Friday, 25 September 2009

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Wherein I have my computer STOLEN and replenished tenfold and still I can't bring myself to unadulterated gratitude*

The other day I perpetrated the employment sector equivalent of "I'm not a racist; my garbageman's an Esquimaux, and my, he does a marvellous job, the pet".

"So I was at this poetry slam last night," I'm telling my sisters. "And there's this fantastic woman up on the stage. Big hair, black cape, and she's going at her poem like she's a steam train. And her partner's there in the audience, and in the break her partner turns to me and asks me if he knows me from work. And - get this! - it turns out he's one of the I.T. people. One of the I.T. people - at a poetry slam - which just goes to show that computer people are people too."

My sisters can program Excel and they'll translate any integer you name into binary code quicker than you can say "this sentence constitutes an ontological challenge to the logonormativity of the academy", so they weren't very impressed by my limping belatedly into the fair pastures of I.T. person tolerance. But to them - and to all you other I.T. person tolerators out there - I say this: my prejudices were not entirely without foundation.

This morning I burst into my office, zinging with superluminary insights gleaned over the course of my six minute tram trip. I'm all ready to boot up my trusty old mac and enunciate the Solution to Literature. Only where is my trusty old mac, I ask? My desk is a barren plain, punctuated only by the drifts of dust and sandwich crumbs that waft around the perimeter of the five thousand unmarked essays I meant to savage and return to their authors a week ago. The trusty old mac is nowhere to be seen, and I start recalling all the flights of oratory and administrivia I committed to yon trusty old mac without bothering to Back Them Up. In perfervid panic, I stagger up the corridor to ask my admin comrade if she knows where the trusty old mac is. This is the first she's heard of its abduction, but she rings the I.T. people (rather than the police, which shows somewhat more presence of mind than I myself have mustered), and after several denials (which turn out to be the I.T. person's notion of humour) it transpires that they have my trusty old mac. Yes, they are two flights of stairs away, waiting to transfer the contents of trusty old mac onto obscenely fancy new mac, with 24-inch LED cinema display, camera, and vending machine. Did it occur to Mr I.T. person that he should inform me I would arrive at work today and find myself stripped of mine puter? Why no, quoth Mr I.T. person to my admin comrade. No.

So this is farewell to the mac of yore, why, hello sailor to the mac of non-yore, and a warning to the young: keep your valuables superglued to your desk. Those I.T. people are no respectors of personal property.*

* even though it's not technically my computer (cough).

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Would you give a job to this woman?

There's an inmate at the Preston Cemetery named Imperatrice. Now there's a suitable revenge on your demanding foetus. Beats Regina or Queanie hands down.

Imperatrice usurps my previous favourite tombstone eponym, Susannah Womble, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Wet nose and velveteen ears

We used to lure Aristotle outside with a biscuit shaped like a small brown bone. We'd break it in half (two half biscuits are better than one biscuit), and toss the first half out into the courtyard. Aristotle would lunge after it, and then we'd throw out the second half, so that mid-lunge, he'd lurch off after that and leave old firsty lying on the ground. This was good in a way, because it made the biscuit last longer, but then, making food last was never one of Aristotle's great aims. Eating the compost was one of his great aims. Breaking into my sister's bedroom so he could snaffle the abandoned school apples from her bag was one of his great aims. Figuring out how to open the fridge, sneaking carrots from the vegetable box, licking someone's plate while they weren't watching: all these were Aristotle's principal concerns. If Aristotle had paid more attention in geometry, and consequently realised that the quickest way to unite half a biscuit with his gastric system was to keep on lunging after the first half and only then to head off after the second, that's exactly what he would have done.

Aristotle was my brother. He died in my first year at uni and I remember walking through the quad after Greek with my face scrunched up and my eyes all salty. A woman with grey hair stopped and asked me if I was all right dear, and I told her my brother had died. Which was sort of misleading, but more the truth. I think my other brother, the human one, would agree.

He taught me most - or lots - of what I know. I was going to write here about how I lurch from book to book the way Aristotle lurched from one half of the biscuit to the other (I have about seven different books on the go at the moment). But there were more important lessons. Don't drop your steamed silver beet under the table and expect someone else to clean it up for you. If you discover that the creature you've been tracking for the past half hour turns out to be an echidna, give up and go home. Don't chase kangaroos unless you have warmed up your crucient ligament first. It's entirely possible to eat half a queen-sized chocolate mudcake and for noone else to notice for a good four hours. Love thine everyone, indiscriminately, with a slight preference for thy mother.

Monday, 14 September 2009

With this ringworm I thee wed

Far be it from me to ponder the impossible cuteness of Beatrice and Harriet when I could be dissecting the usurpation of organised religion by psychotherapy, complaining about the season finale of The Farmer Wants a Wife (to say nothing of the semi-finale, the demi-semi finale, the hemi-demi-semi finale, and all the lesser episodes that preceded the protracted denouement of this brave tribute to the embattled white Australian heterosexual), and/or marking the seventy-thousand-and-three essays that repose before me – but right now, where Beatrice and Harriet are at, is, in fact, Newsville Central.* Not because they have perfected the transverse slumber manoeuvre (difficulty level: 7.5).

Nor because Beatrice has been apprentriced to the Ladderers Guild.

Nor because it is only a matter of time before I wake up choked to death.

No. Harriet and Beatrice trump all else in newsworthiness because after three months of quarantine, daily butterings with SolveEasy Tinea and close encounters with the fungicide of doom, they are almost ringworm free! And when that happy day arrives, we'll be posting out the invitations to their Cat Mitzvah.

* This is, in fact, a proper sentence.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Broccoli, potato and almond soup au vin with a touch of blender

Take potato, broccoli, vegetable stock, and almonds. Cook. Add a touch of blender. Voila! (Vin in separate glass.)

The lexicographer's lexicographer

I'm taking my ease with Dr Johnson's dictionary, which contains such useful lexemes as (and here I'm showing my considerable maturity):

To BEPI'SS, v.a. [from piss.] To wet with urine.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Introducing Schmarvard Harlot, my as yet unconceived progeny

Sigh. I am a blogger in name alone. If you've stopped by here lately, you will have heard nothing but the squeak-squeak of tumble weeds scratching their bellies on the rough bare blogular earth as they tumbled on down to the next port of all-out vacuity. And here's the bad news: it's not going to change any time soon. I am up to mine oxters in projects of a putting-the-wordsies-together nature, plus I am surrounded by so many A-grade industrial-strength procrastinatogens, that blogstering-as-recreation pales distinctly.

But here's a plan: I'm thinking of having a son. I want to call him Schmarvard. Schmarvard Harlot. If you can see any flaws in this scheme, point them out quickly.