Saturday, August 29, 2009


...having a life. Move on, nothing to see here.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009


(FINALLY my Internet connection is working! Thanks to a help call to Bangalore service centre on my Singapore mobile, I finally got my Australian 3G modem and prepaid SIM cards working. The girl in the shop must not have registered the card correctly.)

It's bloody cold in Geelong - storms, hail, wind and rain and chilly weather - it was 7 yesterday with a wind chill of negative million. There are two benefits to this, neither of which help me in any way. Firstly it will good for the snow conditions next weekend, no doubt with a heavy dump happening as we speak.

Secondly it is driving a good southern swell and Bells Beach will have enough height to break properly...

On the way down the Great Ocean Road to my ex-outlaws for a roast lunch (the Ex and her beau were present as well) we stopped to check out the right-hand point break (check the Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze movie - the climax was set at a pine-tree infested Northern California, Hollywood version of the scrubby bushed Bells that just howled "fake!!" to we Australians) that holds the biggest swells of the region, and it was working at about 10ft. Not exactly peeling and with a howling offshore wind that was blowing people off the wave-face, it was not the MOST perfect I have ever seen it, but close. Worth a photo anyway.

Close-up - there is a guy on the wave.

Only a day or so left of my holiday (before I start working in Melbourne and then warmer Sydney) and the Mother has decided she definetely DOES NOT want a new digital television. This means of course that I have to spend the remains of the day at the electronics store. Can't wangle a Philips discount here as I don't have any old business cards with me...


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sashimi Sharades

E@L went to dinner in Tokyo tonight with a female colleague who is Japanese, but who was born and grew up in Brazil. When we decided on fish for dinner and found a nearby restaurant the limitations of such a multicultural upbringing became clear.

The menus were entirely in Japanese and after a few minutes turning the pages she admitted that couldn’t read Kanji script very well...

Portuguese is her natural language and if her Japanese is anything like her English - she tends to speak in rather short, staccato bursts, translating phrases in her head, I presume - then that would explain why we had several waiters in turn trying to figure out what was going on. Of course they naturally assumed she could read the script and were mystified at her questions...

What she was saying and the replies she was translating from the waiters just didn’t help me understand what was on the menu - "Well, what DO they sell?" I'd point at the menu ask, "What's that?", and she'd try to play charades with the types of creature she was searching for... I managed swordfish, but I think she meant barracuda or garfish, because what came was a section, about a child's forearm wide (not that I've eaten a child's forearm, unless they've deserved it), of blue-silver, maybe fresh mackerel, that went onto table-top griller. I earned a high five for guessing octopus (don’t ask how she did it)…

OK, maybe you had to be there to get the joke completely, but a Japanese woman giving charades because she could read Japanese and didn't know the English words, hey I thought it was a pretty funny concept.

We worked out the few sashimi words that either I recalled or that she could read - maguro, uni, hotate, sake - and some we didn't - salmon roe, for example - then the chef himself came over to help, and we eventually got a nice meal going, washed down with a few Kirin biru.

The meal included a few serves of anchovy-like fish that I grilled to perfection, my son will be pleased to hear.

And on the way home we popped into a 7/11 equivalent and found something else of interest - only in Japan could you get away with selling this...


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Packing -- Finals Fever

Just a quick hello as I have been attempting to pack for two back-to-back trips to three climates; Tokyo warm, (come home, change suitcases) Melbourne cool/cold, Sydney temperate.

The Tokyo trip is done, easy, as it's merely a four day business trip. Melbourne is tough as it's part holiday, requiring warm casual wear, and part business, whereas Sydney is business during the day - a big conference - and catching up with old friends in the evenings. I think I'll put the business stuff in my small suit folder and the other stuff in an expandable soft bag. That way the business stuff can stay downstairs at my son's place, when I am there.

Actually, as far as Melbourne goes, I'm thinking of giving up the packing dilemma and buying brand new stuff when I get there. Most of my warm weather gear is way old anyway, and I'll need something to wear in Japan and Austria next year if I go skiing again, as I've promised myself and the Number 1 Son.


Also, I've put my number in for the ballot at the Grand Final of Aussie Rules season - hope to win a reserved seat with a great view of the big match if I am lucky. My team looks like getting up again for the last Saturday in September. They look like finishing on top of the ladder, only two games to go then the finals start, so maybe I should start planning to get down to Melbourne again there for the big game. Go Cats!

In case you didn't realize the MCG is one of the largest arenas in the world, with capacity seating of over 100,000 and regular attendances often of over 60,000 in the bloody horrible weather of Melbourne's winters, which is amazing. However, even with this huge amphitheater AND E@L being a Full Member (you may rise now), there is no guarantee of getting a seat without camping overnight at the ground... And at my age, that's way undignified!

My team, The Cats won the Final in the year 2007, then lost last year due to some controversial tactics by the opposition which have since been outlawed for this season, and this year might be the beginning of the end of their period of dominance as the bodies of the players are starting to wear out...

Know that feeling, don't we dear readers?

So I think I'll put myself down for a flight to MEL right now as these times may not come again... I'm SURE to win a seat, right?


Monday, August 17, 2009

Exercises in Futility - Part One: Dan Brown.

Tim over at Cultural Snow was bragging how he was plugged in The Time Online - in an article about Dan Brown's wretched book on art history, or whatever it was about.

I think that part of the success of that book came from Dan Brown's trick of peppering the text with some high-falutin' words, not a lot, just enough to make the reader feel smarter than they actually is... are... whatever.

My sample word for Mr Brown is "plethora". This is a damn tough word, hey? You must be pretty damn smart if y'all know what that word means! It's not a word you come across every day (unless you're reading TD-VC over and over). When you were first confronted by that funny looking word, plethora, on page 133, you had to check the meaning, then when you saw it again on 142 you could say, hey, I KNOW that word! You checked again just to make sure, but come pages 183 and 213 and you are cruising you interlectural you!

Now, there may be other words (in fact I've already claimed as much) that Danny Boy uses, but this word was noted by a friend of mine who is not stupid yet somehow enjoys reading that sort of stuff (she obviously gets all the intellectual stimulation she can handle teaching eight year-olds) and it's late so we'll only play the game for this word for tonight.

Myself, I almost gave up life itself after reading the clanger that cliff-hangs Chapter 4: "As he stood up, Langdon was beginning to suspect it was going to be a very looooooooooong night."

Ugh. This is the chapter-ending equivalent of, "The young orphan girls were starkers in the dorm nightly...", sorry, that's the book I'm reading now... I meant Bulwer-Lytton's, "It was a dark and stormy night". But I persisted, mopping the blood from my eyes for the remainder of the process. BTW I pictured Harrison Ford as the main guy...


Here is the task for you. If you don't feel up to it, skip to the end of the paragraph. Go to Amazon. Load up Da Vinci Code and run your cursor over the book-cover. Up comes the 'Search Inside' tool window. Type in "plethora". The answer? A stunning 4.

Is that a lot? Maybe it's normal to say "plethora" four times in a book. Hey, books have lots of words, right? only stands to reason some are going to be repeated. Repeatedly. So your task, should you choose to accept it, is to check other books...

Ok, now do the same for "David Copperfield". Result? 0.

Do the same for "Moby Dick". 0.

Do the same for "Crime and Punishment". 0.

Do the same for "Ulysses". 2. (Dan Brown readers are twice as smart as James Joyce readers!)

Do the same for "Seven Pillars of Wisdom". 0.

Even with the encyclopedic compendiousness of Ulysses, Joyce only needs to use "plethora" twice. DB needed it four times. Amazing... I'll go to My Recommendations.

"Things Fall Apart", "The Stranger", "The Family Mashber"(?), "A Hundred Years of Solitude" -- well, I've been looking at all the classics for this exercise and it has thrown these up for me now, a classic case of the test spoiling the result -- anyway, all of them were 0.

OK, I'll try some trashy novels, and who is trashier than Stephen King or Clive Cussler? (hat tip to my fans Smoot and Indy!)

The Shining, 'Salem's Lot, Carrie = 0

Atlantis Found, Night Probe! (I bet it was dark and stormy the night they probed!), Inca Gold. 0, 0 and 0.

Man, I'm resting my case. In fact, I'm resting my tush.

Anyone who can find a novel that uses the word "plethora" more plethorically than Dan Brown does will win a prize, yet to be determined, to be delivered personally by me (airfares not included) on the escalator to the National Library of Singapore (which I descended yesterday to read "Mind At The End Of Its Tether - and promptly fell asleep, god it was boring load of piffle, lucky I didn't pay for the privilege) at a time and date of my choosing.

Anyone who can suggest an appropriate prize will also be eligible to win a prize.


I'm going to bed, it's late again...

This post is even more futile than I thought, as I've just remembered that I blogged about this before, and much more amusingly. It was a long time ago though, back before Amazon had that 'search inside' tool.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Kopi Luwak

MMmmm... mm? Uuuuckkk-uck-splutter!

OMG, this coffee tastes like some cat shat it out on the jungle floor of Sumatra!

Oh, really? Sorry everyone, it's meant to taste that way; it should do, because that's exactly what has happened.

One of the guys in the office managed to pick up an elaborately packaged box of (Certificate of Authenticity included) 100% kopi luwak on his last trip to Indonesia. My spluttering opening was in reality a rhetorical device because we haven't yet cracked the seal on it, but I expect we will all be incredibly disappointed, like seeing Bryan Ferry or Van Morrison live in concert.

This, the MOST EXPENSIVE COFFEE IN THE WORLD [Note: not the BEST, merely the most expensive], is made from ripe coffee beans that have been eaten right from the tree and then eventually defecated out by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) which, paradoxical rumour had it, is an hermaphrodite - but no, it's just prominent scent glands. This paradoxially un-cat-like creature eats whatever variety of coffee bean it finds, which is Arabica in this particular brands' plantation. That means much kopi luwak on sale may vary in its flavour because it may not be any specific variety of bean, just those beans which have had that special enzymatic processing they can only experience in the stomach and duodenum of the mammal that probably started the SARS epidemic (or not).

This is from the brochure:

The resulting coffee is said to be like no other. It has a rich, heavy flavour with hints of caramel or chocolate. Other terms used to describe are earthy, musty and exotic. The body is almost syrupy and it's very smooth.

The same it may be said, E@L points out, of runny shit.

BTW, the stuffs that sell in exclusive shops for about $50 might only be 2% kopi luwak, mixed with whatever caffeine-rich bean is going cheap.

That's the rumah!



We Are Made Of Glue

Well, E@L currently might as well be, as he does his expenses for the last two months, sticking small bits of paper onto other, larger bits of paper in order to get some of his money back. He got that Holy Card and a Gold Star in Kinder for a reason, after all. So much for the paperless office. E@L is up to neck in dead trees and UHU sticks. [Update: the UHU stick ran out on me and I have a replacement, in both stick and brand - also in what must not be a proprietary yellow tube, it is called Power Glue Stick (New Formula). Let's check it out... Mmm, smooth and quite clump free! Excellent.]

Once upon a time, people in E@L's exalted position would have had secretaries to do all this shit, freeing up E@L to blog, or play on-line chess, practice his putting (God knows he needs it) or snooze.


Or stare out the window in slack-jawed mental vacancy as the enormous Star Virgo cruise ship spins slowly 180deg on its central axis, before being tugged into dock at Harbourfront...



Huh? Oh sorry. That's a fucking big ship. Friday is always a bugger for taxis.


It's all the wrong way around now, the universe has come unstuck. It's the "Office Manager" - the only secretary type person for six of us - who goes over all the stuff AFTER E@L has done the sticky work of putting it together. SHE checks HIS arithmetic on the *printed out* Excel sheet, collating it against the stuck-on receipts, before sending it on to the Big Boss-san who signs the cheque.

Why didn't we do this the other way around?

Surely it is the OM who should be doing the glue sticking (she is not educated much further than kindergarten anyway while E@L has a Post Grad - even if only it was a Diploma) and, as a professional typist, she should be entering the stuff* into Excel in the first place. Then she could interrupt/wake E@L and get him to check HER for the usual errors?

Wouldn't this avoid printing it twice/thrice/whatever, AND keep the order of events and things in their proper God-ordained places?

The world is topsy-turvey and barely held together by cheap glue in yellow plastic tubes.

* Maybe it's the way E@L is so creative with his expenses that makes him indispensable...


In further news requiring copious expletives:

Why THE FUCK is it that every time iTunes upgrades itself, the Quick Launch link no longer works?

Why THE FUCK is that every time E@L turns around something on either of his computers is upgrading itself, often going into a complete restart in the middle of an important customer presentation (it really happened to me once) or blog post?

Why THE FUCK... just WHY the fuck?



Meanwhile, in the real world, E@L negotiates a loan to actually PAY for his off-the-shovel property in Noosa Heads. Settlement should be in October sometime when the place opens.

What to do? Take a low-interest loan in Singapore dollars so that rental on the apartment allows it to pay for itself, or take a high-interest loan in Aussie dollars and earn tax-credits on the difference between re-payments and rental income? Either way it's a winner investment, so long as the AUD doesn't plummit again and they do a margin call on the devalued property...

The Australian expat - the luckiest person on earth, so my loan brokers say.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pynch Me

New Thomas Pynchon book out...

See it hear.

First few pages: set up is Doc (picture The Dude), a stoner PI in 1970 gets invited by his ex-gf to sort out a proposed conspiracy against a real-estate mogul... haven't got any further yet.

Anachronisms on the cover art - 1. all the boards on the roof of the car have three-fins, a design that didn't come into vogue until the late 80's. 2. picture on back of car shows R.I.P. Curl, referring to the surf wetsuit and leisure-wear maker RipCurl that in 1970 wasn't even a shack in Doug Warbrick's mum's Torquay backyard, let alone a world-wide designer label.

My concern is that Pynchon has just done a rewrite of The Big Lebowski, as it seems to overlap the Coens' film somewhat in the initial premise (and in tone). (Jeff Bridges must have signed for the movie already.) While that in itself wouldn't be necessarily bad, I am hoping for something more like The Crying of Lot49 than Vineland.


Oh and if you think my anti-war/M-IC sentiments have run their course, an audiobook of Pat Buchanan's Churchill, Hitler and "The Unnecessary War" (it was free for my 1 credit) is playing in my ears at the moment.

The West is doomed, sure; we (European civilization) fucked ourselves over with two massive wars and, despite the appearances, we haven't recovered - populations ARE declining in Europe, but not elsewhere. Fragmented, autonomous regions are weak, so weak... It is inevitable. The West, the Decline thereof. It had been fun while it lasted, but from this position, it ain't got much kick left in it...

More later, insha-allah...


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lighter Note

Someone mentioned somewhere how often I use swearing-type words in my blog...


E@L pulls his car into a Disabled Zone in the supermarket.

Attendant,: You can't park here, this is for the disabled only.

E@L: But I AM disabled!

Attendant : Oh yeah? What's your disability?

E@L: Tourrette's, now FUCK OFF!



War, Children, It's Just A Shout Away...

A comment on Skippy's blog got me angry when I researched my answer, which ended up being much more aggressive than initially intended, about the use of the flesh-searing white phosphorus weapons and a new "improved" napalm on the city of Fallujah back in 2004.

Oo-oh a fire is sweeping
Down our street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way...

War. Children.

I read of the chemical effects of white phosphorus on skin and muscle tissues...

Humans burn; mothers combust; children incinerate; sisters carbonize; fathers catch fire; babies smoke...

All through the 20th century, this INTENTIONAL burning of civilians has been escalating.

More about Human Smoke

Shut up with your fucking lame excuses!

Shut the fuck up with your bullshit about stopping more deaths by killing people, about arming for war in order to bring peace. It's all fucking crap and you know it.

Just shut the fuck up, warmongers.


A Klee painting named "Angelus Novus" shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned to the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurling it in front of his feet. Tha angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings and he can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. The storm is what we call progress.

-- Walter Benjamin, Thesis on the Philosophy of History


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Sourdough Gambit

E@L struggles to find a nice shirt to wear as his two favorite polo shirts are in the wash. So he grabs an outrageously bright Hawaiian shirt that doesn't stink too much after he wore it to the Penis Party on Sat night. He puts his keys, phone, wallet and a book to read if he doesn't find anything later, into a small shoulder bag and heads for the bus-stop. The strap of the shoulder bag keeps cutting into his neck as the wide soft collar of the gapingly open necked shirt cannot hold it. Uncomfortable, but hey. He puts the phone into the top pocket and this holds the collar back, but of course the shirt is all crumpled on him now under the opposing forces of the strap and the phone. He looks like a clumsy tourist. Whatever. He needs another shirt. Too late; the bus has come.

Chess. He has won 52% of his games on Gameknot, however because he has never really studied opening theory, never really memorized the board layout, (he has trouble visualizing the moves in his head) he often enters a state of panic early in the game, expecting to be mated by some grade-school combination - Dickhead's Mate, Idiot's Mate, Beginner's Dumbfuck Mate, etc…


1. P--K4 (b) ...

(b) The primary cause of all of White's subsequent difficulties.

Samuel Beckett, Murphy, Novels I of Samuel Beckett pp145-6.

You know it, that feeling of being in over your head, of having started something that could easily expose your lack of experience and expertise (like starting a blog post with a quote from Beckett). He gets that hollow-legged feeling of impending doom EVERY game he has with a new opponent. He has decided for the umpteenth time that he needs to do some shopping for some (more) simple to medium standard chess books. He has been into Borders and the few they have are hardbacks and outrageously priced, even for a well-heeled soul such as he. Kinokuniya it is then, and maybe a Devonshire tea or even some of that brilliant mushroom soup at the Copenhagen Tea-room on the second floor at Takashimaya, or perhaps an iced coffee and a cookie over the road at Paragon, where he could grab some of that nice fresh mushroom soup from the Soupspoon for dinner at home. So many choices while he is still on the bus, but he will react as the situation demands.

E@L wonders why he can remember the layout of shopping malls but not the moves in the opening gambits of chess.

Sure enough, there are more chess books and they are cheaper in K. AND there appears to be a 20%-Off Sale at a K. E@L uses their computer to search for the chess area (Games and Pastimes, surely chess books should be in the Obsession section) and makes futile attempts to stride purposefully across the store to the right area, where after some deliberation, he grabs two books that reasonably match his requirements -The Amateur's Mind and Complete Book of Chess Strategy.

Once again E@L purposefully attempts to break through the aimlessly floating world of the sale crowd -- ever notice how frustrating it is to know where you are going when everyone else doesn't? -- over to the cashier. But he too is human, all too human, and gets distracted by the philosophy section and so becomes himself an hovering giant Hawaiian-shirted impediment to others. He picks some extras - Arendt On Violence (I can finally see that something violent has to happen in my long-gestated book , I have been buying much over the years on this subject), Bataille Accursed Share, Vol. 1 (on consumption), John Gray's Straw Dogs (a must have, after enjoying the attitude behind his terrific Black Mass, which I had completed in Thailand the day they threw my back out), and funnily enough, after he had floated across to the literature section looking for more by Vollman (haven’t read the last three, but hey!), the great Walter Tevis's book on a female chess prodigy, The Queen's Gambit.

E@L read a few pages and found it crisply written and Tevis obviously knowledgeable/obsessed about chess:

He brought the knight back. It was a wasted move and she felt a thrill when she saw him do it.

Tevis, The Queens Gambit, p11.

Exactly. This is what people must feel when they play me, fucking it up, doing the wrong things, E@L thought.

With the heavy plastic bag of books banging at his left thigh, he headed on towards the tea-room. When E@L passed into the Takashimaya store proper, he paused slightly to look at a Brooks Brother's polo-shirt. Within thirty seconds he had been checkmated by the wily old salesman and he now had a nice new, very expensive, polo-shirt. Too good for golf, he'd have to wear this at Christmas. Somehow, he managed to escape without buying anything else -"this is a nice color for you"… E@L shook his head and paid his penalty. He returned his wallet to the shoulder bag, slung the latter over his right arm, placed the black Brook Bros bag together with the Kinokuniya bag in his left hand and moved on.

The Copenhagen tea-room was full and the wait would be twenty minutes, according to the char-woman in-attendance. His vision of puffy scones, thickly laden with rich black jam and folds of clotted cream faded. Sigh. He went downstairs and outside into sunshine made brighter by some rays sneaking through a break in dark rain clouds, and tried to make his way across Orchard Rd to Paragon Shopping Centre. Just as in the bookstore, he was impeded by the drifting, floating crowd, always forced wider than he wanted to go and often directly into oncoming pedestrians.

Finally at CoffeeBean, by the outside tables, he hovered, in the local manner, next to a couple who were checking watches and packing their phones, placed ostentatiously on the table, and he grabbed the chairs as they left them empty, placing his bags there to hold the table while he ordered his favorite - a large ice-blended, black-forest (cherry) coffee and a muffin. Before long he had the chess books out, trying to gain a brief understanding of the weaknesses of the French Defense, and found an anecdote quoted by Silman in the Amateur's Mind about a six-year old girl who understood much of the advanced powers of the rook on the seventh rank! E@L smiled at the coincidence of having bought of Tevis's book, which is about a similarly gifted eight-year old girl.

From book to book he moved, hoping some of it would sink in. When convinced that something had been learned - primarily that children are better at chess than he is - he went inside Paragon and downstairs for that takeaway mushroom soup from The Soupspoon. As he passed into the basement he noticed that the pseudo-French Delifrance was gone. A new French pseudo-pâtisserie was in its place, and he noticed a bread section up one end of the glass display cabinets. He would come back and check it out.

When he purchased the soup he wanted, they placed it in another (branded) plastic bag for him. With the three bags in his left hand now, he walked to the new pâtisserie. Behind the glass at the very end of the display he noticed a round, flour-dusted loaf of ---- SOURDOUGH BREAD! Checkmate to the fucker at that other restaurant.

There was a narrow counter in front of the display. E@L balanced all three of his shopping bags on this counter by the bread area as he asked the first serving-wench who came near for one of the sourdough loaves. Still holding those bags together safely, he negotiated the shoulder bag around, unzipped a pocket to get his wallet out and eventually proffered the $4 that the loaf cost, according to its pretty little French badge.

She indicated to him that the cashier was down the other of the counter.

She took his money and walked down with the loaf. He gathered that she expected him to follow her. E@L threw his shoulder bag around back, picked up the soup bag and tried to feed it into the mouth of the Brook Bros bag. At this point he decided to stay where he was, whatever she thought was the done thing at French pâtisseries be buggered. Even in the supermarket deli you stay where you are, the food-slicer comes to you. Fuck the bitch. He looked down the counter and she looked back at him from the POS register. After a pause, she walked back down to him and said -

"There's an extra 25c for GST."

E@L swung the shoulder bag back up, and said - "I'm balancing four bags here," though technically there now only three to balance on the counter, one being inside another. He fished out EXACTLY 25c, gave it to her and she pleasantly walked away again.

He thought of young Beth's first winning game in Tevis's book and smiled to himself.

She walked up the counter's length yet again, this time with the loaf in an elaborately designed paper bag. E@L took the bag - now he again had three to hold in his left hand - and said to the girl as he moved away,

"You could have brought this loaf up when you asked for the 25c. It would have saved you a trip, you know."

She smiled with a professional grimace. He felt a small thrill.

More about Novels I of Samuel BeckettMore about The Amateur's MindMore about Complete Book of Chess StrategyMore about On ViolenceMore about Accursed Share, Vol. 1More about Straw DogsMore about The Queen's Gambit


Monday, August 10, 2009

It Only Hurts When I Exist

Ow, moved my fingers to type!

Very stiff after a game of golf, coming from off a low base of exercise lately. What with slight chest infection and a sore back, E@L has been taking it easy fitness-wise for a month or two, and THAT was coming off a fairly low base as well! Combine this with the recent trip to HK, "working" 13 days straight and plenty of late nights, he wasn't really prepared for the twists and turns that golfing requires of an old body.

A stretch - oooh, crickety-crick - a swim, oops it's raining!, a trip to the library, and maybe a massage later today should help. Or to watch the crickety-crick cricket?


Yesterday, a mate and I took the ferry to Bintan and played the Jack Nicklaus designed course at Bintan Lagoons which has a signature hole by the water. E@L bogied that relatively easy par 3 - he pulled something in his hip on the downswing which caused him to hit it fat and low, and which injury then restricted his game for the rest of the match. Probably a flexor tendon - rest, iced-beer, elevation (feet-up)... Sounds like a plan...

E@L is of the opinion that the ideal golf game should be twelve holes. Six holes, a rest/beers, six more, beers and a final massage - that sounds perfect to him. A counter argument, or rather an amendment was suggested: - six holes, beers, six holes, beers, six holes, beers and massage, for a total of the conventional eighteen holes... Maybe for the younger and/or more physically prepared.

Comment of the match: At the tee of the fourth, their sixth hole (started on the 17th due to crowded 1st and 10th tees), E@L looks at a scorecard that showed nothing but double and triple bogies or worse and poses a mathematical puzzle: -

6, 6, 7, 7, 8, ... What is the next number in this sequence?

Answer: turned out to be another of those par3 bogies - 4.

There was a comeback from this terrible start which peaked, with two pars in a row, leading up to the 10th (i.e. our twelfth hole for the day) and then rapidly declined, not only due to that tweaked hip on that the sea-side par 3 hole, the actual 12th... Out in 51 - back in 48, just made it into double figures (not counting the three lost* balls on our final hole as exhaustion had completely set in by then and it wouldn't sporting to include them in the tally).


Slept-in this morning till eleven like the lazy, stiff and sore old bastard he is and was about to head to the library to join (42 bucks as an expat! free for a PR) to pick up that otherwise unobtainable copy of Wells' "Mind At The End Of Its Tether", but checked on-line to find that it is, as today is a public holiday here in Singers, closed.

OK, compromise - better instead to lie by the TV at my mate's place with more beers and watch day four of the Ashes cricket test (usually a five-day game) - but oh Australia have already won!

Suggestions? How about: Write a brief blog post about the week-end thus far.

On Friday night, after watching day one of the test, at Molly Malones, E@L and his mate were in the taxi queue at Orchard Towers (the 4FoW) and somehow we struck up a discussion with some guy behind us (who looked A LOT like Doogie Howser - "I get that at least once a day!"). Maybe I'll save the rest of this for the novel but the comment of the year came from him: -

"You can't save all of them!"

Trapped in a classic case of 'martyr syndrome' - trying to save a hooker from her plight by shagging her as much as you can, while meanwhile your marriage crumbles and your kids grow up to hate you. This guy was worse than the one in Svend's "Wanchai Chronicles".

The people you meet. I kid you not.


* Not completely lost - I know where they are. In the fucking lake!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Fucking Ants!

I'd just arrived home from a Penis BBQ Party (BYO party) at Milos's place involving many degrees of margarita drinking by E@L, many businessmen drinking wine, and unfortunately therefore not the depth of conversation that theoretically was possible...

"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth."

"No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke,
"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to ho-oo-oo-ooo-ooo-oooo-oooo-oooooowl.

... to find that those fucking immortal kitchen-based ants of mine had survived my most recent incredibly aggressive attack upon there assumed domicile - the water-logged chipboard under the sink - and shrugged it off to reappear in force...

But from whence arriveth they thiseth time? All along the kitchen bench they crawled like barefoot servants bearing crumby gifts for their ravenous bitch of a queen.

I got down on my knees, as you do when assiduously drunk, and I began to trace their travels with an heightened and keen ocularity... I traced and I traced. I had to keep my eyes upon an individual ant lest he blur into oblivion, and track just his progress alone, verily, one ant at a time watcheth I them.

Man shit, this fucker's going the other way! I crept back in the opposite direction to what I had anticipated, toward that array of implements with which I commit electronic torture upon my food - the toaster, the kettle, the coffee machine, the margarita machine - as my current ant (I kept losing sight of that one ant and had to find another one ant in order to follow) progressed, along with the chain of his fellow downtrodden workers, toward the door! They went under the edge of the formica where they were formicating, filthy beasts, before passing across to the door jamb. Down the jamb they went, all the way to the floor. Around the door frame they skirted the skirting board and went out into the marble tiles of my floor -- out into the middle of the space between the kitchen, the second toilet and Izzy's room. Fuck! Who would have thought to look here for fucking ants?

With carefully honed drunken observational skills I noted that at a certain juncture between two certain tiles, the jittery movements of the trail of ants ceased. It discontinued. It ceased. It stopped. It went down a hole. A tiny eensy-weensy hole. About the size of an ant.

This is my life laze and germs - I hunt ants.

I go to parties and come home alone, to hunt ants.

Fucking ants.

I got my ant spray, and FUCK did I spray the fucking bejesus out of those fuckers?

Yes, I did.

The assiduous ant is a lesson to us all. Just not a good one.


And now, a word from our sponsor ---

The hour is getting late and, whoopsie, the very minute of sleep aproacheth and golf beckoneth this knave upon the morrow. Verily. Very verily. Verily, verily, verily, life is but a dream.



(Wot, is it, like, talk like a twat day?)

p.s. I put this Michael Hedges video up because there was guy there at the party who was left-handed but wanted to learn to play a right handed guitar...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I Wish I Asked This One In Religion Class

From Futility Closet

Before eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve either knew that disobeying God was evil or they didn't.
If they didn't, then they can't be blamed for disobeying him.
If they did, then they already possessed the knowledge that God had forbidden.
Either way, God could not justly banish them from Eden.
(Adduced by Richard R. La Croix.)

Therefore, consider it, there is no Original Sin! Catholics rejoice!

That the concept was all based on a bad translation into the Latin vulgate by St Jerome, and then promulgated by St Augustine, coming into vogue and indeed doctrine, around the time of the Second Council of.... what was it again? -- let me think -- that's right, Orange.

What later came to be known as the Pelagian Heresy stems from the argument over whether infants needed to be baptised or not. Pelagius was a promoter of the idea that man was inherhently good and could guarantee his place in heaven by doing Good Works. The Establishment were of the opinion we are all macciato (which is to say massa damnata by virtue of FUCKING BEING THE ACTUAL ORIGINAL SIN, not plucking fruit without a license) and that we can be saved By The Flying Fickle Finger Of The Grace of God alone. In other words, the established said, if you are doomed, you're fucked no matter what. It's all a crap shoot, anarchy rules, God'll either take you to heaven on a whim or He'll not. This eventually led to the Protestant work ethic, whereby success on this earth meant that God approved of your actions, no matter what, which would mean that Donald Trump is the New Messiah, right?

You know, now I think about, maybe I did raise this conundrum at Christmas Dinner once. No doubt I received the usual "Burn in Hell, Heathen! More sparkling burgundy?" response.


I know Calvinists and Baptists have all have this down pat, but each generation of us Catholics get brainwashed as kids so that we know fuck-all about other religions and the discovey of these truths of history comes a shock to those with questioning minds in successive generations.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Wanchai Only Makes Sense When You're Drunk

On diet coke on Friday night because of the antibiotics, it was just too weird. I had no idea what anyone was saying, why they were going, why staying, why chatting up this girl not that girl, why crossing the road here, going in there, down there, up there... No clue. I was not drunk.

Observing Wanchai through the aberration of sobriety renders it incomprehensible. It is a heterogeneous entertainment district; beer-bars, lounge-bars, chill-out bars, dance clubs with live music, and outrageous girlie bars interspersed with each other around a city block and a half. Only when you're suitably pissed does any of it make sense.

The forces and gradients of Wanchai's social interactions waver into your vision as the drinks go down, their mists coalesce and become alcohol clear, their purposes potent. You must always face down the fall-line of thirst, of hunger, of sport (usually another "important" soccer match is being shown at bar somewhere), of where the best and cheekiest bar-girls are, where the right beers or vodkas are sold, of somebody-else's unspoken crazy idea to listen to live music when en-masse your table of misty-eyed Mancunians arises and moves to Amazonia. But ultimately, as the hours advance towards morning, one or two break away in the thrall of their final surge of energy for this night's session, then another is missing, then another, till all have been called away, save those who have no strength left, or who have peaked too early... the last of the gallants, sucked by the currents of a spiralling vortex, follow the flow for the satiation of their most basic earthly appetites, down the last run for the night, towards lust...


Just some ideas for further elaboration... (and removal of purplish passages.)


Ah, Hong Kong

Ah, Hong Kong! From the adrenaline rush of exiting your seat and getting off first, being first to the travellator, to customs, to the luggage carousel, to the train door (the 23 minutes to get your breath back), to the ticket turnstiles, and arriving first at the taxi queues... It's just a charge that takes over.

After I arrived, the first two days were gloriously clear. Here is the view out my window at the Excelsior late on Friday afternoon.

Then, on Sunday, the wind changed and came in from the north-west, bringing in tonnes of China's atmospheric factory shit.

Flann O'Brien's 'Third Policeman' amused and amazed me when I read of the apocryphal crack-pot scientist DeSelby, whom the narrator is researching and whom he continuously quotes. "Night is optical illusion caused by an accretion of black particles in the air," was one of DeSelby's typicaly weird pontifications. Maybe DeSelby and his decendants have set up shop in southern China and gone into the brown air particle industry with all their might...

And meanwhile another scandal* of the collusion of local governement and business at the expense of the health of local chinese arises. Precis: Factory in Hunan is pumping cadmium, etc... into local water supply. Several dead, many dying or ill.


* requires payment for full article, either that or have copy placed on your hotel room's door-handle each morning.

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