Category Archives: Travel

Scenes on Sunday ~ Sand, Sea, and Sun

Life’s a Beach.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday ~ Santa Monica

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Liar, Liar

Never lie, never cheat, never steal.

Everybody lies.

Mostly that doesn’t matter one little bit.  Deep down we know when we are being lied to and we act accordingly.  Little lies are what makes the world go around.  Little lies are the lubrication in relationships.  Little lies are what keeps us sane.

I firmly believe that lying is wrong, but I also believe that, in the big scheme of things, little lies may not matter so much.

Big dark lies are destructive, damaging, and dangerous.

Big Lies Matter.

But everybody lies, and that matters when the liars are scientists, doctors, bankers, lawyers, judges, charities, the police, the military, the security services, politicians, prime ministers, and presidents.  Big dark lies by the ‘Fat Cats’, and ‘Important People’ ruin lives, affect interest rates, cause financial crashes, get people hurt, and start wars.

This is a nation that has lost the ability to be self-critical, and that makes a lie out of the freedoms.  ~  Joni Mitchell

Big dark lies reported in just one newspaper today, (Tuesday April 11th 2017), involve airlinesbankers, more bankers, politicians, more politicians and generals, presidents… And now, we are but a short step and a few lies from WWIII.  Take your choice of the spark that starts WWIII, the Middle East, or North Korea?

Clinton lied.  A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is.  ~  Barbara Bush

You would really think that a President would follow the example of George Washington and be unable to tell a lie.

Big dark lies by the people you care for ruin relationships, imperil your health, imperil your mental health, cost you a fortune, and lead to nasty things like alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, domestic violence…  A big dark lie by someone you love can kill you.  And, thinking your loved one will ever change and stop lying to you is nothing but wishful thinking.

Cheating and lying aren’t struggles, they’re reasons to break up.  ~  Patti Callahan Henry

If you catch someone out in a lie, what can you do about it?  Almost nothing.

The chances are that if you have caught someone telling a big dark lie it’s because you’ve been investigating them, for example by following their twitter feed, hacking their emails, listening in on their conversations….  and do you want to admit to that?  Spying on liars is almost as bad as lying ~ almost.

The only thing you can do about being lied to is know that you are dealing with a liar, and take everything they say with a very large pinch of salt.  In other words, when you know someone is a liar, believe nothing they say until you have got yourself some independent proof.  All lies, and all liars, get found out eventually.

Besides, leopards never change their spots, and liars don’t ever stop lying.  Catch a liar in a lie and they’ll just strive to become better liars in future.

Lying is addictive.  And, once a liar, always a liar.

Some liars are so expert they deceive themselves.  ~  Austin O’Malley

But you know what?  Once you stop believing the lie, it loses all power over you.  Once you know someone is a liar, everything they say is just pointless noise.

I’m sorry, what language are you speaking?  It sounds like bullshit.

Have a nice day.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Food on Friday ~ interesting side dishes

You like your potatoes more interesting?

If you’re unlucky side dishes can be really boring, even when the rest of the meal is fabulous.  None of these sides are anything less than interesting, and some of them are good enough to make a tasty snack all on their own.  So, what’s not to like?

I love the look of this recipe from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; crispy oregano smashed potatoes with feta and lemon ~ wow!  Such a fabulous side dish that you could just eat this as a super-filling snack, (and oregano is such a great herb).

Crispy Oregano Smashed Potatoes with Feta and Lemon

Chungah at Damn Delicious gives us these great slow cooker cheesy scalloped potatoes ~ she says this crockpot dish is so damn easy.  Well, it does look so damn good for something that only takes 20 minutes to prepare, and then can be left to cook while you’re doing something else ~ like going to work.  It would be a great accompaniment to Chungah’s bacon scallops too.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Another potato dish, this time from Amanda at Chez Le Réve Français; cheese and onion potato cakes.  This very, very easy 20 minute dish would make a tasty supper as well as a much more interesting side dish than ordinary mashed potatoes.

Cheese and Onion Potato Cakes

Something different from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower; cheesy cauliflower mash.  Allegedly this tastes like mac and cheese but has the texture of mashed potatoes.  Weird but nice.  Looks good for a 20 minute dish that would be an interesting side, snack, or something to take to work the following day.

Cheesy Cauliflower Mash

Do you want something spectacular made with potatoes?  Then what about these Tahini whipped potatoes with cilantro chili sauce from Heather Christo?  I bet these are some spicy potatoes.  I’d like to choose Heather’s Peking cranberry lacquered turkey to go with this.

Tahini Whipped Potatoes with Cilantro Chili Sauce

This is a spectacular dish for a romantic dinner for two.  From the lovely Alina at Passion Cook we have salad tulips, (aka devilled cherry tomatoes).  Pretty, or what?

Salad Tulips, (aka Devilled Cherry Tomatoes)

If you like green beans, then you will love these loaded skillet toasted green beans from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet It is.  Allegedly, these are the most unboring green beans you can get.  Not bad for a 30 minute dish.  Would go well with Jessica’s unboring bourbon fig + gorgonzola stuffed pork tenderloin.

Loaded Skillet Toasted Green Beans

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thanks ever so to all the great cooks featured in this week’s Food on Friday

all of these dishes be nice at a Champagne Sunday Brunch, say in Long Beach

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

peacefully pacific intimacy

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secluded sleepy serene sunset light

presaging warm and tender nighttime

in love’s gentle arms and contented sight

and promises whispered soft, low, in rhyme

emotions adoring, congruent, pacific, so right

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P1030451words and pictures by jack collier

jack collier 7@talktalk.net

21 ways to save money

Easy Lifestyle Changes Could Save You A Small Fortune.

Red_RoseThere some very basic things you can do which, added together, will save you a great deal of money.  These changes to the way you live your life are not difficult, they’re not complicated, and they will not take up a lot of your time.  In fact, all of these things are what my granny used to call; ‘basic common sense’.  Get on with it, smell the roses, save yourself some money, and live a better life.

  1. Pay off all your credit and store card bills.  The average interest rate on credit card debt is around 16%, with some banks charging as much as 79.9% per annum, this is just extortion and usury.  Far better to borrow elsewhere, at a cheaper rate, and pay off your plastic.
  2. Use the internet and find cheaper providers for your gas, electricity, water, mobile phone, (cell phone), land line telephone, internet, cable television, and car insurance.  Switch to the cheapest provider because customer service will always suck, no matter who you are with.  And, by the way, do you really need all those rubbish TV channels?
  3. Lower the temperature of your heating, and raise the temperature of your air conditioning by a couple of degrees.  We all pay far too much for heating and cooling our homes.
  4. Lower the temperature at which you wash your clothes.  There is a 30C setting on my washing machine, (about 90F), and most of the time that’s what I use.  This gets rid of most dirt and stains, but it does not get rid of germs, and it’s not hot enough to get whites clean.  So, I still always wash my bed linen and whites at 90C, (about 200F).  Mind you, I always use biological washing powder which works well at lower temperatures.
  5. Always make a shopping list.  Far too many people go into a store and come out with a whole bunch of stuff they don’t really want or need, while forgetting the important thing they went in for.  Make a shopping list and never, ever make impulse purchases.
  6. Try own-brand goods.  Very often the own-brand products are just as good as the more expensive named-brands.  Quite often own-brand products are made in the same factories and on the same production lines as named brands.  Stores always try to make you buy the most expensive, premium goods.
  7. Never buy ‘designer labels’  ~  don’t be a logo whore, and who wants some other guy’s name on their clothes and shoes anyway?  It’s pathetic.
  8. Learn to do DIY.  I hate contractors, repair men, decorators, gardeners, with a passion.  If it needs doing then 90% of the time I do it myself.  Learn to decorate, put up a shelf, fix a leaky tap, (faucet), and save yourself an absolute fortune.
  9. Make your travel arrangements early and do it on the internet.  Always shop around for the cheapest deal.  Always pay by credit card.  Get a brochure from the travel agent for information and to give you a comparison.
  10. Learn to drive properly.  Almost everyone I know is a crap driver, especially women.  Almost everyone I know drives too fast, races between the lights, uses the accelerator hard and the brakes hard, and sits in the wrong gear.  Drive a little slower and learn what anticipation means and you will not only use less petrol, (gas), there will be much less wear and tear on your car.
  11. p1020966Don’t always buy the newest, top-of-the-range car.  A low mileage used car, or the basic model in the new car range can save you thousands.  Remember, the biggest cost of owning a car is depreciation.  Most cars will lose between 50% – 60% of their value in the first 3 years.  (Just don’t buy an Edsel ~ people will laugh.)
  12. Walk, don’t drive.  If you don’t have far to go and don’t have much to carry, don’t drive, walk instead.  That won’t only save you money, walking will do wonders  for your health and fitness.
  13. Give up smoking / vaping.  Both will seriously damage your health, both can kill you, and both will cost you a fortune.  A pack of 20 cigarettes will cost you about £7 in the UK and about $7 in California, (USA prices vary by state).  So, a 10 a day habit will cost you about £1,300 per annum in the UK and $1,300 a year in California ~ a lot of money for a disgusting habit that’s killing you.
  14. Cut down on your drinking.  Too much booze will make you fat, ill, and temporarily or permanently stupid ~ it will eventually kill you.  How much booze is too much?  If you drink  a bottle of wine a night, or 4 bottles of beer, or a quarter of a bottle of spirits, then you are drinking far too much.  Decent booze is hellishly expensive.
  15. Cincinnati KidSTOP GAMBLING.  Gambling is exactly the same as throwing your hard-earned money in the trash.  Gambling is an addiction, and all gamblers lose heavily over time, always, with no exceptions, (not even the Cincinnati Kid).
  16. Never, ever, join a gym, and if you have gym membership, then cancel it.  Most people with gym memberships don’t go often enough to get their money’s worth.  Gyms are poor value for money and bad places for most people to exercise ~ you’re breathing stale air, being made to listen to loud music, and you’re indoors under artificial lights.  Nasty.  Exercise for free instead.
  17. Plan ahead and buy stuff in the sales, at discount stores, and in thrift stores.
  18. Claim all your tax and other benefits.  Use the internet at learn what you can really claim.
  19. Never use pay per view TV or TV services such as Netflix ~ this is just stupid.  Do you really need to dumb down so much as to sit in front of the TV, and pay extra for the privilege, over and above whatever stupid cable subscription you are already paying for this crap?
  20. Never, ever buy extended warranties on things like a car, new washing machine, or television.  These warranties are scams, not worth the paper they’re printed on, and cost a fortune.
  21. Stop buying expensive pre-prepared, ready meals.  Learn to cook instead.  ‘Ready meals’ are full of unmentionable crap, and are terrible value for money.

Remember, when you want to save money, when you want to stop wasting money, the internet is your friend.  You may think you don’t have the time to spend on internet research, trust me, you do have loads of spare time, it’s just that you waste that too.  Stop ruining your mind by watching hours of drivel on the TV, stop ruining your health by spending time in your usual sleazy pub / bar, and stop making excuses.

Never, ever, sign anything you don’t understand.  Never, ever, trust a salesperson.

Take back control of your own life, and take control of your finances, it’s a lot easier than you think.

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Wall Streetjack collier

jack collier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday #25

California Road Trip.

Echo Beach, Route 66, Hotel California

Gorillaz, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

California Girls, Breakfast in America

California Rain, California King Bed

Dog Breath, Champagne, Back to California

I’m Going Home, Get Back, Grateful Dead

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P1020195pictures by the girl riding shotgun

jack collier doing the driving

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

dreaming of you

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I dreamed of you last night

we were by the seashore, having fun

feeling friendly, loving, caring, feeling so right

walking together, until the last warm rays of the sun

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P1030482words and pictures by jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Gentleman or Slob? Lady or Skank?

Manners Maketh the Man, (and Woman).

b5tr9uvigaaduqgWith Christmas festivities in full swing, some of us are going to have to go out and about to meet a lot of people we don’t normally mix with.  This is not always a pleasure.  Not everyone we meet is civilised and well mannered.  There are some real animals out there.

A mature Englishman is allowed to have an opinion of what constitutes civilised behaviour, and what marks people out as heading in the general direction of the low IQ knuckle-draggers and sleazy slatterns.  I will admit to having some pet hates, and that my opinions and tastes are a trifle old-fashioned, preppy, conventional, proper, and, well, English.  However, some of the douchebags out there could do with some good, old-fashioned, English manners.

Among the things that I really hate to see and be near are;

  • People walking along the street, or in the mall, who aren’t looking where they’re going, usually because they’re engrossed in their smart phone / cell.  These idiots are a danger to themselves and others.  These same people probably browse social media while they’re driving.
  • ‘Friends’ sitting together and looking at their smart-phone / cell / tablet rather than engaging in some intelligent and lively conversation.  That’s just about as ill-mannered as it gets.
  • People who smoke without asking if it’s OK with everyone else present.  Thank you, I don’t want your disgusting and unhealthy habit in my personal space.
  • Smokers who throw their cigarette butts onto the street / out of the car window / into a potted plant / into their coffee cup.
  • People who drop litter in the street when there is a litter-bin, (trash can), just feet / yards away.  How stupid and lazy is that?
  • Dog owners who don’t clean up the disgusting mess their pooch makes.  Oh, and dog owners who assume that everyone will just love their nasty animal.  As it goes, I’m a cat person anyway.
  • Parents who don’t control their screaming, badly behaved children in stores / restaurants / on public transport / in airports….
  • Opinionated people who not only assume that you are remotely interested in their political views, but that you also agree with them.  Three things a polite Englishman will never willingly discuss; politics, money, and women.
  • Slobs who drink beer straight out of the bottle.  Have you any idea where beer bottles are stored and how many cockroaches / mice / rats have scuttled across those bottles?  For goodness sake, have some style and get a glass.
  • People who eat with their mouth open while they are walking along the street / around the mall / waiting in queues.  That is gross.
  • And then there are those people who will tell all and sundry about their unpleasant medical problem.  To be honest, I don’t want to know about flatulence, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, or any other issue that anyone has with their body.  Please keep these things between you and your doctor.

The type of scuzzy people who do some or all of the ill-mannered things above have one thing in common above all else, (apart from the fact that they are irredeemably common).  These people care nothing for anyone else’s finer feelings, and very little for themselves.

The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.  ~  Fred Astaire

Good manners cost nothing.  I firmly believe that before you can truly respect yourself you have to respect others too.  If you want to be a slob, skank, slut… then please do it in the privacy of your own home, rather than inflicting yourself upon decent people.

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WAF Landscape Christmas Cards.qxdthese opinions are mine and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Save Money ~ Have a Budget

Most People Don’t Really Manage Their Money.

shylockAfter more years in Banking and Finance than I care to admit, I can remember very few people who took responsibility for, and properly managed, their personal finances.  In my bitter experience, most people lived from one month to another without knowing where their money was going, or what they could really afford, or what was totally outside their budget.

If it comes to that, very few people have a proper, written, up to date, personal and household budget.  If you can put your hand up and say that you do, and that it is actually written down, (or on a spreadsheet, or otherwise on your computer), then you can skip the rest of this post and award yourself a gold star.

The point of having a budget is that it stops you being caught out by unpleasant financial surprises.  A budget also lets you plan ahead, for the rest of this year, next year, for the next two or three years, for a wedding, your kid’s college, for your retirement…

These are the steps you need to follow if you are going to create or revise your budget.

  1. Make a list of all the money you owe.  Before you save anything, before you make any investments, you should work towards paying off any and all loans and credit cards balances you have.  And, you can’t plan to pay off your loans early if you don’t have a proper budget.
  2. Make a list of all the regular payments you have to make.  These will range from your mortgage, property taxes, utilities bills, right through to charitable donations, cable TV, and gym membership…
  3. Make a list of your usual necessary expenses that you pay as you go along.  How much petrol do you put in your car each month?  How much do you spend on groceries, clothes, shoes…
  4. Make a list of how much your usual discretionary purchases are costing you.  These are things you don’t actually need.  How much do you spend at your local bar or any bars.  How much does eating out cost you each month?  What do you pay for cigarettes / vaping supplies each month.  How much do you waste on gambling and booze.
  5. Write down anything else that you buy on a regular basis, and how much it costs you.  Add in an amount for contingencies; all that stuff you can’t remember buying, and those weird impulse purchases.
  6. Put all these lists of the money you spend into order of importance.
  7. Turn all these lists into a monthly budget, which might look something like this;

budget

Obviously your numbers will be totally different, and you may have some different categories, for example; health insurance, pet care insurance, cigarettes, booze, sports club membership….  (And as it goes, the example I’ve shown is poorly ordered, for example Transportation should be above toiletries and grooming.)

This kind of budget lets you begin to do some real financial planning.

Maslow_Triangle_1Look at your budget, the most vital things should be at the top, and the things you could really get by without should be at the bottom.  It should fit with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  (albeit turned on its head)

If your monthly total is less than you earn, all well and good.  Don’t save or invest your spare cash, use it to pay off some of the money you owe, like your mortgage.  Saving or investing while you owe money elsewhere is stupid money management.

If your monthly total is more than you earn, you’re in trouble.  You need to cut your spending, and you start by cutting at the bottom of your budget, not at the top.  Spend less money in bars, buying cigarettes, eating out, gambling, buying booze, being the member of a gym…

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings and sixpence, result happiness.  Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and six pence, result misery.  ~  Mr Mcawber, by Charles Dickens

Don’t even think about saving, investing, buying a new car, or building your pension fund, if you don’t have a proper realistic and honest written budget, one that you can stick to.  You know it’s good advice, the kind of advice George Bailey would give you.

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1x-1these opinions are mine and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

 

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