Saturday, March 25, 2017


Had the pleasure yesterday of meeting for coffee with my old friend and neighbor, Vyt Karazija. Originally from Lithuania, Vyt spent most of his life as an Australian and has lived in Bali for about 7 years. I knew him online before he moved here to Renon, to the house next door to mine, and got to know him much better during the two years we were neighbors. We would disagree about many things, especially religion, but always with civility and a sense of humor. He is a uniquely intelligent man, which is something I respect, as well as sharp witted and funny as hell. Vyt saved my bacon several times in those two years, most notably when I locked myself into the bathroom and when I locked myself out of the house. On the one occasion, he was able to free me, while on the other, he was able to assist in getting me back into the house. So, as I think I've said here before, I will need to be very careful about which doors I close behind me now that Vyt is on the other side of Denpasar.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


I am currently revisiting the idea that exercise might be helpful for the wacky muscles in my neck and shoulder. I tried this before, and the trouble with it is that it hurts. Bad. And yet, I keep thinking that these muscles, which apparently due to nerve destruction have stopped functioning normally, need to be strengthened and retrained so that they can re exert control over my skeleton and joints in the area. Make sense?  Well, who knows. There is that old saying, "No pain, no gain". Then again, there is the common wisdom that tells us that if it hurts, stop doing it! Anyway, I'll try to stick with it for a few days and dry to gauge whether anything other than pain is resulting. I am really just so tired of this problem, which has persisted more than 7 months now. I keep thinking that there must be something proactive that I can do in order to aid the thing in resolving. 

Monday, March 20, 2017


Heard a puppy making a godawful fuss just up the street this morning, crying and yelping and squealing. Went to investigate and found that the poor little guy had gotten his fat little self stuck half inside and half outside the driveway gate. Couldn't go forward, couldn't go backward. There must be some kind of general life lesson in this, I reckon. Anyway, I unstuck the poor guy by gently pushing one shoulder first, then the other back through the gate. Now he knows. I'll expect to see him at my door before long.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Always quite the experience to get stuck in the rain here in Bali, and not that difficult to accomplish, either. The thing is, it can look like rain for hours on end, even days on end, such that one gets lolled into this sense of the storm being forever deferred, forever impending. The clouds raise great purple fists but seem only to play at sluggish shadow boxing, buffeting one another, but leaving we small creatures below free of harm. The humidity builds and builds, until the air seems pressed to the point of boiling - and then, at last, the clenched fists connect and the tense veneer between earth and sky dissolves in a sudden flood of waters. This is usually arranged by the gods to occur during the time period which will find me on my motorbike between dry point A and dry point B. Every motorbike driver here carries a quite useless rain proof smock in the seat compartment - useless because by the time you pull over, dismount, and open the seat, you have already taken the equivalent of several showers. One may as well bring along a bar of soap rather than the smock, being of more reasonable use for bathing, or for laundering ones clothing. Of course, as soon as you get to your destination, the rain abruptly ceases, again by order of the gods. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017


Just back from Kuala Lumpur. My third trip there, and always a beautiful city. Just a short jaunt to renew my visa as a foreign resident in Indonesia - a bureaucratic goose chase designed to put money in some folks pockets and extract it from mine. But anyway, a good enough reason for a short vacation in this cosmopolitan city of architectural wonders.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Invasion of the Brain Snatchers, Part 2

Well, I'll be damned if I didn't do it again. Having come to understand that the 10th of March had been significant only in my own mind - that my wife had never said she was coming home on the 10th, and had never intended to do so - the 11th of March proceeded straightaway to burrow into my concept of reality, quite as much without justification or source as had the 10th. 

Therefore, I awoke early this morning, alone again in the house, and wondered instantly what could have happened. Something was seriously amiss. Panic crept up.

So I sent a message to my wife. No answer. I called her number. No answer.

Perhaps she had stayed over in a hotel upon arriving in Bali. Or perhaps she and her friends had stayed out very late and were now catching a bite to eat. Or, of course, the plane may have crashed. Or the taxi. Or her friends. 

While turning these things over in my head, I somehow missed a return call from my wife. Where was I when the phone rang? I don't know. I was busy thinking. 

So I return her return call. 

Where are you? 

In my hotel room. Just got up. 

Your hotel room? 


But why would you stay in a hotel? 

Where else would I stay? 

Now, I'm just about to suggest that perhaps her own house would have been appropriate, the one where we live in Bali, twenty minutes or so from the airport, when a little light goes on in my head. Let's call it consciousness. 

Umm ... (I don't know how to ask this question without appearing ridiculous). Are you in Sydney?

Well, of course she is in Sydney. That is why she is not here in the house. The reason she is not in Bali is that she is in Sydney. And the reason she didn't come home on the 11th is that she never said she was coming home on the 11th. She has no plane tickets for the 11th. My brain said she was coming home on the 11th. My brain made up its own mind about that. Just as it had with the 10th. 

What the hell?

Fake news. Alternate facts. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Dark Man

I remember how my mother, after she got Alzheimer's, used to write her name over and over. Vernabel. Vernabel Boughton. Verne Boughton. She had a notebook in the drawer of her bedside table, and she had filled pages in that notebook with her name. That was at the beginning, before she forgot altogether how to write. She must have felt herself slipping away, must have thought that practice, that documentation might solidify her existence. Later on, when she could still speak, she changed my name to Preston, who was her brother. I became, in her mind, either Preston, or just some guy who worked in the house, like a medical assistant. She had no idea who Richard was. And ultimately, I gave up trying to explain it to her. Later on, she would talk about a man behind the curtain, just at the other side of the bedroom. He was tall and dark and she was afraid of him. Come to think of it, so was I.