(Apologies for my terrible graphic work but you get the idea.)

The stickers on the lid of the MacBook Pro were talking to hers from across the coffee shop. It was the caffeine molecule decal that caused it. The first to get loud. It was having an argument with the Día de Muertos David Bowie. David had appeared on the laptop while it was in the Noe Valley in San Francisco.

The laptop had enjoyed San Francisco, he spent most of the time in the Air BnB in the Noe Valley, left behind while the boy did the tourist thing but he had been on expeditions to the Castro (great restaurant) and Haight Ashbury where he spent most of a day in a coffee shop on the way to the airport. He didn’t see as much of the town as the iPhone. Smartarse thing was always getting taken to the best spots, he saw the Disney Museum, Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf. At least the laptop got a way cool sticker from the trip.

Now the stickers on his lid were arguing about the girl and it had attracted her attention, or at least the attention of her laptop stickers. They were listening to the argument, or at least trying to.

The laptop didn’t like it when the stickers talked, but her MacBook seemed nice about it. He would have liked his boy to have started a conversation with laptop girl but the boy didn’t have the confidence of Bowie, particularly a day of the dead Ziggy Stardust.

It seemed that was what had started the argument. Caffeine thought Ziggy should cool it and let the boy speak up. Stardust thought that was highly improbable, unkindly saying something about Satan and ice skates.

So Bowie had asked her name. Well, he didn’t ask her. The stickers had a hard time talking to people but _her_ laptop stickers weren’t exactly silent.

The girl seemed happy with logos, Bowie could see an iTerm icon and a GitHub octocat, rather than the boy’s quirky stickers but it was the rainbow ohmyzsh which had answered. I guess it had enough cool to not be totally intimidated by the Day of the Dead David.

“She calls herself Monica. Who’s doing the asking?”

“Stardust. Ziggy Stardust. The guy at the keys is Simon.”

“Lookin’ fine, Space Cowboy. So what is some 70’s British cool in a Latin suit doing asking for a girl’s name.”

“Just thinking your girl’s gotta be fairly geek. My Bart Simpson here was just sayin’ not everybody can hold it with an ‘octocat’ like that. That’s pretty keyboard warrior right there.”

“Right back atcha, David. I do like your pixelated mate there. Some nice eight bit wand waving he’s got goin’ on.”

“So you saw my ‘Open Sourceror’ wizard friend. Yeah, the boy at the keyboard can cut some code when the cuttings good.”

“Why isn’t your guy raising his voice and talking to my girl here?”

“Well Rainbow, he’s not exactly forward when it comes to the chat. Anxiety could be his middle name.”

“That’s a shame, pair of geeks both driving MacBook Pros and sharing a WiFi network should be able to talk, Stardust. Your boy’s gotta have seen my girl, seen the Apple logo, seen me and my decal mates. They should at least give each other a nod.”

“See what I can do but don’t come unglued if he don’t.”

“Oh, no, she just picked up the purse. Seems we’re out of here, DB. Maybe next time they’ll get up the nerve. Later Ziggy.”

“Later Rainbow.”

The girl picked up her laptop and packed it away, walking out into the late afternoon sun.
Bowie returned to reflective silence. Chance encounters slipping past the boy.

A Fragile Object

She’d gone in to the small shop because of the delicate mille fiore glass plate in the window.

She must have passed at least a half dozen of the many equally small shops selling glassware she saw along both sides of the canal here in Murano, but it was this one she’d chosen to enter. Because of the tiny, fine, glass plate in all it’s colours, in all it’s glory, sitting in the window of the shop.

Now she was watching the equally fine movements of his hands. There was the flame, the glass and gold leaf in front of him as he worked.

She barely saw anything but the hands and the glass and the piece he was making. The young woman stood motionless, almost transfixed. The hands made small, precise movements.. A few moments after she’d walked in he made a larger movement, a twisting motion and the glass blob was recognisably a cat and she gasped.

He glanced up and smiled. He wasn’t unusually good looking, it was the good looking of youth and health.

She looked away. She looked at the shelves next to her covered in small glass pieces. An orchestra of glass in the centre it was filled with small statuary, dozens of trinkets for the tourists walking the canal, for her.

She picked up a small mille fiore tray full of what looked like wrapped boiled sweets and smiiled as she discovered that they too were made of glass.

The woman took out her wallet and removed two twenty Euro notes to pay for them, putting them down on the counter.

“Uno momento …, one minute, please”.

His voice sounded as good looking to her as the young glassblower’s slim body.

He was finishing the small cat, adding final features, pinching out ears and adding small glass whiskers.

The strong, dextrous hands were wrapping the tray and small glass sweets then he added “for you” while wrapping the cat and popping it into the bag, smiling for the young woman.

She smiled once again, “thank you, thank you” and walked out into the bright Venetian afternoon.

This Word

So this word ‘love.”

I’ve been told that I display some of the symptoms of Asperger’s, high-functioning autism. I’m sure that’s not entirely true, but I seem to have trouble understanding emotions and I’m not sure I feel the same way as other people.

When I say “I love you” what does that actually mean? Does it mean the same as when you say it? Does it mean the same as when that person over there says it? Does it mean the same when I say it to a friend and when I say it to my daughter, Jessica?

It’s certainly an overused word. We say we love objects, love pets, love friends, love children, love parents and love lovers. I’ve always thought only the last three really count, though some close friends would have to be included.

So where to start explaining what I mean when I say “I love you” to a child or a lover? Talking about emotions is hard. We both understand that the sky is a colour we agree is “blue” and that the body of the Australian flag is also “blue” even though a slightly different colour. When it comes to agreeing about what exactly the difference might be between ‘cross’ and ‘angry’ or ‘like’ and ‘love’ we will have a harder time.

So when I say ‘I love you’ to a lover, close friend or Jessica what is it I’m feeling? What am I saying?

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Thoughts When Shifting To A New Mac

So at the moment I’m shifting on to a new Mac. I’ve previously been using two, a pretty good MacBook Pro and a terribly slow iMac. Now I have a top of the line MacBook Pro, 16Gb of RAM, 1Tb SSD and an i7 processor. It’s pretty schmick.

Of course there’s a downside to a new Mac. You need to set it up just right and that can take some time. It is considerably easier and less painful in this era of cloud computing.

Apple’s iCloud is the first revelation. You log in to iCloud and down come your internet accounts, the passwords saved in your KeyChain, Safari’s bookmarks (and history it seems) and the Desktop and Downloads folder.

Then we get to installing applications. Almost all the apps I use now come from the Mac App Store so getting them installed is just a matter of opening the App Store and reviewing my list of purchased apps. There are another set of apps I have courtesy of SetApp and those are just as easy to install. Ones required for work are installed via JAMF. That leaves a few quirks; 1Password, Chrome, BBEdit, iTerm, and some others not terribly important. OK, Karabiner Elements is pretty important, we may talk about that later.

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Books, Books, Beautiful Books

I just saw a picture of my brother’s first grandchild, Teddy, with a pile of books entirely coverering his lap. It was part of a message from his Mum announcing that she has decided to become an Usborne sales consultant.

The picture reminded me of the important place books held in my childhood and the place they hold, thanks to me, in my daughter’s life.

When I was a small child I suffered from constant, chronic asthma. I was always missing school and my Mum often had to take me along to Uni lectures and tutorials as she juggled a sick child with study.

My family are all big readers. Mum swears I taught myself to read on summer vacation in Surfer’s Paradise almost out of boredom. Mum would buy my brother and I magazines and books to keep us occupied while she and my Dad read on the beach. My father wasn’t as big a reader as the rest of the family but on vacation he read Ian Fleming, Len Deighton and John Le Carré. I would flick through picture books and picture magazines (Treasure was my favourite, Graeme had Look & Learn that had less pictures and more text). So one vacation, when I was a little over three and a half, while flicking through Treasure on the beach I apparently managed to connect the pictures and words in “Treasure” well enough to start reading.

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Hiding From The Heat

Here are some notes from two days hiding from the heat in shopping centres.

First, bigger shopping centres have better air conditioning and better food courts. Marrickville Metro might have free parking but Broadway is a better hiding spot. It also has more stores for “window shopping”. The Australia Post outlet at Broadway is open 7 days, which is why I went there today.

Talking of parking, the man punching tickets at Hoyts will let you sneak in and get your parking ticket stamped for an extra free hour even if you haven’t seen a movie if your cool about it. I had my parking ticket in my hand and said “Excuse me, I just need to get my ticket stamped” and he let me walk the few feet to the machine. Oh, and I did it before I had my bags of shopping. I guess he doesn’t care if I’m scamming a few bucks off the parking company.

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A Smaller Life

Today’s Daily Prompt is “The Things We Leave Behind”.

Over the past four weeks I have left behind a grat deal.

I moved from a three bedroom house to a small bedsit and many years of accumulated “stuff” had to go.

Letting go of furniture was easier than I thought. I had several pieces from my parents that I thoughtI had an emotional attachment to but when the decision came it was easy to let them go. They are just objects, large ones at that, and memories persist without them.

A number of smaller objects stayed because they strongly invoked not just memories of people but memories of them at a particular point in time or space.

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Summer Storms

Today’s Daily Prompt is “Storm”. The moment I saw the word I thought of the summer storms of my childhood. The Newcastle “Southerly Buster”.

A day in the summer school holidays. Scorching hot. The air would be hot and dry, the sky clear. It didn’t slow down my friends and I, we would continue playing with sweat pouring off us, though if one of the yards had a sprinkler going it was hard to resist playing in the water. If no sprinklers were available then perhaps we would climb into the huge oak tree in the empty block of land near the start of the street, perhaps we would retreat into the bush behind the houses on one side of the road to find a cool corner.

Some time after lunch you could start to see the Southern sky becoming darker and darker, starting to threaten. Then late afternoon it would come. First the cooling southerly wind the a few minutes later the pouring rain. Huge drops of water splashing into the quickly forming puddles. Gutters already running full.

We would stay out watching the storm approach and when the rain started pouring run for home, often soaked by the time we arrived there.

The simple joys of a bunch of young boys.

Am I About To Have Another?

At Eternity's Gate by Vincent Van Gogh

‘At Eternity’s Gate’ by Vincent Van Gogh (Wikipedia)

Last night was bad again. The black dog well and truly had me in his jaws and was giving me a good shake. The noises in my mind are getting bad again and the anxiety levels are rising.

The worst thing with the anxiety is that it becomes a vicious circle, one cause of anxiety is the rising anxiety level. It’s true that my anxiety levels rose steeply before my last mental breakdown and my anxiety levels are rising steeply at the moment. Mostly I’m anxious about increasing symptoms of another breakdown and anxious about it becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

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