Saturday, January 31

more good new year omens

It's nearly February, so let's all pause a moment to review the year so far, and publish a newsletter.

On the second of January, I was in a department store, in their book department. There was a wall full of books all at 35% off. Of course they were all junk fiction, and there was no way they would have the only book I wanted to read, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. But just in case, I went to the shelf full of Ms, and there it was - the only book in the shop worth buying - the last copy and I bought it.

Also in the first few days of the year, I made two successful ching donations within days of each other. Both with accompaniment. The BP was pleased. Since then, nothing, but there's always next year.

After years of happily working half-time, why have I chosen to resume full-time work? It's not purely because of the global pension panic. It's also that there's a new order at work. The useless/certifiable managers, who were drafted in last year, have at last departed.

They're being replaced from the ranks by a couple of colleagues that I respect, and so I have been cooperating with them on planning the 2009 timetable. In the process, I found myself putting my hand up to take on extra classes in subjects that I already know about and have already prepared materials for. So for the first time this century, I'll be teaching the same lessons several times each week, to different groups. If you can't recycle somebody else's work, at least try and recycle your own.

At one point, I totalled up my new weekly hours and realised I had volunteered for more than a full load, so I'd be on overtime. That was crazy, so I dropped the subject I least wanted to cover.

Another good move was arranging the timetable so that, sadly, I'll be teaching on the very time-slot when the weekly staff meetings are held. What a shame!

I left an unkind comment at a blog where they had posted some mobile phone photos. In the interests of balance, I decided to post a couple of my own. I soon realised how difficult it is to make anything worth looking at. The only half-interesting ones I could find are actually snaps of somebody else's art. Always let someone else do the hard work if you can.

Monday, January 26

street signs

Today we went for a long walk with then non-deifheids and our dogs. We came upon this slightly surreal scene. Can you work out what's going on?

Saturday, January 24

dream balls

I have received an avalanche of complaints that I'm not posting enough material, so here's something.

The other night I dreamt I was in a queue of people all getting some medical procedure from a guru. Like mass vaccination when you were at school. When it came my turn, the guru guy grabbed my balls and squeezed hard. It was agony, but I rode the pain because i knew it was doing me good.

It was the first time I've felt real physical pain in a dream. I must ask Doctor Rob what the dream means.

Actually, I think I know why I dreamt it. The day before, I had been remembering when I was younger and I signed up for a course of Postural Integration®. Over several weeks I paid to have just about every part of my body pulled about. It did me a lot of good, though at times the deep tissue manipulation was excruciatingly painful.

One day, at the point where he was about to fillet my inner thigh muscles off the bone, he asked me to "move the crown jewels out of the way". I didn't know what he was talking about, so he had to explain he meant "pull your ballocks out of the way so I don't lean on them."

So my dream the other night must have been simply a remangling of the memory of having someone inflict therapeutic pain while referring to my testicles. It all makes sense, doesn't it?

The photo was taken when Albert was undergoing the same procedure, though it's hard to know if it's before or after.

Sunday, January 11

finding your feet with forgiveness

Recently I experienced the best day this year. On the morning dog walk, I found an unopened bottle of beer lying on the grass. Then the outlaw took us out for what Billy Bunter would call a slap-up feed.

In the afternoon, I saw some good shoes in a shop, at 75% off! Unfortunately these days I have slightly different sized feet - one is an 8 and the other's a 9. The last two pairs in the shop were sizes 8 and 9. So I bought them both, and told the sales guy I was planning to wear the right 9 and the left 8. He gave me a strange look. "People always get angry at anyone who chooses individual standards for his life" - Nietsche writing about der heisse Junge.

Later, in a bookshop, I saw a half-price book called something like "Forgive and Live," about the health-giving effects of forgiveness. I read a few pages. It made a lot of sense, but it made no mention of forgiving oneself, what's the point of that? So I didn't buy it. Besides, I'm forever buying worthy self-improvement books and then not reading them. Just out of interest I scouted around the shop, and found a general book on health. Wondering if it might have a section on forgiveness, I opened it at a random page - and it was the only page about forgiveness! But I didn't buy that either, since I've got similar books unread at home. And when I got home, I pulled one of my books off the bookshelf, and opened it at random - at a page on forgiveness!

As the god-bothering outlaw was leaving at last for the airport, just to wind her up I said "I forgive you for everything." Her face contorted as she prodded me in the chest and said "no, I forgive you!"

That night, I was about to chuck out the unsuitable shoe from each of the pairs I bought. One was too big, and the other too small, but I found that if I removed the insole from the too-small shoe, and added it to the insole already in the too-big shoe, it balanced up so that they were a good fit too. Two pairs of shoes for the price of half a pair! Okay, so they look a bit like the sort of surgical boot that lame guys in Glasgow used to wear, but they're very comfortable.

That night the free bottle of beer tasted fantastic, perhaps because of the alcohol. What a great day!

Sunday, January 4

not a kangaroo

I am indebted to sydney wildlife for allowing me to reproduce this nature photo. You probably recognise the species, but do you know what it eats? Click it to big it, and you'll see its staple diet. One clue - Brian Wilson eats these as bar snacks.

Thursday, January 1

new year's eve

I was thinking of blogging what was good about my 2008, then doing New Year's resolutions, but I can't be bothered. Don't care.

I've been crabbit as hell for weeks now, I think it may have begun when I started trying to meditate. In fact all the blissheids I know are bad-tempered, but it's chicken and egg whether they bliss because they're crabbit or the blissing makes them crabbit.

As usual after Xmas we drove down with the mother outlaw to stay at Spud's mum's place. But just one night there was enough for me. For one thing I couldn't sleep for the heat and the noise of the frogs outside the window.

So the next day I took the train back home, for everyone's sake. First night back - at 2 a.m. there was someone walking around the back garden trying the windows. By the time I got up and switched on lights, he was away.

Tonight, New Year's Eve I've had a glass of wine and that's enough excitement. I've got the camera beside the bed in case the garden guy comes back.

Tomorrow the partner and the mother outlaw are coming back. Happy New Year to you by the way.

There's just time to share this photo of one of the highlights of 2008 - our trip to visit Menzies in Malawi, when I had time for some swimming at Victoria Falls.