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At the age of ten life seems simple, it's all about running jumping and climbing trees. By eighteen you have discovered the opposite sex, alcohol and nightclubs. By twenty five you are your own person, confident and full of life. Suddenly you hit thirty. You find yourself questioning your choices from the years that have past, feeling slightly left on the shelf, wondering where your life is heading, juggling family and friends and faced with ever aging parents. You are not alone, welcome to 30 years and countinga sideways look at life in your thirties.

Where have you been?

As winter approaches more and more things are in short supply. The sun is falling behind the skyline earlier, the frost is forming and the countdown to Christmas is getting closer and closer. It also seems that Blog posts are following suit since there hasn’t been one for a while. Sorry about that. Here then is a quick catch up on all the stuff that has been going on with me and the people in my life.

Food for thought

My friends and I are all big F1 fans. During the racing season we take it I turns to host a race and serve up some food. It is great fun. While the racing takes the centre stage other thing of course naturally pop up to. Most of the time we talk the same mindless bollocks just like everyone else but once in while something of merit is raised. This was the case a few weeks ago when the topic cooking raised it’s head. For me eating is important. Enjoying good food is a pleasure but more importantly I believe you are what you eat. The counter argument put forward to this was that not everyone has time to eat well. Is this true or is it really just laziness?

The big problem with small talk

So it has been another one of those periods where I haven’t posted anything for a while. Sorry about that but I am back now. In part this has been because I have been busy doing other stuff but mainly it is down to the fact that I haven’t had a lot to say. Sure I could probably write a daily post about some random crap if I wanted to but I don’t. When I commit to writing something chances are it has been brewing around in my brain for a few days at least and as such there is some thought behind it. Why do I bother? Well put simply I hate small talk and here are the reasons why.

Feeding the trolls on the Xbox Live Monday Musing

In the online world of the Internet there are two basic rules. Firstly rule #34 which states; if it exists there IS porn of it. Secondly, never feed the trolls. While I have never put the first of these rules to the test this week I did with the second one. Each week on Xbox Live gamers are invited to write a short opinion piece to be considered for publication on the Xbox Dashboard. This week I threw my hat into the ring and the results were interesting to say the least.

Face up to being grown up

Last  year I went to see Kate Nash play at a gig in London. I had a great time but the whole experience did leave me feeling rather old. While there was a real mixture of age groups at the gig a large majority of them were around the late teens early twenties bracket. I wouldn't go as far as saying that I was jealous of them but as they danced around without a care in the world singing at the top of their voices and spilling beer over their friends I was stood with my hands in my pockets worried that someone would nick my wallet and pondering about whether we would make the train home in time. I felt kind of self conscious about being there. Most of all I felt a sense of sadness knowing the period in their lives they are living through was well and truly behind me. It is said that youth is wasted on the young and certainly at the time I didn't really appreciate just what a great time I was having. Of course maybe I shouldn't be longing for the past. Maybe it is time to admit to myself that you're not 18 anymore.

So just what is the meaning of life?

"There has to be more to life than this?" I asked my friend Bill the other day who in turned replied "No this is pretty much it". That then in two sentences is the world summed up. A desire to find more met by the realisation that there is nothing more. But is this true, is life really just an endless precession of repeating days played out to the tune of material desire? There has to be something more doesn't there? Let me explain.

Things you learn in your thirties

I have often said to Maz that the person you will be in five years time is not the same person that you are now. Things change and your view of the world adjusts accordingly. What once seemed important fades into the background as you are faced with new challenges and grow as an individual. By the time you hit your thirties many things in your life will have changed. People you love will have come and gone, you will have realised that you are not going to be a rock star and you might even have a partner, spouse or children of your own to worry about. This all got me thinking about what advice could I offer now that my thirties are upon me. Here are the results.

Remembering when chat rooms ruled the web

Just about all sites these days offer chat features or instant messaging but back in the late 1990's you had three options for communicating, namely send an email, post something in a forum or jump into a chatroom. There was no Windows live messenger, no skype or Facebook chat box. Instead users would head over to a site (my favourite was as shown in the image below, I used the name Scareyman most of the time) and chat there. Some sites offered just one simple room while others had a whole range of different rooms you could chat in.

Children: To have or not to have in your thirties?

By the time you hit your thirties one subject that is bound to have raised it’s ugly head is that of having children. In my experience men find themselves under pressure to settle down, commit and start a family leaving the party years of their twenties behind them while women face the unstoppable ticking of their body clock. Only a few decades ago in the age of our parents things were clear, you married in your early twenties and quickly started a family but in this modern age the path to a family is anything but simple.

Who reads this stuff and why

Do you actually read 30 years and counting on a regular basis and hang on our every word? Perhaps you check it every once in a while and only read the odd post which catches your eye. Maybe you have never been here before and have come looking for photos of busty redheads (yes I know who you are and you can find them here by the way). My point is when you are writing a personal blog it is all too easy to get caught up in the world of visitor numbers and page views. The big question is though does it matter?

Another one of us hits the big 30

It is that time again as yet another one of us hit’s the big thirty. This time it was Louise’s turn to celebrate and maybe cry a little in private as her twenties were left behind her. To mark the occasion we all gathered in a local pub where Louise’s sister Sarah works. Maz and I stopped the night at Louise’s house and then next day eat pizza and watched the F1 as Jenson Button romped home to victory. As it has become the norm I had with me my trusted video camera to capture it all. Here then are the highlights of the day

The story of Princess Hayley and her magic coat

Last weekend was Louise’s 30th birthday which you can read about and watch the video for here. To celebrate we all got together in a pub. It is always great to see everyone and have a laugh. The biggest laugh of the weekend however was making fun of poor Hayley who had let Mark borrow one of her t-shirts a while ago and had finally returned it to her. This morning while walking around town Tom, Maz and I got to talking about how it would make the basis for a great kids story. Here then is the tale of Princess Hayley and her special coat. See if you can read between the lines and work out why we found it so funny. Enjoy.

Coping with depression in your thirties

A few years ago now I was diagnosed with depression. I won’t bore you with the details but I got better and things are now pretty much back to normal. You may have noticed that I said “got better” rather than cured as there is no cure. Like many mental health related illnesses such as alcoholism and obsessive compulsive disorders if you have suffered from depression once it is with you for your whole life. I guess a good way of putting it is you don’t get better but instead you get better at it. You learn how to deal with situations which are likely to trigger it and use coping techniques to ride it out. Today is one of those days when mine came bouncing back and hit me in the face. Here is why.

Why teachers hitting children is not such a bad thing

Sundays in the UK usually means one, Sunday roast. A time to gather with family and friends and share chicken or half a cow covered in gravy with roasted potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. Yesterday we did just that. Maz and I paid a visit to see her parents. Sadly we got served up a sweet and sour rather than the full blown roast but I guess you should be grateful for what you get. Naturally polite conversation was made over dinner and for some reason the topic of whether or not a teacher can hit a child arose. Maz’s Mother who often works with children argued no they couldn’t while I strongly disagreed. So who was right? Can a teacher or anyone for that matter hit a child legally?

Me and a girl called Kate

I have a bit of a confession, there is another woman in my life other than Maz and her name is Kate Nash. For anyone who doesn't know Miss Nash she is a British solo singer and I have been bigging her up for the last few years. She broke into the UK charts a few years ago now and last year she released her second album. I however have been following and raving about her since she first appeared on the scene with her Myspace profile way back in 2007. In short I love her to bits (sorry Maz).  My love for Kate is not something that many people share with me though. Tom in particular doesn’t really get it and I have to admit that her singing voice and vocal style is a real love it or hate it affair. That all said I am firmly in the love it camp and if you are not or have never heard of her then here are my reasons why.

Do-it-yourself. I’d rather not.

There are many things that I excel at. I can explain the structure of DNA. Put a game controller in my hand and I can frag down the enemy with the best of them. I am pretty good behind a camera and I cook a mean pot of chilli to name but a few of my many talents. However if you get me to put up a shelf chances are it will fall down within the hour. Some people have a natural ability with their hands for repairing and building while others like me are left wondering how something that looks so easy can be so hard?

Booze, underwear and perverts. All in a weekends work.

Two main things happened to me this weekend. Namely I completed the game Mass Effect on the trusty Xbox and secondly I got called a pervert. The first of these is pretty simple to explain even if it did take several months to get around to it . The later however is a story of a night full of booze, women in their underwear and partying. All of which I just happen to have on video. 

I have a heavy skeleton, it's glandular. Fuck off.

A few weeks ago I wrote in a post called Weddings, weddings, weddings. A man's view of the big day about how I had woke up suddenly from a dream and still half asleep I had a wonderful idea for a blog post. However I then promptly rolled back over and slept for another hour or so before waking up again and having no clue what that great idea was. Well it came back to me out of the blue. So what was this hot burning topic? The answer my friends is the subject of being fat.

Christmas comes in June for us gaming geeks!

It might not have escaped your attention that blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground over the last week. Yeah, sorry about that but my attention has been caught up with other stuff. I am and have been since the late 80’s an avid gamer. From the tape loading days of the Commodore 64, through the 16-bit wars between Nintendo and SEGA right up to my recently purchased of a shiny new Xbox. You name it I have probably played it. If then you are fanboy like me then you no doubt know that Christmas for us nerds happens in June each year as the E3 expo rolls into town. Don’t know what E3 is? Let me explain. 

Welcome to the thirtysomething club

This week we have a new member to the thirtysomething club as our friend Paul hit the big 30 on Saturday. To celebrate this landmark of aging his girlfriend Lou organised a surprise party for him at their local pub complete with party games and sumo suits. I was there of course with my video camera and caught the whole thing which you can watch below.  Now that Paul has joined our ranks I feel it is only right to offer some advice. What words of wisdom can I then impart to Paul with  three decades of life under my belt ?

Power to the ladies with the help of fairy cakes

Regular readers of my blog no doubt know that I love to cook. Since I am not working at the moment it usually means that I am responsible for doing most the cooking throughout the week. It makes sense really since Maz is busy at work and I like the fact that I have diner ready for her when she gets back. For us it is just a practical solution to our circumstances but recently a bit of debate has arisen here in the UK as to whether cooking is a woman’s job and more to the point it should be considered a feminist activity.

Ha Ha you're ginger. No wait a second you're hot. Hot and ginger. No way.

Being ginger or at least a redhead here in the UK often means that you are mocked. Most of us went to school with a redhead or at least know of one and no doubt they have suffered the endless torment of being called carrot top or another similar insult at some point in their life. It has been said that insulting redheads is the last form of socially accepted racism in this country. Well I disagree with the idea that redheads are a figure of fun. I happen to think that redheads are kind of hot and after reading this maybe you will too.

Becoming a grumpy old man

Every second Tuesday I have to take a walk into the local town to sign on at the job centre. It is about a 6 mile round trip and while there is a bus I refuse to pay the £5 or so fare. Besides I could do with the exercise. Since Tom has recent joined the unemployment scrapheap he has taken to joining me on this little trek. It is great to have some company and why I would like to say that we talk about breasts and football on our journey in reality we sound more like two grumpy old men.

It is the end of the world as we know it. Maybe not.

This weekend Maz went away with her work which meant that I got to spend three days on my own. Not a problem and in truth it was nice to get a little me time. However as luck would have it Saturday was marked by some to be the end of the world. Typical. Which meant had the four horsemen of the apocalypse rode into town they would have found me sitting in my pants, drinking a Guinness and playing Grand theft auto on the Xbox 360. Could be worse I guess.

Building a fence and aging parents

There has been a lack of posts over the last week hasn’t there? Sorry about that folks but I have been kind of busy. I must admit that in part it is due to the fact I have been playing a lot of Brink on the Xbox but I have also been down the job centre with Tom, mowed Maz's garden and played host to a rather drunk Julie, Arthur and little Lacie over the weekend (obviously  Lacie wasn’t drunk). The bulk of my week however has been taken up with working with my Dad to build a new fence.

A weekend of weddings and birthdays

So there has been no blog posts for a few days now. Were you worried about me? I’m going with probably not. For the few of you who do give a shit fear not I haven’t fallen off the earth but have instead just been a bit busy. To be honest it has been a bit of a busy year. It seems that just about every weekend so far we have had some event or do to go to. Don’t get me wrong however, it is nice to get out and see people even if it does mean I had to miss the F1 this week.

My vote counts but what for?

So today in the UK we go to the polls as we get to vote on local elections and on whether we should adopt the alternative voting system. I always vote in the big national elections but rarely in the local ones. This year however I thought I would make the effort. Maybe it is because I am unemployed and so I have more time on my hands than usual to take a good look around the area where I live or maybe it is just because I am getting older and have more of an opinion about my surroundings. Either way I figured that before I headed off to put my tick in the box I would look to see what my local parties had in mind for the next few years. A task that proved easier said then done.

Maz and I (try to) cook deep fried Bounty bars

If there is one thing that I love to do then it is cooking. Cooking and eating new foods is one of life’s little pleasures and I really don’t get people who turn their nose up at trying new stuff. Well based on this idea Maz and I decided a few weeks back to have a crack at cooking deep fried Bounty bars. Although deep fried Mars bars are more the norm we decided to put our faith in Nigella Lawson and give her version served with fresh pineapple a go. Things however did not go exactly to plan.

Weddings, weddings, weddings. A man's view of the big day.

About eight o’clock  this morning I woke up suddenly from a dream and still half asleep I had a wonderful idea for a blog post. However I then promptly rolled back over and slept for another hour or so before waking up again and having no clue what that great idea was. It has been bugging me ever since. You know what it is like when there is a memory at the edge of your brain but you just can’t recall it? It is a bit like when you put something in a safe place so it won’t get lost and then can’t remember where that safe place was. I am sure it will come back to me at some point but for now I guess I am just going to have to write about something else and so here is a post about weddings instead.

Guest blog posts: A woman's view on turning thirty

A house with a garden, a car less than 5 years old, a professional job not in a pub, long term boyfriend, a five speed ‘blender’, a 32 inch HD TV with blue ray DVD and a subscription to Love Film, a king size bed with a goose down duvet, a proper piece of art rather than a poster, a cat, two holidays abroad a year (one city break, one sunshine break, usually to someone’s wedding). Sex once a week if you are lucky, more like once a month if you are realistic. Beauty salons and getting your hair dyed every six weeks to combat the growing grey. Settled into the shit together, path decided, one long walk into middle age with a spreading tummy and a growing habit for expensive white wine and a takeaway every Friday night. On the way to adding to the having a baby at 29 statistic.

Bring on the conspiracy theories

Although this blog is pretty much about me and stuff that happens in my life sometimes world events are of such historical importance that it is only right that I should express a point of view about them. Take for example the recent royal wedding this last weekend (see here and here for posts about it). Well not to be out done the USA has also grabbed the headlines over the last few days with the shock news that they have not only found Osama bin Laden but killed him and buried him at sea already. The news came completely out of the blue and just like the Transformers toys of 80’s it has left many people wondering if there is “more than meets the eye” about the whole thing.

Royal weddings, bank holidays and hot tubs

So on Friday the 29th of April 2011 the world was gathered around the television to watch as Prince William got married to his university sweetheart Miss Catherine Middleton (see this post if you somehow missed it). To celebrate the UK got itself an extra day off work and Maz and I shot up to join my old university friends Jacqui and Fran in their new hot tub for the weekend. This was of course after we popped out to join Tom in a few drinks to celebrate him escaping from his most hated job on Thursday. However now that the dust has settled what have we actually learned from the whole experience that has been forced down our throats for the last few months?

Welcome to the scrapheap Tom

Today then marks a new start in the life of my friend Tom. Today he is quiting his job. I quit mine a few years ago and have been stuck in limbo ever since. However unlike me who quit because I was really unhappy Tom at least a plan to start a new business. Well good luck to him I say. I am sure it will all work out in the end. Meanwhile I continue on the fast track to nowhere. So what is life like when you are unemployed?

For sometime now I have been unemployed and to be honest it is horrible. There are plenty of people who are happy to live off handouts and who see being on jobseekers allowance as a career choice. Then there are the rest of us who all try really hard to find work but seem to be fighting an endless up hill battle.

My face is up here: Why men love breasts

I am a bloke which means that sooner or later this blog was always going to get around to talking about breasts. When it comes to the whole are you a breasts, legs or bum guy I am firmly in the breasts camp.

Lets be honest breasts are fantastic things. However before you shoot me down as some sort of pervert take a moment to read a bit further. For anyone looking for some sort of gallery full of pictures of exposed breasts then you are in the wrong place. The web is already full of that sort of thing and I'm not about to add to it.

Instead I am going to try and answer that age old question, why are men fascinated by breasts?

The royal wedding. Who cares?

As if my average day of disappointingly searching through job sites, playing poker on the Xbox 360, cleaning up, cooking and watching daytime television was not exciting enough today an electrician came round to put a new light in the bathroom. As is the great English tradition I offered him a cup of tea and as he sipped it we made polite small talk about that other great English tradition; the weather.  After ten minutes of chat about how unusually hot it was our rather difficult conversation turned to the subject of that latest all encompassing news story of the moment, the royal wedding.

Now unless you have been living under a rather large rock for the last month (and even then I doubt you would have escaped from the news) you will be aware that Prince William is getting married to his university sweetheart Miss Catherine Middleton (there is even an official website just in case you missed it). Well good luck to them I say and I hope it all works out for them. Providing the young Kate doesn’t piss the Queen off and stays out of Paris all should go well. But as the country and even the world whips itself up into a mad frenzy I can’t help but ask; who really gives a shit?

Summer time and the barbecuing is easy

The summer is here, the sun is shining and the burgers are grilling. A few beers and a few friends. What more could you ask for? Isn’t it always great to get together with a few friends and slap some meat on the grill when the weather is glorious? Well this weekend that is exactly what we did. Maz and I met up with Tom, Louise, Mark, Lou, Hayley, Chris and an assortment of others cracked open a few cold beers and burnt some burgers to a crisp.

You can’t beat a good BBQ when the weather is good. When British summer time rolls around we usually find ourselves in one of two situations. Either it is raining or we have a hosepipe ban. Well this year it looks like we could be facing the later as the sun has been shining upon us all week long. So being a bank holiday weekend I found myself at the first BBQ of the year (hopefully not the last). The day was spent in the company of good friends lazily munching my way through a weeks intake of meat while putting the world to rights. I could not think of a better end to a bank holiday weekend.

Holy shitballs where did all the posts go?

 If you are a regular reader of this blog then you might have spotted something a little different about it. Haven’t spotted it yet? Take a few moments and have another look. Got it yet? Really? Come on people!!! All the other blog posts have vanished. Well to be more precise I have deleted them. Why I hear you cry. Well read on and I will tell all.

During my time writing this blog I have had the chance to talk to lots of other bloggers and get their advice. For some their blogs are all about expressing themselves. For others they are money making opportunities. For the rest they are chances to try and grab their five minutes of internet fame. Like many bloggers money has never really been of interest to me which is odd considering I didn't have any to start with. I started this blog as a form of self expression. I had just turned thirty and felt a need to reach out to others in some sort of attempt to find out if my life echoed theirs in any way.

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