Wednesday, December 28, 2005

On mixed blessings...

I finally got another edition of The Swamp out tonight.

After 4 months of neglecting my faithful Swampees, I have finally rewarded their faith with a tale of mixed blessings that constitute the unlikely events which just happen to be the reality I live on a daily basis.

I was going to put it here but thought better of it. If you're already a subscriber, you'll understand why it is better left unadorning of the world wide timetrap, in favour of the discretion of those voluptuous in boxes of those beloved subscribers where it is less likely to come back and bite me on the arse.


The oddest thing about the one I've just put out is that 99% of it is absolutely true.

I feel uber. I feel like I could just keep writing until my fingers explode. What a shame it's half past midnight and I have to get up in 6 hours and go to work.

Is this yet another case of mixed blessings?

It seems that way to me.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The second funniest thing I've seen in my life. I would dearly love to get the mpeg of this.

In other news, mes amies have been in full flight this weekend, thereby protecting me from the abhorence of Christmas. The day was further enhanced by my putting the old Pretenders song 2000 Miles on repeat and just listening to it over and over.

I'll confess here, I got quite soft and started leaving nice messages around the internet, and I even apologised to someone for sending them a rude reply to an email they sent me in good faith.

But have no doubts on one thing: I'm still the same old Rat you all know and treat with a great deal of suspicion if not actual trepidation.

I haven't managed to do one solitary jot of actual work since September. Aren't you all terribly ashamed? I'm not. I've been busy doing other stuff that doesn't in any way advance my social standing but which still makes me feel pretty good anyway.

I have been working - rather long hours as it happens - just not on anything that is strictly for my own benefit. Slack I know, but let's face it, I'm the one who's going to suffer most because of it. The rest of you have archives and older material which I bet not one of you has bothered exploring yet.

As for the first book, although I haven't finished retyping it (I told you, I've been incredibly slack), I have given it its new dustjacket and last week I gave the beneficiary of the would-be largess to spring therefrom the link to where said largess will emanate.

Still, it's not fair that I just sit on my laurels and expect to be kept afloat by the generosity of strangers. I will get the 2nd book out and put lots of loveliness in it, mixed with some philosophical nuggets which might just give it some credibility with the denizens of stupid little plastic boxes festooning every CBD on the planet. I might actually do some research and out a few of the bigger fuckwits and perhaps land myself in court as a result. (Oh I wish.) Thank God Australian courts have no jurisdiction in California.

I had a very enjoyable and fairly lengthy discourse with RB last week. I can't remember if I gloated about that in my last entry or not, but I'm gloating about it again now anyway. I worship that man.

I have decided I need to make 3 investments: A digital camera, a scanner and a personal voice recorder - and not necessarily in that order. Why?

I'm glad I asked myself that very question on your behalf.

The camera because I want to photograph Melbourne in all its glory because no brochures or spamful websites put up the sorts of pictures that make Melbourne what it is. I wish to remedy that situation so anyone with a lazy few thousand dollars will flock to my hometown and say hi.

I want the scanner because I have photos I want to get on the internet - via Photoshop of course - to make a mockery of all things in print which would otherwise not see the oncoming headlights of the traffic on the information super highway.

I want the voice recorder for purposes of my own devising which I'm not about to divulge here, but I may publish the results from its usage at a later date. Obviously, since I don't have thing to do any transcriptions now, I have time to organise the occasion for best impact. It will involve pleasant company and getting very chemically imbalanced. Hopefully I won't kiss anyone with whom I would still wish to be on good terms the following day. (I do that sort of thing when I've been tipping the scales as it were.)

It's been a long time since I indulged in anything not sold legally to minors. This means my tolerance levels will be pretty well zero. And you know what that means, boys and girls. It's way fast and easy to get the Rat off his face. And when that happens, anything else humanly possible and undesirable is more than likely to happen afterwards. This is why I want a voice recorder thingy - to capture the glory of the moment in full surround sound stereo which can then be transcribed and flung to the ends of the earth for general consumption. It's an occasion not to be missed.

Did I happen to mention the kids again? I know I did, I just disguised with a bit of verbal dexterity more commonly known as French. I think over the course of this weekend, I've spent a cumulative total of 14 hours with them plus however much longer than that with message swapping. What a totally massive bunch of people. They and that song - for the first time in 6 years - actually made Christmas 2005 an enjoyable day for me.

I am so me I can't believe it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I got an email...

Oh the possibilities!

I'm sometimes drawn on whether I get enough spam or not. Some of it can be fairly entertaining and let's face it, with a few clicks it's all gone. Inboxes are fucking enormous so it's not likely any one of mine will ever fill up unless people start sending me massive attachments, which a lot of the time I won't even bother downloading. I'm on dial-up for two reasons: It's dirt cheap and there is only so much I want to do when I'm on the net and downloading shitloads of other people's stuff isn't one of them.

On the other hand, none of the spam I get is of a questionable sexual nature - none of it is of a sexual nature at all if you don't count viagra spam. Most of it emanates from Russia because of some online wargame thing to which one of the kids got me to sub up. The rest is spamming me about dodgy Rolex watches and other shit.

But as I said, clickery gone, no biggy.

One of the other kids had the most extraordinarily kind thing to say...

Mad props to the Rat. We're lucky to have you around.

Oh my brother. Would that he were here to say the same thing.

I got one of the other kids to admit to something too. It was like drawing teeth but it had to be done for his sake. It's part of dismantling some unhealthy and unhelpful trains of thought. I hope he feels much better for it, but self esteem is a hard bugger to rebuild when it's been dealt so many blows. Then again, I enjoy spending 5 hours in one sitting talking to any and all of them anyway so I guess the privilege was all mine. If you're reading this, Chris, I meant what you said and if it weren't for the bloody time difference between here and Texas, I'd spend more than 5 hours with you.

The one kid about whom I'm most concerned hasn't been around for a couple of weeks. If I had to pick just one of the kids to hug, it would be her. She needs it so desperately. I hope she's ok, but I have a growing idea she may be in hospital and I have no way of finding out. I suppose if I trawled the net long enough I might pick up some clues, but that just feels wrong on too many levels - especially on account of her being unable to trust anyone. She might take it the wrong way. She might also leap to some incorrect conclusions and that would be disastrous.

Tart's got a new picture. God, she's a beautiful woman. She makes me proud to know her. By pure coincidence, she got our relationship worked out just right first go without any prompting from me - and unlike that fuckwit, dopey, she's earned the right to consider me her net-brother and doesn't mind that I consider her my net-sister.

When dopey sent me an email telling me she considered me like her little brother, my gag reflex almost killed me. It was about that time I told her unequivocally to fuck off. It took her weeks to realise I meant it.

She left a message for Bong in Philochat2 this morning too. So I made Bong a manager so he can delete the message or delete the comm - whatever he wants. I can't be bothered talking to him anymore. There's no point when he's not stable, can't make head nor tail of what he's saying when Veil has convinced him not to take his meds, and frankly, I just couldn't be bothered taking the chance. Nor do I give a cusper's about Philochat2 so if he wipes it, too bad.

Some interesting developments in the MB story but I'm bidden not to reveal them by the author. Personally. Woo! The MB is a link by the way and it should have clickage upon it. Failing the interloping of any other book which might happen to pass under my nose and beckon my purchase, MB will be my next book purchase. I can't think of a time I was more excited about the production of a book like this - not even my own. Without exaggerating, to me, it's stand on the chair and cheer like they do in corny B grade college movies material. It's flipping one massive bird at everyone who ever harboured some hokey notions about herbal remedies and ancient recipes for happiness and wealth etc. I love Chris Locke and everything he says. I only wish I could write as well as he does. Maybe some day I'll apply myself to the task of producing something wicked. Until then, I'll just be satisfied pumping the air like an idiot every time I turn the pages of his books.

My playlist is the most inspiring lump of music in the universe. The drumming in the OMD song "Maid of Orleans" is phenomenal. Seriously. If I could fly, that's what I'd listen to while doing it. Maybe I'll come back as a hawk in the next life. I should be so lucky.

No matter, really. When I have those kids on the other side saying things like Mad props to the Rat, I don't even feel like I need to eat to stay alive - which is fortunate really, because eating is a nuisance and I fairly frequently forget to do it until it's too late at night to bother. Speaking of which, it's 1.34am here in beautiful Melbourne and I have to get up and go to work in 5 hours.

Plans are afoot to make some extra dosh between Christmas and New Year though, so we'll just see how it all pans out. After New Year, George has plans of his own which might just make all things more comfortable in Casa Highett. More on that later, but for now, it's bed time.

Toodle pip.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Continuation of that bit I threw up in PA this week, I'm going to kill my subscription to Oxfam. Getting that picture in the mail was the end of it for me. Really.

I don't know how I could have been more specific when I said I don't want to know anything at all about the people I sponsored. I just didn't and don't want to know. I can't explain it, but it's more than I can handle.


I'm getting very emotional about this. I did NOT want ANYTHING at all to do with anything or anyone to whom I was making this anonymous donation. What do I get instead? A shitload of... shit. It's just shit. Gratitude is shit.

It fucking sucks. Charity sucks. I knew it when I signed on, but to have it come back and bite me on the arse like this - and pay for the damn privilege? Fuck that.

All I wanted was to help a poor Cambodian family, completely anonymously and relieve them of any need to feel gratitude (guilt, basically) for putting up their hands asking for help then actually getting it. The idea is to make the most of what you get with no thought for anything but your own future. That's about the best gift I can give and that's of what I was thinking when I started my subscription.

What the fuck are these people on anyway? Oxfam, I mean. Can you tell I'm a bit fucked off right now? How dare they fuck up my gift. Maybe not for whomever is on the receiving end, but my trust in Oxfam has been royally fucked in the arse. I know it's just a procedural thing to send these stinking updates to keep it all warm and fuzzy and make the donors think what they're doing is so wonderfully worthwhile.

I'm sure it is, but what does that make me? Just another name on some mailing list somewhere.

Now I want to run and hide away from these felching scumbags so they never find me again, never send me their stupid begging letters and load me up with guilt for something I haven't done.

My kids on the other side mean more to me than anyone else right now. I keep going on about them, but only because I love them all so much. Am I grateful for the time they accord me? In a way, yes. I'm probably more proud than grateful. I'm certainly amazed they let me in there. It's a fairly tight little circle but they're so incredibly acceptant and generous with their time and themselves. I consider myself very lucky to have encountered them.

It's what they give me which has the big impact. They give me the opportunity to share myself with them and they allow me the opportunity to share their day to day lives as well. It's extremely selfish of me to even be there, I know that. I have the unfair advantage of 20 years worth of experience which they do not yet have. I'm aware of that - always. On the other hand, because I consider them equals - which is to say, as human beings - and I won't behave condescendingly towards them because condescension is right up there with the most despicable things adults do to kids, that not only can I share with them and they with me, but at times I have the opportunity to share the benefits of the experience I have which they do not.

They actually let me care about them. That's incalculable to me. I know I sound like a broken record for saying it yet again, but how I can I compare anything I have with the gift those kids continue to give me?

Gratitude? Fuck gratitude. How about respect, how about trust, and, for what it's worth, not just a modicum of affection. Yes, that's why I love them all so much.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I did a terrible thing on the train on the way home from work tonight.

Terrible or typical? You be the judge.

Melbourne has a free daily newspaper called MX. In it is a puzzle page which contains a few word game thingies and a crossword - amongst other stuff I tend to ignore.

Anyway, a fat bastard had his backpack on the seat next to him instead of on the floor, thus he was depriving one of those forced to stand of a seat on the train.

Enter the Rat.

Rat spots fat bastard reading the puzzle page. Rat further spots fat bastard having copious quantities of difficulty with the crossword.
Rat is a wordsmith with an enviable vocabulary and usually finishes the crossword in 15 minutes.

Rat also has a copy of MX. Rat stands close to fat bastard, close enough to allow fat bastard to hear Rat's stomach grumble. Rat ostensibly ignores fat bastard.

Rat turns to the puzzle page, pulls his pen from his backpack and reads 3 across: Make eyes at, 4 letters. Except Rat reads aloud, and announces the answer as OGLE, 4 down: Dirt, 5 letters. Hmm, "Grime" says Rat, aloud.

"9 across: Liquid measure, 4 letters. Oh, pint!" says Rat.

Fat bastard gets off train at the next stop and goes to the next carriage down.

Rat and one other person sit.

Rat turns to fellow seated person and says, "Well that was easy!"

God, I love being me.