Oh unbounded joy! A day of meetings packed full and overflowing with banality. A room full of dactylographic managers, a blank script, and what seemed like an infinite length of time in which each victim strutted his sanitised project status on the managing director's stage.
Then home. Peaceful quiet home. Home where two otherwise rational people were still simmering after an exothermic reaction in a shopping centre.
Eating, ironing, exercise, forums... done. It's 12:40 now. Time for grumpy to sleep.

I'm not listening

It's interesting to look at the way people react in on-line arguments. I saw one recently where person1 made some sweeping generalisations and backed them up with a few facts and a number of opinions. Several other persons responded, refuting much of what person1 said. Person1 replied, trying to tell them how they were blinded - telling them what their mind-set was and why it was biased - again making gross generalisations. The argument continued. Person1 then posts, lamenting the fact that people always take specific words from what he/she writes and use them to refute his/her arguments.
I've seen person1 get involved in a couple of on-line arguments. Each time it is usually a one vs. many, and each time person1 ends up getting upset. The rules for person1's argument style seem to be:
Rule1: assume you are right about every part of your post
Rule2: assume that a contradiction of any part of your post is an attack on the whole
Rule3: assume that readers knew what you really meant
Rule4: assume they only picked on specific words in your post because they couldn't refute what you really meant
Rule5: assume you understand their background and their lack of real experience
Rule6: never change - when you are right all along there is no need.
I find it saddening to see someone with obvious skills and experience locked into such an interaction style.

The company I work for just released a new inspirational motivational tagline to reassert the company identity and unify our thinking. *shudder* It probably seemed like a good idea at the top.
Hmmm... we have a couple of million in the corporate cookie jar. We could spend it on new facilities - to ease the overcrowded work areas and bring the facilities up to current health and safety standards. We could spend it on staff development and training - to better equip our people to understand and manage a high-tech business. No, we'll spend it on corporate image consultants and sending glossy booklets to every employee to tell them the importance of who we are. We'll cut down trees to disseminate information that could have been more effectively delivered through our company's intranet. How will our employees know how much we value this new corporate identity initiative if we don't waste buckets of our profit on it?
Oh yes, we must emphasise that there is only one logo allowed and only one tagline that may be used. There is only one narrow path to company salvation, the One True Way. The logo symbol and the company name must never be separated. "One Company! One Identity! One Logo!" shouts the brochure with a religious fervour only matched by a fundamentalist suicide squad. "Be proud of our brand. Live it, enjoy it, protect it." intones the last page as it continues to prod us with its mnemonic trident.
I feel so inspired it hurts.

Mother's Day

Mother's Day (MD). The militant merchants are in the dying throes of their web-based MD sensual assault. I find some amusement in the way some companies have been "smart" enough to realise that they don't have to think about MD advertising. Hey guys, just convert all our regular adverts by adding "for Mum" on every item. I'm sorry, but this just doesn't work for me. Here's why:

"Sexy lingerie for Mum"

Just no.
I could handle seeing "power tools for mum", even though I struggle to visualise my own mother using any. I can cope with "laptop for mum", but it does seem that MD is being elevated to staggeringly commercial heights when one has to spend several thousand dollars to tell mum she is special. I just do not want to think about buying alluring lingerie for my mother.

The MD gift that we bought yesterday did its work in the early hours of the morning. It kneaded and warmed a pumpkin bread dough, then cooked it for us. This morning we had fresh bread, if a little doughy. It shouldn't take long to perfect our bread-making skills. It may take a while to build up a resistance to the early-morning temptation of freshly-baked bread.

It's an early night for me tonight. I was up till 3am this morning finishing off my warped, cheesy MD poem, then up again around 8am. I'll be in bed before midnight tonight.

The Mother's Day Card

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Will I buy a card? It's always a pain selecting a card for my mother. There are two extremes - "pretty" cards that are so sweet that I shudder when I look at them, and "funny" cards that usually insult either the giver or receiver.
I'll make my own card. I'll thumb my nose at the mass-produced plastic wishes industry. I'll express my own warped humour. Well, I'll try.
First let's find the worst possible Helen Steiner-Rice Mother's Day glurge on the web.

So Mothers are a 'special race'
God sent to earth to take His place,
And MOTHER is a lovely name
That even SAINTS are proud to claim.

from Mother Is A Word Called Love by Helen Steiner-Rice

It just oozes, doesn't it?
With this as inspiration, I started writing. Here's what happened.

A mum's day card is always nice
with words by Helen Steiner-Rice
and pictures of a perfect rose -
but you're not wanting one of those
'cause Steiner-Rice is sickly sweet.
It's straight and boring, incomplete
without a touch of wicked glee.
Lets face it mum, that's just not me.

So let's dispense with those simplistic
greeting cards with unrealistic
words of highest, purest love.
For when, you see, push comes to shove
I celebrate this Mother's Day
by writing silly rhymes to say:
"Of all the many things you've done
the best, I guess, is raise a son."

Package it up on a web-page (small enough to be viewed on dad's 640*480 screen). Add flower photos for the first page, and a good friend's photomanipulation of me as the devil at the end. Voila!

Blog Day

As you can see, I've started blogging today. I included the past few days so that there is at least some reading material for anyone who sees this.
I borrowed a library book on Comedy Writing (Jenny Roche) last night. Good reading so far. It is based on the premise that humorous writing can be taught to people who are not comedians, and that analysis of comedy can help one more reliably produce "funnies". From the first few chapters I see it has a high emphasis on responsibility and avoiding misuse of humour.
I borrowed a couple of other books as well: Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card and Axiomatic (a collection of short stories) by Greg Egan.
I finished reading "I, Lucifer" (Glen Duncan) last night. It was a very good read all the way through. To me it fell just a little flat at the end. The richness of descriptions is astounding. His distracted and parenthetical style just occasionally goes so far over the top that the main thread of story gets lost.
The sheep poem got some very favorable responses and got a mention in EK news. :) Long live the sheepies.

To Sheep

A silly poem I wrote about the fruit-sheep emoticons in EK.

To Sheep, Perchance to Dream

The day is done. My work is not,
but now my concentration's shot.
I seek the comfort of my cot -
the brain-death of my bed.

As I approach that ebon keep
befuddled by my lack of sleep
my puzzled ears are hearing sheep
from somewhere up ahead.

This keep, I know, does not exist
save in my dreams, yet in this mist
ahead my eyes and ears insist
here lies a house of dread.

Out from the keep: a groaning grind
of rusting hinges - sounds designed
to make my fragile guts unwind
and valour's armour shed.

The drawbridge drops (just like my jaw)
and spews perversions by the score.
'But how,' I ask, 'through what strange lore
were these foul fruit-sheep bred?'

Shenanas, vibrant, firm and long
lead forth the vanguard of the throng,
then Shoranges, their colour strong,
and Cheepies flaring red.

The Shrapes and Sherries surge on out
to swell the flock. They raise a shout
to their fell leader, I've no doubt,
'Evilo Overfed!'

Observing my incontinent pool
Evilosheep, the drab, the cruel,
bleats, slavering with bile and drool,
'You'll wish that you were dead!'

I pinch myself - can't break the dream.
My breath is short - my pulse extreme.
My rasped ovinophobic scream
falls in the fog like lead.

As mutant mutton troops advance
I contemplate the grim romance
that with the Shreaper I may dance,
my final thoughts unsaid.

A rapid beeping soon declares
that I had slumbered unawares.
I find my PC's keyboard squares
imprinted on my head.


I posted the updated New Babysitter on PFFA last night. The metre is a bit slow. My iambic pentameter was chosen originally to contrast the 4 syllable kid-verses. Once I removed the contrasting voice, the pentameter sounds stilted.
The New Babysitter

Oh gawd, tonight's the night I sit that brat
at Thompsons' place, while they dine at the Ritz.
They parlez vous in high-brow tête-à-tête
while I face hell armed only with my wits.

Sue was their sitter but she couldn't cope
with hearing 'Timmy's such a fragile boy
who'd never misbehave.' She said 'you'll see
how Satan's spawn can humble and destroy.'

I'll dare this evening's horror 'cause I need
the cash so badly. I would totally freak
if I missed out on going to that gig.
The Nick Cave tickets go on sale next week.

'There's not a lot to babysitting, Kate.
Particularly once the children go to bed.
Just sit and watch TV or read a book
or take your homework, dear.' That's what mum said.

But what if something happens, something bad?
Like what if Tim goes ape-shit - A.D.D. -
or has a zipper accident that bleeds
and blames his future failures all on me?

Oh please! Let him be fed before they go
so I don't have to watch that little guts,
or risk some awful cock-up like poor Sue
who didn't know scorched almonds contained nuts.

'Come in! Come in! I'm so glad you could come
at such short notice,' Mrs. Thompson gushed.
'Here Tim, meet Kate. I'm sure you'll get on fine.
Excuse us, Kate dear, we're a trifle rushed.'

Hey Tim, I'm sure we'll be the best of friends.
I see your mum left us a meal to eat.
Hot chicken bites and sausages with sauce
will be delicious ('cept I don't eat meat).

I tell you what - let's make a little bet
'cause even though this meal looks mighty fine,
you win this dollar I've put by my plate
if you can eat both your share and all mine.

Amazing Tim! You won that bet with ease.
Now let's clear off these plates (before I gag).
It's not quite time for you to go to sleep
so wait a tick, let's see what's in my bag.

I'm sure your mum's stiletto heels were loose
before we started jumping on balloons.
Just hide them down the bottom of the pile
beside the ancient stack of dad's cartoons.

We've burst them all and now it's time to clear
away the bits so mum and dad won't see
the mess we made both dressed up in their clothes.
We'll keep that secret - just for you and me.

Now if you watch with me you must sit still
and not be scared. I know what vampires drink
but this one's good. You like him, Tim? Yeah, he's
my hero too (though not quite how you'd think).

It's quiet here. Tim's tucked in for the night.
The Thompson's fridge is full and their T1
connection is a bonus. I can chat
and brag that I get paid for having fun.

I'm working on this poem as part of a community project on EK. The writers in EK are to select a picture from the Atelier and write about it (after seeking the artist's permission). The artists in EK are to illustrate a work from the Library (after seeking permission). I have till the end of May to complete it. I guess I could take the advice posted on PFFA to trim it down a bit, but it will take a fair bit of work.


Question: Consider the culpability of a doctor in a HIV/patient confidentiality case. A couple went to a doctor together to be tested for aids. The doctor gave individual reports to each patient, but didn't share the report results with the other member of the couple. The aids result was positive for the guy. The guy lied to his prospective spouse and claimed that his results were negative. The marriage proceeded and the woman was then infected. Is the doctor culpable?
Which is more important - patient confidentiality or duty of care? Under what circumstances can a doctor breach confidentiality?
Is it right to sue a well-financed doctor because he could have acted, instead of taking action against a person who has deliberately and maliciously concealed life threatening information?


I don't remember dreams very often. Either I don't dream very much or I forget them.
I had a strange dream a couple of nights ago. It was strange because it ended with a chase where I had no problems avoiding being caught - no stumbling or tripping, no lack of energy, and no fear of the pursuer. It was only a short dream as I remember it. There was a house. From the later chase I recognise its location as that of a house I grew up in.
A fellow EK member was in the house with some other people. He had a collar and chain, like a dog. I had to avoid him, but that was easy. I just had to keep out of the limits imposed by his chain. When he tried to bite me (and for some reason this evoked no fear) I just had to step far enough away and he was brought up short by his chain.
There was another person in the house and I think he was a guy who works in a different department at my work - a person I have spoken with in the past but do not keep a close working relationship. When the EK guy couldn't get to me, I heard the work colleague saying "not a problem - I'll be able to keep within a few paces of him" (referring to me) "and I'll catch him". On hearing this, I trotted off out to the street. I was being chased but not closely. I headed down the street and was most of the way round the block - pausing every now and then to allow my pursuer the chance to get back within visible range.
End of Dream.
I think I understand why the guy from work appeared in my dream. In that same department, another guy I know has just had a heart attack. Why there was an EK member in there as well I have no idea.

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