Monday, August 31, 2009

snowman's land

Corner Swanston and Latrobe this afternoon around 6. Had the blogosphere humming: here and here for instance.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I have tried hard to be a vegan all week and was nearly successful until last night when we ate at Box Hill Korean BBQ and I ordered the vegetarian pancake, which was very eggy. Well, I will get there soon enough. I am reminded then of the woman in the Gladstone Park delicatessen ordering thin strips of some kind of gross ham product and saying 'I'm vegetarian, but I just like the taste' (i.e. the taste of some grotesque dried waxy leg). She said it twice, and as you know (I think Samuel Johnson said it) to say a stupid thing twice shows you are a real dumbass. But I have discovered the university food co-op now and eaten there four days out of five and it is very good for an aspirant vegan like myself. It is so totally a throwback to 1983, I would say, particularly since it seems to be populated so thoroughly by actory people and people learning hula hoop. Wow! Love it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

branded again

She's zany, irascible and at it again, causing vet bills to be issued wherever she goes. Millie had an abscess on her tooth and it made her face (part of it) swell up for some days. It didn't seem to bother her but she looked alien. Anyway, the vet had to drain her head of pus. She is still Millie though, except Millie used to look nice.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

anjelica and kerrie

I started high school in 1977, and attended thus: Form 1, Form 2, Year 9, Year 10, Year 11, Year 12 (when we ‘did’ HSC or Higher School Certificate). If it was explained to us why we leapt from Form 2 to Year 9, I don’t remember the explanation though I suppose it is relatively self-evident (Grade 1-6 in Primary School, Years 7-12 in secondary, though why it’s not therefore Grade 7-12 I can’t imagine). All government schools I was aware of were either primary or secondary, so the break seemed ordinary though I guess there were some private schools that ran straight through 1-12.

The weird thing about high school was that whereas in primary you all stayed together, in secondary you had core subjects that you took as a form (or ‘year’) and then, increasingly, electives which you ostensibly voted to participate in though (I can’t remember all the details) in the first and second years I think these were less electives and more just being split up into different groups to participate variously in a range of activities. My school was touted in some quarters as progressive, so that it had a lot of space and facilities for technical aspects eg woodwork art domestic science metalwork. It was a new school and had being going for two years when I started there. It was about 1/3 girls, 2/3 boys. For this reason and others it sucked a big turd in the mud as a school, but that is not what I am here to discuss today.

Year 10 was a really interesting year, as it transpired. It would not have had to try very hard, it has to be said, to be more interesting than the previous ones, which were gruelling and depressing (sure I buy into the general perception of the groovy seventies, all natural grain and polystyrene, but when it comes down to it, the seventies for me were completely foul). Year 10 was 1980 and I discovered new wave music (Devo, The Pretenders, John Foxx, Elvis Costello, The Models, The Reels, etc) and became part of a small group of people, boys and girls, who would meet every morning early – before anyone else was at the school, what the fuck were we thinking!!! – and hang out and, you know, rap (in the old sense. Not rapping. Just, uh, talk). We were a morning group only I think – the girls were part of a wider group of girls, probably in truth kind of reject girls or certainly not the coolest girls. And the boys were similar. It was probably written in the stars, not that any of us ended up married to each other, to the best of my knowledge. Actually I don’t know what happened to the girls but I know what happened to one of the boys (aside from me). He ended up alright actually. Actually actually I’m trying to remember who was a part of it all. I recall, for instance, one of the boys in question who was most definitely at the table on the north side of the school building, presumably one morning early, saying he hated the Birthday Party and when asked if he’d heard them saying ‘no, and I never want to hear any of their shit music.’ This was not a joke. But apart from remembering him being there and saying that, I can’t recall why he was there because was he a usual participant in this insane reverse-of-cool brigade? He certainly had the social standing to be so but I don’t otherwise recall him there.

More importantly I recall Anjelica (spelling?) and Kerrie, who were friends I guess wherever they found themselves but were not necessarily best friends, if that makes sense. Kerrie was adopted and had some odd attributes, particularly when it came to jokes made against her other friend Jackie, which consisted for instance of hiss-yelling ‘half breed!’ at her. Jackie would just go red and silently chuckle. Anjelica was known to us all as having a fierce crush on a science teacher which was no doubt one of those now, in hindsight, outrageous wastes of energy (I assume) that passed the time in those days. She also really liked Alice Cooper, a well-known singer of the day. She was Chilean by birth and, we were led to believe, was somewhat wealthy and pampered though who knows where these ideas come from, considering that if she was really a princess surely her parents would have sent her to a private school not our dirt farm. Ditto Kerrie in hindsight. Perhaps it suited them to pretend they had more privileged backgrounds than they really did. Two more things I recall about Kerrie: she was the first person I ever saw wear an Esprit top (the three lines and lack of a vertical on the left of the ‘E’ caused me to read it only as ‘Sprit’; more importantly I think it was the first time I recall/ed seeing an item of clothing where the ‘label’, i.e. the brand name of the clothing manufacturer itself, was a major feature of the design of the item). Also, she told me about 3RRR-fm – though I think I already knew about it – in disgusted terms, as a station that only played ‘new wave’ music, as you might describe a radio station where the announcers communicated only in farts.

So I can’t really remember what time we got to school, it was early, possibly around 7:45 for a day that started around 8:30, but those times are only guesses. It suited me to leave home early as there seemed to be little for me there and I had begun the long process of exiting from the domestic sphere as much as possible. At a certain point Anjelica and Kerrie would excuse themselves by Anjelica saying she was going to the toilet and asking/telling Kerrie to come with her. Once Kerrie told me that these visits involved Anjelica brushing her hair absently and asking Kerrie if someone or other liked her. Presumably for Anjelica (perhaps both of them) it was time out from the weird world of boys, and perhaps it was the same for the boys. Kerrie and I talked on the phone quite a bit around this time, I can’t remember who called who. She liked a boy called Scott who the first two girls I went out with also went out with, so I guess girls who liked Scott liked me.

I wonder when I last saw those girls. A few – maybe 5 – years after I had finished school and perhaps when I was back in my mother’s house for the last time, ‘cleaning up’ (not particularly effectively) before the house was sold, Kerrie called. She sounded a bit drug-addled or perhaps this was an affectation. I somehow got the sense that she had turned gay but who knows, this may also have been affectation, in the way she spoke, and no-one could accuse me of being very perceptive very often particularly about people’s behaviour or predilections. She just kept saying it was weird how we were talking and I was like (thinking) so what, get off the phone. As for Anjelica, I have no idea what happened to her or where she went. It occurs to me that perhaps she didn’t even finish high school or perhaps she did it somewhere else. I certainly know I never saw her again after 1982. I also certainly know I never think about either of them, or rather, I probably go years at a time without thinking about either of them, and I would be fairly certain neither of them ever think about me, either.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

laptop musings

August 6 2009

It is very windy. I am at the bus stop at Glenroy waiting for the 542 to Roxburgh Park (well, to Jacana) and getting winded on in a major way. This happened this morning, too. I felt like the screen part of my laptop was going to blow off.

I need a new laptop, actually. I feel bad telling this via my old laptop but it doesn’t seem to be the phrase that unlocks Acer’s patent self-destruct process (yet). This thing is dirty and old and most importantly the screen has a big white-grey band right through the middle of it which is getting bigger and which, I am told, is unfixable though I’m not sure quite why. I know what I really want – a fabulous mac thing – but I won’t be getting it anytime soon, even though I do have superfunds coming through in the relatively near future (tax return, second part of advance on book I wrote purely by being in a zone, etc). Maybe those two together will do it but I suspect all the dosh will just get eaten up in the expenses of being a lousy bad person, which has pretty much been my forte in the last few weeks.

I am now on the 542 going through North Glenroy just near where the train would have once left the main line to go to Tullamarine, if that plan had ever ultimately been followed. Which it has yet to be. Now I am going over the Western Ring Road. It is dark. There are two people on the bus, not including the driver, who is on the bus too.

August 10 2009

It is 20 to 8 on a Monday morning I am en route to the workplace where I have many preparations to make before my class at the end of the day. It is raining lightly (so the laptop was once again subjected to stress, not from rain this time but from light water drops on the keyboard). When your laptop gets to this kind of stage in its life (except, does anyone really know; it’s unknown territory pretty much I would imagine, all they can do is use laptops furiously hoping wear and tear will be like time’s ravages) you are unsure whether it’s an old workhorse that enjoys constant use or whether it needs a long (permanent) sleep. Since all I really use it for is word processing (though there are a lot of images stored on it) I may as well use it until death, though there is always that thorny question of backing up, should I, the answer being yes, but who can be bothered, most of the stuff on here is bullshit. Old lectures, old notes from old projects, etc etc.

(Half an hour later) actually that was pretty interesting. I went through a lot of stuff and deleted heaps. It felt pretty good. Mostly drafts of papers, which seem to go through about 7 or 8 renamings/renumberings before they become fit to be seen as brilliant enough to submit and turn the world on its ear, no-one can ever believe the new insights into early C20 urban history revealed in my incisive text. Perhaps erroneously assumed that stuff I had already had published, I did not need in a word file. Hmm, now I come to think of it, that might be true. And since it’s all pretty easy to back up, maybe that’s what I should be doing, rather than deleting. Oh well, too late now. It’s not like stuff is lost; the worst case scenario is that it would be a hassle to retrieve it (worst, worst case scenario: retype). (Later that evening) It’s really a great feeling to hit ‘yes’ on ‘are you sure you want to delete these 87 items?’. It is dark and raining now and I am on the 401 bus to North Melbourne station. I wish the 401 would stop advertising itself as a new service (18 months new now, I guess). It is 7:17 pm I had a meeting after work which had to be done. Big day. Nothing on tv tonight I think though I have yet to watch back episodes of Rush which I am pleased is on again. You can see them all pixelated on the Channel 10 website. Pixelation looks pretty good. How long before someone evokes/ fakes it in a retro piece of filmmaking?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I note that this ad for something or other on the trains includes a bystander reading a paper which includes a rather large headline referring to the Kerang rail disaster of June 2007 (unless 'Kerang misery haunts victims' has some other, more cheery meaning). Since I am used to assuming every square inch of an ad is something calculated, dub tf?