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Incredible.

After 10 hours and half a bottle of Raid, the cockroach is still moving. Not much, but enough to cause worry and lessen our faith in man's mastery over nature. We spray some more pesticide, and for a while the nasty thing shudders, it's muscle control and coordination destroyed, but damn it if it doesn't keep on moving. Houston, we have a problem.

The colony of massive roaches had appeared on previous night, out of nowhere it seemed, and although they were intercepted on their way from the kitchen to the bathroom, it was clear that they were only the vanguard. Even more worryingly, our ant poison seemed to have very little effect on them. One unfortunate roach was chosen as a test subject, deliberately sprayed with Raid, Baygon, Jungle Formula and whatever we had in our impressive Cairo expat's arsenal, and left in a box to (hopefully) die.

The truth is that cockroaches really are wonderfully fascinating animals. Oldest surviving creatures in the world today, they have had plenty of time to master the art of survival. Omnivorous, virtually indestructible, reputedly resistant to radiation - there seems to be no end to their hardiness. They can live for up to a month without their heads, for god's sake! Biologists love them, some people cherish them as pets, but none of this matters right now, because they just look so damn revolting.

A quick check on the internet had given a name to our new flatmates: Periplaneta americana, the common American cockroach. Of course, they just had to be the biggest the roach family had to offer, the ugliest and the most productive in terms of offspring. And hardest to kill, naturally.

Enter Last Meal, an Egyptian weapon of mass destruction in man's war against the forces of nature. It appears to be some kind of gel bait for the bugs, but we haven't yet seen it in action; the drugged and poisoned test subject would not touch it. Tonight, the baits will come out. There is no instructions on the box, just this:

All you need is to place Last Meal and it work fine. Immediate expellant effect, little ordor. CAUTIION: PLEASE DO NOT PUT INTO MOUTH TO PLAY!!
Incredible.

Well, here it is, three days before my sister's wedding, the day before Strong_Bow79, my kids and I were supposed to board a plane for Germany to be at the aforementioned wedding, and, in the case of my daughter, in it, and still no sign of passports for the kids.

My soon-to-be-ex-husband is stopping at nothing to hurt me, not even if it involves hurting his own kids. He still has temporary custody of them, which cuts me to the heart every time I tell their school I'll be picking them up for an appointment or whatever and they have to check with him to see if it's ok. He has no interest in these children - if he did, he would have shown it in the 3 years he's been gone. I mean, I'm sure he loves them, how could he not, they're beautiful, sweet kids, but he's not interested in being a father.

He has already told me that after the divorce is final and he has filed for bankruptcy he is leaving for parts unknown. I asked him why and he said "What's left here for me?"

I've given up saying "at least it can't get any worse", because it always does. He took my kids. "It can't get any worse". He took my car. "It can't get any worse". He cut off my utilities. "It can't get any worse". He interfered with my getting passports for the kids. I'm not saying it...

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I know what's coming next. My daughter told me a week or so ago that he was going back to Washington to pick up his motorcycle, and he had said they were going with him. At the time, I thought we were going to be in Germany for a month, so I paid no attention. This morning at 3 a.m. I woke up in a cold sweat and realized that somehow, he's talked the Army into giving him yet more leave, and he's going to take my kids with him and there's nothing I can do about it.

My kids are with me overnight tonight, and I just want to clutch them to me and never let them go.

In discussions with one of my workmates I have come to the conclusion that Mr Mohammed Ali, the boxer, should have said 'I float like a dirigible, and sting like a wasp', because:
(a) Butterflies do not float, because they are heavier than air;
(b) Bees only sting once, but Ali was capable of stinging many times.

Although for the analogy to be truly correct Mr Ali would have had to attack opponents with his coccyx, which is surely not allowed under the rules of boxing, although it would surely have been a compelling visual spectacle. This is notwithstanding the fact that a punch from Mohammed Ali would have been a concussive thing, not a sting.

So perhaps Ali's motto should have been 'I float like a balloon, and concuss like a bursting shell'. Or even just 'I float. I sting.' After all, why fanny about with analogies? Ali didn't float at all like a butterfly and bees sting only in self-defence, something which Ali tried successfully with his rope-a-dope defence against George Foreman, but seldom elsewhere. Poetically, yes, the words evoke something, but writing poetry about boxing is like mud-wrestling about Pearl Harbour. A lot of movement and mess but at the end both fighters are still standing. The point is made, the beast is dead.

The Daily Telegraph's letters page currently has a 'thread' about the best way of righting bees which have fallen on their backs. Apparently the trick is to lightly brush their back legs until they start to trust you, and then offer then your full finger. This is one of the reasons I read the Daily Telegraph; it's a combination of sturm und drang over right-wing issues and discussions on how to heal wounded bees. The Guardian pretends to be sane, but in an insane world it is insanity to be sane.

Which is one of those Catch 22 things. 'Right' and 'wrong' are subjective and depend on a majority consensus, and if the world is wrong, then wrong is right, and by being right you are wrong, even if objectively you are right. Ayn Rand would probably have something to say about this but if she was trapped on a life raft with other people she wouldn't last long, and her beliefs would drown with her.

A note to all of those trying to work as salespeople or to start a new company, when dealing with your customers, do not talk down to them. Don't make your customer feel like an ass. Here's the reason, they will switch you from their vendor and you will lose money.

An example of this: The company I work for is switching copying companies to Ikon. In order to connect the copiers, we need to change plugs, we don't have the right faceplate. In other words, didn't have the right NEMA rating on the plug. So I called the eletrician that wired the building, he says "Did you look at where the current copier was plugged in?" No I didn't, I just assumed I needed to spend money.... Of course I looked which I told him. After that he said "Are you sure?" Which is the end of the rope, of course I'm sure, I know what I'm talking about. I even googled the plug so I had an image of the thing.

To end this rant the company is on the way out with us, we are looking for a new company to meet our electrical needs. Customer service does matter.

"To Novell's knowledge, the 1995 agreement governing SCO's purchase of UNIX from Novell does not convey to SCO the associated copyrights," Messman said in the letter. "We believe it unlikely that SCO can demonstrate that it has any ownership interest whatsoever in those copyrights. Apparently you share this view, since over the last few months you have repeatedly asked Novell to transfer the copyrights to SCO, requests that Novell has rejected."1
--Novell Press Release, May 28, 2003


Lady Caldera
(to the tune of The Beatles' "Lady Madonna")

Lady Caldera, stock price at your feet.
Wonder how you'll manage to make ends meet.
Who has the money? How you pay the rent?
Did you think that UNIX trademark was heaven sent?

Wednesday morning news just like a bombshell.
We all watch their stock drop like a rock.
Caldera has learned kiss its arsecheeks goodbye.
See how they run.

Lady Caldera, IP fakes confess!
Wonder how you'll manage to keep up this jest.

See how they run.

Lady Caldera, lying in the press,
Blackmailing the righteous ones, in your duress.

Wednesday afternoon is never ending.
Thursday morning news will be as bad.
Thursday night your stocks, they will need mending.
See how they run.

Lady Caldera, stock price at your feet.
Wonder how you'll manage to make ends meet.


1 "Novell Challenges SCO Position, Reiterates Support for Linux" (http://www.novell.com/news/press/archive/2003/05/pr03033.html)
"Lady Madonna" (1968) Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Ok…I just gotta daylog.

My health is…variable. Various allergies and intolerances mean that summer days at school, when every kid is covering themselves with aerosol deodorants, get pretty painful. Last term I averaged 1 day off per week. Not good. And workcover forms are a bugger to fill out. But this term – winter’s coming. It’s cold. The kids aren’t sweating like pigs, and aren’t spraying their little cans of Lynx and Impulse everywhere. Result – 4.5 weeks into term – NO absences. All good. Feeling very proud of myself.

Then we have today. Did not start out well, for various reasons. A test that I’m meant to give tomorrow was only put on my desk last night. Glaring errors, way too long, way too hard. On the warpath, trying to get my moronic cow orker to set a test that the kids have some vague chance of passing. Did not happen. And it’s report time, and today was the deadline for marks to go in…and my marks were happily sitting in my briefcase, on my bench at home. Not good. 45 minute trip to work – can’t just turn around and get it.

So I ran around madly all day, planning lessons, teaching, confiscating cigarettes (oh, ok, so I left the kid with one…he’s had troubles, he needed it…I pretended I didn’t see that one). Rewriting Einstein’s riddle to take out the reference to the type of cigar each person smoked (can’t support that sort of thing. They now drive different sorts of cars. Very creative…).

But it’s all starting to go ok, mark deadline is postponed just for little me…lessons are planned, and I bolt my lunch (Le Snak biscuits) and race out of the front door of the staffroom. The general exodus of teachers heads under the library balcony, up the ampitheatre stairs, out to the classrooms.

The point of my story:

As I mosey swiftly under the balcony of the library, one level up from me, some kid decides to throw his school bag off. One of those industrial strength things full of heavy text books.


THUD!

The bag lands neatly over my head – the strap catching on my forehead, the bag thumping into my back.


SNAP!

The bag’s momentum carries it ever downwards, jerking my head back and causing not insignificant amounts of pain.

THUD! SCRATCHTHUDSPLAT!

Various bits of me manage to hit the ground independently. I really don’t remember which bits hit when.

ow.



So I lay there. Various students raced over and attempted to help me up. We’re not allowed to swear at students, so I gritted my teeth and said “Don’t…touch…me”. Various other kids, drawn by the glamour of disaster, looked down into the ampitheatre.

Thing was – I was wearing my grey jacket. And the jacket that the seniors wear is also grey. Picture this then – a prone, motionless grey clad body, schoolbag and papers nearby, under a balcony.

PANIC STATIONS!!

Two of the Assistant Principals, the first aid lady, three heads of department and God knows who else, were summoned from their various offices with the call of “Ohmigod, call an ambulance, one of the year twelves fell off the balcony!” They were pretty pissed when it turned out there was no actual reason for that heart attack and serious blood pressure problem they’d just suffered.

ow ow ow ow ow


I lay there, quietly trying to move enough to reassure people that I was still alive. Mental checklist – toes wiggle – this is good. Head moves, also good. Don’t want to put any weight on that arm…not so good. Previously dislocated knee feels….GNAARGHH not very good at all, really.

Carefully levered myself upright. Shock was beginning to set in, and I giggled happily when told that my pupils weren’t contracting properly and asked to go to sick bay where there was a mirror so I could check out my eyes. Dammit – I’ve never seen unevenly dilated pupils. I consigned the care of my class to someone else, and wandered up to sick bay. Between us, the first aid lady and I decided on a simple arm sling for my elbow, which was starting to hurt significantly. The application of ice brought on a quiet but fluent stream of obscenities, so we concluded that there was a good chance of a fracture, and took the ice off again.

Took stock of my injuries. (I’m still discovering more…). Most distressing was the fact that my left slut boot will never be the same again – the eyelets are fucked, as are the little loop things, and the previously pretty damn spiffy leather now looks like someone’s taken to it with a grater. *HOWL*. My back feels rather worse than I can ever remember it feeling – and I’ve had my share of chiro in my life. One of my knees (the left one) is threatening to do its dislocation trick if I mistreat it. My left calf feels like hell, as does the bruise on my left foot.

To cut a long story short – no fractures (took 6 bloody x-rays to figure that out…with the dickhead radiologist grabbing my elbow when he wanted me to move. I mean – really. You’re x-raying *that* elbow. Doesn’t that suggest that it might possibly *hurt*? Hmm?), just soft tissue injuries and some serious ouchies. Told to take tomorrow (Thursday) off – staffing officer at school told me not to be an idiot and not to come back till Monday.

Think I’ll go find a physiotherapist.

People keep laughing at me. Keep laughing myself. What a stupid thing to have happen. What the fuck were the chances of that?

Oh, and the kid was sent home in disgrace and should be *seriously* in trouble by now. Hee hee.

And my boyfriend and my friend are drawing straws as to who gets to beat the crap out of him.


And in other daylog news, since I’m here:

We finally dined at the Palisade restaurant. Oh yes – weep with envy, you nonAusnoders – I have been fed by sneff. BlakJak and Nemosyn were up this weekend, and so we three, along with three non-noders who simply wander round E2 at times, went out to the Palisade and dined royally on Black mussels with spiced tomato, coriander and couscous, along with oysters, and amazing whiting, and deliciously tender sirloin, and spatchcocks…and Chocolate fondant, and a yummy meringue which can sort of be found under pavlova. We will be back. Oh yes. I wonder if the Palisade does wedding receptions….

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