Sunday, September 30, 2007


Mia and I accompanied my mother to Kilmore where she was to choose a puppy, which she kind of did - she chose the puppy the other person who had first dibs, wasn't going to choose. But they were both great, I reckon. I suggested to Mia that maybe Millie and Charlie might also like a border terrier puppy to rear but she baulked.

Blissfully unaware, M&C were mainly only interested in getting out onto the oval once again, where the wind blew their ears around. In this picture, adding as all dog pictures do but particularly pictures of our dogs to the greater value of human civillisation, Millie is thinking 'if I run towards this person they will give me a small piece of kibble', and Charlie is thinking, 'my ears are blowing around or whatever'.

line to craigieburn

Annoyingly we didn't get it together sufficiently to make it to Craigieburn station at 10:30 this morning for the official opening. But we did get to Roxburgh Park to see a little bit of behind-the-scenes John Brumby excitement when the Premier plus Lynne Kosky boarded the train going north (this is how they 'arrived at the official opening by train' as per The Age 1 Oct 07 p. 4 - rode a few km of line) .

A couple of boys were there and though I didn't hear the initial statement from one, I heard the reply, 'Nah, Brumby's already got a ticket!' And indeed he did, and validated it twice for the cameras (he volunteered to do it a second time, which in my experience gets a bad result from the validator, but I'm not the Premier).

On the station he just hung out with his crew though he did try to talk with real people i.e. the same boys, he asked them if they were going into the city to see something or other and was surprised (?) to hear they were actually just there because he was and/or the rail line to Craigieburn was being opened.

The station itself is stylistically interesting, a kind of brutalo-


style, though as Mia pointed out the shelters on the platform were too high for effective protection from anything, and there wasn't much wind shielding either.

That said I am very pleased the electrified line has extended to C'burn and I think a lot of locals will be too. It's been at least 40 years in the making, or rather, it was first announced in the late 60s and probably not much was done until the present government or a version thereof did it, and hats off to all included, including of course Bettsy.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

things i'll never get round to blogging about

1. went to the show on thursday. it was grand.
2. piled up some rocks today
3. 'built' some shelves
4. nearly bought a new tv

Friday, September 28, 2007

speak's for it's elf really

Broady town centre carpark this morning

more travels

What could be more horrendous than sitting on an aeroplane next to an oversize teenager who, immediately after sitting down, opens a supersize bag of barbecue chips which he not only dips into regularly for the next hour and a half, but – this is the bad bit, I don’t care who eats barbecue chips, I couldn’t even smell it – (a) shakes his hand as if casting some salt-oil-‘barbecue’ detritus out into the air, and (b) wipes his hand very craftily and caringly, as if giving a kind of fingerpaint gloss, on his gross jeans all the way? I hate people!!!

Which puts me in mind of those FREAKING lockers at the SLV. I have already complained to the SLV about these (and got a damn polite letter of disagreement from some poor sod who surely had no input into the decision about installing them in place of the counter-and-shelves-where-people-take-your-bag-and-give-you-a-tag). Now, if you haven’t seen them, these lockers are probably I assume run by some private contractor who takes the burden of the counter-and-shelves away from the SLV while pocketing $1 a pop (or $2 a pop if all the $1/pop lockers are being used) from users, most of whom I suppose the SLV regards with mild contempt because they are the teenagers who go into the library to sleep and gossip and probably have it off if you believe the six monthly Sunday Age exposes. Well, I am already on record as saying that I don’t mind the teenagers in the SLV because at least they know where the SLV is now and that it has books in it, probably, though admittedly it might not mean much to their later life (i.e. I know where Inflation is, but I haven’t been there since the day after Marvin Gaye died). You know, as much as I hate people I am even sort of protective of the genies, who everyone says are the bread and butter of the SLV, I don’t mind them at all as long as they’re not buttonholing me to tell me that their sodding great grandfather came over on the good ship Boombah in 1879 (or was it 1979?) aged four and became a blacksmith in Portland.

So the lockers. The first thing is, there aren’t enough of them. You get to the library and you have to go through all these touch screens to find out whether the heck there are any free lockers or not. The second thing is, after numerous experiments they now churn out a slip with a 6-digit pin you have to enter to get into your locker. Used to be, this 6dp would be something private to your mind, but obviously people (like me, though not me) were unable to remember this shit no doubt upsetting many an applecart so the whole thing has gone to enter your pin, then you get it on a ticket (so if you lose your ticket and someone finds it, the SLV/capitalist locker operators can wash their hands of the whole thing). I mean, people can still look over your shoulder while you’re entering your pin anyway, so there’s really no advantage to you one way or the other. I want to just put in a pin of 555555 or 444444 or, insert the same number 6 times over, whatever, but you can’t do that – it won’t let you. Too obvious. So far I realise I am not giving a very good case for hating the lockers. Will try harder later.

Intermission: I wrote the above at Sydney Airport, and I am now in Armidale, but can I just say I was shocked to hear a woman ordering (as was I) from the noodle shop at the foodhall in terminal 2 refer to tofu as nutmeat. I’d love to say ‘only in Sydney’ but I can’t because no-one talks about nutmeat in Sydney anymore – if they ever did. I think I last heard nutmeat mentioned in 1975. Our family was living in Scotland and we were occasional friends with a family who I basically don’t remember except they lived in a palatial manor in the bush (the Scots call this the country) and must have been vegetarians, because my brother would jokingly imitate someone’s line he picked up from somewhere, ‘Chris loves his nutmeat’. It doesn’t look that great in print 32 years later but at the time it was up there with the classic ‘Mind your fingers, laddie’ which was what someone said to him at Edinburgh castle. I guess you had to be there.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

and then you get home and it's all different...

Your animals don't know who you are,

and you don't know who they are (Asha has doubled in size)

a few more pics from my recent travels

Including Bruce of Angaston, a piece of Angaston machinery, and two Adelaide-by-nite shots

Friday, September 21, 2007

the bridge at murray bridge

First bridge across the Murray. Hence the name. Not sure if this is the actual first bridge. It might be.

port victoria

Port Victoria, on the Spencer Gulf looking out onto what I assume is the Eyre Peninsula (or a piece of land never before noticed/discovered, in which case I proclaim it Davidland), is a serene little town on the Spencer Gulf looking out onto what I assume is the Eyre Peninsula (or a piece of land never before noticed/discovered, in which case I proclaim it Davidland), is a serene little town on the Spencer Gulf... anyway as you can see it was a beautiful day, and the cafe there is run by a very friendly lady whose name I do not know.

I do notice that the South Australians are happy to name a town Port Victoria but that Victoria has not reciprocated with a Port South Australia. Let's see the Brumby government tackle this one with some determination and leadership.

This was pretty much the last stop before Snowtown (Bute was inbetween). Yes, the bank's still there. But I was surprised too because Snowtown was (as I recall) described in the press at the time of the bodies in the barrels described as a nasty little place with no redeeming features. It is actually a quite attractive town, as much as you might expect to see Russell Drysdale setting up his easel at one end of the main drag only to be mown down in mid-brushstroke by one of the grim-faced ute drivers with half-beards who hoon purposefully through the CBD. I have seen a thousand worse towns than Snowtown (half of them yesterday).

happy fish in edithburgh

I am not sure why they're happy but I suppose they live each day as if it were their last. Edithburgh was once (80+ years ago) the third busiest port in South Australia, which can only mean the fourth was the size of a pea. Very beautiful town though and yesterday it was marvellous weather (17 or so degrees and no wind). When you go there I recommend the Garage Diner in Blanche St. They only opened last week, and are filling a need. This is the scene out into the street from the interior of the diner. Unfortunately the pinhole shoebox camera I made to view eclipses makes the interior of the diner look darker than it really is. I can assure you that they do have light/s.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

it's a slv gripe tuesday!

Hey I don't want to come over all 'poor Asian languages' or anything, heaven forbid, but what's with the locker renting screens at the SLV and their weird Eurocentricness? How many Finns or Portugueseans or Danes come to the SLV with insufficient English to rent a locker? My research says 2.7 every ten years. And by the way, I'd like to know who was on the committee that put the Australian flag on the 'English' button. And why no Esperanto or Flemish?

And by the other way this is only the beginning of a huge complaint about the SLV lockers, but I think I'm saving that for a privately-published screed, subscriber-only, I think it's about time you people stopped getting my whinge nuggets for nothing.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

kath n kim country

Mark Peel's piece in today's Sunday Age was right on the money in terms of the ways in which 'outer suburban' areas are so often typified as conservative, racist, homophobic, cultural wasteland, blah blah - Howard's heartland and so on. Mark Peel is talking about Berwick, which is more often seen as aspirational McMansion territory than where we live, but still the bottom line of his argument holds true - and I never thought I'd raise my voice in anger against the latte quoffing elites - but I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard some stupid cliche about the area in which we live, which I am now (3 years in) ready to say are all demonstrably untrue. Most recently I noted a livability table (OK, in itself a crock) which had our area down as registering 0 on crime rate, which is what it is best known for (that and Turkishness, but there was no category for that on this list).

The fear of anywhere 5 km from the GPO that comes up so often in so many different forums is so stupid it's one of those things that would be funny if it wasn't so prevalent/ 'known'. The really funny thing is that 30 years ago it was the inner city that was perceived as the evil wasteland.

I realise I am mixing up my objections but I am really just registering an inchoate yowl of general irritation. Because there's nothing to be done until everyone changes their mind and then they will deny ever having had the former opinion anyway.

By the way, I do have a dollar for every stupid cliche, as mentioned above. It's the quarter of a million dollars we saved by buying a house in an area generally perceived as irredeemable.

Friday, September 14, 2007

fragments of conversation between four girls overheard on the train last tuesday

- Do you want to read this book I have, I've got to return it today. The writing's not bad. Do you wanna?
- Nah
- So I go to work, and I say do you want to borrow the James Hird book, I've read it, do you want to borrow it and she said you're returning my present, I'm really offended. I'm not returning it. It's like, 'I've got to go and buy it so James Hird can get more money!'
- She's a Collingwood supporter. 'I thought you really wanted it.' Yeah, it wasn't bad.
- It's a collector's item
- Is it actually signed, or photocopied with a pen?
- She used it for toilet paper
- We should get this train all the time.
- Aren't you guys going to be late though?
- How many people, is it a sold out event?
- 80 000 people
- They said that Essendon-Tigers match sold out 88 000, there's just members' tickets only.
- When the 7th came out I went and bought it
- You just want to read the whole series.
- Aren't they like fifty?
- It depends if you want the hardcover.
- I heard what happened
- I wanna know who dies
- Don't wreck it for me!
- It's this person isn't it.
- No, C-!
- Just say yes or no.
- Did she write it?
- I just finished the fourth book.
- Have you seen the recent movie - you know how Silar dies - is it Silar?
- Sirius!
- You're thinking of Heroes
- Do you watch Summer Heights Highafter The Chaser?
- No
- I'm just going to write the name in my thing and you say...
- Oh my god, J-
- Is it this person?
- Yes but
- Don't tell me! I don't want to know. Just say yes or no.
- But it's a twist
- She doesn't want to read them - she's lazy
- So she doesn't die?
- It's a he!
- So the girl-boy doesn't die?
- How long does it take you to read those books?
- I'm nearly half way through the fifth one.
- Is it good? Is there a twist?
- What's happening on the weekend?
- How was she on the way home?
- I found out on that date J- and S- she didn't go to the bar with them, she just sat there.
- I just realised now that I shouldn't have done that.
- It annoys the crap out of me.
- In the car, I was giving directions J- making really stupid... I was like M-, shut up. She acts it, she puts it on.
- It's annoying.
- She's a cheap drunk.
- She's not that bad. She's funny.
- You know why - 'cos she doesn't drive.
- She had a cosmopolitan, which is $15. She had a Cor- Cor- what are those? Corona.
- She was really gone.
- It's embarrassing
- They were like talking to you
- After that day he messaged me, 'is it weird me asking for your number, M- was all over me, you were the only one acting normal'
- Guys don't like seeing girls messed up like that unless they are too.
- How many people went to that match?
- Not much, 64 000.
- If we win we either play Port, Kangas or Hawthorn
- Now I'm happy we're where we're at
- We played so good. There hasn't been a win that good.
- Best game we played the whole season. We travel really well interstate. We lost by 12 points, I thought we played so good that game, they didn't have Cousins, Judd and Kerr
- No one can go past Judd
- Did you see him last week?
- You doing anything? Row D - whereabouts? We were sitting next to these two Americans, it was their first football match
- Do they play rugby or grid iron? What the hell's this?
- Have you gave it to her yet?
- That's why I bought her the DVD
- Did you hear about how she threw her tickets out?

what's this about?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

exhibition to aid memorial hall funds: ladies' committee arranges function

The ladies' committee of the Sale Memorial Hall and Youth Centre have organised an exhibition in July which should attract interest from every centre in Gippsland. This exhibition is one which was most successfully staged at Springvale recently. Of great interest is the commentary which was given on this display.

The exhibitor is Mrs. Smith, one of the most favourably known agricutlural show and Country Women's Association demonstrators in Victoria, and well known to Sale people.

Mrs. Smith has been outstanding in her field over a number of years and awards from Royal and country shows have piled up (lined the walls of Springvale Mechanics Hall). It would be hard to find a field open to the normal woman in which this good lady does not shine.

Take, for instance, her display of bottled fruit, vegetables and other preserves. Cleverly arranged into patterns, these delicacies would tickle the palate of the most fanciful. (Note: Her display at Sale show last year was the centre of attraction in the pavillion all day.) Another fine display of workmanship and patience was shown in the exhibits made from dead matches. To name a few, there is a house, windmill and cotton stand made perfectly to scale, and a ktichen chair completely covered with matches in a parquet pattern. These are daintily finished, and varnishing with touch up give the appearance of inlay or poker work.

Mrs. Smith's work extends to painting, and here again her work is most realistic, revealing a mind full of vision and imagination. From scraps of wool, rugs are fashioned, and patchwork quilts are most engaging, colours being often bright, but always blended in with fine judgement. One of her most admired quilts is made from no fewer than 3200 fragments of silk, satin and taffeta.

Garments made by Mrs. Smith rank with the best in her class. Babies' dresses, both woollen and silk, in a field so fully explored by many, the exhibition of 'One woman's work' once again shines unfailingly. What a pretty feast for the female eye, and how tempting for the mother or mother-to-be. LIttle innovations in this field with regard to the silk patterns lift her work above the competitions. Talking about garments, there are no price worries here. Even hand-dyed hessian is used to advantage.

In fact, the word waste is not even in her vocabulary. Even seeds are utilised to make flowers or trees, and cuttings from papers like the "Women's Weekly" form the basis of patterns for lovely baskets and trays. Broken glass and pottery form exquisite vases - shells for decorating articles, fish scales for working models of ships are just a few.

Cooking is also one of her accomplishments and beautiful cakes iced and decorated in original patterns, and biscuits and sweets are a delight both to the eye and the palate.

Another venture is the making of dolls, brightly and attractively dressed, which would sell at a considerable price in any city emporium.

Gippsland Times 3 May 1951 p.1

Friday, September 07, 2007

john howard is a shit

I wish John Howard would fuck off and die.
It amazes me how much respect there seems to be in so many sectors of US society for the office of president, or rather, whoever happens to hold that office, as long as they hold it. There is somethng semi-religious about it. We aren't up for that much here, or are we? I know that my absolute outrageous hatred of Kennett dissipated considerably the day he finally conceded defeat. I guess it was partly the circumstances in which he went (not smugly) that stopped the bitter aftertaste, only occasionally revisited when the present government refuses to fix the things he broke eg public transport (maybe Brumby will come good on this, at least he's recognising a problem). But Howard, that curmudgeon, is so amazingly hateable, I can only even see Rudd in terms of Howard alternative eg I can't take him on his own terms and to me any alternative is a grand alternative because it's an alternative. Peter Costello would at least look like something had changed.
In the last six months or so of Hawke's tenure I remember thinking, many times, I can't believe he's still the PM. It felt like walking through a dream of the past, and wanting to get on with the future.
Anyway, when Howard does fuck off and die, which will surely one day happen, I can't believe I still won't hate him, for his mean smug limp snide cunning. I feel he is the sort of person that I would hate if I fell into conversation with him at the railway station waiting for a train, except of course John Howard probably last waited for a train 45 years ago and I didn't mean to bring up public transport again.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

i felt like i had to let you know

Our neighbours are throwing out a headless fawn statue. There is also the top part of a gnome's head on their nature strip. I think they might be turkish. They have unexpectedly painted their house grey. Their chickens mysteriously disappeared. Yesterday they had people over. I felt like I had to let you know.


I took two nighttime tabs a little while ago, and already it is making it difficult to type. Now I know what it’s like to be, oh, William Burroughs or some other junkie. You know, you take drugs to be creative and then you can’t even type. Anyway, everyone (as the girl who served me at Safeway tonight when I went to buy Mia some sour cream – her name was Lyndsay) has a fluey cold at the moment, and I am never one to miss out on a new trend, so here I am. I had a sore throat every morning for about four mornings, but each time I got over it, so I thought nothing more of it. And then at about 8 pm last night (Saturday, I’m typing this in bed actually, but won’t post it till Monday I guess) it hit me and I was down. In fact for the last 24 hours I have felt pretty alright, it’s just I’m crying all the time and of course my nose is running like… alright, no metaphors, too gross.

I am a bad diarist because it is really hard for me to remember things. Yesterday we went to see Emily Ferretti’s exhibition in Johnson St. There was a painting of a colander I really liked which luckily was on a postcard just inside the door. She had sold all the paintings anyway. Then we did some shopping at Pascoe Vale Road Market, always a pleasure. I took the dogs out to the park and we met a guy with a little white fluffy dog who Charlie would not stop barking at. The dynamics of Charlie’s world are too complex for me to even theorise about. All I know is she’s trying to defend the pack, because Millie won’t do it. The reason Millie won’t do it is she knows the pack is not under attack (I don’t know what she would do if the pack was genuinely under attack; I hope I never have to find out. Very occasionally she will discipline Charlie, with a front paw on the shoulder, but that’s as far as it goes). Charlie can’t seem to see this.

Down in our lake we have two black swans with three cygnets, and a pelican – and numerous little black ducks and some mallards too. Frogs as well, which sound like they have an echo chamber effect on them – not sure whether they’re underground or just croaking at walls.

Today we went to Ceres for my mother Jane’s birthday. We had Hot Indonesian Eggs and Laurie hurt his head on a rock. Jane retired on Friday which must be weird. I think I might retire too. She is going to get her puppy in about a month. She has already named him, Kenzie. He is a border terrier.

Some new characters are moving to the neighbourhood in a while, Nicole, Julian and little April have bought a house up the road. They are not moving in for 3 months. Christmas in Jacana they say.

I don’t know what else I have to tell you diary. I continue to live the life of an elderly child, attempting to read the minds of animals and also attempting to churn out obscure academic papers on seemingly random topics (seemingly? I must be having an out of body experience). Anyway the coldnflu tabs are obviously kicking in now as I can’t think so I will lie back and enjoy the trip.