Bloods

Blood is amazing stuff, there is no end to it's uses. The blood of pigs is the source for black pudding which is delightful. Milk is mostly blood, it's just more convenient to suck it from a teat than stabbing your cow in the neck Maasai warrior style. The primary function of blood is apparently to keep your organs perfused, nutrified and energised, snacking only came later...

2010 to 2015 blood results

I had a blood test this morning. I am curious to see if my cholesterol has improved since four years ago when I last had it tested. I'm also interested to see how my liver is dealing with my alchohol intake. My last test transparently saw that I had drunk too much wine the previous night. My GGT was 52 units/L which in my case was (admittedly only slight) evidence of a bottle of wine. My ALP was 127 units/L which could be a number of things like bones remodelling or biliary obstruction, basically my liver was a little bit hungover. I don't think it too concerning even if back in 2010 a blood test found slightly elevated ALT and AST, more damning evidence that I may be damaging my liver. Anyway that was all ancient history. This time it has been ooh... well, um ... at least a couple of nights since I had too much beer with MJD. I walked/ran the twelve kilometres home in a vain attempt to counteract my unhealthy behaviour. I would of course be healthier if I did not drink alchohol but I would probably get run over by a bus with the small god of irony behind the wheel. So, for now I will continue to drink in moderation. I shall continue to be stupidly surprised when my actions produce demonstrable results.

I'm attempting to educate myself to better understand blood results. My job requires that I can see when blood results are out of whack but busy shifts don't leave much time to see past the numbers. Joanne Reading taught me the handy mnemonic Never Let Monkeys Eat Bananas. It refers to the ratio of different types of white blood cells. They are made up of roughly 60% Neutrophils; 30% Lymphocytes; 6% Monocytes; 3% Eosinophils and 1% Basophils and when those percentages veer off course by too much I know something is amiss. Quite what is amiss is where it starts to get diabolical.

I've had my porridge and coffee so it is time I took my bicycle to task. I will write more on this blood business as the data comes in.

Sunny Afternoon

I was running around Coffs Harbour listening to Annie Lennox speak on an old Desert Island Disc programme yesterday. She talked about how music becomes an intrinsic part of the listener, or words to that effect. In fact she pointed out that words could not suffice to explain the depth of feelings and influence that the music had on her. I find it sad to consider the melancholy person who would disagree with her. I know that like Annie I also felt (and continue to feel) the previous generation of new ideas resonating through the music. Those influences and ideals from the original songs bump up against the memories of my actions and feelings when I listened to them. I imagine my musical tastes could act like a fingerprint identifying my place in the spectrums of time, geography, society and politics to name a few.

One of the lovliest things about music is our shared intersections. The reasons we feel a song so deeply are our own. When we share our favourite musical tracks with others we get the chance to see where our souls are linked, or not. Annie had Vivaldi's Winter as one of her Desert Island Discs. She thought it was beautiful. I thought it was the unwelcome sound of hold music. It made a change to hear it without the frequent crackling pauses in which the listener thinks someone from the call centre will finally answer. Which goes to show that not all musical intersections are about shared love of a track. On the other hand she and I shared love for many songs. The reasons for our intersections in those chosen songs would no doubt differ but we share those songs and the powerful resonating history of the them.

Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon AKA The Harvesters by Bruegel

An Intersection

Some time ago my brother gave me some pulverised Greek coffee. The first time I remember having real coffee was squatting around a blue propane camping stove in the Negev with three Palestinians. We were working as underpaid agricultural labourers. I was broke and on the run from that rainy shithole I used to call home. This morning I finished off the last of my Greek coffee. I brewed it the way those old workmates of mine taught me, plenty of coffee, cardamons, sugar and boiled to buggery. Hipster coffee snobs would have conniptions. Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks was playing in the kitchen. Ray Davies who wrote the song had very specific memories about what he was wearing at the time, where he was and probably the smell of the sunlight on the linoleum. The lyrics come from the perspective of a wealthy cad who has been caught by the taxman and is bemoaning his plight.

He's taken everything I got

All I've got's this sunny afternoon

The original meaning of song lyrics is often unimportant to me, this is why pop music is so great. I did not earn enough to be noticed by the taxman. I think I subconsciously replaced the taxman with whatever else in my life that had 'taken everything I got' (...cough..Thatcher...). I was deprived of a job with wages I could live on. The beauty of Rays' song was the Sunny Afternoon, it inspired me to leave the cold wet rainy days of my old home and find a wealth of lazy sunny afternoons in which I could sip ice cold beer. Or, more truthfully sip sweet, strong coffee in the morning sunshine.

My Nikola cheat card

I am exceedingly lazy and my desire to retain knowledge of how my own blog works is dismal. For my own benefit I made a cheat sheet to remind me what I do when I feel like harking on about some crap on this site. I am edging towards doing away with the whole deployment bit and just making the output into the live site. Like most people I just want an easy life... and I can't stop fiddling with it.

# QUICKSTART:
cd ~/nikola
## start virtualenv
source bin/activate

cd tregeagle  
nikola new_post -e --format=markdown --title="A-new-post"

## open site on local dev server
nikola serve --browser  
OR  
nikola auto -b  

## rebuild site with new post
nikola build

## apply custom deployment commands from conf.py
nikola deploy

## stop virtualenv
deactivate

Some references:

Nikola Handbook
RSS enclosure
Markdown syntax ...and this ...and even this pdf

Motorbike Ride

I took the motorbike (which I tend to think of as on loan from Alfred) up the road today. It flew like a Mongolian pony on the steppes. It was great. Winter days here are just perfect. The air is chilled and the sun flashing between the trees is dazzling. I rode up Red Hill, through Coramba and on past the Yellow Dog. That dog is the ugliest dog statue I've seen. It is so ugly it's almost beautiful. Actually it's not ugly or beautiful, it is just bland. I was going to stop and photograph it to send to my brother, I thought he'd appreciate how bland it was but I was having too much fun arcing round those roads. Passing Lanitza surfaced bitter sweet memories of good times with old mates.

My motorbike

Later I came home in the dark. Coming down from Nymboida was icy cold I swooped over the hill into Grafton. Stopping for a coffee I wrapped my fingers around the cup until the blood started to flow again. The air lost its bite and I rode home with old friends in mind.

Toasted Sandwich

Feeling hungry at the end of a long day my colleague and I found ourselves remembering Breville sandwich toasters with mouthwateringly fond memories.

The Fantastical Breville Sandwich Toaster

Toast is banned at work due to the smoke alarms that call the fire brigade everytime toast is burnt which was apparently fairly often. A chilly morning a couple of days later and young Davis asked for a cheese and ham toastie whilst out picking up some milk from the grocery shop. We picked up a sandwich toaster for the price of a loaf and a half of bread. Since then it's been toastie heaven.

I Say, I Say

"Toby, Toby! Here boy!" called my dog, Alfie. It was time for our walk. I ran in from the backyard where I had been digging up weeds. Alfie and I walked to the park. Peeing amongst some weeds along the way Alfie commented on the weather. I was distracted as I had been all week. Alfie seemed concerned and tried to draw me into conversation.

"Look at this fresh shit." he gave it an exploratory lick, "It's Trevors, he eats way to much of that tinned food" Alfie brushed his nose against my leg. I felt his wet tongue lollop against me as he did so.

Alfie had refused to eat tinned food from early on. He had reasoned that if I would not eat 'that tinned stuff' why should he. The next day I made roast chicken, potatoes and pumpkin with gravy and brocolli. After I'd put some aside for next days lunch I gave Alfie the left-overs. He was furious.

"So, you won't eat the chickens bum or the brown goobey bits and you think it's OK for me?"

He ate it anyway but spent all night at my feet restlessly farting. "But Alfie you are a dog" I said. "And you are a just human, we're both sentient. Just because you have a couple of stubby opposable thumbs doesn't make you better than me" "Well it does actually, I can cook" "I can bite. Do you think cooking makes you morally superior? Just because you mastered the gas chamber I get to live on lips, tits and bums?" "It's a gas cooker, Alfie" "Don't patronise me. If you keep feeding me that crap, Toby, we'll both get to enjoy the gas chamber. Out of my ass."

The next day I grilled a couple of pork chops with apple sauce, green beans and spuds. I gave Alfie his own plate and that was the start of it.

Again again

Here I am starting again with another fresh blog.
My aims for this thing have changed once again. Now I'm using Nikola, a python based static site generator. It's a bit more complex than I really wanted but I'm less inclined to build my own scripts these days. Life is too short to spend hours in front of a keyboard just to ensure my unread posts are nicely filed. Having said that I shall of course attempt to do that.

This is my first post written in reStructuredText format. It's what Nikola defaults to using. The theory is that I can just write as I would normally with a few textual devices to introduce styles like strong emphasis and monospaced text/code or even stupid lists of things I worry about:

  1. Will my kids be OK?
  2. Why am I here? Should I go and stand somewhere else?
  3. Am I doing this life thing correctly?
  4. Why am I so thick?
  5. When can I begin drinking?
  6. Why don't I learn the fiddle so that I can just go and be a tramp like Laurie Lee.

Unfortunately it's not really working out for me yet. The text structure required to effect the way the final HTML looks seems to me a bit finicky. Luckily Nikola supports lots of different formats so I will keep experimenting unti I find something I like.

I have imported all my old markdown posts and will probably slowly add older posts, if I'm ever at a really loose end. Those of you in the know may notice my use of pseudonyms. I felt it only fair I give the protaganists in my life a chance to remain anonymous. Except Zaida because she's my Mum and can of course do no wrong.

Writing this way is akin to wearing a straight-jacket whilst dancing the polka. The final result may at least be comical but more likely dull. I should probably stick to a blunt pencil and an old exercise book.

Insomnia

I woke shortly after midnight last night. I had been having some sort of dream about my sons.

Some graffiti I saw in town today

I didn't get to sleep again.

Beer

I had worked a night shift. The dog woke me at lunch time. Re must have just left for work. I tried to sleep more but I was awake. I took the dog down the beach for a walk. Picked up some beer, food and milk on the way home. I texted both of my boys and Re. At home I ate one of the hot dog sausages, I gave another one to the dog. I opened a beer and put on a play list.

The thoughts that accompanied me so far today have included the idea that the human race just needs to be organised a bit better. This is the self professed plan of Google. Yuval Harari suggests artificial intelligence will do the job, he's probably right. We are a useless generation. I wondered what sort of people or entities would eventually be pulling our levers once we were organised? Would we mind? What would we achieve and why would we achieve it? What would our thoughts and feelings be whilst we worked towards these goals? The irony of such useless thoughts was not lost on me.

I was feeling lonely as I was texting my boys. I miss our silly conversations. I miss watching rubbish telly with them. I leave ribbons of my heart attached to everyone I love.

My Dad gave me a Treasure Chest when I was a boy. It was a box he'd made with a hinged lid and iron corners it smelt like dusty old wood. I kept my random child oddments in it. The contents were never as valuable to me as the box was. Inside the lid I wrote a short list of my friends. The list had perhaps three names. One of the names may have been, Minta the family dog. I remember struggling with the idea of comitting a name to the box. Could I trust them to remain true? Would the act of writing the name change our friendship? Some years ago on a visit to my Dad he offered me the box to take home. I did not take it as I was worried that the Australian customs would not allow it across their bureaucratic borders. I left it. Another ribbon of my heart with my Dad.

Now the sun is setting behind Roberts Hill. The dog is noisily chewing something. My second beer is getting warm and it won't drink itself.

Ended

Pyrrho killed himself this week. I found out from a message on my phone. I was sitting in the cab of my ute after a day at work. I stared at my phone. I thought I'd misunderstood the message. I read it again, the words became disjointed and I did not believe them. I screwed up my eyes and felt a sob rise from my chest. I had driven past his place a few days ago. Why had I not dropped by?

He has a young son, a really fine lad. Not young enough though. He is going to have a rough time.