The Return Of The Paper Product

Do you work in a paperless office? A paperless workshop? A paperless house?

I do. Every blessed time I sit down in the toilet and turn to the roll-holder…it is paperless. I have asked for the culprit to come forward so that they may be chastised with the empty tube, but so far no-one has spoken up.

I should welcome a paperless post box out the front of the property… where advertisers did not place their garish pamphlets in the slot at the expense of genuine mail. Of course this is just a fantasy on my part, as paper advertising is a fixed feature of suburbia.

My bank, however, thinks that sending me an electronic signal telling me that another electronic signal is ready to read is the way to go. Then I can print it out on my own paper and show up at their counter to give them money. They are inconsistent – I offered to pay the Mastercard bill for the month with money that I printed myself on the inkjet and they went all cold and stern. I think bank people are all of a type. I am currently taking my revenge by not using the Mastercard and saving my money in my back pocket  – it is a strange feeling of power. Lumpy, but exhilarating.

I am also cozened by the utility companies to stop receiving paper bills and go onto a system that allows them to dip my bank account whenever they feel like it. This is normally the sort of offer that you get from strange Indian people on the telephone – I’m not entirely convinced that giving either of them my credit card numbers is a good idea. They may not agree to help me boycott the bank and it might all turn very petty and vindictive. I have offered to send home-made money to India but they are not as resilient a people as you might think. $ 14 bills make them nervous.

I do welcome the idea of paperless packaging, though. With our new council plans for collecting the rubbish on the years that Halley’s Comet returns, I can see the bin getting fuller than before. Of course some paper will compost down to become sludge and filth, and one cannot have too much good sludge in your life. In the long intervals between GOT seasons it proves mental stimulation.

Note: I am not against direct deposit per se…as long as they leave some paper on the roll.





The Right Wrong Right Side Of The Road

Which side of the road do you drive on where you live? if you’re in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaya, Siam, South India, North India, East North India, South Africa, Rhodesia, and Japan, you drive on the left hand side of the road. If you are elsewhere you drive on the right.

The chief need, whether on left or right, is to do it well. With dignity. With foresight. With accuracy. All concepts that I am desperate to introduce to the residents of our street.

We are a mixed lot here in Dreyer Way, and generally benefit from it. All races, all nationalities, all ages. We do not hold wild parties and we keep our lawns mowed. We do not break into each other’s houses. We pick up litter after bin night. But we also do not know how to park in the street to save our lives. If we do not learn, some of us will risk losing them.

The convention in Western Australia – at one time enforced by the police – was that you had to park your car as close to the curb as practicable. It had to be in a place that did not obstruct other road users or the driveways and pathways that served the street. The car had to be parked on the left of the street. This seems to have changed.

On days that see tradesmen working in the street – house repairers or lawn mowing men, etc. there is no problem – they follow the old rules and you can navigate around them as you go along. They are never loud or unruly and do not speed in the street. They may be different when they get out on the open highway, but at least they are exemplary here. The residents, however, have taken to parking every which way on both sides of the street – even when their own driveways are unoccupied. Their travelling guests follow suit, and often will stop opposite a car that is properly parked on the left hand side. This narrows the street’s passageway to door-wrenching size.

Please note that our house is base to four cars – Two big ones, one medium-sized sporter, and my little Suzuki. We park on our own drive and lawn and do not encumber the rest of the way.

The bottleneck is next door, and I am starting to think that there might have to be some creative thinking to solve it. I do not want to make enemies of the neighbours but I also do not want be barricaded into my yard. It might be too much to hope that a Sherman tank with a mine plow will come down the street and shove the Mazdas aside, but I may have to resort to driving over the next door’s council nature strip to bypass their visitor’s bus. Perhaps the council garbage truck will loosen their doors a little at about 5:00 AM. I’ll listen out…

Note: Apparently they also drive on the left side of the road in England, North England, West England, and Even Further West England. I’m glad they have followed our lead.

The Mobile Phone As An Aid To Backstabbers Guild Activities

Up until the advent of the small mobile phone, recording embarrassing conversations for later use by the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia was a complex task. Tape recorders – at first the reel-to-reel style and later the cassette type – were employed to gather marketable admissions and defamatory statements but it meant that you had to set things up quite a bit in advance.

Cafe and bar meetings were pretty much out, as the necessary collusion with the owners of the premises was an expensive thing to purchase. And you had to be there hours beforehand to set up microphones and a recording room. It was a bit easier if you could lure your victim to a prepared apartment, but it still meant having an operative sitting there with headphones on listening to all that went on. Some of the BGA monitors were fine, but some got sloppy about it all. Worst of all were the ones who got allergies – it was impossible to do any serious blackmail in spring as they would sneeze at the worst possible moment.

All that has changed with the mobile phone. It need not be the latest iPhone 8 or any other sophisticated device – they all have a voice recorder in them. You just scroll though the menu, choose the appropriate app and press the red record button. The microphone gain is somewhat automatic and there is enough battery in there to go for hours. And generally it does not make any noise as it works – vital if it is concealed inside a pillow or under the bed.

There have been a number of challenges put forward as to the legal use of information gathered by these means – some sort of footling sentiment about warning the person that they were being recorded. This, of course, is nothing but naive humour to the BGA. We do not record anything for training purposes…unless you count pushing people onto the rails on the Mandurah line as training them. We record to despoil, dismay, and damage, and I am proud to say that the Guild does a workmanlike job whenever we bend our minds to it. If we decide that we are going to make you pay for your sins, you will pay the correct market price and we are professional enough to issue a receipt.

Note: Current mobile phone technology is not really effective in providing full stereophonic or wrap-around sound recording from the small devices. If you are aiming for a theatre-filling experience you still need to book our professional crew. It will all depend upon the depth of your wallet and your sense of malice.

The Question Of Dinner

The only questions I intend to countenance about dinner are ” When is it? ” and ” What’re we having? “. Any other attempt at advice or consent will be repelled.

This may seem a little sharp and dictatorial – well, cooks are like that. There is a little Gordon Ramsay in all of us. And it is no new thing in the family – I was raised in a household where there were two options upon the menu; take it or leave it. If I was loud or truculent at mealtime the first option was withdrawn. I am not stupid – I learned quickly – and I am eager to teach others.

Another dinner question sometimes arises: ” Now who can that be? “. The telephone, the iPad, or the doorbell is who it can be… The answer in all three cases during a meal should be : ” It does not matter “. I despair of ever curing the subcontinental scam artists from ringing at tea-time, but I am going to try to let relatives know that we keep regular meal times and hope to do so undisturbed. I think the trick will be to find out when they eat and regularly phone them in return. A few dinners congealed on their plates should get the message across. Either that or a cutout on the line between 6:00 and 7:00.

I know people who have especial diets – occasioned by religious faith, ethical choice, or medical reasons. I would never ask them to feed contrary to their own best interests – were I to entertain them I would attend assiduously to their needs. Likewise, if they were the hosts I should essay anything they put on my plate – presuming it to be intended for my own good.

Outside, of this, however, I brook no interference with the food choices. I adhere to Mark Twain’s dictum: ” Part of the secret to success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ” He also advised people not to follow his advice, saying that his diet would assassinate them. I have no ambitions to murder people with a saucepan, but equally I have no desire to subsist on gruel. While I have hands, I will wield my own fork, thank you.

I am fortunate in that I passed my early life being hungry and having that hunger dealt with by both good cooks and terrible cooks. I was given clear examples of poor choice, bad flavour, and miserable preparation…and then of good food, good cooking, and comfortable surroundings. I am no culinary expert, but I know which experiences I liked.

If you will excuse me, the potatoes have caught alight and it may be time to serve them.



Reforming The World

A number of my friends would like to reform the world. They wish others would think, vote, spend, and behave in a way that seems correct…to them.

This has become evident in conversation and in reading the things that they have written. In some cases they have undertaken concrete action to try to initiate changes, but I do not know if there has been much success…time will tell.

I have few such ambitions – my desires for fundamental world-wide changes sort of peak at hoping people will not park too closely in shopping centres or leave chip wrappers on my lawn. This may seem sad or pathetic, but it at least has the advantage of providing daily reward – when my car doors are undented I sleep in peace.

My ability to affect Theresa May, Kim Jong Il, Donald Trump, or even Justin Trudeau is equal to my ability to juggle dugongs. I hesitate to even consider the mechanics of the thing. Any anxiety on my part about what they do remains untreated and untreatable. I could as easily alter the second law of thermodynamics.

So…what do I do when I want to do a bit of reforming…a bit of activism…a bit of righteousness? I turn to the nearest sinner and grasp them firmly by the conscience and turn on the guilt lamp – turn it up high until they start to sweat and twitch and gibber. Then I compel them to tell me all their misdeeds and browbeat them until they are a nervous jelly. By the time I am finished they have surrendered their entire psyche to me and are ready to be moulded anew. I demand – they obey. It is like training animals in a circus – a flea circus.

Of course I need hardly tell you that the nearest sinner to me is…me. It is a very efficient process – I know my peccadilloes intimately and can go right to the heart of the dirty little matters. No good pretending to me that I wasn’t there – I know where I was and I can prove it. If there is any argument I give myself a quick cuff round the ear and yell at me. It works every time.

And the great thing about it is…I never learn. I’ll be doing things that are worth sneering at for years to come. I can be as domineering to me as I want to and there is nothing I can do to stop me.

I’m Going To Tell You Again…

Like I told you before.

And ain’t I a fool for doin’ it? If you took no blessed notice of me last time, what on earth makes me think that you are going pay attention now?

What? The tyre iron. I just had it in my hand. It was the closest heavy object I could pick up. And they took away my boarding pike when the neighbours complained. I miss that pike.

So let’s start over. I am the person who owns the house – the householder. Even if I do not hold the house all the time, I am allowed to fondle it some of the time. And when I do I want it to be a clean and neat house. Uncluttered. Not hung round with spare newspapers and pizza advertisements. No offers to sell it or buy it. No flyers promoting mulch or religion. No chemist’s fridge magnets. No council elections letters. Nothing.

You see, I only have so much space in my recycle bin, and the council is going to reduce the number of times per year they empty it, and if you and your commercial friends fill it up with advertising paper, there will be no room for the household paper. Then I will be forced to use either Plan A or Plan B.

Plan A is to bring all of the extra paper that you force on me back to your premises and dump it in your reception area. As I cannot visit all the firms that inundate me., I will have to select one firm a week to receive all of the rest of the paper. One week it will be you…

Plan B? Ah, we come to the tyre iron. You may feel it better to pick that pizza pamphlet back up out of the letter box and pedal off. Bon Voyage.

The Creepy Clown Phenomenon

A recent remake of a horror movie has also repeated a strange cultural phenomenon – the amateur creepy clown menacing the local suburbs.

We’ve seen internet posts threatening various areas of the city, followed by defiance from the residents and officially stern warnings from the police that this sort of activity is going to get the teenagers who do it into trouble. This is all to be expected – it is the foolish response to a commercial promotion and the official reaction to it. Predictable.

The Guild takes no stance on this – neither do I personally. While I think it is just one of those things – like presidential elections – that is beneath contempt, I do retain at least small interest in watching and waiting for the inevitable.

Perth has a number of outer-metropolitan suburbs that are still semi-rural. Many of the properties in them are owned by small-plot users, and some of the small plots are used for fruit-growing, wine making, and other activities. The people who own them and engage in these lucrative activities are varied…but many of them have a European migrant background – Italy, Greece, the Balkans, Poland…etc. Lovely decent people who like to live their lives undisturbed by officialdom or by private troublemakers. They often strike me as people who value their privacy, and who are prepared to take vigorous action to preserve it.

I would hesitate to use the term Moustache Pete as it may be a little pejorative. Moustache Piotr or Moustache Petros likewise. But you get my drift.

Could it be possible that some wisenheimer teenager will put on a creepy clown mask and hide along the roadside in one of our outer suburbs. Might they pop out and try to terrify these citizens as they go along the street?

Can you say ” double barreled 12 gauge Boito hammer gun  “? Can you say it in Italian, Greek, or Serbo-Croatian? The sound it makes is remarkably similar in all three languages…

Best to just go back to your video games, children.