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I’ve been quite enjoying the rivalry in the latest series of The Amazing Race Australia, not least of all because it’s actually the Amazing Race Australia vs New Zealand, and to date we had been beating their asses.

There was the first challenge when we beat the Aussies in the tug-of-war despite them having Tyson – the largest guy in the world – on their team. New Zealanders know how to plant their feet and tug.

Then the end of the first episode saw the elimination of the first Aussie team. Oh, poor things. They can’t help it that their country’s stupid.

This was followed in the second episode by another Aussie elimination. As is now the custom.

There was a slight hitch in the next episode as they eliminated a NZ couple for the first time. It hurt too as they were the ones I was really enjoying because they displayed my same level of physical fitness. Very little, and only for short periods of time.

On the other hand it made it acceptable for them to go. They would never have won. Which is why I’d never enter one of these competitions. Failure is hard. Acceptance is also hard, but easier than failure.

But then tonight… I almost couldn’t watch.

It seemed certain that things would go back to their usual stance. The beautiful and clever Aussie ICU nurses went to the wrong university campus. The one that was really, really far away instead of the one that was right by the airport. There was no way they’d be able to catch back up with that sort of start. Meanwhile back at the roadblock a guy out of one of the NZ teams decided it was a great idea to not drink any water. In Namibia. In the heat of the day. He really didn’t understand why he started to feel quite bad and faint and crampy until he actually collapsed.

The NZ team member who was now his nemesis even stopped to help him up and get him going. But we never saw him drink any water. And he kept getting cramps. And complaining with whiny repetition about how much his cramps hurt, and how he couldn’t see.

In the end the NZ team completed their challenge quicker, but couldn’t get to the mat before the Aussies because he was lying down on the track with cramp and whimpers.

Now I’m only watching under suffering. I’m also appreciating the Amazing Race Canada instead. It’s sometimes nice not to have skin in the game.

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trying to navigate the multitude of sites of Playstation Network and Playstation Plus and Sony Entertainment Network and whatever else they’ve managed to erect as a barrier to me finding out what the current free line-up is on my Instant Game Collection (because everything is interesting when you’re meant to be working,) but now a DOS attack on the site and a bomb scare for a Sony executive? Come on people.

Sure, they handed all my private information out with their insecure systems so I had to change all of my passwords and still can’t quite get the hang of them so I hit on the “forgot password” link as often as I type one in – but so did Hell’s Pizza and no one’s toppling their website. That may have something to do with Satan’s protection of course, but lets not go there.

And yes, they don’t care about the repeated error messages I get from their systems saying that they can’t connect to my wireless network and in lieu of fixing AN OBVIOUS PROBLEM AT THEIR END keep saying I need to update the router I bought brand-new a couple of weeks ago and which every other piece of electronica in my household has no problem connecting to no matter how old or how few bars display on their decrepit equipment screens.

So I understand you’re annoyed, but this is what social media is for. Go out trolling for an evening and stop phoning in bomb threats.

And if anyone has worked out an easy way to navigate the tangled and slow network of awkward websites that have built up in “support” of my beautiful PS4 please let me know.

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I was sitting on the couch. Involved in watching the welcome return of Doctor Who, and the chance to see Peter Capaldi in a role that doesn’t involve non-stop swearing (though I imagine that would also be quite awesome and something that Stephen Moffat should definitely consider – an after-the-watershed version of Doctor Who in consultation with Armando Ionnucci would be a thing of wonder and no I don’t mind cast-typing if it gets me what I want.)

I knew it was Sunday. Minutes earlier I’d made my office lunch for Monday, and then realised I didn’t need it because we have an off-site lunch tomorrow and therefore I’d been super-organised and prepared an office lunch for Tuesday, something that I usually only manage on a Tuesday morning.

And then a dreadful thing happened. I thought for a couple of minutes of how nice it would be to sleep in tomorrow because I’m still feeling quite knackered, and the joy of not having to get up in time for early-morning Saturday shopping would be great.

Except I do have to get up tomorrow because it’s Monday.

What happened? Why did my usual time-keeping and day-keeping ability get out of synch so that I thought that tomorrow was going to be a wonderful day instead of the hell it will be? Not that I hate my job, I love it quite a lot in fact, but having to get up early, having to shower and dress according to a timetable, having to get to the office and realise that no matter what I do I’m probably going to be there for more waking hours than I’ll be at home with my loved one is not something to put joy into my heart.

The feeling when I work up to the normal time-stream was akin to stepping onto a level pavement and finding out that you’ve actually started down a staircase (though without the teeth-snapping and bubble of laughter to show you’ve made an ass of yourself – which occurs whether there are people around or not, why is that? – and the pain in the back of your heel.)

It led me to consider which is the worse situation; thinking it’s Saturday and realising it’s Sunday and your weekend is over; or thinking it’s Friday and realising it’s Thursday and your weekend is postponed by a FULL day?

Does anyone ever get the conviction that it’s a day it isn’t and the real day is MORE than a day out?

Many things to ponder. Comments welcome below.

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I have been mucho distracted today while trying to work out when my Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon.co.uk would actually be starting. My previous attempt to align advertising and suchlike on the Kindle Countdown Deal on Amazon.com was a miserable failure as I only realised when I updated my ads that they then get resubmitted for approval – a process that mysteriously takes the full 48 hours on a weekend, whereas it usually pops back as approved within six hours on a weekday. I mean, what are they doing?

So this time I had my ads pre-approved, and paused ready-to-go. I set up a reminder to check that the deal had in actuality started when it was meant to start (so that I didn’t start advertising something that then pinged back to me as not happening) and it was there that the trouble and the tedium set in.

Now I know that these are websites, and as such they’re not strictly on the same time zone as the country they’re meant to represent, but really? Nine-thirty in the morning is when you think the day starts, Amazon? What are you? A teenager?

Don’t get me started on teenagers again.

So I spent the better part of the day unable to write, or play computer games, or pay attention to the three TV series that I’ve been enjoying immensely for six, eight and ten weeks respectively which all came to a halt today – why TV God? Why? – because I felt compelled to keep checking to see whether or not Amazon had woken up in the UK.

I think that in order to stop authors going stir-crazy, and losing full days which could be better spent writing (not that I would spend them that way, but still) there should be an immediate consensus that everywhere on the Internet is now set to the same time-zone – Internetland time or ILT – and just to keep things nice and crisp and fresh that could just happen to align with New Zealand time. I mean, we’re pretty much first in the world anyway – sorry Samoa but if you insist on changing time-zones willy-nilly you are going to be overlooked – and so it all just makes sense.

Then all I need is a watch, and I come equipped with one of those already.

Start a petition now (’cause I’m too lazy) and get it done Internet peeps.

Oh, and if you happen to live in the UK you may be interested to know there’s a Kindle Countdown Deal on an excellent debut novel by a wonderful writer that I can personally recommend. Only 99p at the moment, but be warned – the deal’s counting down and it’s going to run out soon so be in quick to make sure it doesn’t slip away.

Click here for Kindle Countdown Deal

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I’m trying to get my protagonist places that she needs to be in the first draft of my current novel. That sounds easy enough, right. I know where she needs to go. I have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen once she gets there. But will she go there. Will she hell.

This chick is fourteen years old. And do you know how she’s acting? Like she’s fourteen years old. I want her to go somewhere and I want her to do something, she won’t do it. Just strops off on some tangent or other and mucks up all my plot-lines. Why? Why? Why? If I’m honest I’d quite like to chuck her in and start off again with a nice older woman. Maybe someone aged around – oh, I don’t know – forty-one. A decent age for a woman to be. A decent woman doing decent things in a decent manner. Someone I can understand and work together with.

The whole book would fall apart of course, but at least I’d make a nice friend with a decent protagonist.

Promise to self: no more teenagers. Ever. Even as children of main characters. You are out. Banned. You had one chance and you blew it.

No. Don’t look at me like that. Don’t give me your sad eyes, and your hang-dog look, and your grim stories about your short-lived life. Don’t tell me that I have to let people know what happened to you. That there’s no one else to tell your story through. That I’m your one chance. No. I said no.

Fine. Whatever. Go ahead. But this is the last time, you hear me? Pretty sure this is the last time.

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My anti-emetics kicked in yesterday afternoon, and today I spent a glorious day not retching or feeling like the world was spinning out of control. I don’t understand why I don’t appreciate from day-to-day how wonderful it is just to feel well. Except, I do and I suppose that you do too. You only know what happiness is when it’s forcibly ripped from your hands as you scream in protest. Until that moment it’s just you bumbling around complaining about things that don’t really matter because it’s quite a good feeling to have something to complain about and it’s only by having first-world problems that we can compare them to third-world problems and let them win. Good on them. It’s great the majority world can win at something. Having really, really awful problems. That, and ebola.

I’m still harbour hope that the current ebola outbreak is going to spin into a full-scale apocalyptic nightmare. Today twelve hundred, tomorrow seven billion. Hmmmmm. That sounds like the plot of an excellent novel. I could call it something like, oh I don’t know, Survivors. Or maybe, The Last of Us. I’ll think on that a little tonight instead of writing the plot points that I should be writing. That’ll be a nice change.

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Like… just a moment I’d like to get a second opinion

Like… I’m not sure what to do now

Like… has anyone ever told you you have a hole in your eardrum?

Today I went to see my fine doctor because my ear is still blocked up, I have vertigo that is getting worse by the day, and the nasal spray I was recommended to use was doing nothing except cause a horrendous-tasting drip down the back of my throat.

I was expecting that she would pick up her ear-peery thingy and look into my eardrum and tell me there was fluid in my middle ear (as the hearing clinic had done). Instead she said the above things then started calling out to her colleagues to see if any of them were free to take a look as well.

For a good thirty seconds I was sure that someone was about to mention the words ear-cancer, and my life would change forever.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as ear-cancer but if it exists I don’t have it. Instead I have a retraction pocket in my ear-drum that has, for some still unknown reason, started to cause trouble despite being a chronic condition rather than an acute one. A referral to an ENT and a vertigo-combatting prescription later, and I’m now on my third diagnosis. And the first one in which I have any sort of confidence.

So yes. I should have gone to my doctor’s office to start off with, thus saving myself six days, an appointment fee, and the $12 nasal spray that is of absolutely no use to me (nor anybody else now I’ve used it twice – shudder).

And also another lesson that when someone in a clinic who isn’t a doctor says ‘you don’t need to see a doctor’ ignore them with all your strength because a little knowledge is a harmful thing. Even when you have a lot of very detailed and very specific little knowledge. If you see what I mean. I’d usually say ‘you hear me’ instead of ‘if you see what I mean’ but my language has moved to reflect my current circumstances. Wonderful thing language.

Except in the mouths of doctors.

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18 Aug / Topsy-turvy

Well, I no longer have impacted ear-wax in my right ear. Yah. That’s because I didn’t have it to start with. Boo. Having put olive oil into my ear for the last four nights – yuck – I discovered today that instead of a timely reward of hearing, balance and remission of nausea, I instead have earned fluid in my middle ear, vertigo and nasal spray. That should fix it right up. Nasal spray. Not that I’m congested in any way, except for my middle ear, and not that nasal spray seems to do a lot except get my heart rate up. I know it’s going to fix it up though, because no one at the hearing clinic knew anything else to try. And what’s the deal with not having any OTC anti-emetics in New Zealand? What do they think I’m going to do? Go off on a nausea-inducing spree? Thanks people. Now I can either grin and bear it, try to pretend that ginger has far more curative powers than it does, or pay my lovely doctor another expensive visit which may or may not result in a prescription. The world would work so much better if I ran it. (go on – let me)

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I am trying very hard at the moment not to claw my ear out. The stupid thing is still blocked up, the olive oil progressively worsening this state of affairs, and since it’s still another 24 hours until I can have it suctioned and hear blessed sounds out of it again I am a bit tense.

I keep thinking back to the scene on Girls where the earbud is pushed just a little bit too far. Although my motivation wouldn’t be the same I SO want to do that. Just shove it in there and pop the damn drum. That would bring me some relief!

My rational mind is saying that instead, it would bring further horror and a needless amount of pain. Possible loss of hearing and it would for sure make my current discomfort look like a holiday in the sun, but I still want to do it. I’ve started to dream of it just before I fall asleep at night, or when I’m lazing on the couch playing farm heroes.

Twenty-four hours and then it should all be over and I can go back to never thinking about my ears at all. And then I can get back to thinking on all my other little miseries that I’ve been neglecting.

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