Thank you to Blog Studio for all the help over years! :)
(Feb 2010 Update): Haloscan is no more. Therefore the comments on this blog are no more. Sad, but true. I'm not paying $12 a year for the occasional comment with Echo. Apologies to all those who have commented. I have saved them and may well stick them somewhere else at some point. Saturday, January 29, 2005My Grandfather - Thomas Flanagan - War Hero
I had a remarkable phone call with my eldest brother Chris earlier today. Chris has been doing a family tree thing on my father's side of the family for some years now. (My mother's side of the family are from Ireland, and a lot of things seem to stop with records that were lost in the fire when the Cork Registry Office burnt down in "The Troubles" in 1922 - or at least that's what one of my aunties used to say when asked about her age on official English documents :) )
Anyway, Chris has managed to get hold of some letters, postcards, and miltary records of my grandfather. I never knew him, only my grandmother on my father's side, so all this new information is amazing. Read on....
1. He lied about his age to sign up to fight in the 2nd Boer War campaign in South Africa in 1901 when he was only 16 years old. 2. He got a few medals for action in the campaigns out there. 3. He was in the Durham Light Infantry, and was stationed on Spike Island, (a naval fort and prison in it's time, at the entrance of Cork harbour), around the turn of the last century. The link to the photo above of Spike Island was taken from Cobh - the large island off the coast of Southern Island - where my mother comes from. So it's kinda spooky that my future English grandfather-to-be was not more than 20 miles or so where his future Irish daughter-in-law was to be born. 4. He was discharged from the army on March 19th 1919. (March 19th is my birthday!)
In the dishcarge papers it says he was shot in the abdomen, but would have been killed outright had the bullet not riccoched off his dog tags - the intended shot was to the chest. My cousin John has the dog tags - with a dent in them where the bullet struck.(I do know that later on in life Grandad Flanagan was diagnosed with mustard gas posioning and his health rapidly declined).
There was one postcard with a very short message on it, which Grandad sent to Grandma Flanagan, during WW1. It said:
"Merry Christmas to all - under the circumstances. All leave has been cancelled for the time being. What about a letter?"
- what a comedian. I said to Chris that I could have imagined our father saying that as well! At least we now know where we get some of sense of humour from!
In short, I have registered a domain thomasflanagan.co.uk, where, after all the info, records, photos etc have been followed up by Chris - I shall be placing a website in my grandfather's memory. What a story. What a man.
Having gone through this interesting experience of lasik eye surgery, I decided to write a short page on it to perhaps help other people who may be considering laser eye surgery. Here is a link to Lasik Surgery. It's a basic page which explains the main treatments of lasik, lasek, and wavefront laser eye surgery. I've also put links to USA laser eye surgery clinics, and also to UK lasik centres.
At the bottom of the page is my own story of my lasik laser eye surgery. I've taken the weblog entries from here, and expanded on them. At the moment the lasik laser eye surgery experience is up to my weekly update, last Saturday. I have another check-up in a few weeks time which I shall update the Lasik Surgery page with.
For some strange reason it would appear that Agnetha's Bottom seems to be a very popular search term at the moment for some people to find their way here. So as not to disappoint any further visitors...
It's true I did talk briefly about Agnetha's Bottom back in April last year. And if anybody wants to yack about Agnetha and the rest of ABBA you could go to this ABBA Features Forum.
If you want to see more of Agnetha - take a look here:
But it seems some people just can't get enough of her derriere ;)
I just got off the phone with my mum who was telling me about an old friend of hers, and of the family, back in Ireland who is dying and has gone into a hospice. I know this chap as well, from the times many years ago when we used to go back to Ireland for our holidays.
Then, it was a huge military excursion. I think one of the first big trips was back in 1968/69. I was 5 years old. There is this picture here: Me in Ireland - I'm the small person in the stripey t-shirt in the middle looking straight at the camera, whilst my brother Joe, attempts to feed a large boxer dog which had wandered towards our picnic. All concerned parents looking at the photo can only imagine the words my dad was saying - the bare-chsted chappie off to the right of the photo.
My mum is from Cobh - which is an island off the coast of southern Ireland - that's Eire to you and me. She met me dad over in England, and they moved back to Ireland where my eldest brother Chris, (not a pretty picture, eh?!), was born. They moved back to the North East of England where the rest of us were born. (That's me second from the right with the shirt and tie on. Look at that haircut and glasses - oi vay! - if only I were Jewish!).
Anyway, to cut this rambling short. We went as a whole family back to Ireland a couple of times in the late 1960's, and then it was me, Siobhan, (a Gaelic name for my younger sisiter - the only girl in the family!), and Mam & Dad several times in the 1970s.
Me Playing The Fool In Killarney
...and it was me Dad that took the photo as well! :)
My mum has gone back a few times over the years as well. I think she'll be planning a trip back later this year as well. It's terribly bad when old friends die. I know we all have to go some time. I just hope this chap has a graceful exit from this life to the next. He was a good bloke and will be missed.
Well, what can I say? It was all over in a flash - almost. In fact the gory details were: 1. Wacked on the slab and drops put in my right eye, (and one in my left just in case he slipped!) 2. Eyelids pinned back with some medieval torture device last used by some... er medieval torturer I suppose. 3. Eyeball sucked up like an alien abduction into a spacecraft until it all went black and all I could see was light through the gauze on my left eye. 4. Then two small pin prick lights - one red and one green, whilst he used some cutting tool to slice into my cornea. 5. (The best gory bit now....!) - I could smell burning flesh as he shaved microns of tissue off my eye.
There. Wasn't that nice?
But, of course, the main benefit of all of this is that I don't have to wear distance glasses anymore......so far. My brain, (God bless it), now has to work out how come my right eye is fine, and my left eye is still screwed up. Once that is sorted, (c6 weeks), I should have superb distance vision, and back to normal near vision again.
In the meantime it just goes from being almost perfect to pretty scrappy whilst it settles itself. But overall, I have DISTANCE sight - and that's great :)
Remember me telling you about Ultralase the other day? Well, I went for the consultation yesterday afternoon...
Because I don't have a large prescription in either eye, (I think it's -1.0 in one, and -1.25 in the other), I think I shall opt for mono-vision surgery. What this means is that they will zap my most dominant eye - my right eye, and that should improve my long-distance, (short-sightedness), in my overall vision by , (at least), driving syandard and slightly beyond. However, it will also NOT reduce my near vision, (within arms length vision), which would occur if I get both eyes zapped for perfect long distance vision to infinity and beyond!.
Anyway, I'm going to see if I can get myself an appointment for tomorrow, Saturday! How exciting! :)
It has been drawn to my attention by my good lady wife, Sue, that Tescos are virtually giving away money - other people's money! Your money! How is this done? Well, it's all to do with credit card receipts. (There's a guy called Ben Edington who has a nice little page explaining this in more detail here: Credit Card Fraud).
Basically, at the bottom of your till receipt, if you pay by credit card, there will be an imprint, or electronic print out of some, (or ALL in some cases!), of your credit card number. Tescos looks like this:
1234 5678 ++++ 9012
With the "++++"'s representing the four numbers, for security reasons (!), which are missing. I don't feel very secure about that! Anyone fraudster with a knowledge of how Visa, Mastercard etc, credit card numbers are made up, will easily be able to carck that number in no time at all.
Obviously, the introduction of chip & pin into the UK this year will reduce this kind of free money give away, but it's still a scarey thought as to how easy it could be for someone to rip off your credit card number - and then go spending on the net, for example!
Undoubtedly the name of a yet-to-be discovered famous Sixties psychedlic pop band, but Dream Photography is something that happened to me last night. I've wrote about Dreams before, so this is not an unusual subject to blog about here. But, there was something that happened in a dream I had last night that had never happened before. Intrigued, eh? Read on McDuff...
There I was at some kind of social function. It was outside a large red-brick building, (like an old mansion house), standing around in a courtyard with a crowd of other people. I think it was a wedding. I was standing with some people who had cameras. Some were photographers, some just had cameras and were waiting for the happy couple to arrive. The idea, as I remember, was that photographs would be taken before the couple would leave the courtyard and enter the mansion house.
There I was standing next to a tall, slim, blonde photographer woman, who was dressed in a black toruser suit outfit with long tails on the jacket. (So I guessed she was trying to fit in with the guests and get the best photos). Anyway, as the happy couple posed just outside the mansion house doorway, the blonde photographer stepped forward from my side and went towards the couple to take some photos. But, as she got about twenty feet away from me across the courtyard, she spun around on one heel, (a difficult thing to do on cobbles!), and she took a couple of photos of me. Then she turned around and headed off towards the doorway of the mansion to take photos of the happy couple.
Of course, at that point in the dream - I woke up.
Now, I don't know about you, but - I've never had my photo taken in a dream before. This raises some interesting issues.
One could consider a dream to be a different type of medium, like television for example. However, with TV, if another medium was used within it, say, radio, or a telephone call, or some printed material, there would be at least one record of either the TV broadcast, or the other medium which was used within it. Basically, there would always be a record of the mediums used, and at least some real & tangible path to access those mediums again.
But.....with a dream, things are slightly different. It's interesting that we have dreams in the first place. Naturally, there are many different ways to interpret dreams. Usually, I just enjoy the ride in mine. I dream in colour, with sound, with action. Occasionally I have a lucid dream - these are just like experiencing reality, but in a dream. My most lucid of lucid dreams I wrote about here: Lucid Dreaming. It wasn't that spectacular, but it was quite impressive.
Whether it be a lucid dream or a normal dream, it is still only dealing with the one medium i.e. the dream state. There is no cross-over with any other medium. You are either watching/dreaming a dream, or being active/having a lucid dream. (There is room, I suppose, for a cross-over of mediums in a lucid dream). However, when one becomes aware of another medium having an impact/intrusion into the dream state you are in, then the thought process takes a giant leap for mankind... or at least mine did.
The basic question is this: "What happened to the photos of me, which the blonde photographer took, in my dream?".
In order to ask that question I had to accept a few things first: 1. Whether lucid or normal - dreams exist. 2. A dream is another form of reality. 3. The events within a dream actually happen within that dream time/state.
To sum up, it is my contention that The Dream does not simply vanish because you wake up. It exists. It happened. Regardless of our realities interpretation of the events in the dream, it was a reality in it's own right.
Bearing that in mind, where are my photographs now? Have other people been photographed in their dreams? Have I been recorded/photograohed by people in another Dream Dimension? Do all dreams, (that all dreams since the dawn of time), exist in a parallel reality of our own? Has that Dream Reality developed as our reality has - but just in a completely different way from ours? Do the people in the Dream Realitydream about us as well?
Are we being monitored from our dreams by people from another Dream Dimension?
I enjoy dreams. And I shall be looking out for more communications with our friends in the Dream Dimension.
It's that time of year for self-improvement isn't it? It's a new year, a new beginning - a time to put some of those New Year's Resolutions into action..... right? Okay - so why not treat yourself to a new pair of eyes :)
Yup. I'm going to go to Ultralase and have my eyes lasered with the Lasik or Lasek method of laser eye surgery to correct my vision. No more glasses for me! I know it's a bit radical, but it actually works out cheaper in the long run. I spend about £250 every couple of years on glasses, and eventually my eyesight would get worse - so why not get them zapped now? If you look through the Ultralase Payment Options page you'll see that it looks quite expensive. But thanks to some clever marketing, or desperation for business on their part, they've come up with a rather good deal for me. 3 Years Interest Free Credit! Not bad, eh? I did enquire about getting my eyes done before Christmas, but it was just too expensive on their regular payment options. But 3 Years Interest Free Credit is just too good an opportunity to over look - it you'll pardon the pun ;)
The preliminary visit is on Thursday this week, with the surgery sometime in February.
And it really is going to be a huge Self Improvement week this week. Remember Farting In The Gym? Well, I'm off to fart some more this week! I've rejuvenated my platinum membership at the Impulse Leisure at Blackshots Community Centre. All over last year I kept my membership open by paying a meagre £5 a month instead of the usual full fee. I never really got a chance to get into a regular schedule of gym activity last year. What with trips to France 2004, The USA in February 2004, and The USA in November 2004, it made life pretty difficult to keep on a regular eating & exercising schedule. And last year was a general weird work year with staying away at hotels etc.
BUT! - this year will be different! :)
So, by the end of February, (hopefully), I'll have my eyes fixed with laser eye surgery at Ultralase, lost a few pounds at the gym - and hopefully not gassed too many people in the process! :)
Sadly, the New Year celebrations for 2005 have been over-shadowed by the tragedy caused by the tsunami earthquake diaster. There are many ways to help out. Here are links to a few of the tsunami help sites out there: