Thursday, February 27, 2003

blogger answers all the questions. except these: why did it go down for two days?

and how much money did they get?

blogger is finally up.

I swear at one point I was putting blogger in the URL and Google was coming up. something weird is going on here.

life is very exciting and I have a backlog to blog. later.

Sunday, February 23, 2003




Calling Batgrl

Louisiana blogger Batgrl found she was collecting so much random hoo-ha
other people's sites that she needed a whole new website to keep it at -
hence the launch of

Its main feature is the "out of context" area, where quotes from
around the world are blatantly cut and pasted with an editorial
that can only be described as flippant.

The more ambiguous, sexually suggestive or strange the line, the more
it is to be sampled:

"In case you didn't know, Phil does not come out of hiding to forecast
temperature for the next six weeks. No, he's looking for babes! He wants
some hot, furry tailed loving. So he comes out of his little hole hoping
get some action and all he sees are a bunch of women, children and men
dressed in top hats staring him down like he's the second coming of
(Phil is a groundhog, of course.)

"Have you ever seen a woman running from a crazed Sigourney Weaver fan?
was probably me. Doing the running, not the chasing. It's quite scary.
Scarier still, it happens a lot (usually minus the running). I
think the resemblance stems from my propensity to send marines to battle
chest-popping aliens and die violently in air ducts while I strip down
to my
underwear and kick ass. Yes, that must be it."

There are certainly some lively but strange writers out there, and
seems to know where they all live.

Some of them go beyond strange to scary; follow links like this one at
peril: "Because Precious is my control batch I don't need to feed her
day like I do with The Beast. I keep Precious in the fridge and take her
every 2 weeks for a feeding."

The site also has various definitions of the word "hoo-ha", as
from brouhaha and hooey.

If you can't be bothered actually reading the couple of million or so
that exist these days, will pick the eyes out for you -
that what you're after is random hoo-ha rather than any meaningful

For that kind of thing, you can follow the link provided with each quote
read the whole entry in its original context. Or surf on over to
own site,, where there is plenty of hoo-ha of her own
on. A number of other sub-categories of are under development;
stay tuned for the hair-colour blog.
oh goody. I get to start yet another blog. it makes sense to separate out the pub stuff. think I'll get Blogger Pro soon so I can have a private area, and keep the public blog as a sort of record/promotional tool for potential rentees. you know, posts about the wonders of the district, etc, to go on the pub's actual site.
permaculture resource page. has a link to "composting toilet world" but it's dead. dammit, sounded like fun.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

you thought I was never going to do it, didn't you?

well, I have.

I won't get it for five months. which is good. because I need a plan. no, I need several. I also need to finish renovating our own house before I take this on.

oops, I did it again


Wednesday, February 19, 2003

baby platypus. platypus baby.
I wanna be #1 on Google for "baby platypus."
ps: failed to blog an earlier offer, btw. so this is the THIRD.
although my 5-mth offer was the full amount they're asking, they said no.
apparently the woman of the couple just kept saying to the agent "that's not normal" re: 5mths.
agent also modified my offer, without consulting me, to less for 60 days. I've just called him back and insisted he put the original offer as I made it - he has second-guessed what the owners want (assuming full amount is more important to them than faster settlement) and assuming I won't get finance in that time (I already have it). unspeakably highhanded, imho.
but they will still say no. and it will cost me thousands more to try to come up with the full amount upfront. so I'm not doing it. I'm going to make a move on selling my flat soon, see how much I get and resume the search when I can do it sensibly.

there is no point owning a pile of fallen-down bricks, is there?
colour me terrified: rang last night and made my final, final offer on the pub. less for 30 days, more for 5 months (cash flow issues, of course)

got an agent who happens to know a friend of mine, so I spoke frankly - as I'd intended anyway - about how I felt the vendors should make some concession. he gave me the usual "vendors' advantage if the sale's not forced" rubbish. but he called back and left a message on my mobile at 6.30 last night. I have to call him this morning. I suspect they're going to take one or the other of the offers. which will be good, yes, as I feel the pub is mine. but also horrifying in the amount of work and money this is going to take...

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

blogon 12/2

Space oddity
Sitting in his tin can, far above the world, International Space Station science officer Don Pettit can indeed confirm planet Earth is blue.
As of last week, there were only nine entries in Pettit's Space Chronicles, which is part of the official space station site. But they are like no other blog on Earth, because they're not.
Pettit's writing reflects both his scientific training and the sheer wonder of being in space. Here he talks about the atmosphere: "Below the blue you see an orange-red layer with cloud tops from rising thunderheads. These thunderheads are poking their noses up into the outer reaches of the meteoric zone where weather as we know it ends and the stratosphere begins."
And did you know that space has a smell? Pettit does, and he can describe it. He can also instruct you on how to move around in microgravity.

I have PMT and a keyboard. Any questions?

Thursday, February 13, 2003

rokewood is a very long way away.
I compusively went to investigate a cheap, pretty cottage: this is what I'd like the pub to look like one day.

it took me most of the day. the only highlights were getting to go to a good op shop I know of in Geelong (I now have some classic old 78s I can't play, and am kicking myself over not buying a $6 Samsonite suitcase), and seeing a giant plane as I passed the Avalon airshow. there was also a cool little UFO-looking plane/helicopter thing landing.

I ended up driving out to Rokewood Junction - which is what the place is listed under. by this point, the dog was quite cheesed off and lying with his head on the handbrake. eventually I realised it was all too silly and turned around; and realised the place is actually on the outskirts of Rokewood. as I suspected, it is quite chintzy-looking. and dammit, it's in ROKEWOOD.

back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

damn blast botherATION.

for some reason I logged onto daylesford real estate to idly browse; haven't done that for a couple of weeks.

and there is THE PUB!! so the owners have moved from a small, non-online agency in Castlemaine to a large, wellconnected agency in Daylesford with a busy front window and a web site. rang the agent. it was only listed today. there is still no flexibility on price. which sucks totally, as I assume that back wall hasn't magically shifted back into line in the past 3 weeks. f'it. what to do?

Monday, February 10, 2003

you'd be surprised, nay, amazed, how many searches are done on the string "what is a baby platypus called?"
so I'll say it again: puggle. puggle. PUGGLE! P.U.G.G.L.E.
in the vain hope batty might mention me on hooha, I present the conversation of two women who shared my table at the market today (imagine the second one with a strong New Zulland accent)
first: so he had to go back to England. and the only way he could come back would be if we got married
second: are you in love with him?
first: (pause) Yes, I think so. it's always that first rush, you know "here we are". but it's too early.
second: who says what's too early?

ok, it's lame, but it struck me that they would never have talked like that if they'd borrowed a man's table to eat at. will try to find something hooha-worthy to say.
this review pretty much sums up the acoustic problems.

that said, Sunday was great. Tony Joe White sure is one droll ol' swamp dawg, and can play the harmonica a bit. and John Mayall was an of an eye (ear?)-opener for me. the whole thing just confirmed for me that I need to find out more about this music - it's good to know there's a 50-year archive of blues I have yet to hear.

Ray Charles's voice is fading, but he still has Presence, and he simply sat and played piano and sang. a bit jazzy, but no complaints.

we left early, when the final act degenerated into a dinosaur rock concert. not yer average weekend.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

the problem with 3 day concerts is there's no time to blog in between times.
lots of great harmonica yesterday; collard greens and gravy, a local band I've stupidly never gone to see, particularly.
ani was wonderful. clearly jetlagged and slightly out of it on it, and a smaller venue would have been good (outside stage, 1000s of people) but the quality of her songwriting (mostly songs I haven't heard, and I have 3 albums of hers) is just stunning, really clear spare guitar playing. she talked about love, blood and shame at what America does. and how she has to leave all the things she loves about the States behind when she travels, but "that man" follows her (making a mouth-flapping motion with her hands).

then Bob Dylan. he's a funny little thing really, I discerned through my binos. lots of new stuff, a strippeddown version of Just LIke a Woman, and for encore, blowin' in the wind and All Along the Watchtower (andrew is waiting at the door, almost literally, have to type fast, too bad if there are typos!) those boys really know their guitar. I think hearing so much at once is helping me "get my ear in" and I understand what I'm hearing better. danced a tiny bit. audiences in Melbourne tend to be slightly inhibited.

now, inlaws brunch and back to the show for Ray Charles etc.

Friday, February 07, 2003

yawn. only one night of blues and rock down, two days to go.
lessee, what to report. the numbers looked low - it's not a proper festival if you can move around easily - and the acoustics inside the hall were shite, to the point where the sound guys had a sign on their booths saying "yes we know it sounds like a cave in here, we think it's awful too."
but when I moved down the front the sound improved. and due to people's inability to wait patiently, we got right to the front barrier before Chris Wilson's set and he and the band really turned it on. I did the fan thing afterwards - bought a CD, got him to sign it and told him I'd been coming to hear him for 15 years. which is true. I still cannot fathom why he remains a Melbourne phenomenon.
the band before him - Jerome Smith etc - was patchy and brilliant and funny. apparently he used to play bass with Keith Richards, according to my too-cool-for-school music writer colleague, whom I bumped into from time to time.

Max Merritt sucked. sorry, but he did. and he went on too long. the babyboomers loved it, but I just sat on the grass and waited for Wilson Pickett to come on. Pickett's band were all honkies and/or slick Italian-looking sax players. he was just a funky, horny, well-matured blues legend. it was pretty cool.

am making a point of getting dressed appropriately for this gig. lots of people in jeans and T-shirt, but not me. last night was the skintight black lace dress. today is a zigzag pattern halter neck thing. it feels more rock and roll, more party. but always sensible shoes.

oh and totally unrelated: a baby platypus was born at the Taronga Park Zoo this week, making it only the second place to breed them in captivity. a baby platypus is called a puggle.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

naughty me.
went to the auction room and bought stuff.
item: tricycle. old, rusted.
item: box of 1950's crockery and glassware. all really quite nice.
item: three tin cars, not sure why I bought them.

now I have to work out how to sell stuff on eBay. if I can get back what I paid for the box and cars while keeping the things in the box that I wanted, I'm doing OK. leaving aside my time etc, of course. anyway, it was fun. the auction guys are all very formal with each other; it's all "sir" and "mr" and they have little jokes about the rubbish that gets knocked down. and dangerously, you can pay on Visa card.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003


Plastic bag
Plastic bag is a good name for this blog, which is a grab-bag of topics, ideas, personal and professional observations from one Tom Coates.

One minute he's describing how a tanning booth burned his skin pink and the next he's laying down the law on website design. "A good site must necessarily be well designed. It's designed to be a clear and unobtrusive content-delivery mechanism with no sharp edges and no confusing bits of functionality."

Coates is a true web enthusiast ("I've been building pointless sites for fun for years now."), and his criticism of a new trend to consciously design community websites as "social software" hits the mark: "And what are we likely to end up with after all of this process has been conducted? Sites that fulfil many of the same functions (if not exactly the same functions), but which fulfil them via completely new paradigms that have been designed rather than evolved - meaning that they're sites that people are now forced to try and understand from scratch ..."

Coates is not averse to link-dumps of cool stuff he's found on the web, such as "10 ways to tell if your co-worker is an extra-terrestrial" or "butterfly etymology" (not entomology - you have to follow the link to get it). He's an avowed anti-war blogger, which sets him up against a certain type of online writer who advocates backing the US against the so-called Axis of Evil.

There's a lot more here than you can take in at one visit, and you'll find yourself bookmarking his links for future reference.

This is Coates's take on what blogging is about, and ultimately the reason his blog is so readable is that he walks it like he talks it: "There is something very profoundly different about the polyphony of voices interacting and arguing with one another. It's not just a way to shout your opinions as loudly as possible in as flat and featureless a way as possible. Engaging in that community - not of webloggers, but of citizens who happen to be empowered to respond and engage with you - is the whole point as far as I'm concerned."

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

I need a new System for my life. I suspect it will, as usual, involve setting up lots of files and folders for different activities - uni, renovations, work, freelance stuff, etc, etc, etc - then scribbling notes on bits of paper and throwing them into the files.
the problem is there's too much going on. I have little thoughts all the time - must do X, or Y - and get sidetracked. this also applies to my blogs, which require constant feeding, and sometimes not at appropriate times. so I think that if I throw it all into a notebook during the day and schedule regular downloads - at lunchtime, like now, and after work - I might be able to develop the discipline to stick at one thing at a time. right now, for instance, I'm ignoring an Ebay auction I'm bidding in. and my Hotmail.

five minutes in a Camberwell auction house this morning (after the dentist, you don't want to know), was enough to set me off on pub dreams again. there was a glassed bookcase that would look great there, and a pile of tin canisters, and best of all, a box of iron and wood hand tools. no idea what they were for, but they looked rustic. so I'm also ignoring my fantasy of setting up a second hand shop and spending my days buying stuff at auction houses. I'd be great at the buying bit, but I have NO customer service values.
there can be nothing so pleasing to a homeowner's ear as a tradey saying "that's fine, that doesn't need replacing, no it won't take long". plasterer done, ony 15 quotes to go...

the front half of our house is a nightmare of unfinished surfaces and lead-paint walls. it is my task over coming months to marshall an army of tradesmen (and women if we can find any) to make it nice before we move in. expect this blog to lose all perspective and descend into detailed discussions of shades of off-white and the virtues of new vs antique light fittings.

and when it's done, I think I'll run a "see our renovations" tour for the neighbours (except the one across the road and the ones next door who hate us) and for all our friends who keep saying "when do you get your house back?". some other neighbours actually waved at me today - I think they liked my Save Merri Creek sign - and if I was watching builders trot in and out of a nearby house for nine bloody months, I'd be dying to see what they'd done.

Monday, February 03, 2003

I knew it! I knew the blokes hanging out in cars at the beach car park at funny hours of the morning were drug dealers! it was so obvious!
what I didn't know was that they were drug dealers and cops at the same time.
sitting at work listening to some loud soul/blues music on my personal block-out-the-chattering-neighbours device, I surfed back to the paper's home page and found that the man in question, who may not have produced the track I was listening to but certainly influenced it, Phil Spector has been charged with murder.
now, I didn't even know if he was still alive or not, but I'm still shocked. you don't think of ageing legendary music producer types as murderers

Sunday, February 02, 2003

"If someone absolutely insists that you write truly useless documentation, say yes and quietly begin looking for a better job."

I'm reading this thing on how to be a programmer (yes, this is work too!), and it seems to be full of advice that would work well for just about any corporate drone employee.

that's if you skip the bits about how to improve I/O ratios. and even those could be of use, read metaphorically.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

yesterday was Greek Culture day: first we went shopping for marble for the house at a truly stunning marble showroom, staffed by slick young Greek-background people who could speak Greek at a million miles an hour. I love the way some veined marble looks like an aerial photo of a strangely coloured desert.
that done, we headed for the Greek cake shop and the addictive spanakopitas, plus some naughty honey cakes.

have yet to do my Melbourne's Best dinner party, where I buy stuff from all the world's-best food shops here - steak from Jonathon's, spanakopita, cakes from Monarch. did have a HUGE piece of Monarch plum slice friday night during the dvd viewing of LOTR #1. in explaining the plot to a 13-year-old I found it mapped nicely onto Star Wars, down to the bar scene and Han Solo sitting in the corner.

today was supposed to be Find A Bargain At The Local Bowls Club Gala Day day. but it fizzed. not a single ramekin set was brought out for the stalls - I know, 'cos I was there on the dot of opening. slightly perturbing fact: the bowls club's big day was sponsored by Nelson Brothers Funerals. I know it's their target market and all, but it seems slightly tasteless.

I like this one. it's on 5 acres with a dam and creek 10 minutes from castlemaine. it's $295,000