Looking cool in a penguin costume does not make you a literary giant …

If there isn’t already, there should be a law which states clearly and firmly that fit, healthy 21-year-old lads are not allowed to always be first on the WiiFit leaderboard. This is particularly pertinent when the WiiFit actually belongs to Rocco’s mother. She should be allowed to be best at something

The Hunter Gatherer gave Rocco’s mother the WiiFit for Christmas. The frightening part was that it wanted to weigh her. Naturellement, she thought NOT. Who in their right mind wants technology to tell them they are obese?  You could argue that machines don’t know everything – and Rocco’s mother did. Therefore, she closed her eyes while the machine did its worst, and didn’t ever click on the WEIGHT button. A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing – and Rocco’s mother wanted to venture forth into 2009 without much knowledge at all. Especially the kind which might impede her prior knowledge regarding how excellent chocolate and sea-salt potato crisps taste. And icy cold iced coffee by the gallon. And we’re not talking the low-fat kind. Why would we?

Rocco’s mother made herself a nice little avatar person and had a few happy hours trying out the games and exercises. Her nice little person happily zipped into a fetching penguin suit to compete in Penguin Slide – and was doing very well at that, and several other things. Rocco’s mother found she had surprisingly good balance. Because of this, she stupidly bragged to Rocco. A bad mistake, because Rocco has a competitive nature – and being a surfer, scoffed at the fact his aging mater might consider she could out-balance him at anything. He was sure he could do better. In a penguin suit, even.

Rocco set about making himself an avatar. A very cool one indeed – with spiky hair, sunglasses and a lime green outfit. Rocco’s mother *sigh* had to admit it was the height of coolness. Surreptitiously, in edit mode, she removed the spectacles she’d given herself. After all, she only wears them for reading and there are no reading activities to compete in. The fact she could whup Rocco’s arse in a spelling bee is her own personal and heavily guarded secret.

Rocco’s avatar zipped itself into the penguin suit – and even looked cool thus attired. He flashed backwards and forwards on the iceberg with gay abandon – not falling off once. Rocco’s mother, on the other hand, spent a fair bit of time flailing in the water. And was too obese tired to leap elegantly to catch the prized red fish (10 points each).  At the end of his turn, Rocco’s penguin leaped and cheered and punched the air. He then took his place at the top of the leaderboard. By this time, Rocco’s mother had broken out a packet of biscuits and settled down to watch whilst he took away, one by one, her records for Table Tilt, Ski Slalom and Tightrope Walking. In fact, he had so many turns at Ski Slalom that Rocco’s mother dropped off the leaderboard completely and will possibly forever remain unranked.

‘Look at it this way,’ Rocco smugly assured her, ‘It will give you something to aim for!’ There actually was something his mother would have liked to have aimed for. But one doesn’t do that to one’s only son. No matter how great the provocation. It also rankles slightly that Rocco’s body fitness test placed him right in the middle of IDEAL. In fact, it then proceeded to tell him he should aim to gain three kilos. There was no facility for file sharing – or Rocco’s mother would have happily downloaded some of hers into his fatbox.

On a happier note, Rocco’s mother is top of the leaderboard in Jogging. This is because Rocco can’t be bothered doing that. It would be beyond his dignity to run on the spot for 10 minutes in the middle of the living room when he could reap greater rewards in far shorter time at other activities. Nor will he try the yoga poses. To be perfectly honest, Rocco’s mother hasn’t attempted these either. She will wait until the holidays are over and she has the house completely to herself in order to pose in private.

There is some light on the horizon, however, Flygirl and Roo will both be visiting towards the end of the month. Flygirl has her own WiiFit and a very active, sporty partner to compete with at home. Roo is a gym junkie and jogs for miles and miles. Rocco’s mother hopes these two will prove formidable foe. Watch out, Rocco – your time may almost be up.

And bear in mind, your mother will always be able to whup your arse in a spelling bee. No amount of looking dashing in a penguin suit will ever change that …

.oOo.

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The year of living vicariously …

So it’s here already – 2009. Somehow it arrived overnight, and this morning the old calendar went in the recycling, to be replaced with the January smiling face of Luna Park. This is probably meant to imply 2009 is going to be a good year. A fun year. We’ll see, won’t we? Rocco’s mother feels it’s far too early for enthusiasm. You can’t just go in there all trusting and la-de-da. You are most certainly likely to be shat upon, in order to be put in your place.

Rocco’s mother hasn’t made any resolutions. After all, if she’s enjoying doing it at the moment, she certainly isn’t likely to be wanting to give it up any time soon. The crap habits stay. This will, however, be the year of No Wank. There will be no Quality Time, no Getting Closure, no Absolutely Inner Child At The End Of The Day – or anything else which smacks of giving a damn. Because frankly, my dear, Rocco’s mother doesn’t.

Let’s face it, with the Hunter Gatherer and four Rt Honourables, surely there are enough people in her immediate family willing to do things on Rocco’s mother’s behalf? The only rule (which came into play when Flygirl went off to a military academy), is that Rocco’s mother only finds out what you’ve done after you’ve done it. Usually when the evidence is plastered all over Facebook. Rocco’s mother can then go, ‘woo woo WOO’ and be very impressed and feel she’s done it too. Not.

Rocco’s eldest sister, JoJo the Incredible, is going to help her husband build a house and plant a vineyard this year – in between amusing her two little girls, entertaining from scratch and being … well, incredible. Rocco’s mother gave her a pink tape measure for Christmas so she can measure things – because although JJ the I is one of the most enterprising and hard working young women Rocco’s mother knows, she still manages to be a girlie  and can easily lay bricks with one hand while balancing her chardonnay glass on the edge of the wheelbarrow with the other. Rocco’s mother has no understanding of how JJ the I came to be so I. It is baffling in the extreme.

Flygirl, Rocco’s second sister, will carry on as usual doing more skydiving, BASE jumping, hang gliding, hot air ballooning and making iced cupcakes in between sessions of scraping the mud from her combat boots. Rocco’s mother will wish she’d had the guts, several hundred kilos ago, to have done all those things. Sadly, even the cupcake icing is far beyond her capabilities these days. On a good day she can just about muster the energy to eat them. And that’s about all.

Rocco’s third sister, RooRoo, will be cool and elegant in 2009. She will whizz tirelessly backwards and forwards across the country dispensing cool drinks and hot towels and making encouraging noises to the mammoth lady in 10C who is desperately trying to pretend she doesn’t need the extension seat belt thingie. ‘Oh no, Madam – it’s not you, it’s us. Sometimes in the hot weather the seatbelts shrink. Please don’t worry that half your body is invading the space of the man next to you and, as we speak, oozing over his lap like some kind of invasive suet pudding on rollers. It’s of no consequence whatsoever – in fact, the gentleman is happy to have something to rest his laptop on – and could I bring you another pineapple muffin?’

Then there’s Rocco himself.  *sigh*. What are his plans for 2009? It is doubtful he has any, being the species of animal who plays it as it comes. The element of surprise is a Rocco trademark.  Hopefully, this will be the year he finishes his apprenticeship. Rocco’s mother still has hope it will be the year he meets his Moon Maiden. You remember, don’t you – the one with the degree in accountancy who can help him get his finances sorted? The one who will invite him to move in with her,  and fill his life with joy and abundance and delicious, squashy sofas filled with embroidered throw cushions? Rocco’s mother knows she is out there somewhere. (If she’s reading this, could she please contact CrimeStoppers immediately …  a small reward is offered.)

The Hunter Gatherer is going to do lots of gardening in 2009 and Rocco’s mother will sit on the back verandah with a long, cool iced coffee and watch him doing it. If he’d like to post photographs on Facebook (which he most certainly won’t), she’d happily go, ‘woo, woo, WOO’. As things stand, she will shout this over the railing to him and her words of encouragement (nay, gratitude), will waft gently through the palm trees and ferns and make him realise how much he’s appreciated.

Rocco’s mother is just about to open the new Barbara Vine novel and an extremely marvellous tin of marzipan chocolates. She will do these things herself, without any help from anybody. She wishes to thank the members of her family for making all this possible. Without them, she’d have been required to have a life …

.oOo.

This time, Rocco’s mother doesn’t have any idea what to call it …

Lately, on just about every level, Rocco’s mother feels old age is creeping up on her. And it’s not Rocco’s father. Things in general are going downhill, dropping off and seizing up in an alarming fashion. And that’s before she gets out of bed, even.

The most worrying thing seems to be the problem with RM’s memory. What? Her MEMORY. Ah, yes. And it’s not just a matter of trying to figure out where the frozen peas are – or even whether she’d remembered to buy them in the first place – but finding the right word to describe something. Where the word should be – and indeed, once was – a blank space mockingly waits. But Rocco’s mother finds she is increasingly unable to fill it.

A few weeks ago while visiting one of Rocco’s sisters in Darwin, RM and Flygirl were wandering around a shopping mall and came upon one of RM’s favourite things. And no, it wasn’t a chocolate-covered Alan Rickman wrapped in gold foil. She would have remembered that. It was a book sale. Rocco’s mother, as was only to be expected, fell on it with rapture and frenzied excitement, calling out to Flygirl – ‘Oh look – they’ve got those … those … calendar books.’

Flygirl raised an eyebrow. ‘Diaries,’ she suggested. It hit Rocco’s mother that she hadn’t been able to retrieve that word. It hadn’t been there. A programming glitch had occurred at the vital moment. Diaries? Surely she used to know that? Even yesterday, it had been part of her everyday vocabulary – flung into conversations in a random and cavalier manner whenever the occasion called for it. Which happened to be often. Which happened to be often, because as sure as bears mess themselves in the woods, Rocco’s mother is going to make sure she doesn’t go starting conversations where she needs to use the word … the word … that word any time soon.

It is alarming to suppose there are other words in there, silently becoming fainter and fainter until they slip forever out of the memory bank. Tomorrow, will Rocco’s mother tentatively request ‘filled bread’ when asking for a sandwich? Will she come down for breakfast and not recognise anybody, like Rocco’s father on the day he first wore his new spectacles? It scares Rocco’s mother to know she’d be utterly useless if called upon to witness anything. After being served in a shop and walking outside again, she is aware she would not be able to describe the shop assistant – or recognise her in the police line-up. When the police officer demands, ‘Where were you on the night of September 23?’ in an accusatory manner, Rocco’s mother would not have a clue. She would not recall shoplifting from Food-o-rama or whether she’d eaten the legs of the chocolate-covered Alan Rickman. She would possibly not remember what September was.

Some people are blessed with extraordinary memories. Do they purposely focus on every minute detail before they file it away – or is it entirely accidental? Where is the fairness in that? The first time Rocco’s parents visited Flygirl in Darwin, they ambled downtown one morning to enjoy an alfresco breakfast under shady trees in the early morning warmth of the city. The menu was written on a huge blackboard outside the cafe, so Rocco’s father made his selection. At the counter, he said, ‘I’ll have the Full Monty, please – without mushrooms.’ The lad behind the counter – who happened to be bald and British – frowned.

‘Does it say it comes with mushrooms?’

‘Er … I don’t know,’ Rocco’s father admitted. There had been so many menu options and permutations of breakfasty ingredients.

‘Well if it doesn’t say it comes with mushrooms, it doesn’t come with mushrooms,’ the lad said patiently. Which was fair enough. The breakfast, sans mushrooms, was very good indeed and enjoyed enormously by Rocco’s father, who only eats breakfast when he’s on holidays anyway and then makes an absolute pig of himself. 

A whole year or more later, Rocco’s parents returned to Darwin – by which time Rocco’s father was dying to reacquaint himself with the excellent breakfast – so he and Rocco’s mother headed downtown on their first morning and were happy to discover the alfresco cafe was still there in all its glory, blackboards cheerfully chalked in anticipation.

‘I’ll have the Full Monty, please,’ Rocco’s father told the lad behind the counter. And the lad eyed him up over the top of the coffee machine and baskets of freshly baked muffins, and said,  ‘… it still doesn’t come with mushrooms …’

.oOo.

Rocco’s mother shops by appointment only …

Rocco’s mother is feeling a bit maverick today. She was booted out of Food-o-rama last night, and that’s a pretty big thing. Rocco’s mother is the type of person who would never dare take more than eight items through the eight-items-or-die checkout. She’d hate to upset anyone or be accused of cheating. If she happens to have nine or ten items, she puts a couple of them in her wellies. Joking. She really puts a couple of them down her knickers. Also joking.

But I digress. Rocco’s mother had a lovely week in Darwin and flew home yesterday morning – a four hour flight. Followed by a two hour train journey and another couple of hours on a bus because – what’s new – there was trackwork happening and the train couldn’t go all the way, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. Anyway, on finally reaching home, it was necessary to purchase several items which Rocco (who had been at home alone) had run out of, and which were necessary for the humane survival of his parents. Such as bread and milk. Therefore, Rocco’s mother set off for Food-o-rama with her little list. Which she wouldn’t be able to read when she got there anyway because she hadn’t remembered to take her glasses. And, in fact, she hadn’t actually remembered to take the list either.

Food-o-rama was nice and empty, so Rocco’s mother pottered around in the fluorescent quietness, thinking nothing in particular and winding down. She might even have been singing. And doing little dancing things, even, because she was happy. At the cheese fridge, a cheerless pudding of a girl was restocking, and gave Rocco’s mother a baleful glare – not moving across to allow her to choose cheese. Or select stilton. Pick parmesan. Buy brie. Whatever. Rocco’s mother settled for plasticated slices and moved on. She might have still been singing – or at least emitting a cheerful little hum – at this stage.

As Rocco’s mother started up the bread aisle, a gargantuan troll in a Food-o-rama tunic came bearing down upon her. ‘Madam,’ she said, puffed up with self-importance and the aftermath of consuming too much roadkill, ‘Are you aware the store is ACKshilly … erm … closed?’ Rocco’s mother felt a hot flush up the back of her neck, over her head and down her front.

‘I thought you closed at eight!’ Rocco’s mother protested. Aghast. She had, after all, looked at the trading hours outside and thought she had well over an hour to spare.

‘It’s AFTER eight,’ Foodbitch said smugly. She now had her arms folded in front of her. She looked as if she were getting ready to barge.

‘I’m terribly sorry,’ Rocco’s mother said. ‘Would you like me to put everything back on the shelves?’

Foodbitch’s brain was ticking over. It didn’t have far to tick, because it wasn’t very large. She obviously, however, decided Rocco’s mother would take a long time to replace the offending groceries – and she wanted her gone NOW.

‘Take them through, then,’ FB decided grudgingly. ‘As long as you don’t want anything ELSE.’ She gave Rocco’s mother a look which implied she might be the type of person who wished to strip every shelf of every possible item. Just out of spite.

At the checkout, the girlie had emptied her till and tallied up – but started putting Rocco’s mother’s purchases dutifully over the scanner. She then noticed the bag of oranges – carefully selected because they were (for a change) large and orange – happened to have a squashed and broken fruit inside, the orangey contents of which were smearing themselves over the other, non-offending fruit.

‘Oh dear,’ said the girlie. She turned to Foodbitch, who was standing there tapping her foot like the guardian at the River Styx. ‘Would you mind getting another one of these?’

Foodbitch looked as if she might kill Rocco’s mother – but snatched the bag of oranges and huffed off to the fruit section, returning with a bag of the smallest, greenest-tinged, crappy looking oranges she could find. Rocco’s mother knew full well it was Foodbitch’s revenge, along the lines of the Poo-in-the-Gelato punishment which had been enacted upon an unpleasant patron at an hotel a few weeks prior. Rocco’s mother figured Foodbitch was entitled to her little victory. Just this once, and because she appreciated the customer is not right all the time.

It is fortunate there are other supermarkets which Rocco’s mother can frequent. She’s rather embarrassed, and doesn’t know whether she wants to go back to Food-o-rama again. On the other hand, her memory is so jaded these days she’ll probably have completely forgotten about it within a day or two, and will wonder why staff members recoil in horror next time she makes an appearance.

ACKshilly … she doesn’t really give a hoot.

.oOo.

Seven stages of procrastination …

On days such as these, Rocco’s mother wonders (no, not lonely as a cloud, which is wanders anyway) why she has to torture herself with Rocco’s room.

Rocco goes away every month for a week at TAFE. It’s a requirement of his apprenticeship, and probably dreamed up by the Department of Education and Training as respite for his parents. Not that they mind him still living at home (his parents, that is, not the Department, who probably couldn’t give a toss) – they don’t, because he’s a lovely lad – but Rocco’s mother worries a LOT. She worries a lot more when she services his room, which now happens only during TAFE week because when Rocco’s at home she doesn’t want to go near it. Or him. And she is well aware what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Rocco’s mother is all for strength.

It occurred to her this morning there are seven stages to work through – beginning, naturellement, with Shock. There is a massive shock when Rocco’s mother opens the door. She knew it was bad, of course, but it’s worse when she knows she’s going to have to deal with it. Will the vacuum cleaner be able to cope? Will she pass out from unexpected fumes and creeping bacteria? Why had she assumed troglodytes were extinct, when it appears one is dwelling in Stygian delight within the depths of an otherwise normal suburban abode? Shock is followed quickly by Guilt. What did she do to bring up such a pig? Maybe nothing, for surely this catastrophe stems only from his father’s genes?

Fear kicks in quickly. What the hell was THAT, gibbering in the darkness of a corner and scraping its taloned paw across the strings of a dusty guitar? Oh foul creature of the shadows, take your sticky jaws and cobwebbed wings and creep back beneath the pile of soiled clothing … there’s a dear! Rocco’s mother shuts the door and stands in the corridor for a while. Her heart is hammering and her mood is heavy. Depression sets like turgid jelly in the pit of her stomach. For the millionth zillionth time that week – nay, hour – she prays for a nice girl to rescue Rocco from himself. Alright – a nasty girl, even. One with a pulse will do. A trollop with a really vile attitude who has her own flat. One cannot afford to be picky when times are dire.

Being a woman of resilience and optimism, Rocco’s mother embraces Denial with gusto. Surely she had imagined what she’d seen on the other side of that door? It was a figment of her exhausted and overtired imagination. When she opens the door again, Rocco’s room will be all cool, blue walls and freshly tweaked counterpane. His books will be stacked neatly on his desk, his music equipment just so. The air will be redolent with lavender and myrrh. (Myrrh? Okay, that might have been overdoing things.) The air will probably be redolent with lavender and Lynx deodorant. The curtain will waft gently in the warm, summer air. Rocco’s mother braces herself and opens the door.

Anger. Yeah, bring it on! Course she’s bloody angry! What’s not to be angry about? Rocco is nearly 21. He’s damn lucky to have a free roof over his head and a ‘fridge piled lovingly with chocolate milk and chicken schnitzels! He’s lucky to find his bathroom stocked with acne products and a fresh pile of fragrant towels (scented, of course, with myrrh) which appears by magic each day, ready to be brutalised and plundered, then hurled into a corner of his room with soggy abandon. How dare he disrespect the hospitality in such a cavalier fashion? Rocco’s mother tries to remember where she stashed her uzi. Fortunately, her memory is shot.

Rocco’s mother surveys the apocalypse with Acceptance. There can, in the end, be nothing else. She gazes on her best cutlery, cemented into yoghurt pots. She sees mugs of solidified, fur-tinged hot chocolate. She is aware of the detritus of cup noodles, crisp bags and sweet wrappers. Globs of bubblegum on the rug. Filth-encrusted socks and shopping dockets and tab charts and guitar picks and surfing magazines. DVDs without their cases, cases without their DVDs. There is nothing to do but begin. Soonest started, soonest completed.

Rocco’s mother wanders (yes, just like a cloud this time) to the kitchen and makes a large glass of iced coffee. She hooks a bag of Kettle Chips out of the pantry, pops a lamington on a plate and finds her excellent book, of which she still has 50 pages to read. She settles her arse on the couch and doesn’t move for the next four hours. Okay, five hours.

She might be sitting there still …

.oOo.

Bring me my bow of burning steel …

I’m sick of being regulated. Not allowed to eat this, not allowed to park there, not allowed to do that. Pah! You’re not the boss of me! I just took a really good look at the pompous-arse sign at the edge of the park up the street, with its list of little black silhouette pictures – each of them overscored with that red circle, slashed through the middle, which means the little silhouette picture is verboten in the park.

So – no dogs, no horses, no golf, no kites, no motorcycles, no bicycles, no camping, campfires, knot-tying, dib-dib-dobbing or anything bloody else. No nudie yoga at sunrise, either, which will disappoint one of my nephews immensely.  He lives in a lovely, bohemian town which welcomes nudie yoga at sunrise, and gleefully – with quite a few Jaegerbombs under where his belt might have been had he been clothed – fronted up (at every possible level) one morning in order to dingle-dangle at daybreak. From what I gather, things were going marvellously well until the local constabulary were called and informed my nephew, amongst other official-sounding policey things; ‘… you are not in command of your faculties and it might be better if you went home, Bud.’ According to his mother, my nephew was actually semi-qualified to take part – after all, even though he’d never done yoga before, he had, on occasion, been nude. But I digress.

The point is, I’m getting more ornery as I get older and having turned 51 this week and being over halfway to a century, all these rules are making me feel as if I want to be very disobedient indeed.  I want, in fact, to get a great big motorcycle, panniers filled with dogs, kites and other random sporting equipment, and perform the shitkicker’s waltz all over that park. In the nude, too – but with a sheet wrapped around in order not to scare the horses (who aren’t allowed there anyway and shouldn’t be looking).

What was wrong with a childhood where we left the house after breakfast and only showed up in time for tea? Why was our world not populated with paedophiles and perverts? According to the Warrior Queen, you were in danger of slave traders dragging you into sinister vehicles which had blackened windows and leering men intoning, ‘Have a sweetie, little girl …’ – but I never saw any in my neighbourhood, and seeing as boredom hadn’t been invented then, none of us felt the need to cover the local shopping centres with graffiti or wrangle pensioners to the ground in order to steal their fluff-encrusted sherbert lemons and soggy tissues.

Local parks are no longer dangerous and fun. Gone are the high, steel slipperydips from which you hurtled into a hollow of hard-packed earth – which might have a few inches of mud in the bottom if your mother was unlucky – and gone also is that long plank swing, which eight kids could straddle while two more stood at the ends and made it go parallel with the top bars. Many arms were broken by the plank swing – and many more on the maypole, or from bicycles, go-carts and frenzied whirls on the Hills Hoist when no mothers were watching. Indeed, my multi-talented brother – he the inventor of so many goodly things to do – was able to sustain a marvellous head injury by hurling himself onto the bed from his top cupboard – while the ceiling fan was in full and splendid motion.

Alas, these things are merely a memory. Our park has a mean swing with a rubber sling which will only seat babies. People like me are unable to fit our legs through the legholes in order to revisit childhood even for one whimsical minute – and there would be absolutely no chance of squeezing one’s bargearse between the chains anyway . Under the swing is a pit of sawdust laid on rubberised mats. You couldn’t decently break a limb if you tried.

It’s all very well to purse our mouths, stop the fun and deprive today’s children of a proper childhood. They may not run on beaches with wild abandon and joyous dogs at their heels – nor may they eat too much icecream or climb a tree or ride a bicycle down a killer hill with no hands on handlebars nor helmet on head – and they shall not use imagination; that free and wonderful commodity which has died and been buried by technology and plastic crap.

It’s time to stick up for ourselves and be allowed to live again. Gather together in local parks this weekend with illegal animals and appliances. Build a bonfire, burn an effigy, smoke something herbal.

Bring me my chariot of fire …

.oOo.

Considering the pixilation of the species …

 

By the time you read this they will probably have fired up the Large Hadron Collider and who knows what hell might have broken loose? Some people believe there will be loud hallelujahs – and there may well be – but whether they find the God Particle or not, I dare say I’ll still have floors to clean, a particularly bad hair day and still won’t have any nice cake in the house, either. (In a shameless and brazen fit of self promotion, please refer to Archives, January 16 – Apocalypse soon.)

Technology has indeed come a long, long way – so I found it both quirky and hilarious to see a story on the news tonight about another story the news channel wasn’t actually allowed to show us yet (legal reasons and defamation being what they are) – regarding some terrorists. There followed a picture of the group of alleged terrorists in court with pixilated faces. Nothing too alarming about pixilated faces, I hear you say – and no, there isn’t. Except that the pixilated faces were on sketches of the alleged terrorists – not actual photographic terrorists at all. And even more hilarious was the fact that, poking jauntily out from below the pixilated bits, highly telltale bushy black Osama beards had been bravely rendered with a trusty Derwent No.66 – leaving not an awful lot to the imagination anyway. In this technological age I find it amazing there are still people with pencil pots sitting in courtrooms doodling frantically away – but to then use pixilation over the top of their efforts seems bizarre. Why couldn’t the court artists merely have done a big fat scribble right over the eyes and noses? Or covered them with an elephant stamp, even.

 

The very thought of anyone managing to build the Hadron Collider is mindboggling when you consider trains don’t run on time and I don’t run at all. And there are days it would be a very nice thing altogether to be able to have a pixilated face as one lurched from the safety of one’s home to face a world of beautiful people in order to collect the electricity bill and dodgy pizza voucher from the mailbox. It would be comforting (nay, only fair) to have a pixilated face when your knicker elastic fails miserably halfway down Aisle 3 of Food-o-rama – and again, when your cashcard doesn’t work as they swipe it in the machine and you are not allowed to take your carefully chosen groceries home with you. Especially when the stash contained a six-pack of chocolate eclairs and two-for-the-price-of-one toilet rolls.

 

A pixilated face would have gone down a treat in my wedding photo, too. And on every occasion Rocco’s hapless mother had to front up to a parent/teacher interview. And what about one’s driving licence? If there was ever a case for pixilation, those miniature horror portraits are surely it.

 

These days, graphic artists can work miracles on facial blemishes and cellulite with a mere sweep of the mouse. Models are smooth and glamorous and even-textured. How many hours does this take – and would it not be easier to just go, ‘ah, bugger it!’ and apply the pixilation tool? Sorry, Elle, Naomi and Heidi … we’re all sisters under the pixels! You, too, can have funny little fuzzy squares just like mine plastered all over your perfect countenances! No more zits or spots or nasty bits – or even unwanted facial hair.

 

In actual fact, I wouldn’t mind some pixilation over pretty much the whole of the past week or two. Possibly because my face did not have the benefit of a paper bag over it, my computer decided it could no longer bear to look, and blew itself up. I am doing this on Frankenputer – a machine the Hunter-Gatherer has kindly cobbled together for me out of random bits and pieces, and for which I am exceedingly grateful. Frankenputer, however, does not have my novel, my huge collection of photographs of abandoned buildings and images from ghostcams – and most definitely does not have Vista with widgets. If the data on the hard drive of my deceased machine turns out to be non-recoverable, I will need very strong pixilation indeed so the rest of the world is spared the sight of madness descending – and then rising up again – and then descending for the final time with a deafening and earth-shattering thud.

 

In fact, the Hadron Collider can then feel free to do its best work. I’ve heard those God Particles will pretty much pixilate the entire universe in a very unrecoverable way altogether  – and daft, petulant people with busted computers won’t even be worthy of a mention anymore. Which, when you think about it, is pretty much as things ought to be …

.oOo.