In.v. 19 – The Eye Power to Read

Design OK - Style Goal - Not so sure...

Remember the movie, Notting Hill, with Hugh Grant, there is a scene where the main character is sitting in the theatre using prescription diving goggles to see the screen.  That is exactly how I might look with my latest on the road innovation number 19.  The look is weird, but on the other hand I can actually read – and more to the point write on this computer screen here.

 There is a basic catch 22 with reading glasses.  If anything goes wrong with them on the road – like in an airport of something – like the frames break – or the lens falls out – or any number of small faults which might occur – you usually need them to see how to fix them. Right ? Yes – or a backup pair you say.  Yes also right.  However these days I need stronger prescription lenses so I just don’t have a backup pair – the frames [titanium] broke right down the middle – I think I live life a bit rough at times – so there I am about to embark on yet another trip with two halves of a pair of reading glasses.

Design principle – the lenses need to be held by something so they dont fall off you head and such

Style principle – sticky tape and other joinings dont have a good look.

Off to the local newsagent in the lobby of the LAX Hilton.  There I found the following useful bits and pieces.

a. Emery boards about $3

b. Black Plastic sunglasses $16

1. With the emery boards I spent a while filing through a corner of the titanium frames of the glasses – I could only get the lens out of one of the halves – so I had to file through the frame with the emery board.  It took 4 whole emery boards to file through the frame of the broken glasses.

2. I took the sunglasses, admired the uv resistant lenses and then poked them both out of the sunglass frame. These got saved somewhere in my travel kit for a rainy day some other time.

3. I then cleaned up the prescription lenses and pushed them into the plastic frame.  They met at four points around the periphery of the frame opening and basically fit reasonably snugly.

Its amazing how reasonably cool sunglasses get transformed into really weird looking spectacles if you put clear lenses in instead of the usual sunlens.

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Sharks teeth on a Rose Stem

A glass tube, lying on velvet, near the bed of years, with the thorny green stem, straight bent at the nodes, with glistening drops of water along, and cascades of light straight bent through the glass, and then the drops spectral splashes of color on the velvet near the bed of years. Out of the tube, or should I say poked into the end, with a ribbon red bow, the stem extendes straight bent into green, and on the end of the velvet near the bed of years, a flower of rose red. Red like the sunset crashing through the venetian blinds, and onto the bed of years with sheets of white and pillows long and cream delight.  The sun, it curls down fast of the fathomless blue ocean outside but its light of red stream coming through space and the convexity of the earth, stretched through the blind in flat strips and through the hot air in the room with the velvet near the bed of years. The rose petals reach out one by one into the room with its fragrant sounds of breathing and silence quiet. The petals reach out curling toward the spinning ceiling fan, moving air through the bands of sunset light from the ocean outside. And the fan, rotating the fragrant rosy smell through the air above the bed of years, near velvet that the tube is lying on.  The glass tube of bendy light and spectral colors glistening around the bent nodal stem green with sharp thorns.  The sunset gives meaning to the venetian give meaning to the room with the fan above the bed of years with the velvet and the sea outside with its wavy waves of ocean deep and fathomless with sea urchins and rosy coral sharp.

Sharks bring danger to the scene beyond the room with the rose, the scene in the watery world below the sky of crimson sunset.  But the roses meaning and fragrance was love, with the glass tube carefully managing the danger of the thorns and sharks teeth below the sill.

As she awoke quietly on the bed of years, he crept quietly to the waters edge, he near where the shark with the teeth was encased in the blue sea water.  His angst was great, since the choice was his, to walk in with the shark, or go back to the room with the rose.  The smell of the sea was strong in the breeze above the shark above the seabed of years.  His angst was deep since he knew that he was on the edge of danger, but could not fear the shark unless he took a step or two into the glistening rosy sunset water around.  Still he knew it was there.  What chance did he have to survive the fear of the shark and its teeth down deep in the rosy red water of the sunset.  They are sharp they are, the teeth of the shark, but it might not be so hungry, so perhaps he would be fine.

She rose from the bed in the room of roses, and the stem in the glass glistened with light, the light of the sunset falling, curving toward the earth refracted like a lens over the water, and into the room in slits through the blind.  The quiet room with safe fragrant smell of rose, and where the only sharp thorny things were protected by the glass ribboned tube on velvet. There she was, looking through the window at the man, who moments back had been with her bed.  There he was, walking slowly into the darkening water, like he had made a decision a probably decision to enter a new world beyond. She caught her breath in a gasp, since it looked like he was approaching a point where all meaning of the rose would collapse in agony.

He looked down at his feet, having walked a foot or two into the lapping waves, and the sandy bottom it seemed, was rushing to and fro among his feet there.  Stepping further out, waves would come and blast past him, telling him of the impending deepening rythm of the ocean beyond. Still, after a wave had past, and lifted him up off the ocean floor like a starfish. He felt a kind of worry, wheneve he could no longer touch the bottom, like perhaps now he was in the power of the water, no longer in charge of his own meaning, but at the whim of the ocean currents.  His choice had been a calculated one.  He decided to trust his judgement that the shark, if it was out there, would not be hungry – not on any rational reason – but just figured today was not the day the shark would be hungry and that therefore, all things being equal he would be safe from harm and the teeth of the shark.

Prior , that morning – He had thought of the sharks teeth, they were triangular – the waiter at the restaurant had one around his neck – on a black string… funny — who was at pains to tell him of how lucky that tooth made him – they were sitting out in the sun on the street tables in front of the cafe ‘indigo blue’ down in front of the ocean itself – it was only this morning in fact.  He had been thinking that life was a lottery anyway – and had recently read of a shark attack – why had he suddenly thought that that was the perfect way to choose to end it all.  Leaving only scraps of swimming costume behind and hopefully nothing else – no trace of himself – just the legend he felt he was.  His dear friend Sally was there now, having coffee with him.  Would it be the last time – he wondered ?

In the heart of the night of travel

Bubbles of small pain like the bends rising from the depth of sleep, make me wake. I messed with my neck on a chair the other day ow ! Through the dark wet window are the gumtrees scribbly lines and smudge against the dark misty sky and below the sill line, way below, a shellowing creek rushes along down the rocks and through the fallen trees, grass, bark and creek paraphenalia.

It is the dark heart of the bush out there, and on the roof, slight soft raindrops fall, in the house, the only sounds are the clocks, tick in bathroom, tock in loungeroom, clunk in den.  Clocks, its 3.30am on the quiet bedside digital, the radio alarm has a few hours to wait. I’m awake and the dark heart of the night is time to think over what just happened out there, time to pray for the kids.

A lone bird whoops down the creek and the frogs croak, then go back to sleep.  There are no peepers here, where I live, but I know they used to be there when I woke in New England, no Sydney frogs are a bit different, like the people I suppose.

So here in the heart of the night, with the clocks and the creek, the occasional frog, and bird, and the sounds.  I get a chance to reflect on the things that happened in the last rush of a crazy trip where the minarets cry Allah, and the sands fill your pockets, and the trains go fast, and the limo drivers smile, and the tourists are stressed.

Sand, hot wind and sand, i felt it, brought in from the Kingdom’s Al Khobar’s hot streets and Brighton’s sunny beach, I didn’t declare the grains in my clothes. But what happened to the chalk smooth pebble I found on the beach in Worthing ?

The sounds of the people in Brighton, where the new pier is brightly lit, alongside the old one, burnt out,  with traces of the past still clinging to it.  In England the South Downs looked familiar with green hills and narrow roads, and nice places to get lost, and traffic jams to get stuck in.

But don’t forget Paris, didn’t you go there for the weekend ? Didn’t you meet so many people, etrangere, passer’s by ?

Yes the Eurostar, got on at St. Pancras International, and was fine headed for Paris, under the channel separating Albion from Gaul and not providing the fine view of the chalky cliffs of dover, but then speeding out from ground at Calais and over to Lille, where turning sharp south it travels fast down map into Paris.  At the Gare du Nord, the train pulled in.  Paris, ah, so full of people from all over the map, and so Parisien. I stepped outside the Gare, to use  my phone, and others also were there on their blackberrys.  Salesmen in suits with an earpiece, talking to themselves in the sunshine, talking of gas fields in Algeria, and Turbines, and such. Inside getting Metro tickets in a queue, since the machines don’t like my Australian bank. For this trip I tried the cheapest hotel I could find in Paris, and at 39E + tax for the night it was a good one.  The hotel, out near the Universite Rene Descartes, was a Formule1.  Excellent value really.  So alone for the evening I walked by and by down the rue ‘Porte de Chatillon’ from Metro Porte D’Orlean and checked into my little automated room. Clean, quiet, and a place to call home for the evening.

It was in the evening around 7pm I went walking and got a crepe on the street down to Alesia, and then decided to take it easy that evening and go back to the hotel.  Walking back, on the way to the hotel, I was stopped by a lady, who might have been from somewhere in North Africa.  Initial thoughts on someone stopping you, is they want money, which is generally the case, so I generally prepare a phrase in my mind, that goes, ‘Non !, Merci !’ or somesuch probably quite rude thing to say when you think about it, but you don’t have time to think normally.  Anyway In this case, the woman asked ‘as tu un plan pour la route ver a Porte de Chatillon?’ So I said ‘Non ! Merci !’ and left walking back, and then thought about what she said.  It took a while for me to figure oh okay, she wanted a map or wanted to find her way to the Porte de Chatillon.  I guess I could have helped out really.  I should have quickly pulled out my blackberry, and called up google maps and then showed her how to get there on the blackberry.  Still it was just up the road, so she probably would have made it ok.

The next morning came, and it was my dear son’s birthday, he lives in Paris now, works at the Polytechnique in Palaiseau, so glad to have been there that weekend.  We ate at the restaurants at the top of the rue ‘de la Butte aux Cailles’, in the southern 13th Arr. part of Paris, where the food is great, and the people are Parisien, but not too crowded. The Fete de la commune was having a singing dancing affair that day in the square that saturday, complete with stage, minstrels, hurdy gurdy player, singer and lutes and dancing caroles. 

He has a black mantlepeice in his small apartment in Paris, not far from Glaciere Metro.  Thats where the chalk pebble is now,. I remember I put the round white grey thing down carefully arranged.  It looks good there now, along with Gabrielles bit of polished gumtree wood beside.

On my return to the UK, and at the Gare du Nord, an american tourist from San Francisco was out of breath, panicky, and lost at the Eurostar terminal.  A french lady was trying to help her in english and figure out where she should go.  I joined the conversation and the french lady spoke to me in french on behalf of the american, I replied in my best French and this was then translated to English for the American.  I said ‘hello’, the french lady said ‘merci bien, tu parle en anglais ?, ‘oui madame, je suis Australien’.  The french lady didn’t mind but smiling back, left me to the help out the American, who badly needed a smoke, in a non smoking Gare.

Flying is so convenient of course, but my Saudi visa said in small arabic writing, that I could only enter the Kingdom by land.  I guess my booking clerk didn’t do the figuring right, and couldn’t read the visa, so I got stranded, had to be driven over instead.. lovely Bahrain..Al Khobar,..mysterious kingdom of oil under the sands, where in the streets the women wear dark, and the men wear bright.

So here in the heart of the night, in the dark, and in the morning, it is evening in Brighton where the lights are still burning with laughter on the pier, and it is later in Paris, but the bars are still full, and it is even later in the Kingdom, where the oil still bubbles up like nitrogen into the pipes to power the planes that get me around the place, and the Gare du Nord is still busy with tourists lost and stressed no doubt about it… en francais, en anglais and other lingua.

Still the heart of the night here in Sydney is restful, and dangerous, because the creeks can flood, the gums can burn, and the wind can blow.  So I am thankful that it is still tonight, and I am home again. A kookaburra starts the dawn.