SJB Gilmour Writes

…and rants and ruminates…

Category: Random Numbers

In Which I Prove I Might Really Be A Bad Influence. Oh, My Daughter, What Have I done???

So yesterday, I mentioned how I got some topsoil for free.   Obviously, that was before I got home.  When I did arrive, and told Superwife and The Wonderkids about my spoils, there was a bit of a buzz in the air.

Superwife suggested I go get more.  I thought this was a brilliant idea, as did Miss10.  So, off we went with our trowels and buckets.  On the way, I explained that what we were about to do skirted the borders of legality, and that if we were approached by the police, they might not belive my story about having permission, and that I might be charged.  Miss10 thought this was wonderful, and that if I was to be arrested and have to go to court, could she come too?

When I explained that having a minor, especially the one the police might have thought I was endangering – we were crossing the safety tape, after all – the court might take a dimmer view of me than if I were to front up on my ownsome.

Of course, the men and women in blue were nowhere near us (or if they were, they didn’t bother to investigate the scruffy man and his daughter pinching dirt from the roadside,).  So, at least until the work crew have finished the bike path job, I’ve got a free source of topsoil to mix with my compost.  I guess the only real harm done is I may have inadvertantly demonstrated to my daughter that sometimes, it’s okay to break the law.  Oh well, cest la vie.



The Power Of Asking

Ok, so as per last post, I’m doing a bit of a home biz thing with plants, herbs and planters, and I examined the cost structure.  Here’s what has happened in my day so far:

  • This morning on the way to work, I collected a few bottles from a local u-shaped mall. Score 1; free pots.
  • I borrowed the work van and picked up two pallets I saw on the side of the road. Score 2; free wood for planters.
  • I saw some more at a local warehouse, so I pulled in and asked if they were throwing them out.  They said yes, and that I could have them. SCORE 3; more free wood.
  • On the way home with said pallets, I passed a construction site where the local council were renovating the bike path.  I asked about a huge pile of topsoil that had been taped off. They offered to load up their front-end loader and deliver it to my door!  I told them I only needed a bucketful (It was the only container I had with me), but I could come back tonight with my wheelbarrow.  Thay thanked me because it would mean less they would have to schlep to the local landfil. SCORE 4; free potting mix.
  • My local coffee shop, St Zita’s (BIG shout-out to Sonia and the crew there!  Great tucker and even better vibes!), for giving me their used coffee grounds.  Brilliant for the compost!  SCORE 5.

Maybe it’s an age thing.  Maybe it’s necessity trumping pride.  Which or whatever, I don’t care.  There’s a lot to be gained if one just sucks it up and asks.


And Another Thing…

Just two additions to my New Years’ Resolutions:

  • Get more exercise.
  • Blog more.

There.  That’s enough to keep me going.  So far, so good.  I’ve done some scribbling.  I’m reading, (or at least I should say I’m re-reading,) one of my favourite books.  It’s the Samuel Johnson Series by John Connolly.  If you haven’t read it, shame on you!

I’m also gearing up for the weekend.  TGIF, because tomorrow and Sunday, I’m doing my Half Price Sale on Gumtree.  I can’t insert the link here yet because the ad’s not active.  Instead, my weekday ads are here and here.  If you live near me, and want some cheap herbs (Sage, Basil, Oregano, or Mint,), email, reply here or msg me.  Here are just a couple of pics.


Mint (Common) – Weekdays, $0.50.  Tomorrow and Sunday, JUST $0.25!!!


Oregano, (Greek) – Weekdays, $0.50.  Tomorrow and Sunday, JUST $0.25!!!

I’m also offering up a wall planter made up from a recycled forklift pallet.


Weekdays, $30.00  Tomorrow and Sunday, JUST $15.00!!!

(pick-up only.)

Till next week,


Well That Sucked…

I’ll keep this brief, guys.  2016 sucked.  2017 hasn’t got off to a good start either.  I made a right mess of things last year, and continued to do so until yesterday.  No, I’m not going into my various screw-ups.  Those they affected know what they were.  I hope they know I’m sorry, and I am trying to not be such a f#$%-up.

Still, even though it’s probably a bit late for New Years’ Resolutions, I have a few:

  • Live more frugally.  In the last week, quite a bit of plastic from my wallet has bitten the dust.
  • Spend more time with the kids.  They’re growing up so fast.  For someone who gets blues as I do, and they’re a reliable mood-booster, I need ’em now more than ever.  And, even though he’s a complete goose, they need their dad.
  • Write more.  It’s bloody hard with the amount of pharmaceuticals in my veins, but I’ve gotta do it.
  • Read more.
  • Do more wth my little gardening project.  You might have seen my ads on Gumtree.  If not, head on over.  I kid you not, my prices will beat Bunnings every time!

Anyway.  To sum up, the real goal for this year is for it to be better than last year.




On Coffee, Jedi Mind Tricks, And Other Random Pieces And Bits.

I rocked up to work this morning ready for my morning  shot of espresso.  Aaaagh!  No pods!  So, in a desperate search for caffiene, I found a jar of Moccona Gold tucked away in the kitchen. It used to be the best we could get. Now I’m hooked on espresso pod coffee, it’s bilgewater, but it does have caffeine… Thankfully my brother’s search and rescue mission to Aldi has solved the pending crisis at the day job.

In the short time it took me to make a cup, a thought occurred to me.  I could have tried the deep breathing and other mindfullness Jedi mind tricks they teach you at rehab to deal with cravings, but nup, it didn’t even enter my head.  What I should have done was ride the wave of the craving and waited it out.  I think I’ll have to try harder.  That means bringing out the big guns — Sticky notes.

The real problem is, I don’t want to quit coffee.  I like it.  I’ve been hooked on it since my late teens, and it’s come in pretty handy at times, let me tell you.  But if I can quit smoking, booze and other vices, I’m sure I can quit that beautiful brown stuff.  Do I go for decaf?  Hmm.  I think that’s just a placebo.  It’s funny, after nearly 30 years, I still don’t really like the taste of coffee.  I love the smell, but without caffeine in it, it’s just useless brown water that smells nice.  Herbal tea smells nice too.  I might just have to drink more of that instead.


A Lapse And An Apology.

It’s a pretty personal post this time.  I’m not seeking attention, sympathy or anything else.  I just need to get this off my chest.

I don’t know, or very much care, what others consider the term alcoholic to mean.  To me, it means anyone who has a problem with the substance.  About six and a half years ago, I hit what some would term as rock bottom.  I was drinking way too much, too often, and I was on the wrong meds for my bi-polar disorder and depression.  It was a bad, nearly fatal mix.  But, with the help of my awesome family, and some time with some medics at a clinic, I got clean and, eventually, on the right cocktail of meds.

Funnily enough, not a day has gone by since then that I actually craved a drink.  I craved smokes like you wouldn’t believe.  That was by far the worse addiction for me.  Still, using the Jedi mind tricks of mindfulness, I kicked the smokes.

Then a few months back, Superwife reluctantly agreed to try controlled drinking — that’s where the one with the problem tries to stick to a set limit.  It worked for a short while, but then those receptors in the brain kicked up a fuss and I found myself sneaking extra drinks because once I started, stopping at whatever the limit was, was a problem.  Without going into the gory details, the other night there was a confrontation, a night of fun was ruined, and a few dear family members felt betrayed, hurt and probably angry.

That’s where my apology comes in.  Superwife, I’m sorry.  To everyone else involved that night, (I won’t name names — the people to whom I’m referring know who they are,) I’m sorry.

So now, I’m back to being dry, and back to going through a rehab course; more of a structured refresher this time.  The plan this time is to learn more tools to help me when I’m in what’s known as high risk situations so I don’t have that one drink after which I find it almost impossible to stop.

Oh, and just for the record, if anyone out there is considering trying controlled drinking, don’t bother.  It doesn’t work.  Don’t just take my word for it.  Ask any shrink.

Anyway, who knows, maybe this time around, I’ll be able to quit a couple of my other vices, like sweets before bed, and the double espressos in the morning as well as learning to keep myself on track.


Cooking With Miss9

Saturday night was home-made pasta night.  Superwife and I love it, as do The Wonderkids.  This time, it was ravioli with chevre* (how do you pronounce that???) cheese filling.  Miss9 helped from start to finish.  I rolled out the pasta sheets through our hand-cranked pasta maker, then lay them on a board.  She put little globs of filling on them, wet around them, then folded over the sheets.  After that, she cut around the edges with a plastic play-dough cutter (Don’t laugh!  It beats the piece of crap one that came with the machine hands down!), and lay them on wire racks.

Next, she got to help me put them into the boiling water, and make the sauce.  It was a simple napoli sauce – just garlic, tomato puree, dried oregano, and fresh basil.  I showed her how to use the big kitchen knife to chop garlic without slicing her fingers open, and she got it straightaway.

While we were doing this, we got to talking.  The look on her face was amazing when I explained what we were doing was just one of the multitudes of variations of pasta.  I think next week she wants to make gnocchi with sweet potato and more chevre.  Yum!

* Both girls have an intolerance to bovine milk products, so sheep or goats milk cheese is best for them.


Oooh… My Head.

This weekend confirmed something I’ve feared for a while now.  I’m old.  Well, I guess 45 isn’t so old that I’m about to croak any minute, but it’s old enough for me to say “I’m never staying up that late again,” and actually mean it.

Friday night, Superwife and I went to a parents’ do at a local tapas bar.  Alcohol was involved, but only 3 drinks each.  We got home about 11.00 pm.

Saturday night was Eurovision night with some dear friends.  More rich food, more wine, and another late night.  At one point I felt ill – almost to the point that I wanted to hurl.  I hadn’t drunk that much, but combined with the food and the state my body had been in from the night  before, well it wasn’t nice.  Sunday was one long headache.  We watched a bit of tv then went to bed early.

Today, I’m actually glad it’s Monday.  I’ve got some home-made bread and minestrone for lunch, and I’m looking forward to a dinner which should be just as healthy.





The Ten Commandments. Really, Dude?

Okay.  If you’re a true believer, you may want to look away now.  I’m about to take a swipe at the Ten Commandments (but you guessed that already, didn’t you, you clever little devils?).  I’m not doing it because I’m anti-Christianity.  Far from it.  My kids go to a Catholic school, and I’m all for just about every aspect of their education – except for that whole “Congratulations Billy, you’re the last winner!” business.  That’s just a wank.

No, I’m writing this because I got to remembering George Carlin, whose message to parents to teach their kids to question what they read, and in fact to teach them to question everything, really struck a chord with me.

Now I know all this might sound like heresy, and well, I guess it is, but there’s a reason for it.  I know my kids are smart.  I know they’re going to challenge authority.  More power to them when they do it, by the way, but when they do, I hope they don’t do it just because they’re being obstinate.  I hope they challenge authority with arguments which are well-constructed and logical.  There will come a time in their religious studies when the Ten Commandments are discussed, and I just know my kids, especially the younger of the two, will pop their hands up in the air to “discuss” just how rock solid these rules are.

My eldest has already asked me what they are, and I’ve put off answering her (mostly because of the adultery thing), but I think it won’t be long before she and I chat about them, and I hope my explanation goes something like this:

The Ten Commandments are really just a set of rules by which we should all try to live.  They’re mostly just about doing the right thing, but if you want analyse them, here, read the Bible.  I have, and do again occasionally, or at least bits of it for reference, and when I get to this bit, this is what I think.

  1. I am the Lord thy God

Oh yeah?  Of course he’s going to say that.  He’s the one handing out the commandments to some poor fellow who’s been wandering around up the top of a mountain for forty days and nights.  And why is it always forty?  Bit needy and insecure if you ask me.  The Indian gods all seem to recognise each other and don’t carry on with all that “I’m the best” kind of crap.

I call this bullshit on this one.  That’s a fail rate of 1 out of 10 so far



  1. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image


Why not?  And, by the way, just look how that one’s turned out.  There are crosses in every church, often adorned with a skinny bloke who looks like he’s having a really bad day.  Stained glass windows, carvings and what not are scattered about too.  You name it, it’s there.  People are using these images whether you like it or not, Mister I’m the only God.


Same deal as number 1.  Fail rate of 2 out of 10.



  1. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain


Okay, so you’re telling us to watch our language.  Hang on, how many times have you cursed people and even your own angels?  Bit of hypocrisy there, old chap.


Fail rate 3 out of 10.



  1. Remember the Sabbath day , and keep it holy


Alright.  I’ll give you that one.  I work five to six days a week as it is.  Sunday is special to me.  I get to sit down with my wife and have eggs on toast for half an hour before the reality of the rest of the day kicks in.  The lawn needs mowing, there’s washing to do, play-dates, miscellaneous other housework.  Hang on, Monday better hurry up.  I need to go to work so I can get some rest.


Fail rate 4 out of 10



  1. Honour thy father and mother


Makes sense… I hope.  If it turns out that I can’t handle them when they get older and have to put them in a nursing home, then you’ve got a pretty good idea of what my kids are going to do to me when I’m old and doddery.

Hey, lookit here!  We got one right.  Score 1 for the good side.  So that’s 4 fails, 1 pass out of 10.



  1. Thou shalt not murder


Let’s define “murder”, shall we?  I take it to mean killing another human without reason.  Hang on, whose reason?  Mine or someone else’s?  If I’m a soldier and, following orders, I kill another soldier from an opposing armed force, am I a murderer?  I had no reason to kill that soldier other than that I was just doing as I was told and if I didn’t, I’d be court marshalled.


1 for the good side, 5 against.



  1. Thou shalt not commit adultery


Dude, not only do I not have the inclination, I don’t have the time, money or energy.  That said, I know plenty of folk who have strayed.  2 passes, 5 fails.



  1. Thou shalt not steal


Really?  Not ever?  And define “steal.”  I’ve got a collection of little soaps from hotel rooms.  Does that make me a thief, or am I taking those things, just as the hotels wanted me to do in the vain hope I’ll return to their fine establishments?  That’s 6 fails, and 2 passes out of 10.



  1. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour


Hang on.  I can’t lie about my neighbour.  Is it okay for me to tell porky pies about complete strangers, or people who live on the other side of town?  Why does the proximity of their domicile make what I say about them a sin or not?  That’s 7 fails, and 2 passes out of 10.



  1. Thou shalt not covet.


Huh?  Sorry dude. I was raised in a merchant family.  I’m fourth generation in the family footwear business (5th if you count the granary and mill that gave rise to the shoe shop).  Profit has always been our main motivator.  We’re in this business to make money.  What’s wrong with wanting things other people have, or even wanting better things than other people have?  We want nice things.  We want to provide for our families.  If nobody else has nice things, the likes of which I’d like too, then why would we work?  This one doesn’t make sense, and between you and me, I think it’s probably why socialism never really works.


Bullshit again.  So with 8 fails out of 10, and only 2 that actually make sense, albeit in a kinda twisted way, the whole 10 commandments should really be taken with a grain of salt.

How about we all agree to try to be nice to each other, not force our own beliefs down other people’s throats or blow them up, and that if there is a higher power, being a good person is all we really have to do to stay in his or her good books?


There.  I’ll leave you all now and just watch as the hate mail begins to pour in.


The Movies I Left Off My Top 100

I ran out of numbers, pure and simple.  So, to make up for that, here are the films I’d have included if I’d done a top 125:  (Oh, the numbered list thingy won’t let me start at a number other than 1, so I’ll just have to trust you to do the math yourselves.)

  1. Highlander
  2. Labyrinth
  3. The Dark Crystal
  4. The Lost Boys
  5. The Nutty Professor (1996)
  6. Happy Gilmore
  7. Beverly Hills Cop
  8. Kindergarten Cop
  9. Hook (1991)
  10. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  11. First Blood
  12. Get Shorty
  13. The Neverending Story
  14. Goodfellas
  15. So I Married An Axe Murderer
  16. Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery
  17. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
  18. Austin Powers In Goldmember
  19. Split Second
  20. The Canonball Run
  21. Robin Hood: Men In Tights
  22. The Producers  (2005)
  23. The Toxic Avenger
  24. The Sicilian
  25. Mortal Combat


There.  I think that covers it…  I hope.