old site 

Lazy bones 16-May-2001

Okay okay so i've been slack and well I started on the redesign but have been distracted by far to many things (like that stupid harry potter series and other what nots)

So I have set up a "notify list" to which I shall send out an e-mail when the site is updated, at least that way no-one will get too annoyed at the lack of updates, so just type your e-mail address in here and click join:

P.S. This company only sells aggregate data, and promises not to spam you or send your email address to anyone. If anyone does get spam as a result of signing up please let me know.


High-Ate-Us 18-April-2001

This site is on temporary pause while I sort out my life... see you in a few weeks or so (with a new design).


Thai-fastic 6-April-2001

So I had one of the nicest nights out of my life last night. We settled into the creaky wooden chairs under the overhanging limb of a fake mango tree that stretched across and around the faux bamboo structure in which we were sitting. Women in traditional Thai dress came and waited on us bringing us our food with demure but efficient service. It was some sort of surreal parody of Thailand, it wasn't hot, smelly or noisy though, and the smile on the face of my dinner companion complemented the food perfectly.


Forgot about april fools 2-April-2001

I spent probably the most gorgeous Sunday of March sitting ringside watching people beat each other up in a sponsored full contact karate competition. Of course the rules forbade any strikes likely to kill, blind, maim or otherwise damage people too much. We still saw two or three knockouts when errant punches landed on the jaw, or a kick came hurtling out of nowhere. I am always surprised at how robust yet fragile the human body is. Robust to go through years of training, to take 50 punches on the chest 20 kicks to the legs, and then one slight clip of the jaw will knock a man to the ground.

Interestingly enough one of the competitors was a guy I used to go to highschool with. I was planning on trying to catch up with him after his match. But I suspect he has a broken (or at least hairline fractured) his tibia, and wasn't around when we got up to leave.

The programming for my new site is coming along well ... and I have thought of a few new features, there will certainly be less writing and more interesting interaction (I might have to drop my name off the aussie blogs list eh?)


Good luck but bad timing 23-March-2001

I stumbled home last night, and fell into the shower. Hot needles of water on the back of my neck washing away the feelings that had been building inside of me. My mind slowly letting go of desires, thoughts, dreams. It's amazing how empty a tiny flat can feel sometimes . . . I oozed into bed with the softest of touches from her still lingering in my mind.


Photographs as prompts 19-March-2001

So I spent yesterday afternoon sorting through my photos. I know I really shouldn't but they had all fallen out and mingled themselves indiscriminately. Asia mixed with Europe, letters with pictures, pamphlets and love notes. Strange that I consider written letters the same as pictures, but for me they capture the same things. Emotions, scenes thoughts everything is a projection of the person, little portable lumps of life. So I trawled through my photographs making piles, piles of smiles. They ended up falling into a bunch of categories, school days, high school days, uni days, and a bunch of travel piles. Because the letters discussed so many different topics I couldn't pick any themes I ended up sorting them by person. I read a few of them and thought about the people that wrote them. Letters take on a certain smell after a while, a wistful scent of slowly decaying paper.

I sat and moped poking the piles with my toes, shuffling the letters into groups and topics and themes, until I was rescued by some phone calls, saved by the bell one might say.

As I was putting the memories away I noticed that I have no photos from the past four years of my life. None...


Enforced absence 02-March-2001

So they are shipping me off to New Zealand again. Not that I mind New Zealand its full of New Zealanders who are very nice people. I won't even attempt to make fun of their accents (that would be too easy). So yes despite the fact that I can see sloth dying before my very eyes I shall again leave this little diary to rot for a week while I jaunt off to some office building to do my work. There are things planned for the old site but like so many things in life I have to find time to do them. I have now spent more than a week without television and seem to be coping (though I am ploughing though a book every two nights or so). My sister is coming to pick up my telly and take it away so I'm not tempted anymore. It's amazing how narrowly focussed your life can become, the whole television thing looms important in my mind, but really its nothing in the whole scheme of things is it?


If time were sticky 28-February-2001

"Could you try to make some time for me?"

"It's not like making sea monkeys you know, you need attention control alertness and decisive actions, as well as a whole bunch of glassware, beakers and test tubes, not to mention the flashing lights and plasma tubes that every great laboratory has."

"I suppose I could find some time somewhere, I think I saw a few seconds stuffed down the back of the couch while I was dusting the other day"

"The thing that annoys me is that the odd and even seconds get out of order so easily, I'm listening to my clock and its going tock tock tock tick tick tock tick tick."


I'm Bad 27-February-2001

So the holiday was good, I needed it. I spent my time relaxing, eating fresh from my parents garden, tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil and warm bakery bread. I didn't have time to do anything more than laze, soaking up the quiet that is so rare in the city.

The nights were cool and inviting and wandering back from my sisters house I looked up at the deep green of the night sky and saw stars. I was too content to break down and cry, but sitting outside on the balcony alone listening to the silence I felt the growing desire to run away and hide from everything. I suspect that four days off really wasn't enough.


I'm Back 27-February-2001

The gold coin he gave her slipped between her cracked blackened teeth. It clung to her tongue for an instant like the sun setting on a red fleshy sea. He thought she would bite down to test its purity but she took to coin softly into her mouth as if savouring the taste and then she swallowed.

"Let the prince tax that one", she smiled that broken smile to the boy and beckoned him closer.


stress tester 15-February-2001

Okay well i'm off on leave for the next few days, and then they are shipping me off to New Zealand, so I'm unlikely to be writing things for the next week or so. though I plan to spend my holidays (well earned ones at that) writing some fairytales, so keep your eyes open for a romp through fantasy land on the 26th of feb.


Fickle is as fickle does 12-February-2001

So I changed my mind on the Valentines Day presents. I finished the last of the six giving boxes last night. Each one has its own story, shavings of memories sealed in foamcore and acetate. I looked at them stacked on my living room floor, a tower of my past. It felt wrong to be sending these little bits of me out into the world on a day like Valentines Day. So instead I am going to keep the boxes and give them to the people for whom they are intended when they come to visit me at home. Well . . . with that decision made I feel quite embiggend (apologies to the Simpsons).


No i'm not obsessed 8-February-2001

"I get no clicks from champagne, mere alcohol it don't thrill me at all, but I got a click outta you."
I woke up this morning with that song (with those words) running through my head. It's not that I don't want to admit that I'm going insane I just suppose I am.

So I'm the sort of guy who doesn't like to celebrate valentines day especially when I'm single and over the past few years it seems I have spent more valentines days without that *winks and pulls a cheesy grin while doing inverted commas in the air* "someone special" *clicking noise with tongue, and little gun motions with hand* eurgh. Anyway, so this year I'm doing it in reverse, I'm going to send valentines wishes to girls that I know and care about but whom I can't go out with for various reasons. No doubt their boyfriends will be rather miffed, but hey, I think I'm not bad at alienation of spouses. Good news for anyone who reads this and doesn't get something from me, perhaps you are still on my list of potential's! *laugh* . . . well thinking about it, it improves my chances and reduces postal costs doesn't it?


The brightness of future time 7-February-2001

I found myself staring at this thin film of oil stretched along the middle of my street. I have a drink in my hand and the slick is shattering the brief patch of morning sun. A rainbow stain on the dark road. It seems my friend sleep has once again fled to some comfortable grassy sunlit patch to hide from me, and I'm left with that disconnected feeling, tremors of fatigue and the sense of overwhelming drear. Thankfully I have been succoured by a four day weekend, in two weeks time, a bright spark in the distance. (thanks for the grammar check dad)


Morning has broken, into? 5-February-2001

It's five oclock in the morning and I'm sitting on my couch staring at my bookshelf and the television which is still unplugged. I'm listening to the city as it starts to wake up, a few 18 wheelers trundle down the road a block away. Their hissing hydraulics add a sinister undertone to the belching roar. Out of the corner of my eye I see some movement on the balcony. I slowly turn my head and see a pair of small hands, maybe belonging to a 16 year old. They are either dark skinned or grubby, I can't tell it is still fairly dark at 5:00am. I stare at the hands as if they are some sort of misshapen animal, a ten legged fleshy spider. I have no idea what I was thinking until the crown of a head appeared, two eyes looked up straight into mine. It's amazing how loudly you can yell sometimes... "HEY" was all I could manage, but the head and the hands disappeared, I struggled out of my couch and leaned over the balcony, whoever it was, was hiding underneath me. I suppose insomnia can sometimes be a blessing.

This morning when I left I locked my balcony door and pulled the curtains (as if that's going to help)... perhaps I should have invested in some insurance.


whassat? flashback 1-February-2001

I'm currently having a pseudo memory induced olfactory flashback. I'm standing in front of a mirror and I'm smearing some of my sisters very chic 1980's mousse the smell of mousse is indescribable... I suppose it is some sort of aerated plastic smell mixed with chloroflurocarbons (that's what they used to use in the old days kiddies). I'm looking at myself all dressed up to the nines. My mum's black stone washed jacket with the Michael Jackson pockets and the Lionel Ritchie sleaves all rolled up, what I think is a yellow big collared shirt with little sunglasses printed on it, and slightly short black stonewashed ... wait it's an acid washed ensemble ... that's right my black acid washed jeans, my dads black shoes and white socks. I had a lot of hair back then, and I used a lot of mousse. Do you suppose fashion sense changes with the loss of hair?


Yello, stephen speaking 30-January-2001

So I have a mobile phone (0404049747). Not that I mind really, it's just that I thought I never would get one. Why did I buy one? I suppose because I have recently run into a bunch of situations where one would have been handy. In particular when I have been travelling for work and I have no idea where my colleagues are three minutes before the meeting starts. Well that and the fact that people won't think I'm a complete "luddite" (thanks Damo) any more.

My life has turned into this little self contained bundle of work, television and the occasional outing with friends. Not that I mind that, but there is something inherently depressing about not actually doing things that are tangible something that is touch worthy. Despite my inherent need for television and its soft brain numbing effects, I'm beginning to loathe the box, and its ability to trickle away hours of my life at a time. Today I'm going home to unplug it to see how long I can last without the sweet bath of electromagnetic radiation it offers.


Henry? Henry who? 29-January-2001

So here it is again, work is a never ending spiral of people places and thinking. It saddens me to think that I only have the discipline to write when I have nothing too extensive on my plate at work. That work can subsume most of my emotions and my creativity and leave me sitting at home on the weekends without the verve or creativity to get up and do something fun.

Perhaps I need to take some holidays.


Happy new year 25-January-2001

I'm sitting outside of the guest room at my parents house. The air is so clean that I can feel it scraping the walls of my lungs. I imagine for a moment the fine sooty particles of dust I get from breathing Sydney air tumbling down to fill the bottom of my lungs a thick black ichor that sloshes back and forth as I move. The sun is coming up and the bushfires around Canberra have painted the sky bright red. The dawn chorus begins and I close my eyes. My mind conjures up four panels, on each panel I see myself at different stages in my life doing the same thing. Sitting outside listening to the birds as the sun rises. It's a new year (the snake), and I had somehow made it home for the family celebrations. I figure I must just be lucky.


Too many questions 17-January-2001

Can you imagine a world where you could tell a person's complete history just by looking at them? Filed notes on the most traumatic episodes in their lives, their joys, who they have slept with, how they relate to other people, the last time they received flowers? Everything, bundled up into a small package for you to read at your pleasure, a complete history of any stray passer by. You could keep a tally on who accessed your profile, and check them up if you wanted to. When you die your profile would be stored in a massive database along with everyone else, so your whole life experience would never be lost. A database of ghosts, of old voices, purgatory for experience.

So do people need to maintain private and personal space, keep shady pasts, tales that will never be told? How would we relate to people if our whole lives were on show? Would it be a false prison, a restriction on personal exploration and freedom of expression? Would we be more honest? Less honest? Would you be able to pick and choose a partner based on previous interactions with people? Would we become more caring as a whole?

Has the private and public dichotomy come about through an evolutionary mechanism, is there an adaptive advantage to being selfish with information? Indeed I think there is, undiscovered deception and deviousness are inherently beneficial for an individual and the succession of that individuals gene line.


Mortality made real. 16-January-2001

I'm still sore and have my doubts about being able to make it to another kung fu training session. I have resigned myself to becoming old and not being able to keep up with young people anymore brought home by the fact I am now - two days after the event - still having to waddle downstairs like some sort of old demented duck while crystals of lactic acid built up in my thighs rip my muscle fibres to shreads. I am taking it all very philosophically though. Each painful step I make is a sort of bliss (in a masochistic way), When it goes away, will I want more?


Old and Broken 15-January-2001

I'm broken, battered busted and sore. It's amazing how long it takes for a person to realise that they are getting old. Yesterday Damo, Paul and I spent five hours in the sun doing martial arts with a bunch of fit young energetic men. Well I only managed about 3 hours where I was coherent, the last two hours I spent fading in and out of unconsciousness. Strange how the world starts to go white when you are fainting. I left there a complete physical wreck, went home had a shower drank about 20 liters of water and sports drink to stave off the potential heat stroke and promptly spent the next 12 hours sleeping in front of the cricket. I know if I have to negotiate the stairs at work more than twice today I'm going to die.


My mornings can be confusing 12-January-2001

Startled by a dream, I found myself lying on my couch staring out into the street. Dawn was approaching. There is no dawn chorus in the city, and the cheerless hum of the slowly building traffic outside my window has supplanted the bird calls of my youth. Sitting up and ruffling my hair I began to think. For some reason my mind strayed onto enlightenment. Do you think enlightened people have their own personalities? Or some meta personality derived from knowing exactly what the world is about? Is enlightenment some sort of virus, a particularly destructive meme that destroys individuality? Or is it a decoupling of personality from the mind, a self-induced annihilation of identity?


Put your left hand in, put you left hand out 11-January-2001

I wonder what people must think when they over hear Damo and I having an animated discussion on the street. We were walking to have dinner in darling Harbour last night and I'm there waving my arms about (because I emphasise my points by doing semaphore), and he is there answering my remarks with deadly seriousness.

Me: "So what's this about hand?"
Damo: "I'm the man with hand"
Me: "How did you get hand?"
Damo: "I got hand by not caring about hand"
Me: "I see, so you said speak to the elbow because my hand isn't even listening?"
Damo: "yep, do you think they know when they don't have hand?"
Me: "sure, hands free"


Fetish for bad movies 10-January-2001

So she is sitting next to me again, it's been a few months since I have last seen her. Her eyes still twinkle in the darkness, and despite the fact I lied that I couldn't smell her perfume over the smelly stuff I had splashed upon myself I noticed it as it blew my way in the air conditioning of the theatre, stupid beguiling Italian scent. It's not as if I need more temptation. I was okay after a few deep breaths and a lot of thinking less ridiculous thoughts, she is after all a buddy of mine first and foremost and I wouldn't do anything to ruin that (damn sensibilities).

We were there to watch a girlie flick "what women want". Now okay heres the rub, the film shows everything that is wrong with society and gender relations. Flat two dimensional motivations for male and females, gender stereotypes, men want sex and chicks want intimacy, pretty bad acting, terrible plotline, on screen glorification of cigarettes, divorced uncaring father clichés, vilification of men and there motivations and self centered approach to workplace relations, glorification of females in caring gender affirming roles, the reduction of the "perfect man" as being a woman inside and a bloke outside and just don't even get me started on the whole psychologist scene... phew. So despite the film being wrong on so many levels and I hate to admit this, I liked it. I have no idea why I like romantic comedies, I mean they are basically always about two fucked up people finding some modicum of happiness through this whole abstracted idea of mutual attraction and "love". Seriously why would anyone like that pulp? Who knows, I do, I admit it and it makes me sad. Surely my brain has more sense than this . . .

oh oh ... it's my sisters birthday


How cheesy is my life? 09-January-2001

I went for a swim this morning the pool was packed. There are a lot of fit good looking people in Sydney and I'm not one of them. There were about three people to each lane and that forced me to swim more laps faster than I have had to in the past. I managed to make half a kilometre before struggling out with jelly legs and a nasty retching feeling in my upper stomach. I'm sure it's not that I'm unfit but related to a chlorine allergy. So I struggle out of the cold pool, laden with my spare tire and in these dick sticker swimmers puffing and wheezing, my hair stuck to my head in a really bad hair way, when my eyes meet with this lovely swim trimmed lass who is drying herself off. I involuntarily smile at her as she squeezes the last of the water from her short golden locks. Then came one of those euphoric moments, the sun, which had been hiding all morning, broke out from behind the clouds and rays of intense white sunlight threw their streamers around us as she smiled back. I suppose the wet weather had sucked all of the pollutants out of the air because the sunlight was as vivid and tangible as the brilliance of her smile.

I dunno, but it's moments like these that really emphasise Sturgeons law, "90% of everything is crap", but 10% of stuff isn't. And when those 10% of times come along, you really have to try and enjoy the moment.


Bloodied mouth 08-January-2001 (Saturday - Sunday)

My nights are filled with unexplained noises, the slamming of doors, the shouting of drunks and the revving of pizza bikes. I wake from a series of surreal dreams last night to find my mouth full of blood. It's situations like this, I think to myself, that make me wonder if dreams and reality are more closely linked than I thought. I had of bitten my lip while dreaming and the metallic taste of my own blood drew the craziness of the dream into the real world. I lay there wondering about the interface between dreams and reality.

I know there is a phenomenon called lucid dreaming where you signal to yourself that you are dreaming (by using flashing lights or other gizmo's triggered by REM sleep patterns). Lucid dreaming sometimes allows you to control what you dream, free from the boundaries of any physical, or sociological constraints (being able to fly for instance).

It always sounded like a sure-fire path to insanity to me. Utter freedom in one realm weighed light against the constraints of the real world.

I lay there for a little while feeling my numb lip with the tip of my tongue. It struck me as odd that we think it is perfectly sensible that we should be able to control our sleeping thoughts and alter reality in the dream world. But when dreams or nightmares or voices from the other side intrude on our waking lives then we think we are going mad.


Another night out 04-January-2001

I suspect I'm a serial date-ist. Last night I found myself sitting across from a girl we were chatting, (or was she chatting?) a million miles a minute but there I was swept up in the moment, comfortable with myself, how we were relating, it was like running into an old friend. She suggested I go and meet her friends and go to dinner with them, I made a polite refusal but with her second offer I caved. "What the hell" I figured (I was already tipsy on top of the Codral tablets I had scoffed earlier). The dinner was lovely, a small French restaurant in kings cross. The chicken breast in white wine sauce was complemented beautifully by the soft leak and potato mash. The conversation ranged around people I did not know doing amazing things. One of her friends worked for the World Bank and was currently on a "mission" to set up distance education throughout South East Asia. Her other friend was coordinating shipping for a company between Australia New Zealand and the USA. Their lives were full of stories of parties in London, New York, LA and Washington.

The dinner conversation gave me another surreal glimpse into that "other world", drinks with Nelson Mandela and Tina Turner?!, LA soirees with movie stars and the dry humour that Australians always approach their friends shortcomings. This harsh commentary was always hastily backed up with comments about how "lovely" they were (I figure that is a girl thing).

I left in a bit of a daze, drug and drink induced no doubt, but there was a little happy feeling deep in my belly, perhaps I was just well fed.


Sickness and the art of piking 03-January-2001

I still suspect there is some biological reason that when you come down with a virus that you become antisocial. I mean it seems like an adaptive mechanism to me. For instance it's new years eve and I'm feeling a bit off colour, but I traipse along to a fun barbecue at damos house. Lots of new people to meet and talk to. I ended up ensconced in a corner with a few people I knew sniffling and chatting to them. It was still fun, but I certainly wasn't in the mood to trek to the harbour foreshores and watch the fireworks, so I bailed early. Thus I reduced the chance of infecting 1 million people by acting antisocially because of the virus (what a great excuse).

I ended up at home watching the television slowly moving towards a dream state when all of a suden I realised I didn't want to be completely alone on new years eve. So I called a friend. We chatted until 12:00 made air kissing noises and I was so snotty and gone she told me to go straight to bed. I did of course, and I have spent the past day and a half lazing about, and I suspect I'm still sick, but I suppose its nothing a few Codral wont fix.


Escape 31-December-2000

Her eyes remind me of those pictures of exploding stars. A bright blue explosion surrounded by a black ring of expanding gases. I find if I stare into them my eye keeps getting drawn to the whirlpool of darkness at their centre, here her eyes are made all the more beautiful by the turmoil brewing deep inside her. We are sitting near tumbalong park watching the tourists wander back and forth, behind us on the low brick wall sits a small water dragon which is attracting the attention of the passers by. It is good because it gives us a chance to observe the tourists in close proximity.

She is telling me she wants to run away, to start fresh, but she isn't telling me why. I suppose I don't know her well enough to deserve an answer. I do however understand how she feels. Escape from those familiar things that seem to press around you, that constrain your life the idea of liberation through distance are all things I have experienced. I feel a sadness that I wont get to know her better, but a gladness that I have known her a little. We hug goodbye a soft tender pressing hug, it feels like understanding, I ask for another because I am greedy, then once again I turn and cross the bridge back to my half of the city, and lose myself in the noise.


Wagging work? me? 28-December-2000

So my workmate convinced me that skiving off for half a day wasn't a bad thing. And you know she was right. Of course you have to be in the right company, someone who can make you forget that you are supposed to be in the office working instead of trudging your way across Dee Why beach on a glorious Wednesday afternoon. I was waddling as the gritty sand gently massaged the blisters formed by my previous catlike walk across the superheated asphalt of the carpark.

We made the trek from the beach to the hill top golf course. Looking back along the coast I realised how much of the city I never get to see. I live tucked away in my safe section of the city, a world bounded by the street names I know, and familiar paths to places I go. I suppose I am a creature of habit, plodding along familiar comfortable pathways.

My thoughts were interrupted by her voice, "are you sure you don't want to come for a swim?"

I declined, and watched her bronzed skin saunter down the beach into the surf, slicing into waves like a supple seal.

"I'll never look that good slipping into the sea" I thought to myself as my mind began its wandering.

I was brushing the sand from my tender feet looking ruefully at the big bubbles that had formed under my heel and toes, when it struck me that Ramadan in the summer must be a real pain in the bum. I mean in the northern hemisphere at the moment it is winter time and the days are relatively short, but here in Australia, the days start at 5:44am and go through until late. I suspect I was getting too much sun by this time, but my mind continued to wander and I hypothesised about Muslims at the north and south poles.

"That was refreshing" my muse was interrupted by her beaming smile, little droplets of water zipped down her skin and fell on the sand around her leaving a little cake of sand where she stood. I smiled back and struggled once more to my feet, hobbling towards the carpark and the soothing charms of her airconditioned car.


Christmas past 27-December-2000

Being an atheist family Christmas is always sort of strange. It's really just a checkpoint in our lives to see how the gene line is progressing. This year due to other extended family commitments we celebrated Christmas on the 23rd of December. Now really only a family using the holidays to catch up and swag a bunch of nifty junk (that they would never buy for themselves) could celebrate on the 23rd. The rest of my four day weekend was spent building a deck, doing gardening and catching up with friends. It was your standard holiday cocktail.

The scary thing is I missed going to work. I mean am I the sickest person on the planet? I was actually stressed to be away from what I do. Well maybe it was that, or maybe it was just spending too much time cooped up in a house with my parents who are, as they age, either involved in an intricate plot to drive me insane or are slowly going insane themselves. I did however make out like a bandit, anyone who has ever cooked with a double enameled Le Creuset 5 ½ round pot will know what I mean.


Magic Intersection 22-December-2000

So Jason this guy at work told me this story about the intersection of roads outside my work, it's a complex intersection with three roads connecting at strange angles, and as if often the case with strange shaped intersections this one has mystic properties. Jason tells me that every time he approaches the intersection from a certain street the intersection will produce a good-looking girl. Now I'm pretty skeptical but I'm starting to come around. I arrive on the street outside of work this morning at 6:20am to find it bare, not even our local drunk is awake sitting in his little patch of sun. I'm feeling pretty smug, until I reach the intersection, and there approaching me is this fully beautiful Venus de-milo lookalike (but this one has arms and a head - apologies to 2NU). She was walking the biggest meanest ugliest salivating chunk of muscle shaped into a dog I have ever seen. Of course being me, I start grinning like a maniac because Jason was right. The dog takes offence at me grinning and starts growling, while the slip of a girl tries to calm it down.

I don't think I have ever opened the front door to the office as fast as that before... I have also decided on a new way to walk to work.


You thought what? 21-December-2000

We plonked ourselves down in the strangely comfortable chairs in one of the nicest restaurants in Sydney. The food isn't too bad, but the staff, well lets just say they make up for any inadequacy in their gastronomical fabrications. A gin and tonic to start, we watched the brothels across the road, sipping our drinks. Damo was relating a horrendous tale of some recent fracas at work, he tells a mean story.

They get a good trade going over there (i'm thinking to myself again as I watch the brothels), the sweaty muscle men, business suits, taxi drivers, clipboard carrying health inspectors, all stumbling in, and sometime later skipping lightly out the red door.

The food came with a lovely Claire valley Riesling. Now don't get me wrong but there is something about a screw top on a wine bottle that puts me off. Sure it is supposed to keep the wine fresh for longer, but surely a slight aging for some wines can be a good thing. I personally like a year old Verdelho. Still, I tuck into my baby octopus salad and chorizo and pippi risotto with my normal gustatory delight, savouring mouthfuls of food and testing how the wine reacts to the flavours left behind in my mouth. It leaves a sharp almost fizzy taste at the top of my palate, it is very refreshing and complements my food well.

We finally reach the end of the meal and I sit back and gently rub my belly, sated and content. The waiter comes over and drops a bottle of chilli jam on the table.

"A christmas present for you guys"

He launches into how it is great on grilled fish, and explains how to cook it.

I think out aloud that we will have to fight over who gets to keep it.

"Oh, I assumed you two 'lived' together"

... it's then that I start to think that next time I come to this restaurant I'm bringing a girl.


Thoughts fragmented 19-December-2000

My anger was the colour of blood. I watched the water falling in short jagged lines near my feet. A slowly moving stain, dark against the white concrete of the train platform picked its way down a crack, edging its way along the platform.

The red ichor bubbled away, its acidic mouth gnawing away at my mind and my thoughts, twisting them to unpleasantness. I let it burn, in 40 minutes time I would be home, safe from anger, frustration and the world.

I think it is a good thing, to keep alive a flame of vengeance, a smudge of passion to colour your thoughts, it guides your decisions and forces you make choices.

One thing I lament is that you cannot erase memories from your mind (without the aid of drugs). An easy wipe of all references to certain people or places, how you may have felt towards them, what they have done to you, how you relate to them. Sure, I know embedded thoughts and feelings picked up throughout a lifetime may help me to react more appropriately in new circumstances, but sometimes I wonder if the attendant baggage that comes with some memories is worth it.


The beach 18-December-2000 (Saturday Sunday)

So she turned up late. Evidently she has spent the night with her "last" boyfriend and he was dropping her off on the way to his cricket game, so she was late. It's not that I mind really, it was very enlightening. So many windows into a person's mind open up when they feel comfortable talking to you.

I sat on the Manly ferry and admired the harbour, the warm sun ran its gentle fingers up and down my chest and pushed me back into a soporific indolence. I half listened as she told me about her life on the northern beaches, the parties, the people she couldn't stand but how much they meant to her, how her life was woven from strands of personalities stretched between the city and the sea.

Her life was fascinating as most lives are, small snippets of information, boys, work, sea, surf, smarts. The blossoming of intellect in the dulling world of waves drugs and sex. It was a tale worth listening to, and there among the half naked beautiful people of Manly I heard it unfold. The images of youthful beauty, bikini's and boys without shirts reached through the heat haze to illustrate her story.

We walked by the beach and lay lizard like upon the rocks, soaking up the heat, letting the naturalness of the sea lull us into a friendly torpor. The water, a pure gradient of blues lapped languorously, gently tasting the volcanics on which we rested as if it were a lazy dog greeting his old master. The stories continued and drifting in and out of my heat induced delirium I heard some of her softness.

We returned from Manly on an afternoon ferry, the rocking of the boat shifted me from sleep to awareness and back again. The city loomed across the harbour, I felt like I was coming home. The dirty, noisy, smelly, grey lump of man made rock, people girt in the uniform of corporate war, the obvious stratification of wealth, it seemed more real to me than the Disney like perfection of people and image on the beach. I'm sure she sees it the other way. We hugged goodbye, I felt the gentle patting indicating friendship upon my back and I turned. Soon the city had swallowed us both up, life stories submerged amongst the multitude.


Codename Elaine 14-December-2000

So Damo and I are sitting in the rustic waiting for Elaine (the codename for our grand social experiment). Of course she never showed up but we managed to eat a good meal and spent some time chatting up the waiter who was obviously gay and very enamoured with my mystic 8 ball. We let him shake it a few times and ask a few questions, the mystic 8 never tells lies.

The pub across the road beckoned and after a nice meal we stumbled a few paces west and tumbled into the Trinity. It was trivia night and despite the urge to yell out the answers I was kept busy with a good cleansing ale and the cheering of the crowd as the answers to questions were read out. We whittled away an hour, I showed Damo a few coin tricks and suggested he go to the P party (his office party is themed on the letter P) as a prestidigitator. But he has his heart set on Pierce Brosnan.

It was a strange night, excitement, disappointment, and a calm happiness. I ended up calling Zoe and chatting until late, of course after that I couldn't sleep, so I lay staring out the window at the street lights until the sun made everything bright again.


Some sleep would be nice 12-December-2000

Sometimes it makes me wonder what I'm doing. I'm lying on my back looking at the ceiling lost somewhere above me in the grey of the night. It is 3:00am and I haven't been sleeping, restless I twist my torso opposite to my legs and hear the gratifying ripple of pops as my obviously damaged lower back tries to realign itself.

My brain is talking to itself again, tracing patterns of thought in supple knots around and around, threading itself through absurd loops of logic and possibility. The rest of me, all the other cells, are grumpy. I think they find it unfair that this differentiated bundle of trumped up nerve cells has most of the say as to what happens in the rest of the body. I wouldn't be surprised that some little lump of flesh somewhere is planning on rebellion, marshalling its compadres in an attempt to sabotage the dictatorship of the brain.

"He thinks he is so smart and smarmy sitting up there in his bone tower fortress" they whisper seditiously.

And then my mind wanders off again, how is it then? That my body built up of all these little cells, who all work independently like little factories unto themselves, well, how did they all managed to team up together and form me?

I wonder (wander) a little further along this trail of thought and consider a large collection of independent animals such as a coral reef, is the great barrier reef conscious, are all those little animals part of a whole with no central control? What would our lives be like without a central nerve ganglion, without a brain, if for instance each part of us reacted directly to the environment that surrounded it like a jellyfish? The night wears on and somewhere along its arc I fall asleep, dreaming of blue water and ripples of light crossing my skin.


Summertime and the reading is easy 11-December-2000 (Saturday - Sunday)

I'm lying there the sun streaming down, my face is slowly turning that soft pink that would make a perfect centre for a lamb roast. I'm reading a fairytale to a friend, she is lying beside me, sunglasses on, I can't tell if she is asleep or not. But I'm enjoying myself.

I'm lost in the story of Perriot, a brave Frenchman who is magically transported to China where he has many adventures. The images of places and people trickle there way through my lips, words writ in 1847 coming to life again. A succession of characters, imagery and life that will only die when finally the book succumbs to rot. It amazes me to think that these creatures and events though fictional are older and will live longer than myself, destined like Rosencrantz and Guildenstien to tread the same path again and again. Making the same mistakes, proceeding on the same follies, living with the same destinies.

Sometimes I'm glad I don't believe in fate or predestination


Fragments of a story 8-December-2000

The man sits crosslegged surrounded by cushions on an old Persian rug. He is speaking in a low voice to a rapt audience. Animal fat candles scent the air and cast long shadows across his grizzled jowls. The dark smoke turns the tent hazy and tendrils of of white grasp at the old mans hands as they explain complex motions timed carefully to coincide with the words that he speaks. Occasionally young children leap from rest and skitter among the older listeners, as their excitement overflows. They abruptly stop and flop to the floor when the tension is released. It is his final tale for the night and he begins recanting it in a slow gravelly voice.

Once upon a place, a short time ago, there lived a pack of mismottled creatures. Limbs and Legs, Faces and Arms, Bellies and Hips, Fingers and Toes. All collected together to form what seemed like completely separate autonomous animals.

We know however that everything and everyone is made of the same stuff. It is however the earth of life that flavours each person. Some are fed on the flinty soils that grow into a hard carapace around their hearts locking in youth and denying them a future, others are brought up supping on the golden soils, laced with jewels and precious metals, these grow to be wonderful charming creatures, others seem to grow in fresh air, where soil has never tarnished their ebullient souls. Some lurk in the dark shade of life, but become tinged with noble rot turning sour souls into sweetness. I will let you decide for yourself in what soils our newly discovered friends were grown.

Here they are laid before you bright spangly new creatures, see the gloss and shine on their skins? One would hardly suppose that these companions might have histories unto themselves. Yet, though I tell this story as though they are new to the world, conjuring them up from the ethereal smoke that now surrounds us, I must tell you they have a past. Tales so complex and mindnumbingly interesting that this story I shall relate to you here represents the smallest of all specks on the vastness of their lives. For although these characters are not real, they do exist...

And when I have finished this tale they will continue to live in your minds and your soul. Snapshots of their deeds captured in the words I am relating to you.


What is it with burning things? 6-December-2000

I'm at home last night staring at some toffee I'm making. It's all part of this meal I'm cooking tonight for a few friends. The smell of the bubbling sugar mixture and the freshly roasted peanuts was working its way into my mind. The sugar syrup was turning that beautiful golden brown and suddenly I was smelling the sea. I dunno where the smell of salt and seaweed came from but it was there, tangible and strong. I could almost feel the mineral skin, the gritty dryness, that swimming in the oean leaves behind.

Then suddenly I'm back in my apartment burning sugar on the stove.


Hot tar and cricket 5-December-2000

I love daylight savings, it reminds me of summer, and the little summer pyjamas I used to wear. They had these targets on them. Little red white and blue circles like the ones on the wings of a model of a spad my father and I had built earlier that year. I used to zoom about on the slowly cooling tar of the road, arms outspread, pretending I was an aeroplane making machine gun noises at my friends. They were hunkered down behind the bushes wearing icecream containers as helmets, carrying deadly sticks that fired white hot tracers that arced through the sky around me.

Then the street lights would go on, and parents would call out and soon the street would be empty.

I wonder if it missed us as we got older? The street that is, I mean the sounds of joy echoing through the trees, the soft tread of young feet, the rending of knees and elbows and ears when we were learning to skateboard? I wonder if a new generation of kids have had billy cart races and slip and slides on that street, or if that sort of thing doesn't happen in an established suburb. I do know for sure though if the street doesn't miss me, I sure do miss it sometimes.


Come aboard we're expecting you 4-December-2000 (Saturday Sunday)

On the third day there was the train. God I love the train, its retro feel, the slow chugging of the diesels as it pulls out of the station. The wobble of the carriages, the hacking cough of the old man two seats behind me and the indiscrete protestation of the poor girls who are now covered in a fine spray of phlegm.

I settle back into my seat chuckling with anticipation, I am with book, with notepad and colour gameboy, I have a meal ticket and life couldn't be finer. There are so many punchlines I could slot into here, but I'm not.

No I'm not going to mention the man who sat next too me and the way his body distorted like a huge oozing mess flowing across the arm dividing our seats and flopped itself against my leg. Or the way when he got up, his long and laborious struggles with his tracky dacks meant that he displayed his butt crack in a most unappealing manner. You know why? Because it doesn't matter. I was on a train, my most favoured of all transportation vehicles, not even the drunken retching of a Scotsman in the vestibule area between the buffet and my seat serves to dampen my enthusiasm for this form of travel . . .

I wonder if Damo is still interested in hiring a car to drive down to Canberra for Christmas.


Mafs waz never my strong point 1-December-2000

My dad's 60th birthday party is coming up this weekend. I suppose that means he is starting to get old doesn't it? Have you ever noticed that when you finally reach half your parents age that, that is the time of life when they had you? Okay so maybe that calculation doesn't work for everyone but it seems to work for me.

So what does this mean for me? Not much other than a trip to Canberra, a day of food preparation, a day of feasting drinking and generally trying to relax and de-gas from this weeks work.


Riddles solved 29-November-2000

I pinned her out like a beautiful iridescent butterfly under glass. I needed answers and here was my chance. She wasn't feeling well so I called her. I suppose that's a low act, but I was all flustered. I had no idea what was going on, where we stood, and she would never give me a straight answer. I suppose, if I hadn't been in a state of denial I would have known what that meant. So I have finally received an answer, and although it was not the one I wanted, I know at least that I still have a beautiful wonderful, quirky friend who is actually interested in remaining in contact with me. It must be something to do with my wit, charm and intelligence. Still, I may need to have a few beers to wash away some of this sad stain on my heart. That's the trouble with white shirts and internal organs, they stain too easily.


Do you work too hard? 28-November-2000

I can always tell when work is getting on top of me . . .

Yesterday I was teaching a day long course, the course evaluations came back with reasonably good comments, I'm certainly glad I didn't dissapoint anyone. But by the end of the day I was so wasted. I'm not used to standing up all day, or talking from 8:30-5:30.

I stumbled out of the building at about 6:00 and wandered into the pub, I had two VB's with a work colleague, just two, and I practically had to roll home.

I ended up flopped out on my couch with a pot of bolognaise cooking on the stove, the fragrance of the bay leaf, wine, olives, fresh herbs, onions and mince combined with the soft bubbling noise lulled me into a soporific muse. Somehow I found myself awake two hours later .The glass I had in my hand when I drifted into slumber had attempted to escape but had injured itself, its blood red contents trickled slowly across the white floor of my apartment. The air was filled with an ominous cloud, grey and rolling, its source was the stove, where my meal had gradually become thicker and thicker until it formed a hard black burnt crust across the bottom of the pot.

No wonder I'm hungry this morning.


I can't see the forest 27-November-2000 (Saturday - Sunday)

The optometrist and I are chatting, well actually, I'm flirting like a maniac, she's flirting like a fiend, it's all going along swimmingly. She grabs this device that has a huge light on the end of it and an eyepiece on the other. Then gives me fair warning that she is going to get really close to me. The shock of he closeness makes my brain go into sensory overload, she moves in and stares into the back of my eye. Looking around at the blood vessels on the back of my eye she pronounces that I am healthy, no hypertension, no diabetes nothing (I make a mental note that I can't blame my weight gain on diabetes anymore, I'll have to blame the fact that I'm not doing any exercise).

She smells like warmth, I don't think she is wearing a scent, but she smells like comfort on a winter's day. That deep rich scent of warm toast, honey and butter. I suspect I'm hallucinating, and I certainly can't see, the light she has been shining in my eyes has left behind a series of little green worms, that lie on top of whatever I'm looking at.

Of course, she is being so nice to me is because I am about to buy some expensive frames for some new glasses. But like most people I like to flatter myself sometimes.


Betrayed by emotions 24-November-2000

She wrinkled her nose and smiled at me with her eyes. I can't believe how those little glances can turn me into such a stupidly anxious mess. We chatted, creatures of habit in the same café we visited the first time I managed to steal time alone with her. I can feel my face involuntarily playing with a smile even now as I think about her. The way she moves, the way she talks, the way she thinks. None of it makes any sense to my rational brain, but the rest of me doesn't seem to care.


Fucked up again 23-November-2000

Two things:

1. I really hate pissing my friends off. No seriously there is nothing that makes me feel worse than not being in control of circumstances that might adversely affect friends of mine (e.g. late meetings, clients, lectures etc). I hate that it makes me so grumpy and defensive when I'm sitting there with this dilemma. How can you prove to someone that you do still like them and care about them without making them more upset because you try to over explain things? I suspect you can't . . .

2. Okay so I've completely forgotten the other thing I wanted to tell you . . . I'm too flustered.


Non genetic family relationships 22-November-2000

"As far as I can tell there are two ways of going about building a relationship, with the opposite sex." I'm talking to myself as I stare into the mirror wondering where my youth has gone.

"You can . . . "

I catch myself talking out aloud, deciding that is a little strange, I switch the conversation back into my head while I contemplate my enlarging pores.

You can go down two tracks, the path of friendship or the path of romance. Maybe you can switch from the path of romance towards the path of friendship, I have done that in the past. But I have never been able to go the other way. Now why is that?

What is it about a friend that makes them so unsuitable as a lover? Is it because you know the person too well to ever be attracted to them? Is it because you enjoy their company far too much to risk stepping beyond the bounds of what's comfortable (if it aint broke don't fix it)? Or are there some strange biochemical processes going on in your brain that swirl chemical mixtures around embalming it so it thinks of a non genetically related friend as family. If this is the case it is not at all surprising that moving from friendship to some sort of romantic attachment is difficult, breaking all those societal as well as that inbuilt genetic revulsions against incest etc.

So why the pondering? I had a good friend kiss me on the lips last night, just the corner of her mouth touching mine it was a strange sensation, not unpleasant, but it did unnerve me somewhat . . . who knows what it all means.


What's that? 21-November-2000

I think I have been spending a lot of time with the same people. Now don't get me wrong I like having a few close friends that I hang out with all the time. It's great to have someone around who can read your moods, and knows what to say or when to drop a point (especially if they are winning).

Last night I was in the pub with a few people I hadn't seen for a while. We were catching up on life and what nots, but they had to keep asking me to speak up. Normally I don't notice my mumbling because people who know me can - I suspect - read my lips and for all I know guess at what I'm saying in a noisy environment. Then again maybe they know I'm rambling and just nod graciously as I burble on about the latest thoughts.

I think I might learn sign language, at least that way I can talk in pubs without needing to be heard


Plastic b(p)ricks 20-November-2000 (Saturday, Sunday)

I don't understand it but pulling things apart fascinates me. I remember one Christmas in the hazy past my great uncle (he is old, not just great) gave me this toy. It was a tin cowboy on a tin horse. A delicate toy the size of my hand. I remember clutching it with joy and winding the mechanism until it wouldn't wind any further. When I released the wayward horse on the dining room table it jiggled and hopped and the cowboy held on grimly his taut smile a reflection of his stoic fortitude. His strength and determination would probably have made him a poster child for a cigarette company. I would have loved that toy, if my passion for knowledge hadn't taken that perfect working thing, something passed on to me from my great uncle, a toy that he probably cherished for his whole life, and pulled it apart one limb at a time.

I ended up with a set of four horses legs, two cowboy arms, two cowboy legs, two halves of a horse, a left and right side of a cowboy, several springs a few cogs and some interesting bits of wire. I could see that I had done something wrong, but I had to know how it worked. My great uncle never gave me another present.

So I have to admit when Damo found a couple of bargain sets of Mindstorms Lego at toys r us (25% discount on Lego drops it below cost price). I was overwhelmed by the idea of having more cogs, and levers and motors and springs and pulleys and a computerised Lego brick. I spent last night sorting all the little parts of plastic into trays, axels, motors, gears everything in its own spot. But heres the rub, it was already in bits. There was no pulling apart no teasing out of information, no fascination.

There was just this feeling of dread that I was now responsible for constructing something. Building something that works, that comes alive when it is spun or powered. It doesn't sound like a great responsibility does it?

But there is something about this box of Lego that is sitting in my lounge room that scares me. The whole experience and the memories it dredged up, has grabbed me by the shirt collar and slapped me in the face, it has spat my behaviours back at me. I hate the idea that Lego can teach me more about my internal workings and behavioural patterns than it has any right to. Stupid little plastic bricks.


No seriously, it's closed for business 17-November-2000

The one thing I really hate about shopping is the sign on the door. It always disturbs me when I grab my groceries and go to walk outside only to find that the rest of the world is "closed for business". It means I have to spend the rest of the mooching about in the shop. Still it does give me a chance to play cops and robbers with stray children and overripe banana's.


Tiger Woods? pah! 16-November-2000

I suppose you could call it a dark mood. I'm stumbling home through the rain my wet foot squelching out a measured pace. The city streets are sheened, light from headlights, lamplights and advertising bounces of the thin film of water and slips unconsciously into my mind. I'm thinking about shoes and holes and rain and misery when I see a neon figure cast inside a deep pothole in the road. Looking up I see it's sharky's golf house. There is sharky swinging his damn neon club and hitting that ball. The ball, a white streak, arcs its way unerringly towards the hole, as it has done for years. I just watch secretly hoping that this time he will miss... Well maybe next time.


Grey day 15-November-2000

Nothing would please me more than to be curled up under my doona with a good book today. Nothing. Not even the prospect of doing some fun design work is making me happy. What is with this weather? Since the Olympics the grey clouds have rolled in and the rain thumps down. I have water down my back and the hole in my shoe has made my sock soggy. Today should be officially known as "Stephen whining like a little kid day".


Mr Toad's Wild Ride 14-November-2000

So which is better? Diet or Regular? I'm actually back onto the coffee. I was standing in the kitchen this morning pondering my crumpet, dripping with honey and drenched in butter. The thought of putting that much sugar in my mouth and washing it down with an overly sweetened beverage was just a little too much. So I poured myself a mug of brown. I can smell it now, tiny wisps of steam, tendrils of scent prodding my olfactory system, teasing my mind. I'm delaying the drinking to get maximum pleasure from the anticipation, it's a sick twisted game I play on myself. I wonder briefly if that is normal. The taste of honey is still on my lips as I finally take the first sip. The bitter brown swill is mellowed by the leatherwood flavoured sugars.

I talked to Zoe on the telephone last night. She tells me of this idea she has for drinking Ribena (a wonderful sweet blackcurrent cordial, I loved it as a kid) she tells me she is mixing it with hot water. It makes for a nice tasting herbal tea. I can immediately see the benefits, lots of vitamin C, smells good, and soothes the throat. She said that I could steal her idea and pass it off as my own. So tomorrow I start the great warm Ribena experiment . . . My life is just one wild ride isn't it?


Far gone conclusion 13-November-2000 (Saturday - Sunday)

"You are gone man". Its funny I didn't need Damo to tell me that, I already knew, but the way he brings things to a single pithy point, focuses in on what I'm thinking, distilling a sea of feelings into something so base and raw, well it makes me wonder about myself. I mean we build so much complexity into things, we make decisions much harder than they could or should be. I'm forcing salted spicy tofu and rice into my mouth as we watch the late evening Sunday grocery rush move by outside, it's the end of the weekend already.

She had been sitting in front of me, sipping her coffee. My own brown brew was growing cold. I hate the fact that I stare at her. I know it makes her feel uncomfortable, but I need to see her move, to animate the image of her in my mind to flesh out the small parts I know about her. I listen to her speak prompting her for more information, picking away at threads of conversations that make her fall silent. The dead ends where she doesn't want to wander with a stranger. We walk into the city, prolonging the contact, talking, chatting, fussing. At least I enjoyed it. It's hard for me to resist the urge to lurch forward and kiss her when we part, I settle for a casual wave and a quick turn on my heel losing myself in the crowds.


Bitter young man 12-November-2000 (Sunday)

The irony doesn't strike me until I was walking home later that evening. It had been an indulgent weekend so far. Two amazing dinners, overeating each time, good wines many a slurred comment. We had been trapped in this outside veranda area with a bunch of chain smoking maniacs, obviously wanting to kill themselves and take out every other person in the place. We re-breathed noxious fumes while we ate. We listened casually to two old men whining about their lives, one of them calling his ex-wife bitchface. Bitter bitter old men. So Damo and I sat there discussing the old men and how we hate bitter people. I couldn't help but laugh out loud as I stumbled through the darkened streets of Surry Hills. A nice looking couple crossed the street to get out of my way, it was delicious, I was all those things, a bitter drunk man stumbling through the hazy city streets.


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