Wednesday, August 29

food of our fathers + HNT

I'm reading a book by Andrew O'Hagan, called Our Fathers. It's about a middle-aged Scots exile who returns to Scotland. It's partly a story of cruel drunken fathers and unforgiving sons. The characters are working-class catholics, and my family were middle-class protestants, but otherwise it's like my former life.

Mostly I'm managing to resist feeling nostalgic, but occasionally it creeps up on me. At the point where it mentions Players Number 6 cigarettes, I suddenly longed to be sucking one of those fags that I gave up twenty-odd years ago, the very cigarettes that got me into the big C club.

And there's a great passage in the book where they eat dinner in a pub:

They ordered food.

Lasagna, an avalanche of white sauce tearing down the glen.

Chips piled high as Stirling Castle.

A loch of baked beans.

Lumps of steak pie; livid red meat, clammy puff pastry.

Potatoes boiled down to silt.

Scampi chunks, breathless on kitchen roll, heaped in a
buff-coloured basket, the breadcrumbs orange.

A puddle of peas.

And a gammon steak that looked sore. It looked red and sore, like one of their faces, a half pineapple-ring set in the middle, a yellow-toothed grin. The plate was a mirror: the man was eating his own Scots face.

I'm a fortunate man - I survived the Scottish diet and the big C, outlived my own father, and escaped to New South Caledonia to go bananas.


If you're desperate, you can access all the old half baked thursday posts here.

Saturday, August 25

freelance reichian visions

When I was at the pool last month, I used visualisations to help me swim up the side of a building, despite having a back injury.

Well I was at the pool again this week, for the first since last month's vertical swim.

This time, I used visualisation to engage in some freelance Reichianism. With my mind in neutral as I swam, I paid attention to how my spine was involved in each stroke. I discovered that on every outbreath, I could use imagery to obtain a fraction of a millimetre's difference in posture, and feel the benefits right away. I won't tell you what image I was using, it was hardly politically correct, but it improved my style and loosened up my back.

After a while I realised I was doing it on the precise moment between the exhalation and inhalation, at the instant when everything is in balance. Maybe that's why it was so effective.

Dean Martin used to say

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. They wake up in the morning and that's the best they're going to feel all day."
I know what he means. I feel sorry for people who never get back pain. The moment when the pain lifts is like winning the lottery or falling in love. Suddenly, every little thing is a delight. Walking painlessly down the street is a huge buzz. Who needs money? Who needs friends? A career? Pornography (just kidding)?

Thursday, August 23

disappearing hands + HNT

My dog loves people. She would never dare attack a human, but she doesn't count little kids as people.

At the shops this morning, I found a lamp-post to tie the dog up, but there was a full-on mothers-and-kiddies circus going on nearby. Rather than leave the dog alone in the middle of that, I stuck around amidst the ear-splitting commotion and waited for them to move on.

Just as the show finally got moving, the lead toddler spotted my dog, and my heart sank as the wee thing ran over to us.

I appealed to the mother, who was disappearing up the road. I said "My dog's not good with little kids" and I hoped she would take the hint.

The mother responded in that sing-song voice of reality-denial: "come away darling, some dogs don't like little children."

The kid was too young to understand English, but the intonation of the mother's voice said "go ahead darling," and so it kept on coming.

So to fend the thing off for its own safety, I tried addressing it in dog language. I shoved my hand in its cheery face, and said "No! Go away!" Sensing a new game, the delighted toddler swerved around me and launched itself towards the dog, still sitting obediently but anxiously beside me.

By repeated side-stepping, I was able to keep my body between the suicidal kid and the dog. But then with a final lunge it got around me and with a triumphant scream poked its fingers in the dog's face.

Now the dog lost patience. Munch! The kid's wee hand disappeared up to the wrist into the dog's mouth. Tears flowed, but no blood.

Perhaps I should have admonished my dog, but it was all I could do to keep my own hand from disappearing into my trouser-pocket, where I keep the chunks of dried liver jerky.


If you're desperate, you can access all the old half baked thursday posts here.

Tuesday, August 21

struggling magnolia

My old dear is nursing her cancerous husband. She's losing the plot after a lifetime as an iron lady.

I've been trying to phone hotboy's house, to speak to the Domestic Bliss. She works in the medical field and could perhaps advise me. All I get on the end of the line is this posh robot, saying nobody's home, but we know better than that, don't we?


About 6 months ago, I said I would post pictures of the magnolia here when it's in flower. Well it's not looking good so far:

One brave bud is threatening to open, but the others perhaps realise it's still technically winter here, and fear an ambush by frost. Pessimists, like me.

In the background is the jacaranda, which will explode into flowers that carpet the garden in purple when they fall.

But there are signs of spring elsewhere in the garden:

Thursday, August 16


On the dog walk route through the woods, you come across this plant.

From a distance, it seems a bit twiggy. My partner in bliss says it's called japonica, but she could be wrong. She's an academic, and used to sounding authoritative about everything.

As you get up close you see each flower as an individual beauty.

As my old school chum and recent heid bummer of the Scottish Church might say, life's a bit like that, every one is beautiful if you get up close.

Joking apart, just imagine if humans were like that!

Sunday, August 12

commune while you commute

Naturally the bit about killing the caterpillar in the previous post was pure dramatic licence. Simply trying to compensate the HNT crowd for the absence of sexual frisson. My karmic portfolio is available for scrutiny any time by ra cyberauditors. No flies on me!

I've been inspired by people like hotters, who use their blog to help them do stuff like meditate, or kick drink. So I've decided to use this blog to help me achieve some life goals, whatever they are.

As a postmodern self-referentialist, my first goal will be to define some goals.

Meantime, to hell with that, someone gave me a stone-age Palm Pilot, and I went on the hunt for some games to download, so I can waste time more enjoyably. But I found something better - a Palm version of the I Ching.

The program even throws the coins for you, before bringing up the answers on the screen. This is progress! Forget games, I can merge with the ultimate absolute on the way home on the bus.

Wednesday, August 8

caterpillar HNT

Early in the summer, this splendid caterpillar was getting fat in my garden, and was already longer than my finger. I'm not sure which end is the front, probably the pointy end, just like humans.

After this photo was taken I adminstered humane euthanasia under my shoe. The insides are actually just as colourful.


See also all the old half baked thursday posts.

PS - Can anyone explain why the dementia arithmetic doesn't add up? I may have to ask at the blog I stole it from.

Tuesday, August 7

writing stand, guided hand, helping hand

Re the previous post about the mental arithmetic Senile Dementia test, I got the wrong answer too, which doesn't bother me, but I couldn't work out where I (and all commenters except one cheat) went wrong. Now that did annoy me.

Clive James in a TV interview today said that as he gets older he remembers new stuff from his early life, but can't tell you what he did last week. I've noticed that too, that's probably why I keep posting stuff from the past.

Today I'm off work with the dodgy back, standing at the Rumsfeldian standing-desk to post this without pain. Thank you Cap'n Kev for the use of your laptop.

I haven't had a holiday for at least a month, but I've enjoyed reading the holiday posts of various blogfriends, with photos from one blog appearing on another blog. Intertextual or what!

I don't know where this post is going. In the interview, Clive James also said it's no wonder all writers are drinkers - it's all that tension waiting for things to write about. I once went to see a spiritualist healer guy at a Glasgow Church. He said "write". I asked what. He said the main thing was just to start, and your hand will be guided, then you can read the meaning of what you've written. I think he was referring to so-called automatic writing, a sort of Oija Board but with a pencil. I've had some spooky experiences in my haphazard life, but none as far as I know involved channelling someone else.

Some serious writers gain more time to focus on this spiritual stuff, by delegating the routine chores to their own personal hut managers, photographers, dish washers and pitch inspectors. That would help. If I had assistants to attend to all the worldly drudgery for me, I might achieve something. What a fortunate creature I'd be!

I have a garden wildlife photo to post later this week. The problem is, it'll be part of an HNT but I'd also like to show it to ion. The problem is she (understandably) steers clear of HNT posts. Are you there ion? I'll post it early, and you needn't comment or you can be anonymous. It's not rude.