Thursday, 22 November 2007

haiku. times two. times two. plus two.

So it's been a while
A long time since I've posted
What was the problem?

Well, I sold my car
Bought a new apartment, and
Got all mortgaged up

Then I bought a Wii
And learnt I need a new job
CareerOne, here I come

Then I got some suits
For the blokes in my wedding
And looked for a cake

So now I'm buggered
By which I mean tired, not that
I've changed my lifestyle.

And, just because, my favorite haiku, by Harold Morland (from memory):

Why does water laugh
While draining away, as if
At some private joke?

Friday, 19 October 2007

Ummm... sorry.

Jaysus - I just re-read my last post. What a load of self-indulgent shite! You may say that that's the point of a blog, but to that I say nay! If I was writing for self-indulgence I'd do it on paper. I'm trying to learn how to entertain, and that certainly wasn't how it's done.

So, anyway, sorry about that.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Slimy, yet satisfying

I'm feeling chipper today, despite having half an assignment to finish tonight and only archiving to occupy me at work. Chipper's got a big smile on his face as well. Lovely obliging fella, he is.

There's a few reasons for this. Firstly, I'm enjoying uni again! If I could give the backstory of my state of mind when by the time I finished engineering a few years ago, you'd see how big a step that is. I'm enjoying learning, it's all staying in my head again, and I'm finally making meaningful additions to the structure of knowledge I spent so long building. And I'm studying statistics! I figure that if I can feel this way with stats I can with anything.

Also, I may have had a small revelation last night. An epiphany, even. I've always wanted one of those. A big clump of stagnant thought has cleared from the drainhole of my mind, and the interweb was my plunger. Or my Drano. One or the other. Anyway, we've both been doing a lot of thinking lately, ever since our local church offered for us to get married there.

Neither I nor my Beyonce are particularly religious. We don't go to church, not even at Easter or Christmas. And after thinking and talking for a couple of weeks, I came to the decision that it's really not for me. It's a pity in a lot of ways, cos my values seem to line up fairly well with the church's, but my beliefs really don't. I'm a scientist at heart, and have been as long as I can remember. Evidence is important. At the least I want an internally rigourous system. The Bible has a lot of very worthwhile messages, but consistent it ain't. And the administration of the Church(es) is even worse.

Having said that, there are a lot of things in the Christian service that I feel are the right way to do things. There's a gravity and a solemnity about the ceremony that's often missing from civil services. The Christian ceremony is about the promise, not the celebration - that's what the reception is for. Of course, if my Beyonce decides she wants a Christian service, I have no problem doing it for her.

This acceptance that I'm not a Christian in spirit was a fairly big realisation for me - it was something I'd contemplated only a small amount previously. For the most part my metaphysical musings had leaned towards morals and values rather than deities.

So, in an effort to see what other wedding ceremonies are like, I looked up Buddhism, a point of view I'd always felt a bit of an affinity with. I read the basic premises, and said "yes". I read a bit more, and said "yes" (a bit louder this time). I read how Buddhism states that life should be lived, and said "Bloody oath!" Or words to that effect. I'm going to find out a bit more, anyway. At the very least it'll while away a few lunch breaks that I'd otherwise only spend surfing the almighty tangle of gossamer outside my laptop.

Finally, I'm feeling happy because I had the best weekend I've had in years - we had our engagement drinks at the Gunn Island Hotel in Middle Park on Sunday afternoon - lovely high ceilings, big windows, plenty of couches, a good 14 different beers on tap, sunshine, and about fifty of our friends. It was fantastic - we'd set aside my footy tipping winnings to buy the first round, and it's amazing how happy people are when you greet them with "So what can I get you to drink?" Lovely, lovely day - we all need to do that more often. This is the atmosphere we want for our reception.

Oh, and I found out that I've got family coming out from England for the wedding. And because I've been doing a lot of riding lately, my formerly twig-like legs have been developing calves, so I might wear a kilt for the wedding.

It's all happening, really. If the report I finished for work is positively received, I really don't see how things could get much better today. To infinity and beyond!

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

No time to think of a title

I think it's impossible to describe the sensation of time without using the word "time" to describe it. We have only physical analogues to the sensation of duration, with the result being that if these are avoided in the hope of being precise, anything written merely sounds obvious and self referential. So I'm going to stick to analogies. And anyway, they're more fun to make up.

So, it's October. And it's been nearly a fortnight since the last post. Weeks are moving so fast at the moment, and I have only sporadic moments of realisation that time is flying past, like I'm a stone skipping across a lake. Time has been flying like an arrow, and the fruit flies have been quite happy with their bendy yellow thing. Or maybe someone tried throwing one as some sort of biological boomerang and found that you can never, in fact, get it to come back.

Why do some times feel like this? It doesn't really seem to me to be connected to particular enjoyment of life - relationship matters are going fairly well, obviously, and health and exercise efforts are proceeding apace, but work is really quite boring and unsatisfying at the moment. I'm wondering about moving on, but with my nuptials brewing (that sounds like a bodily function, doesn't it?) and a mortgage impending, it might not be quite the time. Incidentally, I looked up the etymology of "mortgage" - it comes from the Latin for "dead pledge". I have to keep paying until I'm dead?! No wonder I feel a vague sense of doom.

I think a balance is needed to ensure that a required personal velocity in time is maintained, enough to prevent an irrecoverable slowdown that results in sinking into the murky depths instead of skipping over it. However, move too fast and there isn't time to contemplate that which you're moving across and connecting with in random accidents and nudges.

I don't think I'm going to solve this one now. And ironically, or possibly appropriately, or maybe both, I can't stick around to write about it any more. But my aim is make sure I touch down (however briefly) in the wonderfully warm and scummy pond that is Blogger much more often than I have been.

One last thought - I've been doing a fair bit of riding lately, training to take part in the Half the Bay in a Day ride later this month - 100km of hills and headwind. While I'm riding I find I can relax my mind a great deal and concentrate on nothing in particular. However, I'm starting to worry about my default mental setting. I keep getting snippets of songs stuck in my head - they repeat on a seemingly endless loop until they either get replaced with another sample, or something unexpected happens that shakes me out of it. Not too much of a problem, you say? Au contraire, mes amis - the songs aren't quite random. We kept getting passed by proper cyclists in far too much lycra, and I had Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" in there. "To the left, to the left..." We started passing other pretend cyclists (like us) and I had Marcy Playground's "Coming Up From Behind". But only ever two lines, over and over. And then (worst of all), in a particularly quiet stretch, I got "On the Road Again" in my noggin. But not just any version, oh no. I got Donkey, from Shrek, doing that irritatingly jaunty "On the road again... Hm hmm hm hmm hm hmmm...", because they're the only words I know! Please - kill me now. I can't take another week of that. The risks of wearing an iPod while riding on the road are seeming more and more reasonable.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Are you talking to me?

So it's been a while, huh? I've got that peculiar feeling I get when I run into someone that I haven't seen in a long time, and I'm not sure what we have in common any more. There's some superficial catch up chat for a while, and then (because I'm not very skillful at small talk) there's a bit of a gap in the conversation, as it slowly permeates that we've grown apart. Maybe we realise that, truthfully, we weren't really that close in the first place, that the previous friendship had been forced upon us through unchangeable circumstances - lectures, labs, shifts at a part time job. Maybe we never actually talked much, but merely had many friends in common. Maybe there was a reason we stopped talking that had faded into the misty marshland of memory. Perhaps nostalgia had tainted recollection with a vaseline lensed pink blur, romancing reminiscence with a rosy burnish like a thin coat of paint over an ugly mural.

Or not. Maybe we've just been busy. Maybe things have been getting on top of us - the ever multiplying responsibilities of growing up. Life. Job. Career. Family. Fucking big television. Washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Relationships. Loan repayments. Mobile phone, iTunes, study and petrol prices. Always more, always a list, always choices and priorities. Where do you fit in? Somewhere near the top? Ahead of writing? Yes. Ahead of servicing my bike? Probably. Ahead of assignments due this week? Probably not. Catch up this weekend? Sounds great. Friday's out - Saturday? Maybe - need a rest after the last few weeks. Sunday? Busy. How it goes, I suppose.

Of course, we could just settle back into friendship like a warm foot into an old moccasin. A little wiggling may be required to get that perfect position, but it's easy, and there's a confidence that this is how it's meant to be, that there is a perfect position to recover. These type of shoes you never want to throw out. I had a pair that I got in grade four that I finally let go on Sunday - they were more hole than shoe, but oh so comfy. They'd stretched from a size eight to a size twelve.

So what are we? I try to keep up with you. I read and I comment. I try to write, but writing also has a priority which may be usurped by upcoming exams, house hunting and wedding planning. But we're still good. Maybe my priorities are wrong - it's happened before. Perhaps some reorganisation is in order. Happiness - first. Everything else - next. What brings happiness? Well, that's the question... Reading and writing seem to be right up there. Something to think about. Helping people directly. Not in the delivery of public projects way I'm doing at the moment, but in a "What is your problem? Right, let's work on it together" sort of way. SD's post reminded me of some things I'd been thinking about a while ago - time to get onto those, I think.

So anyway, the attentive readers may have picked up that my girl agreed that I looked like a pretty good bet for the rest of our lives. I'm a lucky man. I'm getting married, and she's the most beautiful girl in the world (cliches are cliches because they work). Bring it on.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Music and Language

I've started listening to Miles Davis recently, after following Harry from The Cat Empire through his various side projects. Harry is a strangely charismatic person on stage. Felix, the other frontman, projects or affects an air of confidence and clarity - he knows why he's there, he knows what he's doing, and he knows how it's supposed to sound. Harry, however, draws attention because it seems that no-one, not the band, sometimes not even Harry himself, knows what he's going to do next. What he does may not always fit perfectly, but bloody hell it's fun to watch.

That sort of flow s something I wish I could do more often. I'm an extremely analytical person. It seems to be my natural tendency, and it's been reinforced for so long through school and university (where the majority of my studies were science and maths based) that I can't switch it off. This isn't a bad thing - it's taken me a long way, and it's a very powerful tool to have in my mind. The problem is, as Mark Twain noted after learning to pilot the Mississippi, once you understand something it seems to lose a sense of beauty that, to me, arises from the lack of understanding. Without understanding something, the mystery that is inherent becomes mystical, perhaps because it can't be understood, only experienced. I think Harry understands this, or at least knows how to not try to understand it and to feel it instead.

Today, as I was thinking about this, I realised something about the way I listen to music. I love having music as a soundtrack to my life - I think walking through Melbourne city in Winter with my iPod on is amazing - it doesn't separate me from the world, it gives an endless variety of contexts for the scene I'm in. It can change the whole mood of a landscape. This feeling comes most with music that either I know very well, or music that has not words, which brings us nicely back to Miles Davis.

I think that I might reach this flow that Harry seems to find so effortlessly on stage by moving through analysis and out the other side. With music that I know extremely well, I've extracted all the meaning that I can, and all that's left is the immediate experience. With wordless music, jazz in particular, there is very little to analyse in the first place, so this 'experience rather than understand' state arrives much faster.

This has given me hope. I've been thinking lately about James Joyce as I read Ulysses. It's a very dense book, with allusions coming faster than I can comprehend, and passages of extreme beauty. I often wonder how Joyce came up with his lyricism - the short stories he wrote at 25 I would happily accept as my life's work at 70. But then, while reading the scattered sentences composed variously in Greek, Latin, French and German, as well as Gaelic phrases and words he invented to fit meaning he needed, I had an epiphany - something Joyce would have appreciated. He reached his flow of language by understanding language so implicitly that he didn't need to analyse to experience the words he wrote, he just knew what words were required - the mental equivalent of muscle memory.

So what this says to me is that I can learn to write beauty.

I see words as objects - when I argue I become more and more precise and less and less emotional - it all hits me afterwards. I'm extremely careful with the words I choose, because I can see and feel the effect that they have on people. But maybe if I embrace this and learn as much about language as I can, I'll be able to find the words I want to express the feelings I have. I won't have to choose the words - I'll just know what's needed. That's what I want, and that's what I need.

In other news, I'm going to propose to my girlfriend on Saturday.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Art of the Quickie

Jaysus, I've been busy this last week. My Girl and I are looking at buying an apartment - the next Big Step. And yes, I've started looking for rings. Course that's stopped over the last week, which is a bit of a problem, cos MG would like a ring as soon as possible, and she's a little stressed cos it looks like we'll buy an apartment before she gets a ring. Unfortunately the reason the ring has been delayed is because we're looking for somewhere to buy. What a tangled web we weave...

Anyway, this running around meeting mortgage consultants, banks and finance companies, not to mention inspecting apartments and going to auctions, has left me a little brain-dead. I generally need maybe an hour of downtime per day - this may be reading, going all vague while plugged into an iPod (or both) or something that just generally lets my brain wander off on its own for a while. I tend to catch up on brain-wandering time on the weekend, but that's not happened for about a fortnight now, and my work lunchtimes are becoming sacred. I make scary faces at people who approach me, especially if they've got a piece of paper in their hand, and they leave me alone. Unfortunately, my blogging has suffered as a result.

So, between house hunting, ring shopping and the potential job offer I got yesterday, things are a little up in the air. The job call was out of the blue - it was from a very good company in a somewhat interesting area of engineering. Unfortunately I don't know if I want to keep doing engineering. I'm studying psychology part time while I work full time, and I'd really like to move into that area. I think I need direct contact with people I'm helping - that's the aspect that really appeals to me (as well as the biological science aspects). Health psychology looks like an excellent field at this stage - we'll see how it goes. My marks are good enough so far, so I'm hoping I've got a good chance for post-grad study. One major problem I've noted is that I may have to return to the bottom of the ladder as far as position and pay go if I move industries completely.

I'm also waiting for my annual review at my current job to see what they think I'm worth. This should have been done more than two weeks ago. Instead, one of the two directors required to make a decision on these matters has wandered off to Scandanavia for a month, so I'll get an answer in August sometime. This doesn't seem so bad until I say this: I'M THE ONLY PERSON THEY HAVE TO REVIEW. It's a funny little company - there are two directors and me. How hard is it to organise two hours to talk to me, talk to each other, and then let me know what they thought? This sort of thing has been happening more and more lately - another reason the potential job call raises a few issues. Obviously my review has a direct bearing on my conditions under a mortgage, and the associated value of whatever we'd like to purchase.

So, between possibly changing industries and associated pay issues, signing a mortgage and associated deposit and income requirements, actually finding somewhere that makes it worth signing a mortgage, possible job offers with likely pay rises, delayed reviews with unknown decisions on pay reviews, finding a ring and desperately pondering what the hell is going to happen to Harry, I'm pretty much over it.

That wasn't really a quick post, huh? I think I need a drink. Or twelve.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Harry Potter and the Great Expectation... No, Wait - That's Been Done

So I like Harry Potter. I'm counting down the days until book 7 comes out. Get over it. There are worse things I could be hanging out for. A trend of wearing red and green without something in between. Michael Jordan's next comeback. Michael Jackson's next tour. The apocalypse.

What can I say? I'm excited! Whoa... Better be careful - that felt like a heart flutter. I'm deliciously apprehensive. There's a lightning-shaped twinkle in my eye. I'm constantly contemplating character conundrums. I'm flirting with farcical facts that figure prominently in the paperback palace of my mind. I'm thinking up theories about horcruxes, hippogriffs, Hermione and high heels - I've said too much. You will disregard that last remark. Move to strike. So ordered. Denny Crane.

Is it wrong that I'm excited about the page count? Book 7 looks like being the longest in the series. This is a big deal for me. I read quite fast. I like reading fast - it keeps the sense of pace and action that some books need. The downside, of course, is that books are often over far too quickly. So I read them again. And again. I read books like movies. I've been asked "Why read a book twice? You know what's going to happen." My response: I know that Leo dies at the end of Titanic, but that doesn't stop me leaping around the room yelling "The tard is dead! Arnold, you're a twat! And you almost ruined The Beach for me!" whenever I see his sad little face fade into the depths. Or something like that. Regardless, more pages = more Harry Potter goodness.

Maybe I'm more excited about the story being all wrapped up in a neat little package. I can generally find at least one thing in a book that is worth taking away and thinking about - whether it be storyline technique, characterisation, subject matter, dialogue, whatever. There are very few books that have absolutely nothing to offer. There are many in the Harry Potter series. The series picks a tone that is, strangely enough, reminiscent of Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (although you probably couldn't rebuild Dublin from its pages). By not using the first person narrative, but not acting as a completely impartial omnipresent observer, J. K. only goes inside Harry's head. This leads to a narrative somewhere between the first and third person, with the reader learning as Harry learns, a very effective way to keep an interest in the storyline. And no, it's not called a second person narrative. No one likes a smartarse.

The other aspect of the series that has confronted me the most is the development of the story. Sometimes I listen to an musician and think "Why has no one else come up with that?" Some melodies are so simple and obvious, so right, that it makes me shake my head and wonder why it took this long. Mathematicians feel this way when a simple proof is given to a complex problem, especially if the problem has been around for a while. J. K. has a gift for picking ways forward from plot situations that are the most true, and that resonate with readers. This is an incredible talent, and something I aspire to. It's a strange feeling when you reach a state like that, what Aristotle called "flow", even if only in random peaks. You know what to do next - it's obvious. Sometimes it takes trial and error, but when the right course of action presents, you feel awake. It's a lovely warm wet slap in the face, like an espresso. It's a great feeling. Again, something to work towards.

I could go on like this for quite a while, but my lunch break is never long enough, and I still need to reread books 5 and 6 to prep for the big day, so I'll leave it there. But picture me, round at my local bookstore next Saturday morning, rain, hail or, well, rain. This is Melbourne in July, after all. I'll have my free hot chocolate for pre-ordering the book, and I'll be quivering in anticipation next the furry little freak holding the broomstick. Or maybe I'll just be shivering. Melbourne, July, remember? And no, I won't be dressed up. I'm far too dignified for that sort of childish behaviour.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Designing intelligence

Well, mist1 has once again produced an thought-provoking and insightful (and inciteful) comment, whether she meant to or not. So I'm going to run with it.

Mist1 reminisced about her younger, smarter days. Days when she owned a protractor, and probably even knew how to use it. But those days are gone, she said. They've been set adrift on memory bliss, or some other soft focus setting of fond recollection and nostalgia. Probably with 80s music and drum machines as a soundtrack. Possibly Kenny Loggins, maybe even the whole Top Gun CD. But it's gotta be the special edition - we need that "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" goodness. It's a target rich environment, Mav.

But I'm not sure it quite works like that. For me, golf is a wonderful analogy for life. I've played maybe 10 times in my life, and I can remember having a wonderful time doing it. There was one shot in particular that I hit off the 10th at Tarhatuan with a driver I'd borrowed from my dad, that was beautiful - it lazily soared, spinning gently in the breeze, before alighting just off the green as softly as a hummingbird with a sprained ankle.

But then, if I really think about the time I've spent playing golf, I realise that for every great shot there were twenty others that left me searching through trees and bushes trying to find that sneaky little fucker of a ball that had managed to hide itself under a leaf just to see that little vein that starts pulsing in my forehead in situations like that.

High school is a good example of this view. I tend to have a fairly rosy view of how things were. But really, it wasn't all that good. School was easy, yes, but the whole social thing was a bit of a mystery. Still is, to a point. Small talk is something that happens to other people, as far as I'm concerned. When I meet someone I just ask questions. Not in a shallow or facetious way - I really am interested, and it's amazing the things you can find out about crocodile DNA if you ask probing questions to a South African in a hotel bar in Switzerland (true story). Plus, she was hot. Anyway, all those years are a bit glossed over. As T. E. Lawrence noted, the passage of time seems to have bleached out men’s stains. I don't know what he thought about the women.

So why does it seem harder these days? Am I becoming more stupid as I get older? I don't think so. I don't think anyone does. I think it's a trick of the perspective. There are a biological changes in the brain for a few years after birth and in the lead up to death caused by old age (I've studied a bit of developmental psychology - my second degree. I got bored), but for the most part intelligence seems to be fine tuning what you've got once it grows. The MRI scan below shows what happens to an infant's brain if cerebrospinal fluid doesn't drain properly (on the left) - there are case studies of people with this condition (hydrocephalus) showing that mental ability is not necessarily affected by the resultant lack of brain tissue.

So why do other people seem to get thicker as they get older? It seems to be habit rather than biology, and I've got a few ideas of bad habits that people get into.

Lack of interest - this is the biggest one for me. I find it incredibly hard to focus on things if I find them boring. This explains why I'm writing a blog entry instead of the report I'm supposed to be finishing. It's why I want to get out of engineering and into psychology, even though it may mean going back to the bottom of the career pile. It's why Top Gear is a top show, and why Big Brother is abysmal this year. Get thee behind me, Killeen! It's a mental discipline issue, and I seem to be more mental than disciplined these days. Something to work on.

Lack of practice - I can still do times tables off the top of my head, but my addition and subtraction skills are wandering off into the sunset on a palomino. I was best at these when I worked in retail during uni - I could work out the change required in less time than it took me to type the total in to the register. I was quite proud of that - a sneaking little pride that knew that no one else would appreciate or even understand it, but that I treasured anyway, like a secret superpower. I was more than met the eye.

Fear of change - deliberately avoiding new situations. This one really pisses me off. What else is life for? No change = no life. Simple. It's a balance - routines are necessary, but with too much routine you end up believing in the routine and not what it's trying to do. The means but not the end. That path leads ever down into stagnation.

Lack of confidence in their ability to learn - I've done a fair bit of tutoring for primary school and high school kids, and the number of them that don't learn things because they've convinced themselves that it's too hard is just incredible. It usually took about three sessions to break them out of the habit, and then their faces would light up like a mobile phone taken off keylock. They enjoyed learning. I've been heading down this path for a while, now, and one reason I've started to write is to show myself that I can learn new skills, and learn them well. It's a confidence thing.

Really, I don't think people stop being smart - I think they stop using their intelligence creatively (which could be designing a new pump, taking up painting or learning to use html - it's all the same, really). Losing creativity is something that SD has talked about (hyperlink! Woohoo!), and it's something that got far too little focus when I was learning. All I know is what works for me. If I can find something that works for me and other people, I think that's a good thing. And that's what I'm trying to do.

I've got a feeling this won't be one of the entries I'm proudest of - the content's there, but the execution is a bit lacking. But I'm here to learn, so it's all worthwhile. I'm aiming at two entries per week at this stage. It might be only one this week - this one took a fair bit of thinking - but every author interview I've read says that it's more important to get it out and revise than to not get it out at all. Baby steps!

Friday, 29 June 2007

Why am I here?

Well, that got off to a good start. I brainfarted something out for my first proper post, and got a comment from the exquisite but slightly oddways Mist1 (I'll figure out how to embed links later - it's Friday afternoon and I'm over it. She's in the sidebar. Who am I talking to? She's my only reader.) I was all like "WTF?" and she was like "Protractor, huh? That's cool..." and I was like "No, seriously, like, WTF?" and she was all "Just take a breath" and I was totally like, something, or, whatever.

Anyway, it wasn't expected. And it's actually sort of buggered things up. Cos I had it all worked out. I was going to blog quietly, starting small, just writing about things that I find interesting, or that may or may not have happened to me. I was prepared to toil diligently, saving snippets of stories and sagas to slide smoothly into prose. I was willing to suffer for my art. I hoped to get noticed by some of the people in my small collection of links, most likely through clicking on my name above a comment that I had left on their pages in a subtle but sophisticated spot of self-promotion. I expected this to take time - I envisaged months of solitary composition before one day finding a little nugget of communication from someone reaching out to say "Hello! I'm here too! You're not working in vain! And stop leaving those bloody comments on my blog - they're not funny and they're not clever!"

But now I've got a comment. Two, in fact (not counting mine, cos that'd be sort of self-referential and a bit sad). Where do I go from here? This may present a problem. I started this to practise writing. Having comments is a bonus. I have this idea that it would be better to write a great book and have no readers than to write something shite and sell millions of them. Of course, Dan Brown might disagree. Anyway, now I've received instant gratification. And I've got a feeling that these little buggers could get addictive. Constant vigilance! That's what I need. And the new Harry Potter. I need that too.

So I'm on my guard, all you sneaky... reader... you. And don't think I'm letting your attention, flattering as may be, go to my head. I've got a plan. Options. Stragety and tictacs. And I'm watching you. I don't need your validation - I'm in this for the art!

Hey Mist1, can you let me know if this post is any good? Cheers.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Where did I go? Why do you care?

It seems like a good time to do another entry - if this page was a child DHS would have taken it off me by now. I'll try to pay better attention to its literary needs, run the spell check over it regularly and give it a dose of grammar if it's feeling a bit under the... um... server? This analogy is working about as well as a fish wearing a... Well, let's just say it's shite. Note to self - work on analogies.

It's time for a holiday. My Girl and I are looking at wandering away for a long weekend - a full-blown mini-break! (Bridget was such a twat in the second movie - what the hell did they think they were doing? Dickheads.) Maybe up to Sydney, maybe to Queensland - not sure yet. There's lots of people to catch up with and get delightfully sloshed with. Or perhaps just smashed. I think the difference between sloshed and smashed has nothing to do with the amount of alcohol - it's all in the levels of exuberance and geniality that someone displays under the influence - it's the difference between nodding off and passing out. Between hurling in the front yard and on the dance floor. Nature plus nurture plus alcohol equals extreme concentration to avoid looking too drunk, or not caring how drunk you are. Regardless, both can lead to vom vom.

In general, sloshed = genial and slightly restrained ("Maybe it's not such a good idea to fall asleep in the toilet. Ooh, that couch looks comfy..."). Smashed = unrestrained and wildly exuberant (Jaysus I love you. I love you. You're so pretty..." *wipes mouth* "Sorry 'bout your shoes..." *falls over*).

The exception to this rule would be goon - I don't think it's possible for anyone to be elegantly drunk after four litres of chateau cardboard. Especially if drunken from a spinning clothesline. Goon of Fortune! Where's Baby John when you need him?

The difference between the two can also be measured using a protractor. An average lean greater than 15 degrees from vertical = smashed. Less = sloshed. If you find yourself hovering around the 15 degree mark, you may be in the curious transitional zone known as smoshed. This boundary layer is the region in which you may find yourself elegantly stumbling, and holding entirely rational conversations with people who cannot understand a word you are saying because of the slurring. You'll notice, but you won't care. It's a lovely state - trouble, like a bird, flies away. It returns later and attacks you in a phone booth (as Hitchcock foresaw), but it's a lovely state, all the same. It is my goal to reach and prolong this state on Saturday during a winery tour around Echuca.

And away we go...

Wednesday, 13 June 2007



Now that's just pathetic.



That's a bit sad, really.