Wednesday, April 29, 2009

iSwear To Jobs

Fair fracking dinkum... How fucked is my iPhone?

I am playing a Sudoku game *WHILE IT IS PLUGGED IN TO MY LAPTOP AND THEREFORE CHARGING* yet the battery still runs down faster than it can be charged and so the thing turns off in the middle of the game.

Is this right?

Is this normal?

Is this what you would expect of an electronic device in the modern age?

Or is this totally crazy bullshit?


SingTel refuse to give me my money back.


In completely unrelated news I have an iPhone 3G for sale, excellent condition, hardly usable, I mean hardly used.


Monday, April 27, 2009

The Doc Is Getting Creative

This Is Serious Mum, those good old Essendon boys

E@L is actually on the drug that killed Heath Ledger, the drug that got Rush Limbaugh in a spot of bother, was Bill Burrough's bug powder of choice for a while there, was Mrs Cobain's attempted ticket out of her hole, etc... OxyContin. That's oxy C.O.N.T. in. And it's not oxytonin, which is what makes uteruses contract and cervixeses dilate during childbirth.

A trip to his Interzone neurologist, who E@L thinks may be a friend of Dr Benway, has him off the Cymbalta again, so hopefully his prostate and surrounding organs will slowly start to reappear and work properly eventually (to OT's great relief), although E@L is not holding his... breath.

So new bug powder has been ordered and ingested, including the OxyContin, which is fairly fucking strong stuff, and E@L feels mighty fine despite only being on a very low dose. Might just sleep now if that's OK... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... OK, awake again...

Oh, yeah and some other new anti-epilepsy drug call Topiramate to reduce inter-neuronal transmission - hence reduce nerve pain - which gives pretty amazing dreams. Very detailed, ultra-realistic dreams, a bit like the first time he took the double dose of Lyrica last year, but not spooky or nightmarish, just super high-resolution.

The big question: Will this combination reduce the foot pain? Answer, as yet undetermined. There is still some Cymbalta in the system and we know that one does work, despite its horrible side effects.


Let's ride the drug rollercoaster one more time and see what's next in the fun park of E@L's life.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Quote Of The Day

The future is probably going to be something like Las Vegas.
[Friends, 1970] J.G. Ballard

As I watch the construction work on SingVegas Sentosa Resort out my window, I go, hey, yeah, fucking brilliant.


(Hat-tip to Mona at Exile On Moan Street (somewhere in MelbVegas I believe).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ultraphone / Ultraman!

Now THIS is the phone I should have bought!

If I was showing this to a customer, their first question would be, "Does it do 3D?"

I guess I'll be doing crap ultrasound scans on my iPhone for a living next.


Meanwhile, I'm up at a fairly quiet demo on the East coast of Malaysia, monkeying around with the locals of Kuantan, putting up with the glare of sunrise over the ocean as I eat my breakfast..

There's this jungle/beach walkway down from my hotel that wraps around some rocky headland which is a pleasant 15 minutes stroll. They've built this rickety looking bicycle fun-path near it, but the monkeys are all over the place, tearing down the plastic bunting, having a ball. When a couple of kids went down on mountain bikes, the monkeys skittered out of the way in plenty of time. Obviously they're used to it.


2 fitness (or lack thereof) related things. I have decided to set myself an exercise goal. 500kms in 10 weeks. Approximately my birthday. On the cycle in the gym (any gym!), if I cycle for 20 minutes I usually get about 10km done. So that's 50 trips to nowhere x 20 mins. 5 times per week! Or if I push myself (fight off the boredom) to 30min trips, even fewer. Already up to 9.4 kms (this cycle has a dodgy seat, couldn't go fast). Woo-hoo!

Also, instead of doing laps in the pool I swam up the beach yesterday, 10 minutes this way 10 minutes back. That was nice, but the water is a bit cloudy with a dark algae. Temperature was warmer than the Philippines, almost too warm.

Really, I know it all ain't much by you athelete persons, by if I can just get a routine going I know I can get back into those troosers of three years ago (when the Mouse was feeding me proper food and telling me to go to the gym). Izzy tries to motivate me (not cook for me!), but it's when I'm travelling that I've gotta lift my game a lot more.

The hotel, and the beach in front of it, from the rocky promontary. Hardship posting again, what?

(Sorry for the crap blurry photos, it's the iPhone in low light.)


Monday, April 20, 2009

J.G. Ballard RIP

Wow, I only just picked up, what was it, "Atrocity Exhibition" and "Unlimited Dream Company", or "Concrete Island"... last week (on Tom's insistence), and given that I couldn't get into "Cocaine Nights" for some reason I thought I'd better have another go at some of his shorter stuff. I had read "Crash" of course (and watched it), and "Drowned World" (decades ago) and watched the "Empire of The Sun" movie a squillion times... Like Kavan, J.G. Ballard was someone I felt I needed to get back into, and was just on the point of doing so. Like BS Johnston, like Ann Quin, those weird English experimentalists from the 1960s, Ballard was both atttractive and yet threatening. Difficult, opionated, emotional, slightly to majorly fucked up.

Izzy was sitting by the pool on Saturday reading "Atrocity..." as I was finishing of Kavan's "Asylum Piece"... Weird, leh?

Wasn't it Ballard (or was it Brian Aldiss) who insisted on Kavan's "Ice" as the Science Fiction Book Of The Year in 1967? Ah, no it was Aldiss. Nevermind, Ballard's dystopias and "Ice" have been compared, similarly being pigeon-holed marketing-wise as Slipstream Fiction - the category for otherwise uncategorisable not-quite-SF, not-quite-not-SF stories.

Martin Amis has been a huge fan of Ballard too, so it is politically permissable to read his stuff even though it has been made into movies.

Image of Empire of the SunImage of Crash

Don't you feel weary, walking along the road of time, watching the inevitable new gravestones appear as milestones on your journey? I suppose so long as you don't read your own name for a while yet, hey?


Sunday, April 19, 2009

This Is Not A Drill!


Just a liddle surrealism joke there for you folks to ponder upon, or not. The pun has always amused me. But that's just me. Liddle pit bissed here in Singapore... OK, I should go to bed now... Night.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Show My Brickies' Cleavage? Go To Jail!

Holy mother of god, people object to the strangest things. Now all those bikinis clad ladies in Boracay are fine, but low-slung jeans are a criminal offence?

And you wonder why the American jails are crammed, you wonder why an underclass of criminals develops, you wonder why kids hate adults, why there is racial mistrust... Don't the lawmakers in these places have anything better to do?

I suppose the logic is this: the kids wearing these low-slung jeans must be in gangs; Gangs are bad; Put the people in low-lung jeans in jail; That will stop gangs.

Wrong! Jail, for a being a fashion victim? That's where the gangs breed you stupid people. And by putting these kids in jail you reinforce their self-image as bad-ass criminals, plus you radicalize them as genuine criminals because they've been in jail, hey! Not to mention exposing them to drugs, sexual and non-sexual violence and gang behaviour that happens in prisons.

I mean, really, have you ever heard of anything so stupid?

Oh yes, we're in Singapore, of course you have.


(Another hat-tip to Alvin Lim - who doesn't blog anymore but just pumps great stuff onto FB like you wouldn't believe..)

Friday, April 17, 2009

No Title Presents Itself

Well, I just landed from the beach-side paradise in Boracay, and they want me in Malaysia on Sunday! Man, this is getting me down, all these G&Ts by the pool.

Somehow I feel my time at the poolside may not quite as extensive as last week however. They have a work schedule for me, don't you worry about that.

Actually, I think I may have mentioned this before, but after 11+ years of this jet-setting lifestyle, I think I've almost earned the right to whinge. Living out of a suitcase, it's no life really...

Yeah, yeah hardship posting, shut the fuck-up you white, tertiary-educated male, you tell me. And fair enough.

But compared to having a ROUTINE, having things like the usual Friday night drinks at the local pub. Knowing where you'll be next week. Being able to plan, to prepare things. To be able to buy fresh food knowing you'll be home before the use-by date...

But then, there are things you might have forego for all that...


Of much more interest is the story of the maid in Hong Kong who laced her menstrual blood into her employers' vegetables in order to smooth things over with them or something. OK, hope you'd finished eating (or maybe not) before you read that...

One of the girls in the office (there is only one actually) said that she'd also heard of maids putting their urine into the house drinks in order to make the bosses like them more.

My strategy, if for some unfathomable reason I wanted to people to like me, would have been pushing about 180 degrees to these ones. My response to someone doing that to me would also be the opposite to what was intended!

"I want you like me, so drink my urinary output or my monthly decidual effluvium..." - I think not! You're so out of here!!


BTW, I did mention I am back on Cymbalta, didn't I? No?

First thing, the prostate has given up the ghost plus I feel both manic and dopey all the time. Oh dear. Second thing, the toes are not so painful.

Yes, after three months, the positive effects of those SNRIs on my chronic foot pain (sorry to keep going on about these feet of mine, but people do ask) had been gradually diminishing and my feet were playing up like the bejesus, pretty much back to what they were in the middle of last year.

Particularly annoying were the electric pains shooting into my toes, that was coming back with a depressingly persistent energy. As soon as I took the Cymbalta though, in Boracay, the shooting pains stopped. There was still some sensitivity to any cold, moving air (like, from the always-on air-con) but it really works so much better than just the Lyrica and Tramadol.

But obviously, like having an expat lifestyle, there are drawbacks just are there are benefits. Prostatism, shrinking penis, even lower libido, drowsiness, a strange hollow sensation (due to my adrenaline being up), increased sweating (on my head in partic.), general clumsiness, even greater word-loss during conversations...

But the drawbacks, you ask? Hahaha. The ONE benefit: my feet don't hurt as much. The ball of the foot ache and weight-bearing pain is still there, but the toes are 80% better.

Chronic pain, man, it fucks you up. Why? Because it forces you to keep thinking about the painful area, it makes you continually aware of it. That is what pain's role is, to highlight things for you. There were only a few times in the last five years where I was able to have almost a whole day without thinking about my feet, without being acutely conscious of them, and that was in the few months following my course of Cymbalta at the end of last year.

I mean, you're not really aware of your hands are you? Unless you want something done with them, or bang a hammer onto a thumb. They are not in the front of your awareness. Well, my feet are, or they have been.

I had a few days of escape there, and I want that release back, despite the inconveniences of this drug.

Life is a compromise.

Sorry to bore you with that...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some Pics Quickly

Where I sat, mostly.

The supermarket where I shopped.

Where I ate.

Sunset again. It happens, like, every day round this time.

Then the lights come on.

And it looks more like this.

OK, gotta go, packing to leave... :-(


Monday, April 13, 2009

Just Checking In

Typical Boracay Day for E@L: breakfast, lie on beach-lounge under umbrella, swim*, lie on beach-lounge, have one hour massage, swim, lie on beach-lounge, swim, have iced-coffee for lunch, go back to hotel to avoid the sunshine and lie on couch in-room and nap, wake up, read books and blogs, maybe spend 30 minutes on cross-trainer in gym (maybe), go for happy hour beer somewhere, take photos of sunset, walk to d'Mall (shops area) and fight with cash-machine, have another happy hour beer in Hobbit House, decide on dinner, have another beer (or Pinocolada) with dinner, feel giddy due to alchohol and meds fighting it out, go back to hotel to lie down and watch TV, fall asleep until it all starts again...

The sunsets are usually exceptional (can't believe I wrote that, but it's true), with the big red ball being swallowed directly into the sea. Tonight was a tad boring as those few clouds blocked the actual setting, although I caught the sailboats going past, and the dragon-boat crew practicing.

The meds are making me ssssoooo dopey. So I am probably not taking full advantage of the place by going on boat trips and scuba-diving tours, etc... but you know... Doing nothing is pretty much what I do best.

I have snorkelled out a little bit from the beach but there are very few fish here - it certainly ain't the Andaman where the tropical fish practically attack you for attention - only a couple of sea urchins out in about 12-15 feet of water. Just deep enough for water to be pressured up into my ears when I went down to check them out, only for the water to drip out my Eustachian tubes unannounced later in the evening.


Lay on my back on the beach the other night before the full-moon came up, shielding my eyes from the party restaurant lights (and my ears from the sales-tout) to look at the stars (yes, character in Benjamin Black novel, why do we always see the Big Dipper no matter where we are?) when I notice one of the stars(!) moving along at quite a cracking pace. Plane? High altitude bird in one of the spotlights? Nope.

Almost certainly a satellite. Cool.


* includes in-ocean urination while floating on back staring at the blue, blue sky.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Penis Joke

Most politically incorrect comment made during lunch at Ritz the other day, as the champagne flowed:

"Having a penis is great. Everybody should have one."


Well, it seems the Japanese think so too. They have a special festival to celebrate the relatively short ones that their men have in those checkered-out genitalia movies we've all had to defocus our eyes to see.

Have A Penis festival.

(Hat-tip to Alvin, as usual for the weird stuff.)


Water Sign

Yes, yes, yes, I am Cancerian, the crab: a water creature. A surfer, a swimmer, a beach person. There doesn't have to be surf any more, I'm way past that, with my physique, but I do like beaches for holidays.

No, I am not a crowd person, though they don't freak me out if I have to suffer them. I am not good by myself either, not for long periods.

So, chatting benignly with bar-girls, as there are no Charisma Cards taken here at CocoLoco, when the crowd winds down, that is fine.


Went for a swim this morning.

The water has a thin pale-green seaweed (below) infestation that is thickly rolling though the first few yards from the shore, lying like damp cotton on the high-tide mark of the sand (as you can see above, photo taken yesterday afternoon at low tide - no smell either, thankfully).

But wading out beyond that, it is crystalline. I can see the creases on my toes from neck-high water. And the temperature (at least in the morning at high tide) is PERFECT. Refreshing, cool but not chilly: man, it's a paradise. This water is what people should come here for (which of course is why they do, mostly).

I've never experienced such a delightful swim in 50 years, swear. It was stunningly nice. I couldn't help smiling, sun-glasses on as I floated in the gentle water, despite the hassles getting here, despite the crowds of Easter, despite the thumping music at the Telco companies' on-beach booths touting cheap phone-cards (must get one).

You know, sometimes, the water is too cold (southern Australia), or it's so warm it's not refreshing (Railay Beach), or too salty, the sea-breeze is too strong, or the sand doesn't squeak enough, the Germans have all their beach-towels in your spot, or the water is murky (Pattaya and Hua Hin), or has lumps of human excrement in it (the Bondi cigar!), or the horse-flies come and sting your arse (13th Beach), or you've practically had to absail down a 200ft cliff to get there (Gisbson Steps @ the 12 Apostles) or you've got such a sunburn from the last few days you can't get out of the room without an ambulance trolley...

The clarity, the temperature, the low salinity. 100%. Apart from that algae, the water is as pure as the second and third day of creation...

Hey, rereading Genesis, the big G seperated the "waters above from the waters below". That must mean heaven is a beach, right? Maybe I'm right there, where it could once have been.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

What I Don't Like About You

iPhone 3G: battery life. OMG I've never had a phone with such a pathetic battery. It's totally farcical, makes the thing almost freaking unusable for me.

Fujistu Laptop: too heavy to carry to Boracay, but here it is. Was toying with an impulse purchase of an $800 NetBook on Tuesday, but couldn't decide between the Lenovo and the HP (No1 Son's choice).

Boracay: the development. It goes right to the white sandy beach, as far as the eye can see (not so far late at night). The touts are not as aggressive as Phuket or Kuta, but fuck off with those glorious photos of lonely beach idylls. This is a densely packed beach-suburbia for paying tourists. Next time, going to the undeveloped northern beaches of Phuket.

Boracay: getting here. Abbreviated details - Flight was a code-share, which I didn't realize, therefore after landing at Manila T1, I was advised to go to T2 for my connection to Caticaln, an airport on the neighbouring island to Boracay, close to the ferry terminal. Txt buddies already on Boracay: "ETA about 5:30." Drag bags to shuttle bus, get on, get off, "NO! Over there" shouts securtiy satrap, directing me and bags to the Domestic terminal. They refuse to accept me. "Muss go Terminal 3 for Philippine Airlines flight that only have two digits." Drag bags back to shuttle bus area. Secrurity satrap says, "Bus only come 45 mins, you muss taxi!" Drag bags to taxi chaos. Single queue, long line, plenty of taxis but it takes 8 yellow-shirted assistants 3-5 minutes to get a person into a taxi with the right number of tips and paperwork. After 35mins, am nearly at the front of the queue when along come Shuttle Bus to its pick-up point. Drag bags back to Shuttle bus, abuse driver for giving me wrong info before. Get to T3. Drag bags inside, looking for Philippine Airlines. Not here. Ah, code share! But code-share flight with PAL-Express has been cancelled due to problem with plane, as has next flight. Must go to T2. There is shuttle bus outside. Please drag your bags over there now, sir. Flight is nearly empty despite having two loads of PAL-express passengers. Maybe trouble with plane was that it was too empty to make the trip worthwhile for the airline. This flight goes to the other airport, in Kalibo, on the far end of the neighbouring island to Boracay. Must drag bags out of airport, following similar shuffled and shuttled passengers ex-PALExpress, and take bus, 90mins, watching horrendous movie (I Spy) all the way. Must drag bags, buy Terminal Fee, Envrinomental Fee, Ferry tickets, take narrow dangerous boat to Ferry on far side of Boracay. Must drag bags aand take motor-tricycle across hills to street near Boat-Station 3 where hotel is and where boats don't come. Must drag bags and take pedal-powered tricycle to hotel. Hotel is not "ON" the beach as advertised. Time 8:30. Txt buddies: "Where the fuck are you, I need a beer...!"

Hotel Room: nowhere near beach. No water pressure for shower. No bath. Otherwise great, spacious, huge patio, near pool. Free WiFi. Up promptly, hungover as all fuck, at 10:30. Breakfast is at restaurant not in hotel area, 5 minutes walk away, on main beach, round corner, but finish at 10, sir.

OK, one week to destress about the stress of getting here.

Also, going back on Cymbalta as feet/toes are increasingly playing up again. I'm not going to like that either.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

What Not To Do With A Camera After A Few Beers

Shake face.

Method: Relax the muscles of your face and shake your head as fast and wide as you can... Point camera and shoot with high shutter speed...

That second one of me looks like Tricky Dicky saying "I am not a crook."

(Christ ormighty, what jowls!)


OK, I've finished packing for a week at Boracay! I'm ready to relax and write my novel by the beach. Or read the five (Benjamin Black [not PD James!], more Kavan, Tolstoy's long short stories) I've brought with me. Or watch Season 4 of BSG. Or have a few cheap beers. Or go snorkeling. Or find a nice local lady and all the above before it's already time to come home...


Saturday, April 04, 2009


No.1 Son and his girlfriend are in Singapore for a few days, staying, natch, at E@LGHQ.

Won't that be nice?

Will try not to smother him too much with annoying parental love. Will probably fail, shortage of any type of love expression opportunities at E@L's place of late. And he is such a brilliant (soooooo fracking smart), lovable kid (oops, man). And I'm very proud of him... did you know that?

We're doing the Ritz buffet on Sunday. Champagne, oysters, foie-gras, 50 types of French cheeses...

Other than that, not sure what else there is of interest in Singapore. I've been 5 years and haven't found much else of note.


How Chinese Is It?

E@L is sitting in the lounge-area of the living room, deeply absorbed in a book, his comfy chair is extended, his are legs up, resting his feet. There is no TV on, there is no CD or iPod playing. Flatmate Izzy, formerly famous person, is sitting cross-legged on the couch working on her laptop. Assignments in her graphic animation course are due.

The air-con had been set too low (how do I work this?) and it had been getting chilly so E@L turned it off a few minutes ago. Now it is totally quiet in the room.

The tap of fingers on the computer, the rustle of a page leaf ready to be turned...

Quiet? Well, mostly.

There is soft, low, wind-like howling sound that persists, humming around from an unplaceable, sub-sonic, general sort-of region around the bookshelves and chairs and antiques. It rises and falls slightly in volume and in pitch. It is the wind moaning in a forest storm, water groaning in a monastery's pipes, the growling breath at your feet of a dreaming dog. Once you hear it, you can't ignore it.

E@L has read the same sentence three time, six times. He puts down his book, annoyed at the continuing sussuration.

"Wish I'd bought a decent fucking wine-fridge," he says. "The fucking racket from this cheap crap is driving me crazy. I can't bloody-well concentrate."

"Oh, is that what that is?" asks Izzy.

With nowhere else to place it, a half-size wine fridge sits in the dining room side of the living area, sort of hidden behind a book-shelf. Its compression cycle seems to be on continuously.

"What did you think it was? Yeah, it's the wine-fridge. Christ, it howls all day and night, you must have heard it."

"I thought it was, you know," she says, "like, ghosts or something."

... [insert E@L's quizzical expression] ...

"You thought the place was haunted? You've been living here for over a year, thinking you were in a haunted house and it never bothered you to say anything?"

"Well, shit, you know, man."

Shaking his head is...


Friday, April 03, 2009

Listen Up

The personalized molded in-ear headphones I had ordered and paid top dollar for at the start of December still have not arrived in Singapore.

I sat through the incredibly painful procedure of having my outer-ear canal molded in silicone, and still no tangible results, as far an actual set of headphones in my hand, let alone in my ears.

It was "incredibly painful" actually only when Uncle Wilson tried to extract the silicone mold. After the pink semi-liquid gel was pumped in, then allowed to set for 15 minutes, it had of course formed a seal with my canal and when Uncle tried to pull it out, it was stretching my ear drum against the resultant vacuum.

OOOWWW!!! OOOWWW!!! POP! Ow? Hello? Hello?

My hearing is down anyway, so this did not help I am sure.


My 80+ year old mum had her ears cleaned recently, and this can produce pretty much the same sensation and pain. She has not been the same since, with vertigo and headaches. (Not to mention the slow onset of Altzheimers, which must have started when I was young - why else would she persist in calling me Lucy and dressing me in frocks and little girlie clothes when I was in senior high school!)


The reason for the 4 month delay in delivery from Tennessee seems to be due to the company being taken over! Damn. See this page for the background story.

Formerly called Livewires, these musician monitoring quality ear-buds are now allegedly available from Fidelity. The name says it all, is their tagline. I certainly hope it does and that they are faithful enough to honor the contract I made with the company that was their previous incarnation.


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