but it made me very angry.

It was about 2000/2001 in Sydney. I was over there for some IT thing or other and I went (as is my wont) to the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney. I like the pictures on the walls of the building (lots of men in bowler hats shepherding horse-drawn carts into elevators) and I like the print shop that had a huge number of old pictures of Auckland (alas I never had any money despite the dirt cheap price) and of course it’s a good place to have tea and sit and watch the world go by.

I had been sat at my table, drinking my tea for some time ignoring the maelstrom of frittering at the table opposite me. Books were being piled high, people were flapping about tea, coffee, sweets and the like. There were loud obnoxious calls on cellphones, there were English accents of a type that set my teeth on edge and there, in the eye of the storm, sitting quietly was Spike.

He looked incredibly old. His skin was almost see-through, it was that delicate and his hair was but a wispy halo. He was pretty much completely ignored by all around him, but seemed quite happy in himself.

I should have gone up to say hello, to tell him how much I liked Open Heart University and Milliganimals as a kid and how that had become an avid reading of his biographies when I was at university but I didn’t.  I was too chicken.

Later I saw him in the loo struggling with the weird hand towel dispenser things they have in the QVB. I scuttled away (approaching old men in public bathrooms isn’t high on my list of priorities. Far from it).

And now of course I won’t have the chance to talk to him. But I could buy his piano. I like pianos.

The moral of the story is: if you get the opportunity to meet one of your heroes, damn well take it. Better to discover they’re human and normal and just like the rest of us than to shy away and fret about it for ever more.

And if anyone reading this wants to buy me the giant book of Milligan’s poetry for Christmas, they know what to do.

NOTE: I have now seen the word Milligan so often that it’s doing that weird thing that words do when you’ve read them over and over and it just doesn’t look right. I’ve checked the spelling half a dozen times and something’s odd about it.

It’s either that or the trousers of time have slipped and this is an echo of another parallel universe. Either or.


and you’re really not supposed to depose them in bloody military uprisings. Well, not too often anyway.

Still, some days it’s a struggle not to form a cell and foment revolution.

This is one of those days.

And I quote:

The threat of a nuclear attack on the UK in the 1950s caused concern over the supply of tea, top-secret documents which have now been released reveal.

D’you know, I was wondering how we’d get on for a cuppa once we’d all been fried, boiled, broiled, blasted, nuked, irradiated, disemboweled by flying debris and had our skins blister in quite an annoying fashion. Even tea drinkers such as myself, who has been known to make two cups – one for now and one for soon, soon my precious – probably had several other priorities in mind ahead of drinking tea come the Apocalypse.

Bet they spent quite a tidy sum of quids on the research too.

Come the revolution…

Am sick

April 3, 2008

in the head. Yes, a head cold (sorry, a “heb code”). Ectoplasm oozes from- well, you get the picture.

I hate colds. They’re pointless stupid wastes of time. I can see no redeeming feature whatsoever. And when I have a head cold I find myself irritable beyond belief and little things annoy me.

For instance: at work we have paper towel dispensers that dispense paper towels. They’re on a giant roll. A tiny sliver of paper towel pokes out of the bottom of the machine and if you need more there’s a winder thing on the side that you dial (like an old phone) to poke out a wee bit extra.

The towels are green. They’re made of recycled stuff (god knows what).

Unfortunately, the dorks who designed this system clearly never trialled it using wet hands, because the recycled gunk that makes up the “paper” towel is so thin it immediately shreds, like tissue paper, and the stupid dial phone thing on the side is so groovy and white and plastic that a damp finger simply slides off.

How can you design a towel dispenser that doesn’t work if you’ve got wet hands? WET HANDS, PEOPLE! It’s not that difficult, surely?

I quit one job because of the toilet rolls in the loo. Well, not really but it’s true for the purposes of this post.

The toilet rolls were locked down, lest some starving wretch stole them and tried to flog them on the black market. This was at one of the country’s leading newspapers, you understand, so management wasn’t wrong on that score.

But the spring loaded lock down mechanism inside the toilet rolls was so spring loaded and so locked down that you couldn’t roll the roll and get any more than two squares at a time.

Now I don’t know about you but I like a little more bog roll than that. So I’d spend quite some time piss arsing about pulling off two pieces, pulling off another two, and another two and so on until I had the requisite amount.

It drove me nuts! How pointless?! How much money did the company save by having such a system versus the time employees wasted trying to fulfill a fairly fundamental need?

Did anybody do the math?

Another oddity at my current job – a lack of cutlery and mugs.

Any big organisation ends up with a dire shortage of both things and the cutlery side of the debate is one I’ll ignore, but for me each day starts with a mad hunt through the building for a mug that’s big enough to hold a proper amount of tea.

What’s that, you say? Bring your own, you say? Been there, done that. Eldest daughter bought me a huge and green mug for $5 that was so obviously “brought from home” that nobody in their right mind would pick it up.

Well, let me tell you a little story. Have you got a moment?

I like my tea strong. None of this dunk a bag and then drink… I want weapon-strength tea, tea that’ll put hairs on your chest, tea that’ll scare the horses. I want tea that tastes like the stuff they make for the patients when they’re in hospital to encourage them to get up and moving. Tea that could tan your backside.

So I make a cup of tea and leave it sitting for a bit to “brew”.

Occasionally, I’m inexplicably forced to do some work or some such and when I come back, the tea is cold. Hey, that’s what microwaves are for and a few seconds of nuclear power means my tea is piping hot again.

On the second day of mug-ownership I arrived back in the kitchen to find someone else walking off with my mug! And it was full of coffee! Gah!

Gobsmacked, I was. I couldn’t believe it. Sadly I was on the phone at the time so I couldn’t scream obscenities at her in the way some deep-seated lizard part of my brain (which likes a cuppa) clearly wanted to do.

Once I got off the phone I went looking for my mug but it was long gone. The next time I saw it was about a week later on a different floor and I rushed over to grab it off some fool’s desk and spied an enormous chip out of the rim (kind of like the one on my shoulder, but a much better shape).

And so now I hunt out the company-bought mugs on a daily basis.

Well, my meds have clearly kicked in so it’s back to my bed. But you all have a lovely day and remember: the last thing you need is a sense of perspective. Blow things out of all proportion and you’ll find you’re never bored.

PS – the italics in this post were brought to you courtesy of the dread Cthulu who knows how to use a good italic when he sees one!