Friday on My Mind


Passing a phone box, I noticed someone had carefully graffiti'd inside:


Someone called Luke (or Louis K?) has died? And this is a friend's spontaneous eulogy? If so, I've been to a few funerals where family members said flattering things about the one in the box, but these words seemed one hell of a lot more genuine.

Unless Lou K is a soap character who's been retired, or a pop star who's gone to jail, or a "viral" advert for a game, in which case it's demeaning junk.

If my hot date tomorrow turns out to be an axe murderer, I'd prefer to be remembered in graffiti - if possible in full view of people who're offended by its presence.


My hot date was not an axe murderer.

Axe murderers don't cancel. Humph.


Met a nice young man. He's smart, cute, informed...and having experimented with gay sex once and enjoyed it...doesn't feel the need to try it again.


Met a nice young man. He's smart, cute, informed...and has a boyfriend.

Friday Update:

My gay sometime fuckbuddy is spending the day exhausted in bed. I didn't ask what exhausted him.

My straight sometime fuckbuddy is...drunk.

I think I'm starting to see a pattern here.

Friday Update Update:

After spending the day in bed, my gay sometime fuckbuddy was no longer exhausted.

Though now he is again. Heh heh heh.

100 Things about Kapitano, Part 3: Education

11)My two earliest memories are of my mother, teaching me to swim, and teaching me algebra.

I'm not much good at either.

12) I have a masters degree, a bachelors degree, most of a computing HND, one third of a theology degree, five A-Levels, fourteen GCSEs, miscellaneous computing qualifications...and a teacher's certificate for ESL.

Only the last has ever been useful, though getting the others was a fun excuse for learning about completely different things.

13) I'm always interested in a subject least when I'm supposed to be studying it.

At seventeen I was supposed to be studying for exams in computing - but discovered ancient Greek philosophy, which was much more interesting. At 21 I was supposed to be studying for exams in the ancient Greek world - but discovered molecular biology, which was much more interesting.

14) The greatest single failure of the British school system was in not teaching me any languages.

I got interested in linguistics after learning Esperanto after (a) spending six weeks getting nowhere learning German and (b) not-quite having an affair with an Esperantist I met through an interest in twentieth century English Literature - which I'd got through accidentally seeing a stage play on late night TV, while looking for sounds to sample for making music.

I'd sell half my life to regain that feeling of constant mindblowing discovery,

15) I always feel like either the smartest person in the room...or the dumbest.

Sometimes in the same minute.

Oh Blow!

"Pissed on a girl and she liked it
Taste of urea from dick
Pissed in her mouth just to try it
'Cos my girlfriend don't like it
That jet so long
It smells so ripe
My bladder's empty tonight
Sprayed on her face and she liked it
She liked it"
- Me, in a lapse of good taste, on YouTube.

How many meanings can you think of for "Blow Off"? I've got five:

1) "I like to blow the froth off my beer" - literal and uncomplicated. You blow, the froth goes off.

2) "I ask politely, but they just blow me off" - to dismiss. Mainly American, but may be in declining use, thanks to...

3) "Blow me off, bitch!" - the ancient art of languolipal phallostimulation.

4) "The bomb blew off at six" - not often used now.

5) "Yuk! Did you just blow off?" - to fart!

"Blow on" is easier, with two:

1) "Blow on the fire to make it brighter"

2) "Don't stop blowing - blow on" - I bet you didn't think of that one :-).

"Blow in" also has two literal meanings:

1) "I'll huff and and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in"

2) "Blow in the breathalyser, please"

"Blow out" manages four:

1) "The explosion blows out the windows"

2) "We spent all the money on one big blow out" - in general, a spending spree, but more specifically a large expensive meal.

3) "The tyre had a blow out" - so you got caught with a flat, 'bout that.

4) "Suck the air in...and blow it out"

Who invented this language? Obviously not someone with a flair for simplicity.

Thank goodness we don't say things like "Let's blow this joint", "I'm just blown away", "A blow to the head" and "Chances blown"...otherwise English would be completely unspeakable.

It's been a while since I signed on as unemployed, and there's been some changes. This is the new procedure:

1) Go to the jobcentre. In my case this means first finding the old offices are empty and the whole operation has been moved to the other side of town - in a building due to be demolished in a year.

2)Ask about making a new claim at Reception, which is now called "Welcome".

3) Get given a phone number to call.

4) Call the number all day every day till you get through. Try not to go mad as the same thirty second bit of Handel's Water Music is played on infinite loop.

5) Give them your details. You won't know which details they'll want till they want them.

6) They will arrange an interview. It will be in the building where you got the phone number. It will consist mostly of them threatening you. Be calm, confident, overly polite and unflappable - it completely ruins their day.

7) Go to the meeting and get given a stack of paper to fill out.

8) Take them home to complete. Possibly the only questions which apply to you will be Name and DOB.

9) Take the forms back and hand them in.

10) Wait five days. If you haven't received any notification, telephone them.

11) Repeat 10 until you appear on the system. Or civilisation falls.

I'm at state 4. There's a possibility I'll have work before stage 5.


Mother has retired.

You're a blogger. How long would you put up with fellow bloggers you barely know demanding you teach them how to format text? And teach them again, and again, because it's "too difficult" and they're "too busy with more important things". Before blaming you when they accidentally post a page of asterisks?

Imagine you're a chef. You get a steady stream of rank amateurs through your kitchen, all wanting you to do their cooking for them, because it's all too complicated. They do this while you're trying to run the kitchen, they can't learn to cook themselves because it's "boring", and besides they've got you to do it for them.

Now imagine you're an expert in computers, and my mother. You've just spent a solid fortnight doing skilled work for which the going rate is at least GBP20 per hour - for the vague promise of a drink sometime. You've spent two weeks patiently listening to things like this:

* "It says 'Enter password'. What does it want me to do?"

* "It came with a book of instructions but I didn't understand it so I threw it away. Why? Is it important?"

* "No it's definitely Windows 96."

* "I've never used passwords, not ever, for anything. You must have put that one in - why can't you remember it?"

* "Why don't you ask the email why you can't make it connect to the web?"

* "Oh you mean those passwords. You should have said so! Why didn't you ask me? Yes, I use them for everything."

Idiots are one thing. Lazy idiots who try to make smart people do their thinking and learning for them...they're something else. And they seem to constitute 98% of humanity.

My mother, god bless her, has after too many years finally told them all to fuck off.

She's spent a happy day fixing up one of her own computers, with my occasional help.

Tonight I did half an hour of aerobics to Star Trek. Followed by an hour of being dizzy and shattered.

The realisation that (a) I'll be 37 in January, (b) my hot date on Wednesday is a lot thinner than me and (c) all my fat friends are losing weight...has prompted action.

Worries about health? They come a poor second to shallow fears of aging and rejection.

Obi Wan Kebobi once asked, "Who is more foolish - the fool or the fool who follows him?".

Three decades later, it's become "Who's the bigger idiot - the inept email scammer or their victim?". Yep, it's the dupe.

I find scams quite entertaining. Here's one I got today:

Failure to authenticate your account may result in account malfunction, slow online experience or even exposure of sensible data.

Oh no! Not my sensible data!

The Death Hour

One vaguely interesting story on the TV news: 19 year old Justin Biggs suicided on live webcam.

The interesting thing is not that a teenager killed themselves - strangers do that every day and only their loved ones care, so it's simply hypocritical for people uninvolved to get upset over this one case.

Nor that he did it publicly - jumpers from bridges and buildings do the same thing to give their suicide-gesture some meaning. The interesting thing is the tone of the reportage and consequent net chatter.

The reporter took on the traditional sanctimonious tone, claiming that no one watching did anything to stop him, while some encouraged him, made jokes or dismissed the whole thing as a hoax.

Take a step back for a moment and think. Is it actually true that no one tried to dissuade him?

Very unlikely - the journalist is almost certainly lying to make the story more sensational. In other words, they're doing their job. It also allows the news viewers to make clucking noises about "people today" - something they love doing.

If you tuned in and saw Bigg's cast, would you suspect it was a hoax, a prank or a publicity stunt? Yes, of course you would, unless you were incredibly naive. And if some viewers decided it was a hoax, wouldn't they mock it? Some certainly would - stunts and viral marketing are so self-important they deserve mockery.

As for those who gave encouragement, some will have been mocking, some saying they supported his right to self-determination, and some will be the usual crowd who gather and shout "Jump!" whenever someone threatens to throw themselves off a skyscraper. Unpleasant maybe, but hardly a new phenomenon - and obviously irrelevant to the internet, no matter what forced link the reporter tries to suggest.

You may ask: What would I do if someone on a webcam I was watching announced they were going to kill themselves...and then seemed to do it.

I can give you an answer, because that's exactly what happened to me, several years ago.

A guy of about 18 (I forget his name if I ever knew it) typed that he was so fed up being gay and bullied that he was going to cut his wrists and bleed to death live on cam.

I thought instantly that he was just trying to get attention, but just in case I was wrong, tried to talk him out of it. No one else was watching or contributing, just me and him.

He must have spent half an hour listing his troubles - from "my parents hate me" and "I'm too stupid to finish school" to "I'll never get a boyfriend because I've got a fat arse" and "I'm ugly".

I'm not much good at pep talks, so I tried honesty - he was obviously smart, capable, and indeed cute. But he was having none of it, and went to get a large carving knife, which he waved angrily at the camera before bending double and appearing to hack at both wrists.

It was at this point I because absolutely certain that it was a sham. The cuts were shallow and horizontal across the heels of his palms, not deep and vertical as would been needed to cause life-threatening bleeding. More importantly, the blood was suspiciously red...and the tube of tomato ketchup in the background had gone missing.

However, just in case my oh-so-cynical nature was distorting my judgement, I played along, notching up my positively spun honesty.

He stopped suddenly, told me he was an acting major, explained that he just wanted to test how good his acting was, apologised for upsetting me...and logged off.

Though he did say the bit about hating his fat arse was true.

The right to show your face entails the right to hide it, the right to forgive entails the right to hold a grudge, and the right to go on living entails the right to end your life - provided you're in a fit state to make the decision.

This to me seems uncomplicated and obvious, but the constantly repeated assertion that Justin Biggs was "manic-depressive" or "disturbed" seems to cut through the principle by showing he wasn't in any fit rational state.

However, these labels obscure rather than clarify the issue. "Disturbed" can mean anything from "traumatised by longterm abuse" or "in a desperate situation" to "having a funny five minutes" or "deeply eccentric".

"Manic-depressive" has become a label thrown about for anyone who has mood swings (ie. everyone) or strong emotions (ie. anyone). If it ever meant anything, in popular usage it's now joined "Social Anxiety Disorder", "SAD", "Asperger's Syndrome" and "Multiple Personalities" on the shelf of medical sounding conditions that could apply to the entire human species.

I have absolutely no idea why this man decided to exercise his right to kill himself. But tutting over the reactions of onlookers while salaciously wallowing in the details yourself is not a helpful response. And neither is trying to increase government censorship of the internet in the guise of pretending to protect the helpless.

Can't Touch This

Thanks to the youtubes - which are like the internets but with porn movies instead of porn pictures - I now know how to do the Michael Jackson Moonwalk, the MC Hammer Running Man, and the Melbourne Shuffle.

In roughly the same way as I know how to play the piano, build a brick wall, and organise the workers of the world to socialist revolution.

Did you know Arab men airkiss?

If two male friends haven't seen each other for a few months - especially following Ramadan and Eed - they miss-kiss on the cheek three times. Left-right-left, just like Eddie and Patsie.

I like that.

It looks like it's time for me to refresh the computer and reinstall Windows again. A raft of driver updates have - as they often do - managed to bugger up the sound and display. And removing them just makes things worse.

However, thanks to (a) my special homebrewed minimal version of XP and (b) most of the software being portable (around half made that way by yours truly) should take half an hour.

Unless something goes wrong in which case...see you sometime tomorrow.

Be My Critic

I'd like to ask your opinion, if I may. I've just written the song below. Can you tell me if it's (a) a touching message of hope , (b) a mawkish and silly bit of trash or (c) something else - please specify.

Be honest. Because...I honestly don't know.

Want It Back

Verse 1:
Hands full, mind empty
Had no dreams since the age of twenty
You used to play, you used to sing
But the job won't leave you time for anything

No voice, sight unseen
Made no demands since the age of nineteen
You used to love, you used to run
But the child won't let you be with anyone

Time gone by won't come again for you
(Want it back, want it all back)
Youth got lost so fast you feel it's true
(You want it back, you want it all back)
One more chance that's all you really need
(Try again, do it all again)
To live, to start, to start to live and succeed

Verse 1:
Break out, don't care how
Don't know why but it's got to be now
It's not a choice, it's not a sin
Making one big gamble and you're going all in

New name, new zipcode
Left one path and you made a new road
No one to blame, no guarantees
But the child starts to laugh, it's like it used to be

Edge? Bono!

You know what I've found I like doing?


Boogieing, jiving, raving, moshing, stomping, shaking, trancing, grooving, funking, jumping...Dancing.

I'm horrifically bad at it, but I really like doing it. And no you can't have a video.

There are some TV shows I get hooked on for a while. Stargate SG1 (but not Stargate Atlantis), The Avengers (but not Danger Man), The X-Files (but not Lost), the various incarnations of Star Trek (but not Space Presinct, Dune or Supernatural)

Sometimes it lasts 4 or 5 episodes (Odyssey 5, Heroes, Millenium), sometimes one season (Earth: Final Conflict, Andromeda, Buffy), and sometimes till cancellation (Star Cops, Max Headroom). Mutant X and Angel I didn't try at all.

The latest is Fringe - essentially The X-Files reborn after the second movie flopped.

There's the same combination of paranoia, gore and staggeringly bad science, the same unconsumated sexual tension between the leads, the same shadowy benefactors who can't be trusted.

But there's two differences. The X-Files features two agents nominally part of the government but in practice independant, investigating bizarre happenings that link back to that government, which proves to be the real enemy.

In Fringe, we have two agents (and their pet mad scientist) loyally obeying the government to investigate bizarre happenings, which lead to the real enemy...multinational corporations.

Part anticapitalist, part just the opposite. Paranoid about one side of the coin, trusting in the other - covered by a token suspicion.

I've only seen three episodes, so it may change, but the politics of the show seem as confused and revealing as its science. You may say the tacit political assumptions of dumb sci-fi aren't important - though you may not say that about 24 or Felix - but it tells us something about how the target audiance has changed since Fox Mulder wanted to believe in flying saucers.

Today's discovery: You can make sauces with soya milk.

Remember I said I was good with sauces? I threw together a little mushrooms-in-peppery-white-sauce-on-toast snack, only to find at the last moment the milk gone...with only strange smelling soya stuff remaining. So with tepidation I tried it.

It thickens up nicely, quickly and smoothly, but I was expecting a disaster - rather like that time I tried to use olive oil instead of butter.

But it worked pretty well. The mystery is why it wasn't a disaster.

Guess what I did tonight? Go on, bet you can't possibly guess.

Oh, you guessed.

100 Things about Kapitano, Part 2: Love

6) I've been deeply in love just once, with a brilliant guy who was too ashamed and closeted to say yes. A year later he found the man of his dreams. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

I hooked up with two guys on the rebound. The first said he wanted a bit of fun with no strings, but what he actually wanted was a longterm monogamous relationship.

The second jumped eagerly into a relationship, then changed his mind but didn't know how to say he'd done it. We were both on the rebound, which is a particularly bad formula for happiness.

7) When you've been deeply, totally in love, I don't think you ever fall completely out of it. Unless of course it turns to hate, but I've never experienced that.

What is it about straight couples, when they split up, they seem determined to spend the next year vocally hating each other? Especially married couples.

Heterosexuals are weird. I'd never be one.

8) Sometimes the best way to find someone as a friend is to lose them as a lover. The reverse seems not to hold.

That happened with second rebound fellow - a good friend and quite wise. I keep meaning to visit him again, in his new home with his new boyfriend.

9) On two occasions, I've told someone I loved them because they said they loved me and I didn't want to disappoint them. The results were painful.

You'd think, after the first time, I'd know not to do it. Especially as the first time ended in bankruptcy, lots of shouting, and bits of flying glass.

10) I think it's very easy to live without the love of a life partner, and impossible to live without the love of close friends.

Why do people find it hard to believe I'm happy being single? Sometimes a fondness for stringless sex is not a search for true love in disguise.

Howdooit (Part 2)

Feel free to skip this post, if you're not interested in murder mysteries, or my slightly long musings on their puzzles.

There is the obligatory salacious footnote: I came up with all this walking around town for an hour after being stood up for a conjugal appointment. So there.

How many murder mystery puzzles are there? And why can't I think of one that hasn't been done hundreds of times before?

And while we're thinking about it, is there some way I can map out the puzzles in a way that'll let me explore the less-used outer reaches, or come up with one by throwing a few dice?

I reckon the basic structure of the puzzle is: Death X is disguised as Death Y by action Z. For instance:

- Murder of A is disguised as Murder of B by C switching the bodies.

- Murder of A is disguised as suicide by C placing a pistol in the hand.

- Suicide of A is disguised as death by natural causes by C faking the medical history.

Now, I think there are six basic types of death, one for each side of the (appropriately named) die. Here's descriptions and examples.

1) Murder - one person deliberately killing another, or through inaction allowing them to die.

- Shooting someone who's about to shoot you. Justifiable homicide or self defence.

- Not telling someone that a third party has poisoned their food.

- A doctor deliberately injecting so much pain medication that it stops a terminally ill patient breathing. Mercy killing.

2) Manslaughter - one person accidentally killing another.

- Punching someone in the jaw, leading to subddural heamatoma.

- Inducing a heart attack by taking someone on a fairground ride.

- A pharmacist providing the wrong pills.

3) Suicide - someone deliberately killing themselves, or letting themselves die.

- Wristcutting in a hot bath.

- A patient refusing blood transfusions on religious grounds, knowing it'll kill them.

- A prisoner on hunger strike for too long.

4) Suislaughter - someone accidentally killing themselves. I haven't been able to find a single word for this, so I invented a portmanteau for it - if you can think of a better one, please tell me.

- Making two drinks, one poisoned, to drink with the victim, then getting confused and drinking the wrong one. This is attempted murder, gone wrong.

- Overdosing on a recreational drug.

- Falling from a roof.

5) Biology - death from natural causes, inside the victim's own body.

- Death from illness

- Old age

- Heart attack

6) Nature - death from natural causes external to the victim.

- Struck by lightning

- Avalanche

- An out of control plane crashing into your place of work.

This list is not the only alternative, nor does it cover every possibility.

Feeding alcohol to an alcoholic until it kills them could be considered murder, manslaughter through reckless negligence, or even assisted accidental suicide. Eating poisonous wild mushrooms could be Suislaughter, Nature or Biology.

The Biology and Nature categories could be merged, and you might chose to disregard the deliberate/accidental distinction. Russian roulette could justifiably be placed in four of the six categories, killing an unborn child to save the mother would technically be considered murder here, and war crimes are different again.

However, I'm not trying to create a perfect classification of death, just a working method for generating detective mystery puzzles.

In a murder mystery, the manner and/or cause of death is disguised. Some examples:

- Murder disguised as Suislaughter. The tightrope of a daredevil walker is made wet and slippery.

- Suislaughter disguised as Murder or induced Suicide. After someone dies is a housefire caused by their smoking in bed, someone else claims to have found a stack of poison pen letters that drove the victim to kill themselves.

- Biology disguised as Murder. Following a natural heart attack, the victim is injected with belladonna and the syringe "hidden" where it will be found. A convenient death is used to frame a third party for murder.

- One Murder disguised as another. C framing D for a murder committed by E, in the mistaken belief that F is the killer.

- One Suicide disguised as another. Changing a suicide note to suggest a different motive.

- Suicide disguised as Suislaughter. A husband and wife run a swingers club. She comes home to find he's hanged himself. She changes the scene to make it look like auto-erotic asphyxiation, to avoid damaging the business.

The above gives a six-by-six grid of possibilities. But there's a third factor - the act of disguising.

1) The victim, deliberately.

- Someone arranges their own suicide to implicate an enemy.

2) The victim, accidentally.

- The murderee misidentifies their masked killer, and scratches the name on a desk before dying.

3) The killer, deliberately.

- The killer, a nonsmoker, leaves behind a half smoked cigar, implicating a cigar-smoker.

4) The killer, accidentally.

- The killer fakes a suicide note. The fraud is easily detected, but his misspells several words, leading suspicion to fall on a dyslexic person.

6) A third party, accidentally.

- The group of ramblers who discover the body destroy the killer's footprints with their own.

5) A third party, deliberately.

- The ramblers destroy the footprints, but the one who suggested the route did so deliberately to protect the killer.

- False confession from a mentally disturbed resident.

7) Biology

- The victim's hemophilia gives a wrong time of death. This could in principle also apply to the victim accidentally obscuring the facts, if you prefer.

8) Nature

- A corpse has been buried on one kind of soil for thirty years. The killer digs it up a reburies it in different soil, in the garden of the person who's just accused them of the old murder. The differences in soil confuse the forensics.

Obviously in the case of Suicide and Suislaugher, the killer and the victim are the same person - unless the killer has driven the victim to suicide.

The third party isn't just innocent bystanders or someone protecting the killer - it could be the police, the forensics team, or the detective themselves.

Now, I've got these eight categories, some rather esoteric (eg. the victim conspiring to cover up the circumstances of their own murder) and some overlapping (Biology and Nature blur together where corpses are concerned). And what I really want is six categories. Just so they can be selected by rolling dice. Yeah, alright.

So here's the shoehorned version:

1) Victim accidentally.

2) Victim deliberately, or their biology.

3) Killer deliberately

4) Killer accidentally, or a natural event or fact.

5) Third party deliberately

6) Third party accidentally.

If you want inspiration for the basic structure of a murder mystery, roll a die three times, and there it is.

Of course, none of this says anything about clues, motives or processes of detection. That's for another time.

100 Things about Kapitano, Part 1: Food and Drink

Inspired by Leah, I've decided to tell you 100 things about me. In installments, and with annotations.

So, here's part one.

1) I'm overweight, because I'm something of a glutton. I try not to be, but I don't try very hard.

I find it very easy to not start eating. But once I've started, I just want to keep on doing it.

I think it would be great if a person's whole body had tastebuds, inside and out. I could taste food as it goes down, and the enhanced sense of touch would be astonishing.

2) I'm very good at sauces and pastry, and completely useless at cooking anything else.

I like cooking curries, but my parents hate the smell.

3) I didn't get drunk till age 24. This was on vodka, provide by some obliging Polish students. The event is on videotape, including the bit where I lay on the floor yelling "sit on my face".

I prefer red wine to white, don't like beer, drink guinness when I need to drink slowly, and like spirits - which get me drunk very quickly.

4) I'm not sure I actually like tea - it's just sort of comforting to have a cup of it there. I definitely don't like liqouriche or raw tomatoes.

I've a theory that when you eat a whole bar of chocolate one piece at a time, with each piece you're trying to recapture the first, but it's never as good, so you try again till it's all gone, and then feel disapponinted.

5) I've got so used to watching TV while eating, that each feels incomplete without the other.

Excuses, Excuses

- Troll "Austrev" responding to me on Nightcharm

I can now reveal that my sometime employer has four hundred and nineteen cassette tapes. They took five hours to catalog and seven pages to list - not counting the twenty with absolutely nothing written on them.

I don't think I'm cut out to be a novelist. I'm a short story writer. Or maybe a flasher.

But not a slasher. And there's no way I'm het.

What? Oh stop it. You people see double meanings in everything.

Anyway, I wonder if I could try that old trick of bundling together a set of short stories with overlapping events and characters...and calling it a novel. Might work.

My dystopian detective story/surreal romance/Beckett-Gibson-Christie mashup...has foundered on the rocks of being too bloody complicated. And probably a bit pretentious.

Pavement wit:

In answer to the question, "What kind of man do you like?", answer "Geekiness is my weakiness".

The next time someone asks me about my taste in men...I shall recall only that I'd previously thought of a witty answer, but not what it was.

What's the best way to lose weight?

Let me rephrase that. Given that starvation doesn't work, liposuction is expensive, amphetamines are hard to get and emigration to Mozambique might be considered can a man in his thirties, with a low boredom threshold and not much money, become slimmer in a way that isn't painful or crushingly dull?

Cycling's good - though there's nowhere I need to cycle to. Jogging maybe - I know a daily the, um, biblical sense. Dancing's good, though I have at least three left feet.

I don't suppose a reduction in chocolate consumption would help? Hmm. How much is liposuction?

Balance in All Things

"He shitting! Shitting all time! Tell him stop!"
- Student mispronouncing "Cheating"

Good News: I've been in demand at work - full time all week.

Bad News: They don't actually want me there, but there's no one else available with the computer skills.

There's been an inspection coming for the last three months, so like all organised businesses everywhere, they waited till the week before the inspectors arrive to start getting things...inspectable.

In my case that means two days painting the walls to make them look less cracked, and three cataloguing four hundred or so textbooks - so the inspectors can spend five seconds flicking through the database and tick the appropriate box.

Good News: With all this work, I'm racking up the wages.

Bad News: They haven't got around to paying me for last week, nevermind this one.

Good News: There's even more paid work to be done.

Bad News: It has to be done on Sunday.

Good News: Someone wants to give me a blowjob at midnight.

Bad News: I've got a stubborn headache from a week of staring at a screen. So not feeling especially sexy.

Good News: Someone wants to give me a deep, long, wet blowjob at midnight!

Bad News: He's just cancelled.

Good news: Should be meeting C tomorrow, for a day of romantic strolls, sinful food and camp banter.

Bad News: ...actually, none.


"Why you like Obama? Him black and you white."
- Politically astute student.

Monday. I'm depressed.

Well, I'm annoyed, pissed off, irritated, preoccupied, unhappy, hopeless, listless, hurt, resentful and bored. But mostly, depressed.

Someone once said "Depression is anger without enthusiasm" - perhaps in the same way as chatter is communication without information, psychoanalysis is friendship without obligation, romance is seduction without harassment...and blogging is journalism without circulation. I reckon they were right.

Am I depressed because one single student doesn't like me? Or because the boss is a bit of knob sometimes? Because the plot of my NaNoWriMo turns out to be unfeasibly complicated and possibly doesn't make sense?

Because I'm a fat old queen approaching 40, I'm stuck in this armpit of a town that at every point in it's history "used to be a good place", and all the good things worth fighting for seem hopeless causes?

Or is it just these things are getting to me now because the weather is cold, grey and rainy?

Probably the latter.

Every subject is interesting until it's your livelihood. Or to put it another way, as someone else once said, "We can do any amount of work, so long as it's not the work we're supposed to be doing."

Tuesday. I'm covered in paint.

After being called in to substitute for a teacher who turned out not to need substituting for, I was asked to help out in school redecoration.

So I painted the stairs magnolia, and then I painted the coffee room magnolia, and then I started to paint the kitchen magnolia. Tomorrow I continue to paint the kitchen magnolia, and then, if there's time, paint the staff room magnolia.

The Saudi students were amazed - in Saudi Arabia teaching is only done by highly paid professionals, and painting only by starving Indian immigrants who get beaten up on the street.

Oh, I also answered the phones for an hour. I'm not sure who does that in Saudi, but judging from the Embassy, no one does.

Out and Out

"You touch me now?"
- Student, mispronouncing "teach"

I'm being sidelined at work and I find it difficult to care.

I met my replacement today - not that she's being called that. There's just somehow not enough work to employ me more than two hours a week, but enough to employ someone else for eight. She's a nice person - as were the other three who were dumped when I joined.

Actually I do care, but only about the money.

I'm feeling ill and headachy - not so ill and headachy that I can't do stuff, just so ill and headachy that I can't so it well enough to be worth doing. If you see what I mean.

And that's my excuse for not writing. Everyone needs an excuse, but no one needs a good one.

Oh, I had sex again. In a garage again.

Just thought I'd mention it, again.

Sat with mother watching Victor/Victoria. She chuckled through it, enjoying the gay jokes - and I cringed a little every time she did it.

Exactly why it should be uncomfortable that mother no longer hates my being gay, I'm not sure. But, for whatever twisted reasons, it is.

It was so much easier years ago, when she was screeching idiocies and trying to make me admit it was all a mistake. Possibly because when she argued about it I could always win.

It was okay when she pathologically avoided any TV show or magazine article or topic of conversation that hinted at the existence of gay people - because it was just like the screeching, but silent.

Now, I'm the one who avoids the shows and topics. Like I say, twisted reasons.

Still, nevermind. At least my father's still an idiot.

Great Dark Man

The President of the world's greatest power is a black man, the sky is exploding, and my youth is in ashes.

The three actually have nothing to do with each other, but nevermind.

Barack Obama won the American elections by a landslide - or if you prefer, the whackjobs, morons and hate addicts who took over the Republican party have pissed off the voters big time.

Odd how Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell weren't civil rights victories. Soon we'll see whether the "change you can believe in" is more about change or belief.

The results happened to be announced on the day the UK celebrates a past attempt to remove a hated and corrupt government by blowing it up - hence the fireworks and exploding sky outside my window.

Actually, we're supposed to celebrate the fact that the attempt failed and the plotters executed, but somehow that detail isn't what captures our imagination.

We light big bonfires to mark the anniversary - though our own hated and corrupt government has chosen to protect our safety by outlawing bonfires on public highways. Perhaps they think someone somewhere will dump a ton of twigs on a road and set fire to it, as part of a terrorist plot, I don't know.

Anyway, there's a bonfire in my parent's garden, where thousands (and thousands) of works I created in my youth are being incinerated. We used to run a graphic design company (just before the last time the economy imploded around 1992) and with their destruction my posthumous reputation as a great artist is assured - because no one will see how utterly tasteless it all was.

Speaking of tasteless, I had sex in a garage last night.

Just thought I'd mention it.

On the one hand, my "occasional" job is close to full time this week, because two of the three permanant teachers are off sick. On the other hand, the management frelled up the accounting so I haven't been paid for two weeks.

And on the two and a halfth hand, there's been no time to write my glorious novel. But on the flipside of the two and a halfth hand, I'm still stuck with the plot anyway.

I Want to be a Paperback Writer

6027 words and the beginnings of a plot. Unfortunately the NaNoWriMo site won't let me log on to post some of it. So, here's the passage I've just written.

Morden sprinted up the stairs to his office, pushed open the door and stopped.

There was a tall, slim woman - about sixty, with a wrinkled face and severely straight white hair - sitting in his chair, calmly reading a report, with her feet crossed on his desk.

She didn't register his entrance, her eyes continuing to flit rapidly from one line to the next. For some seconds Morden was lost for something to say, caught between astonishment and outrage. Eventually he found his voice.

"Your feet are on my desk."

"Yes, I put them there. You do realise Jacob White's girlfriend - what was her name? Claudia Mannheim - she stood to benefit from Roger White's death too. We've only got her word for it Jacob came home at all that night, and she provides him with a nice detailed alibi for the next day as well.

"It could have been her visited the White's home while Jacob was out getting drunk. They liked her more than their son, so perhaps she went there on the pretext of pleading on his behalf, perhaps took an interest in the father's chemistry experiments with toxic compounds, had him whip up some cyanide and slipped some into his coffee.

She'd have plenty of time to write the two notes, and even plant the third for the wife to find later. It's more plausible she did all that in an hour than her drunken moron of a man did it all in ten minutes."

The woman had a fruity, rich voice, like a black-and-white movie star who played sophisticated, wise and cynical man users. Morden considered before responding.

"Jake confessed at the weekend."

The woman looked up and him and smiled broadly, the lines on her face deepening. "He could be protecting her. Why don't you ask her?"

"Because we've got no evidence. Just the guesswork of a strange old woman who's feet are on my desk. Who are you?"

"Anna Gray. Sergeant Anna Gray. I'm your new sidekick."

"I already have a...sidekick. He's called George."

"I'm afraid Sergeant Locke has accepted promotion - and transfer. You did know he'd applied and been accepted, and you knew the arrangement was he'd finish his current case before moving on."

"Yes but...I expected he'd hang around for a few days to clear up the paperwork. And to say goodbye."

But he had said goodbye. 'Goodbye sir', not 'Goodnight sir'. The old woman didn't speak.

"Alright, but I wasn't consulted. I expect some say in who works under me - as a courtesy if nothing else - and I don't appreciate someone being parachuted in without even telling me. Especially someone who...who..."

"Especially someone who's a rude old bat, old enough to be your mother. Someone who's spent her entire working life in the police but never made it above Sergeant. Someone who's close to retirement, far too good at annoying her superiors, and is being farmed out to whoever will put up with her."

Morden took a long deep breath. "You're the one who said it."

"And you're the one who thought it. But we've been talking for five minutes and my feet are still on your desk. You haven't shouted at me or tried to slap me back into place. You haven't gone storming to your boss and you haven't got me thrown out of the building. I think you like me."

The World is My Cloister

4500 words, and still no plot.

Who said life never imitates art?

The British economy is sinking into quicksand. I have a career that could take me anywhere in the world. Where should I go to escape and wait out recession?

Western Europe? That's like leaving the Lusitania for the Titanic. It hasn't sunk yet, but it's about to. Plus it's probably the only place where there's already too many EFL teachers.

Eastern Europe? Less Titanic, more Mary Celeste.

China? Perhaps the Electra (Amelia Erhardt's plane) is appropriate here. There are predictions that the expanding Chinese economy will bail out the Western economy - which is odd, as the expansion of the Chinese economy was largely a product of outsourcing from the West. It's like Atlas holding up the world, then trying use it as a hot air balloon.

Asia? Something similar, I think.

Africa? Um, no. Maybe it's just a coincidence the only places rich enough for decent English language schools are mostly English speaking already. Less Area 51, more Bermuda Triangle.

America? Ah, can I escape the earthquake by heading for it's epicenter? Maybe we're talking Atlantis here.

No, I just don't know.

If anyone can suggest a plot, I'd be most obliged.

In the meantime, I'll be reading the last chapter of twenty one Margery Allingham Ebooks, looking for inspiration.