Duk Dik – 20th June 2022

Always active, nervous twitching
Under the skin blood is itching
Actions precede thought
Which evaporate to nought
Leaving all around you bitching


The highs and lows I have known have turned me inward to the point where I’ll never feel anything close to normal. I don’t feel isolated, I don’t want in… There’s no confession to make, there’s no truth burning to come ripping out of me… I will always make relationships with people an approximation of a relationship. I think that’s better. I think things are mor beautiful when you’re on the outside.

Henry Rollins

Perfect Image – 16th May 2022

Caught in my first impression
Trapped by a spider’s smile
The tail-wagging dog bites
The hand after a while
Escape at the realisation
Is never a pretty sight to behold
Be better to live with the mess
If the truth be told

From Eric Barker’s newsletter:

How do we make love last? A lot of people fear that if they raise issues with their partner it can lead to arguing and that will end the relationship. So they stay silent…

But it is doubleplusungood wrongthink to believe that complaining is a problem. The research shows bottling up actually ends more marriages than arguing. Complaining, in the big picture, is actually a positive – it gets issues out in the open where they can be resolved. What leads to divorce isn’t complaining; it’s criticism.

From Plays Well With Others:

Complaining is actually healthy for a marriage. It’s criticism that predicts divorce. Complaining is when I say you did not take the trash out. Criticism is when I say you did not take the trash out because you’re a horrible person. The first is about an event, the second is about your fundamental personality. To keep your relationship solid, turn your criticisms into complaints. Address the event, not the person.

To say that criticism is bad for a relationship is like saying “The Grand Canyon is kinda big.” True but insufficient. Researcher John Gottman found it was one of four things that predicted divorce 83.3% of the time.

So don’t be afraid to raise that issue — but don’t make it personal. Address the problem, not their character. This leads to conversations that actually make your relationship stronger.

Whilst I’m inclined to agree with the above sentiment, I thought about how this has played out in my life. Another factor that came into play for me was low self-esteem. So that when my partner may have been complaining, I took it personally as criticism. This is particularly what ended my marriage with Bronwyn, along with a whole bunch of other factors that added up to become too much for me to deal with.

I’m much better with this these days but it can still rear its ugly head from time to time, though I’m usually aware of it even if I can’t put my finger on it.


He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.

John Stuart Mill

Furious G – 18th January 2022

You said you loved me
And wanted me to grow
That’s just what I did
So that soon I would know
You never really believed it
Your words were purely fake
To make yourself feel superior
In the image that you make
The things you can’t control
Frustrating you no end
Face your rejection, unless
To your will, they bend
Empty words now revealed
You’ve thrown off your disguise
Shown for what you really are
As your true colour flies
Carry on manipulating
Those cast under your spell
But it’s a conditional love
Where the stress begins to tell
Already old before your time
One day you’ll walk alone
Leaving friends to wonder why
Your heart was filled with stone


Most neuroses can be traced to the unhealthy habit of wallowing in the troubles of five billion strangers.

Jubal, A Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

Owned It – 9th September 2021

Scouring her memories she recalled all her faults
The stupidities of youth launched her verbal assaults
But she stood by her actions, owned her mistakes
The beds that she lay in were the ones she makes
He too examined his past, it still made him mad
Could never forgive himself, not even the slightest tad
Those times replayed, had become his obsession
Dragged past anxiety down into deep depression
Forgive yourself, she said, to make him feel better
But something inside him just wouldn’t let her
Help him to see the brightness he’d once seen
To pull him back from the darkest extreme
She’d tried her best but saw a lost cause
Left him alone to heal his own flaws
He still cries for her, even these years later
Telling himself that he will always hate her

Sketches for my sweetheart (the drunk) – 5th January 2021

We had a 4-day holiday over the new year. For 2021 I have made a half-hearted resolution to play more video games! Last year I rarely played anything at all. In fact, I have many things I could, can and will do but I thought it was amusing to make a resolution often seen as negative.

So for much of this 4-day holiday, I gave myself a backache by playing new games on my old Xbox One.

An exception to this was the evening of the 31st December where Amy and I enjoyed a spicy hot pot with the last packet of sauce my friend Ellen delivered from China last year (or the year before….when was it!?). We also sipped on yoghurt-flavoured shoju but Amy gave up around 11pm. We had watched the Sydney Harbour fireworks at 8pm and that is when Amy considers the new year to have actually started for us, her heart still being there. I carried on building cities and shooting monsters and was up again pretty early the following morning.

On the Saturday a few of Amy’s friends and I got together at a cafe on the way to Mae Sai. It was busy there but we all ate our fill and lazed around, Amy knocking back a few Heineken’s and getting a little louder as she likes to do.

We decided to visit her old friend from Sydney who has a cactus farm nearby and he kindly gave us a couple for Amy’s collection.

We had to stop at a shop on the way home so that Amy could grab another beer and she organized herself to head on into the city for more food and alcohol! My sweetheart the drunk!

I left her to it but she came back much earlier than I expected, mentioning about some of her friends who insist that good luck only comes from going to the temple – something that particularly rubs Amy the wrong way. Amy believes in herself and all good and bad comes from within. Thai people are still very superstitious and like to put blame and benefit on things outside their control. Obviously, I agree with Amy’s point of view but I don’t let other people’s ideas like this rub me the wrong way, though I also don’t have to listen to them complain about their lives either!

Before this holiday I thought I’d like to do something artistic again and started off with sketching. I have more ideas for continuing this than I have time currently available – it could be a battle between sketching or video games. I hope to balance this effectively. So, I was quite happy and proud of my first sketch – just looking up from my little floor table where I was working.


Brain dump

Post-yoga workout, meditate. Thoughts focus on relationships at school and people’s personalities. Stop comparing, you are you and you are fine – you don’t have to be like George or Dylan or anyone. Being yourself is fine.

Tigger cries in the morning. My middle back aches, work on core. 10 Burpee’s was tough! Getting up was tough.

Little Kim sleeps next to my butt. So much time – enjoy it – use it. Feel good. Feel strong.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for my body to struggle through doing 10 burpees this morning. It was slow going but I made it. I must carry on.

I’ve got a half tank of gas and nowhere to go – 5th December 2019

Best or most worthwhile investment made?

From a material point of view my best investments would be my MacBook Pro and iMac – both were premium but well worth it.

But from a practical point of view, my most worthwhile investment is in Amy and our relationship.

We have been together for over ten years and have done so many things but it doesn’t seem like it. We are obviously very familiar with each other now and life is comfortable but it never feels mundane and boring. I have been prepared to happily make sacrifices for our relationship and that has not needed to be often because we have such a good understanding of each other.

I got a warning from Facebook when I commented on a friend’s post “Get off your phone!” Somewhen around this time, I downloaded all my data from the site (not that it gets removed), cut down to about 150 friends and pretty much stopped using it except for tenzenmen posts and a second account I have for my students.

Poison in a pretty pill – 15th January 2018

One of the very few nights I managed to sleep the recommended amount of hours and so far, I feel suitably alert.  That could soon change after a couple of hours staring numbly at this computer screen.

It’s Monday morning and it’s been a while since I was working a regular day shift.  Night times and weekends it’s so quiet here it makes you nervous to even sneeze.  It’s somewhat comforting to hear the bustle of work and the earnestness of people discussing technical solutions.

One thing that I have developed as a pet peeve though is the absolute authoritative statement.  There are a few folks here who talk as if their word is definitive and their tone implies that there is no point to discuss anything further.  How can people be so secure in their knowledge of the world, of everything, that they already know that they cannot be convinced otherwise?  This shows me a stagnant mind.  No room to grow, no room to learn.

These people are usually men and usually older.  Though it’s even more excruciating to hear younger men talking like this, you can almost hear their minds closing up already, sealing shut.  The older men’s voices sound authoritative and dead.  A resignation that things just won’t get better.  ‘Things were better in my day’.  Maybe it’s the work environment, some kind of unsaid competition.  I never want to subscribe to this thinking, despite sometimes catching myself doing the same.  I think I avoid it mostly and it is a reason little kids like me so much, they can recognise the essentially childish wonder I have, the interest in the details, the awe of the world.

This attitude seems less prevalent in women and the one or two times I have come across it, it has been scary.  I’m not a macho kind of person.  I was raised by my mother after my father died when I was 18 months old.  I naturally learned the female perspective, a different view of things.  I fought against this as a teenager, trying to put my own stamp on my personality and eventually on the other side of it, became more comfortable in a more feminine environment.  I generally prefer the less competitive company of females.  I’m not into cars, muscles, action movies and getting pissed with the boys.  Not that I have rejected everything masculine – I can still be a beer drinking, sports-loving yahoo from time to time but mostly I enjoy these things alone where I can make an ass of myself, just to myself.

The Crass album ‘Penis Envy’ also made a big impression on my developing teenage mind too.

Sordid sequences in brilliant life!
Supports, and props, and punctuation
To our flowing realities and realisations
We’re talking with words that have been used before
To describe us as goddesses, mothers and whores
Describe us as women, to describe us as men
Set out the rules of this ludicrous game
And then it’s played very carefully, a delicate balance;
A masculine/feminine perfect alliance
Does the winner take all? What love in your grasping?
What vision is left, and is anyone asking?

I still had lots of growing pains when it came to love, sex and relationships with women though.  I could be a master manipulator when I wanted to be. There are things I have done in the past that I now wish I hadn’t but I must acknowledge they were part of my own learning process and got me here where I am today.  It takes a lot of effort to be 100% true to your convictions and there are times when we fail.  Things aren’t always black and white.

download

The last few days my phone calls with Amy have been pretty short.  There’s never much to report on my side and work on our house has slowed somewhat now.

I’ve been thinking about this period of time that I’ve been in Adelaide, away from Amy.  It’s never felt like you imagine a long distance relationship to be.  The goal we are working towards keeps us bound together completely.  Just because we don’t see each other every day doesn’t mean we are not together.  This is helped by our own securities, something that I may not have had the strength to contemplate when I was younger though.

I am already visualising looking back on this time as some kind of dream.  It’s just something I’m doing rather than something I’m being.  It was a bit of struggle before and during Christmas but with the turn of the new year, it finally feels like a countdown to the realisation of our plans.

Writing up the diary entries for 1994 has made me think about why I don’t really enjoy Christmas and new year celebrations.  I’m not a big birthday or holiday celebrator in the first place and have often been alone at these times but looking back at the events at the end of 1993 I wonder how much of an impact they have made on my psyche.  It’s not something I’ve really consciously considered for a long time.  It’s also not that I mind joining in celebrations either, though I don’t find anything particularly special about certain dates to participate in them – let’s enjoy ourselves every day.  A cliche, I know.

 

A story of obsession – 7th February 1995

The beginning.

Dan pulled a chair up to the window, sat down for the thousandth time and stared straight ahead, at the building directly across. The window was old fashioned, long, with an inside ledge it was possible to sit on. The window overlooked a large part of the town but not quite to the harbour.

Dan got up, cursing, knowing he’d forgotten something. He returned after a quick run downstairs to the kitchen and sat back down and cracked open his beer. He took a long slurp and made the noise of a thirst quenched, burped loudly and proudly and sat the beer on the chest of drawers next to him. With a swift motion of his arm, he picked up the binoculars, untangled the leather carrying strap and put them up to his eyes.

He felt. like he was some general on a hill surveying the battlefield below. As he looked around he read out instructions in his head, “mortar, no. 19 hill street.” He focused on that area with the binoculars and imagined it blowing up, killing the innocent family inside. “That’ll teach those bastards,” he thought, “for not accepting my quote.” “There’s a man walking his dog in the woods, I can see ya, you goddamn spy,” suddenly the woods were aflame with napalm and the man was dead in Dan’s eyes.

As the sun faded from the sky and grey clouds moved over the light began to fail. This was the time Dan liked best. Now the explosions of bombs were far more exciting and they lit up the night sky for brief moments like lightning flashes from a wild and vivid thunderstorm. Of course, as soon as he put the binoculars down everything was normal, but Dan enjoyed these couple of hours of using his imagination. Sometimes, though not very often, he would miss some TV to do this. Dan got most of his ideas from the tube. Tonight he got bored quite quickly and stopped his observations when he’d finished his second beer. He went downstairs feeling slightly disappointed, grabbed another beer from the fridge and sat down in his chair to watch TV for the rest of the night. Kelly knew not to say anything to him.

Kelly went into the kitchen wishing she had someone to talk to. She turned on the radio, it seemed like her only friend on nights Iike this. Sometimes the cheerful songs picked her up but tonight they had the opposite effect. She sensed Dan’s mood and kept the volume down, this simple little restriction frustrating her more. She felt like she was tip-toeing through a mine field. She pulled a chilled bottle of sweet white wine from the fridge and poured herself another glass. She could feel herself getting slowly drunk already.

Kelly looked through the kitchen window into the blackness of the night, pondering her situation for the thousandth time. She still loved Dan a hell of a lot despite the way he treated her. She did feel a barrier between them and wished for something to bring them together. She walked back through to the living room and sat down adjacent to Dan in front of the TV. She set the bottle of wine down beside her, now half empty and warming up. It was her only cure.

They barely passed polite conversation about the usual run of soaps but when it came to the news Dan became very vociferous in his opinions. He spoke in a tone that denied reply. Though he sat quietly through the images of war beamed into their living room from around the world he haboured a desire to be there. Not a secret desire either. Kelly would nod and agree with everything Dan said not wishing to cause any friction. It was easier that Dan’s opinion was her opinion and she ended up believing it.

Time passed slowly, Kelly now on her third bottle of wine. She was feeling very drunk despite her system being used to the intake. It wasn’t a happy drunk but morose and sombre, a blanking out of desire and feelings.

When they went to bed they slept in foetal positions, Kelly tucked up behind Dan, holding on. Alcohol assured them instant lapse into unconsciousness.

When day dawned the sun shone across the city. Dan woke alone, Kelly already in the kitchen making breakfast. He sat up and yawned then got up and stretched shaking off the night. He walked towards the window, moved in front of the chair and looked out like he was a god surveying his creation. Suddenly aware of his nakedness he backed away and pulled on some shorts returning for one more shot of sunshine glory he saw a figure in a window a couple of streets away. In the brief moment that he was looking he could tell it was a woman’s figure. He wondered if she might’ve seen him naked at the window and wasn’t sure whether to blush or be proud. He quickly forgot about the incident but did make a mental note to look there that evening.

Dan turned and picked up the empty beer cans and dropped them into the waste. He went downstairs where he could hear and smell cooking going on. As he entered the kitchen they exchanged pleasantries, the sun bringing out a subconscious optimism in them both. For the first time in a while, Dan noticed how pretty Kelly looked, the sun illuminating her hair like a halo, as it streamed in through the kitchen window. He made the effort to pass comment on this, which brought a big smile to Kelly’s face. Just that one simple comment made her feel a whole lot better about herself.

Dan kissed Kelly on the cheek as he left, feeling rejuvenated, feeling like something good was going to happen to them. Kelly too felt a whole lot better and decided to spend a few hours walking in the park, thinking of ways of improving her relationship with Dan.

Dan was a painter and decorator by profession, he wasn’t a particularly good one but there was enough work to keep them going. It paid the bills and paid the mortgage and gave them a roof over their heads. That morning he was painting the hallway of some middle-class suburban house, not too dissimilar to their own. His mind wasn’t on his work, he was thinking about his wife and his future. He decided that he would take some flowers home that evening, foregoing his usual lunchtime drinks in the pub. He did still feel some attachment to his wife despite the loss of their baby.

Characters:
The married couple
The spied couple

Character one. The married man. Dan.

Dark, broody, well built, slightly unbalanced (have to demonstrate this in some way) macho but developing toward feminism i.e., not a total asshole, short hair not meticulous in appearance though can be when trying, enjoys rough things like slight interest in guns and knives, patriotic, believes what the papers say, hard-working, painter and decorator (enjoys his ability to go into other people houses, feels like spying), age 28, likes packet food or traditional food, interested in more extravagant food, kind of scared of trying new things, hobbies, not much, though did enjoy making rabbit hutch for sister’s son, has to be asked to do things like that, not much get up and go, a lot of time spent watching tv and videos, enjoys suspense thrillers, gets a kick out of people being frightened by a killer etc in a film.

Character two. The married woman. Ke11y.

Rather quiet, not opinionated though would like to be sometimes, overwhelmed by Dan’s loudness sometimes, medium height and build, dark. hair, pretty on occasion though bland otherwise, average dress though well dressed when going out, only goes out with Dan, most friends are mutual though Dan takes control most of the time (could possibly introduce one of their friends into the story too), she likes to drink fairly often more so than Dan, she likes to keep Dan happy, she had a distraught childhood, parents divorcing, stepdad nasty, somewhat insecure, she is presently unemployed.

Their situation.

Got married after she found she was pregnant but lost baby soon afterwards, he has held it against her secretly, he promises to start a family but keeps her hanging on cos he doesn’t actually want to at all, in some ways he feels trapped, he wanted to get married for the child’s sake and now would prefer to be single again, they bought a house in a residential area, on a slight hill, overlooking other houses but some wooded areas close by, he always wanted his own home so is quite happy with that, though not wealthy they can afford to live comfortably.

3rd Apr 2021 – I’m guessing I wrote this sometime in early 1995. I think I had some more ideas about where this story might go but obviously never got back to it. Dan and Kelly are lightly based on a couple that Bronwyn and I lived with. Even though this part of the story ends quite upbeat it still feels really dark to me – I know it wasn’t going to end happily and it brings back immediate visions of English streets for me. Feel free to have a go at continuing the story in the comments!

The Contract – 22nd January 1988

You attracted me with your charming smile
You attached yourself, if only for a while
You attacked me to try and make a pact
In fact, your impact held me to your contract
You took away my freedom but I gave you guilt
You turned me upside down and changed the way I felt
And now from this contract, you wish to resign
It’s not that easy you see cos you’ve got something of mine
The love I gave you will not save you
I cannot hate you but I will break you
And your contracts