First day of the ninth month, and this is how I feel... Four birthdays to negotiate, a potentially difficult trip to Portugal on the horizon, a fairly substantial drop in family income at the end of the month, and still no sign of a not inconsequential wad of cash that I was due in July. Still, it's not all bad. A government run cultural agency in Macao has engaged me as their official translator, to translate their news articles from Portuguese into English and vice versa. They asked me to visit their website to determine how much work is involved - unfortunately, the website is in Chinese, and all I saw were several rows of question marks - so, come to think of it, that was pretty rubbish. My trip to Portugal looks like being a bit of a disaster. I will be there from 14-30 September, and my collaborator, academic supervisor and ally will be in Washington from 14-30 September - so that's pretty rubbish too. Look on the bright side, we might meet at either Lisbon airport or Heathrow! I have to submit an article for Friday, so it has to be researched tomorrow morning, and written in the afternoon - that's pretty rubbish too. If all that wasn't bad enough, I made the mistake of getting involved in a "discussion" with Don Northup: his attitude could fill several of these sacks! And just to top it all, the photo is both subject and object: rubbish! Better tomorrow (I hope).