Friday, May 30

who said a change is as good as a rest?

Some people have to work overtime in their job. Although I hardly have to work at all at the institute, I'm experiencing something nearly as bad.

The powers that be in my workplace have decided I should move offices. Where I am now, I'm in a quiet room hidden behind a lift shaft where nobody ever comes. Where they want to move me to is in a fluorescent little box right next door to three bosses. Victimisation! Actually, it's more like bureaucratic ineptitude; that, and bosses wanting to be seen to be doing something, anything. Any change that might justify their existence.

The new office is also across from the customer service desk, so every time the customer disservice operators get a customer they can't handle, they'll ask me to come out and help. As if I could help anyone! I'm already flat out just trying to help myself and the handful of bloggers who find their way here.

So I'm refusing to move, but as I'm about to disappear to Duneditin for a few weeks, the're little I can do about it if they want to move my stuff while I'm away. Maybe I should remind them I'm in the union. That used to help. Or I could play the medical card. Ooh me leg! Or in my case, ooh me head!

Another cloud on the horizon is that our boy, who mercifully flew the coop last year, has his eye on moving back in here "to look after the house" while we're away. In other words turn it into a 24-hour party house for passing Scottish tourists and pyromaniacs. Dearie dearie me! This is what happens when I step outside my comfortable routine. Take my advice: never go on holiday. Beyond a certain age, it's never worth the hassle. That's what the internet's for - roam the world without leaving the house.

Thursday, May 29

help for blissheids

According to a NY Times article this week about the Buddha’s arrival in psychotherapy, meditation "can help patients endure flash floods of emotion during the therapeutic process".

This mandala helps me experience
flash floods of emotion.

Monday, May 26

bliss overdoses

The bliss partner is working across the water at Singapore. As far as I can gather, her duties there include lounging by the rooftop pool in 35-degree heat. Meanwhile here I've had to don the pantaclava for the first time this winter, but at least I'm free of all social engagements. A whole weekend without deifheids!

On Friday after work I picked up a disc of JSB's St Matthew Passion, and listened to it in bed that night, while normal people were out getting vomiting drunk to start the weekend. The orchestra was using old instruments, the singers were authentic, and the soprano was the darling Emma Kirkby. When I was at school and the music teachers made us listen to the awful classics, I never imagined one day I'd have the hots for a classical warbler, but this lass has just the purest tone, with none of your usual fat lady theatrics and operatics. I'd give her a hand with her vibrato any day, even if she didn't already look as angelic as her voice.

And then there's the wonderful music. Three hours of it. I kept dozing off, then waking to a new tune. Oh the songs! Oh the bliss! Pity the poor deifheids who don't get this.

With his recent advice to take my own parachute with me on the plane, Hotters has reminded me that in more paranoid times I used to wear a rubber wetsuit on the plane to Greece, under my civvies, in case of ditching in freezing waters. And I always had a turkey sized oven bag in my pocket, to put over my head in a smoke-filled cabin. These days I'm normal thanks to the pills, and I rely on a more blissful technique. On takeoff, as we gather speed down the runway, I close my eyes and say goodbye to the world, visualising the plane slamming back into the ground. When that doesn't happen, everything else is a bonus.

Hotters advised flying with Qantas, but I believe they already own Queen Anne Transair, the NSC national carrier, so the engineers are probably the same.

I was heartened to hear that Hotters has given up all drugs for a whole week. A great first step. Just to help him stay on the straight and narrow, I won't send him the bliss pills.

Ion reminded me, quite rightly, about the carbon footprint morality of flying, especially on long-haul flights. Indeed I use this same argument every time the bliss partner suggests a trip to visit her outlaws over in NZ.

Wednesday, May 21

PPP sponsors conference

In July I'm due at the Duneditin conference in Edinburgh. I booked my flight months ago, with Queen Anne Transair, but of course there's been a hitch. I should know better than to prepare ahead of time, events always overtake me and screw up my plans. The airline's engineers are in dispute with management, and are threatening a series of lightning strikes. Sitting on your suitcase in airport queues for hours or worse, with a 24-hour flight ahead of you, is not worth thinking about. You'd would go through your whole supply of medication before takeoff.

I set about rebooking on another airline, but it's not so easy to get a seat at this late date. At first I cursed the infernal working classes, as you do. But then my natural balance kicked in and I remembered I'm a unionist too, so I decided to read up on the dispute. The engineers have been offered 3%, which is not even in line with inflation, so they have asked for 5%. The company has announced record profits, and the extra 2% for a couple of thousand engineers would add up to less than the boss's recent pay rise. The managers have been quietly recruiting a team of strike-breakers (on a salary nearly twice what the original engineers are on).

So would it be morally preferable to keep my booking with this airline and simply brave the chaos, hoping my irritation at the company would help the strikers? Or should I cancel my booking, thus hitting the airline's bottom line?

I could waste ages on these deliberations. How fortunate I am to have no principles! I've booked on an Asian airline, from a country where the trains run on time. I've had to pay extra, but to hell with the expense, when the conference sponsors are picking up the tab. Here's to the Piddledorf Pension Plan!

Saturday, May 17

merry month of m....

When I went to renew my pool membership, the lassie behind the counter charged me the seniors' rate - a saving of $20. Generous of her, but a bloody cheek! Surely I don't look a day over 59. I didn't know whether to jump for joy or grieve.

I'm indebted to Vixen for pointing out that May is National Masturbation Month.

San Francisco will be celebrating with a Masturbate-a-thon on May 25th. The organisers promise the event will be a fun and easy place for participants to jack or jill off. It costs $15 for females and transgenders but $40 for men (non-transgenders). I wonder if there's a reduced rate for seniors.

Monday, May 12

view from the bridge

Albert, from Sydney, says he found Menzies Milngavie IV lying unconscious on Sydney Harbour Bridge, after a night on the turps. This is an artist's impression of what MM IV would have seen just before everything went black.

Wednesday, May 7

another progress report

After yesterday's refreshing sleep on the office floor, today I was firing on all cylinders even without any bliss tea. Chopped back several trees/shrubs; painted some more of the kitchen; re-read The Cement Garden. I don't know why people say it's a horrible book. The last person I lent it to, returned it to me the next day saying there was nothing at all she liked about it.

I also had some computer success. After using XP for about 5 years, I have finally stumbled on several ways to improve its snail-like speed. It's not difficult and I wish I had done it sooner. I've even managed to resurrect XP on the partner's 10-year-old PC. I should busk for weissbier as a computer guru.

Tonight I've had the first glass out of the Erdinger bottle, it really is the king of beers. There's nothing on TV so I'm free to do whatever I want. After phoning the old dear for her anniversary I might read some more. She's been feral recently, but on reflection I realise that'll be because she spends all day cooped indoors with an ailing hubby who sleeps 16 hours a day, and when he's awake watches TV. She must be a bit lonely and scared. Tomorrow, mothers' day, we've to meet the boy for Chinese brunch, aka Dim Sum or Yum Cha. I haven't seen him for months, and it'll be nice to catch up with his impressions of university.

Life, despite being very different to what I imagined when I was the boy's age, is pretty damn good, I may even drain the Erdinger bottle in celebration.


My dear friend hotboy has reminded me about Paulaner Weissbier.

When I left I Piddledorf after my last visit, I was flying home on a Business Class freebie, so I made sure I got to the airport at opening time of the business lounge, 6 a.m as I recall. All the food and drink was free, so I had two bottles of Paulaner for breakfast, and stashed another two in my pack in case I needed them on the plane.

Sunday, May 4

weissbier news

Recently I noted how difficult it is to get a good weissbier here.

I had almost given up hope, but then I was walking past a beer shop round the corner from my work, and they claimed to have 80 different kinds of beer. There was only kind of weissbier - Erdinger. What a fortunate circumstance! I bought a whole bottle, and will be trying the first glass tonight.

The only problem I foresee is that I might get drunk. Happily, I should have no such problems at the Duneditin blogging conference, where the official drink is to be Erdinger Weissbier Alkoholfrei, about which one reviewer said:

Hazy yellow with a huge head. Weak aroma of straw, barley and white bread. The flavours are very sweaty and a bit acid with notes of mandarin, elder, cammomille, straw and wheat. I was quite impressed by it, being a non-alcoholic beer!

In Piddledorf I usually drink Lidl's cheapo weissbier. For your convenience, I have translated part of the review:

I drink must to be sure usually Franziskaner, however also off and at this beer on that believe. Is above all the price gives unbeatable, 1.99€ for six bottles, in addition yet the good taste, where it so what already in bottle form?

Certainly, in the real market, there is yet the sign Oettinger, but this tastes very differently and is me less beneficial. Therefore that of its streams yeast wheat receives is full estimation score, unsurpassably in things price and achievement. Did yet no wheat lie likes to be me better in the stomach than this, who only the manufacturer of this refreshment? ???

At 2 Euro for 6 bottles, the only thing wrong with this beer is that it's quite strong, but that's actually a plus when one is staying in Piddledorf.

Last time I heard, Hotboy was home brewing some wheat beer, but he hasn't said how it turned out, or whether there's any alcohol in it.

Thursday, May 1

HNT unpeeled

Another HNT clicky pic. If you half-close your eyes, you can make out what's in the picture. Clue: it's a kind of passion fruit.

Or you can click the image to clarify.

Passion Fruit
(click to clarify)

I used a free program called Repligator.

And a bonus clickypic HNT from last year:

When I returned in triumph to visit my old school in Glasgow, there was a photographer waiting at the gates to record the celebration.

Celebration at
My Old School
(click to zoom out)