Feb. 14th, 2010

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I'm spending so much time blogging, but little of it here. In fact I've been rocking my brains trying to come up with a domain name for a companion blog to hogjowls.com covering the rest of the world. Farego and Ringbear are taken, as are just about every other good short name.

Let's see. Working backwards.

It's wet here. steady rain for a couple of days. Water in the carport, mud collecting at bottom etc. Time to call the plumber on a dry day to fix a few problems, most urgently the blocked pipes under the sink.

Can't have been fun for the weekend driver last night. Wet streets, few passengers, roadworks clogging up, minor accidents.

Day driver got tickets for a concert last night, suggested we join him and his darling wife (he's a darling too, but people look askance at one if one suggests it) at the convention centre. James James Morrison Morrison: superb jazz trumpeter and pianist and car show presenter. Monica Trapaga: singer better known as a Play School presenter. Doug Parkinson: man with amazing big voice. Tiara three willowy singers doing backings and the occasional medley. And a bunch of musos who whacked out solos and made some amazing music together.

Fabulous concert, though Canberra audience a little restrained, or maybe lost in large venue.

JM told some great stories, especially a long one about his Royal Command Performance, complete with drum rolls as he dangeled helplessly twenty metress above Royalty and ten thousand others.

It's been raining for two days now. Unheard of in Canberra, and people are beginning to panic. The drains, stuffed full of dead kangaroos and decades of fox droppings are overflowing and the roads are awash. This doesn't help with the roadworks. The morning paper has a feature on how every choke point in Canberra's traffic grid is locked by poorly co-ordinated roadworks. Not a major problem for a night driver, though there are areas I tend to avoid at peak hour unless someone else is paying for it.

Getting government staffers to and from the airport is likely to be a major money-earner for the next year as they redevelop a crucial intersection. Thank goodness they don't go in for night roadworks when there's no traffic but cabbies whipping through construction zones at 50 km/h over the limit, dodging foxes and collecting roos.

Booked the tickets for April. I might have to declare bankruptcy in May, but that's OK. Struggling to find accommodation in Kyoto - we managed to select cherry blossom time, and while it's going to be spectacular, the crowds are going to be immense. Tulips will be out in Istanbul and Amsterdam, I'm hoping.

Looking forward to road trip from Boston to Chicago via Ottawa in three days. If I can swing it, I'll get a Chrysler 300C rental. Breathtakingly spirited in design, it's a delight to drive. A genuine Yank tank.

And we'll finish up in San Francisco, where I'm going to establish six months worth of presence in three days. And ride over the Golden Gate Bridge again.

Airbus 380 home via LAX.

Not my usual style of travel, maximising legs and distance. Travelling with Kerri who sees the destinations, rather than the journey, as the destination. So I've gone for direct flights where possible.

Mum's out of hospital, recovering steadily. Kerri and I will go and see her one weekend soon.

Canberra's back to normal after summer break, and earnings are picking up nicely.

Kerri and I have started another philosophy course, enjoying it. Thought-provoking and satisfying. Learning about guna: sattwa, rakas, tamas from the Eastern tradition. This sounds a little offbeat, but it's not. Very wary of any hint of sprituality or the supernatural, but so far the teaching has been beneficial and practical, and I'm getting a lot out of it.

For example. Last week there was an accident on Northbourne Avenue at rush hour, slowing traffic to a crawl and diverting the peak flow onto side streets not designed to handle the loads. A trip I can do in four minutes from Civic to Dickson at 0200 turned into forty minutes.

I would have fretted, once upon a time, thinking of alternate routes I could have chosen, stewing and fuming over the traffic. Instead, I put on some restful music, turned the meter off, chatted with the passenger and just did my best to get him to his destination. Fare was $13.50 at the end. I looked at the meter, said, "ah just make that ten dollars, compensate for the delay a bit." and he gave me fifteen, saying, "keep the change, it was a pleasant trip."

Which it had been. The accident and the congestion weren't my fault, and while if I'd made an earlier decision to go up the back way I might have avoided some of the traffic, like as not the overflow from Northbourne Avenue would have gone along there as well. It was going to be a tedious trip whichever way we'd gone, and while I was able to make a few good decisions to get through intersections, saving a minute or two, my focus was on just making the best of a bad situation.

It also helped that the passenger enjoyed the Barbra Streisand album I was playing. If he hadn't, I would have hunted something else up for him. Having six CDs and a well-stocked iPhone makes for a lot of choice.

Reading a book about Indian Philosophy - "is there a companion book?" I asked – and a book about microloans, which is really inspirational. Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

I'm finding ways to structure my life differently. I'm less inclined to stay out until four each morning, spending an hour on an empty rank to get a short fare. I can use the time better at home, sleeping. I might not be the cabbie I could be, maximising the income for the owner (and myself), but what's the point in always being tired?

I'm even cleaning out decades of clutter. Slowly, but surely emptying out the boxes and crates of stuff. Long way to go, but I probably won't need my old battledress uniform again.

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Skyring

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