Sunday, August 31

family fortunes answers

These are real contestant answers from the famous Family Fortunes Show.

Something you lose when you get older: 'Your purse..'

Something you would play with in the bath: 'A bazooka..'

Someone you wouldn't swear in front of: 'Yourself..'

Someone or something whose existence has never been proven: 'Hitler..'

Something you open other than a door: 'Your bowels..'

A number you might have to memorise: 'Seven..'

A slang word for a girl: 'Slag..'

An animal with horns: 'A bee...'

A medieval weapon: 'Hand-grenade..'

Something made of wool: 'A sheep..'

Something a bridegroom might wear: 'A dress..'

Someone you wouldn't expect to see in a strip club: 'Animals..'

Something a train-spotter would have in his pocket: 'A magnifying glass..'

Something you put out for the birds: 'Worms..'

A way to prevent snoring: 'Put a pillow over his face..'

A word used to describe a very hot day: 'A very hot day..'

Someone who works early hours: 'A burglar..'

A reason for kneeling: 'To be beheaded..'

A nickname for a slim person: 'Slimmy..'

Something that's nice to wear next to your skin: 'Pants..'

Something that Father Christmas does when he comes to your house: 'Feeds your pets..'

Something that comes in 7's: 'Fingers..'

A vocalist known by only one name: 'Michael Jackson..'

A yellow fruit: 'Orange..'

A boy mentioned in a nursery rhyme: 'Little Red Riding Hood..'

Something associated with Queen Victoria: 'Her husbands..'

Something you hide in your socks when you go swimming: 'Your legs..'

A game that uses a black ball: 'Darts..'

Other than 'carrier', a type of bag: 'Horse..'

Something that gives you goosebumps: 'Mumps..'

A non-living object with legs: 'A plant..'

A sign of the Zodiac: 'April..'

An animal associated with a nursery rhyme: 'Andy Pandy..'

A mode of transport that you can walk in: 'Your shoes..'

A musical instrument you can play in the bath: 'A drum kit..'

Something you pull: 'A potato..'

An animal used as a form of transport: 'A turtle..'

An occupation where you need a torch: 'A burglar..'

A well known superstition: 'Running in front of a car..'

A dangerous race: 'The Arabs..'

A part of the body you have more than two of: 'Arms..'

One of Harry Enfield's characters: 'Sooty..'

The first place detectives look for fingerprints: 'The floor..'

Something a girl should know about a man before marrying him: 'His name..'

A bird with a long neck: 'Naomi Campbell..'

A song with moon in the title: 'Blue Suede Moon..'

A famous Scotsman: 'Jock..'

Something red: 'My cardigan..'

Something you put on walls: 'Roofs..'

Something that floats in the bath: 'Water..'

Something a blind man might use: 'A sword..'

The last thing you take off before going to bed: 'Your feet..'

Something that flies without an engine: 'A bicycle with wings..'

Tuesday, August 26

good sports

by Albert McClochendichter
reporting from Nouvelle-Cal├ędonie du Sud

Unfortunately, the only English-language media we get here are Australian, so the only results we got to hear about were Australian medals. The TV commentary ignored any competitors not wearing a yellow jersey trimmed with green. "And our Susie claims a silver." We rarely hear who won the gold if it wasn't an Aussie, but occasionally we can infer the nationality: "Little Susie didn't beat the Russian but we love her all the same."

In the newspapers, it was yellow jerseys in every picture.

In the basketball match between Australia and Lithuania, the only reason the Lithuanian player (on the right) was allowed in the frame was because (a) his side got beat and (b) his jersey is green and yellow too.

The only time you get to see another nationality is when they're losing

And there was indignation when Britain's medal score overtook the Aussie tally:

Don't get me wrong, I love watching the Australia TV coverage, but as comedy. I don't know how Albert can live there.

Saturday, August 23

conference photos

Apparently the conference photos have now been published.

Saturday, August 16


Observing synchronicities (or wee coincidences if you prefer) as they occur can be rewarding.

On 08/08/08, not itself a synchronicity but an auspicious number in certain cultures, I arrived back in Dinna Say just as the interminable olympic build-up was reaching its climax. The TV here was awash with New South Caledonian jingoism, as one retired NSC athlete after another revisited their own triumphs from decades ago. In desperation I reached for the nearest video tape and put it in the machine to see what was on it. Well! It was an old documentary about the plight of the 1000s of North Korean refugees living in hiding in China. This was more like it. I found out that they're in constant fear of discovery by, or betrayal to, the Chinese police. If caught, they are put on trains back to North Korea, for torture or liquidation. Riveting viewing, and a nice balance to the live TV festivities.

So I watched that instead of the PR fest in Beijing, and then we went to bed for a much shorter opening ceremony of our own. Of course next day, when I saw highlights on the news, I wished I had watched it. What an idiot!

If this post disappears, assume a loyal Chinese has complained to Blogger.

For my next synchronicity, I may need to shock you by discussing a matter not usually mentioned in polite company. In Glasgow, when I told John that my bliss partner and I maintain separate bedrooms, he said "oh, I thought M and I were the only couple who did that!" Earlier that day I had had exactly the same conversation with Sensei Larry about him and his missus. So in one day, three isolated freaks of nature had suddenly become a support group.

Now back in New South Caledonia, I was spending my first night of jet lag in the bliss partner's bed, with the headphone radio on and sleeping intermittently. I resisted all temptation to bed-dance, until about 5 am when they played a single that used to give an instant turbo boost back in the days when I jogged with the radio on. "When the feeling's right I'm gonna stay all night I'm going to run to you."

What a fortunate etc.

PS - in the interests of balance, I should add that when I had the black spot I noticed some less than encouraging synchronicities, which I have always kept to myself and anyway if I told you you'd say I was making it up.

Friday, August 15

just trust

For years my bliss partner has been trying to teach me to be optimistic and trust people. The woman who was looking after dog and house in my absence was a complete stranger to me, but she did a professional job, if you ignore the busted toaster, melted kettle, blocked drains, and cracked water main gushing merrily away under the house. I await with interest the next phone and electricity bills. On the plus side, the Wishbone Ash CDs are untouched, the house is still standing and the dog is well.

But the winter weather here is positively Edinbroid, reminiscent of the walk to work across North Bridge on a windy January morning. So for now it's back to four jumpers and a pantaclava.

Thursday, August 7

tokyo limbo

Yesterday everything went right, and for once I had a perfect British Airways stewardess. Not in the biblical sense though.

The day had begun in Glasgow in the middle of Monday night, and I ended up staying awake again for about 30 hours. In the air, at airports, and shopping for food in Tokyo.

I got into the usual delusions of invincibility, convinced that I would never need to sleep again. I had discovered a new spiritual secret, living outside the normal, beyond the understanding of blissheids flatheids and deifheids! How had I managed to escape the limitations of lesser mortals with their pathetic jet lag? Perhaps it was BA's five-course meals with free champers, wine and brandy, and I had hit on the precise combination dose of alcohol and tea. Or maybe it just comes from being one of Mannheim's Freischwebende. How fortunate to be above it all, to be in the middle class but not of it.

After gourmet dining in the hotel room - an exquisite 2 quid lunch box which I now wish I had photographed, none of your Glasgow stuffed rats - I fell asleep. And eventually awoke feeling as rough as guts.

Awake now in the middle of the night I have just cut my hair, and the adrenalin/stress of working with two mirrors seems to have got me going again. One false cut and I could have taken a lump out of hair or scalp to complement the big C chunk out of my neck - not the kind of balance I'm after.

I just loved being in Scotland again. The old friends, new friends and exes. The fluke weather. The familiar places, systems and accents. Simply feeling known, understood and sometimes appreciated. In NSC, there's only one person who does that - it must be a bit of a burden of responsibilty on her.

Tomorrow I'll lie around the hotel room all day. Maybe swim in the pool. Then the 10-hour overnight flight to NSC, this time in cattle class unless I score another free upgrade. On the way out, the check-in person had taken a shine to, or pity on, me. She upgraded me to business class. On a Japanese airline too! Amongst all that geisha grace, servility and efficiency, I almost hoped for a mid-air explosion so as to die in ecstasy.

As an added bonus, I wouldn't need to lie to the Piddledorf Pension Plan when putting in a claim for the business fare.

Tuesday, August 5

rat and champagne lifestyle

I asked the internet cafe guy here what the lunch special was. He replied - a stuffed rat, filled with anything you want. These jokey Glaswegians. For a moment I thought I was in Monty Python or Fawlty Towers. Turns out he was saying "a stuffed wrap," so I ordered one. 2 quid. When it came, it looked like I was right the first time.

Off to New South Cal early tomorrow. Don't you hate flying? Spare a thought for me trying to find the stomach space for all that free champagne and liqueurs. It would be easier if only I wasn't teetotal.

Saturday, August 2

green city blues

Since Edinburgh, it's been all go here in Glasgow, first two night's at S&M's place. If my old dear think's I keep changing my plans, she should experience these folk. Mind you, they are dear people, and they do have an autistic daughter, who would drive a parent crazy. For one thing, she gets in your face and asks the same questions ad nauseam, mostly about her TV hero.

You're from Australia. Do you know Steve Irwin?
Do you know Steve Irwin?
Do you know Steve Irwin?

What does Steve Irwin eat?
I don't know.
What does Steve Irwin eat?
I don't know.
What does Steve Irwin eat?
He's on a diet now.

Where does Steve Irwin sleep?
I don't know.
Where does Steve Irwin sleep?
I don't know.
Where does Steve Irwin sleep?
He's dead.

After two nights there, I was just settling in nicely as an extra family member, but my schedule said I had to move again, to C&V's place

These people generously share their swanky houses with me, but it would be even better if they could just move out and leave me in peace.

In house number two I am clearly getting on the nerves of V, the wife of my oldest friend. She seems to be playing mind games around letting me get in and out of the house. As a seasoned mind gamer myself, I'm up to the task but it does get me down.

There was some bad feeling between us right from the start when I moved in. Finding the front door open, I walked in and lay down for a nap. I woke later, and startled her when I walked in on her. Then she showed me how to use the washing machine, but she insisted I wash all my gear at 60 degrees. Seeing my hesitation, as I was reading the labels ("40 degrees") she said "are they family heirlooms or something?" So I bit the bullet and boiled my clothes. Dearie me! Will they still let me into business class with a bare midriff and plumbers' cleavage?

On the way to meet L, my friend and sensei of 25 years, at an art exhibition, I was almost feeling like redoubling the bliss pillage, but when I hit the exhibition I was transported away out of all that.

There was some imaginative use of video, in one room L sat and read a script while I watched from next door.

In the projection rooms I was able to lie down on the floor and watch the screens.

In one room, there was a 13-minute sequence of two actors screaming in each other's faces.

In the audience some people got distressed, but thanks to my family background and all the grope therapy, I found it quite relaxing, like breaking waves.

Flat on my back on the floor, I began trying to match the actors, scream for scream, but it's not as easy as you'd think. I soon got light headed and with pins and needles over my body, I gave up and lay there, spent. It certainly helped, and might be even better than bliss pills.

Update - discovered last night that V's son, whom I have known since he was a baby, probably has a very nasty disease, so her snippiness is understandable and forgiven. If anything, I could have been more understanding. Everything balances up over time if you just wait.