Thursday, January 28

aussie education

When I lived in Australia, they were forever short of skilled workers and professionals. No forward planning in education, you see.

I watched the Aussie TV news just now, announcing this year's list of honours. Some brilliant people received gongs, including an Aussie woman nobel laureate, based in the U.S., now belatedly recognized with an Order of Australia.

In the interviews, all the medal-winners speak with English or Scots accents. You see, all the best Brits leave the UK to chill out and help out down under, before moving on to the US or NSC where their talents can actually flourish.

When I lived in Australia, education ministers used to bemoan the country's ranking at the bottom of all developed countries (ahem!).

So they would throw money at the problem. I could have fixed it for nothing: forget about joining the developed world; be happy to rank at the top of the undeveloped world. Problem solved.

Wednesday, January 27


For weeks now I've been immersed in people. The house has been knee deep in them. The work is infested with them. It's hardly conducive to furthering my research in misanthropology.

I need to spend about a year in retreat on an island paradise, maybe with a few pigs and cows. And a trusty dog that retrieves coconuts and mangoes to please me.

I should never have watched the punch up last night, it's made me crabbit.

- Posted from iPod

Tuesday, January 26


A great night for the telly. Just watched Murray give Nadal a glorious hiding in the quarter finals if the Aussie Open.

And now the Frazier/Ali movie's on. They've fought twice, and the third one's going to be in Manila (just up the road from here). Fortunately I can't remember what the result was. At this point it's looking good for Frazier, and I'm on the second home brew. What a great night!

time-wasting and heroic black guys

First day back at work. Total waste of time. Computers all on a go-slow. Colleagues likewise. But I got some yoga time in my office.

On TV soon: the thriller in maniller. Should provide some balance, after when we were kings.

Meanwhile the niece is visiting Albert in Oz. It seems today is Australia Day aka Invasion Day or Apology Day. Albert's good lady offered to get up at dawn to take her to see the aboriginal smoking ceremony in the park. But Albert tells me they've slept in. No time management skills you see. Self discipline died out with the baby boomers. Mind you, even back then, the rot set in when some poor basturns were deprived of toilet training.

Sunday, January 24

colonic synchronicity

Just got this email from Dances:
Spending the weekend preparing for a colonoscopy on Monday morning, so for some strange reason I thought I'd send you an e-mail. Whilst on a fast and vacillating my insides with some horrible preparation, I'm listening to Can,"amphetamine Gazelle" by Mad River, "Electric Storm" by White Noise and early Hawkwind...unfortunately I have no acid to add the icing to the experience, but somehow I just knew that spritually you're with me.

Only the enema to look forward to around midnight tomorrow...I love life; just when you're about to get bored, it always has a surprise.

I replied:
You won't believe this but the cellmate is going for the same procedure next Monday. Unlike me she's a colonoscopy virgin.

Have the best enema you could possible have, and enjoy the valium, such a pity they always administer the antidote afterwards.

Amphetamine Gazelle! I used to love the Mad River album. Actually I think it was more of a train-wreck fascination. Haven't been able to find the CD (or LP for that matter) here, but it's available for download on itunes! Not sure I could listen to it after the third sachet of bowel imploder though.

Work starts tomorrow as the summer hols end.

So this is christmas, and what have you done? A week in NZ ; jogging for a whole 20 minutes; some gardening. Is that all there is? You end up looking forward to getting back to work.

For the convenience of regular readers, this post is equipped with self-commenting technology. Save you the trouble.

Thursday, January 14

city boys in the backwoods

Cap'n Kev and I once set off, with the dog, on a camping trip. After a few hours on the road, we stopped for coffee at a roadside cafe. We sat outside, and I tied the dog to our table.

We were enjoying a quiet coffee when a truck pulled up beside us. The driver jumped out, and left the motor running while he went shopping. Enveloped in exhaust, I simply whinged, but to his credit Kev climbed into the cab and switched off the engine.

When the guy eventually returned, he was furious - it was a hot day and he had wanted the aircon to keep the cab nice and cool. Bravely, Kev gave the guy a lecture on air pollution laws.

When the argument was over and I was congratulating Kev, a local guy sitting at the next table came over. I thought he was going to say "good on yer". But he said something like "you should look at yourselves before you start accusing other people - that dog shouldn't be anywhere near a cafe, you're breaking the public health laws."

We drove on, but by this time it was starting to feel a bit like Deliverance.

Hours later we went off-road, and reached the secluded spot that only Kev knew about. We pitched our tents. As it was getting dark, we noticed we were right next to a track used by local hooligans and shooters. One pickup truck after another roared past us, rednecks in baseball caps hanging out the windows and off the back. Through their eyes, we looked like city mugs, or gays.

I knew what would happen next. I have seen the movies. I vetoed the camp site and we packed up again. I think Kev would have stayed on, but there's no way I would have slept after that. On the drive home, I turned to Kev and quoted George Costanza - we must never talk about this again. And we never did.

more balance - toilet training and wine

Right after the outlaw flew out, the niece moved in. She's a definite improvement, in fact she's very like her uncle in many ways, just more mature. She's the most sensible person that's ever stayed here, aside from me perhaps.

When I was her age, I was an idiot. Why isn't she? Well she grew up without the Teutonic toilet training. That would help.

Of course, like all modern kids she grew up with the world waiting for her, with the result that they have no time management skills whatsoever. It all balances up.

A neighbour phoned the other day, with a computer panic. He's still running Windows 98 on a 12 year old PC. Compared to that, the guy with the hut is cutting-edge.

Anyway, I put the trousers on, and went and saw his PC. Luckily it was a simple thing to fix. Often with these old systems, you spend hours tinkering to no avail. He was so pleased, he forced a half-decent bottle of wine on me.

Yesterday I was on the training course again. At my age, this is probably the last time I'll ever be sent on a course, so I should make the most of it. I pigged out on free biscuits, and 6 cups of strong black tea to keep me awake. Disgraceful.

At home last night there were two bottles of white wine with the meal. A German Spatlese, too sweet. And a NZ Sauvignon, too acid. Well of course I mixed a tumbler full of perfect balance.

Today at the pool I only managed a kilometre. After a blissful siesta, I'm lying in bed with a Mozart symphony on the radio, a late one by the sound of it. What a fortunate creature I am, to be on holiday. When I go back to work, thanks to the new pay deal I'll only have one day off each week. Basturns.

Monday, January 11

running and walking and holiday photie

The old guys who sometimes visit here run for miles. But they have the advantage of a suitable climate. Where I live, runners tend to melt. Nevertheless, yesterday morning after the usual walk, when I could be sure all the old injuries had fully warmed up, I ran once round the park. Four minutes or so. Pathetic, but there was no damage, so I'll do it again.

When I run there are usually several useful side effects, some of them printable. For one thing, for the rest of the day the appetite soars. Yesterday, five o'clock nibbles went on for so long, I had to open a second bottle of beer! If I can just run a couple of times a week and avoid injury, I'll end up eating enough to achieve fat bastardhood.

On holiday recently, I did lots of walking, which is good but not as good as running. In the photo, you can just see the cellmate disappearing over the horizon in an attempt to avoid being in the shot.

Saturday, January 9

some people can't bear not to work

Many years ago, in the last century, I used to work in a dead-end office in Edinburgh. After 4 years in the job, I had had enough of wage slavery. Enough of going to work on icy-cold dark mornings. So I handed in my resignation.

When people in the office asked me what I was going to do when I left the job, I told them the truth - I was going on the dole. Most of them reacted in the same way - the shock! The horror!

"How can you do nothing?"

"You'll have no money to spend!"

"How will you you fill your day?"

"You'll have no reason to get out of bed"

That was when it dawned on me that most people need to be told what to do with their time. Otherwise they go to pieces. I'm not sure of the technical term for such a person, but I think it ends in -heid.

As my leaving day drew near, they took the usual collection of money to buy me a leaving present. The office manager asked me what I wanted them to buy with the money. She expected me to say something like a new job interview suit. I told her - an electric blanket to warm my bed, and a tea-maker so I don't have to get out of bed for my morning cuppa.

At the presentation ceremony, I thanked everyone for the blanket and tea-maker, and assured them I would be reminded of them every morning as I had breakfast in a warm bed.

As it turned out, the year I spent on the dole was one of the busiest in my life - visiting people; spending days in libraries to find out things I had always wanted to know about; getting fit; teaching myself programming; travelling in the Highlands; applying for courses anywhere but Edinburgh. No offence to Edinbrovians.

If there are any British taxpayers reading this, I'd like to thank them for sponsoring me for that wonderful year. What a fortunate creature I was!

Monday, January 4

sensible post for year-end personal inventory

I just got round to reading and replying to all recent commenters. Now for a look ahead.

Just for a change, I thought it might be helpful to attempt a sensible post. I came across an item at the Nottingham Therapy blog, where they have a list of common problems that people disclose in their therapy and coaching sessions.

So I'm inviting people to prepare for 2010, using the list to work out their own insanity inventory. I used to have the full score, but when I moved to New South Caledonia and caught a dose of Retention Deficit Disorder, everything started to balance out. Now like normal people I only have about half the symptoms.


  • General anxiety (GAD)

  • Obsessions or Compulsions

  • Anxieties about health, wellbeing or safety

  • Post trauma

  • Discomfort in social situations (or ruminations afterwards) - or Social phobia

  • Panic attacks

  • Specific phobia (e.g. fear of cats)

  • Fear of flying

  • Fear of public speaking


  • Blushing or sweating

  • Sleep problems

  • Shaking or Palpitations

  • Headaches

  • Feeling dizzy, or ‘charged up’

  • Mind constantly whirring, or constant chatter in head

  • Weeping / tearfulness

  • Lethargy/ fatigue

  • Aches and Pains

  • Gastro Intestinal disturbances, digestive problems


  • General

  • Recurring

  • Situational

  • Life-stage

  • Mood swings, or feeling up and down

  • Background feeling of fed up or down

  • Feeling numb, or ‘flat’


  • Lack of motivation

  • Bad or stuck habits

  • Addictions (or being over-focussed on something)

  • Doing risky or reckless things

  • Having affairs or flirting inappropriately or compulsively

  • Acting out anger

  • Overeating

  • Undereating

  • Teeth Grinding or lip chomping or suckling

  • Picking, scratching, or biting oneself (e.g. fingers)


  • Feeling lost, hurt, or betrayed

  • Guilt

  • Shame

  • Anger

  • Bereavement

  • Frustration

  • Deep sadness

  • Feeling frightened, or scared


  • Infidelity

  • Jealousy

  • Abuse

  • Miscommunication

  • Lost spark

  • Hostility

  • Disrespectfulness

  • Parenting issues

  • Family problems

  • Power dynamics

  • Living arrangements


  • Understanding myself

  • Being Defended

  • Aggression

  • Passivity or submissiveness

  • Finding direction


  • Bullying

  • Harassment

  • Change management

  • Stress

  • Working relationships

  • Understanding organisations

  • Understanding others

  • Good work ethic

  • Time management

  • Creating a compelling future

  • Goal setting and achieving

What's your score?

Sunday, January 3

get out the rowing boat

Two dreams last night of Scots women.

In the first dream, I was on a date with the Domestic Blister, who turned out to be interested in watching me urinate while she threw sharp objects at my willy. What a crazy woman! I had a lucky escape there. In real life I think she's a willy surgeon. It all balances out.

In the second dream, I met up with Denny again. It was very easygoing, but I had to agree to travel with her and her mates to some funeral or other. We were on a ferry, and I offered to buy the first round. I had some trepidation, because in real life demure Doctor Denny turned into Mrs Hyde whenever she drank. So at the bar, I ordered her drink first (a pint of heavy), and I drink half of it while the other drinks (pints of special) were poured.

The bar seemed to have only one tap, and I got to wondering whether heavy and special were perhaps two names for the same thing. Can anyone in the blog community enlighten me?

Very soon there's to be three generations of inlaws and outlaws staying here interminably. They all happen to be feminists but to be honest that's a red herring, almost any gender or persuasion would be insufferable. Already the murderous urges are approaching the top end of the scale. Dearie fungin me!

Note to self - ask the buddhist fundamentalist if the cave on the other side of the island will be free.

Saturday, January 2


The overseas trip was a great success.

Santa brought me a dodgy back.

The house-sitter broke the dishwasher.

And I brought back some friends with me, to keep me company in bed. This is a picture of one of them.

Thank goodness for bliss pills, and New Year fireworks in Nouvelle-Cal├ędonie.