is now being accused by OUR US government of perjuring himself. Galloway challenges US Senators.


Look, if the guy is actually guilty, then okay... But the fact is, he's already won compensation against a British Tabloid for this same story... So... The British courts obviously side with Galloway. Um... So... Good luck Mr. Galloway!

And you know what? I LOVE Sweden. They make a tree-hugger like myself look like a fricking lumberjack!

Gods bless you Ms. Parks.

And I'm sorry, but did anyone ever doubt that Cheney is the anti-Christ? Cheney Told Aide of C.I.A. Officer, Lawyers Report. This Grand-Jury is really starting to get interesting. Hmm...

Okay... A bit of "personal" stuff. I've arranged a meeting with an immigration lawyer for Thursday. So... I'm looking forward to learning about how and what we have to do to get my wife to be able to come over to the States. Please, readers... Keep your fingers crossed. 'K?

Slànte - T

Monday, October 24, 2005

Okay... Back to some serious opinion stuff.

Greetings readers.

To my regular readers... I apologise. I've been filling up my blog with all sorts of personal flack, and I should really return to a "regularly scheduled programme" of political opinion and pithy commentary.

That's not to say that I won't still be throwing up the occasional "Tuckmac Story Hour" stuff, 'cause... It's my blog, and I can do what I want... But...

Here goes:

First... Iraq. Gah. I love how the news today (except about 12 more people dead by shootings) is all about the Sunni Muslims and their disdain of the draft-constitution for Iraq. Okay... Folks... Think about this. This has been a minority controlling group of people, due to the Baath party and Sadaam. Now suddenly... The Kurds and Shite Muslims are able to have a voice, and the Sunni folks don't like it.


Next... A wee bit of technology news: Apple faces iPod Nano litigation. Okay... So I was talking to a guy, let's call him: "Bob." Anyhoo... Talking with Bob, and he goes on and on about shite Apple, and how their products are shite, and everything "Apple" is shite, and they deserve this. After reading the article, you'll notice that it seems to be two men that are pissy about their product. Okay... The iPod is the biggest selling music player in the world. A few people getting a bum deal when MILLIONS of the product have gone out and have happy owners... Is really not that surprising.

Bob works for a PC company, and hates Apple. So... you be the judge here. I for one LOVE Apple... Love my iPod (although the 3rd Gen iPod I have DOES have battery problems... I still get use out of the thing by attaching it (plugged in) to my stereo. So... I've had three years of happy iPod-ness.

Kiss my ass Bob.

Okay... And 'cause I'm home, and I still love the City Pages, although it's about to be "merged" again, and may soon suck...

First a funny photo by one of my heros: View Master.

A Jim Walsh article about a guy building a labyrinth in his back-garden. The whole "spiritual" thing is comforting for me. Especially as the US is getting SO BLOODY CHRISTIAN THAT I WANT TO PUKE.


Vomit on my feet as I type this! Ick.

Okay... Finally... Something that really spoke to me. The revamp of Lake Street. First a bit of background for my non-Twin Citian readers:

I basically grew up in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I've moved around a bit due to my father living elsewhere, and of course the whole "Tuckmac can't decide on a university" thing. However, as my Mother's family has grown up here in the Twin Cities, therefore I too have been here on and off for over 30 years. Lake Street was always this amazing place to me. My Mother used to work down by that area, and I used to take the city bus from school to go down and visit her at Abbot Northwestern Hospital (she worked there, she wasn't a patient.) I loved the multi-cultural aspects of this street. It's been a major part of Minneapolis for over a hundred years... There's still a "saddle shop" there from the old "Western" days. Now it's become very revitalised due to the new influx of immigrants from Mexico and Somalia. I used to be scared to go there (that titilating sort of fear, I'd still go... Never stop me.) but now... It's perfectly safe. Unless it's late at night, and you stumble across a drug-deal or something... Which, yes... Does occur. It IS an American City, for christssake. Anyhoo... Now... Now...

It's being yuppy-fied. And I find that sad. I was out with my friend Mick yesterday, and was disgusted by what has happened to Uptown (also on Lake Street.) It used to be a bit of a "counter-cultural" area... Goths, Punks, Teens and sweaty boys trying to pick up fish-net stocking'd black-lipstick wearing birds... Now it's a yuppie zone from hell...

It bugged me. I hate the loss of actual culture for the fake "yuppie" ideal of "culture." and it's happening everywhere back here in the Cities! Gah!

Anyhoo... They're trying to do that to the entire stretch of Lake Street... 6 miles of multi-cultural excitement to be repaved and turned into a strip of Starbucks and Fern-bars.

What a fucking loss.


Well... Here's the article. It's very well written, and the author has a good head on his shoulders.

Seriously... Please read the article. To those in Canterbury... Think about how High Street has dried up due to the new Whitefriars build.

It's a sad thing. Look... It's too late for Lake Street. Just as it's too late for High Street in Canterbury. But that doesn't mean that there aren't "gems" still out there that are in danger. It's our job to try to block this yuppification as much as we possibly can. For our future, for our children's future!

[cue "Les Mis" theme]

Okay... I'm off. Hope you enjoyed a bit of the "Tuckmac Rant" today.

Be strong, readers!

-- T

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Notice the change in title.

That's right folks. I'm back in the U-S-of-A.




Anyhoo... The wait for the flight in Edinburgh was moderately awful. As I was leaving my wife behind me. It was honestly the most AWFUL thing I've ever done in my life.

The flights in general were okay, I suppose. The quick hop to Amsterdam was "quick." and the security on the gate for the U.S. leg of the journey was rather nazi-esque, but I guess one has to feel safer, right?

The flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis is horrifically long. But it went all right. It's about 10 hours, and so one's body is pretty much screaming at one self, but... I survived. Came back and was picked up at the airport from my Mother, it was good to see her. Went out with Mick and his wife Michelle.... Was great to see them. And went to bed at 12:00 midnight Minnesotan time, or 6 am the next DAY on my own time (according to the British time-zone.) SO...

I'm back.

Today I'm just getting myself put back together... And tomorrow starts the quest for a visa for my wife to come join me.

I hope all my readers (on both sides of the pond) are well... And know that I miss folks already!

Love ya, Slànte - T

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Hello readers.

I'm off. In a few hours I'll be winging my way back to the States.

I'm really depressed to be leaving my wife... But due to some support, we're both feeling a bit better about the whole thing.

Sooner back... Sooner I see Fi again.

I will miss all of my Brit friends, and I'm looking forward to seeing all my Yank ones.

Bye Britain... You've been amazing.

-- Tuckmac

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thursday is a strange day.

I don't mean, like... Just any Thursday. I mean this particular one, for this particular person. I'm leaving for the States in two days.

What a strange feeling. I should be really happy to be heading home, after being away from the States for over two years. However, there's a bitter-sweet quality to it. I have grown to love my "adopted" home in Britain. Okay, I'm not too excited about my current abode. My In-laws are actually quite nice, and I of course LOVE being with my wife. However... The Scottish Borders are a rather silly place. Besides all of that, it's a bit of a melancholy moment.

I've been embraced by the Brits. I was only here for a few weeks before I was told by several folk that I couldn't be an American, I fit in too well in Canterbury. I loved this at the time. Especially the way the Brits tend to think of the Yanks as overbearing annoying shit-wads.

Now though... There's a worry. I fit in SO well in Britain, that it calls into question my ability to fit in in the States.

I didn't really fit in whilst LIVING there, and now after being so immersed in my British experience, I'm thinking it's going to be even more difficult to live in the States.

The second worry, is that I'm leaving my wife behind... With no actual idea as to when I'll be seeing her again. Do you realise how horrible that feeling is? I mean, it would be one thing, if I knew that it was going to be 2 months, or 6 months, or even a year. If I just KNEW I'd be able to prepare for it, and get psyched up for it. As it stands there's this niggling doubt and sinking feeling in my stomach as I get prepared to leave.

I know... Keep up the hopes. Pray to the gods that my wife is allowed to come over to the US in the next few months, and assume that all will be well.

Keep the faith.

Hmm... What three little empty words they are.

I look forward to seeing all my friends and family. I look forward to beginning my new life in the States. And I hope that I am able to share in that new life with my wife, as quickly as possible.

Slànte - T

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


First... A great photo that I made during the honeymoon:

Manning the Stall

I wish I had something really interesting to say today, but I really don't. Fiona is quitting her shite job at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel. Today is going to be her last shift! Thank the gods. It's just that she's making like, NO money, and the co-workers that work there are pretty silly, in general.

Besides that... I've been doing the "thank you note" thing. Yeehaw! No, really... It's a pain in the butt, after the wedding... But it's something that has to be done. I think I dislike it so much, not because I have a problem saying THANK YOU, but because invariably the cards are very small, and you're trying to say thank you for so MANY things, that it's just a pain in the bum trying to fit it all on the one card.

Fiona and I are also trying to sort out some "coping strategies" for Fiona to survive her time up here in the Borders whilst waiting for the U.S. gov. to allow her to come join me in the States. It's not really going to be very good for her, and I'm getting upset for her. Damn it... Why did we have to go and fall in love? Well... Okay, so all the troubles and tribulations will be worth it, once she's over with me, back home... Just for NOW, it's really starting to get to both of us. Ger...

Och weel... I hope everyone is doing well!


Monday, October 17, 2005

Back from a great weekend.

That's right folks, I'm back from the trenches of the Honeymoon.

Fiona and I had a great time.

Fiona and Me on a boat-tour of Lake Windermere

In the Honeymoon Suite at Ambleside Lodge

Common scene from the Lake District. Yeah, it's beautiful

We've had a really nice time, and although we're now back in St. Boswells and back to the grind... Doing stuff like thank you notes, and Fiona's back at work tonight.

Reality is a bitch.

I'm starting to get prepared to go back to the States. Yep... Pretty soon the title of this blog is going to be changing. I leave in less than a week. Fiona... We still don't know when she's going to be able to come over to the States. Please, everyone... send happy thoughts towards us, as we're both a bit gutted at our enforced separation. Nothing like getting married, and only having two weeks as a married couple before being split up! Gah.

Well... Off to the grind. Smiles to everyone.

-- Tuckmac

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wednesday b4 the Honeymoon

That's right... I'm about to go on my honeymoon.

I thought I'd throw up this link to a guy's photo page. He's put up all sorts of pictures of MY WEDDING! Don't actually know why. Or who this Tucker guy is... But it was nice of him.


Hope everyone's well. I won't be posting again until next week (Monday) as I'm going to be with my wife doing "Honeymoon" sorts of stuff.

Take care!


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm a married man.

Saturday, October 8th at 2:00pm... Fi and Tuck get hitched!

Let the good-times roll...


Isn't Fiona gorgeous?

Damn, I'm lucky.

More when I have a chance to sit down!


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

5:30 AM on Wednesday, and...

My MOTHER is arriving in four hours!

I haven't seen her for over two years, and my Lady and I are getting ready to head to the airport to pick her up. I'm really excited to see her.

My friend Mick is arriving today too!

I'm just goofy with fun-happy-excitement-goodness.


I'm a bit tired, though... Gah.

Och weel.

I'm off... Yay! Bye for now.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Monday, Monday.... Gerrh, gack... Gah.

By the way... The title is from "Dennis Leary's" impression of Mama Cass' death.

I think it's funny. Awful. But funny.

It's been a good day. We picked up the wedding schedule (marriage license to you Yanks) and did some bits and bobs.

Don't have anything really to say, or time to really say anything either... However.

I thought I'd throw up a photo of My Lady and myself at our "going away" party in the Canterbury Tales Pub, in Canterbury.

Um... Yeah.... I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow, and we're doing something else (my lady controls the schedule) so... Yeah. Fun.

We're going out tonight to the Buccluech (Buck-loo is the pronounciation) for a nice "break" time tonight.

Smiles and kittens! And to all my friends that are coming up to the wedding.... Two or Three DAYS (for most people) and we'll be seeing each-other. How cool is that???


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Oops... Sorry.


Been a while. This time, it's actually NOT my fault. The internet connection at my in-law's house decided not to work for the last few days.

It's a bitch.

Anyhoo... I'm back, at least for now. Don't know if it's going to cut out again soon or not. Damn it.

Anyhoo... Wow... I keep saying that. Sorry.

Anyhoo (okay... That was deliberately being weird.)

I don't really have a tonne of stuff to say today. Which is sad, considering I've had a few days off to store up stuff.

The wedding.

It's the all consuming raison d'erte at the moment. Fiona and I have been running ourselves ragged doing all sorts of stuff... T-shirts for the stag/hen party. Guest-favours, pressies for the kids... Presents for the bridal party... Etc... Also, trying to get all the food together for the reception. (Our families are doing the catering... It's really hard to get a caterer up here in the middle of bloody nowhere.)

Things are coming together, and although this week ahead is going to be insane... It's also going to cumulate in the most perfect and amazing day of my adult life.

I'm excited.

I think Fiona is too.

Many of our friends are coming, and I can't wait!

That's it for today.

Love ya all!