Thursday, January 31, 2002
by the time he rang the pizza place we couldn't get one in time for the show. so he's off grabbing Indian instead of a great pizza.
and I've just realised the show starts next week.
Wednesday, January 30, 2002
Tuesday, January 29, 2002
not bad; we got a spot where we could see half the stage really clearly, so half the time when we could see Shirley, we were really excited. it's all about her really, isn't it? the band are v. good, but not much to look at (unlike the support, Machine Gun Fellatio, who at one stage had their lead singer performing naked except for a Pooh Bear toy attached to his penis by gaffer tape)
the sound could have been slightly better, but we bopped up and down a lot anyway.
Andrew thinks Shirley looked better as a redhead. I'm relieved; I was worried I'd have to bleach and chop it to hold his interest (my current redness is a birthday present for him; the boy has a thang about redheads, and I'm usually a nice mousy brown.)
anyway, I'm working a bit. I want to do a story about the Woomera protest, but my editor says we're too busy to do stuff for the news and other non-IT sections. so I'm doing a phone interview in five minutes, then seeing people tomorrow night/Friday morning before work, in order to get it done. anything to annoy Phillip Ruddock...
Monday, January 28, 2002
now all I have to do is deal with the other causes of headaches; work, stress, insufficient sleep...
Sunday, January 27, 2002
if you happen to be an American, this would be a good time to ring your senator and ask if the US is taking this up with the Australian Prime Minister when he visits the States later this week.
how we can on one hand "free the Afghans" from the Taliban, and on the other keep innocent Afghani refugees in these conditions is beyond me.
there's an Easter protest movement. sounds good.
in my bottom drawer is a nice piece of yummy chocolate hedgehog, half-eaten. I put it there last week for 'ronnie.
now, like KD's popcorn, it will stand between me and countless more pieces of chocolate.
but unlike KD's popcorn it will not be making an appearance on the Web. it's not nearly as pretty.
Saturday, January 26, 2002
when I say what is happening at Woomera is evil, I'm not speaking metaphorically. they have small children, refugees, growing up in a concentration camp. in my country.
went to the Hanging Rock races and picnicked; won $14 on one horse, lost it again, plus another $16, on other horses.
highlight: the Shetland Pony race with miniature jockeys on fat little horses, so unlike the thoroughbreds, where even a bad horse looks magnificent to me.
wore my favourite summer dress, the floaty green and purple thing I bought in New Orleans; it's so low-cut I got burned on skin that rarely sees the sun, even in my swimsuit.
drank champagne, ate trout and King Island Brie and, along with all the rest of the crowd moved around the tree with the shade like some bizarre multicoloured human sundial.
got home, soaked in long bath. then watched the news, only to be totally depressed and upset by the sight of an asylum seeker falling on the razor wire my country has surrounded him with. the only light was that Labor have finally stopped supporting the Government's evil. bit late now, kids. the election was last year.
Thursday, January 24, 2002
A: It's so hot that when you walk outside, it's like walking out of a refrigerator into an oven.
It's so hot that your clothes immediately begin to feel hot against your body and you try to move so that they don't stick to you.
It's so hot that the washing you bring off the line after an hour is not only dry, it feels like it's come out of a hot dryer.
It's so hot that when you hold your hand up to shade your eyes, you rotate it front and back to stop the burning sensation on your skin.
It's so hot that everything in the garden looks pale and faded, like a watercolour of itself left in the sun for too long.
It's so hot that your fluffy dog looks at you accusingly, wondering why you've made it so hot.
It's so hot that even though there are towering white cloud castles in the sky, holding out the possibility of a summer thunderstorm, you turn on the hoses in the shady part of the garden anyway, afraid that the ferns will die this moment in the dry dusty soil. And you deliberately walk too close, for the delicious spatter of water on your bare arm.
It's so hot that as you move between rooms, you close doors, afraid of letting the heat from outside sneak in behind you, and you hunt out tiny chinks of sunlight, closing the curtains against them.
It's 35 degrees (90F), but feels 40 (104F). It's hot enough.
(with thanks to Miguel, from whom I have stolen the useful Q/A format)
nothing too odd there.
he was doing them with his hands on a park bench and feet on the ground, so his head and shoulders were quite elevated. fine, there's probably a good reason for that.
a woman in jogging shorts mounted him like a horse and sat there as if it was perfectly normal, going up and down as if she was just sitting on the bench.
that has to be weird.
at first I only noticed it/them when I was cleaning the car and moving things about. but lately it has become bolder. last time I saw it, I tried to sweep it out, then sprayed a huge amount of insect spray into the car and hoped that would kill it. (in theory I don't like to kill things, and if I can get someone to relocate a spider, I will, but that wasn't an option.)
if it runs over my hand or the windscreen while I'm driving, I'm afraid I'll crash. we're not talking a rational fear here.
today it ran up the passenger side door while I was stopped at some lights, in broad daylight. it ran out the window and I rolled up all the windows and drove home in a stinking hot car (no a/c) hoping it would blow off or something. but I'm sure it hasn't.
I don't know what to do. next, it will probably start actively chasing me. then I'll crash and the car will be a pile of twisted metal. but the spider will probably survive.
am considering selling the car.
now I'm holed up in a darkened house with all the doors and windows shut - it's the first day of a four-day run of days over 33 degrees celcius - 90 in the "old scale" - and blessing the fact that finally, the throbbing in my head has stopped and no longer feel like I'm operating my body and mind by some kind of numbed remote control. And apparently my migraines are not as bad as the ones some people get - I mean, I can still eat and drink and, with painkillers, sleep a bit.
the problem with headaches is that people have to take your say-so on them, and while my boss has never questioned me - journalism is a pretty flexible workstyle - I wonder if people are thinking "headache, sure, we all get headaches, but why doesn't she just take an aspirin and get on with it?
but then I think: "they can sack me if they like. no one should have to try to appear normal and conduct interviews on topics as banal as male/female enrolments in IT studies with a head that feels like this."
then I go home and crawl into bed.
Tuesday, January 22, 2002
this year I will: accept that I will never see my ribs again.
accept that the house will never be quite completely in order, especially during the working week, and I'll settle for mess in organised piles.
accept that my credit card will always be almost paid off.
spend more time with the dog
and (a proper resolution, this one) I will say no at work often enough to let me do what I do do properly.
funnily enough, my brother has just taken a job with the Australian Leukemia Foundation, and their annual fundraising event in March is a big shave-fest featuring local celebs/sports types/politicians.
(this is not a link. just a gratuitous button)
it involved Afghani refugees, lip sutures and regular beatings over the head with a copy of Australia's immigration laws.
I have not been so ashamed of my country since I visited the East Timorese pavilion at the 1998 Expo and finally understood how Australia had abandoned that country to the Indonesians.
What we have at Woomera are concentration camps, no doubt about it. and Ruddock etc just don't seem to realise that it's not about whether or not we give these people visas; it's about the way we're treating them while we decide. not to mention the way in which we defend that treatment.
I shudder to think that the refugees (the local tabloid calls them "illegals") in that camp can only assume that the Australian people condone whatever the hell is going on behind those high walls topped with barbed wire.
Monday, January 21, 2002
you can even say "hi" if you want
Sunday, January 20, 2002
putting on the uniform: suit, jewellery, a little makeup. wondering why.
already into meetings about salvaging near-disasters, planning to make phone calls which will bore me stupid with their repetition of calls I've made before. feel like I've forgotten how to be a journalist.
but also feeling the momentum of responsibility and deadlines kick in; have already uttered my first swear word (in relation to an editor who has asked for changes to a story without having read it), and no doubt my blood pressure is rising to the level required to work in even the weekly sections of a large newspaper.
so I guess I'm back at work.
Saturday, January 19, 2002
will only say: Aragorn? Ouch! cute and a great orc-killer.
and is that scene where he cuts bits off the chief Orc a nod to Monty Python or what?
Friday, January 18, 2002
White flag or butterfly iris: Diplarrena moraea
Wooly tea -tree: Leptospermum Lanigerum (soft pink and cream flowers)
Pandani - spiky plants with curly leaves.
Candle-bush with flowers from white to deep pink: Scoparia (leaves very spiky)
(note; these are borrowed pix. I have some of my own but can't be bothered moving to the PC with FTP access just now. The last two come from the site of photographer Grant Dixon, who takes better pix than me anyway, and seems to specialise in the Tasmanian wilderness. )
so now I'm not sick enough to lie in bed, not well enough to do anything requiring effort, unable to swim (because I might infect other people, as much as anything) and a dodgy knee acquired coming down Mt Ossa is constantly clicking at me, reminding me I shouldn't bike ride either.
I guess I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to the exercise thing. I was lucky enough to grow up in a town where it was safeish for me to ride a bike to school, then brave enough to ride a bike in Melbourne when I moved down here. If I don't swim/ride/do a few stretches, I very quickly start to feel that my body is dissolving into an undifferentiated mass of flesh. My muscles whinge at me to be used
so I'm not a very good sickie.
also, it is a fabulous day (heading for 31 degrees Celcius, clear blue skies), I have to go back to work in two days, and I feel I should be DOING SOMETHING.
but I'm not. I'm sick and I have to accept that until I get better.
Beauty is in the sweep of the mountains, the surge of rivers, and in the song of the tiniest bird, the footprint of some minor marsupial who passed in the night.
Andrew contemplating another muddy mile. Nick the excellent cook-guide in the background. our two guides were aged 19 and 20. the tour company had wanted them to pretend to be older. they were great; knew lots, stayed cheerful, cooked; it really brought out the mum in the older women in the group.
Thursday, January 17, 2002
The green room; on the top of a hill in a gnarled beech forest, under heavy cloud, is a rise of granite; massive boulders ringing a sheltered space.
In here, it is soft pale green and quiet, as only a room carpeted ankle-deep in moss can be quiet. From every overhanging bough and fallen tree drip a hundred kinds of lichen. Tiny moss-trees sprout from the cushions of moss.
It's a space for calming madness - a padded room where you could fall on the hard earth, hurl yourself against a boulder and feel only softness; you could scream and rant and instead of echoing your anger, the million tiny moss fronds would soak it up, absorb it, and never give it back.
Wednesday, January 16, 2002
You will marry NEO (played by Keanu Reeves) from The Matrix, live in a big metal ship trying to escape from a world controlled by computers, and spend your days travelling through phone lines, hacking into the Matrix, and dodging bullets in slow motion.
What's YOUR M * A * S * H future?
when I get to a new town, the thing I like best is to to hunt out the op-shops, thrift stores, junk-marts, bric-a-brac emporiums.
partly because in country towns there's often "good pickings" compared to the city stores, but equally for the people.
In the Salvation Army store I saw a young man with black curls shimmy in skin-tight, light green check trousers for the benefit of his girlfriend - sold!
the lady (it's always ladies) behind the glass counter showed me a black and white photograph of her wedding, so many years ago, yellowed around the edges.
She told me how six weeks after the wedding, she had the sleeves cut off her dress, shortened the train to "princess" length (halfway up her calves), dyed it mauve and then her husband and her 21-year-old self went to a different dance every week, sometimes two: St Kilda Town Hall, Glenferrie Rd, Malvern, wherever the dancing was.
He (the young man in the photo, dressed and pictured in black and white) was banned from the Sunday night Catholic dances for jiving.
You had to hold onto your partner, she explained, "besides, there wasn't the room." those dance halls were too crowded for wild, individualistic dancing.
then she and her fellow shop lady asked me if I was married yet. They were sorry to hear I was, as they both had sons in need of a nice girl.
They directed me down a long, sunny street to another store, where I bought a pack of transparent mauve buttons for my favourite old cardigan, a copy of Alice in Wonderland to read with the new biography of Lewis Carroll I mean to purchase, Gulliver's Travels, Pollyanna, and, in honour of my twisted artist friend Sparkie, a 1976 photo-book on "Elizabeth", a 1960 book called Love Comes to Margaret and a 1961 book - a serious paperback, this - called How the Queen Reigns. Sparkie loves the Royal Family; his photomontages of their family portraits are pure, wicked, liberty-taking treason.
Total cost: $6.
Even better, when I went back to retrieve my hat, abandoned in the preoccupation of the book section, I saw another woman sorting through the "Royalty" shelves, and I felt the thrill of getting there first.
As I paid, I patted, the sad, silky little terrier carried by a sad man who'd been looking at the "Thrillers". It nearly wriggled out of his arms with joy, and I heard him tell the shop lady about the operation the little dog needed.
Then Andrew rang from the museum. He couldn't tell me how to get there, and I couldn't find it. Anyway, I don't need a museum to interpret Launceston. I've been op-shopping.
Tuesday, January 15, 2002
on page one I titled it "WiBlog (Wilderness Blog)"
Wiblog the third (the first two are actually Launceston blogs and too long to type out now):
10/1/01: Cradle Mt: the way places like this ignore you. we're here for an hour, but it will just keep on looming over these tarns and mosses every minute of every trivial hour I'm away. Constancy. Indifference to humanity, but not impervious. So important to protect it, to let it function as a kind of God-force: there is more than just us.
has it been a year since we were at the Giant's Causeway? almost exactly, I think.
(note: both Cradle Mt and the Causeway are world heritage sites and composed of large basalt crystals).
Tuesday, January 08, 2002
("the beetle has landed ... true to their name, dung beetles survive entirely on dung")
apparently the plains would be swamped in dung if not for the dung beetle. what a thought.
well, when I finally get around to packing, we'll be off to the gorgeous Cradle Mt for a week, leaving Bilbo and the garden in the kind care of the lovely Emily. I don't think they have Net cafes in the Tasmanian wilderness; but I'll take a notebook and blog analogue-style.
Monday, January 07, 2002
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no, it clings tightly to the surface of your bath. you will discover this on the next sunny afternoon that happens a day before your housesitter arrives. you will spend half an hour up to your elbows in rubber gloves, toxic chemicals and metal scourers, reattaching that grime to your body, in an effort to make your house appear normal and clean enough for someone else to live/bathe in.
man I need a shower....
Saturday, January 05, 2002
current activity: baking
well, I just had to put some of my ramekins to good use. am whipping up a nice little rhubarb crumble to take to some friends' place for dinner tonight, all contained in the cutest little round pastel-coloured dishes. Andrew was with me yesterday and stopped me buying a round casserole dish with handles like Shrek's ears that matched these particular dishes. he didn't like it. he does like fruit crumbles. I have conceived a naughty plan to go back and buy it, then make it his favourite piece of crockery on the planet by using it to produce lots and lots of yummy fruit crumbles.
Although www.ramekins.com is taken, the URL www.ramekinworld.com is still available!
and seeing as how today I bought two new sets of ramekins, plus a kind of wire tray in which multicoloured 1950's horses-doovers dishes sit, I am just the girl to develop this fine Web opportunity.
My new goal: to have the leading, the finest, the premiere ramekin site on the whole darn World Wide Web.
these are ramekins, btw:
Thursday, January 03, 2002
with the director of Dogtown and the Z-boys, a skateboarding movie, where he talks about the early sponsorship of skating, and it occured to me one reason I really like blogging as a part of Web culture is that, so far, it's unbranded.
sure, there are some ads, and some sponsorship by actual blogging-related services; blogger, greymatter, those snor comment things - but they're directly related to what we're doing.
corporate culture has not yet found a way to attach the Coke ethos (whatever that is) to the highly individual voices of bloggers.
Just Blog It?
I don't think so.
(oh, and Jim? he works at my newspaper (free plug disclaimer) and I honestly believe you could send him to interview a wooden post (and many Hollywood types aren't far off that) and he'd still come back with a readable centrespread story)
I wonder about this. I can be an awfully territorial person at times.
but her recommended version, YACCS, is available in four languages, and has a "recently commented" column. hmmmm
meanwhile, if anyone has anything to say, just mail me and I'll think about posting it up for you ;-)
I'm not letting the fact I probably won't be able to go stop me from dreaming a little...
(but in other news, the dog has had a haircut and looks like the cutest-wootest wittle teddy bear you ever did saw!)
Wednesday, January 02, 2002
WARNING TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND OPEN LETTER TO THE WOMAN WHO NEARLY KILLED ME AND MY DOG, THEN APOLOGISED BY CALLING ME A C#$T
About 6 pm on January 2, you drove your dark blue sedan (rego ending in 288 or similar) out of your garage at … Best St onto the footpath without looking for pedestrians.
You stopped a good metre across the footpath, with the car’s front wheel 10 cm from my dog’s nose, and about 30 cm short of me, on the other end of the leash. It terrified me.
When I told you that you should have looked, you informed me that I should have known you were coming because your garage door was open.
Would you have said that if the dog had been a small child, only 20 cm further ahead, and you’d killed it?
We exchanged words. Bizarrely, you said “just come back from the rave, have we? Coming down off the drugs?” I can think of three possible reasons for saying this:
- you are so far gone in your heartless yuppiedom that you can no longer recognise real emotions like fear, anger and outrage.
- you were revealing your latent fear of the students, stoners and artists who make this area so interesting to live in
- you thought that because I wasn’t wearing a thousand dollars worth of clothes and driving a flash car that you could bully me and talk down to me.
Unable to believe your attitude, I walked on, slapping you car with an open palm as I passed it. Risk to your property did what your nearly killing me couldn’t; got you out of your car. You followed me to the park, trying to dial the police on your mobile. You called me a “little c*%t” and threatened to kick my dog.
I have three suggestions for you:
- take a good hard look in the mirror. Think about how you’d feel right now if you’d hit a child. Think about whether you like yourself and the arrogant, defensive way you behaved when your carelessness could have killed someone. Make a new year’s resolution to become a nicer person. Start by apologising when you make mistakes, instead of attacking your victims.
- if that doesn’t work for you, maybe you shouldn’t be living in North Fitzroy, where dogs and kids are more valuable than cars to most people. You definitely shouldn’t have chosen to install yourself where “your” driveway is on the main path between the shops, the park and the primary school. Take your blonde Toorak spiky haircut and your Mosschino keyring and your Atkins diet back to a suburb with your own values.
- and if you can’t do either of those, at least, please, install lights and sirens on your garage door so the rest of us can clear “your” driveway when you choose to exit. Make sure you put some about 70cm from the ground; those pesky short little living beings would put a terrible dint in your precious car.
Tuesday, January 01, 2002
see that little fluffy dog down on the left? he's two years old and I love him to bits. this afternoon, once the rain eased up, I put his lead on and off we trotted to the park where the dogs congregate of an evening. happy happy happy, walk, walk, walk.
when we got to the shopping village I crossed the road and walked along the front of some new warehouse apartments there. this is the main track from the shops to the park, and is about 15 metres from the primary school my best friends' daughter attends. It was about 6pm, so there were lots of people about, and a reasonable chance of little kids etc.
suddenly, from my left, a car came out of a garage driveway. it stopped about a metre across the footpath, and if I'd been a step ahead of where I was, or Bilbo had been at the full length of his lead instead of just in front of me, she would have run over him, or me, or both of us.
I swore, somewhat involuntarily, something like "f-in hell!". Then I looked at where the car was and said something like "you're supposed to stop, you shouldn't come out onto the footpath like that."
She didn't apologise. No, she told me that as the garage door was open, I should have been looking for cars.
I may or may not have called her an idiot at this point. I can't remember. bear in mind I was scared witless and the car was inches from the dog's nose.
She looked at me and said "just come back from a little rave, have we? just coming down from the drugs?". I do not know why she said this. I may look relaxed, and I was wearing casual sneakers, a Gap rainjacket and my sunglasses, but I do not look like a teenage drug-addled raver. At this point I lost it. I told her if she'd killed the dog I would have killed her. My exact words were something like "I would have beaten the crap out of you."
She called me something like a hippy druggy. I called her a yuppy bitch. I then walked around the back of her car, and slapped it hard with my open palm as I went. I often do this at pedestrian crossings when cars don't give way; it doesn't hurt the car, but it certainly makes them realise they almost hit someone, that that was a human being they veered around, not a traffic bollard.
She didn't like this. She said "that's it, I'm calling the police" and got out of her car, dialling furiously on her mobile phone. For some reason the rave/drug thing pushed my class buttons and I took a good look at her - about 40, dressed younger, thin, tight clothes, very try-hard, with a clothing brand-name keyring. what we in Australia know as a Grade-A wanker, in my assessment. I told her to go back to Toorak (a posh suburb). she told me she wasn't from Toorak and called me a little c#$@.
she followed me to the park, abusing me and dialling on her phone. I got sick of all this and ran away - truly.
problem is, she lives in the local shopping village. I just hope next time I see her I'm a) wearing my work suit, and b) I don't have the dog with me so I can slap her. it will be worth it.
ps: did I mention that she was so worried about my slapping her car that she threatened to kick my dog?
we're awaiting renovations; have been for two years. such waiting leads to a mindset that says everything is only temporary and it doesn't matter if it's messy/crowded/ugly. but every now and again I am struck by the metaphorical distance between what I see in the home design mags, and what I live in.
so, with the curse of too much time on my hands, I attacked the house. first was the usual tidy up of stuff lying about. then, the big project; turning a dark, nondescript spare bedroom into a "Moroccan room".
I don't think actual Moroccans live in rooms draped with red velvet throws and 1960's Italian bubble-glass decanters, but the idea was to make it cosy, exotic, luxurious. that is, without preventing it from fulfilling its practical purpose as a kind of walk-in wardrobe/storage room/space to do situps in the morning.
now it is littered with mirrors, little red glass candle-holders, old scarves across the window, and even a set of real Moroccan ceramic bowls with metal trim. this morning I ventured into the spooky ceiling to retrieve a fat little red lamp that was up there (pausing to note, once I got over my fear of the dark and cobwebs, how the roof space is larger than any of our actual rooms, setting off a short fantasy about an upstairs study with city views).
with all that and some judicious use of incense and a blind eye turned to the truly horrible floral curtains and other non-Moroccan elements, I am quite satisfied - almost. tomorrow I am buying some wall clips and moving the Christmas coloured lights inside, and I could do with about 10 more little cushions on the bed.
wonder how long that will stave off my renovation frustration for?