Monday, June 29, 2009

Gilman Ah Um (a Late Introduction)

“You write like a child.”
I write like a child. I write like a child.

People always ask me. About myself, about the blog. / No they don't.
“What's that in your hair?” they ask.
“What?” I say. “I don't – oh. It's a... a little tag. It's washing instructions for... something.”
“The blog?” they ask.
“Well it was going to be a zine. But then I left the country, so –”
“Is it supposed to be funny?”
“Parts of - "
/Sudden gust of wind, doesn't feel normal somehow. Don't have time to stop and think it over though. Late. I scramble down the concrete steps, almost slip and fall on the moss and algae growing everywhere. Too damp around here.
/ They're waiting. They see me coming. “Here he is,” they say.
“Insomnia. Are these your stories that you've been working on?” / “yes are these your sto-ries”
“No, this is just... no, they're not proper stories. I mean, obviously. It's its own thing.”
“Oh what a relief, I was going to sa
/ Pressing a drink into my hand. Well, at least that. “Ut ut ut ut ut? Mah ah ut ut nud.”
“I'd have to check.”
“Is it sup-posed to be fun-ny?”
Go on arsehole, ask me that again. A trickle nearby /a pipe has burst within the stonework.
“Is it, that, um, what... do you...”
The child's mother leans in, puts a hand on her shoulder. “It's okay honey, take your time. Think about what you're going to say.” / I wait while she summons herself.
“Why it is that you have a big red face and big teeth and your eyes are always big open like this” she demonstrates – big open starey-eyes, “and and... and you look like you're angry and you always chew and why it is that you have a beard?”
The mother straightens up and stares at me. Answer my daughter's question. / Checking my watch. Shit, late. Always late. The stairs two at a time, skidding on rotten leaves at the bottom – a close call.
They're waiting. Staggering about on the street, crouching on bits of masonry. Powdered wigs askew on their heads/ “Here. Is.”
“Why. The. Title.” Strands of drool emerging from the corners of the mouth.
I clear my throat.
“It's a bit like... well you know how they used to say that carrots contained a vitamin that helped you see in the dark, and so as children we'd eat carrots because we thought we'd gain this, uh, remarkable power...”
“Car-rot, rots.”
“Yes. And I suppose in another sense the carrot is an inducement, like that's another meaning of the... well and so what darkness is to the carrot, sleep deprivation, that is to say insomnia, uh, is to the... er...”
/ There's that unnatural wind again.
“Nn thom nee ah.” / “Hnnh! Hnh hnh... hnthom neeah.”
The ground shudders, almost shakes me off my feet, and a half-second later the sound of three or four muffled explosions / then an eerie aftermath / dogs barking up and down the street
saying: “We are under attack we are under attack”
/ almost comical, the looks on their faces / “WE ARE UNDER ATTACK” shouts a voice in my ear – I turn to find one of those weird holes they put into the walls, and a dog's stuck its dirty head through and it's stridently yowling at us / “THE HULL HAS BEEN BREACHED WE ARE UNDER ATTACK WE ARE TAKING ON WATER”
Taking on water?
Q. /“I. Want. To. Have – ”
Yes, there, and there. The Tesco across the road is filling, is actually filled up with water through the glass see the floating produce drowned customers / a second story window up the street, also filled up with water //“- A. Ques-tion. Re-gard-ing. The – ”
water pissing out from the branches of a nearby tree / almost comical, hands raised above their faces theatrical gestures of horror / “– Sex-u-ality. Of. Your. Chayr-actors. ” / mouths stretched wide, eyes bulging, swelling into cloudy white / bodies bloating up, twisting / the wigs falling from their heads I want to scream at them / another series of explosions, windows breaking, water falling, bricks crumbling this is your fault you shits / arching, turning, swollen bodies on spindly leg arrangements and they're running for cover //UR FAULT it is YOUR FUCKING FAULT THAT THI

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Uncanny Story (i)

This is a good one. I'll try to get this right, tell the story as it happened.

I am 16 or 17. My older brothers moved out years ago, and my parents are away for the week. It's the school holidays. I have the house to myself.
I love having the house to myself. I get to do everything the way I want to. In practice I do everything more or less the same, except I rise later, eat more, etc.
But on the other hand it's creepy. I find that I'm walking around as quietly as possible – as if making loud noises will draw attention to myself. Whose attention?
I have to look after Monty (the dog). Walk him twice or three times a day, feed him, hang out with him so he doesn't go insane from boredom. Dogs are like children, they need to be constantly occupied. Monty prefers to stay upstairs in the lounge, where he can watch the street outside from a high window and bark at everyone who passes.

I'm downstairs. I'm sitting at the piano, practising. Lazily playing through the same old parts of The Wall, the parts I already know.
I stop playing and sit there, thinking, looking at Dad's bookshelf. Reading through the titles of all these old books, the ones that have always been here, lined up on these shelves. Even when we lived in the States, the same collection of old paperbacks.
The sound of a passing car outside. The sound of someone typing in the next room.
I think: wait a minute.
I listen.
Someone is typing in the next room. Typing on the computer keyboard. Reader: you know this sound. Summon it to mind – the sound of someone typing on plastic keys. It's unmistakeable.
I sit on the piano bench, and look at the closed door to the next room.
The next room is Andy's old room. My oldest brother's room. It's been converted into a combination guest bedroom and computer room, Dad set up his new IBM in there. Except obviously no-one else is home, so there shouldn't be the sound of typing, but there is.
I wait for this sound to fade away or evaporate. Sometimes when you get too far into a daydream you'll actually hear the sounds from it, and you'll shake your head or snap to your senses and they'll vanish. But this person is still typing. Click-clickaclicka-click-click-clickaclicka-click.
I think: what is this, supernatural? A ghost? Kind of an exciting possibility. Except there's no-one else at home, I'm here alone (and will be for the next couple of days).
I get up and walk to the door. I'm surprised by how well I'm dealing with this. You always wonder whether, confronted with something really weird, you'd run or you'd walk closer. I listen. They're still typing. I open the door.
The sound stops.
Exactly, as if on cue. Because the room next door is empty and the computer is switched off.

Lucky for me I had plans that evening – me and some friends were going to go see Alive, the new true-story film about a plane crashing the Andes, and all the rugby players have to eat each other's corpses. We were going to Wellington Boys College at the time, I think the story had a special appeal to us.
I walked Monty, chucked him into the kitchen quickly (freaked out, hand trembling) and left the house as soon as I could. Walked down the hill into town, thought about & rehearsed this incredible story for when I told it to my friends.
We met in the Mid City movie centre (RIP) and went to dinner at Pizza Hut first. This was back when Pizza Hut was an all-you-can-eat restaurant with a self-service dessert bar, in a sense they were glory days for me because I hadn't yet discovered smoking, sex or drinking. I weighed 100kg and eating was the biggest thrill in my life.
I was really nervous, I ate too much. In particular I ate too much dessert. I told the story of the “mystery typist”, I told it a few times to different people, milking it for all it was worth.
Someone said: "Are you sure it wasn't just the sound of your dog walking around upstairs?"
"No way. I know the sound of Monty walking around, I know the sound of typing. It was typing."
I wonder what we would have looked like that night – seven or eight 16 year old guys with no facial hair and no bad habits. Bad dress sense, probably. Loud, nerdy laughter.
Anyway the time came and we went up to the movie. Filed in, took our seats. I was sitting next to Texas Tim – or rather a 16 year old version of Texas Tim who at that stage I'm sure had never dreamed of going to Texas.
The movie starts. There's this plane, it's flying into the Andes. Everything's normal, except you know they're fucked, so there's this certain element of tension. All these people from South America are laughing and talking – and I CANNOT HANDLE THIS UNBEARABLE TENSION.
The plane crashes, OH MY GOD. It thumps into this mountain and whips around and people are ripped to pieces, dismembered. Mortality on an epic scale, IT GOES ON FOREVER... and then in the aftermath people are regaining consciousness, except their BODIES ARE MANGLED. One guy goes up to another and says “Am I okay? I feel weird.” And he has this HUGE bit of metal sticking out of his CHEST, he's in shock and he hasn't noticed it... and the other guy has to PULL IT OUT OF HIM...

Suddenly I'm in crippling pain, like a bad leg cramp except it's happening all over my body. The story has advanced considerably – I think I have missed several minutes. The pain is so awful I think I'm going to vomit. I get to my feet and stagger up the aisle steps & out of the theatre, except I can't stand up properly so I have to lurch like a hunchback.
Out in the lobby I sit down on the floor and start trying to straighten my spine, a long process which takes almost an hour.
After about ten minutes Tim comes out. “You okay?”
“I don't know what happened... I just suddenly had this pain.”
“You freaked me out,” says Tim.
He explains: right after the plane crash sequence (which I'm assured is not that horrific) I slumped forward with my head between my knees, as if in a faint. Then I slowly came up until I was rigid, leaning back and to the left in my seat in quite an unnatural posture, which I held for a long time before abruptly saying: “I need to leave.”
I said: “Oh man. I don't remember any of that.”
“It was pretty strange,” said Tim.
The others came out to check if I was okay. Reassured, they went back in and watched the rest of the movie. I can't remember, (I was in a lot of pain) but I think Tim sat out the whole movie talking to me.
“It's something to do with my brain,” I said. “You know what I told you, about hearing someone typing at home? It must have been a hallucination, and this fainting thing must have something to do with it.”
Why would that happen?
Too much pizza and sugar? But that had come after the initial hallucination.
Maybe my brain had been malfunctioning all day. It had run low on some important chemical or whatever.
I thought: shit, maybe I've been possessed by something. It hadn't been too long since I'd seen The Serpent and the Rainbow.
But why? How? Our house was built in the 80s, we were the first owners, it had no history at all.
“You sure you just didn't freak out because the movie scared you?” said Tim.
“Shut up.”
Get real. I'd seen worse movies than Alive.

Speaking of the uncanny, Ed sent this in:

"Chapter 7, Page 99"
just bought this
randomly opened it
read this thought of you:

In the 1950s psychiatrist Cathy Hayes raised a young chimp in her own home. In late infancy Viki, the chimp, began to trail an arm behind her as if pulling a toy on a string, and would even pretend to catch the string on obstructions and then release it again. After several weeks of this behaviour, Viki one day appeared to entangle the imaginary toy around the knob of the toilet, and cried for help. Hayes pantomimed untangling the rope and returning it to her, to be rewarded with what could have been either "a look of sheer devotion" or "just a good hard stare". A few days later, when Hayes decided to invent a make-believe pull-toy of her own that clacked on the floor and swooshed on the carpet, "Viki stared at the point on the floor when the imaginary rope would have met the imaginary toy, uttered a terrified "oo-oo-oo," leap into Cathy's arms, and never played the game again.

don't know what the context is or anything
from "On the origin of stories (evolution, cognition and fiction) by Brian Boyd (NZ Auckland academic)

Something I wrote, or was working on a few years ago - the image of a woman in a blue dress walking past, pulling a little girl (her daughter?) along my the wrist - the little girl in a blue dress, and with her other hand she's pulling along a doll - the doll in a little blue dress, and in the doll's other hand is something unnamable - a little blue dress and glittering eyes, and //n its# other han/#@//

But anyway that's monkeys for you. Monkeys are creepy & dangerous.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Sleep Dep On-Line Exquisite Corpse, #1 (June 2009)

This entry is part of an on-line exquisite corpse. Scroll down to the bottom for directions to the other chapters...


1. After dinner Tim Quinn called to say the police were putting together a search party for tomorrow morning, and were they interested. Dad took the call in his office on speaker-phone.
“Can't do it, Tim, I'm coaching.”
“What coaching?”
The tinny voice echoed off the bare brick walls.
“Footie, mate. Under twelves.”
“Sounds like a bloody excuse, mate. I've never heard of you coaching. You couldn't coach your arse off a barstool.”
Dianne had been hovering in the doorway, and surprised everyone by saying:
“I'll come.”
It'd be a Saturday morning, and it's not like she had anyplace else to be.

Actually there was another reason – she thought probably Peter McIntyre would be coming too.
And he did. The meet-up was at 7, a sports field on the edge of the bush, not too far from her college. There were maybe twenty people. Father Ross was there, handing out coffee and tea in styrofoam cups.
“No thanks,” she said.
Then she made her way over to Peter.
“Pretty cold, eh.”
He seemed to take a moment to recognise her.
“I reckon,” he said.
She left it there, moved a ways off, felt mild relief when the officer blew the whistle and started calling out instructions - “You'll be in groups of four,” she said. “It's real important that if you find anything or see anything you DON'T touch it, or them. Each group will have a whistle, so blow the


This is part 1 of 10. You can find the other installments here:

1. (26 June 2009)
2. (27 June 2009)
3. (29 June 2009)
4. (1 July 2009)
5. (1 July 2009)
6. (1 July 2009)
7. (2 July 2009)
8. (7 July 2009)
9. (9 July 2009)
10. (15 July 2009)

Your eyes do not deceive you - that's the full 10, as of 15 July.

Thanks to all the writers who picked this up and ran with it - into some fairly strange places. I've assembled a full version as a Word doc, write in to if you want a copy (although I reckon part of the thrill is reading it straight from the blogs).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Oh my goodness, & another - I'm working through my inbox, it's actually full of them. That makes three pieces rejected in one day.
That's one more, or is it two more, rejection(s). Two pieces, one journal. Short pieces so who knows, they could end up on here sooner or later.
Internet = Refuge. The. Last. Of. Rejected. The.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Leith Stories, Necropolis (i)

I once had a pot skeleton (*) of a tall building, a sort of monolithic grid of stone and broken windows, which floated in the water like a ship. In coastal cities, on fog-bound days, everything would fall silent and it would appear. It would drift out of the fog, a few hundred metres from land.
People would become possessed. They'd be driven to walk down to the quays, cast themselves into the water and drown.
Then: their corpses would float, drift, and wriggle back to life. They'd swim towards this building. They would climb up in their hundreds, climb out of the water and scale its stone face, climb in through the broken windows.
The structure was called the “Necropolis”. Once the dead were inside it would drift away, vanish into the fog, and take them with it. Friends, fathers and daughters. Entire families, safely nestled in their new home.
I told this to Doses and he said: “That's stupid.”
“No it's not,” I said. “It's cool. It's fucking freaky.”
“It's not freaky man, it's stupid.”
Turns out this thing exists, as many macabre and derelict things do, in Leith.

Where I live.
Not to be confused with Lethe, although judging from the state of the people here perhaps the two share a common function.
Quincey got to Scotland ahead of me & had to go through the whole arduous process of finding a flat on her own.
She says: “I chose Leith because I thought it would suit you.”
I'm not sure what I ever did to deserve this woman.
I mean look at this place, it's beautiful.

Here's something that happened to me in Leith. It happened on Monday morning, on the way to work:
I went to the shop and bought a cheap energy drink and a pack of gum.
I walked out, crossed the road, and started heading towards Pilrig Park like I normally do.
There's this thing on the footpath, walking towards me. A little thing. I'm looking at it, and I cannot for the life of me determine what it is.
I stared at it, watched it bumble towards me. It was awkward, clumsy. It had a dog's body, except smaller and yellowish. It's head was a gray mess of weird shapes. From the way it was moving, it was clearly blind.
Exhausted from a terrible night of insomnia (during which I posted this and this), I accepted the appearance of this strange, fucked-up monster. It had no face, no mouth. It didn't pose an obvious threat.
It stumbled into a bin. I realised it was a fox. A fox who had killed a pigeon, and was trying to carry the thing off to eat it, except one of the pigeon's wings had arced up to cover his face and eyes. He couldn't see. He was terrified, vulnerable being out in on the street in broad daylight, but too desperate and hungry to relinquish his food for even a moment. He was so thin.
Desperate, clumsy. The thing bumbled past me and smacked into the iron gates of a small housing estate.
I walked on – I was late. My boss prints off my clock cards, periodically calls me in to meeting rooms to bollocks me about getting to work at 8:35 instead of 8:30.
So I walked on to the alley which leads to the park. I turned back and got a last look – just a dead pigeon lying outside the iron gate. I thought: aw no, poor thing. Had to drop it's food. But then something fast, a snout I suppose, whipped out from behind the gate and yanked the corpse inside.

Wish I could have photographed it. This clumsy little compound monster was one of the strangest and most beautiful things I've ever seen.
Only in Leith.
Coming home at the end of the day I found a small pile of dead pigeons near my flat – feathers stripped from their sides, bloody red bit marks on their pink skin. I went inside and grabbed my camera, I'd meant to photograph the corpses, but then the idea seemed too ghoulish.
I walked down Constitution Road and took these pictures instead. (**)

* - this term will be explained in a later post.
** - thanks to Doses and "Alive But Not Living" (henceforth called "Alive") & partners for the digital camera

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hey you


Hey you

Don't you worry

You think you are alone

And no-one is watching you

And there is no-one to care for you

And all the mistakes you are making

You feel so bad

Hey you

Don't worry

We care for you

We are watching you

All the mistakes

We clean them up

To make better

So don't worry

We care

We fix you up okay


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Note from the Cleaners

When you are finishd with yr dishes pls wash & dry & PUT AWAY. DONT leave for us to tidy yr dishes ITS NOT OUR JOB Maureen & me & the girls are NOT YOURE MADES. This is 3 days in a row now we have found dirty dishes pield up in the sink so high we cant fill our buckets & how would you like it if we treated yr home the same way. We are NOT YOUR MOTHERS same rules as when you were at home with Mum pls if you use it wash it & dry it & put it away. Our job is to clean surfaeces & carpet & empty bins. Yr job is to do yr job & ALSO to clean up after. What if we came round yr house & treated it the same way, Maureen & the girls put rubbish everywhere & smashed up windows. No sign of yr kids just their feet prints off in the snow. We are paid our wage (NOT BIG) & you are paid yrs & YES we are part time but there are MORE of US than YOU in the wider world so mind yr manners & STOP leaving yr rubbish in the sink pls
& then no-one has go back to the Old-ways

Monday, June 15, 2009


And? And? And? And?
Annd. Annd.
Annd. Annd.
And? And? And? And?
Annd. Annd.
Annnd. Annnnn-
Nud. Nud.
Nud. Nud.
Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. (ut) Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. (ut) Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. (ut) Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. (ut) Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud. (ut) Nud. Nud. Nud. Nud.

(ut) Nud. Nud. (ut) Nud. Nud. (ut) Nud. Nud. (ut) Nud. Nud. (ut) Nud. Nudut. Nud. Nudut. Nud. Nudut. Nud. Nudut. Nud. Utnud. Nud. Utnud. Nud. Utnud. (ka) Nud. Utnud. (ka) Nud-ud-nud-ka. Nud-ut-nud-ka. Nut nkah. Nut nkah.
Unkah. Unkah. Unkah. Unkah. Unkah. Unkah. Unkah. Unkah.
Ut. Ut. Ut. Ut. Ut. Ut. Ut. Ut. Ut. Ut. Utka
Ut! Ut! Ut! Ut! Ut! Ut! Ut! Ut!

Ahaha. Ahaha. Ahaha. Ahaha.
Ah-haha. Ah-haha.
Ah-ha-ha-ha. Ah ha. Ah ha.
Ah-ha-ha-ha. Ah ha. Ah ha.
Ah-hee. Ah-hee-hee! Ah-hee-hee!
Ah-ha-ha-ha. Ah-ha-ha-ha.

Ahh. Ahh. Ahh. Ahh. A-ahhhhhhh. A-ahhhhhhh.
Ah-hah. Ah-hah. Ahh. Ahh.
Ah-hah. Ah-hah. Ahh. Ahh.
Shhh. Ahh. Shhh.
Shhh. Ahh. Shhh.
Ahh. Ahh. A-ahhhhhhh
Ah-hum. Hum. Hum. Ah-hum
Ahhhhh. Ah-hahhhh.
Hum. Ah. Huh. Nh. Ah. Hum. Ah.

Yahh-awww. Umm. Ay. Ma. Umm. Ay. Ma.
Ay ma ay ma ay ma
I am a I am a I am a I am a
I am a I am a I am a I am a uh uh uh uh
I am a I am a I am a I am a
I am a I am a I am a I am a

I am a.

Science Fiction Double Feature (1 of 2)

You always get at least one or two. Even if it's an up-market place, you get up-market ones coming in. Every day, or most days. Old people or crazy people with nowhere else to go.
So here's a story:
Three years ago, an upstairs cafe in the middle of town. One of the wait staff (Julie) takes the rubbish downstairs and opens the door, and there in the alley is this old guy in a shabby old suit, he's rolling around on a pile of collapsed cardboard and -
Says Julie: 'His body was smoking. His hair was fizzly and his skin was all black, like when a bomb blows you up in a cartoon.'
Julie practically screams. Says something like: “What the hell!?”
The guy rolls around, scrambles up onto his feet. He's saying “Where? Where?” Really confused, really out of it. He looks up to this window above him, the window of the cafe's toilet. And he starts laughing, like he's gotten away with something.
He's between her and the skip, so she's standing there, watching him, waiting for him to get out of her way.
He starts mumbling, saying: “I'm-a, I'm-a...”
This crazy tramp, laughing and stumbling around with his skin smoking.
Julie says something like “Get out of the way, alright?”
And the guy says: “I'm a time traveller!”
And then he runs away, out the far end of the alley.

This story went down well with the rest of the crew, it was an instant classic. Whenever you had a new start the chef (Aaron) would say: 'Hey Jules, tell them about the time traveller.' Or if someone was taking the rubbish down, he'd be like: 'Hey be careful out there. Don't want you getting... time raped.'
Fucking Aaron.
Anyway, the crazy thing is a few months later the guy starts coming in, like actually as a paying customer. He's cleaned up, still doing the whole shabby suit thing but it's a newer, tidier suit.
“Cup of tea,” he says quietly. He's a mumbler.
“That's him,” says Julie afterwards. Pointing. All the staff peeking out through the kitchen hatch.
“He looks really normal,” says the dishwasher (Ty). Disappointed.
“That's him?” asks Aaron.
“Yeah, that's him.”
And Aaron watches him drink his tea for a moment, then he goes: “I like him.”
Whenever Aaron was on shift he controlled the iPod, which played the music in both the kitchen and front of house. And whenever this guy came in, as sort of a joke he'd put on that “Doctor Who” song, by the KLF or whoever.
And he'd look through the hatch, looking for a reaction. But no, never. It's always the same with this guy.
First he says: “Cup of tea.”
Then he pays, walks through. Always prefers the same table by the window, or goes to the corner one if he can't get it. Then out comes the notebook and he's scribbling away for like fifty minutes, an hour.
Doctor Who-oo... (Hey!) Doctor Who, Doctor Who-oo... (Hey!) The TARDIS...
Other songs, too. Aaron's building up a repetoir.
Science fiction... (ooh-ooh-ooh) Double feature...

Mostly this guy is really quiet, no fuss. But once or twice he comes in looking really agitated. On these occasions he behaves like a genuine crazy person.
“Have there been people here?”
“Well... yeah.”
“No, no, people, I mean, hang about, hang about. Has anyone come and asked about me?”
Yeah, thinks Julie. Sure. The kitchen staff.
He always pays, doesn't hang around the counter, and he's not a perv. So, like, let him be crazy.
But these days start happening more and more often, there's a sense that he is losing it quite badly. Weird scabs on his fingers. Burns.
He tells Julie: “It's ideas that are important, not people. But if the wrong people have the wrong ideas - they don't like that, no, no.”

Aaron can't take it anymore.
“He finished?”
“I'm gonna clear the table. I gotta meet him. Just gotta.”
He takes off his apron and heads out like he's wait staff. He stands there for a moment, looking over the guy's shoulder while he writes in his book.
Says Aaron: 'It was crazy shit, man. Lines and diagrammes and science shit. Numbers. You know what I mean? Like really far out science shit.'
So Aaron says: “Finished?”
The guy looks up and just nods.
Aaron takes the tea cup away. But it's not enough. Not enough of an encounter.
So before he goes Aaron leans in and says: “Hey mate. You a... time traveller?”
This little old man practically jumps out of his skin. He looks at Aaron like a cornered animal.
“What!? What's that you... what!?”
He seems completely confused. So Aaron leans in a second time, nods like they have, you know, an understanding. Flicks a glance at the notebook.
“Time traveller,” he says. “You. Are. A.”
And here's another instant classic - this guy looks back, looks him straight in the eye, and with total sincerity says:
“N-no! Time travel is impossible. Impossible!”
Aaron straightens up, poker faced, and walks back to the kitchen.
They cannot contain their hysterics. You can hear them laughing in the kitchen, doing impressions of that line, over and over again. So imagine how it is for Julie, standing out there, when the whole cafe can hear them. Mortified.
But the old guy doesn't seem to hear. He's wide-eyed, flipping through his notebook, pulling papers out of his pockets, reading numbers aloud. Saying: “No... no, no... no...”
It's weird. Weird enough that the other customers all leave.

They didn't see him again for a long, long while.
“Where's Doctor Who?”
“You scared him off, dick.”
And Aaron would think about this, one finger rubbing at his little soul patch.
“I'm going to call him.”
And then he'd play songs for the time traveller. As if songs about time could summon him.
If I could save time in a bottle... the first thing that I'd like to do...
is to save every day 'til eternity passes away...just to spend them with you...

“That's gay,” says Ty. “What you're doing is gay. Playing songs for him.”
“Shut up,” says Aaron.

The guy didn't come for weeks and weeks. Then he came. It was late in the afternoon, two hours after Aaron had clocked off.
Julie was working the 'till. She could hear feet clomping up the stairs, like really hard out, and then the door flies open and it's the little old guy, standing there in his rumpled suit, clutching all these papers to his chest.
And the guy says: “Oh my God!!”
And Julie says: “...Can I help you?”
And he says: “What's out the back!?”
And before she gets a chance to answer he runs into the passage that leads out to the store room and the toilet.
Julie's standing behind the counter, between the scone dish and the espresso machine, just totally stunned. She can hear him opening and slamming the toilet door.
But she's frozen there, she's still looking ahead. Because through the main door's little window she can now see these three orange lights, hovering in mid-air.
Julie says: 'You're gonna say I'm mental, or I was tripping. But they were there, three of them. The size of chinese lanterns. Floating up to the window there, like they're trying to decide whether or not to come in.'
And then the toilet exploded.

Like it literally exploded. You probably remember hearing about this. It blew up. Blew the windows out the back of the building, one of the rafters fell in. Smoke and shit.
Says the assistant chef (Cam): 'Fucking Sarajevo mate! I run out the back and you can't see shit! And it smells. Like gunpowder or somethin', a real pungent stink of cartridge. And I'm like “woo-oo, that's me for the day”.'
Customers and staff milling into the smoke to get a look at what's going on. Julie goes out back with the rest of them, sparing a couple glances at the main door, but the lights have gone. Collectively the staff search the smoking wreckage but there is no sign of the weird old guy.
Fifteen minutes later, the fire department are in and performing an inspection of the property. Everyone is booted out.
Smoking a cigarette on the street with the rest of the staff, Ty says: “Oh yeah. Right. I get it.”
He pulls out his phone and calls Aaron, explains it to him. Aaron listens to the story with uncharacteristic silence and attention. Then he asks about the state of the kitchen.

Friday, June 5, 2009


We are a leading financial services company operating in several countries around the world including Canada, Germany and India.
We have been providing financial products and services for over 150 years. Today, we offer a wide range of life assurance, pension and investment products as well as banking services and healthcare insurance. Through our investment arm, we also manage assets.

A placement with us will provide a great opportunity to develop your skills and get a flavour for the world of work you'll enter once you finish school.
We want you to enjoy your time with us – perhaps one day you might be interested in a career with us.


When you get to the building, go to the main reception area and ask for your placement contact.

During your placement we'll introduce you to as many general office skills as we can. Things like:
- Using a PC
- Using a photocopier and fax machine.
- Distributing and issuing mail.
- Learning how information is filed and stored.
- Attending meetings.
- Listening to phone calls.
- Working within a team.

Do your best – the way you behave during your placement is really important, the more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it.

You should:
- Attend work at the times agreed.
- Be polite and helpful.
- Do your best to carry out any tasks.
- Show interest and enthusiasm.
- Tell your contact (by 9.30am) if you are unable to come to work.
- Adhere to office rules and guidelines.
- Dress appropriately.

You should not:
- Misuse or discuss confidential information.
- Use office resources for personal use.
- Let yourself down with inappropriate behaviour.
- Use your mobile phone whilst in the office.
- Misuse the intranet/internet.


This booklet has some diary pages with questions to help you review each day. Try to answer the questions at the end of each day.

Did you arrive at the time arranged and who was your first contact?
Did you feel nervous? If yes, what made you feel nervous?
What tasks (if any) did you perform today?
What skills have you used? What have you learned today?
How do you feel about your first day in the workplace?
Do you feel tired or unhappy or pleased with yourself?

Did you work with the same people today? If no, who did you work with?
What tasks did you perform and what did you find particularly interesting?
Is the workplace as you expected? If no why is this?
Do you feel tired or unhappy or pleased with yourself?

Did you feel like getting up today to go on your work placement? If no, why was this?
What are the main rules and regulations in this work place?
Have the rules or regulations affected you and why do you think they are necessary?
Describe the main tasks you completed today.
What was the best part of today's experience?

Did you arrive at the agreed time today?
Describe the main tasks you completed today.
Do you think anyone could do this type of work, or do you think people need special qualities or qualifications?
Describe the type of work going on around you.
How does this happen?

What did you enjoy most about your work experience?
What did you enjoy least about your work experience?
How can you use your new skills back at school?
Did you find the staff friendly and helpful? If no, why do you think this is?
Would you like to work in an environment like this when you finish school? If no, why not?
Now your work experience is nearly over, have your ideas and expectations of work changed? If yes, how?

(from a genuine text)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

(Near) Redemption / Rebirth of a Sock Monkey

Ed sent this through. He's been playing with online translation tools.

This is wonderdul. I will let this speak for itself, except to point the reader's attention back to the source material, to identify Ed as the one speaking in italics, and to presume aloud that movies are being used as stand-ins for languages.

(ORIGINAL TEXT: I'm sitting at the wheel, staring ahead, or at sort of an angle, staring out across the lanes of traffic. I can see these trees on the far side, the leaves, the long grass. They've stopped. There's grey shapes in the corner of my vision, hovering in mid-air, which I assume are stopped pigeons except I can't check because I've stopped too. Can't move, can't even swivel my eyeballs in their sockets.)

I should have been onto this from the start,
just imagine we first met

Ong bak
and then
The Ring
to reach:

I, in advance, such as the wheel sitting still staring at the cross or traffic lanes. I have stopped in the remote areas of their leaves and long grass, you can see these trees. The gray shape in the corner of my vision, so to check I have to stop hovering in the air and take advantage pigeons will not stop except for me. Can not be moved, rotated in the socket but I can not.

but with Nightwatch we found that:

I, in advance, such as the wheel sat still staring at the cross or traffic. I stopped in remote areas, their leaves and long grass, you can see these trees. As gray as in the corner of my vision, so that I have to stop to check the hanging in the air and use the pigeons will not stop, except for me. It can not be moved, rotated in the socket, but I can not.

but by finding the lemon tree (recommended):

I, in advance, such as the wheel was still staring at the cross or traffic. I stopped in remote areas, the leaves and long grass, you can see the trees. As gray as the corner of my vision, so I have to stop to see the hanging in the air and pigeons will not stop, but me. It can not be moved, turned in the socket, but I can not

and after staying with the host:

In advance, and the wheels are still looking at the cross or traffic. Remote area, stopped in the leaves and long grass, you can see the trees. Gray to the corner of my vision, so I will not stop watching it, hanging in the air and dove Now, excuse me. That is, the socket set, but I can not do is move sueopseup

we next hang out with Z though it is not the end:

In advance, and the wheels are still looking at the cross or traffic. Remote area, stopped in leaves and long grass, you can see the trees. Gray on the corner of my vision, so I will not stop watching it, hanging in the air and dove Now, excuse me. That is, the reception, but I can not do is go sueopseup

a quick look through The Eye reveals:

Prior and the wheels are still concerned about cross-strait or traffic. Remote areas, parked in the leaves and long grass, the trees you can see. Gray corner, my dream, so I will not stop the watch and the doves flying in the air now, I am sorry. In other words, the reception, but I can not do is to sueopseup

and finally
we have to visit Abdul Alhazred
and he has some tales to tell:

Before the wheels are still concerned about cross-strait or transit. Remote areas, and had been parked in the leaves and long grass, you can see the trees. Gray corner, my dream, that will not stop for hours and the doves flying in the air, and I'm sorry. In other words, the reception, but I can not do is sueopseup

honest to god I've just been cutting, pasting, and using the google translation monster;

so 2 thoughts;

Is "Sueopseup" on Sleepdep's list of names for blogspot verification?...

and given the nature of the tale the paragraph is taken from isn't it nice that we can see the end of the story from here:

my dream, that will not stop for hours and the doves flying in the air, and I'm sorry. In other words, the reception,

since if the doves are flying, he's sorry, since we're aware of the reception awaiting him...


NB A day or two later Ed wrote again with:

the same journey without returning to English each time between languages produces this:

Before the wheels are still concerned about cross-strait or transit. As long as the grass-roots level of the tree in the remote areas, and you can see. Gray corner, my dream, that will not stop for hours and the doves flying in the air, and I'm sorry. In other words, the reception, but I can not do is sueopseup.

and d'oh missed out Hindi, in the original:

इससे पहले कि पहियों अभी भी पार के बारे में चिंतित हैं जलसंयोगी या पारगमन. दूरस्थ क्षेत्रों, और पत्तियों और लंबी घास में पार्क की गई थी, आप वृक्ष देख सकते हैं. ग्रे कोने, मेरा सपना है, कि घंटों के लिए बंद नहीं करेंगे और हवा में उड़ कबूतर, और मैं माफी चाहता हूँ. दूसरे शब्दों में, स्वागत है, लेकिन मैं ऐसा नहीं कर सकता sueopseup है


Before the wheels still are worried about cross-strait or transit. Remote areas, and leaves and grass in the park was long, you can see the trees. Gray corner, my dream, that will not stop for hours in the air and flying pigeons, and I'm sorry. In other words, welcome, but I can not do is sueopseup

ah and notice the acceptance of the inevitable - 'Welcome'