Wednesday, June 29, 2005

spent the day compiling and calculating marks

God, it was so irritating. But at least I was then able to cross something else off my list of dumb things.

That Seventies Show wasn't as good today as recent days, either episode. Butand it was very exciting to come home knowing I had two eps on video to watch.

I ate this evening at a place in Moonee Ponds that advertises itself as a 'latin' eatery. I had two things called pupudas or something similar. I could not believe food so bland could be advertised as having flavour in any way, when it so obviously didn't.

Last night Francesca and I went to a gallery opening in Smith St, then to Greg's place where Francesca totally turned his life around and made him realise he could actually do a thesis on something he was interested in, not just computer games, which he confessed he was not interested in. Then to dinner at the Sri Lankan restaurant in Sydney Road, which was really good.

During the dinner I got a call on my mobile from someone called Ian, though it showed up on the phone as being Peta. He said he was trying to trace the origin of a text message he'd received from me about New Estate. I said I think I had probably programmed someone else's number into my phone in error and I apologised. But he wanted to talk about it.

Then I spent half the night calculating marks. Which brings me back to the title of this reminiscence. I hate calculating marks.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

that seventies show

Channel 7 have a double helping of That Seventies Show on in the morning. What a joy. One thing (amongst a few) that really blurred my feelings of resentment/hostility towards a bunch of students I had last year was that they were all really into TSS and used to watch downloaded or otherwise stolen copies of the show in breaks. I think it is hilarious and I like it more and more. It's great to think I will get to see at least six more episodes this week! My favourite is definitely Kitty (Eric's mother) - the woman who plays her is a comedic genius. It would probably drive you mad playing that character too much, or at all, though.

Millie seems fine, though she is still growling a bit. She might just be getting old and cranky. I know what that's like.

Yesterday when Peter Hogg and I were talking I spontaneously said I had no desire to see War of the Worlds, which opens tomorrow. Since then I have been overwhelmed by a desire to see it. I believe Tom Cruise is in it who I really despise on a number of levels, though I suppose the main one is I think he's a shitty actor. No, I know he is. And I don't want to hear 'what about Magnolia?' He wasn't that good in that film, and one swallow doesn't make a summer anyway. (Tuesday is cliche day incidentally)

This is shaping up to be a good week on Neighbours, I'm glad I'm semi on holiday (I would always write on a student essay, 'semi is not a word'). (So maybe I'm totally on holiday). It's kind of weird that the two good-or-are-they-bad guys, Paul and Darcy, are both in hospital - while I suppose it gives each Karl's ear and presumably the whole truth about Izzy will come out, but nevertheless, it seems like a disruption to true soap equilibrium to have two hospitalised timebombs. Well, we've coped with worse.

Anyway, I have 21 out of 23 (I had two under my belt by the time TSS came on!) exams left to do. This is my final batch, then I put in the marks tomorrow. That will feel pretty good (except the few that fail - c'est la guerre, pom poms).

Monday, June 27, 2005

peter

Peter Hogg just dropped in. We talked about Doctor Who, Pink Floyd, The Ramones, dog behaviour, teaching, volcanoes. We are middle-aged men.

is she sick?

For the last few days Millie has been spending a lot of time up the back of the yard. Possibly this is because it's sunny up there, possibly - this is not such a good situation - because there's a bad dynamic between her and Charlie (though Charlie is often up there with her, so if Millie is trying to get away from Charlie she's going about it the wrong way). Possibly also she is sick. A couple of days ago I went up there and her stomach was kind of sucked in, and when I went up to her she threw up what looked like apple. On the other hand she is perfectly cheerful most of the time, still wants to go out for walks, etc. It's slightly worrying. It's more like she's a little under the weather than anything else. I should just take her to the vet I suppose but I'll wait a couple more days. (Later: she enjoyed a brisk walk and behaved in every other way as normal, so I will act on the assumption that she just likes sitting up there because it's sunnier).

This is our third day of crisp outdoors, quite cold, but still sunny. Really pretty pleasant although in this back room my fingers have been known to become numb. Which is where my circulation's at, I suppose.

Someone's been in the house while I'm not here. A plastic cup, which I never use and in fact haven't seen for months, has been placed in the kitchen sink. For some reason I am not creeped out, just mildly interested.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

retreat

Went to see Dave Graney at the Retreat with Keir.

When I bought Rocka etc I also purchased a tape of the Red Crayola with Art and Language's Kangaroo. Really interesting that I remember this album so incredibly well. Also really interesting that someone had that record on tape (actually, it was a tape of the cassette version, with two extra tracks). On balance it's not such a great album, certainly nowhere near as good as Soldier Talk which, no kidding, is probably my favourite album ever or at least in the top 3. The title song on Kangaroo for instance sounds like some children's theatre troupe, it's shocking. There are all these extraneous noises throughout the album - sometimes this is cool but usually it sucks. But the V. I. Lenin and Jackson Pollock songs are great... there are some masterpieces. It was great to listen to again.

stag

Lat night was Andrew Withycombe's so-called buck's night, because he is marrying Katrina next Saturday. Of course, even to call such a thing a buck's night is to wallow deep in kiddin' yourself shit, because Andrew Withycombe and buck's night is like Jesus and kristallnacht. Less likely, actually. What happened was a small group of middle-aged Friends of Andrew assembled at a reasonably priced indian restaurant in Brunswick and ate quite well and pretended they could hear each other. I always enjoy Andrew's company and was very interested to hear about his progress on his honours thesis. I think his temperament is much more suited for an academic career than mine, but it seems unlikely that this is where he will end up (at this point; but ten years ago who would have thought of him doing an arts degree? So...)

There was a man at the other table who laughed like a gargling saw, or perhaps he was starting something up that was powered by two-stroke. Again and again.

We then adjourned to the East where the shittest blues band ever were playing in the front bar, a five-string bassist who was all thumbs, they had a song called 'Voodoo'. Very poor. Then I went to Francesca's house, where I had been invited to drop in apres stag since I was not able to make the dinner that was happening there, but all was quiet so I figured either they were all kissing or they were absent/sleeping/not to be disturbed. And so I went to the Pony and saw Panel of Judges play what struck me as an absolutely stunning set. Congratulations all.

This morning I went with my mother to Coburg trash 'n' treasure market and only bought two things: a 'jumbo' tin that had once contained icecream and which was $2, and a CD of Madonna's first album, called on this release, Madonna's First Album, for $2. There were many things I could have also almost bought but thankfully didn't. They will soon recede from my memory so I won't dredge them up here.

Might go to Dave Graney/Clare Moore show tonight.

Friday, June 24, 2005

warrnambool what is it good forrnambool

Went out to Warrnambool yesterday mainly on the train (irritatingly there is a bus between Melbourne and Geelong at the moment. When I asked the woman at the ticket counter why she said 'just to shit you, personally, off mate - the government hates you that much'. I believe her). The train ride is really great to W'bool however and I was mainly in the company of a colleague with whom I am going to write a journal article, so the time passed. W'bool itself hasn't changed much since I was last there (2 years or so ago).

Die Hard - the original - is on tv tonight so I think I will make a stir fry with the broccoli, spring onions, tofu, beans and something out of a tin I have and get some vietnamese mint out of the garden too... god it's good to be alive... and I'm not even sure if I'm being sarcastic saying that - well maybe it's an overreaction to a mundane event - but I am looking forward to it.

Neighbours was pretty good tonight with Paul in hospital flashbacking and when he got out of his hospital bed and said he heard his mobile ringing, that was a hoot.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

chris and marney's for dinner

A very nice night's entertainment at Chris and Marney's place last night, with Greg, Peta and John (and a cameo from Ellen) in attendance, and of course C&M's toddler Caile (or is it Caille?) (and is she a toddler? we had a debate about whether she was a baby or not) the star of the show.

I did not sleep more than three hours the night before and so after a couple of small glasses of red I fell asleep for a second and awoke under the impression that the tv, which was on the other side of the room, was going to fall over or something. I don't know really what my impression was but it woke me with a jolt. I was just tired, not bored, because we were having a good time (though admittedly Marney called me a prick because she said she was 'having a deaf moment' and I said stop shouting). (Well, I guess you had to be there). (No, actually, I guess I have to concede I was being a prick in a way, though I repeat my protest from the time that I was just joining in the general atmosphere).

They have a very nice house in Brunswick about three streets away from my sister's house and perhaps more importantly very close to I Carusi.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

86 exams and 4 films

Yes., I really did mark 86 exams, virtually in one sitting. Well, it feels like an achievement to me. In fact the time spent on each was quite short (really, you're just looking for key phrases/concepts and they either get 'em or they don't - with a few exceptions, creative responses which you're also equipped to pick up) but there's a fast burnout when you start to get confused between each one - particularly because they're so often so similar. It's like reading drafts of the same thing, over and over again and being asked to pick out the good and bad bits and assess the whole of each. I find what works is to 'layer' groups of 5 with twenty or less minutes of something, be it the dishes, laundry, dog-walking, tea making, or in most cases over the last 24 hours, watching a bit of a film. I have watched: Remember the Titans, The Anchorman, Old School and Wimbledon. I picked things that would be easy to put down and pick up (except RTT, I didn't know what to expect from that - Philippa lent it to me with the promise that it would make me cry, which it however didn't).

I finally got through everything by 6 am, which is to say, about 4 hours ago. I then slept for three hours but residual coffee nerves and the bleeping of the mobile got me up. I think I will take the dogs out again.

I am haunted by the most horrible feeling that I have committed to meeting with someone, somewhere, today but there's nothing in my diary except 'Call Ch[annel] 10' and that's it. I do recall tentatively suggesting to Keir that we work on our journal article today, but then nixing that in favour of Friday. So... it's just going to haunt me, I guess, until someone calls me and says 'WTF?' - I hope they do just say the letters, as I am in a fragile condition.

Monday, June 20, 2005

not a bad sunday afternoon show

Grey Tapes' second show with La Huva in, hmm, three months. We missed Mia's presence. Nevertheless the men rallied and we did an alright show. I forgot the beginnings to a couple of songs and, more importantly, the lyrics to a couple, so they didn't turn out great. But people were responsive/kind.

During the show I got a message on my mobile. Humorously (boy, I know this'll come out well in the telling) it was during the song that Polly had written. I was able to work it into my inbetween song patter (not banter, patter). I suggested I had received an SMS from Polly regarding the song in question. I read it out. It was actually from Philippa, my youngest sister, parodying the conversation (which revolved around gourmand interests) at the lunch I had been at earlier in the day at our father's place.Funny.

Toby said he would design a website for me, at a cost of my getting him out of a Bangkok jail if the need arises. Sounds like a good deal, because of course I would try, but if I didn't manage it, what can he do? Undesign my website? Not from a Bangkok jail.

Hello from Picasa is driving me nuts. It is supposed to be the easy way (and also apparently the only way) to post pictures here. But as much as I download it, I can't seem to log on to it. Once I logged on maybe I'd know what to do with the damn thing. Damn it.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

rocka

Played side one of Rocka. All the tracks run together in cross-fades, and a couple of times there are little promos - 'Rocka! Bringin' you music!' kind of stuff. That's so cool. Also today played side 4 of Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime, 'Moon in June' from Soft Machine's Third, and both sides of Talisker's Dreaming of Glenisla, a jazz-folk hybrid from mid-70s Britain on an offshoot of Virgin. Now to look for dog kennels and wrought iron gatemakers on the internet (later note: I found the kennel I wanted - in WA - cheap - but I have to wait a couple of weeks for them to be available).

various excursions and an abduction

Yesterday afternoon after finishing marking all the non-problematic essays (i.e. the ones that are not probably plagiarised) I picked up the first year exams and then drove on the Healesville to visit Pip, possibly the last time I'll see him there as he seems determined to move from that particular 'care facility'. He was looking exceptionally well, and even had quite a nice jumper on. He wants to record a new album with me, Marney, Chris and Julian. He wants to call it Left-Field Flyball and appropriately when we went to a hotel in Healesville proper he not only had three beers but also two glasses of a local sauvignon blanc called Left Field. He is determined to make a record that will make him the subject of a fatwah.

En route to Healesville god told me to stop at a particular Croydon op shop and I must remember to thank god as there, for 50c, was a copy of Rocka, the jewel in the crown of Australian hits collections; I believe this thing sells for $50 or so most places if not more when AC/DC completists are involved - it contains two tracks by the Marcus Hook Roll Band. Now, I did get that MHRB single online for almost no money and it was bad, but these are different tracks I believe (haven't played it yet). Rocka also has a fantastic cover, a goanna which has apparently covered a rock with an Australian flag. A dung beetle, some ants and a frog look on.

But even more amazing - I've spent quite some time looking at it since purchase, it captivates me - is Austrock '77, which I had never seen before. It's wonderful partly because it features The Saints' 'I'm Stranded' (in between Mark Holden's 'Last Romance' and The Angels' 'You're a Lady Now') but more importantly because of the cover image of four young Australians, three white girls and one black boy, seen only from the shoulders up but apparently naked. He is standing behind the girls and has his arms around two of them and his hands resting on the shoulder of the third (who has put her hand on top of his). All of them have their faces painted, with slightly cosmic designs. This is a World Record Club release, so it's not surprising I've never seen it before.

It's funny to think the Saints had any kind of presence on Australian greatest hits albums in the 70s, but they did. They are on Explosive Hits, too, which has cover art by the same guy that did the Rocka cover, Alan Puckett. This time some astronauts are hovering around a spacecraft in the shape of a microphone, amongst some asteroid fragments. The Saints' 'Erotic Neurotic' is on this one, in amongst Showaddywaddy, Hot Chocolate's 'Heaven's in the Backseat...' and Pussyfoot's 'Ooh Ja Ja'. Two other albums purchased at this place: Megan Sue Hicks, who I've never heard of but who apparently recorded her album in Australia obviously some time in the early 70s (there are some Aust. musicians on the record, but there is nothing that identifies it as an Australian release) and an LP called For Mature Adults Only, which is the kind of thing that when you buy it at the op shop you want to say to the nice lady, 'I know what this looks like but as far as I can tell it's actually a Christian record of adolescents' poetry set to orchestral/choral music - look, there's a sticker on the back from the Presbyterian Bookroom!' but nothing you can say can change the general impression that you're some kind of eccentric collector of aural porn.

It is a long drive back to Melbourne from Healesville (58 km) but luckily I had two tapes to keep me going: the Troyka album and the Mekons' first album. Had a lot of fun with both. Both very flawed albums, both probably about 50% unworthy. The Mekons have too many silly jokey songs (that one about outer space particularly shits me). Troyka are mesmerising. There is one song in particular about burning a witch which rhymes 'the prisoner started to burn' with a line about 'the people didn't come to learn' and then the payoff: 'they were IGNORANT!' which is hilarious. At the end of side one, someone whispers 'turn the page please'. These things are incredibly funny and appealing to me. There's another song about driving down a backroad, and seeing a pretty woman, and drinking wine with her, and getting so drunk you both roll into a ditch, and then roll out of it, into a house, upstairs and into a bed. Classic. And the whole story is repeated twice. I really want to tape this Troyka album and give a copy to everyone I know, but I expect from experience that the response is unlikely to be as ecstatic amongst my cohort. Perhaps partly because there's the big game element: I bagged it by sifting for an hour through a bunch of James Last records. It is mysterious. It is also a new addition to my slavic rock collection which is growing and which I am becoming more excited by all the time.

In the evening, after feeding the animals and quickly watching Neighbours (by the way, on the promos earlier in the week they said Izzy was a murderer; I assumed they were talking about Darcy, who she put in a coma. But in last night's promo it became clear that Darcy was about to come out of the coma. So who did Izzy kill? Gus? Unclear) I decided that, since I was awake and it wouldn't be hard and so on, I would go and see Flywheel & Paper Planes (and Marc, but he had finished by the time I got there). It was at Mayfields in Smith St which is possibly a good venue but on this occasion seemed a bit drafty and echoey and strange. You had to pay $5 to get in to see the band, but the band was perfectly and utterly visible and audible from across the bar in the area that you didn't have to pay nothing to be in. Oh well. I talked with Olivia (she loves Shane) Peta (mainly about the (lack of) future of universities - my whingeing - butand I think she plays devil's advocate a lot in our discussions) Jane (Gavin writes amazing short stories and so does my brother) and Fiona (I'm not sure what she was saying as Oliva was saying stuff at the same time in my other ear, giving me a stereo-confuser experience).

At 5:50 this morning I awoke to hear a woman outside saying 'drop it! drop it!' and a man saying 'just get in' and another man saying 'I don't want no trouble'. I got up and looked out the window and saw a car drive away. There is a leather studded wrist band on the footpath where the abduction took place.

I went to the Vic Market with Jane (my mother) and told her about it. She is of the opinion that, partly becaue they won't do anything but also since I have no real information, there is no point in telling the police. I am in two minds. I suppose basically I would feel better if I told the police, but I basically have nothing to tell them.

At the market I had a Portuges Polenta which is a new experience. It had pimentos on it. Also a ginger-celery-orange juice. I also got some great looking brussels sprouts and some red pears.

I would like to provide more pictures here but after a couple of days of fiddling with the Picasa program I downloaded I think I am going to have to scrap it and start again. I might be able to augment with visuals soon, and also the long-awaited graphic novel (of which I have completed one frame in the last two days, but only because I am trying to figure out how to print out a photograph of a tram I took which I want to use as a basis for the next frame. This is the exciting part, when the small boy gets taken home by a strange woman he meets on the street with the promise of taramasalata, leading to a discussion of evolution - so Shane Moritz - Shane's life, I mean, not his writing).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sound of Music

I was in ACMI today and decided that - what else does a middle-aged man do when his wife goes overseas for seven weeks - I should finally watch The Sound of Music. It seems alright, I'm watching it now, though I keep finding myself leaving the room. I also got some film based on a John Grisham novel butand with Sandra Bullock in it, and a couple of others I can't even remember.

I am slowly getting it together to upload pictures, but I think I might have to restart before I can get it all working and I don't have the energy tonight.

graphic novel excitement the world over



Sorry to make you wait but I haven't had time to do anything more on this since yesterday. It should happen today. I have three finished pages and one partially complete page. Ooh, a look into the mind of the artiste.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

alone again, unnaturally

Well I suppose we are all born alone and leave the earth alone, unless we die with a lot of other people in a horrible disaster, but it certainly seems strange to have the house to myself for the next 48 days, Mia has gone to the US and I assume she is presently flying above the Pacific somewhere on QF93 and enjoying airline food and the Cleo and Esquire she bought, also the copy of Death and Life of Great American Cities. Immigration at LA will probably consider that to be a suitable title for a terrorist handbook.

As soon as I got back from the airport I made a list of 47 things I have to do before she returns. Some are small (various columns for The Big Issue) and some are massive (paint the carport, complete my graphic novel). Yes, my graphic novel. Well, I feel like a mediocre academic so I feel I should augment my publication output with something I am genuinely good at, at least according to Toby Dutton, who I blame for this new fad. I have done three pages so far of a projected... unknown, but vast, quantity. It's a graphic novel, right, not a comic strip as was heard (the spirit not the letter) on The O.C. last night. I will post the pages here starting this evening if I can figure out how to do it. I have no idea what it will be about, but nudity and flying dreams have already featured. I am pretty pleased with my drawing, compared to what I usually force out. But it is taking time. I should really be marking, although I have done almost all my marking except the third year subject and I'm still waiting for some of those to come in. Or is that an excuse.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Empress last night

Guy, Mia and Tracey played last night. I drummed for Mia. My hi-hat broke when we got there and although we fixed it it broke again during soundcheck. It has an incredibly inconvenient bolt at the base of the central projection that links the top cymbal to the foot pedal. I had to play using the hi-hat just like a cymbal, which meant reconfiguring every song as I went. I didn't realise how important the hi-hat was to my keeping time (more so than to the actual sound of what I played). However, everyone was very happy with how it went, and all the sets were well-received. I was pretty pleased overall.

Afterwards we went to the Rob Roy for a short time, and caught the last few songs of the Kids from Russia (as Tracey said, 'any band with "Kids" in their name...') and then to Olivia's house for a loud dancing party. Olivia said during the Kids from Russia set, 'I can't stop dancing sarcastically', which I think was a pretty funny thing to say, something I think would look great on a t-shirt. Gig was there and said how much she wanted the second Driving Past album to come out (I agree, and it will happen - this year). Shane said 'Oh, you love it'. And Gig asked him what he meant and he said, 'Well, of the few things you love - you love that record.' She denied it but he said she had told him as much, in the past. It was an interesting exchange but doesn't look as good on the screen as it sounded in reality.

We got home around 3.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

saturday

Spent a lot of time in the city yesterday (Saturday) as Mia and Tracey had to get various things and they also wanted to consult a psychic. OK. Most of Mia's consultation seemed to be about me so I certainly got my money's worth ($0) on that one. In the evening we went to Randall and Carla's for dinner. They are living in a fantastic house which is about to be bulldozed, a large 1920s bungalow with stained glass doors internally and bad brick veneer on the front, but very spacious and wonderful sparkly lino. We hatched a plan to save as many of the fruit trees as possible from demolition, we are going to try and transplant some apricots and olive trees to Lorraine Crescent. I am right into it though I don't know how efficient I will be as a tree transplanter. I am going to try out as Ashtray Boy's drummer though I really don't know if I have sufficient time in my life for more such activities.

Friday, June 10, 2005

now the minutemen

I am listening to side one of Double Nickels on the Dime. No walk for dogs today due to rain. I made lasagne.

rub-a-dub-dub

I have found the most amazing album from 1970, the self-titled album by Troyka. It was 50c in an op shop in Westmeadows, along with twenty or so other albums none of which could possibly be as good as this (I admittedly haven't listened to them all, yet). This is a scintillating record.

Troyka were Bob, Mike and Rumor (aka Ron). Mike was the drummer and lead singer, always a sign of quality, and they all sang. They were Canadian (possibly from Edmonton, but who knows, that's where their album was recorded). The album was co-produced by Shel Kagan, who produced the Velvet Underground's starkly inferior Loaded the same year. What Troyka's angle was is very hard to tell but the least impressive track, the second on side one, 'Natural', sounds uncomfortably like 'Sunshine of Your Love'. They do have the power trio angle, between Cream and ZZ Top. But at the same time they have amazing slavic interludes ('Troyka Lament', 'Troyka Solo' etc) and sometimes they sound more like Primus than anything ('Rub-a-dub-dub Troyka in a Tub', 'Rolling Down the Back Road). But in a good way. Other times they sound like Uncle Wiggly ('Life's OK') or Sebadoh or some other east coast US indie band of the late 90s. The front cover shows them skinny and in jeans and duffel coats or parkas against a wintry landscape and their name in solid dependable cartoon letters in the the sky.

I could listen to this record all day, and quite possibly will, except I have to go back to the Westmeadows op shop in question later today and retrieve the remainder of the albums I wanted but didn't have the requisite $3 for at the time.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Julian's party

Salvador Dali was there - John and Yoko were there - Julian played Russell Morris' Retrospective, Can's Ege Bam Yasi, The Moles. I am to be instrumental in his application for Australian citizenship. Mia didn't come but we gave him two nun albums and some moon music. He gave us a copy of his new solo album which has a painting by Mia (of Julian) on the cover - looks great, like Bob Dylan's Self-Portrait except (1) Julian didn't do the portrait and (2) it looks like him.

It rained last night for the first time in months. Tracey who is going to the US with Mia showed up last night from Perth and we fell asleep watching The X-Files while Mia battled with her 3000 word essay which is now almost finished (still the conclusion to go) and really pretty good.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

and meandering home

It is really bad that when tired I do tend to meander. Yesterday I got a lift from work to Burnley, took a train to Flinders St, just missed a Broady train and another wasn't coming for 20 minutes so I thought screw it, walked-trammed to Melbourne Central, missed the train, had a pide and some juice - one or the combination of which gave me stomach pains for the rest of the evening, and finally caught the train to Broady. It was getting to be a bit of a 'oh, just missed the train... again' nightmare.

Got home in time for The Simpsons, it was quite a good pair, the repeat was the one where Homer gets his jaw wired shut and becomes charming, the new one was about Bart and Millhouse joining scouts-type organisations, this was advertised as a repeat but I hadn't seen it. Mia hadn't seen either of them.

Millie and Charlie are having promotion/hierarchy debates on a daily basis. In the house, it revolves around who is in the beanbag (which is actually Mia's first place of choice when she's in the living room) who is on the couch and who is relegated to the basket. Charlie also likes the armchair. It's complex but I think it works like this: Millie, as top dog, takes the beanbag when she wants it (she can get into the beanbag when Charlie's in it and they can share it, and Charlie is not allowed to complain, and nor is Charlie allowed to get into the beanbag when Millie is in it). However, the couch, which is positioned higher than the beanbag, is a tactical position. Millie can get on the couch, and look down on Charlie, but Charlie can in no way get on the couch and look down on Millie. Charlie is also not allowed to look at Millie when she is on either the beanbag or the couch. Charlie seems to have free reign as far as the armchair is concerned, as Millie has no interest (it's as high as the couch but this doesn't seem to matter). The basket(s) are neutral, interchangeable places, which they both like, but they clearly see human seats as more prestigious.

The battles involve growling (Millie) and subtle whining (Charlie) and a strange kind of rigid jumping bluff, then the old paw on the back routine - Charlie tries a paw on Millie's back but of course this is not tolerated and Millie always ends up doing major, decisive paw. Millie no doubt feels she fagged for Silver for years just to get to prefect position and I'll be surprised (and a little disappointed) if she capitulates, though Charlie admittedly does have more of a temperament for top dog - tenacious, flighty/aggressive, much braver than Millie.

Soon after Silver died I noticed that Millie had started sleeping the same way as Silver - with her tail tucked around the crook of her back leg. At the time I thought this was spooky, as I knew Millie had never done this before. The other night I realised (decided, I suppose, but 'realised' sounds better) that this is in fact top dog behaviour. It positions the tail in such a way that no-one can sniff your arse when you're sleeping without you being aware of it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

700 bus

I am writing this on a 700 bus going down Warrigal Road from Box Hill Station. I am having a carless week and I have to say – though it might partly just be the novelty because it does take twice as long – I enjoy public transport most of the time. I know I am rare in that. But the option to do other stuff while travelling is valuable. And for no logical reason I also feel safer with my life in the hands of some unknown disgruntled sociopath (a train or bus driver).

I had almost no sleep last night, and I don't knowwhy. I set the alarm to get up early, and then couldn’t sleep for ages when I went to bed around 11:30, and when I woke up at 4 or so I thought ‘this is stupid, I’ll be hopeless tomorrow’ so I turned the alarm off. Then I woke up at 4:44 (I hate that symmetry, it reminds me of when lux flakes congeal like crocodile skin on water, makes my skin crawl) and realised I was never going to sleep again. So I got up, let the cat out the front (he spends the first hour or so of each day acting tough in the front garden often with a local ginger) and let the dogs into the lounge room and made some juice in the juicer (I am still fearful of getting the flu) and read the paper. Beazley’s rating is back at its lowest ebb for christ’s sake. People are so fickle but he possibly gets what he deserves. I left for work around a quarter to 7 (what took me two hours? I can’t say, I must be a bit of a zombie for some of that time). Zombieness can be proven by the meandering way I took to work: I got the bus to Jacana station (I wouldn’t have, but I could see it coming) and then the train to Melbourne Central, then a train to Box Hill, and just missed the bus from Box Hill to work, so I took this 700 instead which is going to get me to the tramline which will ultimately get me to work. The whole thing is a bit scrambled but it’ll be OK.

Last night I finally got to read some of the book of Jonathan Lethem essays Shane gave me for my birthday. It’s marvellous, and I think he is a splendid and imaginative writer. So far I’ve read the first three which I think puts me at about half way through the slender butand (that’s right, I am trying to make ‘butand’ catch on as a word in itself – use it daily please, I’d appreciate it) attractive tome.

Further example of my tiredness: the bus is playing bad, bad pop music (on MMM) that could be from today or twenty years ago, could be anyone but I wish they would die and take their records with them, and out of the corner of my eye I saw some movement and thought – Oh no, someone’s dancing to this music, out on the street (highly unlikely when you think about it, but I’m in no state to think about nothing). Then I realised it was an oldish man washing a window.

Last night I read the one issue of Peace and Quiet, Guy’s follow-up fanzine to Salty and Delicious. I note that in both magazines he thanks ‘The Coalition of Self-Help Groups’ and I wonder what this is. There is also an interview with Julian Williams in there whose house we have been invited to tomorrow to celebrate his birthday – I think his 39th. He said not many people would be there, because it’s a small place (actually a flat not a house) and so of course I wonder who on earth will be there, because Julian knows a lot of people. It’s flattering to be in the ten. Perhaps he is staggering his celebrations over a week or so and just inviting ten people at a time based on… what? Their interests? The alphabet? Level at which he likes them? (if it’s a week-long event, either way we’re in the middle, which is about where I’d expect to be). I wonder what the hell to get him for his birthday. Luckily I have the option of going to the Animal Liberation op shop this morning, as this bus is going to cross Toorak Road before then, and they sometimes have interesting albums. Trying to buy a present for Julian Williams is about as impossible a challenge as one could imagine. Well, that’s not true, but trying to buy a present he’d like is pretty impossible.

Mia is leaving for the US in a week. I am trying to figure out what I will do while she is away. I have plenty of stuff to write, things I put on the backburner in February when teaching began. So hopefully I will get a lot done. I also became attracted to the idea of seeing all the Star Wars films, now there is a finite amount. I could get the first two prequels on DVD and watch them, then go out and see the current one, then get the rest on DVD as well. The only one I’ve seen is Star Wars and that was in 1977, so I have no recollection whatsoever of it. Jesus what a boring plan. I can’t believe how boring that plan was. I can’t believe I thought about it. I will never go and see a friggin’ Star Wars film. I so much don’t care!!!

Monday, June 06, 2005

film reviews

Just watched Shaun of the Dead: depressing. Team America whatever it's called: mixed feelings though the puma scene was alright.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

meet 'n' greet

I met some of the fans of this blog on Friday night at the terriffic (naturally) Flywheel show at the Old Bar. They told me the main appeal of this place was the incredibly mundanity, or did they say dreariness? of my life as relayed here. Well, of course, all the exciting bits are controversial, and I have learnt long ago not to put controversial personal details into writing, lest they fall into the wrong hands, which they invariably do. Nevertheless it did occur to me that perhaps I should make stuff up more.

However, what follows is true and exciting: I finally got round to playing a couple of singles I bought for almost nothing on eBay a few months ago. One was the Marcus Hook Roll Band's Louisiana Lady (1973) which on first listening is really shitty. I had high hopes for MHRB (and for all I know their one and only yet completely unavailable album is amazing) but this is just Vanda and Young at their worst. Of course V&Y at their worst are still hypothetically better than most, but having been exposed to V&Y at their best (almost all Easybeats, 'Falling in Love Again', William Shakespeare's two megasingles, some JPY, etc) one naturally has higher expectations when dropping needle. I was not pleased. And the b-side was worse. Good news however was the other record I played, Skaldowie's 'Du Hast Mich Lieb'/'So Viele Zuege Kommen' on the Amiga label. Ich hast loved the one other Skaldowie record I own, an album from the late 60s with them all in hockey outfits on the front. This is a German language (obviously) single they must have done maybe in 1971. 'Du Hast...' is OK but 'So Viele...' is brilliant, a driving organ dirgey thing a little reminiscent of some Monkees single I can't recall (for a second I thought perhaps it was a cover of that song) with a great melodic chorus twist. Very impressed by this. Grey Tapes beware (we already do a Skaldowie song, the very different '0.20 AM'). Must buy some of the Skaldowie CDs I've seen on the net; most of them are twofers.

I can barely bear to read the newspapers these days, the news is so disappointing and depressing. This is an absolute dark age. I feel like Howard et al are deliberately trying to squeeze the life out of me, or at least waste my time (and many others') on earth with their incredible wrongdoing. I am uncertain what to do and in truth though I do intend every month to start attending ALP meetings (knowing that once I start I will never stop) I am slightly uncertain that even this will make me feel better, much less allow me to do any good. I suppose it might make me a little more aware of the intricacies of the ALP's malaise, though whether that'll cheer me up is... well, it's unlikely, isn't it. I'm trying to recall how I coped with 8 years of Fraser. I was perhaps more idealistic then.

Right now I'm listening to Scott 4 (the album, not that strange band from the late 90s), and I'm right into it. Brad gave me it for my birthday.

Millie has been sitting half way up the backyard all day. I don't know why. She came down last time I went out to bring in the washing. Usually she just hangs round the back door with Charlie on the offchance that someone will throw some food out there (which frankly does happen. It's a bit mediaeval round here in terms of scrap disposal).

Last night I read the final issue of Salty and Delicious from early '96. Guy put this one out just before I met Mia and got more involved in that world. There are interviews with Butterglory, Fong, Small World Experience and I think that's all. Interesting. I don't feel anything sentimental for that time in terms of music, but in fact I suppose that's really the time I first felt like I'd got a handle on playing music. Gig, Laura and I were practicing for what was to become Driving Past, and I was really pleased with my playing (I'd just come off the second Cannanes US tour, and I was comfortable with the drums as you always are after a longish tour of enforced musical activity). I was trying new stuff and the songs were really structured and sounding good. There were a lot of great bands around, I can't even really think of it as the distant past actually but of course it is. Sleepy Township had settled into their dynamic (though Alison, who was the key to their best period, hadn't joined yet). Michael and Paul were playing as Soapy Lovelace occasionally just before Michael went to the UK and did that Mike Nichols and his Excellency thing. Annoyingly the only other band I can think of from that time is Sandpit but I know that others will come to me in the next few hours. The second two thirds of '96 made it one of the best years of my life so far. The first third probably averages it out somewhat.

Friday, June 03, 2005

brussels sprouts

I just got back from Pascoe Vale Road Market (hereafter, PVRM) and got some brussels sprouts. What a treat. I wish I was hungry. Had a meeting in town this morning and going there and back I marked 5 essays, which is half my quota for the day. I have a long list of things to do today and blogging was not one of them.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

now the trick is not to get a disease

I am finished the teaching. I have 39 essays to mark between tonight and Monday morning, which is a hassle, but doable, as long as I have nothing else to do BESIDES a meeting tomorrow morning, Flywheel in the evening, and, the dishes. I just sent three blank pages in a fax which bodes ill for my abilities in the days ahead but I think the first priority is a good night's sleep. It is dark outside and I just had a sandwich.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

nearly there

Both 1st year classes went really well and of course now I am sad that I won't deal with them again.

beyond winding down

I am finding it extraordinarily difficult to get motivated to take the first years through their last week. Judging by yesterday's effort with the third years some kind of instinctive thing kicks in about half an hour before the class and I become inspired. I know how melodramatic this all seems but I assume it's a combination of exhaustion (mental?) and the fairly depressing knowledge that in six weeks I won't have a job.