Saturday, February 19, 2011

treated like crap

McGuire election paraphernalia discarded at Broady station during the week.

I must say voting today at the Blair St campus of the Hume Secondary College in the Broadmeadows by election was not a fine experience. I noted that the idea of putting the ALP last was commonly expressed in literature (most notably from an independent with a Turkish name) distributed, though the Greens to their credit simply asked to be put first and the rest didn't matter. As I said to Mia it will be interesting to see if there is a backlash considering a lot of people in our area would justifiably feel marginalised and might in this instance feel taken for granted and patronised as if they don't know the difference between Eddie McGuire and his Brightonite brother. Who will still win anyway. What a crock.

I note also that the Libs couldn't even be bothered to put up a candidate, because they are sods. Not that I would vote for them if my life depended on it so why does that bother me?

* Next day: victorious smug column by FMcG in today's Sunday Age just rubs salt into the wound, even if there was actual proof he wrote the column about what a great honour it was to win sometime yesterday evening between finding out he'd won and the paper going to print.


Such a great video and song, it was on Rage last night. I particularly like the pigs.

more spider

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

8 arms to hold you

There is a spider which regularly makes a huge web outside our door every evening in summer. This morning I noticed it was communing with another spider of the same variety; they were touching leg ends or whatever it is spiders have at the end of their legs. I went and put the battery in the camera and when I got back they were enmeshed thus:
I don't know what they were doing but when I went out again about 3/4 of an hour later they'd done it. The web was more or less gone (the spider takes down most of the web each morning leaving just an overhead strand which is presumably a hassle to put up so you'd only want to have to do it once) and so were they.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

not my contribution to the 'shit happens' debate

Last week - I was a bit out of the loop, not reading newspapers but checking a bit of half-understood tv news - Tony Abbott was in the stew over his comment that 'shit happens' in wartime.
I am always happy to see Abbott get stewed and made unhappy, so I enjoyed what I understood of it. But yesterday I just remembered a pathetic conversation overheard in Bermagui in the early morning at a cafe where I stopped around 7.30.
It was one of those conversations where one guy was holding forth and the other was agreeing for the sake of it. This oldish man was going on about how Abbott did not deserve to be roasted over the use of the term shit happens (though really it was the implied cavalier aspect to it that he was being roasted over, but never mind). What bugged me about this fellow was his insistence that 'shit happens' was an old Australian colloquialism.
I first heard the term in 1990. It was specifically introduced to me by a young Australian popstar I was interviewing, she was throwing out a little bit of international trend news, that people in the states now use this term 'shit happens.' It was almost a joke and it was proto-slacker. Bullshit is it an old Australian colloquialism.
If he reads my blog, mate, you're a bullshit artist.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

bega week

6 Feb
I am at Gus' in Canberra what a thrill for Sunday ... I am really just passing through but loving it thus far. Got into Canberra in the early afternoon - I am only here for a second en route to Cooma and thence Bega-Tathra-Bermagui, all worky things. Quick drop into the NLA to find out some things I should already have known (and to get a new library card because I lost my last one - where on earth is one supposed to keep these kinds of things, that are just never going to be useful except, like, once a year?)

I could not believe the dreary shell of a young lady i sat next to on the plane, she was reading a Peter Temple but soon fell asleep in her boyfriend's lap, so what do I care about her, well, I was just annoyed that after all that ostentatious uncaringness, when we landed she said to her boyfriend 'there they are!' whoever was dumb enough to pick them up at the airport I suppose and she stuck her skinny arm in front of my face to wave out the window. I wonder if, on arrival, she said to 'them', 'did you see me? I waved!' and I wonder if she was disappointed when they said, 'dub tf!?'

The airport at Canberra is new now and it's really hard to figure out the way the old airport used to be laid out, there are all kinds of twists and turns.

7 Feb
If I am not mistaken Cooma is where Pip Proud learnt to play guitar. He was an apprentice wireless technician in the mid-1960s (around the time I was born I suppose) and someone taught him a few chords. This was what Pip told me late in his life, though he also implied at an earlier time that he had actually learnt to play guitar a lot earlier in life, as a cure for what he suggested was spasticity of some sort. I was never entirely sure what he meant when he said he had been born spastic but he seemed to have no motor coordination problems when I first knew him (then he had a stroke, so that’s a different story obviously) and I have never heard of anyone training themselves out of being ‘spastic’, a word I think is possibly no longer used anyway. There are no plaques in Cooma that I have seen announcing that this was where Pip Proud learnt to play guitar but there should be one. I believe more in plaques these days. I think they are valid if they are used properly. I was in Gowrie in Canberra yesterday afternoon and I was impressed by the fact that the streets were all named after soldiers in I think WWII, not impressed by that particularly, but each street sign had a little information about them (rank and serial number, basically) which was good.

Well, I got into Cooma last night very tired after not sleeping much the previous night. I booked into a hotel where the bathroom – I am not sure if I know how to put this delicately but I’ll try – stunk of shit (though curiously by morning this was no longer the case, I imagine it was something to do with the drains) and I wandered wondering how so many Thai restaurants had thrived here till recently only to then close down. So last night I ate at the Alpine Hotel, in the small but swank dining room, which they positively ruined by playing all the music I have ever hated in my life apart from Meatloaf, presumably just so they could perpetuate the fear in me that they might at a certain point play Meatloaf. There was BULK U2. I wonder why with all their pretensions at the AH they didn’t think playing pop music (crummy or otherwise) spoilt the mood somewhat.

Cooma is quite a pretty town even without the thai restaurants, it has quite a lot of large art deco buildings such as the aforementioned Alpine Hotel which I am presently in sight of as I write this. I am having some fruit sourdough toast in a cafĂ©/bakery called The Lott, which seems a happy little place, full of people who might well be treechangers. Worn wooden floorboards, rustic benches, hessian covering the facings of the high counter, a huge churn full of cushions – that kind of thing. It’s a cluttered schtick that might just be trying very slightly too hard, but is still fairly decent when it comes down to it.

Road out of Cooma
It was cold and misty this morning and I realized when I unpacked my bag that, when I repacked from a shopping bag (I only do carry on these days) I must have left my jumper out. Yesterday morning in Melbourne it took real intellect to conceive of the possibility of ever needing a jumper again, and I don’t have that plainly.

This morning I drive on to Bega, then Tathra, then Bermagui. Follow my adventures!

8 Feb

Yesterday was a good productive trip to Bermagui where we picked up two boxes of priceless documents I will be scanning furiously tomorrow (I mean today, sorry). It is 4:53 am as I write, I have been awake for a couple of hours as I went to bed following a small bbq with colleagues and students at this jammy 3-bedroom unit I have been put in (don't know why, but do know I was in a very similar situation last time I was here in Tathra) and then I woke up at 3 am convinced there was someone in the unit. I was not particularly scared of this notion but fairly certain of it (I suppose I was still partly asleep or something). After a while I roused myself sufficiently to go downstairs and check the four (!) doors leading into the place to discover two of them were unlocked, so if there had been someone in here I suppose there might have been a reason. For all I know there is a lot of burglary etc here because people are probably fairly lax about leaving doors open. I know I am/was.

So I was now properly woken up so I did all the things I had been intending to do when I woke up, like assess some ethics applications and start digitising tapes, and that meant I could reset the alarm for 7 rather than 6, though now it's perilously close to 7, I should try and sleep some more. 'Night.

The day: I felt pretty ill most of the day but I soldiered on for the greater good. This apartment is really great.

10 Feb

Just been scanning docs for two days, with occasional breaks for small journeys. Not much to say about them, I may put up some pics later when I get home, for instance of what I think is a seniors' village, a burnt out house, etc. Today I am returning circuitously Tathra-Canberra via Bermagui, which adds an hour to my journey but is possibly more interesting as it's a whole new route I have never travelled on. Southern NSW is one more place I would definitely like to see more of.

I have had this low-grade virusy cold thing for the last two days which seems to be in a holding pattern but unwilling to fully grab me, just taunt me, I don't know what that's about. Perhaps it's just some kind of Bega-Tathra-Bermagui thing and I will leave it behind when I go. Maybe I should 'visualise that' concept and 'make it happen'.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

go team new album is sensational

This is the best song on a great album which I've been listening to constantly for days now.

i totally love art rush

Well his music, you know, not him. I don't know him. I also love his schtick.

Monday, February 07, 2011

new go team album

Intrigued. Will purchase. I note that my prediction made 7 or 8 years ago in the pages of The Big Issue that video-analog tv interference would become a retro-styled design device has now come true. Not that that wasn't completely predictable.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

facebook is fascinating

So there was an ad in the left hand column to stop 'Labor's mateship levy' which I clicked the x on - then you get a little questionnaire asking why you didn't want that ad, and I clicked the option of 'misleading' (as there wasn't the option 'conga line of suckholes'). I was then told that they appreciated my feedback, and then I got this ad:
...which is kind of the same idea but with a different approach. I exited facebook and came back and the ad was now for a hiatus hernia surgeon.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

moonee ponds creek this morning

It's been more flooded near our place in recent memory, but it's still quite impressive. It's incredible how much plastic crap is disgorged when it rains heavily. I suppose this is a very recent phenomenon (last 20 years?). I mean, I remember when plastic shopping bags were a cool new thing.

In the most extensive flood we've seen, the water came up to the top of the scoreboard which you see in the distance below (or if you can't see it, let's say it covered the bridge and taken from this same position the water would have filled 2/3 of this image). (Make that 3/4):

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Today is going to be a much better temperature although admittedly still a little too hot for comfort (30). When it cooled down last night it was grouse. I am on a tram in Sydney Road and I am once again the unwilling eavesdropper into a very public telephone conversation about some idiot’s legal case which is obviously of concern to him therefore he has to make a really loud performance of it in public to make him feel better about ‘he’s gonna come off in court like a real bully which is what they’re accusing me of being, right?’ and lots of confirmations of meetings and where he has to be at particular times i.e. showing how in control he is of his appointments diary. Now he is talking about the trousers he can get to wear in court, he’s just I think repeated the word ‘slacks’ like he’s never heard it before. He probably feels it’s a little too much of a laidback term for something to do with acting really straight.

Melbourne’s history surrounds one on the Sydney road tram. A few minutes ago we stopped and I looked up and I was looking straight at a lawyer’s office with the surname Cilauro, obviously Santo Cilauro’s father and I think the same office used as the lawyer’s office in The Castle. Then we stopped again (dickhead got off by the way – I mean he got off the tram) to see the Brunswick Mechanics Institute, where local people met one auspicious night in the 1870s I can’t remember exactly when to demand the government build the Outer Circle line or was it just that the government build a rail line in the northern suburbs (there was one two minutes’ walk from the Mechanics Inst by the end of the century) I can’t remember. That’s the problem with history, it’s everywhere but you have to remember it or otherwise know it. Right now I can see the Sarah Sands Hotel of which I know little except geez it’s old, or some of it is. Geez.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

welcome to february

There was and probably is a very funny columnist (I’m not going to blow his cover) who wrote or perhaps still writes a column for an otherwise seriously crappy free music magazine on the Bellarine Peninsula under an obviously made up name. I was such a fan of the column I sent him a postcard (two actually, about a year apart, he later claimed not to have received the first, not that I don’t believe him) suggesting he write for The Big Issue, which I was at that time somewhat involved in in a minor editorial capacity. He wrote back and said ‘it’s me, I already write for The Big Issue,’ and that was bizarre and sort of disappointing too though I suppose it does show one example of me having minor nous. Well, one of those columns was a tirade against weather men-women who would talk about the rain, or other cold weather, as though it was a real tragedy, and the column was about how a huge proportion of Australians live in the south-east, and clearly if they really hated the rain or cold, they wouldn’t do that. Which was, in all honesty, pretty funny and pertinent.

People these days blog because they don’t believe in a God who hears their prayers, and all praying is really is venting, so can I just offer a vent up to the blogosphere above, to say, this fucking hot weather is wearing me down, seriously, and I find it very difficult a third day in a row to have a near-40 degree day, and I know I should be completely inured to it by now, and I am perhaps slightly more inured to it than I used to be, but really, this is bullshit man. At least I am now, as I write, on a slightly more comfortable airconditioned train but no doubt it will be packed tight by the time I get to N Melbourne.

Last night we went to see Another Year which was tremendously engaging and funny. In the spirit of continuing to vent to God, can I say I completely despise the Nova and the people who go there (apart from the ones I like). When the lights went up at the end of the film it was clear that it was one of those rare events where almost everyone in the theatre was about twenty years older than me and I don’t know if that’s an excuse but what I do know is that one is never surprised when, during the first five minutes of a film at the Nova, everyone gets phone calls and they are all fumbling for their mobiles (‘dratted… thing…’) and of course during the very last, final, completely silent scene, someone had to decide to indulge in an enormous lung-emptying phlegmsperience. I know in a way that’s just other people, I’ll be like that soon, and so on. Still it is crappy. Also, there were at least two big digital glitches in the movie – why should that happen? It rarely happens with DVDs, but the same thing happened when we went to see the 3rd Narnia film at Broady Hoyts – and additionally for a brief moment all the colour in the film was washed across with a kind of pus yellow. I know it wasn’t Avatar (which by the way I still haven’t seen…) which is to say, it’s not like you’re there for the glorious colour contrasts in Jim Broadbent’s face, and I suppose you could say it’s part of the experience. But in my present state of mind I would say it’s one more example of ineptitude and shabby treatment being sold to a mindless, senseless bourgeoisie who are made to feel they should just be grateful. At least the Nova managed to show the right film first up, which is always a bonus.

There are a lot of snifflers on the train. What do you think that means. A woman across the aisle from me is reading a book called Island of Shadows and drinking her snot and a man opposite me is eating a ham and salad roll, drinking lemonade and sniffing back.

Also, I hate mobile phone rings that are a woman whistling and calling ‘taxi!’ though not as much as the laughing baby mobile ring, which thankfully is on the wane as far as I can tell (did you have something to do with that God? I bet you did).

Anyway, so, hot day. Barry is being desexed today too. He wasn’t keen on going in the car, but that doesn’t mean he had figured something out – he’s never keen on it. I hope he’s OK but there’s no reason to think he won’t be. Broady Vets is actually pretty good.

Oh by the way I just want to tell you what I also hate is being called ‘boss’. It is somewhat a 21st century version of being called ‘mate’ (though I guess women are often now called ‘mate’ by men and other women, whereas I am guessing neither men nor women call women ‘boss’, but I’d be interested to hear otherwise). It is the sort of thing that should be challenged, except you come off like some kind of shorthaired hippy ‘I’m not your boss, mate, OK?’ The reason why it is similar to mate is that it can be used quite aggressively. If someone calls you boss they are usually (in my experience) in a position where they’re serving you (petrol, whatever) and I take it to be a way of drawing attention to this situation while at the same time saying, ‘you’re not better than me’. I resent this because I don’t think I’m better than anyone really, well, certainly people who have not shown me otherwise. Not in a status sense, I’m not ‘better’. So, it pisses me off to be called ‘boss’ because I feel it is demeaning to both of us - rare exception: irony. ‘Mate’ is a little more generic these days I guess but it is still irritating in some contexts. No-one calls each other son any more or love that often I think – there are exceptions.

I had a teacher in Grade 5, Mr. Howard, who was very Terry-Thomasish, he called all the girls in his class Biddy because he couldn’t remember their names (I think, though he might have given us another explanation and said we weren’t to read anything into it). I interviewed him for the school newsletter. He had a stroke half way through the year and we had replacements for the rest of the year. Come to think of it, it was Grade 6, because in Grade 5 I had a complete arsehole for a teacher. I suppose I should be ashamed that I derived enormous pleasure from the fact that I heard he had his arm cut off by an airplane propellor in the late 70s, then significant disappointment when I heard many years later that it wasn’t true. I told one of my former classmates that man was a piece of shit and he said, ‘Oh, you just feel that way because he hated you.’ Good enough reason.

Yes I am bitter! About that.