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


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


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.