It Makes Me Sick

I've had no voice for the last few days. That's why you couldn't see any new blog posts - I was whispering them.

As for why I had no voice, my throat was burned by stomach acid carried by food in a great hurry to reach the toilet bowl, without having to go through all that tedious digestion first.

Yes, I spent half of monday night sicking up monday's lunch - and the other half getting hot and cold flushes. So either I had a little food poisoning...or I'm pregnant.

Considering the recent spate of sex the probability of pregnancy is admittedly raised, but something tells me that's not it.

Tonight, a man slouched against a wall asked if I had any spare change. He said he was a hopeless alcoholic, slowly dying and just waiting for the end. He didn't care about living anymore - just wished it wouldn't take so long to finally die.

I smiled and said, "Hello Tony".

He stared at me in astonishment. How could I know his name?

He never remembers me. Each time he falls back into the cider bottle and onto the street, it's like his memory is wiped clean.

He told me again about how the wife he'd met at a detox clinic threw him out when he relapsed, and how he hoped he could patch things up with his son before the end. He wanted to know why Jesus was letting him go through life like this, if there wasn't some grand purpose that would make it all make sense.

There was a tumor on the side of his head that hadn't been there before - though strangely he looked healthier. There were no cold sweats, DT tremours or numb limbs this time, plus he'd put on some healthy pounds.

He refused to take the coins in my pocket, so I slipped them into the cap by his side, and he pretended not to notice. That's how dignity is maintained. He said he'd buy a bottle of vodka as a treat and sleep on the soft grass of the common tonight.

He's probably there as I'm typing this.

There's a school for adults opening nearby. It goes by the promising name of Worker's Educational Association. I dropped 'round to sniff out the possibilities of employment.

So, I ask, do you run courses in EFL/ESL/ESOL/whatever-it's-calling-itself-this-month? Oh yes. Well, probably. Dunno really, we're just starting up.

How many students do you expect to have? Dunno yet. We'll see who turns up. How many teachers do you have? I couldn't really say - someone around here might know. And what sort of wages do you expect to pay? Dunno really, we're just starting up, you see.

Sigh. So how do I apply? Simple! Just fill out these ten pages of stupid questions and we'll add you to the list of teachers we might interview at some point. When we know what we need.

And finally, a brief lesson on how computers work.

Adobe Reader aka Adobe Acrobat is a program you probably have on your computer that lets you read PDF files. PDF is a way of formatting text in a book-like way, so you can read what look like books on your computer - complete with numbered pages, headings and subheadings, embedded pictures and indeed watermarks and page creases. Very useful.

Now, Adobe Reader takes up 157 megabytes, is slow, awkward to configure, and not exactly neat in terms of how is works behind the scenes with your system. Sumatra, on the other hand, reads PDFs, is 1.33 megabytes, fast, easy to configure, and clean to install.

Like most such admirable programs, it was developed by one person working alone to solve a problem simply because it needed solving. Sometimes such people work illegally, and occasionally go to jail for undoing the mess made by the professionals.

Anyway, I want to deinstall Reader and install Sumatra. But I can't deinstall Reader because the 'helper' program Windows Installer isn't working. Normally I'd solve this by finding the uninstaller program provided by Adobe as a matter of basic professionalism, and run it. Except I can't because Reader doesn't have one. This is like manufacturing a door without a handle, or a car without brakes, but the good people of Adobe presumably had some good reason.

Hmmm, I think. Maybe Reader was misinstalled in such a way that it can't activate or communicate with Windows Installer? So if I reinstall Reader, over the top of itself, it might install correctly and fix the problem so I can deinstall it. Good idea, yes? Didn't work.

So I try reinstalling Windows Installer, thinking the problem may be there. But Windows won't let me reinstall it...because I've already got the latest version installed, so it can't see there's any need to install it. Gah!

Ah, but wait a minute. Installer isn't just a program - it's a Service. A Service is a little program that sits on your computer, always running, taking up space and RAM but doing absolutely nothing most of the time until it's needed. Like now. Which is why, six months ago, I configured it to only start running when it was needed. Well, it wasn't.

So. Deep breath. I configure Installer to run all the time, reboot, deinstall Reader, install Sumatra, reconfigure Installer to not run all the time anymore...and reboot again.

And that, gentle reader, is how you work with computers.

4 and Sore

How do you celebrate your blogiversary? Starting at midnight?

How about long, slow and mutual gustatory carnal pleasuring with a man you've just met? In an actual bed, no less - a step up in the world from your parent's back garden.

Followed by tea (because we're British), biscuits (because there's nothing like Hob-Knobs after Gobbling-Knobs), more love'n'shove (because we can), and sleep (because we're knackered).

Then in the morning, more long, slow etc. etc., followed by more tea, more biscuits, and the swapping of phone number so we can do it again soon.

And on the way home, blinking in the early light, a call from another bloke who's "free for fun" around midnight. The straight-but-prefers-the-way-men-give-blowjobs type.

Friday was my last day at work - also the last for most of the teachers and almost all the students. So you can imagine how serious and earnest the lessons were.

Nothing to do except clear up the remains of two leaving parties, drink tea (because, well....), and hold a particularly ill-tempered meeting - before going off to look for a new job.

You'd think someone who's spent their life running language schools would know better than to say, "The English don't speak English properly". That's a bit like saying "Swans don't swim properly. They should do it like the book says they do".

Spent the evening watching rather too many episodes of Star Trek, while eating lentil soup (because I'm trying to stay on a high fibre diet) followed by chocolate biscuits (because I'm not trying very hard) and then, before you know it...'s midnight, and there's time for one more nice surprise.

He's late, which is neither nice nor a surprise, but he's horny as a goat on horny goat weed, and feeling experimental.

Bloke: How can I turn you on, Kapitano?
Kap: Um, well you could try sucking my cock?
Bloke: Okay, let's try that!

So he tentatively tries it, and finds that, really, he likes it. Let me rephrase that. He tries it, and an hour later decides he really really likes it.

And an hour after that, although I'm very pleased for him that he's discovered a new source of joy, I'm dropping hints that it's cold and I'll need to sleep soon. That and I've got stubble burn on my scrotum and love bites on my inner thigh.

Oh just another five minutes, please, he says. So another forty minutes later I finally take his new toy away from him, because it's just a bit sore.

Oh just one more minute, please. Honestly, I am such a sucker. Um, yes.

So this is Kapitano, marking four years of blogging, with tea, chocolate biscuits, a new friend with old skills, and old friend with new skills, no job, no immediate plans, and several red patches...signing off. Till tomorrow.





I am 4.

And there'll be a proper birthday post along as soon as I can think of one.

In the meantime, have some virtual birthday cake.

Say What?

Things teachers say in the staffroom:

"[Our Director of Studies] is, like, a total dick."

"Communism is okay if it works. Fascism is okay if it works."

"[Name of student] must be gay. He's just so camp it's unbelievable."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you're gay or anything."

"They only way to deal with Arabs is to treat them like dogs, quite honestly."

"I don't think you should talk about another person like that behind their back."

I used to work with someone who had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

He scrubbed his hands clean twenty or thirty times a shift - though they were already clean - using the strongest soaps and antibacterials he could find. Each washing lasted ten minutes, and he managed to fit his work life around these semi-periodic washings.

And he lied about it. Everyone knew, no one judged, but he always lied, and it was always the same lie - that his car had sprung an oil leak.

No one tried to talk with him about it, and no one complained. I think the workforce (of thirty or so) had come to a silent consensus:

(1) He's a nice guy and we don't want to upset him.
(2) It's a problem, but not a major one.
(3) It's a problem, but it's his problem not ours.
(4) Trying to help would be interference, and that would be wrong.
(5) Trying to help wouldn't work, so there's no point in trying.

Fair enough. A defensible position, and probably a correct one, given that we were colleagues, not friends. But I wonder what would have happened if (1) hadn't been in place.

I think if he hadn't been a nice guy, all that enlightened pragmatism, all that tolerant humanism, would have instantly gone out of the window. His "quirk" would have gone from being an "eccentricity" to being "severe mental illness which means he can't do his job properly and we can't work with him".

Things students say in the classroom:

"In England it's very easy to get drugs. Marijuana, heroin, cocaine..."

"I don't get drunk on beer. Only after a million pints."

"People are drunk over the whole world, but in England drunk people are everywhere."

"You can die from one dose of cocaine."

"Me? No teacher! I never try drugs, but I know people who do."

One of my friends is an alcoholic. He's starting to see it himself but can't stop.

He doesn't get violent, or moody, or sexual. He just drinks every night until he's (literally) sick, then goes home to sleep it off, and goes to a job in the morning that pays just enough to let him do it again.

What am I supposed to do? In the past I tried to reason and encourage people out of addiction before - before I realised what everyone else knew, that it doesn't work like that.

So what, exactly, am I supposed to do?

Right now, I reinstall an operating system and a load of programs onto a crashed laptop. I've got a catalogued set of 146 "essential" programs, and 103 plugins - plus hundreds of others on dozens of discs. Everything from wireless network driver, MPEG4 codec and MIDI driver to file compressors, flash player and a fiendishly complicated program to work out musical scales.

Oh yes, still working on the music - but in a faintly perverse way working on the video to a song I haven't recorded yet.

It's nearly 5am and I've got to get some sleep so I can stand in front of a class and be intelligent for students who're too tired to notice. It's their final week and the finer points of relative clause structure isn't at the top of their agenda.

Or indeed mine, but unlike them I've got to pretend to care.

What Did You Bring the Book I Didn't Want to be Read to out of up for?

Thursday went exactly as predicted - except a student actually turned up and played ping pong. And then ten more.

Two Koreans, three Italians and assorted Arabs, enjoying themselves with token supervision - using more English in casual conversation that a week in the classroom, and ignoring national boundaries more than they ever do in school.

Pavement Wit: Horn of the Dead

Used to describe necrophilia. Or zombie porn movies. yes, they do exist. Actually, I suspect there's more Porn-of-the-Dead flicks each year than cases of people having sex with corpses.

I do have to wonder exactly why it's illegal to cornhole a cadaver. I mean, does the government think there's hoards of people yearning to get stiff with a stiff, held back only by the fear of criminal prosecution?

Maybe the same thinking is behind making suicide illegal? Or cannibalism. Or bestiality. Or praying to the devil. Or blowing up airports.

But what do I know. Maybe a necrophile is a bibliophile with a fondness for the Necronomicon.

Two weeks ago I had one week of teaching left. One week ago I had six! Now it's back to one. But probably a different one. Next week it may be different.

After that they want me to do cover work...and run the social program.

This blog is six days away from it's forth birthday. What should I do to celebrate?

This month eleven people died trying to climb K2. Is it only people who don't live in countries with mountains think it's impressive to climb them?

I mean, it is impressive. Just rather silly.

This morning I attempted to phone a college to ask if they had vacancies.

The first number didn't answer, the second was an automated switchboard which redirected me to the Literacy Department. Which was actually Hair, Nails and Beauty, who gave me a number for Basic Skills, who were out to lunch at 10am.

So I tried another number, who put me through to The International Department, who didn't know whether they had any vacancies, but gave me another number to call, which didn't answer.

Finally I tried a third route, and got an answer. From someone who also didn't know, but suggested I try the internet.

I was very diplomatic.

"The man whose wife is a doctor waved to me". A simple enough sentence, yes? Two intersecting sentences, bound by a common subject ("the man") co-ordinated by a relative pronoun ("whose"), one placed inside the other. Even my board-out-of-their-skulls and so-tired-they-don't-care-anymore afternoon class got it. Before saying they were bored and wanted to do something else.

So what about "The bicycle whose wheel fell off rusted"? Not so good, because strictly speaking, "whose" can only be used for living things.

"The bicycle of which the wheel fell off rusted"? Um,'s grammatically okay but...would you ever say it? Didn't think so.

"The bicycle which's wheel fell off rusted"? I have never, ever heard "which" used in possessive form.

"The bicycle that had the wheel that fell off rusted"? Not quite.

"The bicycle the wheel of which fell off rusted"? That one's my suggestion. It's grammatically impeccable, just rather...odd.

"The bicycle that of which the wheel fell off rusted". Don't be silly.

"The bicycle such that the wheel fell off of it rusted". Um.

Four teachers with three decades of experience between them couldn't work it out. But we don't tell the students that.

The Blogger spellchecker knows "Necrophilia" and "Cornhole" but not "Necronomicon" or "Internet".

"The bicycle which the wheel fell off of rusted". Probably. But I wouldn't want to explain how that preposition got over there.

The World Shall Hear from Me Again

I haven't been watching the olympics, but three stories filtered through to me.

The first two are about how fiendishly cunning the Chinese are. Some of the firework displays at the opening ceremony were done with camera trickery, and the cute little girl who sang an uplifting song was lipsynching.

According to the blogosphere, these show how devious and untrustworthy the Chinese government is. Because in the enlightened West we'd never stoop to using photoshop or mime.

And the other story...Tom Daley, who is (a) 14, (b) British and (c) a swimmer, had an argument with his teammate. I know this because it was front page news in several newspapers.

Russia invading Georgia wasn't.

I know exactly what I'm doing on Thursday.

In the morning, I'm buying the cheapest crisps and fizzy drinks I can find, plus things for making sandwiches.

In the afternoon, I'm teaching. Don't know what I'm teaching yet - I'll decide five minutes beforehand, and wind up teaching something different anyway because it'll turn out the class needs it.

In the early evening, I'm making lots and lots of sandwiches, and carrying the food to the local community centre, to sit with it in a room waiting for students to turn up. To participate in the Meridian School of English Table Tennis (Ping Pong) Championships.

If no one turns up, I'll then eat the sandwiches. If someone does turn up, they'll get the grand prize, which will probably be made of chocolate - because I couldn't get a book token.

Then as midnight approaches, I'll get a text message saying something like, "Soz m8, cant blow your horn tonite cos im feelin like shit. tomoro?".

And finally, I plan to stay up till 0300 trying to write a song. There's three almost written, so hopefully on Friday there'll be four.

Current musical squeeze: Colony 5. Swedish futurepop.

Pavement wit: A rush of crud to the head.

Used to describe those brief few minutes when you get highly enthusiastic about an idea which on reflection turns out to be incredibly stupid.

If you find an opportunity to use this phrase, please include a link to this blog encoded as a subliminal message in your body language.

Mama, Just Filled a Man

Some things tell you you're living in a small town.

Things meet a bloke online, decide he's okay, shag on his bed...and then find you belong to the same political party. And he works with a friend of yours.

What do you talk about after sex? We talked about drug rehabilitation therapies and the Nature/Nurture debate.

Is that what they mean by Sexual Politics?

My version of the Burroughs cut-up method. Take an existing song, and divide - so well as you can - each line into two parts which could be bolted onto other sentences, so this...

I see a red door
and I want it painted black
No colors anymore
I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by
dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head
until my darkness goes

...might become this...

I see ... a red door
and I want it ... painted black
No colors ... anymore
I want them ... to turn black
I see ... the girls walk by
dressed ... in their summer clothes
I have ... to turn my head
until my darkness ... goes

There's various ways to divide sentences, but you get the general idea. Now write the first part of each line on the left hand side of a page, and the second on the right. Cut the page in half vertically, and horizontally. Now transpose the two page quarters on the right, and see what new sentences are produced.

The result, with a different song, might look something like this:

Is this to me
Is this killed a man
Caught against his head
No escape my trigger
Open dead
Look up has just begun
And gone
I'm just all away
I need to make you cry
Because I'm not back again
Little high tomorrow
Anyway nothing really matters

Doesn't really matter the real life
Mama, just just fantasy
Put a gun in a landslide
Pulled from reality
Now he's your eyes
Mama, life to the skies
But now I've see
And thrown a poor boy
Mama, didn't mean no sympathy
If I'm easy come easy go
This time little low
Carry on, carry on, the wind blows

Part ungrammatical gibberish, part unexpected poetry, the starting point of a new song that mashes up the old.

But now, much as I'd like to stay up and refine the method by which one chops up sentences, I need to get some sleep - so I can spend tomorrow teaching students how to chop up sentences.

So I will force myself to gently drift away, to the strains of Boards of Canada, right after trying to think up suitable title for this post.

Pooch Doggy Dog

I said I'd show you my dogs - or rather, my parent's dogs, but they bark when I get home. Well, by the miracle of bad lighting, shaky handheld camera work and dogs that didn't want to be photographed, here they are.

Beginning with Harry, a six month-old Maltese, who today won first prize in an agility show and is now qualified to be at Crufts. Exactly how he won an agility prize I'm not sure, because most of the time he looks like this:

Not so much a dog as a white furry puddle. He'll impersonate a rug - lying down flat, spread and immobile - at any opportunity. I've almost trodden on him several times, and sometimes it's only the little clues which tell you which end is which.

Moving on we have Perry, a three-and-a-half year old Papillion, the first of three. Perry's easy to get in shot because. whenever anyone's paying any attention to the other dogs, he leaps in and demands equal attention. Here he is posing nonchalantly...

...and here he is posing even more nonchalantly.

Dino shares a grandfather with Perry, but is slightly larger, slightly older, slightly browner, and definitely fluffier. He also has the attention span of a fruit fly on cocaine, and only stood in one place long enough for one picture.

And finally, Sadie. Another brown and white papillion but with two important differences. First, she's barely three months old. Second, she's very timid. And third, she's a lady. Alright, three differences.

The idea is that when she and the two "studs" (ha!) are old enough, we can breed more papillions. And sell them to good homes, eusuring not only there's more cuteness in the world, but that my parents have a busy retirement.

We've got the dog bath, special dog hair dryer, dog food supplements and stacks of books already. The fridge is now divided into "human food" and "doggy treats". And whenever anyone sits or lies down, there's always a dog in the vicinity to jump up and curl up on them.

On Monday I tried to pay in three paychecks from work. Today the bank tells me they've bounced. This is the second time this has happened in as many months.

They've offered me another few (six-ish) weeks working part time. If they sort out the money trouble, I'm taking it.

It's a pity I missed National Take Your Dog to Work Day

The Taste of Kap.itan.o (Part 2)

When my age was in single figures, my teacher taught the class that there are four basic flavours detectable by the tongue - sweet, salt, sour and bitter. The tongue has "sweet" receptors on the tip, "salty" further back, followed by "sour" and "bitter" near the throat.

The upshot of this was (a) there are only four flavours and their combinations in the whole wide world and all the others are illusions and (b) if you put chocolate on the back of your can't taste it!

So I tried it, and was rather puzzled to find I could indeed taste it. So I did the same with the rest of the packet just to be sure - eventually concluding that (a) chocolate is very very nice and (b) I must somehow be doing it wrong.

I wasn't quite sure what it meant to call a taste sensation "unreal" - it felt rather like my parents telling me I didn't really have a headache, I only thought I did. so I just filed it with the other daft things adults said - like "Jesus made the little butterflies" and "If you don't suffer you won't succeed".

When my age was in double figures I read about the mysterious fifth tongue flavour of "umami" - also called "savoury", "meaty" and "monosodium glutamate". And a different teacher taught the class that, because the tongue only tastes four flavours, when we think we're tasting other things, we're actually smelling them - but around the back of the nasal cavity.

And that's why you can't taste much when you hold your nose. I wasn't entirely clear on why blocking the front of your nose should stop air circulating around the back, but I tried it and it seemed to work. Besides, the teacher lent me a book by Stephen Jay Gould, for which I'm eternally grateful.

Now that my age is in five figures - at least as measured in days - I'm ready for the truth. Namely that almost everything I was taught is complete bollocks.

There's 40 or so kinds of taste receptors spread evenly on the tongue, plus 300 or so kinds of smell receptors in an area the size of a postage stamp behind the nose. Thus the flavour of a piece of cheese might be a dozen tastes and two dozen smells, all experienced in shifting proportions as I chew it.

This is clearly too difficult for the seven year old Kapitano to understand. My teachers were right to mislead me slightly. Either that or they didn't know what they were talking about.

If I had a dollar every time someone said their computer had a virus...I'd ask for British money instead so I could spend it.

In this case the "virus in Windows" turned out to be a hard disk that wouldn't boot up. So after taking the laptop apart, cleaning it, checking connections, reassembling and finding it made no difference, it's going back to the vendor, with strict instructions to the owner that he deny it was ever taken apart.

Especially that we used a kitchen knife because we couldn't find a screwdriver.

I'm told I should go to Libya to teach, because they have a shortage of English teachers, and living is incredibly cheap. I'm also told I should go to Saudi Arabia, because they have a shortage of English teachers, and the pay is astronomical - so I'd leave rich but insane and/or dead. And I should go to the Czech Republic, because they have a shortage of English teachers but the fastest expanding economy in Europe. Turkey needs teachers too.

But first I'm going to ask the college down the road if they have a shortage of teachers for their English-for-immigrants courses. This would mean teaching Czechs (here to work before returning home), Saudis (here to study before returning home) and the occasional Libyan or Turk.

I'm the Only Normal Person in the World

I became a language teacher so that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't spend the rest of my life fixing other people's computers. Tomorrow I reinstall Windows on a student's laptop.

I've told him twice that a clean install will wipe off any existing data and programs - including emails, passwords and ISP connection programs. He smilingly told me it wasn't a problem - a sure sign that he doesn't quite grasp what losing all data means, and will blame me when some document isn't there afterwards.

And later on, a comrade has been getting warnings of viruses on her system, so possibly the same sequence of events again. And I predict a telephone call around midday from a different comrade who's trying to read his email online.

Perhaps I should have been a motor mechanic. They don't get acquaintances phoning them up at work asking if they could possibly drop round to replace the big end. Or do they?

There's straight guy I've been sucking off every so often for several years now. The last time was last week, so the next one might be in two weeks, or two months, but it'll come. So to speak.

Last night I had an unexpected encounter with a fellow of around twenty. It's not often you get to chat before or after sex, and it's vanishingly rare to think "I really like this person and I'd like to have them as a friend even if I never, erm, have them again", but that's what happened.

So I mentioned it to my straight guy - not the friendly feeling, just the gropey feeling.

He's jealous.

A bloke who thinks about female pornstars while I do what female pornstars jealous that I had sex with someone he wouldn't want to have sex with. A man who is slightly ambivalent about the fact that I have a jealous that someone else enjoyed it.

Is it me or is that odd?

PS. It wasn't raining.

The Taste of Kap.itan.o

It took me a while to understand what dot com is really about. I bookmarking? What's that supposed to mean?

But now I think I get it. It's:
(1) An online version of my list of Bookmarks/Favourites.

(2) A way to organise all those sites I stumble across and intend to check out properly later, but usually don't because they're just sitting uncategorised in my Bookmarks/Favourites.

(3) A way for me to show you the useful or daft stuff I stumble on, in a sidebar, on my blog. So you can click on whatever looks interesting to you. Simple.

So look to your right, and see where I've left my muddy footprints.

There's also Twitter, but I won't inflict that on you.

Czech and Poll

I've been feeling lousy all weekend. Partly as a result of getting rather drunk on Friday, chatting, flirting and film watching till 0500, and getting to sleep when everyone else was waking up.

The movie was V for Vendetta, a somewhat surreal story of a bloodless revolution against a future dictatorship in Britain. On the face of it, it's a feelgood, radical-left flick about how all the great ideas of Justice and Goodness can, embodied in one enigmatic hero, move a nation and turn it's oppressors against each other.

Here's the recipe:

* Two parts Phantom of the Opera - a scarred antihero in a mask loved by a strong and beautiful girl.

* One part October - the people rise up against a bunch of utter bastards who they really, really should never have tolerated in the first place.

* One part any science fiction film where government scientists experiment on civilians in death camps.

* One part drama where a serial killer kills all those who made him what he is, one by one and in person, after years of planning.

* One pinch of any Lynda Laplante series where a lone technological genius hacks every system perfectly and untracably.

* One pinch of Radcliffe Hall.

* One part Fatherland - an improbably principled detective unearths the truth about his own government

* Two parts Batman Begins - an urbane but lonely and damaged man with improbable martial arts skills and near indestructibility saves a city. By blowing bits of it up.

* A dash of The X-Files.

So, something of a Melange. Or do I mean Collage? Or is it Homage, Montage or Bricolage? Anyway, all quite enjoyable, though it leaves a few small questions unanswered.

Things like: How exactly do the population (all dressed as Guy Fawkes) bring down the government, what do they replace it with, what precisely inspires them to do it, and why does the army become complicit at the last moment?

Oh, and how do various people we've seen killed turn out to be alive at the end?

I'm part time for the next two weeks - teaching in the afternoons, so hopefully there'll be time to do and think about things that aren't work related.

I'll also probably have a private student - a young Czech fellow known to all as "George". Language acquisition often hits a plateau when (a) general communication gets to the stage of being easy but not fluent, and (b) everyone you work with is a non-native speaker at the same level. George wants to get out of that rut.

Other blogs have polls, so here's mine. What do you think I should do with my free time over the next fortnight? Should I:

(1) Write some songs as quickly as possible, record them as quickly as possible, maybe put together some accompanying video images drawn from random snippets of TV as quickly as possible, and publish the results. Quite rapidly.

(2) Intensively go through David Harvey's online course on Marx's Capital, reading the book as required.

(3) Start an exercise regime to become somewhat less overweight and tired-all-the-time.

(4) Other (please specify)

You decide, and let me know.

Good with the Bad

Wednesday was great, Thursday was awful.

Wednesday was the final day of my Spanish students. They're really switched on and receptive - actually fun to teach and I'll miss them. They got me a thank-you-and-farewell present - a box of posh chocs and a card, wih a message from each of them. One wrote best wishes to the "genial genius" (oh, modesty forbids), and another wrote "for the most eccentric englishman I've ever met".

I like that.

And so we spent our final day watching a particularly bad film version of War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise, comparing national attitudes towards pets, and even learning a bit of English. Topped off with much taking of photos and swapping of email addresses.

And when I got parents have bought another dog. This one is a ladie called Sadie, a four month old papillion - for eventual breeding with the two male papillions. Oh yeah, we've now got four dogs and they all sleep on the ends of our beds - something which apparently doesn't happen much in Spain.

Pics when (a) the camera's recharged, (b) there's some light and (c) the dogs stop jumping around long enough to photograph.

Then came Thursday.

After two hours of sleep, I was "ready" to meet my new class. It's something of a jolt to switch from five laid-back Spanish teenagers to one up-tight middle-aged Turkish businessman. Not an unpleasant man, and certainly not a stupid one - just turgidly unimaginative.

Still, I wont have him for long, because I won't have a job next week. Unless they need someone to do sickness cover. Good, eh? Yes, that's what I thought.

Then in the afternoon an amazingly-camp-and-almost-certainly-gay-but-painfully-closeted African fellow, who unexpectedly embarked on a discussion of world politics. He cheerfully and intelligently talked about imperialism in Iraq, the client status of Israel, the futility of the PKK's Kurdish separatism...

...before suddenly going cold and twitchy at the mention of atheism. Maybe everyone's got their little "Panic" button - an issue that strips away all pretence of reason leaving only hostility. Most odd.

I think he should practice his English reading skills with this book.

I'm supposed to have fifteen students for the final lesson, only one of who turned up. The others smiled and said hello to me beforehand - before bunking off. The one who came is a possibly-mildly-autistic woman who lags literally half an hour behind the conversation, giggles at random intervals and confidently uses arcane linguistics terminology but can't apply basic linguistic rules.

Bonus good-with-bad 1: I spent an hour fornicating against a brick wall tonight. But we were both too tired to "finish". And it was raining.

Bonus good-with-bad 2: I've found a truly excellent way to save money. It's called "losing your wallet".