The Poems of a Ridiculous Man – 7th August 2021

So here’s the last of my Dostoevsky cool quotes for now, this time from the fantastic The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. Despite being quite dark and moody I feel like my poems came out a little more on the positive side – perhaps a reflection on how I was feeling when I wrote the poems compared with when I was inspired by the quotes as I was reading the story.

Acknowledgement to Husker Du and Rob Crow/Heavy Vegetable for some relevant phrases and ideas and, as before, the poems borrow heavily from the text.

Searching for a picture for this post also lead me to finding this hand painted animation of the story.

Ah, it’s so hard to be the only one to know the truth! But they won’t understand it. No, they won’t.

No Truth

Only I know the truth
They sure won’t understand
I carry this burden
It is just as I planned
Truth is in the saying
The truth will set you free
But I will never share
The truth is just for me

Maybe it was the result of the conviction that dawned upon me quite independently of my will that nothing made any difference in this world.

Conviction

I tried and tried and tried and tried
To make a difference before I died
Close to the end a sudden dawning
Independently and without warning
Your time is pointless, meaning, none
A pinprick in millions more to come
So make the best and start believing
Despite the sentence we’re all receiving

…eternally dear to the hearts of her most ungrateful children.

Realm

This earthly realm
Where it all starts
Never ending, eternally
Dear to the hearts
….of her most ungrateful children

We can truly love only with suffering and through suffering. We don’t know how to love otherwise; we don’t know any other love. I want to suffer so that I may love.

Love and Suffering

I wanted it all, wanted it so badly
Staring out of misted windows like a fool
To love this love is to suffer it gladly
Our twisted hearts make us look so cruel
This love, true love, it knows no other way
Crushed and broken hearts not spoken thereof
Life lived without it, not for another day
I must, I want to suffer so that I may love

My hatred for the people of our earth had always contained a feeling of despair – why couldn’t I hate them without loving them?

World of Masochism

My hatred for the people of our earth
Has always contained a feeling of despair
Why couldn’t I hate them without loving them?
Why did I have to care?
Some days I’m just in KEN Mode
A rage of pure hate and seething
Other days I wish for utopia
A paradise full of our dreaming
Which way will it go today?
Which side of the bed did I wake?
Every thought is masochism
No matter which path I take

They grew to appreciate the beauty of untruth…the germ of the lie penetrated their hearts, and they took a fancy to it.

A Good Lie

Sometimes a lie is like a lover
A beauty to be believed
The untruth penetrates the heart
Willingly deceived

…they experienced suffering, and came to love it; they declared that suffering was the only way to Truth. Then science spread among them.

To Suffer

He felt he’d suffered enough
So the Buddhist jumped from the roof
Science says ‘he’s dead’
He thought it the way to truth

Each became so jealous of his individuality that he had to do his best to belittle and humble the individuality of others….

Tall Poppy

You’ve reached the greatest height
Like it’s some crowning achievement
Society brings you down to earth
Where everyone is in agreement

Voluntary slavery in which the weak submitted to the strong of their own free will, if only in order to gain their support to oppress those who were even weaker than themselves.

Shit Trickles Down

Submit to the strong by your own free will
Eat the shit until you’ve had your fill
So you may enslave those below you
Pass on the shit your master throw you
The human centipede, a fitting analogy
A voluntary agreement to this economy
A vicious circle made of 7 billion pieces
The pyramid scheme of human faeces

We’re striving for the same things; we’re all, from the sage to the worst criminal, making our way toward the same objective. Only we’re trying to get there by different roads.

Different Roads

You take the high, I’ll take the low
It’s the same whichever way you go
You take the low, I’ll take the high
Arriving together, just in time to die

Let’s say paradise will never come about! I know myself it won’t – yet I’ll still go on preaching.

Right Turn

Never stop believing
Counter negative traits
Never stop the search
Paradise awaits
It will never come
In your lifetime’s fight
You know what is right
Be doing what is right

Afterword:

Man’s desires are not reasonable and often make him act against his own interest and common sense, but they are what makes him human.

Contradictions

I am respectable, yet not reasonable
My flaws are the things that make me
My desires maybe contradictions
This human interest will not break me

Twenty years ago, saw a friend walking by and I stopped him on the street to ask him how it went – 16th February 2020

There’s a vast difference between the habit of getting by, and the habit of getting better.

This switch from the old way was easy of course, because in the meantime I’d become an adult—I’m running a far more capable system, I just hadn’t thought to update the software.

– Raptitude newsletter

As I sit writing this at lunch time, I am surrounded by 40 children in the classroom, running back and forth, banging tables, experimenting with musical instruments, attempting homework or chewing on sugary candies. Each shouting over each other to be heard, some making fun, some making fists, some making affections. Some dance, some pull faces, some expressing themselves quietly in their own minds before releasing a new found energy burst that no one cares to notice.

Why can’t I practice this now? Where did my time go? Why does the weight of responsibility bear down on me now? Why do we grow up and what does it mean?

There’s a balance to be found somewhere within your own personal timeline. Do not close the mind off, do not become the old fogey that doesn’t understand the kids today and complains that the music isn’t what it used to be. You’ve had your turn, so what are you going to do now?

You need to upgrade your software. The hardware will continue to fail at a more rapid rate and software is the only way to deal with this problem. Otherwise you will become redundant and end up dusty on a garage shelf, waiting for recycling one day.

Forever entropy

I got by for a long time. Instead of doing proper software upgrades, I tinkered randomly and blindly with the code. I put them off for as long as possible in a vain effort to maintain an ideal of youth. But youth is clumsy, ugly, grasping for meaning in a darkened room, grasping for skin in a passion of tears.

The light at the end of the tunnel ever approaches – we know one day we will see the light. Let’s get better – this is no time to be getting by.

……and all he did was cry
I looked him in the face, but I couldn’t see past his eyes
Asked him what the problem was, he says “Here is your disguise”

Gratitude Journal

I’m so happy and grateful that I am still alive today. Many of us didn’t make it this far.

It keeps us away from who we should be loving – 30th January 2020

“How much more time, energy, and pure brainpower would you have available if you drastically cut your media consumption? How much more rested and present would you feel if you were no longer excited and outraged by every scandal, breaking story, and potential crisis (many of which never come to pass anyway)?” Excerpt From “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday

This is something I’ve been conscious of for about ten years, since first reading an article about how ‘the news’ is not something that is good for us. In my lifetime the news and its delivery has changed considerably. Someone who read newspapers or watched BBC 2 news analysis shows was deemed to be knowledgeable and worldly.

These days news is everywhere and very little of it is actually news. A couple of decades ago Jello Biafra urged us to ‘become the media’ and technology has now allowed us that opportunity but we, as humans, have subverted this idea to push along our personal agendas.

So, I turned off the news, anywhere it could be found. If there’s something I really need to know I will find out about it. 99.9% of everything else has no real consequence in my life. That gives me a lot of free time to appreciate all the good things in life. It brings me closer to those I should be loving.

Another fantastic slow news day!

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for the sunrise each morning. With the temple as a pointer on the mountain, I can see how ancient man used this to measure time.

I love it, I hate it, I love it, so how about you? – 9th January 2020

I am a masochist. I am completing a test.

I’m sitting here in a hot classroom with about thirty 10 and 11 year-olds dancing, screaming, shouting, crying, punching, singing, banging doors and hanging out windows. And this is on a good day.

But it is a good day. I am in the zone. I can hear and see the cacophony whirling around me, can feel the rush of air as little ghosts dash past. But I don’t notice it. Is this what a meditative state is like? I don’t know (yet).

I sat and listened to a meditation the other night. It had some special name and special components; it was interesting but made me very anxious. After relaxing into a quieter state you had to imagine yourself climbing a steep hill and huffing deeply, gasping for air. OK, I can imagine that. But this went on for what felt like 5 minutes. Huff huff. I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t getting too much air, or too little. Huff huff. I felt dizzy. Huff huff. Nauseous. Huff huff. Anxious. Huff huff. Muscles wound tight, I tensed my stomach, itched my arms and kicked my legs. Fuck this.

Of course, I understand the purpose and I’ll check this again – maybe in a morning, before I’ve had any coffee. The feeling of reaching the top of a mountain after extreme exertion will always have a relaxing satisfaction. It’s a long journey. Next time.

I’m jealous of those who enjoy the benefits of meditation and it’s not that I don’t think I can do it. I fill my time with many things and meditation hasn’t found it’s way onto that list quite yet. Well, it is on the list, but never ticked.

Recently I have been able to tick a lot of things though and I’m quite proud of that. Everything around is about a challenge at the moment. A challenge of change. I’ve pondered if I’m having my mid life crisis now. I think I had a minor one when I was about thirty but on reflection it doesn’t seem like it was that critical. I want to get that long story written down one day, perhaps just so I can still remember it or enjoy it again when I’m going senile. Who knows when that will be.

If I can tick off some little challenges and form some good habits out of them I think they will prepare me for the bigger challenges that may be ahead. The unexpected challenges, the ones that you don’t realise are messing with your head and your happiness. I’m looking for better reactions and outcomes as I know I am sometimes my own worst enemy. I want to change.

I’m in a place right now that I consider a little precarious.

Moving from Australia to Thailand didn’t feel like much of a big deal and I have been particularly happy since making this move. No longer being in such a financial struggle has allowed lots of spare time to read, listen to music, write and learn more about myself. I have never needed to be surrounded by lots of people to maintain happiness and now I am far away from those that I have made friends with around the world. So, no big deal, I can make new friends here in Thailand.

But here’s the rub. I’m very conscious of some of the nefarious reasons that people come to live in Thailand, and how many Thais can exploit that. I didn’t come here to get sidetracked with other people’s ridiciulous dramas. That rules out getting involved with the more visible of the English speakers where I am. Those people make themselves known.

I understand the comfort those people find drinking, gossiping and fornicating together. In a different time I would’ve happily joined in. I don’t want to judge them too harshly. I just don’t want to be around them.

Now, myself not being the most outgoing person in the world, I am struggling a little bit because I would at least like the opportunity to make connections with more people. Not superficial acquaintances but connections like I have made in the past.

I can now look back at the feelings my ex from Japan had as she found it difficult to maintain friendships in Australia with her fellow countrymen as the nature of migration is most often temporary (not made easier by some countries inhospitable attitudes towards migrants).

Now I find myself with similar feelings.

I am attempting to connect as much as I can digitally and I am mostly happy in my little kingdom at home but outside those gates is starting to become a little scary and precarious. I feel like the rug could be pulled away at any time without any hope of control.

I started to think more about this because I set myself a challenge to talk to a stranger every day. That’s when I realised that I am the stranger now. Whilst I can communicate with a Thai person on a superficial level it can rarely go deeper, rarely connect.

Otherwise I rarely see any other foreigners where there is an opportunity to talk but now it is in my mind. I tell the students here that they should run up to any foreigner they see and just start talking. Now, I have to tell myself to do that. It may be nothing…. No, it will never be nothing – there will always be something gathered from that challenge.

A friend may not be made; a connection may be forged; but a lesson will always be learned.

Now, I really should get back to studying some Thai.

Can you tell me
What it is?
Does it hurt you
When I do this?

I love it, I hate it, I love it, I hate it too
I love it, I hate it, I love it, so how about you?

Can you tell me?
‘Cause I don’t know
Why don’t you tell me
Why is it so
Confusing?

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that I can think through things better than I could before. Even though I haven’t been severely tested yet, every little piece of learning is helping to prepare me for any difficult situations in the future.

New day rising – 29th December 2019

This morning I am filled with a quiet happiness. Determined to get up early on a Sunday and to do something, whether it be a walk, a meditation, writing or studying, I rolled out of bed, fed the cats and opted to walk to my favourite local coffee shop, Utopia.

As I prepared food for the cats a light rain appeared. Unusual for this time of year but accurately predicted by our weather apps for once. Undeterred, I set out. The temperature still cool but the minimal exertion keeping me warmed I chose to listen to a reading of a Chekhov short story. The relative quiet around made for clear listening to the beautiful words of the story as I walked through small fields of wet grass and aspiring mud. Was I still in Thailand or transported to that Armenian village?

Before I knew it I had arrived at the shop but it was too early and as I waited on the porch I listened to a primer on Nietzsche and then an imagined conversation between Fred and Jane Austen where, despite their differences they arrived at a philosophical agreement and appreciation for each others works. Inspired by this I contemplated how everyone is different but we must be able to find some common ground.

The Nietzsche primer mentioned his text’s difficult reading but also highlighted his humour. Something which I had not been previously aware of. Friends have told me they preferred to read works about Nietzsche rather than his own. I will try this approach sometime. Sometime when I can add those books to my ever growing library.

The shop opened and I lazily drank through 3 coffees which produced a wonderful buzzing awareness of all the subtleties around me. Soon an acquaintance of Amy’s arrived, a Thai lady who runs her own English school. As this was our first meeting we talked about our shared experiences with teaching here in Chiang Rai.

Coffee and conversation

I lead the conversation for a while before realising it was time to let her speak and so I asked questions about her school and so the conversation flowed. I set myself a small challenge to try to talk to a stranger every day and thought to myself that I can cross this off today’s challenge list and it’s not even 10am.

Later though, as I was walking home, the rain a little heavier than before, I realised that I had failed in another of my personal challenges. Inspired by a Tim Ferriss article I read this week I have challenged myself to not complain about anything for 21 days. To remind myself about this challenge I have started wearing a bracelet, the purpose being that every time you complain you have to swap the bracelet to the other wrist. I have made this doubly difficult for myself by choosing a bracelet that is awkward to attach to oneself with one hand.

As the bracelet effect kicked in I thought back to the conversation in the coffee shop and asked myself if I had been complaining. Despite my mind’s protestations and justifications I sadly realised I had, indeed, been complaining. Perhaps only mildly but there is a fine line between stating the facts as they are and infusing a negative into the narrative.

In fact, the hardest part of this challenge is actually recognising that you are complaining. So long as it pushes to the forefront of my mind more and more it will help me become more aware of my own words and to try to understand how someone might feel whilst listening to me.

The walk home was still wonderous as I contemplated all this and listened to the description of beautiful Masha and the joy and sadness the narrator felt. This description was thought provoking as I also was feeling so happy with life, despite the fact I was getting cold and wet in the rain. The walk crowned by the view of the feathery grass that spikes alongside our driveway, suddenly weighed down by the heavy drops of water, pointing towards the path home.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to be inquisitive. To want to constantly learn and understand myself. This morning I listened to a primer on Nietzsche which was interesting as an introduction because I don’t know enough about his philosophy. I then listened to an imagined conversation between Nietzsche and Jane Austen where there two apparent so different writers end up agreeing on many things. I walked to Utopia this morning too. A nice gentle walk and have me chance to listen to these articles.

Yield to the right of way, stopping at a four-way sign, someone else’s rules, not mine – 18th December 2019

I’ve started talking to my phone. I thought it might be a good way to get ideas out more quickly. It’s quite difficult though. The action of talking seems to interrupt my thought processes and I feel like I’m performing thinking and trying to keep things linear. Of course, as soon as I put the phone away I had two thoughts that I believed I could use for writing and now have forgotten. Well, luckily one just popped back into my head but it’s likely I’ll forget it again by the time I finish this paragraph.

I’m sure I can make use of the speech to text on the phone – it just needs practice and more habitual use. I probably need to just push out the thought for fleshing out later rather than trying to run with it at the time. It’s an interesting exercise though it feels weird having a one way conversation into the phone. I see quite a lot of other people sending audio messages but I’ve never been comfortable enough to do that. Same with instructions for devices, like using Siri or Bixby etc. It makes sense to make use of that functionality but feels dumb talking to your TV or whatever.

Here’s the stream of consciousness spew I came up with:

Last night I had a dream and I was in the school and was complaining with a tie teacher about the activity we had to do actually we just stand around doing nothing no one told us what to do this is quite common having quite a lot in my classes in my schools and I knew that I was going to have to do something similar today and now here I am standing here but nothing to do just babysitting children despite this so nicely I’m having a lot of fun at least it’s something different not sitting in the classroom I actually I was looking forward to sitting in the classroom and reading and stuff but now we’re outside and kids just pretty much playing some games actually quite fun but sunny 11 could I go in till 4 so he nice
Sara Bareilles camp Camp I would just basically in the area looks like a note template or something behind the school in the fields with lots of trees randleman is nice and shady and cool kids are scared to go to the toilets because they think of this ghosts around very difficult I’m feeling great 5-10 year olds stool I guess you believe in ghosts maybe anyway it’s a really nice walk at the back of the school what do you call a housing estate the back and then can you record any more Minnesota twins in the first time I’ve been talkin into the funds I trying to record my thoughts but the actual process of speaking seems to be interrupting the source and feel like I’m trying to write a narrative rather than just letting thoughts come freely you not go all over the placeas I’m walking back to the sky suddenly going quite white hiding the the trees in the mountains in the distance and I can rice fields here smouldering away I’ve been burned off cat simulator with to sleep the sky is full of on the way down to the ground I can smell it now the smell reminds me of when I was a kid in it’s stopped little grass flies hedges no edges of them and banquets and places like that one time one got out of control and we had to run away we could see the fire which city smoke from the fire when we got home it seems like it was a long way away but you know it wasn’t so the relative sizes of different when you were a kid conrado Munoz nowholy smoke is pretty good actually I think I’m going to get my 10,000 steps done today that I’m think I’m going to drive back afterwards little bit hot after working in the Sun as I shake where I am this program is funny the conversion from speech to text isn’t quite as fantastic cuz I’m the Mack this is just on the phone Android phone remember to watch out for snakes where I amit’s very very quiet where I am at the moment I can see houses and buildings and stuff but I know it’s just a few crickets as birds fluttering around in the grass lawn grasses nice to know that this is he just being us like houses along the main road and then behind the house it’s just nothing

I think I could make sense of most of this but there’s only really two thoughts contained within.

I was trying to describe that, as a 6 or 7 year old, myself and the other kids on my street (for some reason I rarely hung around with kids on the next street) went off to the railway embankment and walked up to the top of the hill where there was a park. At the edge of the hill and park we set light to the grass for some childish fun. It quickly got out of control and we all ran like hell back home. From our street we could still see the smoke billowing into the sky even though it was what seemed like far away. It probably wasn’t that far but distance is relative when you’re still only three foot tall. When we heard the sirens we all ran inside.

And the smell of the rice field burning today reminded me of that day. Burning the fields is normal here unfortunately. Chiang Rai had the worst air quality in the world for a few days earlier this year. A brief smell of smoke such as I had today makes for a nostalgic romantic memory but when you are choking on the smoky sky it’s not so much fun. This year it lasted for about two months and it was awful.

The other thought I was trying to articulate was that I had an anticipatory dream last night. It’s not a very surprising dream and was really just a prediction. I think it did help me in some ways though.

I was dreaming that I was at school and it wasn’t the normal teaching day as there was some event that we had to help the kids with. I was standing around with the other teachers and we were all complaining that no one had told us exactly what we were supposed to be doing. I mentioned that one of the Thai teachers told me that we just need to make sure the kids don’t hurt themselves and I had laughed ‘oh we just need to babysit them then?’ Babysitting was a common phrase used by one of my old Thai colleagues and as ‘teachers’ it was a little frustrating, especially when we might only find out about these events the day before they happen.

So, last night I had made a note to be mentally prepared for a disorganised day today. It was Scout Day. I knew that we had to walk somewhere outside school and this morning found out that we would leave at around 9am. That happened and us obedient babysitters wandered along behind them without any clue what was in store for us. Sure enough when we got to where we were supposed to be no one told us anything else and we just sat around, wandered around, sometimes worried that we should be doing something. Exactly as my dream, mentally prepared, I took the opportunity to have as much fun as possible with the kids which is really preferable to sitting around complaining about the situation. I ended up having a great time. The kids seemed to be enjoying what was pretty much a day off school for them too. I’m not sure if they learned anything today but some days when I’m teaching I feel the same too!

Something I learned today
Black and white is always gray
Looking through the windowpane
I’m not inside your brain

In an effort to try and get the kids to at least learn or remember something, I would steal their hats and demand that they use English to ask for it back. They all eventually got their hats back – took a while for some of them.


Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that I have the motivation and determination to get things done. This morning I weighed myself and the app on my phone tells me that I now have a normal BMI and no longer overweight. I’m proud of myself but the task is not over. I still need to lose a few more kilos and get more exercise. I know my weight will go up and down but I can keep heading in the right direction.

Every everything – 7th December 2019

It’s taken me more than a year and a half to recover!

When I returned from the CELTA training course I found my brain had changed.  I seem to flip between data driven thinking and artistic thinking and often cannot find a good balance.  The training was very linear and intensive (as it should be) and on reflection now, some 18 months later, was easier to complete than I imagined beforehand and during.  The pressure to achieve was very high but that pressure mostly came from within.  Now, I realise that I can turn my hand to anything if I wish to.

Of course, the circumstances since the training have mostly helped me arrive at this conclusion.  First I started doing some free teaching with students from the local university.  This gave me a little self confidence though I was often shocked at the students poor language levels, in the language they are studying for their degrees, whatever the subject.  I can suggest to myself that I could probably easily complete a degree at the university here purely based on the fact I can use the language fully.  Anyway, that’s by the by for now as I’m not really considering that as an option at the moment.

After a few months kicking around and enjoying much free time I ended up working with Grade 5 students at a nearby provincial school.  I have a million stories from there, many which I would like to forget.  I soon discovered the crazy dysfunction in the education system here.  If it’s obvious to me, an unqualified teacher starting their first job then the system must be pretty poor.

I don’t intend to tarnish the education system as a whole as that would be unfair.  The circumstances I was in influenced a lot of my impressions and I try to understand that what I saw was not indicative of other places.  It was, however, the belief of many others teaching here that things are not much better elsewhere in the country.  There are a million reasons for this and books could be filled trying to explain.  The main down side for me was that I felt that I was unable to do a good job and provide useful learning for the students a lot of the time.  I hate doing a bad job – especially when eventually someone else is going to suffer for it.  So that was the other down side – watching willing students deal with the inadequacies of the system which lead to inconsistency in almost everything.  Frustrating beyond belief.

Beyond that though I have found myself with a passion and love for the students that has made me incredibly happy.  It’s a job that I really love to invest my time in and to go to work to do it.  I’ll talk more about this in future.

Just a short one this time as I push myself to get back into this.

“Every heartbeat, every movement, every moment, every sigh.”

Gratitude Journal

I am so grateful and happy to go to school on Friday, which was hard as I had been sick this week and had a bad experience on Monday. The kids also drove me crazy and made me quite angry but I survived and talked to Kru Noon about strategies to get them to listen more. I will take her advice and try this next week!

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #09 – 26th October 2019

Music from Flin Flon, Butthole Surfers, Rudi, Walt Mink, Trumans Water, The Residents, Flesh Narc, Meteoro, Andy Partridge, Girls Against Boys, Patrick Fitzgerald, Daniel Striped Tiger, Really Red, R.D. Burman featuring Asha Bhosle, Husker Du, Poison Dwarfs and The Lambrettas.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to have the courage to explore the places we go and discover cool little cafe bars like this and meet their eccentric owners.

Mae Sai hidden cafe

I look through your window, deep inside – 24th January 2018

Last night I moved house.  Two suitcases and bedding and I was done.  I have to trim that down to one suitcase and a carry on in the next 7 weeks.

It’s actually my housemates who wanted to move, this was after the landlord fixed the dodgy bathroom shelf after one year of being hassled, and then decided to put the rent up an extra 30 dollars a week.

The new place is a nice spacious 2 storey, 3 bedroom house.  Much nicer than the old place – more modern and more homely.  I did, however, have a weird affection for that old place.  For me it’s all about counting down time as cheaply as possible – I would live in a drafty garage and be ok. So this new place is nice but doesn’t really affect me much.  I’m still using the same uncomfortable bed and that’s where I spend most of my time when I’m at home anyway.

For my housemates, it’s making a big difference though.  It has them energised and should be something they can make into a home.  The old place wasn’t conducive to putting much effort into making it nice really.

With fully ducted aircon, ceiling fans, a double garage and two toilets, between the three of us we don’t own enough things to even fill it.  It’s not costing me any more in rent but as my housemates know I’m leaving soon they’ll be able to charge a bit more for the next person which covers the ten bucks a week increase from the old place.

The house is situated at the end of a cul-de-sac so it’s pretty quiet but the interesting thing is the house on the corner just up from us.

20180124_173732.jpg

A bit of a web search reveals this place to be called Barton Vale House.  It even has a Facebook page, which seems to indicate it is a private residence, though someone posted the review about the food being amazing.  Seems that at one time it was a ‘home for wayward girls’ and of course, once the house fell into disrepair for a while, it became the subject of so-called hauntings.  It’s something more interesting than the usual suburban houses pretty much everywhere else on my route to work.

My housemates are an interesting couple.  Bram is 60 and his girlfriend, Katrina, is 30.  They met when he was travelling around China, ended up travelling together and finally living together in Adelaide. With me working shifts, Katrina working nights and Bram working regular hours it’s not often that we are all at home at the same time.

Bram reminds me of me a little bit, though he is much more of a man’s man than I am, not blokey though.  He’s into bikes, cars and fixing things and he looks like an ex-biker.  Despite the rough and ready exterior he has a gentle demeanour and is a bit of an old softy really.  As his mother passed away recently he is becoming more conscious of his age and often self-debates about his worth in their relationship.

Katrina is, to me, a bit of a stereotypical Chinese woman.  I can’t really explain the meaning of those words though.  She has struggled to adjust herself to Australian life, particularly as it was not the easy life she had heard about.  The house we were living in definitely hasn’t helped as she never felt like investing any time into making it a home.  I think the new place will be good for her so long as she can focus on the good things.  I know it will be a struggle for them to save money for the futures that they are discussing.

She’s waiting for Bram to propose and she constantly reminds him that his age doesn’t matter to her.  She’s not sticking around for his money, that’s for sure.  I hope they can both can achieve their dreams.  They are nice people.

Amy was in Bangkok today, paying a quick visit to Fah.  Fah has mostly been spending time sick in bed this last week or so but her mother said she has picked up significantly knowing that Amy was coming to visit.  She’s in constant pain and had to get around in a wheelchair but wanted to go out and eat just like she used to do all the time.  She is staying positive and still doing chemo when she has the strength.  I don’t want to think what I would do in her situation – I hope I never have to.

The scars you’ve left will never mend – 28th January 2002

Today I erased my girlfriends from my phone – there’s a sad finality.

Why am I so restless? Why am I so stupid? Gotta go!

28th Nov 2021 – I started some writing again in this beautiful leather-bound book that TLJ brought back from Europe in mid-2001. It’s ironic that this is the first entry in this book as TLJ would have been one of the girlfriends erased.

My head wasn’t in a good place at this time and for quite a while after. I’d managed to fix some things in my life whilst continuing to fuck up a few others. I was a little bit directionless and lacking in self-esteem.

Gone mouldy over the years