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30 June 2005 at 14:50

jobs and heroes

I passed the interview for a temporary boss's job today with flying colours. In my opinion if not theirs. I only went for the interview so that either I'd be rejected and they'd have to stop hassling me to fill in when bosses are off sick; or I'll be offered the job and have the pleasure of saying PISS OFF YOU MUST BE JOKING.

The last time I turned down an offer of employment, my mother nearly wept. I had been offered what some saw as a dream job - as a travelling corporate trainer, 50 thousand pounds a year (in the 1980s), and every second week off! But as with today's interview, I had previously tried out the job casually, and I knew that the work stress would be a killer. I could probably handle that job now, but people never offer you employment at a time when you'd want it or be up to it.

As a personal growth technique, I can recommend turning down a job offer, it's on a par with running a marathon, or getting through cancer. You'll never look back.



One day, if I live long enough, I might be mentally up to handling a truly heroic job like my recent heroes, but by that time I'd be too physicallly decrepit.

I'll content myself with teaching the new college courses in Trivial Basic and Postmodern Hypertext, about which I currently know nothing, to school-leavers with A.D.D., that's enough challenge for me. But first the vacation starts tomorrow, time for a heroic assault on the home brew stocks.

Blogger hotboy said...

I'm so useless there's no chance of anyone offering me another job. I certainly hope not. I've always tried hard to be as unskilled as possible. I would like some money for nothing though. Hotboy.  

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Blogger robmcj said...

I'll bear you in mind next time I have excess funds to get rid of.

I think I'm ahead of you terms of American Beauty work motivation. I work 2 days a week, but never 2 consecutive days so as not to risk burnout. And I take about 9 weeks holiday a year? Can you outslack that? I think not.

Mind you, I can't afford a car. And I have to manufacture all my own alcohol, which is OK since the job leaves me plenty of time for brewing, funny how everything balances out.  

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28 June 2005 at 16:47

a day for heroes

Following the unanimous reader response to the Where's Willy? puzzle I blogged a while ago, I decided to set another one anyway. So here's a music trivia question, and there's a big clue further down on this page. The question is: which 70s song, a favourite of Tony Blair, does this come from?
Rebel souls, deserters we are called,
chose a gun and threw away the sword.
It's been a day for heroes. Mostly heroines actually. And as you'll see, all of them were eff'ed over by superiors in return for their heroism.

To start with, this morning I caught an interview on the World Service with Tim Collins, who was the Gulf War commander of The Royal Irish Regiment in Iraq. His speech to his troops in Kuwait, analysed here, was breathtaking.

Anyway, in the radio interview and a similar one in print, he recounted the surprising turns in his life since that day, including shoddy behaviour by his own top brass that saw him accused of war crimes. He came across as tough, communicative and ferociously honourable, just the sort of person you'd want commanding you in battle.

Then on TV tonight there were 2 Aussie heroines.

Toni Hoffman is the inspiring Queensland nurse who blew the whistle on the lethal activities of a surgeon known in the newspapers as Dr Death, a man now accused of murder, who has since fled to the USA. For 20 years he had been struck off medical registers the world over, but then in 2001 the bureaucrats at Queensland Health Department decided to roll out the red carpet for him. When Toni Hoffman saw him killing patients almost daily and raised her concerns, the medical fraternity closed ranks and ostracised her (though privately they agreed that he was a walking disaster). Even her union warned her off, but she persisted. Now of course, thanks to a journalist who ran with the story, everyone suddenly agrees with her that his incompetence and fraud has been (allegedly) killing patients right left and centre for years. But she's still being treated like a leper, and still has a lengthy cross-examination to come, if/when he is extradited to Australia and brought to trial.

My second heroine, Di Fingleton, Queensland's Chief Magistrate, spent 6 months in jail on a charge trumped up by colleagues. The full story is a bit obscure, but she has now been vindicated. Yet neither her colleagues nor the Queensland Premier wants her back in the job.

What is it about Queensland and bastardry? Luckily, the life president of the UnHeard & McDonald Islands went to the same school as me, so I don't think I need fear repercussions if I'm ever called upon to display heroism.

If things had been different, I could have been a hero myself long ago. Perhaps

Blogger hotboy said...

Most enjoyable blog, Adolf! Tim Collins I saw on the telly. Stitched up. Don't attract attention to yourself, son. In the show was the reporter who took the speech down. Otherwise no one would have known it. Even the guy didn't really know what he was saying. Brilliant. From the heart stuff. Get rid of him!!

Bad influence in your photies looks like me. What the fung happened? Why couldn't I stay like that? Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Remember that people who have hardly seen you in 30 years will still see you like that, maybe the nearest thing you'll get to immortality.  

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at 13:39

english lessons

The teacher is Lachie Robertson, a tough but kindly ex-paratrooper.

He was our English teacher, but the only lesson I can remember was "how to perform a parachute jump". Standing on his desk, he spread out his billowing black gown to simulate a parachute, then leapt off, to land on the floor in the correct attitude, feet-together, collapsing and rolling across the floor to absorb the impact.

Then each of us had to execute a jump from the desk to see if we'd been paying attention.

At top left is Lex, who would much later be the reluctant witness of a belting I received. Top right is Colin, a dear friend still.

Once again, I'm sitting beside the teacher, just like in the happiest days. Coincidence?

Blogger hotboy said...

You look great in all these school photies, Adolf! What happened, eh? Looks like a great school as well. No one showed me how to parachute jump. Can you do that off volcanos? Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

If I hadn't got in with the wrong crowd at university, I'd now be president of the World Bank.  

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at 07:21

priorities

I'm spending too much time socialising on other people's blogs when I should be churning out the genius product here.

My marketing colleagues tells me to focus on what I do best, whatever that is.

Post a Comment

27 June 2005 at 20:46

any better?

Is this colour scheme any less nauseating than the blue/green one yesterday?

Blogger hotboy said...

I'm lost now. Is this the second template. I think I liked that better than the first. But put the comment down below. The photie of the sky is really great though. Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Now I'm lost too. Not sure I understand about putting the comment down below.

This fine-tuning is taking up valuable BrunhildeBlogging time.  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Down below .... the previous post. I'm too daft to work all this out just now. But the dog is good. What's it called? Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

hotboy. I appreciate your effort to give feedback, even if I haven't the faintest what you mean. The wee square pic is of Maddy, she's superb, a kelpie, not a foot-chewer , heel-blower or blue-heeler.

You know how people with wee children will tell you theirs is the best child ever born? Like my brother, who insisted his 2-yr-old had the intellect of a 4-yr-old. Well my dog truly is the finest dog imaginable. Often I'll spend several minutes just staring at her in wonder. robmcj  

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Post a Comment

26 June 2005 at 18:36

new template

I'm just testing a new template. I'm not sure it's an improvement on the old one, but what do you think?

It should display like this



If you notice anything that looks wrong at your end (e.g. the cloud photo should have wide blue margin around it on three sides, and even wider blue above it), it would be nice if you could leave a brief comment describing what you see, what your PC's display resolution is (e.g. 800x600, or 1024x768) and what browser you're using e.g. Internet Explorer.

Thanks.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf!
The photie of the sky looks good. I can't tell what resolutions I have on this computer, but you can find out from Blogpatrol.
The colour is yukky otherwise. It was better the way it was in my opinion, especially when it has nice photies of now older women looking younger and pleasant in the nazi uniforms! Just my opinion and I hope this has been a help. Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Okay, I get the message - save the colour for the Brunhilde photos.

Thanks for the feedback.  

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Blogger hotboy said...

That colour is better. The whole layout of the comments bit is great as well. Obviously, you know something about all this computery stuff, Adolf!Hotboy  

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25 June 2005 at 09:39

readership crash

Ever since the short-lived spike in interest in this blog, the readership has dwindled to the point where even Michi and her dog have stopped reading.

It's only the hard core readership that is bothering to read on a regular basis, and I'm very glad to have them, but even they would benefit if I had more visitors for them to interact with.

My colleagues in the Marketing Faculty inform me that if I don't constantly expand I'll perish. It seems I have to stop relying just on passing traffic and Google's enthusiasm for phrases like "Spirituality for Dummies".

It's time I went back to planting sycophantic comments on random blogs, in the hope that their writers will return the complement, that worked last time. And if that fails, I'll probably resort to telling my friends about my blog, and to hell with the consequences.

The marketers also told me to stop offshoring my best content, and bring it back in-house instead. I'll get the hang of this corporate jargon eventually, but it's a steep learning curve.

Blogger hotboy said...

If no one read my blog, I could stop doing it. I don't really understand the blogpatrol stuff. It says I've got over forty self-referrers or bookmarkers. Does this mean forty odd folk have really bookmarked my blog. I don't think so somehow! Could Blogpatrol be a scam from Blogger.com to make folk think someone other than robots are looking in. Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

I thought the arrangement was that I do the paranoid thinking around here.

Sorry I can't offer a blogpatrol opinion, my own brain is too fried right now after a spot of self-referential postmodern blogging which had me almost disappear up myself.  

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Post a Comment

24 June 2005 at 19:51

chemical ali nominated for nobel prize

In Britain, a thousand teenagers were asked to name one living scientist, and among the answers offered were Madonna, Leonardo da Vinci, and Chemical Ali.

source: Why science is falling out of fashion

Blogger hotboy said...

Stephen Hawking (?) is all I know and he's not a proper scientist, is he? I know about Leonardo since he was one of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. Do you know the other three? (Tell your age and if you were a parent around that time). Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

My colleagues in the Law Faculty have advised me to state that I have never been a parent at any time in my 39 years.

For 20 years my uncle blamed my aunt for their lack of children. Then a secretary accused him of fathering her child and sued him for maintenance, forcing him to produce a doctor's statement confirming his infertility.

Chemical Ali was Saddam's Minister Of Gassing. The others I think you know.  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Raphael, Donatello, Michaelangelo.  

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23 June 2005 at 12:15

doppler effect

I'm cheating today, this is just a link to some animations of the doppler effect. I think it's an example of pictures saying more than a lot of words.

It's probably only of interests to nerds like myself, and people with an interest in projectile motion, like shotboy

Blogger hotboy said...

The link to shotboy has the stuff about going Zeig Heil and getting suggestible. This was a method of hanky pankying with devotees at outdoor revivalist meetings in the Southern States. Depends what you're suggesting of course! Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

I'll check my blogpatrol account and see if there's been a spike here too. No time to explain the other stuff right now, Taggart episode beckons, but no harm intended, robmcj  

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Blogger robmcj said...

The shotboy thing was mainly a way of working in a link to rablissblog, not always an easy thing to do in a short blog post.  

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22 June 2005 at 07:12

news in brief

The back pain feature has been held over again, while I focus on final testing of the new blog design.

My ethical advisor has suggested I apologise for upsetting anyone, which I do unreservedly.

This blog has received 409 visitors and 670 visits or 'hits.' I hate to point this out, but this means that an overwhelming majority of visitors visit only once. But can anyone explain the marked spike in visitors on Thursday 16th?

The blog item on that day was redeployed or unemployed, which mentions Hospitality For Dummies and Spirituality for Dummies, so if that was the reason, this item should attract another visitor spike since I've just mentioned them again. This is exciting.

The competition to name the new beer is hotting up. While entries are still pouring in, the front-runners so far are:

Blues Healer - marketing colleagues tell me this will be popular with young things at the Club 18-30.

Rough Draught - this should appeal more to thirsty workers at the dolphin cannery, as well as postmodern staff at the McDonald Institute.

I can't send you a bottle over the internet, but you can still experience the essence of the new brew by casting your eye over this artwork from the label.



More artwork here

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf, I got a big spike that day as well. Spiritual-happiness.com might be the reason. Janis Sharon (or Sharon Janis) wrote Spirituality for Dummies and maybe they came from that site. Hope this helps. Hotboy
P.S. I'm still not drinking, but a good name for a beer might be
Solitary Realising Foe Destroyer. I think that's a good name of everything!
PPS Sorry your romance didn't work out!  

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Blogger robmcj said...

You're right, Janis's singing was pretty spiritual, a tragedy she died so young.

Thanks for suggesting Solitary Realising Foe Destroyer as a name, but the marketing gurus tell me it hasn't got legs, whatever that means. I'd have thought leglessness would be an advantage in a beer. We'll probably go with your Blues Healer idea.

Re the failed romance - GrannyMcj used to say: never run after a bus or a woman, take a taxi. What did she mean?  

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21 June 2005 at 13:35

icy draught

I've been scooped! For the past week I have been holding back the publishing of something that I wrote about back pain. The only reason I held it up was that it happens to contain revelations that could easily have embarrassed my friend hotboy at a time when he was trying to impress a beautiful and semi-famous violinist1.

What thanks do I get for my journalistic sensitivity? My so-called friend tipped off his writer mate about my upcoming scoop, so on Thursday, June 16th, 2005 Barry Graham posted a superficially similar item about his own back injury, sustained in 1992 when he and my friend "polished off the last of the wine, then headed out into the freezing darkness" whereupon Barry slipped on the ice and hurt his back.

He could have blogged this any time in the last 13 years, are we to believe that timing it to scoop me was just another of hotboy's "coincidences"? Is there no honour amongst bloggers? Tomorrow I'll publish and they'll be damned.

1- I even gave my friend a 6-pack of my best brew to share with the young lady.



The latest batch of home-made beer is an absolute ripper. I need to think of a name for the brew, "Pelican's Peculiar" doesn't do it justice. I had one pint last night, and began hallucinating. First I could have sworn the neighbour's dog was barking my name, then as I was falling asleep there was a battering on the window, and a scream from the living room.

I got up for a look out the window and around the house, but there was nothing there. It was just like the old days.

Blogger hotboy said...

Mayhap the sore back was not helped by the third reich. Then the series of lederhosen frauleins goosestepping hither and yon about the islands can't have helped either! Thank god for serial celibacy! Hotboy  

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18 June 2005 at 17:31

turns out I'm not a fundamentalist after all

Here's a quiz that will tell you whether you're a fundamentalist or some other -ist. There's a link below if you want to try it.

I scored highest on Cultural Creativity. Apparently I am "a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feel as if there is something greater than myself" (Cass disagrees). I am "very spiritual, even if not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational" (Hotboy disagrees).


Cultural Creative

88%

Romanticist

75%

Existentialist

75%

Materialist

56%

Postmodernist

56%

Modernist

50%

Idealist

50%

Fundamentalist

38%



Not only do I not rank as a fundamentalist, it seems I don't even score very highly on postmodernism. This will not help me gain wider acceptance for my work on Ralwin's Postulate.

Try the quiz yourself at What is Your World View?

Blogger hotboy said...

!00% idealist; 100% postmodernist (what's that?) and 88% existentialist. Night have guessed I'd be 100% of something, but I didn't know what it was. Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

If you want to impress your literary agents, you'll really need to acquire a smattering of pomo (as we academics call it) terminology. I'm able to help you out here.

An important concept is the idea of "play". In postmodernism, play means changing the framework which connects ideas, and thus allows the troping,
or turning, of a metaphor or word from one context to another, or from one frame of reference to another. I know, I don't understand it either, I copied it from here.

But here's what I do understand, and I think you'll find it relevant to your own body of work. In postmodern thought, the "text" (e.g. one of your novels) is a series of "markings" whose meaning is imputed by the reader, and not by the author (my emphasis). This means that the reader constructs or interprets the text, and there's no such thing as a good book or a good writer - the creative process takes place in the mind of the reader.

Furthermore, anything is a text, so that you get Ph.D. students writing literary analysis of e.g. the steps into the gents toilet at Kelvinbridge.

If this was true anywhere outside academia, it would mean that you can relax about your novel, forget about re-writes, since it's the reader who will be doing all the genius-work for you.

I hope this helps.  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Because the reader constructs or interprets the text, doesn't mean that there's no such thing as a good book, or text. It's a two way street. Obviously. Is postmodernism saying that people can read?
I like things that are true and not true, and maybe even not not true. How about not not not true? Hotboy
So I'm a hundred percent what?  

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Blogger hotboy said...

The postmodern folk working out that people interpret the alphabet has really opened my eyes. I think I'd like a grant to investigate further. Have you any suggestions? Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

About getting a grant. I think your card is already marked at the Scottish Arts Council, after your Australian junket. As is mine at the Science Research Council after my windsurfing research at taxpayers' expense.

If I get the gig at the college's Tourism and Hospitality Department, I may be able to swing a visiting fellowship for you. Failing that, Tourism Ralwin's colleagues may want your input.

I hope this helps.  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Is it a blue healer or not? hotboy  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Yon Michi person did the quiz. Now, that really is a coincidence. Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.  

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Blogger robmcj said...

"Blue healer" - that could be a name for my new brew, and that really is a coincidence. You seem to engender them all around you, it must be the spiritual vibrations.

And there's more coincidences: both Michi and I are rated Culturally Creative. And it was for Michi that I posted the dog photo, it seems she can't get enough of anything connected with me. robmcj.

PS veterinary note: she's not a blue heeler, she's a kelpie. The dog, not Michi.  

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17 June 2005 at 08:53

hoarding for the winter

BURIED TREASURE
Island temperatures are in free fall, last night it was 7 degrees. Even the penguins were shivering, and winter is the season when I have to keep an eye on them - last year hunger drove them to sniff out my stash of home brew. I have buried the stuff this year, so all I need worry about is hotboy finding it, he likes to dig.

Of course once the snow comes, there's a risk that I myself may have trouble finding where I buried it, but I took the precaution of marking each individual bottle on a treasure map, disguised as a Buddhist mandala here. If hotboy tries to read it, he'll fall into a blissful meditative stupor before he can even pick up the shovel.

THE YEAST I COULD DO
I have taken the electric blanket off the bed and wrapped it round the current brew. Keep the yeast comfortable and it will repay the kindness.

Sources acknowledged.

Blogger Eric said...

Are you currently living in Heard and MacDonald Islands? I had to look that up.  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Yes, Eric! For it is I, the Hotboy Madyamika. Do you hove behind the viking tendency perchance?  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Ra configuration of reality in ra patterns is enough to dement even sober people. Hotboy  

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Blogger hotboy said...

I'd like to apologise if I have ever upset anyone ever. Especially Eric. This was an honest error. Goodbye and good luck. Tepidboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Master Madyamika. Nice one, absolution catholic-buddhist-style! Do you do online confessions? I have a lot to unburden myself of, starting with my disrespect of your ecumenicism (I had to look that up). We could do it here or your place, wherever is spiritually more auspicious. robmcj. PS I think I overdid the soma last night, does it show?  

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16 June 2005 at 13:17

redeployed or unemployed

The soma's not having any effect today, the monkey's back on my shoulder after a long sabbatical. According to RaBlissBlog, it's because I ought to be spending every waking moment in meditation, but the real cause is that this week I had to go to work 2 days in a row, and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy except Mr Stuart the history teacher.

I've heard it said that if the whole world worked part-time, everyone would be happier and healthier, but it's a known fact that most people would just use the extra time to get drunk, bash their kids and widdle in phone boxes. These are the ones who should be taking up the slack left by those of us who know what to do with their time off. I know you'd like to know what I do with my time off, but there's not enough room here to tell you.

I had a further shock this afternoon. Already punch-drunk from the second successive day in my office at the McDonald Institute, I was hit with the news that next semester there are no students for my subjects. "So what?" you ask. Well, it seems we are no longer allowed to run classes without students. It's not my fault if nobody wants to learn Configuration Management any more, why should I be penalised?

What will I teach instead? I don't even know anything about what I'm teaching now. My boss has that guilty look, and it's starting to look as if I've already been redeployed to the Hospitality & Tourism section of the college, and nobody can face breaking it to me. With the surge in international visitors to the UnHeard Of Islands, it seems local students are falling over themselves to get qualifications in bar work, bed-making and running penguin safaris. I can't teach them. What do I know about tourism & hospitality? I hail from Edinburgh. I don't even like having friends over for tea.

If I'm redeployed next semester, I'll get every student to buy a copy of Hospitality For Dummies, and I'll turn the pages for them, that's work enough for what I'm getting paid.

Blogger hotboy said...

I've just had an email from the organisation run by the woman who wrote Spirituality for Dummies! It's from Spiritual-happiness.com. So this has been weird! Hotboy  

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Blogger hotboy said...

The tent is in Greece, right? Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

hotboy, I'm glad to have been an agent in your synchronistic bliss, and that all your networking with publishers is paying off at last, even if only spiritually.

Thanks for calling it a tent, I made it myself out of a bedsheet and sticks, not that it shows. Yes, it's in Crete.  

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14 June 2005 at 08:47

lifelong learning 1

'Til recently I was a health Luddite.
But now methinks I've seen the light.
- Anonymcj

One cup at a time, sweet Jesus,
that's all I'm asking from you.
Just give me the strength
to brew everyday
what I have to brew.
- Kristofferson/McJ



For 20 years I bought expensive herbal fluoride-free toothpastes, because of the possible health risk. Then my dentist told me my teeth were nearly falling out, so I made the switch to fluoride, and bingo! My teeth are a lot happier, and they have repaid me by handling wine or ice cream without pain.

For twenty years I dedicated myself to avoiding poisons. For example, I became vegetarian to avoid the antibiotics, hormones, and aggressive essences in meat. Then last weekend Cass cooked a lamb roast, immersed first for 3 days in tandoori marinade. And at last I understood why some carnivores say they'd rather die than give up meat.

But my best learning2 has been about the demon brew, and I don't mean the 174 bottles of beer that I managed to keep out of the clutches of hotboy. No, I'm talking about the drink of kings and emperors. For decades I had drunk camomile tea, and after the first 5 years I grew to enjoy it. Then last year, I spent 10 days sheltering from earthquakes and typhoons in a Tokyo hotel room with flu and back pain. With nothing on TV except Bush and Kerry on CNN, it was a $100-a-day torture. My one luxury was a daily bag of Japanese green tea. It's surprising how many cups you can wring out of a single bag. When I was finally well enough to hobble out of there and take a plane home to the islands, I kept the green tea habit going. Now the first thing I do in the morning is boil the kettle and infuse the tea.

Not only is it nice to be an addict again, I actually feel better, and have more energy. Like a typical first-time Prozac3 user telling the doctor "It makes me feel like the real me for the first time ever," on tea I feel like the old me. That's not surprising, given that from the age of about 10 I drank tea morning noon and night, like all our family. I might as well accept tea now as a natural part of my system, since my adolescent metabolism developed around a constant background level of tea in the bloodstream.

I grew up in the years B.C. (Before Coke). In young people these days, blood levels of caffeine, sugar and food colouring perform much the same role. As a result, the future citizenry is locked into lifelong purchase of coke and pepsi, to the joy of shareholders in those companies. I'm sticking with tea, the real real thing.

1 - Lifelong learning is the buzzphrase du jour in educational institutions such as the McDonald Institute and its campuses offshore and in Illinois.

2 - qv D B C Pierre

3 - Speaking of prozac, that's another 'learning' and another story.

Blogger hotboy said...

It's the tea that's giving you the sore back!! The sensei is a tea addict as well and he's got a sore back. I was in Darjeeling once. Everyone is bent double there! Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

I never thought of that. It's simple when you think about it, I suppose that's why you're a blissmaster but I'm just a flatheid.  

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12 June 2005 at 08:01

loving everybody

Cass said yesterday "there aren't many people I don't like," and I reflected how different she and I are.

One of the few people I like is Bill Howie, last seen in Sydney, who has farewelled his Spanish tormentor of 10 years, and taken up with a series of Indian princesses. He's now seeing a Serbian with a Ph.D. (ahem).

Bill is the sort of person who talks to strangers in the street, in shops, on trains, anywhere, which is probably why he has friends everywhere and is rarely without a woman. I have two and a half friends, which is still more than I can handle, at least in the real world1.

In blogland however, I need all the friends I can get. The blog of my cave-dwelling friend at RaBlissBlog, who dislikes company even more than I do, gets more than twice as many hits as mine. It doesn't seem fair, and I've decided to do something about it. I'll be giving this blog a corporate face-lift before mounting a recruitment drive. You wait and see.


1 - But I happen to have the best woman in the world, for me at any rate, and I 'm not just saying that in case she reads this blog.

Blogger hotboy said...

If you told folk the McDonald Islands was where the hamburger trees grew, lots of ignorant supersized bloggers from Tennessee might blog by. Hotboy
p.s. I stuck my blog into blog directories as advised by Brian Wilson. Not one person who gets ra bliss has contacted me!!!  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Does the best woman in the world have a nazi uniform by any chance? Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

good idea, except that I'd then have the corporate lawyers on my case. I'm already negotiating a settlement with the people from the Open Text software corporation, and now I'll have Graham's Tennessee lawyers after me for publishing your libel. Thanks a lot.  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Maybe advertising the blog in cross-dressing magazines might help. Also, flyposting "cross dressing nazi memorabilia blog" on bus stops might be good! Hotboy  

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Blogger hotboy said...

I was thinking of going out to bars dressed as a woman, but it wouldn't be much fun since I'd be too shy to talk to anyone. Bill Howie is one lucky crossdresser. Gift of the gab! Do you think if I dressed really tarty, it wouldn't matter that I'm shy? Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Don't worry, THEY would talk to YOU. Haven't you watched any episodes of Little Britain? But I do recommend that you lose the beard first unless you're looking for a job in the circus. Hope this helps.

PS thanks for the tips on blog promotion, I'll acknowledge you in the adverts.  

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10 June 2005 at 13:09

angel of the 80s

Angie, the angel of my 1980s, spent 5 years with me, longer than anyone else had ever been able to stand.

When we met, she was a windsurfing nurse living in London, and I was a postgrad student in Glasgow. Whenever possible I would wangle a university travel grant for research (windsurfing) in England, and we would drive to Ronnie Scott's in her 2CV.

The following year, I succeeded in coaxing Angie up to Scotland to live. She was crestfallen when the palm trees that I'd promised her turned out to be a few stunted specimens at the southerly tip of Arran, but by then there was no going back. The poor woman never recovered from the disappointment - she had envisaged something more balmy, like our first trip to the UnHeard Of and McDonald Islands.



After a year together in Scotland, we decided to call it a day. But then just a week before our planned drive to Heathrow for her plane to a new life in Sydney, I got the Big F'ing C and checked into hospital, but that's another story. Angie cashed in her air ticket, bless her. We stayed together for another 4 years, spending the odd evening at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre, where the next photo was taken.



There are more pictures of Angie in London soon after we met, and four years later in Greece. And there's another shot of Angie with Seb against the buddha wall.

Blogger hotboy said...

I met her once. I might have met her twice. Was she big and strong? Pretending you were dying just before she went away ... and that turning up at the other one's wedding. Is there a pattern developing here? I think not. Do you have any photies of her in a nazi uniform? Hotboy.  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Good point. But could you share your expert karmic opinion on the buddhist angle?  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Hmmm?
She looked big and strong and could have carried you around when you're old and feeble. Karmically neutral, but basically you blew it again if you want to know my worthless opinion. Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

Over the years I have indeed developed a certain expertise in blowing it. Thanks for pointing it out.  

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Post a Comment

at 10:41

ritual

Dear hotboy! I am glad to hear you have ditched the tedious Thomas Merton book to free up more time for enjoying the view here on my island.

You asked for input on Catholics turning into Buddhists. I have known perhaps a dozen lapsed catholics in my life, and what many of them have in common is a desire to seek out and then practise some substitute ritual. I can't blame them, as the Catholic church, like the British Royal Family, does ritual so very well, and I did enjoy Diana's funeral.

Some of the substitutes that I have seen my friends take up: various communes; a new-age Christian church; FWBO; political activism; living one's entire life according do a political dogma of choice; feminism; misogyny; men's groups; not forgetting bliss-chasing.

Mind you, I have seen just as many non-catholics do the same thing, and I myself benefit from the twice-yearly bottling ritual here on the islands, so maybe you should forget my theory.

But people do enjoy rituals, and why not?

For Westerners, the word "ritual" has almost no positive meanings or connotations, whereas for people a thousand years ago (or even two-hundred-and-fifty years ago) performance of ritual was very positive, even necessary. Call it religious magic or spiritual technology, rituals can bring an individual, a community, or maybe the whole world into harmony and balance.

I hope this helps. robmcj.

PS - Hotboy, I am not suggesting your own BlissWork is on the same level as living by Marxism or Amway. I'd be trying the Bliss myself if I wasn't so busy reading and writing blogs. And as you said, when I'm hit by a bus I'll have nothing to fall back on except my photos of the Glasgow Buddhist Centre, which I will shortly be posting here in my blog.

(Some text stolen from http://www.intrex.net/chzg/zenfaq.htm)

Blogger hotboy said...

How wise! Unfortunately, whilst chasing ra bliss I have also been chasing ra piss. Catholics and non-catholics are eligible for this alternative occupation. Hotboy
p.s It is a shame that the only bliss chaser is me. This might make me a solitary realising foe destroyer, as they say. Also, "superior being" of course. I'm not too happy with being a superior being somehow. Just as long as I'm not a flatheid!  

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Post a Comment

09 June 2005 at 13:41

ralwin's postulate

Several readers of this blog have asked for more information about the work of Nobis Ralwin, the German semiotician who died earlier this year. In its simplest form, Ralwin's Postulate maintains that we construct a model of ourselves and place it within the model of the world.

Some key Ralwinian themes (and an intellectual joke):

  • Philosophers have been wrestling with the problem of "the meaning of meaning" for ages, but Ralwin's contribution to the discussion is his view of the "sense of self" in terms of sociobiosemiotics. Almost as an aside, Ralwin also formulates a significant extension of Bayesian Probability Theorem.


  • Most people know that the Bayesian Probability Theorem links all sensory data and all world-model content. Each piece of sensory information implies a state of the world because, and only because, the reception of that piece of sensory information is predicted by the hypothesis that the world is in that state, and not predicted by other hypotheses. If we see a red ball, we believe that a red ball is there because we don't expect to see a red ball unless a red ball is there, and we do expect to see a red ball if a red ball is there. Ralwin extends this theorem to encompass sensory information about one's internal model of the world and one's place within it.


  • It is very likely that human intelligence derives not from the need to outwit tigers, but the need to outwit other humans. This is illustrated by a famous joke. Two evolutionary biologists were running frantically from a large, hungry lion. Gasping, the first one said: "This is hopeless. We can't possibly outrun a lion." The second one said: "I don't have to outrun the lion. I just have to outrun you."


  • Intelligence has an evolutionary advantage because it enables us to model, predict, and manipulate reality. This includes not only Joe Caveman inventing the bow and arrow, but Chris Tribal-Chief outwitting his political rivals and Sandy Spear-Maker realizing that the reason her spears keep breaking is that she's being too impatient while making them. That is, the "reality" we model includes not just things, but other humans and our own model of the self.


  • This kind of chain of reasoning is important, because it ends with a conclusion about how the world (including the internal world) works, or about how the world can be altered. When designing a bicycle, the hypothesis "a round object can traverse ground without bumping" is a statement about the external world. The hypotheses "it'd be a good idea to think about round objects", or "the key problem is to figure out how to interface with the ground", or even "I feel like designing a bicycle", are statements about the internal world.


Sadly, what would have been Ralwin's definitive work in this area, "Models Of Self Disclosure" was unfinished at the time of his death, but his collaborators at the McDonald Institute and elsewhere are continuing his work.

Blogger hotboy said...

How does Ralwin deal with Brian Wilson? Is he really there or do I just think he's there. Also, is it happening the way I think it's happening, or it is just happening that way to me? If I've got who I am wrong, can I have anything right? Hotboy.  

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Blogger robmcj said...

If Ralwin was still here I suppose he'd explain it to us.  

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Post a Comment

07 June 2005 at 21:07

second thoughts

An open letter to hotboy.

Regarding your surprise visit, my dear friend, I am sorry to sound inhospitable, but the doctors who advise me here have suggested we don't meet while you're on the island.

It turns out that I daren't risk a recurrence of the nightmares that accompanied the stalking behaviour of our mutual friend. And then there is the matter of your own recent unpredictable behaviour in matters herbal and ale-related.

I have to consider my career, which is at a turning point now that my work on Ralwin's Postulate is receiving favourable critical attention.

Rest assured that I will follow your progress in the cave with interest through the now-customary binoculars, and I can be relied on to stump up for your bail if that becomes necessary - who could ask for more than that?

Sincerely, robmcj.

PS I have taken the precaution of moving and re-burying the whole stash again, all 174 bottles, and it hasn't helped my dodgy back, but it was the very least I could do for an old friend.

PPS If Irvine Welsh is still with you, could you maybe get me his autograph? I've heard his books are quite funny. Thanks.

Blogger hotboy said...

Can I see you anywhere with my telescope? Hotboy  

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Blogger The Living Saint said...

All yous boys with telescopes - they can mak ye gang blind, ya ken.

TLS  

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Blogger robmcj said...

hotboy. sorry, no, but I can arrange a delivery of blankets and beer substitute one day while you're out. robmcj.  

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Post a Comment

at 10:33

on this date ..

.. in 1924, the U.S. SupremeCourt upheld the act of Congress that forbade the prescription of beer for medicinal purposes. After 80 years of progress, marijuana has gone the same way.

Post a Comment

06 June 2005 at 09:00

guru to visit these islands!

Who says the UnHeard of Islands don't have world-class facilities? Only last month, construction began on the Club 18-30 at the end of the bay.

And now my dear old friend and would-be spiritual adviser for 30 years, hotboy, is planning a visit to the islands to scout for a location for his new ashram. After 20 years of ascetic practice, a recent chance encounter with 6 pints of BlissPiss led him to this spur-of-the-moment decision.



My Dear Hotboy. What great news! I will of course greet you at the jetty with a magnum of Pelican's Peculiar, but I would urge you to meditate on the wisdom of your intended visit, bearing in mind the fate that befell the last acolyte you sent to these shores. Either it was the yellow-and-whites, or the ancient indigenous UnHeardian curse.

Festina lente, robmcj.

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04 June 2005 at 08:48

a semblance of cool


I had never given this photo of my father, taken at the beach in Germany around 1960, a second thought until I saw it again yesterday and realised - it's a man on his holidays at the seaside, but dressed immaculately in starched shirt and tie, and white socks. Why would he do that, when everyone else was in beachwear?


Then I recalled times, like in the picture below, when I have struck a similar pose or dress style. At a formal function, I was sitting by myself, trying hard not to show my true feelings about the situation - I didn't know most of the other people there, I was nervous and wishing I could be anywhere else. A man came up to me, took my photo, and said something like "you must be the coolest man in the room, how do you do it?" And he was serious.



I think that must have been the first time I had an insight into my own powers of deception, and perhaps the value of a good tailor.


When in doubt, fake an aloof nonchalance - it must have been my father's strategy too. There he was, spending 2 weeks at a German beach to please his wife and kids, surrounded by foreigners and magazines he couldn't understand, when he would much rather have been golfing at home in Scotland. He was doing his best to hide how pissed-off and isolated he really was. I know how he felt.

Blogger Alison Main said...

Dear Rob,

I hope your paper at Blogtalk Downunder went well. Perhaps you could post more details of the 'Ralwin postulate'?

Alison  

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Blogger robmcj said...

alison, good idea, the world may now indeed be ready for Ralwin's radical ideas. In summarising the key points, I shall hope to do justice to his memory, by applying the humility that I have learned from the sensei at flatheidbliss.  

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Post a Comment

01 June 2005 at 09:00

help her help herself

Recently, it was mothers' day here, and of course the shops used it to promote their gear by labelling it "a great gift idea for mum".



I think these ads cover the full range of gender equality attitudes in the UnHeard of & McDonald Islands. Help mum make the tea or build a house.

Blogger hotboy said...

Is the electronic stud finder some kind of marital aid? Hotboy  

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