Travel Disasters – the rat.

In 2007, I was working for the Australian Government. In May I got sent to Nauru to carry papers and fill a chair at an important meeting.

Continue reading Travel Disasters – the rat.

Travel disasters

“Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”.

Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

So it is with travel.

All lovely trips feature delectable meals, beautiful sunsets, friendly guides and surprisingly well-appointed accommodation.  

Trips people like to hear about might feature explosive diarrhea, incarceration by border guards, hungry bed bugs, bus drivers on mezcal, stolen luggage, muggings at syringe point, water landings, leaky canoes, brutal casino security guards, giant squid attacks, or some variation on this endlessly adaptable theme.


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Mt Hotham – a book review

I ordered my copy of Mt Hotham on the internet. Prime book-reading season was in full-swing, and I eagerly anticipated the time when I was finally able to open the cover. I had read a short-story version many years ago, and I knew this work was likely to be a pre-eminent example of its genre.

Continue reading Mt Hotham – a book review

Hello, Aliens!

I heard the people from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence on the radio this morning. It’s not a German techno outfit. It’s a real American scientific research centre looking for intelligent life in the universe. It’s exciting. I can’t imagine the hoo-hah if they found something. It might even push Masterchef below the fold.

There could be life in the universe, for sure. But they’re dreaming if they think it will communicate with us. A few reasons:   Continue reading Hello, Aliens!

Verbing weirds language.

Pick someone who rates their grammar skills, and try saying this: “Your rampant pedantry is impacting me negatively.”   

Watch: First their faces grow red. They sputter. Flecks of spit gather like soap scum in the corner of their mouths. Hands shake and reach for their receding hairlines. They suppress the urge to correct. But not for long. “IMPACT is a noun! You can’t ‘impact’ something! It’s WRONG! WRONG!!!”

Then try saying this “Um, chillax dude. Grammar? Like, whatevs.”  Boom.  Splatter.  You have just made a human being explode. 

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Something-something and over it

I was passing my lunchtime in a bookshop near my former office when I found a book with the following title:  ‘30-Something and Over It’.


I’m not 30-something, but this book was speaking to me.  (Maybe it’s because I have been reading at or above my age-level since that remedial class.) I took the book down and began.  From page one I felt recognition.

I stood there, a non-fiction display shielding me from the bookstore staff’s cold stares, and read about the author’s battle with demotivation.  She told the story of climbing the corporate ladder until one day she woke up with no desire to reach for the next rung.  She lacked the desire to even cling to her rung. She lacked the desire to get out of bed.   Continue reading Something-something and over it