A man I admire greatly

Back in 2009, I wrote a story, called No Place Like Nome, last year it finally started to get an audience, when I started up my ebook publishing thing. But no, before you just pass on, this isnt a request to go buy the book, though I wouldnt mind if you did!

One of the threads of that story, was the 2009 Iditarod race, won by the incredible Iditarod legend, Lance Mackey. Seriously, in all, this guy has won this race (one of the hardest in the world, if not the hardest) 4 times, quite an amazing feat. But all the more amazing, given his long fight with cancer. It did also involve the serum run of 1925, but as I say, the reason for this blog is Lance, not the book.

The thing is, all the chemotherapy, and everything else he had to go through, has messed up his body. I know, it happens to a lot more folk, but they dont race for a thousand miles through bitter weather. Doesnt make them any less as a person, just means they havent walked into my life yet. Last week, Lance lost the last of his teeth, his jawbone is now such a mess, they had to go. Cost $8,000 or so! Cost to get a new set of decent teeth, that means he could get back to what he terms a normal life, about $30,000! Sadly all this means Lance wont be in this years race, he isnt in a fit state to do it.

Let me say, our health service system over here isnt perfect, but at least we have one. In the US, medical insurance is a must, as its all private, and expensive over there. Indeed, Lance does have insurance, but it doesnt cover the oral work he needs doing.

Oh, did I mention, Lance doesnt like being helped, he’s a strongly independent man, but he’s also a hero to many, so these things get noticed, and hopefully help is on the way. He has been convinced, by a friend of his, to let her start a campaign to raise money to help pay for this work, and thats why I’m writing this blog, to hopefully increase the audience for this. Oh, and for the few who read both, this will be tomorrow nights personal blog, just saying…Just had something else to write about there tonight.

The campaign is at https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/3g2Dd/ab/22c1Af? so if you have a few spare dollars, pounds, euros, or whatever, please consider giving. I will be, hopefully so can you find it in your heart to do so.

The video, lets just ensure that Lance’s dream, of more Iditarod races isnt over.

Thanks for reading.

Its my direction, its my proposal

A massively cryptic clue to the video, and to the blog, in a sense.

At the beginning of December, we had an email come round, for a Christmas give away at work. As it was simply a case of a bit of form filling, I gave it a go. Heard nothing for quite a while, the major prizes were announced, and I wasnt amongst them. There were some additional lesser prizes (though very nice all the same) which didnt get announced, but as I heard nothing at the time, I assumed that yet again, I’d won nothing. Me, and winning competitions, no, those terms dont go together lol!

But seemingly, something went wrong, I did! Won £250 of points for the company discount scheme, yes! To tell the truth, given I havent got a debit card, credit card (other than currency pre-pay) or anything, I hadnt even bothered to sign up! So hastily, I did! My boss told them the deed was done, they said I’d get the points in my account, and I waited, and waited, and…a week later, still nothing, so my boss followed it up, still no points! Then, on Friday, came the big announcement of all the winners by email, and the announcement that all the prizes had been given out, wrong!

So, I sent a polite reply email to the lady concerned (the EA to the HR director) on Friday evening, and got a reply this morning, with her chasing the matter up. By 4.00 or so, guess what, the points are in my account! The only irony being, I had planned to use some of them for new boots, new slippers etc, but in the end, I went and got them first. There is still a hotel to book, but no idea what I’m doing with the rest now. That has to be my direction, my proposal, I guess?

The video, one of my favourite groups of all time, again

Something old, something new

Just before Christmas, the 23rd December to be exact, the station building I had known for years at Wakefield Westgate closed. Something about modernisation, and all that, so they say. I have to say it looked fine to me, but such is the desire for upgrading things (and not just the Cybermen, apparently) that it had to go.

So today, when I went over to Wakefield shopping, I had my first look at the new station building. Absolutely soulless, I’ve seen airport terminals with more atmosphere than that place. So fine, maybe Friday, early afternoon isnt the best of time for these places, but it was dead, apart from one woman handing out vouchers, something about a free coffee, if you bought an expensive sandwich or something, but anyway, I didnt, just moved on.

Dont get me wrong, I’m not saying the previous building was a vision of beauty, but compared to this, loved it! Maybe it will grow on me, maybe it wont? Ironically, the other station in Wakefield, Kirkgate, was a dump, but is currently clad in scaffolding and things, finally being done up after so many years of neglect. Given that its an unmanned station, I doubt it will become an ‘airport terminal’, at least I hope thats not the case.

My home town station, Huddersfield, still has its beautiful old station building, so as long as you dont enter it, its a glorious sight. In fact, internally, its pretty nice too, especially compared to Westgate, but thats not hard. The main amusement about Huddersfield Station is the platform numbers. We have a 1,2,4,5,6 and 8, but no 3 or 7! I assume they were branch terminal platforms somewhere, for lines that no longer exist, but dont quote me on that! As to where they were located, not a clue!

Oh, and to keep up with the theme, the reason I went to Wakefield today, was the need to buy new for old on a few things. Boots and slippers needed replacing (both from before Christmas in all honesty, but today was the first chance), but managed to get both today. I would also have needed a new handbag, as the strap was virtually gone on the old one, but for the fact that, err, I had at least 2 suitable replacements already lol!

The last piece of New Year modernisation, my annual Metro card! Up until now, for as long as I can remember, they were always paper (board type, railway ticket), but now we get a smart card to use! Its great, as the magnetic strip on the back of the old one wore out after a few months, so using the ticket barriers becomes a pain. With this (famous last words) that shouldnt happen! So fine, the current barriers at Huddersfield arent calibrated for it at the moment, but soon will be, and getting through Leeds is now far easier.

Now all I’m waiting for is the new version of me! 😛

The video, well, its in the title, but given this is over 40 years old, I dont expect any to know it. As is the case with these songs, finding an actual video, is nigh impossible. This is the best I can do, its the group, but clearly not this song

The eyes have it

Some of you who have known me for quite a while will know that a few years ago, I tried hypnotherapy as a method of confidence boosting before the job interview for my current work place. Nothing dramatic, just trying to make me feel more confident and assured at the time, and it really worked. Easiest time I’ve ever had at a job interview, and clearly it worked, I got the job.

Shortly after, on a spare day, we did a follow up session, to boost matters, and to work on one or two other issues, with equally successful results. Fine, I was thrilled with what she did for me, but being totally professional in her work, she really didnt want to go down that other road, to give me experience of what it would be like to be a robot.

No, I dont blame her in the slightest, but at the same time, it would have been interesting to discover if it was as good as I thought it was, or something I never wanted to happen again! To be honest, given my new, more confident self, the robot fantasy sort of died off to a great degree, but because I’d never tried it, it still lurks at the back of the brain, as a ‘what if?’ thing.

Now, next week, I might get to find out, assuming I still go into trance as easily as I did back then! I presume I will, but…Hopefully it will enable me to put this little chestnut to rest, and get on with my life, glad not to be turned into a robot, or…I might just enjoy it! Though even then, I dont expect it would become as big a desire as before, I’m a changed woman, in that sense!

I know the gentleman, Lex, from the Forums, have seen samples of his work, and trust him a lot. And lets face it, even if he was a master mind controller, I’m hardly prime sex slave material lol! And yes, I spoke to him tonight, to arrange things, which is why the blog is appearing today. Regardless of how things work out, I appreciate his gesture greatly, and just wanted to post accordingly. And yes, I will give a follow up report on how it went, unless he brainwashes me to do otherwise lol!

There is a possibility, and only a possibility, it may even go on sale, so beware! From our talk, it wont be just robot, we’ve tossed a few other ideas to and fro, but you’ll have to wait and see what they are. 😉

The video, a long forgotten song from 1980, only I havent forgotten it…yet

A game of 2 halves

Its funny, when I went to bed last night just after 11.00, the Kansas City Chiefs were winning 31-10, and I not altogether unreasonably assumed, that they were going to be in the next round of the play offs, something that delighted the ‘Brooksie’ in me. When I got up this morning, and checked the score, I thought I needed a new pair of glasses, or something! All I could see was that the Colts had won 45-44! Even more amazing, I read that Kansas actually led by 28 (38-10) before the collapse set in. Just proves that in this world, expect nothing!

But remarkably, its only the 2nd largest playoff comeback in history, the largest, at 32 points, was in fact even more incredible, and from the team nearest to the other end of Brooksie’s life.

Lets go back to this same weekend, 21 years ago, when Houston (Oilers, now the Tennessee Titans) visited Buffalo for a wild card game. The reason this was even more incredible, is that the starting Quarterback for Buffalo, was not the big star, Jim Kelly. It was his back up, Frank Reich, because Kelly had been injured the week before…against Houston, in a game they went on to lose 27-3.

So maybe it wasnt the biggest shock in the world, when Houston took a 35-3 lead. Game over, you would think, and despair for a Buffalo fan like me? Well, maybe it should have been, but if I told you that the next time Houston scored, it was to tie the game at 38-38! Overtime, and after an interception, Buffalo scored a field goal, and won the game. Reich also went on to win the next 2 games at QB, taking them to the Superbowl, by which time Kelly came back…and they lost! Who knows, if Reich had continued…?

Last night for me, it was the other side of the tale though, and believe me, it came as a nasty shock this morning. But as they say, the game isnt over till the fat lady sings, so…

The video, what the losing teams should do,

Cold for Cats (or Packers at least)

Anyone in the mid west, or the north eastern corner of the US at the moment? Yes, I know its ferociously cold, plenty of snow in places, and you have my sympathies, I know what its like. Thankfully only briefly, about 11 years ago, when I was introduced to the temperature of minus 25, in North Dakota (daytime) and Minneapolis (about 7am) when crossing the US by train. I’ll never say never again, but its not high on my ‘must do’ list, despite my hope to visit Nome some day!

The blessing in both cases, was that shortly after, I could get back on the train, in the warm, and continue the journey. The train journey overnight to Pennsylvania was delayed by about 6 hours, by the time it reached Pittsburgh, I think the line literally froze or something! But anyway, I was warm, and safe on a train, so…

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, with the famous snowfest in Philadelphia, the NFL doesnt stop for bad weather. There is in fact a night game in Philly tonight, and it wont be warm! But even more than that…late tomorrow afternoon, San Francisco are visiting Green Bay, in the first round of the playoffs. The forecast high, is about 1 degree! And no, my European readers, I dont mean Centigrade! The wind chill factor will mean it feels like about minus 18. By the end of the game, that figure will be in the high minus twenties!

Seriously, I dont know how they play sport in those sort of temperatures, but they will. Back in 1967, in a frozen Green Bay, they played a game called the ‘Ice Bowl’, yes, it was that cold! Tomorrow, its suspected will be even colder, eek! But, however sorry I feel for the players, they arent the ones who get the most sympathy from me. At least they get to run around the field, though I doubt that will get them very warm at that temperature. No, the ones who have my true admiration, for their possible insanity, are the fans who will sit in the stadium and watch for several hours! I mean, I went to a Baseball game in Rochester, in April, and was frozen by the end. The temperature then, was 40! Some chill factor (no idea how much), but even so…

Rather you than me, Packer fans!

Oh, and ‘Miss Brooks’ would like me to mention that Kansas City are playing tonight in Indianapolis, and wishes them well. I know, they arent even in Kansas, but…

The video, well, it almost matches the blog title at least. Not just Squeeze, some Kenny Everett lunacy too

Isnt she lovely?

Given the problems of storing photos to post at the Garden, and the Forum, and the fact I get a few visitors from elsewhere anyway, this is a good way of doing this. So Miss ‘Merry Brooks’ is happy to show off a few pictures of herself, and await the marriage proposals! Yes, I’m joking about the latter, in case anyone gets any crazy ideas!

So what you ask, is the big fuss about? Well hopefully you might remember why. Back in the summer, I had a photo shoot done at Rawdon, near Leeds, with 3 wonderful people named Karen, Dave and Hayley, shortly before my September holiday in fact. It was an amazing day, and when I saw the photos, I really couldnt believe how good I could look, quite attractive in fact, if I say so myself!

I got the album soon after I got back from Richmond, and happily showed it off to friends, and at work. Loved it, felt great. But…one of the reasons I got it done, was to use 1 picture as an author profile picture, for my ebook stuff. Initially I wasnt greedy, given I wasnt paying for the whole CD of the shoot, and just asked for 3 pictures. As some might know, they took a while to get here, Boxing Day in fact. But, I got the whole shoot sent to me, a wonderful consolation. Today, being a day off, I finally got chance to sort them out, and save some, and post a few. So yes, anyone coming here from Facebook, you should have seen these amongst the collection there, already! Those who get here by other means, well, here’s a treat for you!

Firstly, the picture of the stunning looking author,

photoshoot 9

A really nice shot of me, I must say

Next, a pair of more styled shots

photoshoot 6

photoshoot 8

Seriously, if interested, I could get plenty of dates with looks like that, I should think! Might need Hayley to do my make up first, I havent bothered much in recent times, but…

For anyone in the Yorkshire area, looking for a really good, and well handled photo shoot, this trio come very highly recommended. Their website is http://www.cocoture.co.uk and you can make contact through there, or for those coming through Facebook, like Cocoture, you wont regret it. Would I do another with them, you bet I would, and probably will, in good time. Just say Stevie Lou sent you… 😉

The video, well, maybe this is stretching claims for me a bit, but looking at these, not much!