On composing

At seven, Gamma is still too young to drink absinthe, so I sat beside her at the piano and drank it while she composed. “What is that? How can you drink that? Get that out of my sight,” she said.
“The notes have to add up to four,” I said.
I pointed at the time signature. “4/4 time.”
Composition tip: you can’t go wrong with black keys. Much non-Western music is based on the pentatonic scale. Her teacher gave her a half-finished piece, and her assignment was to write the second half of the song, black keys only.
So she doodled around on the piano for half an hour, writing stuff down and then trying it out. She ended it with two whole notes, which I thought was a cool idea.

Secret Santa guided meditation

Wandering around blindly in the cold at lunch your hands are freezing and the coat you’re wearing is two inches shorter than your suit coat underneath making you feel like a dork, suddenly there it is, the phrase Secret Santa. What does it mean? Is Life throwing you a bone, an idea for a twisted little story?
Is it pointing you towards an interesting blog that you find when you google the phrase?
But it’s also pointing you towards your own inner Secret Santa; the being who knows what you really want.
Do you want to meet him? The idea strikes you as funny at first, whimsical, or dopey, as dopey as the phrase. Until you recall where Santa comes from: that old Nordic guy who lives in the ice.

Jesus, google it yourself, I can’t be arsed. I’m not supposed to be reading this week.

Secret Santa was just the trigger, the phrase it took to get you thinking about him. He has no name.
Close your eyes. It’s cold and you’ve been traveling a long time to see him. Do you even want to? Would you rather turn around?
He knows you.
What’s he look like to you? Gandalf? That guardian of the bridge in Monty Python and the Holy Grail only scarier? A biker? He stands there in the storm and you can go no further until you deal with him.
He knows what you don’t.
That’s the gift in his bag.
In German, Gift means poison
It will cost you everything.

Continue reading

Oh, right.

Just remembered what it was I wanted to say when I logged on. Synchronicity and stuff.

You know how life sometimes sends you what you’re looking for or asking for?
I was complaining recently about a dearth in my life of, among other things, romance and adventure. In a week or so, my wife and I will be driving a harp to France, taking the Alpine route through Austria, Switzerland and France. For those of you in the Southern hemisphere, it’s winter here right now. Adventure factors: Alps, winter, Doblo. Romance factors: harp, France, wife.
And I was thinking that I need a better home PC among other things, and the tech guy today told me about a used one he knew about, cheap. Not sure if I want it, but it’s very likely.

    Just for the record, here are a few more things I need, life: sex, Macallan’s single malt, a filling in that molar where the old one fell out, sex, a nice cello, a new suit, some clothes, a bookcase, a stereo, sex, literary mentors and muses, a laptop, a fat win in the lottery, a literary agent, sex, and a new shower head. Among other things.


Horst is happy.

I’m still not reading, I just went to the Aardvark to see if my internet connection was working.

Naked lady tie

Is that a new tie, dad?
No, it’s, it was at the back of the closet and I was looking around and found it just now and thought I’d wear it.
How do you tie a knot like that?
I’ll show you sometime. (Just not right now because I notice it’s my naked lady tie a co-worker got me in Italy, I guess, because it says “100% ACETATO” on a little label the back, and when you fold it open there she is, full-color on a white ACETATO lining, kneeling under a tree in a field somewhere. The naked lady, not my co-worker).


I bought a USB memory stick for Beta and one for myself. Impulse purchase, it was there on the counter at the stationery store, next to the candybars. Only 64 MB but cheap, so I got two. Mine works well on the office PC, which runs XP. Can’t get the fuckers to run on our home PC, though, which still has Windows 98. None of the drivers I download from the company’s website work.

So anyway. I’m moving everything from the diskettes I carry around in my pockets to this little USB stick. Mostly manuscripts of some sort. At least I can tinker with them at work. Only on my lunch break of course.

Eventually I’m going to archive all the files on the home PC on CDs and do something rash. Reinstall the operating system, or something newer. I fear the PC itself is too old for XP.

Anyway, one of these diskettes, the next to last one, has no label, just an X written on it in gold marker. It crashes my work PC whenever I insert it. I tried it ten times just to make sure. Yep, appears to be something to do with this diskette. Don’t even have time to do a virus scan of it or anything. Just, insert that’s it. Not even a blue screen.

Whatever. Technology mystifies me. It’s still a big deal for me when I go into the kitchen in the morning, open the dishwasher and presto, the dishes are all clean! And I distinctly remember loading them the night before, dirty!

I’m on a fast, you see.

It’s part of this thing I’m doing that I oughtn’t talk about to get my creativity flowing. One of my tasks this week: don’t read. Don’t watch TV. Since I don’t have a TV, I’m not listening to the radio neither and not monkeying around on the Internet.

So if you don’t see me in your referrer stats this week, it’s nothing personal. I don’t even re-read what I’m writing here.

Not reading is harder than I thought. I don’t know how many times I caught myself with an International Herald Tribune in my hand this morning.

The eyeball weasel

Tell us a wild story, dad.
I’m tired.
My dad tells the best wild stories of anyone,
she tells her friend.
Okay, Gamma. What would you like to hear? A scary story?

A friend of Gamma’s was sleeping over Saturday night. I told them the story of the eyeball weasel. Maybe your mother told you this one when you were little. My version went like this: when I was your age and my parents got tired of me and sent me to the boarding school…

Kids went blind, eyeballs eaten out of their heads at night. Put to work on stationary bicycles, generating electricity for the boarding school, cause, you know, what else can they do when they’re blind?

Turns out the headmistress’s pet is an eyeball weasel, living in the walls and coming out at night to eat the eyes of children who are not sleeping as they should be. I catch it in a bag, stun it.

Is the weasel still alive?

In a zoo somewhere. Best thing against eyeball weasels is simply to keep your eyes shut at night. Also: oranges. Oranges repel them like garlic vampires.

Gamma’s friend loved the story. Gamma couldn’t get to sleep until she placed an orange over each eye and slept like that.

Sunday, I had to tell her the story of how I taught Mary the Berry Fairy to ride the bicycle to make up for it.