Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Mad driving and sleep deprivation

Yesterday, Alan the accountant was at the golf driving range for the first time.

I watched as he placed his tee and ball on the green mat, holding them together in one gloved hand. Just like a pro.

He lined up his club to the ball, wiggled his hips, two short fake stabs, a long back-swing then whoosh-wack!

The ball left his club vertically, ricocheted off the roof, clanged into his bucket spilling the fifty or so balls it held. He ducked and took a step back onto the rolling avalanche. His feet whipped out and he hit the golf-ball strewn ground flat on his back. I missed the actual impact as I involuntarily flinched and closed my eyes for a millisecond. But the sound and groan were unmistakable: it hurt.

His three wood landed a second or so after he did. Seemingly attracted by things spherical, the heavy club caught him squarely in the testicles. He groaned again.

It’s a true measure of my maturity that I fell about laughing before checking to see if he was alright.

He was. Is.

Nothing broken other than his resolve to be the next Arnold Palmer.

He may, Lord help us, breed again.

Every so often, during the rest of yesterday, I’d think back, especially to the point where Alan hung in the air for a split second before hitting the ground and being assaulted by his own club. Each time I did I’d chuckle. Later that evening I started to laugh, slightly hysterically, at the vision until my stomach hurt.

But guess what: I slept like a baby last night for the first time in ages.

Laughter really is the best medicine.

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Monday, 25 April 2011

Flap soar grrr

The crows play when there’s a strong breeze from the West.

A few dozen stand in the field sheltered from the wind by a four foot high hedge.

One crow jumps straight up aided by a quick flap, fully opens its wings and is caught by the Westerly and sent soaring in a great loop up and backwards and down again. As it approaches the ground it glides forwards, protected once more by the hawthorn barrier, and lands close to where it initially jumped, completing a great circle.

Another crow does the same.Then another. Sometimes one at a time, sometimes in pairs, the crows play with the wind.

Why? They make no attempt to get over the hedge - they’re simply having fun.

Makes a pleasant change from pecking at road-kill or teasing my dog, I suppose.

And this made me wonder: what did dinosaurs do for fun?

Which in turn made me think: I really need more sleep. The petty-death has eluded me for several nights. I’ve tried warm milk, vigorous exercise, counting sheep, moderate amounts of alcohol, reading, writing (mostly drivel) and hot baths. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Wasp figures and hot bras

Borrowed from
With the lawn growing higher than the dog, I decided to get a bigger dog. Then she gave me one of those looks, so I relented and mowed the damn grass.

Half way through this mow-fest I’d turned into Sweaty Tomato Man. The sun and unaccustomed exercise had conspired to make my skin glow like a tramp’s brazier(*), and the mower’s electric chord - which I swear is alive - was driving me to use language unheard since my days as a merchant seaman.

Cue the attractive female neighbour bearing gifts.

Turns out she’d spotted me and my mower going through our Ultimate Fighting routine and decided to reward me for an earlier act of kindness - I’d used my male cunning and engineering prowess to figure out the exact hole in her car down which to pour the windscreen washer fluid.

I accepted her lemonade and chocolate chip cookies and we sat and sipped and chewed and chatted awhile.

The conversation turned to bumble bees and, as we talked, a wasp landed on my bare leg. “Not to worry,” I said. “It will only sting me if I make a sudden move.”

You guessed it. The little shit stung me.

I hate Mondays.


* - a tramp, for our American chums, is a bum or vagrant. Brazier is a container for fire, usually an oil drum sporting strategically hammered holes, and not a misspelling of tramp’s brassier - an altogether different kind of fire hazard.

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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Reviewlette: Tom Holt's Blonde Bombshell

I’ve been away from home that past couple of weeks or so.

Working twenty-hour days.

Submerged in technology.

Rare Internet visits via the library during rarer lunch breaks.

I’ve had one book with me: Tom Holt’s Blonde Bombshell, which I read in my hotel room as often as I could.

This is what the book is about:
The Ostar, bright, doggy aliens are being driven mad by noise pollution from Earth. They decide, quite reasonably, to blow the Earth to bits. To this end they build an advanced bomb then launch it towards Earth. It fails. So, they build a better bomb. What follows is a comedy of errors involving an alcoholic human, a couple of misplaced Ostar, several dead octopi, entities of pure electronic text, AI love and, of course, a unicorn.

It’s funny. LOL in places. (Now LOL is in the O.E.D. why not?)

A very entertaining read with messages about the absurdity of war and the nature of consciousness without taking itself too seriously.

I found it an ideal companion and de-stressing tool.

Please read it. Let me know what you think.

Buy one of my ebooks.
If any make the Kindle top 100 list I’ll donate $500 to First Book

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Thursday, 7 April 2011

The awkward turtle

Borrowed from
Some time ago I learnt about the awkward turtle. It’s a hand sign made during an embarrassed silence.

I found it useful in the pub one night: five of us stood in a circle by the bar, sipping beer and generally talking rot. Our ranks were breached by Natalie, a chatty, attractive brunette known for her penchant for gargantuan circular steel earrings.

“Hide me,” she said, clutching the front of my shirt, adding, “Sorry,” when my less-than-manly eek made her realise she’d grabbed a handful of chest hair.

Pausing for no more than a second - it was obvious whoever she was dodging was hot on her heels - she broke from our circle, disappearing among the twinset and pearl brigade.

Colin, a carrot-topped kitchen supplies salesman from Stockton, eased in and expanded our circle.

“I reckon I’m in with that Natalie,” he said, taking a swig from his white wine spritzer.

The rest of our group, acting as one, took a sip of beer then studied the fading paisley carpet.

I placed my glass on the bar then made the sign of the awkward turtle.

“Oh shit,” said Colin. “Really?”

“Afraid so,” I said, placing a sympathetic hand on Colin’s shoulder.

So there you have it. The awkward turtle, a great communications tool. Also, according to the Internet - so it must be true - the awkward turtle is the American sign language gesture for platypus.

Can you think of any other useful hand signals? Except that one .. and that one .. and definitely not that one.

Buy one of my ebooks.
If any make the Kindle top 100 list I'll donate $500 to First Book

THE ARDLY EFFECT - humorous scfi

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Friday, 1 April 2011

Everything explained

Stolen From
In a deterministic universe we’re not even afforded the position of passengers. We’re made to do and feel, observe and think, only what laws of causality allow. I must write, or stop writing. I have no choice. So I wont - didn’t, can’t - choose.

Our lives, in a completely deterministic universe, are pointless. We’re dominoes, falling one after another - our lives a cascade of reaction to what went before.

But then who says there has to be a point?

And who or what nudged the first domino?

Our concept of first is, of course, wrapped up in the concept of time.

And time is … well, firstly, let the universe and all its particles exist in every state in which it can possibly exist. All at once.

In one or more of these states your brain would be there complete with memories, itches, thoughts, feelings and so on. Reading this.

That is all. No time required.

Just one mystery remains: where did the universe and all its particles come from?

The answer is simple .. wait, telephone, brb ...

THE ARDLY EFFECT - humorous scfi

WHIMSY 6 - six flash fiction (very short) scifi stories

NURSE BECKY GETS SHOT - thriller / crime caper