Posted in Uncategorized by expatatlarge on September 22, 2012

Suddenly I carefully considered that if I ever start a sentence with ‘suddenly’ I should be shot.


Getting Old – Indicator #7 – Vision

Posted in Uncategorized by expatatlarge on September 9, 2012

My reading vision has dropped so quickly. You have no idea. In the past two weeks I have noticed a terrible degeneration of my short distance focussing that I have to wear reading glasses ALL the time. ALL the time when I am reading, anyway.

I blame the minuscule font on my Samsung Tab 7.7. It is ridiculous. It is a known issue and quite a few forum discussions. There are a few font-size programs, but they only work for some apps. It’s mainly the crappy Facebook app. It doesn’t allow the two-finger stretch zooming.


Pretty girl not included

Hubba, hubba. I’ll buy that for a dollar.

Getting old but not getting so old.


Dark Chocolate and Fullers Pale

Posted in Uncategorized by expatatlarge on August 29, 2012

DateLine: somewhere roundabout May, April. A while ago.


I’m in a chocolate shop in Fremantle, Western Australia, wondering if this is the ideal place for me to be. Probably not.

The weight has stabilized (mostly, but not yet at the goal) and though the spirit is willing, the will, driven by taste-buds and the craving for sugar that only a previous dose of sugar invokes, is particularly weak. And driven (literally as well as figuratively) here by a lady who told me she doesn’t believe overweight people when say tell her they don’t understand why they are fat, because they really don’t eat all that much. As I had told her yesterday. Well take this, bitch.

Hot mocha that looks like mud and something called an Afghan biscuit. It seems they like chocolate in Afghanistan. I was hoping for some resin of the poppy, but it’s just a chocolate and Cornflakes (thanks Google) biscuit with chocoloate on top.

I’m not sure, either, that this is best place to write. I look like a tourist who is pretending he is a writer: MacAir, iPod, book held open, transcribing something into Evernote. Alone with my obsession, in my absorption, with my white mug perched on a matching white warmer (a porcelain chafing dish affair, effective but quite strange for someone not used to drinking expensive hot [warm] chocolate in expensive chocolate shops – really!) I look like I’ve never had a friend, and probably don’t deserve one. But aware of this… Ostentatiously abandoned, you know the look?

This a born-again sea-farin’, tourist town, with the usual olde-worlde, indie-trende market transition confusion. Thanks to this, there are a smattering (‘Smatter? Nothing.) of good bookstores – several of them Elizabeth’s second-handers – and one called New Edition, for, um, new books. I’ll do a book signing there one day, if I ever get quadruple ear-piercings and a neck tattoo (now that will never go out of fashion). And write a book.

I’m listening to Snow Patrol (non-stop for the last five years it seems) and I’m reading W.G. Sebald’s introduction to the latest Robert Walser translation, “The Tanners,” which I was pleasantly surprised to find at New Edition. (And a first edition Patrick White from Elizabeth’s is in the man-bag.)

Sip, nibble, read, tap toe, type. Repeat.

Sebald paraphrases Robert’s brother Martin: “…he was the most unattached of all the solitary poets.

“For him, coming to an arrangement with a woman was an impossibility.

Sigh. Is it any wonder I want to transcribe this?


After watching his clumsy attempt to be friendly with the only waitress in the bar with anything close to a personality, and what seemed a complete failure to close and follow-through on a certainty (no salesman, our E@L), Bruce was frustrated and amazed yet again by the enormity of E@L’s ineptitude.

He sat back on his bar-stool to analyse E@L’s many issues and synthesize a diagnosis. Silence for a second. Then his eyes popped wide open: “I know what it is!” he said. “You’re afraid of women!”

He performed one of his trademenark chuckles as if this tragic pronouncement was, in some universe, funny…

“Yoo-hoo-hoo. Are. Afrah-ah-aid. Of. Women!”


“It’s not fear of commitment. You don’t want to get involved at all, do you? You stop yourself getting past any point where commitment might be a possibility, not just now or soon, but at anytime in the future, ever! Even if commitment is not on the cards at all. And you do this by not even starting! You’re afraid that if you ask them, they might say yes and drag you off to lock you in their trophy room. Marriage, kids, mortgage, and then divorce, poverty and a broken heart.”

“What?” asked E@L, looking down and mumbling into his Fuller’s Pale Ale, “are you raving about? Anyway, I was not trying to chat her up. And yes, I was trying to put her off! She’s after someone for a relationship.” E@L rubbed his thumb and fingers – money.

“Bullshit. She’s not looking for a relationship, she just wants a fuck, to see what it’s like. A fuck with you, that is.”

“She wanted me to buy her dinner.”

“Then buy it, for fucks sake. And then fuck her.”

“No, this was on Tuesday, when I was here with Brian and Colin. [Brian from Seoul, Colin from Hanoi, both in town for a few days.] She wanted me to buy her dinner. She kept at it. It was funny I guess, but weird. She said she could eat it after work. She was going to finish at work at 1am. She wanted me to give her the money – this was 8pm. We were heading off. I swear. When I asked for the bill, she asked me if I was going to buy her dinner or not. I asked if she was serious, and she said, like: ‘Yes! Of course I yam serious!'” [E@L does not do good impersonations.] Colin thought it was weird too.”

“Oh,” said Bruce. He reassessed. “Maybe you dodged a bullet there. Sounds like she’s looking for a relationship with an ATM, but not just for a quick cash handout.”

“You’ll probably fuck her before I do anyway. Is there a waitress in this town you haven’t fucked, or tried to fuck?”

Bruce’s body shook as he chortled again. “Yeah-eh-eh, ri-hi-hight. Ah, but no. No, she hates me already.”

Bruce explained that, before E@L had arrived, he had voiced a pleasantly worded reprimand to her about a vodka tonic that came in three glasses. He had asked for a double Absolut tonic in a tall glass with a small amount of ice. Three glasses, if you can hear commas.

“I don’t think she took kindly to it. My name is mud.”

How could anyone hate Bruce? It must be his accent.


Bourne Againe

Posted in Uncategorized by expatatlarge on August 27, 2012

Why are modern movies about (E@L has measured this) 70% car chases or motorcycle chases or people running over rooftop and down ever-narrowing alley chases? (Maybe not Prometheus, but it has other faults.) OK, Bullitt was awesome in 1968 and the 11 year old E@L was wetting his pants as Steve McQueen’s Mustang flew down the hilly city streets of San Francisco.

But enough with the faux adrenalin rush already, no point – E@L is on beta-blockers. And he has grown up (and out and around) and watches adult movies nowadays. No, no, no… he means movies for adults with, you know, serious themes and deep ideas and art, and hardly any car chases.

BTW, the Bullitt chase sequence was 9min and 42sec of a 114min movie: ~12% (E@L for once did not make those numbers up) but before you know, movies will be 100% car chases. As if, you say.


E@L watched the latest of these Jason Bourne chase movies recently and was stunned by the height to which his disbelief was required to be suspended. And he felt that it was suspended by its most sensitive bits too. And not JUST in the chase scenes – OK, mainly in the chases scenes.

Now he can take a guy leaping from craggy peak to anfractuous rocks in the alps without suffering broken bones, serious sprains, frost-bite or loss of bladder control. He can take an injured* guy wrestling a, get this, wild wolf in the snowy forest and forcing a homing device down its throat (OK, maybe this is tough one to swallow. [Ha!] Have you ever tried to give a two year old in a tantrum some medicine?). He can take Rachael Weisz. He means he can take Rachael Weisz giving up a promising career in neurochemistry research to get lost in the Philippine Islands with someone only a viral DNA mismatch away from being a drooling, mouth-breathing Rambo (and that relationship is going to last, E@L can tell), but some things are too much to take:

a – a vehicular chase in the Manila streets. Ha! It once took E@L seven (7, count ’em) hours to move from Intramuros to the airport (less than 12kms). Needless to say he missed his flight to HK. And the next one. And the next one. And the…

b – a female resident of Manila asking the police for help! Even bigger HA! Reliable statistics indicate that (E@L has measured this) 99.9% of all crimes in Manila, etc… are carried out by, with, or at the behest of the good (excellent one and all) men and women of the Philippines Police force. Them, or political thugs and terrorists. But mainly them.

c – the surprising absence of girly-bars and other sex-tourism establishments as the camera pans up any given road, street, lane or ever-narrowing alley. Needless to say all of these establishements are owned, managed, and protected by the said Police. Nope, not one view, not one plaintive arm stretched out of a smokey-glassed door in Angeles city, not one face from behind tattered curtain in the, um, rest of the slums with the pleading call: “You buy me drink!” Some say these places are the only genuine reason for expat men to visit Manila! Ha ha. Ha. Ha… Hmm… … OK, next point…

d – the almost complete absence of blitheful toddlers wandering haphazardly (or playing hopscotch, or marbles) on the roads (see a:). Many millions [per square km] (E@L does not make these numbers up, often) of snotty-nosed, filthy-faced, bare-feet kids in wrong-sized, hand-me-down clothes live a subsistence existence wandering the car-parks which constitute Manila’s roads, streets, lanes, and ever-narrowing alleys. Now you can blame their parents and their eschewing of condoms for this. You can blame the Police (with just cause), but E@L prefers to blame The Pope. But the question remains: Where are they in this movie?

e – not every second vehicle, nor every third, was a gaudily decorated (usually with religous symbols) Jeepney. These ubiquitous (in the Philippines they are) transports are reanimated from the wreckages of abandoned US Second World War vehicles, everyone knows this.


In short: yet another crap modern movie. It didn’t annoy E@L the way Prometheus did… Which is not saying one hell of a lot – E@L has had fulminating sores eating the flesh off his leg that didn’t annoy him half as much as Prometheus.


BTW, RIP Tony Scott.

And God Bless You.


* Was he injured? Can’t remember.

Dead Skin

Posted in Uncategorized by expatatlarge on August 17, 2012

If you want to know where all this crap I type comes from —

I was polishing my, um, desk, no seriously I was. Obviously SuperMaid Joyce sees deteriorating timber as part of the charm of this place, and the fact that I haven’t noticed the state of the pseudo-oak desk-top for seven-odd (15) years speaks volumes about me too.

So, there I was moving things onto the bed or back to the bookshelves (where 80% of the *junk* on my desk belongs) in order to gain access to the mythical and alleged wood. CHeerist – this desk has lost a lot of its…? Shine? Varnish? Value?

I shuffled the remaining stuff around, mainly computer junk, to spray the environmentally friendly (I never heard it say a bad thing about the mosquito fogging) polish on, perforce I picked up my keyboard and placed it over there, polished the wood and set the keyboard back. Now with everything looking lovely and pristine(ish) I noticed the many imperfections that previously were relatively insignificant, below the threshold of my care factor. But now…! Look at that keyboard! There’s an eyelash on the ‘r’ key! Shock horror! rrrrrrrrrrr. Now it’s shifted to the ‘g’ key. ggggggggggg. Still there. gggggggrrrrrrrr.

So puffed it off with a huff of my laboured breath and immediately a cloud of dust particles arose!

Woah, that’s a lot of dusty stuff. Whence? But now, itchy eyes!!!

After swiping the irritants from my eye (it wasn’t the spray-on polish’s toxic fumes, surely not), I picked up the keyboard. I turned it over and tapped the top, now on the bottom [a Nabokovian touch there, hah], a few times on the newly polished desktop, in the process scratching a few more commemorative notches into what remains of the varnish. Sparkles of snow-dust fell slowly onto the desk. A few more taps and the blizzard continued. Obviously it was not snow, but it fell down in flurries like snow. It was more like one of those movies where they want it to be snowing but it ain’t snowing so they use fake fluff to clump up on the actors eyebrows (viz: Jon Snow about half the time he’s on-screen in GoT). Imagine what that stuff is doing to those poor actors’ lungs!

I tapped again. And still the particles fell. A CSI – EQLGHQ delight! A smorgasbord (veritable, of course) of DNA evidence! Eyebrow dandruff, beard drippings, lashes from the other eye, finger-tip exfoliation, desiccated unmentionable nasal disjecta, fingernails, toenails, pubics, prepuces

Softly they fell, falling softly all over the desk, falling upon the living and the dead tired.


I tried using one of the silicon (or is it latex?) covers, but, you know, it was, as they say (or are you, perhaps, one of them?) like having a shower with a raincoat on. Just no sensation, no feed-back, no fun at all.


Thinks: Oh that’s right – I have a keyboard puffer-and-brush set thing somewhere. Pffft. Who knows, somewhere here, must have lost it while I tidied up the desk just then. Maybe it’s under this pile of snow?

Still, you can’t beat a good tapping to get the DNA out.


Robert Hughes R.I.P.

Posted in Uncategorized by expatatlarge on August 16, 2012


(neglected to post this the other day… sorry.)

Molly Bloom – A Girl Who Can’t Say No

Posted in Uncategorized by expatatlarge on August 16, 2012

via Odd Stuff Magazine


(“I’d marry this girl, but would she be faithful?” asks Blazes Boylan.)

Guess Where We Were

Posted in Uncategorized by expatatlarge on August 14, 2012

(No matter what I did Danijel’s photos were always better than mine.)


viz: A Life So Luminous

Posted in Uncategorized by expatatlarge on June 15, 2012

My sometime flat-mate (a week, maybe 2 or 3 times, every few months) Cara has a great talent for drawing amusing doodle characters. She always leaves little (or big) whimsical, amusing, thought-provoking messages in cartoon form around the house. Things like this…

I mean, how could you not love her back?

Her daughter must have been long aware of this talent and she gave her a notebook for Christmas last year, I think it was, to scribble these doodles in, as a diary. Each evening *without fail* (would-be writers take note) she has been analyzing the events of the day and, instead of plodding out more words (she talks for a living), she sketches out a cute little comic that pins that day down.

When I first noticed her doing this she showed some and they just cracked me up. They seemed to be banging right on the head of some incident’s nail, not that I knew what had actually happened during her day necessarily. I loved the way she appeared to get under the skin of the facts of the day and reveal in her cute illustration the soul and the heart within – they are about inter-personal politics and that ineffable wind-across-the-wheat-field subtlety of relationships about which most blokes would just go. “What?” Blokes such as me. But I found them damn amusing. Know what I mean? No? Cara could do a scribble and doubtless render a visual explanation far better than this tongued-tied stuff.

Point of post – last time she was here, she was experimenting with a new gadget (it must be contagious, come to my place, need to purchase technology), one of those things that clip onto the end of a notepad and track your pen movements across a page and then sends them off to her iPad (or wherever). She was struggling with it, and swearing at it, and rebooting this and rebooting that until, just before booting it out the window, she got it going as its designer had intended. Now she can put her stuff into The Ether (as we once called The Cloud) as well into her physical diary.

Yes, you guessed it, she has a blog now where she puts up some of her more philosophical little pics. Check it out, she has something new up most days.

It’s called A Life So Luminous.”

There are posts with words too but, hey who reads these days?


She already gets more hits per day than E@L did back in his peak, when he was a naughty boy in school.

Needless to say, she is very good at that DrawSomething game.



Posted in Uncategorized by expatatlarge on May 19, 2012

Promise to write something soon. In Bangkok, had enough of “ping pong” and “open bottle” shows, and with a respite from the hectic Singapore social life, there may be plenty of opportunity to pen a piece or two. If this gastro would ease up. (French Bistro on Soi 11.)

But then again I promised to turn the Bruce parts into an ebook (done fuck all.)

Also I promised to lose more weight (stable at about 117kgs).

I put this on my FB page, from the NYT (there would be nothing to blog about without the NYT, as they say). For those three of you not also on my FB, this is funny in case you weren’t aware. 5555, as we type in Thailand. But it flies into the wind of tragedy as well.