Back to Palo Alto

The flight to San Francisco only took 14 hours (I guess prevailing winds are a wonderful thing) and I was through Customs and picking up my bag before 9am. It was touch and go for a bit; they have automated machines at SFO to collect your information before you hand your passport to a person in a bulletproof vest, but for some reason the camera and the flash on the machine weren’t playing nice. It kept taking a picture of me so over-exposed you could almost make out my pupils and jawline, and nothing else, and then complained that the picture wasn’t clear and would have to be taken again. Technology, I love you.
Continue reading “Back to Palo Alto”

Fast And Furious 8

Tonight we went to see Fast And Furious 8, a film franchise that seems to have attracted almost every bald-headed hardman in Hollywood. There’s Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham. No Michael Chiklis yet, but maybe all that yelling in The Shield was enough for him. It’s maddening to realise that there are now more films in the Fast And Furious series (what ever happened to the definite articles?) than in the Police Academy oeuvre. What will be the next thing to be surpassed? Star Wars?
Continue reading “Fast And Furious 8”

In gradual recovery

Last night, my body falling apart in new and interesting ways, I went to bed at 10 and fell asleep almost immediately, leaving my wife with child-wrangling responsibility for the night. To be fair, that would only be La Serpiente, as Destroyer reliably sleeps through. I woke about 3am and took a while to fall asleep again, but at 7 I woke feeling rested, my body not aching, my head not throbbing, my stomach not contra-props ring. Life was good. 

I don’t get a night off like that every night, mores the pity, but after the low spot of the last few weeks of slow collapse, this really pepped me up. I took La Serpiente to school, went to the office, gave somebody an interview, ploughed through meeting after meeting and didn’t even need to pause for coffee until 3 in the afternoon. 

(Actually, the coffee was a bad idea. By six it was haunting me like the vindictive ghost of Mistakes Past.)

When I got home, La Serpiente was copacetic. Destroyer has being having a funny few days where she can’t stand the sight of me, so when my wife went out to the shops she had a meltdown.  We’ve bonded since then by me playing Forza on the Xbox and talking to her about the racing tactics to employ – I’m not sure if she’s convinced about my gung-ho cornering methods, but who is she to criticise me, eh?

I felt so good I even got out for a run tonight​, five 2 minute sprints up our nearest hill. I’m not sure that will be good preparation for a marathon where the course looks like a large intestine with a harpoon through it, but let’s wait and see. 


After a long flight, there’s nothing I enjoy so much as placing my luggage in the boot of a car, and then managing to smash my head against the lid of the boot as I slam it closed. This might not sound very enjoyable, even to me, but it’s such a consistent part of my travels that I have to assume it’s one of my favourite things. Yes, even more than brown paper kittens tied up with string. 
Continue reading “Slammed”

The Suicide Motor Club

I couldn’t sleep, or rather, I fell asleep at 10:30 and then woke at 3, wide awake but exhausted, so with no other alternatives I read The Suicide Motor Club, a book about vampires driving muscle cars in the 1960s. When I then complain that the ending is riddled with too many coincidences to maintain the suspension of disbelief, you may quite fairly wonder how I has suppressed my scepticism for the previous two hours.
Continue reading “The Suicide Motor Club”

Lost in California

Tonight I visited a friend for a dinner consisting almost entirely of cheese, then ordered an Uber to take me home. Almost all Ubers are Toyota Priuses (Prii? Pria?) driven by people of indeterminate identity (the pictures just aren’t that clear). Tonight, I had Winnie, who was a person wearing a baseball cap, driving a Prius. I had the joy of watching him on my screen, making his way towards me.

The car drew closer and closer to my friend’s house. Then it drove on. Then it took a long loop of the neighbourhood, approached the house again – and then vanished. The app told me to try to book with a different car.
Continue reading “Lost in California”

Different worries on a day off

Today was a holiday in Singapore, which we celebrated with La Serpiente charging into our bedroom at 7 am, shouting at us. Ever since she was sick, she’s been in a venomous mood when she wakes up. On the plus side, she’s been sleeping through the night, so when she does her early-morning banshee impression I’m more mentally prepared to deal with it.

It turns out that the cure for most of our child’s rage is to give her more food to eat. In this, she’s fairly similar to her father. She’s yet to develop a love of expensive and sport-specific footwear, but give her time…
Continue reading “Different worries on a day off”