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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Storming Of The Pastilles



Happy Bastille Day!

~~~~~~~

Showing his mastery of Photoshop is...

E@L

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lost in Public Transit

When your town's founder is some rascal who ripped it off from the local Sultan (Raffles had signed a treaty with the Sultan's brother which meant little) you end up with a plethora (veritably) of landmarks eponymous to the much-lauded (except by his senior in the Navy) pioneer.

Wikipaedia lists quite a few places: hotels (one offs and chains), notable sights, schools, businesses, hospitals, streets, shopping centres, etc... around Asia and Australasia which have the dubious honour of bearing his name.

Statues.


A well-liked person. Attractive to the ladies.

~~~~~~~

Raffles Hills Jakarta
Raffles City
Raffles City Shanghai
Raffles Hospital
Raffles Hotel
Sir Stamford at Circular Quay
Sir Stamford Double Bay
Stamford Grand Adelaide
Stamford Grand North Ryde
Stamford House
Stamford Plaza Adelaide
Stamford Plaza Auckland
Stamford Plaza Brisbane
Stamford Plaza Double Bay
Stamford Plaza Melbourne
Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport
Swissôtel The Stamford
Raffles Class (business class) of Singapore Airlines
Raffles Holdings
Raffles International Patients Centre
Raffles International Training Centre
Raffles Investments Limited
Raffles Medical Group
Raffles Tailor
Stamford Global
Stamford Hotels & Resorts (Singaporean hotel chain based in Australia)
Yantai Raffles Shipyard
Raffles College (currently National University of Singapore)
Raffles College of Design and Commerce
Raffles Girls' Primary School
Raffles Girls' School (Secondary)
Raffles Hall, National University of Singapore
Raffles Institution (Secondary)
Raffles Institution (Junior College)
Raffles-BICT International College
Raffles International Christian School
Stamford Primary School
Raffles Country Club
Raffles Cup
Raffles Marina
Raffles Town Club
Raffles Avenue
Raffles Boulevard
Raffles Institution Lane
Raffles Lighthouse
Raffles Link
Raffles Place
Raffles Place MRT Station
Raffles Quay
Stamford Road

~~~~~~~~~

Which may (Understatement Alert) create confusion: for example - how does the intrepid steak- aficionado get to the illustrious and soon to be famous Wooloomooloo Steakhouse (plug intended, please spend up big) in Swissôtel The Stamford by public transport? Despite it's unexplained absence from the Swissôtel The Stamford's website, or indeed in any signage in the hotel, it is there in reality if not virtuality.

Woolies hides itself away demurely on the 3rd floor of The Stamford Hotel on Stamford Rd, at the Raffles City Shopping Center. Got it? Stamford, Stamford, Raffles. Wooloomooloo.

~~~~~~~~~~

Let me tell how NOT to get there.

Take the EastWest Line MRT (underground) and alight at Raffles Place MRT Station.

Half-asleep thanks to the soporific sultriness of the clime, half lost in a pod-cast on climate change or in the dream-world sounds of some ambient stuff recommended by No1 son ("No1 Son, did you leave the washing machine on downstairs?" "No, it's music." "Oh.") such as Carbon Based Lifeforms, Ulrich Schnauss, or Shpongle, I rouse myself as the train judders to a stop... almost to stop I mean, as it judders (jolts and shudders) briefly again to align itself with the outer anti-suicide doors and I fight my way out against the tide of prams and grannies as, I notice, the train on the opposite platform, going in the opposite direction, takes itself off.

The crowd looks and acts the same as in any situation, train-mall or large shopping mall, I can't tell yet where I am. A pulsing swarm-unintelligence rushing, pausing, floating, obstructing, ever-alert to inanimate things like clothes and watches, but nasty with indifference to non-members of the shopping swarm, as shopping is all the crowd does. I have to join for the flow through the turnstiles, or get crushed, eaten, assimilated and ejected.

So I come up from the depths of here, wherever that is, unthinkingly choosing one exit and slapped in my eyes is light. I am coming from a gate at one of the delightfully colonial pavilions of colonial architectural provenance, brilliant white in the sun in a small rectangle of a tended park of manicured lawn and low trimmed hedges that is standing defiantly dated, dwarfed on three sides by looming bank offices of Raffles Place, of course. Over the peak of the pavilion in the dazzling azure, I see the towering round tower of the hotel I had been expecting to find one hell of a lot closer, like all around me. The Stamford, Raffles City.

I am nowhere near where I should be. I realise that I have gone one stop too far again, yo-yoed up and over my public-transit bird-flipping ring finger. City Hall is naturally closer to Raffles City than is Raffles Place. Do'h!

But, seriously. Why the fuck would a station called Raffles Place not deposit you at a shopping centre called Raffles City? It's a fucking mystery. I've made this mistake three or four times now - but being who I am, I never learn from mistakes - how plebeian.

~~~~~~~~~~

The building itself, Swissôtel, The Stamford, was once the tallest hotel in the world, for about 20mins (it is 221 meters at 73 stories). It was designed by our buddy I.M Pei, the guy who fucked up the Hancock tower in Boston when all the windows fell out, and the guy who built the much more iconic and impressive (and stable) Bank Of China building in Hong Kong. Tall and round, it is a great hotel to jump out of the windows of - recent case of a lady landing on the roof of the al fresco Starbucks, no doubt quite a shock to the green tea lattes consumers there. (Apparently, while they were retrieving her body, it fell further, through the parapet and onto the ground! May even have been a murder...!) The Formula 1 race takes a corner right at the window of Woolies at the base of the hotel.

It's a cool place, but I am not there. Yet. Back into the depths of the MTR... And, yes, the train to doors close, beep beep,just before I attain entry...

E@L

Belief and Knowledge


E@L saw somewhere recently a woman defending her atheism (someone look it up for me). And was asked if she was not rather an agnostic than an atheist. She dodged the question. Some guy on the video comments criticised her for not quite understanding the bias of the question.

Agnosis is about "knowing." Atheism is about "believing". You can, he said, be an agnostic atheist. They are not mutually exclusive. You don't KNOW, but you BELIEVE.

[And I guess, for the believers, if they BELIEVE that they KNOW about LTUAE, then they have what to them is a FACT in their hands. Which is why you can't really argue with them. But let's ignore this for the purposes of the blog, as it's already having been written. E@L]

So E@L is looking for an analogy and he gets as far as Schrodinger's Cat, at least initially.

~~~~~~

Heisenberg: Imagine, E@L, that this cat was put in its metal box several hundred millennia ago (but by whom?) and the nasty radioactive substance has been decaying and threatening to release the hydrocyanic acid gas to kill the cat ever since. Not counting the cat suffocating in the first 30 mins, or the hammer mechanism seizing up, etc... Say the cat has been there since around about when human's started thinking about the afterlife, and all-powerful tea-pots on the other side of the sun (Richard Dawkin's analogy) and Santa Claus and the like. Say that we can never open the box to confirm one non-probablistic result or the other. Let's look at that box.

E@L: Amazing material, what is that box made of?

Heisenberg: Omnium.

E@L: Cool. From The Third Policeman. I get it.

Heisenberg: Is the cat dead, or is there a psi-function following the Copenhagen principle that Herr Schrodinger (zat traytor!) has set out to mock, that still allows the cat to be (calculates decay of that radioactive substance over time) only 99.9999999999976% dead and 0.0000000000024% alive?


E@L: If I didn't see it for myself, I wouldn't BELIEVE it! You did all those calculations on a fucking slide rule! Dude, you 30's scientists fuckin' RAWK! Anyway, to answer your question, I do not KNOW that the cat is dead. But fuck you and your fuzzy photos of reality, I BELIEVE that after all these thousands of years, the cat is dead. It has ceased to be.


~~~~~~

Good analogy? Not really perfect is it? There is still that tiny, teeny weeny chance. (Cue Sfx: muffled meiaowww)

~~~~~~

How about --

Schrodinger: E@L, you and I are locked in your bedroom behind the closed door FOREVER! How comfortable are you in your sexuality? OK, joking. But, you're typing this blog post and I am indulging in other wave-function related internet activities, and I hear a noise in the lounge room.


E@L: I didn't hear anything. Are you sure? The footy is on TV: the Cats are trouncing Melbourne.

Schrodinger: No, it was more of a big thump. Man, I reckon there is an elephant in your lounge room! In fact I BELIEVE there is a baby elephant in the lounge-room. I'm going to pray to it!

E@L: Pray for a Cat's victory and pray for it not to change the channel. You can't prove that about the elephant.

Schrodinger: You can't prove otherwise. You can't tell me for certain that the elephant is not there.

E@L: OK, I admit it. I don't KNOW if there are elephants in my lounge-room or not, however I aggressively and vehemently BELIEVE there are no elephants in my lounge room. It's 3/4 time. Score check.


~~~~~~

Or, (and this is more my true position) --

Rosen: I moved an invisible and intangible table through time and space (from the Emu Heaven shop, yesterday) into your lounge room next to the other one.

E@L: Where? What the fuck are you talking about?

Rosen: You can't see it or feel it, or use it, but it is there.

E@L: You're a fucking nut-job.

Rosen: Don't you have FAITH?

E@L: In an invisible table? No.

Rosen: Einstein told me it is there - you trust Einstein, don't you? There are spirit photographs of the table on the web. I heard a podcasts about it. I believe there is a table in your lounge-room. I am going to pray to it.

E@L: Einstein has been misquoted and misinterpreted since forever (relatively). If I can't see a table or touch it or use it for any practical purpose, there can't be a table there. A table that is not manifest in the world doesn't in effect exist.

Rosen: But I have seen the photos! This table cured my niece of hiccups! It has an aura! I can see it.

E@L: Those photos are fake, just painting done up with photoshop - it is so fucking obvious. I scared your niece into not hiccuping in a manner I will not divulge. Your aura is a migraine coming on from me about to thump you.

Rosen: How do you KNOW that?

E@L: Because there is no table there. I'm looking: No table.

Rosen: Oh table, grant E@L the faith to believe in you.

E@L: I don't need to BELIEVE that there is a table there or not. There is no table. Repeat. There is no table. I KNOW there is no table there. However, I BELIEVE a cup of tea from the Great Tea-Pot on the other side of the sun would be nice. Milk, no sugar.


E@L

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Distracted


I have a task/meme that has been put to me by Philip Willey, who may or may not have once blogged under the pseudonym of Dick Headley, to answer some question about my blogging (or more appropriately, the lack thereof). I have been working on this, Philip, and I promise that before I die or maybe soon thereafter, I will submit this to my vast reading public to add to the circle of responders.

~~~~~~~~~

In the meantime I have been finally, as in at last, hit with a load of genuine, employment related work, as in preparing some training PowerPoints, most of which have been written already and just need translating from Japglish into Australglish. The question for me is what the fuck are these people talking about, mostly.

Example: "Both X and Y are possible to cope with different purpose." It is almost understandable, but not quite right. What is purpose? Do they mean situation? Aiyah! This is one of ten lines on an over-crowded slide (this is not an iPhone launch) and I have maybe 150 slides to rewrite.

~~~~~~~~

There are two training sessions. One is two days of new product introduction to be given to our distributors. This was meant to be held in the sunny, smiley land of Siam in May, but political matters have intervened at the cusp of our triumphant "press this button then press that button" sessions. So the initial numbers of 80+ will probably drop to about 30 as the venue has shifted to our office in outer sticks of Singapore. Pain in the arse.

Secondly, I have a day and half to teach salesman of one of our partner companies about the basics/advanced physics and technology of ultrasound - something that took me 12 months to study and 30 years to, um, master - as well as do the "press this button then press that button" routing on a machine from my parent company that I have hardly ever used. Sigh.

For this second session, I have become bogged down continually rewriting a presentation that I started 14 years ago to explain visually quadrature phase detection so that I can talk about it without getting lost and without having more than 50% of the audience start snoring. That's a tough job, even though... zzz... zzz...

~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile I have been asked to run this week's Pub-Quiz at the salubrious venue of the Sportsman Bar in Singapore. Come one, come all. The spectacularly predictable task is for me to set up a series of obscurely-themed questions that make me sound smarter than I actually am (not a difficult task), ask the questions to the hopefully full-pub (maybe 30 people), get the results tabulated, and then announce the winning team - they get a free drink! Whoopee! - all in a suitably E@L-style of flamboyance, intellectualness and culturality. And to avoid mumbling throughout.

But being much more a visually communicative person (see above) than a non-mumbling person, I am putting all the questions and answer into -- wait for it -- a series of PowerPoint presentations. To show my style I have used several of the default PPT themes. Awesomely crap.

~~~~~~~~~

So guess on which of these tasks I have been spending the vast majority of my time?

~~~~~~~~~

First Round, Mysterious Persons:

Q1: Who and why is...


E@L

Monday, April 14, 2014

George Saunders: Ex Ayn Rand Guy

... They worked four weeks on and two weeks off and in the down time would be shuttled in helicopters to the nearest city, 40 minutes away, and then from there fly to Singapore.

“I’d been kind of an Ayn Rand guy before that,” he said. “And then you go to Asia and you see people who are genuinely poor and genuinely suffering and hadn’t gotten there by whining.” While on a break in Singapore, walking back to his hotel in the middle of the night, he stopped by an excavation site and “saw these shadows scuttling around in the hole. And then I realized the shadows were old women, working the night shift. Oh, I thought, Ayn Rand doesn’t quite account for this."


Saunders, George (2013-01-03). Tenth of December (Introduction: p. 2). BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING. Kindle Edition.

~~~~~

E@L

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Truth of The Beauty of A Bloom Is That It Fades


In the Kamigata area they have a sort of tiered lunchbox they use for a single day when flower viewing. Upon returning, they throw them away, trampling them underfoot. The end is important in all things.
Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai.


Kata, Phuket, after midnight...



Late decision in the tuk-tuk back from Patong: he would go back to the Luv-You Bar again after all. He asked the driver to drop him off at the bottom of the strip near his Kata Beach hotel (the hotel that wasn’t the hotel he thought he was making his booking at, but hey, it was a rushed job, for a spontaneous mid-week golf holiday [being single rocks] and the hotel was just next-door to the other). This meant three nights in a row now he would be talking to Noo. He knows the Rule of Three, hey fuck he wrote the rule, but he was powerless to stop himself (which is what the Ro3 is all about). It was late for this part of Phuket Island, about 1am, and he didn't really expect her to be still there, to have waited for him, even though she said she would. But if she was there, and not bar-fined, he would take her to his room for another 4am session. He wanted to hold her again, to look into her eyes as they made love. Maybe he could make her cum this time.

He could grab a few hours kip before his airport taxi came at 7am. He would sleep all weekend.

She was there, he saw her at the back, in one of the small yellow lounge chairs near the billiard table where he had played ten indifferent games of pool with her, or with Gap, the bar-manager who punched the air every-time Bruce made an error - it’s cultural, not rude, he had reasoned. She was squeezed in the chair with a Thai man about, how can you really tell, 30. He looked, let’s not kid, like a Thai hit-man - long-hair, deep eyes, thin lips, sprouts of a goatee, sun-lined face, and a dark shirt, in jeans and with shiny black boots. She did not notice Bruce as he stepped up to the bar, she was talking and laughing with the Thai man, yep, her boyfriend obviously, the one she said she didn’t have on the previous two nights. He paused. He tried to stop himself moving forward, to halt completely. He should have left quietly before she saw him, but what may have been merely tragedy slipped into farce when he found he could not leave and, despite a flash of awareness of his breaking all the laws he often had admonished others about, approached her chair.

Hoping against the hollow sense of his own human frailty, against everything he thought he knew well enough to overcome, his head spinning with the Thai music from the karaoke-player, he stepped closer, small steps. Eventually her eyes looked away from the man she was cuddling, they unglazed (she liked rum shooters) long enough for her to see him. She must have been trying to place him and then, presumably it clicked and she stood up, a bit shaky, from the chair from the hit-man, paused for balance, and then came towards him. He took her all in: triangular face, petite, a loosely crocheted top over a pink bra, belt-sized jeans shorts, bronzed skin (getting fairer, she hoped, with that skin bleacher she was shooting up each night in the bathroom) and he couldn’t move, couldn’t turn away away. And his face froze just below a smile and he said, Hello, and kicking himself later he added, I just came to say goodbye…

Which is not what he had really intended to say at all. The boyfriend, professionally slippery, had already slipped away, and Bruce saw too that no-one else in the bar was looking at him (he would imagine their bursts of laughter when he tried to sleep later), but their faces were down, away, focussed on other, suddenly fascinating, things.

Noo came right up to Bruce and put her arms around his neck and looked up. A very sad, what-have-I-done face, a look somewhere between feigned apology and feigned pity, a look that said I thought you were one of the ones who wouldn't fall in love, who only pretend to believe when I pretended to like you, but I was wrong (Beware The Ro3!), and she asked him to buy her a rum shooter. Pathetically, he nodded and indicated he would also have a beer he didn't want or need, and, here’s the kicker, he said again, I just came back to say goodbye.

I'm going back to Hong Kong tomorrow, he said and she looked even sadder as she saw 3000Baht slipping away with more plastic surgery and her boyfriend's motorbike repairs held off in the distance still, and she pouted her lower lip. Which must have done something inside her mouth because she slowly unwound her hands from his neck to tighten the stud in her tongue and she smiled, against the flow of Little Miss All-Forlorn, as she did this. But his confused mind was made up, probably, and he would leave now, now that all his dignity was shredded and burnt in offerings at the bar’s small shrine. He took his beer, drank most of the bitter razor-blades quickly, called for the check-bin, paid, then placed a 100baht note tenderly into her bra, making sure it was right against the nipple (he wondered later if those firm breasts were genuine, or part of a job-lot with the silicone nose-bridge she was so proud of), and he kissed her cheek again (it struck him that she hadn’t kissed him properly - only pecks - on the lips in all their time together) and somehow, not through courage, not through reason, almost accidentally, he managed to leave.

He cursed himself audibly for being the cliché he always mocked as he walked down the strip, crushed a 20Baht rose underfoot and, neither sober nor drunk but flushed and giddy, turned left at the quiet road to kick at stones and cans along the footpath and to fend off the occasional katoey on a scooter for the half-K back to his wrong hotel.

E@L

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I Can And Do Choose My Books By Their Covers.


If you go book browsing and see something you like but there are several different editions, do you take the cheapest one, or do you go for the more exotic and colourful one that will add colour, size and general variety to your bookshelves?

For example: Wes Anderson's new movie...


... has a dedication at the end to the writings of Stefan Zweig. Zweig is one of those early to mid 20th century writers who have been rediscovered of late (late 10 years or so) and make you wonder how many other exceptional writers are out there, their stars dimmed only by time and the lack of making it to school reading lists, who deserve to be cherished and read for all time but are lost in the seemingly exponentially growing flood of newer books and the screaming white noise of the best-sellers. As a Stanislaw Lem character pointed out in His Master's Voice "Today, in the flood of garbage, valuable publications must go under, because it is easier to find one worthwhile book among ten worthless than a thousand among a million."

Wes Anderson has no hesitation in admitting his indebtedness in this interview in the The Telegraph. Very impressed.

Several of the smaller presses (twee hipsters?) have done a sterling, sterling I say, job of bringing a lot of these literary needles out of the, um, literary haystacks, and thence to my jaded attention at last. They seem to have been publishing his English translation since the mid-noughties. Also Penguin have had an edition of his novella Chess out since only 2006 - which I read a few years ago as it was referenced in some other book about chess somewhere.


So there I am in Kinokuniya Singapore, killing time while a cheap leather worker fixes my expensive but friable Timberland belt, and having seen the movie last weekend, and having been perked up at the end of this pushing at an overdose of twee movie when that "Based On The Writings Of Stefan Zweig" dedication at the very end came up (my friend noted a change in my attitude) and I thought, Respect!, and therefore I had to grab another/all of his books then and there to read on next week's trip to Australia ("work" - am expecting maybe 6 hours face-time with customers over four days.)

But which editions to buy? There was a New York Review of Books copy of Journeys To The Past, but I had the NYRB copy of The Post Office Girl in my bag. NYRB books all look the same - a rectangle just above middle of the front, plain colour spine, fonts always the same. Cute when you only have a few spread here and there, but they are starting to create their own bloc European in my library, particularly in the Russian section (Victor Serge [unread], Andre Platinov [reading], Vasily Grossman [unread], Yuri Olesha [read]). Reminds me of the fields of Penguin orange that once were triumphant across the shelves when I was a beginner bibliophile.


So instead I chose two collections of his short stories/novellae from Pushkin Press (who have comprehensive list of alternative/forgotten/ignored geniuses as well): Letter from An Unknown Woman and Amok because the covers rock!


Cute, different, uncool, awesome, heh? Bound, as it were, to be great.

It's no quite the same as using the jockey's colours to bet on horses, but it's fun and breaks up the monotony.

E@L


Friday, March 28, 2014

The Eyebrows Have It


If you type "Electric hair trimmer Philips" into Google -> Images, you will not see the model I am about to talk about, but no matter. I'll paint words pictures around its ingenious construction and you'll get the true essence of its form.

It's an electric hair trimmer made by Philips.

What?

Why, is that not enough? OK, it has a detachable comb, duh, but there is only one comb! Because with this model, and this is why I was trying to get a stock image for you, the bottom part of the handle is also a rotating switch which adjusts the setting for the hair length by varying the retraction of the curved spindle which is a key part of the comb, where it attaches itself by being inserted into, or invaginating, the body of trimmer. It does not have multiple combs, is my point. One comb, and by turning the bottom section around, it goes in or out. Setting goes up by threes.

The more recent model - a sliding comb adjuster! Must have!

I no longer use it to trim my head however. When I first bought it, I'd use the No 3 setting, go all over the skull, cropping, buzzing, several times. Down this side twice, that side twice, up the back, up the back again, around this ear, around that ear, at the temples and the few hairs left up top, once over all again, then I'd take the comb off and I'd guesstimate the area back at the neck and sweep down under my collar area to take all that zombieness away.

But of course I'd do an amateurishly crap job at it, always leave little tufts here and there, despite my most meticulous efforts. If I tied little bits of yellow or white ribbon to those tufts, I might look cute but instead they make me look like a klutz who doesn't even know how to drive an electric hair trimmer! Keep him away from important things, people! Like complicated medical devices!

~~~~~~

There is $10 haircut salon/cupboard that I use now at the small shopping mall about 15-mins walk away from E@LGHQ. They do an excellent job, although I have issues with the lack of a symmetrical method of one of the ladies. She doesn't do exactly the same motions when she is doing my right side than she does on my left side. It's not a handed-ness thing, she just approaches the sides with a different pattern of trimming, a random technique. I'm always thinking that she's going to miss out on that little tuft of almost invisible hairs at my temple, just forward of my upper left ear. She nails it on the right side, but not the left. She comes close, but her strategy for the left side is asynchronous. She passes just near it, hovers above it, below it. Until finally, often on the last sweep across, she eventually clips the ones she has missed. It's just that I am sitting in the chair, nothing to do but think about this. I call it people watching. Not judging, watching.

Once a month, usually on a Saturday (Sunday might also be good), I buy a ciabatta at Cedele, have a hazelnut-choc spin and two wholemeal-raisin cookies at Spinellis, then get my hair-cut and day-dream about losing weight while the buzz of the hair trimmer white noise blurs away most of my other cares - except for haircut technique symmetry. Most other Saturdays (or Sundays), when I am in town, I buy a ciabatta, have a hazelnut-choc spin and two wholemeal-raisin cookies, and don't get a haircut, but maybe pop down for a massage at the local R&T-shop instead.

How was your weekend?

Thursday (yesterday now), I had a haircut because I had flown in from Bangkok on Saturday evening, and on Sunday had gone to watch Wes Anderson's new one, The Grande Hotel Bucharest (the fact that is was based on the writings of Stepan Zweig sent me back to The Post Office Girl , looking for resonances) and it had thrown my schedule. So I was working, ahem, from home, ahem. And that's why, today, I got my hair-cut.

~~~~~~~

You will be pleased to hear that I do use my own electric hair-trimmer, that money was not completely wasted, but only for my goatee (setting at No 6, once a fortnight is enough) and (once a month, after the hair-cut - not needed after the R&T) when I set out to tame the politician-like prominence of my bushy eyebrows...


So this afternoon, I did my overdue goatee, shook out all the trimmings, and I set the control at the bottom of hair-trimmer to No.12 - an adequate level to correctly balance the brow's bushiness between "gone-to-seed" and "youthfully trim" without appearing PR-advisorly sculpted - and I started on the left eyebrow. No need to look in the mirror...

~~~~~~~

At first there was the sound - like a large strip of velcro being ripped open. Then came the sensation of tugging, my eyebrow's skin being pulled across - this sensation should not happen, there was something WRONG...

NNNNOOOooooooo! I shut the cabinet door to look at the mirror...

I saw it then on the bathroom bench, right in front of me, the comb. I had detached it from the hair-trimmer to shake out my goatee hairs! I had not replaced it! OMFG! It was unmodulated clipper-teeth biting into my eyebrow! Setting 0!

~~~~~~~

Now you can be supercilious if you like, but I think this might turn out to be a crucial, positive, day in my life.

Not only do I know appear as if I was auditioning for the role of Grima Wormtongue in LOTR - played with such malign oleaginousness by Brad Dourif, who shaved off his eyebrows to appear more sinister (not dexter?) - but I can finally accept that something has been affecting my cognitive facilities.

Yes, it must be the meds! Drugs, medications, chemicals! Out with them. Rid my body of these "scientific" toxins in tablet form, these capsules of calamity and contra-indications. [Aside: it's the side-effects!]

I can't keep doing things like this to myself. Can't keep losing things, forgetting things like all the things I forget or lose. Names, faces, phones. Lost, forgotten. Those painkillers are killing me. It must be painful dear readers, for you to have observed this gradual (some might say precipitous - I was coming from a great height) decline in mental and physical dexterity (and sinistry. I am ambidextrous, I mean ambisinistrous.)

It must be the meds!

~~~~~~~

Sorry? What did you say?

That I have been blogging about my cognitive incompetencies, my inability to deal with inanimate objects or with WiFi connections, with my brazen obtuseness in trying to comprehend simple instructions on various mobile phone operating systems, that I have documented all these things in over 10 years of Expat-At-Large, from way back when? Way back before I found a competent, dogged and persistently experimental (avoid Cimbalta people - ciabatta is OK), but eventually successful neurologist who gave me all these meds and made the pain go away? Mostly. (Neuropathy, people, in case you have forgotten, of the feet. Worst kind of all - idiopathic.)

Really? I'd forgotten that.

Ah OK, so it's not just the meds. I've been a bumbling fool forever it seems. Yes, that's true. Those thoughts, those horrible memories do come to me, they come too often. And I cringe now, to think back on some of my foolish bumbles. Oh fuck yeah, I've done some clumsy and some stupid things.

But not many as clumsy and stupid as this...


Brad Dourif - separated at birth

E@L

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