Thursday, September 20, 2007

all clear on the western front

Tomorrow we head off for a two week jaunt through northern France. The aim of the entire journey (as we wouldn´t want to do something so incredibly banal as go on holiday simply to relax) is to visit the WWI battle fields. The Somme, Flanders, Verdun and the graves of three of my great uncles. Now if that doesn´t hit you as a rip roaring good time then I don´t know what will.

My best friend Em is over with her husband, whose grandfather was also in the war and who also wanted to visit it all. So the four of us, plus Leon Dog Wonder, will be camping and drinking and eating and having fun. And thinking about lots of dead people and the stupidity of humanity.

We´ll be leaving Em&M on the 5th of October and they´ll be heading back to Paris to catch a show at Moulin Rouge before flying back to Oz. Meanwhile we have a very important date with about 4000 VW buses in Hannover at the 2007 VanFest. DrH can hardly sleep for the excitement and I know that when he does drop off, that little curl at the corner of his mouth is not because he´s dreaming about me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

shiver me timbers

Arrgh, it´s International Talk Like A Pirate Day so put on yer best peg leg and cap´n´s hat, me beauties, and do yer bit to save the planet from it´s watery grave.

And make those scurvy Ninja´s walk the plank.

Arrgh.

Monday, September 17, 2007

the car pimping from hell

You know how I mentioned that brand new kitchen we built? How it was basically finished, just a few touches needed to complete our camping dream mobile?

Well, I was wrong.

Our cosy, cuddly little "Aww, how sweet. Can I pet him?" car has turned into the snarling, teeth-baring, rotten meat breath car from hell. It is Satan´s own camper van, designed to cause pain and anguish to all who venture near. Sitting at my desk right now, I can smell the smoldering brimstone.

For three weeks we´ve had all the internal furniture of the car gracing our living room. We´ve had to strip not only the seat/bed, kitchen, toilet, gas box and storage compartments, but the floor, the walls and the insulation mattings in between. The kitchen had to be remodified to fit the emergency gas shutoffs. Extra holes, tubings, wires and all have had to be built into the kitchen block, the surrounding pieces of furniture and the walls of the car. We´ve had to cut holes in the floor and the sides of the car, derust, paint, paint again and silicone everything. And I´ve stubbed every toe and bruised both legs to a vibrant Chagall blue on the the boxes, drawers, wood and tools laying around.

At midnight last night we carried the floor plate out again and managed to get it back in. The seat bank/bed, which DrH made several years ago to be sturdy enough to support the combined weight of the Dallas Cowboys and the horses they rode in on, had to be carried out and manoeuvred into position. The kitchen and gas box have been reinserted and only now are at the specialists to fit the gas lines.

Our lounge room still looks like my father´s backyard shed, although with less jars of dead snakes hanging around and the nails and screws are perfectly sorted in the way that Germans are wont to do. Although the car is almost completely finished and ready to be a retro-campers wet dream, what I REALLY want to do right now is throw a Molotov through its windows.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

go get a life

So I went and joined Second Life to see what all the fuss is about. Don´t know it yet? It´s an online 3D world. People buy property, build houses, have businesses - the damn thing even has it´s own stock market - and people are making real money in there supplying everything your in-world personality could want. You have a 3D body you can change into any appearance: male, female, black, white, a giant ant or a slightly odd looking squirrel. It´s all possible.

Seeing as the whole thing is free to join I thought I´d give it a burl. Anything´s worth a try once, right?

If you´re not used to gaming etc, it´s not that bloody easy actually. Although being able to fly is pretty cool, I spent most of my time walking into walls or over the top of other people. I´ve never been in to chatting with random people over the internet, so just walking up to someone and going "Hi there. Love the tail. The brown fur really brings out your eyes" is not my idea of a good time.

Eventually I figured out how to use poseballs and got my avatar to recline on a beach with a poseball called Dreaming. A male avatar lay down sunbaking next to me and when he rolled over, sticking out the front of his jeans was one enormous erection.

Woah.

Welcome to sex in the modern world.

So of course, being the curious kind of lass that I am, I thought I better check this out. Because you know it may supply fodder for a blockbusting Mills and Boon. Hot Cyber Nights or Love is an Avatar. Although I´m not sure a giant animated squirrel on the cover would lead to a lot of sales.

From what I´ve seen in my voyeuristic journey, sex in Second Life is like the IKEA of porn. It´s a do-it-yourself arrangement always missing some small part to make it work right and once you´ve finally got it together the end result is slightly wobbly and not as good as a quality product. A lot of people seem to stand around a couple of avatars -who may or may not be endowed, clothed or even human- who are involved in a very awkward and jerky sex act where none of the appropriate parts seem to be interacting in biologically correct ways. Voyeurism is rife and female avatars seemed to be rather thin on the ground, which led to any number of proposals for this clothed avatar who was wandering around.

Sorry, but that tail really didn´t do it for me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

maybe half a cup

Tea forms a vital part of my marriage. A cup of tea signifies celebration, commiseration, comfort, apology, love. It is language unto itself. Is one delivered without request? Then it is an act of love. Was there a disagreement over something? A cup of tea appearing in hand is an apology, an olive branch being stretched out. If DrH is feeling under the weather it is my way of saying, I´m sorry and I want you to feel better.

If a cup of tea is made for you, but left in the kitchen without the milk added then it is a sign that you´re still not quite out of the bad books yet. If the kettle is already on when DrH walks in the door it´s saying "I know you´ve had a bad day, but let´s make it better now". A cup of tea delivered to the bedroom with a croissant on a Saturday morning? That means last night was, well, you can work it out.

Such as this, a cup of tea can be used for celebrations. Or sympathy, as the one that appeared next to me minutes after my mother told me my grandmother had died. It is a form of communication which our relationship is built upon.

But now we have a coffee machine.

Alright, we always had one, but it was unwieldy and awkward, ugly and time consuming. We used it once a month if that. This new machine is sleek and cute and sexy. We´ve the accompanying milk frother which heats and froths in a minute and all at the push of a button. The coffee is strong and tasty, the froth thick and, well, frothy. A quality espresso or cappuccino to enjoy in your own kitchen.

So what do you think has happened to our tea rituals? That´s right, gone. Of a morning DrH has a cappuccino now. I hear the machine buzz and know that for another day he´s talking in a different language. What is that meant to mean? Coffee - it´s strong and bitter, unpleasant for an early morning. The froth is light, a nothingness of hot air and promises. What is that trying to tell me? DrH comes home of an evening and makes another. He sits on the couch spooning sugar into the foam, smacking his lips in enjoyment, while I sit next to him with a lonely single cup of tea. Its subtle and gentle message is lost under the dominance of the coffee. It´s ignored, overlooked and the tea and I together are cast aside.

ve tried to bring him back to me. I offer a cup, I have one ready when he walks in the door, but he heads straight for the machine. We´ve lost our language. How on earth do you communicate without tea?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

when smoke starts pouring out her ears

I thought that this whole working for myself thing was going to be fun and reasonably stress free. I´m at home, I´m on my schedule, I can do what I want.

It bloody well isn´t.

I haven´t been sleeping well for the last few weeks, but the last week has just gotten ridiculous. I´ve been going to bed at 1.30am exhausted and unable to keep my eyes open, but my brain is still whirring at a hundred million miles an hour.

You haven´t done this, this or this yet, why are you in bed and not doing them, how dare you take a break and leave them unfinished, have you thought about this thing yet,--Oh! and what about those things you haven´t yet thought of, or what if it doesn´t work, what if it all fails, what if everyone thinks you´re a joke, because c´mon how seriously are people really going to take this compared to Science-- Oh! and let´s not forget that you´ve thrown in your entire future for this thing of yours and what will you do next when it all goes to pot as it undoubtedly will because, face it, what in all those years of lab work trained you for something like this--Oh! and then what´ll you do for money, and what if DrH leaves you then hey, because how could he take you seriously anymore if you´re a failure, then what´ll you do being jobless, moneyless, husbandless, useless?

Owwwwwww. Please stop banging through my brain. It´s tender enough in there at the moment.

I know it´s all coming up because of a major deadline I´m about to reach. I know it´s just overreaction and that DrH is certainly not going to leave me because I failed at a few products or turned out to be a pathetically dismal writer. We all know that DrH will only leave me if a younger, sexier, in-better-condition VW bus comes along and I can´t accept it into our relationship. I´ve seen the looks he throws at the shiny, newly restored bus in Kreuzberg. I´ve noticed the hungry stares at the sunvisor, the covetous glances at the safari windows. I know it´s only a matter of time before he comes home and says "DrJ, I´ve found another." And then I will have to seriously consider: Can our relationship stand another party´s involvement? Is our love strong enough for that?

So I´m in no real danger of DrH leaving me for my patheticness alone. Nor is my life over if this business fails. All I´ll have lost is time and a bit of money, but it´s not like I´ve sunk our life savings into it and of course I´ll have gained valuable experience. I mean, I just have to drive a few more businesses into the ground and I´ll have qualified myself to run for the US presidency.

Logically I know the world is not going to end regardless of the outcome of this venture. Logically I know there are a dozen things which I could, and would even like to, do. But how do I tell my brain that in the middle of the night, when it´s screaming "FAILURE!" at me?