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


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

  • 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.”


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