Friday, December 31

dinner with non-deifheids

We tend to get umpteen invites from deifheids, yet we hardly ever get to see the cellmate's non-deifheid friends. It's not a good balance.

Last night we went to a Chinese restaurant with Ted and Pam, a couple of my favourite New South Caledonians.

We took along the mother outlaw. When the dinner conversation focussed on swimming, I was about to tell my award-winning pool story but I was overruled by the cellmate. Probably just as well. I remember the story was censored at Duneditin too.

Thanks to the beer, I managed to be oafish all the same. When the mother outlaw was feeling the cold, I offered her my jumper, but as I was pulling it off I felt the chill air and immediately put it back on again.

Ted burst out laughing and said: never mind, it's the thought that counts.

At one point Ted and Pam invited us all back to their place for karaoke after dinner, but it turned out they were only kidding. I was actually disappointed.

Today I've gone out of my way to be kind to the mother outlaw, for once.

Tuesday, December 28

neighbours, everybody needs dead neighbours

The neighbours at the back used to have a dog that lived outside. I don't understand - what's the point of having a dog and not letting it in the house?

At night, it would bark at the slightest sound. I would only have to fart or switch on the radio, and that was enough to set it off for hours. So I was forced to sleep with the windows shut.

But since their dog died, I can leave the windows open wide all night, letting in all that silence and fresh air. And letting out the putrid air. It all balances up.

The downside is the dawn racket from the parrots, mynahs, and cockatoos. There's also a bell bird, which makes a tinkling noise. And a whip bird, which sounds like someone cracking a whip. It's not easy living in a tropical paradise.

Sometimes my dog joins in the racket.





Wednesday, December 22

cap'n kev's xmas present

I've already had my Christmas present from Albert. Weissbier: Franziskaner and Weihenstephaner. I opened the first bottle tonight.

Meanwhile, to avoid squabbling, cap'n kev is giving everyone the same xmas present. Everybody will receive a wee parcel, containing a holy book (clue: it's not the bible) and a box of matches.

Sunday, December 19

window on the past

On Google Maps today I happened to see the bedroom window of Denny's childhood. Actually her brother's bedroom. Possibly where the incest used to happen. I've cropped and processed the Google view to make it as Dickensian and wintry as I remember it.



It was also the room where she sexually assaulted me. It was on a visit to meet her parents, and they billeted me in the incest room. Denny and a lesbian woman from work were given the double bed across the hall.

In the pub on the first night, Denny and her lesbian chaperone wanted to stay till closing time, and I wanted to get them home and split them up. I left the pub early in a huff and walked back on my own. (I walked that road again today on Google street view). I said goodnight to the parents, and went to bed.

I was woken after closing time by Denny stumbling into my room, blootered. In the street light from the window, I saw the confident way she took her top off. She dropped the rest of her clothes on the floor, and came into bed. It was the first time I had ever seen her fully naked. So gorgeous it was scary. She climbed on top of me. It was all happening very fast: a drunk was treating me like a sex object and I didn't like it. No conversation or foreplay. No connection, no flowers or chocolates. You'd think she'd never seen a Milk Tray ad.

Well, when I didn't respond she slurred something like "this is hopeless". She picked up her clothes and staggered out. Into bed with the lesbian. The whole incident must have lasted about a minute and a half.

In all the time I knew her, I didn't know about the incest, and she never knew about the Teutonic toilet training. Amazingly, we did eventually come together over a couple of druggy boozy years. Exciting but going nowhere.

I believe the incest contributed to her ultimate insanity and demise. Sometimes I wonder if I had a positive or negative effect on her life. I phoned her old dear with my condolences. She said "she still used to talk about you a lot". These days I think about her a lot. It balances out.

Friday, December 17

typical working day this week

730. Get to work. Make tea. Switch computer on - it takes an hour or two to crank itself up and run virus checks, so forget about work for now.

8. Get changed and do yoga.

830. Lie down and read a book.

9. More tea, read the Independent or Glasgow Herald online.

930. Go out for a walk.

1030. Get back to work for a meeting. Always take along a wad of important-looking papers, and remember to rifle through them during meeting. When diary dates are discussed, switch on iPod and start a game. People think you're making diary notes.

1130. Early lunch.

1230. Bosses take a late lunch, so your time's your own till at least 2.

230. Second meeting of the day is a rerun of the first one, for the benefit of everyone who had the foresight to stay away all morning. Earlier decisions are reversed, or else painstakingly re-decided. Use papers and iPod as before.

For future entertainment, diarise what everyone has decided to do next month, so that when the time comes and people actually do the opposite, you know it's not you that's insane.






330. Back in your office, tidy your bookshelves. Then go home, happy in the knowledge that you've done your bit to make New South Caledonia what it is.

5. Take a nap, to be properly refreshed before opening a beer. Decide not to bother going in tomorrow. You can get just as much done by working from home.

- Posted from iPod

Tuesday, December 14

a woman's history of vaginal orgasm

A colleague in the feminism department referred me to a most interesting abstract from a professional journal:

"Sexologists can infer women's history of vaginal orgasm from observing only their gait."

If only I had stuck in at my medical studies, I could have got a grant for research like this. Instead, I've had to self-finance my orgasm research paper: "Women who walk in a way that makes you want to give them one". My work came to exactly the same conclusions.

"CONCLUSIONS: The discerning observer may infer women's experience of vaginal orgasm from a gait that comprises fluidity, energy, sensuality, freedom, and absence of both flaccid and locked muscles."

Monday, December 13

dream

I woke from a dream last night, at the point where the gay skinhead high-voice scots nyaff from the Communards kept singing, in falsetto, "there's a lack of energy, there's a lack of love". It wasn't an existing lyric, it was just words that my dream made up.

When I see Doc Bob he'll have a field day, especially after the previous dream about appearing in court with an incoherent defence.

I did a lot of yoga in the middle of the night last night, after being awake for a couple of hours, chewing over events from the pub yesterday evening. Being hard on myself for the things I said and did during the send-off for the clients. It's true I was pretty socially stressed - because of the job responsibility, I felt bound to keep saying stuff, despite having nothing to say. Nothing socially appropriate at least.

It may be time to increase the bliss pillage dosage.

The thing is, I'm alright in the work setting, in fact I'm fantastic there.

Well at least the farewell feedback I got in the pub was all good. Clients going out of their way to praise me to my face and to the bosses. And that was just the male clients. Imagine if I had stayed for a second beer and waited for the female feedback! I could only have disgraced myself.

Saturday, December 11

mahler's first

A woman I spoke to at the drinks party had just been to hear Mahler's First. She was raving about it, even though it was her first exposure to Mahler.

I was about 20 the first time I ever heard it. Vinnie's Moll and I took some dope round to a house full of classical musicians in Sciennes, to get to know them. When I was well stoned and sick of listening to classical records, I trampolined on her future husband's bed, conducting the entire LP of the symphony, giggling, to the bemusement of our prim hosts. Artist's impression below. What a philistine! That's what happens when a female thinks you're wonderful and eggs you on to behave like an arsehole.






A year or two later, I bought a copy of Mahler's First, even though I wasn't sure I'd like it. And it took me many years before I could really say I took pleasure in it.

By the way, Moll's future husband was out on the night that I trampolined his bed, so it was another year or two before they ever met. By that time, he had effed Vinnie. Or probably vice versa. I was the only normal one in that crowd. I only ruined people's beds. The rest of them ended up ruining each other's lives.

Friday, December 10

ra cumming book

I'm reading Alan Cumming's book, Tommy's Tale. I think you'd call it a romp. Lots of drink, drugs, and sex, straight and gay. Alma Mater by John McKenzie was quite similar, although without the gay sex. The guys in that book never consummated their relationship, at least not on the page.

Alma Mater was funnier, maybe because it was less frenetic, more world-weary and exasperated.






The sex in this book is explicit yet not in the least bit titillating, not even when he and the barmaid do most of the kama sutra in a disabled toilet (see artist's impression above). What a waste!

Thursday, December 9

change of life

It's dawning on me that I'm in the middle of some sort of existential change.

It was brought home to me in a dream last night. I was on the way to court, where I was to be defending myself against the tax man, over a piffling amount he was wrongly alleging I owed from years ago.

I had built up a huge dossier to present in court. But now all my notes outlining my brilliant defence were suddenly indecipherable. I rifled through the papers hoping to find the one sheet where I might have written down a summary of my thinking.

Clearly, my only hope was that when they called my case and I was put on the spot, it would all become clear to me, and I would wow the judge. As if!

In the end, I told the judge I was throwing myself on the court's mercy.


And that's the point where I woke up in a sweat. So how does the dream relate to my waking life?

• Well, in reality I have all these papers in my study, in piles, in trays, in binders and in cabinets. I used to keep on top of things but these days I can't be bothered. Because everything has proliferated too far for anyone to manage. And I'M AS APATHETIC AS HELL AND I'M JUST NOT GOING TO DO IT ANY MORE. It's amazing I can still summon up the will to blog.

• Also, I'm losing the will to explain or justify myself. If people are curious why I wear only one sock, eff 'em!


Other signs of apathy and decrepitude:

• Online Scrabble has gone to pot, and I'm losing every game because I can't be bothered trying.






• Fighting with the cellmate, even when I know I'm right and she's wrong, no longer has the same appeal. Sometimes I'd rather find a way of keeping the peace than being right.

• Even the last bastion of the life force, watching fit young babes in the street, is too much of an effort.


So I did something new today after work. I did the first thing that came into my head - I jogged. Only about 500 yards, but it felt better than all the drudgery. I was held back by the heat and the dog, and a sensible caution, but next time I'm planning to leave the dog at home, and do a kilometer, but only if I feel like it. This could be the start of a renaissance of free will.

Saturday, December 4

beer taste blind testing

I've been buying the occasional 6-pack of real beer, Oettinger.

Then Cap'n Kev gave me a pack of Oettinger, but in cans. It was kind of him, but after drinking a can, I gave the rest back to him. I reckon the cans don't taste as good, even though the beer in them should be identical to the bottles.

So I wondered - could my preference for the bottled stuff be psychological? I set up a blind trial using identical glasses, which I marked but then swapped around several times with my eyes closed. There was a third glass of another German beer, just to make things interesting.




I know you're desperate to hear the result, so I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Even blindfolded, the canned stuff tasted worse. Even so, I managed to drink all three beers, though not all on the same night of course.



PS - After getting the cellmate a pig for a Malawian village, and buying her mother a chicken for an East Timorese family, I've decided to continue the Christmas Charity present theme, by sponsoring a carton of Erdinger for unfortunate people living in the snowbound wastelands of Scotland. The way the scheme will work: I buy the beer here, then send the recipient a complete set of photos of me drinking each bottle. That way, we save the climate by not sending it half way across the world in a polluting airplane. Everybody wins!

Thursday, December 2

what blissheids do

For weeks now, I've been sleeping like a babe, and taking ages to come to in the mornings. This must be what normal people are like, but it's a new experience for me.

Of course then I began worrying that this was the beginning of the end, maybe my body was slowly packing up.

But I reckon the sleep comes from doing yoga every day.

Today at work, after the yoga I even lay down under the desk with the headphones on, listening to a guided meditation. The commentary was a bit crystal spacey, with cosmic music in the background, but I liked it and it seemed to work.






I had to go to a staff meeting after that. Normally I would have pumped myself up on tea, and you'd think meditation might have the opposite effect and wipe you out. But the blissage and the yoga gave me a calmer sort of forcefulness. Not jittery like a tea high.

This bliss is a piece of piss.

Sunday, November 28

toy pig pulled from farm set on religious grounds

I saw an article in The Independent. A retailer withdrew a toy pig from a children's farm set to avoid the risk of causing offence on religious grounds. That sort of thing can make your day.

Just imagine if photos of people standing up were banned, to avoid offending religions where they stand on their heads.

Saturday, November 27

party time

Last night I had to go to a drinks party at an artist's studio. She's somebody I get on well with, and I like her pictures. And I knew the crowd already, from a walk we did earlier in the year.




Even so, I expected the typical Xmas party, with everyone shouting at once, and I arrived with the earplugs already in place. But we got there unfashionably early, before it was in full swing.

After 5 minutes I found I wanted to hear what people were saying, so I took the plugs out. Then I grabbed some red wine. It wasn't alcohol-free but what the hell.

Later a very sociable journalist acquaintance arrived, and we chatted for maybe an hour. One of these garrulous conversations where every topic spawns several more, and you're racing to chase them all down without losing any. And of course it helps when neither of you is a deifheid.

When you've enjoyed a party, saying goodbye at the end you actually feel as if you like everybody. Strange.

Thursday, November 25

cap'n kev comes adrift

I don't really want to start visiting people in jail. Cap'n Kev has persuaded the school to respect his privacy by blotting out their windows.

But then next thing, he's talking about installing a webcam on his roof, so he can see into the school grounds. I'm sure he just wants to do some volunteer neighbourhood watch work. The leggy senior schoolgirls have nothing to do with it.

When I was about 14, the girl I used to play with suddenly developed curves and bumps and gorgeousity. She had boyfriends who took her out in their cars.

One day she offered, or maybe I persuaded her, to get undressed at her window that evening. Presumably she was between boyfriends at the time.

Her window was facing mine, across a sort of junction. Some weeks before, I had bought a telescope with my pocket money, so I was all set. I sat by that telescope long into the night, until finally it became obvious she had gone to sleep with no intention of keeping to the deal.

Maybe something similar happened in Cap'n Kev's childhood, and he's now trying to balance up the other end of his life.

Wednesday, November 24

futile revisits

So I watched Evil Dead 20 years on, and discovered it wasn't scary or even entertaining.

I'm discovering the futility of revisiting earlier experiences. Today I bought a CD and a DVD, including an old Neil Young album. It's not a patch on the Neil Young music that was in my mind.

I'm hoping that the Pink Floyd Pompeii DVD won't let me down. I've never seen it, but the main song once served as the bonktrack for Vinnie's Moll and me, which should carry an extra charge.

But if it doesn't, I'll have to re-evaluate one last nostalgic assumption - the idea that one more night with Denny, courtesy of a time machine, would be at least as good as it ever was.

Fortunately that one can never be disproved, otherwise I would have to start looking to the future instead of the past. Not something you'd want to do in New South Caledonia.

- Posted from iPod

Monday, November 22

evil dead

I've always wanted to watch this film, Evil Dead, ever since I saw part of it one night by accident. I was living by myself in the top floor of a creepy old empty house, next to a Victorian lunatic asylum.

I was channel-hopping the TV and I stumbled into this creepy scene in a log cabin in the woods. I think the vegetation was alive.

The grizzly bits were possibly supposed to be ironic, but I was in no mood for postmodernism.

I turned the television off to avoid getting the willies, but I knew one day I'd be able to watch it all the way through. I think that day has come. If I don't post again you can assume I've had a heart attack.

- Posted from iPod

Well I watched it. Total garbage. The laughable acting would have been at home on Crossroads.

Friday, November 19

readjusting

As someone who's a balanced blend of workaholic and lazy basturn, I usually find it easy to switch off and on as appropriate.

But recently the balance has tipped towards excessive activity. This is not good. Some of the effects I've noticed: you become tired, scattered, distracted. It's the opposite of what blissheids call mindfulness. You start losing things like keys, specs, and even iPods! With no concentration, you don't taste food properly.

I realised if I didn't do something about it soon, I might end up having to meditate.

Yesterday I realised I was too knackered to go to work, so I took a sickie. It's amazingly easy to wind down and switch off when you know you're supposed to be at work. So I had a fantastic day in bed, sleeping. And occasionally reading when I felt up to turning the pages.

Staying off tea all day also must have helped.

After yesterday's deep rest on full pay, today the long weekend begins, and the pendulum swings back to activity. I'm having a ball! The day started with a few minutes of pilates, then the anti-fascist heel stretches. Three cups of tea so far (green, white and black), and I've walked the dog to the supermarket, filling the backpack for the walk home.

At the (home) gym I broke a few personal records without injuring anything. You just have to start gently and be mindful. Stand outside yourself and think: what's the sensible way to do this?

I've done some weeding and feeding the lawn.

And it's not even lunchtime. What a great start to the weekend!

- Posted from iPod

Sunday, November 14

balancing advice

Since I persuaded stout people in the northern hemisphere to renounce dairy food, I have had to start eating butter and cheese myself, just to balance things up.

I'm really feeling the difference! Whether because of the weight gain or the artery-clogging, I'm getting slow, lazy and unfit. At the same time, the fascist heel has curbed my exercise.

We're entering unfamiliar territory. There is something worse than a fat basturn. A skinny basturn with a pot belly.

Wednesday, November 10

cap'n kev comes ashore

Cap'n Kev is now amphibious, with a land base in another part of New South Caledonia.

I visited his place last week. When his Japanese cabin girl heard I was coming, she decided to go back to live with her husband. She probably couldn't face being overcome with longing for me.

Kev's place is next door to a school, where the stairwells and classroom windows overlook his garden.

So Kev had visited the headmaster, and asked him to get all the windows obscured with opaque plastic. I never thought the school would agree, but they did. Kev didn't even have to explain about his garden perversions.

While I was there, we met the headmaster. I suggested the schoolkids would soon pick spyholes in the plastic film, and film Kev's privates for YouTube.

Tuesday, November 9

washing

I read a blog recently where the guy had used a washing machine for the first time ever. Coincidentally, here in the southern hemisphere we're balancing up. After a lifetime of doing my own washing, I've discovered that the cellmate actually LIKES doing washing. I suspect she was keeping that quiet for political reasons. I've started letting her add some of my gear to her wash. It comes back clean, dry, and folded.

Yes, her idea of a good weekend is hot sunshine for drying, so she can endlessly rotate clothes on the clothes line, and keep reloading the machine.

When she was a student she worked in a laundry, and learned how to wash all day on autopilot. A bit like when I was a kitchen hand, and learned to crack hundreds of eggs every morning, two at a time, into big buckets for the omelette chefs. I could do it like a pro, even with last night's psychedelics in my system.

Friday, November 5

career success avoidance 3

My parents, who provided me with an expensive school tie, were sorely disappointed that I never waved the tie to walk into a company job. I'm pleased to say that the few career opportunities that ever came my way were of my own making, and I messed them up all by myself.



Applied Particle Physics


When I was a researcher, I occasionally I had to put aside the jazz tapes and speak to other research people. The worst time was when I had to deliver a paper at a computer conference in Cambridge. I had never spoken in public before, and it was an audience of about 500 smart-alec academics. Fortunately, my paper was scheduled for the very last day, so I had all week to watch other speakers being publicly mauled. When I wasn't watching the torture, I was jogging around Cambridge on beta-blockers (the doc refused to prescribe valium but gave me these heart-slowing pills instead.)

Well, by the time my turn came at the podium thing, I didn't know whether the buckling knees were from jogging or nerves or the beta-blockers, but I got through it somehow. And because I had prepared a very clear and colourful slide presentation (if I was a real academic I would just have waffled without props), I caught the eye of a head-hunting researcher from Switzerland. The guy left a message asking me to phone him overseas, which I did.

Over the phone he offered a job, housing, medical plan, pension plan, and removal expenses to Switzerland. Well I wasn't going to fall for that! So I asked him about the work I would have to do. He explained that he was working on a government-funded project to allow worldwide communication between computers using hypertext and mouse clicks, so that anybody could access any computer in the world. It sounded a pretty wacky invention.



It would be hard work. And who wants to move to Switzerland when they've already got their hands full in Glasgow, managing two girlfriends in parallel, working day and night to prevent them finding out about each other?




Naturally I rang the guy back and turned the job down. A few years later his invention had some success. It was called the world wide web. Thank goodness I avoided getting caught up in all that.

Tuesday, November 2

annoying music

The traffic driving home last night was so bad that we parked to let the rush subside, and I bought dinner for the driver and me. The radio playing in the restaurant was most entertaining. One annoying or mindless tune after the other. I was impressed that the DJ could dig out such a consistent stream of songs. The one that stayed in the brain was by an English divette called I think Katie somebody. "Oh-oh! It's really not okay, it's really not okay" with a nouveau Chas-n-Dave backing.

Today's annoying music is a slight improvement. The Crossroads theme tune, which I haven't heard since I was about 20, came to mind unbidden, and seems to be on repeat play until I can find something else to blot it out with. Sometimes it might be easier to be a deifheid.1



1I mean of course a Class B deifheid, someone who doesn't listen to music, or only to dreadful music. A true Class A deifheid is defined as someone who can't pay attention to anyone else (often associated with afflictions like NPD). Most people are either Class A or B. I'm fortunate in being neither, though when I get old I may lose my hearing and become a Class C deifheid. It all balances up over time.

Sunday, October 31

following the first violin

Last night the cellmate took me out to a Mozart concert. I love the music but I find concerts difficult to relax into. And not only because of my studies in misanthropology.

I'm always aware of sitting up tall and possibly blocking the view of the people behind. So I've a subconscious tendency to pull my head in and/or slouch my spine. Usual result: shagged back and screaming neck pain. The alternative is to mentally keep reminding myself "eff the basturns, let them sit up straight too". Either way, it gets in the way of the music.

Last night our seats were side-on, so everyone had their necks twisted to one side. Except me. I decided to close my eyes and look straight ahead; focus on breathing and sitting straight. That didn't leave much attention free for listening or holding in the bum explosions.

On the occasions when I opened my eyes, it was to look at the first violin, who not only had a cute bottom but held her spine beautifully straight.

I wonder if I unintentionally strayed into a spot of meditation last night. Certainly there was an immense spring in my step on the dog walk this morning.

I came home and did 2000 steps on the machine, then half an hour on the weights machine without spraining a single muscle. Went to bed in the afternoon of course. It all balances up.

Thursday, October 28

library

Our local library is a wonderful place, much used by me and the cellmate. Of course, it's run by New South Caledonians, yet it works. I should take some photos inside it, and post them. If it isn't the best local authority library in the world, surely it's "the best in the southern hemisphere" (a much-abused local mantra). Makes you happy to hand over the cash when the rates bill arrives.

Thanks to them I've just finished reading William Boyd's latest (pretty good but relying on too many coincidences) and the new Jonathan Franzen (just wonderful if you're interested in relationships, character development, family history and dynamics).

And I've begun Alan Warner's 2006 novel The Worms Can Carry Me To Heaven. The disengaged contemptuous hero reminds me of books by e.g. Houellebecq (not sure about the spelling) or Easton Ellis. The first-person character is handed the black spot by his doc at the start of the book, but from there on there's no other mention of it. There's no emotion except for the anger implied by his disdain for humankind. If the guy was a bit concerned or introspective, I might care what happened to him. As it is, I'm wishing he would just hurry up and eff somebody before he dies.

But the author can really write well, and that's what's stopping me giving up on it. For a while I thought I had lost the book and would have to pay the library for a new copy. That would be adding insult to injury. I'm reminded of Woody Allen's whinging old lady in a restaurant: "The food's horrible ... and they give you such small portions!"

Anyway, thanks to the wonderful ratepayers of New South Caledonia, our library's got enough great books to keep me reading till I die and beyond. Now if only the library offered some decent ebooks, not just the usual free out-of-copyright stuff like Wilkie Collins and De Sade.

PS - thanks to their DVD section, I have just borrowed American Psycho, to save me having to read the book by said Easton Ellis. Also Inglourious Basterds (2009) and Evil Dead (1982). Not a single chick flick amongst them, so I think I'll have to watch them alone.

Saturday, October 23

toilet help

There's a new iPod/iPhone app called Toilet Time. It uses state of the art techniques to help busy people spend less time daydreaming during their daily dump.



-



It's ideal for people (not me) who tend to get too immersed in iPod games on the pan, and forget all about time.

(Posted from iPod)

Friday, October 22

toilet cleaning and training

After the long day's work into night yesterday, this morning I blobbed out with a book.

Then I hit the black tea for a run up to the cleaning job for Alec's partner, who pays me the going rate to clean her rooms. After a three-hour blitz that included toilet work and leaf clearing, now I'm knackered again. It all balances up.

Tomorrow I've to meet Cap'n Kev for coffee.

I spoke to the old dear in the Royal Vic again. She seems to be settling in to her third hospital now. I read her the riot act about cooperating more with the physiotherapist - otherwise they'll shunt her off to a ward for the hopeless cases.

For once, she was happy to just natter. I feel for her, but not excessively. At last, I can see a benefit of the Teutonic toilet training - it sets you up not to be too attached to your parents.

Thursday, October 21

progress in education

I'm indebted to Albert for drawing my attention to an article headed "Handwriting proves a stretch for computer-savvy students", from the Southern Highland News.

It seems that kids are leaving school with advanced interpersonal skills and terrific keyboard skills, but without knowing how to write with a pen.

Some schools are having to employ occupational therapists to teach 17-year-old school kids to use a pen, so that they'll be able to write the exam papers for their school leaving certificate. There are different opinions on whether writing by hand will or should become extinct.

Wednesday, October 20

thin lizzie

Recently, the dog was suddenly very keen to spend the evening out in the garden, doing a lot of barking. I went out there and discovered the reason for all the noise: there was a magnificent lizard living out there, nearly half a metre long, and the dog was trying to build up the courage to bite it. The lizard was making a deathly noise and inflating itself to look scary. So I started keeping the dog indoors, to give the poor lizard some peace.

About a week later, we saw the lizard again on the road outside the house.


Sunday, October 17

more about the waiter incident

I've had some more time to reflect on last week's waiter incident. I've realised that part of the reason for the guy's insulting demeanour and arrogance, may be that I was dressed like a bum. And due to the fascist heel, I was also wearing a pair of ten year old Brooks trainers, which are still very comfortable but look as if they've been pulled out of a swamp.

That would explain why he deliberately seated us at the darkest, most out-of-the-way table: to hide us from the other clientele. But even bums like me are entitled to politeness, when they're paying an arm and a leg for tea and a few tiny cakes.

The food looked exquisite, much better than it tasted. One of the cakes had an edible portrait of Marie Antoinette. The spoon is a teaspoon - you can see how petite the cakes were.




Friday, October 15

only fools and whores

Back at work after a fortnight's holiday, during which I read several books, cooled my heels, and collected some new strains of athlete's foot at the pool.

It's just downhill from here. The government should have send-off centres for people of my age, before we fall apart and burden the health system. Surely the taxpayer would come out ahead, even after paying for the Thai whore massage, the amuse bouches and the Brompton's Cocktail. It's a win-win arrangement.

Which reminds me. A couple of nights before Duneditin 2008, I was sharing an Edinburgh bedsit with the cellmate. Too lazy to run a bath in the bathroom along the corridor, I washed my tackle in the basin in the room. The cellmate said "I see you're having a horse bath". I laughed at her quaint expression. Presumably it had some obscure New Zealand origin. Maybe they used to drench their horses' pubes in a trough of tick poison or something.

I told her this week, how often I have used her expression in conversations since then. It was her turn to laugh. I had misheard her originally. The term is "whore's bath" not "horse bath". It makes sense.

Thursday, October 14

friendsreunited

I was on friendsreunited, and I went to look up the year I left the uni, and who's at the top of the list but Mingers! Not sure if that's a fluke, or if friendsreuntied has somehow got its hands on my gmail address book (even though I only ever gave them an old hotmail account).






I also took a peep at Albert's old school. Most of the people there went on to be even more socially useful than Albert himself. But can they or can they not do the bliss pills?

Here are recent pictures of two of them, taken in the course of their work. Each photo contains an oblique clue to the subject's profession.










Monday, October 11

edinburgh news

Albert has read an article in the Aussie press, about the best British food. He didn't say if it was a very long article, but what interested me was that the best haggis comes from a butcher in Stockbridge. Imagine being able to pop out for offal whenever you want!

Using friendsreunited, I have tracked down my room mate from first year. He came from Larkhall, and taught me how to play basic bass guitar. The guy was in the room on the night I lost my virginity. All I remember is that I kept up a running commentary so he wouldn't feel excluded. If I can contact him, maybe he can tell me how it was for me.

Sunday, October 10

re-evaluating the over-reaction

The murderous urges from the previous post are dissipating.

As usual with these incidents, there's a history involving memory. I now realise the guy reminded me of two imperious bosses I had about three years ago. Same manner, similar appearance. And all of them were equally incompetent.

If there's one thing I react badly to, it's being demeaned by an idiot. Fortunately the people who insult me online are at least good at what they do.

Going further back in memory, I can see that much childhood was about being pushed around by morons. Mainly parents. If only I had had kids of my own, I would have had a shot at being one of those morons. That might have balanced me up.

Saturday, October 9

false sense of self

Once in a while you take an instant dislike to someone you've only just met. You'd like to kill the person, and if you had a 100% guarantee that you'd never be caught, you'd probably do it.

Today I was briefly at the mercy of someone so insulting (possibly inadvertently) that I reacted very badly, and insulted them back (deliberately and childishly).

If it had been up to me, I would just have said eff you and left. But I was compromised, and for the sake of my companion's birthday treat I had to sit it out for a whole hour and make a big effort to calm down and act nice to this twat.

What made it really stick in my throat was that I was paying this person. At the end, I decided to try and be magnanimous, so I tipped them, but they didn't even acknowledge the tip. What a freaking currant.

I'm still figuring out how my false sense of self might have played a part. "This SHOULDN'T be happening to me. HOW DARE they treat me this way. I can't BEAR this. What a #%@$ this person is. I deserve, even NEED, to have everything in life go well."

The only positive thing about it? For the rest of the day my companion, okay cellmate if you must know, showed huge gratitude for my restraint.

I have to sleep now. I hope the murderous urges have dispersed. I don't want to have nightmares.

- (bed)posted from iPod

Tuesday, October 5

reminders

There was a lunch at the deifheid place at the weekend. They kindly extended the invitation to me. Probably the idea was for me to lie under the table with the dog. Sadly I had to decline as I had a prior engagement with the book I'm reading.

The psychological model derived from Carl Rogers maintains that when you dislike someone, it's often because they remind you of someone else in your past. I've just worked out who the heid deifheid reminds me of.

There was a guy in halls of residence called John H. He was so transparently disinterested in anyone other than himself, you almost felt sorry for him. Desperately trying to impress fit young babes, he came across as slimy. In his room, he had an expensive stereo, though he didn't like music. It was intended as a seduction aid.

Anyway, the deifheid guy here is equally disinterested in other people, except as conversational targets for his tales about himself. Desperate to impress (himself). I wouldn't mind so much if he didn't just recycle the same stories every time.

I knew an old Viking who died recently, a very funny and good hearted man. RIP.

Things are getting serious. People are dropping around me, and I haven't even finished growing up yet.

Wednesday, September 29

machines for old folk

In response to requests from sceptics, here's some technical material about the kind of condom technology available nowadays in the supermarket:


Let yourself glow with the glow in the dark vibrating condom pack. 


Visuals and vibrations to turn you on when the lights go off!


Comes with free additional battery which is easily replaced.


It has multiple speeds and can be used multiple times for multiple pleasure!


Features include:
  • 3 speed gearbox with intense top speed!
  • Easy to use push button for on/ off and changing speeds


In the interests of research, I have had to buy one, with the aim of posting a review one day.





There's now a mobile phone for seniors:






A Joke

Kid asks Grandpa:
-Do you still have sex with Grandma?
Grandpa:
-Yes, but just oral sex.
Kid:
-What's oral sex?
Grandpa:
-I say fuck you. She says fuck you too.

Monday, September 27

hotter/refuge

After the long cold winter (by local standards), it's suddenly jumped about ten degrees.

It's horrible. I've been mowing the lawn, and have had to take refuge indoors, half-way through the job, just so I can get my kit off and sit in front of the fan.

Another year of hedge growth around the perimeter, and I should be able to mow the lawn just wearing a hat.

At the supermarket they now sell condoms with a built-in miniature vibrator. I think when sexual perversion becomes mainstream, you have to move on just to stay in the vanguard of fashion. Maybe blissage will become the new sex.

I have to go out and finish the mowing now. I may be some time.

Saturday, September 25

yesterday and today

Cap'n Kev is back from house-sitting a hobby farm with its own pet wombat. I caught up with him yesterday. He says the wombat comes up to you when you're sitting watching TV, and just stands beside you with its hand on your knee. There's also a friendly but dangerous cockatoo and a very sociable pig.

When he asked how I've been getting on with the cellmate, I broke the news that we're sharing the same kettle, for the first time ever. We used to have two kettles to avoid arguments over who had stolen the other person's tea water.

She's away for a few days - fortunately I came across (not in the biblical sense) a short story by A L Kennedy. It's surely the sexiest piece of writing ever. I could scan it into the iPod for emergencies.

At the supermarket they had a new brand of condom, with extra room at one end. Watch this space for a road test, perhaps this year.

To ease the fascist heel I've been wearing my jogging shoes at work. But people have been calling me things like marathon man and baseball boy. So yesterday I got a pair of New Balance black leather trainers.

Of course when I got them home, after wearing them for an evening I realised they were too tight on the old toenail.

On the way back to exchange them today, I found a shop selling a wider pair at almost 50% cheaper. So I bought them, then claimed a refund on the first pair at the other shop. I'm sticking it to the man!

Thursday, September 23

all over the place

Albert works as a teacher. This is from his last email:
"I ran an exam today. It was hard work. They tried everything.
  • As I gave the paper to one student who was worried about passing the exam, she handed me a gourmet cream trifle as a present.
  • Another student wanted to listen to his phone through headphones, and couldn't understand why I wouldn't allow it during an exam.
  • Half way through, one devout person exercised his right to go out and pray, then come back and continue the exam. I made him use a different coloured pen after the prayer, so I would be able tell which answers had followed divine inspiration.
  • Near the end, one lass asked for a fresh paper so she could start again. I said that was okay but she would have to hand in both papers. Well, she argued the toss for a while.
  • A student who handed in her paper early, sat down again at the computer, and put the course notes up on the screen, so her friend still writing at the next desk could crib the material.
  • One of them tried to phone a friend during the exam.
Afterwards, I asked them all to fill out a questionnaire, anonymously, rating my performance this year. The last question was "What mark would you give your teacher?" One of them answered: "A+, see me after class :)"

Naturally I wondered which of the babes had written it, so I compared the handwriting against the exam papers. I found the matching person. It was a musclebound meathead. No help at all."
Albert works hard. Meantime, here in Nouvelle-Calédonie, the wonderful four-day weekend will segue straight into the wonderful two-week vacation. And the cellmate goes away for a few days, so I can get on with all those things I can't do when others are around. Now where did I leave that bicycle pump?


Yoga report
  • Yesterday I did zilch except the chair during the tooth brushing.
  • Today I'll do the killer routine from the book, "Yoga For Regular Guys", even though I'm not one.
Swim forecast
  • Tomorrow I'll have the cellmate's car, so can drive to the pool and back, a treat.

Sunday, September 19

it was 40 years ago today, jimi hendrix had to go away

I was an 18 year old dishwasher on Princes Street, working alongside a French girl called Priscilla Tournant. Gorgeous, with an accent to match. I can still hear her voice, so I guess that means I was besotted with her.

At the weekends we would meet up to take speed or acid and go walkabout, visiting drug people or wandering the streets till dawn, to see what would happen.

Completely chaste of course. She had a fiancé in the west, but she hardly ever saw him. "I like being with you cos you don't try anything. You respect that I have Andy in Ayr." I was too young to know that they all say that.

One night on acid, we stopped in at the Gorgie flat, and the news of Hendrix's death was on TV. I remember thinking: if I wasn't drugged up I would grieve.

On the Sunday morning after the big trip at Gerry D's place with Reg etc., I was in bad shape but I had to turn up for work. At least I would be able to shelter in the kitchen and just work the dishwasher. But that was the very day they chose to promote me to work the coffee bar. Out in public in a hairnet, filling teapots with writhing snakes.

Priscilla told the boss to send me home. Instead of going home, I met Gerry et al in Princes St Gardens, for a smoke in the sun.

A few weeks later, my room mate Eddie went away for the weekend, after he was shopped to the squad by you know who.

So I invited Priscilla to the bed-sit for a sleepover. When she turned up, she had her chum Monique with her as a chaperone. The two of them drank vodka in Eddie's bed and giggled in French. It was a farce. They say some women can't respect a guy who respects them. I wore my best pyjamas too.

Wednesday, September 15

last weekend

The weekend report. The Chinese film was okay.  The Chinese art exhibition was okay, and I met the owner woman in the lift, too quick for a quickie but it was a glass lift anyway. The best part of the weekend was the Peking podcasts by the BBC.




    Cardiac exercise report
    • I've worked out a way to keep walking despite the fascist heel. Using an old step trainer thing, with my heels hanging off the back of the step so there's no wait on the heel and no pain. If you do 1000 steps, that's a good sweat. It doesn't help the dog though.

    fundamentally broken

    Apparently, 71 percent of Americans agree with the statement that “America is fundamentally broken." The survey didn't say what percentage of Americans understand words like fundamentally. That's all I'm saying.




    Yoga report
    • One of the good things about the fascist heel injury is that I've had to fall back on yoga.

    • Although I've used yoga off and on since the Buccleuch Towers days, it's only recently that I've been able to focus on what I'm doing, and make adjustments, at the same time as making sure not to reactivate old injuries.
    Tai Chi report
    • By using basic principles to invent a shakeout for the shoulder injury, I've discovered a new warm-up exercise that's possibly a world first.
    Cardiac exercise report
    • The upside of being unfit is that absolutely anything you do gives the heart a work-out. It all balances up.

    Saturday, September 11

    books and ebooks

    I now have two extra ebooks which I'll enjoy reading on the pod in the bus. The deal is that the author doesn't want to know what I think of them. I'll need to make an effort to remember that, and curb my natural tendency to be helpful.

    Meantime, on paper I'm really enjoying the A.L. Kennedy book. Here's a section called

    THE SCOTTISH METHOD
    (FOR THE PERFECTION OF CHILDREN)


    1. Guilt is good.

    2. The history, language and culture of Scotland do not
    exist. If they did, they would be of no importance and
    might as well not.

    3. Masturbation is an abuse of one's self: sexual intercourse,
    the abuse of one's self by others.

    4. The chosen and male shall go forth unto professions while
    the chosen and femaJe shall be homely, fecund, docile and
    slightly artistic.

    5. Those not chosen shall be cast out into utter darkness,
    even unto the ranks of Her Majesty's Armed Forces and
    Industry.

    6. Pain and fear will teach us to hurt and petrify ourselves,
    thus circumventing further public expense.

    7. Joy is fleeting, sinful and the forerunner of despair.

    8. Life is a series of interwoven ceremonies, etiquettes and
    forms which we will never understand. We may never
    trust ourselves to others.

    9. God hates us. In word, in thought, in deed we are hateful
    before God and we may do no greater good than to hate
    ourselves.

    10. Nothing in a country which is nothing, we are only
    defined by what we are not. Our elders and betters are
    also nothing: we must remember this makes them bitter
    and dangerous.
    I'm not sure how much of that is still true nowadays, but people who were kids back then may recognise much of it. My favourites, if that's the word, are 6 and 8.

    Friday, September 10

    1000000126

    china

    The four-day weekend is well under way, with a Chinese flavour.

    Walking the dog I listened to some great BBC podcasts from inside China, by John Simpson. Many of the interviewees asked to be anonymous, but some real heroes identified themselves. Like the brave guy who helps workers sue their employers for back-pay or injury compensation. Compared with people like that, my life has hardly benefitted mankind.

    On Saturday we're going to watch a 3-hour Chinese film from a few years ago, Lust Caution. I've seen a bit of it, and it's electrifying. And all without stars, explosions or car chases.

    On Sunday we're meeting a non-deifheid couple at a Chinese art gallery. All the art is modern Chinese. I went to see the old show last year. I don't appreciate much Western art, especially modern. But this stuff is so fresh, imaginative, varied, humorous. I wonder if any of it will refer to Tibet.



    Swimming report
    • Yesterday I broke the swimming boycott for the first time since the auld reekie housing department hotel. The best bit was baking away the aches and pains in the sauna. The worst part was jumping in the pool afterwards. I find psyching yourself up with thoughts of Jocko weather helps prepare for the shock.

    • I need to start swimming at least every week, to balance up the reduction in walking due to the fascist heel.

    Wednesday, September 8

    aussie balance

    On a recent visit to Albert, I was able to observe the native fauna in situ. The best thing you can say about Aussie men and women is that they go well together (Albert says "they deserve each other").

    The women are tough, bovine creatures. The clever ones resent men, while the rest of them regard their menfolk with the sort of loyal pride that a mother would feel for a handicapped son winning a school race.

    The men are cheerful oafish layabouts, except in the sporting field, where they excel. They admire their women, if only for their pluck, tolerance and housework.

    Fortunately, the picture is slowly changing, as immigration brings in some graceful women from Asia, and capable men from places like Jockoland and Bavaria. Things are balancing up.

    Monday, September 6

    first yoga report

    Yoga report
    • Yesterday I did just the poses I usually do, which isn't many. The military ones - Warriors and Salutes.
    • Today I used a yoga for dummies kind of book, to jog my memory about other poses I had learnt years ago and forgotten. I followed two of their routines, and I'm well warmed up (knackered) now. I especially enjoyed the table top, with the variation where you reach back and grab the free foot with the free hand.
    Tai Chi report
    • None yet. One thing at a time.

    Saturday, September 4

    surely not the end in sight!

    One moment dear Christopher Hitchens was on the screen promoting another doubtless fine book, “Hitch-22.” The next minute he's been handed the black spot. Now the god-botherers are hoping he'll recant and embrace god. I can't see it.

    Reading random blogs I found someone taking great macro photos in their garden. Soon after, the photographer was in hospital having life-saving major surgery. Just shows once again, you never know when you'll go. Nobody ever dies wishing they'd worked harder, but I believe everyone wishes they'd managed to love more. I'd rather spend my last hour blogging than working or in deifheid company. Imagine if you found out that you'd just wasted your last day listening to the drone of deifheids!

    I took the other photos after sharpening my pencils instead of working.





    Friday, September 3

    there is no one either good or bad ....

    There is no one either good or bad, but circumstances make them so.

    There was a discussion of the Cumbria shootings in The Independent by Julian Baggini, of interest to freelance taoists everywhere. For your convenience, here are a few key paragraphs:

    As soon as the identity of the Cumbria killer became known, people immediately started to ask what kind of man Derrick Bird was. And there were always going to be only two possible answers. Almost every perpetrator of an atrocity is assigned the role of either a monster who was bound to do great evil eventually, or an ordinary person who inexplicably flipped.

    We need to understand that situation, rather than character, usually matters more in how people behave, not so we can just let everyone off, but so that we can better understand why people do wrong and do more to prevent it. Most people are neither bad apples nor good eggs, but soft fruit that can easily turn from ripe to rotten.

    Left and right have traditionally made opposite mistakes in this regard. Conservatives have placed far too little stress on the role of social circumstances in criminality, imagining that poverty and social exclusion are mere excuses for criminality, not causal factors in it. The left, on the other hand, has tended to overplay the social, imagining that people have no control over how they respond to circumstances, that all criminality is the inevitable result of iron laws of economic determinism.

    What we are now understanding is that it is not either/or.


    I rest my case. Everything is a balance of one thing and the other.

    Thursday, September 2

    entertainment and exercise

    After working all day and evening, I relaxed by watching an episode of Embarrassing Bodies. Amazing TV of real people and their asymmetrical breasts, incontinent streaming, blown-out vaginas etc. No bottoms this week though.

    It's not just sensational camerawork, it's educational too. One informative sequence revealed the mantra "socks before jocks." Apparently people who want to avoid spreading their athlete's foot into athlete's crotch should put their socks on before their pants. You learn something every day.

    Meanwhile, the ipod seems to have lost the only ebook I ever read, The Real Alma Mater. Somewhere there's a backup copy that I can reload.



    I'm not sure I'll ever swim again, at least not in the winter - I can't face the split fingers. Mind you, since I developed plantar fasciitis for the first time ever, walking is out so I'll be forced to resume swimming. Have you ever had that? In my case it's just a soreness right under the heel. Probably from walking on hard flat insoles. It's amazing how many new kinds of decrepitude one discovers on getting older.

    Because the walking's been curtailed, I was nearly persuaded to buy a Wii system, for fitness. You can use it to play virtual tennis, box, and do yoga and tai chi. But I stopped myself just in time. I already know how to do tai chi and yoga. I just need to bloody well get on with it. And I could probably teach myself shadow boxing for oldies, without causing any new injuries.

    Sunday, August 29

    things that are different pill-less

    For a few weeks, while the cellmate was still away on holiday, I gave up the bliss pills, reasoning I must surely be cured by now. Soon I began to notice a few changes, not all for the worse. It all balances up.

    I watched the DVD of No Country For Old Men. I kept holding my breath with the tension. Films haven't been this good in ages.

    Next, I was reading a novel about three effed up flatmates. One of them killed himself, and I howled my eyes out. Must have been a well-written book.

    I was watching a two-hour Santana concert on TV. I always love the guy, but this was extra heavenly music. I even managed to overlook his meathead hip hop singers with their inane toilet-squat loping. Why isn't all music this good?

    One night I was watching an episode of The Street, the UK drama series set in working-class Manchester. I was moved to tears, and I realised that working class life isn't always as idyllic as people think. The standard of TV drama seems to have improved recently.

    Pill-less life was going well, but everything has to balance up. There was another pill-free experience to come. I had an invite to the opening of an art exhibition. The artist is one of the deifheid collective. As I arrived outside the glass-walled venue, I could see the whole assemblage. My heart sank. As I turned to go back home, unfortunately a deifheid spotted me through the glass. I walked round the corner and tried to think straight. Then I had to grit my teeth and walk right into the midst of it. And it was even worse than I expected. If only I had been on bliss pills, it might have been half bearable.

    That was when I realised I had to get back on the pills ASAP. Thank goodness they kicked in a few days later, before the deifheid dinner, so I was able to spend the evening blissfully under the table.

    Saturday, August 28

    a big help

    After two days of housework and DIY, I started the weekend with a vague dissatisfaction. But then I remembered the solution. Do some yoga for the first time in a long time.

    The warm up stretches of tight muscles were hell yet brilliant. After that, the just lying there pose was a joy, and I free-associated back to the time, about 1993, when I had my final shiatsu from P before she left the country. Those were the days! You lie on a futon in your Ys, and take a slow-motion pummelling from a serious masseuse kneeling beside you. Anyway, at the end of the last session, she picked up my feet and held my soles against her belly while we both breathed deep and slow. Whether there was some kind of chi transfer, or foot nerve endings a-tingle with essence of pervert, who cares? It was bloody wonderful.

    After about ten minutes of warriors and sun salutes, the weekend suddenly looks and feels much more hopeful. Lunch in the sun, then read one of the library books by a jock lass, A L Kennedy.

    Thursday, August 26

    one panic over

    As I suspected, the wee wife didn't have a stroke at all, she was only faking it to get away from the PPP. I could try that myself when I'm there.

    Meanwhile, the brother made a mercy dash to the old dear's hospital bedside. She complained about the booze on his breath. She doesn't want to see him again until he stops drinking. You learn to expect that kind of welcome. I know if I rushed over from NSC, I'd hear "why aren't you wearing a blazer and tie?"

    The long weekend begins now. Four days of wonderful nothing. Except some basturn has spammed every post in the blog. I need to find a way to tighten up the commenting security without inconveniencing the thousands of genuine readers. Or I might decamp to the trouser blog. What good company that would be!

    Tuesday, August 24

    old dearies

    Called the hospital last night, the old dear is apparently comfortable enough to sometimes refuse the morphine. What a waste! She'll be out in a week and back to living in the head hospital.

    I've got to work a whole afternoon, and 14 hours tomorrow, before I make it to the 4-day weekend.

    When I rang the PPP, she said the nice wee woman staying with her, what they used to call a ladies' companion, had herself just that morning had a stroke. I suspect she just faked it to get away in an ambulance. Mind you, staying with the PPP would make anyone burst a blood vessel.

    Yesterday morning I put on a lump of organic lamb to braise in the slow cooker, with parsnip, fennel and other vegetables as well as seaweed, miso and other stuff that was lying around. Nice getting home at night to a casserole. Organic meat almost counts as vegetarian.

    Saturday, August 21

    bliss pill balance breakthrough

    An article in the Washington Post, about the physiology of grief, uses brain chemistry to explain why grieving people are unable to move on. The nucleus accumbens, a brain area which governs grieving, is also involved in the process of anticipating a reward.

    This is the part of the brain involved in knowing that you want something, so that grievers tend to remain fixated on the missing object or loved one - grief as craving.

    The same brain system is involved in other cravings, e.g. for drugs or alcohol.

    "The findings could explain why drugs used to treat depression are generally ineffective for complicated grief: [the drugs] affect a different brain system involving the neurotransmitter serotonin. Drugs that affect dopamine, a different chemical messenger that is involved [with grief] might be more effective."

    How fortunate I am to be using one of the few bliss pill prescriptions that affects both serotonin and dopamine. Perfect balance wins again.

    Incidentally, an old friend in Glasgow passed on his unused stash of bliss pills, a whole month's supply. To those that have shall be given.

    PS - bloggers in the grip of cravings might wish to discuss this research with their doctor.

    Friday, August 20

    deifheid dinner delights

    I was asked, just now, about the content of the conversation at the recent deifheid dinner. But I seem to have blotted out the memory, thank goodness.

    The host was someone who can't bear to listen to anyone else talk. It was a good arrangement actually, because I can't bring myself to talk to someone who doesn't know how to listen. It all balances up.

    Yes I was indeed under the table, though the talking was too loud to allow sleep. With a bit of luck I won't be invited back, so it wasn't a total waste of time.

    The food, by the way, was torn up duck mixed with dry noodles. No sauce or seasoning as they're on a no-salt no-sugar health kick. To compensate, dessert was a dentist's delight from the supermarket. It all balances up, so I'm not one to complain. .

    Thursday, August 19

    hindsight

    The PPP pension fund phoned to say the poor old dear has fallen in the mental unit, and broken her hip.

    The PPP said: did you know that your grandmother and great grandmother both died of broken hips? It runs in the family.

    Maybe if I had known that, I could have helped avoid this situation. But really I'm annoyed at myself. After the docs finally blasted the delusions out of her head, I should have insisted they send her home. At home she could have fallen onto soft carpet.



    Getting into a taxi a couple of years ago


    But instead, everyone just went along with the hospital hanging on to her indefinitely. The doctors said they wanted to observe her sore back for another month. Well now she's got more than a sore back.

    In April I was happy to get her put in the mental unit, but then I walked away from the decision making. I wish I had spotted the window of opportunity a few weeks ago, when her head was good enough to go home.

    I'm not beating myself up, rather observing with the aid of hindsight and bliss pills. Maybe somebody, even me, can learn something from this. By the time my generation gets to that point, we'll all get the pillow over the head.

    Perhaps the most helpful thing I can do now is phone the casualty ward and ask them to err on the side of too much morphine rather than too little.

    Sunday, August 15

    under the table

    At the deifheid dinner, I drank a bit, then as my eyes were glazing over under the relentless dinner table conversation, I made my move. Under the pretext of leaning over to stroke their sleeping dog, I disappeared under the table, where I was able to lie down and wait till someone suggested going home. For me to suggest leaving, I learned long ago, would have been terribly rude, but when anyone else decides to go home, well that's normal and appropriate.

    Friday, August 13

    posted from mailer via gmail's smtp server to blogger's email post address

    For testing purposes, I used a graphic from the cover of The Real Alma Mater (2nd edition).



    Thursday, August 12

    posting from an iPhone to a blog, with pictures, using all free apps and free storage site

    A client is going to cycle round India, and wants to blog his trip. But he doesn't want to carry a camera and laptop. I suggested he could do it all for free with his iPhone. To prove it to him, I've posted this fascinating image of a recent online scrabble-esque word game.


    Not competitive or anything, but notice who's winning.


    How I did it:

    • First I took a snapshot during the WORDS game app.

    • Next I used the PIXELS app to upload this image to mozymac.com.

    • I pasted the mozymac URL into the MAILER LITE app, which I used in a way it wasn't designed for, to prepare the HTML for this post.

    • Finally, I pasted the lot into blogger in SAFARI (the default iPhone browser app).

    It sounds like a lot of work, but thanks to the marvelous new iPhone operating system version 4, it's a breeze.

    If only I could show the results to the client without blowing my cover.

    Next post, I'll try assembling the whole thing and then sending it as an email post from within a single app (Mailer Lite). And without having to upload the picture first to a third site.

    being fortunate

    I suspended my atheism just long enough to pray for the poor Iranian woman facing execution for adultery. Judicial execution. I believe the freelance kind is already common.

    It kind of puts into context my own recent sentencing by kangaroo court, about which I had intended blogging (until I read about this real outrage). We don't know how fortunate we are. Decades ago, one of the folk who come here wrote in a letter to me: may all your problems be tiny little insignificant ones. And so it turned out.

    - Posted from iPod

    Tuesday, August 10

    major quandary

    Next weekend I have to go to a deifheid dinner. I'm not sure how to play it. Which chemical path to take - blitzed and boorish, or blissed and boring. Disgracing myself would bring opprobrium but guarantee no more invitations for a while.

    I can't wait for the day when they invent an invisible in-the-ear ipod.

    Monday, August 9

    night out

    To keep the cellmate guessing, I sprung a might out on her. First to the cinema, to see I Am Love, which was big in jockoland when I was there, and has now reached these shores.

    The film was okay apart from all the Italians in it. That plus the strange editing, dialogue and camerawork. If you could ignore all that, and the 2 hour length, it was possibly okay.

    When we left at the end, three ion type females in the audience were literally falling about with amusement at how bad the film had been.

    Next on the plan was a meal out. Near the cinema there was a Thai restaurant. I actually quite enjoyed dinner, more because of the Cafe Royalesque decor than the caustic curries.

    The last part of the evening was a visit to a night club, where a band I had heard busking were headlining. Through work contacts, I had managed to get myself on to the guest list. When we got to the door, they asked me to pay entry for the cellmate, but I managed to bluff a freebie for her too - I said we were "in the business". I felt pretty clever but then I blew it when they were trying to apply the stamp, and I didn't even know to present my wrist for inking. They had to explain it to me.

    Inside, it was just a very dark bare room, with a ramshackle bar in the corner. The floor was so sticky that walking around was hard work. The young people looked mildly damaged in an alluring way.

    The band were so deafening that you couldn't make out a tune or even individual notes. We left after the first 3 apparently-identical numbers. Thank goodness we hadn't paid to get in.

    It was the coldest night of the year, so I had to flag down a taxi for the trip back to the car.

    When we got home, we agreed that it was good to have a big night out for once, but that a dinner at home, with the Mad Men DVD, would have been better.

    Sunday, August 8

    bliss help

    I found an iPhone app that helps you do blissological breathing. If I stop blogging, you'll know I've had a kundalini meltdown and been taken away.



    The actor Jack Klaff was being interviewed about his memories of the 60s/70s.

    “There were a lot of people,” Klaff remembers, “who were being terribly egalitarian and saying ‘We’re all in this together, man’, but who quietly had a competitive streak and were intensely ambitious.”

    Basturns.

    Friday, August 6

    personal best and worst

    Walked the dog through the jungle and then past the supermarket. Filled the backpack with groceries, and walked back to the house, where I weighed it.

    Thirteen kilos is a new personal best, easy for a normal person but good going for someone with two busted discs. Upward and onward.

    At the moment, all joints are working normally, except the trouser joint. Somebody I'm too polite to name gave me a donation of herpes, a long time ago, a gift that lasts a lifetime. Mine's been dormant for years, but this week it's having a party in my pants.

    Cap'n Kev advised me to apply antiviral lip cream for cold sores. It's advertised for lips, but apparently everyone uses it for trouser sores.

    So I've been using the cream, but I think it's making things worse. The virus seems to be spreading out in all directions to get away from the cream. It's a battlefield now.

    PS - people coming to this blog looking for toilet based content will be (ahem) sorely disappointed.

    Wednesday, August 4

    more recycled texts

    I was emptying the phone memory, and threw these texts out. For the benefit of future social archaeologists, and inspired by Cap'n Kev the master recycler, they are preserved here, in chronological order I think. Blog regulars will know some of the folk.

    Dear friends, Baby D was born @ 4am this morning via emergency c-section! He's a 2.99kg red head & doing well! Mums ok & dad's turbo is still cooling...!

    Hi Rob, possum may be looking for a warm bed. I'm off to hospital tomorrow for a sinus op. Daniele has same on Wed. Coffee in April sounds good, talk soonish.L

    I've taken a table on the eastern side

    Ich bin hier liebling

    Freezing my things off, shall i go to car¿

    Only seats i could see are in doyle restaurant where i saw you last and will meet you after x

    Change of plan hen, meet you back at mca when your ready let me no. robsy

    Me too, exactly where we met

    What's up darling? Dinner now 6.30. Shall I call you after?

    Dances! At mcdonalds george st st driving around block for a while before losing all hope

    At mac d in george st. Dances.

    I'M on the bus now, think i'M quite near i can see the big tower thing. Robbie

    almost food poisoned eating old dears re-reheated chicken. dont call her, 9 hrs BEHIND. dude feral re bank. mattress! hope flight good + fuselage intact. XXXXX

    Cant find it meet me at zoo station shops when your ready r

    Don't think I'll be in Scotland, bummer, I'd love to see you. What are your movements and dates? Love,  Pat

    C'est très jolly joli le noo maintenant et le mer et si bon... J'espere quand meme avec vous aussi 'n' that. Amitiés. John E Perpignon-and-on. P.S. Mortie Noir roulerais dans son grave. Tant piss

    Hi valerie. rob1 told me just to take the key, he's still there. thanks. rob2

    Will be out all sunday (and most of monday), what's best for you? i can leave a tarp out. or following sunday is free. regards, r

    ion ether, was still hoping to drag U away from sluggery 4 coffee, right up till i quit eburg just now. next time? go well, rob (studying the form)

    i told mary i'll get the onions for dinner - let me know if you need anything else. see you tonight

    love and admire you so much darling xxxxxx. Take care of yourself.

    Cld meet u on monday 3pm at the top of byres rd? Linda

    Hi Linda, good we caught up and met some of your family. regards, rob

    Boarding for tokyo in about five mins. will email you arran canasta photos. cheers. rob

    Bon voyage rob! Was guid seein yees. Im on the dunkirk ferry. Home thursday. Tok soon. P

    Lovely 2 catch up. Hope u have a safe journey home. Linda

    Boarding at london now, thanks again for everything dude, love rob

    Hiya, sounds good to me- what about from the 23rd or the 24th - i'm pretty flexible.-bev

    Thanks for telling me about that thing i listened to it at work, it was really interesting. Let me know if you come across anything else good, i'm always desperate for stuff to listen to. O.

    By sausages

    Thanks darl. Getting drunk with girls. Hope you can drive us home! 7.30 is good.

    Just having dinner with irene at pho 236. Cd you come here by bus?

    Just Sue. Are you having a rethink about Suzanne?

    Sue and I aren't going to the pub this afternoon.

    Hi there - just wondering if you have found a watch about the place. Maybe behind bed side cabinet. Thanks bev

    Thanks. We found the watch late this arvo. Mum had put it some where safe.-bev

    Hey rob its O, i put you down as a personal reference for a lease application. Hope thats ok. I put it as family friend because not supposed to be related.. We should do Yum charia or someting soon.

    Hi rob, hope you don't mind,but i gave your number for a housesit reference.- bev

    Saturday, July 31

    a farewell to alex

    Felt nostalgic when I found out that Hurricane Higgins died. The whole feel of Pot Black came flooding back. Watching that was a bit like meditation.

    He was not just a snooker genius, but a champion smoker, an inspiration (ahem) to ciggie lovers everywhere.

    It gave him the same black spot as Albert.

    I must read his book.

    the deifheid chronicles

    It's Friday after work. On the way now to yet another dreadful deifheid dinner party. If I was a different person, I'd be grateful - I get driven there and back, I could drink all their booze (but never do), the food is tasty if you like that kind of thing. Yet all I can think is: another chunk of my life wasted.

    Last weekend was better. There was a 4-hour walk, with a group of new people, and some of them were hardly deifheids at all!

    Late Friday night. Just back from the deif dinner. A great night. I told you it would be good. I was handed a glass of red champagne when I arrived. Why did nobody ever tell me drink could help?

    Also, the hosts were the birthday girl's parents, so for once the grown ups were in charge of the asylum, and the chief deifheids showed some restraint. I sat beside the mother, an absolute sweetie. If only I was ten years older! When I expressed an interest in her paintings, she took me into her bedroom to show me the best one. I got a proper kiss on the way out. If I'd been quicker off the mark there could have been tongue.

    For entertainment, there was a litter of kittens. And even some of the conversation wasn't too bad. For once the cellmate had to drag me away.

    On the minus side, I had to eat some dead tortured chemicalised animal. It all balances up.

    - Posted from iPod

    Thursday, July 29

    feathers in the cap



    There's a new feather in my cap, but do I really need any more? Not if my life's already a glorious indian chief head-dress of achievement.

    Which it's not of course.




    The second-last useful thing I ever achieved was jumping aboard a ship to New South Caledonia. That's where I ended up meeting the cellmate, my very last achievement, and even then I had the help of a dribble of hormones.

    Now there's a former client, a thoroughly nice chap who has actually been applying, in his job, some of the stuff that I told him about. Possibly a first! It's analagous to a buddhist blogger discovering that some reader has felt inspired to take up meditation.

    I've kept in touch with this guy, and recently I casually asked if he would like to come and address the new batch of clients. Well he's very keen, and so am I, because it would really help the clients. That's the good part. But at the same time, he has asked me to come to his workplace, a large corporate organisation, and address the troops to persuade them to use my methodology in their own work.

    Dearie me. Even if they paid me, it'd be hard work. If only I was half my age and ten times more ambitious, I could seize the opportunity and make something of myself.

    Some people have the gene for ambition, and good luck to them. It's people like them that run the world, so that people like me don't have to. But how will they ever achieve doing nothing? Hopeless!

    Monday, July 26

    driven to recycle

    Over the years, I have learned a few things from Cap'n Kev. Some useful, some useless, it balances up. 

    You know how some people are driven by an ideology? Cap'n Kev's an environmentalist (some might say mentalist), and it's made him an obsessive recycler: he spends a large part of his life finding new homes for old stuff. Mostly he notices things in the street or in the wilderness, takes them home, and then offers them to people via phone or email. 

    I kind of admire his principled dedication, but sometimes he takes it too far. Soon after he got his first computer, he learned how to scan it for viruses. He phoned me up:

    Kev: The virus scanner says it has found all these viruses on the disk. It's offering to delete them. What shall I do?

    Me: Delete them. 

    Kev: But I don't want to waste them. Surely someone somewhere could use them?

    Me: Delete them.

    Next time I met him, he handed me a floppy disk. He had carefully copied all the viruses onto it for me, before deleting them from his machine. 

    Sunday, July 25

    midweek high point

    The highlight, possibly the only bright moment, in last week, was wangling my name onto the guest list for a talk by possibly the world's greatest living poet. If he was British, he'd be poet laureate and a Sir. Instead of which, he lives in deepest uninhabited New Caledonia, and only ever comes up to Dinna Say to launch another book.

    He shared the stage with a former Brain Of NSC. There they were, two very different brains the size of planets, just conversing for 90 minutes. What fun!

    And there was free booze. Not just the usual red or white, but you ordered whatever you wanted from the bar, and took it with you into the theatre. And finger food served by young things.

    Sometimes you can hardly believe your luck. Not often though.

    Saturday, July 24

    finding your g spot

    When I was a student, I found better things to do during the day than go to classes and learn stuff. The Friday free organ recitals in the big old hall gave me a love of Bach. Over the years I came to enjoy his orchestral, chamber and solo music.

    But I used to wonder why he wasted so much of his time writing vocal and choral music, which I detested. Why had he been such a Holy Willie?

    Of course I was an idiot. I see now that Bach's Cantatas, Masses and Passions are in a sense the ultimate. Like nothing else they reach the cortical god-spot, the part that programs us to feel the god thing.

    Of course it's all just mathematics and waves, but so is everything else.

    proverb

    I read this just now: you can tell the health of your marriage by the number of teeth marks on your tongue.


    - Posted from iPod

    Wednesday, July 21

    losing the advantage

    Yesterday the boss issued a proclamation, via email, that all employees were to stay late last night. So they could queue up outside his door to receive their personal timetables for the rest of the year.

    And verily I emailed him that I wouldn't be staying late, but I would come to his office this morning and see him.

    Round one to me.

    Yet it came to pass this morning on the way to work, that I spied a record shop having a big CD sale. By the time I left the shop with 18 CDs in my bag, it was nearly midday. There was no point in going to work and leaving immediately for lunch, so by the time I get to see the boss it will be afternoon.

    Round 2 may go to him. Fair enough, it all has to balance up. It's my own fault for losing the upper hand.

    But if even half of those CDs are as good as I think, it'll be worth it.

    Readers might be interested to know that three of the CDs were by a gay Bavarian singing Handel and Vivaldi, falsetto, in Latin. What a fortunate creature I am, not to be a deifheid.

    - Posted from iPod at lunch.

    Sunday, July 18

    deifheids bonding

    'Cocaine n fitba mak homosexuals ay us aw' - the great bard Rabbie Burns, according to Irvine Welsh, in If You Liked School You'll Love Work.

    Friday night, there was a dinner for the full complement of deifheids. The cellmate went along, but I wasn't invited. Result!

    Next day, she said she had observed how the male deifheids do a lot of their bonding over a shared hatred of homosexuals. That's interesting.

    I was fascinated to realise that several PC males, who might have been expected to at least feign respect for sexual minorities, are homophobes when they get together.

    Deifheids enjoying a whinge session is hardly surprising, because a deifheid by definition has to talk about himself, and that includes his complaints and resentments. .

    And yet in a way it is surprising, because a deifheid by definition is too self absorbed to listen to another whinger.

    It all balances up.

    I'm just thankful that (1) I didn't have to waste an evening listening to it, and (2) I myself never whinge about anything.

    - Posted from iPod

    Friday, July 16

    ching

    Ching conservation is good for you.

    Ching dissipation is good for you.

    It's not either/or. It all balances up. The only absolute is that you can't do both at the same time, as far as I know anyway.

    This has been a public interest post.

    Tuesday, July 13

    a farewell to arse

    Nearly midnight. The joy of diving into bed, when you know the electric blanket has been on all evening. Surfing an ocean of hot bliss.

    I've had a reader request for an end to the toilet posts, so I've decided to turn over a new leaf of toilet paper. Starting right now. There's just time to tell you what happened today. You know how it is, when you're doing something interesting, like reading or playing scrabble, and an attention-seeking crap announces itself, straining for release, but you tell yourself "I'll just finish this chapter/game/chore first."

    Eventually there's a last-minute sprint to the cludge, removing your pants just in the nick of time? Except that one day you find there's already some kind of putrid poultice gumming your buttocks together. Afterwards, you have to get in the shower for a full-body bidet.

    You know what that's like? No, neither do I, but it happened to Albert today. That guy's on the slippery slope to senility. I've warned him not to expect any more exposure on this blog. It could start putting people off.

    Monday, July 12

    full time

    Fair enough I suppose.

    You could see the goal taking shape, beginning from the dodgy award of a goal kick at the other end, which put me off and I wasn't even playing. Without that decision, it was heading for penalties.

    For me, the finest moments came after the whistle. The Dutch guard of honour, and decent fireworks.

    PS. Has anyone ever seen Ramos and Harry Kewell in the same room? Or Robben and David Hayman?

    half time

    Sorry to say Holland doesn't deserve to win. Deliberate fouling strategy, and Robben diving. Effective though.

    But the big disappointment is the great Martin Tyler dropping out of the commentator job here in NSC. I hope he's not sick. He's no longer a well man. In recent years you can hear him wheezing.

    So NSC TV passed the mike to a double act of locals, who kept up a stream of chatter and reminiscences. I had to turn off the sound and switch over to radio, where thankfully they're forced to address the action. However, the radio is a full second ahead of the TV. So instead of seeing the action then getting an audio explanation, you first hear an event then look to the picture to illustrate it. And at moments of drama, the tone of voice gives away the outcome before you see it.

    The second half's about to start. If I was a Spanish player, I'd be scared of getting a boot in the face. Time for the ref to use the red card.

    Sunday, July 11

    remote

    The remote control for the bedroom telly is wonky. At 4 a.m. I could get the picture for Germany v Uruguay but without sound. It was too cold to get out of bed and turn up the volume, so I struggled through the first half vuvuzelaless. Then I fell asleep again.

    I awoke for the last half-minute, and braved the cold to turn up the commentary. The guy was saying it had been one of the best matches.

    So today I went to buy a new remote, ready for the final.

    My brother Beef McClochendichter wants Spain to win. For me the choice is easy. A country that gave the world dope cafes and Hirsi Ali. Or a country that gave us bull-torture and the last home of European fascism. The last time I saw Holland play was in 1982, brilliant they were. I know nothing about football but I know what I like.

    Thursday, July 8

    for posterity

    I was emptying the phone memory, and threw these 2008 texts out. For the benefit of future social archaeologists, they are preserved here, in chronological order I think.

    I'M on the bus now, think i'M quite near i can see the big tower thing.

    almost food poisoned eating old dears re-reheated chicken. dont call her, 9 hrs BEHIND. dude feral re bank. mattress! hope flight good + fuselage intact. XXXXX

    Cant find it meet me at zoo station shops when your ready r

    Don't think I'll be in Scotland, bummer, I'd love to see you. What are your movements and dates? Love, Pat

    C'est très jolly joli le noo maintenant et le mer et si bon... J'espere quand meme avec vous aussi 'n' that. Amitiés. John E Perpignon-and-on. P.S. Mortie Noir roulerais dans son grave. Tant piss

    Hi valerie. rob1 told me just to take the key, he's still there. thanks. rob2

    Will be out all sunday (and most of monday), what's best for you? i can leave a tarp out. or following sunday is free. regards, r

    ion ether, was still hoping to drag U away from sluggery 4 coffee, right up till i quit eburg just now. next time? go well, rob (studying the form)

    i told mary i'll get the onions for dinner - let me know if you need anything else. see you tonight

    love and admire you so much darling xxxxxx. Take care of yourself.

    Cld meet u on monday 3pm at the top of byres rd? Linda

    Hi Linda, good we caught up and met some of your family. regards, rob

    Boarding for tokyo in about five mins. will email you arran canasta photos. cheers. rob

    Bon voyage rob! Was guid seein yees. Im on the dunkirk ferry. Home thursday. Tok soon. P

    Lovely 2 catch up. Hope u have a safe journey home. Linda

    Boarding at london now, thanks again for everything dude, love rob