Friday, January 30, 2009

Stairway to heaven

I'm feeling a bit old today. It seems I am not only prone to reverie, but also prone to falls. Yesterday I took a tumble down the steps at my house.

If it was a movie, everything would have been in slow motion and as I lay there afterwards I would have had an epiphany of some kind regarding the changes I should make in my life.

But since it was real life, there was no slow-mo and no epiphany. I just found myself suddenly hurtling through the air and splatting against the ground before untangling my limbs, getting up, and running around going "fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck" which is what I usually do when I hurt myself.

I scraped the hell out of my arm on the wall, which is coated with that disgusting spiky concrete stuff that seems purpose designed to really hurt if you fall on it. I also wrenched my leg, which somehow had gotten caught on one of the steps as I fell and so my foot was pulled up between my shoulder blades. However, it was this that arrested my descent, like an enormous meat bungy, so I can't complain.

Later on, as I was going down the steps again I saw a huntsman spider the size of my hand running up the wall beside my head. I flinched and nearly went down the steps again. Now I'm really paranoid about those steps. Ideally I'd get one of those assisted chair-lift things to carry me up and down to my front door, but that's not really been an option ever since I saw that old woman get launched out of her window by one in Gremlins when I was young and impressionable.

For now I'll just hold the handrail.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gong hei fatt choy mate!

Tomorrow is a big day. Not only is it Invasion Day, it's also Chinese New Year (a.k.a Lunar New Year, as was made clear to us in Vietnam where China is the Great Oppressor and you get frowned at for mentioning it).

Because Chinese New Year is a moveable feast it is unusual for the two to coincide. Unfortunately I peaked 24 hours too early in terms of significant cross-cultural moments. This morning as I was eating my breakfast, I forked my food too vigorously and displated it, resulting in some rice falling into my ugg boots. How perfect would that have been if only it had happened on Jan 26th?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No-one can hear you scream

What kind of bizarro-town is this?? I looked out my window this afternoon and saw my next door neighbour vaccuuming his driveway.

Quote of the day

I was talking to my Smaller Half about how strange it will be to see a new group of first-year students turn up at uni, and how there will inevitably be a certain amount of sizing up of them as a group, along with the accompanying generalizations and stereotypes. I asked her what her year had thought of my year when we'd all arrived. She declined to comment on the record what she thought personally, but she did pass on to me the thoughts of one of her classmates:
"That class is made up of stupid guys, hot women, and old people."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The cat who came in from the cold

My Secret Cat's no secret anymore.

What a relief! We've moved to a house where, for only the second time in eight years, we're allowed to have a cat. Each of the other six years we have had to keep the cat on the sly.

It was really annoying because every time the real estate agent or landlord came around for an inspection we had to evacuate the cat for the day. She would usually go the vet or to the cattery. Once or twice we tried to finesse things a bit by only evacuating her half an hour before they were due to arrive and taking her to a nearby park and waiting there. We stopped doing this the day that the agent arrived early and we were still chasing the Secret Cat around the house trying to get her into the cage. Once that was achieved it was out the back door and into the car, only to discover that the agent had parked in our driveway and we were trapped. Noooooo!!!

Not only did we have to evacuate the cat, we also had to remove all the other cat paraphernalia such as food bowls, litter trays, pooper scoopers, fridge magnets from vets, scratching posts, adorable photos of the cat, and so on. But there was no getting rid of the feline fur that floated loose around the house and coated everything.

For this reason I am not stupid enough to really think that the agents didn't know that we had a cat. If it was ever commented on I planned to claim that it was alpaca hair from my mother's farm. Good story huh? I mean who the hell knows what alpaca hair actually looks like? But it never came up, mainly I think because they didn't really want to catch us out. After all, we were good tenants. We usually paid the rent on time, only parts of the garden died, we only had one Secret Cat and it only threw up on their carpets a couple of times a week, and the meth lab in the garage must have been the neighbour's - we lost the key, honest.

So inspection day was always a bit of a farce. We'd pretend not to have a cat. The agent would pretend not to know we had a cat. And we'd all be happy. But still, it was always stressful. I was always playing out scenarios in my head such as what to do if the agent trod in some vomit that hadn't heretofore been noticed. I suppose I would have had to claim responsibility, but I have no idea what I would pretend to have been eating. Something to make my nose shiny and my hair sleek I guess.

Now though, it's different. She's gone legit. She's gettin' square. The cat can prance around to her heart's content with no repercussions. She's already started vomiting again, just like the old days.

Good times.

Eau d'Ordure

I dropped into the med school yesterday to visit the bookshop on behalf of my Smaller Half. And when I walked into the building I was overwhelmed by the odour of sewage. It was really making me nauseous. The funny thing is, as far as I could tell, nobody else could smell it. Perhaps they'd all been trapped in there for long enough that their noses had burned out in agony.

So for all my Esteemed Colleagues out there - that's something to really look forward to next week when lectures start. Maybe it's to get us in the right frame of mind for the gastrointestinal block.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tourist trap

As I was driving home today I saw a billboard advertising a miniature village near my new home town. And that sign made me wonder...

Do you think the miniature village is a village comprised of tiny houses? Or do you think it is a village with just one house (of normal size) and no others?

If it's the latter, I'd be really disappointed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Close encounters of the bizarre kind

An old man sidled up to me in the supermarket today. He said, in his frail old man's voice, "I'm looking for something for sex, but in my ear".

Naturally enough, I assumed that either he was barking mad or I needed to syringe out my ears again. I identified the nearest exit (which was behind me) and said calmly, "I beg your pardon?"

He repeated himself, and I did my best to understand what on earth he was talking about. In the end, it all made sense - just. He had a hearing aid, and his audiologist had told him that it would be easier to insert into his ear if he put a drop or two of "personal lubricant" on it. Something for sex - for his ear. See?

I got the impression he'd been roaming the supermarket in desperation, looking for someone non-threatening to ask for help. When he saw me all his dreams came true.

So I found myself standing in the "Health and Beauty" aisle in Coles helping him decide what type of lubricant to buy for his ear. Of course, his vision was shot too, so I had to read all the labels to him. You already know that he's deaf of course, so I was speaking pretty loudly. It took a while. I began to feel like everyone in town was walking past trying to figure out whether we were both weirdos or maybe just one of us.

He was very indecisive. In the end, he couldn't make up his mind at all and said he would just have to ask his audiologist for a brand name recommendation. I told him I thought that was a good idea and wished him all the best.

My New Years Resolution is to scowl more often so that this kind of thing doesn't happen to me so much.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Or would you rather be a snail?

I am really looking forward to starting back at uni again. This is because I have recently been moving house.

It's the twelfth time I have moved house in seventeen years, and I still hate it. So in comparison, uni - the place where I got so stressed and freaked out in 2008 - seems like an enchanted fairyland full of hippety-hop bunnies and sugar-snap biscuits. I hate it mostly because I am the sort of person who always imagines the worst-case scenario, so I spend hours trying to figure out what to do if the removal van collides with a truck carrying fireworks and bursts into flame. Should I run for my life, try to salvage my priceless collection of vintage wargames, or attempt to perform a citizen's arrest on the culpable driver?

We got back from our holidays late on Monday night. We spent Tuesday tootling around without a care in the world, because unless you leave the packing almost too late, it isn't quite horrific enough. Well, that's not entirely accurate that we tootled around. What we actually did was drive an hour to our new house, then move every single piece of furniture in the new house into one of the spare rooms so that we would have room to move in our own furniture, then drive home again.

Here is what we fitted into that spare room. 1 double bed + mattress, 1 single bed + mattress, 2 desks, 2 sets of desk drawers, 2 bedside tables, 1 upright chest of drawers, 1 cupboard, 1 dining table, 6 chairs, 1 couch the size of an aircraft carrier, 2 enormous recliners, 2 coffee tables, 1 TV, 1 DVD player, 1 "entertainment unit" (my nomination for the most misleading name for a piece of furniture), and a fridge. It's stacked up pretty high in there.

This meant we had a whole two days to pack up our house. It sounds like a lot of time, until you reflect on just how much stuff we own. We own so much stuff that a lot of it has just sat in boxes since the last time we moved since we didn't need it. My Smaller Half made me open up these boxes to find out what was in them because the last time we moved I wrote things like "less commonly used stuff" as contents labels on them.

Lo and behold, I found all the notes, books and papers that I have collected through my various previous degrees, both finished and unfinished. It gave me great pleasure to discover that this collection of notes was sufficient to fill up a wheelie-bin.

While packing, I resolved that in future I would only buy rectangular things, because they are much easier to pack. While moving the boxes, I noted that this should exclude books, since not only do we own about three million of them, they are also very heavy. This observation was echoed later on by one of the removalists, who politely enquired whether I had ever thought of joining a library.

Despite all the negativity that is coming out here, (blogging as therapy anyone?) it all went pretty well. We didn't have to stay up all night. None of our antique furniture was smashed into matchwood. None of my CDs got scratched. None of our pets died. However, I am covered with small purple and yellow bruises from where the corners of boxes have dug into my flesh while lugging them around. So the move was a disaster from an aesthetic point of view only.

Finally, a tip for the future - removalists like to talk about shoes. Their job is hard on shoes and they know a lot about what makes a good shoe good. If you ask they'll be happy to share their accumulated wisdom. A happy removalist is a good removalist. And a good removalist is a happy you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I think most New Year's resolutions are ludicrous. If you really want to do something, why wait for the new year to begin? It seems unlikely to me that Napoleon had resolutions like "Conquer Russia". On the other hand, if he did, it's a prime example of how most resolutions are unrealistic and unachievable. People should lower their aim and in the process lift their self-esteem.

As such, my resolutions for 2009 are:
  1. Achieve adequate level of personal hygiene, on average.
  2. Obey the law, insofar as it does not impinge too harshly on my own interpretation of copyright.
  3. Dress neatly when leaving the house.
  4. Eat good.
  5. Don't be too much of a jerk to people unless they deserve it.
What resolutions have you made for this year?