Friday, 6 August 2021

Dream journal: Forty

This is the fortieth in a series of posts chronicling dreams I have had. As usual, the date shown is the date the dream was captured. This is usually the morning after the night the dream took place. You can’t wait very long before capturing a dream because it soon disappears from memory.

1 July 2020

Dreamt I was buying a new RAV4 (IRL I had just bought a new RAV4, though it hadn’t, on the day of the dream, been delivered) and, in conversation with a friend of a friend who likes rugby league and cars, I discovered that the powertrain of the Aurion (one of which I owned at the time of writing this) was separate for reverse from the one for its forward drive. This is such a strange idea, and one that could only occur in a dream – a plastic realm where reality distorts along ethical and aesthetic lines, to create entirely new realities – but while I was asleep, in the middle of the night, it made perfect sense to me.

The way I learned of this fact was complex and warrants its own space in my recount, so I’ll include it here. I knew the wife of the man in question because I had worked with her at Sydney Uni (this wasn’t true IRL, though I had worked there with a middle-aged married woman), and she had invited me over to see their new house – this part of the dream is fuzzy. While there, I started to talk to her husband about football (in this recount where I say “football” I mean rugby league). This was because I had seen, in a newspaper, an ad for football information delivered over the phone. 

It might have been that this form of business was being offered because of Covid-19, but this wasn’t clear. In any case, I had to search for literally hours to find the ad once I had had the idea that he might be interested in it. The ad I was looking for featured a photo of a phone, and some text, and I came across ads for other products and services with this type of combination, always being stymied in my quest because it wasn’t the ad I was looking for. The fact of the photo featuring the product was, for me, the most interesting thing, and the reason I wanted to show this man the ad I had seen. I kept saying, while leafing through the used newspaper, “You’ll enjoy this,” and he kept his eyes glued to what I was flipping with my hands, waiting patiently for the payoff.

When he said that the powertrain for the Aurion in reverse was separate from the powertrain for forward motion, I was immediately intrigued and asked him why this was important. I was wondering both (a) why it would be true, but (b) if true was it a slur on my beloved brand of automobiles. He said, when pressed, that having the same powertrain for both forward and reverse would be important if you ever had to escape from someone while going backwards. Now, I admit to thinking to myself, “You might find yourself in such situations, but I don’t.” With this thought, however, also came the second thought formulating itself as, “Why?” 

Why would it be true? Then, I was in the car dealership talking with a salesman about my Aurion and I asked him my question. He gave an evasive answer so, not content with what he had told me, I kept pressing for information, asking “Why?” Then suddenly I was talking to another person, who made a joke suggesting that I had launched a slur against Turks – the car dealership was, unaccountably, owned by Turks all of a sudden (IRL I had met a Turk the year before) – and the advertising material that had been on the walls started to fall off. I was walking to the right, heading toward the exit of the shop, along a corridor with bare walls that were actually office partitions (as though they could be quickly picked up and carried away).

Then I was in a room full of putative Toyota employees who were all looking at me. It transpired that I had uncovered an embarrassing fact. Due to this discovery, not only would the local dealership that had sold me the RAV4 close, but the entire global company would fold. In truth, I had only been asking so many questions of my friend’s friend because I had wanted to write a blogpost about buying my new car, but my questioning had revealed a fact that, if widely known, would potentially bring the company into such disrepute that they had been forced to shut down.

At this point in the dream, I began, with explicit imagery showing elements of the online interface, which had been brought to life before my eyes, to formulate a blogpost, including the use of italics and sections of quoted text (complete with indents on the left). I thought to myself that it was richly revealing of the tenor of the times that a blogger had done this amazing thing, and it seemed to me simply incredible that what had started with no aim 13 years before (the blog) would suddenly turn into a major media outlet; feelings of elation appeared within me as I thought that it would be possible to earn a living doing what I loved. 

I imagined all the hits that would eventuate from the exposure my post would have, and considered doing two linked posts – one the original post about buying the car and the second a post about the lie exposed – including in my thoughts where, precisely, the link would go and how it would be expressed, but I woke up at this point.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Conversations with taxi drivers: Eighteen

This is the eighteenth in a series of posts relaying conversations I have had with taxi drivers. The first of these posts appeared on 6 June 2018. 

5 August

I had a car service today, though when 8.30am came by I only just realised I was already late for the appointment due to a scam phone call that alerted me to the existence of my phone. I found the place and then talked with a man for about 20 minutes about batteries and E10 fuel, then called a cab on the 13 CABS app. The driver when asked told me to pay at the end of the trip – the app usually does this transaction for you – and I took a receipt just in case I was double charged. I ate some lunch after they called me to let me know the car was ready to pick up, then when the food was finished I summoned another cab.

The driver was chatty. I told him I was getting my RAV4 serviced for the first time and he said he was trading in his Camry for a RAV4 when it arrived in the country. The service staff had told me there’s an 8-month wait at present; my wait last year was 6 months. The driver estimated that it’d take two weeks to take delivery of the vehicle, which would be a Cruiser (like mine) as Silver Service, which would be badging the car, only took that model on. 

He said he normally gets 130,000km a year for regular cab use, but due to Covid it was about 85,000 to 90,000km. A new battery costs about $2000 because the car maker gives you a trade in for the old battery. He said a person he knows who just bought a RAV4 for cab use paid $45,000 (mine was $52,000) and the different prices reflected the fact, he averred, that for cabbies there’s less tax and no registration charge. I was surprised by the price differential and said I should’ve told Toyota I was a cab driver – but he said I’d need taxi plates (he also said they drop the car off at the depot, rather than it being picked up from the showroom).

He himself drives a 2015 Lexus but he’s only done about 22,000km on it because it only gets used on Sundays – he normally drives his cab for six days a week.

This time the app charged me via my credit card. The Toyota charge was $215 for the service, and also involved driving down a ramp to the street! I felt quite proud due to working out how to get down the ramp – even how to approach it! But just to prove how impractical I am at the exit I went "out" the "in" gate.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Take two: The Shortest History of China, Linda Jaivin

For a full review, see my Patreon

This book came from Dymocks in Broadway Shopping Centre, where I went while doing grocery shopping during lockdown. Most bookshops in Sydney are closed for browsing, so I went to the best option available. The sales clerk said he wanted to read this book, having seen it discussed on a Tv program. I said that I’d tried a different history of China and had found it wanting, and that I hoped Jaivin’s book would avoid the usual way of chronicling the various tiresome dynasties. 

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Take two: The Guermantes Way, Marcel Proust

For a full review, see my Patreon

I started reading this series of novels a couple of years ago though I had the set in my collection when I was living in southeast Queensland. The full set was bought at Folio Books in that city. At that time I bought Proust’s novels hoping to conjure up the mettle needed to read them, but when I finally did some years later it turned out to be a source of intense pleasure. This is the third in the series and the series has seven novels in it.

Monday, 2 August 2021

Tweeting better stories, episode eight: July 2021

Wanting to find a lighter-hearted way I offer readers this eighth post in a series.

This rather incomprehensible tweet appeared at 6.47am on 15 July:

I was left scratching my head also when I read this (it appeared at 9.17pm on 19 July):

More strangeness appeared in a tweet at 6.26pm on 29 July:

More oddness with regard to Harry coming in at 8.30am on 30 July:


At 5.29pm on 1 July I saw this tweet in my feed:

At 3.21am on 2 July I saw this:

At 6.21pm on 19 July this tweet appeared:

This appeared at 4.47am on 28 July:


At 5.22pm on 3 July I saw this tweet:

It came with a photograph that I liked (see below).

At 10.37am on 27 July these two posts appeared in my feed:

At 4.43pm on 31 July this appeared to comfort me (and due to its theme it really did provide comfort when I was feeling especially vulnerable):

The body

At 5.23pm on 3 July I saw this:

This strange tweet (which appeared at 5.20pm on 5 July) came from an account that is often busy with odd messages, so I shouldn’t have been surprised!

At 5.12am on 9 July this tweet (which appeared to me to be making a lot of sense):

And on 11 July at 5.42pm this one appeared (it seemed to refer to the previous one):

Plants and animals

At 6.23am on 6 July this appeared:

At 3.15am on 12 July this rather dry (but interesting) tweet appeared in my feed:

On 14 July at 1.01pm the following appeared:

At 2.41am on 15 July the following two tweets appeared:

The full poem about the loons is, as follows:

At 4.46am on 18 July this appeared in my feed:

This appeared at 8.03am on 20 July:

At 1.21pm on 29 July this appeared:


At 4.57am on 7 July this appeared in my feed (two tweets right next to one another):

At 5.30am on 16 July the following appeared:

The reader

I enjoyed this pair of tweets that appeared at 5.48am on 13 July:

The Italian in the first one reads:

Sounds and resounds the far sea.
This is a door.
Here I love you.

(‘Here I love you’ by Pablo Neruda.)

At 6.42pm on 23 July this tweet appeared:

A succinct guide for readers was presented to me at 6.14pm on 24 July:

At 7.28am on 26 July this was visible to me:


At 6.21am on 21 July this appeared:

And the next day at 7.24am this appeared:

At 10.39am on 25 July this appeared:


This strange and quite beautiful tweet appeared at 12.49pm on 17 July:

Sunday, 1 August 2021

Grocery shopping list for July 2021

This post is the thirty-first in a series and the tenth to chronicle diets. 

1 June

Morning weigh-in had me at 86.2kg. Later, I checked my bank balance and saw the Campos refund had gone through. It was almost as much as a full bag of coffee costs, almost $30 – so worth my spending time and effort to make a short telephone call. I had had several emails from Australia Post about my PO box – presumably including the coffee – so resolved to visit the place when I went out on morning errands. While at Broadway Shopping Centre I stopped by at Coles and bought (see receipt below) tuna steaks, ling fillets, barramundi fillets, mullet fillets, low-carb bread, milk, strawberries, red Leicester cheese, brie, and marinaded goats’ cheese.

4 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 85.7kg. Later, went to IGA and bought (see receipt below) chicken wings, a pear, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, mushrooms, gouda, Bega Tasty cheese, and low-carb snacks.

My calorie count for the week just past was:

My activity chart was:

My macronutrient chart was:

6 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 85.1kg. Later, went to IGA and bought (see receipt below) Jatz crackers, zucchini, cucumbers, milk, and hummus.

7 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 84.7kg. Later went to IGA and bought (see receipt below) a T-bone steak, cos lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, rice, a packet of Kingston biscuits (a friend was staying over – I wasn’t breaking my diet!), a capsicum, toilet paper, taramosalata, shallots, and low-carb snacks.

8 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 84.5kg. Later, my houseguest went to IGA and bought a kiwi fruit, oranges, potatoes, mushrooms, milk, lemon friands sluice, fefferoni, and lamb cutlets. I also went to IGA and bought (see receipt below) bread, sauerkraut, T-bone steak, chillies, gouda, Jarlsberg, and macadamia nuts apples. Later went to Woolies and bought marinaded goat’s cheese, cheddar cheese and Brazil nuts.

12 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 84.4kg. My past week’s intake was, as follows:

My activity chart looked like this:

My macronutrient chart looked like this:

Later, went to Coles and bought (see receipt below) barramundi fillets, salmon fillets, a snapper fillet, chicken wings, an avocado, apples, brie, and mayonnaise.

14 July
Morning weigh-in had me at 84.2kg. Later, went to IGA and bought (see receipt below) milk, eggs, sliced pastrami, sliced chicken breast, pears, a capsicum, taramosalata, rump steak, Monte Carlo biscuits, and low-carb snacks.

16 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 84.4kg. Later, went to Coles and bought (see receipt below) sliced pastrami, ham, bacon, cold turkey breast, broccolini, cauliflower, pecans, Brazil nuts, an avocado, low-carb snacks, canola oil, hot English mustard, and sandwich bags.

19 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 84.3kg. My week’s calorie intake looked like this:

My activity chart was:

And my macronutrient chart was:

20 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 83.7kg. Later went to buy petrol and picked up some water in bottles for the car.

21 July

Went to Woolworths in Pyrmont and bought (see receipt below) hummus, plums, oranges, kiwi fruit, broccolini, Brussel sprouts, onions (red and brown), zucchini, maasdam cheese, d’Affinois cheese, and a block of Bega Tasty cheese.

24 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 84.1kg. Later, went to Woolies and bought (see receipt below) dumplings (some with pork and some without), meatballs, broccoli, a capsicum, an onion, milk, beef meatballs, apples, and an avocado.

25 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 84.7kg. Later, went to Coles and bought (see receipt below) barramundi fillets, smoked salmon fillets, tuna steaks, Scotch fillet steak, lamb chops, eggs, walnuts, mushrooms, mouthwash, and washing up liquid.

In the evening my neighbour waved to me as I was driving into the garage and I popped out to see what was happening. She’d received produce from Woolies and was giving it away so I scored apples, potatoes, pumpkin, capsicum, cabbage, shallots, and broccolini.

My week’s calorie count looked like this:

The activity chart was:

And the macronutrient chart was:

27 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 84kg. Later was at Woolies and bought bread for my house guest.

28 July

Morning weigh-in had me at 83.7kg. Later, went to Coles and bought (see receipt below) bread, mayonnaise, comte cheese, brie, red Leicester cheese, taramosalata, low carb snacks, and toilet paper. Today a friend gave me a packet of 10 face masks because I’d been unable to find them on the shelves at Coles; a staffer said they were available at the service counter but there the sales clerk was busy with other customers so I didn’t wait to ask about the item before proceeding to the checkout.