Saturday, July 30, 2011

Check Please...

At that time I advanced the idea that the formation of a clear mental image of external objects is accompanied by a reflex action on the retina, making it possible to read thoughts and even to project the images conceived on a screen and render them visible to an audience. This would be of inestimable consequence on all human relations but the idea can not be realized until some way is found to lay bare the retina. Continued reflections on this subject led me to evolve apparatus for transmitting instantaneously true vision without any moving devices, and in 1900 I had already solved three of the problems which confronted me, namely: to individualize and isolate a very great number of channels or "nerves"; to convey to the receiving apparatus energy in sufficient amount, and, to make the vision of the moving images independent of distance.

- Really, Nic? Please continue. [looks around, waves hand]

Another distinction is that my system is based entirely on resonance, while in present practice reliance is placed chiefly on amplification by auxiliary devices generally consisting of various forms of vacuum tubes which have been brought to remarkable perfection.

- Fascinating, fascinating.

- Waiter!!


Friday, July 29, 2011

"... the fiscal crater in which Washington languishes was dug in enormous measure by an economic slow down that preceded [Obama] and by the tax cuts and military campaigns of [George W. Bush]."
Frank Bruni, International Herald Tribune, July 20th 2011. (and presumably the NYT)

Tax breaks for the rich and reduced benefits for the poor? Fair dinkum, are Republicans and the Tea-party extremists fucking crazy? All the evidence points to a resounding 'Yes'.

Fuck Hitler, someone should back in time and assassinate Ayn Rand. Or Leo Strauss. Or John Locke, or somebody.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Knocking The Top Off

Bruce tells E@L he had a massage, sans happy ending in Chiang Mai! WTF? It was his frackin' BIRTHDAY - thank you Facebook! - but after his rhythmical back slaps and neck pinch, nothing. He gets dressed, walks out in a huff, determined to do better.

Tromps down the street to the least likely to be honest place, in the dark heart of Loi Kroh Road, where a short, dumpy but nice personality mamasan calls out to invite him in for a "massage". She points down to a shanty room at the back of what was once (like last week) a travel agency judging by the posters of Dubrovnic on the walls.

"You wan massage? 60 minute, 90 minute, oil, Thai, foot massage."

"No, no," he says. "I want a happy ending, forget the massage. I want a blow-job or a chuck-wow. Already had a massage."

She looks at him for a second, doesn't ask him to repeat the request, but leads him by the hand inside. They go past uninterested, bored girls playing with eye-make in mirrors or plucking at a bit of guava peel caught in a tooth-gap, all too unenthusiastic and unattractive to get a job elsewhere; they don't even look up.

"Special service, for you," whipsers mamasan. "But we take our time. No rush, have 60 minutes of massage time."

60 minutes was not required.


At Club "Paradise". The usual. Reliable, predictable, professional, nice and friendly.

As the other girl was showering, one was re-energizing her skin with moisturizer (so many showers in a day) and looking benignly on Bruce as he pulled up his underwear.

"I like your cock," she says, unexpectedly wistful.

Bruce looks up at her as she stands on the other side of the bed, briskly working the cheap lotion into her small breast and thin rib-cage, looking at his package, her facial expression completely neutral: she is stating a fact, neither praising, nor criticizing.

"It's not too long."


What do you say after that? Thanks? Yes, so I've heard?

He can't confirm her opinion as, thanks to his his belly, except for an occasional glimpse in these mirrors as it disappeared inside her and her colleague's anatomy, he hasn't seen it for years.

"Too long can hurt. Yours nice."

Nice to know, Bruce supposes.


When Bruce told us this, we completely cracked up... People in the pub, the waitresses, the bar-staff all looked at us. Crazy ang mohs.


On The Road Agin'

I had three days in Barcelona. Then I spent some time in Berlin with a friend from Singapore who's living in Lubeck. Two weeks in Croatia with Izzy et al: Split, Brac, Hvar, Korčula, Dubrovnik (clubbing with Izzy and Vicky, time of my life and no chemicals). That was OK, that was brilliant.


From those heady days in the sun and rain, I came back for two weeks work in Thailand; Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Bangkok. Stepped off the plane then and turned around for two weeks in Australia: Sydney, Brisbane, Sydney again and back for a day in the Gold Coast.

I've just finished(? No i haven't!) packing for the next trip, five days in Tokyo. After that it's three days in Bangkok. And after that three weeks in Australia. Followed by another week in Bangkok giving training on a product I won't have played with except for one of the three days coming up...

I tried to count the Singapore (home) days in this period but I have too many fingers to get a number even close.


Once upon a time I would have been astounded by a schedule like this, and yes, the Europe trip was off the edge of the Holy Scale of Greatness, but this jumping around for work is a pain.

I can't do any tourist stuff (not that un-jaded enough to really care about that - one more night market and I'll go... somewhere else) and I am usually left to my own devices.

That is dangerous because I tend to turn my thoughts inwards and get philosophical. OK, I get a bit ... I was going to say depressed, but that's harsh. Things are sad when you are by yourself for a extended periods in the evenings in unfamiliar hotels. You feel sad. Lonely. If it wasn't for the constant sex it would be depressing.


A boy from little old Geelong going to all these places? Amazing. Sometime I lie by the pool, any pool, anywhere, but preferably and rarely by the pool at my apartment, and smile for no obvious reason, even permit myself a small giggle. This is my expat life, how can I complain?


A drive to Melbourne, Colac (mother's family's home town) or Ballarat was a big deal when I was kid. When a cousin moved to Queensland, there were hushed debates and whispered discussions at family gatherings (the usual hatches, matches and dispatches). Bit funny, that. Why would you go all the way to Brisbane? Strange man.

btw: Sex for sale in Geelong was to be had at Lorraine Starr's massage parlour and exclusive (homeless bums usually not permitted) brothel. Several of my cricket team members held gold cards for the place.


OK, it's midnight, enough waffling (to keep myself off Facebook), back to packing as the flight is at 9am. Trying to decide what I'll forget this time. [My Suica card - Japan rail card with stored credit.]


Friday, July 15, 2011



Can you link your Google+ to your phone calls to your Facebook to your Google Chat to your location to your Twitter to your Myspace to your email accounts to your txts and mmms to your ICQ to your cloud(s) to your AdultFriendFinder to your YouTube to your homework to your World of Warcraft to your Second Life to how often you get a BJ in the 4FoWs to your Flickr and Picasa to your Kindle to your web-cam to your forum to your office network to your Wiki to your blog to your iPod to your Linked-In to your Skype to your Government to the guy who knocks on your door at 4am and asks you to come with him for a little "chat"??

Or is that automatic?



I had booked a rental car for my four days in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, while I was in Sydney last week. When I went to pick the car up at the Brisbane airport, I realized that I has not brought my drivers licence with me. The Hertz guy smiled, shadenfreude, shook his head. Taxis and trains it was. I was not expecting to hire a car when I left Singapore, in fact I made a decision to not bring my licence. Sigh.


I had to zip back down to Sydney for one day in the middle of the Queensland week, and it was an early flight. I was up at 5am. I use the Xoom to check my email. Groggy, really bad cough, I put the Xoom next to the sink and lots of harsh phlegm cuts its way out with each rasping hack and retch, spit muck into the toilet. Again. Take the anti-biotics and everything else, shower, spray anti-stink, dress in yesterday's shirt and jeans (clean chinos need ironing - this a cheap serviced apartment - full laundry in the bathroom), and try to recollect, what day is it today?

As I walked or the door, I wondered if I needed my passport. No, not for a domestic flight, so I closed the door and took the lift downstairs - a Colditz like reception here, three small windows set in a faux-granite wall, each with roll-down aluminium shutters. Harsh. The people there are often surly, yawning, but this emo girl calls me a taxi.

In the correct taxi, after a bit of an inter-South-Asian stoush about whose ride I was, I looked in my man-bag, which seemed suspiciously light. Yep, I had left my Xoom in the bathroom when I was coughing. So that meant no eBooks, no Words With Friends, no sudoku - no great loss, but a pain, considering how much I enjoy playing on it. It'll be there when I get back at least.


Sunrise over Brisbane was superb, awe - real awe, fragile high clouds a brilliant burning orange/red, stippled, no more like corrugated, into waves of darker and lighter intense hues, a bas-relief effect that augmented the three dimensionality of that discrete part of the world into something beyond the artistic, beyond words, almost beyond thought.*

The spooky, mystic, weird thing is that sunset last night was exactly the same. But over there, behind me.

A thought came to me. I remember someone who was talking (in a book?) about living life to the full while you have the chance, asking, "How many more sunrises will you see before you die?"

Thinking about the taxi driver on his morning shift. Me on the red-eye. Way too many.

(* A Samuel Beckett line.)

Anticipating yet another morning in the tea room waiting for the Doc to start the cases I was needed for, I picked up a book to read at the airport, one of Iain M Banks' Culture novels. Fell asleep trying to read it on the flight of course, something about an avatar and a forty year pregnancy, while listening to an Al Di Maeola album...

Kerthump! Did we crash? Where are we? Sydney. I wake up pale, bleary eyed and confused, like Edward Norton in the first scenes in Fight Club.

As I was walking down the aisle towards the exit, the steward called me back. I had left the Banks book on my seat. When I went back to get it from him I realized that I had left my iPod and earphones in the seat-pocket in front of me as well and had to squeeze past the surprised steward in order to go all the way to my seat at the rear (51F) and retrieve them, before they were lost.

Coming forward now down the aisle, I grabbed a newspaper from another seat so that I could do the sudoku and crossword later. I ducked into the toilet in the airport for a slash and I left newspaper on the wash-bench. Echoes of the Xoom.


Not a morning person.


Now I'm trying to stretch my breakfast at Micky's in Darlinghurst for three hours as the list (we doing endoscopy for the last two weeks) has been delayed until the afternoon. I could have taken the 11am flight and get things sorted a bit better in my head. I type most of this on my phone, over Eggs Benny and pot of English Breakfast tea.


The customer was on the ball, my presence was not much use, a bit of a loss really, except for a few tips about contrast agent settings (injections for ultrasound? what next!) which the Doc did appreciate. Easy. My rep and I shook hands and we parted company on the street, he to his office in North Ryde, me to the airport to return to Brisbane, somewhat early, but hey.

A kyphotic old Nun (Sister?), tiny and shrunken, slow motion, climbed into the front seat of the first taxi to come along. She was wearing a full purple/mauve/grey (can't remember, I don't notice these things, I should, I know) gown with a wimple around her face, its veil came back over her head and down her hunched back, the old-fashioned look (these religious extremist and their obsession with sacred and profane, with head-gear, this is illegal in France you know). She was aided by a patient, smiling nurse (sister?) who then sat behind.

The next taxi went to a lady who sorta pushed in front, OK, maybe she didn't see me approaching from down the street a bit, up to where the nun had got in, and she was coming directly out of the hospital entrance. Fair cop. Another taxi lost.

A Chinese driver came along soon. I was so tired, no iPod playing, no book, my phone in my hand. I remember, I was holding it by the edge, the side to my eye, the bottom edge was on my knee, the leather flap covered the screen. I can still see it. I had just sent an email. Roaming charges through the roof. Traffic was a crawl, so the driver went off the motorway and into the web of side streets. I drifted off, lulled by the soft radio, the swearing of the driver, the comfort of the phone in my hand.

With a jerk I awoke. Had we landed? No, here was the airport departure terminal, I was in the taxi still. I scrambled under my butt to find my wallet, secret pocket (private joke), signed the credit card chit, pulled my Dryzabone from under my arm, put my man-bag over ny shoulder and went in to try and get an earlier flight. Cheap tickets, no cannot.

As I move towards the security check I go to fish out my phone, my phone, no secret pocket, not this one, not that one, it's not there, not anywhere, not in the man-bag, not in the coat pockets, not in my back pocket again, not in my man-bag again, not in my coat pockets again.

I have my receipt with the driver's code number, the taxi registration. But not the taxi company, it is not one of the common ones. The Information lady tries to help, cal your number now, but there is no international calls form her phone! The taxi coordinator outside tries to help, he calls the numbers through to the pickup stand, maybe the driver has joined the queue at arrivals. No.

Another taxi driver hands me a card with the Central Cab number, they manage a lot of companies. At Information again, she passes me the phone and I call Central. "Not this one, no we don't handle it. Call the company direct, the number is **** ****."

I call. "Our office hours are 8am to 5pm, please leave a message after the..."

Click. It is 5:05, I kid you not.


So, I am currently 'between phones'.


And I swear, I had already written the first parts of this post before the loss of my phone (well it's not really lost, it's in taxi 1365)


p.s. someone from North Ryde (huh? - no, not my rep!) has it. Expect to see a photo of E@L on page 3 of whatever reincarnation News Of The World, or videos of me cavorting in Wanchai, all over the internet. The SIM is blocked, my passwords have all been changed. Should I ask him to send it to me in Singapore or take it to the Olympus office just around his corner!

In the interim - which phone to get now? Galaxy S2?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Graphographer

I write. I write that I am writing. Mentally I see myself writing that I am writing and I can also see myself writing seeing that I am writing. And I see myself remembering that I see myself writing and I remember seeing myself remembering that I was writing and I write seeing myself write that I remember having seeing myself write that I saw myself writing that I was writing and that I was writing that I was writing that I was writing. I can also imagine myself writing that I had already written that I would imagine myself writing that I had written that I was imagining myself writing that I see myself writing that I am writing.
(Vargas Llosa, 1977: epigraph of 'Aunt Julia And The Scriptwriter', attributed to Salvador Elizondo’s The Graphographer).

My favorite.


I should be writing more. I imagine myself writing more. That's about it.


Friday, July 08, 2011

More About Hats

John Brack, Collins St 5pm

E@L has written about hats before. The significance of hats in Henry James. Himself photographed in a jaunty rakishly angled hat at a Great Gatsby themed party.

Science Fiction author James Scalzi, on his incredibly popular blog Whatever (he doesn't need my plug!), has a post up showing himself and bunch of guys wearing this newly fashionable galericulate* concealment technique to mask their MPB (and to make you look like you think you are a hipster, but actually you know you're not). The two hats on the guys (including Scalzi, wearing glasses) on the right are Panamas, correct? The one on the left, well, I'll pass, but the second bloke from left, the neo-hippy with the man-bag, that classic straw thing, that's something E@L's mother used to wear whilst gardening. LOL. Great fun was had by all I am sure.


And this photo prompted E@L to recall a mental note he made yesterday (and recalling mental notes is like remembering to take everything with him when he packs - i.e. it never ordinarily happens!) when he was looking for a café in the Queen Victoria Building here in Sydney (where he is "working" this week. It's Brisbane next week, with two hops back to Sydney, then a week in Japan, then a week in Thailand, then three weeks back in Oz! E@L will never see his new office in Tampines ever again, he hopes) and noticed a man wearing - a hat.

It was what he believes is a fedora (a type that Humphrey Bogart was fond of - at least in his movies) or maybe it was a trilby. Whatever, as Scalzi would say. It was similar to the type of hats that many men wear in old movies and probably wore at that time on the streets, at least in Melbourne (see above, Brack's absolutely brilliant painting).

Bucking the trend from the white hats of those too scared to take it all seriously, this gentleman was also wearing a dark grey suit (not the black and/or midnight blue of bankers, etc...) with a taupe (?) overcoat (bit blustery here today) and a dark woolen scarf underneath the collar, and his was a medium-dark-greyish hat. He was with two children of indeterminate, not adult who cares, age, and was leaning forward slightly to either admonish, as they no doubt deserved, or advise, which they no doubt required, them. This brought his head-gear to E@L's attention as he almost collided with the family group, and, as the man was rather tall, into his line of sight.

E@L was astonished to observe that the man looked good, natural, comfortable, at home, even, in the hat. It fit like it was meant to be there. None of this rakish, let's pretend we don't take this serious bowlers or top-hats, or white hats, such as panamas of course. This was a man of that glorious future, the 1950's! When men were tough, ready to do things mannish and they didn't push prams.

Maybe E@L recognized something of the authority figure he has been allegedly missing (according to his sister) - his father died in 1957 when E@L was merely a suckling, a mewling and puking infant. Yes, maybe it's because he relates to those old black & white episodes of Superman on TV (the TV was not B&W but mahogany with yellowish, oval speaker grill and bakelite knobs) where George Reeves would take of his trilby (or fedora?), undo his tie with his other hand and duck into a phone-booth to take off the rest of his clothes, purely for crime-fighting reasons.

Authority figure or WHAT! Someone to admire and respect and emulate or WHAT? (E@L often has had experiences of nudity in phone-booths, but hey we've all been there, right?)

Stanley Art

E@L wonders what it would look like if Superman forgot take off that hat. " Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's a man in pyjamas wearing a hat!"

Yep, the man in the QVB looked exactly like how a *real man* (tm) should look. A person from the 50's.

At some point in time (probably, but maybe not, in the future) E@L is going to have to desist from wearing t-shirts, cargo shorts and sandals to work. He's going to get a frackin' fedora (or trilby), get serious, and take it dress like a man from the 50's, and yep, dress and act like someone who is 50+ years old.


* galericulate what a brilliant word!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Rich Get Rich And The Poor Get...

Fifteen years.



Vote neo-con if you want this to stop? NOT!


Saturday, July 02, 2011

Biting Off More Than You Can Chuwit.

"Massage Parlour King" Chuwit Kamolvisit who is standing in the election in Thailand this weekend is an immensely amusing contestant, at least by E@L's deep and meaningful assessment of his road-side posters. Tim at Cultural Snow has used these posters to point out the essential farce that floats across the surface of a particularly dangerous pond - Thai politics.

His post reminded me that I had taken some photos of Chuwit's campaign posters at the last election, just after the (for once) bloodless coup that ousted Thaskin Shinawatra, back in September 2008. And this prompted me on a mission last week to photograph as many of this current election's Chuwit anti-corruption posters around Khon Kaen and in Bangkok. Man, these just crack me up.


Last election the theme seemed to be:

"Chuwit jumping from some mode of transport clutching binoculars in order to root out corruption no matter how inaccessible to public transport."


This election, his theme is more complicated and in many posters feature him holding an old-fashioned car steering-wheel:

"Chuwit confused, with road rage (palm up), tired of driving (from chasing corruption?), holding pongy baby, happy with baby-mauling dog, with road rage (pointing)."

For these posters there are slight variations in composition, hand position, frown or bulging eyes (hence degree of righteous anger), but these ones seem to be the core.

So funny. So tragic.


I meant to ask one the girls at our company in Thailand to translate them for me, but never mind, she asked me out for coffee instead.


The oldest coffee-shop in Bangkok, in a glorious old building at the Phramongkutklao Military Hospital, and my coffee partner / reluctant translator.

(these photos taken using RetroCam app on the GalaxyS)


Reality Bytes

Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse.


If he had known he was going to live this long, E@L would have looked after himself better last night.



Bloody Zynga have taken away Android Honeycomb support. E@L had about ten games going on his Motorola XOOM when it locked up and kept demanding an upgrade, and then the Market said his product was not supported. Bummer. He's sitting here at Spinellis with nothing to do but get depressed. And eat.



E@L was confronted by Bruce last night at about 2:30am in The Living Room @ The Marriott. Bruce became quite heated about the direction of his (E@L's) life, and his skill at, passion for and dedication to taking it way frackin' easy.

"Challenge yourself, use that brain, see how far you can go with your talents and knowledge. You never have truly succeeded until you have failed."

Blah, blah. Chill, dude. E@L challenged him back about his suckered-in capitalist view of personal fulfillment Such success, they brainwash you, can only come by working hard for a company that convinces you to kill yourself for them in order to attain this sense of achievement but doesn't give a fuck about you and will dump you in a heartbeat if it will save them some short-term expense.

It's the old story business advisor who goes to chilled out stall-owner who works just hard enough to make just enough money: he lies in the sun when he wants to, he plays with his family. Business advisor tries to convince him to buy more stalls, hire staff, set up a bigger company, get a factory, list on the stock exchange, get rich, so that when he retires at 80 he can lie in the sun when he wants to and play with his family.

Besides, the loss of Words With Friends is going to make such an effort to achieve, and succeed or fail even harder.



E@L has missed the boat with his lady from a few posts ago. She is already in a "complicated" relationship, according to a Facebook spy. Hey, E@L can be complicated!


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