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Saturday 26 November 2011

Holiday meal panic

We're having a belated Thanksgiving, as we're not in the US and people live/work in other towns. There are 20 family members around the table, chatting and laughing.

Suddenly, there is a THUD from the adjacent room, in which my 6mo nephew is sleeping... & silence. A parent rushes to the room, says "J!" in a sharp tone... silence.

Suddenly everyone is up & moving: "...he fell off the bed...", "...he's just limp...", "call 000!", "...are his eyes focussing?", " the GP...". Then he cried.

I don't think I've ever seen so much collective relief - shoulders lowered, voices slowed, tension lifted. Although it didn't seem too serious, loss-of-consciousness following a blow to the head is never a good thing, so J and his parents are en route to the hospital to get him checked out.

Seems trivial, but it was terrifying.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Editing-While-Sleeping is a bad thing.

I'm doing some online editing work for an author based in Europe, so I've been pulling some late-nighters. The last time I had this document open, I decided I was WAY too tired & would go to bed. Then I opened the doc this evening and found... this... schemozzle.
For as long as I can remember, if I fall asleep typing or talking, I speak or write a disjointed version of my REM dreams. They tend to feature penguins or killer trees, but sometimes - well, I think this derailed right after "v.", and I have NO idea from which dark corner of my brain this slithered.

Friday 7 October 2011


Henry Miller said,
Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him.

Unless your destiny is to be a serial killer. Or a paedophile. Then you should balk and fight it. I shouldn't have to spell that out, people.

Thursday 6 October 2011


I'm a bit of an addict of the show COPS - it's on TV here at least 7 times per week, and I DVR it. A lot of what I like about the show is watching cops deal with irritating, drunk, stupid or insane people; what I don't like is the 18-patrol-cars-to-arrest-3-guys thing, and the (to my non-American eyes) somewhat excessive levels of force used.

Tonight's episode was in Tennessee, from about 1996, and the hilarious hairstyles alone made it worth watching.

There was a callout to a "stolen animal" call, and 2 police cars show up at a trailer park to find Male 1 (thoroughly inebriated) accusing Male 2 of stealing his cat. They're the same breed, but the markings are clearly different. There is a definitive answer, though.

Policeman 1 & 2 talk to them:

M1: M2 is holdin' mah cat hostage!
M2: this cat is female.
P1: sir, is your cat male?
M1: nossir, he's bin noodered.
P1: *sigh* but it's a male?
M1: 's name's Buddy Holly! Wouldn't'a called him that f' four years 'f 't was no girl!
P2: OK, that cat? (points to M2's trailer) is a female.
-- pause --
M1, slyly: how long's he had that cat?
P1: not long enough to get it a sex change op. G'night, sir.

Made me laugh.

you're old enough to be my dad

I was at a Sleep Clinic the other day, buying a new CPAP machine. Have you seen anyone wearing the CPAP mask? Mmmm, sexxy time... think "rebreathing equipment".

So I'm sitting in the waiting area (along with several other morbidly obese heffalumps & the oddly mortified skinny people wearing that I-genuinely-have-a-medical-condition-called-sleep-apnoea-that-I-did-NOT-bring-upon-myself look) and this old guy starts chatting me up. Even though I'm reading a book, because *obviously* people only read if they have no one to talk to. I'm being polite because I think he's nervous or chatty or impaired in some way... until he puts his hand on my knee.

Um. Are you SERIOUS? You're my DAD's age, you are NOT George Clooney, and ... oh, thank God, I hear my name! So sorry, gotta run.

He's still there when I head to reception to settle up. He sidles up, and hands me a piece of paper. Written on it is a phone number, a landline, & instructions to "ask for Sandy, the nurses know who I am". Oh. Good. He waves hopefully at me as I leave, and I throw away the paper as soon as I'm out of sight.


Tuesday 2 August 2011

Résumé Typos

When applying for a job, spelling and grammar are *essential* - if those are areas in which you struggle, you should absolutely hire someone like me to proofread your résumé/CV and application documents prior to submission.

See Résumé Typos for some sterling examples of What Not To Do.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Post-Surgery Dance of Bruises

These would be better if I had an iPhone 4 & didn't have to guess what my photos looked like. Just saying.

Thursday 7 July 2011

Confusing medical conditions

So I've had this thing on my eyelid for a month or 4 - don't know when it came up, it doesn't hurt, I only know it's there when I look in the mirror:

So I asked my GP & apparently it's a cholesterol deposit. On. My. Eye. The first thing he said: "do NOT try to excise it yourself". Dammit, it's annoying how well he knows me.

Since my cholesterol levels have always been good, I queried this being the Portent of Doom the GP seemed to think it was, and went looking. I found an article (side note: in which pregnancy is referred to as "a medical condition" - wtf?).

Turns out, according to this, it could mean OUT OF CONTROL LIPIDS RUN FOR THE HILLS. Or, it could just be a cholesterol deposit and not "mean" anything. I'm not a fan of ambiguous symptoms - it should be an either/or: "death cometh" or "you'll be fine".

Since I got my bloods done last week in the lead-up to surgery, I've asked the surgeon's office to let me know if there's an actual problem. *le sigh* One more thing on the list, I guess.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

How To Quit Smoking

Go on a 4-day holiday with all 22 of your immediate family; take what's supposed to be your last pack. Accidentally leave your wallet at home so as to stymie your own half-assed plan of ducking out to buy "just one more".

24 hours nicotine-less. Do NOT get between me & the Diet Coke.

Monday 6 June 2011

Gastric Bypass Surgery and other developments

What a hectic couple of days. Let me give you background.

As some readers know, I have long and always been fat and in permanent financial panic, and have suffered for quite some time with Chronic Depression. 3.5 years ago I had lapband surgery. In the last two years I have developed Type 2 diabetes, stopped work, gone onto a Disability Pension and fielded approximately a million phone calls from banks asking for money I don't have.

In February 2010, I consulted with the state's leading surgeon for gastric bypass surgery (Roux-en-Y - Wikipedia article). Even with private health, the cost was simply too high. And, I suppose, I hadn't reached my current desperation level.

The dietitian I see at my GP is also the consultant dietitian for this surgeon, and she has mentioned me to him a number of times. On Monday last week, my GP gave me a message that the surgeon had offered to do the surgery for NO GAP. That means full cover through my private health. Surgery, anaesthetic, 5 days private room - all essentially free. God bless him.

So today I had an appointment with the surgeon, and I am booked in for 13th July. Have to quit smoking (impedes healing), go on meal replacement shakes to reduce my liver size (so they can get past it to the stomach), try not to panic (leads to eating whole pizzas), etc.

5 weeks, people! I'm terrified and thrilled and hyperactive and over-adrenalised.

FYI: although (unfortunately) silent, this is an accurate animation of the bypass process:

Please feel free to ask any questions you have!

I know at least one of my siblings reads this: the fact you read this here, instead of in an email with my name on it, means that I'm not opening it up for general family discussion as yet.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Things that make you choke to death

Two weeks ago, I dropped by Red Rooster to get cheesy nuggets - I was cranky, & I am soothed by eating reconstituted bits of purported chicken with melted cheese-ish stuff in it, that have been coated with sesame-seed batter and then deep-fried. It's a weakness.

Sooo, I got home and opened the pack... wait, what hell is this?! No sesame seeds. Different type of batter. PLAIN DRY UN-CHEESE-ish-Y NUGGETS. Quelle horreur! Anyway, so I rang the manager and blah blah, free fake food next time.

Today I dropped by and got my free cheese-ish-y nuggets - I checked before I left: sesame seeds? Check. Correct batter? Check. Break one open - melted cheese-ish yellow stuff? Check.

Ahhh, lunch: time to de-stress and navel-gaze. Sitting in the car, watching horses run in a field, I place the 3rd nugget in my mouth, bite down... then drag the massive piece of cooked ACTUAL PLASTIC out of the middle of the nugget.

(cigarette is for scale only!)

For the first time in my adult life, I wish I lived in America, but my dreams of instant cash settlement will have to wait. I will be taking it back to them tomorrow.

Friday 27 May 2011

Angry Dads

I was reading through some archive posts recently on Wag The Dad and came across a post titled Yelling Is The New Spanking, which is very much worth the read.

I began a Comment in response, then realised how long it would be & decided to just blog about it instead.


I've seen the disastrous results of the no-discipline parents, and obviously *some* discipline is required... but the thing I grew up fearing wasn't the beatings or the screaming, but the sheer unpredictability of the rages.

I grew up with a very angry, easily triggered ex-military father who would smack AND yell AND go red in the face, before even asking what had happened. Wooden spoons, electrical cords, broom handles, duster handles - anything close-to-hand was a possible implement (he rarely broke the "don't discipline with your bare hands" rule of puppy training).

We sometimes went weeks on end without speaking at the dinner table, or drove 8 hours in a car in absolute silence, "because your father's had a bad day" and absolutely anything could set him off. 5 kids, in the back of a van, making no noise for an entire day?!? That's not discipline, that's an unhealthy level of fear.

As we got older, the fear became tinged with contempt and a complete lack of respect. For a man whose issues centred around control, blatant disrespect from His Children was unbearable. He said to me once, "you WILL respect me!" and I said, "you can't demand that. I'll show respect, but you can't MAKE me respect you". That did not end well.

It took me years, *decades*, before I understood my dad's deep level of insecurity; his fear of being an inadequate parent; the stinking residue of his own parents' screw-ups that affected his character and his decision-making process. His history and temperament made for a bad combination... but his children shouldn't have had to bear that burden.

If you have anger management issues, whatever method of discipline you use will be over-the-top and screw up your kids' lives, if you don't get treatment. My grandparents believed that only crazy people spoke to psychiatrists, and even psychologists were viewed with deep suspicion. My dad felt shame and disgust at the IDEA of telling someone "he got angry" (the very suggestion that it might be wrong was enough to get him defensively furious).

4 of the 5 of us kids are now on anti-depressants, and I'm convinced our lives would have been better if my dad had been able to overcome the inherited hooey and get help.

I do not have children, partly because I too have that hair-trigger temper and am afraid of what I might do if frustration and sleep-deprivation and colic built and built and built... or if my child screamed, "I hate you!" in front of guests.

For me, choosing not to breed is the only way to be sure to avoid perpetuating that behaviour.

Friday 11 February 2011

Bryan Fischer has jumped the shark

Now, Bryan Fischer is a troubled man. He works for the American Family Association, he hatehateHATES gay folks and NOW... now he's lashing out at Native Americans.

Bless. He'd only discredit himself faster if he went after childhood cancer sufferers.

Apparently, the mere fact that a non-Christian (a) existed in public, (b) was asked to open the Tucson memorial service in prayer and (c) actually did that, was so shocking that his brain foamed out his ears and onto the keyboard, creating a post which has now been removed (presumably by someone else whose brain was still functioning).

According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, the post included:
“Superstition, savagery and sexual immorality” morally disqualified Native Americans from “sovereign control of American soil,” Fischer said. That, plus the superior battle skills of Europeans gave the latter “rightful and legal sovereign control” of American land through what he delicately described as “the right of conquest.” Fischer went on to blame poverty and alcoholism on Indian reservations on Native Americans themselves, because they “continue to cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition” and refuse to come into “the light of Christianity” and assimilate “into Christian culture.” How Christianity would have helped Native Americans adapt to confinement on reservations is anybody’s guess. Fischer was apparently propelled into his diatribe by the Native American blessing at the memorial for the Tucson shooting victims in January – a blessing that drew mocking commentary from others in the conservative media as well. “The continued presence of native American superstition was on full display” at the service, Fischer wrote. The invocation – “such as it was,” in Fischer’s words – was offered by Carlos Gonzales, a Pascua Yacqui Indian. Fischer complained that Gonzales sought inspiration from the Seven Directions, including Father Sky and Mother Earth, rather than “the God of the Bible.”

Much more at the SPLC article here.

Dilbert guy fixes the budget

So, Scott Adams (from challenged his readers: he wanted volunteers for an interview about fixing the economy.

The readers' choice was this guy, and The Great Budget Balancing Interview commenced.

I stopped reading when the esteemed "expert" said:

"You're tacitly assuming that the government is morally obligated to pay when people live too long or get too sick."

Huh. YOU, sir, appear to be making moral judgements about what constitutes "too long" or "too sick". That means that you are approaching this topic from a strict "screw the old and feeble" viewpoint (which I suspect may later be expanded to include the screwing of the poor, unemployed, people with probably-illegal-Mexican-sounding names, rape victims, pacifists, vegans, gays and non-Christianists), and I can't sit through a "solution" which depends entirely on that POV.

Sorry, Scott - good luck with the interview, but I'm kind of sorry you gave this guy airtime.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Upcoming NewSouth 'Huck Finn' Eliminates the 'N' Word

Upcoming NewSouth 'Huck Finn' Eliminates the 'N' Word

Sacrilege! What better way to emphasize the change in usage than to see it in its original context?
Twain himself defined a "classic" as "a book which people praise and don't read." Rather than see Twain's most important work succumb to that fate, Twain scholar Alan Gribben and NewSouth Books plan to release a version of Huckleberry Finn, in a single volume with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that does away with the "n" word (as well as the "in" word, "Injun") by replacing it with the word "slave."

"This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind," said Gribben, speaking from his office at Auburn University at Montgomery, where he's spent most of the past 20 years heading the English department. "Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century."

Sunday 2 January 2011


I've had seriously bad dermatitis on my hands for about 9 months now.

Current state of play: R hand is infected again. Dermatitis has also spread to my feet. I have developed a full-body itch.

I am taking some SERIOUS antihistamines to try to control the itch, & Valium to control my anxiety level, but I am still spending most of every day fighting the urge to scratch until my skin comes off. It itches EVERYwhere. EVERY. WHERE. I may end up doing myself a serious injury if i lose my shit & just start scratching.

And my feet are cracking so badly I look like I have gills.

My next appointment with the dermatologist isn't until 14 January.

My stabby-ness level is rising.

That's all - carry on :-)