Wednesday, December 30

15 cigarettes is enough

It's traditional to give up a bad habit as a new year's resolution. I have no bad habits to start with, so my resolution is to help other people to give up smoking.

According to a study, one genetic mutation occurs on average for every 15 cigarettes that a typical lung-cancer patient smokes.

They studied a lung-cancer victim who had built up about 23,000 DNA mutations in his lung cells over his lifetime.

By that logic my own lungs must have several thousand mutations. But at least I've stopped mutating. Unlike some people, who are what doctors describe as "too dumb to aspirate".

Maybe Australia's first official saint could help them. A woman was miraculously cured from inoperable lung cancer after praying to Mary MacKillop, the former nun now set to become Australia's first saint.

The Pope confirmed Mother Mary's second miracle earlier this month, paving the way for her to become Australia's first ever saint.

It's mere concidence that the Pope owed the Aussies a favour. They hosted a jamboree for him in 2008, when 500,000 hyper young catholics from around the world gathered in Sydney to welcome Pope Benedict XVI and read his holy text messages.

fiction and reality

The writer guy took the opinionated review on the chin. The circumstances while reading the book were hardly conducive. I was suffering from cricket injuries and flea bites, and under verbal assault from my cellmate. I'll re-read it once the sex scenes have been outsourced to Bavaria. Germans make the dullest TV in the world, but the most imaginative porn. It balances up.

Back in New South Caledonia now. Umpteen things to be repaired, and a training course approaching. The joliday's over.

I could post my impressions of the NZ trip, but I can't be bothered. It's all just a load of old photons.

- Posted from iPod

Monday, December 28

ra remote review

I finished reading Remote, so here's my opinionated and unqualified attempt at a review.

First let me say I couldn't have written anything as good. The book is a few days inside the head of Jimmy, an Edinburgh drug person and reformed librarian. This book has everything - drugs, politics, sex, terrorism, and drugs.

Jimmy copes with multiple life stresses using a succession of uppers, downers and outers. As a result, his state of mind fluctuates wildly - one minute he's chewing his own face on speed, the next he's ultra-calm in the face of death. Sometimes he's unconscious.

While the continual mood swings are no doubt an authentic portrayal of druggie life, they make it hard for the reader to empathize. Just when you think "poor guy, having all those psychos freaking him out" he swallows and smokes a new combo of drugs and feels completely calm, cold and in control.

Heartbroken because his girlfriend has left him, he's again hard to empathize with, because I have no idea what was good about her. Perhaps some physical description would have helped. Or if I were told that she runs a soup kitchen for orphans, I could see why she was lovable.

Perhaps partly through senility, I lost track of the multiple bombs, detonators and remote controls, though the basic idea of double, or perhaps triple, crossing is good.

Whenever the hero takes another drug, there's a full description of the rolling or snorting or whatever. Some of this repetition could be streamlined in the second edition.

Some of the things I liked include the way that Jimmy is completely on his own in a menacing world. I also liked the similarities to the TV series Ideal - the doorbell is forever ringing at the drug dealer's flat, and we never know who's going to ring next but we suspect it's not going to be good news. The moments of paranoia are gripping. And when Jimmy has to hide various incriminating items, it seems realistically risky and burdensome.

If I had written this book, I would be pleased with myself. But the guy who wrote Remote has written better stuff. This one won't be his Pulitzer winner.

- Posted from iPod

Saturday, December 26

joyous tidings

Was thoroughly antisocial at the holy rellie chrissie party. Didn't even have the excuse of wanting to spend the time meditating. Managed to annoy everyone, even the partner who should be used to it. Dearie me!

Today things are looking up. A trip to the beach with the black sand and sharks. First we have to wait half the day tlll the whole congregation has assembled, but that gives me time to blog and read my advance copy of Remote.

- Posted from iPod

Thursday, December 24

the first beer review

There’s a 24-hour bottle shop round the corner from where I'm staying. When I asked the woman what time they close, she had to think for a while, nobody's ever asked such a stupid question. Here’s the beer review from the first two nights.

  • Steinlager 5% - the label says they use only the purest ingredients. Alcohol:5%, Hangover 100%

  • Amstel Lite : A Dutch brand, brewed in New Zealand. Alcohol 2.5%, so you can drink two cans.

first night dream in NZ

The doctors here were very interested to hear about my dream.

Jimmy and Susan from Remote were separating, so I had to intervene and counsel them. The solution to their conflict was obvious. The book says they were living in a wee single-bedroom Scottish flat, which is unfair punishment, even if you're Scottish and used to adversity. Even worse, the place was strewn with Jimmy's computer junk and cables.

So I explained to J and S that if they moved to a bigger place, they could each have a room, and they would stop wanting to bash each other.

Tuesday, December 22

2 jokes salvaged from a mass email

  • Why is a Laundromat a really bad place to pick up a woman? Because a woman who can't even afford a washing machine will probably never be able to support you.

  • Scientists have discovered a food that diminishes a woman's sex drive by 90%. It's called a Wedding Cake.

Sunday, December 20

gardening as screening

The racketeers (the neighbours next door, where the whole family makes a racket in the garden) have cut down a lot of trees, so now I can see them as well as hear them. And I have to wear clothes in the garden.

So I'm working on an emergency screening strategy. I planted a whole lot of star jasmines, climbers that I can train up the wire fence, but that'll take years to mature.

Since then I've had a brainwave. I've got two old ornamental bamboos in big pots. They were pretty scraggy, but since I've begun looking after them they're exploding with life. Bright yellow and green, and about 6 foot high. So I'm going to stick them in the ground in front of the jasmines. They're an immediate semi-screen, and the jasmines will eventually fill in the gaps.

Now all I need is a big glass soundproof wall for the noise.

Tuesday, December 15

coming and going (in the biblical sense)

I've got to go to New Zealand for Xmas, to visit the holy outlaws. Never mind. At least when they head off to church, I can volunteer to stay home and look after their house. After all Xmas is peak season for burglars.

Then the mother outlaw comes back to stay with us for a couple of weeks, followed immediately by the niece for a month. Also, a ruffian from the past thinks he's coming to stay. He's a total deifheid, so I had to give him the false address on Douglas Hurd Island.

Monday, December 14

drinking class

At Benny Hill's for lunch yesterday, apart from me it was a crowd of perfectly nice, well-adjusted normal professional people without toilet training issues. Bloody awful it was.

Tonight I organised a gathering of effed-up riff-raff, at the pub with the brewery inside. There was Cap'n Kev, plus his cousin and her daughter. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was the life of the party. Can't for the life of me work out why. Perhaps Prussian nobility just feel more comfortable among the troops.

We started on wheat beer, before a detour to black beer. After that it was downhill through pils, summer special, and red lager, before a repeat of the first two brews (which had lost some of their appeal in the meantime - the palate tends to blur out after too many different beers). Everyone agreed that black beer was number one, with wheat beer close behind.

After so much drink, the only reason I'm still able to type now is that I ate a precautionary dinner before getting to the pub. Whereas Kev, on an empty stomach, was well away.

Appendix A: Critical Assessment
  • wheat beer - smooth weissbier taste, but clear instead of cloudy
  • black beer - dark, smooth and very creamy, like a barley wine
  • pils - crisp German-style lager
  • summer special - light and citrus, a bit like that Mexican beer with the slice of lime
  • red lager - by this stage I was losing the plot a bit, so I can only remember that it tasted red

Saturday, December 12

the weekend so far

An interesting weekend so far.

I scored 471 at scrabble, including three seven-letter words in the same game. One was "flavine".

Later, a bit woozy after an afternoon nap, I walked naked into the living room to see what my partner was doing. That's when I realized she had two strange women sitting there. After giving them a full frontal eyeful, I turned on my heel and walked out, ensuring they had a rear view to balance things up.

When they had gone, I found out that they weren't mormons, they were a lesbian couple. Not sure if that makes it worse than Mormons.

For a moment I was resentful: a rare chance to expose myself to women, and they turn out to be gay!

Then I realised how lucky I had been. Hetero women would have had something to compare it with.

Sunday we're invited for lunch at the house of the only celebrity I know. He's the New Caledonian equivalent of Benny Hill meets Monty Python. Of course he's a deifhied, but with so many funny stories he's entitled to be.

- Posted from iPod

Thursday, December 10

news in brief

  • Been working every bloody day - the novelty has worn off. If I had wanted to work hard, I would have chosen a career, and at least made some money out of it.

  • Finished reading a good book. I don't want to identify the book, in case I prejudice my trial. The hero seemed a lot like me, and I grew to identify with him. But then near the end of the story you realise he's a homocidal maniac.

  • Beer-related injury - opening a bottle of Freedom Ale, I was unscrewing the twist-off cap (a useful Aussie invention - no comment). The cap was stuck, so I had to really wrench it. The whole neck broke off, and I glassed myself in the hand. I must be too strong for my own good. Unlike the beer. Now I have to do everything left-handed, including changing the bandage on the dud hand.

  • I've been saving the video tape with the last few episodes of Ideal, because I didn't want it ever to end. It's my social life. A drug circle by proxy. And these people have become my friends. Moz has a chance of happiness with the daft girl, her name's Denny I think. I hope he doesn't blow it, like Albert.

  • But I found out there's a new series on the way, so I won't need to say goodbye. I'm going to watch the last episode now.


  • I just watched the last episode. Disappointingly, there's a new character now, played by the woman from Nighty Night. She was good in that, but she's destroyed Ideal's credibility for me now.

  • The Christmas craziness has started. There's been an invite to dinner at the deifheids' place. Dearie me. The too dumb to medicate would benefit from drugs, any sort would help.

Friday, December 4

several firsts

I went to the pub to farewell a group of clients who have been with me for years. This must have been the first time in ages that I was in a pub with other people. And it was quite good.

The people I was with were young, and undamaged by toilet training, so they were completely natural and open. And I realised we've come to like each other over the years.

The babe didn't show, but the jerk was there and I bought him a drink. In fact I bought the first round. Another first.

I was introduced to a fascinating pale ale, completely cloudy like weissbier. It was so good, I had another one.

The lovely young thing whom I have known the longest, was cold on the walk home, so I gave her my jacket to wear. It was a reflex, I didn't even stop to think that I would be cold as a result. The gesture was well received and made both of us happy. At my age chivalry is all one has to offer. Well chivalry or cash, but I think an offer of money might have been unwise.

Next day one of them sent an email.
Great to see you at the pub. Thanks for the beer!

Just wanted to say that in my opinion you are an awesome professional. It seemed to me that you were someone who truly cares about our learning and welfare.

Wishing you all the best & hope you have a great Xmas!


Tuesday, December 1

the joy of giving up giving up

I had become an addict. Tea - green, white, black, whatever. Some days I was up to 5 or 6 cups, almost as much as the Pollok Halls days, and the edginess was starting to cancel out the bliss pills. All the joy had gone out of it.

So I gave up three days ago. Cold turkey. And life settled down again, though now it was hardly worth living.

This morning I gave up giving up. After the second cup, it kicked in. Oh the joy! Oh the ablutions! I think at one point I may have abluterated as a deity.

I'm advising Albert to lay off the tea right up until the day of his upcoming big walk. Then slug down several cups at the starting line. They're bound to have toilets along the course.