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Monday, December 31, 2012

Flutter


I was killing time in an Indie/hipster coffee shop, the type you're more likely to find in an arcade off Flinders St than, you'd think, in Hobart. The young man busily fussing at the espresso machine had blonde, matted deadlocks. One of the three young women (may I call them girls?) who were squeezing between the tables and chairs of businessmen and back-packers with drinks and wholemeal muffins - all of these girls lovely to my eyes even though none were Asian - had undercut dark hair, shaved up high to her parietal bone on the left side, short and bobbed on the right, and her small breasts were braless under a tight black top. I immediately considered her a lesbian - right or wrong? Sue me.

The staff all wore plain black t-shirts, I noticed. This year's black is black.

I was free to sit here because the morning cases had finished at 10, and they did not need me back in the hospital until after midday. I still had 20% of a latte, now cold though, in a French glass (correct!) on my table - distressed wood with auntie-style cloth place-mat. The crumbs of toasted banana bread sprinkled on it betweeen a 50's wedding present bread plate and my mouth. I was coopting one of those glass sugar-dispensers with a chute that goes deep into the jar, this one 75% filled with raw sugar, to hold the front half of my new book down so that I might read the right hand page more easily, hands-free.

(Dead Europe, by Christos Tsiolkas. The strangely motivated narrator is attacking the menses-drenched crotch of a Greek prostitute [check this] with his hungry mouth. Eek! I haven't watched the movie yet, to see how they cope with this scene. Anyone?)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A fluttering tickle, a ghost's breath against my right ear. I looked around, expecting to see a fan, just turned on: perhaps its draught was being reflected from the chalkboard, art and menu filled at that side of my table. Nothing. As I turned my head back down to my book, I caught sight of the dancing marrionette flight of a moth in the dustmote-rich beam of sunlight that streamed from the corrugated plastic of a small skylight. Light-brown plain-patterned and about 10cm across, it jumped within the light, left, right, towards and then, in a leap that appeared intentional at last, away from me, up towards the service bar.

The lesbian (I was presuming) girl was about to step down from the raised service bar to the floor, directly in front of me, when the moth flew at her. She saw it coming, and paused. It landed on the lower edge of her black teeshirt. It spread its wings, and rested. This image is burned into me.

It was perfectly placed on her pubic region, stretched across where her hair would be (no doubt she was in fact shaved or electrolysed), where her kite-shaped uterus would be, folded slightly forward, inside. I had an erection immediately. She saw the moth there, shocked, amused, amazed, paused, a vision, an immortal and iconic statue. Slowly, she cupped her left hand in front of it, demurely almost, and began to walk, slowly, step by deliberate, delicate step, safely towards the door and there she set it free.

I ached to kiss her cunt.

E@L

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guns and Social Reactions to Massacres and Killing.

Yes, having massacres in schools is the price Americans are prepared to pay for their 'right' to own ridiculously powerful weapons and to take concealed weapons into places like schools. I put 'right' into quotes because the amendment could just as easily not been approved back in the day, and that would have left the NRA, and the gun and ammunition lobby and the victims of their reprehensible propaganda hanging out nowhere legally, logically or what they might call 'morally'. There is no cowboy on high ground in the gun argument.

I hate to sound like a reactionary here, but movies and other media which not only celebrate extreme violence but also teach, sometimes subliminally, sometimes blatantly, and that such actions are the best way to solve social and even private problems must also take some part of the blame as they pull us into a circle of craziness where reality copies the movies, and movies corroborate reality.

There was also a good article in NYT yesterday or the day before, with a line about Americans preferring to have assault rifles than generally available health care and proper access to good education. Fucking crazy country.

As for the frontier mentality about winning the West with guns as a reason for owning these weapons in the modern world, surely it was the controlof weapons that made the frontier safe and liveable. The iconic Gunfight At The OK Corral as the famous example was a dispute about the bad guys not handing in their weapons as required...

E@L

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Technology Travel Trouble


Latest update from Bangkok

E@L is getting a tad frustrated here (not sexually, not at all):

a) one of the three outlets on my cheap Thai powerboard isn't working at all,

b) the plug for the six port USB hub won't stay tightly in either of the two powerboard outlets that do work,

c) the Samsung Tab won't charge through its USB cable, even from the laptop let alone the USB hub that keeps dropping out,

d) I left the correct power supply cable for my CPAP on the bed at home,

e) and finally, from the work server last week I downloaded all the information I need for the talk I am giving on Thursday to a portable HDD... which I left in the office.

My job/life is easy, really easy (given my skills, knowledge, wit, charm, experience and credit card limit), yet somehow I make it hard.

E@L

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Calvin Quotes


Miss these guys...




The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating
and impenetrable fog!
-- Calvin

That's the difference between me and the rest of the world! Happiness isn't good enough for me! I demand euphoria!
-- Calvin

Well, it just seemed wrong to cheat on an ethics test.
-- Calvin

Calvin: Can you make a living playing silly games?
His Dad: Actually, you can be among the most overpaid people on the planet.

If you do the job badly enough, sometimes you don't get asked to do it again.
-- Calvin

The only skills I have the patience to learn are those that have no real application in life.
-- Calvin

Some people are pragmatists, taking things as they come and making the best of the choices available. Some people are idealists, standing for principle and refusing to compromise. And some people just act on any whim that enters their heads. I pragmatically turn my whims into principles!
-- Calvin

But Calvin is no kind and loving god! He's one of the old gods! He demands sacrifice!
-- Calvin

If something is so complicated that you can't explain it in 10 seconds, then it's probably not worth knowing anyway.
-- Calvin

You can present the material, but you can't make me care.
-- Calvin

I'm learning real skills that I can apply throughout the rest of my life ... Procrastinating and rationalizing.
-- Calvin

I liked things better when I didn't understand them.
-- Calvin

I think nighttime is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction.
-- Calvin

Miss Wormwood: What state do you live in?
Calvin: Denial.
Miss Wormwood: I don't suppose I can argue with that...

My life needs a rewind/erase button.
-- Calvin

Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.
-- Calvin

Susie: You'd get a good grade without doing any work.
Calvin: So?
Susie: It's wrong to get rewards you haven't earned.
Calvin: I've never heard of anyone who couldn't live with that.

If you couldn't find any weirdness, maybe we'll just have to make some!
-- Calvin

MOM, CAN I SET FIRE TO MY BED MATTRESS?
No, Calvin.
CAN I RIDE MY TRICYCLE ON THE ROOF?
No, Calvin.
Then can I have a cookie?
No, Calvin.
(She's on to me.)

I don't need to compromise my principles, because they don't have the slightest bearing on what happens to me anyway.
-- Calvin

Calvin : I think we have got enough information now, don't you?
Hobbes : All we have is one "fact" that you made up.
Calvin : That's plenty. By the time we add an introduction, a few illustrations and a conclusion, it'll look like a graduate thesis.

Hobbes : Shouldn't we read the instructions?
Calvin : Do I look like a sissy?

Why can't I ever build character at a Miami condo or a casino somewhere?
-- Calvin

There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.
-- Calvin

Dad are you vicariously living through me in the hope that my accomplishments will validate your mediocre life and in some way compensate for all the opportunities you botched ?
-- Calvin

I'm killing time while I wait for life to shower me with meaning and happiness.
-- Calvin

A good compromise leaves everyone mad.
-- Calvin

Miss Wormwood, could we arrange our seats in a little circle and have a little discussion? Specifically, I'd like to debate whether cannibalism ought to be grounds for leniency in murders since it is less wasteful.
-- Calvin

Calvin: Who can fathom the feminine mind?
Hobbes: I like 'em anyway

"When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade." -Susie
"I say, when life gives you a lemon, wing it right back and add some lemons of your own!" -Calvin

Oops, I always forget the purpose of competition is to divide people into winners and losers.
-- Hobbes being sarcastic

It's great to have a friend who appreciates an earnest discussion of ideas.
-- Calvin

That's the problem with science. You've got a bunch of empiricists trying to describe things of unimaginable wonder.
-- Calvin

All this modern technology just makes people try to do everything at once.
-- Hobbes

I suppose if we couldn't laugh at things that don't make sense, we couldn't react to a lot of life.
-- Hobbes

I don't understand this! Not a single part of my horoscope came true! ... The paper should print Mom's daily predictions. Those sure come true.
-- Calvin

I don't know which is worse, ...that everyone has his price, or that the price is always so low.
-- Calvin

That's the problem with nature, something's always stinging you or oozing mucous all over you. Let's go and watch TV.
-- Calvin

Mom and dad say I should make my life an example of the principles I believe in. But every time I do, they tell me to stop it.
-- Calvin

~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile in E@LGHQ, I have a really sore shoulder, at the back. Ow. Thought you should all know this. Been five weeks now, not got any better. Or worse: Should be thankful for that I guess.

E@L

Sunday, November 25, 2012

DFW and the Infinite Loop

Perhaps under the malign influence of Tim Footman over at Cultural Snow who is blogging about reading it, to say nothing of my buddy Tom who has been at me for ages, I gave my arse a substantial kick and have restarted Infinite Jest.

Some of these books I get to starting, I put them down for a while and forget, completely forget plot and characters, and then have start again - usually from scratch. Took me twenty years to finish Gravity's Rainbow for an e.g. I start, I give up, I feel guilty, I start again, I give up… It's a loop. I need to break this pattern in my life, but hey, another day another dollar, right?

The other impetus; after picking it up a few times in bookshops here, I recently whisper-netted David Foster Wallace's biography, Every Story is a Love Story onto the new Kindle (which I find even easier to read with than the one that's in coma on my substantially loaded electro-disjecta bench - before I dropped it I mean; an incompatibility with the negative effects of gravity thing) and was further stimulated to get back into IJ. Particularly as the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads say "dump the hack biography and just read the fecking' books". (I have Broom Of The System, his first novel, on [in?] here as well, btw, in case that urge takes over my brain.)

But I do like the biography; it has made the books a lot more approachable, made DFW's room-sized brain less daunting, his giant book more human-scaled and a lot more intriguing. It's all right for hipster know-it-alls, David Foster Kabbalaists and stalkers to get all protective about their memory of the man they've never met, but, you know what? Fuck you, I am just interested in finding out about the guy. Jesus. It's not like I looking at some princess's tits. Habitually, I mean.

~~~~~~~

One of the issues with the dead-tree version of IJ is of course its castle-drawbridge-stopping bulk. Feckin' hard to, you know, hold as you chase up all those footnotes, sorry, endnotes.

~~~~~~~

[Book Snobbish Wanker Dilettante Sidebar: "all those footnotes" - do'h, that was Gilbert Sorrentino's Mulligan Stew (which was based on a character who was mentioned once in a footnote in Finnegans Wake [his only appearance. {Michael Chabon recently wrote about his experiences at The Wake.}] Both of those mammoth enterprises in ego also stumped me.)]

~~~~~~~~

But with the Kindle Paperwhite, reading is a breeze (I am not getting paid to say this); light, readable in any ambient (light) situation. Love it. Mind you, there is that no longer that pretentiousness of casually displaying to all on the 700A bus what you are reading...


~~~~~~~~

Already, after spending a total of maybe three full days over the past five weeks on IJ, eschewing [gesundheit!] food, movies, sleep, customers' entreaties to help them (eschewing [gesundheit!] work, in general, in fact) as the patients were starting to fade without any of my timely and crucial intervention (there'll always be more. Customers. Patients.), imagine my sense of achievement when after this fortunate loss of calories and unfortunate loss of life, I find that my blistering pace and uncanny (i.e. uncharacteristic) application to the task have sent me rushing through 12% of the book! Three (3, count 'em) little dots at the bottom of the cover thumbnail on the menu page. Three out of about 25. Wow! It has analysed my reading pace and told me I have "16hrs and 15mins left in book." Double Wow! (i.e. Wow Wow.)

Progress? Or seemingly endless task. Motherfecker. This effort is going to kill me. And of course I have already forgotten who is who and what has "happened" in the "plot." I did giggle out loud at some of the jokes. In public, on the 700A bus. At some point in time, I will have to start again, to get back those ellipses where I had pointed through so many screens without an iota of an idea what had being going on.

But still. Motherfeck, it's a big book.

~~~~~~~~

Like Beckett's trilogy, in these plotless monsters, it can only be the humour that would keep you reading. Well certainly for me, jokes are key.

If you care, look at how most of the joyless experimental work in England the late 60's and early 70's (the hippy years) have gone under. They weren't funny. Christine Brooke-Rose, the latter Ann Quin (Berg was funny - tough, but funny) and there are many others best left forgotten for the moment, earnest people one and all but, as John Cleese would say, "so deadly DULL." I've made some attempts, but they tend be so dry, serious, self-important and humourless that I couldn't make any headway. B.S Johnson, who wanted more seriousness in the English novel was, at his best (i.e. readable) in my opinion when he was being ironic and blackly-humourous (i.e. conventionally post-modern), such as in Christie Malry's Own Double Entry.

But at least these people were making an effort, right, pushing boundaries to write for more than just mass readership (or any readership.) Maybe they were doing this with the depth of theorising that the hyper-academically-gifted DFW was using twenty years later, but it was certainly heartfelt.

"Compared with the writers of romances, thrillers, and the bent but so-called straight novel, there are not many who are writing as though it mattered, as though they meant it, as though they meant it to matter." - B.S. Johnson. Aren't You Rather Young To Be Writing Your Memoirs? 1973.

And DFW is a funny guy. Hilarious, amusing, smart-arse and smart. For an obsessive, Aspergerish, depressive, arrogant fuck, drug and alcohol addicted tennis prodigy who topped himself. Laugh a minute...

~~~~~~~~

Not that it matters, but I am now alternating between IJ, the biography AND rereading Gravity's Rainbow (also on [in?] the Kindle) for some light relief and pace (1% and 21hrs and 22mins left in book. Woosh!)

Rereading is good. So that's describing a TRAIN!! And how the fuck do you grow that many bananas on a roof-top in London?

~~~~~~~~~

Don't I set myself some tasks, eh what! Also just finished Robert Coover's awesome pastiche, parody, puzzle, piece de homarrrrrge, Noir, and rushing through Christos Tsiolkas's rather confrontational sppoky story, Dead Europe before I watch the movie later this week.

And now, back onto the Kindle and DFW for a while, and what!, 15 page swipes later and I'm still at 12%… See what I said about concentration? Effort? Application?

Recursive loops. Excuse me, the record is stuck… the record is stuck… the record is stuck… the record is

E@L

p.s. Recursive loops are a key trope / running gag (nts look up the difference) in IJ.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Famous

"I've been chatting with people here and there and I keep hearing things about people sleeping with celebrities. Rock stars, movie stars, recently deceased authors. Sleeping with famous people, I don't know. Maybe before they were famous is ok. Even, like, well-known people is a bit creepy if you ask me. Most of the people I've slept with, hell, even I don't know their names," says Bruce.

E@L

Microemboli

- Taxi rank, it's just on the street out front, says the concierge.

- Ta, brilliant, says E@L and he skips (slowly) down the steps in the chill wind down the easy winding, brick-paved walking steps to the road. There are four taxis. E@L considers jumping into the last one, but hey, don't be a smart-arse prick E@L.

The driver in the front cab, somewhat sullen, says nothing; no 'Good morning,' nothing. He starts the car, puts it into D and starts to pull out.

- H***** hospital, please.

The driver looks at him. His foot lifts sightly off the accelerator. They are already out of the rank's demarcated confines.

- Which H***** hospital?

- The H***** hospital. The Royal? Hang on let me check.

- Which hospital? the driver repeats. There are several.

E@L drags his man-bag onto his lap and pulls out his Tab.

- Yep, the Royal H***** Hospital, he says looking at the email from his colleague.

They are slowly (this is H***** at 8am: there is no other traffic) passing through the first intersection.

The driver points up the road to a squat grey, white, glass, mulit-blocked, multi-temporal building two streets away.

- That's the Royal H***** Hospital, just there. Shit man, you pulled me out of the rank. You could have walked.

- Well, OK, so it's not far. I'll know for tomorrow. You can drive me there. Like, it's you job (E@L mumbles this.)

They are up to the next block, and the driver turns right.

- Shit, man. Which entrance. I'll drop you up here on A***** St.

- I'm meeting someone on the coffee shop on E****** St.

- That's around the corner.

He keeps moving out of the drop-off bay and back to the road, where he immediately turns right, to the road behind the hospital. This side of the hospital is partially obscured by scaffolding. Half the earth seems to be under construction, have you noticed that? The driver drops E@L at a closed sandwich shop on the next corner.

- That's the only cafe on this street. Must be this one, man.

E@L shuffles his wallet out from under his arse. Like everyone else, he only goes for his money at the last possible minute.

- How much?

- Man, I didn't even turn on the fucking meter. (No receipt then?)

- Here's five for your troubles. Buy a pleasant attitude.

~~~~~~~~~~~

E@L meets his colleague, not at the coffee shop on the corner but, on the phone with her for directions until he sees her at the coffee-shop outside the north entrance to the hospital, waves, hangs up - hidden behind the scaffolding.

After introductions and small-talk about the customer's not-all-uncommon-amongst-gastroenterologists obsession with David Foster Wallace, she begins to walk towards the entrance. E@L hesitates, his tummy protesting, and asks:

- Breakfast?

- Haven't you had breakfast yet?

- Well, no (it was included in his hotel room-charge, but, hey, might as well be sociable), I was expecting, you know, as we were meeting in a coffee shop… You've had breakfast?

- I have. But sure, sorry, let's have something.

- Do we have time?

- Plenty of time. (Then why did I get out of bed so fucking early?)

The serving ladies seems your classic looking waitresses, slightly updated; homely apron (the word 'apron', interestingly, or not, has the same root as 'nappy' and 'map', btw - any rectangular piece of material), scarf (not sure how this fits with previous comment) tied back DFW bandana-like, and she is moderately unattractive. Could have been a body-double for the girl in Five Easy Pieces, except shorter by a little, but movies, TV, you really can't be sure, can you?

- How can I help? asks the shorter of the two waitresses.

- Oh, in lots of ways.

They crack-up for some reason. The waitresses can't help laughing, one has her arms on the counter, she lays her head in them. Never heard this one before, obviously. Stressed out; too many serious types this morning?

- What's wrong, asks E@L with a grin.

- Oh, nothing. We have dirty minds that's all.

- That's all? (They're still laughing. These girls go in the front row when E@L next does a show.)

- OK, what do you want to order?

- Ah, you're back. Flat white and some of that toasted banana bread. (Hold the chicken.)

- Thanks, have a seat. I'll bring it to your table. (She wipes away a tear.)

~~~~~~~~

They arrive in the Day Surgery, sign in as visitors, get some Ni-Viz stickers for their shirts and are 20 minutes early. The machine is ready to go, but they need a scope as his bloody thing won't let you do anything unless there is a full scope attached. The machine's probe is part of an endoscope and so it needs to be connected to the large fibre-optic camera - a stylish stack of cream and blue boxes from once respected company that has yet to completely negotiate itself through major legal/corporate issues back in Japan. The scope is still in the disinfectant and will be another 10 minutes.

They have another scope, they'll go get that. E@L fishes into his bag, pushes his hand around. Tries the secret compartment at the back. The secret compartment insode. Nope. He has left the USB thumb-drives (USB sticks, USB drives, what do you call them) back in his hotel.

Microembolism.

Shit.

A small clump of self-adherent RBCs have pulled out of his heart (the disjecta, the jetsam from an atrial thrombus?) or his leg (ditto from a long-haul flight induced soleal sinus DVT?), shot up the carotid, found an impassably small arteriole and knocked a few brain cells into ischaemia this morning: the integrated synaptic song-lines are interrupted and so a memory fades, an essential task is omitted, an anomic aphasia tips on the tongue, a name is list at a crucial career-making/breaking introduction, a forgotten lover's face coming towards you at a party. Hate it when that happens.

- Do I have time to go back to the hotel? (A short walk, two blocks away, don't need a fucking taxi, man.)

- Sure the Doctor is normally not in 'til about 20 to. (Then why did I…)

E@L puts his jacket back on (a jacket and tie, E@L? Unhealthy precedent, that) and finds his way past the anxious patients and the indifferent staff (stranger? shrug) to the lift, thence the street.

It is 8 minutes to the hotel he guesstimates, past interesting old buildings - 1889 built Theatre Royal, "Bare Witness" starts next week, "Crapunzel" still playing. A converted 1880's warehouse, Victorian style (the queen not the rival State up north); red-brick place, the old City Hall, with pale rendered pillars and two incongruous bell/observation-towers, weird, probably the stairwells. But no time/further-interest to look closely and sort this out.

E@L is in his room now, panting. The USB suckers were in his other briefcase. Sigh. He pockets them and heads back. It's an uphill gradient, only 1in 40 or so, but still, he nearly died a few months ago (Death on his holiday) so it's 10 minutes to get back. The scope is by then out of the disinfectant, the machine is on. He loads the presets and fiddles with them, a bit of tweaking.

Three hours later, they are finished all the scans, only one of the three patients nearly died, a good enough morning, and E@L has backed-up the further tweaks to his USB sticks. He has admitted only getting 70 or so pages into "Infinite Jest" but the Doctor has forgiven him, as he at least had completed "Ulysses," which he (the Doctor) agreed was more daunting in reality. "Gravity?" E@L nods. The Doctor nods back, approvingly. "IJ" is more of an endurance test, he said.

E@L's colleague had her copy of "50 Shades" carefully tucked deep in her bag, but she already left, gone back to M*********.

Which triggers the following aside: E@L wonders - Why would you fly down from M********* last night, stay for half an appointment, and fly out at lunch-time leaving The Talent (Phil Connors E@L) who has flown from Singapore - via, A*********, B*******, M******** epspecially to support and train her, and here he is on his own for the most important part of the commsioning/training. He is here merely to support you, beatch, not to do your job himself. Sigh. He shrugs, like Atlas - you're getting obscenely well paid E@L, STFU.

(She's not a beatch, just an over-stretched, under-paid (commission only 4.5%) little Greek girl.)

The doctor has more cases to do, not using the machine, but after lunch. Can E@L come back before they start agina, and do some more training, explaining, uncomplicating? Sure, certainly, that's why they're paying him so obscenely well.

~~~~~~~

A lunch at Cafe Sawak - Malaysian food in H*****! OMG, and they have Kopi! E@L, being shown a seat, asks the girl with the strong mainland accent, if they use the sock! Yes, she answers. He order the kopi, some water and the traditional, homemade laksa. The kopi is of course, densengauno inducing, disappointing: over-milked, too white, only warm. The laksa is OK - not brilliant - however just homesick defusing enough. Chili oil droplets, nonmiscible, on the creamy coconut broth, but not enough tofu, not enough "oysters" i.e. no clams, not really enough laksa kick. But hey, even in Singapore you can get just-as-shit kopi and a-lot-worse-than-this laksa.

- Salamat, shit. I mean telema kasih. Tsche-tsche (谢谢), Mm goi. Khap khun krup. Thanks. Fuck.

Microembolism.

~~~~~~~

The Instruction Manuals are on a DVD - large files packed with Japglish and completely unhelpful explanations ("Spatial Enhance Switch [a button] - This Switch To On and Off Turn Spatial Enhance." Yes, but what the FUCK does Spatial Enhance do?), but the customer wants to read them in hs computer to find out, not about Spatial Enhance (which E@L doesn't understand and therefore has hidden its "switch") but how to turn the system itself on and off, and how to do simple measurements. E@L offers to email some simplified instructional PDFs (2 pages, VERY simplified, we are talking about the limited capabilites of surgeons here) to him.

- Why not send them by Bluetooth?

Doctor fires up his iPhone and tries to pair with E@L's Android tablet. Of course, fucking iPhone, the Bluetooth on Apple devices is fucked proprietary and no files can cross the intangible ether from its OS to a rival OS. (Cue Dr Evil pinky: A BILLION dollars!)

Me, get an iPhone? You've got to be joking.

- Email OK?

E@L's files are in Dropbox and, and, they must be de-clouded before he can trans-etherise them via Gmail. He manages to pull the smaller file down but the larger one (12MB) is taking too long, via 3G, so E@L promises to send it that night. All done, great, shake hands.

- Oh, I have a case tomorrow afternoon. Could you come in about 1:30, 2? Have you read "Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story," yet?

- Sure, sure. (Like who want's to go to MONA, the only reason he agreed to do this diversonary trip to T*********.) Tomorrow. Reading it now, actually.

~~~~~~~~

Back in his hotel room, E@L fires up his MacBook Air (yes he does have some Apple products, reluctantly) and looks in his jacket pocket for the USB drives to back up.

Hmmm. They are conspicously absent. In the pants? Nope? Shit. Man-bag? Nope. Hey, his Tab is not in the man-bag either. Not on the bed, not on the desk. Oh Jesus.

No USB sticks, no Android Tab. They are back in the hospital, the USB still in the machine, the Tab on the back tray.

Microembolism.

Shit. He pulls his jacket back on and heads for the door, steps out quickly in the corridor and as he walks away the door starts closing and he taps his pocket for the door-card. Top pocket, no. Wallet, nnnn…hey! No wallet at all, he lunges back at the door just as it firmly locks with a solid clunk.

Microebolism.

Walking in an anxious pace, in 6 minutes he is the hospital door, he hopes he doesn't send off a real embolus.

He has been thinking of the people who were in the room where he was explaining the system to the doctor. A chubby (fat, but not as fat as him) red/gray-haired nurse from the cleaning room, who waddled and was cheeky. A laconic theatre tech. Tall, in a decorative paper theatre hat somewhat like a DFW bandana, but slack-mouthed, somewhat dopey looking. But these are the smart ones, slow and measured, they know what's really going on, can anticipate. These are the ones you'd want taround if something went wrong, if some surgeon or nurse didn't know how to work one of the ping-machines. The smart, sharp briskly efficient and over-friendly seeing ones are, apart from being as a rule shorter, often as not, try-hard dumb-fucks, and desperately hard to reach a level of competence your big C or G dopey look guy has when he wakes up with a fucked-over hangover, a dozen bongs and a slab of beer downed during a re-run of Apcalypse Now last night. The sort of person who already knows how to drive E@L's machine.

The sort of person who wouldn't steal a guy's Tab.

And they are still there, where he left them.

Sigh.

Shit.

Microembolism.

E@L

The Topography Of Knowledge

"What we want are topographers who would make detailed accounts of the places which they had actually been to. But because they have the advantage of visiting Palestine, they want to enjoy the right of telling us tales about the rest of the world! I wish everyone would write only what he knows - not in this matter only but in all others. A man may well have detailed knowledge or experience of the nature of one particular river or stream, yet about all the others ho knows only what everyone else does; but in order to trot out his little scrap of knowledge he will write a book on the whole of physics. From this vice many great inconveniences arrive.

Now to get back to the subject..."
Michael de Montaigne. On The Cannibals.

~~~~~~~

Now, to get back to the subject...

E@L

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What A Gas


What a terrifying weapon! It will kill many, but it will end the war earlier and save countless lives.

Truman on the atom bomb? Well, yes, but also the Germans in WWI, speaking of chlorine gas attacks. Mass produced by BASF. Gas masks by Drager.

The Alchemy of Air.

E@L

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Like a Virgin


E@L is stuck in the Brisbane airport. The Virgin Australia computer system is down. It's nationwide, so not just me. He thinks it went just before he tried to check-in at the multi-screen DIY booths as staff were only starting to wander through the petrified forest of electronic Daleks with a SORRY OUT OF ORDER signs. When his flight detailed had been at first rejected, he assumed it was something he had done wrong. That tells you something doesn't it?

The queues to drop bags and to check-in were getting longer. He shrugged and moved down to the end of the airport check-in area for a coffee and a piece of toasted banana bread. And an egg and bacon toastie. And tweeted about the shambles.

He was lost in a mist of tweet and FB posts when he cleared the cloud and looked back into reality to realize that it was getting close to his departure time. The crowds were, naturally, growing. He saw on a billboard that Virgin and Singapore Airlines, as well and New Zealand airlines and (was it?) Etihad were now partners. Hmm, thinks. He had been in the lounge, but nothing on the Priority check-in area had indicated anything that Star Alliance Gold members were permitted to avail themselves of this service. The queu looked just as stuck anyway.

He shrugged, pulled out the static line and wheeled his two bags around the milling,lost, angry, bewildered, frustrated crowd up to the Inquiry Desk.

"Do Virgin accept Star Alliance Gold for priority?"

"Certainly sir. Which flight are on?"

"Melbourne, 09:55." (It was 09:25.)

"Of course you know everything is down and we are checking people through manually." He nodded. "Come this way sir, that flight is being checked in at Desk 38."

She led him across the front of all the queues, along the crowded space between the check-in desks and were the front of the queue was supposed to be. The people who had been waiting longest were silent and moved away as the Attendant urged him ahead. He imagined their eyes, their narrow burning eyes, lasering into him, their anger and envy and even more frustration powering some level much greater than stun.

She pushed him onto the front of the queue at Desk 38. An Asian woman with a trolley full of heavy bags and a child on her hip had to push back to allow him in front of her. She did not say anything and looked away, but taking the opportunity to sigh very loudly. The Attendant however spoke to the woman behind the desk and E@L was given the priority of the being the next one to check in, before the Asian mother.

E@L was aware of the emotions that must be running through this no-choice-but-to-be-patient mother, and he flelt the weight of the presence of all the people behind her who had been waiting much longer than he had. He shrugged and apologized to her. "I didn't ask for them to do this." he said. "She just dragged me along," he said indicating the Attendant, who was now leaving, smiling a farewell..

"Which flight are you on," the lady asked. Terse.

"322. Melbourne."

"Well, I'm on that flight too."

Well they won't take off without us!"

~~~~~~~~~~

Flight call 75 minutes late. All for now,

E@L

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Screwed. Again.


From how many differnet directions - at once! - can you be screwed over?

So I have a movie, or a TV show, back at home on my iMac and I want to watch it here in Coolum (just down from Noosa Heads, can't miss it) or maybe next Thursday in Hobart I'll feel like watching it (Cheeeerist, I will be in Hobart, like there's anything to do?) Whatever reason. I have set up this iMac as a server for the brilliant Plexapp which gives me access to all those files when I am traveling. Log on, play, anywhere. Right, ya with me?

Obviously (at least now it is obvious) I need to have my iMac at home turned on for this to work. On this business trip (another G&T please, I'll be by the pool) I am away from home for five (5, count 'em) weeks, therefore in the interests of fire safety, yada yada, I have turned my iMac off. But the point remains…

It costs me $AUD29 for 3GB of download data on my pre-paid SIM card here in Australia Vodaphone - the only carrier at Brisbane airport.

My MyPlex server (i.e. my home computer, the iMac) is in Singapore. The movie I want to watch is 1.3GB. If I want to watch this show now, here in in Australia, ostensibly for free, that is to say, I want to watch my "own" (like it was a pirate, huh!) movie from the computer that is in my home via a free service (Plex is currently free) it therefore is going to cost me, um, in terms of data I am using here in Australia, three divided by one point three, OK roughtly $AUD13. That's $SGD15 to watch a show that I already own and have on my HDD at home. Would I pay that to iTunes to watch the same show, or pay it at the cinema - not a hope in hell.

I am sure could buy it on iTunes for less (however they would stilll own it and could take it from me on a legal whim!) but I would still have to pay the data rates for the Gbs when/if I downloaded it from iTunes. Ya can't win.

~~~~~~~~~

Fear not intrepid fellow travellers, to avoid these type of fascist limitations I have brought my back-up HDD with me and everything (not the porn, let's leave the porn out of this) is there on this $SGD40 1GB HDD. Size of a pack of tarot cards.

But, even so, I managed to hit a 2GB data limit of some kind (I had to top up) after four (4, count 'em) days, as everything had locked up. I must say though, but… but it was only because I was streaming extreme porn Youtube TED talks and other intellectual stuff..

I coulda avoided being screwed, but hey, they got me, I was screwed.

~~~~~~~~~

4G. LTE. Brilliant, fast, and like I said, brilliant. Download a 1.3GB movie in nanoseconds. Awesome.

Data limits for your next plan (includes 4G) plan? Coming DOWN. The maximum limit for new data services is coming doooooooooooown.

Current maximum data load for the top Singtel plan is 30GB/month. In Australia, with Telstra it is 20GB. Coming down. People aren't using that much data the companies say. Average person uses less than 500MB per month, so we ae only adjusting to out customers usage patterns (i.e.this was your idea) but dropping these maxima to 12Gb is only fair, and makes sense, ya?

Hang on. I'm goin to PPT this thought -

1. Data speed is about to go up with as more devices utilize 4G/LTE.
2. Data limits are about to go down as people (before LTE) were allegedly not using all their allocation.

Supply / Demand?

If you use 4G/LTE your data is usage is going to skyrocket. Your plan however is going to have less data for the same price that it had before. Result: bill shock.

Yep, a) You are going to hit your data limit very quickly and b) you will start paying those extra charges per GB lot sooner than you have been in the past. You are going to be screwed.

Screwed as me.

E@L

Lame

I haven't done enough bad things in my life (please don't throw at me any of my old posts to try to refute this) to have earned such punishing pain. Ow. It must be shin splints, or tendonitis, or bone cancer, or something. Ow. Two weeks now,

There is some redness and some swelling - you can't see the veins anymore, and it hurts if I pull it back, pull it up like this, so the big toe points up. Yeah, it IS red. You can't see it now of course becasue I got sunburnt lying at the pool yesterday morning - I was doing laps, I can't walk too far, can't do my proper low impact exercise - but you can see the redness if you look from the right angle.

It's up on the lower part of the shin, roundabout here, Doc. More an ache, a deep ache, just under the surface. What do you mean that doesn't make sense? Where exactly? Hard to put a finger on. Well, it's easy to put a finger on my leg, but to say that this, this is
exactly where it hurts is tough - it diffuses, reaches across from the front, right on the bone edge, to this side, and sometimes to that side. Or both. If I don't concentrate too hard on it I have a better, you know, idea of where it is, like looking at faint stars, best to look away. It's there, I can feel it alright, and I have the awareness that it is just there, roundabouts, but to say, you know, to place a finger-tip that's just... right... there... Well that's like I said, tough. And it's nearly two weeks, I've taking anti-inflamms and trying not to walk too far and, like I said, that means not getting all the calories that need to burned off burned off. Yes, so I swim.

So, yeah, Doc. Ow.


~~~~~~~~~

Colleague, Scottish girl, texted me this morning. "Will be late. Foot very swollen and sore. No sleep. Will be there at 11."

What! A sore foot! The shirker! The very nerve of her to find excuses...

Later, on the booth - and I am even later than her; locked myself out of my room, had to get let in by a cleaner, sigh, and she beats me to the small exhibition hall - I see her foot. Mother-fucking OW! It's shiny puffy and the toe is red and the whole thing looks like death. She can't get it into her shoe at all but doesn't want to wear sandals (Birkinstocks, which don't look professional) and sits instead with the shoe on the floor and her foot out in front. Like this is no much better than sandals...

She couldn't sleep all night, she says, the pain was intense, she couldn't get comfortable. Ended up on her tummy with her toes over the end of the mattress. After the conference BBQ last night, she was fine, she went back to her unit, sober, unlike me, and woke up at 1am in agony. The puffiness covers the top of her foot, down in her toes. Her big toe seems to be the focus though. She can't put it on the floor..

I get ice from the drinks bin outside where lunch on the lawn is due to start soon, and ask the helpers there if I can wrap it up in some of the gladwrap from the salad as there are no plastic bags. Improvise, sure, tie it up with baling wire, that's the Aussie way.

The conference reception people are lovely, they book a medical clinic appointment for her - earliest appointment is in the afternoon at 4.

Is it a spider bite I am wondering, some insect? Snake? Crocodile? (The crocodile-tail salad in the restaurant is very nice, I had it on my first night there.) Was it something she stood on at the beach on her walk before te BBQ? She trod on some of the hundreds of jelly-fish that had beached on the sand, she said. But aren't their stingers neutralised once they die? I dunno, maybe.

I ask: There were no... no... those things with the, you know. They really hurt. Sea...

She says: Anemones?

No no, what the Japanese eat, sea...

Horses?

No, they are hard-shelled and have those pointy things, god... Sea, sea...

Snails?

Oh God you know, with the spikes. What do they called it? Unagi. Or is that eel?

I have no idea what you are talking about.

Sea, sea... urchins!

No, I didn't stand on one.

OK, good, not that then.

~~~~~~~~

We are in her car, I am driving her to the medical clinic. She worries that it might be gout.

Gout? Since when do women have gout?

She had a glass of red wine two nights ago, she reminds me.

True, I say.

What causes it? she asks. She's a nurse. I'm a radiographer. I shrug. It was along time ago. Uric acid, crystals. Tophi/trophi? Not necessarily in the big toe, anywhere really. Inflammation.

I try to get the car radio to play the music from my Android phone. It worked with my iPhone when I drove up from Brisbane, she says.

There is a different type of Bluetooth that Apple use, I say.

Different type of Bluetooth? What rot, she says.

I can only get the radio, harsh, no station defaulted here in this NSW rental (we ar ein Queensland.) The bloody thing just refuses to pair with the Samsung. Sigh.

~~~~~~~

She goes into the clinic, I wait on the reception chairs with her a while. I wonder if I should be ask to see the Doc myself. I look at her foot. It is frightening, even after half a day of ice to make the swelling go down.

It doesn't hurt anywhere near as much now, she says. But she is wincing, even when she moves it slightly.

I rub my shin, at the front. It sort of aches... I imagine my conversation with the Doc, compared to hers, and then I say see ya later. I wander out to the bottle shop around the back of the tiny shopping park. Absolutely shit wine. Nothing worth dying of gout for. When I come back she is not in the waiting room and must be in with the doctor.

I shrug and wait in the car and manage to get the car-audio to pair with my phone. It was a struggle - Bluetooth can find, can't find, is rejected, finds, confirms, pairs. I put on Carbon Based Lifeforms, ambient. Cool. Long bass theme. dududududuudaaaddadadadudududud, etc… a long low thudding, hypnotic, repetitive...



Half dozing, coddled in the warm sun, I wake to see she is out of the Doc's room now, standing by the desk. I go in to check up on the results so far.

Ambiguous, she says, uncertain.

What in this life isn't? I say.

There's a small blister, maybe two, underneath between her big toe and the second. The doc said it might be a bite.

What did I say? I said.

But it might be gout. Or inflammation of unknown origin.

Well, I say, we know that already, that it is of unknown origin.

She gets her prescription filled (to her satisfaction) at the pharmacy next door: some antibiotics and some Indicid but she must return for a blood test - gout? - in the morning.

We get back in the car but the music player won't find my phone again... Harsh noise, untuned radio. "Cannot Pair With Device"

You should get an iPhone, she says.

We drive back to the resort and I drop her at reception where a golf-cart can take her to her unit. As soon as she shuts the door, my phone clicks in, Carbon Based Lifeforms starts again. Sigh. I drive to the car park and place her car in the exactly the same slot it was in before. I un-pair the phone, close the car door, lock it and start to make the walk back to my unit, up past the golf practice range where a few men in chequered shorts are chipping and/or putting on perfect lawn.

I want to play golf. Ow. My leg hurts. It's a long way to my unit. I limp.

E@L

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Eyes Open


You may not be watching this blog, but this blog is watching you.

(Keep watching. Keeeeeeeeep watching... An old one, but refreshed by a recent post at BoingBoing.)

~~~~~~~~~~

Am feeling somewhat alcoholled out. This is Saturday morning. This last week and a half have been non-stop, except for when it stopped, like Thursday - but then it started again. Friends in town, must-catch-up people caught up with, a friend jumping off the wagon after 2 months of waking up not feeling alcoholled out who needed a hand to hold as he tumbled... All of things require food and drink and heavy soialising in general.

Of the three kilograms I had lost in two months, two have been found and feted like the prodigious son. (Prodigal = prodigious, right?)

My stomach feels it is being scrubbed with steel-wool from the inside. I sense its revolt, black and green...

~~~~~~~~~~

What is with DRM and patents and tethering bull-shit lately.

First there was the viral/apocryphal story of Bruce Willis' iTunes library not really being his to bequeath to anyfuckingbody.

Then Apple sue Samsung for, cue the Dr Evil horizontal-pinkie-in-teeth expression, a billion dollars. They had the anti-trust temerity to make a rectangular smart-phone it seems, which goes against (speaking of inheritance) the late Steve Jobs express wishes.

Now we hear of a woman in Norway who bought an eBook from Amazon UK, allegedly (which means she did it) using a friend's account in England. Somehow she managed to get the book into Norway and read it on her own Kindle. Wrong on so many ways, correct? Fraud, theft(?), crossing a digital frontier without a valid eVisa.

So Amazon wiped her account, taking all her other LEGIT eBooks with it. She had paid real money for most of those unreal books, in apparently legal transactions, using her own cards, and now they are gone forever. It seems she broke those fine ePrint rules that they set (recollect all those boxes you click that ask if you've read their rules? - now you know what they are for), and it's bye-bye solid customer.

Those codes of conduct ain't just guidelines fellow readers.

But what gets me is that for an infringement on just one of the books she uploaded to read, she has to forfeit ALL her own (we would have thought) eTomes.

The equivalent action in non-virtual reality, would be her friend in England popping into a Waterstones, buying a real book and posting it to her in Norway, in exchange for quid pro liber. When Waterstones find out about this, they go to Norway and take back the book, as well as every other book she has ever bought, legally or otherwise, from them.

What the fuck?

Point being, we don't own anything any more. Over this digital frontier we are leasing everything, borrowing everything, holding everything we think we have for someone else. There is nothing of substance in the substance of the wires and cables and servers and power grids that make up the web. Or as they say in binary - "001010100101010110101110010101010010101010101001010001101100110010101001" ("I'll have my library back now, thanks.")

~~~~~~~~~~

And I do own lots of stuff. In fact I own shitloads of stuff, shitloads of things, like books, particularly books. My books. Real books. Some of these books I had shipped over from Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

But I have a Kindle too. (Two actually: With one in a coma, I found a Paperwhite in Singapore - a "parallel" import.)

Now, while I can buy real books from Amazon USA or UK in Singapore, theoretically I can't buy eBooks from anywhere on my Amazon account because the Kindle eStore isn't available in Singapore.

So clever me gets my Amazonian eBooks through Kindle Australia on a different Amazon account, where my mother in Australia pays for them (whether she remembers agreeing to this or not, hey!) with her credit card. Thanks for the books for Christmas, mum. You have brilliant taste in literature!

Even when I am in Singapore, so long as I am logged in with that Amazon account, I can buy Kindle books - something I can't do with my Singaporean credit card account.

Now, if Amazon/Kindle find that this sort of nefarious ne'er-do-welling goes on in the E@L family, they could wipe my account (to say nothing of my mother's) and take back all those "legitimately" purchased eBooks away. Zap, woosh, gone, a cyber-fizzle and not even the smell of burning plastic to mourn their electronic virtual passing.

As they also might do for those Singaporeans who have set up a virtual credit card address in the USA (and someone did get caught, I recall...)

~~~~~~~~~

It just doesn't make sense. Legally (at least to me - they get their fucking money) and logically.

And the other thing is that they could be bothered doing this.

And the other other thing is they are losing potential future income by not allowing that Norwegian lass to buy books from them any more. Ha! If I were their lawyer I might sue her for opportunity loses - all the money Amazon don't make from her because they have stopped her from buying from them. Double whammy!

So if I (or she) can't buy legally from them anymore, what is my alternative? I still want to read the latest pot-belly-boilers, dan-vinci-thrillers, shady-gray-jillers and of course ponder the learned biographies of the great men and women of history. But what can I do if they won't let me? If Amazon call me a criminal for buying books from them, then hey *thinks*, if I don't buy from them at all, I am safe and legal, right?

So where, oh where, should I go to get my Kindle eBooks, eh? Anyone got any less illegal ideas?

I mean, Bezos, if you intend to call me a criminal for buying "legally" from you, you merely force me to become one.

Fuck DRM. Fuck stupidity.

~~~~~~~~~

Keep your eyes open, people: Don't blink: You are under surveillance.

(Newton MRT Station, Singapore)

E@L


[Drafted this last week - finally got around to getting the links together and putting it up! Sorry.]

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Yeah, But It's A Dry Heat.

Taxi person: It's hot today.

Grumpy E@L (nods and mumbles something along the lines of...): Of course it's hot! It's hot every day! We are in the frackin' tropics you silly taxi person.
...

Taxi person: $6.70 please.

Grumpy E@L feeling guilty, her stupidity is not her fault, passes $7) 'Sokay, keep the change.

Taxi person Thank you sir, have a good day.

Less Grumpy E@L (almost pleasantly): Yeah, you too.

...

Taxi pulls away.

...

E@L (holds up hands against the blazing sun): Fuck it's hot!

E@L

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mental State





Last night I was planning on writing a blog post about being depressed, sad, melancholy and morose... But we were at the Boomarang Tuesday Pub Quiz and I couldn't stop giggling, yelling out and generally being silly.

Next planned post: hysteria.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Boom!

We won the quiz btw, despite me screwing up a perfect 10 (and it was our double point round!) in the 'Human Body' topic by over-thinking - I insisted on kyphosis when even the dumb fucks in our team knew the correct answer was scoliosis. They are dumb fucks because they believed me.

Lateral curvature of the spine.


Of course I know that, I am (was, no longer licensed) a frackin' radio-xray-pher for chrissake - I've taken a gazillion x-rays of spines; still got it wrong. There be the obvious reason I moved into ultrasound scanning instead...

Anyone seen my iPod? I'm sure I left it on the couch."

~~~~~~~~~

But I was happy to point out to allegedly famous (ESPN, what's that?) quiz master that the sterno-cleido-mastoid muscle is in the neck, NOT in the throat.





E@L

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Contractual Obligation

I am sure most of you have given up on me posting anything substantial ever again. I nearly said "most of us," because I have been wondering the same thing too.

It's tough.

Every step I take, I listen for my heartbeat. Every time I sit back quietly, I listen for my heartbeat. Then I fall asleep and the receptionists wake me up, giggling, as my snoring is disturbing those genuine patients patiently waiting along with me in my potential customer's office.

If I don't hear my heartbeat that is a good thing - it is not racing or pumping, it is just ticking over, as it should. Good thing.

It's tough, you feel like you are waiting to die, that you have knocked and are waiting for the door to open and for the Reaper let you in: "Just a minute...!" If you hear those heartbeats, they are the footsteps approaching from the hallway inside.

You are expecting this hand-grenade, this heart-sized death device, to explode in your chest anytime. It nearly happened three months ago. It could happen now, in my sleep tonight.

You can't help but feel morose, down, sad, depressed, melancholy...

*aside* I just went to my Kindle Cloud reader app (I dropped my real Kindle and it died, slightly) to clip a quote from Robert Burton's Anatomy Of Melancholy at this point - any random quote would do, this is a brilliantly quotable book, words for any occasion), and of course the book wouldn't download. Because, the pop-up tells me, there is a network error. Network error? WTF! Sigh. I invoke Sturgeon's Law. */aside*

OK, using the Tab: here's one. It's as good as any another:

We are worldy-wise, admire ourselves, and seek for applause: but hear Saint Bernard, quanto magis foras es sapiens, tanto magis intus stultus efficeris, &c. in omnibus es prudens, circa teipsum insipiens:
the more wise thou art to others, the more fool to thyself.

~~~~~~~~~

And so you don't feel like writing. Or watching TV. Or turning up at work.

And no-one else you know has any idea how it feels.

Or that this apathy is how it feels.

"I could have died!" Silence.

"Dead!" Silence.

There are more pressing things to talk about.

~~~~~~~~~

Of course, seeing as how E@L has been prodded and punctured, injected and imaged, dilatated and stented, this moment of truth (death = truth, just as truth = death) may not arrive for fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years.

~~~~~~~~~

And so E@L goes out to O'Bama's Irish Pub on Tras St to catch up with friends. Then to some cigar/wine bar on Club St. Then to some other cocktail bar on Club.

And there were so many tall, gorgeous girls to be seen...  Sometimes with a female friend and sometimes alone. And E@L just couldn't help but wonder...

~~~~~~~~~

NEXT!

~~~~~~~~~

Your day in numbers:

1.5
(2:40am to 4:10am) - Hours spent walking home from Tajong Pagar with the futile excuse of 'burning off' the night's alcohol.

71.
% of security guards still awake between the hours mentioned above. Hey, not all that bad considering, what?

12.
The number of people eating in Havelock Rd food court at 3am.

3.
The number of people dining alone in a food court at 3am.

1.
The number of people slumped unconscious on the table at a food court at 3am... (you will have to zoom in for this one...)


1.
The number of people taking photos of the people dining at a food court at 3am.

0.
The number of potential sex partners throwing themselves at E@L during the course of the evening (preceding and including the walk home.)

0
the number of... nothing whatsoever.

~~~~~~~~

NEXT!

~~~~~~~~~~

Addendum: Here is the quote I was looking for last night: -

But whereas you shall see many discontents, common grievances, complaints, poverty, barbarism, beggary, plagues, war, rebellions, seditions, mutinies, contentions, idleness, riot, epicurism, the land lie untilled, waste, full of bogs, fens, deserts &., cities decayed, base and poor towns, villages depopulated, the people squalid, ugly, uncivil; that kingdom, that country must needs be discontent, melancholy, hath a sick body, and need to be reformed.

E@L

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Suddenly

Suddenly I carefully considered that if I ever start a sentence with 'suddenly' I should be shot.

E@L

Monday, September 17, 2012

Orchard Rd, Evening Street Scene


Bruce sucks up his ice-blended coffee on Orchard Rd, runs the mouthful of sweet crystals around for a taste, swallows. The Coffee Bean and Tea-Leaf. Not his favorite coffee shop, but OK, it passes, and it's convenient for an hour or two of quiet contemplation before things start, before he finds some dinner, before he kick on across the road to the 4FoW. A Spinelli (San Francisco’s best) Spin would suit him better, the ice is finer, the coffee less bitter, but outlets seem few and far between these days. He makes a mental note to Google their locations.

The table has a nice vantage of the footpath. Young Singaporean girls in their ultra-short jean, inside pockets visible, their white singlets and push-up bras, chatting with friends, briskly gesticulating, walking fast. And those ambling ones, generic Asians, maybe even in a cheong-sam, a tight skirt, nothing ostentatious, and a tight top, an LV handbag and a lean hungry look. And so slim, narrow waist, trim buttocks (as they say, there's a Latin term for this), thin thighs.

Bruce loves this town. Old man, single, financially secure so long as his job lasts. Lecher. Typical nomad, it's his new word for 'expat'. Is it merely because they are slimmer that he finds these girls so attractive? Discuss.

It is after work on Wednesday and evening is hanging around like these hookers, it's half-light, it's a half-real world. He feels sticky and warm, man we’re in the tropics, and so welcomes how the ice-coffee cools the inside of his body, at least as far it can get down into his throat. Every now and then when he has cold drinks like this his oesophagus goes into a spasm, as it does now. The drink is too cold. He pauses from drinking, it's sitting - just - there. And he waits, sighs. A central chest pain. Another heart attack? He can’t belch, his stomach is unavailable. Then the mucosa warms the ice, melts, his body heat, and the constriction eases, the ice-coffee slips past. GORD. Is there no health problem he doesn’t have?

Birds, the feathered ones, in the many plane trees (not fruit tree, there is no orchard here anymore), have begun their evening chirping, and slowly, as it builds up to a 76 trombones effect without him noticing, their combined song has become a roar. It covers the bursts of traffic that flow according to the traffic light’s rhythms. Maybe not throat-singing Ferraris and Maseratis, let them scream, let them roar. White noise. He has one of his several thousand unread books in his hand and he is not reading it carefully.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

A person is beside him. Her presence sudden, blue sparks, ozone, she's here to hunt him down, that's all she does.

He looks up at her and sees the thin ridge of angular cheeks, smile showing small teeth constrained in expensive wire, bright green eyes and a line of mascara going up at the outer edge to emphasis her exotic face, as if she needed that. She is one of those women who had been walking in front of him, parading past several times, up and back in the previous half-hour.

She had at last caught his eye, his Nordic blue, hers emerald green, held his gaze past that special time, into the who's going to be the first to break zone, and then smiled at him, the killer. However he had been lost in reverie, not in his book, but somewhere else, even further away than Cloud Atlas. Some place where a tightness in the chest from ice-choke didn't mean impending death, myocardial infarction, spilled coffee and an unpaid bill. He had hardly been aware that he had been making eye contact, and every working girl looks at him like that anyway, like he was target demographic. He was now looking away, into a nowhere, but she didn’t notice that he was more than day-dreaming, he was willing himself to stay alive. She only saw a man. With a wallet and a sex-drive. Or perhaps she saw more. Probably not.

"I can join you?" she asks. Slim, in a dark green, eye-matching, body-hugging top, white skirt, tight.

”I'm sorry?" The background bird chirping, he didn't hear. "Of course, of course,” he says, ever the gentleman. He shuffles his chair back and nudges the table so that she can slip past the pole onto the chair opposite him. It doesn't have to slipped far, there is not much to her body.

And soon the banalities are out of the way. The special massage price, so cheap, how come?

"Tomorrow, I go back Hanoi. Need have some money." The implication is that she hasn't been making much. Good English, pleasant GFE personality, nicely faked sincerity. He is surprised, genuinely.

"Why do you not have so much money? Such a pretty lady!"

"It very quiet, too many girls. And I spend my money on my plane ticket, need always to be work. Work, work. Go to home and come back only three month after. And," she tapped at her mouth, "my teeth is expensive."

"You should marry someone here. A dentist maybe."

"Yes, yes," she urges. He seems to have pressed a button. "I need husband for come here. Get visa for many entry."

"Well you would need that, I guess. So many entries," smiles Bruce.

"If can get marriage with local man, can get visa. Ten thousand dollars."

"What is ten thousand dollar?"

"For husband. We pay ten thousand dollars for Singapore man get marry."

"You pay the man ten thousand dollars if he marries you?" Bruce immediately thinks of E@L as a likely candidate for an arrangement such as this.

"Yes, he get money. And girl get visa."

Bruce drums the table with his empty coffee container. This too, is hard to swallow. He texts E@L.

~~~~~~~~~~~

The evening is advancing quickly enough, no hurry. E@L was otherwise engaged anyway. She knew of a Thai place, we wonder where, for dinner. She ate slowly, noodles, picking sprouts form her braces. She is not in a rush now. Her flight is early in the next morning, one customer tonight - Bruce - and that's enough. And they stand to move away, collect their stuff, her LV, his man-bag with iPad, and walk across the road to the Hilton where he is staying as usual.

"You have condom?" she asks before they get too far from a 7/11.

"Me? Why? Don't you have a condom, surely you can claim it on your tax!"

She smiles, gets the joke. "We cannot carry condom. Working girl on the streets cannot carry a condom. Police. You know this, I am sure."

"No, not at all. Really? Why not?"

"Police can make arrest against you if you have a condom. For being prostitute. It illegal for girl to work on streets, so we don't carry condom."

Bruce shrugs, impressed. He's never thought of that - why would he? - and it makes sense. There are so many of these details in the world, where the devil lies in wait. Have a condom, must be a prostitute. No condom, must be a charity worker seeking donations.

"You don't have condom?" she asks again.

"Yes, yes, I have several in my room. The hotel supplies them," he lies.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Within two weeks of this mythical incident not having taken place, the immigration department cracked down on these marriage scams - she wasn't joking about the $10k. And then, later, local newspapers talked of the aggressive tactic of streetwalkers on Orchard Rd.)

Laws To Penalise Sham Marriages. Today Online.

"... Pointing to the increasing number of sham marriages - from four to five cases a year in the past five years to 12 cases this year - Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran said this is a "significant rise" and is "probably symptomatic of a larger trend".
"So we want to introduce new laws to send a strong deterrent message to individuals who contemplate entering MOCs (marriages of convenience) for the purpose of obtaining an immigration facility such as Permanent Residency, long-term passes and visas," he told the House.
But, while there is a "desire for vigorous enforcement" in clear cases of marriages of convenience, he cautioned against unfairly penalising genuine marriages.
Several Members of Parliament were concerned over how gratification could be proven.
..." [My emphasis]


~~~~~~~~~~~

Streetwalkers getting more blatant at Orchard Road. The NewPaper

"Foreign women touting sex services are no longer just operating around Orchard Towers.
They are now covering areas as far as Far East Shopping Mall.
The minute they spot a potential customer, usually a male tourist, they would approach them with offers of 'massage'.
Said one expat: "It’s like running a gauntlet. If you make the mistake of looking at them, they’ll be all over you in seconds."
[My emphasis]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anywhere up to eight years ago, walk anywhere from the Marriott to corner of Tanglin Rd, and E@L would be given the look, sometimes a question. Then it went quiet for a few years, or perhaps he didn't walk there as often as a resident, but yeah, as this hypothetical and nowhere near 100% true story suggests, it might be "on the rise" again in the areas not immediately adjacent to the 4FoW.

E@L


(E@L knows the birds aren't in the plane trees, but the other ones. Larches? Elms? Jesus, E@L knows fuck all about treeology. And those trees are down further anyway, by Paragon.)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Getting Old - Indicator #7 - Vision


My reading vision has dropped so quickly. You have no idea. In the past two weeks I have noticed a terrible degeneration of my short distance focussing that I have to wear reading glasses ALL the time. ALL the time when I am reading, anyway.

I blame the minuscule font on my Samsung Tab 7.7. It is ridiculous. It is a known issue and quite a few forum discussions. There are a few font-size programs, but they only work for some apps. It's mainly the crappy Facebook app. It doesn't allow the two-finger stretch zooming.

Bummer.


Pretty girl not included

Hubba, hubba. I'll buy that for a dollar.

Getting old but not getting so old.

E@L

Monday, September 03, 2012

Penguin Attacks


Paperback novel pioneers Penguin™ books, currently owned by Pearson PLC, have filed a lawsuit against publication competitors Virago™ Press on charges of copyright infringement.

~~~~~~~~

[Side Box]

Background: Where Did Penguin Waddle From?.

Penguin Books™ commenced publishing in 1938, using what they claim are "novel" techniques to augment the consumer's reading experience. At that time these reading techniques were described by the former Bodley Head™ managing editor, charismatic publishing entrepreneur John Allen, as "revolutionary, unique and [ahem] novel."

Allen had left Bodley Head™ shortly before setting up his first company, Albatross-Albatross!, following a dispute with their senior editors over his decision not to publish a controversial work by the legendary children's author, London born Enid Blyton. Allen was particularly concerned that her new novel Noddy™ Does Toyland(© The Estate of Enid Blyton) might precipitate legal action against Bodley Head. Readers of the Blyton typescript at the publishing house said the book was "racist", "sexist", "homoerotic" and that Noddy™ was "an unacceptable role-model for young men" due his tendency to cry when very upset.

Allen had recommended against publication. As a result Blyton abandoned her plans to publish with Bodley Head™, whom she later described as "stuffy, politically correct twats who wouldn't know a Gollie™ from a Stinkly™." She took her stilted and formulaic writing to Sampson Low and made a fucking fortune for them and herself over the years. Allen was soon given his marching orders thanks to his absent business acumen in this case.

Allen conceived of the idea of getting someone else to think of the something that became the Paperback in 1937. The result was a lightweight, rectangular, compliant reading device that would fit into the pocket of a consumer during periods of various activities which were not compatible with reading.

Famously, the story of where his neurons fired so profitably is this: He was waiting for a train in Vladivostok when a beautiful but distraught women in a dark coat threw herself under the oncoming engine. He immediately thought of the tragic climax of the novel Anna Karenina (© Penguin Books), by Russian gambler and criminal Fyodor Dostoyevski. He took pictures (© The Estate of John Allen, available for purchase in 12x10glossy prints from Penguin Prints, a division of Penguin Books [only compatible with a Penguin Paperback]) of the apparent suicide victim's bleeding remains with his Sampple iGalaxy™ as she lay dying, partially dismembered and horribly disfigured, on the tracks. He then "uploaded™" the images to FaceSpace's™ Pinstagram™ Kodaroid™ clone, DropCloud™. He wondering how interesting it would be to compare the scenes in the novel with the gruesome incident unfolding (as it were) in front of him. He wondered how the book might be made available where he was, without his having to go a library or a decent hard-cover bookstore which could be several thousand miles away in this Siberian wilderness. On his return the mangled remains of the women would no doubt be gone, or covered with a blanket, or eaten by wolves.

He MessSkyd™ his design and development team at Albatross-Albatross! to inform them that he had "shared™" the Pinstagram™ "folder™" with them, and asked them to develop something pretty quick that would make him a millionaire overnight. They produced what became known as the Paperback novel. Allen's publishing house was changed quickly to Penguin Books™ when the Albatross-Albatross! name was shot down in a private settlement with the family of English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, author of The Amazing Adventures of The Ancient Mariner (© the Estate of S.T. Coleridge) who had heard there was likely to be money involved.

Allen took all the kudos and street cred for the development of the Paperback and was universally acknowledged as a Genius™ in his press releases. Tragically, his design and development team disappeared mysteriously in a boating accident in Allen's backyard swimming pool.

Immediately upon appropriating the credit for the Paperback, he commissioned Mr Constance Garnet to make a new translation of every school-age children's nemesis (the novel Anna Karenina: see above). Allen's lawyer (another name in the development of Allen's career that is lost to history thanks to chlorinated water) pioneered the prototype of all writers' contracts now in use universally. These have the special clauses which allow translators and authors like Garnett to be tied down and waterboarded. Publishers such as Allen can then be ceded sole ownership of the Exclusive Rights Management, the ERM™ of the work, in this case a translation, and all profits after publication. Garnett would get a pittance, if anything at all, should he live or remain sane. He drowned penniless in mysterious circumstances in Allen's backyard swimming pool after translating several thousand more unreadable novels under contractual obligations to Pengiun Books™.

[End Sidebox]

~~~~~~~~

The Penguin™ suit alleges that Virago™, by moving from the Women's Press™ niche in which they still profess to be their metier, into more general publishing in the Paperback form, had infringed its patents when they imitated what Penguin claim are the essence and implementation of their designs.

The logos of the two publishing giants currently in dispute.


Virago™ have copied the "trade form" of Penguin™, the essential look and feel of the Penguin™ reading experience, they claim. In particular, Penguin™ point to Virago's™ decision to produce a book with a soft paper cover of the size of the side pocket of a jacket, such as a gentleman in the 1930's might be wearing at a train station in, say, Vladisvostok.

Comparison of the form factor of an example of the Virago™ product (left) and that of a Penguin™ Paperback (right). Note that the Virago™ book is written by philosopher and essayist W.G Sebald, a man. The Penguin™ book has been penned by female historian Ruth Harris.


Penguin™ say that their "distinctive" rectangular shape has been implemented into the Virago product, as have the sharp, 90o corners of the Paperback. Penguin™ insist that now Virago™ are publishing Paperbacks written by men it could make it difficult for readers to differentiate between the two publishers. Penguin's™ income could be harmed as a result of diminshed sales if readers inadvertantly choose the Virago product.

Penguin™ had previously overlooked design infringements by Virago™ on the grounds of sympathy with the suffragette movement, notably by Allen's wife, [the ridiculously named] Lettice Lucy Orr. [I mean, salad. For pity's sake - Lettice Orr what? Cabbage?]

Penguin™ point to particular features of the Virago™ product that directly infringe on the patents held by Penguin™. They cite the fingertip control over the method of manipulation or turning™ of individual pages, or even groups of pages, as readers follow the writer's words, sentences and paragraphs sequentially from one side of a page to its verso, specifically turning™ it to the left to follow text. They point out the continuance of the writing to the next leaf, the one on the right side of the open book.

Finally, they decry Virago™'s "blatant theft" of the Penguin™'s ability to use a © Bookmark.

Turning™ pages and the use of a Bookmark™ [provided to E@L by the kind people at The Excelsior hotel in Hong Kong]


This latter innovation allows the reader, often using a third-party device - which may have been provided by a book-seller or a progressive and expensive hotel chain - to define the point at which she or he has reached before closing the book in order to get on with life. The reader can continue his or her reading pursuits at a later time using the Bookmark™ to determine the correct page. After using the Bookmark™ in this manner, they might then either exit the toilet area with the Paperback in their jacket pocket or leave the volume on the wash-basin edge for further perusal in the future, a typical time being when the contents of his or her bowel move into an exposition of digestion with conflict of bacteria and the peristaltic moving action in the intestines leading inexorably to an expulsory climax, then a falling action and eventual denouement, with either a satisfactory or an unsatisfactroy ending, a.k.a. closure, and often leaving the possibility of a sequel.

~~~~~~

In his The Pocket Billionaire, the unauthorised biography of the late Allen, ghost writer Woody Allen [no relation] reported the allegedly innovative and style-making founder of Penguin™ as saying he will go "V2™" on rival publishers. "They won't know what screaming had come across the sky and hit them." Allen laughed hysterically, according to Allen.

He single out the ladies of Virago™ for special treatment because of what he considered their "traitorous behaviour" in publishing non-female authors. "I'll beat Virago™ like a red-haired step-daughter," he is quoted as screaming in a board meeting. "This is our technology and male authors are OUR meteor, metier, whatthefuckever, and we will screw those bitches over and over until they agree to desist in the publication of products which are very similar to our own in my fucking opinion!"

~~~~~~

Interestingly, Virago™ have launched a counter-suit against Penguin™ for publishing works by female authors, a defence that is sure to raise the hackles of Penguin™'s lawyers.

Virago™ maintain that if such a lawsuit as Penguin™'s were to succeed it could severley restrict competition and staunch further innovation in the Paperback development, outcomes that could damage the industry in unforesable ways.

They also claim that the page-turning technology was in existance long before Allen and Penguin™ had reintroduced it, and have at least two pieces of evidence to support that claim.

Fistly, they cite the Rapid Celluloid Transmission or RCT™ (a.k.a. Fillum) in which art-house director Sir Stamford Raffles showed a character turning™ pages of what appeared to be a small reading device in his groundbreaking 1914 science-fiction epic, 1931, A Moon Odyssey (©, Lee Kwan Yew). Interestingly, this RTC™ classic was not seen in the Feelies™ until several years after its initially proclaimed release date of 1912.

This delay was precipitated by a lawsuit filed by that Frenchie artiste, Georges Méliès who claimed that the concept in his earlier RCT™ of Le Voyage dans la Lune (© IMDB™) had being illegaly appropriated, in effect mashed, by Raffles. Raffles in turned argued that his work was an "'omaaaarge," (spoken in an outrageous French accent) but no legal ruling was ever made on this form of imitation as the matter was settled out of court when Georges Méliès mysteriously drowned in a boating accident in Raffles' backyard pool in Vladivostok the following year.

Virago™ also point to a long forgotten presentation of a similar case in the International Court Of Taking Forever To Come To A Fucking Conclusion in Den Hague. They found in the TeslaNet™ Encylowiki™ records of a publishing dispute dating from the early 17th century. At that time Robert Barker, The King's Printer and member of The Church Of England™, publishers of the King James Bible (not the Vulgate which is copyright to one hermit, a certain St Jerome), sued the independant Musselman publishers Al-Jazeera™ for copyright infringement with their production of a printed version of the the Tartar holy book, The Q'uran. That case was dismissed by the ICOTFTCTAFC on what Barker called "a technicality", as the Ottoman Empire™'s printed publication was designed to be read from right to left, the oposite of Barker's left to right technology.

The judge of the case, Pope™ Richard Dawkins, said this type of dispute was harmful to young children and animals. He instructed the participants and their followers to accept the blatant (to him at least) fact, or theory™, that there is no* such thing as god [he used a small 'g'], or at least any deity that could be shown scientifically to be manifest in this world.

Therefore, he had said, these or any other gods of whatever denomination might as well not exist anyway, if they/he/she/it was unable or unwilling do anything useful such as alleviate suffering and disease. All this "sectarian publishing and violence shit..." would "...just go away - poof - if people woke up to reason and smelled this bloody strong Turkish coffee. Stop writing this amazingly impossible bullshit in the first place, then you won't have to publish it, and I won't have to get involved in sorting out the mess," he said in his summation, the records show.

~~~~~~~

In his turn, a spokeman for Penguin™ said Virago's claim was "both ludicrous and dubious" because entries in EnycloWiki™ can be edited by the members public for a small fee. He explained that a search of the records of transactions of PayPal™ could arranged. PayPal™ is the Telsanet™'s only online bank after the financial giant sued "every fucker" they could find, even the company which pioneered online payment, Adult Video Network™. The spokesman said the this might demonstrate the complicity of Virago in a potential fraud with intenttion to deceive.

Paypal™ however have pointed out that their records are "secure and confidential" and that it would take "a considerable amount of cash and lots of blow jobs" for them to hand over their customers' private records.

~~~~~~~~~

But a newcomer to the publishing world could win out here, no matter what the result of the contoversial Penguin™/Virago™ suit. Online book supplier Amazon™ are on the verge of launching a product that circumvents all the issues raised by both Penguin™ and Virago™. The Kindle™ is an electronic book reader which uses a remote image of words in the author's mind. These can be transmitted wirelessly (TeleGnosis, pat pending) through the ether to the retina, where the encoded concept of the story is captured. This can then be directly received in the appropriate cortex of the brain and the plot and characters extracted and the plot followed and enjoyed (presumably), even when the consumer is engaged in other activities, such a lubricious sex. Amazon™'s scientists warn that certain spastics and stroked out old folks with particular forms of brain jellification might not be able to use their device properly. Otherwise Amazon™ expect excellent reception™ of their product by the early up-takers, in particular trendy Starbucks™ light soy-latte drinking wankers and hipsters™.

Amazon™ dismiss/ignore the claims by recently justified inventor of both the TelsaNet™ itself and its method of transmission, the Radio™.

Nikola Tesla pointed out most vehemently that he had described the essential principles of such a technique, identical to this TeleGnosis (pat pending) "years fucking ago" in his compendium of experiments I Am Not A Nutter, But... (© Penguin Books) and that Amazon™ had stolen them to create the Kindle™.

Nikola Tesla, as himself, in the recent biopic What Does This Button Do?"

"Amazon™," he said in an interview for Cosmopolitan™, "are like that cock-sucker Marconi. Thieving my credit bastards. A bunch of arrogant shupaks who can popusis mi kurac krasni! Those fucking Limey Book Depository™ bastards used to be cheaper and world-wide ship for free, until pricks at Amazon™ bought DHL™ and jebem ce zivo i mrtvo overnight. Don't even start on me the shit-eater Thomas I-Invented-This Edison. Biggest fucking fake since John Allen."

~~~~~~~~

Your intrepid reporter and signatory to the Creative Commons Licence™,

E@L™


__________

"Samsung and Apple have been at war through the courts since April 2011, when Apple filed a suit in the US alleging that a number of Samsung smartphones and tablets used some of its patented technologies – such as the "rubber band" effect when scrolling a long list of items – and mimicked its "trade dress", the general cosmetic appearance of its iPhone and iPad, in a way that could confuse potential customers."


You have no idea how many times I typed Viagra instead of Virago in writing this self-indulgent drivel. I chose Virago's The Rings Of Saturn for no reason beyond the fact that it is the only paperback from a relatively major publisher that I have with me.

* would you believe in this? I had left the word 'no' out of this sentence for the last two days.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dark Chocolate and Fullers Pale

DateLine: somewhere roundabout May, April. A while ago.

~~~~~~~~

I'm in a chocolate shop in Fremantle, Western Australia, wondering if this is the ideal place for me to be. Probably not.

The weight has stabilized (mostly, but not yet at the goal) and though the spirit is willing, the will, driven by taste-buds and the craving for sugar that only a previous dose of sugar invokes, is particularly weak. And driven (literally as well as figuratively) here by a lady who told me she doesn't believe overweight people when say tell her they don't understand why they are fat, because they really don't eat all that much. As I had told her yesterday. Well take this, bitch.

Hot mocha that looks like mud and something called an Afghan biscuit. It seems they like chocolate in Afghanistan. I was hoping for some resin of the poppy, but it's just a chocolate and Cornflakes (thanks Google) biscuit with chocoloate on top.

I'm not sure, either, that this is best place to write. I look like a tourist who is pretending he is a writer: MacAir, iPod, book held open, transcribing something into Evernote. Alone with my obsession, in my absorption, with my white mug perched on a matching white warmer (a porcelain chafing dish affair, effective but quite strange for someone not used to drinking expensive hot [warm] chocolate in expensive chocolate shops - really!) I look like I've never had a friend, and probably don't deserve one. But aware of this... Ostentatiously abandoned, you know the look?

This a born-again sea-farin', tourist town, with the usual olde-worlde, indie-trende market transition confusion. Thanks to this, there are a smattering ('Smatter? Nothing.) of good bookstores - several of them Elizabeth's second-handers - and one called New Edition, for, um, new books. I'll do a book signing there one day, if I ever get quadruple ear-piercings and a neck tattoo (now that will never go out of fashion). And write a book.

I'm listening to Snow Patrol (non-stop for the last five years it seems) and I'm reading W.G. Sebald's introduction to the latest Robert Walser translation, "The Tanners," which I was pleasantly surprised to find at New Edition. (And a first edition Patrick White from Elizabeth's is in the man-bag.)

Sip, nibble, read, tap toe, type. Repeat.

Sebald paraphrases Robert's brother Martin: "...he was the most unattached of all the solitary poets.

"For him, coming to an arrangement with a woman was an impossibility."

Sigh. Is it any wonder I want to transcribe this?

~~~~~~

After watching his clumsy attempt to be friendly with the only waitress in the bar with anything close to a personality, and what seemed a complete failure to close and follow-through on a certainty (no salesman, our E@L), Bruce was frustrated and amazed yet again by the enormity of E@L's ineptitude.

He sat back on his bar-stool to analyse E@L's many issues and synthesize a diagnosis. Silence for a second. Then his eyes popped wide open: "I know what it is!" he said. "You're afraid of women!"

He performed one of his trademenark chuckles as if this tragic pronouncement was, in some universe, funny...

"Yoo-hoo-hoo. Are. Afrah-ah-aid. Of. Women!"

"Wha…?"

"It's not fear of commitment. You don't want to get involved at all, do you? You stop yourself getting past any point where commitment might be a possibility, not just now or soon, but at anytime in the future, ever! Even if commitment is not on the cards at all. And you do this by not even starting! You're afraid that if you ask them, they might say yes and drag you off to lock you in their trophy room. Marriage, kids, mortgage, and then divorce, poverty and a broken heart."

"What?" asked E@L, looking down and mumbling into his Fuller's Pale Ale, "are you raving about? Anyway, I was not trying to chat her up. And yes, I was trying to put her off! She's after someone for a relationship." E@L rubbed his thumb and fingers - money.

"Bullshit. She's not looking for a relationship, she just wants a fuck, to see what it's like. A fuck with you, that is."

"She wanted me to buy her dinner."

"Then buy it, for fucks sake. And then fuck her."

"No, this was on Tuesday, when I was here with Brian and Colin. [Brian from Seoul, Colin from Hanoi, both in town for a few days.] She wanted me to buy her dinner. She kept at it. It was funny I guess, but weird. She said she could eat it after work. She was going to finish at work at 1am. She wanted me to give her the money - this was 8pm. We were heading off. I swear. When I asked for the bill, she asked me if I was going to buy her dinner or not. I asked if she was serious, and she said, like: 'Yes! Of course I yam serious!'" [E@L does not do good impersonations.] Colin thought it was weird too."

"Oh," said Bruce. He reassessed. "Maybe you dodged a bullet there. Sounds like she's looking for a relationship with an ATM, but not just for a quick cash handout."

"You'll probably fuck her before I do anyway. Is there a waitress in this town you haven't fucked, or tried to fuck?"

Bruce's body shook as he chortled again. "Yeah-eh-eh, ri-hi-hight. Ah, but no. No, she hates me already."

Bruce explained that, before E@L had arrived, he had voiced a pleasantly worded reprimand to her about a vodka tonic that came in three glasses. He had asked for a double Absolut tonic in a tall glass with a small amount of ice. Three glasses, if you can hear commas.

"I don't think she took kindly to it. My name is mud."

How could anyone hate Bruce? It must be his accent.

E@L.


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