Sunday, September 30, 2001

Monty Python's Holy Grail performed by Lego men

They have The Matrix, too.

stolen from somewhere or other. but isn't everything? who does come up with their own links?
Submit a word to

make it as silly as you like.

my word: Ratava

(via adnan, who hostsDamn the Pacific and says yes I'm a Muslim, why not kill me now? "I rather they just come and get me and get it over with."
lose those horrible popup ads for 30 days! a gem from Rebecca's Pocket
For instance, there is Marc Andreesson 's modestly named What's New - the first blog? and nicely enough, it was of course about the Web and Mosaic.
hooray! have finally sat down to work on my essay and realised that it will be quite interesting really.

it will be all about blogs, my favourite obsession. there's not much academic stuff published on them yet, so I will be forced to use online sources.


my actual "diaries/journals/autobiography" reading blog is at Internet Flaneur at the moment a lot of refers to books you probably haven't got at home to look at (a major failing of many non-networked resources) but I plan to start linking as I find the good stuff.

don't think I can find an authoratitive "first mention" for the word blog, though.
Rebecca Blood says it was someone in 1997, but these things can be so organic that the idea of an author is, well, dead.

(there appears to be a double post further down; it's not my fault, it's blogspot's. they are the same time, to the second.)
things that make me go oh! in a good way, # 1: Twin Towers of Light
some teenage angst blogs are wittier than others.
some teenage angst blogs are wittier than others.
to hummingbirds, everything moves in slow motion; they are so speedy that we humans take days to walk by, in comparison.

when I am passed by fast cars as I slowly ride up the lovely gum-tree-lined hills of the Kew Boulevarde, I feel like some kind of reverse hummingbird - I am in a different world, and they are noisy, threatening intrusions, too fast, too fast.
NaNoWriMo is a forum exclusively committed to the timely production of crappy novels.

I really am tempted...50,000 bad words in a month. would unplug any writer's block I might be having. would be a fantastic piece of procrastination against doing anything useful with my life.

(link below from Daypop's Top 40

I dunno who daypop is or why he has a top 40. but I'll do anything to find new stuff to look at. won't you?
I spent a lot of my early teenage years with my nose buried in the yellow jacket of a Gollancz science fiction book. which is sort of why I enjoy being an IT journalist, mostly. but teleportation?

quantumly weird
The name's Q. James Q.

Saturday, September 29, 2001

have been meaning to get around to putting up some of my ramblings from class; the subject is "Diaries, Journals and Autobiography" with a focus on the effects of non-mainstream biographies on the cultural discourse, or something.

The night of the WTC bombing, when the terrorists were stepping onto their connecting flights about 7pm our time; the planes hit just before 11pm our time) I wrote this, still in the grip of the fantastic BBC doco on Afghanistan that was on the tv the night before. It's based on an exercise where you name three objects, start with an empty landscape, add a character, then combine all of them together, so it’s a bit jumpy

This is the land that is no man's land.
It lies between the hills and the river.
It is green and fertile - except where the shells and rockets have torn up brown scars of soil.
From the hill. the village would look (if there was anyone to see) pretty; idyllic; quaint.

Its pink roofs and hub of streets set around the well are made for and from time. It could be 2,000 years ago, 3,000 – except for the gross rusted tank blown open at the village gate

Satellites today can produce images down to a 70 cm resolution. Thi is what a satellite would see: 75 cm holes in the roof of the village mosque.
Two by one metre mounds of dirt beside the road leading down to where the bridge used to be.
But nothing moving.

Beside the river, an upturned boat shows its beam to the sky.

An oar protruding from the boat starts to move. A hand, small soft and brown, appears, clinging to the oar as if led by it.
Mohammed is four years old. His cark coiled hair was his mother’s pride; she would wash it daily and towel it dry with the hem of her burkha, secretly breathing in the scent of her only son.
He has his father’s eyes; black, without pupils, a little sharp at the corners. He’s not supposed to be down here at the boats; he can’t remember why he is here.
A streak of scabby dried blood is frozen mid-flow on his rounded left cheek; it’s not his blood.
Mohammed emerges, looks around for his sisters. He’s never been alone before. He knows he should be frightened, but he feels strong, clever, like a naughty four-year-old who’s got away with something.
He thinks he’ll surprise his mother. He’ll bring her water; it’s almost time to eat and she will be cooking in the courtyard, always needing water.
He’s lost his shoes, but the heat of the day is gone and the dust of the road is soft between his toes, rising in gentle puffs under his bare uncalloused soles.
The world is his.
Beside the road, there is a piece of long wire from the fence. The fence burned last week, to cook Mohammed’s dinner. He picks up the wire and pokes at things with it as he walks up the road toward the well and his home beyond.
There is no one at the well. This means Mohammed does not have to wait. But there is no water in the bucket either, and the rope is cut. Mohammed decides his mother will have to fetch her own water. He’s hungry now, and soon his father will be calling prayers.

Mohammed’s house has a courtyard before it, with the door to the house set well back into the wall. No one is in the courtyard and for the first time in Mohammed’s life his mother does not appear to his call.
He steps into the house and sees his mother lying on the floor. This so surprises him that he doesn’t even hear the boom as shelling starts again.

Mohammed steps forward to poke at his mother with his piece of wire, half fearfully, half cheekily; and the roof comes down.

I know everyone else has already read it, but I'm slowly making my way through Naomi Klein's No Logo and am quite enjoying the dissection of corporate practice; like the bit about how, when Tommy Hilfiger realised that black kids were wearing their preppy gear as part of the "livin' large" philosophy, Hilfiger first upped the preppiness of their ads to appeal to the black kids, and second, started to market the black cool back to the white kids.
Klein claims that some companies don't crack down on logo ripoffs and theft in (poor black) areas for the reason that the rich white customers like to wear what the black kids/rappers etc make cool

what a twisted world we live in

Thursday, September 27, 2001

"There are Air Force jets flying over Manhattan and warships in New York harbor, but none of it is exciting or entertaining at all," said Wall Street broker Irwin Trotter, 47, among the lucky ones who walked away from the destruction. "If the world were going to suddenly turn into a movie without warning, I wish it would have been one of those boring, talky Merchant-Ivory ones instead. I hate those movies, but I sure wish we were living in one right now."

as usual, The Onion gets it right. most of it's not even too tasteless.
"In 1994, motor vehicle traffic crashes were the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 41,507 deaths."

"Among accidental causes of death, motor vehicle crashes were ranked first."
you know life is getting back to normal when you start feeling aggrieved and grumpy about relatively small things.
my current sook is that my boy doesn't think we can afford to go to Tasmania and do a fabulous walk early next year.
but I WANT TO!

and I wonder why we're doing a big xpensive renovation if it means we can't have lives.
I've done it! some would say it was impossible, too hard, give up.
but I have persistence, courage, vision.
I have managed to find, and buy, YET ANOTHER piece of beautiful, requiring-hand-washing, impractical clothing that - wait for it - goes with nothing else at all in my wardrobe.

there was only one colour left, and it was chocolate brown. now I have a complete non-matching set.

unless ...
looks like the kids have got it really bad. why doesn't Richard Branson or someone give them a free flight to the US? it would only have to be one-way.
I don't mean to propogate a nasty, cruel meme, but isn't it funny that has a ? category when they can't tell the gender?
stereotypes; you've gotta love them.
on my way to the accountants' seminar on Managing the Customer from Hell, I was astonished by the blond on the escalator in front of me.
the clinging beige dress with not much above the nipples, the bare tanned legs, the swaying up and down of her clearly defined buttock muscles as she walked; this was no accountant.
then I saw the notice "AFL women's luncheon". a football blonde. a footballers' girlfriend in the week of the Grand Final; the prime of her blonde existence.

in the accountant's conference across the hall, the shirts were pressed neatly, even, no, especially the slightly daring lemon and blue shirts. the women's hair was their natural colour and a sensible length - but not short or anything like that.

my dad's an accountant. but not by nature. not really.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

why do Young People feel compelled to loudly discuss their piercings on public transport?
I didn't want to know about her bellybutton pus, his flap of skin under his tongue, the other girl's problem sleeping on the ear with the four rings in it.
it didn't gross me out; I just found it incredibly distracting. I mean, how often do you hear that kind of thing in public?
for likers of Flash cartoons

Monday, September 24, 2001

had a really bad idea to get rid of the queues of people waiting at the market sausage and coffee stand; you could key in your order in advance and it would be there waiting when you got to the counter.
what a bad idea. no human contact, no recognition, no passing empty cups back to the counter through the crowd.
but it's the kind of thing "consumers" flock to.
when the world is automated and talking lifts are the nearest thing we get to conversation WE'LL ONLY HAVE OURSELVES TO BLAME!

see douglas adams for further expansion of this topic.
how dare the wonderful Michael be on holiday when I fully, totally, ruin my neck doing exercises which are "good for me".

ow ow ow ow ow!

the physiotherapist who was there this morning was nice, but female and smallish; and what my neck needs right now are the hands of a strong man who is used to working on footballers.

I need violent realignment, not massage.

ow ow ow.

Sunday, September 23, 2001

I'm asking a lot of rhetorical questions today, aren't I?
well, you would expect to find this sort of thing at excite, wouldn't you?
There wasn't anything else to do for this week's Blog On column, was there?

I wanted to do a bigger article for IT on the whole real-people's-stories thing but my editor wasn't interested.



To hear the voices of New Yorkers in the wake of the September 11 attacks, it's worth a search through these eyewitness accounts.

The Fine Line

Bob of The Fine Line, just happened to take his digital camera to work with him on the morning of September 11.

He described the scenes in the subway just after 9am, as wild rumors began to circulate.

"Everything up to the passenger plane bit was plausible, even believable, but hey, we had to get to work," he writes, with his New York cynicism clearly intact.

His story is a minute-by-minute walk-through of that morning, complete with image footnotes. Bob was saved by his cell phone; his search for a connection took him away from the South Tower just before it collapsed.

Andy's Chest

Andy works in the Woolworth building, close to the World Trade Centre.

"I was just turning on my computer at work ¤ when we heard this enormous explosion," he writes. Andy watched the second plane hit minutes later and then joined the crowds on the street. "The streets are filled with dazed people. It's insane."

In the aftermath, Andy is chronicling the way New Yorkers are coping and coming together to help each other.


Christina, the author of Combustication, is a student at NYU.

She described the streets just after the crashes: "There was no traffic anywhere. There is a certain silence and calm to the city right now and it's eerie ¤ I used to be able to see the towers, they are gone now."

Classes were to start back last week, with a sense of unreality, and Christina had signed up for the overnight shift at a relief centre.

Survivor's photo album

The view from inside the buildings was captured by John Labriola, who kept snapping as he evacuated down the crowded World Trade Centre stairwells.

There are more than 100 shots; not beautifully framed, but they tell the story of September 11, from sunny morning to smoky ruins. This is a mirror site - his own site is overloaded.

Blogger ( has a search function to help find other sites referring to the attacks.
miguel has caught me out. no, it wasn't Calvino who wrote if not now, when?.

it was Primo Levi, and it's one of the books on my to-read list. so don't even know what it says, about from what I know from other people's references.

and Miguel says it is an old Jewish saying. I believe him.

but you know what I mean, huh?
poor Vernon. Two years in a pot (well, a short time in the ground, then we dug him up again) and he's still alive. a few pathetic shoots came out last month; they have now died.

as SOON as we get the dirt next weekend, Vernon, a Silver Princess gum (delicate, of weeping form with silver trunk, long grey green leaves and pinkish flowers like the skirts of Degas's ballerinas) is going into the ground. and even if he never quite recovers, he will be cared for. I feel we've done him wrong.

(we wanted to plant him straight away, we were so excited about our "native garden". but the renovations, the interminably waited-for renovations, will roll right over his preferred spot. so we're putting him elsewhere, at last)

darn. late for work on Monday again.
it was Peter Carey's piece in the weekend paper, describing events in his neighbourhood, that brought something home to me.
that so many people actually saw, if not people dying, the towers burning. millions of New Yorkers saw the smoke. and it turns out that whatever exceptions I had granted it (and New Orleans) that New York is part of the USA after all, and that trauma will seep out, ripple out, send out tendrils until everyone in the US feels the pain and anger.

also from Carey's piece: he knew something was wrong when the woman in the deli smiled at him. New Yorkers only do this in times of extreme stress.
(sunday night when the adsl was down: how I hate offline blogging!)

the thought of flying and how when I felt a bit scared on takeoff, I'd convert that feeling to a soaring, fierce pride in what we can do: we can actually fly!
and that is something else the terrorists attacked, and meant to. pride.

Friday, September 21, 2001

miguel @ feral living is right, the whole 14 visits did freak me out for a second. I thought they were finally on to me.
but it's just miguel. what a relief. and he's STOLEN some of my preciuos words! good. I need someone to sue. running short of cash this week.
pity about the kitten. maybe if he bonsaied it?
(yes, I know that link is so last month...)
garden post: the concrete men came and ripped up 2x6 metres of concrete along the fence next to where the horrid flats will be.
so exciting! next step is to get a huge pile of DIRT delivered so I can make a small hill and start putting in really fast-growing native plants.

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Looks like W. just appointed himself sheriff; and Tony Blair's the deputy.
into the Wild East they go.
so now we just settle into it, is that the idea?
I worry about the injustices that will be inflicted in the name of justice.
btw, if the ad above is for ediets:
exercise, give up pudding, just buy some bigger more comfortable clothes.
life's too short.
I'm going to start a new blog.
I'm going to call it "It's Not Rome And It's Been A Year And A Half."
I'm going to dedicate it to our architect, who told me: "Rome wasn't built in a day."

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

feral living is pleasingly random and worth a read.
also has a cute kitten photo. and God knows we all need some cute baby animal vibes right now.
Death Tolls for the Major Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century
I know how she feels.
Calvino asked: if not now, when?
and such a clear line between before and after makes you realise that time is passing.
He's not the devil, he's just a cloud of dust.
(apologies to Monty Python)
edit: not even in colour

Bourke St mall, lunchtime; outside the burnt-out post office, a man with a loudspeaker is shouting about missionaries and how after their visit and expulsion from an unnamed town, a girl was DEAD, yes DEAD, but came back to life telling stories of seeing Jesus. he was quite loud.
across the street, a spruiker was explaining how "make no mistake, this store is closing down, come and get your bargains now."
and I stood in the crowd waiting for the tram halfway between them, trying not to laugh too loudly.
biting my tongue dept: the person next to me who thought the attacks were justified now thinks it's "disgraceful" that Australia has the power to detain (legal) immigrants during national emergencies.
apparently it's a new law. I thought we could detain whomever the hell we liked during national emergencies. the key words here being "national" and "emergency". and that includes Australian-born citizens.
maybe those who think the West is getting to be a soft target are right.
I am so not a warmonger, but if we have a war, I'd rather we won it...
my weird dream from the night before last:
we were somewhere else (as always) and there were two planes flying overhead, a Qantas plane and another, sharper-angled one. The Qantas plane flew off and the second one suddenly turned and flew straight into the ground just out of sight.
I threw up.
Then another plane, a passenger plane, flew across the sky and crashed into a big lake over a fence. It was like a volcanic lake, set at the bottom of a steep slope so you looked down into it. the water was very still and I was amazed that it was so calm with the plane down there.
someone said "wait and watch" and gradually I saw the outline of the plane rising up, all shiny and covered in viscous liquid.
then things got weird. the plane rose on its tail (like a dolphin) and started hopping up the slope, going "cheep" like a dolphin's whistle on every hop. it was coming for us and we ran like hell. in the sky, some fuzzy red discs indicated that the aliens who were making all this happen had decided to actually turn up themselves.
then I woke up, and for a second I thought the background to the dream - the planes that had crashed before the dream movie started - was only part of the dream. but they were real
(the cheeping sound turned out to be the birds that nest in the roof near our bedroom; it's getting light so early here, I'm awake at 6.15 every day)

Sunday, September 16, 2001

a panoramic photo essay from someone who's been photograhing the WTC for a long time.
my BlogOn column will be posted up here whenever I get around to it. this is last Thursday's

Sci-fi and fantasy have always been an Internet obsession, since the first text-based dungeon was built.

The Leaky Cauldron's subtitle says it all: We Blog for Harry Potter. Fans of the spectacled one use this blog to share the latest sources of Potter paraphernalia: you want a Mattel Harry Potter Action Figure for $US9.99?
This is the place to find out where you can get it FIRST!
Gossip on the upcoming movie, maps of Potterland, scuttlebutt on possible future book titles and links to more serious discussion of the phenomenon make this a wizard of a blog. Generous updates are posted almost daily.

Oh, the horror

one, two blogs, and a monthly Webzine

WAAH! May I have this cat? Doki-doki!

It all makes sense in the world of Manga, where cartoon people with cute round eyes live out your worst nightmares while dressed like Tokyo fashion designers.
Steph's Illegible Scribbles documents a serious obsession with characters' hair, sexuality, motivations and the underlying struggles between good and evil. She/he also drives a hard bargain for Manga magazines on Ebay.
Too kawaii.


The mother of all sci-fi obsessions is Star Trek, that series that boldly goes on longer than any series has gone before. claims to be the first and only daily updated guide to all things Trek and it's true that, despite the Trekkies' devotion, few would update their comments daily. Trektoday links to interviews with actors at other sites and to discussion forums where you can share your thoughts on just why The Next Generation sucked. It even lets you piggyback off its own fanaticism by adding its headlines to your site, culled from a hundred or so sites visited by the blogger each day; probably a little too much Trekking for some, but that's the way true Star Trek fans like it.

note to self: 4 mth=1%
This sunny morning as I was getting ready for work, Nick Cave knocked on my door and asked if I had time for a coffee.
one of my sneaky little joys is to sometimes decide I'll be late for work, put on some music and just do what I like for half an hour - read the whole paper instead of scanning headlines, blog, plant some plants.
I've had a couple of weeks of going home if I feel vague and sleepy, then catching up by writing at home or working on my day off. and scarily, the more I please myself, the better my work and my life seem to be.
is there a message there?

digging behind the garage at the weekend, I found half a deep red tile with a blue art nouveau swirl running across the broken edge. it's evidence of the fireplace that was removed from the lounge room - this house would have been so nice if they hadn't hacked away fireplaces, pulled out pressed metal ceilings. well, it's still nice.
the next day I dug for more, but all I found was pieces of broken asbestos sheeting. how do you spell mesothelina again? I put them all in a garbage bags, but did a microfibre escape and flow with the air into my lungs? might I die a horrible death in ten years?
it's a lovely spring morning.
my idea for what to do: Afghanistan should hand bin Laden over to some neutral country like Switzerland so he can go on trial. or is that what the Hague is for?
every day the headlines here (apart from the collapse of Ansett Airlines) say something like: US Anger Grows or World and US Unite.
why don't we just make up a template front page with 36-point letters at the top saying "Afghanistan is going to get the crap bombed out of it" and run that, day after day?
this is not a wish of mine, btw. it's just the basic reality underneath all these. CNN was running a poll on its site asking if the US should bomb if bin Laden wasn't surrendered. I couldn't get to the results for some reason, but I can imagine.
if they asked "should we kill 100 Afghanis for every missing American" the result would probably be 80-20 in favour.
the one mistake in all this is the idea that the US can "stop terrorism".
whatever they do, whoever they kill, will only create more radicals.
and when I read that the US Air Force had never considered this scenario (domestic planes-as-bombs) in their training, focussing instead on shooting down enemy planes crossing the border, I just wonder what exactly they've been thinking for the past 10 years, and if they yet realise how the world's set up?
dare one mention postmodernism in this context? dare one mention that the idea of a single identity, a safe-bordered self (America) that can be somehow separated from outside influences (was the bombing a non-Western critique of late capitalist society??) is, well, bullshit?

more worryingly, if they don't get the idea that everything's connected and attack from inside is not just a possibility but an inevitability - something that can't be stopped by main force or a million counterspys - they will just use bigger and bigger bombs against nastier and nastier terrorist attacks.

Vietnam doesn't loom in my subconscious the way it does in the US's, but wasn't that the problem for the Yanks there? that they tried to steamroll an army of ants?
interesting. blogger doesn't log you off even if you stay on for ten hours. you could set your Palm or iPaq up to be a dedicated blogging device; no need to reload or log in ever time.
don't tell Ev

“Brother, if you don’t mind, there is a cloud of glass coming at us, grab my hand, lets get the hell out of here.”

(link found at Joe Pennant's site.)
sad but true that as one gets older, one can not drink as much wine as one used to without paying for it more and more heavily.
particularly sad because as I get older, I can better afford better wine (I always liked good wine, well at least once I was over 21 and over the wine in a box thing).
There are seven boxes of wine in our hallway; they are numbered 3-8 and 10+.
the 3-8 each hold a dozen bottles bought on our forays into wineries around Australia - when we go away all we seem to do is eat and taste wines - and the one 10+ holds five bottles of really bloody good
St Hallett's Old Block Shiraz. They are for children currently aged between 8 years and 4 weeks. They are not gifts - they are to share with me on their 18th birthdays. by which stage the $55 bottles will probably be worth more like $500 each and be incredibly delicious.
3-8 corresponds to 2003-2008. it is a fine exercise in delayed gratification, even more so than gardening.
the whole lot of it is going off to a commercial storehouse next week. I've had enough of worrying about what's happening to the wines under the bed.
we looked at a house for sale down the road yesterday - a last -ditch effort to find something so nice we could move instead of renovating.
it was fantastic - a huge walk-in cellar for a start - big rooms (a former shop), four bedrooms upstairs, a cute brightly coloured kitchen.
and in the courtyard, a clear view into the bedrooms and balcony of the new apartment that had been built into the shop's stables. they'd chopped up one fantastic property and turned it into two squeezed-in properties. of course they'll make more money out of the whole deal - both are for auction next weekend - but I'd put it in the category of chopping prints out of antique illustrated books and selling them off singly, or splitting up old dinner settings. it spoils the whole thing for profit.
now if I had enough money and could buy both and knock down the apartment, reinstating the yard and offstreet parking for the shop, that would be different. and think what I'd save on wine storage fees! Hell, I could start offering commercial storage myself!
but no, yet again we realise that this old house and its big sunny yard is the best thing we can find, and that when - when, when when? - when it's renovated it will be such a wonderful place to live our lives.
so I went out and bought more little plants to shove into the tiny pockets of yard that won't be walked on by the builders, if they ever come.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

two men have just come and cut off about 1/3 of the big old olive tree that is in our back yard.
it was in the way of the extension we're going to build.
if the architect and my husband had their way, it probably would have come down altogether.
they dragged huge bunches of live olive leaves out across the front garden and ground them up in a mulcher.
it looks empty in the yard now. you can see the ugly flats across the neighbour's block.
I guess if I'd realised how much of the tree would have to go, I would have made them change the plans. but I didn't realise until just before the tree men arrived, and even then it was more than I pictured.
when/if the neighbours get their permit to build in their backyard, 2/3 of what is left will go too; the tree hangs over their fence.
with that, and the big trees in their yard that will be cut down, I don't think I'll like the back yard any more.
I guess for some people who were there, just going back to the office and getting on with business will be an act of defiance.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

funny looking at various blogs and news sites; there's a clear line between the banal, everyday and carefree posts and the sudden intrusion of words like "rescue", "smoke", "dead."
but there are non-terrorists related thoughts in my brain too.
pieces of unwritten stories
"he knew the marriage was in trouble when she started introducing him as 'my first husband'."
"she hovered uncertainly on the brink of middle age."
even here in Melbourne, I keep looking at tall buildings, massive concrete, steel and glass structures and picturing how easily they'd crumble if a fully fueled plane crashed into them.

I remember reading a story about earthquake survivors; how they distrusted the very stability of the earth beneath them after feeling it move.

We will now distrust the work of our hands.
As some bloke in suspenders and stockings once said: “Nothing. Will ever be the same.”
Although of course it will be. Strangely enough, life will go on, because that’s how people are.
At the end of 2000, I was in Nairobi. We made a special detour to go past the US Embassy, or where it used to be. It’s just a – well, we often refer to empty city blocks as a “bomb site” here in Australia.
You can still see the blast marks on the neighbouring buildings.
In early 1995 I was in Tasmania, on a big group bike ride. We stopped at the Port Arthur convict settlement; a kind of prison theme park these days. I declined the “ghost tour” – the whole place was too much built on evil for me.
And when a man went crazy with a gun there a year or so later and killed nearly 30 people, including little girls, I thought of how I stood in the café/shop where he started, posting a postcard.
When I went to London for the first time, I was riding one of those endless escalators up out of the underground. On the wall, where there are usually ads for movies and cigarettes, was a small plaque. And into my mind came the horrible images of the fire that killed tens of people crushed together on that very elevator.
In 1999, I came to New York for the second time. After a few days of museums and New York’s beautiful spring (blossoms in the Village’s squares, unreal tulips on Fifth Avenue), I headed downtown to Century21 for some serious shopping.
The nearest subway station is the World Trade Centre. I came up into the bland international plaza and wandered about, looking at the packs of men in suits marching in formation from one meeting to another, trying to find my way out into New York.
The next day, about 8.45 am, I was there again, to return some shoes.
Century21 was filled with highly focussed women, sorting quickly through shoes and skirts and blouses and stripping in and out of 5 or 10 dresses at a time in the crowded change rooms.
It was across the road from the World Trade Centre. I guess it’s gone too.

And I have this strange urge to come to New York. I love the place, and I wish I could do something for it..
And I’m sorry that (now Ansett is about to fold) I didn’t just book that week’s leave and burn up all my frequent flyer points. I’m sorry I didn’t stay for a year when I was 25, looking at the to-let and friend-wanted ads on the walls, thinking how easy it would be to build a life there.
Of course I couldn’t afford it, etc, etc. And now I have doghusbandhousefriendsresponsibilities to stop me.
But that urge is there: pick up the phone, book a flight, go.

Things do change. Slowly I’m learning that you do have to carpe diem, that moments in time and history don’t hang around until you’re ready to enjoy them. Little things like wearing that funky top while it’s actually fashionable (not saving it for some never-to-materialise special occasion), big things like living in New York while you’re young.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

but as a media type, I can't help but admire that Ev got the search function up so fast; I think I'll devote my next BlogOn column to the timeliness of this, and to blogs like andy's chest,, where you can hear the voices of New York unmediated by CNN and the inanities of TV voiceovers
blogger is down, so I'm in notepad: the real timestamp is 9 pm, New York time.

I was wondering whether to post this, after the "other" point of view crossed my mind: if you have even the slightest inkling that such an attack is a good thing, look to your politics.

then the person who sits next to me said she'd like to be in Palestine to see how happy they are.

apparently she takes the twisted position that because the Palestinians are so downtrodden, such acts are justified because it gives them a sense of "empowerment"

because she's been there and seen Palestine, she thinks she has some special authority.

hundreds of people are dead. some are still trapped in the buildings.

and she, in her safe position at her computer, says it's justified.

I feel like throwing up.

Monday, September 10, 2001

Only six days late, this is my first BlogOn column from The Age's Green Guide.


Your Dad's a minister of the faith in New York. You're a self-described "popular faggot". Whatchagonna do? Move to San Francisco and post your entire life on the Internet, of course, complete with beefcake shots featuring your tattooed pecs.

Nathan, a 31-year-old Capricorn with an open same-sex marriage and a dog called Gordy, blogs his emotional ups and downs, his travel plans (New Orleans, the Burning Man Festival) and his opinion of the latest Michael Jackson release.

Just the thing when you can't get down to Commercial Road or Oxford Street.

Itinerant in NY

A keen observer of the only-too-human New York scene, Joe Pennant peppers his insights with enigmatic photographs of whatever's in front of his eyes.

That's everything from pool halls to melting sidewalks, to tragic tales of gold-diggers setting their sights on dot-com millionaires.

Pennant's blog is so popular, he sells his own branded "schtuff". (That's New York-speak for stuff.)

His is an impressionistic take on a town "where the flash of a skyscraper and a steaming mugga Venti Mocha counts as near nirvana ..."


Chris Conroy lives in New York City and he's cooler than you'll ever be.

Anyway, that's what he thinks. But the inclusion of Sheila E in his top 10 tracks list must cast serious doubt on this claim.

His blog is a music-and-movies-obsessed student's guide to the media world, with a manga, sci-fi, animation and indy twist.

What in blog's name?

What's a blog? Yet another of those newfangled things that hardly existed two years ago but is already an indispensable part of the wonderful wide Web.

An abbreviation of Weblog, the blog is a bit like a journal, a bit like a news site, a bit like a page of links and a bit like nothing else you've seen.

The appeal of blogging is its immediacy; the best blogs are updated daily, with generous links to topical websites and other blogs. Some are devoted to an obsession (music, programming, the blogger's cat) and some are purely personal, at times verging on exhibitionist. Subjectivity rules; bloggers post what they think, when they think it.

BlogOn will survey the spectrum of blogs, from banal to near-genius, arranged in no particular order.

For a little blog browsing of your own, try Blogger, diaryland, or just go to your favorite search engine and type in "blog" and your topic of choice.
trying desperately to get excited about the geospatial information industry today: aka mapping.
If you care about these things, this seems to be an excellent guide to the state of the industry in Australia.

Saturday, September 08, 2001

one of my favourite things is to blob about in the morning, then have a coffee and go for a bike ride. the combination of caffeine, exercise and fresh air seems to help me think, although the thoughts are often pleasingly random.
and one of the nice things about riding along the Merri Creek bike path, partly degraded with onion weed and back fences as it is, is noticing new things after years of familiarity.
like seeing, across the creek, an apartment-sized pigeon coop, and getting a flash of the old Italian or Greek man who spends his mornings and night among flying feathers.
The time is 10.45 am, Sunday morning.
Blogger does have a "Pacific Time" option, but it says "Sydney", not "Melbourne", so I have chosen to remain somewhere in the timelessness of cyberspace.
The reason this blog is at is not to do with the strange, cross-species nature of the furry, warm-blooded, water-dwelling, egg-laying duck-billed platypus.
It's because is way too hard to remember.
oh, and now Australia is committing international piracy to keep refugees out.
a few articles lately have reminded us that we did something similar to a boatload of Jews before WWII.
some of them got sent back to Europe and died in concentration camps.
this is an incredibly rich, well-off country. we canafford a few frightened refugees.
my prediction is that, whatever the polls say, the underlying feeling of Australians is that we want to be ruled by kind people. that's why the Northern Territory Government got kicked out (mandatory jail sentences for (Aboriginal) children who stole pencils and food), and why Jeff Kennett lost in Victoria (generally being Jeff.)
the election is supposed to be in November, they say.
sunday morning; from the other room comes the sound of panting, scrabbling, scratching and bodies hitting solid objects. Andrew and the dog are "playing" again.

Friday, September 07, 2001

so I told him what he's worth and he asked if value went down after IQ hit a certain level: "if you’ve got too high an IQ, you’re just useless to anyone," he said.
whereas my husband is worth : $2,232,074.00.

it must be that I'm two years older, don'thave a doctorate and earn a third of what he does. it couldn't be that he's male...

IQ seems to be a big factor, as I put us both in at the same level, and that extra 10 % isn't much of a difference.
human for sale says I'm worth $2,034,574.00.
and that's in US DOLLARS!!
now, how do I go about collecting?

Thursday, September 06, 2001

Ansett can't collapse! I have about 150,000 frequent flyer points with them! I was going to go to New York! Or Wales! Or India! Or LA!
please say it isn't so!
(the foregoing is a fine example of the failings of late capitalist culture. the person concerned is showing no interest in the fate of hundreds of employees and the Australian economy, caring only for her own hard-earned frequent flyer points)

will someone tell Britney Spears that using magnificent wild animals for cheap entertainment is so 20th C?
what I would really, really like to know is why some days I feel like a giant slug masquerading as a person, and only, only want to go into a dark room and sleep, and other days I'm like "get up at 6.20, work 9.5 hours, ride to the pool, swim a kilometre, go home, cook, play with the dog and my husband and hey, let's redecorate the house while we're at it"?
I mean, there is no good reason. not the amount of sleep I get, not whether I'm in "the zone" or not, not my coffee intake or exercise that day.
nothing. just some days I feel great, others there's no point getting out of bed. what I'd give to be on the up all the time...

Wednesday, September 05, 2001

A free lesson in media theory: This is my original copy. The story as it appeared is on The Age's site.

This is a modern love story.
Stu and Lane have known each other for about three years: they've always got on well, and sometimes they'd stay up all night talking about this, that and the other thing.
It was a "just friends" kind of relationship; Stu had a girlfriend for a while and Lane and her boyfriend were off and on. Sometimes the pair didn't talk to each other for weeks at a time. Other times, when things were rough for one or both, they were in constant contact.
In May this year, (the 13th, to be precise) the friendship changed forever. Stu declared his love, and, in their own words, "Boy and girl become inseparable."
But for Stu Morris and Lane Collins, happily ever after is a way off; about 16,148 kilometres off. Stu's here in Melbourne and Lane's in North Carolina, USA. They've never met, and until they can come up with the cash for a plane ticket, they're not likely to.
Most of their relationship has happened via email, ICQ Internet chat and instant messaging services; the occasional phone calls only eat into the ticket fund.
It's one of the cruel realities for Generation Web that it's all too easy to start up a relationship with someone half a world away.
For 21-year-old Stu, a technology student and Web design contractor, and 19-year-old photography student Lane, the answer lay in the same medium that brought them together. (It all started back in 1998 with an email from Stu to Lane about her Web site devoted to singer Fiona Apple.)
A friend helped out with some Web hosting, and two weeks ago, they launched their joint blog, or Weblog, at the plaintively named
The blog's purpose is to record their love and, a little controversially, to ask the world at large to donate money for that magic ticket.
Blogs are essentially online journals, used to document the progress of personal projects, new restaurants, musical interests and various other aspects of daily life, which can include unrequited love.
In a way, blogs can be more personal than the "webcam" sites that proliferated a few years ago. Instead of showing what you look like from moment to moment, personal blogs show the inside of your head.
Advertising your love on the Internet - and asking for cash to consummate it - might seem a bit out-there to some, but for Stu and Lane, who already have three other sites betwen them, there's nothing more natural.
"When I put something up (on a blog), I'm putting it up for more for myself than for someone else," Stu says.
The blog isn't really about the money, the couple say; it's a joint project, a little piece of cyberspace for them to call home. In an email, Lane said that "really, this is just a personal site. It's something for us to do together, to help us deal with this situation."
Most of the people who visit the site don't donate anyway - the visitor count is approaching the 5,000 mark and exactly four have shelled out cash. A fifth has bought a CD, with some proceeds going to the couple.
Damn The Pacific was made a "blog of note" on popular site a few days after it appeared, causing the flood of traffic. A notable feature of blogs is that when an idea or site is hot, it races around the world like wildfire, only to fade away within days.
More interesting than the donations has been the feedback, positive and negative.
Stu is bemused by the reaction from a small segment of the public, who are somehow offended by the concept of Internet relationships as such, and feel compelled to tell the pair that their relationship is somehow not real.
Their "real life" friends and family accept the situation, more or less philosophically.
Lane says "my Mom is used to it". She's found a lot of friends on the Internet, and never struck problems with any of them. Stu's mother "doesn't really believe in online relationships," he says, but perhaps that will change when he and Lane meet up.
Plenty of people out there do believe in online relationships, they've discovered; Stu has received encouraging emails from couples who met online and are now quietly married with children, just like real people.
Despite the scepticism that abounds, both are confident that when they do finally meet, the relationship will work. Lane says this is what "everyone wants to know", but the possibility of the chemistry not being right "just doesn't worry me. I have a lot of confidence in our relationship." Stu says the issue "doesn't faze me".
There are plenty of practical hurdles to focus on first. Stu still has to finish his diploma of information technology later this year. Lane has just started her photography degree, and wants to move from rural North Carolina to Boston or maybe New York. The plan is for Stu to go to the United States, and hopefully find work there when
that annoying little matter of the ticket is resolved.
But until then, they can only dream and say: "Damn the Pacific!"

ADSL is making me so spoiled. I get impatient with having to type in my password on Blogger. I want a secret URL I can just type in to start blogging.

nice orange boxes, Mike

Tuesday, September 04, 2001

how deeply recursive: I blog Damnthepacific, they blog me, I interview Stu, he blogs about it, the article will come out, they'll link to it, we'll link to their site from the story, they'll blog about that...

from a journalistic pov, it's also an interesting, cautionary feeling knowing that the "subjects" have their own forum for reply if they think I misrepresent them (which of course I NEVAH do!). there should be more of it. the power of having a voice (ie, my own newspaper to play with) is often something that sits in the background. my cultural studies lecturers would say that this experience "foregrounds" that power.

a distance calculator for all you people pining for each other from opposite ends of the globe. Melbourne and the capital of North Carolina are about 10,034 miles apart, btw.

Monday, September 03, 2001

Reason # 1 for visiting St Kilda, Melbourne: the Monarch cake store, whose florentine biscuits surpass all others with the chocolateness of their coating and the freshness of their nuts. now I realise why every time I eat a florentine, I'm disappointed.
No, they don't have a Web site. when you've been in business since 1934 (and probably with the same chef!) you don't need a Web site.

oh, and if anyone's wondering: Stu of Damn the Pacific is definitely a real person. I met him this afternoon. I'll post a link to the article when it makes it onto dead tree pulp.
aargh! I made a stortrooper and I can't get her up here. maybe geocities doesn't allow image linking. will fix later. she is at geocities if you want to take a look. does anyone know how you get them on your page?

when I was a teenager reading every science fiction book I could get my hands on - and I mean that quite literally - I used to think I'd been born a bit too early, because I could see the computers and spaceships coming down the track, and I knew you needed to grow up with that stuff to really be part of it.
now that I'm surfing around looking at the amazing design and writing 20-year-old bloggers can do, I have that feeling again.

Sunday, September 02, 2001

ah, now I know what the funny faces are for: you link to them in bulletin board postings
the people on the Tampa say please help us.
the analytical part of me can't help noticing the typo "public grieveyards"
stolen from idiots savant - too cute.
i'm sure it's quite wrong to use their img src. if they object, I'll take it down. but they're CUTE!!!








why, garrry with three r's, why?
Ok, maybe Chris's blog does have some slightly theft-worthy elements...
an otherwise lukewarm blog, but look for the 29 August post titled "looking for a headache". I just have this image of blog readers everywhere swaying back and forth in front of their computers like hypnotised cobras. me included
potandkettle dept: "blog" is such a funny word. Blog this, to blog or not to blog, blogtastic. I know names using "blog" are about as cool as companies called "dot-com" but it's still amusing. and I'm not the only one (looks for examples on the recently-posted-blogs, finds none, insists one is correct anyway...)
I am quite irresponsible and careless of the welfare of me-future.
I sometimes get annoyed with me-past.
But I have no problems with me.