Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hello there. And yes, I mean you. I may not know who you are but you are reading my blog so... hello. Again. As you may or may not have guessed, I've taken a little break from blogging but I am back in the saddle. However, don't expect too much from today's blog - its kind of a toe-dipping. I know I said I would try and reach 100 posts by the end of the year but I'm thinking maybe I should revise that down to maybe 80. This post will be #72 so I think 80 is a more realistic target.

Well, the silly season is upon us. Christmas parties, presents, alcohol and Windex for the photocopier. I try to avoid being silly at work. However, it doesn't try to avoid me. Its also a time for Performance Reviews and I for one would like to see these reviews shifted to a more somber time, such as the end of the financial year. I'm usually more somber in the middle of Winter. Still, its not up to me so I just try to make the best of it.

In any Performance Review I like to open with a joke. This has rarely gone down well but I think I've got a really good one this year. Then its a matter of addressing the KPIs for the past year. I tell my boss which ones I decided to do and he tells me stuff about pride in my work and loyalty to the business and so on and on and on. Last year I drank two litres of Pepsi Max before our meeting and spent most of the time stifling burps. While I have never actually seen myself do it, I think I must look VERY funny trying to stifle a two-litre-pepsi-max burp.

It is possible that I am slightly addicted to Pepsi Max. I do drink at least one can a day, more if I can get away with it. Luckily its good for me. It has the Heart Foundation "MAX" of approval so it can't be too bad. I keep telling DW that "its ok. There's no sugar" and she gives me a withering look.

Pepsi Max makes me happy. When I'm hot it makes me cool. When I'm uncool, it makes me cool. When I'm already cool, it makes me damn cool. And burping makes my kids laugh. They get me.

I should make something clear. I do not like Pepsi or Pepsi Diet. I do like Coke, though I find it too sweet - which is saying something because I have a sweet tooth that would frighten Willy Wonka. I can drink Diet Coke and I also like Vanilla Coke, Fanta and Lemonade. Solo also makes me look cool but only when I'm angry. So for me, its Pepsi Max. I should also say to anyone who even visits my house, if I offer you a can of Pepsi Max, and you accept it, drink the whole thing. Otherwise you'll have me reaching for a can of Solo.


Thought for the Day: It really is ok.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Last week was a very hard week. We all had to come to terms with the loss of the triplets as best we could. Fortunately, almost all of my family and my sister-in-law's family were able to attend the funeral on Friday. We all wanted to show our love and support for my brother and his wife and their daughter. However, a few of my family were too far away to be able to come home and they must have felt that distance most keenly on Friday. As a combined family, we aren't looking for a way to get over this, but rather a way forward for all of us, especially for my brother and his wife. The funeral was a big step.

I have been to many funerals yet none have ever touched me so deeply. I have been fortunate in so far as the previous funerals were for people of advanced years, and it was easy to look back on their lives and celebrate all they had been and done. But this time, only their desperate struggle to survive marked the short time the triplets were with us. Yet even though they were here such a short and troubled period, we all had made a place for them in our hearts. Though it was very difficult for everyone, we all needed to come together and share our grief and to say goodbye to Ebony, Macey and Zoe.

I write this blog for many reasons and one is that it shows my thinking at a particular time in my life, as a sort of diary. While mostly light-hearted, the blog also serves as a way to communicate thoughts and emotions that I am not always able to do otherwise. Just as I needed to write about the triplets in a previous entry, I want to write about their funeral today. I want to be able to look back on this entry and remember how I felt at the time.

Because Princess was very upset upon hearing that the triplets had died, we decided the funeral would probably be too traumatic for her and organized for a friend of DW to look after her and Little Man. Its great to have good friends willing to help in such a situation and the Mum's group are the next best thing to family. We explained that we were going to say goodbye to the triplets but that it would be very sad and she might be upset. Amazingly, Princess has been very mature about the whole thing and still remembers the triplets in her night prayers.

I was pleased to see so many people, family and friends, present to show their support. My older brother, who is a deacon in the Catholic Church, was able to perform the ceremony. It was simple and beautiful. My father read a passage from the bible and my sister-in-law's sister read a wonderfully heartfelt poem for the girls. I doubt anybody could help but to share her tears.

On the altar were three candles with a name on each one. Also a photo of the little babies in white dresses, beautiful and tiny. Beneath a bright bunch of flowers was the single small white coffin. Behind the altar, made up with children's letters and arranged to intersect each other, were the girl's names again.

I remember feeling utterly helpless when I watched DW racked with pain as she gave birth to Little Man. I couldn't make the pain stop no matter how much she begged me but at least then I knew it would all be over soon. Again I felt utterly helpless as my brother stepped forward at the end of the service, took up the small white coffin and carried it alone out of the chapel. The pain he and his wife felt would not end soon, and they would not have the joy of watching these children grow up. It was the hardest thing I have seen, watching a man carry his children to their grave. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to do.

We arrived at the cemetry and I remember wishing idly that cemetries didn't have a children's section. Again the service was brief and after the coffin was lowered into the ground, we all released our helium filled white balloons. Six pink balloons, two for each of the girls and released by my brother and his wife, danced among the tumble of white as the gentle breeze lifted them all into the perfect blue sky. We all watched for several minutes as they shrank into the blue and said goodbye to Ebony, Macey and Zoe, as the little pink balloons became too tiny to see.

After a while we all went back to my brother's in-laws place for the wake. It was an emotional funeral and I think everyone felt better having shared the experience. I don't know if my brother and his wife felt the same, but I hope that having friends and family around them made saying goodbye a little easier. Throughout this whole ordeal, my brother and his wife have been incredibly composed. I doubt I could have been as strong.

I spoke to DW last night about everything and she mentioned something I hadn't considered. A friend of hers had a friend whose little boy died a few days after birth. This lady had many family and friends as well and received many cards expressing condolence. However, what she really wanted was for people to congratulate her on having a son. She had lost him and she was devastated but she was also proud of her little boy and wanted people to remember that he had been alive, and not to think only of his passing. I don't know how my brother feels and I know he will tell me if he wants to. But even if it was only for an hour and a half, he got to meet his daughters, living and breathing. He and his wife deserve to be congratulated on the birth of their three daughters. I remember the moment I held each of my own children for the first time and I hope that despite the sorrow of knowing how soon it would end, my brother experienced that moment of joy and wonder of cradling your own child for the first time.

Over the last two weeks I have heard several stories of women who have lost their babies during pregnancy. It seems that each one remembers the child they carried as something precious and I think it can be all too easy for those of us removed from such events to overlook the significance. But for a few short weeks, my nieces premature birth would have been a miscarriage. But for a few short weeks, they might have survived. For a parent, a week can pass in a flash and a whole lifetime can exist in a few short moments. I am sorry for those who only share their child's life for such a short time. I am sorry for those who don't even get that. The only thing I can do is treasure the moments I have with my own children and believe me, I do.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I don't play computer games very often (despite what some may think) but I like to keep up with the latest graphics state-of-the-art. I downloaded the Age of Empires III Demo and its really quite impressive (and addictive). There are only a few games I've really gotten "in to" and Age of Empires II was one of them. I remember playing it the first time and being hooked almost straight away.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the game, you are a settler on some land and you have to build up a community and defend your community against your opponents, computer or human. You can start the game at various levels but the most fun is when you start with just yourself in some pre-industrial era. You take on the characteristics of a particular race and I always enjoyed being the Britons against the Persians.

The game comes with a simple tutorial to get you started and then you're on your own. I started with one little man whom I had build a Town Centre. You need a TC in order to do anything, and the first thing you need to do is "build" some villagers, who in turn build farms, mills, mines, barracks, forts and so on. You need to farm the land for food, cut down trees for wood and dig mines for stone and gold. As you progress, you can advance your technology, build up an army and fortify your town. I had just gotten my town thriving for the first time with 50 villagers, chopping, ploughing, digging and generally being very happy and content, like my own little Amish community, when the bloody Persians came in with an army and looted, pillaged and destroyed everything, the bastards.

I was angry and I wanted revenge. So I found another part of the game where you can "customise" a scenario. So I set up my own scenario with a huge map, thousands of trees, heaps of gold and stone mines and one computer controlled Persian in one corner and my little Briton in the other, both shepherds. Rather than start up with an amount of food, I gave each side 100 sheep to use for food as required. Then the game began.

Given how quickly the Persians attacked me last time, I had my shepherd quickly build a Town Centre and several villagers, expanded my housing facilities (increases your available population), started slaughtering sheep for food and set about mining for stone so I could build a wall across the only path through the mighty forest (I created the map you know). And it was indeed a mighty wall, three layers of solid stone. Even the bloody Persians would have to slow down for that one, or cut their way through the forest to get around it.

Once I knew I was safe, I maximised my workforce. Most games default to allowing 75 people per side but I wanted revenge, remember. I upped the ante to allow 200 per side. I had people building houses, mills, mines, market places, fishing boats, docks, churches and universities. These things might not seem relevent to a plan for revenge but they help advance your technology and I was kicking butt in the research into advanced weaponry stakes.

I had become a mighty nation in just a few short hours and had a HUGE store of food, wood, stone and gold. You need these things when planning to declare war on Persia. You also need barracks to build soldiers, stables to build cavalry and forts to build war machines. I was ready but I had one painful task to complete before my invasion would begin.

I had already max'ed out my population with villagers and couldn't build any soldiers or war units. D'Oh! After a bit of searching I found an ominous skull lurking in the bottom corner of the control panel. It would allow my to kill off my own villagers to make way for soldiers and war units. I was torn, these little pixel people had worked so hard and had paid their taxes and now they were going to die just so I could satisfy my thirst for revenge and go destroy the mighty Persian nation. I figured they would understand and wiped them all out, except for one, who could repair the wall if I needed it.

So my one, lonely little villager stood beside the mightiest of walls, surrounded by 199 angry soldiers, cavalrymen and war machines of every sort. I had machines to fling fire, shoot dozens of bolts of arrows and to crush infantry. I had priests to cast spells at the opposition to turn their own men against each other and cause chaos within the enemy ranks. I had pikemen, swordsmen, guys with clubs, longbows, maces and possibly nun-chuks.

I had only one small problem. I couldn't get through the mightiest of walls.

Again, after some searching, it turned out to be quite lucky I hadn't killed that one villager because he was the only character that could dismantle the wall. So after he did that, I killed him and built another cannon and prepared to charge.

It was a carefully planned attack. I would send in the long range weapons to take out the outlying defenders. They would fall to the Persian defence towers so in went my seige machines, surrounded by infantry to protect them. I would send 50 riflemen to the edge of the Persian town to prevent new soldiers being created while my priests turned the existing enemy soldiers against each other. I would have my pikemen rush in at the cavalry while my swordsmen would rush to the town centre and attack. My cannons would destroy the barracks, stables and forts to prevent any new defenders being built. I charged, not knowing what awaited my battle-hungry troops. I didn't know whether the Persians had focussed on infantry or defences, long range weapons or face-to-face combat. Had they developed their technology or focussed on accumulating wealth? Would they use battle elephants? Whateve they had done in the 200 hundred years that had elapsed so far during the game play, I was confident I had built the best army in the whole land, enough even to defeat the once mighty and overly cocky Persian empire.

Imagine my surprise to find one Persian shepherd and 100 sheep.

It turns out that the lowest difficulty setting, which I had used to "give myself a fighting chance" has the opposition maintain the status quo until attacked. As I hadn't given this one little Persian shepherd anything to fret about for over two hundred years, he hadn't felt the need to evolve. He was also now over two hundred years old. I couldn't kill him. My soldiers only attack other soldiers or war buildings by default, but you can have them attack villagers if you need to. But I couldn't do that to this poor old lonely guy. So I took his sheep and had my priest turn him against himself and won the game.

And that is the story of how I beat the Persian Empire.


Thought for the Day: If we didn't have wars, would we have computers?

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm really not sure how to write what I want to write today, so I will just write it.

Some of you may know that my brother and his wife have been expecting triplets. Unfortunately, on the 11th of November, 2006, at a mere 22.5 weeks, the three identical baby girls were born but did not survive. My brother and his wife were told by the doctors at 12 weeks that a twin-twin transfusion was occurring, which affected the development of the babies. They flew to Brisbane and had an Australian first surgery to separate the babies, and it appeared to be successful. My sister-in-law suffered some complications of her own but these were rectified as well as she and my brother did absolutely everything they possibly could to give the babies the best chance of survival.

I remember clearly the moment when my brother told me they were expecting a child. He and his wife had been hunting for a house for ages and had finally settled on a place. I thought he was calling me to tell me they had got the place but he had even better news. He was going to be a father again and he was proud as punch. Buying a house for the first time was just an aside for him now. He and his wife already have a beautiful little girl who is nearly two and they are wonderful parents, so DW and I were just as excited for them.

I also remember clearly the moment he told me the one baby was actually triplets. He told me I should sit down. He was absolutely stunned, as was everyone I told after that. I was very excited for him and a little jealous, because, you know, what a guy. My family and my sister-in-law's family all rallied around and started doing whatever we could to help them get ready. Its good to have so much family support so willingly given and I'm sure they both appreciated it, even if it was a little smothering.

When problems started occurring, we all feared the worst but all hoped and prayed for the best. Yet despite the uncertainty, my brother and his wife stayed strong and determined to give their babies the very best chance at life they could. They showed such courage and conviction as few of us will ever be called to show.

Three little girls, Ebony, Macey and Zoe, came into this world together and they left together. They will always be together in our minds and hearts. I wish I had had the chance to meet them as do all who were touched by their brief journey in this world. I wish my brother and his wife had been spared this loss. I wish their daughter had had the chance to play with her little sisters. Both familes will share my brother's and his wife's grief and will aid their recovery. None of us will ever forget these three little girls who now wait in heaven.

I wanted to write this as a tribute to Ebony, Macey and Zoe, as meagre as it is. Better tributes exist and I know very few people will ever read this. However, those of you who have, I want you to know how hard it has been to write and would ask you one favour. Please take a moment and spare a thought for these three little girls and the family they have left behind. That will be the best tribute I can offer them.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hello world! How is everybody? I am a little rusty having not written anything in nearly two weeks so I apologize for any spilling miskates. I can't remember what I wrote last time and I'm too lazy to check so I'll just press on.

Well, last weekend DWs parents decided to have a weekend away with some old family friends and all their respective children, grandchildren and partners. Somebody thought that all us Victorians would like to drive four and a half hours to NSW to a place that distinguishes itself from competing camp sites by having toilet paper. To be fair, it is a rather picturesque place situated right by the Murray River and we actually stayed in a very well appointed house large enough to sleep 13 people. Hardly roughing it. It was, however, four and a half hours away and we have Princess and Little Man to think of.

Little Man was great because he either slept or just watched the scenery go by. He was pretty laid back about the whole thing, though he did get a little grumpy and greatly appreciated a chance to stretch his legs during a break in the trip.

Princess was also pretty good and provided much of the entertainment on the way. She did sleep a little but, as we expected, not as much as we would have liked. But we were prepared. We had books on tape! More precisely, books on MP3 player and a set of headphones with a long lead. This enabled us to have the MP3 player with us in the front while she listened and read along in the back. It worked very well, except when the wrong book came up or she wasn't sure which page she was supposed to be on. When ever a problem occurred, she would yell louder than usual because she had the headphones on. She wasn't upset or anything, she was just letting us know. We also put some of her favourite songs on the player and this is where most of the entertainment for us came from. She would sing along loudly and out of tune to the bits she knew and mumble loudly and out of tune to the rest. All up, it could have been a lot worse.

We arrived in around mid afternoon and had a chance to settle in before the rest of the family arrived. DW made the mistake of telling Princess she could stay up until Grandma and Grandad arrived which was after ten that night. The poor kid's eyes were almost falling out of her head and she could barely string the words "I'm not sleepy" together. We did manage to get her into bed eventually and she did sleep until 7am which is pretty good for her. Little Man woke up several times through the night but mostly because his young cousin in the next room was having considerably greater difficulty settling.

The next day I played golf with my Father-in-Law, Shdan and DW's brothers, Shshaun and Shlockie. I'm not much of a golfer. I was being given advice from all sides, except the front, which as it happens, would probably have been the safest. I remembered to keep my head down, which seemed appropriate given the shame. By chance, my first hit off the tee was actually quite good. It was a par 3 hole and I took over ten strokes to get in the hole. I stop counting when I run out of fingers. In my defence, the greens were not grass but rather sandscrapes and hadn't been set up very well, with the lip of the hole slightly higher than the surrounding sand. This caused even the straightest putt to go astray. Not that any of mine were the straightest putt. It was just a little reassuring that others also experienced some difficulty.

My problem early on was my first hit off was nice and straight and while sitting only a few meters from the green, I hit the ball nearly as hard again, sending me WAY past. Every hole after that had something else wrong. Slicing, hooking, dribbling, missing, swearing, searching, swearing, searching, swearing, finding, hooking, swearing, searching. DW's dad was always the first into the bushes to help look for my ball but I think it may have also been to hide the giggling.

After much gnashing of teeth and miraculous findings of the ball, I managed to curtail my overshooting and a "house rule" brought my putting into single digits. In fact, I even managed to use the newly adopted "house rule" (which accounted for the poor sandscrapes) to par two holes in a row. It was time to retire and I skipped backed to the holiday house to tell DW who struggled to stop raising her eyebrow, causing it to quiver so hard it almost popped off.

Anyway, because I had a conference the next day, we had to head home before everyone else, so we packed up and bundled the kids into the car and started the long journey home. The kids were less well settled but we finally made it home at 10pm. That's pretty much the extent of our trip, except for Princess nagging and nagging to have a swim even though the pool was cold and the wind was colder. Grandma Shue braved the icy pond but no one else was brave enough. Little Man just ran about pulling at things and pressing buttons on the video player. Still, it was a nice, if a little brief, get away. Hopefully next time will be for a little longer.


Thought for the Day: Let the sneeze pass, then play the shot.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Howdy. Not sure if I've started a post with "Howdy" but at least now I can be sure I have.

Little Man ate his first meal sitting at the table with us last night. Now before you jump to any conclusions, we don't make him eat off the floor or anything. He does that by choice. Its just that his high chair, which sits atop a normal chair, has a tray that attaches to the front. This tray prevents him from sitting right at the table. Unfortunately, it also puts him at exactly the right distance for kicking the table while we are all eating, so we have to push him back a little further. Its not like he is in Siberia and we call out to him occasionally to make him feel less abandoned. However, he is now big enough to eat without the tray, allowing us to pull his chair right in to the table, which is also too close to kick now. So for the first time, we all sat around the table and had dinner. Of course, Little Man hasn't had time to acquire any table manners yet and spent much of the time banging the table and throwing cheese.

Princess "helps" by giving a running commentary on the cheese flinging. She gives a running commentary on everything. I know I have mentioned it before, but it still amazes me how much she talks. I started to keep a log of the funny little things she would say like, "Mummy, you should hug Daddy because we don't have a monkey," and "Wow, look at the big bum! Let's follow it!" (She said this very loudly in a shopping centre). She has also recently adapted a couple of sayings to form her own. The favourite at the moment is "Slow your horses". I stopped writing these little bits down because she while she says a lot of funny things, they are mostly funny because they sound like someting an adult would say. For example, DW and I were lamenting the quality of a red wine the other day when Princess piped up and said, "Guys, slow your horses. You have both had this one before and you really loved it. So don't say that you don't like it now because you do. No, don't laugh. I'm being seriously." Her kinder teacher told us when she asked Princess if she would like to try another activity she replied, "No thank you. I'm really quite fine."

Anyway, that's all for today. I know its brief but work is busy and lunch is short. Hopefully I will be able to post another entry tomorrow.


Thought for the Day: Do I monitor the monitor or does the monitor monitor me?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wow! Another blog in only a few days. Yes, wonders will never cease. Of course there are no guarantees that frequncy will improve quality, but it should help with the quantity.

I can't remember if I've mentioned that DW and I began the year with the usual flurry of New Year resolutions. This year, DW had the brilliant idea of watching a new movie (that is, one we hadn't seen before) every week and reading a new book each month. Well, we have now both exceeded the requisite 52 new movies for the year which is impressive given how much of the year remains, and the fact that we also watched the whole of the Buffy and Angel series, three seasons of Scrubs and the first season of Veronica Mars. We both love watching movies and ever since Princess was born we have let that part of our lives slide, so this has been a big achievement for us.

However, it has taken up a considerable amount of time. Over the last several years DW and I have been producing short films, more recently with our co-producer, Shnarelle. For nearly ten years now we have produced at least one film per year, but this year we have yet to. Trying to find time is just about the hardest thing to do these days. Over a whole weekend I rarely find two hours together to do anything that doesn't involve cleaning the house or dealing with a child. As the kids get older, I know that will change, and I am also fooling myself. I know why parents live vicariously through their children - that's all they have left.

So back to the whole filmmaking line of thought. I have lots of ideas for films and taking away all the ideas that require budgets unlikely to be approved by DW (i.e. > $8.50) it still leaves a lot of ideas. Admittedly most of them are crap but I've always operated according to the "give 'em heaps" rule - which means lots of ideas means lots of crap and eventually a good idea will creep in and probably get smothered by the crap but maybe not.

The most successful short film we made was a computer generated animation and because I did most of the work, many people who would like to be involved in the making of a film but don't really want to have to do anything, tend to say "Just make another computer animnation - only this time, make it look more like Shrek." Uh huh.

The thing is, I did enjoy making my CGI film but I also enjoy making Live-action (with actors) films. Live action takes lots of planning and rehearsals but the shooting is over fairly quickly. CGI doesn't require any actually filming but can take a lot of time - especially if you are animating on your own. And to all those people out there who aren't aware, more than one animator worked on Shrek.

So, I guess it remains to be seen as to what we are going to do this year. We have a live action script and a couple of CGI ideas. If only I could take a couple of months off work and dedicate myself to it, I'm sure we could make something fantastic, or at least as good as our previous efforts. If only I had long service leave owing...


Thought for the Day: Life is short. Unless you're not enjoying yourself. Then it can drag a little.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I wasn't sure what to write today so I turned to my fountain of inspiration, DW. After much deliberation and consideration and internal debate, it took DW nearly a full second to recommend herself as the subject of today's blog. She also reminded me that if I can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all. I know some of you may be thinking "This'll be brief" but wait, despite what my previous blogs may indicate, I actually do love my DW and so today I'm going to share with the world a couple of reasons. Don't worry, I won't get all soppy and emotional. Some of the things I love about her are rather amusing and possibly not the sort of things she would generally tell people about herself. Yet they greatly endear her to me. So stick around and find out what makes DW tick.

Ok, so let's start with something small. DW doesn't like stickers. She LOVES stickers. She can't have enough stickers. And she likes to buy them in sheets. In fact we have several pads full of sheets of stickers. I could safely say that we have several thousand stickers in the house. She also doesn't like to have sheets of stickers with used-sticker-gaps in them. If she uses a sticker, she feels obligated to "fill-the-gap" by buying another couple of sheets of stickers. She also likes to ensure we have stickers for the appropriate occasions, such as Christmas, Easter, Wednesdays, boy parties, girl parties, rainy days, sunny days, days of inderterminate weather, days when the wind blows from the north and so on. Its a kind of weird obsession and no doubt I'll find a sticker on my pillow tonight of a girl with pigtails and a grumpy expression, arms crossed and foot tapping. In fact, should we ever be struck dumb, DW could probably communicate very effectively using nothing but stickers. For years. Still, I do find this little obsession rather cute, and very DW.

DW also LOVES stationary. I can understand this to some degree. Its useful to have the right pencil and pad when you need it. Being able to organize papers can certainly prove useful around tax time. However, one of the most delightful experiences I know is when DW sees the OfficeWorks End-Of-Year Clearance sale catalogue has arrived. She is a little like a kid who is so excited that they are not sure what to do first. While she has never inappropriately called out someone else's name, I have heard her moan "Oh, the bargains!" I've also learned to take her saying "its huge" with a grain of salt.

DW also loves watching Australia's Funniest Home Videos. I love watching DW watching Australia's Funniest Home Videos. I have had to ban DW from eating when watching Australia's Funniest Home Videos because otherwise she would choke to death. As it is, even without food or drink, she chokes and splutters and coughs and gags. Its really funny when she suddenly sits upright, tilts her head back, her face goes red and she flaps her hands about, mouth wide open and a kind of low sound comes out which sounds kind of like "hhhhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHH!" A couple of seconds later she realises that she has stopped breathing and needs to look away from the TV before she passes out. Funny as it is, I'm glad the show isn't on every night.

Time for one more. DW and I a big fans of the Lord of the Rings movies. I am a fan of the whole of the movies while DW is a fan of the first 90 minutes of each one. No matter when we watch the DVDs, DW falls asleep at the first opportunity. As it happens, this occurs at around the 90 minute mark in each film. The first time we watched each film, she stayed awake for the whole thing, but ever since... Probably the thing I love about her in this case is the waking up with absolutely no idea what the hell is going on. Sometimes she even gives me that "do I know you?" look. In fact, I think if people booted up like computers, they'd go through pretty much the same process. I can almost see her going through the bios check, running the boot loader, firing up the OS, checking the peripherals (she wiggles her fingers), blinking a couple of times as she moves into GUI mode and finally, after loading the envirnment variables from the hard disk into memory, she not only knows who she is, but also who I am and where we are. Then its time to go to bed. First a quick core dump and system scan and clean (brush teeth) and then into bed to hibernate. She won't wake up until Princess comes in the next morning and pushes her buttons.

There are many, many other things I love about DW and these few are chosen more for their humour value than anything else. I doubt I could ever truly capture what she means to me with words and I don't know that there would be much point. Showing her what she means to me is more important anyway. Still its wonderful to share my life with someone who can make me smile, giggle and laugh 'til I cry. She is definitely good value.


Thought for the Day: I like to misunderstand people

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Yay! And Hi! We have ADSL back on again. Its a wonderful thing.

On the weekend DW and I dragged Princess and Little Man to the big smoke for a friend's birthday. It was a strange and wonderful trip because both Princess and Little Man fell asleep reasonably quickly and stayed asleep for most of the way. I feel this should be documented so that one day, future generations can look back and see some evidence that Princess and Little Man hadn't completely lost the ability to fall asleep in the car. Actually, I suspect Little Man would fall asleep quite easily but his big sister makes it difficult for him.

Anyway, the party successfully surprised the birthday boy who spent the next hour explaining how close he had come to not being completely surprised because of all the tell-tale signs that he almost put together but had completely failed to. His heavily pregnant wife was the mastermind behind the whole operation and given her state, much kudos. This is his last birthday before fatherhood descends gracefully onto his shoulders like a lead yoke dropped from sufficient height to achieve terminal velocity. This year he turned 35. Next year he will be 45. The year after that he will be 85. The year after that they will probably have another kid. That's when it gets REALLY hard.

Did I mention that Little Man is STILL not sleeping through. It could be teething. He still has teeth coming through. It could be that he just likes being a pain in the butt at 2:30am. Obviously the latter option is clearly not true. He likes being a pain in the butt when ever a butt presents itself, the time be damned. Its funny how much his true character is shining through these days. Actually, I should point out that his ups more than match his downs. His determination to be heard over Princess shows how strong his character is. He is a very happy child and loves to play and cuddle and is genuinely lovable. But then again, so is Princess. They are both wonderful and different and have found ways to not only wrap DW and I around their little fingers, but also drive us to Distraction. Distraction is a slightly cooler, less angry version of Hell.

Another couple attending the party are also having a baby and this one is due a week before the aforementioned. They are also in the throes of baby-preparation that will last until the child goes to school. Lets face it, you are never really ready. Everyone tells you you won't be ready so I decided to just wait and see. And they were right. Of course, they were also to blame because if I hadn't been waiting to see, I might have been preparing. Still, it came as quite a surprise to me to see a real live birth of a human being for the first time. I had seen animals give birth and videos of human births and so on, and the real thing is pretty much the same except for the discovery that your wife actually has more than enough strength to open a jar. Presumably it is dependent on how desperately she wants to get out whatever is inside.

So the next couple of weeks will be interesting as the time(s) draws near. No matter how challenging the birth is, the real challenge lies beyond. And no matter how wonderful meeting your child for the first time is, it pales compared to the joy of watching them grow. And sleep shall be the new commodity.


Thought for the day: I don't want a tin-foil hat. I want one made from glass. That way, when the government satellites read my mind, the information they get will be wrong. Or they might unwittingly cook my brain. Ok, maybe a tin-foil hat is better.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Back again. I seem to be lapsing into weekly blogging but I have decided to set myself a new goal. This post will mark 64 entries and I think with a concerted effort I may be able to make it to 100 before the end of the year. That averages to one every 3.65 days, which isn't too bad. Still, I actually have to do it yet.

Firstly, a quick update. Some of you may remember that I had a little trouble with some names and may have called a colleague an animated fish. Anyway, it turns out that I still had it wrong - it is in fact, Nino. When discussing a related project with some other people, I said Mimo thinking I've got it right this time, and they all burst out laughing. It seemed a little too raucous to me until they explained that it had been going around the office that I can never get this guy's name right. I guess its just one of those things. Every time I think of his name, I second guess myself and about the only thing I'm sure of is that he is not named after the animated fish. After that, its anyone's guess.

Things have been a little... well, tense isn't the right word... at my house. Our ADSL connection has been out for over two weeks now. Yes, we got caught up in the whole Veridas scandal and the subsequent vulture attack. DW is missing the connection particularly. Its funny how dependent on it we have become. We have had it for about a year and DW only used it a little until we bought her a nice, shiny new laptop earlier this year. We were using around 1.5~3GB per month until the laptop arrived. BANG! We were hitting 7~8GB per month. Admittedly that makes it sound like DW suddenly started downloading tons of stuff, which isn't really true. That was me but it did happen when the laptop arrived. Not that I was using the laptop. Anyway, no internet is driving poor DW crazy. It has become a life-line to the rest of the world. Actually, just the phone bill savings has more than justified the cost of the connection.

I have noticed the absence of the connection at home because I don't get little messages from DW all day. I like hearing all the little things that are going on. Thinks like "I'm hungry, going to have a cuppa and a biscuit", "Princess wants to type something", "gceigwcuelbcblkwceb" and "Little Man has filled his nappy. He's in the backyard and I can smell it from here. Better go deal with it." I get these little glimpses of what's going on at home sporadically through the day and sometimes I respond but often I just let them float by. Its nice and helps me feel like I'm missing less.

But DW feels the loss much more. She has a group of friends that all use Instant Messaging and email and quite often DW might go several days without talking on the phone, all because she is able to chat with others online. The problem with using the phone is that Little Man and Princess are drawn to it like moths to one of those zappy things. Princess always wants to talk and always says things like "Well, what I was going to say is... its Big Ted's birthday and Baxibax and Batasha are here and Little Man has filled his nappy and its GROSS! and Mummy says I don't go to Kinder today and I'm having yoghurt." Little Man seems to think that the best time to fall over or run into something or get cranky is when DW is on the phone. Instant messaging does away with that. A quick message can be sent without too much interference and the reply doesn't have to be acknowledged instantly. The result is a simpler, more effective communication. DW loves it. DW hates not being able to have it. DW knows its not my fault but sometimes she gets that look in her eye as if to say, "You're one of them - one of those IT guys and therefore are somehow connected to this conspiracy." I am so looking forward to our connection coming back up. Really.


Thought for the Day: I tolerate lactose and it tolerates me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yep. Its been a while. Much has happened. Little will be revealed because much has also been forgotten. Today's post will not be in Pirate-Speak.

DW's parents have recently returned from a tour of the North and so DW was very keen to visit them. They live far enough away that it is better to stay overnight and its a nice little weekend away. The trip isn't as much fun as it used to be. Princess can talk the legs of a horse, as our pony, Stumps McWhinny will attest. Most kids will enjoy a long, warm car ride by dozing quietly or, like Little Man, slipping into a temporary coma. Princess unfortunately takes two hours to fall asleep and the trip is two hours and five minutes long. And she always says the same thing when she wakes up; "I was alseep." Anyway, the long-absent grandparents were greeted at first by a sort of fake coyness, followed by strangling hugs. Princess expresses affection by wrapping her arms around a person's neck and squeezing until the gasping stops. If love hurts, unconditional love can be lethal. DW and I watch and giggle to ourselves for a while before prising her away from her victim. Fortunately, with both grandparents attending, one recovers while the other is choked. Throw in a favourite uncle and his partner and there were choking blue people everywhere. We had arrived.

We usually have a nice, quiet time at the grandparents place and this visit was no exception. They live in a small country town and have a big garden surrounding the house which makes it feel even more isolated. The quiet serenity is punctured all too frequently by someone yelling at Princess to get off something, off someone, don't give the baby that, where are your clothes, put your boots on if you're going outside, take your boots off if you're coming inside, are these you muddy footprints all over the clean carpet, you can't be still hungry, sit down while you're eating, I thought I told you to take those boots off, just the boots not all your clothes, I know your hungry, get off the baby, don't eat that and aren't you cold without your clothes on.

This time, Little Man made his presence felt because he is up and running and occasionally falling down. He babbles in baby speak though occasionally he will say "Dadadadad". He answers most questions with a determined ignoring but if he feels up to providing an answer it is always "No!" with a quick shake of the head and a big smile. I amuse myself by asking questions to which the answer "No" will be funny, like "Are you a big man?", "Can you ride a horse?" and "Does E = MC squared?". He always says "No" and I crack up. He also thinks its funny but I don't think he really understands the "ride a horse" question.

He did manage to momentarily draw our attention away from Princess the other day when he had a pronounced allergic reaction to something. It wasn't serious in so far as his respoitory system wasn't compromised and he didn't have to stop eating while his skin went red and his face swelled up. He did notice his great big lips made it a little awkward to get food in but that didn't stop Little Man. He kept on shovelling whatever he could get his hands on straight in. DW quickly took him to the local GP who was able to control the reaction but unfortunately we were not able to come to a reasonable conclusion as to what the cause might be. DW had given him egg earlier that day but he has had egg in other foods before. We had also had a delivery of pea straw as mulch for our new backyard. And we had a bit of a gale the day before which has meant lots of dust and stuff had gotten in the house. And Little Man eats anything he picks up. So we are left with a bottle of Phenergan and his name on a waiting list a month long to see an allergy specialist. At least it didn't upset him.

Anyway, that's all I have time for at the moment.


Thought for the Day: Why are chips not counted as "vegetables"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day. Today's blog will be in pirate speak, in honour of Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Arrr, so aft t' last week. After th' Dingo tide came th' buildin' o' th' vegie bunks tide, then th' garden bunk edgin' an' th' sand pit deepenin'. Unfortunately, Wee Man has nay been bunkin' well at all so DW an' I ben takin' 't in turns t' look after th' lad's at night. On accoun' o' I had spent th' tide ridin' around on th' aft o' th' Dingo (which be actually hard work - 'tis so!) DW tookst an extra night, so I would be refreshed when th' timber be delivered th' followin' mornin'. I be refreshed like a fish lyin' on its side in a desert, gaspin' fer water an' one solitary drop o' rain hits 't on th' side o' th' face, one centimeter from its bung hole.

But me inability t' focus properly or form sentences has nerestopped me from usin' power tools so ou' I sailed' t' build some vegie bunks. DW be able t' help fer a while until Princess an' Wee Man drew th' lass' away in a cunnin' ploy consistin' o' incessant naggin' fer food an' a smelly nappy that e'en bein' outdoors couldna mask. I could tell she be reluctant t' leave me on me own but I assured th' lass' that very wee could possibly go wrong. Anyway, what could go wrong, did go wrong. Th' REALLY hard clay be also peppered wi' lumps o' rock an' a couple o' me stakes didna go in straight, which has resulted in a couple o' th' bunks bein' a wee irregular. An' thar be a couple o' gaps. An' some gaffer tape. But otherwise 't came up really adequate.

Then we had a eyeball th' sand pit I be buildin' fer Princess an' Wee Man. We had already agreed that Wee Man no' be allowed t' use th' new sandpit until he has stopped eatin' sand on accoun' o' 't be pretty expensive an' we still had some o' th' bilge watery old stuff about. So Princess be jus' about beside herself when I started clearin' th' section fer th' lass' sandpit. Now I had broken up th' clay wi' th' Dingo but DW decided th' sand pit would be too shallow so I had t' go down another 10 t' 15 centimeters. Fortunately 'tis only a 2m x 2m area. I got me mattock an' I attacked 't like a crazy swabbie durin' a full moon. 't tookst me about four hours. Me whole body be sore an' shakin' on accoun' o', as I mentioned last high tide', me mattock`s shiny yellow plastic handle dasn't absorb ANY o' th' shock.

Then came time t' get th' soil. Me older laddie, whom I shall call Shteve, an avid landscaper, came o'er t' help. We borrowed a trailer from th' husband o' a matey o' DW`s whose buxom beauty supports his Media Centre efforts. We bought a lot o' dirt. 't seemed a lot t' pay fer dirt. I dasn't really like payin' fer dirt. 't jus' dasn't seem starboard somehow. Anyway, th' "organic compound" we bought be arr jus' about th' best dirt ye can get an' so we got a lot. On accoun' o' we can only get into our aftyard via th' garage, we had t' use th' trailer rather than a single truck load. 't did make 't easier t' spread th' dirt ou' but 't be a nightmare tryin' t' aft th' trailer through. I be nay big wi' th' whole drivin' o' th' car fore let alone aftward an' so puttin' a trailer full o' very expensive dirt on th' aft wasn`t th' best idee. DW an' Shteve stood on either side o' th' door through which th' trailer be supposed t' go an' laughed an' laughed an' laughed. I`d be havin' laughed too if I wasn`t sweatin' like a pig, cranin' me neck t' be seein' behind an' really, really angry. After about ten attempts an' several refusals from DW an' Shteve t' be havin' a go, I finally got th' trailer into th' garage aftwards. DW kindly suggested we jus' push 't th' rest o' th' way an' I agreed. I had t' do that nine times. Th' final time I jus' drove th' car straight into th' aftyard an' used a technique I learned from an Austin Powers movie t' turn around again.

Durin' this whole adventure, Princess be playin' in th' increasin' piles o' expensive dirt, gettin' more expensive herself by th' minute. At one point I be about t' tell th' lass' nay t' play in th' dirt wi' th' lass' socks on, when I realised she wasn`t wearin' any socks. In fact, I be nay e'en sure if she be wearin' britches. When she finally got into th' bath that night, 't be like puttin' a bucket full o' black grog into clear hot water.

Anyway, more next high tide'.


Thought for the Day: Damn! My new leaf looks the same on the other side.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Some people suffer in silence. Not me. I'm sore. I want the world to know.

Its been a little while since I last posted a blog. The reason is I have been on holidays. When I say holidays, I mean labour camp. I may or may not have mentioned my dislike for gardening. I may or may not have mentioned my barren wasteland of a backyard. I may or may not have mentioned DW's plans to transform our backyard to a something Jamie Durie might feel comfortable in (her metaphor, not mine). Anyway, we have been discussing how to approach this dilemna for some time and finally, I took a week and a half off work to give this whole garden makeover caper a bit of a try.

Now, I'm no Jamie Durie (so I am reminded) but I figured that I could wield a mattock as well as the next man, so long as he also worked in IT and hated gardening. A while back I bought a shiny new mattock with a bright yellow plastic handle and just to see how well it would work, I had a go at the backyard. We have clay in our backyard. Lots of clay. And we also get some pretty hot weather. So our clay has baked pretty hard. Anyway, when I swung my shiny new mattack with the bright yellow plastic handle down onto our sun-baked clay, expecting the sharp metal edge to disappear with a thud, I was a little disappointed. Firstly, the blade did not sink into the clay, but rather bounced and made a chinging sound like metal on concrete. A tiny powdery dint now marked the surface of the clay, the only evidence that anything had happened. Other than the fact that I was now dancing around the backyard shaking my hands vigorously because apparently the bright yellow plastic handle doesn't absorb ANY of the bone-jarring shock. DW popped her head out to ask what was happening. I told her it was likely to be a bit slow with just the mattock.

Anyway, last week, I decided that the only thing to do was hire some heavy machinery. We don't have access to our backyard from the rear so the heavy machinery would have to come in through the garage. I considered using a bobcat but I really wanted a rotary hoe. And I don't mean a hand-held rotary hoe, because I used one of those at the front of our house with DW's dad and it didn't work nearly as well as I hoped. So I opted for a Dingo with a rotary hoe attachment. In fact, I opted for the biggest, diesel-powered Dingo on the lot.

I have never used a Dingo before nor anything like it. There are twelve controls on the control panel and they are arranged to provide the experienced user with easy reach to everything, and to baffle the hell out of newbies. Fortunately for me, the hire place runs an introductory training course which runs from 9:30am to 9:31am with a 30 second break. Also, the drive home was fun because the family station wagon and a large, diesel-powered Dingo on a reinforced trailer weigh pretty much the same. The only advice given by my instructor and new-found mentor (we really bonded in the last 15 seconds) was to try a stay out of enclosed spaces and to start on something that didn't matter too much. And to buckle up on the way home.

So, I finally got home, white as a sheet, and drove the car into our backyard. Ten minutes later, I was zipping around the backyard like a mad man. Turns out the lever I used for forward was actually the throttle and what I thought was the throttle was actually to raise the bucket and the levers for steering are counter-intuitive and the best way to get somewhere was to try and drive away from it. Brakes weren't mentioned and they probably should have been. As it happens, I managed to get the hang of it before destroying the fence (only one pailing came off and I nailed it right back up, twice). A few minutes later I was zipping around the backyard, not like a madman (you could tell because I wasn't screaming and sweating like a fountain), but like a man with a purpose. And that purpose was to transform the backyard. I had a mission, and I chose to accept it and didn't self-destruct in five seconds. I plowed and hoed and dug and twisted and turned and sculpted and churned. It was like a ballet on ice, though instead of ice we had clay, and instead of ballerinas we had something more like a metal hippo with a flatulence problem. And of course, the Dingo.

Finally, it was done. I had done as much damage as one man can do in a miniature bulldozer. Even DW was impressed, noting my "on-the-fly" adapting of the plan as a stroke of adequacy with extra helpings of "it'll do" and a dash of "can't read a frikken plan". Anyway, with some creative genius, DW devised a new plan to make it all work and so I reluctantly drove the Dingo back to the yard and prepared myself for the following day of gardening/landscaping. At least I'd be in my element for part of the day, when I was building the garden beds. But that can wait until tomorrow.


Thought for the Day: Should people who don't live at the top floor of apartment blocks refer to God as "the man upstairs"?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

NEWSFLASH: Hell has frozen over!

Little Man cut his long awaited top tooth. Princess asks to go to bed! Husband not *complete* idiot! One of these stories is simply not true!

Well, Father's Day has come and gone. It was somewhat overshadowed by the above news. Little Man didn't have his tooth through at morning tea time. By lunch time however, he was like a saber-tooth tiger that had just got his sabers. Well, saber anyway. Actually, it was just this little white fleck peeking through the swollen gums but there it was. I suspect it actually came through when he did a face plant into the kitchen bench. Yes, the Bench of Unyielding has claimed another victim, bringing forth the Tooth of "we-waited-for-six-sleepless-weeks-for-that-tiny-thing"! Great! Another how many to go?

And in other completely unexpected news, Princess actually asked to go to bed. And it wasn't because she had stashed supplies of yummy food under her bed in case dinner was crap, which it never is. She actually wanted to go to sleep. She had had several days of rigourous activity and had just gotten over a cold so that might have contributed, but by 7 o'clock on which ever night it was, she was fast asleep and didn't wake up until 3am, when she told me she had a bad dream and her feet hurt. I asked her why her feet hurt and she said they didn't, it was in the bad dream. So I took her back to bed and told her that she should not worry about her feet or the bad dream. She didn't want to go back into the dream and have sore feet again. I told her that when she went to sleep, it would be a completely new bad dream and there was no telling what might hurt until she got there, so not to worry about her feet. About an hour later she came in to tell me that she'd had a bad dream where someone was chasing her and Big Ted and I asked her how her feet were. She said they were fine and I said, "There you go. All better. Now go back to bed until 7(am). Don't make me chase you."

We were mistaken when we assumed that once Little Man cut his tooth he would start sleeping through again. Unfortunately, he had gotten himself into a routine of waking up in pain. Well, the pain was gone but why give up a perfectly annoying routine if you don't have to. And what's even better, now when he wakes up for his 2am rant, he feels fine so he plays and laughs and giggles and bangs and kicks the wall and tries to reach stuff and says things like, "dadad gloddle oddle bup oddoo blupeeiiieeeee glurdle dadddaadd mmmmmmmmm. Hi." Its cute the first few times and then its really annoying. The first few times ended two days ago.

Anyway, back to Father's Day. Well, in my house, Father's Day apparently means Father's Turn. Up at 6am to feed Little Man, change nappy, burp Little Man, wipe up vomit, put Little Man to bed, try and convince Princess that its not time to get up or sing, almost make it back to bed, try to settle Little Man, change nappy, get breakfast for Princess to try and shut her up, get breakfast for Little Man to try and shut him up, wipe up breakfast, wipe up Little Man, change nappy, change Little Man, change TV channel for Princess, change channel again looking for cartoons that Princess likes, finding "Lion King" DVD, getting Little Man out of high chair, wipe up vomit, grab God knows what out of Little Man's mouth, fix DVD for Princess, find biscuit for Little Man, sooth grumpy Little Man, put Little Man into bed, lie Little Man down, lie Little Man down, lie Little Man down, give Little Man bonjella, lie Little Man down, walk out on Little Man standing in his wooden cage laughing at his daddy, sit down in lounge room and ponder the possibility of going back to sleep in the five minutes remaining before 7am. No point. Besides, I knew if I wanted any more pampering for the rest of the day, I'd better let DW have some sleep.

When DW did finally get up, it was present time. I got a huge Toblerone chocolate thing from Little Man and a cap and some araldite from Princess, and a really cool router kit from DW. Didn't see that coming. Actually, that's true. I was hoping she wouldn't get the cheapest router she could find and instead she gets not only a very good router, but a whole set of bits and stuff to go with it. Now I really have to clean up the garage. Princess also made some stuff for me at Kinder. She gave me a keyring with her photo, a card she had made herself and a hanky with a picture of me painted on it. Or possibly a picture of what she expects will happen to the hanky the next time I get a cold. She said it was me but it could still go either way. She also drew a picture of me on a card with a bunch of things she knew about me. Like, how handsome I am, cold season notwithstanding. That I was "maybe six" years old and I like Pepsi Max and watching movies and Buffy on TV. I like strawberries and yogurt, playing catch and brushing her hair, which makes me sound more gay than I really am. Still, it was the best part of the whole day for me. What can I say?


Thought for the Day: Thou shalt not change thy wife's desktop image

Friday, September 01, 2006

Spring, spring, spring, spring, spring!

Yes, in case you missed it, it's finally Spring! We made it through Winter. I like to pat myself on the back every time I make it through Winter because I achieve so little otherwise. And by the way, I have been unwell for the last couple of days and so haven't been blogging. Its amazing how feeling unwell makes me want to not blog. Anyway, I'm feeling better and its Spring and I'm convalescing and DW would like me to take a few minutes to herself and do something constructive. Or blog.

Ok, so time to catch everyone up on things at my house. Well, we had Little Man's second party for his first birthday and I actually finished his little truck. After adding wheels, it was definitely a truck so that's what we are calling it. It actually looked pretty good and he was able to push it along and ride on it. It looked like he might have been really interested in it until someone got him a shiny plastic trike that has stickers and rolls smoothly and doesn't hurt to sit on. I've decided to assume that the problem is just that I haven't painted his truck yet and all will be well when he sees his bright red truck with fire licks down the side and the superglue sets on his fancy little trike.

Toys are getting smarter. One of Little Man's toys is a car dashboard thing. It has a steering wheel and indicators and horn and a little dashboard car person thingy. It makes a carcophony of sounds but here is the kicker. If you play with it for a little while making all sorts of crazy and increasingly annoying noises, you get told off and told its a kids toy, for Pete's sake. So you walk away and slump down at the table and look at said toy longingly, knowing that if you touch it, well, on a scale of 1 to 10, it wouldn't be good. Obviously intended to draw a toddler's attention back to itself, the toy waits for a couple of minutes and bursts back into life. Needless to say, a surprised look is not enough to shield one from suspicion.

Apart from his truck, all of Little Man's toys make some sort of noise. Princess likes to see if she can get all of them going at once to create a kind of carnival atmosphere. Little Man eats the wrapping paper and plays in the boxes. Next year he will actually enjoy the toys. When he hits three, he will finally understand that it is HIS birthday and not just a lucky day when people give him stuff.

So now we are passed the birthdays for the year. Its something of a relief. After proving just how good I am at carpentering, DW has decided to focus my attention on the backyard. Apparently we have decided that the weeds have to go and we need something resembling a structure, a plan. So we drew up our plan and we argued about the merits of the plan and drew up another and debated the virtues of the new plan and then drew up a third plan and disagreed on the pros and cons and so on. A few reams of paper later, we settled on a plan DW liked and we thought about how we would achieve this new wonder of the world. It was decided that we would do things in stages. So we started by drawing up a plan. I get the feeling its going to take a while to get this done.

Also, the bedroom has been delayed. But I have decided to take some time off from work and get the rest of the things we need to finish and DW has agreed to paint stuff and we are hoping to finish by the end of September. At least we have already agreed on the plan. We just have to find the time. Did I mention we have kids?

Lastly, tomorrow is Father's Day and DW has headed off to Bunnings to do some shopping. Bunnings is the perenial backup for presents for me. Whenever DW can't think of anything or runs out of time, she goes to the Bunnings drive-through-for-women which asks only two questions, "Cars, gardens or wood?" and "How much?". This year DW started fishing for ideas a few weeks back. Catalogues were left lying about. The following week, a highlighter appeared beside the catalogues. Then DW started to ask me what I was working on or what my Dad might want. Then she mentioned that Father's Day was coming up. Then she mentioned that a bloody hint would be good. Then she said what do I want for Father's Day and to be specific. I said I would like a router. She said, "There, now, that wasn't to hard now was it? Any normal person would have known how to leave a hint." Three days later she said, "What the hell is a router? Do they have them at the drive-through?"

DW is actually great when it comes to buying me gifts. She tries really hard and usually comes up with great ideas, even ones I wouldn't have thought of myself. For my birthday she bought me a hammock which is big enough for two. Unfortunately, Princess ALWAYS wants to get in with me, which reduces the relaxation component and increases the desire-to-throttle-but-can't coefficient. It might be ok if she'd just lie still but she has a condition whereby she is acutely annoying. DW also bought me the most beautiful, wonderful, shiny drill bit set which I open occasionally to look at but am too afraid to use. I think she is going to get me a router tomorrow. I can't wait!


Thought for the Day: I don't know Jack Squat. Or his brother, Diddly

Friday, August 25, 2006

Howdy. I guess some of you may have been wondering why I still haven't posted an update about Little Man's party. Well, work is to blame but I'm on it now. In case you are wondering, I didn't get any more done on the truck/dolphin but I'm still hoping I'll get something ready by Sunday.

Anyway, the morning of Little Man's birthday arrived. Princess had stayed up late (late for her) helping DW wrap a few presents for the boy and come morning, she was ready to give them, even if he wasn't ready to get them. Fortunately, we were able to convince her not to wake him too early because he needed his sleep. We knew Princess would be FAR more excited about all this than Little Man who still doesn't know poop from apple sauce. Princess had picked out some Superman PJs for Little Man and I must say, they do look pretty cool on him. And she had written a card and drew a picture of him on it. I have to say, it is the best picture of Little Man I have ever seen. It doesn't look exactly like him as a photo might but it highlights every specific feature that Princess associates with her little brother, right down to his belly button and two bottom teeth. I'll try to remember to scan the image and post it in the next blog.

Princess is trying really hard with her drawing/writing and the effort is paying off. Her reading is still limited to a few words and letters that she recognizes but I get the feeling it won't be long before she really gets into the swing of it. She is also learning to sew, though at this point it is simply pulling frilly thread through a piece of card with hole-punched edges with a needle that is so large she needs both hands to wield it. Fortunately it is also very blunt. However, Princess has shown an unexpected adeptness and patience and will even sit for a minute very quietly while she threads the great big needle herself. This is the needle Jesus must have been referring to when he said it would be easier for camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven. (Matthew 19:24) Anyway, kudos to Princess for even being able to lift it.

Back to the party day. Little Man eventually rose from his slumber with the grace of a wounded bear. His damn tooth was still bothering him, and does so to this day. I have had DW tell me several times, "Its so close, I swear, it'll be through before you get home." If its through before his next birthday, I promise I'll be surprised. Anyway, he greeted toddlerdom the way he greets anything he doesn't like. He pooed with emphasis, the emphasis being the radius around him in which the smell would make your eyes water. He actually loves being able to walk and totters around everywhere. He is also very cute with his nappy-wobbling walk and frequent over-balancing. However, when he is grumpy, he cries at everything. He cries when you put him down. He cries when his dummy falls out. He cries when he puts it back in. He cries at Princess. He cries at fluff on the carpet. He cries at not being able to eat fluff off the carpet. He cries at the carpet. He cries at the crying kid in the mirror. So you can imagine the party preparations were a hoot.

I stayed home to help and I really tried to help as well. Mostly I got in the way. The party we where having for Little Man on his birthday was actually just a Mum's Group gathering with the mum's from when Princess was born, so most of the kids coming were actually Princess' friends. That's ok though, because Little Man doesn't really have any friends yet and he would have just cried at them anyway. And why not, its his party. Anyway, so Princess is getting over excited because it was Little Man's birthday and he was getting Little Man presents and there would be friends and cake after lunch. Little Man was crying and sulky because his mouth hurt and people kept walking past him and stopping him eating fluff off the carpet. I was trying to help by pointing out things that should be done and how I would do them if I were allowed back in the house. DW was getting a little stressed and I'm tempted to make a joke about how she was using the broom as a personal transportation device but I won't. She wasn't that bad but she was getting a little annoyed and pointed out that "helping and trying to help are NOT the same thing". The pressure cooker was building up and DW had jsut finished telling me where I could put the ironing board and I was saying how we would then need a new cover when the phone rang.

One of DWs friends was unable to come over because her little boy was misbehaving. It had gotten to the point where she finally had to follow through with a threat not to let him attend the party. Needless to say, DW was very concerned for her friend as we both know all too well how that situation feels. Its odd how you can think the whole world exists inside your own little space and forget that the reason you are cleaning it up is because people from outside your little world are visiting. They also have their own little worlds that need cleaning and maybe they are coming to your little world just to get away from their own for a bit. Appreciating how hard life can be and remembering how important it is to have someone there who is willing to help (or even try to help) allows your world to expand and gives a perspective that can include other people and their troubles even if they are not right there in front of you. It could be tempting to think about how lucky we are to not have those specific troubles at that moment, but DW is not like that. Her first thought is for her friend. She knew she couldn't do much to help but I think she would have liked nothing more than to be able to pop over to her friend's place and given her a hug.

As it happened, DW did have to pop out and pick up some extra bits and pieces for the party. I kept tidying up by putting stuff under the couch and into the study and testing the snacks, when I noticed DW had returned home and was chatting to a neighbour. I kept thinking she is leaving me in here to hide this crap and snack while she is out chatting. She didn't stay out there long and when she came in she told me why she had been chatting. Our neighbour's husband had decided to leave her with the two little kids. She was still in shock because it had come as a surprise and had only happened a few days earlier. Needless to say DW was also shocked and very worried for our neighbour.

I was thinking about how it was only Wednesday and I had already had a very odd week. I had chatted to an old friend on Sunday who has just had a baby and she was finding the sleeplessness difficult and her partner was also struggling and feeling the pressure. Another friend was having a dilemna about when to have her second child because she was worried about having too big a gap between kids would mean they wouldn't get along as well and she was also worried about how she and her partner would make ends meet. My brother then found out his wife was having triplets and in a few monhts he would have four kids under the age of three. He would need a new car and prams and cots and all he could see was headlights. Followed up with DWs friend and our neighbour's troubles, it occurred to me that really, a party for a one year old isn't really that hard and certainly not worth fighting over. So I stopped dropping food on the floor and DW got off her broom and we hugged and apologized and set about enjoying the rest of the day.

Well, when I say enjoy, that might be stretching things a little. We certainly enjoyed seeing the end of the day. The party went pretty much as all kids parties do. Princess didn't like the way her bestest friend in the whole world was playing catch and so threw the ball into his face. Her bestest friend in the whole world didn't like being hit in the face with a ball and punched her right back in the face. He ran away and she chased him. She ran away and he chased her. Several others joined in and chased each other. Princess fell over things, off things and under things and cried each time. Her best friend crashed the bike, collided with other kids and also cried. Another kid fell off the swing. Another got hit in the face with a swing and headbutted another kid. Crazy monkeys stole another kid. All the kids had too much sweet food and soft drink and fought and yelled and cried and sang "Happy Birthday" and cheered and cried and fought and fell over. Little Man just tottered around the backyard on his own and ate sand. We also gave him some cake but he preferred the sand. So I ate the cake. It was good cake.


Thought for the Day: Never assume you can jump all the way across a creek. Never assume you will find sure footing on the other side. Never assume no one is filming you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My efforts to make myself more personable and outgoing took a dent yesterday when I was walking home after work. It was just after dusk and I was listening to music and I decided to try out my new "say hi and smile" policy. A young lady was approaching and I smiled and said "Hi". Apparently I am unable to correctly gauge how loud to speak when I am wearing headphones and I gave the poor girl something of a fright. It probably wasn't helped because I wasn't sure whether to go with a small, polite smile or a warm, open grin and ended up doing a bit of both. Because it was getting dark, I wanted to make sure she knew I wasn't dangerous or strange so I opened my eyes really wide as well. Anyway, it didn't go very well. She all but bolted past me. It was probably lucky I didn't see anyone else before I got home.

Tomorrow is a big day in our household. It is Little Man's birthday. We have put up with him for one whole year. Each year for Princess' birthday, DW has made a very pretty party dress to celebrate, however, we have decided not to encourage Little Man to wear dresses, party or otherwise. He can choose to do so when he can choose to do so. Anyway, that's my attempt at political correctness. So I decided to build him a truck. Not because he is a boy, but because a making a truck out of wood is easier than making a party outfit out of wood. Only, I haven't actually tested this and I may be wrong.

Now it has come to my attention that not only is reading the operating manuals of power tools and valuable equipment a good idea, it is also considered prudent to have more than just the word "truck" written down as part of the plan for building a truck. DW was good enough to point that out for me. So, a while back we visited DW's parents place and we took several photos of a wooden truck that her brothers played with when they were little, and Princess plays with when we visit. Having ample source material from which to guess how to make a truck, I then set about guessing the measurements. Remembering my usually, "measure once, cut twice, make smaller truck" philosophy, I got stuck into it on the weekend. Fortunately, I allowed enough wood to practice with and I even bought a coping saw to help with the tricky bits. I told DW I needed a coping saw. DW asked if I had been using a not coping saw for my previous projects and if I perhaps should have thought about coping earlier. This comes from a woman who laughed at me because I needed a cold chisel and she suggested I should try a band that was still together.

Anyway, I cut and coped and measured and realised that I had completely forgotten what the truck actually looked like. So I went inside and checked the laptop for the photos we had taken. After my six or seventh trip, DW suggested I should maybe print out a couple of the photos and take them out to the garage. I pointed out that we would need a printer to do that and she pointed out the printer. So, I printed out a couple of key shots and headed out. Now, in my very forward-thinking manner, I had thought to pop one of Princess' shoes on the tray of the truck in order to provide a reference for measurement. I wanted the truck to have a very "me" feel, so precise measurements were obviously unacceptable. Anyway, it turns out that kids grow pretty quick so Princess' feet have gotten larger, and accordingly, her shoes. So the truck, which was intended to be "ride-on" would have been more of a "ride-in" had it not been saved from gross hugeness by my "measure once, cut twice, make smaller truck" philosophy. It all works out in the end.

Well, I hope so. I haven't finished it yet. So far it is a bunch of miscellaneous shapes of wood that I believe will look like a truck when placed together in the right way. It may yet be a dolphin. Which wouldn't be all bad because it doesn't have wheels yet either. I probably won't actually be able to give the truck/dolphin to Little Man tomorrow so DW suggested I buy a couple of presents "just in case you don't get it finished, though I'm sure you will, but better to be safe, yeah?" We are having another party for Little Man on Sunday so I am hoping I can have it ready by then.

Still, I think I am getting better at woodwork. I was going to build a dolls house but DW bought one just in time. She does her best to encourage me with little sayings like "the kids will really appreciate the effort... in time" and "At least now you have a coping saw. That's gotta be a relief." and my favourite "Why don't I make you a nice, heavy meal and put on a movie? We can talk about your latest project after you've fallen asleep." Anyway, Little Man is getting a truck or a dolphin for his birthday or soon after or maybe for Christmas if it kills me and everyone I love.


Thought for the Day: My brother just found out his wife is having triplets and they are all his.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm not sure if any research has been done to determine if laughter can actually kill a person. I believe it probably could. The old saying "You won't die laughing!" may only be true if you consider that you laugh right up to the point that you have a massive heart attack or burst a blood vessel in your brain and in that moment of agony, you probably do stop laughing and think, "What the...??"

Anyway, I've nearly died laughing. Several times. The most recent was last night. A friend was over and I was trying to tell a funny anecdote. Actually, I tried to tell two. Neither worked out very well, my head almost exploding both times. Also, despite the fact that I couldn't actually speak, breathe or move in a coordinated manner for several minutes, did not stop DW and our guest from laughing heartily at my fit. The worst thing was, I knew when I finally got to the point of actually telling them what was so funny, I would have to make it sound as bland as possible or I would be gone for all money again.

What started it was a very simple yet positive event. My dad has had his second book published. To protect her identity, I shall call our guest "Shnarelle". Shnarelle is an aspiring author and was not aware that my father had even written one book, let alone a second. Now, I have this problem where I get something in my head and despite my best efforts, it pops out my mouth. My parents had kept the fact Dad was writing a book a secret. It may not have technically been a secret, but apparently none of us knew to ask that particular question. "Hi Dad, how are you? Good answer. Have you thought about writing a book?" If only we'd thought to ask. At least we now know he isn't planning to overthrow the government or start his own underwear line. And let me tell you, he didn't see those questions coming.

Back to the point. Dad hadn't mentioned his book writing and I hadn't asked. I think it is absolutely fantastic that he is doing it and I enjoyed the first book and look forward to reading the second. However, in my head, I was still stuck with the thinking how strange it was that he hadn't mentioned it. So when Shnarelle commented by saying "Wow, that's exciting!", I opened my mouth and agreed by saying, "It IS odd, isn't it." Only after I had spoken that I realised that Shnarelle was looking a little surprised and quickly jumped in saying that wasn't quite what she meant by "exciting". It quickly put me in my scattered mind of another, equally funny and debilitating event.

It would seem this little affliction of speaking without thinking carefully or at all is not a problem unique to me. At least one of my brothers also has it. My mother was informing him that an elderly relative had recently passed away, to which my brother, eager to share his news, replied, "You know what else is funny?" I was with this particular brother recently in a cafe when I was explaining to him about my problems with remembering names and the two of us had one of those temporal shifting moments. In an almost reverse situation to the movie "Awakenings", we both shuddered with laughter faster and faster until we were both frozen in time and space, mouths wide open, no sound coming out and the only change in our physical appearance was the increasing red glow engulfing our heads.

I say that it was temporal shifting because while we remained frozen, possibly listing slightly in our rigoured state, the rest of the cafe went on as normal, though several eyes fickered toward us occassionally. I'm not sure how long we were like that but I remember thinking, I'm going to have to crawl out of here and I haven't paid yet. Maybe if I just dropped my wallet, the waiter would just take the right amount of money.

This situation is not uncommon in my family. When we are together, it can be even worse. If one of us tips over the edge, the others are quick to dive off as well. The joke might be a very witty remark, a shared memory from life growing up on the farm, or an ill-timed fart, but whatever it is, the whole lot of us get caught up in it. I suspect that anyone else walking in at that moment would think they'd stepped into an episode of Star Trek, or maybe Dr Who. DW thinks I'm mad and it is not entirely unrelated. I just know that as my siblings and I get older, one day were are all going to be sitting around together and someone will make a joke and one of us will end up dead. Possibly all of us. At least we'll have had a laugh.


Thought for the Day: I don't want to die doing what I love. That would ruin it. I would rather die doing what I hate, so then I'll feel vindicated.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ok, so I'm aplogizing for yesterday's blog. DW tells me that I took my readers to "the scary place" and noone deserves that. Also, she thought I was past the whole "monkey" phase and now I have to see Dr. Jenny again and I'm only allowed to use plastic utensils. And there's a button on my desk I have to push every ten minutes or I get a shock.

So, I thought I'd discuss TV. Last night I watched the inaugural David Tench Tonight. It wasn't bad but I found that a talk show host that makes the talk show about themselves gets a bit annoying, even if they are rather funny. I think Andrew Denton is a clever and funny man and would probably have kicked Peter Hellyer's butt in Australia's Funniest Comedian, or any other time for that matter, but his alter ego, David Tench will need to improve or he'll end up like Russell Coight.

Moving right along, I'm getting sick of just how shocked I'm going to be, more shocked than I have ever been and I will have never seen anything like this, and just wait to see who dies 'cause I'm going to be so shocked, twisted and stunned by this week's unbelievable episode of Law and Order: SVU. It would seem that the most twisted and sick minds on the planet are currently in gainful employ writing for either Dick Wolf or Jerry Bruckheimer.

NCIS, which stands for "Not CSI" is one show I do watch occasionally and I quite enjoy the dynamic between the characters. The inherent problem with these shows is that there is probably enough unique crime in the world to fill one show. The original Law and Order didn't suffer this problem quite so much, but most of the other shows do. The problem is the shows are constantly trying to find the weird and crazy, sick and twisted, when the simple fact is that most serious crimes are pretty much the same. Horrible, yes, but not particularly original. In fact, forensic science is based on the premise that such nefarious activities are typically predictable if you know how to look.

Ok, now on to annoying adds that invent words because they think we are stupid enough to believe the crap they are pushing will somehow perform a miracle and transform us to look like either Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, take your pick. There is no such word as regenify or rehydrolate. Yet apparently these products can do these things, whatever the hell that is. I suppose if a product does nothing then it is appropriate to use a meaningless word to describe it. Oh well, some fools and their money are parting as we speak.

And why aren't there more tv shows with monkeys? Mr. Smith was some quality programming. And Leave It To Beaver? I never watched the show but I believe it was about a monkey who could swim. And who could forget that show with the whatsit and thingy? And the immortal and unintelligible Monkey! I'd like to see him loose in the Big Brother house.

Unfortunately I have to go but maybe I'll explain my issues with the current epidemic of celebrity worship.


Thought for the Day: Microwave your ice-cream. One standard bowl for 30 seconds on high. Just try it once and see if you like it. You can even use this experiment to justify having a bowl of ice-cream. I know I will.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hello again. I was a little grumpy yesterday and had a bad case of hayfever and lack of sleep - an ugly combination. Probably shouldn't write at times like those. Anyway, I had a better sleep last night and the rain has settled my hayfever so I started thinking about monkeys.

Monkeys are like hairy, short, old people and they don't mind, which is lucky. I suppose nature makes most creatures generally pretty happy with the way they are. Obviously humans being the notable exception. Anyway, monkeys, and I'm including chimps and apes and bears and koalas here, are very happy. They don't have much to worry about and by and large sleep pretty well, especially koalas. Koalas are probably the least like humans of all monkeys, but they do eat gum leaves and so I guess that's also a plus. Can you imagine how many gum leaves we would have if all the koalas ate something else, like minties? Sure, they'd have fresh breath and be calm in a crisis, but we would have slightly more gum leaves than we already do, and that is a recipe for disaster. Actually, there are lots of ways to make a disaster, and most of them involve monkeys in one way or another.

Monkeys cannot write to save themselves. Seriously, if you point a gun at a monkey and say, "take this down", it will just stare at you stupidly. Left alone and without the whole gun-in-your-face pressure, monkeys will write sonets that only they can read. Clearly, like most humans, monkeys don't write well under pressure. Fortunately monkeys don't suffer from writer's block, but more of a writer's gate, where the gate is locked and acts very much like a block.

I think it would be interesting to see court for humans, run by chimps. I think that it would be funny to have a chimp judge with his chimp judge wig and a chimp judge bailiff and a jury full of chimps in dresses and suits. The District Attorney chimp would bound onto his desk and screech, "yeehahhhghgheaahhhagghgeyyehgah!" and the chimp judge would say, "over ruled". The defense chimp would poke his head out from under his table, pull a booger from his nose and the chimp judge would say, "sustained". Then they would all jump up on the tables, the jury and gallery included, and sing "She Bangs!". If that were on TV, I'd watch it and I bet everybody else would too.

I'll probably be apologizing for this blog tomorrow.


Thought for the Day: If increasing something's worth increases its price, why are priceless and worthless opposites?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hello world? How have you been? Me? Still not getting much sleep, but thanks for asking. Well, its like this. Little Man still hasn't gotten his top tooth. Its just sitting there, causing him pain and annoying the hell out of DW and I. He has taken to moaning at night. He doesn't wake up exactly, he just moans. DW is convinced he has a camera in our room and watches for her eyes to finally flutter shut before he moans again. It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have to have the baby monitor on all night. But he isn't old enough to not actively monitor and so we put up with it.

I don't have much trouble falling asleep. If I put my head against something soft, I can switch off in seconds. Its like turning off a light. Unfortunately, I'm like a sound and movement activated light. The instant I hear something or someone moves, I'm awake again. DW has the reverse problem. She takes much longer to fall asleep and needs to have had a period of quiet before she can drop off. Of course, once she does drop off, she is like a hibernating bear. The problem is, with Little Man moaning and my occasionally snoring (DW says its like sleeping next to roadworks) it can be hard for DW to get to sleep.

And so we have the situation where Little Man moans, then stops, I drop off to sleep and start jackhammering, DW hits me to stop my snoring, I roll over and start snoring again, DW hits me, Little Man moans, DW hits me, I offer to get up and look after Little Man until she falls asleep, DW says no, Little Man moans, I fall asleep and start snoring, DW hits me, I get up and turn off the baby monitor and go out to the lounge, DW falls alseep despite Little Man still moaning, because now only I can hear him, I walk around for a couple of hours, Little Man stops moaning and goes to sleep properly, I get back into bed, DW doesn't stir because she is like a hibernating bear, I roll over and start snoring, DW doesn't hit me because she can't hear me, Little Man starts moaning again, I wake up, I get up, Little Man stops moaning, I get back into bed and start snoring before I've actually gone to sleep, Little Man moans and I lie there deciding whether or not to wake DW. Did I mention she is like a hibernating bear? Would you want to wake up a hibernating bear?

So we have a little dilemna.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this is that Princess sleeps through the whole thing. However, she has begun to disturb us in other, more disturbing ways. A couple of days ago, I heard her singing, "Ooooh baby, I need your lovin'." She also decided that wearing a peaked cap backwards is "roolly coooool!" She is only four. And for some reason, when she is playing, some of her toys have an American accent. One of DW's friends from Mum's Group braided Princess' hair and she loved it so much, she insisted on wearing it to bed. The next morning, when DW undid the braid, Princess announced she now had "curly wurly Princess hair." DW has now decided to learn how to braid hair.

We are just about to hit a new milestone. Little Man is almost one. And so, we must celebrate this event with enthusiasm and cheer as would parents who get a normal amount of sleep. We have to prepare everything and invite lots of people and he will have no idea what the hell is going on, but he knows how to keep us awake at night, so he'll just do that. And he can't be reasoned with. I think he knows what "No!" means. Most words, he will just stare at you with a puzzled look on his face. If you say "No!" his look changes to one of "I don't have to even care what that word means."

Princess can be negotiated with. She understands consequence and makes a decision about how important certain consequences are. She also understands the true scope of a threat. For instance, she knows that if she is naughty and has her dessert privilege revoked, she needs a certain amount of time to win it back. Hence the effectiveness of such a threat is determined by its temporal proximity to the enacting of the threat. Basically, its pointless threatening her dessert before 5pm, and she knows it. Even more frustrating is when she comes out first thing in the morning and announces that she is going to be good today. And she is. She is a perfect little angel the whole day. The next day no such proclaimation is made and she sets about making up for the previous day.

If only Little Man would cut this damn tooth already!


Thought for the Day: I hate management meetings. I hate hayfever. Having them at the same time...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Hello everyone. I was chatting to DW last night and we were discussing the fact that Princess likes to invent songs which can last for up to twenty minutes and are little more than streams of consciousness set at various pitches in the upper register. Its not music as we might traditionally know it, but it is obviously intended to be and occasionally does take several bars from more well known tunes, such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. DW also mentioned that Princess often talks to herself. I laughed for a moment and then it occurred to me that I also talk to myself. So I asked DW if she thought it was strange that I talk to myself and she said, "Not at all." I then asked her if she ever talks to herself and she quickly replied, "God, no!"

I should point out that I don't hear strange voices. The voices are all mine, only usually with different points of view. That is to say, that I often have an internal dialogue going when I am on my own. I am not saying that I argue with myself. That rarely happens. I suspect that most people have a similar way of processing their thoughts. Kids talk to themselves and no one thinks its odd. It is just part of the play/learning mental development. I guess I'm just still developing.

I suspect that the essence of blogging, at least the way I do it, is pretty much another way for the voices to express themselves. Stream-of-consciousness is a well-known method of writing and is especially good for getting past writers block. Perhaps the concern other people might have is when the voices in my head don't seem to agree and the debate spills out my mouth. Also, I think it must be human nature to want to know if you are the intended audience for any words that are being thrown about within earshot. If the words are intended for you, then you choose how to respond. If the words are intended for someone else, then you will often be curious as to whom they are intended. It may be disconcerting to see someone chatting away happily without anybody else around. Fortunately for me, modern technology has begun to reduce curiousity of this nature because of mobile phones with wireless and tiny headsets. We now assume that if we can't see who someone is talking to, they must be on the phone. So I've taken to popping on my bluetooth headset when on the train so that people assume I am talking to someone other than myself.

Only, I've discovered another problem. Human nature dictates that we eavesdrop whenever the opportunity presents, even if we try not to. If we are polite, we try to think about something else or at least try not to rememeber any of the content of the discussion. However, we are also very skilled at being able to work out what is being said, even if we can only hear half of the discussion. I recently heard the following on the train:

Girl: "Hi"
"On the train."
"About twenty minutes."
"Uh huh"
"Yeah, the..."
"If you like."
(smiling) "If you like."
(grinning) "Maybe."
(giggles) "Not at the moment."
(smiles) "Ok. That sounds good."
(flushes) "Uh huh."
(blushing) "I'll see you soon."
(smiles) "Love you honey. Bye."
Hangs up and continues to blush.

Now, this conversation would be a little odd if the girl had not been speaking on the phone. However, given that she was, it doesn't take much to work out what was being said. So our brains fill in the gaps and it makes sense. So now I have to train myself to only say every second thing that comes into my head.

A friend recently mentioned that she blogs on the loo. I'm pretty sure that's what she said. In fact she dedicated a whole blog to how she mostly blogs everywhere but where she should blog, which is online. In fact a lot of people do this. Who am I to tell people they should blog online, you may ask? Well, my very simple argument is the fact that "blogging" is a shortened term for "web logging", which is, by definition, the logging of events online, specifically in the form of HTML, the language of the web. So, by that definition, if you blog anywhere but online, you are just talking to yourself. I'm not trying to say that that is a bad thing. I'm just pointing out to all those people who "blog" offline, to themselves, you are just as crazy as I am.


Thought for the Day: I was sure I didn't suffer from multiple personalities until I took an internal vote and lost 5:3. On the bright side, I'm not the only one who thinks there's just one of us.