Thursday, November 29, 2007


Have you ever tried to keep Lists Of Things To Do?

Currently, the three major projects going on in my life have extended and complex lists, which probably need to be defined in multiple dimensions, preferrably one of which is time and has the ability to go backwards. These lists have become so large and complex that they've developed their own culture and language. I caught one of them last night inventing fire and I believe it's neighbour, in a fit of "Keeping Up With The Joneses" was working well into the wee hours on the wheel. Judging by some of the things I find on my generic list of household/banking/normal living duties, I'm pretty sure they've zipped straight past discovering the concept of zero and dived right into double entry bookkeeping.

Their sublists are now multi-generational and breeding faster than recently imported rabbits. I'm worried that a mafia-style family business is developing in one of the branches and starting a protection racket on the rest. That's just what I need, to turn up in the morning and find that today's banking tasks were kneecapped for not paying up to the "picking up the drycleaning".

These have gone beyond where I can handle them and so I find myself again in the middle of the night, still sick, and still completely unable to sleep with the weight of all my unfinished business. Somehow tackling them one at a time never seems to get anything done at all.

Maybe I should just leave them all here and run off to Tahiti before they get as far as developing WMD's.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

she works hard for the money

Well that's the end of a week which saw me average four hours sleep a night and feel just about as well as you'd assume I would, knowing - as you all should by now, and if you don't then why AREN'T you pouring through my archives harvesting all the precious pieces of information about my life and loves and ice fetishes and treasuring them, scrapbooking them with little hand drawn hearts and tucking them under your pillow of an evening? -


As I was saying... KNOWING that anything less than seven and a half hours results in a zombified DrJ who will groan and moan about the place with all the joie de vivre of Marvin the paranoid android on a particularly depressing day.

So that bit was kinda sucky and is now combined with a cold that's got me hacking up a lung every half an hour (really, I'm not lying, I've brought four intact ones up already and I'm beginning to worry I may run out soon). However the rest of the week, that whole daytime job thing that so many people seem to do these days you'd think they actually ENJOY it, was really very fun and I only had to barricade myself away from other humans - fingers jammed in my ears and humming loudly to block out all evidence of other living beings - a couple of times.

A not-so-terribly-interesting series of events has led to me being a (very) minor expert in a particular aspect of the data that's generated in my field, and so I'm now meant to be scripting little programs to deal with it all. Which is all well and good and highly flattering, except that I have no idea about scripting and we can safely call this week a learning curve of the exponential variety.

A surprising twist is that I've discovered that this is actually more fun than a barrelfull of hyperactive circus monkeys on speed armed with minature bikes and trapezes, and that there are ENTIRE WORLDS of geekdom I haven't yet explored. Pretty soon I'm going to be getting jokes like this one and then, THEN, there'll be no hope for me ever, ever again.

Monday, November 19, 2007

maybe I should print a BUSY-BE RIGHT BACK icon on my t-shirt?

Tomorrow sees me dipping a tentative toe again into the vast sea that is science. I'll be spending the next two months working full time for a company here doing all sciencey things again. This is going to have a number of serious repercussions:

1. I'll be showering sometime before my usual time of 1pm. So the neighbours who have so far missed my underwater warbling (which for the last month has been a mix of Bonnie Tyler, Jamiroquai and Dean Martin BECAUSE THESE BASTARDS WILL JUST NOT LEAVE MY HEAD) as they leave for work earlier in the day, will now get to experience the aural joy that is DrJ in full vocal lather.

2. I'll be wearing something other than tracksuit pants. As fashion-relaxed as the world of a basic researcher is, I know that a minimum of jeans will be required.

3. This means I'll probably have to go clothes shopping.

4. I might even be tempted to put makeup on.

5. I'm going to miss the cute DHL delivery guy every other day.

6. I'm worried that my ranking in Facebook Pirates will suffer and my Zombie battles will now have to take place of an evening.

7. I'll be forced to have conversations face-to-face with people IN REAL TIME. There is no chance to ignore their little chat window for five minutes while I finish something else. I'll have to answer them THEN AND THERE.

I really don't think I can do that anymore.

Friday, November 16, 2007


"So what were the books you bought today?" asked DrH as we were lying in bed.

"Anansi Boys, 'cause I'm on a Neil Gaiman thing at the moment, and a Charles Stross one, 'cause he´s good. Atrocity something I think."

"That sounds like a name. Atrocity. Like a girls name."

"I think you´re thinking of Felicity."

"Atrocity means not nice things, right? Hmmm, might be the wrong image. Maybe something else ending in -city?"

"Umm.. Duplicity... Publicity?... Mosaicity?"

"That´s it! We´re calling our first daughter Mosaicity."


"Aw, go on. It'll be cool. We can nickname her... Mosaic.. or Mosie... or... something."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I like my manna with crunch

I'm not entirely sure why, but over the last few days I seem to have been connecting again with my inner child. I used to enjoy cooking dinner with a glass of wine in hand. Or at least a beer. Maybe a caipirhinia. Worst case - in a lack of lime emergency - a gin fizz, but really that's the extent of it. However the last couple of days as I chill into my evening routine, crying over sauteeing onions or the sheer beauty of my sundried tomato pasta sauce, I've found myself reaching for the Milo.

Milo, to you non-Antipodean's out there, is something like Ovaltine in the same way that Vegemite is something like Marmite. That is, the absolute ruler over a poor alternative. An alternative which should only ever be employed in times of famine but otherwise relegated to the darkest depths of any kitchen cupboard. It's a sweet, chocolaty powder to dissolve in milk. It's a dairy manna with a bit of crunch.

There's an art to consuming Milo which I perfected in my best friends house at the age of six. We lived on neighbouring farms on the outskirts of town, so aside from riding sheep or dressing up like princesses and dancing around the back paddock in gold dresses and gumboots, there wasn't too much else clamouring for our attention.

Large amounts of Milo should be in the bottom of the glass. A very specific glass in fact, but I'll come to that bit later. You should even pack it down a bit by tapping it on the table. Then, the milk, which must be ice cold. Absolutely ice-cream headache inducing cold. Only seconds out of the fridge when you add it to the cup. It must be poured in gently, not down the sides of the glass and not disturbing the layer of Milo at the bottom.

Here's the bit that everyone then gets wrong.


The CORRECT way to drink Milo is to slowly scoop small amounts of Milo off the bottom layer with your spoon. A dessert spoon which is then filled with cold, non-chocolaty milk with a bit of non-dissolved, still crunchy Milo. This counterpoint is vitally important. The whole enjoyment in Milo is this simultaneous experience of cold, velvety milk and crunchy chocolate.

Integral to this is keeping the Milo at the bottom of the glass, only bringing small amounts to the surface at a time. This only works with the correct shaped glass, where the milk doesn`t creep down the sides and cause the whole mass to pop up to the surface like a meerkat having a quick look-see.

Unfortunately my glasses do not have the right shape. Apparently this childhood drink wasn't designed with cocktail glasses in mind.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

the last dragon dies

This is Dragon. My brothers dog. This is also me a few years ago with long hair. Best guess is a Mastiff/Rhodesian Ridgeback cross. For the dog that is, not me. Or my hair. The loveliest, gentlest giant you've ever met to all creatures except chickens. Everyone who has ever met him feels that he belonged afterwards in some way to their own family. That kinda dog.

He had an eight kilo tumour removed from his stomach a few months ago and today my brother had to make the final decision to have him put down.

He was such a beautiful dog. Dragons do bring a bit of magic into the world.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

on the joy of marrying germans #83

DrH donated blood yesterday, coming home with a giant bandage wrapped around his arm and its tiny needle prick. Germans do take their overengineering seriously after all and why put a bandaid on a tiny hole when you can keep whole healthcare industries running by proper consumerism?

It got to 9pm, ten hours after he sufferend the horrendously traumatic jab and subsequent severe blood loss and yet he was still wearing that bandage. I pointed out that the size of the wound was significantly disproportionate to its cladding, and that now may be time to part with his badge of blood-giving honour in my typically loving way.

"Could you take that bloody bandage off please? You look like an ijit."

DrH looked at me aghast for a moment before standing and spreading his arms wide.

"But it shows I am chivalrous! I am one who donates his heart's juice!"

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

dark horse

Well I survived the critiquing. In fact, I even managed to write something specifically for it and everyone giggled in all the right places and made me feel warm and fuzzy.

Hmmm. Maybe they read this blog and were just worried I´d turn violent on them?

But the runaway success of the evening was the lass in the corner who, after weeks of calm, quiet interaction wth the rest of a somewhat rambunctious group of people, pulled out a short story which blew all preconceptions out of the water. A children´s story it appeared at first, a fairy tale.

With such amazing levels of subtext that I can say it was one of the filthiest things I´d read all year.

Around the table came disbelieving chuckles, a few slightly confused expressions and, eventually, a lot of "wow". I am going to have to put some serious work in if I want to write any erotica that comes close to that.

It´s always the quiet ones, isn´t it?

Monday, November 05, 2007

trust me, I´m a doctor

So we just finished watching CSI:NY, something which I rarely do these days as it is a) boring, b) predictable and c) has too many letters in its name.

But the last couple of weeks I´ve been watching all these CSIs and related shows again and, with 100% accuracy, picking the entire plot twist before The Who come on playing the opening theme songs.

Today´s was a goodie, with two girls being mixed up at the accident scene and the mother of one actually murdering her own daughter thinking it was the other girl. It was bleedingly obvious from the beginning that this was the entire twist, just from the length of time it took to uncover the bandaged face of the murder victim and the amount of camera time which was dedicated to documenting her acting-dead eyes staring out of the cloth.

So my success rate is still perfect and the show closed with the typical inwardly-torn physician rediscovering his talent and love for the whole doctoring trade with a bike accident victim.

"His airways are clear and his vitals have stabilized," he informed the arriving ambulance.
"You´ve just saved this man´s life!" said the emergency man. "Are you a doctor?"
A few heaving breaths and our psychologically crushed medicine man finally heals those deep inner wounds with a resounding "Yes."

The Who started playing their theme song again as DrH turned to me on the couch.

" 'That´s space group P6(5) and the mosaicity is high.'
'That´s amazing! Are you a crystallographer?'

a more pathetic creature you´ve never seen

Sunday, November 04, 2007

chocolate with raspberries

Last night we had a few people over for an evening of flammkuchen and pavlova. At first glance perhaps two dishes you wouldn´t necessarily serve together, considering the 12,000 kilometres laying between their culinary origins, but delicious nonetheless. One of our guests brought along some exquisite dark chocolate with raspberries in it, which we were able to enjoy with coffee this afternoon before running the dog in the forest.

The dog which, upon returning home, dove straight into the chocolate we´d left out and scoffed the lot, foil packaging and all.

This, in case you aren´t familiar with the inner workings of dogs, is a dangerous event. Cocoa contains a chemical which is deadly to dogs, attacking their central nervous system and heart muscle. The darker the chocolate, the more there is, the more severe the effects and our animal had just eaten some damn good dark chocolate -with raspberries- in an amount which could kill a Great Dane.

So down to the emergency vet, luckily located only 75 metres away, where he was given an injection to make him throw it up. Which he did, aluminium and all. Of course the most disgusting thing about it was that it smelled like top quality dark chocolate. With raspberries. That is, REALLY, REALLY GOOD. Only it´d just come out of the stomach of my dog. And was kinda slimy.

It was giving me chocolate cravings mixed with a bit of sick-to-my-stomach.

Leon is still there, on a drip and under observation for the next few hours, having watched us leave with reddened, accusing eyes. As sad as it is to see a loved pet ill, right now all I want to do is go and get some chocolate. With raspberries.