How Many For Dinner?

A simple question, but there is room for pain and suffering between every word.

a. ” Don’t know “. Shall I cook for four or one? Because it does make a difference in the amount of ingredients committed to the pan.

b. ” I’ll be working late”. Well that means you’ll either be eating late or elsewhere or not at all. Shall I cook a soup that can set or a quiche that will not?

c. “I’ll let you know “. If I am going to cook something slow, complex, or hazardous, tell me early in the piece. If you wait until 5:30 for 6:00 you will be getting scrambled eggs on toast. If you tell me at 6:00 neither the eggs nor the toast will be cooked…

d. ” We were going out but we changed our mind “. Oh good. Let me do the mathematics of dividing a two-person dinner, perfectly cooked, into a four-person snack.

e. ” I brought people home “. Good – you divide your guests into the ones who are to be eaten and the ones who get to eat. Let me know and I’ll stoke the oven.

f. ” I decided that I am not hungry “. The leftover pot grows fatter.

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The Reminder

As readers of this column may have gathered, I was given a timely reminder last month regarding the human condition. A mistaken operation led to an opportunistic infection and a hospital stay. There has been home time accompanied by medication, pain, and boredom.

There has also been attention from a governmental agency that suggests any real need that one may have will probably not be met. The agencies will churn and burn, but the chief product will be salaries for their employees and reports for their bosses. The patients they are tasked to help will get better or not, independent of any real help.

If you are laid up you miss going out, doing things, or participating in life. It rankles. There is only so much that you can do on a screen, even if you are an inveterate scribbler like myself. Eventually you long to take out the garbage and get a haircut – it may not sound like conquering Everest, but it is…

This week I started driving again. Slowly and carefully, but that is how I roll anyway. The little round of the shops, barber, and bank were a positive pleasure – so much so that I was courteous to the pests in the shopping mall who wanted to bail me up for promotions. That’s how much I have changed.

I daresay I’ll get blasé about it again in a few weeks, but right now I am appreciating life pretty well.

Never Fire With No Target Sense

A long time ago before I was as discrete and wise as I am now…cough, cough, cough…I owned a brand-new muzzle loading rifled musket. It was a beauty, capable of throwing a one-ounce minie ball some 1200 yards. It was a man-killer of the British Army in the 1850’s and was certainly capable of doing it in 1988. The local police were willing to licence it to me, probably not realising what it could do.

Well, I shot it at the local rifle range for months, getting pretty good at short distances. Then I took it to a friend’s farm…legally, as it was on an open license. My friend and I proposed to fire it at a small tree on the farm to see if we could cut it in half with the heavy bullets. After an hour of firing, we succeeded, and then packed it in and sat around smugly.

It was only on my return journey toward the city that I saw the lay of the land and realised that all the bullets that had not impacted in the unfortunate tree had passed whistling over a main road that skirted the property. A main interstate highway…

It is said that heaven protects fools and drunks and I was cold sober all day. Guess which category I belonged in. I learned instantly never to fire with no purpose.

Works the same here in the writing game – if I slope off and just blast away without watching to see where the bullets will land, I am sure to do massive harm. Thus I keep a cooling-off shelf for new articles that allows me to reconsider them before pushing the ” publish ” button. You’ll have missed out on some corkers in the last few years here in the column, but then the overshoot could have been tragic.

Yoot

Passing the week in an armchair is not as delightful as you may think – particularly if the sitting down portion is interrupted with getting up and being in pain. And very much if all the things you want to do are somewhere else in the town or in the house…and you’re sitting there in that damned armchair.

Well, it’s getting better, and more mobility is coming…but for the time being the iPad and a clip-on keyboard is the only game in town. And I have just discovered YouTube. Don’t laugh – for a Luddite this is a big thing. And it has been a blessing.

I follow scale modelling videos – this week has been a good chance to review airbrushing tutorials from a famous British presenter, and since he is fielding questions from all oer the world regarding this art, many of the things I’ve worried about have been dealt with. I am also encouraged to see that he has made as many mistakes as I have …so far…and has figured out how to recover from them.

Other presenters are prehaps not as professional as Mr. Flory, particularly if English is not their first language, but every so often they will have a gem of an idea and lay it out in front of you modestly. Every day has been profitable in new ideas. And I suspect that this sort of pattern may be repeated in lots of other fields and topics.

One thought, though…the introductory sequences and titles can sometimes be reminiscent of Hollywood Extra Efflux. Perhaps a little lighter on the gunshots and violent animation. At least one doesn’t have to sit through layers and layers of studios, holding companies, and corporate facades before the main feature. And watching at home, the snacks are cheaper.

If you can hobble about well enough to get to the fridge…

She’ll Be Right, Mate.

Lying on your back in a hospital bed…as opposed to sitting upright and lieing unashamedly…makes for a good opportunity to review the basics of life. I have been promised that I can go home tomorrow and that it will be as a walking case. Limping, is rather a more accurate adjective, but at this stage of the game I am not going to quibble over words.

Two legs. One sore but working, one comfortable and working. All will get better and eventually I shall be walking to the bus stop again, working in my Little Workshop, and driving my Little Car. I am delighted with the prospect.

Like General Douglas Macarthur said after surviving a Moro attack as a young lieutenant: ” Anything I got after that was velvet. “. I will henceforth never have to walk. I’ll get to walk…

A Gentle Thank-You

a. To people who read my weblog columns and get the humour. And laugh.

b. To people who read the columns and do not get them and then grumble. This gives me an opportunity for laughter.

c. To people who still talk to me.

d. To people who have cut me dead.

e. To people who read my material in hopes that I will get better at writing. If it is any consolation to you, I hope I will get better as well. If there was a spell-Check for thoughts I might have a chance.

f. To the people who make Facebook as crassly stupid as it is. They do not raise any faith in mankind, but they let me feel superior to something. Not quite as good as canned chili but better than a suggested post.

g. To people who do not tailgate me at dusk when I am in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. May your tyres always maintain pressure and your seatbelt never pinch.

h. To people who keep appointments.

i. To people who help me with technical enquiries – but only if they are right.

j. To people who speak loudly enough to be heard and slowly enough to be understood.

k. To people who do not bring takeaway containers of coffee out and sip while we are in conversation.

l. To waiters and waitresses who do not hover. If I want another beer I’ll call for it; if I want a helicopter I’ll call Sikorski.

m. To book store owners who put good things on remainders tables at low prices.

Watching Championship Stupid From The Sidelines

We all see foolish things done and exhibited on crass television shows. We see them on Facebook and YouTube. But nothing beats seeing them fresh, live, and right in front of you.

I don’t mean the car crashes and people hitting light poles – these are accidents of our modern life. I also exclude criminal behaviour and its consequences – also a feature of modern life, but one that can stay well away from me. I am thinking of the modest little instances of stupidity that pop up from time to time and make us grin.

Yesterday I visited our downtown area to do a job, and when it was completed I repaired to a bookstore and then to a rooftop bar for a bit of reading and refreshment. It was delightful, until the last inch of beer in the glass. Then tow families of bogans invaded the bar with their 5 squalling children – obviously hungry, overtired, and at the end of a school vacation. The bartender looked like the hatch of hell had opened at his feet; I hastily downed that last inch and dived for the door, pursued by rising screams.

There is a provision in Western Australian liquor laws for children to be on licensed premises under direct adult control for ” reasonable refreshment” but up two flights of stairs onto a city rooftop bar seems to stretch the case somewhat. I can only hope that the children got espresso martinis and red cordial and that the train back home was delayed between stations…