Thursday, March 29

half narcissitic therapy - international travel

I was asked to post the best of my travel pictures, showing the various countries I have visited. I'm fortunate to have been able to broaden my outlook by travelling.

New Caledonia, 2007

New Zealand, 1990

(click to zoom out)

Australia, 1991

California, 1990
(festering toe injury from Hawaii)


Tuesday, March 27

revisiting the past is overrated

(1) I have just finished reading Billy Liar, which was hilarious to read when I was a teenager. But it has really dated, and this time I didn't enjoy it.

(2) The first rock band I ever saw was Deep Purple, at the Edinburgh Odeon. I was so impressed, I went out and bought a pair of black leather flared jeans, just Like Ian Gillan's. On TV last night I watched an old Deep Purple concert from about the same period. What a load of aimless noodling, posing and screaming!

(3) I once blogged about the time I had cancer, when I was a lot younger. A few months ago I heard that an old friend, with whom I lost contact many years ago, had breast cancer, and I made email contact. Since then, we have been renewing and deepening our friendship on-line, and I have tried to cheer her and distract her from her horrible treatment. Perhaps I was a little cocky in allowing myself to be portrayed as the success story, the guy who beat the big C. There are almost no cancer success stories, only works in progress.

In a post earlier this month, I said "I wouldn't mind dropping dead right now, life surely can't get any better than this." If only.

Last week I saw the doctor for a flu jab, and I mentioned a couple of strange sensations I have been feeling on my face for the past few months. She sent me to see a specialist the next day. I said to the guy "it's not really bothering me" but he said it was bothering him, he thinks it's something pressing on a nerve. "The kind of cancer you have likes to regrow in the nerves." So next Friday I'm going for a brain scan to see what, if anything, is going on in there.

Back in the mists of time, on the day when I got my first cancer, a good friend who was also a skilled counsellor said "name 5 positive things about having cancer." A little shocked, I went along with the idea, and started listing some of the advantages. I stopped at about 13, but I could probably have gone on.

That friend, like all my friends actually, now lives 10,000 miles away, but I've been trying on my own to think what might be some of the benefits if my brain scan goes badly. So far, I've got 3 items on my list: I can quit worrying about having no real pension entitlement when I retire; it's a great excuse to have a big clear-out of the junk in my house; and the anxiety is a free laxative. What a fortunate creature I am?

Obviously, if the scan goes well, I'll take my dear partner somewhere very ritzy for a celebration. I'll probably get blitzed for a week and start a whole new blog full of ground-breaking rude bits.

Thursday, March 22

school celebration HNT

Another memory lane HNT clicky pic.

The year I returned in triumph to visit my old school in Glasgow, there was a photographer present to record the event.

Celebration at
My Old School
(click to zoom out)


Saturday, March 17

excused responsibilities

My Saturday night restaurant ordeal last weekend was surprisingly tolerable, once I abandoned all hope of enjoying myself and just accepted it as a voluntary social penance. Even the conversational cacophony - the inevitable result of squeezing too many noisy diners into a space no bigger than a living room, then removing all carpets and soft furnishings - couldn't drag me down.

An added advantage of wearing the full-strength anti-tinnitus earplugs was that conversation wasn't an option for me, and I was able to concentrate on munching the overpriced designer food (deep-fried stuffed zucchini flowers for starters) without choking. The others in our party were glad to take up my share of airtime for the broadcast of their own pet stories. By lip-reading, I was able to observe them recycling the same self-serving anecdotes to each person in turn. I wish I was as easily pleased. When I was upfront with Stu about how little I enjoy these events, he asked "well, what would you rather do with your Saturday night?" I didn't pick up that the question was probably rhetorical, so I told him I'd have a better time sitting alone in an empty room.

Tonight I am excused all social responsibilities, mainly because the partner is in another country again. I'll be letting myself go even more than usual, spending the evening in front of the telly and the PC, wearing nothing but the new undies I bought today. I must say, going up a size does give one extra room to luxuriate. I used to think that Robert Plant wore a banana down his trousers or else he was born with a big willie. Now I know his secret - you just buy your jocks a size too big, and your tackle expands to take up the extra space. They do say that nature abhors a vacuum. I keep having to admire my new profile in the mirror. Could life get any better than this?

Thursday, March 15

Half Narcissistic Therapy without undies

My sarong is a kind of New Caledonian kilt but a lot cooler, and without a sporran. It doesn't need any underpants, so I offloaded my undies to the blog Laundry.


Tuesday, March 13

maturing tastes and a colour toy

What does it mean when you sweat for days over a considered post about the "exit strategy for Iraq," and then there's just a slow dribble of off-topic comments. Next, you post some typical stupidity about catapulting M and Ms at birds in the garden, with a link to a young thing with breasts falling out of her shirt, and overnight there's a torrent of comments. What a wonderful blogworld!

It's Monday evening and I'm just home from work after a hectic but enjoyable day. After I did a 5-and-a-half hour lesson with the same group, one student said he had enjoyed the class because it was a series of activities rather than just lecturing.

The low-alcohol Newcastle Brown and Guinness that I brewed 6 months ago have finally matured, and I've had one of each. To soak it up and neutralise the pesky alcoholic intoxication, I'm munching nuts mixed with crisps, a delicacy I first invented at the school tuck shop, and it still tastes just as good. What a fortunate thing I am!

I now have 3 days off till Friday, my other workday. What will I do with the time? Well tomorrow there's coffee and cake with Cap'n Kev, who's in port just now installing a windmill on his yacht. It seems the solar panels on their own don't generate enough power to run Age Of Empires all day long, so he needs to add a wind generator. What a fortunate man he is, not to have to work at all, not even 2 days a week like me.

Wednesday I'll swim the mile as usual, and then it's Thursday and HNT all oevre again. One of the books I'm reading is Billy Liar, possibly the first adult book I ever read. It'll be interesting to see whether it, or I, have matured at all in the intervening decades.

On Friday I have to work a whole morning, and in the afternoon the beloved partner goes to work overseas again for 10 days. Hooray for some time alone, to let myself go even more than usual! And the eventual reunion will be nice too.

If I can be bothered, I'll do my bit for prostate health at the weekend, and I might even tweak the colour-scheme on the blog, since I discovered this wonderful web-based toy called ColorMatch. They have some nice rich greys. You can use it to generate a colour scheme for your blog or for your walls. I found it at spinning girl.

There's some beautiful soprano sax and bass on the radio at the moment, I wouldn't mind dropping dead right now, life surely can't get any better than this. It's been a pleasure knowing you, and these last 2 years of blogging have been just the best, though maybe the 2 years on bliss medication had something to do with it too. The other book I'm reading just now is called How To Deal With People You Can't Stand, so maybe my life isn't actually that perfect after all, if I hate everybody around me. But that means things could get even better than this. Maybe I'll stay alive for a bit longer and see what happens.

Sunday, March 11


In the last place I lived, some commenters accused me of cruelty when I blogged about shooting small birds with a catapult.

It's not my fault if killing's in my genes. My own old man was a keen bird-watcher, also bird executioner whenever he found an injured one. I can still see him with hammer upraised over a sparrow.

When I told Ion this, she pointed out something I had never thought of: "Your father sounds very humane, but it's as well you left home before getting sick."

Another lucky escape! What a fortunate creature I am!

When I used Google image search to look for a "bird and hammer" photo, it came up with this picture. Don't click the link if you're a meditator trying to achieve freedom from earthly desires.

Thursday, March 8

old school HNT

Another memory lane HNT clicky pic.

The year I returned in triumph to visit my old school in Glasgow, there was a photographer present to record the occasion.

At the gates of
My Old School
(click to zoom out)


Tuesday, March 6

iraq exit strategy alleged

It's not quite true to say that there's no exit strategy for Iraq. It seems there is an exit strategy - it's an entry strategy to Iran. According to Reuters and Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack on Iran that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from George Bush.

It seems the panel initially focused on destroying Iran's nuclear facilities and on regime change (some people never learn). But the panel has more recently been directed to identify targets in Iran that may be involved in supplying or aiding militants in Iraq (do these shifting objectives remind you of anything?)

U.S. military and special-operations teams have allegedly already crossed the border from Iraq into Iran in pursuit of Iranian operatives.

But here's the good news. The Sunday Times says that up to five U.S. generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

Even Pat Buchanan, the right-wing Christian fundamentalist who regularly stands for U.S. president said last month:

"Bush has no authority – in the Constitution, in the law or in morality – to launch a preemptive war on another nation that has not attacked us."

What kind of a world is it when the generals and extreme right fundamentalists are the voices of reason?

Incidentally, Buchanan has always been an outspoken critic of the Iraq War, and warned in 2002 that if America launched a war in Iraq, it was their own empire that would end up destroyed.

Disclaimer - this blog does not necessarily endorse any opinions reported here. New Caledonia is a neutral country (CIA Map).

Thursday, March 1

half narcissitic therapy - brainwaves

Because I live a pure life, my system is hypersensitive to stimulants. I had 2 cups of tea before going to the pool this morning, and as a result ended up swimming a mile non-stop, while my turbocharged brain churned out flashes of inspiration and blog ideas. The swim took me about an hour and a half, and I was too revved up to even pause for a leak. Fortunately, the pool doesn't discriminate against swimmers suffering from RDD (Retention Deficit Disorder).

I've decided to advertise for an assistant, a.k.a. a hut manager. I need someone to walk up and down poolside and note down my brainwaves and revelations as they come to me. It's either that or a waterproof notepad, like the scuba divers use. If the assistant can make tea too, that would keep my creative juices flowing.

I offered the job to the delectable keda, who drinks 9 cups of tea a day. Sadly, she's already fully occupied with some guy who borrowed my name before covering her with chocolate milk. A man after my own heart, though I would have used custard.

One of today's brilliant ideas came to me when I went into the sauna. The pool management must have got a laminator for Christmas, because they have plastered every wall inside the sauna with plasticated warning signs. In the stifling heat of the sauna, the plastic laminates give off toxic fumes, so your eyes water and you cough. So I pulled the signs off the wall, took them home and found another use for them here in photoshop.

The original snorkel picture was taken last century by the former love of my life (now deceased) in Greece, and proves my exhibitionist credsentials.