Monday, December 31, 2012

A seeming utopian toilet thrill ride

We were out at the Canberra airport shopping precinct the other day. For those of you not in the know about 10 years ago, I think it was that, a large discount shopping building was constructed out at the airport. It had about 40 outlet shops for clothing and shoe labels along with cheap discounted books, a large Toys R Us and assorted other businesses. I say had because about 18 months ago they underwent a renovation where a big extension was bolted onto the original giant building that itself underwent an internal refit. 

Deceptions of seeming utopian futures seem to involve a lot of gleaming white passageways. You know the sort of place; slender same-dressed people (1) walking along with either quite purpose or contemplative meandering surrounded by clean, beige walls, often being sighted along seemingly endless corridors designed to give you the viewer a sense of power, accomplishment and unified purpose. I say seeming of course because inevitably you find out the future society made a terrible moral choice to obtain their utopia, such as concealed euthanasia at 30 ala Logan's Run or their super-lengthened longevity is at the expense of the dozen or so clones in the basement levels that are ready to harvest the moment a current organ begins to fail, ala The Island (2). 

So I was at the airport shopping precinct. My IBS component of my fibro (3) had flared up and I felt the need to go. I was in Big W and was worded up on the internal toilet by theWife and went to use it only to encounter an out of order situation. I cursed the fates and a passing staffer told me about the toilet near Dick Smiths that was about five shops up from Big W. 

An impending landing was due and as my guts roiled painfully just below the equator of my convex tum I turned in place and headed for the gaping maw entrance to escape. I marched up the wide passageway—and weirdly kept pace with the staffer I'd just met as she with her presumed partner joining her for lunch head in the same direction—that led to Dick Smith then turned down the corridor that lead to the toilets. Toilets that belonged to the old building before the extension had been added on. And as a result of this expansion and how the arterial systems of customer funnelling worked in the new layout this corridor was a long one. Super long. Like seeming utopian passageway long. 

I staggered along this super long passageway, glowing white with clean walls, as piped in muzak echoed within, the sound bouncing around like the ball dropping through a series of active bumpers in a pinball machine. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it and as I rounded two bends, crossing the threshold from where the extension started and the old building began it was with intense relief that I spied the door to the gents. I slapped back the door, careful to strike it higher than where the hand plate suggested so as to avoid catching germs of other users, and managed to find a stall where the toilet within was clean and without splattered shit chunks or a mound of swollen toilet tissue and piss. Let's just say camera pan left at this point with the audio still going of me crying in twinned pain and relief as a lot of product then quickly moved off the analshelf (4).

With that unpleasantness done, but with the potentiality of more to come, I methodically washed my hands, surgeon style, dried them up then texted theWife as I wearily but relief-laden trod back along the super-long seeming utopian passageway as a song echoing around me reached the chorus bit to say I'd be out the front of Big W instead of tracking her and theBoy within down in case that potentiality became reality. I was in no real hurry so I stopped at the discount book place and immediately dropped cash on two books I didn't really need but instantly tickled my fancy. And it was this purchase that ended the seeming utopian sensibility as, of course, in the seeming utopian future money does not exist. 

Is there a point to this tale? Well, probably not. Except to say seeming utopian passageways may be what our great grandchildren experience in their self-contained arcologies but I hope if that's the case the designers pay heed to the need of the bowel-issue afflicted and install emergency toilet units every fifty metres or so. 

One thing is certain, however. If seeming utopian passageways in the future exist then you'd have to presume that they'd nailed cost-effective robotic cleaning systems, such as automated zamboni machines that only comes out at night, or the future will be built on the backs of the worker class like in Dubai who clomp out during the sleep phase of the elites to methodically attend to the hygiene needs of the corridor systems, before returning to their Chinese-style factory barracks to drink Soma-laced vitamin water that keeps them healthy but in a stupefied daze suitable for unskilled work but preventing them putting the elites up against the wall the moment the revolution comes.
(1) As per the Seinfeld bit about how everyone from the future seemed to have had a vote on what to wear and they settled on the silver v-neck jumpsuit (1a)
(1a) Fuck I love Jerry Seinfeld. He's just such a master of the craft of comedy and together with Larry David he was responsible for his eponymous show, with Seinfeld being one of the great comedy series ever made. Ever, made. Their ability to tie five separate storylines into an entwined conclusion within 21 minutes along with perfectly blended characters ably acted by the finest comedy ensemble cast ever to grace television of Seinfeld, Alexander, Luis-Dreyfus and Richards just made for a perfect blend of comedy. I know the nature of the show—four flawed people locked in a co-dependent relationship whilst fighting with the passage of life—isn't for everyone; they are depressing characters who aren't afraid to wallow in selfishness. But that aside it is from a technical perspective an incredibly rich and layered production of acute excellence. Larry and Jerry and the rest of the cast and crew, I tip my hat to you!
(2) Please also note this previous screed against Michael Bay for a directorial decision he made for Scarlett Johansen not to go topless.
(3) Fibromyalgia, the condition which best describes my collection of semi-extreme body fails of Irritable Bowel Syndrome meets intramuscular aches, pains and rolling spasms.
(4) Ooh will the Aussie Hot Boys website link to this blog again with the introduction of the analshelf?! The recent use of an interrobang indicates my level of excitement at that possibility.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The drive back

theWife does almost all the driving. I tend to get sleepy in cars and if we drive more than 30 minutes anywhere then chances are I will nod off. 

We left theDad's place just after seven in the morning. I promptly went back to sleep and only woke a couple of times until we made the first toilet stop. The next stop was at a McDonald's just on the cusp of the breakfast to lunch menu switch. We'd made it in with just enough time to order delicious breakfast items even though they were now preparing and selling from the rest of the day's menu.

I waited fifteen minutes, leaning against the wall as I waited for the food to be prepared as the breakfast to lunch shift was an evident bottle-neck in the otherwise smooth delivery of food. It was only when I got back to the table I realised that they'd fucked the order up and my Bacon and Egg McMuffin was firmly laced with McDonald's orange cheese, the cheese slice melted nastily throughout the burger. I chucked a tanty-snit and threw it down in disgust, muttering vile oaths against all those responsible. Only I forgot I was seated at a table inside the playground itself with at least half a dozen kids, mine included, peopling the plastic structure that loomed above me and well in ear shot. 

Then it was back on the road and I went back to sleep. It wasn't until 1 pm that I truly woke up. I even drove the final stretch home, winding along the road beside the still-empty Lake George and remembering what a terror drive that stretch was some years before they made it two lanes either way; it had been a twisting narrow ribbon of tar just above the embankment, with double white lines almost the entire length of the lake with no opportunities for cars behind to overtake. Our first car was an ancient red Volkswagen Golf. It was a slow, cumbersome car to drive. We drove it one night on the old road that bordered Lake George, likely returning from a Sydney visit, and by the time we made it to the end and the lanes opened up about seventeen cars then cracked past us, those cars having been trapped behind our doddering old vehicular form as we'd putt-putted along the lakeside road.

As far as a long drive in one day go then it was a pretty good one flecked with only minor irritants; the stuffed-up food order, theBoy having mild snits now and then when an iPod game thwarted his ministrations, and the irritants of the actions of other drivers (1).

Indeed as I slept theWife battled it out with a gold commodore like car containing an elderly couple, with the he part at the wheel. They cut theWife off at one point along a single lane either way stretch of the freeway, then attempted to not let her pass later on. This went on for a couple of hours as they were headed the same way as us. When I finally woke theWife briefed me on the battle and pointed down the freeway. Sure enough there was goldie with their locked in geriatric contents lurking behind us three cars back like a shark trailing a makeshift raft. They eventually carried on without us after we pulled off for fuel and a wee. 

Of course a long drive is only really bearable if the car you're in is not a piece of shit. We had the black car; modern, fast, zippy and blessed with an array of comforts like air conditioning and an auxiliary port so you can play Mp3 players through the stereo system. If we'd taken the shit box, which had been our family car for a good three years before we got the black beast, it would have been a hell drive of epic florid-faced proportions, especially as the AC of the white car died about two years ago. 

I'm glad we're back. The adage 'be it ever so humble there's no place like home' really rings true, especially when you're back in your home shower (2) and washing the ache of the day away. 

Plus our cat sitter, who popped in each day to snuggle O---, was the most-awesome S---, my former colleague from earlier this year. She lives but a five minute drive away and being a truly rooly awesome person accepted our plea for assistance, even refusing on pain of medieval torture any money for her pains. The house in other words had been looked after, the bins were in and the mail was awaiting us on the counter. What a good egg!

Now we drift along for the final days of the year, simply pottering around our house as we prepare for the grind of having to report back to work. Hooray! I love the Xmas to New Years drift; a time of  relaxation and contemplation, both.

I just walked outside before blogging this for the first time that day. The garden lay steaming before me, the land still moist from the Christmas deluge that had dropped on Canberra in our absence. There was the steady buzz of insects, a light wind stirred in the trees and theWife's tended plants were almost overwhelming in greened abundance.

Hey, look at that. I have a hammock...

(1) I did, however, have a bit of a teary rant when I was at the wheel having held in some stuff that had been irking me over the period of the visit back to the old home town. It took a while for it to bubble away. I hadn't realised how much I'd been irked until I started talking about it and it came out in a snarling angry rush (1a). Still I talked it out with theWife as we glided along the freeway, other cars zipping past, and by the time we reached home I felt a lift in spirits. Like the ugly lump had been lanced. So that was a cathartic release!
(1a) Part of it though was from feeling poorly. Without an exercise bike I'd been back to walking to get my daily exercise. Only my ability to walk more than 20 metres without pain has vanished. Towards the end of the 25 minute circuit I'd set myself it was all I could do to put one pain-wracked step in front of another, my feet dragging in the dust along ant hill slaked paths. So that constant physical ache along with food crap—I had more than one incidence of stuck food requiring me to walk it off and yack it up outside as I walked—made for a poor mood level. Fortunately during the visit I was mostly okay, the pain and discomfort thrust to the background by a combo of medication and fun—there's nothing like hanging out with awesome kids around Christmas to lift the spirits with my nieces a pair of delightful, smart, funny girls and theBoy being a gleeful CHRISTMAS IS AWESOME infused five-year-old, as well as getting to hang out with my beloved older brother. But on the drive back, with the irritations of compressed sitting and fatigue landing, I guess that yuck I'd been feeling had added to the invective's release. 
(2) Though there's no dust on my parents' shower. They upgraded the bathroom, naturally enough after us boys had left home, and the shower unit and the shower head combined for some pretty awesome power wash action. You can feel the dirt being water blasted from your pores. You don't just come out clean you came out CLEAN where the word CLEAN has an aurally evident ting to indicate extreme cleanliness.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Xmas stretch

We had a nip up, stay for two days either side of Christmas then leave stay at my old home town, my actual home town being Canberra. Though I admit it's freakish being here because being here seems just so utterly familiar and like home.

There was a fierce rainstorm on Christmas day. At least four times upon entry and (slash) or exiting the house icy cold water from a fat running drip from the roof went down the back of my shirt, torrenting through my sweat-slicked back hair as it ended with soaking into the elastic holding segment of my underpants and leaving me somewhat uncomfortable. I'd also left something outside but wasn't game to run out and check until the worst of it was over, the rain so fearsome in its intensity. My favourite memory was helping theBoy go to the toilet. He needed to do a super wee and we discovered the main toilet was occupado by theWife. Though theDad's house has two toilets his ensuite toilet was distant and involved theBoy risking touching (slash) playing with theDad's stuff. So instead we went outside. As the rain sheeted down, spray from the rain striking the bricks spraying back up on an angle and misting anyone huddling under the overhang of the roof above, I held onto theBoy as he did his super wee, his wee mixing with the centimetre deep water sluicing across the outside brick path. theMum came home for the day from her current digs in residential care. She manned the end of the pine table in the cork-lined kitchen, where she used to spend much of her day back when she lived there. I sat with her for a while and riffed as I do and I was gratified that she managed to basically follow me along in the moment and she still had enough of her inside to gasp 'Oh, Mikey!' in her exasperated way when I said something both mirthful and tinged with the rude. It was nice to see her there but I confess I was worried she'd be sad when she had to go back to the residential care facility. Fortunately she didn't, with theDad riding with her in the maxi cab back to the care place and then shuttling home in his surviving car. 

I also especially loved the Wife's delight at pics theBoy had drawn her in October then put aside for Christmas, theWife now able to open the envelope. I'd forgotten about all the funny stuff he'd drawn like a monster with its memories, little thought balloons for what the monster was thinking with one of the memories being that of a snail; the snail memory of a monster in other words.   

theBrother was home, and together with his former wife and his two kids we all mashed together in a mostly joyous blob, apart from the crap that happens when hurting people collide. But as a friend of theBrother said when they met 'lives are complicated'. They sure the fuck are. The adage of 'you should walk a mile in another man's shoes' really rings true. We're all  complicated people, with fierce love competing with all the biological crap that we fight to control, especially for the men in my family given our unfortunate genetic disposition towards depression. 

Anyway it was good to come up and I am so glad we did. We got to bathe in the glow of people we love and had shed loads of fun. A game of Balderdash around the low circular wooden coffee table I used to tummy spin on when I was three. The kids opening presents both at their mum's place and over here at granddads. The delicious-as-fuck food we had over the day and the delight in being around kids that still had the lust of Christmas magic in their hearts. It was all just a lovely big pile of awesome. And I especially loved being able to sit outside with theBrother and just shoot the shit for hours under a star (slash) cloud covered sky.

theBoy has certainly had a ball. Apart from a bit of a chesty rattle he's been almost continuously joyously happy, especially in hanging out with his smart awesome-as-hell cousins. Today at lunch we asked theBoy what his favourite Christmas memories were. 'Lego,' he said, theBoy the lucky recipient of a decent wedge of kewl-as-fuck Lego from family, 'and seeing Wreck it Ralph'. You just have to love the child's love of glee and both getting stuff and getting to do kewl stuff and being unashamed about it. I feel like I get to relive my childhood through both theBoy and theWife, for theWife's love of play is just such a glowing part of her radiating character. 

We also got to see S--- and his wife and two girls. theWife and I worked with S--- in a part-time job just after uni and he was one of those people you met that you just click with. Like a perfect fit. A man who is passionate about his love of movies, especially comedies and Bond films, and whose memory of awesome movie lines is almost unparalleled. He's also just a tremendously smart funny man and an awesome dad. It's a joy to be on the parent path with him, with his first child and theBoy being just nine months apart in age. 

Tomorrow we head home, back to Canberra, attempting the drive in a single day. theWife will drive first as I drift into a surprisingly restful sleep and then I'll tag out when she needs a break. We should be home by early evening if all goes well. 

theDad noted it had been a nice Christmas, all things considered. It was a blessing because he was getting older, as was theMum and all of us. He intimated that it was probable, and indeed it is, that he or theMum will pass away in the next few years. theBrother told him to stop being morbid, that there's was plenty of time left for these gatherings. But as theDad noted he'd lost a dozen friends this year, with theDad being in his mid-'70s. He's fit for his age, but he has his senior moments and his grip no longer has great strength. He needs naps in the day to catch up with sleep, though lifelong apnea plays a part there as well, and he experiences intermittent gout. He's also living alone once more with his flatmates, a young student couple, having moved on with the rest of their still-studying lives. 

So he's right, this isn't going to last forever. Someday these visits will no longer exist in potentiality; they will become just memories. Mostly wonderful memories. Memories of key moments from a stretch of days like laughing deliriously as you hold on to your squirming wriggling life-loving child pissing out into the Christmas rain.

Monday, December 24, 2012

You know, like that house rule with free parking

Our family played a decent amount of Monopoly as a kid. At first it was the British version—you know, Vine Street, Whitechapel, Fenchurch—but later the Australian version with Rundle Mall being a typical example of sampled urban iconography. We had some house rules in play and one was the oft-used house rule that money lost to penalty squares like Income Tax went into the middle of the board and whoever got to land on Free Parking got to scoop that pool. Which, if you'd rolled a two fives on a get out of jail attempt was the cake under the icing of not just getting out of said jail without having to pay, thanks to the double, but you passed the Monopoly sweet spot of hotels on the orange set which you would have landed on had you'd instead rolled a six, eight or nine (1).

So it was pretty sweet getting some Free Parking action.

In real life that's the sort of free parking action I've been getting of late. Not only free parking but sweet-ass free parking at that. 

My chunk of the org split away from the modern office park building we'd been in. We were located in an area blessed with nice cafes, good parking, even a bank and post office. All it really needed to complete it was a doctor's practice. Instead of this paradise we were sent away to join another slice of the organisation in a different building, as we'd been smashed together because our core reason for being had enough cross-similarity with theirs as to make it worth the attempt. They were in a let's say older building located south of Civic but not past Woden. A building that required significant internal remodelling even though we were still in it (2). 

Out the front of this semi-dilapidated office building are a few car parks. One is reserved for the disabled, the others free for the taking. The catch? These just-outside-the-building hour long spaces are blessed with coin-metered parking. Only the lucky disabled need not pay (3). 

When we arrived, freshly snatched from the bosom of a modern abode and rudely slapped into a sagging structure we soon noticed these parking spaces out the front were rarely used. The reason for that was simple for the building was blessed with access to decent free all day parking that was just a hundred metre walk across an access road. Why pay to park when free parking is literally across the road?

I think I'd been there a month when it happened. Maybe even less than that. One Monday, fresh back to work I noticed the meters had been vandalised. Someone had taken a heavy blunt object to them and split the metres open, their shells split in twain to lie in the long bark-slathered grass. 

I suppose in hindsight the vandals were after the coin that lay within, and likely left frustrated when they soon realised the economics for their likely use were skewed against them and they'd obtained a paltry sum for their exhaustive work. At the time, however, I suspected another motive; free parking.

Let me pause to note, however, that Mikey is a civic-minded fellow. You know those arseholes in the workplace that drone on about safety hazards and volunteer to run the evacuation drills or actualities? We'll I'm one of them (4). So I reported the meters as being busted via our pretty decent TAMS website. A reporting system that is usually pretty good; with signs and potholes or busted sidewalks reported typically being fixed within a month. 

Only it wasn't the case with these meters. I waited, and watched, and soon realised that no one was coming to check the parking because there were no meters to collect revenue from. And no one seemed to care enough to have the meters replaced.

We're a two car family. I drive the hand-me-down, a white piece of shit car my dad very kindly on-sold to us below cost when we wrote off our semi-decent secondhand car in a rear end collision at rush hour that then blocked an entire morning's traffic in the busiest road in Canberra. theWife gets the good car because she's primary theBoy wrangler and his chair is in the good car.

My car's obviously seen better days. The muffler is cracked and it fumes somewhat more noticeably that it should. It's got faded bumper stickers from a now likely-defunct coupon scheme where if they saw your car in traffic and you had the sticker on there then you got some bonus free shit. There's ancient wind-sloped ropes of matted cobwebs clinging in undeath to both side mirrors. The paintwork is cracked and faded. Within a slurry of litter fills the front passenger foot-well—old Diet Coke cans, dead Time magazines, assorted polywraps and paper scraps, and in the back seat foot well is a cracked five litre plastic jug of water, the crack near the handle inexpertly sealed with plumbers tape, the jug kept upright by being braced within a holed cardboard box. 

In short it looks like a piece of shit. A piece of shit I've been parking just outside the building in full view of occupants and incoming visitors for almost the entire year following my return to work. Not only do I almost always get a park there, even well after nine am, the actual building specific parking—parking spaces within a secure area—are way more hassle to use as the parking spaces are narrow and large concrete pillars thrust up like the bumper barriers in a pinball machine ready to be brushed by even the most careful of driver. 

As noted I have a midly-malformed skeleton. I'm still ambulatory but I have my issues, such as a still degenerating natural right hip. One of my more unusual traits is that my tendons snap over my odd arrangement of bones and I make audible click-clack sounds when I walk. I sound like a combination of cartoon skeleton and lobster. 

So some days, as I walk the dozen or so metres to the building, I imagine I'm Zoidberg and I'm crackling along in a Victory scuttle and in through the door; WooooopWoopWoopWoopWoopWoopWoop.

About two weeks ago, B---, a crusty but amiable older guy, came rushing over my pod to tell me he'd seen an inspector chalk the tyres. I scuttled out and moved my car the hundred metres to the actual legal free parking.  I waited a couple of days but the inspector did not reappear. So I restarted my awesome VIP parking adventure, enjoying another two restful weeks of best access parking until we all broke up for hols. 

Pip pip hooray!

(1) Confession; I googled (1a) to make sure I had that right. 
(1a) I googled then wiktionaried (1b) to make sure I had googled right.
(1b) I googled to see if this word had been claimed before I claimed it. It had been. (Sad face emoticon).
(2) When a chunk of the building was to be altered that clump of people were sent out into the wilderness, to park themselves in another building with a free desk or to work from home. I did a bit of both. It was actually kind of nice. Even as an insane amount of work had fallen on me as I tried to clear a final report before having my leg bent perpendicular to my body and my hip ball socket drilled out and a ceramic effort corkscrewed in. My hip is actually WomWoming (2a) as I recount this.
(2a) The sound effect theBoy and I use to represent hypnotic magic in Storyverse is saying WomWomWomWomWomWomWom. Italicisation and everything! 
(3) You know how people who are a thing are allowed to claim the word; CLAIMED! I am a disabled and proud of it. I'm the foetus that wouldn't die; take THAT every other pre-penicillin dead infant! (3a). However, I will only take that park if all the others are gone. Indeed if I am up to it I'll just go park elsewhere.
(3a) On account of the fact that the infant mortality rate before that time was about 50 per cent. I'd likely have died by six weeks were it not for an operation then numerous times after that with infections and accidents. It's only thanks to modern medicine time and time again that I'm still ticking on. Take that, evil P.E. teachers!
(4) I have however divested myself of being a first aid officer—I let my qualification lapse—and I tried to divest of being an Emergency Control Officer, or ECO (4a) on account of being mobility impaired and not wanting to rush up and down stairs as part of all the crap that goes with the hat (4b)
(4a) I know someone who thought a most-awesome silver lining of being an ECO was getting to look at hot firemen.
(4b) I also know someone who found a dead yellow hat—I think it was cracked and thus unusable—who then proceeded to artfully draw a turtle upon its shell, like a giant scalp tat. She then anonymously mailed the helmet to the head of her organisation's ECO administrators, a couple of full-time people responsible for hosting training sessions and presumably checking on volunteers and systems. When I first did ECO training they actually had people come in to a lecture hall and were then stepped through roles and responsibilities. They were big on the import of needing to show leadership and authoritatively order colleagues about in an event. And that if you had a helmet that undermined your authority then you were letting every warden down. At that point they held up the helmet, choking back a sob as they decried the villain or villainess that had defaced a helpless helmet.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Incongruous things

I do love an incongruous sighting; something that just pops out as being out of place. 

Canberra is replete with many an embassy and high commission, it being the latter if it's a Commonwealth country. There's one near my work. One day when out for a walk I saw a line of washing hanging out behind just such a place. There the handsome buildings were, their flag fluttering proudly in the breeze ... along with a line of washing out the back of one of the buildings. 

We went to a nearby pub-style place for a farewell of R---. R--- the handsome contractor who was a delight to work and talk with had his contract come to an end and alas with the big chill that's settled on Canberra there were no means to keep him on. The pub'n'grab place has a small brace of pokies, maybe a dozen or so packed into a small alcove off one of the bar (slash) dining rooms. As we were leaving I saw a punter sitting on the tall stool next to a machine. Only he was positioned perpendicular to the electronic-money-sucker (1), his legs splayed and hanging down like a surrendered lobster, a beer belly paunch thrust upward like you'd see on a happily-stuffed cartoon figure with a distended tum. Only he'd paused his playing to eat an apple. He was placidly scrunching it as we passed the face of the rounded archway that framed the alcove of pokies beyond. 

On the way home, on the day of the alleged Mayan Apocalypse, my early-'90s white car with holed exhaust splutter-putted onto one of the arterial roads of our nation's capital. Just ahead of me was a sleek futuristic silvered Prius sedan, its glorious Art Deco meets lurid UFO Amazing Stories-esque lines a near-silent display of our onrushing future. It must have been an odd sight, one vehicle designed to minimise its footprint upon the earth, the other a total shitbox that actually has a negative value in insurance terms. Indeed when the shitbox does die, and someday soon it will, I'll likely have to pay to get it scrapped. I thought of that Prius again later as the shitbox laboured up the hill, the engine temp needle nudging towards the red. Someday ... someday. 

We're off shortly on a visit to my old hometown for a myFamily Christmas. Wish us luck; I think it'll be a doozy...

(1) As my awesome friend A--- attests you get the same level of fiscal impact of playing the pokies as if you stood in the shower and just ripped up your money. He told that view to a pokie-loving colleague. She just blinked at him stupidly like a lizard. In the same manner Buckwheat used to when both A--- and I worked with her, Buckwheat being one of the worst examples of humanity I've encountered in my working life. Curious? Just use the search function! Or even click the tag (1a)
(1a) Today, just after seeing A--- in fact, I saw Man hands at the local shops. Man hands, along with Buckwheat and Backy McStab (1b), was a member of the triumvirate of the fucked, my shorthand for the three worst people I've worked with in the public service Man hands was a boss to A--- and I for about a year during the mid-late noughties. He was a giant man, about six foot seven, with a kind of goofy face and a shock of greying hair. He had giant hands and also happened to be a fundamentalist Christian. So much so one day he once took me on a proselytising walk around our offices, attempting to interfere with a report I was shepherding by injecting his brand of religion into it. He attempted to take A--- on a similar walk. A--- just smiled and said 'Nah, I'm not doing that'. Both A--- and I agreed that Man hands was dealing with some severe suppressed homosexuality, with occasional bouts of it bursting forth like the time he placed the aforementioned dinner-plate-sized hand on my stomach then jiggled it up and down (1c).
(1b) Backy McStab retired recently. I know because I'd gotten an email from one of her colleagues asking if A--- and I would like to come to her farewell. I didn't bother to reply. What I really wanted to do was scan in my hard-copy of the record of interview between Backy McStab and the selection panel for the dream job I'd gone for, one I'd done a Masters towards with the hope that the qualification would get me that job, and email it to her with the awful bits highlighted. You see I'd asked Backy McStab, my then direct supervisor, to be a referee, the other two referees being former tutors from university. My tutors gave pretty glowing recommendations. I was exactly, they said, what they were looking for. I suppose it didn't help that I'd had a Distinction average when doing the course. Backy McStab, who was consulted via a phone interview that they then helpfully transcribed, then launched into a libellous screed of my character, my person, my qualifications and my worth as a human being. And even though I'd passed all the tests needed for entry, I'd failed on this last hurdle. It was my own fault in a way. I shouldn't have asked her to be my referee just because she was my current supervisor. However as I recall felt I had to since she was my current boss. Anyway long story short I failed to get my dream job and then gave away the desire to ever, ever again try, recognising that it was Quixotic to do so. A couple of years later, after she'd moved on, I was transferred to another building. And right outside my door lived Backy McStab, along with Man hands. I spent the next few months swallowing bile when I saw her and keeping an eye out for the looming tummy rubbing him just in case he tried it on with another "playful" grab on the convex of my person.
(1c) That. Happened. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Diet Coke drought broken but so has its spell

I had a visit from S--- from death defying, my in the community thing I did in 2012 as part of my shaken fist in the face of death. He'd bought me a Diet Coke; a frosty-cool 600 ml bottle. 

It was hot, I was sore, I'd had to deal with work guff ... so I drank it (1).

But, here's the thing. I liked it okay; it was cool and refreshing. And the drink was enhanced by the fact I was outside, sitting on park bench top beneath a shady willow tree as I shot the shit with S---. A pleasing drink in pleasing circumstances (2).


I didn't love it. I didn't savour it. It didn't make me want to have another.

So ... I think the ensnaring spell of Diet Coke has been forever broken. 

Even though I failed I am taking a strengths-based approach to this failure (3). After-all I managed to go over six months without a Diet Coke. That's pretty impressive for someone for who self-discipline has never been a key element of their fundamental character.

(1) Yes, on the near last working day of the year I had significant difficult work drop on my lap. Fortunately with the assist of theBoss—who I called as she was literally sitting under a dryer at the hairdressers—I managed to get it all done. But it was stomach-clenching making decisions on the fly and then declaring you owned them business. Work in other words that makes a public servant uncomfortable. After-all if you own something then you're responsible for it being broken...
(2) Mind you as I was chatting with S--- I had painful gas and IBS flaring so the moment I said goodbye I raced for the toilet and unleashed a torrent of rectal fury. So fulsome it was it needed a flush, a brush, and another flush. Thus the DC experience was somewhat sullied by abdominal pain. Maybe then that was a good thing?
(3) In the public service we try and use a strengths-based approach to issues and their management; instead of all the things wrong we focus on what works and how to build on that working element. It's actually a positive way to work and after a while it does make your job easier to deal with in that you accept the crap but you try to find within the nugget that is not poo. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Warning signs of super villainy

I have noticed of late theBoy exhibiting classic signs of super villainy; grandiose schemes, intense self-belief, and also a certain ruthlessness when we conduct a Storyverse session.

There's a game we play at bath time. A toy Fat Controller figurine, about six centimetres in height, is hidden by me somewhere in the bathroom but where it can be seen from theBoy's position in the bath. And until theBoy finds the figurine I, voicing said toy, cast forth a torrent of abuse claiming theBoy likes 'insert TV show here' and mocking him for it; "You love Yoo-Hoo and Friends!" typically thunders the Fat Controller (1).

The only way to silence the Fat Controller is drowning or sealing him up in something. We have a couple of old honey bottles, the plastic container kind that used to take two kilos of honeyed action. So the Fat Controller typically ends up in one of those, water filled to the brim, in order to silence him. And to ensure the Fat Controller stays silenced in with him goes a dinosaur toy, a shark, a crocodile and a tiger. 

That's pretty ruthless.

In a recent episode of Storyverse theBoy decided he was the Smurf village's postman, with "Postie Smurf" locked up in SPACEJAIL! for the crime of attempting to immolate the rest of Smurfkind with an inbound stolen space shuttle he planned to crash into the community. 

Only theBoy said it was a slow day. He elected to close up early and then said he had Wednesdays off. He then put a note up on the Post Office door that said it was closed for his weekly holiday. 

That's not the hallmark behaviour of a driven villain. But then it is impressive he unilaterally declared he has Wednesdays off. 

I guess all I can do is watch for the warning signs of super villainy and try and steer his chaotic villain energy towards a positive purpose. Though I can now totally imagine him making his Nobel prize acceptance speech for whatever earth-improving magnificence this steered energy has produced but then calling the audience fools and taunting them with his mocking laughter.  

(1) I have taken a photographic sampling of the many bathroom appearance locations of the Fat Controller. One day I will get off my ample can and post a view up to my slavishly devoted followers (1a).
(1a) I would have made a totally awesome guru. Sigh, another career path denied to Mikey. 

The West Wing: 20 hours in America

The Sandy Hook shootings

Massacres like the recent horror that occurred in the Sandy Hook elementary school seem almost incomprehensible. That a human being can take a weapon designed for war and then slaughter innocent children in some sort of ‘Fuck You’ against the world.

It was gut-wrenching to read about. To imagine what it would be like to lose your precious beautiful child; a child snatched away seemingly at whim at the hands of utter evil.

But for every one of these horrid spree-killings that happen, amazing tales emerge. Of normal, everyday people confronted with appalling horror and danger stepping up and stepping in to harm’s way to save others. In the Aurora shooting three men gave their lives to shield their loved ones, using their own bodies to absorb fatal shots. In the Tucson shooting—where six people died—one bystander, an old lady, threw herself on the gunman’s magazine to stop him from re-loading it. In Sandy Hook one teacher hid her children then awaited the gunman to give misdirection and paid the ultimate price. Upon hearing the gunfire in their school
Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach both ran towards the violence instead of away from it.

Ordinary, everyday people confronted with nightmarish horror putting others first so the others may live.

That’s what gives me hope. That for every fuckwit with a gun and delusions of import there’s ten normal, everyday people willing to step up and stop them.

I hope this time that it’s those people who become the focus of this horrible event. That within the grief we acknowledge those incredible people that gave their lives to help others. And acknowledge those incredible people who under fire saved others through timely, intelligent and heroically brave actions.

Massacres like these show humanity at our very worst and our very best. 

But in the end the very best always wins.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

An Aw moment

There was this article I read a while back (1) that talked about the importance of the 'Aw moment'. A moment where you suddenly take stock, see the world as a bigger thing than just you but nonetheless you feel connected to it; a glorious sunset (2), a star-filled sky. And these moments give you a kind of mental jolt; they make you feel a bit better. 

Thanks to theWife our garden, a compound-like affair with a nice, high private fence along with a hedge and no behind the back-fence neighbours, is an illuminated delight at night when all the solar-powered lights she's stuck in pots, entwined on garden frames or looped from branch-to-branch in the hiding tree (3) have kicked in. Chinese-style lanterns in the tree, glowing stakes in pots, fairy lights upon the frames. That, combined with a clear moonless night where even the close-by glow of streetlights cannot diminish the heavenly spray of celestial lights suspended ever-above us to beyond, all adds up for a nice scenario for some Aw moment action. 

I was having one the other night. It was mild, the air was deep and fresh and I was heavily medicated. I gazed in wonder at the sky above, the shed screening the glare of streetlights to afford me a better appreciation of the night sky, the steady glow of the solar-powered lights all adding beautifully to the rich ambience.

And then ... and then I trod on a nail.


(1) I thought I read it in a piece in the SMH but a twenty minute Googling has not-yet yielded its source. I shall keep hunting! 
(2) Like the one today. I live down the south of Canberra. So when I cruised heading west I got to see the Brindabella ranges limed in grey pinks and reds as the sun began to set.
(3) So named because theBoy hides within it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Where Mikey summons the spirits of Iceman and Maverick

Due to a need for some entertaining of friends I split my daily required time of attendance on the Son of TPC (1) into two parts (2). A frantic 20 minute ride before guests came and then a second tranche just then where I took in as my viewing poison an episode from season two of Community.

I was ruminating about the post below whilst I was atop SoTPC—my new now-accepted acronym-initialism fusion of Son of TPC, a fusion I believe being a suggestion from the TPC's former harsh and demanding mistress, one Casso. As as sat there riding I was thinking in particular about the confession I made of an occasional glimmer of pride that I can honestly say that I am doing everything I physically can exercise-wise given the current delicate state I find my physicality to be in. It was then the ep of Community I was watching kicked over to the credits and I blipped the SoTPC's display over and saw the second 20 was up.

As I got off the bike it then came unbidden and unsought to mind the actual theme to the actual Top Gun movie (3), my limited recall of the ending plus opening bars of said theme then firing deep across my brainstem. 

Mikey, you can ride my me-tail, any time. 

(1) With the TPC formerly owned and now legally separated from Casso, the high ranger of the Stormward citadel, the sharp-eyed warrior who slew Cyraxx the Craks himself, an adult green dragon who ranged from the Barranow Peaks, the lizard slain by single arrow that pierced so deep within the wyrm's eye the arrow head itself plunged fully into the brain of the fell now-fallen beast.
(2) And just what a spanking time I had at the gathering. I got to be rodeo clown for a slew of awesomely funny and fun kids for about an hour. It was tough on the bod but it was most worth it. Of course I'm clicking like a skeleton would click if a skeleton could click-click but then that's pretty much a bony par for the skeletal course really.
(3) Seriously, check out the wiki for Top Gun. It's a delish read.

And it's done

Finally ... finally it happened. After much prevarication, or rather, complete forgetfulness, I actually remembered on the way home to stop at an ATM and withdraw the needed monies to pay Casso for the TPC, an exercise bike I at first borrowed, then signified the wish to purchase, only to then kill said exercise bike after 13 odd months of hard-arse riding. 

Actually ... numbed-arse riding. For the TPC did make my sainted end somewhat less present in the sense that I could no longer feel my arse being 100 per cent present after 20 or so minutes atop the bike.

The TPC forlornly sits near a trash pak outside our house. theWife is going to detach the stem then together we will heave the TPC into the pak to await its eventual pick up then carry to its final resting place; landfill. 

Unless, that is, fossickers decide there's elements of worth in harvesting the TPC for parts though I doubt that will be the case.

It's a bit bitter-sweet saying goodbye to the TPC. It was after-all a source of both misery and pride; pain and elation. I often hated being on there but, if I made my aimed-for target in distance or time, then I felt pride. Yes, a little pride that I could force my pain-wracked body to still do the bare minimum daily exercise requirement as per needed by a sedentary man in his forties. That I may feel at times like a badly-battered robot, with sparks flying out of rent limbs and joints, but I still put one foot in front of the other then lever myself up to sit on an exercise bike and keep on pedalling. 

So adios TPC. Thanks for bearing my large butt lo these many months, and helping me adjust to a better more fulfilling sense of body after I discovered that all walking had really done was ebb away what little hip connector I had left remaining. 

TPC; (year of purchase)-2012. Go now gentle steed to the stable in the sky.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Remember Wilson? He was the fellow castaway that was washed up on an island with Tom Hanks in the film which is called Cast Away. You last see Wilson's body drifting away from Hanks as he despairingly cries Wilson over and over in the best traditions of Hollywood anguish, through the mangled jungle creeper of a mo courtesy of four or so years without a pair of scissors. Or, indeed, a mustache comb given the readily evident snagglage that was decorating Hanks's upper lip in the four years later... long-stay castaway section of the movie (1).

I know; good times. Anyway, I have become Wilson. In that when I entered the shed that bears no insurance where the Son of TPC now dwells and I found upon the handles sweatbands for the hands and head (1). Sweatbands emblazoned with the same Wilson of the sporting branded volleyball that served as Hanks's paramour ... I mean ... er ... colleague on the island for length of their stay. 

I donned them. They were most snazzy. And the snug pressure at forehead and wrist reminded me of their presence when off Son of TPC I did hop and that in turn reminded me to put the sweatbands back on the bike. Hooray!

So I gots me exercise bling! Of course I look like the before people in Newton's seminal 'Physical'—if I don't literally tilt the screen of myBeloved downward I can see my hairy stomach limed in the screen's reflection—but that's okay (3). My body is not built for beauty; it's a merely a still-basically-functional eating and pooping machine. I am not an ├╝bermensch! 

And thus it is I cut me some slack. 

(1) (Mikey taps Ed Grimley) Wouldn't it be great if Hanks ended up reading this post? And like he contacts me and we become best friends? And I'd be like 'Hey Tom!' and he'd be like 'Hey Mikey' and then we'd spoon as we watched crap on his wall-sized flat-screen that he had Tivo'ed earlier?
(2) With the TPC being my former exercise bike formerly though still technically still actually owned by Casso that was brutally slain by Mikey's sheer dint of size not these two weeks past. 
(3) I saw the music film-clip for 'Physical' the same night I saw an episode of Magnum P.I. where there storyline had a supernatural element of a ghost; an actual ghost, with Magnum P.I. now establishing itself as a show that had magic in it. Ghosts, or their concept, freaked the living shit out of me all thanks to an Usborne book about ghosts I received from "... Santa ..." one Christmas morning. I also find the pleasing coincidence of this footnote having symmetry with the whole moustache bit given that the tash on Magnum in Magnum P.I. is pretty much the tash you'd say best represented the '80s as a decade in terms of facial hair options for men.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Some notes on things

It's been a year
I realised today it's been just over a year since I had my hip operation, an event we tagged as 'The Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer' in homage to The Step Brothers. I forget why; something about it being a silver lining to discover that my body was fucked up from the beginning of life and it's not my fault I'm the way I am. In fact this time last year I was in the intensive care unit (ICU), recovering after an embolism during recovery. Upon entry to the ICU the doctor in residence declared I was some kind of artful exercise dodger and the reason I'd collapsed into unconsciousness was down to my size. I then spent 48 hours trapped in a breathing mask that left my lips desert dry and wishing I wasn't awake to experience well any of it. 

theWife asked if I was glad I had the operation done. Well, it had to be done. So in my mind I suppose I didn't have a choice. My right hip is degrading—the pain when I walk too fast or hard comes quickly now and takes a while to leave. It's almost certain I will need that hip replaced within two years, not the five as I'd hoped. All I know is I am going to drag the point I have to have it out until I can feel it's bone-on-bone, until I cannot stand to walk, 'cos there's always that chance I won't survive that operation. I mean, fuck, I nearly died last time. 

Son of TPC
Well the TPC, an exercise bike borrowed then bought (I will pay for it!) from Casso—a hi tech Japanese video game designer responsible for Uptight Snakes—has been consigned to the rubbish tip. Its just over a year of service in my care saw it destroyed by largeness; my frame buckling its frame by my constant mounting from the right-hand side causing a seam to burst open with a ragged tear.

theWife assembled the new bike and it was wheeled into the shed. Naturally the bike had some issues; a cosmetic part of the casing had snapped off and the model was minus several needed washers which theWife sourced from a box-hardware store. Still the new bike is most-excellent, a stable well-made affair (apart from the snapped-off casing and missing bits). It reminds me of a Hiver from the Traveller Roleplaying Game

Sharkey Shark
theBoy spent his pocket money on a shark pillow. Yes, that's what it is. A pillow shaped like a shark. Today, as I lay in repose on the couch, I asked theBoy if I could borrow Sharkey. He said yes, fetched him from his room and brought it down to me. Eventually Sharkey was returned to theBoy's room and the day rolled on. Then, just after theBoy went to bed, I was here at the computer writing when I noticed theBoy sneaking in, Sharkey in hand. He'd brought him to me because he thought I might like to use him tonight when I went to bed. Aw... what a Chooky!

The Speaker
We went to a box store and bought a speaker. Well, we tried to. There was a stuff up at the self-serve checkout and it wasn't until theWife checked the receipt when we left the centre that we realised the speaker was accidentally not scanned and paid for. So in effect we got a free speaker, for the time/effort in correcting the mistake is not worth it for us, nor likely the store. 

Here's the kicker though. The speaker's volume control not only didn't work it was stuck on max volume. It means if I jack theBeloved into it I have to dick around with the tablet's volume setting to correct it.

Oh theUniverse, you're a tricky one, aren't you?

Death defying
I'd missed some sessions of the DDs due to feeling like warmed-up shit (see below). But I went this week. I'm glad I did. I had a lot of fun and the people who were there were the people I enjoy doing the DDs with. The last session for the year is on soon. I finish this experiment with bitter sweetness. I'm certainly glad I did it. I met some awesome people through it and I had a lot of fun doing it. I think I probably will go do it again next year.

Warmed-up shit
Thanks to a chance conversation with the most-excellent C--- at work I went and saw a doctor about getting tests. C--- is riven with long-term health issues such as moi and she was informed her collection of symptoms best matched an unpleasant condition called fibromyalgia. I checked it out and was astonished to find that the symptoms there matched what I experienced day-to-day. So off I trotted to the medical practice to see a doctor about it. The practice I go to is a large one, with many doctors. I couldn't get the regular one I saw so I saw one of the new ones. He turned out to be most-awesome. For example, he took the time to talk to me about things, about medications, plans, diet and the like. He even ran risk assessment calculations. I instantly decided he was now my new doctor. While I didn't have the classic sign of acute pressure sensitivity for fibro the fact I was in constant unremitting pain did draw his attention. Given I can't take almost all meds because of their impact on constipation he put me on an anti-depressant that works as a pain blocker. One that could work with my current medication.

Within 48 hours I'd noticed an improvement. So next time I saw him I agreed to undertake a physical that the government offers to punters when you crack 40+. As in it would be bulk-billed. I was advised it would take 90 minutes. I had visions of Michael Douglas's physical in the movie The Game, and I matched some loose-fitting clothes in case there was treadmill work. No ... no treadmill. It was the database entering that took all the time. The only tests I had were for glucose and blood pressure. 

Following that I got some referrals to some specialists and had another consult with my new doctor. It was gratifying to actually get a positive result. I mean likely having fibro, as it's commonly known, is not great. But at least it's something I can recognise. And at least the first medication I've been put on has obviously helped. That's certainly something. I went from wanting my arm taken off at the shoulder to now just being occasionally irked by the odd pain wave that shoots up it. That's made a fuck-load of difference to my immediate quality of life. 

The Xmas party
We had the work party on last week. It was actually a lot of fun. It was, alas, S---'s last day. S---'s contract didn't get extended and even though what she did was a critical function, rules and rules and thus she could not be re-hired. Fortunately she found out she'd won a new two month contract in another place. One that had a lot of promise to grow into a more permanent or longer-term arrangement. She was an absolute delight to work with and to talk with. She was also a ardent lefty and passionate devotee of US politics. She was my workplace comrade and now she is gone. I have to admit I grieved at seeing her empty work station. I hope we stay in touch.  

M--- was at the party. She'd moved to another organisation midway through the year after experiencing twelve months of being steadily fucked around. Plus the workplace politics shat her off big time and even though she took a level downward to make the transfer it seemed she was headed off for happier things. M--- had this talent, a skill if you will, of being able to close with your workstation and stand behind you and then wait. Just wait for you to notice her because she didn't want to disturb you. Only her Ninja-esque abilities to wait in your blind spot in fact enhanced the disturbance because you'd suddenly discover someone had been waiting just behind you for Probs knows how long. I wanted to give her TicTacs like Elaine did to the sidler in Seinfeld. I discovered M--- was at the party when I looked down as I returned to my seat for the fourth time. She'd arrived and seated herself with my being completely unaware. She gave me a Christmas card! That was so nice of her. I put it up at my workstation when I returned to work. 

And so 2012 is coming to a close
So the year is ending soon and in three weeks 2013 begins. It's been a shocker of a year, both in work and in play. All that crappy health crap that bedevils my existence keeps on bedeviling. But, even with all that guff, the shittier part of being alive, it still had its rewards. Chief among them being theBoy. There's also been the relief I suppose in the acceptance of being bodily failed. All my life I've felt judged for my crappy physicality. That I was a malingering fat body who simply lacked get up and go; quintessential vigour that marks an active man from one that is not. And I realise now that I was never truly normal. Never felt physical able for a reason. 

Until modern medicine came along, with germ theory and the simple washing of hands before assisting with birth, you had a 50 per cent chance of dying in childhood. From fevers, from infection, starvation, or poor environmental circumstances.

I am here on this earth because modern medicine saved my life. Dozens of times in fact. Were I born just fifty years ago chances are one of the childhood afflictions I copped would have done me in. I am the 50 per cent that should have died. 

So there but for the probs go I; I'm a man who shouldn't be but is. And the fact I am not a proper man, well, I wouldn't be me if I was. 

Right on.

Friday, December 07, 2012

A return to walking

Since I killed the TPC, the exercise bike borrowed then bought (but have yet to pay for) from Casso, cyborg WitchQueen of the SteelNorth, I've had to re-take up walking. Walking was my chosen form of 'must-do' daily exercise poison that I commenced inhaling in June 2008. For since that day I managed a daily walk at least once a day for at least 15 minutes every day, in addition to any incidental exercise from sheer dint of existence (1). I enjoyed it most of the time; I got to listen to music I liked, but eventually drifted into the awesome ear-bliss that are quality podcasts; NPR and WTF being my preferred tailor-mades (2).

But mid-late last year I discovered my fucked up body had a ticking degradation going on; my left hip was, as the kids now say, "totes fucked", and needed replacing. As soon as possible if you could please. It had in fact been increasingly more difficult to walk when I'd made the discovery and after that point I had to give it up. Three years, two months and some days / hours / minutes since I'd commenced my 'fuck you, life, I can achieve this ONE small thing; this one stick-to standard; this one single thing I can at least do even when my body is a heap of screaming pain-infused slag' mission to have a daily walk, no matter the obstacles in my way—neither weather, location, situation, or complication getting in my way.

Turns out my own fucking body was the Judas and all my fevered determined daily walking had done is ground off a 20-cent-sized piece of cartilage and leaving bone to rub and grind off on bone. 

So I took up riding the TPC instead. A bike sent flying to the angels above, it now having a halo, wings and cloud of its own. Slain ... slain again by the Judas that is Mikey's failed physical form (3). 

But, for know, I am without bike. And thus the walking.

It has been weird to return to places I once wearily trod so many moons ago; routes I'd taken. Routes such as the circuit, the full circuit, and the loop. There was over the bridge, through the forest and over the bridge. Or up the hill to the Coles, or through the paths to the local mini-Supermarket. So many routes; over a thousand days and nights were they trod upon. 

On one of the walks I passed a knot of guys out the front of a house. They had a car with its bonnet up and beers in hand. One dude was seemingly playing a didgeridoo. It was only as I dopplered away that I realised it was in fact likely a didgeridoo impressed into service as the toke pipe of some sort of super-bong. 

It's been mostly okay. I've taken it easy; none of the pain-etched fast walking that I'd do in the old days where every step was laced with discomfort ranging from mild to blinking tears. Nice and slow; steady and with care. Of no real exercise benefit, in other words, but I am okay with that. I mean I just rode a fucking exercise bike to death; the bike's death. Killing it not-softly with big love. 

I do miss the shed sessions with the TPC. Riding soon became more joyful than walking, though of course you swap one set of ouch for another. Gone was leg and hip pain from walking; hello numbed arse and always-sore coccyx from riding the bike.

The new bike has now arrived. theWife, who is a totes awesome builder and assembler of things, will put it together for me tonight. So I get one more day of walking.

I'm leaving for that last walk now. I'm off to my son's school for a celebration day; stalls and a show. 

That's a pretty good ~FIN~ to end the return on.  

(1) Save for that one day which I'm on the fence as counting as a walk. I had to carry theBoy and a large wheeled suitcase 500 m from a long stay car park to the terminal at the local airport. I deemed that effort, and spending the next four hours on my feet steering and monitoring theBoy as we waited for our much-delayed flight. I day seared into my memory as own of the lowest parenting moment's I've had where I literally broke down crying at the front of queue of passengers waiting to board that flight after theBoy's 20 minutes of scream-crying had finally killed me inside and I at that moment didn't want to be in reality. For that tale see the post a perfect storm.
(2) My death-defying comrade-at-laughs is S---. He's awesome. He and I are a similar height, though while he's not slender he's nowhere near my size. He's also a stubble man, with a three to six day growth being his norm. He can't drink but he smokes, and it's fair to say he's a heavy smoker. In the fifteen minute break midway through the night he'll go through two cigs in 10 minutes. He'd had a pokies win and treated himself to some tailor-mades. I'd heard the term now and then but not really considered what it meant. And then I realised, confirmed by asking him, tailor-mades are cigarettes as you'd buy in a packet—his being delightfully emblazoned with a single staring eyeball as per the extremely graphic health warning that is now rightfully mandated to appear on the package. It's pretty much the government being that truth-telling friend. The one that is worried about you and thinks he need to hear some home truths; 'You're still smoking? Dude, what the fuck? Not only is it shortening your lifespan but it can fuck you up while you're still alive. Fuck, man, you need to quit this shit'. Anyway, tailor-mades. That's what cigs are called.
(3) Now that's alliteration you can kiss cousins closely with.