Overpriced, Overdone but Beautiful

So what am I talking about with a post title like that?

The United Kingdom actually.

I left the UK in 1992 and emigrated to Texas where I spent a good 17-years before returning to Europe and settling in the Czech Republic. Periodically, of course, I get to go back on business or a for a family visit.

Over priced – The UK is expensive. How do people there manage? So far as I can tell, salaries have gone up incredibly since I left but despite the fact that people seem to earn what I would have thought of as ‘silly money’ back in 1992, prices appear to have risen even faster! Being in the West Midlands this last week, I paid over four pounds for a pint, had toast, eggs and a coffee breakfast for 15 pounds and all I can say is thank God I gave up smoking last year! Meanwhile, I was told that some remarkably ordinary looking homes were fetching 600,000 pounds and that people at getting mortgages of 10-12 times their income…. a recipe for total disaster. So, yes, over priced and by a long way too. By comparison to other parts of Europe, the UK is simply incredibly expensive.

Overdone? – too crowded, too full of people, too many cars, airports too small. The UK is full to overflowing and I fear it will eventually sink (south east first) under the weight of that steaming mass of humanity. The result is stress, aggravation and very rude people….

But something must be going right because I passed home after home in Birmingham that must have cost 500,000 GBP or more with 2-3 cars (BMW’s and such) parked all over their front yards. Somebody is doing well.

No, you can keep the UK. I don’t much miss it if I am honest except for the football, the beer, nice little country pubs, English gardens, Yorkshire, the west cost of Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Fish n Chips, Pork pies – pies in general actually, sticky puddings, treacle pudding, shepherd’s pie,the east cost of Yorkshire, York, the moors, the history, little English villages,small churches…. Well maybe I do!

Englands-green-and-pleasant-land

Coming back its the greenness that always amazes me. From the plane it simply is a brighter, richer, deeper shade of green. Its a beautiful country.

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Given that, I should visit more often but live there? I could not afford it.

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A Tale of Magic and Reality

You will forgive me for writing the odd blog about my books as it is probably the only way I have of promoting them. Last August, RoundFire issued my first attempt at a novel – The Last Observer. The book has received mostly great reviews and I am slowly working on a follow up or should it be a ‘before up’ as it is a prequel called the The Lord of the Elements.

LO Cover

The Last Observer is a tale of modern magic wrapped up in Quantum Physics and the nature of reality. I believe that we create or co-create our own reality and that a magician trains him/herself to do this extremely efficiently. The story involves a bookworm called Stanley who has very strong and well-honed imaginative faculties. His life is turned upside down as he finds two groups of magicians – black and white – are intent on recruiting his skills as an ‘observer’ to change the world……Meet Edward, Zeltan, Alison, and …. yes, The Lord of the Elements, in my Dennis Wheatley-like short novel. The book features a Foreword by Anthony Peake. Here is a preview…..

Its available on Amazon and all other book sellers in both paperback and eBook formats at a great price now. You can buy it from Amazon here

A Few Reviews

  • This book is FUN. It is a very fast paced read with more emphasis on action than on detail… or so it seems until you realize that along with the dose of entertainment you’ve been drawn in to an intense lesson on the nature of reality. It is a good adventure story which delves into the underground world of esoteric magic and flies into the more airy concepts of quantum physics – and where the two seemingly opposite realms merge. ( Note: I am relatively clueless about quantum physics.) It reads like a cross between the concept of the Matrix and an early 20th century occult thriller. While overt Christianity is absent, there is no relativism here. That would have created a completely different book. The Hammer film The Devil Rides Out, adapted from a Dennis Wheatley novel, comes to mind. The protagonist, Stan, a reclusive bookworm, finds himself sought after, and literally pursued by both sides of a cosmic battle. Their target: a man whose inability to fit comfortably in the so-called real world brought out the full force of his imaginative talent, a gift that both shapes and defines reality. The observer/recluse is really the spinner of the world. Imagination is reality. Stan’s introduction to the unfamiliar occult world who has reached for his soul is rocky. The farther in he gets pushed, the more is unveiled, and the reader is invited to learn along with Stan the nature of that world, its values, and how to discern the motives and workings of the participants. His counterpart, Alison, is a naive and somewhat lazy seeker of the unseen who is drawn in by the wrong side and falls hard. Both have much to learn. And learn they do. Without giving away the plot twists I can at least venture to say that Stan emerges from the adventure wiser and a solid support to others in his newly cultivated field. But enough of the Serious Stuff. Go read and enjoy. ~ Darcy, Amazon.com
  • How would you feel if the reality you knew as intimately as your own thoughts was suddenly brought into question? If, in fact, you became aware that the two were inextricably linked, not just within the confines of your imagination, but in actuality? And if you could begin to understand this strange, unsettling concept, what would you do when it was borne upon you that someone wanted to hijack that reality, twisting it for their own ends and putting more at risk than your life? Such is the position in which Stanley finds himself. He is just an ordinary man, a loner with a vivid imagination who finds himself dragged into an unfamiliar world where those who share his talent are disappearing in strange and violent circumstances. In a strange and unexpected encounter, Stanley meets Edward, and the dangerous adventure begins. At the centre of this dangerous web is the enigmatic figure of Zeltan, drawing in the human threads to weave a tapestry that could rewrite history. Dr Vasey’s intimate knowledge of the world of ritual magic is used to dramatic effect as its darker side mirrors the twisted mind of Zeltan, painting a vivid and harrowing picture of the abuse of the potential of the mind. In ‘The Last Observer’ Dr Vasey explores the nature of reality and the human mind. With his usual incisive style he exposes the knife edge where ego and ambition pave the road to a personal hell and highlights the illusions under which we live, both in regard to the manifested world we see around us and our role within it. This slim volume packs a thought provoking punch and is an addictive read. The fast paced story leads the reader through the twists and turns of the plot with a feel of being caught within the story. As indeed we are. Do not look for magic wands, happy ever afters and fairytales within the book’s covers. The Last Observer hits home at the point where science and magic meet and will leave you questioning the nature of your own reality and your place within it. ~ Sue Vincent
  • This fast paced story takes us through the process of unveiling the true nature of who and what we are as Co Creative aspects of all that is , its as much a learning tool as it is an entertaining read ! The Last Observer is tailor made for those that love good story telling based on fundamental truths that are empowering and help to illuminate the way towards greater expansion of who and what we are. The ending of this story is “Brilliantly” thought out and represents our true nature and the incredible power that we have in shaping both our collective and individual realities. ~ Seth willis, http://www.apocalypse-how.com

The Haircut

I have always detested having my hair cut. It seems such a bloody waste of time and besides, I really don’t like looking at myself in a mirror for 30 to 40 minutes. For this reason, I always tend to leave it a bit longer than I should.

However, this morning I had my haircut. I go to an old fashioned barber’s shop in Prague where they really do a good job, use old fashioned blades and you get a good head massage as well. Of course, I had to look at myself sitting facing that mirror.

Perhaps it was the background music – a mix of seventies and eighties classics like Meatloaf and Patti Smith. Perhaps it was just my mood and state of mind right now. Who knows? But, as I looked at that face I began to see the wrinkles, the deep set lines, the beginnings of the sagging jowls and the greying hair. The contrast with my young hairdresser didn’t help. In his twenties, his skin still had that tight, fresh and vital look of youth. I am aging.

This thought triggered a sort of dispassionate sadness. I can’t explain it better than that. A sort of recognition that there is no escape from this process of aging nor would I wish to except perhaps to go back and take another crack – another bite of the cherry – knowing what I know now.

I don’t yet look decrepit. Just a few weeks ago, in the darkness of a Prague pub, a group of people we were talking to put me in my early forties or late thirties. Nice of them but they were obviously drunk! I have never looked my age and didn’t even start shaving until well into my late teens (well early twenties!). I was a late developer and spent a few years embarrassed by my lack of progress when changing for school sports! Perhaps now that is paying dividends for I am a young looking mid fifties guy.

But that’s changing now and changing quite rapidly so – in front of my own eyes.

It makes you think looking at yourself in the mirror for any length of time. Each line, grey hair and wrinkle has its own story. The story of our lives right there, etched in our skin.

I still see myself in my mind’s eye as perhaps mid twenties to mid-thirties. Still vital and energetic. Still chomping at the bit for life’s experiences and somehow naive and woefully innocent. The thought crossed my mind leaving the barbers that it is this energy – this life force – that is slowly abandoning me. It is as if that force, sensing pastures new, is readying it’s goodbyes. Somehow, I need to focus on maintaining that life force and energy where it is at least a little while longer.

Sometimes thoughts keep coming back. Going round and round in circles for just yesterday I had watched David Bowie’s video of Thursday’s Child. It seemed to have a similar theme or thought and I am, in fact, a thursday’s child myself……

Conspiracy

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Mysterious mysteries that haunt a stark modern world

Real life Cluedo for armies of armchair-bound experts

Theories abound and dark conspiracies are found

Everywhere

 

Shoddy incomplete reporting and innocent ignorance

Sets up an astonishingly rancid morbid theme

Unbelievable beliefs expounded by armies of truth thiefs

Everywhere

 

Hysterical and bizarre nonsense replaces common sense

Confusion, biased opinion and mealy-mouthed malice

Confounds normal reality as conspiracy theories abound

Everywhere

 

Aliens, Satanists, Corporates and the illumined ones

UFO’s, abductions, Government plots and false flags

Get real people, this is just your sick fantasy and madness, illiteracy

Everywhere

Where Is My Enthusiasm?

From time-to-time, we lose our way a bit. Distractions or pure bloody laziness are usually to blame. For the last several weeks, it has been the latter for me. I can’t be bothered to meditate I really can’t. I feel flat – not down – but flat, lacking in excitement and with no zest at all for anything. It’s a strange feeling. A bit like treading water or something. Is it the weather, the time of year, my age???? Who knows? In a couple of weeks or so, we move back to Brno and I am hoping that a change of scenery makes the difference and rekindles the fires.

What is missing is enthusiasm.

enthusiasm-is-gone

Enthusiasm has always been my driving force. The fuel for my engine. My inner fire. Enthusiasm is similar to desire but it supports desire in the sense that it feeds and drives the desire to action and hopefully results. My enthusiasm has gone. But where the hell did it go and why? I have been looking for it around the house but to be honest, I don’t really know what it looks like and so I haven’t found it. How do you get enthusiasm back? Does anyone know? If you happen to see my enthusiasm somewhere, please chase it back.

Thanks!

I wrote a poem many years ago that seems to fit my mood. It’s called Gone again and it appeared in my first book of poetry – Weird Tales. Here it is…

Gone Again

Gone again
Hardly a moment to spare
I don’t know where life is leading
And I don’t really care
Gone again
Was I ever really there?

Slot machine bingo
Maniacal stares
Readily unfolding
In front of me
Unzip and down to flesh again
Automatic eyes
Lasered to see

Pull another cocktail
Molotov type
Shoving it down inside
Deep inside
Dilation and comforting sensation
Try me
I am on your side

Gone again
Not a moment to spare
God only knows what I am doing
And he doesn’t care
Gone again
Was I ever really there?

Customer Service East of the Rhine….

I love living in the Czech Republic I really do. It is beautiful, relatively inexpensive (outside of Prague), full of very nice people and has great beer and food. One thing it lacks however is an understanding of what customer service is.

When you live somewhere like the Czech Republic you really do begin to yearn for the American customer service experience. I say American because to be honest, British customer service isn’t all that great either…. but, its not this bad!

Let me give you a small example. In an earlier post, I mentioned a bill for natural gas. The company in question is RWE, a major German energy company. You would think then that customer service would be high on the agenda of a company supplying energy to customers right?

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For the last 4 months, our apartment in Brno has been empty. Apart from a couple of nights when we have stayed there in sleeping bags, the heating is set to minimum. What this means is that it only comes on at close to freezing temperatures. Now, I would say that this winter that may have occurred for a month or so – not much more as it has been a remarkably warm winter – today March 12th, it is 14C! So, you can imagine my shock and consternation when I got a bill for three-months for more than $500 equivalent right?

The first thing I did was call RWE. There was an English language option that dumped you into voicemail. I left 2 or 3 voicemails over the last few days and no one has yet called me back. I also sent an email to the email address provided asking how could this be?

After 2-days I got a short email back saying that we should check the meter reading ourselves and that we could also, for a fee, have the meter’s accuracy checked. Super! How? Well, it didn’t say. So I replied. I asked a few additional questions such as what tariff are we on? How long is the contract? Could it be possible that the gas is also being used by someone else in our building? Would RWE be able to offer us some efficiency advice? Two days later, I got the reply….

1. We are on a standard tariff. If you want a different one, visit the RWE shop in Prague and deal with them,
2. RWE is not a gas service company so if you want to check if others are using the gas you should look in the phone book and call someone,
3. No, RWE does not offer any advice on energy efficiency.

By the way, at no point was I given any phone number or contact person so … I wrote back saying, please call me.

I got a call surprisingly quickly.

She asked me what I needed. I explained the issue. So what do you want, she asked. I would like someone to check the meter and by the way, the hall always has a gas smell, says I. Oh, you should contact our emergency service, in fact, I will put you through…… she was gone!

Emergency services answer…. Do you speak English, says I? No. OK, here is the address in Brno…… Wait, he says (in English), this is Prague, we don’t cover Brno. You need to call them. click!

I don’t know what to say……… but where is the customer service in any of this? RWE plainly could care less.

Luckily, there are other providers here and I am looking up their numbers now.

An Experiment

I have blogged for years – actually since about 2004 – always using my own hosted custom site. I originally started out using Drupal but about 3-years ago or so, I switched to WordPress. Now I am experimenting with something equally dramatic….. moving from my own hosted custom site to a blog hosted on wordpress.com.

I have always avoided wordpress.com as it stops you from running any advertising. The truth is, I have made about $300 in those ten years blogging from ads maximum and so I have come to the conclusion it simply doesn’t work. Still, I write books and I use amazon ads for my books and that won’t fly here….. There are ways around that issue however which is to direct people interested in buying my books to my book review site – strange book reviews – a site I and a friend own and host and where I can still get a commission…..please do buy your occult books there and do buy mine there… royalties are small so an extra bit on top in the way of an Amazon commission is nice.

What brings me here is community. I am hoping there will be more interaction with other bloggers and more readers of this blog. We will see. I will preserve my existing blog for a while and may switch back. But, for now, lets see how it goes.

exp

One real drawback is that all my google links now lead to the old site….. and when that goes away, to a black hole….

Ah well….

What do you all think? Comments please as I seek to see if this is a good idea.

I will also eventually bring over the url and get rid of the wordpress.com bit…. but only after I am sure this is the right way to go.